By Dom Melaragni <email@example.com>
Summary: Lois and Clark travel to Scotland to investigate a murder, so guess who goes to Smallville to celebrate Thanksgiving in their place? The Lanes?! Episode 9 of S5.
Original Air Date: November 30, 1997
Steam billowed out of the bathroom as Lois emerged, a towel tightly wrapped around her softly glowing body. She arched an eyebrow at Clark as he turned away from his closet.
"Turning the water off in the shower was not necessary!"
"Lois, you'd been in there for hours! And I was not going to come in and get you out this time, not when we're already running late."
Lois pouted. "Busted! I'll have to think of a new tactic then … and what are we running late for?" she asked as Clark headed into the bathroom. Her eye caught sight of a small tartan box lying on the bed. "What's this?"
Picking it up, she gave it a shake. Hearing nothing but a nondescript bump, she opened it up and pulled out a length of red tartan. Clark came out of the bathroom, drying himself quickly on a towel.
"I knew you'd forgotten. It's St Andrew's Night and we're supposed to be going to the opening of that new Scottish bar, Tam O'Shanters, on Main Street. And if we don't hurry up, we'll miss the Addressing of the Haggis."
"Ah … the address to the what?"
"The haggis. It's traditional. Burns wrote a comic poem calling the haggis as important as one of the chiefs of the clans of Scotland so they address the haggis before they eat it."
"Ah, about this eating the haggis … um, isn't it made of sheep's stomachs and innards and things? I don't think I want to eat that."
"The invitation did say it was an authentic Scottish evening so perhaps they will have real haggis. Don't worry, they usually take the bones out before they grind up the mixture to put it into the sheep's stomach. Or at least that's what a butcher told me when I travelled around Scotland when I was younger."
Lois sat on the bed, folding her arms across her chest. "I'm definitely not eating that. They will have something else like Scottish salmon or Angus beef, won't they?" she asked hopefully.
Clark shook his head sadly, "I doubt it. The invitation said a haggis supper." He turned back to his dresser, unable to stop a grin crossing his face.
Lois frowned, "Well, just be prepared to come home via the all night pizza parlour."
"Are you going to get ready now?" Clark banished the grin and faced her. At her questioning look at the tartan sash, he continued, "The invitation said to wear something Scottish and I thought that would be easiest for you."
"I'm sure it didn't say it was a costume party though," Lois waved the sash in exasperation. "And I hadn't forgotten exactly … I just didn't realise it was tonight. So what are you wearing?" Lois sashayed up to him and lassoed him with the tartan. Pulling his head down to her, she grinned lasciviously against his lips, "A kilt?"
Clark kissed her quickly. "No, my tux."
"But you said it said to wear something Scottish."
"I will be. I've got a tartan cummerbund and a bowtie." Wondering at the fleeting look of disappointment on Lois' face before she turned to her dresser, he continued, "I don't think anyone will be wearing a kilt tonight and why … " His voice petered out when he heard the thud of Lois' towel falling to the floor and he took an involuntary step towards her, his face reflecting his desire.
Lois looked up from adjusting the lacy strap of her black lingerie and grinned. "Clark Kent! Go and get ready yourself or we'll be lucky to get there in time for a whisky night-cap!"
Lois and Clark sat down at a long table. Clark leaned over to pin the heather corsage that had been waiting at her place onto Lois' dress. As he straightened, a large man with flaming red hair put down a whisky miniature on the table. "Jack MacPherson." he introduced himself. Pulling out a larger bottle of whisky, he offered Clark a measure.
"Have a wee dram. It's good for what ails you. It's specially blended for Tam O'Shanters. Until tonight, only the stillman at the distillery, Joe … ," he gestured towards a dark-haired man, being toasted by a group of men on the other side of the room, "and myself had tried it. Arrived here three days ago and it's truly amber nectar. We've had to have a dram every night."
As Clark took a sip, the sound of bagpipes started up. Jack shouted for everyone to stand for the approach of the haggis. A man in full dress kilt regalia entered, holding a silver tray deferentially in front of him, as the piper played in the haggis. As he put the tray with the haggis on the table, he began to speak.
" … yer sonsie face, great chieftain o' the puddin' race." Lois glanced round and noticed that most of the citizens of Metropolis looked as bemused as she was. Suddenly, the man who had been reciting grabbed a knife from his sock. Lois sat back, slightly shocked, as he thrust it into the haggis, slitting it as Jack led the room in a burst of applause.
Lois turned to Clark, "I know that you can order dinner in 347 languages but I refuse to believe that that is one of them!"
Clark laughed, "No, it's not! Though I got the gist of it!"
"And they wear knives in their socks? Isn't that dangerous?"
"It's called a skean dhu. It means hidden dagger in Gaelic. In centuries gone by, men used to have to leave their weapons at the entrance to the castle. So that they weren't left unarmed, they used to wear a dagger tucked into an ornate scabbard tucked into their socks."
"Ah, I see. And now here comes my serving of haggis."
"Haggis, Neeps and Tatties," said Jack MacPherson, presenting each of them with a loaded plate.
"I'd always wanted to go to Scotland but remind me not to. I'd never know what they were talking about! Neeps and tatties?"
"Neeps are mashed turnip, and tatties are potatoes, lassie," Jack turned back to her. "You've never had haggis before?"
Lois pushed her fork into the haggis gingerly. "No, I tend to prefer to be able to identify what I'm eating."
Clark spluttered. Lois turned to him, "I can usually identify at least what I put into my cooking, even if noone else can."
Jack leaned over conspiratorially, "Dinnae worry, lassie. We couldn't get real haggis in Metropolis so you'll have to settle for what passes for modern haggis. It's just lamb and oatmeal with a few spices thrown in." He winked at Clark who was nodding, and made his way back to collect more plates.
"I take it there are no sheep's stomachs or bones involved either?" Lois looked at Clark, one eyebrow raised, "You knew all along! I should … I should … "
Clark put on an exaggerated worried face, "You should … ?"
Smacking his arm, Lois giggled at the expression on his face, "I should make you stop for pizza on the way home anyhow!"
Sighing, Jack MacPherson closed the door behind the last guests and turned back towards the darkened bar. A shadowy figure poured another whisky into a large glass. Jack lurched towards the bar. Picking up the glass, he raised it to his lips, "Slainte!" he nodded to the figure, before collapsing to the ground …
McDonald's New Haggis McNuggets with Neep Dip
A new Whisky Liqueur Icecream from Haagen Dazs
TV themes … the bagpipe version … the latest CDs
A briefcase dropped to the floor beside the desk as Lois collapsed into her chair, groaning as she closed her eyes. Clark walked up behind her with two cups of coffee. "This might help."
"I can't believe I'm so tired. I think all that dancing last night wore me out and I'm sure I've got bruises on my arms from where Jack was spinning me round in that really fast reel thing … what was it? Something to do with trees?"
"Strip the Willow," said Clark. "Are you sure it was that stripping that wore you out?" He grinned mischievously at her.
Lois blushed slightly and smacked him lightly across the chest. Her retort died on her lips as Jimmy bounced up to the couple, "Did you guys hear the news?"
When they looked at him questioningly, he continued eagerly, "You know that new bar that opened last night on Main Street? Well, they found two bodies in it this morning!"
"What! Tam O'Shanter's! We were there last night!"
"Yep! The two bodies were identified as … ," Jimmy thumbed through the pile of papers he was carrying, " … Jack MacPherson and Joe McBride. There's no evidence of a struggle or of any forced entry … Lois, where are you going?"
"Tell Perry we're on this!" Lois shouted over her shoulder as she grabbed Clark and headed back to the elevator.
Jonathan wiped his hands on his jeans as he came in the backdoor of the farmhouse. He sniffed appreciatively at the aromas coming from the kitchen before looking up to be stunned by the vast quantities of food which were piled on what seemed to be every available surface.
"Hi honey," Martha called. She came over to give him a quick peck on the cheek before returning to the pastry laid out on a marble board. "Did you pick up those yams?"
Jonathan held up a bag, "I thought I was getting some extra supplies in case you didn't have enough. You look like you could feed the entire Mayflower for Thanksgiving from just this." He gestured towards the bench beside the window which held several cakes and fruit pies. "I know Clark can pack it away but it is only Lois and him."
"Ah … I wanted to talk to you about that," Martha almost looked a little guilty. "Lois called yesterday. Her parents were trying to do a proper family Thanksgiving at Ellen's place … "
Jonathan nodded, "Ah, so Clark's going to fly them to Ellen's and then onto us? But wouldn't that mean you'd need less food?"
"Not exactly. Lucy had called and said she couldn't get home so Ellen was inviting herself and Sam to stay with Clark and Lois. Lois was so upset about having to disappoint one of us that I told her that her parents should just join us all here … I don't think Ellen does a very good pumpkin pie in any case so that's why I need more food. I told her I'd check with you but Lois was so relieved and it'll be fun."
Jonathan shook his head, "Of course, I don't mind but what if they see Clark doing something? Or there's an emergency and he has to leave as we're carving the turkey?"
Martha laughed, " I think you're worrying over nothing. Besides if something does happen, then we'll cover. Just as we always have. Now, put those yams down in the larder and let me get on with this pastry before it dries out."
Jonathan headed off to the larder but Martha's voice followed him. "And put those back!" Jonathan guiltily put down the cookies he had pocketed on the way out of the kitchen, wondering how Martha always seemed to catch him.
Lois caught sight of a familiar figure as she and Clark made their way through the police barriers around Tam O'Shanters.
"Inspector Henderson!" she called.
Inspector Henderson turned round, "Lois, Clark, we were coming to see you later, seeing as you were on the guest list for last night."
"Well, maybe we can help each other," said Lois sweetly. "What do you know about Jack MacPherson and Joe McBride?"
"Wrong way round Lois, first you help me! Here are two photos of Jack and Joe. Did either of you see either of them last night?"
Lois and Clark glanced at the photographs. "Jack spoke to us when we arrived, offered us a whisky and he served our haggis," said Clark, "I never spoke to Joe though."
"I danced with him during one of the reels. He seemed fine, maybe a little the worse for wear because of the whisky but other than that he was normal," added Lois. "So what do you know about them? And what killed them?"
"Hmm, that's what the other guests we've managed to contact say. OK, MacPherson was a British secret agent but he was honourably discharged from Her Majesty's Service a few months ago. He'd always wanted to live in Metropolis so he used his retirement package to set up the bar. Joe was just an old friend from home, who'd come over to help him set the business up. He worked as a stillman in a distillery. We don't know what killed them. There are no marks on the bodies and no sign of damage inside the bar. They're doing a post mortem now. We're working on the possibility that it might be something they ate."
"And we'll get the results first, Inspector?" asked Clark.
"As soon as I've seen them."
"And you said that haggis was perfectly safe to eat, Clark," smiled Lois.
"Well, the other people who ate the haggis are fine."
"Actually, " said Inspector Henderson, "a large proportion of them are feeling a little under the weather. Although with the amount of alcohol some of them drank, that's hardly surprising!"
Lois growled at her computer in frustration. Joe was listed as a stillman at the Glenveraray distillery. Jack's records were classified. She'd have to wait for Clark to try and get past the passwords on the British Secret Service system.
"Nothing, Lois?" Clark said, coming up and sitting on her desk while he glanced at her monitor. " Wait, Glenverary? That sounds familiar. Wasn't that where that little whisky miniature came from? Where Jack's special blended malt was made?"
"Yes, but that tells us nothing. Jack wanted a special whisky for his bar so he went to his best friend, a stillman, to get him to blend it. That's hardly odd. Perhaps there's no story here at all. We might be wasting our time."
"Clark, it's Inspector Henderson on line 1," shouted Jimmy.
"Clark Kent. What's the news, Inspector? … uh, huh … really?"
Lois sat, desperate to find out what was being said but Clark kept shushing her. As soon as he put the phone down, she pounced! "Well?"
"The post mortem showed that both men died of a drug overdose but the drug has never been seen before. Star Labs says that it appears to be a highly addictive compound but they have no idea where it originated. They think that it's too complex to be a natural compound."
"Yes!" exclaimed Lois triumphantly, "I knew there was a story here! What else did he say?"
Clark rolled his eyes at her new enthusiasm , "The men also had large levels of alcohol in their systems so Star Labs tested the whisky and found the drug in it. The drug is so addictive that the police are warning anyone who had more than one dram to go to their doctor because they'll need help when the effect wears off later today."
Lois paled, "But you tried it!"
"Yes, but I only had one glass and I doubt it would react with my physiology. After all, I don't even get drunk. The pathologist thinks that they had drunk so much of the special blend that they simply overdosed on the drug. So now, all we need to find out is … "
" … how the drug got into the whisky," she finished along with him. "I wonder if the drug is in the entire Metropolis batch or just in a few bottles that Jack was drinking from."
"Star Labs is still testing it. Henderson said he'd asked Dr Klein to let us know the results as soon as they'd been passed to the police."
"And who put the drug into the whisky? I'd think that the target would have to be Jack. What could he have known that was worth killing him for?" asked Lois.
"I don't know but being in the Secret Service, he probably made quite a few enemies," Clark was interrupted by the phone on Lois' desk.
"Lois Lane, Daily Planet … oh, Dr Klein, all the whisky was affected. What about the miniatures? … I see and … really … Thanks — we'll keep you posted." Putting down the phone, her eyes gleamed. "Clark! … Dr Klein says that all the whisky was affected, even the miniatures. They were bottled in Scotland so we must have international sabotage somewhere along the line. Jack must've known something very important to make it worthwhile risking not just his life but everyone in Metropolis." Her voice trailed off, "And who would be desperate enough to try it?"
Clark looked grim, "That's what we need to find out."
Perry slammed his fist on the desk. "International spying? Unknown drugs? I love it. Now find out the connection and it'll be front page news! Go pack!"
"Pack?" Clark looked at Lois bemusedly. She shrugged.
"Yes, pack! If the drugs are being produced and added in Scotland then you two are going to have to go there to get the story."
"Oh and be careful over there. If you get into any trouble, I doubt Superman will be able to get there as quickly as usual."
"You're probably right, chief, but are you serious? We're going to Scotland?" asked Lois, "What about the travel budget?"
"The budget won't matter if this story ends up as international news. Why don't you two want to go? I know that it's coming up to Thanksgiving but it's not in Scotland. You don't want some second stringer from the Tartan Tabloid getting there first, do you?" he finished with an air of innocence.
Lois and Clark gave into the inevitable and left the office. "I was looking forward to a cosy Thanksgiving in Smallville, with your mother and her pumpkin pie," muttered Lois. "And we'd just invited my parents. We'll have to uninvite them. I wouldn't wish them on Martha and Jonathan without us being there."
"I'm sure Ellen and Sam will understand. Mom and Dad were looking forward to a big family Thanksgiving though. If we solve this story fast enough, we might make it back for the end of the holiday and Perry will owe us big time."
"He'll owe us big time off too," Lois pursed her lips before throwing out a last half-hearted protest, "But it's cold and wet in Scotland."
"Yes, but Scotland does have isolated hotels in castles, with four poster beds and roaring fires."
Lois smiled, "and possibly an award winning story … I guess Thanksgiving will have to wait."
Caledonian Airlines — cheap flights to Scotland
Winter clothing for chillier climates — pre Thanksgiving sale
Metropolis Market famous Thanksgiving menu
Lois shivered as she and Clark stood on a windblown railway platform at Prestwick Airport, "Ok, tell me again! Why did we come to Scotland?"
"Because Perry virtually threw us on the plane and because if we discover who's behind the origins of what the DEA are now calling 'the most dangerously addictive drug in existence', we might be in line for that Pulitzer you've saved a space for beside the Kerths," Clark answered patiently.
"Ah, yes but remind me … why couldn't we get a car here and drive to the hotel instead of having to freeze waiting for a train to take us to Glasgow?"
"Because our car is booked there but the plane was diverted because of fog at Glasgow airport. The airline couldn't arrange for us to get a car here but they did manage to reserve seats on a train for us."
Clark looked down at Lois. She was bundled up in a coat, tartan scarf, hat and gloves but she was still shivering. He suspected that it was partly a ploy to get him to cuddle her but he wasn't adverse to being manipulated that way. He opened his coat and wrapped his arms round her, enclosing her in the coat in the process. She looked up at him and grinned. She had got exactly what she intended. He smiled, unable to resist her. Her cheeks were rosy in the cold and her eyes danced with pleasure at having manipulated him. He kissed her nose and tucked her head under his chin. She leaned back into him, enjoying the feel of his warm body against her back. She slid her arms behind her and caressed his buttocks, pulling him closer against her. His arms tightened around her.
Delighted with the effect she had on him, she looked up again, "How far away is Glasgow and the hotel?"
"Too far! I'm just glad that I've got a long coat on!"
"Well, maybe the train will be one of those old fashioned ones that you see in old films with separate compartments and curtains at the windows. And those lovely long seats so I can curl up next to you."
"And let's hope that it's a very quiet train!"
Lois laughed and raised her head to kiss him thoroughly. Clark pulled away as a train approached the station, breathing a sigh of relief as he picked their luggage up.
To Lois' disappointment, the train was not only very modern but also very busy. After struggling past people already standing in the aisle, Lois almost screamed when she saw their seats. They weren't next to each other but facing each other across a table. She wouldn't be able to carry on torturing Clark as she really wanted to or even to use him as a pillow as she'd resigned herself to after seeing the crowded train. The seats were beside the window next to two disinterested school kids who had Walkmen on full blast, Lois had asked the boy sitting next to Clark if he would swap seats with her. Too young to be charmed by the smile she bestowed on him, he'd replied that there was no chance because that would mean he'd have to sit next to his sister. Clark had chuckled at that and told her just to sit down. After all, at least they had a seat.
Lois looked out of the window as the train gathered speed. "You couldn't really say there was a view here, could you? The land seems quite flat and it's fairly bland," she whispered to Clark, leaning over the table to get his attention.
As Clark leaned forward to answer, he noticed that Lois had unbuttoned her coat and that from this new position, he had a very good view of the swell of her breasts. "I wouldn't say that," he said pointedly, glancing down.
Lois scolded him mockingly, "Really, Mr Kent! I'm shocked at you!" She leaned back in her seat, still looking at him. The gaze in his deep brown eyes was heated and admiring and she felt herself grow warm under his regard. She looked out of the window again and stretched to try to distract her body from the spell Clark's look had woven. As she stretched though, her legs brushed against Clark's under the table. The table wasn't that wide and she'd had her legs huddled tight up against the seat to warm up when she boarded the train. Now, she felt a sudden heat as if that innocent touch was a branding iron on her skin. She looked up, startled at her immediate response and saw the same look in his eyes. No matter how she moved, her legs would press against his. She began to rub her calf against his slowly, looking at him as she did it. He closed his eyes and then seemed to regain his control and opened them once more.
Lois' slow caress of his leg had almost pushed Clark over the edge. He had closed his eyes, thanking the gods that she was dressed for travelling and couldn't really take off her lace-up shoes and tease him further. Suddenly he had an idea. He slipped off one of his shoes and found Lois' ankle. He saw her eyes widen as she felt his toes trying to push up her trouser leg. He stretched his leg further, slowly rubbing up her leg as far as he could reach. He watched her response as he did so. Her cheeks were flushed once again and her breath was coming quicker. Her eyes looked steadily at him although they occasionally seemed to glaze over.
Lois pressed her legs together trying to ignore the feelings Clark's touch was creating. Clark slid his foot down her leg and inserted it between her calves, just below her knees. Slowly, he withdrew it before pushing it through again. Lois swallowed hard, she couldn't believe how sensual his caress was and how she was responding. Clark carried on thrusting his toes between her legs until he realised, hearing Lois' rapid heartbeat, that if he continued much longer, they might have quite an audience. He changed the rhythm of his caresses; reducing the intensity until he was merely stroking her ankle again.
Lois breath slowed again. She looked up and smiled before glancing around the carriage. Luckily, no-one had seemed to take any notice of what was going on. The girl beside her who might've noticed something appeared to be more interested in gazing at Clark. Lois recognised the look of adoration in the girl's eyes and smiled, 'Well, she's got good taste,' she thought.
Lois sat on a high stool in the cappuccino bar at Glasgow Central station, drinking her cafe mocha and watching the people rushing by. The station was a big Victorian sandstone building with huge hallways and a high glass roof. Lois was amazed by the variety of people around the station. There were people who appeared to be au fait with the height of fashion and others who looked as though they had never had a bath. Just then Clark reappeared, jingling the car keys.
"What is it? Why are you smiling?" he asked.
"This place is so friendly. People kept smiling at me and saying hello so I could hardly frown at them. Besides, you're holding car keys which means that we can get to our hotel which means … ," Lois let her voice trail off and gave him a quick kiss.
As they left the cafe, the waitress waved and shouted goodbye. "Who was that?" asked Clark.
"Just a waitress who was telling me about Glasgow while you were away. Did you know that Macintosh, the artist who virtually invented art deco was born here? She said that the building opposite the car hire place is a good example of his work. He used a lot of squares and loved natural light so he used lots of windows in his work, particularly in that building because it's the Art School."
"Sounds like you learned a lot!" said Clark as they reached the car.
Lois pointed to a large building, "That must be the building she was talking about. She's right. That red sandstone is so pretty. It's a lot more interesting than bricks … and you're driving?" she finished, raising an eyebrow.
"I thought you might be tired after the flight and not really feel like tackling driving through a crowded city on the wrong side of the road. Besides I got detailed instructions on how the freeway goes through the centre of the city and how to get on it so we can get to the hotel which is on the other side of the city."
"That's alright then. I don't think that I'm really in the mood to tackle strange traffic signals or those traffic circle things that the British love to put in the middle of the road. Besides, if you actually know the way to the hotel, we'll get there a lot quicker and after what you were doing to me on the train, I intend to get my revenge"
"I'll look forward to it."
They climbed into the Landrover 4x4. "It's not as well equipped as my Jeep," sniffed Lois.
Driving along a single lane road beside a darkening loch, Lois looked out of the window. "It's amazing how soon you're in the middle of the countryside. Glasgow was bigger than I thought but we've only been driving for twenty minutes and there's no sign of the city."
"That's probably because it doesn't really have any skyscrapers to be obvious on the skyline. And these hills that we're driving through definitely help."
Lois snorted and decided to take her revenge early. Looking over at him, she started to move her hand towards his thigh. Clark had been watching her out of the corner of her eye and had seen the wicked little gleam in her eyes that preceded her hand's journey. He caught her hand in one of his and deposited it back on the seat, keeping a careful hold on it.
"How about we declare a truce while I'm trying to concentrate on where we're going?" he suggested. "I'm already wondering what you've got planned as revenge and that's distracting enough."
Lois pouted at him. "Alright! But I may refuse to give you any mercy later!"
Clark laughed. "Who said I'd have asked for mercy anyway? I am the Man of Steel."
Lois looked at him, her eyes flashing with the challenge. "OK, definitely no mercy!"
Clark glanced over and grinned before returning his attention to the road. They'd played variations on this theme before and he had to concede that they usually made for interesting evenings. Lois was looking out of the window now, planning her revenge no doubt.
Lois lost herself in watching the countryside flash by and letting her mind go blank. She didn't need to plan her revenge. She knew exactly what she was going to do. Clark touched her arm in the darkened car and pointed out of the window. Lois stretched and looked at the floodlit castle sitting amongst trees above a loch.
"Wow! It's beautiful. Is that where we're staying?"
"Yes, we'll be there in about ten minutes. That loch you can just about make out is Loch Lomond. It's the biggest stretch of water in the UK."
"Clark, you're like a walking encyclopaedia! How do you know all this?"
"My middle name's Britannica! … Ouch!" Lois lightly slapped him for his terrible joke, "No, I spent a summer backpacking around Europe before college. I saw quite a lot of Scotland. The Highlands were quiet and peaceful when I was tired of the big cities and didn't want to fly all the way to Kansas for a break."
Lois looked at the castle in disbelief as they parked the car. "It's pink like cotton candy! I thought you only got pink castles in fairytales. But it doesn't look painted."
"It's not. It's pink granite. It's the other stone commonly found in Scotland. You'll see a lot of granite and sandstone around, although most granite is the usual silver grey. Come on!"
Walking through the forest, Lois was aware of the noise of the wind blowing through the trees, the breeze ruffling her hair and the warmth of Clark's arm around her shoulder. She could smell the pine and the coldness of the air revived her.
"That was a good idea to take a walk before dinner, Clark. The air smells so fresh here and you can smell the chill in the air."
"Yes, it feels as if you're the first person to breathe it in. Although the people who lived in the castle 600 years ago when it was first built must have thought exactly the same."
"600 years. That is so awe inspiring. I mean, America hadn't even been discovered then and there were people living in that castle. We're celebrating three centuries of Thanksgivings but when the Pilgrims landed, that castle was already 300 years old. It makes you feel that American history is so recent, unless you include native American history but most people don't," mused Lois.
They reached the shore of the loch and gazed out over it. The breeze had dropped away and the surface of the water was like glass, reflecting the mountains and the moon perfectly.
Lois looked up. "Look at the stars! I know that they're the same ones that look down on Metropolis but they look so huge here, as if they are about to fall out of the sky."
The breeze picked up again, moving ripples across the water. Clark bent down and picked up a flat pebble from the beach. After turning it over in his hands, he flicked his wrist and sent it skimming over the water.
"One … two … three … four … five … six skips!" he smiled.
"How do you do that? I've always want to try it but I've never been able to do it!"
"Here, you need to find a flat, round pebble that's not too thick, then you just throw it like you do a frisbee but with more of a flick to your wrist."
The stone flew about ten foot out into the lake and sank straight to the bottom.
"Try again," Clark put his arms round Lois and showed her how to throw the stone but it sank again. After a few more attempts, the stone managed three skips before it disappeared into the dark water.
"I did it!" Lois exclaimed, turning round to face Clark. Clark smiled. She was so excited, almost like a little girl and she was adorable. He bent his head and touched his lips to hers. Lois couldn't help but respond. The scene was so romantic with the moon above and being in his arms felt so right. His hands slid to her waist as Lois ran her fingers down through his hair.
The moment was interrupted by a voice wafting through the trees. "Mr Kent? Mrs Kent? There's an urgent call for you from Metropolis. A Mr Olsen?"
Lois laughed. "What would we do without Jimmy? Two thousand miles away and he still manages to interrupt us!"
Jonathan held the lid of the freezer open as Martha packed away several large foil parcels.
"I guess we'll be having Thanksgiving a few days late. I'd much rather cook this all fresh again but it's such a waste to lose this and the local shelter's already got its donations for the year. I hope Sam and Ellen will be able to make it down next week instead. Speaking of them, do you want to try calling again?"
Jonathan shook his head, "I tried while you were wrapping all this food up but I just got the answering machine again."
Martha frowned, "Lois didn't manage to get them either although she said she'd warned Lucy that Thanksgiving would be late. She said that Lucy promised to pass the news on to their parents if they got in touch. It's certainly going to be a quiet holiday. It'll be the first year that Clark hasn't been around for Thanksgiving. Even while he was exploring the Amazon Basin when he was younger, he still flew home in time for the turkey."
Jonathan walked over to his wife and wrapped his arms around her. He was trying to figure out what he could say that wouldn't sound like a platitude when a noise from outside startled the couple.
Shrugging out of his embrace, Martha made her way to the door. Just as she put her hand on the knob, there was a knock. Opening the door, she was faced by a smiling Ellen Lane.
"Oh my!" she gasped.
Lois and Clark sat in the quiet restaurant of the hotel as the waiter cleared away the remains of the venison before withdrawing to bring dessert.
"So what are our plans for tomorrow?" asked Lois.
"We leave here in the morning and head northwards up the west coast. Jimmy gave us a list of the whiskies that Joe was blending at Glenverary to create the Tam O'Shanters malt. Glenverary itself is quite far north so I think we should try to go to the other distilleries on the way. Whoever is making the drug might be putting it into an ingredient of the malt rather than the finished product. We might get as far as Glenverary tomorrow but we might have to wait until the next day. Hopefully, if we don't find anything anywhere else, we'll find something there that will give us a clue to this drug's origin."
"And if we find nothing?"
"We'll find something. The large bottles and miniatures were bottled in different plants and it's unlikely that someone would have been able to sabotage both." He sighed, "Jimmy also said that … "
Just then the waiter put a plate of Drambuie chocolate terrine and coffee in front of them. Lois' eyes gleamed, "I think that I prefer this branch of Scottish cuisine to the haggis. Sorry, what were you saying?"
"Jimmy said that he was still trying to get into the main Secret Service computer system. He had found out that several years ago, Jack MacPherson was part of a team with someone that we've dealt with before. Nigel St John."
Lois nearly choked on her dessert, "Nigel! How long ago? Before or after Nigel started working for Lex?"
"Like I said, Jimmy isn't sure of the details yet because he can't get access to all of the files. He admitted that he found that out by accident. It means that we might have a suspect for who put the drug into the whisky, even if we don't know how."
"Lex," Lois grimaced. "If Nigel knew that he was working for the real Lex all along and had mentioned something to an old colleague, that colleague would be proof that Lex would have to dispose of to protect his new identity."
"Exactly. It's all hypothetical at the moment, given that we don't know how long ago Jack knew Nigel or how the drug ended up in the whisky. Lois, we don't even have any proof that Lex isn't telling the truth now."
Lois frowned, "True unless we find those fingerprints that went missing. When I danced with Luthor at that ball, I had the strangest feeling that he knew about you. I'm sure that he's taunting us, playing cat and mouse with us. If Lex is involved though it might explain the drug itself. Luthor had his fingers in so many pies. He probably did have some chemical lab working on addictive drugs for nefarious purposes. But we can't work on that angle until we know more."
While Clark drank his coffee, Lois made sure that every last hint of terrine was removed from her spoon. Clark smiled to himself, shaking his head. Psychology said that some people loved chocolate because they saw it as a substitute for sex, Lois just loved it. She put the spoon in her mouth, the bowl of it facing him, and ran her tongue round the inner edge of the bowl unselfconsciously. Clark groaned. She could torment him without even trying. What would she do to him when she'd had a chance to plan her assault. He decided that another cup of coffee might give him the time he needed to garner his control.
Lois glanced up at the sound, grinning wickedly as realisation swept across her face. If he thought that was arousing, just wait until he saw what she had planned for later. In fact, it was getting late and Lois was getting impatient. She'd been contemplating her revenge all day and she wanted to put her plan into action.
"Lois, would you like a coffee this time?" asked Clark as he indicated to the waiter to come over. Lois thought fast. She really didn't want either of them to have coffee. As the waiter arrived, she uncrossed her legs, "No, I'm not in the mood for coffee," replied Lois, extending one leg to its full length and reaching as far across the table as she could. Her leg skimmed past one of Clark's knees before nudging at the napkin on his lap.
Clark jumped as he felt her toe caress his lap, just out of sight under the tablecloth. He decided that waiting to collect his control would be impossible if Lois continued like this. Thanking the waiter, Clark asked that the meal be put onto the room bill.
'Martha?' Ellen looked a little concerned before Martha schooled her stunned expression into one of quiet welcome. "I know that we're a day early but we thought it might be nice to be here to surprise the kids when they arrive. Sam's just grabbing the cases. You don't mind, do you?"
Somewhere in the back of Martha's head, something coalesced as to where Lois got her babbling tendencies. "Uh, no of course not, Ellen. You and Sam are very welcome but you might have a longer wait for Clark and Lois than you think. Come in … I'll just put on some coffee and let you get settled before I explain."
Jonathan sat Ellen down on the couch before returning to the kitchen. Looking out of the window, he saw Sam struggling with the bags and headed to the door to help. He saw Martha leaning into the freezer pulling out the packages that she'd just put in. She turned round and saw him. "I guess we're doing Thanksgiving after all!"
Jonathan laughed as he strode towards the waiting car. "Sam! Let me take some of those!"
Clark lay in bed, listening to the water running as Lois got ready for bed in the bathroom. He could still feel Lois' touch from dinner etched onto him. Lois wanted revenge and to make him beg for mercy … and he wasn't about to let on that atthe moment, it wouldn't take much for him to surrender to her. The water went off in the bathroom but Lois didn't come out immediately. He resisted the urge to peek on her; besides his powers seemed to become erratic when he was distracted. Flying, or at least levitating, didn't tend to be affected. He put that down to the fact that he sometimes floated subconsciously when he was happy, but his other senses seemed to revert to being almost normal.
"Cla-ark!" came Lois' voice from the bathroom. "I was thinking, why don't we play a little game?"
"But you only play to win, Lois."
"Yes, but in this game, losing is almost as much fun as winning!"
"Which game is this? And why are we having this conversation in two different rooms?"
"It's a game of tag but played to my rules."
"Tag? In a hotel room?"
"Uh huh, now that we're agreed on playing, I'm it! Coming, ready or not!
Clark sat up in bed, prepared to move in case she really was serious. However, when she walked around the corner, he just stared, speechless. Lois had wrapped the tartan scarf around her waist so that it was like a very short kilt. The only other item of clothing she had on was a very lacy negligee.
She walked towards the bed and pounced, pushing him backwards onto the bed. "Gotcha!" she said, standing over him.
Clark recovered his voice, "So I'm it now, am I? Gotcha back!" He pulled her down onto the bed so that she sat beside him and began to slide the negligee strap from her shoulder.
Lois pulled it back up again. "No, I won tag because I caught you first! And the winner gets to pick the new game so we're going to play 'Look but don't touch'."
Clark shook his head. No-one could argue with Lois' twisted logic. Lois gently removed his arms from her. She leaned forwards and kissed him, nibbling along his bottom lip. Clark groaned into her mouth. She left his lips and ran a series of kisses along his neck. Clark's arms moved up to encircle her waist.
Lois pulled back, "No, " she whispered. "We're playing look but don't touch, remember? You're not allowed to touch me until you beg for mercy."
Clark looked thoughtful as she began to suck gently on his earlobe. She had said earlier that she was going to make him beg for mercy but he figured that he could resist her teasing, until the sensual mood she was building overwhelmed her and she might not notice his participation. He didn't hold out a great deal of hope for this theory though but he couldn't capitulate so easily. Lois left his earlobe and followed her previous path down his neck. As she nibbled along his collarbone, she looked up and frowned.
"You're getting the hang of this game now, aren't you?"
"I'm a quick learner," grinned Clark.
"Hmm, then we'll have to make the rules tougher. If you break the rules, you'll have to pay a forfeit."
"And if you break the rules?"
"I can't break the rules — they're my rules!"
With an evil grin, Lois bent back to her task. She figured Clark might hold out another 5 minutes if she took her time.
On their way northwards towards the first distillery on the list, Inverfiddoch, Lois was summing up the plan for the day. "So basically there were four makes of whisky blended into Tam O' Shanter's malt. We go to those four distilleries and just check that they are above board before we head off to Glenverary."
"Where hopefully we find the answer to this drug problem. Star Labs is looking into it to see if it has any positive effects and could be useful to anyone."
As they drove, Clark looked at Lois quizzically as she seemed to crane her neck upwards. As he opened his mouth to ask her what she was doing, she suddenly pulled over to the side of the road. "It's your turn to drive now."
"It's my what? Lois, it's lunchtime and you're in perfect health. The only time you usually let me drive your jeep is when you're too tired, ill or tipsy to do it."
"Yes, but this isn't my jeep and I want to look at the scenery. I keep wanting to look up at the mountains and I can't because this road is so bendy."
Clark got out and Lois scooted over to the passenger side of the car, making herself comfortable before they set off again. It was a glorious day, even if it was cold. The sun shone from a deep blue sky which was reflected in the colour of the lochs. The glare from the sun streaked blindingly across the water. The mountains, except for a few forests on the lower slopes, looked free from vegetation but the rugged crags and tinge of heather gave them a stunning though stark beauty. Lois closed her eyes and saw the pattern of flashing sunlight on her lids as the sun shone through the trees on the lochside.
The Inverfiddoch distillery was typical of a small, independent whisky maker. The buildings were flagstone and some of the doors stood open, displaying huge, empty wooden barrels. Lois and Clark were greeted warmly and taken around the distilling process. The huge copper vats shone dully in the still room where the barley was fermented in the spring water.
"So, the water's important then?" asked Lois.
"Aye, every whisky is made with a different water. Each spring gives the whisky a slightly different taste and the amount of peat in the water gives them distinctive smells and colours. This batch here should be ready to drink in about 25 years or so." The stillman lifted the lids of the stills and Lois reeled. Even the smell of the far from finished product was alcoholic enough to make you feel drunk.
Next they were taken to a warehouse where they were shown the empty barrels being scraped out and prepared for a new batch of whisky. They finished the tour at a warehouse with a heavily secured door. Lois gasped when they went in — full barrels stretched in all directions, piled into racks. Their guide offered them a taste from one barrel. Lois declined, saying that she was driving but Clark tried some.
"So Inverfiddoch is a single malt?" asked Clark.
"Yes," answered the stillman. "We don't make blended malts here. It's a fine art. Each whisky has its own character and if you mix them in the wrong quantities, they can jar against each other. Inverfiddoch is used in a lot of malts by other independent distilleries because of its smooth flavour."
Thanking their guide, Lois and Clark returned to the Landrover. Lois turned the wheel northwards to begin their trip to the next distillery.
Travel books — including hints for helping time pass on long journeys
Chocolate desserts — the ultimate chocolate experience
Paint your house a colour … how about pink?
Voiceover — Mel Gibson in Braveheart — Hold, Hold … Lois and Clark will continue in a moment here on IRC
The sun was setting over the mountains when Lois screamed in frustration, "Argh! We've been to all four distilleries now that supplied Glenverary with whisky to create its Tam O'Shanter's malt and found nothing!"
"Well, we know a lot more about whisky making. I wonder what whisky made with our chlorinated Metropolis water would taste like after all those stillmen kept talking about the importance of the purity of the water. We also know that none of the whiskies could have been tampered with before they left the distilleries. The security around them is incredibly tight because of the UK licensing laws."
" I suppose so although anyone could be bribed. That means that we should find the answer at Glenverary tomorrow and Inspector Henderson said that the police here had found nothing unusual."
"Yes, nothing unusual that they spotted. Perhaps with stranger's eyes, we'll have more luck," smiled Clark, reaching down and squeezing her hand. "Where's the woman who can sniff out trouble at a hundred paces?"
"Ever the optimist, huh?" She glanced over at him, from the driver's seat and smiled before returning her attention to the road.
Soon they saw a roadsign for Strathpeffer, where they were planning on spending the night. "So, Clark, give me the history lesson on Strathpeffer," said Lois, grinning at him.
"Lois, it's nice to know something about the country that you're travelling through. Strathpeffer was a spa town in Victorian times. Queen Victoria herself took the waters here. There's supposed to be some unusual properties in the water but I can't remember what they are."
"We can find out tomorrow. The guide at the last distillery said that Glenverary doesn't start tours until after 11am so we'll have a few hours here to take the waters. That is such a quaint expression."
They drove up to the little Bed and Breakfast where they had booked a room and were greeted warmly by the landlady.
"Hello! We thought you might get here earlier but never mind. There's not much to do here in the evenings except go to the pub," chattered the landlady, Mrs MacPhail, as she bustled them upstairs to their room.
"Now I'll leave you here but would you like dinner? I wasn't cooking tonight but I can give you a bowl of Scotch broth or an omelette or something. Or there are a few places open in the town although they might close soon.. Strathpeffer's awfy small and there's really not a lot of entertainment for city folks like yourselves."
"We don't want to put you to any trouble, Mrs MacPhail. We'll go out and get something to eat and we might pay a visit to the pub but we'll probably have an early night. We've been really busy lately and haven't had a chance to sleep much," said Clark.
"Alright though it wouldn't have been any trouble at all. The broth would just have needed heating up and an omelette takes virtually no time at all. I'll just go now and let you go out," chattered the woman as she closed the door behind her.
"And you complain that I babble!" laughed Lois. "So we'll go out to dinner and back for an early night seeing as how there's nothing to do in Strathpeffer."
"Well, there's nothing to do outside in Strathpeffer. I'm sure we'll find some entertainment," said Clark, bending over to give Lois a brief kiss.
She responded, sliding her arms up around his neck. "Hmm, we might find something to do, I suppose. Now shall we go and find dinner because I'm starving!"
"So we have the choice of that little cafe or a Chinese or that Indian?" asked Lois, "and that's it?"
"Mrs MacPhail did warn us that Strathpeffer was a small town and I hate to tell you but the Indian is closed."
"I don't really want Chinese. I guess it's the authentic Scottish cafe then."
The cafe was also a fish and chip shop. Clark, glancing around the cafe, ordered two fish suppers with everything on them. It was quiet and most people were taking their chips to go. Clark decided that eating at one of the tables would ensure that they would be observed and discussed for days to come. Turning back to the waitress, he asked if he could have the suppers to go.
"Fish supper? And why do I want chips with fried fish?" wondered Lois.
"Fish supper is fish and chips. Chips here are like French Fries but thicker," said Clark.
Holding the newspaper wrapped bundle in his hands, Clark walked along the street and went into a little park which had a wonderful view of the mountains and the moonlight on them. "I saw this place when we drove into town. Now, here you go." He passed one of the bundles to Lois.
"Oooh! I can feel the heat of it coming through the newspaper. Why is it wrapped in newspaper anyway?" she asked, as she unwrapped the paper.
"It's in greaseproof paper to start off with but newspaper is a good insulator and old newspapers are free. When I was travelling the world, I worked with a Scots reporter who used to say that today's hot storywas tomorrow's chip wrappings."
"It's true enough, I suppose. What good are yesterday's papers? Now do I just eat this with my fingers?"
"Yes, the fish will tear into little bits and before you ask, the stuff on it is the full Scottish works, salt, vinegar and brown sauce. I've never had the sauce on it before. People in England don't put it on for some reason but that reporter used to swear that they weren't really fish and chips without real brown sauce. So here goes!"
"Mmmm, it's nice! Very hot but these chips are wonderful although they're probably horrifically bad for you! Still once in a while never hurt anyone." Clark grinned at Lois' obvious enjoyment of something so simple, before starting on his own fish.
Lois popped the last bit of fish in her mouth and looked at her fingers, which were covered in sauce. She began to suck her fingers clean but Clark stopped her. He grabbed her hand and slowly slid her fingers into his mouth, licking the remains of the sauce from them. Smiling, she returned the favour. They kept eye contact as they cleaned themselves up, watching the heat between them rising.
"You've got a little bit of sauce on your chin, Lois," said Clark, as he kissed it off before moving up to her lips and continuing his caress. She moaned lightly against him, sliding her hands up his chest through his jacket.
"Let's go back. A public park in November is not where I want to be doing this," commented Lois, drawing reluctantly away from Clark and pulling him to his feet.
As they walked along the High Street, Clark noticed that the cafe was still open and that it also sold icecream. "Lois, would you like dessert?"
"I thought that's what we were going back to our room for," grinned Lois. "What else did you have in mind?"
"Just an icecream to eat on the way back — that cafe sells 99s."
"99s? This country has so many strange things!"
"It's an icecream cone with a piece of chocolate Flake stuck in it."
"Chocolate Flake? Or shouldn't I ask?"
"You'll see … it's a bar of chocolate that literally flakes to pieces."
"Well, in that case, I'll have both desserts."
Lois waited outside while Clark went inside and came out carrying two cones. She looked carefully at the finger of chocolate sticking out of the icecream. "It doesn't look that flakey," Lois took a bite of the chocolate and promptly spluttered as it crumbled into nothing. Clark laughed at her look of disgust.
"What a waste of chocolate," she observed, brushing the smaller flakes from her jacket. "And it's so nice too … I could have eaten lots more."
"That's why I bought a pack of three fullsize ones as well, for later!" chuckled Clark.
"Hmm! I knew I kept you around for a reason! And this cone is lovely too although the Flake was the best bit of it!"
Clark closed the bedroom door. "Luckily, Mrs McPhail was busy in the kitchen so she didn't have time to chat." Lois was on him in a flash, pushing him up against the wall. "Now I want my second helping of dessert."
Clark grinned, gripping the bottom of his Tshirt. He was about to pull it over his head, when suddenly there was a knock at the door. Groaning, Clark opened it to find Mrs MacPhail with two mugs of hot chocolate.
"Hello dears. I knew that you had been out and it's a very cold evening. I thought you might like a cup of chocolate to help you sleep."
"Thanks very much, Mrs McPhail," Clark said, taking the mugs. "We were just about to go to bed and these will warm up us nicely." He began to shut the door and Mrs McPhail, having no other option, backed out of the room. Setting the mugs on the table beside the bed, he turned back to Lois. "Come on Clark, leave them."
"No, you said you wanted dessert. Since that's the best part of an evening, I thought we'd take it slowly," smiled Clarkas he walked over to his jacket and pulled out a packet. "I wanted another bit of that chocolate."
Clark unwrapped a Flake, dipped it into the hot chocolate and ran the tip around Lois' mouth. She bit at it and the chocolate exploded. Chuckling, Clark looked down at Lois' top which was covered in little chocolate flakes and bent his head to clean them up.
"Clark, I thought I was the one with the chocolate fetish!" Lois laughed as she pulled the Flake out of his hand, throwing it to the side of the bed. "You're supposed to have a fetish for me!"
"I am?" asked Clark innocently as she pulled him down onto the bed.
The next morning was clear and bright as Lois and Clark left the guesthouse, Mrs McPhail waving at them from the doorway.
"I've heard so much about Mrs McPhail that I feel like I've known her for years. Everytime she brought in another course of breakfast, she told us about another ten years of her life. Although I have to admit that breakfast was wonderful. Did you ask her for her recipe for oatmeal?" Clark teased.
"She cooks it in the microwave, says that it stops it being lumpy. Oh yes and it's porridge, not oatmeal. She volunteered the information when you disappeared upstairs for ten minutes. She was most concerned about you — it was all I could do to stop her going up after you," replied Lois, sliding her arm around his waist before tucking her thumb through his belt loops. "What did you hear that you had to fly off?"
"I had to go and check something out but it turned out to be nothing. Did you say that Jimmy had called?" Clark tried to brush over his disappearance, hoping that Lois would get distracted by recounting what Jimmy had told her.
"Yes, he was still at the Planet. Can you believe he hadn't left for home yet? He asked if we could please hurry back because Perry's working him to death. He said that he'd spoken to Inspector Henderson who is no closer to finding out who had a motive to kill Jack MacPherson. Seemingly although he worked for Her Majesty's Secret Service, he wasn't actually a field agent. He tended to stay in the lab and fiddle with gadgets so he didn't have the chance to make many enemies."
"He might've found out about a new weapon or something and refused to work on it and so he was killed by one of his own former colleagues in case he let something slip."
"Could be, although Henderson did consider that possibility and the Service assured him, with typical British aloofness that the idea was 'utterly reprehensible'," Lois managed a creditable British accent.
Clark nodded. "That doesn't mean that they didn't do it. I mean, do you really think that they'd just admit to it?"
"No, of course not but the Service also pointed out that they had many more creative ways to keep someone quiet. Including making them disappear without leaving a body to make people suspicious."
"True enough. Did Jimmy mention whether he'd found anything else to link Jack to Nigel?"
"He said that he's still working on it. He found one file that gave enlistment dates and they appeared to have joined the service in the same month. He's trying to find out whether they go through any form of basic training. If they were in the same class, then they might have stayed in touch, although I don't see why. You met my closest friends from college while we were investigating things that they were involved in. You probably wouldn't have otherwise."
Clark grinned down at her, "They were mostly very nice people caught up in other people's plots. But even if we do manage to link Jack to Nigel to Lex, which is tenuous, I still don't understand how Lex could get the drug into the whisky. The police checked that each inlet pipe into the main blending vat was clean and once it's in there, the process is completely mechanical with no opportunity for sabotage."
"Jimmy said that the results of the drug tests that they carried out throughout the distillery should beavailable tomorrow. No, that will be today here. I hope that we find something when we get to Glenverary or I might start to feel guilty about enjoying myself so much over here."
They reached the little pavilion and went inside. There were pictures of Strathpeffer's glory days around the wall, accompanied by descriptions of what people used to do. After looking over them for a few minutes, chuckling over some of the bathing suits the Victorians had worn, Lois wandered over to the far wall where a door led to a series of bathing rooms. There were mannequins in the pools demonstrating how they had been used and at the end of the corridor were three wells. Above the wells was a portrait of Queen Victoria, drinking the water with her customary look of distaste. Looking at the portrait, Lois commented, "I can't believe that royalty used to come to this isolated place."
"Taking the waters was supposed to be very good for you. I suppose it was the Victorian equivalent of keeping fit and because this place had three different springs nearby, it was like having a full sports centre rather than just a set of weights."
Dipping a cup into the first well, Lois took a sip. "It's so cold. Straight from the hills, I expect and it's so clear."
Clark had tried one further along. "Unlike this one," showing her the brown water. "It's the peat in the water that does that though it doesn't affect the taste at all," he added as she made a face.
At the end of the room was a table with cups piled on it and a large notice behind it. Clark read it out, 'The waters of Strathpeffer were much reknowned individually but some advocated mixing two or even all three together to achieve a more beneficial beverage. Unfortunately, the combination of minerals in the waters led to a foul smelling and tasting mixture though some people drank it regularly. Are you brave enough to mix this potion?"
Lois laughed, "So I can pretend to be a witch and mix a potion." She scooped a little water from the first and second wells into the glass and sniffed warily, "It's still OK now," she said, sipping it cautiously. As she added the water from the last well, the water in the glass turned black and there was a strong sulphurous smell. "Eurgh! That's horrible! And they still drank it! There's no way that I will. I suppose you could seeing as you can eat anything."
Clark pulled away from the glass she held to his lips, "Yes but even I don't want to drink that! I'd rather have your oatmeal and that's saying something." Lois slapped him playfully and poured the water down the drain. "I suppose that it's lucky that all three don't end up mixed in the right quantities in a loch somewhere or there'd be no fish in it and no-one living within several miles."
Back in the Jeep, Lois and Clark drove along another winding road beside a shimmering loch. Clark pointed out of the window, "That's Loch Ness."
"Really? I'm glad you're driving … I'm going to hunt for the monster. Where's my camera? If this whisky story doesn't go anywhere, I'll just prove the existence of the Loch Ness Monster … Ooooh! There it is! I can see the ripples of its humps going up and down," exclaimed Lois, excitedly.
Clark looked over. "No, though that's what most people see when they think that they see the monster. It's the wake of a speedboat rolling around the surface." "Oh! Well, it might've been!" she mock pouted.
"You just wanted to find definitive proof of Nessie so you had another story in the running for that Pulitzer!" he teased her.
Lois looked thoughtful for a moment, "Clark, does Nessie exist? You could find out and set all the doubts to rest. You'd just have to X-ray the loch or go for a long swim."
"I thought about it once but there are so many metallic elements and the loch is so deep and murky that it's very hard to get a clear picture. And besides, it's nice to leave a little mystery in the world. Perhaps if someone tries to prove finally that there's no Nessie, I'll go and have a look and try to disprove it. There is a theory that there's not just one Nessie but a family of them living under the surface."
"That would explain why the story has lasted so long and I'd much rather think of a family of them than one poor monster all alone, swimming around endlessly trying to avoid capture."
"And you used to say that I was a big softie!"
"Well, you are! Let's just say that your influence is obviously wearing off on me. Perhaps I'm trying to develop a maternal instinct … Look! Isn't that Glenverary over there?"
Clark turned the Landrover up the track that Lois had indicated.
"So this is Glenverary, haunt of a murderer perhaps. It all looks so quiet and innocent though," mused Lois.
"Never judge a book by its cover, Lois. Now they know that we're coming and what we want to see. Normal tours have been suspended until the investigation's over," commented Clark, parking the 4x4 in a corner.
"Just so long as they don't just show us what they want us to see! Though after going round those other distilleries, I think that I've got a good idea of what I should see," Lois said, getting out of the car and making her way to the little reception sign.
Lois and Clark were standing in the blending room with Mr Gilfinnan, the owner of Glenverary, when suddenly a man in overalls rushed in. "Mr Gilfinnan … ," he began before stopping when he saw Lois and Clark. Lois took the opportunity to whisper to Clark, "They've been very thorough in the tour. I think they want us to prove they didn't do anything."
"Don't worry about them. I take it that the drug tests have come through. They're going to hear the results anyway so they might as well hear them here," said Mr Gilfinnan, gesturing to the man to continue his news. The man nervously announced, "The lab's just phoned through the preliminary drug test results. The drug is in the whisky at the bottling plant. It's also in the barrels that are stored here. The inlet valves to the blending vat are clear of it but the vat itself has slight traces of it, although it gets more pronounced in the barrels."
Mr Gilfinnan paled in horror. "This is a restricted area and the blending vat isn't like the malt stills where you can lift the lid and look down on the fermenting blend. It's sealed before each new blend begins. That means that I have a murderer on my staff somewhere!"
Sitting in Mr Gilfinnan's office as he rummaged through his files, Lois looked around the little room, decorated with a few paintings of local scenes. She recognised the one of Loch Ness and of the Strathpeffer spa. Something began to nag her at the back of her mind.
Mr Gilfinnan cleared his throat and drew her attention back to him. He seemed to have aged since he had discovered that one of his staff was involved in the murders. She looked out of the window to avoid his haunted look and saw three men manhandling a huge barrel across the courtyard. Suddenly a thought crossed Lois' mind, "Mr Gilfinnan, the whisky isn't fermenting in the barrels, is it?"
"No, that process is over. The whisky is just maturing," explained Mr Gilfinnan, offhandedly.
Clark looked over at Lois. He knew that she had thought of something. He just didn't know what. She had a remarkable capacity for coming up with answers to strange events and problems. He watched the look of concentration on her face as she tried to grab hold of her thoughts and put them in coherent form. Suddenly, a look of triumph crossed her face.
"Clark! Mr Gilfinnan! You don't have to accuse anyone of murder. Jack MacPherson wasn't murdered! He died accidentally," cried Lois.
"But the drug … ?" queried Mr Gilfinnan, looking at Lois as if she had gone mad.
"The drug exists but I think that it's a natural one, despite what Star Labs said about it being too complex. Clark, remember the witch's brew at Strathpeffer. Well, Tam O'Shanters' whisky is a result of the same thing."
Clark realised what she was getting at, " You mean that individually all the whiskies are fine, but when Glenverary mixes them together in specific quantities … "
" … all the different waters which were described as ensuring each whisky was different, react with each other … "
" … and create a mild form of that drug."
"Yes! And then the oak barrels that the whisky matures in produces a stronger version of the drug," finished Lois, triumphantly.
Mr Gilfinnan sat down heavily, looking from Lois to Clark and back. "You might be right, " he sighed in relief. "That would explain a lot but we'll have to prove it. I'll get the four whiskies that we blend and mix them together. Then we'll send it for testing and see what happens. Unfortunately we won't know for a few days until the lab results come back."
Clark looked at Lois. "Mr Gilfinnan, while you make up the blend and collect up a few samples of whisky that have been maturing for different times, I'll try to contact Superman. I'll ask him to fly them to Star Labs in Metropolis where they'll be tested straight away. It might be an American national holiday but some poor lab rat has to stay and mind the office. We should get the results back within hours. Do you have a private phone I could use?"
Mr Gilfinnan looked at him in surprise, "Superman has a phone? Sorry, I shouldn't pry into his affairs. There's a phone in the office down the hallway where you won't be disturbed." Mr Gilfinnan stood up and clasped Lois' hands in his. "How am I ever going to thank you? You've saved hundreds of years of my family's history from being dishonoured. There was talk of the distillery being asked to leave the National Distillers Association and it had been made clear that I shouldn't attend the St Andrew's Night ceilidh this weekend in Edinburgh.."
Lois raised an eyebrow. "A kay-what?"
Mr Gilfinnan smiled. "A ceilidh, (kaylee) is a Scottish ball. Actually, if your theory is correct, then you and your husband should come along with me as my guests of honour. It'll be your doing after all, that allows me to be there at all."
Lois smiled, "Sure. We learned a few dances at Jack's unfortunate bar opening and I'd like the chance to try them out in a proper setting."
Clark walked back into the room, "All set. Superman will be here to collect the samples in an hour. That should give you time to mix a small blend and collect some previous batches. Lois and I will head south to our hotel for tonight. You will let us have some good quotes for our story when you're cleared?"
As Lois and Clark turned to leave the room, Mr Gilfinnan laid his hand on Clark's shoulder, "Uh, Mr Kent?"
Clark turned back to him, leaving Lois to walk across the courtyard to the Jeep. Mr Gilfinnan hurried to continue, "I've invited you and your wife to a ceilidh in Edinburgh Castle tomorrow evening and I wondered if you'd like something appropriate to wear?" He handed Clark a business card, "This is my brother's shop in St Andrews. If you stop in there, he'll make sure that you're properly dressed."
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Xfiles — Mulder meets the monster — the strange story of Loch Ness
Superman made a detour in Smallville on his way back to St Andrews. Landing on the porch, he headed up to the door. He twirled into his usual casual clothing and had his hand on the door when he spotted a tractor in the distance. He stopped and focussed in on it, seeing if it was his father.
Inside the house, Ellen was watching Martha as she finished stuffing the turkey for that afternoon. Hearing thefootsteps on the porch, she eyed Martha's sticky hands.
Taking a breath from the convoluted story she was telling Martha, 'Sounds like you've got company. I'll just answer that for you and then I'll tell you what happened after the dog jumped over the fence. It was just so funny." She let out a high pitched laugh at the memory as she headed to the living room to see who was on the porch.
Clark was just about to open the door when he heard a laugh from the other side. Lowering his glasses, he quickly scanned to see if his mother had visitors over. Seeing Lois' mother just about to open the door, his eyes widened in shock and he barely had the presence of mind to change back to Superman.
Ellen opened the door, "Superman! Ellen Lane here. I'm just staying with the Kents for Thanksgiving. Lois and Clark aren't here. They've been held up in Scotland. What are you doing here? You'll stay for dinner with us, won't you? You could have Clark's helping."
Superman looked mildly uncomfortable. "Uh … I'm sorry I won't be able to. I came to see Mrs Kent. I've got a message from Clark for her."
Lois stood, looking covetously at a collection of aged golfclubs falling out of a patched leather bag, when Clark came up behind her.
"Your latest addition to your golf clubs?" he said, teasingly.
Lois laughed. "This golf museum is amazing. This set are some of the oldest clubs known anywhere in the world. Of course, St Andrews is the home of golf. I'd always wanted to see the Old Course at St Andrews. My father used to tell me about when he was in Scotland for a medical conference and he watched the Ryder Cup at St Andrews. Did you get the whiskies to Star Labs? It's about time you got back. You took longer than I thought you would. Actually I thought I heard you earlier. There was a whooshing noise but you never came in. Then the whoosh came again and someone saw me look around and explained that it was the Royal Air Force jets at the base nearby at Leuchars. "
Clark chuckled, glad that his extra trip to visit Mr Gilfinnan's shop hadn't taken too long despite the endless measuring and trying on. "Yes, Mr Gilfinnan was so awestruck that Superman was able to help that he nearly dropped the samples in the courtyard. Dr Klein was at Star Labs himself. He said that he got a lot more work done on public holidays because he doesn't usuallly get interrupted. He'll be able to give us an answer later tonight."
Lois suddenly sat bolt upright in the passenger seat when Clark turned the Jeep down a floodlit road towards a large sandstone building.
"The Old Course Hotel? Have you lost your mind? Perry will go nuts if he sees this on our expense accounts."
"Calm down, Lois. This isn't going on our expenses. We're here courtesy of Superman. Remember how I disappeared upstairs this morning at breakfast? I heard a jet spinning out of control and stopped a plane from the next door RAF base from landing on the 18th green. They expressed their gratitude and offered me a room whenever I wanted it. After they'd commented how lucky it was that I had been over Scotland at the time. I said I'd been visiting you and Clark to check on a story and said that you'd have more use of the room than I would so ta da! We're staying here tonight."
Lois chuckled. "Good old Superman, heh? You did phone in the jet story, didn't you?"
Clark shook his head exasperatedly, "No, how could I explain to Perry that I'd seen a jet almost crash on St Andrews when we were in the Highlands? And besides when have almost crashes been front page news?"
"Alright," Lois conceded, "I'll forgive you seeing as how you've redeemed yourself by getting us into this hotel. Now are we going to sit in the car or shall we go and put our bags in our rooms?"
When they checked in at reception, the woman behind the desk smiled, "Mr and Mrs Kent? You're in room 701. You're staying with us tonight, dinner will be served at 8pm in the private dining room and you're booked to tee off at 8am tomorrow morning."
Lois whirled round to Clark, "Tee off?"
The receptionist smiled, "They're all the same Mrs Kent. They book themselves a round of golf on the Old Course and accidentally forget to tell their wives." The woman looked in astonishment as Lois threw her arms round Clark and planted a kiss on him.
"We're going to play a round of golf on the Old Course?" she exclaimed excitedly.
Clark smiled at her enthusiasm. He'd known that she'd jump at the chance but he'd decided to keep it a surprise in case it hadn't worked out despite the course co-ordinator assuring Superman that it should be possible. As they waited for the elevator, Lois was almost jumping up and down with excitement at the prospect of the next morning. "And you kept it a secret? You knew about it all day and didn't say a word! I should … I should … "
Clark laughed at her, "I kept it secret in case there was a last minute hitch and Sean Connery got that last spot instead. And what are you going to do to me?"
Lois smiled demurely "I've decided to forgive you for keeping it a secret and I'll thank you properly later on."
"Close your eyes, Lois."
"Why? I thought we were going for dinner."
"Lo-is! Please close your eyes." Clark watched to make sure she followed his instructions before opening the wooden panelled door which they stood in front of. Sitting her in a chair at the top of the table, he hunkered down beside her. "Now, you can open them."
Lois gasped in surprise when she saw the table in front of her. Set out was a full Thanksgiving feast, from the turkey and sweet potatoes to a pumpkin pie. "Clark! How did you manage this?"
Clark grinned as he looked at her delighted smile. "Well, you did say that you were going to miss Mom's pumpkin pie. I stopped by home on the way back from Star Labs earlier. I had been going to ask Mom if she could still make dinner and I'd fly us back over just for the evening … "
"But … ?" Lois prompted.
"But I was just about to walk in to the house as Clark when your mother answered the door."
Lois spluttered. "Mom! What was she doing there? Oh god, your poor parents."
"Apparently your message never reached them and don't worry. When I stopped off to pick this lot up, the four of them were enjoying their own meal and telling each other excruciatingly embarrassing stories about when we were children. I suspect it's just as well we're not there. Anyhow, Mom realised that my original idea wasn't going to work. She suggested that if I couldn't bring you to Thanksgiving dinner, I should bring the dinner to you."
The table was littered with empty dishes. Lois leant back on her chair and looked at the last remnant of banana chocolate cream pie on her plate with regret.
"The banana chocolate cream isn't as good as the pumpkin?" Clark asked teasingly. "Mom will be so disappointed. She made it specially for you."
"It's delicious but I'm just so full. In fact, it's one of the best tasting chocolate things that I've had with the exception of those Flakes." Lois looked up at Clark through lowered eyelashes and smiled. Clark reddened a little at the intensity of her gaze.
"Yes, that was the nicest chocolate I've ever had too." He returned the look.
Lois felt her knees weaken when she saw the desire with which he looked at her. She wondered once again what she had done to deserve him. She knew that he loved her more than anything else in the world and that he would do anything for her. Although she loved the flying and the other perks that Superman 'gave' them, like this hotel, the chance of golf on the Old Course and even being able to have a proper holiday meal, she was touched more by the little things that Clark did and especially how Clark made her feel. Putting down her glass, she leant across the table and held his hand. He looked up, surprised by her action.
"What is it?" he asked in concern when he saw unshed tears in Lois' eyes.
"Nothing," she sniffed. "I just wanted to thank you for being you. I'm just thinking about how lucky I am to have you and how much I love you."
Clark rubbed the inside of her palm with his thumb and gazed into her warm brown eyes. "Lois, I'm the one who's lucky. I love you more than life and you don't know how special I feel that you love me."
They smiled at each other through teary eyes as Clark lifted Lois' hand to his lips and kissed it gently. The waiter's soft cough interrupted them. "Mrs Kent? You have a call." He handed Lois a cordless phone and retreated.
Clark watched Lois as she listened intently to the caller, firing a few questions to clarify details before turning back to him, smiling triumphantly.
"I was right," she said smugly. "That was Jimmy. I swear he's getting as bad as Perry. He's almost living in the Planet, even today. Dr Klein left the results with him because 'someone' forgot to tell him where we were. The drug occurs when specific ratios of the whiskies are mixed."
"Congratulations! Yet another thing to give thanks for. You solved a mystery but unfortunately, given your conclusions, I think we have to give Lex a clean slate and say he had nothing to do with this one."
Lois' face fell slightly, "Jimmy said that Jack and Nigel were part of the same training intake and the same spy cell. Unfortunately, secret agents being so … uh … secretive means that there's very little evidence to say one way or other whether they knew each other. It's a pity to think that perhaps he died knowing something that could have ruffled Lex's philanthropist faĦade." Her voice trailed off and she sat in silence for a moment.
Clark lifted her hand once more and brushed his lips across her palm, trying to recreate the earlier, lighter mood. Lois looked up from her reverie, shivering slightly as his tongue tickled patterns on her hand.
"I guess I was obsessing slightly," she said ruefully. "Where were we before work so rudely interrupted us? Oh, I remember." Getting out of her chair, she stood behind Clark. She rubbed her hands across the broad expanse of his shoulders, before running them down his chest and whispering into his ear. "I was about to suggest that seeing as we'd given thanks in the traditional method, it was probably time for me to give you thanks for this wonderful meal. Besides, I've still to show my gratitude for the golf you arranged." Tugging on his hand, she led him out of the room.
"Hey! This looks like a smaller version of the Golden Gate Bridge," exclaimed Lois as she drove towards Edinburgh over the Forth Bridge.
"Yes, but the Forth Rail Bridge is better known. It's a standing joke that they have to keep painting it. They start at one end. It takes them four years to get to the other end and then they go back and start again. Look at it over there," Clark pointed out of his window.
Lois looked over, "It's bright red! And I take it that the diamonds are just the design. The trains don't really go up and down like a rollercoaster."
"No, though I'll bet there are a lot of disappointed children the first time they go over and find out that they stay level the whole time. If you turn here, we'll go down and have lunch at South Queensferry. We can sit outside by the shore in the shadow of the bridges. Robert Louis Stevenson sat there and wrote Treasure Island. "
"Lunch does sound good after all that exercise we got earlier … playing golf, I mean. It was so exciting to stand on that first tee and know that world champions have stood there too. And I even got all the way round with a half decent card. If I'd had my own clubs, I might've done even better."
"Probably. Though next time we end up playing on a championship course, I'll just caddy for you. I'm learning but I prefer courses where I don't have to resort to my X ray vision to find my ball."
Lois babbled some more a bout the golf while Clark just sat back and listened to her getting all the excitement out of her system. Lois suddenly finished her torrent and smiled sheepishly at Clark. "Sorry! I don't know how you manage to listen to me at times when I wander off like that."
"Don't apologise! You needed to get it off your chest and I'm quite happy to listen. You're so exhilarating to watch when you get carried away," Clark grinned back at her. "Now if we're going to see anything in Edinburgh before we have to get ready for the ball, we'd better get going."
The crown, diamonds glittering in the gleaming gold, dominated the display case. Lois watched it reflected in the round diamond of the ancient sceptre of Scotland. As she moved around the case to see the crown from another angle, the red of her evening dress caught the gleam of the diamond and cast a rosy glow onto the royal sword. She couldn't believe how awed she felt by the display of patriotism around her. When Clark had heard an urgent cry from help from a North Sea oil platform, he suggested that she meet him here just in case he was late getting back to the hotel to get ready and she missed the beginning of the ceilidh. Wondering how much longer Clark would be, she glanced around the room at the pictures. They illustrated Scotland's proud history from Wallace's invasion of England and Robert the Bruce's victory at Bannockburn to the Jacobite Rebellion when the Scottish Crown had been buried for safekeeping and thought lost for centuries.
'A nation without a king but still they value their freedom' she mused, remembering bits of Braveheart. Startled by a soft footstep on the stairs that led to this tiny tower room, she span round.
"Clark! … What are you wearing?" she gasped in astonishment.
Clark came towards her, feeling a little selfconscious. "Well, when in Rome … and you did suggest it when we went to Jack's opening. It is St Andrew's night so I thought … " His voice trailed off as he saw Lois' reaction to his outfit.
Lois couldn't believe it. Clark stood before her, fulfilling one of her fantasies and she was even more aroused than she could have thought possible. His short, tight, black jacket emphasised the breadth of his shoulders and tapered down to his waist. He was wearing a red and green tartan kilt, which wrapped around his waist before flaring out slightly into tight little pleats. His matching bowtie sat above a little, black, silver-buttoned waistcoat that seemed to her to show off his chest beautifully. A black and white fur sporran with little tassels hung on the kilt and her mind imagined what sat immediately behind it. The kilt stopped just at his knees, showing off the rest of his legs to advantage. Woollen socks with little tartan flashes and diamond laced Highland shoes completed the outfit. Lois let out a long breath. Unthinkingly, she moved towards him and slid her hands under his jacket as she stood on tip toes to kiss him passionately.
Clark responded before groaning. "Lois, we should really go downstairs and join the dancing. This outfit took me half an hour to put on and much as I regret it, we really don't have time. I'm not complaining although if I'd known you'd react like this, I'd have worn a kilt a long time ago. Perhaps you've got some ancient Scottish blood and it's genetic programming to chase men in kilts."
Lois laughed "Maybe! Or perhaps it's just because the man I love is wearing it and I've always wondered what he'd look like in one. I'll tell you one thing though. It won't take me half an hour to get you out of it. Where did you get the kilt from anyway?"
"Mr Gilfinnan's brother has a shop in St Andrews and he insisted that if we were coming to the ceilidh tonight, I had to get a kilt. This is a tartan that I am entitled to wear as a Kent. And now, seeing as how I can hear the bagpipes starting up, we'd better go downstairs … although I'd much rather stay here and see what you might do to me."
Edinburgh Castle, glowing in the soft cast from its floodlights, dominated the city skyline from its rocky height. The flags flew on the parapets and statues of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce stood watch over its entrance. The ancient stonework, which once reverberated to sounds of claymores clashing with armour, sang with the rousing notes of the bagpipes. The main courtyard, onto which the Banqueting Hall looked, was full of colour as groups of tartan clad merrymakers danced reels and flings.
Lois and Clark twirled round in a circle, side by side, right arms clasped around the other's waist, cheered on by a line of men and women on either side. Their audience's clapping in time broke into applause as the fiddlers brought the music to a halt.
Stumbling slightly, Lois grabbed onto Clark as they left the group of dancers who were already lining up to begin another reel. "Wow, I'm dizzy," she laughed, "I can't believe that they're going to keep dancing."
Clark opened his mouth to reply but wasn't allowed to begin as Mr Gilfinnan staggered joyfully up to them.
"Loish! Clark!" he began, obviously having sampled his own product liberally. "I'm so glad you could come. This has been the best Distillers' Association ceilidh I've been to in years. All those people who doubted me are insisting on buying me drams. They want to talk about using my distillery for blending and it's all thanks to you. I'll send a crate of whisky to Metropolis for you to keep for toasting the millenium or perhaps for wetting your firstborn's head." A sudden shout on the other side of the courtyard caught his attention and he turned away. "I'll be back to have a dance with you later."
Lois pulled Clark to the nearby parapet, leaning back on the barrel of a cannon. "I wonder if we'll get to open that crate of whisky before the millenium," she sighed. "After all, we've been working on the other project for how long now and even trying at the supposedly best time of the month didn't work. If we didn't have so many baby things stored in the nursery from CJ staying, I'd have begun to think that I'd dreamed meeting our descendants. That 'cycle' thing still confuses me though. They said we had to figure it out but what if it's something that we actually have to do?"
"I'm sure there's something we have to do," Clark grinned suggestively, slipping his arms around her as she shivered in the cold night air. "And we might as well keep trying until we figure this cycle thing out."
"Hmm, I couldn't agree more." Lois ran her arms around inside his jacket to warm them before raising her lips for his kiss. As it deepened, she ran them down his back, coming to rest on his bottom. Pulling back from the kiss, she frowned. She moved her hands slowly across his tartan clad rear.
Looking slightly shocked, she exclaimed, "Clark Kent! Are you really a true Scotsman?"
Clark just grinned.
Characters in this episode are copyrighted by DC Comics, December 3rd Production and Warner Brothers. No infringement is intended in any part by the author or the Season 5 group, however, the ideas expressed within this episode are copyrighted (c) 1997 to the author.