By Laura S. <email@example.com>
Submitted: June 2007
Summary: Clark Kent has a secret and Lois Lane is determined to figure it out. So one apartment break-in later, she's got her answer — right? A continuation based on the last scene of the episode "The Ides of Metropolis."
Lois Lane didn't question the ethics of breaking into her partner's apartment. If he minded, he would go and buy a more sophisticated lock, right? Especially since he <knew> that she could break in in about two seconds flat. So in reality, it was a standing invitation. Satisfied with her logic and hearing the tumblers click into place, Lois pushed open Clark's door and flipped on the light.
Clark was out covering the response to the crisis averted after "The Ides of Metropolis" fiasco, so she knew she was safe from him coming back — at least for a while anyway. For a moment she felt a nudge from her conscience. This wasn't completely… ethical. But Clark Kent was about the only person in the world who was immune to the scaring tactics of Mad Dog Lane. In fact, the thought was rather insulting. Had she lost her touch? Had having a partner really softened her edges?
Lois answered that one snappily in her head. No. Not one bit. If it had, she reasoned with herself, she wouldn't be standing in her partner's front hall about to search the place from top to bottom. No, she was still Mad Dog Lane and as ruthless as ever.
Keeping secrets from her! Kent! She still couldn't believe the nerve of him. He knew a fair amount of things about her that were quite secret. How dare he not return the favor? She granted that the news about his mother possibly having an affair was quite scandalous and perhaps a fairly large secret in her mild mannered partner's life, but that, Lois fumed, had already been disproved. Well that part was okay. Lois was quick to condemn the unfaithful, so to find that Martha Kent was indeed the upstanding citizen Lois took her to be was a relief and a half. But something about the situation as a whole had nagged her. Clark Kent had a secret, of that she was quite sure. And when she had confronted him about it, accused him of keeping secrets, <he> had had the nerve to agree with her!
By saying that his mother's possible affair <wasn't> his biggest secret!
And she didn't know what the secret was!
Which was a perfectly logical reason for her to be breaking into Clark's apartment. He had practically dared her to figure it out, hadn't he? Yes, he had. With that matter settled and decided on, Lois strode over to his bedroom.
Clark Kent was a man. His secret was probably in there. Her mind wildly shot out hypothetical suggestions and ideas.
He was gay. Her gaze swiftly turned toward his dresser. Could that be it? Could he have some women's clothing tucked away in there? She quickly disregarded the notion as she remembered their all to recent kiss in the honeymoon suite. From the blatant interest she had felt pressed against her thigh, she knew that wasn't the case.
He was married. She mused on the notion. Could he have a wife back in Smallville? Or Borneo? Or wherever? Clark wasn't the love 'em and leave 'em type though. She was sure he would stand by his wife whatever happened. If he was married, there was no doubt in Lois' mind that he would be right there next to her. The same thought went for an illegitimate child. If he had a child, he would be sending child support payments regularly and calling for his son or daughter to spend large amounts of time with him.
But the thought stayed with Lois. What if he had fathered a child? The thought was not so far out there. Clark was a well-traveled, attractive man. There was no doubt in her mind that he had been around the block a few times. But if that was the case, how did she not know about it? The thought galled her. How could he not have told her? He had to know she wouldn't judge him. Much. Especially if he kept up his child support payments, which she had already determined that he would have.
But if this scenario was true, why did he not see his son or daughter more often? She knew Clark. Clark would be delighted with a child. He would never hide him or her away in shame. If Clark Kent had fathered a child, illegitimate or not, his desk would rival a grandmother's refrigerator. Absolutely littered with pictures. So she had to chalk that scenario up as a no.
Lois found herself idly wandering around his bedroom, feeling a heady sense of the forbidden. She ran her hand over the rumpled sheets on the bed. How odd, she would have pegged Clark to be a fastidious bed maker. Perhaps he had had company last night?
The thought sent a wholly unexpected pang shooting through her heart.
Her gaze landed on his desk. It couldn't hurt to rifle through the drawers a little, could it? No, she answered herself quickly. It couldn't. Pulling open the top drawer, she was disappointed to find herself staring at a collection of neatly ordered pens, pencils and notepads. God, he had arranged them by color. This was surely a sign of the mentally deranged. Who had time to organize his pens by shade?
Frustrated, Lois shut the drawer and then opened the next. Files. Neatly labeled. A perfunctory scan determined them to all be above board. The next drawer was a disappointment as well. It hid some story notes and computer games. There was nothing to suggest that Clark Kent was a rogue, a cross dresser, a lawyer or any unfathomable cross between the three.
His closet was full of brightly patterned ties and dull colored suits. There was a small chest of drawers underneath the clothes, however, and Lois perked up. Could her answer be in that drawer? With rising excitement, she yanked open the top drawer.
Well that answered the boxers or briefs question, she thought, a flush suffusing through her cheeks. She shoved the drawer shut quickly. This was stupid. Perhaps she shouldn't have come at all. Standing up with a reluctant sigh, Lois disentangled herself from a too bright, garish tie and shut the closet door. The bathroom was really her only place to look next. But what would she find in there? A box of condoms and a razor, she was sure. Rolling her eyes at the predictability of men, Lois marched through the door and opened the medicine cabinet.
It was completely empty.
Good God, where did he keep things? Her partner was so strange. A quick glance through the cabinets confused her further. Everything else seemed to be in order. He had a stack of folded towels under the sink and one hung up near the shower. A first aid kit, though it appeared to have never been opened, lurked in one drawer next to a supply of toothpaste, toothbrushes and shampoo. But the clichéd razor and condom box were suspiciously absent. Pushing thoughts about the razor aside, Lois quickly ran to Clark's nightstand and threw open the drawer. If the box wasn't here…
There was a battered notebook, however, and after a brief battle with herself, Lois snatched it. She opened the first page and found, instead of the words she had been expecting… pictures.
Sketches, actually. Her mouth dropped open. What was her partner doing, being so good at drawing and not telling her? The notebook was positively filled with images, though they tended to contain scenery or locations rather than people. Some of the landscape she recognized, but most of it was foreign. She had no idea he was so talented. Slowly she flipped through the book, entranced. Most of the sketches were done in pencil, but a rare few were colored exquisitely with… she had no idea with what. Lois Lane had failed art class. Literally. It was the only class she had ever failed in. No matter how many times she had tried to explain to her teacher that the random blobs on her paper were <intentionally> there, he refused to budge. But Clark… Clark was, though it pained her to say it, excellent. She flipped the last page of the book and found a folded sheet of paper instead of a drawing. She eagerly picked the paper up and was about to unfold it when…
"What do you think you're doing?" A sharp voice called from the doorway.
Lois checked the natural impulse to scream and instead gasped and dropped Clark's notebook like it was on fire.
"Clark!" Lois went to shove his nightstand drawer shut and winced as it stuck. She released her hands from the offending drawer and instead jumped up from her seat on his bed. "Back so soon?"
Clark raised his eyebrow. "Yes, I had to pick up some of my story notes for Perry." He coolly surveyed the room and his mouth tightened in a grimace as he noted signs of Lois' presence in his bathroom and by his closet and desk. "Now I'm asking you again. Why are you ransacking my apartment?"
Lois' heart sank. There was none of the teasing glitter in his eyes she was so used to. He was angry, genuinely angry with her. As she floundered for a satisfactory explanation, all of the logical reasons she had previously entertained seemed foolish and petty. Clark was speaking again.
"…and I come home to find this? Lois what were you doing? There are personal things in my apartment! Have you ever thought that some people deserve their privacy?!"
Finally grasping onto a point she could contend with, Lois stood and marched up to her partner. Her nose only came to about mid chest, but that was okay. She was sure she could make her point. "Hah! And those personal things, I suppose have to do with your secret?!"
At this all color drained from Clark's cheeks.
"W-What are you talking about?"
Sensing an opportunity to turn the tables, Lois jabbed him in the chest with her finger. "The secret. I know it. I've figured it out. You think you've been so slick…"
"Don't Clark! I can barely stand to look at you. I can't believe you'd keep something like this from me, from Perry and Jimmy! And your parents? Do they even know?"
"Of course my parents know, Lois, what do you think? And Perry and Jimmy? I can understand why you'd be upset that I didn't tell you, but why on earth would I tell the editor of a major newspaper?!"
"We're your friends Clark, and we deserve to know about the illegitimate Clark Juniors running around!"
"And as my fri— What? What did you say?" Clark paused in mid tirade, his head beginning to ache. What on earth… "Clark <Juniors>?"
"Yes! It's quite obvious you… you… sex fiend! You must have a boatload of offspring running around in Borneo or wherever the hell you came from. Their sixteen-year-old mother probably barely speaks English. I didn't think it could be true at first, but the lack of condoms around here proves it! You have some sick fetish where you won't wear one! Oh, it's always the quiet ones! I can't believe you'd go about impregnating women and leaving them! Is that why you travel so much? Because angry fathers start chasing you with pitchforks? Well, look here buster, in Metropolis those kinds of fathers usually skip over the sharp pointy sticks and head right into their gun chests. So you had best get out of town and away from…"
Lois stopped mid tirade. Clark wasn't looking apprehensive, pale <or> scared anymore. He was… He was <laughing>! He was actually bent over double, laughing. Piqued, she grabbed the front of his shirt and hauled him up.
"What are you laughing at, Kent?" She very nearly growled at him. She didn't appreciate being laughed at, especially by a child leaving lothario.
Clark's laughter died and he folded his arms across his chest. "Is that what you really think of me? Is your opinion of me that low? That I spend my time seducing women and leaving them?"
When he put it like that… But Lois stood her ground.
"You have a secret. I'm sure of it! And you don't have any condoms in your apartment. That's not normal, Clark Kent! Is it so very much of a stretch to think you just enjoy impregnating women?"
He glared at her and she lowered her head slightly. Okay it was. Dimly the reasons she had disregarded the notion in the first place came trudging shamefully back. Where were they when she needed them? Although her voice was a little shaky, it still held fire enough to hold her own against her nowheresville partner.
"Then what <is> your secret, Clark Kent?"
He shook his head defiantly.
"Is it that you like drawing?" Lois looked down at the notebook wedged in his nightstand. "Because those were actually pretty good."
"Thank you," Clark said, his voice lightening. "You really liked them? I thought some were…" He cut himself off. He was supposed to be angry with her. He had to remember that. Clark enjoyed watching Lois push the line between acceptable and intrusive further and further, but this time she had stepped firmly over and gone too far.
"But that's beside the point. The point is that I come in here to find that you have searched my whole apartment. Lois, how could you do something like that to me? Aren't we friends?"
"Of course we're friends! I just…" Lois floundered. "I just… Oh god. I'm horrible aren't I?" Slowly she sank onto the bed, the light in her eyes dimmed considerably.
Clark's eyes widened in alarm. He wasn't used to seeing Lois look defeated. In all of his anger and provoking, he hadn't expected her to look so upset. A fuming Lois he could deal with. A distressed Lois tugged at his heartstrings. Hard. Clark immediately knelt before her and took her hands in his.
"Lois?" he said softly. She kept her head down and refused to meet his gaze. His large hands easily enveloped hers. "You're not horrible."
"Oh yes I am, Clark Kent. Do you believe that the logic I used for breaking into your apartment was that because you knew that I could break into it, and you hadn't bought a better lock, that it was a standing invitation?"
The corner of Clark's mouth quirked up slightly at this. Actually, he could believe that she would think that. "I was wrong to yell at you so much, Lois. You do have an open invitation to come to my house anytime."
"Not to dig through your stuff, though," she mumbled.
"Well…" He couldn't deny that when he had found her flipping through his personal sketchpad and realized that she had been searching his whole apartment he had been angry. It was an anger driven by fear, but it was anger nevertheless. He searched her face. "Are you sorry?"
Lois nodded dejectedly. A protective instinct beat fiercely in his heart as he looked at her, shamefaced and smarting. She just looked so down… Holding out his arms to envelope her in a hug, she came willingly and Clark sighed.
"Then I forgive you."
She felt so right in his arms… After a moment, Clark reluctantly released her and Lois gave him a weak smile. "You're a good friend, Clark Kent."
'And that's all you are,' Clark fiercely reminded himself. Trying desperately to lighten her expression, Clark reluctantly stood up. "You know, this might come as a shock, but sometimes when you ask people questions, they tell you the truth."
Lois snorted, all traces of tears gone. "Yeah right, like if I went, 'Hey Clark, tell me a secret,' you'd tell me?"
Clark hesitated, then nodded his affirmation.
Lois looked at him for a long moment. "Okay. Clark Kent, tell me a secret."
As Clark opened his mouth to speak, Lois rushed on. "And not just <any> secret, either. I want a good secret. A secret you've never told anyone else. Not even your parents or your best friend. Who, I'm reminding you in case you've forgotten, is me."
"Thank you for that," Clark rolled his eyes and then pulled her up from his bed. He went to speak and then faltered slightly. In theory, this shouldn't be hard. He should be counting his blessings that she had added the "not even your parents know" stipulation. She had unwittingly saved him a world of pain with those few words. But his next secret… His only other secret. Well, he had said he would be forthcoming, but did he really want her to know?
He answered that one straightaway. No, of course not!
But would he tell her? He had always tried to be as strictly honest with her as he could. And he had promised to tell the truth. So it was time he swallowed his fear.
"Okay Lois, here goes." He met her questioning gaze and quickly looked down again. Maybe if he turned around… he really didn't want to see her reaction.
"Do it quickly, like a band-aid," she chimed in helpfully. So much for the guilty, stricken act! Sometimes he wondered if she played him for a fool every time. But he disregarded that notion just as quickly as it occurred. Lois had been genuinely upset with herself. And she was still waiting for an answer. Why did he tell her to ask him? Was he secretly a masochist at heart?
"Lois, the reason I don't have packets of condoms lying around is simple," he went to speak the next words, but choked instead. "I… You jumped to some pretty terrible conclusions." He stared at her balefully. He knew he was stalling. Did she know? Oh yes, she did. He could see her eyes narrowing.
"Yes, and I already apologized. Now out with it, Kent. It can't be worse than what I'm imagining."
He mumbled something intelligible.
Lois stared at him. Why was it so hard for him to tell her? Oh god. Maybe her first guess had been right. He was gay! That finally gave a satisfactory explanation to the pheromone incident. No wonder it was so hard for him. Sympathetic immediately, Lois put a comforting hand on his shoulder.
"Oh Clark, it's okay. I won't judge you. In this day and age, it's perfectly normal."
Clark was looking at her suspiciously. He had a sneaking conviction that he knew where she was heading…
"A lot of guys are gay. Are you worried what your parents will think? I'm sure they'll love you just the same. I mean, they seemed pretty accepting when I met them. But then, we don't always put on the same face around our family as we do guests, do we? Trust me, I know all about <that> kind of scen—"
"Lois!" Clark very nearly exploded and she jumped. "I'm not gay! I'm a <virgin>!"
Lois stared at him. He was… what?
"Excuse me?" Her face must have shown her shock and dismay because his response was immediate.
Red in the face, Clark shoved away from her and strode quickly across the room to face the wall. "I'm not gay. I'm not a serial killer. Who the hell knows what else you've been thinking… I can't go around having a bunch of illegitimate children because I haven't had sex before, Lois! And you probably are wondering what on earth is wrong with me, but I just wanted to wait, okay? But there. A secret." He very nearly spat it out. "Are you happy now?"
God, she'd done it again. Why did she keep hurting him? Lois took in his tense form and watched him lean his forehead against the wall. Slightly unsure, but desperate to comfort him, she stole up behind him and wrapped her arms securely around his waist. Resting her cheek against the solid muscle in his back, she felt some of the stiffness drain from his shoulders. His heart still pounded fiercely in his chest; she could feel it beat all the way through her body.
"I hate modern art," she said suddenly, her cheek still pressed against Clark's shoulder. She felt him straighten slightly, as if confused. "I lost my virginity on my 21st birthday when I passed back a few too many drinks. I don't even remember his name, but I think it started with an E. I have a Harlequin Romance novel hidden under my pillow. My goldfish's name is Fitzwilliam because I have a crush on Mr. Darcy from Pride and Predjudice. I have a New Kids on the Block CD in my player right now."
By this time Clark had turned around in her arms. He was staring at her like she'd lost her mind. Perhaps she had. But the secrets kept pouring out.
"I still sleep with that bear you won me in Smallville. I failed art class. I cheated on my test in the fifth grade and got so upset I made myself sick. I crashed my parent's car because I hit a mailbox, not because of a hit and run. I collect hotel pens. I have a half finished novel on my computer. I count steps sometimes. Did you know there are exactly twelve steps from my desk to yours? But that's when I do it. When you walk there are only eight." Lois trailed off. She smiled weakly at Clark, who was still staring at her. "See? I have secrets too."
They locked gazes for a moment, both staring solemnly at each other. Finally Clark couldn't keep from smiling any longer. Laughing helplessly, he dropped his forehead onto hers and hugged her tightly to his chest.
"Oh Lois, you're pretty wonderful, did anyone ever tell you that?"
"Oh, <constantly>." She giggled. "I'm sorry I broke into your apartment, Clark," she finally said a moment later when their laughs had died down. "Thank you for trusting me with this."
Clark sighed softly and smiled.
"I'm just glad we have that off our chests. It's pretty cool to know that I know your biggest secret now. We have a clean slate now. No more secrets, ever again." Lois snuggled into his embrace, not noticing the look of wide eye apprehension and terror on Clark's face.
"Ahh… Lois? About my <biggest> secret…"