This is a sequel to This Strange Effect: Under My Skin [Part One].
Mmm, that had been just as perfect as his memories. Kal-El grinned triumphantly as he locked his gaze with Lois’. Obviously it had been good for her, the trembling and moaning giving the lie to her harsh words.
Not that his Lois wouldn’t still try to deny it. Her voice husky with fulfillment, she told him, “I’d slap you … if I had the strength for it right now. As it is … it may be a minute.”
He chuckled, nuzzling against her neck right where he knew it would affect her most. Her startled gasp was his reward, and the delicious way she shivered from such a gentle kiss inflamed his ardor all over again. He rocked his hips against her, murmuring, “In a minute, you’ll be too busy to slap me. Or did you already forget one of the benefits of being with a Kryptonian?”
Her eyes went wide, and he caught her thighs, adjusting her slightly as he stepped back from the wall. It was easy to hold her slight weight balanced in his hands; it must’ve felt like flying, for her, and she wrapped her arms around his neck. “So how do you want it this time? Up against the wall again? Back across the couch? In bed, with you on top like the very first time, so I can watch you move?” Kal-El asked. “And don’t pretend you don’t want it. I know better.” He pulled her close, the heat of him still buried in her slickness.
She hissed, stifling a gasp by locking her jaw, and glared savagely at him. That was fine by Kal-El. “You’re so sexy when you’re angry,” he told her. “You give me that look like you want to tear my throat out with your teeth, and I just want to tumble you into bed and make you scream my name. Because you’re mine, you always will be, and…” The rest of the sentence vanished as she tightened around him, crossing her legs behind his back to squeeze harder. Like wet velvet, wrapped so tautly around him, he burned for her again already.
Lois seemed to unerringly notice it, too, and took shameless advantage of it. He could feel one small hand tighten the hair at his scalp, her other hand clutching the back of his neck. Oh, yes, she was more than a little bit angry with him. “Don’t flatter yourself,” Lois forced out through her teeth. “Why bother with teeth when a girl would just shatter them on that throat of yours? Oh, no, there are other ways to get your attention.”
“And you know them all,” he growled, the pressure on his scalp only spurring him on. This was lust and anger woven into each other so tightly it was hard to tell the difference, a heady mix indeed. “From spraying soda all over me to wearing short white skirts split halfway to heaven, you know exactly how to make me notice you.”
Despite her obvious irritation, he felt a shiver run through her and roughly pulled her closer. Unable to guard herself against it, her shudder was loud in the silence of the room. Once the sensation passed, the hellfire came back into her eyes twice as strong. “Right. Like you have room to talk; this coming from a man who wears head-to-toe spandex while he flies around town,” she snapped back, hazel eyes locked to his with the threat of vicious revenge. “Exactly where the hell do you get off lecturing me on wardrobe? Especially when you were sneaking peeks at my underwear when I never thought you’d take me up on it?”
A low, sardonic chuckle answered her. “You invited me to look at your underwear, Ms. Lane, and as for where I get off, I’d be happy to show you. I think … it’ll be your bed, this time. I’ve always wanted to have you here in this apartment, where it all started.”
That seemed to throw her for an instant, one traitor moment when her body reacted to his words before she made herself freeze. But he heard her heartbeat accelerate once again, faster if possible. From the look that passed over her face, she clearly realized that he knew it, too. One hand pistoning against his chest, she pushed away from him. “Don’t you just wish. Put me down, you bastard.”
For all the harsh words she threw at him, it didn’t change the reality of the situation. Any struggles she put up were futile; there was no escaping his arms around her. Kal-El carried her into the bedroom, one hand on her back, the other resting on the curve of her buttocks. Not even a whisper was between them. Each step reminded them both of how intimately they were joined, prompting a threatening hiss from her every time he jostled her.
His heart beat faster at the sight of her bed. It was the first time he had been this deep into her inner sanctum. The darkened room smelled of her: warm, faintly spicy, sandalwood mixed with a light musk and roses. Vanilla somewhere. A little jasmine. Just like the scent of her hair, the skin of her neck…
Most people never realized just how intimate it was to enter someone else’s private spaces, what one could learn about someone just by meeting them on their own ground. His grip on her tightened then. How many times had the image of her lying here found its way into his dreams? Too many to count.
Now he was here, and he would finally have her. Looming over her, he slipped her down over the cotton sheets, pinning her on the bed effortlessly. Her eyes were smoldering again, her body taut with the control she tried to exert over her reactions, but she had moved with him when he laid her back. They both knew her struggles were only for show, to make her feel less guilty for giving in to him; her legs were still wrapped tightly around his back, and even as Lois fought him she arched up against him. Never give in, never surrender, unless it was on her terms.
And that just couldn’t be, he thought with another slow smile. He knew from past experience that there was one sure way to force her to admit to her desire. Keeping her hands pinned over her head, he caught her eyes before he bent his head to her breasts. Loathe him or not, her response was immediate and without façade. The peaks stiffened in anticipation of his mouth, Lois’ body rising to him as he kissed her there. She cried out, hands knotting into fists.
Chuckling under his breath, he licked and suckled her nipples, letting her feel his teeth scrape lightly over them in a way that made her moan despite herself. Her mind and her body were at war, but he knew all too well which was winning. She was losing herself and they both knew it… “Yeah, we both know what you want,” he murmured against her chest, increasing his movements against her. “You can’t hide that from me. You’ve always been crazy for me.”
The next thing he knew, Lois had jerked away from him to grab the back of his shoulder, her other hand shoving hard against his chest. Her legs around his waist would normally provide just enough leverage to knock him easily onto his back, if he had been merely mortal. As it was, he had to yield to her impulse, let her think she could overpower him. And why not, when she was giving him exactly what he wanted?
Lois hissed as she came down just as she had planned, her head rocking back for a moment, the sudden depth forcing a startled moan out of her. Her expression showed her weakening resolve, but then her hands were on his chest, nails against his skin as those furious hazel eyes once again bored into his. “You can go to hell. It was being crazy over you and getting screwed for it that got us into this mess. We see where it got us the last time you ran the show.” That said, she sneered at him and bucked against him so hard and fast, it took his breath away for a moment.
Kal-El gasped, running his hands up her thighs possessively. She felt so good atop him, and looked even better, the long fall of her hair wild. He stared up at her, his eyes darkened by lust, and thrust up into her, matching her fierce pace while wrenching another groan from her lips. “Looks like you enjoy getting screwed almost as much as I do,” he managed to growl.
She reacted to the unfiltered and uncharacteristic bluntness by thrusting her hips even harder, her shaking increasing from the tension. Her hands clenched suddenly. The nails didn’t hurt, but that didn’t stop her from bearing them down on his chest. “I got screwed over by your dad a lot harder than I did by you. Actually, no. You, too. You turned your back on what we had pretty quickly when Daddy said you had to stop playing with the human.” Her breath was starting to come in quick little pants now. It was getting to her, irate as she was. “Nice to know … that the sex wasn’t even good enough for you to hold on to your promises … once Daddy knew what was going on.”
“Trust me, babe, the sex was more than good enough,” he gasped, watching her move through lidded eyes. She was utterly glorious, a goddess of anger and lust claiming him as her own. “I guess that means you’re glad I’ve stopped being the obedient son?”
“Hell, no, this is going to … cause even more trouble. Obviously. Even if I got some answers.” Those hazel eyes pierced him then, the expression in them both blazing and hurt. “It means that I’ve … got to clean up behind you … again. Thought I’ve made a career of it. Why the hell can’t I not care? You certainly didn’t. Dammit.” She gave a sudden, sharp cry then, eyes going wide.
He took hold of her hips and set the rhythm for her, rocked so deep within her that her voice dropped into a throaty inarticulate moan. Kal-El’s was rich with contempt for the man he’d been as he answered her accusations. “Oh, I cared… I cared so much I would’ve rather had you forget everything between us … forget me, never look at me the same way again … never touch me again, rather than see you shed one more tear for my sake… I cared too much to keep you… What a fool I was…”
Lois arched her back, eyes closed in mingled heartbreak and passion. There was no questioning that revelation – the man he was now had no reason to lie to spare her feelings, so it could only be the truth. Raking her nails over his chest, she rose up almost off of him before sinking down again, driving him deep inside her, trying to blot out that knowledge by overloading her senses.
For a few moments it almost worked, Kal-El groaning her name, Lois crying out his, taking each other rough and wild and full of desperate hunger. But he felt so good, and her body was so primed by their first round, that all too soon she was screaming her fulfillment.
Stunned by the force of her climax, she let him roll her under, let him grab the headboard above her and thrust into her so roughly she knew her thighs would be bruised. Still she loved it; their time in the Fortress had been so gentle, so tender, but this was raw lust with no filters. Before it had been like good tea, refined and elegant, something she savored. This was newsroom coffee instead, blasting heat into her veins like caffeine, just what she needed.
To Lois’ surprise she started to moan again, rising toward yet another orgasm. Kal-El laughed softly against her ear. “Yeah, Lois, again, come for me again, I love to hear you, come on.” It seemed almost blasphemous to be enjoying it this much, but Lois let herself be swept away, and when he finally tensed with a drawn-out growl of gratification, she answered him with sharp cry of ecstasy.
Panting and tangled together in the aftermath, Lois heard the traitor words fall from her lips in an exhausted sob, “God help me, I’m a fucking idiot. Why can’t I stop loving you?” Just saying the words aloud burned, realizing how raw an admission of weakness for him this was. And, the words hanging in the air between them, the reporter dreaded his unfettered response. Raising her eyes wasn’t an option.
Kal-El chuckled, and opened his mouth to tell her, The sex was great for me, too, babe. But something in him refused to allow those cynical words out; it felt like his voice had been choked off. Hot, red rage bloomed in his chest like some evil flower; not his own anger, sly and nasty, but something purer and stronger.
He sat up abruptly, tumbling Lois off him and clawing at his throat, fighting for air, for speech. What the hell…? The answer came in a flush of anger and a voice in the back of his mind. No, I won’t let you do that, how dare you answer love with sarcasm!
“Goddamn farmboy,” he managed to snarl. He’d thought he’d killed the man he used to be, but apparently Clark Kent was back from the dead. Ridiculous, that he hadn’t complained about the sex, but a few words brought him back to annoying life.
You will not hurt her in the only place she’s vulnerable, and it was that implacable Clark voice, foolish Boy Scout idiot, never so much as a twinge while he fucked Lois half out of her mind but when he tried to say the wrong thing to her he lost his breath. Really, how ridiculous can you get? Kal-El tried to fight, tried to shake off the unwanted presence, but found himself finally matched. Clark should have been scoured away, should have succumbed to the effects of the kryptonite, but he was still there, still stubbornly fighting.
Kal-El was frozen in struggle, the past and the present at war for his mind and body, unaware of Lois. She took one look at him – eyes bugged out with insane fury, muttering under his breath at himself – and knew this was her chance.
Lois scrambled off the bed, running for her purse, not even bothering with clothes. Knowing the implications made her sick to her stomach. The whole reason that she had sought him out was to stop him and maybe get some answers. There was no way to stop this without harming him, despite the words and actions that had passed between them. She had to get the crystal before he realized something was up.
Now he was making strange half-strangled noises, as if trying to wring his own neck, and she had the little lead case in her hands. Her heart in her throat, her emotions tangled up in knots about what would come next. There was time, he was paying no attention to her, and Lois made herself open the lid on the green crystal before he noticed.
Kal-El screamed when she shoved it against his shoulder, a raw howl of agony that made Lois’ stomach do painful flips. It tore her to shreds to be the one doing this, the one causing this pain. But she held it there, counting to five as he’d told her, and then backed away. This wasn’t him, wasn’t the rest of the world’s hero, and only she could have gotten this close. There had been no other option. Now, she could only hope that it worked. Watching him warily, she put the kryptonite back into its lead case.
Green fire seared him, burning away the effects of the corrupted kryptonite. The snide brute he’d been for the last few days was gone, finally truly gone, leaving only Clark, weak and in pain. And grateful; Lois just saved him, and he knew it. But at what cost?
As soon as he physically could, he rolled over to face her. Lois was still staring at him, her eyes haunted. “Lois,” he managed to whisper. “Lois, thank you. It worked.”
She just sat there on her heels, watching him in the most wounded way. And now the secrets again, the pushing her away for her own good. On one hand, she had done what she needed to do, the only thing that could have been done. A Superman maddened to evil by some weird form of kryptonite had no business in this world. Still, he had told her things that her Kal-El had never breathed a word of. He had wanted her on a level she’d never dreamed was still possible. But now she couldn’t help but mourn its loss. Back to the status quo. Back to being a fleeting moment of foolish human want. Adored from afar like some misty memory. Steeling herself to keep the heartbreak out of her voice, Lois managed a small smile and murmured, “You’re welcome.” Taking a deep breath, she pulled the bed sheet to her and stood, moving toward her shower.
“Lois, wait,” he called, but she didn’t turn around, only interested in putting distance between herself and him. This was more than a momentary escape; if he let her go now he was sure to lose her completely, the last hour between them never to be spoken of again. And after that, after what he’d done and said, Kal-El couldn’t watch her walk away one more time. Not even if he was still weak and shaky from kryptonite.
He staggered to his feet, clutching the comforter around him, and managed to make it to the bathroom door before she closed it. Kal-El caught the door in one hand and reached for her with the other. “Lois, don’t. I can’t lose you again. Not after that.”
“Hey, I’m not going anywhere but the shower. You can calm down. I’m fine.” The reporter still wouldn’t look at him. Trying to pull out of his grip, she ruthlessly pushed her emotions aside. “And stop feeling guilty about it, okay? Just stop. You weren’t yourself; no one expects you to make good on what he said, especially after that. I was able to stop it, that’s all. No one else would have known what to do. I wasn’t really hurt. Consider us even, all right? It’s not going to hurt anything to let me go.” She amazed herself with how she kept her voice from breaking. The aftermath of the encounter had been the last thing she had considered at the time, a fact that showed now as she tried to disengage again. But she’d do it. By God, she would.
“No,” he insisted, and maybe it was a lingering trace of the kryptonite that made him pull her into his arms in spite of her resistance. “Lois, it’s not a matter of ‘him’ and ‘me’ – he was me. He was every thought that’s ever crossed my mind but that I never acted on because I knew it was wrong. And maybe a couple I should’ve, anyway.” Kissing her disheveled hair, he told her fiercely, “It would hurt me to let you go. It felt like dying to lose you once. I can’t turn my back and pretend none of this happened.”
Here she was trying to feel the slightest bit noble, to not go here again when it would only hurt them, and then he had to say something like that. Something that sounded so perfect that she was on the verge of doing something even more dangerous, even more foolish. Like forgive him. “Except that we already did. Look, we saved everyone including you from something horrible. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? Think of the rest of the world and not ourselves?”
“Maybe we can do both,” Kal-El told her. “He spoke the truth, Lois. I left you to keep you safe, I took your memories to spare you pain, and I was a fool for doing both of those things. Doesn’t what happened today prove I need you more than ever?”
That gave her enough courage to look up at him, those hazel eyes searching his eyes boldly. “Maybe, but for how long? And under what circumstances? What, until your father finds out? Until someone starts to guess? And then what? Will it be a year? A month? I guess it’ll be a record, regardless, if it stands the light of day for longer than the last time.” Lois gave a little laugh then. “Can’t you just let me do this and let’s go back to pretending? Do you think this has been any easier for me since that morning? Do you think it’ll be easier now? Maybe if we just let it go, we can at least go back to this little dance of trying to be friends and act like the other doesn’t know. I mean, we were actually pulling it off pretty well, weren’t we?”
Such terrible grief in his eyes, regrets he could never take back. “No, we weren’t. I can’t go back, Lois, not now that I know you know, not after this. I can’t pretend anymore. We’re not just friends, we mean far more to each other than that.” Kal-El lifted one hand to stroke her rumpled hair out of her eyes. “I promise you this, though. If my father has anything to say about it, I’ll remind him that nothing he did or said could have helped me today, while you were here saving me. And at a price I never expected you to pay.”
She frowned at him, unsure of what to do next. It didn’t feel right to give in, to let the possibility of a second chance bloom, and yet she couldn’t help wanting to reach for it. Those stolen days had been among the happiest she had known. It might seem romantic idiocy, but Lois found herself wanting to believe. Standing here in the doorway to her bathroom, both of them wrapped in bedclothes like embarrassed teenagers and after having some of the most intense sex she’d ever even dreamed, it seemed like it might even have a chance in hell of working. Pondering it a moment longer, she finally spoke, the barest smile on her lips. “I’ve done worse things than sleep with you in my lifetime. And I have to say, driving you back sane this way has its advantages.”
“Maybe it does. You’ve seen the worst in me, and you still love me.” He smiled then, some of the sadness leaving him, and kissed her forehead. “And I love you, Lois. Always have, always will.”
“Slow down. Don’t get all starry-eyed just yet.” Her words were cautious, although she couldn’t quite conceal the way her smile was growing. “We both know it’s not gonna to be that easy. So let’s just say that we’ll try. There’s no real harm in just trying, right? At least that way I’ll get the 411 faster if we’re actually talking about something other than office babble. Might just be able to nip this in the bud, next time. Before it gets dangerous for the rest of the world?” Now her lips were curved in the impish grin so typical of this teasing side of her. “Although, I promise not to use the kryptonite to win arguments. Or to bend you to my whims. What kind of girl would that make me?”
“Not the one I love, that’s for sure. Though why you’d use kryptonite when you have so many better advantages, I’ll never guess,” Kal-El said with a grin, smoothing his hand down her back. A chance to try and work things out between them was all they needed.
And then he realized just how much of his doppelganger’s mischief he still had to put to rights. “Oh, God, I have so much to do. Lois, I need a shower…”
That decided her, the distracted look on his face as the realities of his duties came back to mind. “So do I. And I don’t see any reason not to share,” she told him.
If Lois had any doubts about that other side of him being gone, they disappeared then. That slow, warm smile belonged solely to her Kal-El.