Season 7 (minor spoilers for "Cure")
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Superman on a aeroplane
Sitting next to Lois Lane
You got that woman but you want her gone
So you can sleep with a teenage blonde
"Don't talk my ear off, Smallville. I'm working."
Clark Kent glared at the brunette next to him, whose attention was fixed on her laptop. "I said hi," he retorted, settling uncomfortably into a seat that seemed much too small for a six foot three guy. "That's all. And you're not working, anyway. You're playing Tetris."
"I'm warming up my computer. And I know you. You'll talk the whole damn flight, and then I won't get anything done."
He looked at her, seeing that she was clad in her usual outfit of blue jeans and tank top, her long brown hair pulled back in a ponytail. Her look didn't exactly scream reporter for Metropolis' greatest newspaper. "You don't get anything done anyway. You're lucky you found a boss who'll pay you for playing video games."
"Harsh, Kent." She clicked rapidly. "Good thing you're going to visit your mom. Martha can usually get you out of these moods."
He sighed. He was a little aggravated because he'd wound up spending several hundred dollars on a plane ticket he didn't need, considering he could run to Washington in about five seconds. But sometimes he had to indulge in a little protective camouflage, and this had been one of those times. Lois had been sent on assignment to Washington, DC, and had suggested he ought to come along to visit his mom, who was a senator. And despite his best efforts, he hadn't been able to wiggle out of it.
"I'm not in a mood," he answered. "You're just pissing me off. But then, you do that every time you open your mouth."
"Yeah, right. You've been in a crappy mood lately, for someone who supposedly has everything he ever wanted."
He lifted his chin, trying to look dignified. "I'm only in a crappy mood around you, Lois. Lana and I are ecstatically happy."
"Riiiight," she drawled. "Which is why I keep finding you at the apartment, hanging out with Chloe."
"Chloe's my best friend. We hang out together all the time."
"You used to hang out at the farm instead of the apartment. What happened?" Her voice went sweet and syrupy. "Is Lanacakes jealous?"
"Of course not. Chloe's her friend."
She gave a short laugh. "Her friend, who happens to be really, really close to her boyfriend. Call me crazy, but I don't see Lana as being all that comfortable with you spending every waking moment with Chloe."
"I do not spend every waking mome--"
"Let's see. Yesterday. You showed up at our apartment-- at an ungodly early hour, I might add-- and had coffee with Chlo at the Talon." She didn't look away from her computer screen, but an amused little smile curved the corners of her mouth. "You dropped by the Planet midmorning. Later you came back by and took her to lunch. You stopped by again midafternoon. And then in the evening you guys went to see a movie together. All this, plus I heard her talking to you on the phone like four times during the day."
He shifted in his seat. "She just broke up with Jimmy. She needs some support."
"It's funny, but support looks an awful lot like dating. If I were Lana, I'd be worried."
"Stop it," he growled. "You know I don't feel that way about Chloe."
"I know you say you don't feel that way about Chloe. But when you spend ten hours a day with her, it's kind of hard for me to take you seriously."
"I do not spend ten hours a d--!"
"Shut up, Smallville. I told you not to talk my ear off. Damn it, I knew flying to Washington with you was going to be sheer, unadulterated hell."
He bristled. "It was your idea, Lois. You practically forced me to buy the ticket. The truth is, I have stuff to do. I have a farm to run, and college classes to take. I really don't have time to visit my mom right now."
"Someone needs to get your head on straight, Clarky."
"Do not call me that, damn it. I'm not ten."
"Really? I hadn't noticed."
He gave serious thought to getting up and walking off the plane. It would be worth wasting the price of an airline ticket not to be stuck with her for half a morning. "Just shut up and play Tetris, all right?"
"You know," she said, clicking, "for someone who's ecstatically happy, you've been going around looking like you want to bite the heads off kittens an awful lot."
"Just. Shut. Up."
"When is this stupid plane going to take off, anyway? I'll have to turn off my laptop when we take off, and I don't want to lose my work."
"I'm on level fifteen. That's a lot of work." She flashed a quick glance in his direction. "You know, it looks like we're going to be stuck here for a while. If you want to give Chloe a quick call, we probably have time."
"You're not supposed to use a cell phone on a plane. Anyway, I don't want to call Chloe. Why would I want to call Chloe?"
"Oh, come on, Smallville. You know you're having serious withdrawal pangs already at the thought of not seeing her for three whole days."
"I am not!"
"Three days." She clicked relentlessly. "No coffees together at the Talon. No little visits to the Planet. No falling asleep together on the couch while watching a movie and pretending you didn't mean to put your arms around each other..."
"Lois. You need a mute button."
"I turned the volume down."
"Not for your laptop. For you."
She grinned. "I know what I see, Clark."
"You're crazy. If I'm missing anyone, it's Lana."
"Uh-huh." There was a cynical note in her voice. "When's the last time you and Lana watched a movie together?"
"Exactly my point. You and Lana live together, and yet you hardly spend any time together." She snorted. "But you're not dating Chloe. Of course you're not."
"Focus on your game, Lois. Just pretend I'm not here, okay?"
"I have to start making notes on my story." But she kept clicking away at Tetris, and he frowned at her.
"Why exactly does Grant keep sending you out on assignments, when you never manage to turn out a story he can publish?"
"I'm in the process of learning, Smallville. Grant sees my potential."
"Your potential. Right." He tilted his head, studying her. "What's really going on with you and Grant, anyway?"
For the first time, she turned her head and looked at him directly, and he saw a dangerous gleam in her blue eyes. "If you don't shut up," she said through her teeth, "I'm going to rip out your tongue."
"Nice. You can dish it out, but you can't take it, huh, Lois?"
"There is nothing going on between me and Grant. Nothing." She turned her head back and glared at the computer screen. "He hired me because my writing is awesome. That's all, damn it."
He had the uncomfortable feeling he'd touched on a nerve, and although he didn't mind ruffling her feathers a bit, he didn't want to really hurt her feelings. He hastily backpedaled. "I'm sure it is. It's just the whole going on assignment thing... well, he's never sent Chloe out on assignment. No editor has. And she's been working there two years, so you'd think..."
"It's my writing." She clicked frantically, staring at the computer screen as if it was the most riveting thing she'd ever seen. "He says it's brilliant."
"Uh, yeah." Privately he wondered how "brilliant" it could be if Grant never actually printed one of her stories, but he figured he ought to keep that observation to himself, because he really wanted to keep his tongue. "I'm sure it is, Lois."
The computer screen beeped, and she scowled at it. "Oh, hell, I'm dead." She shut the computer and sat staring at it for a long moment.
"I think Grant wants to sleep with me," she said at last, her voice low.
Clark blinked at her, with no clue how to respond. The last thing he'd expected was for Lois to actually open up to him. Ordinarily she was as tightly closed as a clam shell, at least around him. "Uh," he said. "I mean, has he, uh..."
"He keeps sending me out on these assignments. Nice hotels, limo service, a high per diem, the whole nine yards." She turned her head and looked at him, and the toughness was gone. Her eyes were wide and vulnerable. "And when I'm in the office, he treats me like I'm his star reporter. But I... I haven't even written anything that's worth printing yet."
Clark hesitated, uncertain what to say. "Maybe you're right," he suggested at last. "Maybe he just sees your potential."
"I keep telling myself that, but I know it's stupid. Editors don't send reporters on assignment because of potential, Clark. They send them out because they get the stories. And so far... I haven't." Her voice dropped even lower, to a bare whisper. "Compared to Chloe, I suck. I know it."
"But that doesn't mean that Grant, uh..."
"Oh, for God's sake, do the math, Smallville. He offered me a job before he even knew who I was. He never read my work or anything. He's been buttering me up for a couple of weeks now. And... before I left this time, he said something about going to the beach together when I got back." She gave a long, shaky sigh. "The truth is, he's not interested in my writing. At all."
She bowed her head and looked at the laptop again. He looked at her downbent head.
"So what are you going to do about it?"
"I don't know." Her voice was still very soft, in sharp contrast to her usual shrill tones. "It's a good job, you know? It pays the bills. And more than that, it's like the Holy Grail for reporters, and I... I just lucked into it." She paused, blinking hard. "But if I don't sleep with him, then you and I both know I won't be working for the Planet much longer."
He was silent for a moment, trying to figure out how to respond. Trying to figure out what she needed to hear.
"Sounds like maybe we both need to get our heads on straight," he finally said. "Good thing you got sent on assignment in Washington, isn't it?"
"Yeah." He heard what sounded suspiciously like a sniffle. "Martha always helps me figure things out."
"Lois." He spoke very gently. "I think you've already figured out what you need to do."
"I guess I have." She lifted her head and looked at him. "I think maybe you have, too."
He swallowed. "Yeah. Maybe. But I think you're right. Talking to Mom might help me clear up some stuff in my head. She always helps me make sense of everything."
"Yeah. Martha's good that way." She looked at her laptop and gave a long, tragic sigh. "I guess I won't be needing this any more."
"Lois. Don't give up, okay? You should keep trying."
"I really don't see the point." Her shoulders slumped a bit. "I mean, sure, I'll try to write this story, because I'm going to Washington on the Planet's dime. But you and I both know Grant's not going to print it."
"I'm sorry, Lois."
She shrugged. "You want to know the truth? These past couple of weeks have really opened my eyes. I've discovered I don't like serious journalism all that much, and I'm honestly not very good at it."
"But maybe with practice..."
"Maybe. But I don't care enough to work at it. I keep finding myself playing Tetris instead." She looked up at him, almost shyly. "The thing is, I am good at being an aide. I really liked working for Jonathan and Martha. I think I'm pretty damn good at politics."
"Yeah," he drawled, grinning. "It's because you're so incredibly tactful."
She seemed to welcome the opportunity to put their friendship back on its normal snarky footing. "Shut the hell up, Smallville. I thought... I thought I might ask Martha for my old job back."
"I bet she'd like to have you back," he said.
"I hope so." She leaned her head against the window, looking tired but resolute. "I think it'd be cool to live in Washington. And then you and Chloe can have the Talon apartment all to yourselves."
"I told you, Chloe and I--"
"Oh, come on, Kent. I just got through baring my soul to you. Be honest with me. Be honest with yourself. Right now, who do you really want to call? Chloe or Lana?"
"Chloe," he admitted.
"See, I knew that." She turned her head and frowned at him. "But here's the thing, Smallville. She just got her heart broken by another geek. If you stomp all over the pieces of her heart with your big, ugly workboots, I swear I'm going to come back to Kansas and kick your ass."
"I'm terrified. Really."
"You should be. Treat her right."
He felt a small smile tilt up the corner of his mouth. "I intend to," he said, and meant it.
"Good." She sighed. "Damn it, is this thing ever going to take off?"
"I doubt it. Go back to playing Tetris."
"No." She leaned her head back and closed her eyes. "I think I'm just going to sit here quietly and daydream about a better job. A better life."
He snorted. "You're going to sit quietly, huh? Is this a permanent change or a noble experiment?"
"Shut up, Smallville. Quit running your mouth, and daydream about Chloe."
"Yeah." He leaned his own head back, closed his eyes, and smiled. "I think I'll do that."