II.

Clark Kent was in trouble.

He paced a rut in his loft floor as his hands tangled in his hair, what had he done? He knew he owed no allegiance to Lana, especially after finding out that she was deeply involved with Lex; after all they were broken up, kaput, so logically he knew that he had done no wrong. But it felt so wrong; he just didn't think about Lois that way, he couldn't think about Lois that way. But then why couldn't he stop thinking about it and dreaming about it and replaying it over in his mind so many times that he thought about nothing else?

Something creaked in the barn below and he jumped, petrified that it was Lois come to find him. He'd successfully avoided her for the full week since it had happened, but he knew that eventually he'd have to face her and he knew that 'eventually' would be tonight: the pre-election party. He'd spent hours in the tailors the day before picking out the right suit, he knew he shouldn't be preening for her but he couldn't help it, it was like some sort of twisted instinct hell-bent on driving him insane had taken over and its sole purpose was to get Lois Lane to notice him so that IT might happen again.

"Hey, Smallville."

Clark jumped clean out of his skin as Lois' voice sounded behind him. He turned to face her and forced himself not to back away, "H-Hi, Lois."

She smirked and quirked an eyebrow, clearly amused at his discomfort, "Relax, I didn't come out here to jump your bones."

"You didn't?" Clark's voice hit a whole new octave as it squeaked like a pubescent teenager.

"No, I came to tell you that the limo will be picking us up at eight so be ready."

"Oh, you got us all a limo?" Clark was impressed, his parents deserved a little style.

She stepped close to him and placed an open hand flat against his chest; he gulped, "No, I got us a limo. Your parents are going early via the town hall in another limo."

Clark was no longer impressed, and he was getting very uncomfortable with her proximity, "Y-You didn't have to do that, I won't be drinking, I could have driven us."

She smiled, a dark, sultry twist of the lips, "Yes I did, Clark,"

Okay, he would be drinking, and did she have to purr his name like that? "Th-That's okay, you take Chloe, I think I'll go early as well, you know, to help set up."

A grin suddenly split her face and she slapped him on the chest, "Oh relax, Smallville, I'm pulling your leg; geez you're gullible! We're all going together, so be ready for eight okay?" She walked away, "Oh, and Smallville?" She turned back and looked him in the eye for a long moment, absolute seriousness stilling her face, "It meant nothing." And with that, she left.

-S-

'It meant nothing', yeah right, who was she kidding?

As she strode from the barn, Lois blew her fringe from her eyes in frustration and willed her heart to stop playing bongos against her breast bone. It had taken every ounce of her control to not pounce on him as he stood there in all his nervous hotness, those big, green eyes gazing into her soul and stoking the fire she could have sworn she had been successfully stamping out all week.

The incident in his loft had been incredible. She had expected him to fumble and stammer his way through the motions like the frightened teenager she thought he was, but he had been something else entirely. His lack of experience was more than made up for with pure passion, she was surprised they hadn't left scorch marks on the sofa when they finally picked themselves up and got dressed. They hadn't had the gentle, calming sex she had intended; they had made love, fast, passionate, soul-quenching love and she knew from the moment he had gazed down at her naked on the sofa, his eyes full of adoration and respect that she would never be able to go back to being friendly adversaries. She had told him at the time not to say what she could clearly see in his eyes; what she saw had scared her, but what scared her more was that she knew it was reflected in her own. Wrapping her arms around herself she picked up the pace as she crossed the lawn. Clark may have been terrified of physically hurting her, but she was far more scared of a deeper hurt that she knew from experience was bound to come if she gave in to what she was feeling. Entering the farmhouse she went straight to her room, grateful that the Kents were out and she could avoid any awkward questions they were bound to throw at her. Opening her closet, she pulled out the dress she had chosen for the nights festivities and felt tears well in her eyes; he was bound to like it - she had deliberately chosen red against her better judgement - and he would look at her, and she would still have to say no, to bury her feelings for the same reason that she had scolded him for that night in the loft.

Fear. Fear of the unknown, of the dangerous, of the thing she knew one way or the other would sear her very soul every day for the rest of her life if she gave in to it.

-S-

The ride to the Talon was painfully quiet.

Jonathan and Martha shot each other glances as the tension in the limousine rose with each meter travelled. Clark and Lois were clearly uncomfortable in each other's company and both of the older Kents knew it had nothing to do with the endless one-upmanship the two gleefully doled out. Clark would slyly glance at Lois who would immediately pick up on the look and glance back, and then their eyes would meet, hold and the moment would extend into long seconds where Martha was on the edge of her seat wishing one of them would say something. And then a noise outside or a movement from an elder Kent would make them both jump and they'd look away again. With each moment like this the tension in the car would hike another notch; Martha couldn't take it any more, she was so anxious that she was almost gnawing Jonathan's arm off. Glancing quickly at her husband she dove in, determined to break the unbearable silence,

"Well," Clark and Lois jumped, both locking huge, frightened eyes on the source of the disruption; Martha was thrown off her stride for a brief second but pushed on, "This whole campaign has gone quite well, don't you think?"

Silence.

"Lois, you look lovely tonight. Doesn't she look beautiful, Clark?" If all else fails, take the direct approach.

Martha didn't think it possible but Clark's eyes opened even wider as he stared at her in panic and turned his head - slowly as if someone had hold of it and were forcing him to - and looked at Lois whose own eyes didn't move from the evilness that was Martha Kent. "Uh...yeah..." His eyes now stuck, the lids lowered back to their usual un-stunned position as he took the opportunity to properly stroke his gaze over her; he murmured lower than anyone could hear, "Beautiful..."

Martha - keenly tuned to her son's locked attention - addressed Lois, "And who'd have thought that Clark could scrub up to well, huh Lois?" She fought not to smirk in triumph as the young campaign manager looked at her like she was the devil. Lois turned her eyes to Clark and froze as she saw the expression on his face: he was examining her all over like she was the most delicious treat he had ever tasted. His gaze met hers again and a muscle jumped in his jaw as a low fire began to glow in his eyes. To her mortification, she felt herself become warm all over as butterflies warred in her belly, if his gaze alone was setting her aflame, then what would his touch... The thought trailed off as the sound of doors opening jarred them both back to reality.

Gliding from the car, Clark hurried to assist his mother before his dad could; he did not want to be touching any part of Lois Lane for fear of what he might do.

Lois was inordinately glad that it was Mr. Kent that helped her from the car and not his son, she was terrified of what would happen if they got too close tonight.

The minute they entered the Talon, Lois was ambushed by Chloe and Clark was heaved into a bear-hug by Pete Ross who had returned to Smallville for the evening with his family. Lois and Clark dragged their respective rescuers into opposite quiet corners as the Kents went about entertaining their guests.

"Pete, I can't stand it. She's driving me crazy!"

"Yeah, nice to see you too, Clark!" Pete laughed, thoroughly amused by his friend's hopeless desperation, he was well used to Clark being distracted by a girl, but this head-over-heels Clark was an altogether new funny, "I take it that was the Lois you've told me about?"

Clark's voice turned dreamy for a second as his eyes effortlessly found her amongst the crowd, "Yeah..."

Pete's jaw hung open and he grinned, "Man, Clark, she must be amazing if she's made you forget about Lana."

Clark came back to himself, "Lana?"

Pete pointed to the figure on the stairs, a vision in lilac, "You know, Lana Lang, the girl who stole your heart?"

Clark barely glanced at Lana, flicked his gaze across the room to Lois for a long moment, then brought it back to Pete, "Pete, what do I do? I don't even like her!"

Meanwhile, Lois had Chloe pinned in a corner across the room, "Chloe, I'm going crazy, I mean I must be; Clark Kent? I've lost it!" She chewed nervously on a fingernail.

Chloe fought back a smirk, "Lois, you two have been batting around so much chemistry I've had to duck to avoid getting splashed by fluids; who are you trying to kid? Because you're not kidding me."

"No, no, no!" She picked Clark out of the crowd and felt a stupid smile begin to creep across her face; she turned back to Chloe with helplessness all over her face, "Help me!"

"Lois, I can't help you if your heart is already set."

"My heart isn't set!"

Not giving her chance to think, Chloe quickly asked, "Do you want him?"

Lois' voice dropped several octaves as her eyes narrowed, "Oh God yes."

Chloe grinned, "Well there you go! Now if you don't mind, I have an old friend to catch up with." And with that she left Lois alone and made a bee-line for Pete Ross.

-S-

Clark was tipsy.

As his chosen hiding-from-Lois place was near to the bar, he had consumed five or six glasses of wine too many for his nigh-invincible metabolism and the room was beginning to swirl most pleasantly. Pushing away from the wall, he weaved a lazy path towards Chloe and snagged her from her conversation with his dad with mumblings of "Dance, Chloe." Dragging her onto the small dance floor where other couples were already moving slowly, he held her and said, "Chloe, I'm in trouble."

Initially annoyed at his lack of manners, Chloe's interest peaked at his mention of trouble, "What? Why?"

Clark groaned, "Lois." He bent lower to murmur in her ear, "I've been having these dreams about when we slept together, I-"

"YOU DID WHAT?"

The whole room fell silent as all eyes turned towards them; as Chloe glared green death at him, he waved helplessly at the curious stares, "I, uh, I lost her car keys!"

"Clark." Chloe's hiss could have leveled a city, "Tell me you didn't."

"She started it."

"She what?"

"She came up to the loft and told me off for moping over Lana and then she... she seduced me!"

Quickly getting over the shock of the impossible happening, Chloe's lips twitched as she fought back a smirk, "Lois seduced you?"

"Yeah." He scrubbed a hand through his hair as his eyes unerringly found her across the room again, "And... it was amazing."

"Really?" Chloe's eyes took on the approximate shape of saucers, "Then, why is it a bad thing? Why are you in trouble?"

Tearing his eyes away from her cousin, he looked down at her again, "I'm in trouble because I can't stop thinking about her and dreaming about what we did and... damn it, I think I want it to happen again but it's Lois!"

"What's me?"

Clark jumped out of his skin - why did she always have that effect on him? - as Lois' voice sounded behind him, "Uh, I, uh, nothing." He wanted to tell her everything, how she had become all he thought about, how she was slowly but surely lighting up the dark corners of loneliness in his heart but his mouth refused point blank to co-operate.

"Come with me, Smallville." She grabbed him by the hand and led him through the bar, through the kitchen and up the private stairwell to the apartment above. Closing the door behind them, she pushed him onto a sofa and checked that the other door was locked as well before taking a moment with her back to him in order to calm herself for what needed to be said. She turned back to where he was sprawled on the sofa and blinked as the image brought memories of the loft searing back. She took a breath and got straight to work, "Look, Smallville, we've been avoiding each other like the plague all week because what happened was a mistake. It was a lesson, a distraction, it meant nothing, it served a purpose but now we feel awkward because... because..." she waved her hands helplessly, "because we do!"

"You sound like you're trying to convince yourself, Lois." Now the moment he'd been dreading all week was finally here, Clark was surprised to find that he was completely calm, "Something changed between us and you don't want to admit it." He slowly rose to his feet, his eyes never leaving hers as he pulled himself up to his full height, "Or maybe you're scared."

Nothing got Lois Lane's back up more than being called chicken, "I'm not scared of anything, especially not you." She clenched her fists in defiance and put them on her hips.

Clark's eyes narrowed as he sized her up, "I think," he took a step towards her, "you've been suffering from the same condition as me all week." He took another step, "You think about me," another step, "you dream about me," one more step took him inside her comfort zone, "I'm all you can think about." He slipped one arm around her waist and with the other hand reached out and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear.

Lois gulped, her infamous bravado had chipped away with each nail he hit squarely on the head and now her heart was hammering wildly in her chest as his words spun in her head. He'd described her affliction exactly, which meant... "You're lying." Her voice was hoarse.

"If I'm lying and all this is my imagination then prove it. Kiss me."

Lois' heart stuttered, "No." She panicked, she wanted to kiss him so badly and it was so hard to resist him when he was this uncharacteristically forceful, but this was futile, how could they possibly have a future together? But... He knew about her neuroses, about her brave front and soft, vulnerable centre, he wouldn't push harder than she was comfortable with. She could just break the moment, walk away and her heart would be intact, he wouldn't be able to hurt her. Then she stopped and thought about Lana, or more importantly Clark and Lana; he hadn't shared his secret with her and she certainly hadn't had the clarity of vision to work it out for herself, but Clark had been almost destroyed when they broke up; that wasn't the attitude of a man who took affairs of the heart lightly. What she and Clark had shared in the loft had been an unexpected yet pivotal moment in their fraught relationship and she had been holding herself in check all week, hiding from what she was so scared of, what she knew deep down was happening: the impossible, Lois Lane and Clark Kent were falling in love.

He bent his head, his eyes drifting closed and he whispered, "Alright." And then, his lips were on hers and all her reasoning went to hell.

Lois' world stood still for a second and for that one, brief moment it all made absolute sense; her confusion and doubt was stripped from her and she finally saw Clark for what he was: hers.

Clark felt her respond to his gentle, tentative touch and he smiled against her lips.

Pure, unadulterated joy flooded Lois as the most bizarre feeling of completeness filled her. She wound her arms around his neck and pressed forward into his embrace with a soft sigh; this felt so right, how could she have been so stubborn, so blind to this? She slowly walked them towards the sofa Clark had vacated and urged him down onto it; breaking the kiss for a moment, she smiled and moved to straddle him, "We took it so fast last time, how about you let me lead?" He nodded with a smile of his own and leaned up to capture her lips in another soft kiss. Allowing him to leisurely explore her mouth, his hands splayed over her back, she took the liberty of slowly untying his tie and unbuttoning the top few buttons of his shirt so she could get to his neck more easily.

Clark was in heaven, all the awkwardness of the previous week had vanished to be replaced with a new emotion that he had a feeling would turn out to be nothing like anything he had ever experienced. He felt his pulse quicken as Lois' hands wend to his tie and shirt buttons, he broke the kiss just enough to murmur, "Hope you like the suit." before getting back to work on her mouth. Her muffled assent was drowned out by his low moan as she fingered his nipples through the thin cotton of the shirt; dragging her lips from his, she trailed kisses along his jaw and down his neck as his head fell back giving her better access. His open mouthed moans prompted her to open more buttons and to continue the trail of kisses down his chest; licking gently at the now exposed nipples, Lois felt a twitch of interest from his lap as he sucked in a sharp gasp and tightened his hands on her back. As she continued to attend to his increasingly heated flesh, Clark slid his hands down to the hem of Lois' dress where it lay against her thighs; slipping his hands under the fabric, he slowly drew it up as he stroked up her legs towards her hips. In one fluid motion he pulled it up and over her head and let it fall to the floor behind her; as he slowly raked his gaze over her underwear clad form he felt the twitch from his groin grow into a full jump as all his spare blood raced for the current centre of his world, making him dizzy. Another murmur, "Beautiful," and his hands went to her face to pull her down for another slow, deep kiss.

Lois felt a moment of self-consciousness as she was stripped down to her underwear, but Clark's admiring gaze quickly dispelled it and when he kissed her again she felt her self-restraint begin to slip; she had begun with every intention of going slow, but he was making that goal infinitely more difficult with the intense feelings he was prompting from her. She whimpered into his mouth at his tenderness and set about removing his clothes, after all it was terribly unfair of him to be wearing so many clothes when she was wearing none.

The increasing heat of the moment spurred two sets of hands to full life as they busily stripped their opponents owners of every stitch of clothing until both were naked. They gazed at one another for a long moment before both blurting,

"I think I-"

"-love you."

They stared at each other, both shocked at what had been said, then grinned like idiots until Lois, recovering first, grabbed Clark's wrists and twisted their bodies until he was flat out on the sofa with his arms pinned on either side of his head.

"I know you can get out of this, Smallville, but I swear if you do I will make your life hell."

Clark was having way too much fun watching the mounds of fun pressed against his chest to fight back, "Okay." and then, his length accidently brushed against her centre and he gasped, his eyes rolling back in his head, "Oh, God."

Lois, well aware of what had happened, wriggled her hips slowly, allowing him to brush against her just slightly, the touch of him against her bringing its own rewards for her. She bit her lip as her own warmth wet his tip, making him slide deliciously against her as his surprised gasps drifted to her ears. He tried to raise his hips, to force a deeper penetration, but she lifted herself just out of range and he whimpered in frustration, "L-Lois!" She continued this slow, shallow torture for as long as she could stand, by the time she was finished, he was writhing below her, struggling not to break the grip she had on his wrists as moans and high keens broke from his throat. Tilting her hips, she finally let him enter her; controlling the speed she moaned his name in a low, sensual tone as he slowly filled her, his hard, pulsing length stretching and filling her.

Clark's eyes had long since stopped functioning, lodged firmly in the back of his head, they suddenly freed themselves and locked on Lois as she slid him inside her. He cried out as his eyes met hers and her hot, wet flesh surrounded him, welcoming him home, supplicating him, freely giving him the love and completion he had been craving for so many years. She released his wrists and his hands went immediately to her hips to hold her to him as he thrust slowly, maintaining the sow, loving pace she had set; he choked as he felt his climax approaching, struggled to hold it at bay until they could crest together.

Lois felt Clark tremble beneath her as he battled his own body; his eyes met hers and she cried out, the love shining in them sending her over the edge, and she thrilled in his loud moan as he finally gave in and joined her in completion. They collapsed together, trembling at the power of what they had shared, this time out of love.

Long minutes later, Clark said hoarsely, "There now, that wasn't so bad, was it?"

Lois laughed as he quoted her and she pulled herself up to glare down at him, "You ever paraphrase me, Kent, and you will not live to regret it."

Clark grinned and hugged her to him, "I think I love you, Lois Lane."

"Well you should, Mr. Kent, you're going to need to if you're going to put up with me for ever." Lois held her breath, a small part of her still expecting him to panic and run.

"And ever."

Lois smiled as tears welled in her eyes, control really wasn't all it had cracked up to be.