Guess who's back, back, back - back again? -- Eminem
...

A/N: Okay, so I'm back with a little flight of fancy. This fic is dedicated to my pal VizzieG (only I can call her that). I started this a little (actual time is irrelevant) while ago for a certain event which shall remain nameless. Anyway, the real point is that this is a new fic - and it's not epic length so this should be a quick ride, but hopefully still enjoyable .

So let's see... the title and most of the various ingredients that make up this fic come from im convos between me and Marcy - and the rest is history (or thisstory, actually). So, here we go. Imagine that the SV world post Crimson didn't neuter Clark's character with episodes like Promise, mix in a few late night ideas and my desire to throw the toys into a box and watch them play - and this is what you get.

Fic Poster: http://img171.imageshack.us/img171/5443/troublesomelq2.png


And Other Troublesome Things...
aka Breaking the Cycle of Suck
Silently cursing the surprise drop in temperature, the leggy brunette pulled the leather jacket a little higher against her body. She knew that the motion was futile – leather was not an effective barrier against cold – still, it was what she had to work with.

Seeing that she was nearing a break in the trees, she straightened and walked into the small clearing. Her appearance drew the attention of a man who was leaning against a concrete door. In the five seconds that she allowed herself to catalogue her surroundings, her eyes took in the necessary details: the doorway that led into the side of a large rocky hill, the single light bulb rigged to hang above the door, the dirt on the shoes of the guard, and the toothpick hanging from his mouth.

With a bright smile on her lips, she finally focused her gaze on the man's face. His eyes narrowed as he pushed away from the wall.

"I am so glad that I found somebody," she gushed. "I was starting to think that I was going to freeze to death out here."

His chin lifted as he scanned the woods she had emerged from.

She tried again, this time lifting the empty gas container in the air as a visual cue. "My car ran out of gas."

The man smirked; his toothpick rolling to the opposite corner of his mouth as his eyes raked her body. "This place is a little far off the beaten path," he observed. "How did you know it was back here?"

She fought the urge to roll her eyes. It was almost like reading a script – they always responded the same way.

"Well, I came across the parking lot back there and figured that there had to be something going on up here. I've heard people talk about those underground poker tournaments and figured that this had to be my lucky day. Any chance I'll get to see Johnny Chan?" she asked, craning her neck toward the tiny window in the door.

The man's eyes held a smidgen of amusement. "Sorry, Toots," he said, using a hand to slide the cover over the window slot close. "This ain't that type of establishment." He sucked his teeth and stepped closer, taking a circular path to inspect her from another angle. "What's a looker like you doing this far out of town anyway?"

She took a hesitant step back as he closed in on her, showing an appropriate amount of fear at her newfound vulnerability. "I, uh…" She swallowed, her eyes following his hands as they slid under his coat. "I was on my way home from work… I'm a dancer."

The man's face creased into a smile, showing that he was quite familiar with the kind of dancing she did – and no doubt knew where she did it. "Ah. One of Candy's girls. I thought you looked familiar."

She bit back a scoff. From the neck down, most people would look familiar to this bottom feeder. "…Not that I plan on being a dancer forever," she continued, ignoring his last comment. "It sucks when the house takes 80 percent of your take."

He reached out and twirled a lock of her hair around his finger, effectively latching onto her. She grimaced as he tugged her closer to him by the captured strands. "Maybe you'd be interested in a career change? The cut you get from my bosses is a hell of a lot better."

She studied his face. With his post being outside, it would be highly unlikely that he would ever get a taste of the merchandise unless he got to it before the 'bosses' did.

"You'd put in a good word for me?" she asked.

The man's lips curled onto lust-filled sneer. The toothpick waggled suggestively in the corner of his mouth as his tongue crept between his lips to moisten them.

"Leave her alone!"

Immediately, the brunette found herself pinned with her back against the guard's chest, secured with the point of a knife blade against her throat. "What is this?" the man growled suspiciously. "You know him?"

Setting her jaw, she sighed and looked across the clearing. The person who had joined them was someone she knew all right. Normally when she saw him, he was wearing jeans, a blue tee shirt and a red jacket. In what she assumed must have been a burst of unforeseen creativity when he dressed himself that morning, he had switched up his colors. Now, his uniform consisted of jeans and a blue jacket covering a red shirt.

"Smallville, what are you doing here?"

Clark's brow was furrowed and the muscles in his jaws bulged from him gritting his teeth. He seemed to be equally perplexed by the question and by the predicament he was faced with. "Saving you," he replied, taking a step forward.

Lois tilted her head away from the knife at her neck as Clark's advance resulted in additional pressure from her captor. Seeing the movement, Clark stopped abruptly.

Lois glared at him. "I don't need saving," she stated through clinched teeth.

Clark's eyebrows rose in surprise as he looked from her face to the face of the man sneering at him from over her shoulder. "He has a knife," he pointed out unnecessarily.

--

Clark saw her arched eyebrow and immediately, he knew what she was going to do. "Lois, don't…"

Before he could finish his statement, or think of a way to help, Lois had elbowed her captor in his gut and was spinning to face him. She deftly avoided the man's angry lunge and intercepted the thrust of the knife with the broad side of the gas canister. With the knife now embedded in the bright red plastic, Lois used both hands to twist the container, wrenching the dagger from her attacker's hand and disarming him in one swift move. Tossing it aside, she sidestepped a punch and drove the palm of her hand into the man's throat, shoving his Adam's Apple into his windpipe. The guard's eyes teared up as he reached for his neck, and while he was preoccupied with trying to breathe, Lois finished him off with a roundhouse kick to the side of his head.

Dusting her hands off by rubbing them together, she sighed. "I told you I didn't need saving."

Speechless, Clark ran across the clearing and kneeled next to the fallen man and confirmed that he was unconscious. Rising to his feet, he gave her an incredulous look. "You're bleeding," he said, his concern winning out over the exasperation.

He watched as Lois frowned and placed a few fingers to the side of her neck. Glancing at the wetness on her fingertips when she pulled her hand away, she muttered under her breath, "Damn."

She returned the hand to her neck and pressed harder. "It's just a scratch."

Clark suppressed the urge to scold her for her actions. He knew it wouldn't help anything. A light beeping sound pulled his attention back to the man on the ground. Having heard it as well, Lois crouched and began patting the man down with her free hand.

"What are you doing?"

She glanced up, her eyes skirting past him as she looked around warily. "There'll be others."

He looked at her with a narrowed gaze. "Other what?"

Lois returned her attention to her search, reaching into the man's back pocket and pulling out a small walkie-talkie. "Bad guys, knives… guns," she responded in a tone that said it should have been obvious as she rose to her feet. "You know, other troublesome things like that."

The walkie beeped again and Lois turned the knob to increase the volume.

"No response from Micky at DE3. Peripherals allocated. SQ out."

Lois turned the volume down and nodded to the supine figure on the ground. "I'm guessing that that's Mickey."

As if in response to her observation, the sound of ATV engines indicated that company was indeed coming. "And those are the peripherals," Clark added.

Lois leaned back down and felt the inside pockets of the man's jacket. Straightening, she stepped over the unconscious man and reached for the door.

Clark turned to face the woods and backed toward Lois and the concrete door she was trying to open. From their surroundings, he guessed that it led to an old mineshaft. He didn't need to use any of his special powers to know that the source of the engine sound was getting closer.

"Damnit!"

He turned to see that Lois's struggle had come to no avail. Obviously she hadn't found any keys on the guard during her search. Clark gazed at the door. There were no keyholes or touch pads anywhere.

"I have a bad feeling that this is one of those doors that has to be opened from the inside," Lois said. She held up the walkie-talkie. "And I'm guessing that Mickey is the one that gives the magic words."

The sound of shouts caused both of them to look into the darkness beyond the trees.

Against his better judgment, Clark stepped to the door and pulled it open. He wasn't entirely sure how being inside of the "bad guy's lair" was better than being out in the open, but at that moment he didn't see an alternative. "It was just stuck…" he offered as an explanation as he pushed Lois through the opening ahead of him.

Thankfully, Lois didn't question their good fortune. She started running down the long passageway that they had gained entrance to as soon as he had pulled the door closed behind him. Clark followed her, glancing at their surroundings as they ran, trying to find somewhere they could hide. The mine beyond the outer door was nothing like what he had expected it to be. Instead of shafts of dirt and damp darkness, they were inside of a dimly lit, carpeted narrow hallway that led deeper into the space at a moderate decline.

"Carpet?" he muttered, voicing his incredulity.

"Shh." Lois had stopped at the end of the hallway where it ended at the interchange of a wider passageway that branched off to the right and the left. The carpet flooring did not continue past the hallway they were in, the crossing passage floors being bare concrete. For whatever this place was supposed to be, it appeared that the carpeted hallway they were in was the main entrance.

Moving behind her, he copied Lois's actions as she leaned around the corner of the wall just enough to gage if the coast was clear. "What is this place?" he whispered.

Lois gave him a wide-eyed look before ducking around the edge of the wall, leaving him no answer and no choice but to follow. As they snuck past a closed door, Clark read the handwritten placard that was affixed to the wall beside the door that declared it to be 'Room #5'. Confused and curious, he slid aside the covering on the window slot and peeked inside. Immediately, he wished he hadn't. To his shock and embarrassment, the two people he'd spied on inside Room #5 were channeling Tarzan and Jane… sans loincloth.

...
TBC