Hidden Consequences

Set during Season 9. All characters and some dialogue property of Warner Brothers. Borrowing for entertainment purposes only.

The future…

Lois couldn't believe the events of the day. Clark, willing to die for her. Ollie and Chloe coming to their rescue. And the utter animosity between Chloe and Clark. None of it made any sense. All she knew was that she was in a new world, defined by new rules… and new emotions.

Clark obviously cared for her more than she had known. Their comfortable flirtations had barely skirted into romantic territory, except for the almost-kiss before Lana had showed up at Chloe's wedding. But this new Clark-he took her breath away with the intensity of his emotions.

After escaping with their lives from the former Luthor manor, the crew had settled into an abandoned level of apartments, just below the old clock tower for the night. It was one of the few places left in the city where the Kandorians hadn't taken over. Lois had talked with Chloe for a few minutes alone, trying to understand the mistrust her cousin had developed for Clark. Chloe had been vague and unreasonable, hinting that if Lois could only understand one thing about Clark, she would know why Chloe was so upset. Yet Chloe had refused to divulge that one thing, making it impossible for Lois to understand how her farm boy partner could feel responsible for an alien invasion.

So Lois decided to go to the source, and talk to Clark.

She found him in his own room, wiping the blood and sweat from the day off his face, his chest bare to his waist as he leaned over a bowl of water. He looked like a warrior from a time long past, doing his ablutions in the golden radiance of the setting red sun.

He was so beautiful. Despite whatever had transpired between him and Chloe, Lois knew he was a good man. And he had defended her against Zod. That moment in the library, more than anything, gave her the courage to come to his room tonight.

"Are you okay?" he asked quietly when he saw her standing in the doorway.

"Define okay," she said in a strained voice, the stress of the day showing. "So far today I've traveled through time, fought off flying aliens and almost got my head chopped off." Lois closed the door and made her way over to Clark. "But, despite all those things, one thing I can't believe ... I can't believe you and Chloe aren't friends anymore."

Clark turned away from Lois, maybe hurt at the accusation he found in her eyes. "I turned my back on her," he said, seeming to struggle with some emotion. His next words were layered with tears and regret, throwing Lois' heart into further confusion. "Lois, after you disappeared, I couldn't be around Oliver or Chloe. It reminded me of you and that hurt too much."

Lois didn't understand where his strong emotions were coming from, but she felt drawn to him in a way she never had before, or at least, in a way she had never acknowledged. She quietly made her way over to him, watching him carefully.

"So, I left ... and trained myself to fight Zod."

"Clark," she whispered, coming closer to him. "What did you mean about having a history with him?"

"Let's just say I made some mistakes," he said, turning back to face her, his words laced with self-recrimination.

Lois didn't understand why he blamed himself for their current situation. All she could see was Clark who was known for being guilt-ridden over the silliest things, seeming to take the weight of the world upon his shoulders, a burden she didn't think he deserved. "Clark, stop beating yourself up," she said, no longer able to watch him berate himself when all this couldn't possibly have been his fault. "You're not alone in this. The truth is, we could all die tomorrow," she said, tears constricting her throat. She didn't understand how she had ended up here, in this time and in this place, but she knew that whatever happened, she wanted to hold onto the way that Clark had looked at her this afternoon. The way he was looking at her now-like she was his whole world.

"Lois, I died when you left," he whispered, his voice strangled with emotion.

She stepped closer, daring to lay her hand on his chest, emboldened by the acceptance she read in his eyes. "I'm here now," she answered softly. His hand covered hers, as he slowly leaned down to kiss her.

Lois didn't know if they would have more than this night together with Zod on their heels, but Clark's lips touching hers filled her with need, and she tasted his as well. If he thought he was the only one that could save them from Zod, then he would need strength to see him through tomorrow's fight. And she intended to give him that strength.

Lois leaned into Clark's kiss, letting him lead as instinct took over. She would be what she could for him tonight, and as women have for centuries, she would make love to him in the hopes that the love they created would be enough to buoy him to fight the darkness to come.

As Clark kissed her, she felt an all-consuming connection to him, one that she had never before imagined possible. Kissing Ollie had never been like this, enveloping her whole being. She felt Clark's fingers on her shirt, as he suddenly ripped it open. As their passion grew, Lois felt desperate to get closer to him; she needed him as much as he seemed to need her. Her own fingers roamed over his chest, and she only absently wondered why she had never noticed how well built he was before. She knew he was strong, but feeling the planes of that strength, taut beneath her fingers, was another thing all together.

He had been through so much, and this much more vulnerable Clark touched her heart in a way she never thought possible. She would be his solace tonight, and whether or not they survived this world, they would forever have this moment between them, a meeting of destined souls that was in the wrong time and place, yet felt right all the same.

Somehow, they found themselves on the bed, wrapped in each other's arms as each sought to kiss, hold, feel. Lois marveled at how gentle Clark was, despite all of his strength and urgency. At one point, he looked in her eyes and smiled, the look of openness and love there searing itself on her soul. This moment, out of time, a glimpse of the future, would remain with her forever, no matter what the dawn would bring.

~L&C~

The next morning, still wrapped in each other's arms, Lois woke just as the red streaks of early morning sunlight lay across the floor. Somehow during the night, after their passion had subsided, she had ended up spooning Clark, protecting him from all the blame he laid on himself, and shielding him from the dangers that would surely come.

Lazily, she reached over him, her fingers dancing over the taut muscles of his chest. The unease of what was to come today would not abate, yet she was surprised to feel comforted by what she had shared with Clark. She had meant to offer solace, and yet she had found it in his arms for herself. But she knew her momentary peace could not last… Zod was still at war with their planet…

Restless, yet not wanting to wake Clark just yet, she slid from the bed, taking the sheet with her. The cool cotton of the sheet contrasted with the warm rays of the early morning sun. She made her way to the balcony, looking out across a Metropolis that she no longer recognized, a place that was no longer home.

Welcomed, yet unexpected, she felt Clark's arms come around her waist. She melted into his touch, memories of their night together sending sensations of pleasure rippling through her body.

She felt his breath on her neck as he whispered huskily, "I wish we had more time."

She reached up to touch his jaw, turning in his embrace as her eyes met his. Yes, they both wished they had more than just this moment. They leaned into each other, kissing, sharing an echo of the passion they had created the night before.

This moment might be all they would ever have…

~L&C~

The present…

Clark woke up to Dr. Emil Hamilton flashing a light in his eyes… What Lois had seen of the future, as terrifying as a lot of it had been, had included that one moment of grace. One moment that he had barely acknowledged the possibility of happening with her, even to himself – Lois meant a lot to him, and yet he knew he kept her at arm's length.

In part, because of his secret. But when he was honest with himself, he knew that he had been burned by Lana, and devastated by how Lex had ultimately torn them apart. He feared such a consequence would happen again, should he dare to let anyone else so close to him.

He stood up and went over to where Lois was still lying unconscious. Still, she was precious to him, and the trust that she put in both him and the Blur had only made him care about her even more. Even in that futuristic nightmare, she had been his light, and his rock. Thinking back to how she had put up her own defenses in the past, seeing him in a future where he could admit his love for her, she had been more than willing to show her true heart.

He touched her arm, remembering that connection felt so strongly in her memories of them together. His eyes must have shown how concerned he was as Chloe picked up on it in an instant. "From the look on your face, I take it the future isn't so bright." He glanced up, but couldn't answer her, still trying to process all that he had to deal with now that he knew Zod's plan. "What did you see, Clark?"

~L&C~

Lois woke up at Met Gen with a splitting headache. All she remembered was kissing Clark in the copy room, and then bam—how did she wind up here?

The room was covered with flowers - about five dozen red roses, to be exact. Lois found a card near the closest vase and smiled as she saw it was from Clark. "Feel better. Love, Clark."

A nurse walked by and noticed she was awake. But instead of checking in on her, she did a U-turn and headed for the nurse's station to page someone.

A few minutes later a woman, who Lois assumed was her doctor, came into the room and closed the door. Lois sat up a little straighter in her bed, wondering what was going on.

"Well, this can't be good," Lois mumbled.

"Lois, I am Dr. Crawley, and I examined you when your -boyfriend brought you in," she said, saying 'boyfriend' with a hint of a question in her tone, glancing at all the roses surrounding her patient. "He said you have been fainting, and we checked your blood sugar. You do have a little bit of hypoglycemia – which just means you need to keep a stable amount of sugar in your system and eat every three hours."

"Okay, well that's no biggie. So what is with all the privacy?" Lois asked, nodding towards the closed door.

The doctor wrote something down, and then looked up at Lois pointedly. "Lois, when was your last menstrual period?"

"Um, well… maybe three months ago. I take birth control… usually," she finished weakly, thrown by the question. She knew she hadn't been sexually active in recent months, and the only time she hadn't taken her birth control pill had been during whatever happened in those three weeks lost in her memory.

The doctor made a 'hmm' sound, nodding. "Well, according to our blood tests… you are nine weeks pregnant."

"Pregnant?" Lois whispered in shock, mentally searching for any dates with Clark that had gone further than a perfunctory kiss during the last three months. "How—how is that possible? I mean—I don't remember, uh, sleeping with anyone…"

The doctor gave her a slightly skeptical yet sympathetic look, handing her some pamphlets. "These things happen… But you do have options. Take a look at these, and you can always make another appointment with me if you have further questions."

Seeing that Lois was still dumbfounded, the doctor handed her a card, saying more gently, "And here is a card with my personal line." She patted Lois' hand, "You're not alone, Lois. And remember, you can always get a paternal blood test to find the father… You need some time to think…I'll be back in a few moments with your release papers."

Lois sat there, holding three little pamphlets—one congratulating her on becoming a new mother, another about adoption, and a third, more ominous one, that hinted at abortion.

She immediately threw the last one in the trash. She had no idea how she could be pregnant, but she also knew that there was no way she was going to kill the little life inside of her.

She rolled onto her side, curving her arm around her still rather flat belly, and felt tears well up. Who the hell could be the father? She had barely gone on any dates over the last few months, except with Clark, and she knew they hadn't done anything.

9 weeks…She mentally calculated back.

As realization hit her, she sat up with a gasp, suddenly feeling light-headed all over again.

9 weeks ago was during the three weeks when she had disappeared.

What had happened during that time?

She had no idea… but she suddenly had a new mission.

She had to find out what had happened to her, and who was responsible for getting her pregnant.

~L&C~

Lois left the hospital and headed straight to the Daily Planet.

She would bury herself in work until she could figure out her next move, though she wasn't sure where to begin… Those three weeks gone from her memory were now crucial to uncover. She started mentally cataloguing what she recalled from just before the three weeks, and just after. When she had disappeared she knew she had put on a strange gold ring. It had either zapped her unconscious, or did something else to her. Tess had been there, and yet Tess seemed completely unaware as to what had happened to her… Or perhaps Tess had simply been lying…

She knew that Tess wasn't likely to tell her the truth, and Lois certainly didn't want Tess to know she was pregnant – she wasn't willing to give away that kind of leverage. But if she could at least find out what happened when she had put on the ring, perhaps that would give her a clue as to what had happened to Lois next...

Besides, she thought she would first prefer to deal obliquely with Tess rather than directly with Clark.

She couldn't even begin to wrap her mind around the possible fallout she would have when she told Clark she was pregnant…

When Lois arrived at the Planet, she found the Luthorcorp executive sitting in her editor's chair, reading something on her laptop. Lois cleared her throat to announce her presence.

"Do you have a minute?"

Tess gave Lois a knowing smile and nodded. "Glad to see you made a speedy—recovery," she said with a sweeping glance, making Lois wonder how much Tess knew about her trip to the hospital.

Seeing Lois' questioning look, Tess relented just a bit. "Clark just told me you were having sugar issues."

Lois tried to smile, but her nerves were kicking up a storm. She felt like she was somewhat of a time bomb, and she needed answers quickly. It was only a matter of weeks before she started showing, and she desperately needed to know some facts before the whole world knew she was pregnant.

Lois closed the door and took a seat at Tess' desk. "Look Tess, I know we haven't exactly gotten along, but I need you to level with me on something."

That smirk that had appeared only deepened on Tess' face, though she tried to hide it. "Okay, Lane. I'll level with you. What is it you want to know?"

Tess' bland, yet somehow sinister acquiescence sounded a lot like Lex. Lois suppressed making a comment on that. She needed Tess as an ally.

"While I was at the hospital, the doctors discovered something about my—health that may be linked to what happened when I disappeared. All I am asking you is to tell me what happened the moment I disappeared. You were there. What did you see?"

Lois feared she had revealed too much, knowing that Tess wasn't beneath getting her files from Met Gen to see what the doctors had 'discovered.'

But to Lois' surprise, Tess' oblique expression turned serious. After a moment she nodded. "Lois, honestly, I am just as baffled as you are as to what happened. You were literally there one moment, and gone the next… That's all I know. You vanished into thin air."

"How is that even possible, Tess? People don't just vanish!" Lois said irritably. She needed something of a little more likelihood to go on – especially if she was ever to figure out when and by whom she became pregnant.

"Look, Lois. That is all I know. What reason would I have to make something up like that? As much as I love a little mystery, I'd love to know the truth about where you disappeared to. And what's stranger still, you don't seem to remember any of it," Tess said, leaning back in her chair as she studied Lois.

"If you had anything to do with what happened during those three weeks, Tess, trust me, I'll find out," Lois said, feeling unnerved by Tess' blasé attitude about her strange claim.

"So what exactly did the doctors find?" Tess couldn't help but ask.

Now Lois did her own smirking. "Not so fast, Tess. I have some answers to get first. When I have all the facts, you'll eventually get the story."

~L&C~

On the way back down to the bullpen, Lois mulled over her conversation with Tess. Tess hadn't revealed much, and perhaps it was as she said: Lois had simply vanished.

But Lois had clearly gone somewhere for those three weeks… she had experienced strange visions, which had sent her to Dr. Friskin for therapy, and yet now, Lois couldn't recall a single one. It was almost as if they had been wiped out.

And when she had reappeared on the monorail? That opened up a whole other can of worms… the woman that had been after her, the way her hands had been bandaged. It had appeared as if she had been in a war zone. It made absolutely no sense – any of it. But whatever had happened, it had left her pregnant.

She now had to deal with the consequences.

Her heart did a little lurch as she approached her desk, seeing Clark waiting to speak to her. She had no idea what she'd say to him. She certainly couldn't tell him about the baby - not yet - and she wouldn't say anything here. Besides, she had no way to explain it.

She couldn't bear to face any judgment or perhaps worse, pity from him, either– or even begin to think about the repercussions this pregnancy would have on their relationship.

Clark meant more to her than ever, and she feared news of her pregnancy would cause her to lose him forever.

"Lois, are you feeling better?" he asked solicitously, offering her a donut.

She tried to give him a smile. "Doc says as long as I eat every three hours, I'm golden. Happy?"

"Very," he smiled back, giving her a warm look that she could somehow feel to her toes. "I almost lost you once. I don't want it to happen again," Clark said affectionately. Then suddenly, he came closer to her, making her feel boxed in. "What are we doing?"

She eyed him, slightly aggravated. She had too much on her mind to deal with a Clark Kent existential crisis. "I'm eating a maple doughnut. And you're kind of invading my personal space."

He stepped back from her, but his eyes still locked onto hers. "I mean us. Lois and Clark, Clark and Lois, as a couple."

God, they couldn't be a couple, she knew that. As soon as he found out about the baby, it would surely be over between them. She threw up her hand, immediately defensive, "Whoa there, cowboy! You just went from ten to, like, one hundred and ten in two seconds flat. Let's just slow it down. I still need to get my feet back under me," she said, taking a seat at her desk.

"You can lean on me for strength. I feel stronger when you're around, anyway."

She looked up at him, wanting so much to lean on him. But she knew Smallville's sense of right and wrong. He would insist on her finding the father, and make him take responsibility. But she couldn't remember even having sex in the last three months, let alone having any idea who the father could be!
She had to let Clark down easy, especially when he was giving her such a sweet look of encouragement. "I have done this dating thing wrong so many times," she started.

"Then let's do it right. Let's take our time."

His reassurance hit her in the gut, having waited so long for Clark to acknowledge that there was something real between them. She swallowed hard, liking the sound of taking it slow with him, but knowing that it was too late. That things could never progress further than their mild flirtations and that amazing kiss he had given her a few weeks ago right here in the bullpen.

"Really?" she began slowly. "Well, it's hard for a girl to say no to an offer like that…I just hope…you know what you're getting into," she said cryptically, turning away from him to get to work – and before he could see the tears in her eyes.