This means I have a few hours to myself. I am CREATING hours that could be spent on brownies. I am so high. I found the PERFECT gift for my niece, Child has a scary number of presents because I'm that type of parent who believes more is better, other sister has Perfect Gift, Dad has Perfect Gift, Friends have Perfect Gifts (which still doesn't have boxes for because I Forgot To Buy Boxes), I managed to get mom's gift below the radar even though I already got her one snow globe, I got another one she'll love. And I still have money left from grandparents to get more. More more more. Oh yes, I am so awash in the consumerism of Christmas. I was looking at sale-priced fiberoptic snowmen and this reindeer that that has wheels that you can sit on and slide around the house.
Um, how would I know the reindeer slides around so easily? I traumatized many a sales associate at the store today. I even have a Santa Hat.
Oh hell yes Ho Ho Ho!
My life is blissful. Oh yes.
*g* I'm working on the email now. Christmas Day I am looking foward to with much in the way of happy-joy, as I will, thank you God, have nothing to do. I've done some of the editing already grammatically and technically, and really, you did a kick-ass job. It reads so much better and so much more smoothly with the changes so far. I've been doing it by how heavy your comments were per section. As I make actual story revisions, do you want me to send the sections to you for looking over? I am probably going to send the ending section again as soon as I've rewritten it to something like satisfaction--I know what you mean, I'm just not sure the revisions I've made since are actually getting that across.
Come play with us on AIM one night? It's an amazing time waster, ask buggery and isilya. Really. *nodnodnod* And fun.
And I'm going to answer ten emails and consider doing more. I am SO in the zone. Could be the lack of sleep. Or the Christmas Spirit. Anyone wanna hear my rendition of "What Child Is This?" Oh, or "Angels We Have Heard on High"? All those HIGH notes. Glass commits suicide when I enter a room trying out that.
Jack made me a pretty thing!
*hugs buggery* Adore you. So very much.
Let's see, what else.
Oh right. Um, did anyone else want to share my strange obsession with teddy bear icons? I downloaded a TON thanks to pearl_o to help me through my bear obsession, and if there's any requests, I can try to fulfill them--iconizing is ADDICTIVE. Unfortunately, there seems to be a sad lack of really bizarre ones, but there are some really cute ones. So. Email or comments or whatever. And if you see sites with strange teddy bears, feel free to tell me about them.
And to people who left comments on the first section of what doesn't have a title--I wrote this very late last night and EARLY this morning while cooking and being gripey, before the advent of the entire Christmas Spirit and whatever the hell's possessing me and making me so very perky.
So. Next section. I hope you like.
He wakes up to the smell of coffee, Lois, and some truly sickening memories. Light from the window cuts across his eyes when he sits up--instant karma for something he must have done wrong in a past life, because damn, that *hurts*.
"Lois, window--" he doesn't, can't open his eyes to see, but her heels make sharp sounds as they cross the room, and he listens as the blinds are closed and the curtains dropped down. More heel clicks, then the bed dips with her slight weight, and he opens his eyes as she hands him a bottle.
"You look like shit, Smallville."
Clark can't help but grin. She doesn't look much better. Dark hair in an uncertain chignon, smudges under her eyes, smeared make-up, but her clothes are Metropolis dinner theatre from last night and she's still wearing heels and stockings. The faint smells of stale smoke, wine, and coffee drift around Clark, but the very idea of coffee makes his stomach turn over.
Taking a drink, Clark recognizes the mix.
"Okay, that wasn't an extended hallucination." His finger aches and he feels--different. The same. Strange. No X-ray, even when he squints. His vision isn't twenty-twenty anymore.
That really does suck. He'll need glasses.
"No, it wasn't, kiddo." A gentle hand belies sharp edge of her voice, stroking across his forehead, pushing damp hair aside. "God, you--"
He lifts his hand, staring at the neatly bandaged finger. Lex sent out for things at some point. The idea of Hope carrying medical supplies is far too mindbending to process.
"Human," he whispers, staring at the bandage. He think he can feel his pulse beneath the clean white gauze covering, the hard flow of blood, coagulating, forming a scab for healing-- "Lois--"
"Yeah." Her voice is uncharacteristically gentle, followed by another long, tender stroke. "I'm--" Her voice breaks briefly, and Clark turns his gaze, meeting dark eyes that stare straight into him. "I'm happy for you, Clark."
"Do you understand?" he whispers, and her fingers curve down his cheek, resting briefly on his shoulder. Elegant fingers with unmanicured nails, and he covers them with his. She takes a deep breath, letting it out, brow furrowed in thought.
"Maybe." The shrug is pure Lois. "Sometimes. A little?" She shakes her head, pulling away and reaching for the bottle. "Luthor left a list of what to give you for the next couple of days, but he said the worst is over."
"God." Worst hadn't been the vomiting--Clark has vague memories of later bathroom moments even less attractive. "I should have known. He wouldn't miss the chance to see the transition from alien to human for the world."
Lois chuckles and pulls the covers around him, tucking him in. "I'm sure he took extensive notes. Be a good boy and stay in bed. Chloe's bringing my clothes and my laptop, and I already called us both in to the office. Perry's going to kill us, you know."
"You're staying here?"
The twinkle in her eyes makes him grin. "Like you know how to take care of yourself. Please." A slap on his thigh that--wow, that *hurts*, then she stands up, ignoring the creases in expensive silk and the vagaries of smudged mascara. She's still the most beautiful woman he's ever met. "Who told Luthor we were engaged?"
"I was going to ask you the same question." It makes Clark really wonder what the mail staff at The Planet does during downtime. Seriously. The gossip that comes out of there blows his mind. "Has Chloe said something?"
"Probably." She shrugs. "If you're not going to tell her the truth, Clark--"
"Which part? She just thinks I'm sick, right?"
Lois isn't like anyone else, something that still throws him when he thinks about it. She looks *at* him--sees him, he thinks, like no one else ever has.
"I think so." He watches her balance it out in her head, mentally replaying whatever recent conversation they'd had, looking for clues. "We'll worry about that later. Drink up."
Looking at the bottle, Clark takes another drink, wincing at the feel of the liquid in the raw spots in his throat.
"Anything interesting happen while I was gone?"
Lois leans into the side of the bed, head tilted in thought.
"Yes. Chloe's got a new boyfriend, your mom called and asked where you were, and my mother sent me another email regarding my love life. In other words, nothing new to report." Her pause makes Clark look up--dark eyes are fixed on the floor. Her mouth twitches with a completely indefinable emotion. "What happened last night?"
"I was sick. I was--" When she looks up, the sparkle makes him choke. "You have a filthy mind."
"Mmm." Sitting at the foot of the bed, she draws a knee to her chest, giving him a long, extraordinarily knowing look. "Let me see if I can remember--oh yes. 'No, Lois, we just were in Smallville at the same time.' 'No Lois, we were just friends.' 'Lois, it was a long time ago and we haven't spoken in *years*.' 'Lois, we never had a relationship like *that*--'"
He's in hell.
"It's all true." Amazing, how good her memory is. Makes him curious if was around Smallville during the meteor shower. That's got to be some kind of mutation.
"Uh huh. So you always snuggle with your nemesis on off-nights?" Oh God, she's enjoying this too much. Snuggle--
Jesus. "You--er, came up here?" Would Lex have *let* her up here when he was still….
She smiles sweetly. "Just in time to watch the very untouchable Mr. Luthor pry you off before he left."
Yes, this is hell.
Burying his head in the pillow, Clark tries to think of calming things. Like holes that open up under you when you're backed into a horrible, horrible corner of hell. The bed shifts nauseatingly, and then Lois is stretched out beside him, indifferent to what has to be a thousand dollar dress, head rested on one hand, and she's far, far too happy.
"Luthor Found In Flagrante Delicto With Daily Planet Reporter." It never stops amazing him how she can make her voice sound like a Daily Planet headline. "At six this morning, Alexander Luthor, CEO of LexCorp and current candidate for state senator, was observed leaving the premises of one Clark Jerome Kent, reporter for the Daily Planet. Sources report he spent the night."
"Bitch," he murmurs into cheap cotton.
"Mr. Luthor, currently in the middle of *divorce proceedings*, has no comment on his hitherto unknown relationship with reporter Clark Kent." One beautiful hand slides out into a fist, resting just below his mouth. "Any comments, Mr. Kent?"
"You're so going to hell. You know this, right?" In a just world, there would be payback. Something.
"Oh. This is new?" Her laugh is gorgeous--like cut crystal, tinkling around them both. "Really, Clark, you know I wouldn't be jealous--we could compare stories--"
"--you're so dead." How can he hide the body?
"After all, it's not like we often sleep with the same people--"
"Nothing happened!" Though snuggling, in Lexian terms, might be up there with a declaration of intent. Or something. He's trying not to think about that part.
"Are you naked, Kent?" And boom, blankets pulled up before Clark can remember how hands work. So embarrassing. So, so embarrassing. She looks at the boxers in disappointment. "Well, that's disappointing."
Clark lifts his head enough to glare at her. "I hate you."
"I hate you, too." Smiling sweetly, she gets up on both elbows, obviously thinking about something else now. "Perry called before the benefit dinner last night. Before you decided to change species, did you happen to check with the Fortress about meteor showers?"
"What?" He hadn't really done much but brood and then do it. The Fortress was like that.
Lois waves a hand, frowning in concentration. "Nothing important, really. Just a spectacular meteor shower is apparently coming up. NASA is still gauging the size--those new laser whatevers that LexCorp's been working on might be called into action if they're large enough." Turning her head, she must catch the expression on his face. "Oh, is it time for a Clark Kent Brooding Guilt Trip? Don't let me stop you."
Guilt, yeah. He hadn't even checked. Blinking, Clark rolls on his back, staring at the ceiling. Meteors.
"You know, humanity's survived a long time before you were around and will be around whether or not you're in tights." The uncharacteristically gentle voice makes Clark blink. "Far be it from me to say Luthor has any redeeming qualities, but he's been fighting you so long he really has jumped defensive capabilities of the planet in a really big way. NASA's not worried, and you shouldn't be either."
"I could stop it."
"And take away our light show? Drink." Reaching over him, she takes the bottle, forgotten against his hip, and shoves it into his hand. "You have to finish three of these, Luthor said."
The novelty of Lois using Lex as a reason is enough to make his eyebrows jump, but he takes a drink, feeling the faint cramps in his stomach settling again.
The dark eyes fix on him with impossible strength.
"I was wrong, Clark," she says, slowly, like she's testing out the words. "I do understand."
"Can you?" Sometimes, he wonders if anyone can. His parents do and don't--but then, they're a little blind. They want him happy, that's all. Parents are like that. In the final balance, racking it up in his head, Clark's not sure anymore. Not that he was sure before, but--
"Completely? No. I never wore the tights." A thoughtful look creases her forehead before she sits up, crawling over him to land neat as a cat on the floor, heels and all. "But I can tell you this, Superman. I never wanted to, either."
Clark frowns at the name. "I'm not Superman anymore."
Lois cocks her head. "I didn't know a change in DNA changed the person inside the skin." Her pause hits him like a truck. She's really far too good at this. "Get some rest, Smallville. I'll make breakfast and download the NASA data for you to look over. You're the one with the family history in advanced astrophysics, after all." A flicker of her skirt, and she disappears out the door.
Of course, she can't leave it at that.
"By the way, before you nap, maybe you should see something."
Clark opens his eyes, frowning a little as she leans into the door.
Oh, this is going to suck. Lois in playful mode was dangerous when he was *invulnerable*. Getting to his feet unsteadily, he's pleased to note that vomit does not appear instantly and the walls do not move. Much. It's a long, long walk across the room, but Lois doesn't move, and the smile stretches into a smirk that she had to have picked up from Lex.
Leaning into the doorway, Clark stares into his living room, blinking. Tulips, roses, sunflowers, things he can't even name anymore, a riot of colors and scents that hit him like a brick. *Everywhere*. Coffee table, beside the couch, *on* the couch, the floor, the dining room table, the kitchen--how can anyone *walk* in here? Slowly, he pushes himself fully upright, staring at the vases that litter the room, vaguely trying to bring it together.
Is this what an armistice feels like?
"I forgot," Lois says smoothly as she picks her way to the kitchen like she's walking a Metropolis ballroom, not a misstep in sight. "Your mom also asked why Luthor cleaned out her greenhouse."
He's going to kill Lois.
*throws streamers, rings bells, generally scares people* I am so damn merry