DisclaimerI do not own or profit from Samllville or any of it's characters.

A/N: I have to thank my beta, Bglswrth for doing a great job.

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The Man Of Steel, The Woman Of Mettle

Lois Lane was angry. She had been beaten, starved and stripped. The only reason she hadn't been raped was that the leader of the terrorist group had ordered her left alone. By the look in her guards eyes, that order would not be followed much longer.

She leaned her head back against the stone wall she stood against and hated the fact that she could smell herself. Her hair was matted with dirt and sweat, and her skin was covered with bruises, abrasions and filth. All she wanted was a long hot bath at home… It startled her that the place she thought of as home wasn't a military base or her apartment at the Talon, it was the Kent Farm.

She struggled desperately with the chains that held her arms wide and cursed the ropes that bound her ankles together; payment for not being a submissive female.

Silently she prayed for the sound of her father's 15,000 men storming the stronghold. She thought of not seeing her father and Lucy again, not seeing Chloe win her Pulitzer, of her surrogate mother Martha and of the kind and wise Jonathan Kent whom she would be seeing all too soon. And she thought of Smallville, and wondered what happened to his famous ability to save the day now that she needed it.

The small window over her cell showed the darkening twilight, ending another stiflingly hot day in the Middle East, when she heard a noise outside of her cell and saw the cell door being ripped out through it's frame.

Lois felt surprisingly calm when Clark Kent stepped through the door; she could almost feel his pain at what he saw – then she tried to step back as his face morphed from pain, to anger, to rage, to fury. It took her a moment to understand that the terrorist who had ran into her cell, gun raised, had been thrown out the door and half-way through the stone wall in the hallway from the power of Clarks yell.

With awe and appreciation, she noticed that he kept his eyes averted while he gently untied her ankles and removed her shackles like they were tissue paper. This unstoppable super-human was treating her with… respect.

She was scared when he removed his coat and flannel shirt, but felt more than relief when he held out his shirt to her, with his head turned away. In her breast, she felt… warmth?

Her numbed fingers couldn't manage the shirt buttons, so Clark was buttoning the shirt for her, when they heard the tap…. tap… tap… of a grenade bounce near them. Clark grabbed it and turned from her as it exploded.

Her body went numb then she started to sink to the ground only to be caught by Clark's strong hands. Through her tear filled eyes, she could see warmth and caring in his. Looking down she saw blast residue on his chest and stomach. Gently she wiped it away and wrapped her arms around him.

Suddenly he spun around, putting himself between her and the three terrorists that rushed into the cell. After emptying their Uzis at Clark, for a second he disappeared only to reappear amid the now unconscious terrorists.

Helping her into his coat, he took her into his arms and walked to the outside wall, giving it a kick. When the dust cleared, she could see that the wall lay in a pile of rubble. Stepping through, he started running only to stop a second later atop a nearby rocky hill.

Letting her down, he disappeared again to reappear a second later holding a stack of clothing. He nodded to the stronghold as it collapsed in on itself. She noticed his attention shift to the vehicles in the compound. As his gaze settled on each vehicle, it exploded. When he turned his gaze to her, she felt the gentleness of the man and the warmth in her breast burned white hot.

He helped her into a too large pair of pants and wrapped her feet in head scarves. She balked at wearing the burka, but he assured her she would need the warmth.

Then he pulled her to him and wrapped his arms around her waist, leaning over, he touched his forehead to hers and asked if she trusted him?

She wrapped her arms around his neck and said that she did, completely.

He pulled her closer and told her to look down.

At a thousand feet in the air, Lois Lane screamed…

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…and hit the floor as she fell out of bed.

She felt gentle and strong hands lift her up and deposit her on the bed.

"Lois, are you alright?"

Pulling the sheet that was covering her head off, she groused, "Smallville, what are you doing in my bedroom?"

"Technically it's my room." He replied, "I was coming up to see if you were ready for Oliver to pick you up when I heard you scream and hit the floor."

"Is he here?"

"The limo is coming down the lane and you are supposed to be ready to leave for Honolulu."

"If you would get an alarm clock that worked I wouldn't be late."

Looking at the clock, he smiled, "The trick is to turn it on."

"Get out Smallville," she said with a grin, "I have to get dressed."

With a salute reminiscent of Benny Hill, he turned and left.

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He picked his work gloves up off of the kitchen table as he walked out and greeted Oliver. "The Princess over -slept Oliver. Help yourself to a cup of coffee while you wait."

"Good to see you too, Clark. I take it she's her usual feisty self?"

"Every inch."

"What's with the gloves? It's not like you need them."

"Appearances, you can understand that."

Oliver laughed and entered the house to await his love.

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Clark was behind the barn a half an hour later when he saw the limo drive away. Standing there, he watched until it disappeared and then turned back to his task of stacking hay bales, and he saw her standing there in jeans and one of his flannel shirts putting on a pair of Martha's work gloves.

"L-Lois?" He stammered in surprise, "What are you doing here?"

"Oliver's the perfect man: rich, caring, generous, handsome."

"And you aren't with him, why?"

"We were fooling ourselves, there was attraction but no real sparks."

"You had me fooled."

"That's not hard, Smallville."

"So what's the real reason?"

She thought for a second about how to explain without reminding him of the loss of his father; she decided to tell him the truth.

"You remember how Martha was always your father's first priority?"

"Yes."

"Now matter what he was doing, or what was going on he would stop if she needed him."

"I remember."

"Martha was wise enough to not distract him from the big things, but she knew that he would be there when she needed him."

"Yes?"

"I realized that I want to be the top priority in a relationship; with Oliver I wasn't even his 23rd priority."

"I'm sorry Lois. This seems sudden."

"Not really and Oliver didn't put up much of a fight. Farm Boy, we didn't work out the first time and we wouldn't have worked out this time."

"So why are you here?"

"Some good old country air will help me get over Oliver. Also, my apartment is still being painted, so I thought I'd help you and earn my keep. Twice the hands, half the work and all that, you know." She said as she grabbed a bale and dragged it into the barn.

Clark looked down and frowned, half the work at twenty times the time.

"Get a move on Smallville! I'm not stacking this all by myself."

With a smile, he lifted a couple of bales and walked into the barn.

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A/N: I wrote this as a one-shot, but I've already had three request to continue the story (before posting). I'll tell you what, if I get 25 reviews I'll continue the story…

A/N (4/23/07): There are 24 reviews - I would like more - but I've already started chapter two, so thank you to everyone that asked me to continue. The next chapter should be up in a few days.