The Key To A Hero

The lights were turned off allowing the fire to illuminate the Kent's living room; to bathe the room in colors almost as warm as the heat that emanated from the hearth.

Lois Lane felt content. She was engulfed in a pair of Clark's sweat pants and one of his ugliest flannel shirts. Her fiancée, Clark Kent, had his arm around her waist and she was nestled against him, lazily running her fingers through her hero's hair. The day sure ended differently than it had begun.

With the exception of the crackling sound of the fire, the room was silent. The uncomfortable silences that she hated did not exist here. She felt… comfortable in what she had learned to call, companionable silence.

A year ago she would have been needling Clark about his brooding, but she had learned that part of his brooding was a form of meditation that he needed in order to control his powers. When you can hear everything you have to center yourself, or lose control.

Some of his brooding was introspection. A part of it was musing. Still, he did brood and she had learned the subtle differences in his facial features and physical mannerisms that told her which 'brooding' it was. Right then he was reviewing the day; actions and events taken and not taken, possibilities and probabilities. It wasn't her way, but he needed it, and she needed him…

…because he made her feel normal, something she hadn't felt since she was six and her mother died.

She glanced at him and saw that while he still faced the fire; his eyes were directed toward her fleece covered legs.

"You checkin' out my legs, Smallville?"

He jerked his eyes forward and smiled, "I just wanted to make sure you were healing properly."

"Yeah, right."

"Honest, it's important that you heal properly."

"So you can admire my legs again?"

"I admire them now."

"They look better without the bandages, all smooth and shapely."

"Lois, you're more than a great pair of legs."

"Like what?"

"You're smart and compassionate, daring and…"

"Stick to my physical attributes."

"Ok, you have beautiful soft hair, no matter what color it is. Your eyes are beautiful and intelligent. Your nose is cute and your mouth is sensual, especially when you smile. You have an amazing jaw line and a graceful neck. Your shoulders are strong and squared. You have, uhh… beautiful uhh… perfect uhh…"

"I can't believe you, Flannel Boy! After all this time that we've known each other…"

"Lois."

"…You've enjoyed playing…"

"Lois!"

"…Come on, Smallville, they're my breast: bosom, bust, chest, jugs, headlights, knockers, bazooms…"

"LOIS!"

"Ooooh, here's one you'll like – teats."

He lowered his head into his hands, "I'm never going to be able to milk the cows again!"

She laughed for the first time that day…

"What is it, Smallville?" she barked into her cell phone as she was stretching for the pump that had somehow fallen off her bed and rolled to the middle of the floor under her queen sized bed.

"Do you want me to meet you in Metropolis for dinner, or do you want me to cook?"

She grabbed her umbrella and hooked the shoe, pulling it out along with about fifty dust bunnies. "Yes!"

"Yes, what?"

"Huh?"

"Do you want me to meet you in Metropolis for dinner, or do you want me to cook?"

"I've got a late interview with Mayor Chambers, why don't you meet me at the Planet and we'll go somewhere close by."

"OK on dinner. I thought Mayor Chambers hated you?"

"She does, ever since I exposed her campaign manager for a cheat and a panderer."

"So how did you get the interview?"

"She said it was about 'keeping your friends close and your enemies closer'."

"Do you want me to…"

"No, Clark! I'm a big girl now; I dress myself, kiss boys, and it's been three whole weeks since you had to x-ray my apartment to find my engagement ring."

"OK, OK, call me if you need me."

"Speed dial, 1. I gotta' go, Smallville."

"See you later."

She dumped the dust bunnies that has taken refuge in her shoe onto the floor before putting it on, smoothed the skirt of the dress she had to wear for the interviews she had scheduled that day, and hurried out of her apartment over the Talon.

The car had started like it was eager for the long drive to Metropolis and she had headed out of town thankful that the local police didn't bother with speed traps in the morning. Once she was on the highway, she activated the cruise control and turned on the radio to a news channel – something she had started doing when she first began taking reporting seriously.

The county marker had just whizzed past when she noticed the little black coupe that had pulled up beside her. She slammed on the brakes when she saw the guns muzzle! Her car fish-tailed and she spun the steering wheel forcing the car into a 180 degree turn with one destination in mind – the Kent Farm and Clark!

The black coupe caught her a little too easily, so she did what came naturally, she attacked! The coupe left the road and slammed into an old oak tree as her car stalled out in a ditch. She fumbled for her cell phone when she saw the gunman climb from his car; damned air bag!

Exiting her car from the driver's window, she kicked off her shoes and ran toward the barbed wire fence that ran along the road. With an impressive kick she dove over the wire, sticking her arms over her head. As her hands reached the ground she pushed, causing her body to alter its trajectory and land on her shoulders allowing her to roll down her back and come up from the roll at a full run.

Her skirt hiked up around her waist as she ran across the field. She knew from her jogs through the country side that she was about a mile and a half from the Kent Farm and safety. A quick glance behind her told her that the gunman was following and that from the knife glint in his hand he must have lost the gun.

The rough ground hurt her feet and the coarse grasses scratched her, but she wouldn't slow down for any reason. Her father may not have been much of a father, but he had made sure that she was tough and not a quitter. She also had a deeply ingrained desire to survive; this and the time she had invested in exercising allowed her to continue.

It seemed like she had been running for hours and her thighs burned from her efforts when she cleared the last fence and the Kent Farm was in sight. She felt a twinge of despair when the truck was not in sight, but it is a large farm and there were many buildings that could have blocked it from view.

She sprinted through the yard and into the barn, grabbing a hoe as she ran up the stairs to the loft. The gun man had narrowed the gap and she could hear his boots on the wooden steps as she neared the top. Just before she reached the top her hero's body flew through the air past her impacting the gunman, knocking him down the stairs on his back, coming to a stop across the bottom few steps.

Gasping for breath, she watched as Shelby held the gunman's neck in his jaws. His growl was fearsome as it increased every time he felt the man move. His teeth were in contact with the flesh and dug in slightly, drawing blood, but her never bit down to rip the throat out.

Lois ducked the handrail and dropped to the ground where she traded her hoe for a pitchfork. She stood at the ready; tines pointed at her attacker and yelled, "CLARK!"

He seemed to appear out of thin air as he reacted to her call.

Her explanation was quick and she saw his angry expression just before he expelled his heat vision into the dirt!

He, not too gently, bound the offender with much more bailing wire than was necessary before he called the police…

After she had spent an hour at the hospital getting her cuts and abrasions treated. She then spent another hour at the police station giving her statement and filling out paperwork. Finally, Clark had brought her home to the farm.

She had protested!

She was capable of taking care of herself!

She just didn't fight very hard.

What she wanted most was a little TLC; Tender Loving Clark. Spending the day and maybe the next couple of days with him as her nurse was something she could live with.

…and laughter is the best medicine.

"Sometimes I wonder about you, Smallville."

"Is that good or bad?"

She didn't answer him right away, but gave him a smile and a wink.

Absently, she ran her fingers through Shelby's coat and looked up at Clark; then she snuggled in as close as she could to Clark, feeling contentment with her two heroes.

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The End