Word Count: 1,285 words
Betas: van_el and mark_clark
Summary: Clark asks Lois to help him dress for his first day at the Daily Planet.
Author’s Note: A belated birthday fic for moonshayde. Her prompt: “Lois does something that sparks deeper feelings in Clark.” And I swear I had this idea before the spoiler post I read earlier… :)
“Oh, my God, Smallville…” Lois moaned in disbelief. “I thought you said you improved your wardrobe?”
Clark grimaced, keeping silent. He was starting Monday at the Daily Planet. Perry White, the new editor, had hired him on the spot. He had claimed to be impressed with the freelance work Clark had done while traveling the world the last three years. Clark secretly wondered if he remembered the kid who had saved him years ago in Smallville. If he had, he was keeping mum.
There was one condition to working there, though… he would be partnered with Lois Lane.
Lois pushed aside shirt after shirt, making noises of disgust. She lifted out a brown corduroy jacket with flannel lining. “Are you serious?” she murmured under her breath. Removing it from the hanger, she tossed the jacket to the floor, adding aloud, “Most of this stuff has to go.”
“Lois!” He shifted the heavy frames of his glasses in agitation. “Is that really necessary?”
Lois had seemed pleased to see him, even impressed that he had landed a job in the newsroom instead of the basement. But when Lois had found out she would be partnered with him… She had taken one look at his oversized suit coat and baggy pants, and rolled her eyes. “I guess you can take the boy out of the farm—”
He’d cut her off, suggesting that maybe she could help him pick out something to wear on the first day – which he was starting to regret.
“If Perry is going to team me with you, you need to learn how to dress – I mean, c’mon – baggy suits and sweaters?” She threw a couple of striped shirts on the floor. “And I thought plaid was the worst I'd have to worry about!”
Item after item came out of the closet, interspersed with snarky comments like, “I can see you didn’t get your fashion sense from Martha…” and “You know there are other colors for ties other than red and blue!” Clark could only watch in a growing state of alarm, mixed with a growing urge to kick her out.
When the clothing storm subsided, Lois was left surrounded by piles of “unsuitable” clothes. The closet held exactly two shirts, one pair of pants and four ties. Clark’s eyes widened in incredulity. “I suppose I’ll need to do laundry every night?”
“No, are you kidding? What you’ll need…” She hopped over the pile despite her two inch heels. “…is a whole new wardrobe.”
Some time later, he found himself standing in front of a three-way mirror, Lois fussing over the last bits of his outfit. Lois had definite opinions about what would and would not look good on him. He had found it was better not to argue.
Being led about did give him time to think, however, about whether or not he should continue the “hero” lifestyle. Now that he was back in Metropolis to stay, Ollie and the others had been bugging him about joining them permanently. But how could he continue to do good things and not be found out?
When traveling the world, he could help with a crisis, save someone’s life, and then move on. Here, he’d have to wear some sort of costume, put on a mask… but Clark couldn’t imagine doing that. As much as people were grateful for help, they also felt a touch of fear when seeing a mask or hood. He experienced it first hand when he had pretended to be Green Arrow. For all of Lois’ bravery that night, her heart had been racing a million miles an hour.
He had started to wear a pair of heavy glasses off and on for the last month, trying them out. He’d remove them for a rescue, and leave as quickly as possible. And maybe it would work, Lois hadn’t even remarked once about the glasses since their little reunion yesterday. But there was something missing – he had a feeling he was getting close to the answer…
“There.” Lois stepped back and admired her creation. “Now you look like Lois Lane’s partner.”
Clark drew out of his thoughts and focused on the mirror. He looked so… professional. She’d picked out a dark gray suit and vest combo, with a crisp white shirt and deep green tie. The jacket fit snugly but with pleasing lines. He couldn’t believe what a good job she had done. “This is a nice suit.”
“Nice?” Lois smiled in admiration. “It’s a damn sight more than that. It’s fabulous.” She brought her hand up to her chin, frowning slightly. “But I think we need to make just one more adjustment.”
Without warning, she reached up to pluck his glasses from his face. As she touched the earpiece, Clark reached up quickly, but not too quickly, to capture her wrist between his fingers.
“What?” Lois tilted her head, frowning slightly. She didn’t pull her wrist away or let go of his glasses, seeming completely unfazed by the contact. “Did you think I was going to make you ditch the glasses?”
“Weren’t you?” he responded cautiously.
“No…” she said with a mild smirk. “I like guys with glasses. Makes them look hot.”
Clark averted his eyes from Lois’, suddenly embarrassed, though he wasn’t sure why.
“But these…” She gently twisted her wrist to break away from his fingers, and he let her slip free. She placed her hands in a pseudo-frame in the air in front of his eyes. “They don’t really flatter your face.”
That’s kind of the point! he thought with a touch of exasperation. But Lois went on before he could protest.
“These frames are sort of… ‘cartoonish.’ I mean, they’re so big they almost take up half of your face! Whereas, these…” She reached into a bag on the floor beside the mirror and pulled out a set of frames – had she gone to get these while he was in the dressing room? – and then held them up for his inspection.
They were thin and brown, with much smaller lenses than the glasses he had on now. “I don’t know…”
“C’mon, Smallville. Don’t you trust me?”
Seeing her standing there, a confident smile lighting her eyes, touched some little part of him deep inside. She had completely taken charge today… and he had to admit that he kinda liked it. He removed the large, black frames in surrender.
Lois slipped the new frames over his ears and stepped back to admire her final touch. “There. Perfect.”
Clark looked at his reflection. The man staring back at him actually looked like a big city journalist. There was no trace of the boy who used to wear the same two barn jackets in rotation. “Wow.”
“Do you see what I mean? Professional, intelligent-looking...” A devilish grin stole onto her face and she added, “I almost don’t recognize you.”
“Ha ha,” Clark laughed sarcastically, but inwardly he was pleased. She was right. He looked totally different. Who could imagine a man like this lifting two tons of steel over his head? “Seriously, Lois, thank you.”
“No problem, Clark. Any time. In fact, now that we’ve got your professional look down…” She came close to him, leaning in to speak in a low voice. “I’ve seen what Ollie and your other pals wear for their ‘night jobs.’” A chill went down his spine as she leaned even closer, speaking in almost a whisper. “If you ever need someone to help you with yours…”
Lois pulled away with an enigmatic look, leaving him slack-jawed in shock. She gathered up the clothes she’d selected and walked toward the register, throwing over her shoulder, “…I’ve got a few ideas.”
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