Title: Heard on High
Author: Jinni (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, et al. All things Lois and Clark belong to DC and Warner Bros.
Distribution: The normal places.
Notes: Please take note - this is a "Lois and Clark" crossover, not a "Smallville" crossover. I don't watch Smallville and likely never will, whereas Lois and Clark was one of my all time favorite shows.
Summary: Pure fun, really. Willow gets an internship at a newspaper. . .and meets a most interesting reporter.
He was far too sweet for his own good.
Willow looked up, unsurprised to see a steaming cup of coffee right there, only a few inches from her face. So close that she could fee the warm air bubbling from the top of it.
“And to you as well, Willow,” the dark haired reported grinned, setting the cup of coffee down on her small, cramped desk. She reached out, moving it aside before it managed to splash onto the documents beneath it. Research that she’d been up all night trying to get completed –
“Here’s the research on Martin Lowe that you wanted,” she offered him the thick file she had just rescued, fighting the urge to yawn. This internship was a bright spot in her life, she reminded herself silently. She should be happy to be assigned as an intern to the two best investigative reporters in all of Metropolis. Even if it meant being awake until the early hours of the morning trying to make sure that their requested research was complete when they came in for their next work day.
“You’re done? Already?”
Willow raised her eyebrows. “Lois said you needed it this morning.”
“Ah,” Clark frowned – and she would have needed to be blind to miss the roll of his eyes and glare that was shot towards the still empty desk of said investigative journalist. He looked back towards her, and his eyes scanning over a face that she knew looked tired and drawn. That’s what too many late nights did to a girl. She was still young, but not as young as she’d been back in Sunnydale, when she pulled twelve-hour research shifts and only got a couple hours’ sleep a night. “You’ve been here long?”
“No,” she lied, shaking her head.
The red head sighed. “For a few hours, okay?”
Clark shook his head. “Not okay. Go home. Get some rest.”
“I’ve still got some stuff to finish up –“ she gestured at her desk and the stacks of papers that were there, on top of it, just waiting to be completed. Little bits of research she’d been putting off nad now found herself at the deadline to complete. “Sorry.”
The look on his face was enough to warm her heart towards him, even if it hadn’t already been pretty warm. There was just something about the man. Handsome, kind. The type of guy that Buffy would label a prime catch.
“I’m not getting you to go home, am I?” he sighed, frowning down at her.
“Sorry. I know you’ve only known me a week – but its best you learn this right away,” the red head suppressed a giggle and schooled her expression into a look her friends back home would have known all too well. “This is the resolve face. It means you have no hope. Best to just submit and be done with it.”
There was a faint flicker of a smile in the corner of his mouth, and his eyes darkened just a touch. It was enough to make her realize the way in which she’d phrased herself, and a gentle blush spread over her cheeks.
“Fine,” he laughed softly. “Alright – you can stay.”
“Thanks,” she muttered, giving herself another silent curse for asserting herself with such naughty phrasing.
“How about lunch instead?”
He slid the semi-question in so effortlessly that Willow hardly noticed it for a second. And, when she did, she found herself confused.
“So that I can make sure you’re eating right for these late night research sessions.”
There was that blush again, covering her face. Where was that mild mannered reporter she’d heard so much about? He was definitely putting his best foot forward today, in a cunning and . . . .well, sorta sexy, kind of way.
“Okay, sure,” she nodded slowly.
“Sounds good,” he smiled, tapping the folder of research on his hand. “I’d better get back –“
“Yeah,” she nodded, tilting her head towards his desk, moving her eyes back to the work in front of her, though it was hard to concentrate now.A small delighted grin spread across her lips, until it was brightening up her entire face.
Of course, that was when Lois chose to walk in for the morning.
Time to get to work.
“So – you’ve lived here for –“
“A little less than two weeks,” Willow offered, taking a small bite of her sandwich. It was rather good, better than she would have gotten from the deli in the building. “When I got offered the internship it was too good to be true. My first internship – and with a major paper. I packed up and left within a day or two.”
“That must have been hard on your family,” Clark frowned, playing idly with the chips on his plate.
“My family consists of my best friends,” she shrugged it off. It had been too long since she dwelled on the fact that her mother and father no longer had anything to do with her. She refused to let it come to the surface right now, during the first date she’d managed to swing for herself in months. “They. . .understood.”
That was putting it lightly, as most things that involved Sunndayle were wont to do at times. Buffy and Xander had been ecstatic for her. Giles had been proud. They knew that she had to get away from the Hellmouth, that it was slowly taking its toll on her sanity. Sure, they wished she’d gotten an internship closer, but that wasn’t what Fate had dealt her, and she wasn’t about to argue.
Clark smiled. “My parents were like that. They knew that I wasn’t meant for small town life. That I was headed for something . . .bigger.”
He said ‘bigger’ in a way that made Willow pause, chip halfway to her mouth. She’d heard Buffy sound like that once or twice, when referring to her sacred duties. It was half irony, part resignation and a whole dollop of pride. Like he felt as though he were changing the world just by living in it.
Well, maybe that’s how reporters felt. Especially reporters of Clark’s caliber.
“Thanks for lunch.”
“No problem. You think sometime we can maybe do this again – except for dinner?”
Willow blushed, but it faded into a giggle. “Sure.”
“Tonight good for you?”
The red head thought on it for all of a second before answering. “That would be great.”
After all, it wasn’t as if she had any better offers on the table for the evening.
“But . . . Giles. . .” Willow whined, stamping her foot in what she knew was a childish gesture.
“Willow, you know we wouldn’t ask unless –“
“I know, I know,” she sighed. “Okay, I’ll get right on it.”
She hung up the phone without waiting for an answer, going right to her laptop. Why did the much-needed research requests always pop up when she had something else planned?
Okay, right, this was the first time it had happened. But it was also the first time she had plans!
Fate was laughing at her, she was sure.
Powering up the miniscule piece of machinery, she set to work on the latest threat. If she was lucky she could be done in time to still get ready for her date with Clark.
“Goddess damnit all to –“
Clark raised his eyebrows, reaching up to rub at his ear. That certainly wasn’t the kind of language that he usually heard when picking a girl up for a first date. Nor the frantic sound of scampering on a hard wood floor, as if she wasn’t ready. He pasted a welcoming smile on his face as the door opened, all too aware that any ‘normal’ guy would never have heard her half-muttered exclamations.
”Hey!” she was slightly out of breath as the door swung open. “I’m still getting ready, sorry. Something came up at the last minute –“
“Do you need to cancel?” he felt a wash of disappointment surge through him.
“No, no,” Willow shook her head. “Just need to finish getting ready and make a quick call – come in?”
He accepted the invitation, closing the door behind him as she ran off towards the back of the apartment.
“I’ll be right out,” she called from what he assumed was the bedroom. “Make yourself comfortable.”
Clark grinned, shaking his head, and moved further into the room. The apartment still lacked that overall feeling of ‘home’ to it, he decided almost immediately. It was something that a place gained from being lived in for a while, and he wasn’t surprised that the apartment was found lacking in that area, seeing as how Willow hadn’t even lived there for two entire weeks yet.
Bookshelves were the predominant feature of the living room. Two large five shelf cases were filled with books, while a third was only half full, pictured and knick knacks covering the remaining space on the shelves. The first picture was of Willow, a dark haired man, and a petite blonde. They were in their graduation gowns and caps, and looked for all the world like they were in the middle of the best day of their lives.
“. . . Hey Giles. . .yeah, I got . . . .”
Clark tried not to listen in as Willow made her call from the bedroom. It was her private business and he had no reason to be listening.
Unfortunately, super hearing wasn’t one of those things he could just turn off at will. And she was only in the next room, making it that much easier to hear exactly what she was saying.
“. . .had to do a minor locating spell for you. . .what? . . . teleports? . . .Giles, don’t worry. It won’t trace me back here. C’mon, have a little faith.. . . .no, not faith-faith. . . .sure, I’ll let you know. . .tell Buff to check her email, its all in there. . . call me after? Okie dokie.”
Spell? Clark frowned, brow furrowing with confusion. He was aware that magic existed in the world. It was hard not to believe being what he was and having gone up against all manner of creature and being.
But Willow? A spell?
He shook his head. What would she have needed to do a locating spell for? And who was Giles?
“Sorry, ‘bout that,” her bouncy voice came floating down the hall. And then she was there, standing right in front of him, smiling widely. The simple sundress she’d chosen for their night out accentuated the color of her hair and eyes, making both seem so much more vibrant. And her body –
He cleared his throat, a blush spreading over his cheeks. “You look beautiful.”
“Thanks,” she returned the blush in kind. “You ready to leave? Or has my wide assortment of pictures captivated you?
There was no easy way to ask her about what he’d heard without drawing attention to himself and the fact that he’d been listening in, no matter how inadvertently.
So, for the moment, he let it go. There was no reason for her to trust him at this stage of things.
Especially not with the kind of secrets she appeared to be hiding.
She could feel it the moment it hit the city, the power washing over her in a great wave.
Giles had been right, after all. She really shouldn’t have been surprised. He was *usually* right. But why now? Why tonight? When he’d said that the demon was attracted to magic and likely to teleport to her, well that just hadn’t seemed likely. She was all the way across the country. Certainly it wouldn’t travel that far just for little old her.
But it had.
She winced as another wave of power surged over her. Oh yeah, it was here and looking for blood.
Or. . magic. It probably wanted nothing to do with her blood.
The red head glanced up, into Clark’s worried eyes. Oh, Goddess, why here, why now? She needed to get out of the restaurant. The demon was getting closer and there were too many people here.
“I’ve. . .gotta go,” she stammered, standing suddenly. She grabbed her purse from next to the chair, taking out enough money to pay for both their meals.
And then she ran. Out of the restaurant. Her frantic eyes searched up and down the street. Where could she go? Assuming it had portaled right to her apartment, the thing could be here any minute now.
Clark, she moaned silently, just go away for now. Please?
“What’s going on?” he exclaimed, running up next to her. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“Not a ghost,” she half-whispered to herself, taking off across the street with great strides. There was a park about a block away. It would be deserted this late at night, no one nearby to get hurt when this went down.
Except for Clark. Damn! This was going to end up on the front page in the morning.
“Clark, please – go home.”
“I can’t do that,” he frowned, still next to her as she hurried along the path she’d chosen.
“Fine,” she shook her head, unsure if her muttered acceptance would be heard. “Don’t blame me if you get hurt.”
“Nothing,” she smiled thinly, finally reaching the park. She took the nearest path, letting it lead her deeper and deeper, further away from the still crowded city streets. Thank the Goddess for an almost full moon, she told herself, otherwise it would have been harder to get into the darkened park.
“What’s going on?” Clark cried. She felt his fingers close on her arm and took a deep breath, stopping. This was as good a place as any, she supposed.
“You wanna know what’s going on?” Her voice had an edge of laughter to it, but she knew it was just hysteria. A reporter was going to see what was about to go down. And, yeah, sure, he was the reporter that regularly got scoops with Superman, but that didn’t mean he was ready to know about other. . .things. Or that she was one of those things.
“Fine. . .Demons, etcetera etcetera – well, they exist. My friends back home? They fight them. I did some research for them tonight and, oops, also did the very locating spell they’d been trying to avoid using. And you know why they didn’t want to do it? This darn demon has a freaky weird ability to hone in on anyone that tries to find it, something my research didn’t uncover for some reason. But, well, too late.”
“Wait. . .demon. . .and you’re –“
“A witch,” she filled in the blank for him, her attention diverting now to gather her strength to her. “And you’re not. So it would be best if you cleared out. It’ll be –“
“Dangerous,” Clark finished for her, nodding. “We’re going to talk later.”
“Don’t they always say that,” Willow muttered. The demon was getting closer, she could feel it bearing down on her, like eyes centered on her back, red hot points of directed energy. She was only dimly aware of Clark taking off, back down the path they’d come from. Good. She’d handle questions later, at least he’d be safe.. ..
The demon came through the trees, snarling and slobbering. Willow sighed, shaking her head. Not the brightest of demons, even if it did come with a built in magic sniffer. At least all she had to do was beat the hell out of it. No fancy weapon work involved in this slayage. In fact, physical attacks did little to nothing to hurt it. Only magic could make a dent. Elemental magic. It was a good thing she had some talent in that area. It looked her way, scaly purple-red hide shimmering in the moonlight. Whirling black eyes locked onto hers and she felt –
A gust of air?
“Can I be of assistance?”
Willow saw the red and blue out of the corner of her eye. It figured, right? The first time she had a chance to meet Superman, and it was in the middle of a demon fight.
“Um. . . not really. Physical attacks don’t do much,” she shrugged, heart hammering in her chest. It was stepping this way. “Though, you know, if it gets too close to me, feel free to throw it back a few yards. . .miles. . .whatever.”
She thought she heard him laugh, but couldn’t be sure, because the next moment she was caught up in the thrill of the battle, as her magics came at her beck and call. Lightning, fire, water and wind. She threw it all at the demon. Only once did Superman step in, backing the demon up a few yards with pure, brute strength; before she let loose on it again.
The last lightning bolt hit simultaneously with a near-deafening clap of thunder.
And then it was over. All that remained of the demon was a pile of ash and a stench that she wasn’t sure would ever get out of the surrounding trees and plants.
She swayed on her feet.
“Are you alright?”
“Oh, yeah, sure,” she smiled bravely, urging her body to steady itself as she took her first real glance at Superman. She’d seen pictures, of course, but they were usually shots taken from a distance. Now that she was up close, the red head felt her heart skip a beat.
There was something so familiar about him!
“You look like you’re about to fall over,” he murmured, taking a step closer to her. His dark eyes were concerned, worried.
And then it hit her –
At the same time the darkness left her falling to the ground.
A sigh echoed down through her unconsciousness, and Willow took an effort to start pulling herself up. Whoever was waiting for her sounded worried.
“If you don’t wake up right now I’m taking you to the hospital.”
Her eyes shot open, consciousness coming back to her immediately under that threat. “No doctors.”
“No doctors,” Clark nodded, giving her a small, worried smile. Her eyes met his, and she remembered very clearly what she’d realized before she’d given in to the darkness. “How’re you doing?”
“Fine,” she shook her head. “Or, I will be. Too much magic knocks me off my feet – as you saw.”
“No, I didn’t. But Superman told me. . .”
Willow bit her lip, shutting her eyes. She felt her chest shake with laughter. Why hadn’t more people figured it out? Were they more oblivious than the residents of Sunnydale? Was that why it was so easy for her – because she was used to seeing through the nonsense to get to the truth?
“He did, did he?” she chuckled, rolling her eyes. She reached up, grabbing his glasses right from his nose before he could stop her. They dangled between her fingers, looking flimsy and frail. “You know my secret, and I think I know yours.”
His eyes widened, but his fingers didn’t tremble once as he reached up and took the glasses from her grasp.
“I don’t know –“
“You do know what I’m talking about,” she shook her head, still smiling. “Believe me, I’ve lived outside that little veil of obliviousness that people wear around them for a long time now, -Clark-. A pair of glasses isn’t really gonna fool me. I’m surprised, to be honest, that it fools anyone else. Of course. . back home. . okay, I shouldn’t be so surprised, when I think about it. People will let themselves be fooled by anything and –“
”Willow?” he was speaking, softly, cutting through her torrent of babble. She stopped, mouth snapping shut.
“You’re not going to tell anyone, are you?”
“Why would I do that? So that you can retaliate by telling the world about the witch working at the paper? No thank you. ‘Sides, no one’s business but yours. If you don’t want the world to know – so be it.”
“It’s that easy for you?”
He sounded so. . .struck, that Willow could only smile brighter.
“Well, I might blackmail you into another date, if you don’t mind,” she shrugged, unsure if he would even want to go out with her again now that he knew. Maybe getting mixed up in her brand of danger wasn’t what he had in mind in a potential girlfriend. He had enough going on in his life as it was, apparently.
“You don’t have to blackmail me for that,” he smirked.
“You sure? Another demon could just spoil it again.”
There, an out. He had the right to take it and run.
“Fine. As long as its one I can hit this time. I can’t believe you just did that – putting yourself in harm’s way –“
“I do it all the time,” she cut him off with a wave of her hand. “Just like you do.”
He looked down at her, brushing a piece of hair from her cheek. “You wouldn’t be able to stop, even if I asked, would you?”
Willow looked into his eyes, shaking her head. “Would –you-?”
“Then that’s settled. How about for the next date we sit at home and watch a movie? I’ll try to keep any random demons from showing up in the middle of the good parts.”
“Deal,” he grinned. “Not even Lois knows, Willow.”
“And she still won’t know tomorrow, or the day after, or the day after – unless suddenly you get an itch in your tights to tell her. I’ve kept bigger secrets than this, you know.”
“Actually, I don’t know,” he offered, confusion still on his face. For all that they had an agreement – both about secrets and future dates – there was still a lot he didn’t know. That he should know if he wanted to get involved with her. Superman or not, demons were pretty tough most of the time.
“Then let me tell you a little tale – about a place called the Hellmouth, and a girl called the Slayer. And, no, she’s not the type to have a cape. She prefers leather jackets and designer heels. . .”
~*~End. No Prequel. No Sequel.~*~