I. The peace of Clark's shower was shattered by Lois's voice. Of course, Chloe's cousin would have no modesty or sense of privacy or any social skills a normal girl would have.

Clark peeked through the shower curtain just enough to ascertain that, yes, Lois was barging in just like he figured, all bossiness and not caring for what anyone else might want and, geez, she was wearing nothing but his flannel shirt?

At that realization, a part of Clark sprang to attention and he dropped his hold from the shower curtain as if it was on fire. One part of him sought to eradicate the image of her long, bare legs and hints of an ass barely covered by the hem of his workshirt. After all, he was in love with Lana, wasn't he?

The other part clung to the image of a wet, alluring Lois and expanded on the prospect in creative ways. He could picture it all, in an instant. Instead of turning off the shower, Clark was reaching out one arm to pick her up and pull her, shrieking, into the shower with him, the shower curtain flailing open, letting steam pour out into the bathroom with the hissing of the shower.

Before she'd get more than the first syllable of his name out of her mouth, he'd pull her against him for an open-mouthed kiss and rip the soaked flannel away from her wet form. One hand could mold her squeezable ass and lift her up until their bodies were aligned while the other would tangle in her long, wet hair and. . . .

Clark's eyes widened as he realized he was seriously close to getting off just over the thought of Lois. And she was right there in the bathroom with him! Matters weren't helped when, from the floor below, his super-hearing easily picked up his mother in murmured conversation with his dad while Lois continued to brush her hair, standing in front of the sink.

Clark desperately turned the water to full cold, willing the psychological effects of the change to have some effect even if his Kryptonian physiology wouldn't notice the heat or cold. Feeling marginally more in control of himself, he struggled for his towel and his dignity, in that order.

After his mother barged in, Clark was sure that he would never, ever have another even momentary attraction to Lois Lane. Surely he was scarred for life?

II. As Mr. Lyon left with a jaunty smile on his face, Lois and Clark were left with Captain Sawyer and the rest of Metropolis's finest.

"I'll need to debrief you two, anyway, just so we have enough evidence that if Lyon shows back up in town, we can deport him," the captain said. Flipping through her notebook with a resigned expression, she asked them questions and recorded their answers.

"I'll have these statements ready for you to sign within the next day or so," she said with a sigh. "Clark, you'll need to come with your parents as you're still underage."

He rolled his eyes but nodded understanding as the captain and the other police officers wrapped up their documentation and headed for the staircase.

"About time," Lois huffed, hugging herself against the chilly rooftop breeze. The skimpy red dress that Lyon had forced on her didn't do much against the cold, Clark could tell, so he pulled off his suit jacket and offered it to her.

"Thanks," Lois said as she slipped it over her shoulders. "I guess I should be grateful that he just had a fetish for strippers in red dresses and not in pasties. Then I'd have really been freezing!"

With that, she turned to follow the police who'd already disappeared down into the staircase. Clark tried to follow, but it was as if he was bound with kryptonite. He couldn't move a muscle while his brain processed Lois's words.

It was hard enough to get the memory of her onstage turn in a tiny bikini out of his head and the lap dance was even worse. But somehow, the mental image of her wearing nothing but a bikini bottom and two small pasties hit him somewhere right there in the groin.

It was as if they were back in the strip club, but it was only the two of them. Lois was pulling off her sailor shirt, but instead of the glittery bikini top, she was nearly naked. The only claim to modesty were sequined covers on her nipples. His mind obligingly elaborated on the scene by having her stalk down the steps from the stage, and start a very special lap dance, just for him.

Lois reached out her hand and drew it down Clark's dress shirt, ending at his belt buckle that she pulled at with a wrench, unlatching the metal and forcing the leather apart. Then one finger ran down his fly and back up again to stop right at his breastbone.

Clark's gaze reluctantly left her fascinatingly swaying softness to trace back up to Lois's impish grin that widened as she leaned in for a kiss that was interrupted by an unexpected, metallic clang.

Without being aware of it, Clark had followed Lois to the stairs and nearly pulled the door off of its hinges. As the metal groaned, Clark came to his sense enough to leave the hinges intact. There, halfway down the first flight of steps, Lois stood, looking back up at him quizzically.

"Having problems with the door, Smallville?" she asked.

"Uh, kinda," Clark answered, doing his best to get the somewhat-warped door to close properly.

Lois tsked, obviously unimpressed with his response. "Come on. It's a long way back to Smallville and I can't wait to get out of this dress."

Clark groaned as he tamped down hard on the newest picture his mind was painting. As he followed her down the steps, Clark prayed that Lois would shut up soon.

III. Had Lois really said that Green Arrow was a better kisser than Oliver? As the "Green Arrow" that Lois had ambushed with a kiss had been Clark and not Oliver, the imposture had worked but with unexpected consequences. Clark shook his head, minutely, trying to clear his mind all the while with Chloe grinned up at him, evidently enjoying every moment of his discomfiture.

"Huh," Clark managed after a while as Lois sat back down on the couch, a cookie in her hand to supplement her latte. Chloe continued to smirk at him, obviously greatly amused by his embarrassment. He shifted from foot to foot and tried to think of a way to gracefully remove himself from the situation.

Because if Chloe wasn't there, Clark could see himself pulling Lois to her feet and planting another kiss on her lips, then waiting for the fireworks to commence.

On the unlikely chance that Lois didn't simply try to deck him, Clark could happily picture picking up where they'd left off the night before, only, with no one else about, maybe they could do more than just experience a mind-blowing kiss.

Clark had seen Lois enough over the years now, and wearing little enough, even nothing, that one memorable time, but he wouldn't mind exploring what was under that deeply scooped neckline of her top. Another seven or ten kisses ought to bring him right about to the point where her mind wouldn't be on her clothes at all.

Maybe they'd be stretched out on the couch, a bunch of pillows flung carelessly on the floor to make room for them both. Lois would have those long legs wrapped around him while she helped him remove his suddenly constricting jacket. She'd stop to look up at him, one lip caught between her teeth in a pose he found almost irresistible and pull up the hem of her shirt-

Shocked at his own line of thinking - Lois is his best friend's girlfriend! - Clark spun on his heel.

"Heading out so soon?" Chloe called as Clark rushed past her perch at the table.

"I think I need a coffee," Clark said as he made his way, fast as humanly possible, back downstairs and far away from the improbable temptation.

IV. Lois dove into his hug with her typical commitment to, well, anything, Clark thought as she burrowed into his shoulder, sniffling.

Giving up on Ollie for good had really hurt her, and all Clark could do was be there to pick up the pieces for her. Lois had been a good friend, if also a regular pain in the ass, for many years. And he hated to see her cry or feel her sobs against him.

Clark tried to be as still and accepting as he could while Lois hiccuped her way out of the tears. "Thanks, Smallville," she said, releasing him from her tight hold and looking anywhere but at him.

"Look, why don't I get you some more ice cream," Clark said. "I can be back from the grocery in a few minutes."

Lois looked at the mostly empty carton. "I'm past the ice cream stage," she declared. "I need a movie night. You can pick."

Clark raised one wary eyebrow. "What's the catch?" he asked.

"You have to pick something I like," Lois declared. She tugged his unresisting hand to lead him into the living room where she plopped on the couch and Clark turned to the stack of DVDs beside the television. He lifted the first case and held it up.

Lois sniffed. "Oh, really! That's one of Chloe's favourites, not mine."

Clark rolled his eyes but took her complaints patiently. It became a bit of a game as she rejected seven more DVDs before settling on an absurd and forgettable comedy from the bottom of the stack. Clark popped it into the player and flopped on the couch beside Lois, absentmindedly letting her snuggle in under his arm as they watched the opening credits.

It occurred to Clark, as Lois curled up against him, that this was pretty much exactly like a boyfriend and girlfriend would behave. Maybe a little less bickering, though he had to figure that any relationship with Lois would involve a lot of arguments. But the benefits could be pretty attractive, he mused.

If they were dating, Lois wouldn't have a problem if his hand drifted down along her arm, shoving some of the heavy blue sweater aside so he could nestle his fingers along the curve of her waist, lazily drawing idle shapes against her skin until she either dissolved in a fit of giggles or smacked him.

He smiled at the thought while Lois snuggled in closer. In his vision, Lois had inserted her arm behind his back so she could fit more comfortably against his side, shoving him a bit forward on the couch. His head rested comfortably on top of hers as they watched the movie. But as the comedy wore on, their attention turned more and more to each other.

It was warm and comforting and surprisingly sexy. Clark shifted uncomfortably as he realized how his body was reacting. What kind of friend was he to be thinking this way about her?

"Huh?" Lois said, deeply focused on the television, when Clark suddenly stood up.

"Popcorn," Clark pronounced desperately as he made his escape to the kitchen. "I'll go pop some and be right back."

V. Clark thought that he'd always have been the more patient one in his relationship with Lois. But since tapping into her blocked memories of that ill-fated trip to the future, he found himself struggling to maintain his self-control.

The flashbacks that had troubled Lois were now in his mind and Clark tried to resist the overwhelming urge to make them real. It didn't help that they were pursuing their real-time relationship as slowly as Lois felt comfortable with. Five PDAs down and whoever knew how many to go before they'd be as wrapped up in each other now as her mind had showed them being in the future.

The party was closing in on him and all that Clark could think about, wanted to think about, was Lois. Her slinky green dress and flirtatious ways were endlessly distracting and, as they made their way out of the crowded venue, Clark didn't see the sheets of glass and noisy revellers, but sheets lit by candlelight and Lois's warm smile.

"Earth to Clark," Lois said lightly as they finally made their way past the people and into a quiet hallway.

Clark turned suddenly, staring at her intently. Her lips pursed and Lois tilted her head. "What is the matter?" she mused.

Clark shook his head, trying to drive the insistent images out of his brain but, endlessly adaptable, it offered alternatives: pulling Lois to him in this deserted hallway, then spinning her around so she was nestled between him and a wall. Her skirt would pull up as she straddled the thigh he shoved forward into their kiss, lifting her higher in his embrace.

She'd be startled at first but an enthusiastic participant, he knew, desiring this as much as he did. One of her hands would be shoving his jacket off his shoulders and working the buttons on his shirt while the other hooked around his neck to extend their kiss. Clark would have both hands free to work her skirt further up her body, maybe ripping the fragile satin as he rushed to touch the warm, taut flesh beneath-

"Clark?"

With a start, he realized Lois had been tugging on his hand for some time, but Clark hadn't moved beyond the quiet threshold.

Lois stared into his eyes with some concern. "Are you sure you're all right?" She reached up and traced along his cheekbone and chin, regarding him as if he was a feverish child.

Clark forced a smile as he leaned into her touch. "PDA number six?"

Lois smiled brightly. "Guess I'm on a roll tonight."

VI. Clark barely registered the muted "thunk!" of the journal hitting the floor of the loft as Lois moved into his embrace. He was entirely focused on the moment: the sensation of Lois plastered against him and the hope that this was, finally, their time to truly be together free of crazy villagers, wacky vigilante hunters or any other improbable interventions the world could come up with.

He smiled against her lips as he felt one of Lois's hands sneak under the hem of his shirt, running up along his torso, shoving his shirt out of the way.

"God," she muttered as she pulled her lips away from his, "you have no idea how long I've dreamed of this moment."

Clark couldn't help it; he burst out laughing.

Lois leaned back and stared at him doubtfully. "This isn't something, you know, one of those-" she let a roll of her eyes suggest the action of some "strange alien substances".

Clark's grin simply broadened. "It's just that, you have no idea how long I've fantasized about you."

Lois leaned forward in his close embrace, nibbling against the corner of his mouth. "Oh, really? How long?"

"Since that time you walked into bathroom while I was in the shower," Clark confessed, leaning back enough to look down and try to judge how mad Lois might or might not be from her expression.

Lois whapped him lightly on the bicep. "Way back when we were investigating Chloe's safe house disappearance? You horndog!"

Then she lifted her hands to cup his face, bringing his lips almost to hers. "Although, to be honest, I've never been able to forget the way we met. Hmm. Maybe you can refresh my memory?" With that, she let her hands creep down his back to drop below the belt.

Clark couldn't hide the blush that rose to his cheeks but he didn't waste any time in helping Lois with that problem or anything else that occurred through the long night that followed.