By Wendy Richards <email@example.com>
Submitted: June 2005
Summary: Lois wants Clark to do her a tiny favour…
This story was written as a birthday present for one of the most WONDERFUL FoLCs around, Annette. Without Annette, FoLCdom would be a much poorer place — we wouldn't have the Fanfic Message Boards, Annesplace for fanfic, nfic and lots more, the FoLCVideo archive for music videos, trailers and photo storage, and now the new Kerth Awards website. Annette is also a fantastic friend to many of us and we love her dearly. Thank you for everything you do for us, Annette!
I would also like to thank my Archive GE, TicAndToc, for effort way beyond the call of duty in editing this story, coping with the vagaries of semi-compatible word processing programmes, missing apostrophes and UK versus US spelling. ;)
All rights to the characters in this story belong to DC Comics and Warner Bros. No infringement of copyright is intended by their use in this story, from which no profit of any kind will be gained (well, except maybe feedback! <g> ).
"Clark, I need you to kiss me."
He gaped at her. His vocal chords seized up, paralysed with shock.
Only Lois. Only Lois would arrive on his doorstep at 11.45 at night with such an outrageous request. Well, only Lois would arrive on his doorstep at 11.45 at night even with an innocuous request. But this…
This was unlike anything she'd ever demanded from him before.
Lois asking him to kiss her?
No. He had to have mis-heard. She must have said something else. Maybe she'd said she needed him to… what? What sounded like 'kiss'? Kill? Of course not! Help her, maybe? Not that that sounded anything like…
He found his voice. "What?" It came out as a squeak. He cringed.
"Didn't you hear me the first time?" She strode towards him, impatience in every movement. "I need you to kiss me."
He had heard her correctly. He gulped.
A flicker of something in her eyes told him that wasn't a question she wanted to answer.
This wasn't good. Alarm started to build. She was up to something, and it was an absolute no-brainer that he wasn't going to like whatever it was.
"It's an experiment, okay?" she exclaimed. "Clark, I don't often ask anything of you, do I? All I need is for you to kiss me. Just once. And…" She flushed, and his eyes widened. "…make it a kiss like you're dying of thirst and I'm the glass of water that can save your life."
Wow. He was sure his eyes must be out on stalks by now. She wasn't asking for much, was she?
Not that kissing her would be any hardship at all. Not that kissing her like that would be difficult. He'd wanted to kiss her like that since a few seconds after they'd met. And he'd actually got to do it, too. Twice — not that she knew that.
But it was the why which had him worried. With Lois there were rarely simple explanations, and this reference to an experiment…
On the other hand, it was just a kiss. Another opportunity to hold her in his arms and kiss her, savour her, store up memories for those long, empty nights when he couldn't sleep and thoughts of her danced tantalisingly in his mind.
"It's not that hard, is it?" He'd been silent too long. She was drawing her own conclusions. "God, I didn't think you found me that repulsive…" Now she sounded disgusted, and she was turning away.
"Lois!" He grabbed at her arm. "You *know* I don't find you repulsive. It's just… this is kind of unexpected."
She wasn't mollified. "You know, a lot of men wouldn't even have asked why." She seemed to take that as a personal insult. He sighed.
"We're friends, Lois. I'd do practically anything for you, and you have to know that. This… You just took me by surprise. I think I'm still coming out of recovery from the shock!"
"Well, okay." But she still looked sceptical. "So, are you going to do it or not?"
In answer, he took a step towards her. He saw the moment when she realised that he was going to do as she asked. She stiffened, and he flinched. Was she steeling herself to kiss him, as if she feared it would be something unpleasant?
Slowly, giving her plenty of opportunity to change her mind, he raised his hands and cupped her face. She remained still. He tilted her face up to him and lowered his head. Again, she didn't move.
And then his lips touched hers.
He'd kissed her before, most recently only yesterday, though that had been in a different guise and under a false pretext. She'd been a very willing participant in that kiss, though he'd taken her by surprise. This time she was the instigator, but her willingness seemed to be in doubt.
She didn't move as he brushed his lips over hers once, twice, then came back for a deeper, harder kiss. Remembering her instructions, he parted his lips over hers, letting her taste him.
And then she moved. Pressed closer to him. Slid her arms around his neck.
And her lips parted beneath his.
A groan escaped him as he pulled her to him, pressed her body against his by moving his hands to her back, her waist. His tongue invaded her mouth at her invitation, and she retaliated by waging war on it, touching, tangling, battling, stroking, inflaming. Her arms around him tightened; one hand slid into his hair, tugging his head closer to her.
He was on fire.
If yesterday's kiss had seemed intense, it was a mere camp-fire next to this one. This was an inferno. A bush wild-fire burning out of control. He — he, Superman — was out of breath, gasping, tasting her, inhaling her as if she were the dying man's last drink she'd spoken of.
Too soon, she dragged herself away. Breathless, her chest heaving, she stared at him. "Wow."
"Uh, yeah." Inarticulate, stunned, he could only gaze back at her.
She blinked. "Could I have some coffee, Clark? Oh, wait, I know it's late," she added quickly. "Maybe it's too late for coffee. Okay, then, tea, or water would do, or… I don't know, what else have you got?"
Her babbling was extremely effective at bringing about a return to sanity. That was worth remembering. Although it was highly unlikely that she actually wanted coffee, he went along with her attempt at distraction. "Actually, I have decaf if you want. Or I could make some hot chocolate."
She followed him into the kitchen, though kept a distance of several feet between them. He felt his lip curl. What? She thought he was likely to pounce again?
"You invited it, you know," he told her. Hearing the faint sour note in his voice, he grimaced.
She nodded. He gave her points for not avoiding his gaze. "I know. I did. I… had my reasons."
"Feel like sharing?" He did want to know. Why, out of the blue, had she suddenly wanted to kiss him?
Oh god. What if she was still suffering some residual effects of the pheromone? That would mean that he'd taken advantage of her — and, worse, that she'd be furious once she realised.
"I'm not sure I want to." Her words were said quietly, slowly. "But I guess I owe you an explanation. And, to be honest, maybe… maybe talking about it will help me figure out what to do."
She was making no sense at all, but that was hardly new with Lois. "Okay. I'm listening."
"I had to find out," she said. He waited. "I had to know if it was the kiss… or the man."
Huh? "Lois, I'm not sure I understand."
Was she talking about him? How could she possibly be?
"This is… a bit embarrassing." Now she was looking away, and there was a faint trace of red on what little of her face he could see.
"You've told me embarrassing things before," he reminded her. "I don't repeat them. Or remind you of them."
"No." She nodded. "You don't."
He flicked the switch to start the coffee-maker. "So tell me."
"Yesterday afternoon, Superman kissed me."
Oh god. This was about that?"
Just in time, he caught himself. He'd been about to protest that Superman had been affected by the pheromone. But Clark wouldn't know that, would he?
"It was the pheromone," Lois continued. "Miranda sprayed him with it. He… came up to me and said he loved me. And he kissed me… like I'd never been kissed before. Like he couldn't let go of me. Like… he was dying of thirst and I…"
She broke off and gave an awkward shrug. Embarrassed.
So that explained the metaphor she'd used with him. But this still wasn't making sense.
Unless, somehow, she'd guessed at the truth and was trying to confirm it. By comparing kisses?
He gulped, turning quickly to the fridge to cover it. "Milk," he muttered.
Was she waiting for a reaction from him? A confession, perhaps?
Slowly, he turned back to her. "Lois…"
"Anyway." She rushed into speech again. "That kiss… It was amazing, Clark! And the way he made me feel…" She shook her head slowly. And she was blushing again.
"He came to see me last night." Now she was tracing patterns on the countertop with her finger. "For a moment, I thought… hoped…"
He'd feared as much. Had brought up the subject as swiftly and, he'd hoped, as painlessly as possible.
Had he hurt her? Had her feelings been deeper than he'd imagined? By giving in to temptation and seizing the excuse to kiss her, had he done real harm?
"He told me that he should never have kissed me. That it'd been the pheromone. That… he wasn't saying that he wasn't attracted to me, but we couldn't have any kind of relationship. And that it would never happen again."
Clark found his voice. "And that hurt you? He hurt you?"
She shrugged. She still wasn't looking at him, which told its own story. "I… maybe. I don't know. I mean, yeah, when he kissed me like that he got my hopes up. But I guess I always knew, no matter how much I hoped, I couldn't ever have a relationship with him."
He began pouring coffee. "You're not in love with him, are you?" Heart in his mouth, he waited for her answer.
There was a pause. Many seconds. He started to count.
Then she answered. "I thought I was. I… maybe I am. I'm not really sure. I mean, who wouldn't fall in love with Superman?"
Superman, but not Clark Kent. That galled. "I guess so. All those powers, and he's pretty good-looking…"
"That's not what I meant, Clark!" He'd irritated her with that. He put down the coffee-pot and looked at her, eyebrow raised.
"It's not just the powers." She came closer, chose her coffee-mug and added milk and sweetener. "It's him. What he stands for. He's decent, and kind, and caring, and he wants to help. And he's got the kind of ethics hardly anyone has any more." She seemed to start at that. Raising her gaze to his, she added slowly, "Except maybe you, Clark."
Not the powers? She liked Superman for his ethics? That was unexpected.
But this was dangerous territory. Best to change the subject.
"You still haven't explained what this has to do with wanting me to kiss you."
"Oh. Right." Picking up her coffee, she wandered back out into the living-area. He followed her. When she took a seat on the sofa, he chose the opposite end. Safer.
"Like I said," she continued, "I had to find out if it was the kiss or the man."
He shook his head. "I'm still not following."
"Clark, that was the best… the most amazing kiss I've ever had in my life! It was electrifying — earth-shattering." She plucked at the fringe of his sofa-throw. "It's not like I haven't been kissed before. But no-one… it's never been like that before."
She paused and he saw her take a deep breath. He had no idea what to say. The damage was clearly done.
"Lex kissed me a couple of times."
He tensed. He hadn't known that. Hadn't even suspected… Jealousy, like the burning sensation of Kryptonite, coursed through him. In an attempt to hide his reaction, he took a sip of coffee.
"It was… like kissing a plastic dummy."
He spluttered. Coffee splashed his shirt. "Darn."
"Clark?" She stared at him. "You're not normally that careless."
"Uh…" Inspiration came. "It was too hot."
"Oh. Anyway." She resumed her explanation. "I mean… I just didn't feel anything. *Anything*. I'm sure he's very good at it and he has a lot of… expertise. But he doesn't… um… turn me on."
He ventured a comment. "And… Superman does?"
She sighed. Her mouth turned down at the corners. "Yeah. Now you see my problem?"
What could he say? He'd been stupid. He'd kissed her as Superman, and now she was comparing every other man to him. He'd only ended up encouraging her in her Superman crush.
"Maybe you're just not attracted to Lex Luthor…" he suggested.
"Well, yeah, but it's not just Lex." She turned to him then, her expression confused and anxious. "I had boyfriends before, but none of them had that kind of effect on me when they kissed me."
And she'd arrived at his apartment and demanded that he kiss her. And their kiss had been… Electrifying.
Was that what this was about? She'd guessed?
The silence lingered. He didn't dare speak. And fear descended, threatening to engulf him. Had he given himself away through something as… as crazy as a kiss?
Finally, she spoke. "That's why I had to do it, Clark! Don't you see?"
To find out whether he was Superman? To try to change his mind about a relationship?
He wasn't sure he could trust himself to speak. But he had to try. "I… 'm not sure."
She swallowed. "What if he's the only man I could ever react to that way? The only man who has that effect on me? How can I settle for someone else when I know what it can be like?"
The penny dropped. The cloud of fear lifted. Of course. Now it made sense. The kiss or the man?
As she'd seen it, if only Superman could make her feel like that, then she was in trouble. If it was just a matter of an expert kiss, then she could relax. Other men could create that wild, searing excitement, and it was just a matter of finding one who could.
Hence her experiment.
The only trouble was… he didn't want it to be the kiss. He wanted it to be the man. Him. Only him.
"I see, Lois, but…" He had to ask. "Why me?"
She shrugged. "Why not? You're my friend, so you were easy to ask. Well, sort of easy." No, he hadn't made it all that easy for her. "And I knew you wouldn't tell anyone."
"Of course I won't."
"And we've kissed before," she added. "I remember that was pretty spectacular, too — but that was probably just because I thought we were going to die."
Oh, he remembered that all too clearly. On Trask's plane, with Lois about to be thrown out. That had been an experiment too. And she'd insisted on kissing him goodbye — a ruse, to explain her desperate, against-all-odds plan to save themselves.
Another fiery, searing kiss.
Again, he had to ask. It was probably dangerous, but still… "And the result?"
"Of the experiment."
She blushed. "You have to ask?"
"Well… I'd kind of like to know."
"Clark, you were there too!" Again, she looked away. "It was… stunning. Earth-shattering," she whispered.
Lost for words, afraid of saying the wrong thing, he waited.
"Unless…" She looked up again, and he could see nervousness. Uncertainty. "Unless it wasn't like that for you…"
"What?" Utter disbelief made him laugh. "How can you suggest that?"
"Well, I know you don't find me attractive, Clark."
"What?" Incredulous, he stared at her, eyes wide. "What on earth makes you think that?"
"You told me!" Her angry exclamation was laced with hurt, and he flinched.
When had he… Oh, yes. "The day before yesterday. After we came back from the lab." She'd challenged him, wanting to know why the pheromone had made her hit on him, practically rip his clothes off, while he hadn't reacted in any way.
He couldn't tell her the truth: that he simply hadn't been affected by it. Instead, he'd had to make something up, and devilment had made him take a tiny bit of revenge. After all, he'd been crazy about her for half a year, and she'd ignored his feelings. Ignored him as a potential boyfriend. Just for a few moments, it had been good to savour the enjoyment of being the unmoved, uninterested object of her lust.
But it had been a lie, and now it was a problem.
"It's just my luck." As he was searching for the words to take back the lie, Lois spoke again. "Two men can make me feel like that, and neither of them want me." She sounded resigned. As if it actually mattered to her that he — Clark — wasn't interested!
"Lois, I am attracted to you." He caught at her hands, squeezed them. Her gaze shot to his. "I lied. I just wasn't affected by the pheromone. I am attracted to you — I have been right from the second I first saw you."
But she was shaking her head. "You can't just not have been affected by it. You were sprayed. I saw you. And even Superman was affected!"
Oh god… deceit compounded on deceit… "He got the 100% solution. It's hardly surprising if…"
She frowned. "How did you know that? I didn't write it up anywhere, and I know Superman wouldn't have said anything."
"Um…" What had he done now? Then, with a rush of relief, he remembered. "Luthor told me. He came to the Planet trying to contact Superman. He said Miranda was going to spray the city with her 100% solution."
"Oh. Right." She still looked doubtful. He gripped her hands tighter.
"Lois, I swear, I am attracted to you! If you don't believe me, the way I kissed you should have proved it."
"But it doesn't make sense. The pheromone…" she protested.
"I've had a lot of practice exercising self-control around you." That wasn't a lie, at least.
She frowned. "Why?"
He shook his head. "Lois! You have to know that."
"When we first met?" he prompted. "You saw I was attracted to you. You made it clear you weren't interested. You told me not to fall for you. I've been doing my best not to let it show ever since."
Memory dawned. He saw her flush and then look guilty. Then she chewed her lip. "That… might have been a mistake."
A jolt went through him. How many more shocks did she have for him tonight?
Was she actually saying that she'd changed her mind? Hope surged in him. He tried to stifle it; after all, he'd had hopes dashed where Lois was concerned before. He loved her. That was a state of affairs which was unchangeable. But he'd accepted — had spent long hours on many occasions making himself accept — that she didn't love him back. Wouldn't love him back.
At least, not the glasses-wearing half of him.
Might have been a mistake?
He wanted to ask her: on a scale of one to ten, how close was the 'might' to 'was definitely'? At the lower end, hovering just above 'no mistake at all'? Or right at the top, in waving distance of the 'definitely not a mistake'?
But he didn't dare. He might just reveal how eager he was to hear one answer, while she might be wondering how to confess that it was the other.
All the same… The conversation had to go somewhere. And neither of them could ignore the fact that she'd said it.
"Lois…" he prompted. "Are you… serious?"
"Clark…" She looked away again. He could understand her being nervous, but the last thing he wanted was for her to be shy with him. Squeezing her hands once more, he willed her to look up at him.
She did. In an almost steady voice, she continued. "You were right about the pheromone. There was attraction there to begin with. I guess… I've been denying the way I feel about you ever since we met. The pheromone made me stop hiding it."
He'd dared to hope that was the case. But never in a million years had he imagined she'd admit it. Butterflies began to somersault in his stomach.
"I'm sorry if my… not responding hurt you." He'd thought she'd just been chagrined that she'd been the only one of the two of them to make a fool of herself. "I just knew I couldn't take advantage of you when you weren't yourself."
"Yeah, well…" Red suffused her cheeks again. "You're a decent man, Clark Kent."
It was his turn to blush. "I… try. But, if you remember, I gave in in the end."
"Oh yeah." Lois grinned suddenly. "I thought you'd taken leave of your senses." Then she grimaced. "Then I realised I'd lost control of mine."
He shrugged, smiling to reassure her. "You know it was the drug. You weren't yourself."
"Yeah, well. Like I said, it made me realise… Clark, you know I haven't had much success with relationships."
She'd told him a few things from time to time. Not much, but enough to allow him to put some pieces together and figure out a history of seeking approval and winding up with betrayal. "Not all men are like that."
"I know." Her agreement surprised him. The hard-bitten Lois of the last six months had frequently given the impression that she believed men were always untrustworthy when it came to relationships. "I know you're not," she added. "Like I said, you're a decent man."
A decent man… who was still deceiving her.
That, though, was something he couldn't help. It was necessary. Even if she meant what she seemed to be saying, if she wanted to date him, the secret still had to be kept. Didn't it?
He pushed the niggle aside. "So what do you want, Lois?"
She took a deep breath. He had the sense that she was preparing to plunge. "You're the only other man who can make me feel what I felt with Superman. Better, even. So, even though this scares me rigid, I think we should… see where it goes."
His heart leapt again. It was amazing that he wasn't floating on the ceiling by now.
Calm. He needed to stay calm. Even if his face was being split in two by the widest smile he'd ever known. Even if he was having to use every ounce of his self-control to keep himself on that darned couch.
"I'd like that very much, Lois."
She moved. And he moved too. And then she was in his arms and they were kissing again, and it was like before. No, it was better than before. Better because this wasn't just an experiment. Better because she'd actually said she wanted him.
Better because this was the start of something very special.
Lois was his, and he never intended to let her go.
Later, much later, she drew back and laid her head on his chest. His solid, warm, reassuring chest. His broad, muscular, powerful chest that she couldn't wait to explore, once they got to that point of comfort and familiarity with each other. Clark had a great body. He hid it too much; it was only at times like these, when he wore T-shirts or casual button-up shirts with no ties or jackets to hide underneath, that she could see how well put together he was.
Or when he wore no shirt at all. She'd never forgotten that day…
Well, if she was lucky, that experience could be repeated some time soon.
His hand was stroking her hair, and his heartbeat was loud under her ear. She was safe and protected, being taken care of by her man.
Funny; she'd always hated that aspect of romance novels, the idea that the heroine needed a man to look after her and protect her. She didn't need that from anybody. She was more than capable of looking after herself.
And yet, now, the prospect appealed.
She waited for the surge of indignation to hit her. When it didn't, she smiled and resigned herself to being protected. It wasn't such a bad feeling.
In fact, it was such a good feeling that she thought he deserved a reward for making her feel that good. Pushing herself up, she reached for his head and kissed him once more.
His hands caught her around her waist. She cupped his face and neck in her hands, needing to feel him, to hold him close to her. Wishing she could climb inside him and never leave him…
The kiss was stunning. Magical. Electrifying…
…and so, so familiar…
She broke away, breathing heavily. Looked into his eyes, clouded slightly by his glasses…
And, suddenly, knew.
How two men could stir her in exactly the same way.
And why she'd said, in this same room, just three evenings earlier, that Clark looked exactly like Superman.
Anger stirred just for a moment. She hesitated, then brushed it aside, sweeping away Clark's puzzled look with another kiss. There'd be time later for explanations, and even to be angry if she wanted to. Now, though, she just wanted to claim more of his kisses and caresses and the way he made her feel. The way his touch set her on fire.
After all, she couldn't be happier that it was the man, and not the kiss.
© Wendy Richards