Part 10: Proof of Life

Clark sighed and reached as he gave the knob on the faucet a quick turn, cutting off the flow of water abruptly. His wet forehead plastered itself to his forehead as he reached for a towel, wrapping it around his body as he stepped out of the shower.

It was almost hard to believe that, after everything, he was finally home. With Lois. At the thought of how he had almost lost her his breath caught in his throat and it was with an effort that he forced himself to relax. The almost blind panic that had consumed him only a couple of short hours before had faded but not entirely left him, and so he constantly had to remind himself that Lois was safe and unharmed, just a couple of rooms away.

After wiping the steam off the mirror, he rested his trembling hands against the sink and leaned forward to examine his blurred reflection in the glass. He didn't need to see his image to know his powers had yet to completely return; the weariness in his bones told him that well enough. But, still, the sight of the cuts on his temple and side of his lip weren't encouraging sights.

For a few seconds, back in that room in which he and Lois had been held captive, Clark had almost felt like his old self. He'd been desperately sawing away at the tape binding his wrist, terrified that he wouldn't be able to free himself in time, when he'd seen Lois take a shot at Amber and knew with absolute certainty what was going to happen next if he didn't do anything to stop it.

The tape had given way and Clark had launched himself into action, and for a moment, he'd felt like he must have had his powers back. He had to have, or else how could he possibly have gotten to Lois in time? But looking at his reflection, Clark had to admit that his earlier feeling must have been a figment of his imagination because the man in front of him looked like a lot of things but "invulnerable" wasn't one of them.

Sighing heavily, Clark turned and walked to the bathroom door. This wasn't the night to worry about any of that. His lost powers were a problem for tomorrow; for tonight, all he wanted to do was to spend time with Lois, to be constantly reassured of her presence as he listened to her breathing softly beside him. Maybe then, the fear he'd felt when he'd thought he was about to lose her forever would fade.

Pushing the nightmarish scenario of what could have happened out of his mind with a grimace, Clark threw open the bathroom door to find Lois on the other side, her fist raised as if he had interrupted her when she was just about to knock. His appearance at the door clearly surprised her because she didn't speak right away, and he took the opportunity to let his gaze sweep over her, taking in her appearance.

She looked deliciously adorable with her damp hair brushed back from her face, dressed in one of his button-down shirts. It looked rumpled, like it had been perhaps been slept in. She had rolled up the sleeves, but the tail of the shirt hung down mid-thigh. Letting his gaze travel down the long line of bare leg that was exposed, he couldn't help but grin when he saw the bunny slippers (dubbed "Bonnie" and "Clyde" to his recollection) on her feet.

"Er…hey!" she said brightly. "I was just about to ask if you were planning on spending all night in there or what!"

Clark smirked, letting himself fall into the playful banter that came so naturally between them. "Hardly, Lois, considering that you used up most of the hot water during your marathon shower. It gave me plenty of incentive to rush."

Chuckling, Lois stepped forward, causing him to take a couple steps back to let her through. He was about to leave to change into some proper attire when she grabbed him by the arm and tugged. "Not so fast, Smallville. Have a seat. I want to take a closer look at you." He couldn't help the mental image that came to mind at her words, and when he raised his eyebrows at her and grinned mischievously, her cheeks tinged red and she said pointedly, "I want to take a look at your injuries."

"Honestly, Lois, I'm fine," he assured her as he adjusted the towel wrapped around his waist. "The EMTs said I was…"

"The EMTs aren't me," she told him sternly as she stepped closer to him. "I haven't given you the Lane Certificate of Health, and you're not out of the woods until I do, mister. So either you make this easy on yourself and have a seat until I've checked you over or I do this the hard way."

Hm. Dilemma. To cross his arms over his chest and give her a mock stern look or to keep his hand on the only think keeping him from showing her the Full Monty right here in the bathroom? Not that she hadn't seen it before, of course, but he doubted he'd be able to maintain his mock stern look if his towel decided to give it up and fell to the floor in the middle of their encounter. And he would definitely look ridiculous standing in the middle of his bathroom wearing nothing but his birthday suit and a glower. Perhaps he should keep one hand on the towel at all times.

"Look, Clark, you know I'm going to have my way in this eventually, and you'll get through it a lot faster if you don't try to fight it," she said with arched eyebrows, challenging him to see things her way.

Unfortunately, he knew she had a point. He would cave on her eventually; he just wished she'd waited until he was properly clothed. "Can't I go put on some clothes first?" he tried in a last-ditch effort to avoid sitting through the undoubtedly not-so-tender ministrations of Lois Nightingale.

Shaking her head, she lowered the toilet seat and pointed at the makeshift chair. When he still looked dubious she sighed, her gaze skittering away from his for a moment. When she looked back at him, all the humor had fled from her face and she said earnestly, "Look, Clark, I…I just want to make sure you're okay. I need to…I just…I want to see for myself."

All his resistance crumbled in the face of her plea, and without another word, he moved over to the toilet and sat, patiently waiting for her to look him over to check his injuries. He supposed he couldn't blame her for her request, since he'd demanded that the EMTs check her over completely at least three times before he'd been satisfied that her own injuries weren't severe.

Clearing her throat, Lois grabbed one of his hands and examined the knuckles closely. The skin had split during his fistfight with Steve, and though it had started to scab over earlier, the wound had opened again as he washed his hair in the shower. Frowning, Lois grabbed some medical supplies from under the sink and prepared to treat his injuries.

Having her so close, Clark couldn't help but remember the undercover kisses they'd shared. Until that last day, he'd managed to keep everything in perspective. But when she'd kissed him in the lobby, he'd allowed himself to forget that it was all an act. And later, when he was tied up in the chair, praying for a miracle, she'd kissed him again. Though he knew it had just been a diversion, calculated to give her an opportunity to pass him the piece of glass that had eventually saved both their lives, it had been impossible for him to bear that in mind at the time. She'd kissed him…she'd kissed him like she loved him, and though she'd been very emphatic in telling him that this wasn't the end, that he wasn't supposed to think of this as goodbye, he hadn't been able to help but kiss her as if that embrace might be the last moment they had together. In his kiss had been everything he'd been too afraid to say, with everything he'd only realized when it was too late to do anything about it. He'd kissed her goodbye.

Remembering that moment, he knew that he should take this opportunity now to tell her everything he tried to show her earlier, but…he just couldn't do it. His feelings – or at the very least his awareness of them – were too new, and after the experience he'd just shared with Lois, he felt too vulnerable already. He was scared of what would happen if he told her now that he loved her. Would she return his feelings, or would he discover that it had all been nothing more than an act? No, he told himself sternly. That hadn't been just an act earlier, when she'd kissed him goodbye. He couldn't bring himself to believe that it was. Still, the awareness of whatever it was that was between them had come under the most extreme of emotional situations. They had been best friends for so long, they shouldn't rush things now.

But still, even with that thought in mind, Clark recognized that it was hard to have Lois so close and not pull her into his arms. He wanted to kiss her until she melted in his arms, to show her how much she meant to him – even if he wasn't ready to tell her with words just yet. To celebrate the fact that they were still alive and that, after everything Clark had been through – both in the last few days and in the months leading up to them – they were together.

He could smell the soft floral scene of her shampoo, even from where he was sitting. She was so close, he could feel the warmth of her body, though they were barely touching, and he leaned into it like a plant turning towards the sun. He wanted her. Shifting uncomfortably, Clark tried to think about something else before exactly how much he wanted the woman in front of him became all too readily apparent. A towel provided very little protection in that regard.

As Clark tried to think about something innocuous, he hoped that Lois would find a way to break the silence between them that had stretched to uncomfortable lengths. But she didn't speak, though he knew that silences were always painful for her. But it seemed that, after everything that had happened, Lois had no better idea what to say to him than he had of what to say to her. So they sat in strained silence, scared, perhaps, that if they spoke, they would say too much. Or maybe not enough.

When he could take the silence no longer, he remembered that there was at least one thing that he wanted to say to her. One thing that he needed to tell her, in fact, and while this was perhaps not the best time, it wasn't a subject that was ever going to find a convenient segue. "Lois…," he began with a bit of trepidation, "There's something I want to tell you."

She paused, the cotton ball soaked in hydrogen peroxide a couple of inches from his hand, and looked up at him with a certain degree of wariness. "Yeah?" she prompted, her voice a little unsure.

Taking a deep breath, Clark braced himself. "About my disappearance…I-I want to tell you where I've been, but…it's kind of hard to explain."

He could swear that Lois looked disappointed for a moment, but then her gaze fell to the hand she held in her own. "You don't have to tell me if you aren't sure you want to, Clark," she offered. "I told you before that I –"

"No. Lois," he said, cutting her off. "I want to tell you. It's just that I don't really…well, to tell you the truth, I don't really know where I've been for the last three months. I mean, I know some but not…" He was explaining this badly, he knew, and as he struggled to find the words, she dabbed his knuckles with the cotton ball and then blew gently on the wound. Given that he'd been invulnerable for most of his life, he'd never really understood why people did that, but he had to admit now that there was something soothing about the feel of her breath against his skin. It helped to take the sting away.

It was also oddly erotic, which was something he was trying very hard not to notice, so he blurted hastily, "Lois, a couple of weeks ago, I woke up in…I don't really know where I'd been, actually, but I found myself on a Russian fishing vessel. They'd found me and rescued…well, they said they'd rescued me, but then they told me that I had to pay off my debt. So they took me to a work camp and…" He paused and sighed heavily before asking somewhat irritably. "I'm not explaining this very well, am I?" He needed her to understand that he hadn't left her willingly – that he would never have left her like that for so long – but how could he explain it to her if he couldn't find the words?

Whether due to her own reasons or because she recognized that his task was marginally easier when she wasn't looking at him, Lois didn't take her eyes off his hand as she went about her task, moving from knuckle to knuckle to inspect the wounds for injury. Finally, she asked softly, "But you escaped?"

"Yeah," he answered, wincing a bit at the memory. "I stole a truck and managed to get away. And then I had to make my way back here, which was…it's wasn't easy."

Lois made a noncommittal sound, dropping his right hand so she could grab his left. It was only then that he remembered that he hadn't yet taken off the gold band on his ring finger, but, then again, when he glanced at her hands, he saw that she was still wearing hers, as well. Neither of them commented on it. Instead, she said gently, "You could have called me, you know. I've got connections; I could have called the General and had you on the next flight back here."

She was right, of course, and he'd even thought about calling her, once he'd finally made his way back to civilization after the truck he'd stolen had broken down, stranding him in the middle of nowhere. But, in the end, he'd called Oliver instead, stymied by the thought of what to tell Lois if he got on the phone. In all the time that had passed since that moment, he still hadn't found the right words. "I know," he admitted softly. "I just didn't know what to say, how to explain." It wasn't the best answer, but it was an honest one.

Pursing her lips, she blew on the last of his knuckles and then turned his hands over, inspecting his palms. Frowning thoughtfully, she didn't speak until her inspection of his hands was done and she turned her attention to the injuries on his face. Grabbing a fresh cotton ball soaked in peroxide, she dabbed it gently against a small cut on his left temple, near the hairline.

"So that's all you remember?" she finally asked, not meeting his eyes. "You left here and you woke up in Russia?"

Truth be told, that wasn't all he remembered, though everything else was harder to explain. His trip to the Arctic, his fight with Lex…there was something almost surreal about the memory. But without her knowing his secret, he wasn't entirely sure how he could possibly explain. Perhaps he should just confess everything to her – about where he was from, about what he could do. After everything they'd been through together in the last few days, there was certainly no question that he trusted her. And yet, if it had been a struggle to find the words to explain where he'd been for the last few months, it was downright impossible to think of a way to explain everything else about himself to her – particularly since he was still powerless and couldn't provide her with a practical demonstration.

So he could lie and tell her that it was all he remembered or he could tell the truth and take his chances. "No," he blurted abruptly, his voice a little too loud in the small space. Startled by the outburst, Lois's eyes flew to his, and he pinned them with his own as he explained as gently as he could, "No, that's not all I remember, but that's all I can tell you right now. I wish I could explain, but believe me when I tell you that I just…I can't. You probably wouldn't believe me right now anyway if I tried. But I need you to trust me, Lois. As soon as I can tell you, I will."

He held his breath as Lois regarded him intently, her gaze boring into him as if she was trying to read his innermost thoughts and possibly succeeding. "It has to do with that great big secret you've been carrying around with you since the day I met you, huh?" she finally asked.

"Wh-What do you mean?" he replied anxiously, and Lois had to hide her smile in the face of his obvious surprise and alarm. Instead, she restricted herself to simply rolling her eyes at him in exasperation.

She'd treated his cuts and there wasn't much she could do about his bruises – though, looking closely at him now, she was rather surprised to find that she couldn't see any obvious ones, given that he should have been covered in them. Walking over to the sink, she replaced the lid on the peroxide bottle and snorted at her patient. "Clark, in the four years I've known you, you've had amnesia no less than three times. That's not exactly normal. When I gave you a journal you're your birthday, it was because you've got more bottled up inside of you than a bottle of wine." Glancing at him pointedly, she added, "A situation that hasn't improved much since, by the way. I've walked in on you and Chloe whispering secretively together more times than I can count, and every time I do, the two of you aren't exactly the best at hiding the abrupt change of subject. She's a little bit better than you are, I have to admit, but only because your default seems to be stuck on asking her about some recent sports game, not because she's any better at acting casual than you are."

"We don't –!" Clark began to protest, but she cut him off with a laugh.

"Clark, Chloe hates sports, unless someone she knows is actually playing. Believe me when I say that it's pretty obvious to anyone who knows her half as well as I do that there's no way she'd actually be engaged in a heartfelt discussion of RBI scores…unless she was covering for something." Though she was tempted to continue teasing him – his attempts at "acting casual" were generally pretty lame – he looked both guilty and distressed, and she just didn't have the heart for it. So, instead of continuing her special brand of torture, she walked over to him and knelt on the ground at his feet so she could look him straight in the eye as she spoke, "It's okay, Clark. Really. I don't care that you have some big secret that you haven't told me." Her voice was gentle but firm; she needed him to believe that she was telling him the truth, that she wasn't lying to just give him an easy way out. He had to understand that she knew that there were secrets he wasn't yet ready to share, she wasn't going to demand more of him than he was willing to give.

"I want to, Lois," he said suddenly. "I do. Honest! I just…I don't know how to…"

She shook her head, cutting him off. "You're entitled to your secrets, Clark, and though I'd be lying if I said I wasn't curious, like I told you before…I don't want you to tell me anything because you think you'll lose me somehow if you don't. If and when you share your secrets with me, it has to be because you want to. Because you're ready. Until then…" She paused and let her gaze drop to his chin, unable to meet his eyes as she finished, "Y-you mean too much to me for me to push you for answers. I'm not going to lie; it's not easy for me to accept that there are some things I don't or can't know, but…I'm willing to try because…you just…you mean too much too me for me to risk losing you because of my own stupid curiosity. You'll tell me when you're ready – if that moment ever comes – and until then…I'm just happy to be your f…" she broke off, her mouth twisting when she realized she couldn't finish the thought. But he wasn't just her friend, not any longer. She didn't know what they were to each other any longer, but it certainly wasn't just friends. In an attempt to cover for the sudden awkward moment, she finished, "Tell me when you're ready, Clark. If you ever decide to share your secrets with me, do it for you, not for me."

Lois felt Clark place his hand on her chin, exerting a little pressure until she met his eyes again. "Lois, I…how can you trust me if you don't know everything about me?"

His voice was a plea she didn't quite understand. He sounded both sad and a little scared, and so she stared him unwaveringly in the eye, willing him to believe her. With a soft laugh, she asked, "You don't think I know you, Clark?" Reaching towards him, she braced his face in her palms, leaning into him until she could feel the brush of his breath against her mouth, but she didn't take her eyes off of his as she asked earnestly once more, "You don't think I know you?"

Her breath caught in her throat as she stroked his cheeks gently before lifting her hands to brush his hair off his forehead, being careful of the small cut at his temple. She let her eyes rove over the hard planes of his face, to take in every detail of the features she'd pictured so vividly in her mind every day for the past three months. She knew his face better than she knew her own, and the memory of the gleam in his eye when he teased her, the quirk of his lips when exchanged banter with her, the softness in his expression when he was looking at her in concern…these memories had been her only comfort as she lay in his bed at night, missing him more than words could say, more than she'd wanted to admit, even to herself. And he thought she didn't know him?

They were so close, she could see the slight widening of his eyes, could feel his breath grow ragged as it brushed her skin. They were teetering on the brink of something right now; she could feel it. So she had a choice. She could either run away from it, as she always did, or she could…she could give herself over to it. There were still questions to be asked; they would have to come to terms with the shift their friendship had taken over the last couple of days. But that was for tomorrow. For tonight…she just wanted to be with the man in front of her. Maybe on another day, she'd have been able to hide how much she wanted him, even from herself, but not tonight. She couldn't forget that she'd almost died – that he'd almost died for her – and so right now, she just didn't have it in her to build up her emotional barriers again. Perhaps it was illogical or even a little silly, but there was a part of her that wanted a reminder that she was still alive, that he was still alive. That he hadn't been taken from her and that she had – somehow, miraculously – been lucky enough not to be taken from him. Whatever other reasons she had to be where she was at the moment were perhaps even more terrifying to face, but she didn't have to examine those right now. That could wait for another day.

Bridging the distance between them, Lois brushed her mouth against his in a tender kiss. Without breaking the embrace, she raised her weight up on the balls of her feet and shifted forward, tilting his head back so she could continue the kiss as she straddled his legs. When she settled her weight into his lap, she felt his arms wrap around her waist, pulling her tight against him as he deepened the kiss.

When they finally broke the kiss, Lois's breath was none too steady, though she was pleased to note that Clark was faring no better. Resting her forehead against his own, she gasped, "I know you, Clark. I know that you're the best man I've ever known. You're the best friend I could ever ask for. And you're the only man that I l…" Her sentence broke off as she pulled away from him with a jerk. Had she really been about to confess that to him, when she wasn't entirely sure she was ready to admit it to herself just yet?

His arms still held her tight, not releasing her. "Don't," he said softly.

On a shaky laugh, Lois shook her head. She was willing to pretend that she had not been about to make such a confession if he was willing to let her, and it seemed as if, for the moment, he was. "Like I said, Clark. I know you. At least, I know everything I need to know about you to know that…that I want to be right here, right now."

The corner of his mouth quirking up, he joked, "In the bathroom?"

Lois chuckled as she looked around, her nose wrinkling as she took in their surroundings. "Well..maybe not," she conceded with another laugh.

When she looked back at Clark, however, she saw as the humor drain from his features as quickly has it had come. "I don't know that this is a good idea. You say that you're okay with my secret…whatever it is…but that's because you don't know what it is. What if I tell you everything about myself tomorrow and you…you change your mind about me?"

Arching her eyebrows, Lois frowned down at him. "Are you secretly married? Do you have three charming but illegitimate children tucked away somewhere that I don't know about? Are you a serial killer? A sociopath?" When he responded in the negative to all of these questions (with varying degrees of alarm), she said sternly, "Then whatever your secret is, it's not going to change my mind. I'm here right now because I want to be." He still looked unconvinced, so she sighed and glowered at him. She knew he wanted her; not only had he kissed her with a considerable amount of passion, but she was sitting flush against his body. He could hardly hide the evidence of his arousal from her, and, in a very deliberate move, she shifted slightly on his lap just to hear him gasp. A little physical torture was the least he deserved right now.

Before he could recover, she cried, "Clark, I don't know how many ways I have to tell you this, but I don't care what your secret is! I don't care if you're…" Shrugging her shoulders, she named the most outlandish things she could think of that his secret could be, "If you're a secret agent or…or a meteor freak, or…or a much, much better put together version of Frankenstein's monster! I want you, you big idiot – which I would think would be pretty obvious seeing as how I'm sitting on your lap – and I know you want me too." Her lips quirking in a smirk, she let her eyes drop towards his lap before she looked back up at him with a significant look. "But if you really think you can try to pretend like you don't want this as much as I do, I guess I'm just going to have to prove it to you!"

There was no mistaking the flash of desire in his eyes at her declaration, but he leaned back a little and challenged, "You will, huh? And how exactly do you propose doing that?"

Grinning mischievously at him, she relaxed, recognizing that, at least for now, he wasn't going to let his generally-charming-but-currently-stupid chivalry force her to take another shower tonight – and a cold one at that. "I tell you what, Smallville…if you really think you can resist me, do everything you can to keep that towel of yours on and I'll do everything in my power to convince you to take it off."

Clark laughed. "Okay, it's a dare. But…um…not here." In a smooth motion, he cupped her under her thighs and lifted. As she tightened her legs instinctually around his hips, clinging tightly to him, he stroke confidently towards the bedroom. The friction the towel made against her thighs was driving her a little mad, but by the pained expression on his face, she could tell that at least she wasn't alone. So maybe it was worth it.

Inside the bedroom, Clark paused by the bed, looking first at the mattress and then at her. "Problem?" she taunted him, still clinging to him as she arched her back to grind her pelvis against his. She couldn't hide her satisfied smile when her motion elicited a soft grunt in reply, but he still didn't release her.

"Stop that!" he finally managed to command when she did it again. "I'm trying to figure out how to put you down without losing my towel, since I'm not about to lose this bet!" When she grinned at him, he amended a little sheepishly, "At least not yet."

"Well, since we both know it's a foregone conclusion that you're going to give in eventually, maybe you should just – yeep!" Her taunt broke off in a soft cry when Clark, apparently deciding on a solution to his problem, released her abruptly, shoving her gently back onto the mattress with one hand as he made a desperate grab for his towel with the other. It actually took her a few seconds to process her sudden change in position, and then she leaned back and howled with laugher. "You jerk!" she cried as she lunged for his towel. "Just for that, I ought to…!"

"Ah, ah, ah!" he reprimanded her with a laugh, dancing out of her reach. "You said you'd convince me to take it off, remember!"

Since she could no longer reach him unless she got off the bed, Lois realized she had a choice. She could jump to her feet and chase him down, wrestling him out of his towel if she managed to catch him, or she could…well, she could do exactly what she promised to do and convince him that he wanted to join her right where she was.

Scooting back a couple of feet, she knelt in the middle of the bed and rested her weight on her heels, tilting her head to the side as she considered the man in front of her. "So I did," she acknowledged as she lifted her hands to her shirt and slowly undid the top button. "I guess I'd better get started on that, huh?"

She could feel the intensity of his gaze as she undid the next button, exposing another inch of skin but, as she undid yet another button, she didn't part the fabric to expose what lay beneath. Instead, had been unfastened, she sighed heavily, knowing the motion would cause the fabric to part just a little bit more. "Well? You going to just stand over there, or are you going to join me?"

He didn't move; she wasn't entirely sure he'd heard her challenge. So, just to make him sweat, she raised up onto her knees and moved her hands behind her back. With an evil grin, she hooked her thumbs into the line of her panties and slowly slid them down her legs, shifting her weight so she could pull them off and toss them at him. He caught them against his chest in an automatic gesture, but his eyes didn't leave her as she leaned back onto the bed, resting her weight against her palms, her breasts straining against the fabric of her half-undone shirt. "Well?" she asked again. "Giving up already?"

"H-hardly," he choked. Though she could tell he was doing his best to fix a nonchalant expression to his face, she could see the erection tenting the front of his towel as she walked over to the bed and lowered himself onto it. For a moment, she was disappointed, but then he lifted his hands and hooked them behind his head. With a pretend yawn, he smirked over at her. "That all you got, Lane?"

She couldn't help but laugh. Now he was getting into the spirit of things! "Hardly, Smallville," she said coyly as she scooted closer to him. Eyeing him closely, she tried to plan her next move. Her decision made, she grinned and remarked causally, "You know, I don't think I finished my examination earlier. You might have all kinds in injuries I haven't found yet!"

"You think so?" he asked a bit dubiously, but she didn't reply as she slung a leg over his hips, straddling him once more. Moving very deliberately, she lowered herself onto him, brushing her pelvis against his erection as she settled her weight against him. "Oh, so sorry!" she said with mock sweetness when she saw his pained expression. "Does this bother you?"

"N-no, it's fine," he said in a brave attempt to sound casual. "You're fine."

"Good!" she said brightly, bringing her hands to rest gently against his shoulders. "Now, I don't see any bruises, but you never know. You could have bruised a rib, and you know how painful that can be. In the interest of safety, it's only right that I make sure you're okay."

"If you say so," he agreed placidly, and though she could see a muscle jumping in his jaw, she had to admire the fact that he'd managed to regain his composure so that their little game could continue.

Running her hands down his shoulders to his chest, she examined him closely. "Let me know if I hit any particularly…tender area, okay?" As he grunted his assent, she traced her fingernails gently down his chest, stopping when she came upon a blemish on his skin. "Oh, you know, I think I've found a bruise!"

Clark lifted his head slightly to look down at what she was indicating. "Lois, that's a freckle," he said in mind confusion.

"I think it's a very small bruise," she corrected him. Scooting backward (her movement causing him to suck in a sharp breath again), she leaned down and brushed her lips softly against his freckle before making a path to his nipple, which she flicked with her tongue, causing him to start.

"L-Lois, that's…that's not an injury, it's my n-nipple," he wheezed as she did it again.

Lifting her head, she glowered at him. "Hey! Which one of us has medical training?" she demanded. "Hey, look! Another one!" She lavished the same attention on his other nipple, smiling to herself when it produced the desired result. Before raising up again, she tilted her head to scrape her teeth against the sensitive skin at his side, causing him to jump once more.

Acting as if the man beneath her wasn't panting heavily, she gazed critically at the bare stomach exposed beneath her and pursed her lips thoughtfully. Then she moved her hands to his ribcage and began to stroke him very lightly with her fingertips, enjoying the way he jumped under her touch. "Tender?" she asked him as she moved towards his stomach and his breath began to come out in short little gasps.

"M-maybe a l-little," he replied with as much composure as he could manage, given that she was doing her best to tickle him senseless. Lowering his head, she began to kiss his stomach, moving ever closer to the towel that was slung against his lower hips. When the red fabric prevented her from moving any lower, she nibbled gently on the sensitive skin right above his hips, not stopping until he was practically writing beneath her. Then, taking the fabric of the towel between her teeth, she tugged gently. She felt the fabric begin to part beneath her, but stopped before it parted completely. He was driving her crazy every time he jerked against her and wanted nothing more than to rip off the towel, but she didn't. She wanted him to do it.

"Anything else hurt?" she asked abruptly instead as she lifted her head, trying very hard to faken nonchalance as she looked down at him.

It took him a moment to reply, his breathing heavy as he answered, "Well you know, I did get punched a few times right…here," he pointed to the corner of his mouth, "And you haven't done anything about that yet."

Grinning, Lois crawled up his body, stretching out on top of him as she captured his mouth with hers. What started as a tender kiss grew deeper as Clark took a hand out from behind his head and cupped her behind her neck, pinning her to him. They teased each other with tongue and teeth, neither giving an inch of ground as they tried to get the other to relent.

As she kissed him, Lois allowed her hands to run along the lines of his body, memorizing the feel of his skin beneath her touch until she pulled back slightly and cupped him through the towel, wrapping her fingers lightly around his erection. "How about this, Clark? Does this hurt?' she teased him as she stroked him gently.

"Stop that," he commanded, shifting his weight suddenly until Lois lay on her back, his body covering her. She still hadn't released him, so, with a groan, he grabbed her wrist and pinned it to the bed next to her head. "That's not fighting fair."

"Of course it's not," she said unashamedly as she hooked a leg behind his and arched up against him. "But when did I ever promise to fight fair?"

Clark's breath was harsh against her skin as he bent to kiss the soft skin of her neck. One hand continued to pin her hand by her head as he lowered the other to the folds of her shirt. "You tease," he reprimanded her as he slipped his fingers beneath the fabric.

"You want it off?" she asked raggedly as he stroked her with his fingertips. "Go ahead." When he didn't move, she feigned a yawn and added, "I'm waiting, Smallville!"

Her taunt catapulted him into action. Before she could say anything else, he lifted his weight off of her with a laugh. Though she'd expected him to finish unbuttoning her shirt, he grabbed its folds and yanked, ripping off the last few buttons. She heard the soft ping of a button hitting the ground, but before she could recover from her shock, his hands and mouth where upon her as he worshipped her body.

Whatever reprimand she'd been forming was lost in a symphony of sighs and moans as together, Clark and Lois explored each other's bodies. By the time Clark finally decided to show her mercy, Lois was panting heavily, her body trembling beneath his. "Damn it," she growled when she could manage to speak again, looking down his body with a glower. "That has got to be the most stubborn towel ever in the history of mankind."

His chuckle did not improve her mood. "Willing to concede defeat?" he taunted her, rubbing up against her in a way that was destined to drive her absolutely insane.

She frowned thoughtfully up at him. "No," she finally declared, pushing him back onto his back once more. "But I do think I should check to make sure you haven't cheated and superglued the damn thing shut or anything.

Clark laughed, though his chuckle became increasingly shaky as she worked her way down his body with agonizing slowness. "You think I cheated?"

"I think it's possible," she answered, pausing to let her hair tickle his bare skin.

"And wh-what would you do if I had ch-cheated?" he breathed as she kissed the particularly tender area of his stomach that she'd found during her explorations earlier.

"Make you pay, of course," she said gravely as she shifted further south. When she came to the erection still covered in the damned towel, she paused and looked up at him. "Maybe read you your rights."

"M-my rights?" he asked, lifting his head to look down at her, confusion etched on his face.

"Yup. You know, like…you have the right to remain silent…if you can manage it." As she spoke, she parted the folds of the towel, being careful not to untie it completely as she exposed him to her gaze. Then, before he could protest, she wrapped her fingers around his length, feeling the way he jerked in her grip as she flicked the sensitive tip of his penis with her tongue. She felt the muscles of his legs tense and then she lifted her head off of him and looked innocently up at him as she continued, "Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law."

"L-Lois, I don't think you should…" he began to protest, but she didn't let him finish. Instead, she ducked her head again and took him into her mouth, swallowing his length with excruciating slowness. Then, stroking him with her tongue, she lifted her mouth off of him just as slowly.

"You have the right to an attorney," she panted, stroking him with one hand while she scraped the nails of her other hand along the inside of his thigh. "If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you."

"L-Lois!" he protested as she moved cupped his testicles and began to knead them gently.

She was merciless, however, as she finished, "Do you understand these rights as I've read them to you?" As she spoke, she lowered her head, prepared to take him into her mouth again, but she didn't get a chance. With a curse, he leaned down, hooked his hands around her ribcage, and dragged her up his chest again.

Her name was both a plea and a curse on his lips as she lowered herself onto him, and she sighed as he entered her, stretching her completely. His muscles strained against her as he pulled her tightly against him and moved with her, bucking up against her as she rode him. Their mating was almost wild as each of them alternated between taking control and then relinquishing it, surging against each other with increasing intensity again and again. Clutching Clark's shoulders, Lois moaned loudly as she rode him, his fingers digging into her hips as he took her to the edge and over. It didn't take long until he followed, his muscles corded and his head thrown back as he poured himself into her as he cried out her name.

Lois continued to clutch him, trembling in his arms as her heart rate slowed and she came back to herself. It took her a couple of moments before she could pull away from him, and then she looked down at where their bodies were still joined and grinned. "It looks like I won," she said smugly through her pants.

Following her gaze with his own, he frowned. "You cheated."

"Did not," she argued. That towel came undone all on its own, and that means I win."

"No, the bet was that you'd convince me to take it off, and I didn't do that," he replied.

Arching her eyebrows at him, she challenged, "You're arguing semantics now? You weren't complaining a few minutes ago."

"You just hate to lose," he retorted, though the quirk of his mouth took the edge off his words. "The bet was that you couldn't convince me to take off my towel and you can't prove that you did."

"You can't prove I didn't," she responded in kind, her eyes flashing.

A silence fell between them for a long moment as they both stared down at the towel in question. It didn't seem inclined to provide a tie-breaking vote on the issue, so finally Lois looked back up at Clark with a sigh. "So, what do you wanna do about this, Smallville?"

He looked back up at her, a thoughtful look on his face. "I don't think we have any other option, Lois. We're just going to have to try it again. You try to seduce me, and I'll try to resist."

Lois pondered his suggestion. "How about best two out of three?" she suggested with a wicked grin as she lifted herself off of him slowly.

Clark laughed. "It's a deal! Except…"

When he paused, she stopped and looked over her shoulder at him. "Yeah?" she asked with a certain amount of trepidation. Had he somehow just decided he didn't really want to have sex with her again?

Her fears evaporated in the face of Clark's mischievous smile. "If we do this too many times, I'm really going to need to get some new shirts."