Barbara (htbthomas) wrote,

Birthday Fic: In Vino Veritas, 1/1

Title: In Vino Veritas
Author: htbthomas
Fandom: Smallville, episode tag for 7.18 “Apocalypse,” with a hint of the Season 8 sides.
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1,034 words
Beta: mark_clark
Summary: Lois takes Clark out for drinks to get his mind off his troubles. But Lois can’t get her mind off of something else…
Author’s Note: A birthday fic for ancarett. Beyond her prompt, inspiration for this comes from a request by bop_radar and a nudge from svgurl. ♥

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“C’mon, Clark,” Lois said, smacking her empty shot glass down on the countertop. “It’s a bar. You’ve got to order more than a coke.”

“Says who?”

Clark played with the small red stirring straw, making the ice tinkle gently against the sides of the glass. He had been distracted since they first arrived a half hour ago.

Lois caught the bartender’s eye and gestured with two fingers for another round before giving Clark a flat stare. “Says who…? Hell, everyone says, Smallville. They don’t call it ‘drowning your sorrows’ for nothing.”

“I guess I’m not much of a drinker.” Clark pushed at his glass idly, watching the condensation smear across the black surface as the glass moved.

“Another tequila,” the bartender announced as he set another shot in front of her. “Anything else?”

“Yeah, Randy. Get my friend here…” Lois turned and gave Clark a once over. He sat on the bar stool beside her, eyes lost in the bubbles in his drink. “…a beer. Whatever’s on tap. Surprise us.” Randy nodded and moved down the bar to fill her order.

Clark made a face without turning his head.

“What? You look like the beer type. Do you want me to change it to a nice dry sherry instead?”

A slow grin turned up the corners of his mouth and he finally looked at Lois. “Beer it is.”

Finally, a smile. Lois grinned back, an odd feeling coming over her. Dammit, when he turned that smile on a girl, it was hard to resist. Lois raised her glass to him, and knocked back another shot.

Lois had brought him here to cheer him up, to try to get him out of his funk. He had been worrying so much about all this mess with Lana – actually, when she thought about it, most of the four years she’d known Clark, he’d been dealing with one mess or another with Lana. He deserved a night out, to forget about his troubles.

Randy set the beer mug in front of him, and Clark took a long, slow draught of his beer.

“Feel any better?” she asked with a nudge of her elbow.

“Strangely enough…? Yes.” Clark nudged her back gently. “Thanks for dragging me here. I needed it.”

“Hey, like I said, you’ve been there for me…”

Clark gave her a shrug and a small smile. Lois returned it, but as he looked away, they lapsed into silence.

It was strange. Usually Lois was eager to fill any silence with conversation, even just the sound of her own voice. But here, with the sound of 80s metal blaring from the jukebox in one corner, a baseball game on the television in the other, and bursts of laughter from all over the bar… it didn’t seem necessary.

Instead they sat side by side at the counter, Clark lost in thought, staring at nothing…

And Lois, staring at Clark.

He was an odd person, really. When they met four years ago, she’d dismissed him as a simple farm boy. Nice to look at, well-mannered, great parents. But after getting to know him better, she realized there was a lot more to Clark Kent than met the eye. And every once in a while she got a peek under those layers.

He seemed to be the epicenter of most of the bizarre events in Smallville. And to be truthful, most of the bizarre events in Metropolis, too. At first, she figured it all for some weird coincidence. Smallville, Kansas had the monopoly on weird. The more strange things happened, the more she started to file them away in her mental ‘Clark’ file – to be reexamined later. The only reason she hadn’t looked into his life more was the fact that Chloe seemed to trust him wholeheartedly. And anyone Chloe trusted, Lois trusted.

But still… there was something intriguing about him, something she couldn’t quite put her finger on. Lois tilted her head, eyebrows knitting together in thought…

Clark suddenly turned to look at her again, startling her with his vibrant green eyes. Those eyes crinkled in amusement at catching her staring at him. “What?”

She felt a rush of embarrassment, one she would never have felt if she had been caught staring at Jimmy or Lex, for instance. “Nothing,” she covered smoothly. At least she hoped it was smooth. Clark was too good at getting her off-balance. “Just thinking about all the stuff you’ve gone through in the last few years. Sometimes you look like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, you know?”

“Sometimes I feel like I am.” For just a moment, his face filled with an inexplicable sadness.

Clark suddenly swigged back the last of his beer and stood up. “I’m going to get back to that research. Thanks for the beer.”

“Yeah, anytime you wanna knock back a few, I’m here for ya,” she returned with a smirk.

Clark put an arm around her shoulders and squeezed. “No really, Lois. You say you’re no good at this, but you’re a great friend.” He pulled away and gave her one of his sincere smiles, the one that probably made Lana and Chloe weak in the knees. It didn’t affect Lois that way at all. Of course, she was still sitting down.

With a wave, he turned away from her and left the bar.

She hadn’t realized that she had been staring distractedly at the exit until she felt a presence by her shoulder some minutes later. “Another shot?” Randy asked.

“No, I’m fine, thanks.”

What was she doing? Clark had a girlfriend, for God’s sake. A girlfriend in a coma. And he was her cousin’s best friend, even though she said she didn’t care for him in that way anymore. And he was… well, he was Smallville!

A new tune had started up on the jukebox, and she began to hum it before realizing what it was…

Is this love that I'm feeling
Is this the love that I've been searching for…

Not Whitesnake again… She swiveled toward the bartender with a jerk. “Hey, Randy? I changed my mind.”

“What can I get you?”

“Whiskey on the rocks. And make it a double.”

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Tags: birthday fic, fanfiction, smallville

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