Title: Staring Competition
Summary: Clark and Pete have a staring competition. That's it.
Author's notes: No ship, no romance, no angst. No Lex, either. Sorry, ladies.
Thanks: To my muse, and DD for the beta.
"That was pathetic."
"Well if you're such an expert, why don't you try it?"
"Fine. Move your butt."
Pete slid into the chair Chloe had just vacated and busied himself rolling his sleeves up. Propping his elbows on the desk in front of him, he slowly raised his eyes to his opponent's and smiled.
"Watch and learn, Sullivan. Watch and learn."
He ignored Chloe's imperious sigh, and....stared.
Clark stared right back at him.
"So, remind me of the rules again?" Chloe said from her perch on the windowsill, "No looking away, no blinking, and...what was the third one?"
"No laughing." Said Pete and Clark in unison, neither one breaking their gaze for a moment.
"You won't beat me, Pete," Clark continued, after touching his nose with his tongue in an obvious attempt to distract him. Ah, thought Pete. I know your tactics, grasshopper. "I can stare at you for as long as you like, but I always win."
"Not always," Pete said in his Forrest Gump voice, the one almost always guaranteed to make Clark laugh, "I seem to remember one occasion when I was the winner."
"Pete, a bug flew into my eye. You know that. I don't know why you just can't accept that I am clearly the superior staremeister."
"Staremeister?" Pete heard Chloe thump to the floor. "Is that even a word?"
"Yes." Said Pete and Clark.
"Riiiight," Said Chloe. "Just like `self slappage' and `bazoombas'?"
"Bazoombas is a word!" Said Pete, defensively, "In fact, it's one of my favorites!"
"Shame you haven't been near any, really, isn't it Petey?" Clark smirked. Dickhead.
"Oh, like *you're* the last descendant of Don Juan?"
"Half naked and wet, Pete. Half naked and wet."
"Oh, this is fun." Chloe sighed from the sidelines.
"At least I've been on a whole date," Pete knew it was a cheap shot, but hey. He had to compete with that somehow.
"Several," Clark said, "And yet, you remain uninitiated in the ways of the bosom."
"Shut it, Lurch."
"You shut it, Diff'rent Strokes."
"Watch it, freak."
"Oooh, terrifying. What are you gonna do, bite my kneecaps?"
"Maybe I can swing on those bangs for a while, instead."
"Hey. You wanna talk about hairstyles? Who was the one who had an afro until 7th grade?"
"I did NOT!"
"You had an afro? Oh my god..." Out of the corner of his eye, Pete saw Chloe slide down the wall and dissolve into laughter. "How is it possible that I didn't know that?"
"Cause Pete didn't wanna go on your Wall of Weird."
Bastard. Mother*fucker*. Clark was enjoying this way too much.
"A bad haircut is hardly Wall of Weird material, Clark."
"Thank you, Chloe." Said Pete, glaring forcefully at Clark's left eye.
The eye in question was sparkling with mirth. "You didn't see the haircut."
Chloe started laughing again.
"I'm serious," Clark continued, the rest of his face perfectly solemn, "When they finally shaved that thing off they solved about fifteen missing person cases from the last five years."
"Shut UP!" Pete bit down hard on the inside of his cheek, fighting against Chloe's infectious giggles. He wasn't going to let Clark win this one. No way.
"Are ya gonna laugh, Petey? Are ya? Are ya?"
"Not before you do. You wanna talk about image? Why don't we discuss your favourite item of clothing when we were in 4th grade?"
"What? What did he wear?" Chloe had pulled up a chair and was leaning forward eagerly.
"Overalls?" Chloe sat back in her chair, out of Pete's line of vision. "He still wears those now!"
"I do not!"
"Oh, you know you do too. I saw you wearing them the other day when you were doing that thing with the cow."
"He was doing what? Chloe, I'm trying *not* to laugh here!" Pete reached out blindly and poked Chloe in what he hoped was her arm. When he didn't get stabbed in the eye with a pen, he figured he'd aimed right.
"Relax, Pete, I was feeding it. And of course I wear overalls when I'm working. It's not like the cows read Vogue."
"Still doesn't explain the ones you wore when we were kids..."
"Okay, Pete, what's the deal? Yeah, overalls are dorky, but so's Clark."
"Hey!" Said Clark. Chloe ignored him. So did Pete.
"They weren't just any overalls, were they, Clark? Noooo. They were *pink* overalls. And shall we tell Chloe what T-shirt you wore with them?"
"Don't." Begged Clark.
"It had the words `Care', `Bears' and `Care!' on it. I'll let you figure out the rest."
"I hate you." Clark was bright red. But he wasn't laughing. Dammit.
"I do what I can."
"Pete had a Barbie lunchbox!"
"Clark used to put his underwear on over his pants!"
"Pete once stole a candy bar from the general store!"
"Clark cried, and made me take it back!"
"Oh, Jesus. Oh, I can't breathe! Stop it!" Chloe gasped, forcing the words out between shouts of laughter.
"Pete once tried to get drunk on methylated spirits!"
"Clark actually *did*!"
"Pete picks his nose and eats it!"
"Clark eats glue!"
"I don't eat glue!"
That was it. Pete threw back his head and roared, tears springing to his eyes and streaming down over his cheeks at the look of pure indignation on Clark's face. He thumped the desk, wheezing, and only when he wiped his eyes did he see that Clark was laughing too, his hands over his face, his shoulders shaking with mirth.
"I can't believe you admitted that!" Choked Chloe, holding her stomach.
Clark just shook his head, apparently unable to get any words out past the peals of laughter still rocking him.
"Oh, shit. Oh, shit." Pete tried to calm down, but every time he met Clark's eyes the giggles started again, cutting him off mid-breath and rendering him speechless.
"I win." Managed Clark, laughter still escaping every second breath. "I win, sucker."
"Only cos I let you." Pete leaned back in his chair and grinned, stretching his arms above his head.
"Yeah, yeah. Keep dreaming, short stuff. I reign supreme." Clark pushed his chair back and stood, unfolding his long legs from under the desk and shrugging on his jacket. "Coffee?"
"Coffee." Said Pete and Chloe at the same time, and Clark indicated the door with a sweeping gesture.
"Lead on, microphone head."
Pete stopped dead. "Oh, you're gonna pay for that one."