Oh, yeah, what he was doing to her mouth was pure heaven but there was something niggling at the back of her consciousness… there was something she was forgetting… Mineshaft… right. Lois pulled back, panting from a not altogether unpleasant exertion – she had forgotten all about breathing for a while there – and tried to find words. "Water… hole, thing…" she stuttered. Chuckling at her mind-numbedness, she licked her lips and tried again. "The water is still coming through the hole."
Lois pulled back, panting from a not altogether unpleasant exertion – she had forgotten all about breathing for a while there – and tried to find words. "Water… hole, thing…" she stuttered. Chuckling at her mind-numbedness, she licked her lips and tried again. "The water is still coming through the hole."
Clark's gaze was focused on her lips, but he didn't really hear her words until she repeated them with a little more emphasis.
"The water, Clark," she repeated, turning and sloshing toward the handle on the wall. She was making sure to stay close to the wall as to avoid the hole as she went.
Blinking, Clark finally came to attention. He briskly moved to the wall and reached for the handle when Lois's efforts failed to move the chute's doors. The pressure of the water coming up through the chute was obviously making it near impossible for them to be closed again. He added force to the turn when his initial attempt was unsuccessful. The metal handle gave a brief groan before snapping off in his hand.
"What happened?" Lois asked. He knew there was no way she could have clearly seen him rip the handle from the wall in the dark.
"Uh… I can't get it to budge. The doors aren't going to close."
"Oh," she replied flatly. If she was thinking what he was thinking, and he was pretty sure that she was, then she had realized what would happen if those doors weren't closed. "We should go."
It wouldn't happen in the next few minutes, or probably not even in the next hour… but the underground passage they were in was going to flood. And when it filled with water, it was going to flood upstairs as well.
They headed back to the makeshift manhole cover that they had come through, and once again, Clark lifted Lois to his shoulder so she could move the cement block. When it appeared that the weight of it was giving her trouble, he surreptitiously released a short pointed breath its direction – essentially blowing the lid off - but not so much as to make it obvious.
Lois gave pause at her sudden surge of strength. It was almost as if an invisible hand had reached past her… but that was ludicrous. Bracing against Clark, she pushed herself up into the hallway, grateful that the coast still seemed to be clear - she wasn't sure what she could say that would be good enough to explain why she was coming out of a hole in the floor. She racked her brain for a description of a themed room that could take place underground but couldn't get past the disturbing image of bandana wearing turtles.
Thankfully her unproductive brainstorm proved to be pointless, as Clark climbed out seconds behind her and replaced the grate. They both stood to their feet and looked around warily while allowing their eyes to readjust to the dim light of the corridor.
Lois smiled. "They probably gave up when they didn't find us inside."
Clark's expression was unsurprisingly doubtful. "They might still think that we were somewhere outside the premises though. We'll have to be careful."
"Of course," she agreed, rolling her eyes. When was she not careful?
After a beat, she decided that the answer to that question was irrelevant. "Whatever."
Clark gave her a telling look and she narrowed her eyes. She didn't like to be quoted to herself… or mirror imaged to herself for that matter. Stepping past him, she started walking down the hall toward the mine's exit… and back to where the whole adventure had begun.
They avoided the window slots of the rooms they passed, but there was no question of their limited vacancy. Obviously, in the time they had spent in the pit, not much of the clientele had thinned out. Something in one of the rooms caught her eye and she swallowed a gag. Elvis, apparently, was one of those people that was still in the building.
When they arrived at the crossroads to the hall that led to the main entrance, Lois acted on a sudden impulse and continued straight instead of making the left turn toward the exit.
At some point, without even verbally acknowledging it, Clark and Lois had reached the hand-holding stage. It had felt so natural that he hadn't even noticed it until his progress walking toward the exit was halted by the tug of their interlaced fingers.
Frowning, he turned to face her at the same time she turned to face him. When he had started down the hallway to the main door, he had been able to scan the area outside. 'Mickey the Leech' was no longer lying on the ground, and as far as he could tell, no one was watching the exit. If they left now, it would probably be their best chance of making a clean getaway.
"What are you doing?" he asked in a low voice.
Lois glanced down at their hands – perhaps equally surprised at their linkage – and then back up at him. "There's still a story to break..."
Clark felt that their window of opportunity for escape was narrowing by the second. "But you're soaking wet…" He then nodded his head in the direction of his selected path. "And in that way lies freedom."
In turn, she nodded her head in the direction of her chosen path. "In this way lies truth."
"Deeper into the mine?" he questioned. "Where there are more guards, guns, and other troublesome things like that?"
Lois nodded emphatically. "A place like this has to have offices. Offices have files. Files have names," she listed; her expression growing serious. "In just a little while, 'the powers that be' are going to have their hands full with a mass exodus of naked people once the water gets up here. When that happens, all record of this place will be erased from the map before half of the vip's even get to their respective homes. A list of names could make it so the baddies can't just disappear."
Her lips pursed in a hint of a smile as she locked eyes with him… testing… calculating. "Are you with me?"
For a moment, Clark contemplated. Then, finally he made his decision – tightening his hold on her hand, he chose his direction.
For better or for worse. "Yeah, I'm with you."
She wanted to kiss him just then but she held back. They had been standing at a crossroads more meaningful than the literal depiction that the floor plan indicated. If Clark had chosen not to pursue the story further, she would have respected his decision.
She would have been disappointed with it, but she would have respected it all the same. "I'm glad you came looking for me tonight," she said softly.
Breaking eye contact, she nodded curtly. Business was at hand.
They walked down the unfamiliar corridor, and Lois noticed that the doors in this new section of the mine were farther apart. In addition, the doors themselves seemed to be made of heavier material and below their little window slots, there were small red and green indicator lights to show the occupancy status of each room.
As they moved down the hall at a tentative pace, Lois found herself wishing that their wet shoes didn't make so much noise on the concrete floor.
The far end of the passageway ended with an opening to the right, suggesting that the hall continued on after the turn. Something in her gut told her that the offices were down that way, but just as she was about to increase her pace, Clark pulled her back.
"What?" she whispered worriedly. His eyes had narrowed and he was looking down the hall.
She studied his face for a moment, barely suppressing the urge to question exactly how he could know that, but when she thought back to other times she had seen that particular look on his face, she found that he had always been right on the money. She started to consider the fact that she might not be the only one on the team with good instincts.
She faced back the way they came and pulled him towards the nearest door with a green light. Ducking inside, they pressed against the inside of the door and peeked out of the window slot to try to get a glimpse of the person coming down the hall. If it were guests of the establishment, they could get an idea of who all was involved in this sordid affair. On the other hand, if it were…
"Mickey!" Clark hissed under his breath.
A second later, the face of Lois's nemesis from earlier that night came into view as he walked by the room they were hiding in. Mickey was scowling, holding an ice pack to his head with his right hand, and gripping a nasty looking pistol tightly in his left. Lois guessed that he was on a war hunt and that they were his prey.
She gulped and glanced down at her drenched outfit. Dressed like this, Mickey would have no trouble setting his sights on her once they came out of the fox hole. She turned to face the room they were in and tried to make out their surroundings in the dark. A motion engaged light flicked on when she stepped forward and she jumped back with a start.
Behind her, Clark turned from the door. "Why'd you turn on the…"
With the dropping of his voice, she imagined that his surprise matched her own at the room's décor. They had just stumbled into ancient Egypt.
"Wow. I guess this is the high class fetish wing," she quipped in a whisper. The room was larger than the Camelot themed room and more elaborately decorated. Sheer golden curtains hung from the rails of the large four-poster bed that was situated in the center of the room on a raised deck.
With a chuckle, Lois stepped past the bed and ducked behind a beautifully painted shoji screen.
"What are you doing?" Clark asked, pausing to take one more look out of the window before following Lois across the room. He found her picking through a small pile of garments that were lying across a chaise lounge.
She straightened and held out what looked like a tunic with leather straps. "We need a change of costume."
"A change of… Why?"
"One: Mickey knows what we were wearing. Two, and this is actually something you pointed out first: we're soaking wet. And three: if we look like guests when the panic from the flooding hits, we can merge with the crowd and we'll be home free." She grinned victoriously and shoved the costume against his chest.
He frowned at the clothes as they dropped into his arms and looked at what she had chosen for herself. "Why do you get the pants?"
"I'm the dancer to your pharaoh," she smirked. "I think Cleopatra and Caesar are a little played out." She pointed to the other items left in the pile and he was forced to agree.
He was still trying to figure out the correct assemblage of his leather skirt and golden belt when her grunts alerted his attention. A few minutes earlier, he had moved from behind the screen to allow her privacy while she changed.
"Could use a little help here," she announced.
Lois came from behind the screen, and he saw that she had pulled off her leather jacket and had donned the silky costume pants. Her attention was focused on lacing the many strings of the pants when she addressed him.
"It's this halter top," she said, still looking down. "Do you know how hard it is to take leather off when it's wet? If you don't mind, the zipper's in the…"
Her words trailed off when she looked up. Clark felt an ego surge when her eyes seemed to get stuck on his bare chest.
"…back," she finished, clearing her throat. She spun around and lifted her hair off of her neck.
He had just gotten the zipper down when there was a rough knock on the door. Their eyes met in wide shock. "The light on the door!" Lois whispered.
"It's still green!" he replied, immediately on the same wavelength. They hadn't changed the signal on the door when they entered. With the interior light now on, it was bound to look suspicious to a passing guard.
Lois's expression morphed into one of amusement. She smirked at him. "We need a cover."
Here we go again, Clark thought.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the door handle start to turn and acted impulsively. After placing her arms around his neck, he bent his knees and lifted her legs so they wrapped around his hips. Then he simultaneously turned around and backed her up against the nearest visible wall.
The door opened just as he attached his mouth to her neck, leaning into her and using his nose to nudge her head back. He hoped that the position looked as if she were in the throes of ecstatic pleasure.
"Sorry folks," a familiar gruff voice entered. "I'll just switch your light."
The door closed and Clark pulled his head back to meet Lois's gaze. "That was Mickey, wasn't it?"
She nodded and he physically felt her laughing response in more places than one. "He didn't suspect a thing."
She eyed him for a moment. "I never knew you could be this bold."
Swallowing, he awkwardly moved his hands higher so they were on her back – a much safer and less intimate location than the previous. "Too much, too fast?" he asked.
She fingered the hairs at the back of his neck and he tried to conceal his responding shiver.
"Let me introduce myself. Lois – Lois Lane. Too much, too fast is the way I live."
She unhooked her legs and he stepped back to give her enough space to slide to her feet. He knew he was in for it - if this night was any indication of what his future had in store for him, then it was clear that Lois Lane wasn't going to bring him anything but trouble.
But, then again, he wouldn't want it any other way.
-- The E…
Clark blinked away from his mental 'riding off into the sunset' scene to meet her eyes again.
She looked like it was taking everything she had not to burst out laughing. "I spin you about? Is that a line from a movie or something?"
He felt his face flush and started to drop his head to hide it but Lois placed a hand on his chin before he could. Grinning, she leaned up and closed the distance between their faces. Halting just before their lips touched, she raised her eyes to his.
"How about I do the saving this time?"
-- The End (the rizzle dizzle, baby!) --