A little missing moment from Escape, cause it's the one scene I felt was completely ridiculous for them to ignore.

Disclaimer: I don't own the characters, the trees, or possession plots.

Lois groaned, wrinkling her nose against the wet, decaying leaves that were pressing into her cheek. Not only was she damp, cold and dirty, she felt like she'd been acid washed from the inside out. It was not a pleasant feeling.

The only source of comfort was the warm familiar weight of broad fingers rubbing soothing circles on her back. Unsure if she was steady enough to stand, Lois kept her eyes closed, breathing deeply and soaking every drop of reassurance from Clark's caring fingers.

As she mustered the will to rise, she struggled to remember how the hell she'd gotten here. Most of the night was a complete blank, which was kind of freaking her out. In fact, the last thing she remembered with any clarity was pushing Clark out the door so she could surprise him in the shower. She should be lost in the throes of passion, not lost . . . wherever she was.

Cracking her eyes open Lois was greeted by the sight of soggy underbrush and looming foliage. She groaned again, shifting her body so her face was no longer pressed into the mud.

"Lois?" Clark's voice, tentative and concerned, broke through her confusion. His hand moved from her back to her shoulder, gently helping her right herself. Suddenly in desperate need of familiarity, Lois bolted upward and dove into the comfort of his arms.

"Lois," he breathed her name in relief, and she felt the tension ooze out of him as he wrapped his whole body around her.

"Clark," she mumbled back, feeling infinitely better as she buried her face into his neck. Wet tendrils of his hair tickled her forehead and she blinked, fighting back the uneasy feeling that was suddenly creeping into her. "What happened?" Lois cleared her throat, pulling back.

She met his eyes, and though he opened his mouth to answer, he never spoke. She felt . . . cherished . . . as he simply stared at her, eyes brimming with emotion as his hand drifted up her arm, skirted across her shoulder and encased her neck. Lois couldn't help it; she let her eyes drift closed, reveling in the feel of his thumb tracing her jawline, not even caring that leaves still clung to her hair and a rather sharp rock had inched its way under her robe and into her very short skirt.

When did she put on . . . ?

A memory flashed across Lois's mind.

Excitement thrummed warmly in her limbs, making the process of dressing herself more difficult than it needed to be. She was struggling into her lederhosens—the same ones she'd happened upon in the Giant Ball of Yarn Gift Shop—biting her lip as she imagined the look on Clark's face when she surprised him in-

Her eyes snapped open, and this time they flashed past the warm depths of Clark's gaze to focus on something she'd missed the first time around. His hair was wet.

Lois shoved out of his arms and onto her feet so quickly he was left blinking at the air. By the time he raised his eyes to meet hers, she was five feet away, glaring in disbelief at his audacity.

"My cousin, Clark?" she sputtered furiously. "You jackass."

"L-" he tried, fumbling with the syllables. "Lois," he tried again, blinking up at her, clearly not expecting the sudden shift the conversation had taken. How he thought he'd get away with that little scene was beyond her. "Lois, I can explain."

"Like I haven't heard that before," she scoffed, crossing her arms against the painful tightening in her chest. His last "I can explain" had been delivered with Chloe wrapped around him. She couldn't believe he had the nerve to try it again.

Clark pushed to his feet, but Lois was striding across the clearing, hoping against all hope she was heading in the right direction. How the hell did she end up here anyway?

"Lois, wait!" Clark was hurrying after her.

He wouldn't be for long if Lois had anything to do with it. She lengthened her strides, hoping to escape, despite the terrible, clawing suspicion that it was futile. He didn't grow up on a farm for nothing.

Her mental note of his farm upbringing took her thoughts their usual direction. But right now, Clark Kent's chest was the absolute last thing she wanted to picture.

She simply couldn't wrap her brain around the dripping, skin-filled image that seemed to have burned itself into her mind's eye.

Her boyfriend and her cousin.

What the hell? Lois growled to herself, clinging to her fury until she could get far from Clark's thudding footsteps.

It literally made no sense. As far as Lois knew, Chloe had gotten over Clark years ago, and Clark had never given her cousin a second glance. And now they were sneaking around? While Chloe was there with Lois's ex-boyfriend, and Lois and Clark were finally hitting their stride? More than that, they were finally ready to take the next step.

Why would he go looking for some action from Chloe when he was about to get the ride of his life with me? He picked a damn good time to have second thoughts.

She was so intent on escaping the man behind her that Lois missed the one in front of her. One minute she was nearly jogging away from her boyfriend, barely conscious of her surroundings, and the next her foot had caught on something warm and living and her face was back in the mud.

Ignoring Clark's concerned call, Lois spit dirt from her mouth, twisting around to see what had tripped her. She caught sight of limp legs, and suddenly Clark was pushed to the back of her mind.

"Ollie!" Lois scrambled forward, grabbing the battered billionaire by the shoulders and pulling his head into her lap. "Ollie, wake up," she commanded worriedly, smacking his face between her palms in an attempt to revive him. His face had a sickly grayish pallor, and Lois was horrified to note it seemed to be un-decaying as she watched. "Oliver!"

"Lois," Clark knelt beside her, looking first to his girlfriend, then to their friend.

"Did you know he was out here?" she demanded, not looking up.

"I-" Clark glanced between them, at a loss. "I had to make sure you were okay."

Lois huffed in exasperation, "Clark!"

Why was that stupid farmboy always looking out for her? He knew Oliver needed him. She would have been fine.

The sound of snapping branches caught her attention, and Lois looked up just as Chloe burst into the scene, lantern held aloft.

Her cousin gasped, "Ollie!" and scurried over, concern pulling at her eyebrows, and Lois almost managed to subdue her anger. But then Oliver groaned between them, and Chloe dropped down next to Clark, and Lois couldn't help the comment that slid out of her mouth.

"Is this what 'no strings attached' means these days?" The words weren't as accusatory as she'd expected them to be, but they were still probably the harshest words she'd ever spoken to her baby cousin. Right now, though, Chloe had it coming.

Chloe glanced up, frowing. "Lois, I . . ." she didn't seem to know how to finish. Her face, however, said enough. Unrepentant, placating, even a little annoyed . . . .

Lois looked away. "Hey, Ollie, how ya feeling?" she asked, focusing her attention on the only person in the vicinity who hadn't betrayed her that night.

Oliver winced, pulling himself off her lap and onto one elbow. "Man, Lois," he rasped, peering up at her, "If you were that angry with me for seeing your cousin, you could have just said so."

Pity mixed with the anger that flared anew, and Lois looked her friend straight in the eyes.

"Oliver," she began determinedly, hating what she had to say but unable to let Chloe do that to him.

She should have known they'd never let her finish.

"You know what, Lois?" Chloe began heatedly, just as Clark said, "Lois, I think we should let Chloe handle this one."

She looked back and forth between them, and again she was struck by just how impossible this situation was. How the hell had it happened? And now that it had, what was she supposed to do about it?

At the moment, getting the hell outta dodge seemed like a good option.

"You know what?" she addressed them both without meeting either set of eyes, rising to her feet. "You're right. I'm just going to go and let you two get back to business." Turning to Ollie, the hard lines of her face softened. "You deserve better," she murmured. Then she blindly turned and ducked between a group of trees.

It wasn't long before she heard Clark following her. She honestly wasn't surprised.

"Lois, it wasn't what you think! Honest!" he called after her. She pretended not to hear him, just like she pretended his invocation of the word 'honest' didn't bring a fishnet-clad vixen to mind. She'd trusted him then, too. This time, though, it was all on him.

"I was just taking a shower!" he defended as she blazed a trail through the thick branches.

His attempt to somehow explain it all away only made it hurt more. Didn't he respect her enough to man up and admit to what he'd done? To what she'd seen?

A thorn snagged her long red robe, and Lois found herself wondering again what the hell had happened to her. For a moment, she imagined herself as little red riding hood, the big bad wolf running after her. She wouldn't need some stupid lumberjack to teach the jerk a lesson.

"I don't care!" she broke her silence, anger and hurt lacing her words as she dismissed him. Dismissed them. "I don't care how you found yourself tangled up with my cousin, just like I don't care how sorry you are. What I do care about is how I ended up in the middle of some horror movie forest, and why Oliver looks like the undead!"

"Just stop and let me explain," Clark cajoled, still several feet behind her. He seemed to be perpetually several feet behind her. It made her wonder if he was lagging to make her feel better, a thought that only boosted her anger.

"Not. Interested." She bit out, demolishing a branch that was in her way.

"Once you understand the situation-" he tried again, more intent than ever to make her listen. But Lois knew listening wouldn't do any good. If anything, hearing the whole story would only make it worse.

"And what could you possibly say to make it better, Clark?" she snapped over her shoulder.

"You were possessed!" he said desperately.

It said something about her life that his words barely fazed her.

Lois whirled to face him. "Are you telling me I imagined you and my cousin getting friendly in the shower?" she demanded, half incensed, half hoping she had imagined the whole thing. Maybe some demon-seed had taken over her body and messed with her mind. As far as explanations went, it would be a lot less disturbing than the less-Smallvillian alternative.

Clark grimaced, "Well, no, but . . ."

Lois had taken off before he could finish his sentence.

"Lois, just listen to me!" he begged, following behind as she tromped through the underbrush. She kept walking.

"Believe it or not, Clark," she addressed the trees, not particularly caring whether or not he heard her, "I actually thought you were one of the good guys." Her throat tightened, and she determinedly blinked the mist from her eyes. "I guess you never really know someone as well as you think you do," she added bitterly, wondering how something like this could just come out of nowhere. Clark Kent was the most trustworthy person she knew. If he was capable of something this despicable, what else was he-

"Lois." The pleading was gone from his voice, and Lois barely had time to wonder what gave him the right to be annoyed with her before she was unwillingly swinging around to face him, her arm caught in an iron grasp. The force of her attempted stride bounded back with her, throwing her into his chest. Before she could step away, his other hand gripped her shoulder, locking her in place.

Pissed as hell, she whipped her head around and glared straight into his eyes. But staring up at him, face set and blue gaze determined, Lois felt her walls start to crumble. She tugged angrily and uselessly against his arms, feeling like a little kid about to be punished. More than that, she felt like a child who just realized her father didn't love her like she thought he did.

Worried that he'd catch the vulnerability in her face, she twisted her neck to study the darkness past his shoulder.

"Lois," Clark's voice had taken on a steely quality, and she tensed in his arms, "Listen to me."

It wasn't a request. She gritted her teeth and tried to make out her surroundings, but the shapes were blurring before her eyes.

"You were possessed," he said definitively. Lois wondered why he kept repeating it. It certainly explained her current location, but it did nothing to stop the violent crack in her heart. "You were possessed," he said once more, "and so was Chloe."

The heartache lodged in Lois's throat and shifted, lightened into a bubble of hope. Lois deliberately cleared it away before she spoke, keeping her face averted so she could cling to her righteous indignation, "You were holding her."

The words were barely a whisper, but Lois didn't care. The vividness of the image in her head was warring with her need to just erase the whole thing and burrow into Clark's chest.

"I was holding her away from me," Clark explained gently.

Lois blinked and, against her better judgment, raised her face so he could meet her eyes. "You were . . . " she trailed off, cleared her throat, and began more vehemently, "you were naked in the bathroom with her, Clark."

He winced, looking pained, and his gaze darted away from hers. "I'm trying to forget," he complained to the forest.

Lois watched his shifting expressions, and the note of utter horror in his eyes pushed her over the edge.

She started laughing.

"Lois?" Clark looked flabbergasted by her sudden mood swing. His grip on her arms loosened and he ducked his head to watch her with concern.

She was nearly giddy with relief, and selfishly pleased with Clark's obvious disgust toward Chloe's naked body. Lois tilted forward to lean her forehead against his chest, unable to rein in her humor. She slid her arms around his waist, reveling in the delicious feeling of his arms moving slowly across her back, welcoming her to him.

He didn't say anything—probably still confused, and most definitely unwilling to rock the boat—so Lois was free to bask in the embrace she'd all but written off.

Of course Clark wouldn't do that to her. Not with anyone, and certainly not with her cousin. Despite the evidence that had been in front of her, Lois wondered how she could have thought such a thing of him. Hadn't experience taught her that when Clark did something despicable, there was usually an unknown factor involved?

Still, it had been an appalling sight. And she would never claim to be steady in her emotions, especially where Clark Kent was concerned. Lois trusted him more than anyone else in her life, but now that they were in a permanent relationship, she knew they'd both have to work through their issues. She had every right to jump to the conclusion she did, but she also wondered if, somewhere in the back of her mind, this was her fear of abandonment making itself known.

Finally calm again, Lois pulled back to look up at her boyfriend. He was still bemused, and he seemed a little worried she would flip out again. She smiled wryly.

"Only you would let me get possessed on our first weekend away together," she teased, tucking her frame under one large arm and tugging him back toward the inn.

Clark's mind caught up with her actions, and he tightened his arm around her, turning them in the opposite direction. Lois bit her lip, briefly embarrassed, but Clark didn't comment on her misstep and she soon brushed it off. How was she supposed to know where they were, anyway? It wasn't like she had gotten there of her own free will.

"I don't know how I could be so careless," Clark rolled with the accusation, brushing twigs from her clothing.

"Ugh," Lois glanced down at herself, wrinkling her nose. "First thing I'm doing when we get back? Taking a nice, long shower." She turned to see Clark's raised eyebrow, and she laughed, "Don't you wish. Sorry, Smallville. I think we should keep the bathroom at single occupancy for a while."

"Believe me, Lois," he told her, his tone a meld of frustration, want, and residual horror, "I'd have given just about anything for you to have walked into the bathroom five minutes earlier."

"Of course you would," Lois acknowledged easily. She pushed the cape back from her body, gesturing to her outfit. "Who could say no to this?"

Clark's eyes widened as they slid down her frame, and Lois felt a fluster of excitement. It was tempered with genuine admiration for this man, whose eyes were going hazy at the sight of her, despite the streaks of mud marring her skin and the leaves adorning her hair.

"I told you you'd thank me later," she reminded, and Clark blinked. He raised one brow, and Lois grinned deviously back at him. "You never know what you're going to find when you drive forty minutes into the Kansas countryside. Unfortunately," she glanced down at herself, "I think this is now one for the trash can." He looked disappointed, and the words were out before she could stop them. "Don't worry, Smallville, I've got plenty left for next time."

Her feet forgot to move, and her heart pounded hollowly as she stumbled and kept walking.

They were dating. It was a completely legitimate insinuation to make. But her mind was screaming that she'd crossed a line, laid too many cards on the table.

Lois stared stoically forward, praying Clark would ignore her comment.

"Who says we have to wait?" he asked. Lois's eyes widened. She studied his features, unable to discern whether or not he attempting humor. If he was, it wasn't funny.

"Too bad we've already had so much fun tonight," she murmured, watching him intently. It was so damn hard to read his face in the dark. She wished she had more to go on.

Clark sighed.

"You've had a taxing hour," he agreed, serious again. "Lois, are you sure you're alright?"

"I'm fine, Smallville. I mean, it's not like I've never been possessed before. At least Ollie didn't feel me up, unlike a certain farmboy I know." She gestured toward her chest, now covered by baggy crimson fabric, and wondered if he'd remember. A lot of things had happened on prom night, and he'd been pretty distracted when she tried to ream him out.

"If he had, he'd probably be missing a limb right now," Clark joked. The lightness of his tone didn't disguise the iron edge beneath it. Somehow, Lois was positive Ollie would be critically injured if he ever tried something on her. "Besides," he continued, a smirk creeping into his tone, "I was eighteen. Can you blame a guy?"

"Clark Kent!" she admonished, shocked by the admonition. Then smugness crept in, and she continued, "I knew it! I knew you had the hots for me back then." She'd thought no such thing, but it certainly opened up a world of possibilities in the banter department.

"Well, I wouldn't go that far," he teased, glancing down at her. He reached his free arm to brush a lock of muddy hair from her cheek. Unconsciously, Clark pursed his lips and Lois had to stop herself from biting her own. "But you've always been beautiful, Lois."

A murmur of voices rose before them, and Lois glanced down the compliment, shyness flitting across her face and disappearing as quickly as it came.

As they stepped from the trees and onto the lawn, Lois squared her shoulders and walked into the light. She wrinkled her nose at the rotted corpse, barely covered on the porch, but her unease faded when they'd crossed the threshold of the little inn. The fluttering, flustered innkeeper, however, had her a little aggravated. It was almost twenty minutes before Clark had reassured Ms. McDougal that Siobhan was banished and the rest of her guests were safe. Finally, Lois simply pulled him away, ignoring the lingering worry on the redhead's face.

"Here's what's gonna happen, Smallville," Lois declared once they were alone in the dining room. She turned in his arms to give him a determined look. "You're going to go upstairs and strongly discourage anyone from claiming the bathroom. I'm going to spend twenty minutes or so picking out a nightgown. Then I'm going to take the longest shower of my life. In three hours or so," Clark raised an eyebrow, but at Lois's stern look his askance melted into an amused smile, "I'm going to come back to our room, where you will be awake, and you're going to give me every single detail of what happened tonight." She crossed her arms and tilted her head. "Got it?"

"Got it," he murmured dutifully.

Determination gave way to a bright smile as Lois bounded onto her tiptoes to grant him a chaste kiss. It seared through her, burning away any lingering feelings of vulnerability and general unpleasantness. She wondered if the marathon shower was even necessary. Maybe she could just clean herself up and surprise Clark in the bedroom.

Yeah, not after the way my last surprise turned out, she thought, watching Clark from the corner of her eye as she took off up the stairs. Still, she was looking forward to burrowing under the covers and into Clark's side. She'd only slept with him one night, and already she was hooked.

All in all, Lois mused, disappearing into their room and headed toward her lingerie pile, not the worst night ever.


Constructive criticism is always much appreciated. Please let me know what you think!