By Marnie Rowe <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted June 2000
Summary: Lois and Clark play a game of Twenty Questions. What will they ask each other about?
Note: this takes place in the continuum after Lucky Leon, but before WHALTTA…all characters belong to Warner and DC and I just took em for a quick spin. Any and all feedback is welcome at email@example.com
Lois and Clark were the only two people in the newsroom at an incredibly late hour. They had just broken wide open their last investigation, and were typing up their copy while it was still fresh in their minds. After finishing up, they had not really felt the need to rush home and decided to play a half-hearted game of twenty questions with each other, under the guise of getting to know a little trivia about each other. Since they were dating and all, they should try to find out as much as possible about the other person, as much as they could in this setting.
"So, Clark…how old were you when you first figured out that girls were people too?" Lois asked her partner. She knew what she really wanted to ask but she didn't think that Clark would appreciate that level of intimacy right off. She knew that she wouldn't much care for being asked what she wanted to know about her partner, she would not care to answer the question that she had in mind either by him or anyone else. Not quite as early in the question game either. But it seemed that Clark had expected something a bit more hard hitting and was a bit scattered wits- wise by the mild question. Maybe starting out mildly like this had put him off balance. That was something that she could work around to her advantage.
"Umm, I think it was when Lana Lang hit me when we were twelve." Clark was wary, Lois' question was more of a no-brainer than he had expected even if it was early in the game. He had answered without thinking, and that was not how you dealt with Lois Lane and came out a winner. In fact he had seen her use similar tactics on people that they had interviewed, with deadly results. Now it was his turn, he knew what he wanted to ask her, but somehow he did not think that now was the best time to propose marriage to her. So, racking his brain, he finally found something fairly innocent to ask.
"So, Lois, when was the first time that you noticed guys?" Clark hoped that mirroring her question would give him some more time to think and prepare himself for her next question.
"Ummm," Lois seemed to need to think, "it was in high school, Paul what' s-his-name that I had a fight with Linda about, the guy that I was on the school paper with. Before that they were the enemy or at least the people to imitate so that I could get some attention from my father." Clark was taken aback, he had not thought his question through as much as he had thought he had. It was not his intention to ever cause Lois any pain. But Lois didn't seem to be bothered and kept the tone light as she asked, "So what on earth did you do that Lana slugged you one?"
Clark laughed at the barely restrained curiosity in Lois' face that had been projected into her voice as she had asked the question. "Well," he replied a, little red around the ears, "I guess I wasn't the most astute young man in the town because it was getting really close to grade eight graduation and it seemed that Lana had decided that I was to be her escort. I…umm… well I didn't catch on even though the rest of the town knew due to the hints that she had been throwing my way, and then the day before the ceremony she out and out told me that I was taking her."
Lois was giggling madly by the time he had gotten to the fact that the whole town had known and her normally smart partner had been so clueless. Clark mock glared in her direction as he continued, "Well, anyway, to get to the point, I asked her incredulously, 'Me?', and she got so frustrated at my denseness that she slugged me. Hard. I was the only graduating student with a black eye that year. That's it, the whole sordid story. Would you please stop laughing!" Clark asked Lois plaintively.
She had collapsed out of her chair, she was laughing so hard. Lois should have guessed that her partner's naivete was not something that had just cropped up, that it was something that he had been coping with for most of his life, but…oh, the poor boy that he must have been then. She knew that he was what people would call a good boy but she would not have classified him in the 'dumb as a stump' category before. She immediately chastised herself, 'Lois, that is not fair. Just because he doesn't take a hint or dissemble well doesn't mean that he is dumb.' But it was a very funny story and she felt better for knowing that there were some things about her perfect partner that were not so perfect after all. Made her feel like they had more in common than she had thought previously. But she waited for his next question with some trepidation, he would surely try to figure out something equally as humorous from her past. Or at least something good and embarrassing.
Clark did not disappoint her either, his next question for her was one that was a bit of a cheek burner. It was not X-rated or anything just a bit of a poke at her nature. "Did you ever give in and peek in somewhere that you were not supposed to, without the benefit of following a story? I mean before you had any claim to being a reporter and had the right to poke your nose into other people's business?"
Lois looked at him askance, how did he know these things? She thought frantically for a moment, trying to think of any other instance other than the first one that had popped into her mind that might be truthfully applied to the question, but drew an absolute blank. So, resigned, she sat back and just looked at Clark. She watched as he began to squirm with apprehension at her continued silence but when she began to talk the relief that he felt was plastered all over his large frame. It was comical; Lois had known what was going on behind the scenes because in some ways her partner's face was an open book to her.
The long stare had been a very deliberate ploy of Lois' to get Clark to squirm and since he had squirmed so beautifully, she felt better about telling him of the parts of her life that she did not really want to be known for public consumption. Hearing the story at family gatherings made her writhe with embarassment in whichever seat that she had chosen. If she was going to squirm, by gum, so was he!
"Well, Clark, this curiosity of mine was strong even at a very young age and, well since I didn't really know better, I tended to poke it anywhere that I could get to..before I had any reason to do so." Lois paused when she saw Clark had stopped squirming and was now trying rather unsuccessfully to suppress a grin. She glared at him until the nascent grin on his face was replaced by apprehension again. Only then did she continue, "My mother had a little golden book called the 'Pokey Puppy' and she said that it must have been fate that it was given to her as a gift for me." She stopped talking again as Clark involuntarily guffawed out loud.
Clark had started to laugh when she had named the book, he *had* read it and there was a divine sort of providence about it that made his funny bone just twitch. The entire book was about how this little puppy had to investigate anything and everything, but always had to be rescued from where or what it had decided to investigate. He had this rather ridiculous picture of the puppy — curiously instead of its own head it was sporting one that looked like Lois as a child — in the scrapes that the little canine had gotten into.
And some were just not all that translatable, but he could still see the little Lois in the deep end of the pool.
Lois was fuming, she should have known that her well-read partner would have read such an obscure children's book. That was the only possible reason for him to be laughing so hard, the title alone was not enough to inspire this level of hilarity in anyone. That is it she thought to herself, the kiddy gloves are off now. She had a question that she was burning to ask and he was not going to be able to avoid it.
Clark saw the change come over Lois and knew that he was in real trouble now, but he could not have stopped laughing, the images streaming over his mental canvas were too much for him.
"Clark!" Lois almost barked his name. "Did you ever peek? I mean did you ever spy on the teenage girls that were running around that small town of yours?"
Clark's ears went brick red.
He had, but not intentionally, it had been when his visual abilities had been maturing, he had gotten more eyefuls than he had ever wanted of about half the population of the town. It hadn't been limited to the teen girls either, he knew what was under the clothes of most of his classmates, teachers and friends of both sexes. Lois had a knowing smirk on her face, so Clark answered a bit more truthfully that he would have, after all it was not gentlemanly to peek and tell, but still managed to keep the means of the peeking to himself.
"Yes, as a matter of fact I did do some unintentional peeking, Lois, but sadly it wasn't limited to the girls…I knew far too much of what was under the clothing of some of my teachers as well, and that is not counting the guys that I had gym with, Coach didn't believe in undue modesty in the changing room."
Now the ball was back in his court, to use one of the sports metaphors that Lois so hated, and he tried to steer the subject back to more neutral grounds. Clark knew that it was a vain try but he had to at least make a token effort in the right direction. He was very tempted to mirror the question back her way, but she had taken his innocent question and twisted it to the peeping tom one. He did not want to give her any true ammunition.
Lois was getting nervous, Clark was not moving, he was just sitting there. Lois was used to his quiet spells but after what she had turned the game to she was wondering what he was going to go into next… She knew that she might have gone over the line a bit with the last tangent that she had taken them on and she thought that he might be trying to figure out if he should take it back to the earlier level. The fun and teasing one, rather than the lascivious and malicious teasing one. But it seemed that Clark was going to take the game to the juvenile level, smart ass dirty, not prying but, well, gossipy curious. "Lois," his eyes were laughing behind the lenses of his glasses, "When did you first grab a grope, unintentional or intentional?"
Lois' mouth dropped. Clark? Was asking her when she had staged her first grope of another person??? She started to laugh, she could not help herself. Lois had remembered a very funny episode of Seinfeld that dealt with a grope that had been set up and that was all she could see in her mind as she listened to the question. She tried to haul her errant thoughts back to answer the question and find a time in her past when she might have done anything like that, even if it had been for an investigation, but that brought her back to the TV show episode since that had been the reason for that preplanned grope in the show and she would start to howl with laughter all over again. Clark started to look rather peeved at her continuous laughter, so she tried to explain through the tears of hilarity that were streaming down her face. It seemed that he had seen the episode as well and he was quick to see the humor.
The game degenerated rather quickly at that point until Lois looked up slyly on one of her last turns and posed one of her major questions. It was still within the silly and juvenile theme that the game had taken on after the grope question but, well, she really wanted to know. Lois' eyes had taken on a wicked gleam as she posed her last query to Clark. But it seemed that she hadn't known her partner as well as she thought because when Clark answered her question she blurted, "What?????" Her voice echoed eerily off the empty newsroom walls.
Clark began to regret that the game had ever started.
Lois looked over at Clark in disbelief. "Never?" she asked him.
Clark was beginning to feel like even more of a freak than he already was. He snapped back, "Yes!" Immediately he was sorry for snapping at the woman he loved, but why was she making such a big deal out of the fact that he had never fully crossed the intimacy threshold? It wasn't that totally uncommon for someone to wait for the right person was it? It wasn't like he hadn't played around at all, it was just that he had never felt going all the way was appropriate, especially when he didn't know what could happen when he did.
Then a sudden change came over Lois' demeanor, and she looked at Clark with a different light in her eyes. "You are telling me that you haven't, that you have never felt the drive to…consummate a relationship, but now you do, and you want to with me?" The smile that curved her lips looked almost predatory, making Clark wish that he was truly invulnerable.
"Er, yeah," was all he could think to say.
Swaying towards him she said, "That tells me what's in your heart more than all the words in the world could, you know."
Swallowing the lump that had risen in his throat, Clark knew that he was in for it now. "Really?" he squeaked. What the heck was he so nervous about? He wanted her to know how he felt, didn't he? So why did he feel like the jaws of a trap had snapped shut around him? Well he certainly knew how to take the wind out of her sails, or at least he thought he did. Grabbing her arm he propelled them to the elevator. When they got in he pushed the button that led to the roof. Lois looked more confused than ever. He just smiled a smile that said,'you'll see, just wait.'
When the elevator reached the roof he grabbed her hand and without pausing walked over to the edge of the roof and then, with a curious little hop, over the edge. Lois screamed and involuntarily grabbed at the arm that was holding onto her.
When she realized that they weren't plunging to their very messy deaths on the concrete below, she looked over to see Clark looking in her direction, but he wasn't wearing his glasses. The man that she saw was a curious amalgam of Clark and Superman. She had suspected this since the Diana Stride affair, well actually she had known since the Stride affair that they were one and the same. With the two so near to each other proximity-wise, she had been able to see the similarities clearly even though Clark had acted his stiffest in the superhero guise and was at his most countrified at the podium.
And after her visit to his home nest, she knew that the fledgling was anything but a country bumpkin, not with those parents of his. The way that they navigated around the various machines and gadgets that you acquire on a farm, let alone the stuff that ensured that they were not cut off from humanity, well it was enough to say that they were not dullards of any sort. This was saying nothing about the various exotic hobbies that Martha Kent went through on top of all the work a farmer's wife had to do.
After she had met his mother, figured out what the woman was capable of, skills wise anyway, nothing about the Kent family could shock her anymore. The shock that she was experiencing was due not to finding out that Clark and Superman were one and the same, it was just the total confirmation of what her intellectual mind had told her, but the reality was still hard to take in.
An apt analogy was just like when you knew intellectually that something was true, like how big a dinosaur truly was, but then when you were confronted with the reality, you were overwhelmed. It was like you didn't know anything at all, even when you actually did, and you were stunned by the sheer size of the creature all over again. The pure sensory overload was fading and then she was brought back to what had started all of this. Clark, who just happened to be Superman, wanted her to be his first.
Lois smiled just like the proverbial cat who caught the canary, and when Clark saw the smile, complete with the illusory feather hanging off her lip, he knew that he was in for an exciting life. He quaked in his boots. Not that he would change a thing even if he could; this was what he had always wanted.