Lois dropped the campaign booklet onto the kitchen table next to her half empty coffee cup and rubbed her strained eyes wearily. As much as she supported Mr. Kent's run for senate, organising his election campaign almost single-handedly was tiring. Usually Clark would help wherever he could - provided that they could resist tearing each other's heads off for the few hours necessary to get the job done - but he had been unusually morose for the past couple of days, sequestering himself away in his loft. Despite their constant bickering and banter, Lois and Clark had turned out to be quite good friends and surprisingly savvy media surfers, it was just that their individual ways of getting things done contrasted a too harshly and led to intense friction between them. Sipping at her drink, her eyes fixed themselves blankly on the facing wall; Clark's AWOL act was beginning to concern her. She knew damn well how capable he was of taking care of himself physically, but emotionally he still struck her as a little child-like sometimes. This was one of those times.
Taking a final mouthful of her coffee and pushing away from the table, Lois headed for the barn in search of her campaign buddy, she could really use his help on this next rally if only she could just snap him out of this no doubt Lana-induced funk. Quietly ascending the steps to the loft to find him slouched on his sofa and staring down at his hands, Lois eased herself down next to him and folded her legs under herself, she had a feeling that this could take some time.
"Hey, Smallville," she smiled as her soft use of her nickname for him had the desired effect and quirked his lips slightly, "Wanna tell me what's going on?"
Clark sighed; he'd tried to talk to Chloe about this but she had freaked out, he didn't want to talk to his parents about it and he really didn't think he'd be comfortable sharing this much of an intimate conversation with Lois. "Nothing. I'm fine."
Lois quirked a doubtful eyebrow, "Look, Clark, I know we've had more than our fair share of differences over the last year or so, but 'd like to help. Is it Lana?"
Clark grimaced, where did she get off being so damn insightful? Was he really that transparent? "Yeah, kinda."
"Well come on, spill it. I've had more fights with boys than you've had flannel shirts, I'm sure something I've been through can help."
"I'm terrified of hurting her." Clark frowned as his mouth blurted his thoughts of it's own accord, he'd just promised himself he wouldn't talk to her about this hadn't he? Now he'd started he couldn't stop himself, it was like a flood gate had been opened, he had to talk to someone, "I'm so strong, I can't even touch her without scaring myself half to death."
Lois tilted her head and examined him through narrowed eyes, this was not what she'd expected the problem to be, "I know you can toss hay bales without breaking a sweat, but what makes you think you'd hurt her?"
"I..." His brows twitched, "I've never..."
Lois, mindful of his inherent bashfulness, pushed softly, "You have... you know... been with her before haven't you?"
His head dropped and he stared at the floor to mutter, "Yes, but everything's changed since then. I-I'm untested now." He lifted his head miserably to look at her, "Ever since I got shot I've been different; stronger; I've lost control of my strength before but I've never... I haven't been with her while I've been this strong." He snorted and surged to his feet to pace, "It doesn't matter anyway, I'll never get another chance; we broke up yesterday."
Lois sneered in disgust, "She dumped you because you wouldn't sleep with her?"
He sighed and flopped back down onto the sofa, "No," he picked up a cushion and fiddled with it, "we broke up because we weren't being honest with each other."
Lois watched him for the next response, "I can understand you being secretive, but what was she hiding?"
He scowled and threw the pillow across the room, "She's been working with Lex to..." He trailed off as his brain caught up with his ears and looked sharply at her, "What do you mean you understand me being secretive?"
Lois didn't answer, just smirked and raised her eyebrows in challenge.
"Lois?" He stood up and backed slowly away from her as his body went cold, his heart wedged firmly in his throat; had she found out? Had Chloe told her? She rose from the sofa and advanced on him like a predator until he backed into a shelf. "L-Lois?"
Her voice was soft, calming, "You regularly evade certain death, affect miraculous rescues, get all queasy around meteor rocks, throw people around like they're made of straw, oh and you float in your sleep."
"I..." Clark's mind raced; she knew, how long had she known? And why was she still approaching him? One of his father's nightmare scenarios raced through his mind of him strapped down to an examination table, only this time Lois was there, standing over him shoulder to shoulder with Lex, watching him and laughing. A quick bolt of speed pulled him clear of her as he stopped by the sofa again.
"Smallville, stop running away from me, I'm not going to hurt you; you're the one that can hurt people, remember?" To her dismay, his face drained of colour and his knees gave, sinking him back down onto the sofa.
"You're turning me in to the military aren't you? You're going to send me to your father because I'm dangerous; eradicate the freak, right? They'll drop me into a vat of Kryptonite like they did at Bellreve, dissect me, experiment on me, oh god, my parents!"
While he rambled distractedly, Lois crossed the room and grabbed hold of his face, forcing him to look her in the eye; the terror she found there made her shiver. "Clark, I am not turning you in to anyone. I'm just saying that I know about your abilities." As the colour returned to his face and the panic faded from his eyes, Lois sat back down next to him and took his hands in reassurance.
"I could kill someone, Lois."
"Then you have no reason to expect to do so now. Did you tell her about yourself?"
"And why do you think that you didn't?"
Dragging his gaze away from their interlaced fingers he looked at her, his eyes miserable, "I guess I was scared that she'd think I was a freak." He dropped his gaze again, afraid of the fear he knew he was sure to find in her eyes.
She touched his chin, gently raising his eyes to her again; she smiled, "I don't think you're a freak, neither do your parents." Steeling herself for the hurt that was bound to flood his face, she softly dropped her bombshell, "Maybe you didn't tell her because deep down you know that you weren't meant to be."
His face pinched and he looked away, "Maybe."
The catch in his voice broke her heart, there had to be something she could do to help. Nibbling on her lip for a moment, it suddenly dawned on her; swallowing her pride, she twisted in place so she was facing him, the release of his hands making him look at her again, "Kiss me, Clark."
His brow furrowed in confusion, "What? No!"
"Look, Smallville, you need to know that you can do this without hurting someone."
"But Lana's gone, and we've already established that she'll not be in the picture again."
The bitterness in his voice almost made her change her mind, but she pressed on, determined to win the fight and get him through this, "But one day you'll meet someone who you'll want to be able to give your whole self to. If you don't get over this doubt in yourself now then that'll never happen."
"Oh what do you care, Lois?" He surged to his feet again, his anger at himself redirecting itself at her as he strode towards the window, "We don't even like each other, what does it matter to you whether I go through life constantly doubting myself?"
"It matters to me because I care!" Standing up herself, Lois stomped up to him and poked a finger in his chest, "Whether we are best buddies or mortal enemies is irrelevant right now because you can't live like this! You're the most powerful person in this town, probably on the whole planet! You could do such good in the world, but not if you're going to sit up here sulking because you can't or won't get it on with your simpering little sweetheart!"
He looked like she'd slapped him in the face as his jaw fell slack at her outright disrespect to Lana, "Take that back."
Lois tipped her chin defiantly and clenched her fists on her hips, "No. It's not my fault that you don't trust her enough to tell her about yourself, it's not my fault that she's so needy she kept you whipped and frightened like a little pet, and it's not my fault that you're so hung up on what you can do that you're not even willing to try something for fear that it might go wrong!"
They stood frozen in place, chests heaving in anger, up in each other's faces as each tried to stare the other down, neither willing to concede defeat. And then something snapped; Clark pulled Lois roughly to him and yanked her off her feet, up against his body as he claimed her lips with a low growl. Lois' arms immediately went around his neck, her fingers digging into his hair to pull him closer, her lips parting to welcome his possessive tongue into her mouth. A moments movement and he had her pressed firmly against the wall of the barn, the evidence of his arousal pushing against her leg. Using the wall as leverage, Lois wrapped her legs around him and scrabbled at his back as she was consumed with a wild fever, clawing at the t-shirt that kept her from touching his skin. A quick scuffle and more movement and Lois was being quickly undressed on the sofa, the weight of Clark's shirt-less body stretched out on top of her. Free of her shirt, her mouth finally tore itself free of his to gasp loudly as his eager, questing hands went to her breasts. Deftly flicking his fingers, he freed her soft mounds from their restraints and set about teasing them into hard peaks. His breath whispered hotly against her flesh in between kisses and nips,
"Lois...maybe you should... take over..."
He was still concerned, even in the heat of the moment; Lois did the only thing she could. She refused. Tangling her fingers into his hair again, she pulled him back up to attack his mouth. He groaned, his body trembling with the struggle of controlling his rapidly rising passion; he broke the kiss to whisper,
"Lois, please... I don't want to hurt you..."
"Smallville, you're talking too much." Grabbing him again, she kissed him so soundly that he turned to putty, her soft sounds of pleasure driving him to move his hands southwards, to remove the final barriers between them. Taking a moment to draw back and gaze down on her beautiful, naked form, he watched her eyes roll back into her head with a soft cry as he touched her, savouring a long moment of warmth that suffused his body before letting the animal take over again and slipping into position over her in the most basic, human position for joining. And as he slipped into her, he looked down, catching and holding her gaze as his vision hazed pink and he moved faster, harder, driving them upwards as his heart went wild, threatening to burst out of his chest as he lost himself inside her, her cry of completion sending him over the edge as he slammed into her one last time. His back locked stiff for an eternal moment as pleasure pumped through him, out of him and into her. He collapsed onto her and was inordinately relieved to feel her arms glide over him in sweeping, soothing motions. Coming back to himself and feeling moisture on his face, he realised that he was crying; Lois' slender, elegant fingers were gently wiping the tears from his cheeks as she smiled up at him.
"There now, that wasn't so bad was it? I'm still breathing, all bones intact."
His gaze darkened, a new emotion glowing where anger had been before, "Lois, I... That was..."
"Shh..." she placed a finger against his lips and shook her head gently, "Don't say it." She smiled and wrapped her arms around him, content to lay with him and enjoy the warm feeling that had abruptly taken up residence in her chest.
As Clark lay naked, tangled in the arms of his fiercest enemy he closed his eyes, it turned out that control wasn't all it had cracked up to be.