Rowr, said Boots.
Title: Rowr, said Boots.
Rating: PG-13. If that.
Summary: Clark needs advice. Boots the cat doesn't help.
Distribution: Anywhere, just ask.
Disclaimer: No mine, no suing please!
Dedications: To everyone who sent feedback on the first part of this series, Way Too Much.
"Yeah!" shouted Clark, one arm flung over his face.
"It's time to get up, son! Chores! Clark!"
"I'm coming!" Clark lifted his head reluctantly and came face to face with Boots, one of the barn cats.
"You're not supposed to be in here." Clark told her.
"Rowr." Said Boots.
Clark sat up, moving a disgruntled Boots onto the floor. Weird. His head...hurt? That wasn't good. He pushed his hair out of his eyes and stretched.
When his arms were fully extended above his head, he froze. His hands dropped heavily to his sides.
"Oh, my god."
"Clark? Honey, what're you doing?"
Clark stopped x-raying the bale of hay and turned to face his mother.
"I was just checking for meteor rocks." He said, frowning.
"Why? Are you sick?" Martha reached up and placed her hand on Clark's forehead.
"I don't know," he replied. "My...it's not like I feel sick, exactly, more...I don't know. My eyes feel really dry, and my head's kinda....muzzy." He yawned again, covering his mouth.
"Anything else?" Martha had a weird look on her face, like she was trying not to smile.
"Well...I haven't felt this tired since I lost my gifts. And I've brushed my teeth like six times, but my mouth still tastes like the barn floor." Clark gaped at his mother when she started to laugh.
"Mom! You're supposed to be all concerned and...mommish." He finished, for want of a better word.
"Clark, congratulations." His Dad's voice was deep and amused as he came to stand by Martha. Putting one arm around her, he clapped his free hand on Clark's shoulder. "Welcome to your first hangover."
"Hangover?" Clark was outraged. "I'm bulletproof, for crying out loud! How can I have a hangover?"
Too late, he realised his mistake.
"Ah hah!" his Mom grinned triumphantly. " I knew you were drunk!"
"I wasn't!" Clark backtracked. "I was tired!"
"Uh huh." Jonathon looked slightly more serious. "That's what you said last night. Except with fewer vowels."
Clark traced a smile on the floor with his toe.
"I only had a few beers." He muttered, drawing two eyes above it.
"How many is a few?"
"I don't know." He added hair. "Five, maybe?"
He looked up. His parents looked back.
"Well, okay. Maybe more like...six?"
Jonathon raised an eyebrow.
"Ten." Clark amended, bracing himself.
"Ten? Clark, you've never had alcohol before! How could you be so reckless?" Martha's eyes were wide.
"Well I'm okay aren't I?" He looked at his Dad defiantly. "I've known you to drink more!"
Jonathon folded his arms.
"I have had years of practice. I am not six years under the legal drinking age. And I-" He stopped.
"You what?" Clark knew what his Dad was going to say.
"I knew how it would affect me. Clark, there's still so much we don't know about your...your physiology."
"I hate it when you do this." He grumbled.
"Do what?" His parents spoke in unison.
"Be right." Clark tried a small smile.
It worked. Clark could see them both relax.
"We just worry, son." Jonathon shook his head and strode out to the yard.
"I know." Clark called after him.
"You know," said Martha as she went to follow, "You're lucky you do have powers."
Clark raised his eyebrows.
"The first time your Dad had ten beers, he spent two days with his head in the toilet." She winked.
"By the way," Clark turned at his Mom's voice. She was standing in the doorway. "How did the beer affect you?"
"Um." Clark looked down. The floor grinned back up at him. "Same way it affects everyone else, I guess. No big deal."
Martha nodded, a funny little smile on her face as she turned to walk back to the house.
Clark stared at the face he's drawn.
"You made out with Chloe! You made out with Chloe! You made out with Chloe and she threw up right after!" The face sang, in his head.
"Oh, yeah. I'm the studly." sighed Clark as Boots padded in. She sat down to wash, her movements scrubbing out the marks in the dust. "I have a lot of gifts." He told her. She blinked at him expectantly. "But I can do without the power to make girls yark by kissing them."
"Rowr." Said Boots.
"That's great." Said Clark. "Thanks."
Boots ignored him.
"So." Said Jonathon, passing Clark a bowl of potatoes. "What are your plans for this evening, Clark?"
Clark emptied the bowl onto his plate.
"I don't know. Thought maybe I'd drop by and see Lex." He handed the empty bowl to his Mom, ignoring her pointed glance at the amount of food he'd taken.
"Well, if you're stuck for something to do, I hear there's this great new liquor store in town." Clark rolled his eyes. His Dad went on, "Maybe you could hang around outside. Pay somebody to get you a bottle of vodka."
"Why would I do that?" Replied Clark. "I can get it at Lex's for free."
He winced at his Mom's tone.
"Sorry." He said to his meatloaf.
"Clark, I'm not going to tell you not to drink." Jonathon chewed a mouthful before continuing. "But ten beers is a lot. And I worry that it didn't affect you as much as..."
"As much as it affects you?" He grinned conspiratorially at Martha, who frowned unconvincingly.
"Very funny. As much as it would affect any other boy your age. You're lucky you weren't wishing for death this morning, as I'm sure many of your classmates were."
"Don't be so sure." Mumbled Clark.
"Sure." He shoveled a small mountain of food into his mouth.
"But that doesn't mean it's okay for you to drink that much. It's not only illegal, it's not healthy, I don't care how strong your liver is. Just...try to restrict yourself in future, okay?" Jonathon looked at his wife, who nodded approvingly. Clark wondered when they'd had time to rehearse this.
"Don't worry, guys." Clark drank his milk, earning another disapproving look from Martha when he wiped his mouth on his sleeve. "I'm done with the drunk thing. For a while, anyway." He added, just to see the look on his Dad's face.
They ate in companionable silence for a while. Then,
"Did Pete have a good time last night?" Martha served Clark a piece of pie, approximately the size of a football field.
"Yeah." Clark grinned suddenly. "I didn't see him much. He spent the whole time chasing after this girl in a mini skirt."
"Ah, the Rosses. Always the ladies' men." Jonathon winked, digging into his pie.
"Ew." Said Clark. "I don't want to know." He lifted his glass.
"And what about Chloe? Clark!" Martha grabbed a paper towel and began cleaning up the milk that Clark
had just snorted onto the table.
"Sorry." He said, in a strangled voice. "Went down the wrong way."
He coughed and spluttered for about a minute, until Jonathon took pity and came around to thump his back.
"Woah." Said Clark, breathing deeply. "Thanks."
"So?" Martha said.
"What? Oh! Um...yeah. I think she had a good time. I mean, she seemed to...enjoy herself. She was pretty sick at the end, though." Clark looked up at his parents, who were exchanging worried looks.
"What? Don't worry about it. I took her home."
"You took her home." His Dad's voice had an edge to it.
"Yeah. Mr. Sullivan got up when he heard us come in. I had to carry her to her bedroom." Clark thought for a minute. "He seemed kinda mad."
"Oh, god." His Mom buried her head in her hands. "Oh, Clark."
"What? It's not like I got her drunk - oh." He sat back in his chair as the realization hit him.
"Let me get this straight. You show up, drunk. Carrying Chloe. Drunk. And you're in his house, in the middle of the night, heading for his only daughter's bedroom." Jonathon had one hand over his eyes.
"Yeah." Clark looked from one of his parents to the other. His Mom stood up and handed the phone to Jonathon.
"This is going to be fun." She said, sitting back down.
They hadn't let him speak to Chloe. Later, sitting in his loft with his telescope set out for cleaning, Clark felt guilty for being so relieved. He picked up a lens and squinted at it, rubbing at the surface with a soft cloth.
He felt a soft pressure against his leg and looked down. Boots butted her head against his shin.
"Hey, girl." He picked up the furry bundle and held her to his chest, letting her nuzzle against his chin. She pushed her head under his hand and he scratched between her eyes.
"Purrr." Said Boots.
"It's not fair." Whined Clark. "Your life is simple. Sleep, eat. Wash. Eat some more." He pursed his lips and looked at her face. "You wanna swop?"
Big eyes blinked at him.
"Purrr." Said Boots.
"Yeah." Clark heaved his tenth sigh in as many minutes and looked out of the window. "You said that already."
"I have to worry about the state of your social life if you're engaging in meaningful conversation with quadrupeds."
"Hey, Lex." Clark grinned ruefully and motioned to the couch. "Sit down."
"Thanks." Lex looked dubiously at the sofa in question. Clark could practically see him restraining the urge to brush it down with his hands first. He grinned.
"It's dust, Lex. Welcome to a barn."
Lex raised an eyebrow and sat down rather defiantly. But then, Lex made breathing look defiant, Clark mused.
"It's Armani, Clark." Lex shot back. "Welcome to my dry cleaning bill."
"Like you don't have about a billion suits." He put Boots on the floor and crossed the room to join Lex. Boots trotted after him.
"So." Lex said when Clark was settled. "How were last nights festivities?"
"Um...okay I guess." He shot Lex a look from under his eyelashes. "I got drunk."
Lex was quite clearly suppressing a smile.
"What?" Clark felt rather indignant. "I did!"
"I have no doubt that you set new standards for teenage debauchery, Clark." Lex flashed him a grin, which faded when Boots leapt nimbly onto the sofa between them.
"Purrr." She told Lex.
"She's just a kitty, Lex. She likes you." Clark said, watching Lex's face with amusement.
Boots, completely unimpressed with Lex's outfit, clambered onto his lap and placed her paws on his chest.
"Rowr." She stated, kneading Lex's shirt.
Lex turned horrified eyes on Clark.
Clark pulled Boots onto his own lap, unhooking her claws from Lex's clothes.
"Oh, God, sorry Lex. Did she ruin your shirt? Boots!"
"Just a kitty," Said Lex in measured tones, "Who has just covered my clothes in holes and fur. Why is it every time I see you my stuff gets ruined?"
"Lex, really, I'm so-"
"Clark. Forget it. It's a shirt. And I do, as you say, have about a billion of them."
Clark relaxed. Sill felt guilty. Tried not to.
"So." Lex continued. "Tell me about your first brush with our friends the hops."
"How do you know it was my fi-" But Lex cut him off.
"You're Clark Kent. Stop stalling and tell me."
Note to self, thought Clark. Lex knows you scarily well.
"I...um. I made out with Chloe." He felt himself blushing and hid his face in Boots' coat.
"You." Lex went very still. "You.....Chloe?"
"I see." And Lex was...surprised? Lex was never surprised. Yay, me, cheered Clark inwardly.
"Well, I have to say. Miss Sullivan does strike me as being of more substance than the admittedly lovely Miss Lang." Lex looked expectantly at Clark.
Clark closed his eyes.
"Lex, what am I going to do? I was drunk and so was she and she was wearing this...this thing that really left very little to the imagination and it was my idea to go upstairs so I can't even blame her! And we...we kissed and, and, y'know, and it was...it was great!"
Lex raised an eyebrow.
"And this upsets you because..."
"Because she's Chloe!" Clark had a horrible feeling he'd wailed that last part. "She's my friend, and I was drunk, and I took her home and her Dad caught me putting her to bed and oh, god." Clark took a breath and looked hard at his knee. "Lex. Lex, she threw up right after. I made her throw up!"
Lex threw back his head and roared with laughter. Or, what Clark thought was probably the Luthor version of roaring. Great, he thought. Laughed at by his Mom and his best friend in the space of one day.
"Clark..." Lex was momentarily cut off by another laugh. He shut his eyes and breathed deeply before meeting Clark's eyes again. "Clark, the beer made her throw up. Not you. I sincerely doubt you have that effect on anybody."
Clark tried to smile.
"She hasn't called." He said miserably.
"Have you called her?" Lex said this as if it was the most obvious thing in the world for Clark to do.
"No!" Said Clark. "Why would I do that?"
"Because you're the guy."
"If Chloe heard you say that, she'd make you sit through her equal opportunities rant." Clark said.
"Nonetheless." Lex said, "It's the way it works. Even Germaine Greer wants the guy to call her.
Especially..." He gave Clark a long, appraising look before continuing. "If the guy is a beautiful but fairly clueless friend of hers, for whom she has long harbored feelings that go beyond aforementioned friendship."
Clark had to make a conscious effort to shut his mouth.
"Chloe....she already....how did you....?" He managed.
Lex's mouth quirked and he stood, brushing off his pants and straightening his shirt as he did so. Clark looked down at his own worn jeans and wrinkled shirt and frowned.
"I have to get back. Call her." Lex threw Clark another grin and jogged lightly down the steps, lifting his hand behind him in response to Clark's goodbye.
Clark heard Lex start his car before looking in complete shock at Boots.
"What does he mean, clueless?!?" He said indignantly.
"Rowr." Said Boots.
To be continued...