Title: Cow Emergency Author: Muffle_Me Archive: Sure, just tell me where Rating: PG-13 Category: Humor Spoilers: None Disclaimer: Clark? Not mine. Chloe? Not mine. Pete? Not mine. Lana? So not mine. Lex? Despite the smutty little fingerprints I leave on him in my dreams, also not mine. No infringement intended to the fine folks at DC Comics, Millar-Gough, WB, etc.
Clark, Chloe, Lana, and Pete were settling into Lex's entertainment room, waiting for their host to arrive before starting the movie, when Clark heard it. The high-pitched screeching sound that issued from the key and other Kryptonian artifacts sliced through the girls' happy chatter. Clark pressed his hands to his ears, trying to muffle the sound, but it didn't work. Damned non-lead lined hands! The noise was grating and alluring at the same time.
Clark stumbled to his feet, still holding his head.
"Clark, what's up?" Pete asked, drawing Lana and Chloe's attention.
Clark looked at Pete helplessly. "Got to-go," he muttered, staggering out of the room and leaving silence behind.
Lex entered only a second after Clark left. He should have seen Clark in the hallway, but he looked around the room and asked, "Where's Clark? I thought he was coming with you." Then, seeing the stunned looks on their faces, realized what must happened. Lex rushed to cover his mistake.
"Actually, I think I saw him heading toward the kitchen-"
At the same time that Pete fumbled his explanation "-went to the bathroom-"
And Chloe offered a hurried "-ran to get something from the car-"
And Lana mumbled "-cow emergency."
They all turned as one to stare at Lana disbelievingly.
"Cow emergency?" Chloe repeated incredulously.
Lana buried her head in her arms. "God, I suck at lying."
"Clark sucks at lying," Chloe corrected snarkily. "You suck with a force that suddenly makes me understand why you're so popular with the boys in Smallville."
Lana's head shot up, outraged. "Chloe!"
Chloe looked thoughtful. "And possibly some of the girls."
"Cow emergency?" Chloe scoffed. "Come on."
"Clark used that excuse with me once," Lana muttered.
"It wasn't any worse than Pete's," Lana said in self-defense.
Everyone turned to look at Pete, who shrugged ruefully. "Yeah, I figured if it took him longer than ten minutes or so to get back here, it wouldn't look good for him."
Lex bit his lip to stop from laughing, but Chloe didn't bother. Lana just looked confused. Lex thought it best to take control of the situation.
"So I'm going to assume that we all know Clark's secret," he said, shoving his hands into the pockets of his black pants and moving into the room.
"I didn't know any of you knew," Pete said, his shoulders sagging with relief.
"Kinda hard not to," Chloe said.
They turned to look at Lex, who raised his eyebrows. "He is a really bad liar."
Pete nodded. "But he doesn't know you know, right?"
They all shook their heads.
"And just to clarify, what is it you think you know about Clark?"
Four pairs of eyes measured each other warily. Finally, Chloe sighed.
"Alien," Lex agreed.
Lana looked surprised. "I just thought he was a meteor mutant. I mean, they're always following me around, and Clark . . . hmm. Alien, huh?"
"Meteor shower. Ship. Clark," Pete explained in short hand.
"Wow," Lana said. "Fourteen years. You'd think he'd have better excuses than cow emergency."
"Maybe he tailors them to his audience," Chloe suggested blandly.
Lex spoke before Lana could decide whether she was being insulted. "I think you're giving him too much credit. My personal favorite was adrenaline."
Pete laughed. "He told me once that I imagined him pushing a boulder of the way."
Chloe sighed. "Or the ever useful I don't know followed by an awkward and squirmy silence."
"He really needs better material," Lex decided.
Chloe looked thoughtful. "He really does. Maybe we could help."
Lex opened a bottle of Tynant and took a sip. "What do you mean?"
Chloe didn't answer, her eyes dazed and focused on Lex's mouth. "Chloe?"
She blinked and tore her eyes away from Lex and the blue bottle. "Um . . . what?"
Lex looked concerned. "What did you mean when you said we could help?"
"Right. That." Chloe cleared her throat and looked around the room. "Well, he obviously needs help coming up with excuses for his inexplicable exits. And we're four-" her eyes fell on Lana before moving on "-reasonably intelligent people. We should be able to come up with some all-purpose excuses that don't include bathrooms or cows. In the spirit of friendship, I mean. And interstellar harmony."
Lex nodded thoughtfully. "So am I to take it that this is the first official meeting of the Cow Emergency Club, Smallville Chapter?"
"I am never going to live that down," Lana muttered.
"Cheer up, Lana," Pete said bracingly. "It's the reason we've all agreed that Clark needs our help."
"Wasn't even my excuse," Lana pouted under her breath. "Clark said it first. I was just repeating it." She narrowed her eyes. "And those words will never be spoken by anyone in this room again."
Everyone ignored her.
"You know, Pete," Chloe offered, "I knew Clark needed our help long before the lame-" She stopped at the whining noise Lana made in her throat. "-uh, bovine crisis excuse."
"Clark is going to pay," Lana whispered direly. Well, as direly as anyone wearing a pink headband that exactly matched her pink eye shadow could.
There was a sudden whoosh of displaced air outside the entertainment room, followed immediately by Clark's reappearance in the doorway. They all rolled their eyes, Lana so hard that she actually gave herself a small headache.
"Um, hi, guys," Clark said, pushing his hands into the back pockets of his jeans. "I'm sorry I ducked out just when the movie was about to start. I, uh . . ."
Lana rose to her feet and crossed to Clark, her hand coming to rest on his arm. She looked into his eyes, her own drenched with concern, and said sweetly, "It wasn't another cow emergency, was it, Clark?"
Clark's eyes raced around the room. Lana might have bought that excuse - one of his lamest ever, which made him really question her intelligence - but no one else in the room would. Luckily, they were all distracted. Pete and Chloe had their backs turned, and their shoulders were shaking like they were sharing a private joke. Lex was leaning against the sofa, drinking from his Tynant bottle and apparently lost in thought.
Clark thought he heard Chloe whimper, but couldn't be sure.
Relieved, he turned back to Lana. "It was, but it's all taken care of now." He raised his voice to draw his friends' attention. "Are we going to watch a movie or what?"
Chloe turned a beaming smile on Clark and Lana. "How about Dumb and Dumberer?"
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