By Nicole Dodson <twylazone@PAXEmail.com>
Submitted August 2000
Summary: Lois experiences a frightening ordeal, when an old enemy targets Clark.
This is my first fanfic so please e-mail me at twylazone@PAXEmail.com and let me know what you think.
"Ah, my head!" Clark Kent groaned as he rolled over to turn off the alarm that was beeping like crazy. "Ten o'clock? What's going on?"
He was starting to wonder what was happening. First he had woken up with a headache, which the Man of Steel wasn't supposed to have, and now his alarm was waking him up almost four hours after he was usually up and ready for work. He was about to head for the kitchen to look for Lois, when he spotted a note that was lying on the table next to his alarm clock. It was from Lois.
He read it aloud. "Clark, you were out late last night and you looked so peaceful, asleep, that I thought that I would let you sleep in this morning. Don't worry about Perry, I will cover for you. Come in when you get up. Love ya, Your wife." This note confused Clark more than anything else. 'out late last night?' What was she talking about? All he remembered was leaving at about midnight to answer a bank alarm, which turned out to be a false alarm, and then heading for home. "I'll have to remember to ask her about that one." And with that he headed down to the kitchen to fix himself breakfast.
An hour and a half later, at the Daily Planet
"Where is he?" Lois Lane-Kent mumbled as she hung up the phone for the tenth time in the last half hour.
"Who?" came a voice from behind Lois' desk. She turned around to find Jimmy holding a pile of folders, which he placed on her desk.
"Clark! I've been trying to get a hold of him for the past half hour and he's not home!" Lois said, practically screaming as she picked up the phone again and punched the redial button.
"Whoa. What, did you two have a fight or something?" Jimmy asked, backing a couple of feet away from her desk and almost sorry he had asked.
"No, but he was supposed to be here by now and he's not at home!" Before she could get another word out, she was interrupted by the elevator doors opening, and Clark running into the newsroom out of breath.
"Hi guys!" Clark said, when he finally caught his breath.
Jimmy wasn't staying around for another one of Lois' tantrums, so he took the opportunity to get away and headed for Perry's office.
"Where have you been? I have been trying to get a hold of you for a long time now," Lois said, still screaming.
"Well, on my way here I had to—uh—"
"Super—?" Lois interrupted, making a flying motion with her hand.
"Uh—yeah. Anyway, what's up? Why were you trying to get a hold of me?"
"Perry wants us to go on assignment in Smallville. There have been several reports of fires being set on the farms there and he wants us to get the story."
"Oh yeah, I remember Mom and Dad mentioning that. I think I helped put out a few too. Well, I'll call them and let them know we'll be coming," Clark said, walking to the phone.
"Okay, I'll tell Perry that we're—" Before she could finish, Perry came storming out of his office.
"Turn that thing up!" Perry shouted, pointing to the television. It was a special report about another fire that had been set in Smallville.
"This one is threatening to destroy several stores if firefighters can't get it under control in the next hour or two," the reporter on TV said.
Lois shot Clark a look that he knew all too well; it was the one that said 'see ya later and be careful.' He made up one of his Superman excuses, motioning as he did so for Lois to follow him. Lois looked confused but she followed him anyway.
When they were out of sight of the rest of the staff, he stopped.
"Clark, what are you doing? You have to get out there!" Lois said, starting to loosen Clark's tie. She started to unbutton his shirt to reveal 'the suit', when she stopped and looked back up at Clark and let out a shriek.
"Clark! Where's the 'suit'?"
He looked down at her and felt like he was going to cry.
"Clark, what is going on? Answer me!"
"That's why I was late today. I don't have my powers." He slid down and sat down on the floor against the wall, burying his head in his hands.
"What do you mean, 'you don't have your powers'? Of course you do!" she said sitting down next to him and placing her hand on his shoulder.
"No, I don't," he said without looking up at her.
"What happened? How did you lose them? Oh my god, Clark, are you okay?" She just kept asking questions without waiting for the answers.
Clark looked up finally with tears building up in his eyes. "I don't know what happened. I remember waking up this morning with a headache and then reading your note. After that I went down to fix breakfast and realized that I had none of my powers." Then he remembered the note and how confusing that was. "And, by the way, what did you mean when you said I was out late last night? I wasn't."
"Yes, you were. I woke up when you left and you were still gone at six when I woke up this morning. Then, when I came back upstairs at 6:30, you were in bed, fast asleep. What took you so long to take care of?"
"I don't know. All I remember is leaving to answer a bank alarm. But it was a false alarm. So I headed back home. The next thing I remember is waking up in bed."
Lois was really worried about Clark now. So many people had tried to hurt them before and if he didn't have his powers something was seriously wrong. "Well, let's get you home and we'll figure something out."
Lois helped Clark up, and they walked hand in hand to the stairway so that they wouldn't get caught leaving by Perry.
"We can call him when we get home," Clark said, pointing to Perry, who was still staring at the television, watching what was going on with the fires.
Lois smiled. "Yeah, we were supposed to leave anyway," Lois rationalized.
Back at the Brownstone, fifteen minutes later
"So, why didn't you just tell me earlier?" Lois asked, as she carefully placed several outfits for both her and Clark in a pair of suitcases.
"Tell you what?" Clark asked, staring out the window.
"About your powers, duh," Lois said, while struggling to get the suitcases closed.
"Well I know how you always overreact and I didn't want you to worry until I knew what was going on."
"YOU DIDN'T WANT ME TO WORRY! My husband wakes up one morning without superpowers and you don't want me to worry! How am I supposed to feel? Huh?"
"I don't know. I'm sorry. Listen, how about we stop and talk to Dr. Klein before we head for the airport?"
"Yeah, Dr. Klein, he would be good. Good thinking."
"Lois, you're mumbling."
Fifteen minutes later, at S.T.A.R LABS
"To be completely honest, I have no idea what could have caused this sudden loss of power," Dr. Klein said, when he finally looked up from his microscope.
"Well, something had to have caused it, and if it isn't Kryptonite and it—"
"Lois—" Clark groaned.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to…well, Clark and I are taking him out of Metropolis for a while. Here is the number where we will be staying, please call us the minute you get those test results back," Lois said as she walked Dr. Klein to the other side of the room.
"All right, but it will be a day or two."
"No problem, but please remember, tell no one."
"Don't worry, you can count on me."
"Come on Cl— Superman."
Lois and Clark both shot each other a grin at the same time and headed out the door.
Metropolis Airport, one hour later
"We have a private jet, under the name, Perry White, Daily Planet. We are ready to board," Lois said to the lady behind the counter at the airport.
"Ah, yes, Mr. and Mrs. Kent. I'm going to need to see your passes."
"Oh—um—" Lois hesitated, looking at Clark.
"Here you go." He handed the girl the passes. "I knew you'd forget something. I may have no powers but I still have a better memory than you," Clark whispered with a laugh.
"Hey!" Lois said, as she playfully slapped him on the arm.
"All right, Mr. Kent, Mr. Hopkins here will escort you to your jet."
"Thank you," Clark said with a smile, and they followed Mr. Hopkins through the airport to their plane.
Ten minutes later, aboard the plane
"Lois, hi!" "George? What are you doing here?" "Well, I am scheduled to fly this flight. This is Steve, my co-pilot. Where are we headed today?"
*COUGH* "Smallville, Kansas," Clark told George.
"Was that a cough?" Lois asked, after George and Steve had reached the cockpit.
"Yeah. I don't—" *ACHOO!* "—know what is happening."
"You're getting sick, that's what is going on. I want you to rest, lay down."
"I'm all right. I don't need to rest."
"Listen, *mister*, you may be Superman, but you don't have your powers now and you ARE vulnerable now, so you are going rest!"
"Yes, moth—" Clark was interrupted by a kiss, which quieted him down.
Two hours later, just outside Smallville
"Where are we?" Clark questioned his wife, who was sitting next to him.
"We're almost at Smallville. It won't be long now."
"Great! I need something to drink." Clark began to get up but he was pulled back down to the couch.
"Oh no, you don't! If you want something I'll get it."
"Lois, I am perfectly capable of getting a glass of water." With that he stood up. He had barely gotten to his feet when *ACHOO!* By the time he was done sneezing he was on the ground unconscious.
"CLARK!!! Clark, wake up! Clark!" Lois became frantic. All she could think to do was scream for help, although she didn't know what good it would do.
"Lois, what's wrong, oh my god, what happened?"
"He—he—he collapsed. Please help him, please!" Lois was practically in tears, begging George to do something.
"Well, Steve is in the process of landing at Smallville airport. When we reach the ground we'll get him some help."
"Thank you, but please hurry!"
"We'll do our best." With that, he headed back up to the cockpit to help Steve land.
Ten minutes later
"Clark, please wake up. I need you! You can't leave me. I love you! We're on the ground, please hold on. I'll get you help, just hold on!"
"Lois, you need to come with me while I call the airport paramedics. Don't worry about your husband, Steve will stay with him."
"All right," Lois said, through a wall of tears.
A few minutes later
"He's in here!" Lois shouted, as she ran into the plane, where her husband was.
"Mrs. Kent, I'm sorry—"
"Sorry? What are you sorry for? Is it Clark? Oh my god, has something happened to Clark?"
"Yes. You see, I went to the cock-pit to find out what was going on and when I came back he was gone."
"GONE? How can he be gone? He was unconscious! Where is he?"
"I don't know. I'm sorry, I feel terrible."
Two hours later, at the police department
"Oh my god! Lois, are you all right?"
Lois recognized the voice that questioned her as the voice of Rachel, a good friend of Clark and hers. Despite the fact that she was extremely happy to hear from their good friend, she still couldn't bring herself to look up from her wedding ring, which she hadn't taken her eyes off for hours. Memories of Clark just kept playing through her mind.
"She hasn't said a word since she got here. She came in crying and saying something like 'he's gone' and then she went silent. She just kept crying and crying. After about half-an-hour or so, she stopped crying, but we still couldn't get a word out of her."
Lois listened as the officer, who had been sitting with her since she got there, talked.
"How come you didn't call me sooner?" Rachel asked as she led the officer to the other side of the room, out of earshot from Lois.
"Well, we didn't know who she was at first. We figured that we would give her some time to calm down, to see if she would snap out of it. After about an hour without a sound though we knew that we had to do something. So we checked her wallet and found out who she was. When I heard her name something clicked and I remembered you talking about her before, so I thought that you might be able to help."
"If it had been me, I would have checked out who she was sooner, but no harm was done. I'll tell you what, I'm gonna take her to the hospital to get her checked out, just in case. Then I'll take her to Clark's parents' house, maybe she'll feel better talking to them," she said, looking over to where Lois was sitting.
"Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. I'll call ya if anything comes up around here."
"Thanks," Rachel said, before moving over to Lois again. "Lois, honey, I'm gonna take you to get checked out at the hospital, okay?" she asked, putting her arm around Lois' shoulder.
Lois finally looked up from the ring and stared into Rachel's eyes. But, despite her best efforts to talk, just nodded.
"All right, then we'll be on our way," Rachel said as she helped Lois up and they headed for the door.
One hour later, at the hospital
"As far as we can tell right now she is physically fine, but mentally she is a wreck. You have no idea what happened?" Doctor Bater said, sitting Rachel down in a chair, and then taking the seat beside it.
"No. She has barely said a word."
"Well, I'm still running tests on her and I would like to keep her here at least until this next set of tests come back in a couple of hours."
"All right. Can I see her?"
"Yes, but try not to push her to remember what happened. If she has blocked it out temporarily, the stress of trying to remember could cause her to block it out for good. She'll remember when she's ready."
"Okay. Thank you doctor."
She stood up and walked slowly into Lois' room. "Lois, honey, are you all right?"
Lois simply nodded.
"The doctor wants to keep you here for a few more hours, just to make sure that you're all right." Rachel could see tears starting to build up in Lois' eyes again. "I remember the first time I met you. I thought you were going to kill me with those eyes of yours, the way you were looking at me. Whether you wanted to admit it or not, you were jealous. But, hey, look at what it got you," Rachel said, as she picked up Lois' left hand and moved it in front of Lois' face.
Lois looked at it and remembered when he had proposed to her. She couldn't believe how upset she had been over the whole 'Superman thing'. She was just grateful that he still loved her after all of that.
"Well, honey, I'm gonna let you get some rest. I'll be back to pick you up later."
She started to get up, but was stopped by Lois' cold hand placed upon hers. She looked into Lois' eyes; she just couldn't leave her alone. "All right, I'll stay, but you have to promise to try and get some rest."
Again, Lois nodded and grabbed Rachel's hand a little tighter.
Three hours later
"Excuse me, the doctor would like to see you." The nurse had poked her head into the door just enough to relay the message.
"Okay. I'll be there in a minute. Um—could you do me a favor?"
"Sure thing, what can I do?"
"Well, could you sit with her for a few minutes? Just until I come back? She's been a little restless and I don't want anything to happen to her."
Lois had just recently fallen asleep but hadn't stopped tossing and turning the whole time.
"Thank you. I'll be right back." With that, she was out the door in search of Dr. Bater.
"Dr. Bater, hi, the nurse said that you wanted to see me?"
"Yeah, I got the test results back."
"And, they all came back negative. Physically, she is in perfect health. I don't see any reason why you can't take her home. Does she have anywhere to stay?"
"Yeah, her in-laws live in Smallville, I was planning on taking her there when we were done here."
"That's good. They will be there?"
"Yeah, they should be."
"Good. I would keep a close eye on her tonight. Just to make sure that her condition doesn't get worse."
"All right, I'll make sure they do that."
"Well, you just need to fill out a few, short release forms and you'll be set to take her home."
A few minutes later
Rachel looked up from the paperwork that she was filling out, to see Officer Masters running down the hall.
"Masters? What are you doing here?"
"I tried calling you, but your cell phone must have been turned off. I knew that if you were at the Kents you would have had it on, so I figured you must still be here. How's she doing?"
"Just releasing her now. Why were you trying to get hold of me?"
"Just thought that I would check in with you and when I realized that you were still here I wanted to make sure that nothing was wrong."
"Nope, we were just waiting for some test results to come back. Since you're here, do you wanna come with me while I take her to the Kent's farmhouse?"
"Sure. Where is she?"
"In her room. I just have to give this to Dr. Bater and then we can go," she said, as she walked down the hall to where the doctor was standing.
"Great. I'll send a nurse in to wheel her out," Dr. Bater said, heading over to the nurse's station.
"So, how close are you and Clark? I know that you are always talking about him," Masters questioned as they drove down the road to the Kent's house, Lois asleep in the back seat.
"Well, Clark and I went to senior prom together. We have stayed pretty close since then. I always make it a point to visit them every time that they visit. Lois and I have gotten pretty close, also we've been like sisters ever since that first time we met at the Smallville corn festival, a few years ago."
"Ah, so that's why you were so concerned about her this afternoon."
Half an Hour later
"We're here," Rachel stated as they came to a stop at the Kent's farmhouse. She climbed out of the car and went around to the other side as Masters pulled Lois out of the car, carrying her to the door in his arms.
"Rachel? What are you doing here?" Martha questioned as she gave Rachel a great big hug.
"Well, actually, we were hoping you could help us with a little problem that came to us this afternoon."
"What problem?" Jonathan chimed in as he arrived at the door behind Martha. Just then Masters came into sight, Lois in his arms.
"Oh my god, Lois. What happened? Is she all right?" Martha asked, raising a hand to her mouth.
"Well, that's the problem that we were hoping you could help us with," Rachel said.
"Um—I hate to break up this little pow-wow, but don't you think we should put her down somewhere before she wakes up again?"
"Oh yes. Come in, you can put her up in Clark's old room."
Ten minutes later
"—and that's where you come in," Rachel said as she finished filling the Kents in on what had happened earlier that afternoon. "You see, we still have no idea what could have possibly happened to get her this upset. That's why I brought her here, I figured that she might feel a little more comfortable talking to you guys. I know you're really close."
"Of course. We'll do whatever we can."
"Great. I want you to call me when she is ready to come down to the station and file a report. I would like to be there when she does. You still have my cell phone number, right?"
"Yes, of course."
"Good, I just need you two to come down to the station and fill out some paperwork. Just to officially release her into your custody."
"Okay, but what about Lois? We can't leave her alone."
"I'll stay with her until you get back," Masters volunteered.
"We're back," Martha called to Masters, quiet enough so that she wouldn't wake up Lois.
"Great. Did you get everything taken care of?" Masters asked as he came into the entry hall from the living room.
"Yeah. How's Lois?"
"Well, she slept the whole time. But, I don't think that she'll be asleep much longer."
"Why? Is something wrong?"
"No, but the way she was tossing and turning she couldn't possibly sleep like that."
"All right, I'll make sure to check on her before I go to bed. Rachel is waiting outside. She said to tell you that she will drive you back to the hospital to pick up your car."
"Oh, that will be great. I forgot that I rode over here with her. Well, I better get going then. It was nice meeting you and we'll keep in touch if anything comes up."
"Okay, we'll do the same. Bye."
"He seems nice," Jonathan said, after the door had closed.
"Yeah. Well, I am going to check on Lois and then I'm going to turn in early tonight. Are you coming?"
"No. I've got to call the Irigs and tell them that we won't be able to make it for breakfast tomorrow, and then I have a few more things to take care of before I turn in. You go ahead, I'll see you in the morning."
"All right. Goodnight," Martha said as she turned and headed up the stairs towards Lois' room.
"Lois, honey, are you all right?" Martha questioned, when she walked in and saw Lois sitting in the middle of her bed cuddling with Clark's old teddy bear and crying.
"Oh, Martha! He's gone, and it's all my fault." Lois began crying even harder than she had been before as she wrapped her arms around her mother-in-law's neck.
"Oh no, honey. It's not your fault."
"Yes, it is. Oh, Martha. If I—"
"Honey, you're getting too worked up. Just go back to sleep. We'll talk about it in the morning."
Lois nodded. "Will you stay with me?"
"Sure, I will. Now lie down," Martha said gently, pushing Lois back down on the bed. Lois was back asleep after a few minutes and Martha snuck out to find Jonathan.
"How is she?" Jonathan asked, hanging up the phone.
"She was awake when I got there. I think I'm going to sleep in there tonight. Just in case."
"All right. You know where to find me if you two need anything."
"Yeah. Goodnight," Martha said, as she turned and once again headed up the staircase. She lay down in the cot, which they had placed in the bedroom before Lois and Clark had gotten married. Obviously, it hadn't been used since.
The next morning, about 5 a.m.
Martha awoke to the sight of Lois standing at the window of the bedroom, still cuddling the teddy bear.
"Lois? Honey, what are you doing up? You should be resting."
"I couldn't sleep anymore. I can't stop thinking about—it."
"Well, come downstairs and we'll talk about it, okay?"
"Yeah," Lois said, as she wiped the tears away from her eyes and followed Martha downstairs.
"You two want some coffee?" Jonathan asked as Martha and Lois came into the room and sat down.
"Yes, please," Lois said with a little sniffle.
"Me too," Martha said turning around to face Jonathan.
"Okay, two coffees coming right up."
"Do you want to talk about it?" Martha asked Lois, as she took a sip of her coffee.
"Oh, Martha, it's all my fault."
"Clark is missing and it is all my fault. If I hadn't left him— if I hadn't left him he would still be here." Lois was talking so fast that Martha could barely keep up.
"Slow down, honey. Now, start over from the beginning."
Lois took a deep breath and began to tell Martha and Jonathan everything that had happened the day before.
"—and if I hadn't left him he would still be here now," Lois finished her story, burying her head in her hands.
Martha looked over to Jonathan, who had relocated himself to the other side of Lois at the kitchen table.
"Oh my god. That's why you were so upset."
"Yeah," Lois said, looking up at Martha again.
"But, honey, it's not your fault. You did everything right. If you had stayed Clark might have died and you wouldn't have been any better off, would you?"
"No, but, Martha, he *is* sick and he doesn't have *any* powers. Martha, he could be dying right now."
"I know, honey, and that's why he needs you. Now, more than ever. If I know Clark, and I do, he is handling himself just fine. But, like you said, he's sick and he needs help. You are one of the world's greatest investigative reporters. I know Clark would want you helping him."
"You're right. I'm not helping him moping around here, am I?" Lois said, wiping away the tears that had rolled down her cheeks.
"That's the spirit."
"I suppose I should go give a report to the police."
"Yeah, I know Rachel was really worried about you."
"Yeah, I know. But what do I tell them? I can't tell them the whole story."
"No, but I think that if you leave out the part about his powers it all sounds normal."
"I guess. I need to get back to Metropolis as soon as possible. I want to get to work on what could have happened to Clark."
"All right, I'll call Rachel and we can go down to the station. Jonathan can call the airline and have the jet ready for you when we're done."
"Okay. I'll go get changed," Lois said, wiping the remaining tears in her eyes away as she got up and headed upstairs.
"Jonathan, when you call the airport, make sure you have the jet equipped for two. I want to go back to Metropolis with her. I don't want her to do this alone. You know her, she won't take a break and rest if no one is there and she needs her rest too," Martha said, once Lois was out of earshot.
"All right. I will."
With that, Martha picked up the phone and dialed Rachel's cell phone number.
"Thank you, guys, you've been a great help," Lois said, as they reached the airport, nearly an hour and a half later.
"Well, I'm gonna be even more help. I'm coming with you."
"That's sweet, Martha, but I'll be okay."
"I'm sure you will, but you're not going through this alone. Don't even try to protest, I've already made up my mind."
"Oh, Martha, you're so sweet."
"LOIS! What are you doing here? You're supposed to be in Smallville covering those fires," Perry barked, as Lois came slowly into his office later that afternoon.
"I'm sorry, Perry, but you're going to have to assign someone else to that story."
"What do you mean? And where is Clark?"
"That's why I'm here. Perry, Clark is missing."
Lois sat down on the couch, doing everything in her power to keep from crying again.
"Missing? Oh my god, Lois. What happened?"
Perry listened as Lois explained the happenings of the day before, for the third time.
"That's why I can't cover those fires right now, Chief. I need to focus my energy on finding Clark, before something serious happens to him."
"Sure, honey. Take all the time you need. Just remember, I'm here if you need to talk."
"Thanks, Perry, Clark's mom is here. She's staying here with me until Clark comes back."
"All right. Well, you better get to work then, hadn't you?"
"Yeah," Lois said, standing up and heading out into the newsroom.
"JIMMY!" Lois hollered across the newsroom.
"She's back," Jimmy said, coming up behind Lois.
"Ha ha, very funny. Listen, I need a list of everyone that Clark helped put away, who has recently been released from prison, especially the ones who threatened him. Or, maybe, cases that involved both Clark and Superman. And I need pictures."
"Sure, but why? What happened?"
"Jimmy, I'll explain later. Just get me that research as soon as possible." Lois had already explained what had happened three times and she couldn't handle telling the story one more time.
"Okay. I'll get that to you as soon as I get it."
"All right. I'll be at home. Bring it to me there as soon as possible."
She had already been there for over an hour and she had promised Martha that she would only be there for a few minutes, just to tell Perry what was going on.
"Martha, hi. Is Lois around? I have that information she wanted."
"Yeah. She is upstairs in her bed."
"Oh, well, I'll just leave these with you, I don't want to wake her up."
"Oh, no, she's not asleep. She's been waiting for you to arrive, but I insisted she at least rest while she waited. Go on up."
"Okay, great." Jimmy headed up the stairs, juggling the box that he was carrying. "Lois?" Jimmy said, peeking through the door of Lois' bedroom.
"Jimmy! Good, you're here. What have you got for me?"
Jimmy handed her the box, which contained the list of everyone that had threatened Clark.
"Boy, Clark was a popular guy, huh?" Lois smiled a little bit.
"Recognize anyone?" Jimmy asked, sorting through the pictures on Lois' bed.
"No—not yet—wait—Jimmy—this man right here," Lois said, pointing to a picture as she picked it up.
"Who? Oh, him? Yeah, I remember him, Art Hanson. Clark helped in the arrest of his brother about a year ago. Don't you remember?"
"Yeah, I was just thinking, I've seen him somewhere before—oh my god, Jimmy!" Lois paused as a flashback of her and Clark's flight to Smallville played through her head. "This is the co- pilot from the plane. Jimmy, I left him alone with Clark!"
"Well, I guess we know what happened to him."
"I've gotta go. Jimmy, get back to the planet and find out everything you can on this guy."
"All right, but where are you going?"
"To talk to the pilot of that flight. I wanna see if he noticed anything different yesterday."
"What makes you think he wasn't involved with Art?"
"George has been a pilot for the Daily Planet for a long time. I've always been able to trust him."
"All right, as long as you're sure."
"Lois? Where are you going? I thought I told you to stay in bed," Martha questioned, at the sight of Lois dressed and almost out the door.
"Martha, I'm sorry, but I have to go. You see this man?" Lois asked, pointing to the picture of Art Hanson.
"Yeah. What about him?"
"This is the co-pilot I told you about. You know, the one who stayed with Clark—alone."
"Oh my god. You think he is responsible for Clark's disappearance?"
"I'm almost sure of it. His name is Art Hanson. Doug Hanson, Art's brother, was arrested for setting a bomb in a warehouse last year. Two people were killed in that explosion, and guess who caught him?"
"Yeah. I guess Art and Doug were really close, and, when Doug was arrested, Art swore that the *next* time he saw Superman, he had better watch his back, because 'you never know when something might happen' to him."
"Yeah, but Doug doesn't know that Clark is Superman, does he?"
"No, but, he *does* know that Clark is close to Superman. It wouldn't be the first time that someone has used one of us to get to Superman. And, if that's the case, then Clark is in real danger, because there is no telling what Art could do when he finds out that Clark *can't* get a hold of Superman. I'm going to the airport to talk to George, just to see if he noticed anything suspicious."
"All right, but I'm coming with you."
"Martha, I can do this myself."
"I'm sure you can, but this is too dangerous. When—err—if this guy finds out that Clark can't get a hold of Superman, he'll probably come after you. Who knows who's hanging around that airport?"
"Fine, I'm not gonna convince you not to come anyway. Let's go."
"Lois? What are you doing here? Have you heard anything more on Clark?" George asked, coming out of the cockpit of the plane.
"Well, I think I might know who has Clark, but the problem is I don't know where he is."
"Who?" George asked, looking up from the paperwork he had been studying.
"Well, that's why I'm here. Do you remember Art—err—Steve? The co-pilot from yesterday?"
"Yes. Strange guy. Didn't really say much of anything the whole flight. Why?"
"How well did you know him?"
"What do you mean? You've never seen him before?"
"No. He showed up just before you got on the plane. He said that Jack, my regular co-pilot, had called in sick and that he was there to replace him for the flight. You guys were already on your way to the plane, so I didn't question it, but he sure did know how to fly a plane. Why?"
"Is this the same guy?" Lois questioned, pulling the picture of Hanson out.
"Yeah. Hey, is this guy some sort of criminal or something?"
"I think he is the one responsible for Clark's disappearance."
George had no time to respond before Lois' cell phone rang. "Hello?—What?—Is he okay?-All right, thanks, Jimmy, good work." Lois closed her cell phone and put it in her purse, before looking back up at George and Martha. "Well, that settles it. Hanson is definitely responsible for what happened to Clark."
"What? What did Jimmy say?" Martha asked, stepping over to Lois.
"The police found Jack."
"What? Where?" George asked, putting the paperwork he had been holding down.
"In his apartment. He was beaten up pretty badly. He's in the hospital now. He apparently remembers seeing a man who fits Art's description enter his house before he was knocked out. When he came to, he was gone and so was his uniform."
"Oh my god. Is he all right?"
"Yeah, just a few bruises and a couple of broken fingers and a concussion. Jimmy also said that a man fitting Hanson's description was seen entering the hospital a few minutes before we did." Lois was interrupted once again by the sound of her cell phone ringing. "Hello?"
"Lois, hi. This is Bernard Klein. I tried to get a hold of you at the number you gave me, but I was told you had already left. The man gave me this number to try you at."
"Dr. Klein—" Lois knew what was coming. "What's wrong? Did you get the test results back?"
"Uh—yeah. Listen, I think you and Superman ought to come down here, right away."
"Can't you just tell me over the phone?"
"I think it would be best if I tell you in person."
"All right, I'll be there as soon as possible."
"Everything all right?" Martha asked.
"Uh—yeah. I'm sorry, George, but I've got to go. I've got a very important meeting to get to."
"No problem. I'll see what I can find out around here. Okay?"
"Thank you. You have been a big help."
"Dr. Klein wants me and 'Superman' to meet him at S.T.A.R. LABS as soon as possible," Lois said, once they had left the plane. Tears started to fill Lois' eyes again.
"Oh, honey. It could be good news. You don't know."
"I guess you're right."
"Only one way to find out," Martha said as they got into Lois' jeep and headed for S.T.A.R labs.
"Dr. Klein, hi, what have you got for me?"
"Well—uh—where is Superman?" Dr. Klein asked, staring at Martha.
"Superman, well he's—he's not here right now. By the way, this is Clark's mother, Martha. She is very close to Superman. You can talk in front of her." Lois could tell by the way he was looking at her that he hadn't been sure.
"Good. But, where is Superman?"
"Um—he's sort of missing right now."
"Missing? Oh no, that's not good."
"Dr. Klein, what is it? Is there something wrong?"
"Well, yes. You see Superman has a virus. It is in his bloodstream. Now, I've created a vaccine that might help, but I need to inject it soon or the virus will spread too far and we'll lose him."
"Oh my god." Lois almost collapsed into the chair that was behind her. "A virus? How is that possible? He doesn't get—" Lois stopped as she remembered the time that Clark had almost died when Mindy Church released a Kryptonian virus.
"I don't know how it is possible, but, fortunately, I was able to create the vaccine, which should help, using some of the blood that Superman donated for research a few years ago and some Kryptonite that we were storing in the vault."
"How much time do we have?"
"16 hours, 24 at most."
Lois' looked up at Martha. Martha could see the fear building up in Lois' eyes.
"Don't worry, sweetie. We'll find him in time." Martha was trying to convince herself of this as much as she was Lois.
11 o'clock that night, at the brownstone
"Oh, Martha, it's hopeless. We're never going to find him in time. Clark is going to die and it's all my fault. If I had just been paying a little attention that day, I would have recognized Hanson before we got in the air, and none of this would be happening."
"Lois, honey. You were worried about Clark, that's perfectly understandable. It's not your fault. And what is all this talk about it being hopeless? That doesn't sound like the Lois I know. The Lois I know wouldn't give up on anything. Especially when it comes to Clark."
"I know, but nobody has seen or heard from Hanson in the past forty-eight hours and we're running out of time. You heard what Dr. Klein said."
Before Martha could answer, their conversation was interrupted by the sound of the telephone. "Hello?" Lois said, wiping the tears away from her eyes. "WHAT? Is he alright? Okay, well I'll call Dr. Klein and we'll be there as soon as we can. Thank you!"
"What happened? Who was that?"
"That was Jonathan. Clark is there!"
"Oh, my god! Is he all right?"
"He's unconscious, but he's alive. I've got to call Dr. Klein, we've got to get to Smallville tonight." This was probably the happiest Lois had been since Clark had disappeared.
"Dr. Klein, I'm sorry to wake you, but it's important. We found Superman—he's unconscious but he's alive, that's why we need to go to Smallville tonight. Yes, we'll be there to pick you up in half an hour. Bye, see you then."
"Everything all set with Dr. Klein?" Martha asked, after Lois had hung up the phone.
"Yes, I'm going to call George. I think he's the only person that I trust to fly me right now. Why don't you go get things ready while I call him," Lois said, picking up the phone again.
"Jonathan! Where is he?" Lois said, running into the farmhouse almost three hours later.
Jonathan had barely gotten the words out of his mouth before Lois was pulling Dr. Klein up the stairs.
"How is he?" Martha asked as she came in the door.
"He's getting worse. We just have to hope this vaccine that Dr. Klein has, works."
"All right, the vaccine is in his system. Now all we can do is wait and hope that his system accepts it."
"How long before we'll know if it works," Lois asked, sitting on the bed next to Clark.
"Well, it should only be a couple of hours before we'll start seeing a change. You do realize that, even if this vaccine takes, there is still the chance that he won't have any of his powers?"
"Yeah. I just want him back," Lois said, looking at Clark.
"It didn't work," Lois said, as Martha came into the bedroom in which Clark was lying, still unconscious.
"We don't know that. He's still with us, so there is still a chance, honey."
"Yeah, but Dr. Klein said that it would be only a couple of hours before we would see a change. It's been five hours and there's still no change."
"Oh, honey, he said it should be a couple of hours. Clark is different, honey, we can't really be sure of how long it will take."
"I guess you're right," Lois said as she let out a big yawn.
"Oh, honey, have you gotten any sleep at all?" Martha asked, walking over to Lois and sitting beside her.
"No—I couldn't. Not with Clark lying here so helpless."
"Honey, you need to rest. When Clark wakes up he's going to need you. You remember what Dr. Klein said. He might not have his powers. That's going to be hard for him to handle, he'll need you to help him get through it. And you won't be able to help him if you're sick, will you?"
"I guess not, but I can't leave him."
"I'll be here with him, I promise. Besides, you'll be right here in the room if anything should happen. I won't leave him for a second. And I'll wake you up if anything changes."
"Okay." Lois said, yawning again she stood up and walked over to the cot, which was over in the corner. Martha followed her.
"Now, get some rest."
Lois' head had no sooner hit the pillow than she was asleep.
"Dr. Klein, Jonathan, get up here!" Martha called down the staircase, a few hours later. "Lois, honey, wake up."
"What? Is it Clark? Is he awake?" Lois questioned, as she sprang up from her bed.
"Well, yes and no."
"What do you mean?"
"Martha what's wrong? What happened?" Jonathan asked, as he and Dr. Klein came running into the room.
"He woke up and he looked around the room for a minute. Then he talked! He asked where he was and then he went to sleep."
"Let me have a look at him," Dr. Klein said, taking a seat on the edge of the bed, beside Clark. "Superman—Superman, can you hear me?"
"Huh? Yeah. I can hear you," Clark said as he looked around the room again, still trying to figure out where he was. "Where am I?"
"You're at home," Martha said. "You're gonna be just fine."
"He is all right, Dr. Klein?" Lois said, sitting down on the bed and grabbing Clark's hand.
"Yes, he is."
"And his powers?" Lois asked, looking at Dr. Klein.
"It's too soon to tell. But, other than that, he is perfectly fine."
"Oh, thank you, Dr. Klein. I don't know how to thank you."
"There is no need. Just knowing that Superman is alive is thanks enough for me."
"I would like to be alone with him for a minute. If that is okay?"
"Sure. But just for a minute. He needs to rest." Dr. Klein picked up his stuff and left the room, Martha and Jonathan following close behind, closing the door behind them.
"You gave us quite a scare," Lois said, looking back at her husband.
"Yeah? It was quite the adventure. I think it ought to top all of the famous Lois Lane dangerous adventures that you've had."
Lois laughed a little.
"Well, it's nice to see you've kept your sense of humor while you were gone. Well, I better get going. Dr. Klein wants you to rest."
"Tell you what, you stay here until I fall asleep and I'll rest," Clark said, putting his hand back into Lois'.
"Lois? Honey, Clark needs to rest now, you can—" Martha began to chuckle and turned to go back downstairs. She had gone upstairs to get Lois, after she hadn't come downstairs for about ten minutes.
"What's so funny?" Jonathan asked from where he and Dr. Klein were sitting on the couch.
"I guess they both needed their rest."
"Why?" Jonathan asked.
"I went up to get Lois, and she was fast asleep next to C— Superman., Martha corrected herself when she remembered that Dr. Klein was still there.
"Well, we better let them both get some sleep. We can talk to them when they wake up."
8 a.m., the next morning
"Morning, Lois. Clark! What are you doing up? You're supposed to be resting." This was the first time since they had found Clark that she had been able to call him Clark instead of Superman, since Dr. Klein was still in bed.
"Mom, I'm all right."
"Entirely?" Martha asked, making a flying motion with her hand.
"Well, no. I still don't have my powers, but other than that I feel fine."
"Okay, but I still want you to have Dr. Klein look at you when he wakes up."
"Well, do you want to know what happened, or are we just going to dwell on my health?"
"All right, if you're up for it, what happened?"
"Well, I don't know."
"What? You wanted to tell us what happened and now you don't know?"
Clark laughed. Lois was still the same old rambling Lois he remembered her to be.
"It's not funny."
"What I was going to say was, I don't know what happened on the plane. I remember waking up and seeing Arthur Hanson standing over me. He said something but I don't remember what it was. He went into another room to get something. I was really weak and I didn't have any powers, but I managed to get up the strength to sneak out. I guess that's the good part about being unconscious. The kidnappers never think to tie you up. Anyway, I hitched a ride with a car that went by and he brought me here. Unfortunately, I was a little too hazy to see where it was. So I imagine finding Hanson will be near impossible."
"Don't worry about that. All that matters is you're here and safe," Lois said, planting a kiss on her husband's cheek.
Two weeks later
"What did Dr. Klein say?" Lois asked as Clark came jogging into the newsroom.
"They're coming back," Clark said, straightening out his tie. "Dr. Klein said they should be back in full force in another couple of weeks."
"That's great," Lois said, giving Clark a big hug. "And I have more good news. They caught Hanson this morning. He apparently was in the process of robbing a bank in Chicago when he was caught, he's wanted in sixteen states, can you believe it? He'll be in prison for a long, long time."
"Yeah, as I told you before, Superman always gets his man—even without superpowers."
Lois and Clark both started to laugh.
"So, what's the adventure for today?"