Breathing heavily, Lois put her trembling hands around his neck, glad that his arms were still encircling her: not only was it freezing cold, but she didn't really trust her legs right now.

God, that had been close.

"Are you okay ?", he whispered, and she could tell from his voice and the way his fingers held her a little tighter than usual that he knew it too.

"Yeah, I'm fine", she answered, getting as close as she could, and just enjoying the kisses he pressed to the side of her face for a few seconds.

He drew back then, hands on her shoulders and keeping her at arms length, and she could see the worry she had heard in his tormented blue eyes.

"You scared me to death, Lois. What were you doing over there?"

"You know what – getting intels."

"Lois – ", he let go as he closed his eyes, jaw tightening. She knew what that meant, but tonight, she didn't really care: he wasn't the only one with reasons to get pissed off.

"I had to, Clark. And if you're planning on telling me not to get so involved, you can save your breath."

"You almost died", he snapped.

She didn't miss a beat. "So do you, and on a regular basis at that. That's not the point."

"This is exactly the point, Lois. I told you not to worry about that; I know he's looking for something on Superman, but right now –"

"He's not looking for it anymore, Clark, he has it! I heard him talk to Senator Finch, okay, and -"

"It doesn't matter", and geez, he looked as angry as she felt. "He can't do anything to me, but now that he knows you're onto him, he's going to try and get to you. What were you thinking?"

"I was thinking that since you're too obsessed with that Bat vigilante to cover your own back, someone had to do it for you", it was her turn to explode, heart racing with each passing second. She refused to look away.

"He has Zod's body, Clark! Which yeah", she continued as he saw his face changed with surprise and understatement, "means he probably have a better understanding of the Kryptonians than you do, and contrary to what you choose to believe, knows exactly how to get you."

They stared at each other, Lois a little out of breath, but despite the fact that he was clearly taken aback by her revelations, he quickly recovered.

She was the most stubborn one, but when it came to her safety, he could be pretty bull headed too. Add the "Dark Knight" of Gotham in the argument, and -

"It doesn't matter", he repeated again. "Batman is installing a reign of terror in Metropolis. I can't let him do that."

"No, of course not: you're going to focus only on him and let yourself be killed by something you didn't see coming instead. Because that's just so much better, right."

At that point, Lois felt exhaustion suddenly dropped on her.

For months, she had watched him suffer under the critics, the unjustified accusations that she knew got to him, despite his best efforts to hide it. She'd see it in the way he stared a second too long at the reports on the manifestations on TV, the way he dropped his gaze whenever someone nearby started to insult Superman, the way doubt flashed in his eyes whenever a new accusation was aimed at him.

He didn't deserve that. Any of that. And yet, he had been feeling so, so guilty.

So when in addition to half of the city, Batman came along and started blaming him too, playing the violent vigilante at the same time, it was no wonder Clark reacted like he did.

"I know he publicly blames you for the exact same things you blame yourself, and you hate him for that, and I get it ", she started again. "But risking everything to stop him isn't the way to make them see you fight for them. I'm not letting you getting yourself killed because you think your life is not worth it. I won't."

Her voice sounded sharper than she intented even to her own ears, but she didn't care. He had to understand.

Before he could stay anything though, people started to gather on the other side of the road, cameras out, and they both knew the rest of the conversation will have to wait.

She only hoped it will give him time to think about it.

"I have to go", he said in a breath, dropping her gaze, and she wasn't sure if he was upset by what happened tonight or by what she just said. Probably both.

"I know."

"Can you please take a cab home? Please."

Lois didn't have any intention to go back at Luthor's complex, or anywhere else, for that matter, but even if she did, the look on his face would have convinced her otherwise. "Yeah", she nodded, and she saw relief washed over his face. She suddenly felt the need to throw herself at him and into his arms until they were home and stay there, just them and nothing else, for as long as possible.

She was painfully aware of the fact that it was the kind of wish that wouldn't be granted for a while.

"I'll – I'll follow you until you're home, and then I'll go", and yeah, she thought it wasn't really necessary, but after the day she had, she didn't really mind knowing he was there looking out for her. She also knew he wouldn't be okay if he wasn't, either.

"Okay. I'll see you later."

And with that, he was gone.

Swearing under her breath, Lois cursed herself as the damn soap slipped away from her hands for the third time.

"Lois, it's fine; I'm okay."

"It's everything but fine, Clark", she snapped, still refusing to meet his eyes, and focusing on washing the blood out of her hands in the sink instead.

His blood.

He sighted, and she felt him walk behind her and plant a kiss on the back of her neck, warm hands settling on her stomach. Closing her eyes, she let herself lean against him for just a second, reminding herself that yes, he was right here, that he was okay, that she had no reason to be terrified any more.

She turned around before she lost it right there, leaving him behind as she headed out of the bathroom.

"You should rest, come on."

Busying herself by turning off things all over the apartment, quickly cleaning what didn't need to be and straightening what already was, she tried to keep her breathing even, too aware of the fact that even if he was in the other room, he was watching her.

Which made sense, since she had barely said a word since he came back, and was acting a like crazy. Not that she could help it, really.

Finally left with nothing to do, Lois made her way back to their bedroom, heading straight to her side of the bed. She tried to walk past him, patiently sitting there at the end of the bed waiting for her; but of course, he grabbed her hand, looking at her with the same look on his face he had back in that cold spaceship in Canada – concern, kindness, regret.

"I'm sorry I scared you", he stated simply, and she let him settle her between his legs, his hands resting on the back of her thighs. "I really am."

"I thought you were dead, Clark". Her voice was more strangled than she expected.

She finally met his gaze, and she hated that her eyes started to burn again – something that they had done a lot those past few hours. He waited for her continue, giving her the opportunity to get everything off her chest if she wanted to. Or because he knew she needed to.

"Two days ago, I told you Luthor had something on you. You knew it – you knew it, and you still go head first, not even thinking about the consequences."

"Lois, that's exactly why I did it. I wanted to find out what they discovered from Zod's body, and -"

"And get a look at all his toys and computers to see if there was something in there about Batman, right? Don't even try to deny it", she warned before he had the chance to open his mouth.

"I wasn't going to."

She didn't want him to lie, of course not, but for some reason, the truth made her even more mad. God, she was a wreck.

"I know it was reckless", he tried to calm her, and she started to walk way as he got up, "but I can't just hide because he threatened me, Lois. I had to go over there, you know it, and now that we know what it is, I can be more prepared next time."

"How the hell can you be more prepared, Clark?", she turned around to face him, angrier by the second. "He found a way to make you as vulnerable as any other human! You're not invincible anymore, you're not impossible to hurt, and now there's Luthor, and Batman, and probably more, and you keep throwing yourself at them without even thinking about your safety!"

She was half yelling now, she knew it, but at that point, she couldn't care anymore. That was what a sleepless night thinking your world just ended tended to do to someone, apparently.

"I did think, Lois, but I had to get those informations, you know that. Without them, we can't get stop Batman or Luthor –"

"No more than we could without you!"

"Lois -", he sighted, visibly tired too. Understandably so; she wasn't feeling that good, either.

"No! Don't you 'Lois' me, Smallville, I don't care! I don't care that you thought the only way to help was to go clueless to that maniac, you need to stop that. I'm sick and tired of you thinking you're not as important as anyone else, that you have a duty that involves serving your life on the plate."

They stared at each other, and she refused to look away. Refused to let him get away with it, to let him go before he understood how much he counted, too.

"I can't lose you."

As the anger started to leave her, she felt the tiredness of the last twenty-four hours – hell, of the last few weeks – and once again, all she wanted to do was grab him, and go to bed to stay there as long as possible.

"I know", he said, voice a little hoarse, making her focus again. "But all they want to do – both of them – is getting to me. And I can't let them do that, because I don't know what they'll do if they succeed, and because the second they figure out who I am, you're on top of the list of "how to get to Superman", and I just can't let that happen."

"I'm not hurt", she whispered softly after a moment, almost shy.

"You fell from an helicopter."

"That was not – "

"My fault ? Yeah, that's not exactly right."

"For what it's worth, even I wasn't your girlfriend, he'd go after me, because I would have gone for the story anyway. You know I get a bit nosy."

"That doesn't change much for me", he said, but his eyes had softened and twinkled with amusement. She just wanted to hug him, right now.

"Downhill yet?", he asked softly, and Lois could see the apprehension behind his smile.

Shaking her head, she chuckled and closed the distance between them."You're turning me into such a girl", and she smiled when the last glimpse she caught was his confused face. Arms locked tightly around his neck, she held on to his black shirt for dear life, lips brushing his neck, revealing in his warmth as he hold her.

"I cried. Do you believe that? I never cry", she mumbled, voice muffled.

"Well, I'm very flattered, Miss Lane", she felt him laugh against her body, and she grinned at the sound, trying to get even closer. And then, at the trail of kisses he started to leave on her arm, her shoulder, her neck before pressing his lips against hers.

She'd smack him for being a smartass later.

He started kissing her all over again, and next thing she knew, she was laying on her back, shirtless, as he rested on his forearms to not crush her completely.

"Sure you're up for it, Smallville?", she smirked as her hands traveled on his sides, face buried in her neck"You took a beating."

"I'm fine, thanks", he looked up and smirked back. "Are you up for it ? You were up all night crying about it."

"Shut up", she kicked him for good measure before pulling him back down. Her laugh was cut by his lips again.

Note : The Clark self confidence issues, motivation for Batman's behavior, and Luthor's discoveries were inspired by the trailer, of course. The tension between our two love birds was inspired by the scene shot in Detroit where we can see them arguing a little. I can't wait to see that in the movie, Clark and Lois as a couple are gonna be great, so hence this fanfiction.