Description: A different direction the window scene in Seasons Greedings could have (should have!) taken.

Greedy For More
By KatherineKent
Rated PG-13 - for slightly mature discussion points and themes.

Acknowledgements and Comments: Set at the end of Seasons Greedings. This complete conversation came to me on my journey home from work (which takes an hour) but it took quite a bit longer that than to flesh it out. While the conversation came easy, the descriptions and emotions were almost impossible. This is where my fantastic beta - Susan - came in. She saw straight to the heart of all the problems. No plot just all fluff (with a side of playful naughtiness) and completely WAFFy.

Disclaimer: Superman, Clark Kent, Lois Lane and all other character and place names are owned by DC and/or Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. I own nothing ... except my fantasies -- which frequently include Clark/Superman.

The sound of the carollers faded as Clark turned to look at Lois. They hadn't actually stopped singing, but his mind was no longer processing the sound. Every one of his senses was focussed on the woman beside him. He had one arm draped over her shoulder and she'd been resting her head on his shoulder, but she had lifted it when he had lifted his from resting on hers.

He couldn't tear his gaze from her eyes, but his peripheral vision, and his perfect memory, recalled every detail of the stunning short, strappy black number she was wearing. He was, once again, struck by how beautiful she was. Her smoky eyes looked straight into his soul. Her hair bounced gently around her face in soft waves. He longed to slide his fingers into their lush strands and pull her face close. He imagined drawing her up to him, while slowly bending down. It was so real in his mind that he could feel the soft touch of her lips and then the gasp of air when they would part. He would slide his hand round her waist and then down to her hip, drawing her into his body, bringing them closer, letting them touch. She would moan and her hands would push up his chest to link around his neck. He could even imagine the tentative flick of her tongue over his lips.

A deep moan intruded on his fantasy. The taste of wine on his lips confused him. Another moan echoed in his chest, coming from somewhere deep in his throat. The perfect-imagined-kiss scenario shattered and splintered when he realised that it was actually no fantasy.

Her hands were around his neck.

His hand was on her hip.

And the wine taste was not on his lips, but hers. He could taste her. Sweet and fruity, with a sudden tangy aftertaste.

But, surely this could only be in his mind. Lois would not let him kiss her. Not like this. Not with such passion.

Clark tried to restore his consciousness, hoping to gain control before it was too late, before he actually acted on these thoughts - in reality - but the instruction to stop kissing Lois did not make it into his dreams. Probably because he didn't want to stop kissing her. This was his dream, this was the kind of scenario he imagined every day. Although, his warped brain sometimes had Lois push him away, and slap him across the face, in a moment of stark reality. But she didn't seem to be doing that. She was …

Another moan came from somewhere and he realised that it was Lois.

She was … responding, returning the kiss. She was probing his mouth, tentatively, with her tongue. He opened up and let her in, deepening the kiss and beginning a duel between their tongues. Her arms gripped him tighter and he drew her further into his embrace, clutching her tight against his chest.

The tension and desire in his body grew to unbearable levels and he found himself losing control again, diving back into the fantasy. But it wasn't fantasy. It was reality.

They really were locked in a passionate embrace.

A sultry, feminine moan beckoned him back into the fantasy again. The feel of his hand reaching further past her hips assured him that this wasn't real. That was a common thread in his imagination, but not possible in reality. She would never allow him to caress her there. Oh, but he wanted this to be real. And if it wasn’t, then he had finally lost his mind. He'd succumbed to his fantasies, let himself be sucked inside one. So very deep inside it, that he couldn't seem to focus on the real world. Couldn't escape.

He tried to find the sound of the carollers. Anything to draw him out of this all-pervading dream. The smell of the turkey on Lois' table drifted over to him, but it didn't bring him out of the fantasy.

He was trapped.

Trapped against her body, against her lips. Holding, caressing, teasing.

But, if he was to be trapped inside his mind, then this was the scenario he would gladly choose.

Clark began to find it difficult to breathe. Even though he could hold his breath for twenty minutes, kissing was a wholly different story. Fantasy-kissing could last for hours - even longer than his twenty minute limit, but this … this had to be real. He wouldn't be breathless in his fantasies.

Finally accepting that he wasn't lost inside his mind, but lost in a passionate - and real - embrace, he began to find control of his actions. Slowing the kiss, but keeping Lois firmly in the circle of his arms, he managed to calm his heart and his emotions.

Lois seemed to understand and she released her arms from around his neck and brought them down to his chest. He could hear her ragged, uneven breathing: a perfect mirror to his own. In breathy tones he confessed his heart, convinced that she finally felt something for him.

"I love you."

It felt so freeing to say those words. His heart felt like soaring above the clouds. He could see his future stretching out before him. A future shared with Lois. Side-by-side, every day, for the rest of eternity.

Lois was lost in the all-consuming rapture of Clark's kiss. His lips tugged gently at hers; teasing and offering. His breath was warm, his touch was soft. Her fingers tangled in his hair. She felt his hand pull her closer, resting at the base of her spine. Their bodies met, pressed against each other. Close, so close that she could feel every perfectly shaped muscle of his powerful form. His hand moved lower. She parted her lips and was swept away by the maelstrom of emotions welling up from her heart.

Only moments ago she had been listening to the carollers outside the window and resting her head on her partner's shoulder. The moment had been perfect and she had taken a few seconds to thank God. Whether she was thanking him that Clark had come over, or that Clark was such a wonderful friend to fabricate a story so that he could come over, or whether she was just thanking him for Clark … it didn't matter. She was just thankful.

When she'd opened the door to see Clark her heart had leapt with joy. Out of all the people she had invited to her Christmas Eve meal, he was the most important to her. If only one person could make it … then she wanted it to be Clark. If only one person couldn't make it … if only Clark couldn't make it … then she wouldn't have enjoyed the evening, no matter who else came.

After the moment of thankfulness, she had lifted her head. Her best friend had turned to look at her, joy and love evident in his eyes and written all over his face. Then he'd lifted a hand, drawing it through her hair and pulling her up to meet his soft, magical lips.

It was heaven. It was one hundred percent wish fulfilment. For a while now … definitely days, probably weeks … possibly even months, she'd been dreaming of this moment. It had taken a long time to admit it to herself, but she wanted this step to happen. Clark was a wonderful man, and a fantastic best friend. If she was to choose any man to fall in love with, and to want to spend her life with, then it would be Clark.

Except, she had no say in the matter. She couldn't choose him. Not from a perfectly rational, dispassionate point of view. When it came to Clark - and her relationship with him, and her feelings for him, there was no rationale. She could only be swept along by her ever stronger emotions; turbulent, overwhelming and out of control.

Strange, that when they first met, both her heart and her head fought against the idea of Clark - her heart was terrified of being hurt, and her head assumed that he was beneath her. Then, there came a time when they disagreed; her head recognising how wonderful and loyal Clark was, but her heart still trying to hide. Now, her heart and her head were again in agreement .

Clark was the man for her.

But the line of friendship had been drawn on the floor between them in such strong pen, or maybe even permanent marker, that she'd despaired of it ever being crossed. Or, to be more truthful, she been afraid of it being crossed. Afraid of being hurt, or being rejected after a while. Maybe even afraid that Clark wouldn't want her at all and never even give her a few days of happiness with him. After all, she had practically bared her soul to him a few weeks ago and he had just fallen asleep on her. But now, in the safety of his arms, and experiencing the passion of his kiss, she wondered why she'd ever been afraid.

It was perfect. Better. It was heaven. And then he slowly pulled back, taking away the warmth of his kiss. The loss was immediate. How had she lived without that warmth until now? How could she live without it from this day? She looked up into his eyes and saw the warmth she now craved shining from them.

"I love you."

"What?" she asked warily, narrowing her eyes and pushing gently at his chest. Those three words were a sudden alarm bell ringing in the back of her mind.

"I love you." He repeated, then gave a tentative smile.

His arms were still around her, holding her close, even though she was trying to push away. The feel of the hard, defined muscles of his chest under her palm reminded her that he was 'Mr Hard Body'. She applied more pressure and he stumbled away, the adoring look on his face turning to confusion.

"No," she retorted, quietly, as she backed away still looking fixedly at his chest. It was the point where she had just been touching him and the feel of it was now branded in her memory. It also kept her from meeting his gaze … too afraid to see whatever emotion would be in his eyes. Too afraid to see the face of well-practiced seducer.

His arms felt empty without her captured within them. The sudden loneliness came out in his parroted reply. "No?" he asked, looking down at his chest where she had been touching him before pushing him away, then looking back up.

"How could you, Clark?" The disappointment was clear in her voice, still whispering, but there was also a touch of anger.

"How could I what?" He frowned and shook his head, unclear about what he could possibly have done wrong. He was inexperienced at true intimacy, but was no novice at the kissing game. He could tell that she had been a completely willing partner in their passionate kiss. He might have become concerned that his kissing prowess left a lot to be desired if she hadn't been as responsive. For a moment he considered that she might utterly uninterested in him, and so was angry that he'd even thought it possible she would be, when she'd made it clear on many occasions that they were only friends. But … she'd been responding, she'd been touching him, she'd been the one to … use tongue. Surely that wasn't faked.

"How dare you presume that we would …"

He waited for her to continue but she just looked away.

"Would …?" he prompted. There was no explanation forthcoming from her. "I don't understand," he continued. Clark knew that the frustration was showing in his reply as his soft, gentle tone became more harsh.

"Telling me you love me."

"What?" He gasped in incredulity. She was angry with him - disappointed - because he'd told her his feelings! That didn't make sense. In the worst possible scenario regarding her feelings for him, she should - at worst - be upset or guilty that she'd be about to break his heart when she revealed that she didn't, and couldn't ever, feel the same way about him. Maybe she wasn't upset that he had told her loved her. Maybe she was just upset that he loved her. Clearly she didn't feel the same.

Yet … she'd been wrapped in his arms only moments ago. Was she only interested in a little make-out session? Was this just a fling with no strings attached? That didn't seem right either. Lois wasn't like that. She kept her distance from everyone rather than risk even the tiniest bit of intimacy with anyone.

"I can't believe you would do that." Her anger and disappointment seemed to be turning to upset and sorrow. He could hear a hitch in her voice, betraying the emotions she was obviously trying to hide.

"Do what? Tell you?" he queried.

"Yes," came her blank and simple reply.

Her voice was suddenly devoid of all emotion, as if she were shutting her heart away, and all his hopes crashed. She wasn't prepared for the depth of his feelings, and she wasn't interested in him in that way. "I'm sorry. I thought … I know I told you before and you weren't ready, then. I thought, maybe, you were … this time. I'm sorry." He hung his head and then continued with the truth, baring his heart and giving her another opportunity to trample over it. "But I guess … I can't hide it anymore."

“Yeah, well, keep it in your pants!” Lois turned and stalked away, heading for the couch. How could he so blatantly talk about exposing himself? This was not the Clark she'd known for two years, not the Clark she'd become best friends with, shared things with, and definitely not the Clark she'd fallen in love with. She'd thought that the way he treated her, treated all women, would mean that he'd also be different to every other man once he was in a relationship, too. But she was wrong. He was just like all the other men she'd ever met, ever been involved with: only after one thing.

“Excuse me?” He sounded confused.

“It’s awfully presumptuous …" She turned back to him and glared.

"What? What is presumptuous? My love?" The shock and pain in his voice was a little at odds with his playboy seduction scheme.

She scoffed. "No. To think I’d have sex with you after just one kiss."

"Sex!" he squealed. She didn't think she'd ever heard his voice so high before. "What the heck do you take me for? I told you I loved you. Where did you get sex from?" He was gesturing wildly, his voice full of horror, and she began to wonder that she may have slightly misinterpreted the situation.

"Well …" she looked down at her shoes. "That's what most men want when they tell a women ... and … well, to be blunt…" she took a breath and looked up into his eyes - pausing, on the way up, at his waist - then looked away. "I could feel … you know."

He turned his head away, clearly a little embarrassed, then she saw him adjust his trousers as surreptitiously as possible. She gulped, and looked away, making sure that she didn't stare. After a moment he looked back, the embarrassment gone. He strode around the coffee table, never letting his eyes break contact with hers, his face looking more serious than she'd even seen before.

"Lois, surely you know me better than that." He reached her and held out a hand, touching her on her sleeve very lightly. She felt the touch as if it were a hot brand, searing into her skin and through to her core. How could one man affect her this way even when she was angry with him?

"I told you I love you because …. I love you." His voice was earnest and clear, and she began to put aside her idea that he was trying to seduce her into bed. "And, what you felt … while we were kissing. Lois," he gulped, "I am a man, but that doesn't mean ... well, I guess I do have to be honest with you, and blunt too I guess, but, I do … desire you."

His babbling came to an end and he slowed down, speaking softly. "I do want to make love to you. I've spent nearly two years fantasising about being with you. And when we started kissing I thought that all my dreams were coming true. Dreams for the future - not now." He raised his hand and pushed it through his hair, clearly frustrated.

"I wanted to ask you out, and romance you, and spend time with you, and then eventually ask you to-" He paused suddenly and Lois knew exactly what he'd been about to say, and exactly why he'd cut himself off. The kind of man Clark was, the kind of man she had fallen in love with, was all about small town values, old-fashioned traditions, and would most definitely be looking for the perfect happy family. Marriage … kids … But she'd also noticed that Clark had pulled himself up short before admitting it out loud. Lois didn't exactly have good examples of 'happily ever after' in her family … and definitely not in her own life. Commitments … relationships … were a chore … hard work, more work than they were worth. She could hear herself saying those phrases out loud and she could picture Clark looking at her with such disappointment on his face. She used to think that he was disappointed for her, that he wanted her to find her 'happily ever after' because they were friends.

Clark continued speaking. "But you must know that I'd never force you to do anything you didn't want. Never." The fervour in his eyes was unnecessary to convince her of his truthfulness. She already believed him. She knew now that the disappointment had been for himself, because he'd despaired of ever having the relationship with her that he craved.

"So, you really told me you love me because …" Her voice was trembling and she worried that a tear was about to roll down her cheek.

"I love you."

"But … but nobody loves me. How can you love me?"

Clark was appalled at the hurt showing in her voice and on her face. "What do you mean nobody loves you?" Had it been a rhetorical question, or did she really want to know? Did she really mean it when she said that nobody loved her?

"Just exactly that …" She shrugged her shoulders. "Nobody does. I'm not nice. I'm not loveable."

Clark sighed and took hold of her hand then drew her to the sofa. They sat beside each other and Lois linked her fingers into his. He smiled, looking down at the interwoven fingers. When he looked back up he was greeted by the look of a little girl; lost and alone. "Lois, you do realise that there are lots of different kinds of love? There is parental love, and I know you have issues with your mom and dad, but I'm sure they love you."

Lois scoffed. "Well, then there's Perry," he gestured, offering an alternative parental role. "He loves you like a father would love his daughter."

She squirmed next to him, in embarrassment and agreement he hoped, but she never let go of his hand. "Then there is family - sibling - love. You have Lucy. And Jimmy, in a way. He's kind of like a younger brother. Then there is friendly love. Again Jimmy definitely comes into that category. And I hope I do too."

Clark paused, hoping for some acknowledgement of what he was saying: some agreement. He also admitted to himself that he was hoping she would specifically agree with his assessment of their friendship. Or maybe even disagree - and point out that they were not 'friends' … they were clearly more than 'friends'.

She nodded, but didn't speak.

Clark decided to interpret that as Lois' acceptance of his claim that Lucy, Jimmy and himself, all loved her - in a family or friend way.

But - not counting the narcissistic self-love, or the selfless agape love most often attributed to God - there was one more version of love to cover.

Clark knew that what he was about to say next could make or break this conversation. Either she'd believe him, or not. She could believe he was purposefully lying - for some purpose ending in seduction, maybe. Or she might believe that he believed it, that he thought himself in love with her, but wasn't really. Or … she might truly believe him.

He hoped it would be the last one. And then they could … move on in their friendship, return to the mind-blowing kissing of earlier, or Clark would have to spend the next year trying to build up her confidence, both in him and in herself and her lovability.

He took a deep breath and looked deeply into her eyes. "But of course, there is romantic - sexual - love. And I hope you believe me when I say that I definitely fall into that category. I love you. Romantically." He gulped, nervous of the next word, especially considering her earlier outburst on the subject. "Sexually."

"Oh, Clark. I … I don't know what to say."

"You don't need to say anything, Lois. You just need to know that I love you, that I desire you, but that I also respect you and will only be whatever you want me to be … to you. You hold all the cards here. But after that kiss ..." He paused as his eyes wandered to her lips, remembering the taste. She unlinked their hands and brought her fingertips up to touch her lips, obviously thinking of it herself. "After that kiss, I'm kind of presuming that means being your boyfriend or … your lover … and if that's right … then I will be over the moon." He smiled and laughed, gently, reflecting his joy over the idea of them being lovers. After only a moment he sobered, then continued. "And it if means only being your friend and partner … then I can do that too, but you need to know that I am very much hoping that you want me to be … more."

Lois gazed into his warm eyes, knowing that every word was true. And it was exactly what she wanted too. She wanted to be … more. Clark loved her. He really did. Reaching up she touched her lips to his. She felt the suppressed passion from earlier threatening to take over but she kept it in check, softly brushing back and forth. It wouldn't do to give Clark such mixed messages, when she'd just ranted against expecting sex after one kiss. Not that there was anything wrong with the idea of sex. Especially with a hot guy … who was in love you … and whom you loved back. But after just one kiss … without even dating, that seemed quick. But then Lois recognised that she'd actually been against the idea of sex after one kiss only because she'd suspected - for a moment - that sex was the only thing that Clark was after.

She knew that wasn't true. Clark loved and respected her, and was not about to rush this new relationship faster than necessary. Lois was glad of that. But it was still there - an intense need to get closer and closer to his superb body. Those strong arms, clasping her close to his hard, chiselled chest. His powerful thighs touching hers as they sat next to each other.

The hairs on her arms, bare to the warm air of the apartment, began to tingle with the shivers of pleasure dancing around her body. As the kiss deepened and he pulled her close she soon found herself swept away again by the intoxicating feel of his arms around her body and his lips searching hers.

The next time that Lois came up for air, and returned from the heady bliss of Clark's touch, she realised that she was straddling his lap, with her knees on either side of his hips. His arms were encircling her and his fingertips were trailing over the skin exposed by her strappy dress. Only a few thin layers separated her from him ... from being completely intimate … and he was panting from the exertions, just as she was. There was also an undercurrent of tension radiating from him. If his thoughts were anywhere like hers, then he was probably realising how close they were to that final line.

Lois had her arms resting on his shoulders. Tipping her head forward she gave him a peck on his lips then straightened back up. Somehow, knowing that Clark was not pushing for any intimacy made her no longer afraid of the idea, and also made her a little bold - skirting the edge of acceptability in this new relationship.

"You know something, Clark? I think, if you had ever set your mind to truly seducing me, even when I seemed to hate you … then I wouldn't have been able to resist." He gave her a shocked look. "You must know that you are extremely handsome."

“Am I?” Clark asked with a hint of self-deprecating humour.

“Mmm hmm,” Lois murmured, dipping her head and then looking back up through her lashes.

He grinned. “How so?”

Lois let her smile grow slowly, giving the impression of both laziness and desire. She brought a hand up, trailing it over his chest and up to his neck. Clark let his eyelids close as he sunk back against the uncomfortable couch. Her fingertip reached his chin as she began to explain. “Chiselled jaw. Bronzed skin. Luscious lips. Chocolate eyes. Thick, dark hair.” Her left hand trailed back down over his arm as she pointedly adjusted her position on his lap. “Hard, huge…” She squeezed him, then continued, “Bicep.”

"Really?" he asked, whispering and gulping.

She laughed at his reaction and her playful seduction faded. "So you see, you really are quite ... irresistible. And most women who meet you … well, um, I'm sure there is a lot of fantasising going on. You are a … desirable … man. And you are very sweet, but you can also be very charming. If you'd turned that charm on me in a concerted effort to-"

"Lois," he interrupted her babble, ceasing the play of his fingers over her back and bringing his hands around to take hold of her shoulders. "I would never consider seducing a woman, as that implies persuading her to change her mind, which further implies that she didn't want sex to start with, and then that becomes a situation where I have forced myself on her. I could never do that. And I will never presume that you want to make love unless, and until, you tell me so. Not even if we are kissing as passionately as … well, as we were before."

"You wouldn't ever presume?" She rocked her hips a little, an unspoken 'tease' inherent in the movement. "Never?"

His breath hitched but he spoke clearly in reply. "Never."

"Clark, while that is a lovely and very gentleman idea," Lois began, stroking his hair back with one hand. "I think it's safe to say that …" she leaned forward to touch the tip of her nose to his. "If I have my hand down your trousers …" She moved slightly and her mouth was softly breathing over his cheek. "And I'm sticking my tongue in your ear …" she made it to his ear and nipped at the soft fleshy lobe, eliciting a shudder from him. Straightening back up and speaking in clear and amused tones - rather than breathy and sensual - she continued. "Then I want you to make love to me."

"I'll keep that in mind, for some time in the future," he grinned, matching her light-hearted teasing, even though the trail of her breath against his cheek had guaranteed the continued solidity of his arousal.

She tipped her head forward and their lips met again. Clark drifted his hands around her body once more, holding her in his embrace, encouraging her to be as close as possible, but with only a gentle touch. He let her lead the way, responding only when she deepened the kiss. No matter what he'd said before, no matter his resolve to be a perfect gentleman, Lois - with one or two movements - could be the one to the seriously test the Man of Steel's 'will of iron'. As it was, their gentle caresses were still arousing him, anyway. But, as he'd pointed out to Lois, he was a man, and he had certain inbuilt reactions. They didn't necessarily reflect his current intensions.

Lois shifted in his arms, her tongue diving into his mouth, and a moan coming deep from her chest. His loose embrace tightened, involuntarily, and he realised that - if things continued - then his inbuilt reactions would soon definitely be reflecting his current intensions. He made a conscious effort to slow the kiss and then gently brought it to an end. As they parted he made sure to smile at her, conveying his love through his gaze.

She smiled back and he could read the desire in her eyes. She was short of breath, her temperature and pulse was elevated and her cheeks were aglow. Here was the proof of what she'd said moments ago. If he'd ever decided to seduce her then she wouldn't have been able to resist him. While he would never consider doing that, as he'd explained, it still gave his heart a boost, to think that she was powerless against his … masculinity. There was a small part of him that wanted to grab her, and twist them around so that she was stretched out under him …

"Clark," she whispered with very little breath. "I think I love you too."

He lost his breath and, when he tried to speak, her name was just a whisper. "Lois." She smiled at him and the breath rushed back into his lungs, making him giddy with oxygen. He grinned at her. "Really?" His voice was full of hope and wonder.

"Yes." Her smile turned into a grin to match his. "Really. I'm in love with you."

"How long?" he asked, desperate to know everything.

She turned away, a little shyly. "Um, I think I suspected a long time ago, but I knew for certain" - she turned back and took a deep breath - "when you died." Clark was captured by the slight shimmer of tears in her eyes. She smiled again, and when he returned it the small hint of shyness disappeared completely.

"I've been in love with you since the first moment we met." Clark knew that it was the time for truths, and this was one that needed to be spoken sooner rather than later. There was another truth that desperately needed to come out. Possibly now was the time for that one to be revealed, too. He felt a mild panic begin to creep over him. If he told her now … if she was angry …

"So you wanted to ask me out?" Her slightly teasing tone snapped him out of his thoughts.

"Uh huh." He gave what he hoped was a natural smile, trying to hide the worry threatening to take control.

"Where would you take me?" She shuffled back until she was perched on the edge of his knees. She brought her legs up so that her feet were on either side of his thighs, her knees together, tightly closed, and then she rested her elbows on her knees.

He took a breath and pondered over his answer for a while, drifting his hands up and down her arms. "Well, there is this cafι in Paris that has pastries which melt in your mouth. Or afternoon tea in London: very posh. But then again, I know this fantastic restaurant in Naples that serves Pasta Carbonara to die for." Clark knew he'd set himself on a one-way journey. There would be no retraction of these statements. It was too late to change his mind.

"Sounds great, Clark, but I really do want to know where you would take me." She smiled, her eyes full of love. "I was being serious."

"So was I." He dropped his playful tone, and his smile, willing her to see that he'd been speaking the truth. This was the time … the right time, the perfect time.

"You really were," she breathed out slowly, seeing it in his demeanour. His face was so serious, suddenly. Plus there was a hint of fear in his eyes, rather than a twinkle of teasing. "But how were you figuring on getting us there?" Her brow crinkled as she frowned.

"Superman." Clark's voice was completely matter-of-fact.

"Really?" Lois was surprised. "He'd do that for you? I know you guys are good friends, but…" She stared at him, her chest heaving in shock.

"We are a lot closer than you think." Clark seemed to be thinking. The look on his face put Lois in mind of a Victorian computer: pistons and cogs and all manner of old fashioned metal prongs, frantically calculating some terribly important, but also completely simple equation. "Take off my glasses and undo the top few buttons of my shirt."

"What?" Lois straightened up, surprised and also sceptical. Only minutes ago he'd claimed that he would never push her into something she didn't want to do. And, she believed him. So much so, that she'd felt safe flirting and teasing him, probably a bit close to the line, if she was honest. But still, she trusted Clark more than anyone, and tonight she'd decided to trust him with her heart, and with her body - with respecting her body.

"Please, just trust me." He was whispering, pleading. He dropped his hands away and rested them on the sofa, showing her that he was giving her control.

She reached up and drew off his glasses, placing them on the sofa beside her, then she returned to his neck and undid a few buttons, slowly revealing something familiar. The blue was instantly recognisable, and the red - just visible - hinted at something she feared, yet hoped for at the same time.

"Now you see me. The real me." She opened another button and then looked back up into his eyes, her lips parted in shock. "Whenever I have on my glasses I'm hiding my powers, and whenever I have on the suit I'm hiding my identity. But I'm not hiding now. This is me."

She looked back down and pushed the sides of his shirt apart, smoothing her fingers over the silky, red material. A corner of yellow was now showing and she undid one more button. There was no longer any denying which symbol was being revealed. The range of emotions washing through her was nearly too much to take. A part of her was fighting to escape, to push off his lap and run out of the apartment, but she was held in place by something. He'd lifted his arms again, and his fingers were trailing over her shoulders. Just the feel of his fingertips tracing up and down, was enough to imprison her. She looked up and met his gaze. He continued to trace her shoulder; gently, steadily. He held his head straight, never wavering his eyes, giving her the opportunity to study him.

"I can't believe I never saw it. Why couldn't I see it?" Finally realising what the presiding emotion was, she dropped her head in shame.

"You weren't supposed to. Nobody was."

Lois felt insulted and annoyed at Clark's claim that nobody was supposed to see through his disguise. She almost began to push away, to climb off his knee, then she would accuse him of being an overconfident egotist, until she realised that it wasn’t overconfidence. Nobody had seen through it. Not even her. She continued to hang her head.

"It's the only way I'm safe."

"Safe?" Her head shot back up as she jumped a little, surprised at his excuse for his duplicity. "Why would you need to be safe? You're invulnerable." There was a little bit of anger and hostility in her tone.

"No." Clark stopped the gentle tracing of his fingers and brought his arms up, to push his fingers though his hair in a movement showing his frustration. For a moment it pushed all his hair back and Lois was clearly looking at Superman, but then his arms came down, and his hair bounced back bringing that curl over his forehead. "My body is physically invulnerable, but my world, the people in it-" He lifted a hand to her face. Just one fingertip trailed over her cheek. "-my life … they are vulnerable. And I have to keep them safe. I have to." His hand dropped to her shoulder.

As she looked at his face, studying the emotions she could see there, she realised how vulnerable Superman was. Much more vulnerable than she, or anyone, had ever thought. He always seemed so perfect and impervious to harm or emotion. But showing clearly on his face and in his eyes was his love, his kindness, his fear, his isolation and loneliness. She felt her heart break for him.

He also seemed relaxed, happy and content now that she knew everything about him. He'd given her access to all his secrets, yet he didn't seem at all worried. She could destroy him with this knowledge. Publicly - if she revealed it to the world, and privately - if she held it against him, pushed him away, rejected him. But there was nothing on earth that could make her tell his secret. And rejecting him … that didn't seem possible either. She'd never felt as 'at home' as she did this moment, in his arms, on his lap.

"Oh, Clark." She buried her head into the crook of Clark's neck. "How stupid have we been? We've been in love with each other for years." She knew it now. She'd always been in love with Clark, because when she'd been loving Superman she'd really been loving … Clark. "If you'd just told me you were Superman, or if I'd just gotten over my big city snob act …"

"Then…" Clark was smiling. Lois loved him - loved Clark, and she knew everything about him now. All his innermost, terrifying secrets were now shared with her. And, although he guessed that there would be serious repercussions to deal with over the next few days and weeks, she seemed to be fully accepting of those secrets.

"We'd probably be married by now." He could hear the smile in her voice as she gave a little giggle, still snuggled into his shoulder. He brought his arms around her to keep her there.

"I think you could be right." What a lovely idea, that if they'd allowed themselves to explore this earlier, then they would have been much further along in their relationship. Hearing Lois admit that was also very encouraging. It gave him hope and confidence that there would be a positive answer when he eventually popped the question.

"And you know what married people do together?" Clark heard the return of the teasing tone which Lois had used earlier, when she'd been doing her best to test his control. She lifted her head and gave him a sultry look.

"Joint tax returns?" She laughed at his playful teasing, but swiped at his shoulder in mock anger. He exhaled, gently, then smiled. The teasing atmosphere faded almost instantly and Clark watched as Lois' eyes darkened. When her eyes flicked down to his lips he knew that she was craving the same thing as he was. He was greedy for more of her sweet caresses, desperate for more of her passionate kisses. He enclosed her in his embrace and drew her up to his lips, stopping just before they touched. "I'm so glad I came tonight, Lois," he whispered.

"Me too, Clark," Lois returned. As she surrendered to his kiss once more, he idly wondered how long it would be until they finally did 'joint tax returns'.

Lois: "You put up with me for the same reason I put up with you. It's because I'm completely in love with you."
Clark: "And I love you ... Did we just make up?"
Lois: "I think so."