A Stranger Among Us

By anonymous5658

Rated PG-13

Submitted December 1998

Summary: Telepathy and Kryptonite both play a part in this story — Lois is kidnapped by a man who wants to marry her. Can Clark reach her in time?

This story takes place sometime early in the 2nd Season. All characters belong to their owners, the circumstances are all mine. Many thanks to Karen Ward for her support. Comments, of course, are very welcome!


The man sat on the floor of his Suicide Slum apartment. All the lights were out, save for the fifty one candles placed strategically around the room, giving it a soft, eerie glow. One for each day since he'd first seen her. One for each day since he'd fallen in love with her. He had laid out in front of him every picture he'd taken of her, every publicity shot he'd been able to get his hand on and every article she'd written since that day.

He remembered that day like it was yesterday. He'd been walking along aimlessly, not really sure of where he was going and not really caring one way or the other. She'd been rushing, no doubt in a hurry to meet up with some source who'd give her information for her next big story. She hadn't seen him and plowed into him head on, knocking him down and falling down herself in the process. All her important papers had been strewn into the busy Metropolis street. He'd painstakingly picked up every one, dashing in between cars, making sure none of them were damaged. He'd rescued her and she'd been so grateful.

He'd helped her up and she'd grabbed his hand, looking deeply in his eyes.

"Thank you so much for helping me." She'd said, in her low, sultry voice. He could tell she'd wanted to say more but had been unable to on the crowded street. She'd soon have all the time in the world to tell him how she felt. When he brought her home, they'd have the rest of their lives.


At four a.m. Lois Lane's phone rang, bringing her out of a sound sleep.

"He'o?" She mumbled, her sleep drugged brain barely able to figure out what was going on.

"Ms. Lane? Lois?"


"I have some information for you about Superman." He knew her fascination with Superman and he used it against her to lure her into his trap.

"What can you tell me?" At the mention of Superman she'd come fully awake, her mind kicking in to reporter mode.

"No, Ms. Lane, I won't disclose it over the phone. You'll have to come to 411 Rosewood right now, or you won't learn anything." He hung up the phone. He knew her curiosity was piqued and he knew soon she'd be his.

Always impetuous, Lois threw on sweat pants and a T-shirt. She grabbed her purse, notebook and pocket tape recorder and took off running as fast as her feet would carry her. 'What a time for the car to be in the shop and not be able to find a cab!'

It took her eighteen minutes to get to Rosewood and three more to find apartment 411. She heaved herself up a long flight of stairs, struggling through a fog of sleepiness to get to the door, and when she did, she knocked on it. As she did, the door swung soundlessly open.

She walked into the room carefully, afraid she might fall over something in the darkness.

"Hello? Is anyone …" Her words were cut off by a piece of cloth shoved in her mouth and wrapped around the back of her head. She could feel the unmistakable pressure of a gun pressed firmly in her back.

"Welcome home, Lois," a man's voice whispered in her ear, sending chills down her spine.


At 4:30 a.m. Clark Kent woke up with a painful tightening in his chest and a cold sweat all over his body. He didn't understand it but fear was suddenly gripping his body. He reached over to the bedside table and picked up his glasses. He put them on and headed for the kitchen, thinking a cup of coffee would help calm him. He still couldn't shake the feeling of dread, the feeling that something was very wrong.

He took his cup of coffee with him to the living room, flipping the T.V. on as he passed it.

He floated in front of it and found a replay of a basketball game. He sipped his coffee slowly, trying unsuccessfully to calm his rigid nerves. He didn't understand what was happening or why he was reacting this way. He'd never experienced anything like this. He checked the city with his super hearing and detected nothing out of the ordinary. He set his coffee down, spun into the suit and took off flying, finding himself drawn to Lois' apartment.

On occasion he'd found himself on that side of town and he'd gotten in the habit of hovering outside her bedroom and listening to her heartbeat. He tuned in his super hearing tonight but heard nothing. Where could she be this early in the morning? He x-rayed her apartment and sure enough, she was nowhere to be found. Surely, if she was in trouble she'd call for Superman, she always had in the past. But, a horrible thought came to his mind. What if she was unable to call for help? What if she were dead?


The man walked Lois to a chair where he instructed her to sit down. He handcuffed her hands together behind her then used a second set to secure her hands to the chair. He sat down across from her in a similar chair and stared deeply in her eyes. He pulled a knife out of his pocket and she inwardly cringed. She knew this was it. Her luck had run out. This was how she was going to die. He approached her with the knife and she closed her eyes, preparing herself for the end. But, he didn't stab her, he used the knife to cut her out of her clothes, leaving her in nothing but her underwear. She was humiliated and turned three shades of red. He left the room only to come back with a frumpy looking dress, modified so that he could put it on her with her tied to the chair. It buttoned up the front with about twenty buttons and he took his time with each one, letting his hands glide lightly across her skin. When he reached her chest, he left those buttons open, so a fair amount of cleavage was left exposed to his leering eyes.

She talked to herself inside her head, trying to keep from going out of her mind. She closed her eyes and saw Clark's face. She could still hear his voice when he'd told her he loved her after her disastrous almost-wedding to Lex. Silent tears started falling from her eyes.

"Look at me!" The man yelled.

She opened her eyes, forcing herself to meet his gaze. His eyes were cold gray, metallic and so evil. Again, chill's ran all over her body.

"I'm so glad you like what I've done with the place Lois. I wanted everything to be perfect your first night at home. I'm going to take the gag off you now, but don't even think about calling for the boy in blue."

He pulled a necklace out from under his shirt and she saw the unmistakable green glow of Kryptonite.

"You see, I've thought of everything."

He took the gag out of her mouth. She licked her lips then said, in a shaky voice, "Why are you doing this to me?"

"Uh, uh, Lois, I ask the questions, you only speak when spoken to. Say 'yes, sir.'"

She sat up straight and spit the words out, "Yes, sir." It left a putrid taste in her mouth but she promised herself she'd do all she could to stay alive. Surely someone would find her. Someone would save her.


At Lois' apartment, Clark was frantic with worry. Her phone was off the hook and clothes were strewn everywhere like she'd been in a hurry when she left. He picked up the small black and white teddy bear that lay on her pillow. He remembered the time he'd won it for her in Smallville, how much fun they'd had together. He didn't have to use any super power to know that the stuffed animal held Lois' unmistakable smell. Clark decided he'd test a theory he'd been working on since he'd realized he loved Lois. A few times, he'd been able to focus all his energy on Lois and he could feel her presence, feel her soul pulling at his. He sat down on the bed, gripping the bear as if it was a lifeline between him and Lois, and he focused his strength on thoughts of her, willing her to lead him to her.


The man picked up Lois' chair and carried her to a table set with a candlelight dinner.

"How does the food look, Lois?"

"I'm not very hungry."

"That's not what I asked you Lois. Tell me that it looks great, that you can't wait to eat it."

Her nails dug in to the palms of her hands. "It looks great. I can't wait to eat it," she said her voice full of venom.

He scooped up some of the food and brought it to Lois' mouth. She had no idea what it was but the smell made her ill.

"Open your mouth, Lois."

"No," she said through gritted teeth.

"Do it, Lois, or you'll regret it."

"No!" she refused again. She was tired of being told what to do.

He picked up the knife and ran the blade down the inside of her left forearm. The blade was sharp and left a long crimson line in its wake. Her face turned white and tears started spilling from the corners of her eyes. Her bottom lip started quivering and she resigned herself to the fact she'd have to do what she was told.

He raised the food back up to her mouth and she reluctantly took a bite. It wasn't appetizing, it was bland and tasted somewhat akin to cardboard.

"Tell me you like it, Lois."

"I like it." She replied in that same flat voice.

"Tomorrow we'll get married, Lois, and then we'll be together forever."

"Excuse me?!"

"Don't talk back to me."

Lois closed her eyes again, trying to find solace from this horrific existence. Her mind turned to thoughts of Clark. She'd not worked up the courage to tell him but she'd known for a while that she had strong feelings for him. Feelings that had nothing to do with friendship. She pleaded with him silently, 'Find me, Clark; help me.'


Clark's eyes came wide open. She wasn't dead. He'd heard her voice inside his head as clearly as if she'd been sitting right next to him. He took off, out the window, letting his heart lead him to Lois. He flew to Rosewood Drive and hovered over apartment 411. He x-rayed the house and saw Lois, tied up across from a man wearing a Kryptonite necklace. Superman landed, switched into Clark clothes and started making his was stealthily up the stairs. He entered the door of the room Lois was held in and, though he thought he was silent, the man detected his presence.

"Hold it right there, Mr. Kent; don't come any closer."

"Clark …"

"Lois, it'll be all right."

"Shut up! Don't talk to her!"

Clark kept his hands raised and advanced toward Lois and the man. He started feeling the effects of the Kryptonite but did his best to hide it.

"I said STOP!"

Clark took one more step and the man shot Lois in the back of her left shoulder.

"Oh my God! Lois!" Clark yelled.

Lois didn't hear him, however; she was screaming, gut wrenching sobs wracking her body.

Clark ran and leapt on the man, the Kryptonite shooting pain through his body. He grabbed the hand with the gun, rage driving him on in spite of the pain.

They wrestled for what seemed like hours and then another shot rang out. The Kryptonite had rendered Clark's skin vulnerable and the bullet tore through his side, sending pain all through his body. He grabbed the wound with one hand and with the other, he delivered a stunning blow to the man, knocking him out.

With his last bit of energy, he crawled over to Lois and broke her from her bonds. He then fell to the floor, unconscious.

The man awoke from the punch and began to crawl towards Clark and Lois. While Lois was looking at Clark's unconscious body, the man grabbed her. She reached for the knife where it lay on the table and plunged it into his chest. He fell to the floor and the last words he ever uttered were, "I love you, Lois."

Lois climbed out of the chair and inched her way to Clark's unconscious body. She saw a bit of blue suit sticking up past his collar and ripped open his shirt to reveal the 'S' shield.

"Oh, Clark, why didn't you tell me?" She remembered the man's Kryptonite necklace and used some of her waning strength to get up and jerk it from around his neck. She then threw it out the door, where it tumbled down the stairs, landing on the ground. She made her way back to where Clark lay, so still and barely breathing. Suddenly, all the trauma hit her and she passed out, falling down next to Clark.

The effects of the Kryptonite were quick to wear off as soon as it was away from Clark. His wound started healing slowly and he got to his feet, picked Lois up and flew toward Metropolis Hospital.

Superman walked into the emergency room with his precious bundle yelling, "Please, someone we need help right away!"

Doctors and nurses immediately came, putting Lois on a stretcher and wheeling her away from him.

Superman left the hospital flying as fast as super humanly possible toward his apartment. He tore the suit off, put on fresh Clark clothes and again took to the sky, flying in regular clothes for the first time since he'd gotten the suit.

Clark Kent walked into the hospital and rushed toward the admissions desk.

"Ma'am? Lois Lane was just brought in a few minutes ago with a gunshot and knife wound. How's she doing?"

"Sir, she's in surgery, you'll just have to wait in the waiting room."

Clark sat down in a chair, putting his head in his hands. He still didn't feel one hundred percent and he had a dull ache in his side. But, all he could see was Lois in his arms, covered in her blood, her vital signs shallow and her breathing hardly detectable.

He'd failed her in the worst possible way. It was his fault she'd gotten shot, if he just hadn't taken that last step.

"Mr. Kent?" It was the admissions nurse. "The doctor's not going to let you in to see Ms. Lane until tonight. Wouldn't you like to go home and come back later? It's 7 a.m., you don't look like you've had any sleep."

"No, ma'am. I'll stay if it's all the same to you. Just let me know when I can get in to see her."

Clark stood and walked to the pay phone, dialing the number for the police station.

"Metropolis P.D.?"

Clark glanced around to make sure no one was in hearing range.

"This is Superman. I need to speak to Inspector Henderson."

"One moment please." She put him on hold and he rolled his eyes at the elevator music that was playing in his ear.

"Henderson here."

"Inspector, this is Superman. I just brought Lois Lane to the hospital. She'd been kidnapped and held hostage at 411 Rosewood. The man stabbed her and then shot her. She stabbed him in self defense, you need to go pick up his body and inspect the crime scene."

"Superman, is she all right?"

"We're not really sure yet, Inspector."

"Well, thanks for the tip. I've got to go, my other line is ringing."

The line went dead and Clark was left with nothing more to do but wait.

He resumed his position in the chair, waiting for news of Lois. He closed his eyes, leaning his head back against the wall. Immediately he saw Lois' face, that first day when she'd barged in on his interview with Perry. She'd been so full of life, so sure that she had all the time in the world. The scene in Clark's mind changed and he saw her on the stage of The Metro Club looking so seductive and beautiful. Then Clark pictured them in Smallville where Trask had tried to kill him, when Lois had run into his arms and held him like she'd never let him go. He remembered the time she'd been under the spell of the pheremone spray and she'd perched on his desk and said, "Clark, whatcha workin' on?" He then saw her at his apartment, dancing the dance of the seven veils, seducing him like no one had ever been able to do.

Clark was yanked from his thoughts.

"Mr. Kent? I'm Dr. Nielson," he said, extending his hand to shake Clark's. "Ms. Lane has just come out of surgery. She lost a lot of blood and the bullet just barely missed the artery. It will be a while before I let you in to see her, I want to keep a close eye on her. I just wanted to let you know how things were going."

"Thank you, doctor."


In the recovery room, Lois was still under the power of the anaesthesia. Her dreams were along the same lines as Clark's thoughts. She saw herself and Clark. She was saying, "And one other thing, you are not working with me, you are working *for* me. I call the shots, I ask the questions, you are low man, I am top banana and that's the way I like it. Comprende?" Then he said, "You like to be on top, got it." She then saw Clark kissing Toni Taylor. The scene switched to Smallville and she saw Trask about to shoot Clark and she saw herself running into his arms, holding him with all her strength. She saw Clark throw her down on the bed of the Honeymoon suite, kissing her passionately. The last thing she saw before she woke up was Clark saying, "I have been in love with you for a long time."

She woke up whispering his name, wanting his arms around her.


Clark's head shot up. He heard Lois' voice whispering his name. She was awake now and he wanted to see her. He went back to the admissions desk and asked the nurse if he could possibly see Lois.

"Mr. Kent, she hasn't been out of surgery that long, I don't even think she's been taken to a room yet but I'll call and see if they can give us an estimate of when you'll be able to see her. Hang on just a second."

She picked up the phone, obviously calling someone who had more information. Clark began pacing. It was bad knowing she was awake and being unable to go to her. It was far worse however knowing she was calling for him.

"Mr. Kent?"


"You can go see her now. She's in room 209."

Clark's trip up in the elevator seemed to take an eternity even though it was only one floor up. He easily found room 209 but found it hard to force himself to walk in. He didn't know how to face her after his sorry attempt at saving her. He was ashamed and felt she'd have all the right in the world if she never spoke to him again.

He gathered his courage and entered the room. She appeared to be sleeping. She looked so peaceful and so beautiful. He walked over to the bed and she opened her eyes as if sensing his presence.

She reached out and grabbed his hand. "I'm glad you're okay, Clark. I thought you were dead." Her voice was hoarse and she sounded very tired.

He leaned over and cupped her face in his hand. "I'm *so* sorry, Lois."


"I'm sorry I couldn't save you. It's my fault you got hurt."

"Clark, that's ridiculous. That guy, he was a madman. If you hadn't come when you did, I really don't know what he would have done to me." She started crying. "Clark, I was so scared, he was ranting about us getting married and he wouldn't let me talk."

He gathered her in his arms. "Shh, it's all right now. You're safe. I'm never going to let anything happen to you ever again."

She was trembling and he wished he could take her pain away. He wished he could make her forget everything that had happened to her this morning.

She reached up, laying her hand on his chest. She fidgeted with his buttons, pulling them apart, in search of the suit.

"Did I imagine it?"

"What, Lois?"

"Oh, I didn't mean to say that out loud. I'll just come right out and ask you. Clark, are you or are you not Superman?"

He hesitated, not wanting to lie to her so forthrightly, but also not wanting to bear his soul so soon after letting her down.

"Yes, Lois, I am."

"Why'd you never tell me?" Her voice cracked a bit and her eyes were rather droopy.

He sat down on her bed. "It was all just really complicated. I wanted to help people but I also didn't want that to take over my life. I was Clark long before I was Superman. And, I wanted to tell you, Lois, I fought with that decision constantly. It's not that I don't trust you, I do. But, if the wrong people found out, my life would be over. I know this is probably harder for you to take in now because it's not just Clark who couldn't save you, but Superman as well."

"What *are* you talking about?"

"I let you down, Lois. Superman let you down." He ran his hand through his hair.

"Clark, you're being silly. The man had Kryptonite; you did all you could."

"But it wasn't enough, Lois. You still got hurt."

"Clark, you can't *do* everything. You're Superman, not God. Bad things are going to happen and you do more to stop them that any man can, *even* a super man. You have to stop being so hard on yourself, I'm gonna be just fine."

Further conversation was interrupted by a commotion coming through the hospital room door.

"Great shades of Elvis, Lois, honey, what happened?"

"It's a long story, Perry."

"Front page worthy?"

"I'd really rather no one knew about this, Chief."

"Sure, honey, whatever you say."

Jimmy was still struggling to get the largest balloon bouquet anyone had ever seen into the room.

"Where do you want these, Lois?"

"You can just put it on that table right over there. Who's it from?"

"Everyone at the Planet chipped in. We were all worried sick about you when Henderson called and told us you'd been shot while waiting for a source."

"They're beautiful. Please tell everyone thanks."

"So, Lois, when can we expect you back at work?"

Lois laughed, rolling her eyes. "Oh, Perry, I'm not even sure when they're going to let me out but you know me, if they keep me in here too long, I'll probably set up the Planet West right here in my room."

Everyone laughed, sure that Lois would be back to herself in no time at all.

"Well, honey," Perry said, "I guess we'll go and let you get some rest." He turned to Clark. "Son, you don't have to come to work tomorrow if you don't want to."

"Thanks, Chief."

Perry and Jimmy left the room and Clark said, "I guess I should go too, Lois. Unless you want me to stay?"

She reached out again, taking his hand. "I'll be fine Clark. You need to get some rest too, you've had a rough day."

He leaned down, kissing her forehead. She reached up and brought his lips to hers, kissing him softly.

"Thank you, Clark."

He brushed her hair back from her face. "Good night, or rather, good afternoon, Lois. I'll be back first thing in the morning."


Clark arrived home reluctantly, not wanting to be so far away from Lois. He realized he was somewhat hungry and fixed himself a ham and cheese sandwich, grabbed a bag of chips and headed for the couch, picking up the phone on his way.

He dialed the number in Smallville and was relieved when he heard his mother's voice on the other end of the phone.


"Hi, Mom." He sighed.

"Hi, Clark." He heard the other line click on and his father said, "Hi, Son."

He started telling them about the tragedy that had happened, everything coming out in one breath and the words falling over each other in their rush to get out of his mouth.

"Clark, that's terrible," his mother said. "Do you need us to come to Metropolis?"

"No, Mom. She's going to be okay, I just feel like such a failure."

"Honey, there's no need for you to feel that way. You did all you could."

"That's what Lois said."

"Well, she's a smart girl."

"That's right, Clark," his dad chimed in, "Lois doesn't blame you and you shouldn't blame yourself."

"Thank you. You've both made me feel a lot better. I'm gonna go now and finish eating, maybe fly some, try to get my mind off Lois."

"Take care, son, we'll see you next week."

Clark finished his sandwich and looked at his watch. It was 1:30 in the afternoon so he took off flying, starting with a patrol over Metropolis.


Clark's Apartment 12:00 a.m.

After several trips around the world and several averted disasters, Clark was back home and his thoughts returned to Lois. He took a shower and fell into bed, mentally exhausted. He was asleep within minutes.


12:30 a.m. Room 209, Metropolis Hospital

Lois was tossing and turning on her bed, gripped by a nightmare. The events of the previous morning replayed in her mind. When she couldn't take it any longer, she began whispering Clark's name.


Clark's Apartment 12:30 a.m.

Clark woke up and flew to Lois' room before he'd even come fully awake. He saw her thrashing around on the bed and rushed toward her.

"Lois," he said, shaking her gently, "Lois, wake up."

Her eyes came open quickly and she whispered his name again, shocked that he'd come to her. She reached up with her uninjured arm, pulling him into a tight hug.

"I'm so glad you're here, Clark. I was seeing it all again and you rescued me again."

"Lois, I …"

"Don't say you didn't save me, Clark. You've saved me in so many ways ever since I've met you. And I'm not just talking about as Superman. You've saved me from myself, from a life of loneliness. It was even thoughts of you that saved me from marrying Lex. Do you think after I get out of here we could go on a date?"

"Yeah, Lois, I think we could."

She leaned forward and pressed her lips to his in a soul searching, passionate kiss. Each one letting the other know just how much they were loved.