By Catherine Bruce <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted June 2007
Summary: Even the most mild-mannered of reporters can seek mild forms of vengeance — especially for the sake of a friend he or she may or may not have a slight crush on.
This is just something I wrote up quick-like. It's not evil or dark, and may even be borderline fluffy, but it's been in my head for the past couple of days. It takes place near the beginning of Season One, before Lois considers Clark to be a full-time partner.
No real plot, but then when do I ever use THAT device? Probably holier than Swiss Cheese, but when has that ever stopped the writers of LnC? ;)
No betas were harmed in the making of this fic, but my spell-check was thoroughly abused. Er, used. I meant to say used. Hahaha… Although now I suppose it *has* been edited, since it has been sent to the archive and all. Thanks GE!
Clark groggily walked into the bullpen of The Daily Planet. The past several days had been hectic, with him trying to adjust to being both a reporter for the greatest newspaper on earth and moonlighting in tights. He wouldn't trade either one for all the Ho-Hos in the world, but he never knew how exhausting both on their own would be. To try and juggle both was turning out to be a superpower all its own.
One thing that would greatly help to clear his head would be a cup of newsroom coffee. Hopefully, the chief had made the pot this morning and it had the strength to stir itself and could substitute for a tank of jet fuel. Granted, caffeine didn't affect him in the same way that it did other people, but it was more mental than anything else.
After he got to the pot containing the liquid Nirvana and now that he was holding a cup of the mystical elixir, his hearing picked up the voice of a slightly accented man talking to Jimmy Olsen. "Is Lane still as frigid as ever?"
Jimmy, apparently not wanting to have been in that conversation in the first place, gave his companion a withering glare before catching Clark's eye. Having his kinda-sorta partner being talked about in such a demeaning fashion sent a bolt of aggravation and cave-man protectiveness surging up and down his spine as Clark made a slight detour to where the two were talking. Before the young photographer could come up with a retort, Clark did something that he had never really done before. A part of him was actually ashamed at how much he enjoyed it, but then, it was only a small part.
Acting distracted, his shoulder knocked squarely into the offending gentleman's, causing him to lose his balance and fall in a graceless heap on the floor. If a couple of tablespoons of hot coffee landed on the guy's clean white shirt, Clark would claim innocence.
"Oh, gee, I'm so sorry!" Bending down, Clark helped the man to his feet, a bit rougher than necessary, before losing his grip. The man fell to the floor again. "Oh, gosh! Clumsy me!" This time, Clark helped the man to his feet, clapping him squarely on the shoulder. As his opponent rubbed his sore joint, Clark took the opportunity to shake his hand. "Clark Kent. Sorry about that. I'm a bit out of sorts today."
"Yes, well." The other man sniffed and then tried not to visibly wince at the vice that closed around his poor defenseless fingers. "Perhaps some more of that coffee will help to wake you up."
"So, you know Lois, then?" At the man's questioning look, Clark leaned in slightly. "I heard you mention something about her earlier as I was getting my coffee." If Clark's friendly voice hardened into steel slightly, causing the other man to nearly widdle himself, he pretended not to notice.
"Ah, well, we knew each other when I used to work here. She and I worked… closely together, if you know what I mean." Clark took a sip of his coffee, face blank. Taking this as a sign to continue, the other man went on. "And I was just commenting on how her… investigative skills left much to be desired."
Clark furrowed his brows in confusion. "I'm not quite sure what you're talking about. She's the best investigative reporter I've had the chance to work with. But then, growing up in a small town farming community may have made me a bit naive and… you wouldn't happen to be implying anything else, would you?"
Clark pulled the man in slightly by the arm, leaning down to whisper in his ear. To anyone looking at Clark, they would think he was telling them an amusing joke. In fact, that's exactly what it looked like to Lois Lane as she walked in on her worst nightmare. But, anyone watching Claude would see the growing horror on the normally tanned man's pale face.
Lois was horrified to watch her partner and her ex-bastard-of-a-poor-excuse-for-a-lover conversing, and judging from the look on Clark's face, he seemed to be enjoying the other man's company. Sharing some lies about her? Trading stories and boasting over who had gotten her the most? Before the horror could transform into shame, she watched as Claude seemed to run as fast and as far away from Clark Kent as he could. Curiosity overrode everything else, and she marched up to both Jimmy and Clark.
"What's going on?" She tried to sound firm and authoritative, but it sounded almost lost in her ears.
Clark jumped slightly at the sound of her voice, and the guilty expression on his face almost made her scream. "I don't know why he ran, exactly. All I did was tell him that I was your partner." At her skeptical look, he scuffed the toe of his shoe into the carpet. "I may have also told him about the abandoned mine shaft just off my parent's property that no one really seems to remember anymore." He paused, met her eyes briefly, and then began to study the patterns he was making on the ground, looking like a boy who had just been caught next to a broken window and a baseball. "And… maybe… I also told him about how I spent some time with a man in Indonesia who could kill a man twenty different ways with his pinky alone. I don't know why he got so scared, though. It's not like I actually learned anything from the guy."
"Hey, CK, you gonna tell her how you knocked him over like a bale of hay? Or how you dropped him when you were trying to help him up?"
Clark shot Jimmy a withering glance. "I wasn't watching where I was going! And… and he was very slippery!"
"But you told him you'd heard him talking about Lois, and- ow!" Somehow Clark's foot connected with Jimmy's, effectively shutting the other guy up.
Lois just stared at her hack from Nowheresville for a moment. "You really are a strange one, Kent." There was no venom in her voice, no condescending tone, just mild awe. Her inner nineties woman wanted to thwart him, telling him that she could very well take care of herself, thank-you-very-much. But another part thought he looked so adorable, looking guilty at what he'd done instead of smug, and the guy had actually defended her when she hadn't been the nicest person in the world. She grabbed onto his arm and led him away, grabbing his coffee cup as they went. She took a sip before handing it back, leading the two of them towards their desks. Lois snugged her hand into the crook of his arm and leaned into him as they walked, fighting the urge to make a cliched comment about this being the beginnings of a beautiful friendship. "I got a tip about that string of bank robberies. Feel up to some undercover surveillance, partner?"