By Chiara Prato <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: May 2001
Summary: After rescuing a badly injured Lois from her captors, Clark takes her to Smallville to recover, where the two of them realize something new about their relationship as Lois struggles to erase the memories of her torture.
Little WARNING: In this one Lois is badly hurt (physically), but I hope it's not too crude. Ok… let me know what you think about that.
A big embrace
// indicate the thoughts
/*/ indicate flashbacks and dreams
"I know, honey, I know… "
Clark had to make a real effort to move again; he had spent the last of his energy getting Lois to a safe place. Luckily this area was full of caves, but the problem was that they were all quite cold and damp. He tried to light a fire, but his heat vision, along with his other powers, had still not returned. Kryptonite exposure affected him differently each time, it seemed. Sometimes the effects vanished very quickly, but this was not going to be one of those times. The contact he'd had this time had been quite intense. He knew it would be hours… perhaps days before they might return, but he knew that they would return to him.
He had saved Lois, again, but this time he'd really risked everything. They had wanted to kill Superman, as usual, and kidnapping Lois was the easiest method to guarantee that he would come to them. She had been missing for three days… that could easily explain her condition. Who knew what they had put her through.
"I'm so sleepy… let me sleep… just a little…"
"Please, Lois… don't… you have to stay awake… Please!!!! Speak to me!!"
"You always say I talk too much!"
"I never said that!"
"You've thought that…"
Clark smiled in spite of his fears. *His* Lois was never going to change.
"Lois… how about you tell me about your first article for the Planet?"
//Please Lois…stay awake…//
"No… now I just want to sleep!!!"
God! She seemed as helpless as a baby…
//Keep her safe… make it so she'll be able to keep going… at least until I'm able to get her back home… please…please.//
Clark tried his heat vision again, this time he was able to emit a small burst of heat, but it wasn't enough.
"Lois… you have to get out of these wet clothes!"
"I can't… do it…" Lois made an enormous effort to speak more but she was unable to keep her bloodless lips from trembling.
"Believe me… I don't want to do this… but you can't stay like this…"
Clark forced her to a sitting position, and he started to slip off the little jacket of her outfit. It came off quite easily; she helped him as much as she could. Next came her shoes, then he came to her skirt. The task started to become more arduous for him. It, too, slipped off quite easily considering how wet it was.
Now Clark's hands started to tremble, but it was not from the cold. Swallowing became an effort as he started to unbutton her blouse… one button after the other. Slowly, trying not to think too much about the feeling of his body or the image of him lying on top of her, he continued with his task.
"Lois… are you awake?"
"I think so… I'm not going to die of frostbite, am I? I don't wanna die…"
"Lois, I won't let that happen!"
Lois smiled. "You've said that already… you remember? When the Prankster… threatened me… at your place… do you remember?"
"It's true…" He held her in his arms as he slipped the blouse off her shoulders.
"It's good to be in your arms… you know? I've always liked it…"
"Lois…" How many times had Clark longed to hear these words from her, but now, they almost physically hurt him.
"And I love the way you say my name…"
"I want to tell you these things," she whispered, trying to fight the uncontrollable shivers that were making her shake violently. "If I don't wake up tomorrow, I want you to know… "
"Tomorrow you'll be better…"
"Clark… my slip… it's too wet…"
"Are you sure?" She nodded, trying to stay awake, it would be so easy to fall asleep…
Clark took a deep breath as he started to slip the spaghetti straps of her slip off her shoulders. He knelt near her, slowly removing the undergarment from her body.
Clark held her, noticing for the first time the marks she had all over her body. Abrasions and bruises covered the greater part of her body, especially around her wrists and ankles. He wondered what sort of tortures she had been suffering these last three days.
"I never thought it would happen this way…"
"What are you talking about?!"
"I thought so many times… about being undressed by you… but I never thought it would be like this." Her voice was shaking from the sobs that now came from her. Clark held her tightly, in order to protect and comfort her, caressing her hair.
"You're all wet, Clark."
Clark laughed. "You have that right…"
"You've got to undress yourself too, Clark, you're going to catch pneumonia…" Well, he knew that was not really possible, but until his body temperature was back to normal he wouldn't be able to warm Lois.
He quickly slipped out of his shirt and trousers. His 'Suit' he had already removed before going to rescue Lois. He couldn't risk both their lives if somehow someone found out his other identity.
They held each other. Clark tried every few minutes to warm her with his heat vision and every time it seemed he had a bit more intensity to the bursts he used. Almost without realizing it, both of them soon fell asleep.
Clark woke after a couple of hours; it was still dark outside. Lois was still in his arms and he held her a little tighter in order to make her feel his presence.
"Oh, my god, Lois!" Her body was burning up! She had to be running a very high fever. He called to her a few more times, he grabbed his shirt, which was still damp, and wiped it over Lois' face, trying to reduce her temperature. He blew on a small puddle, creating ice that he wrapped in his shirt, passing it over the body of the woman he loved.
"Please, honey… Wake up…wake up… let me know that you're OK!"
Clark stayed seated, holding her in his arms. He felt so helpless, he was the most powerful man in the world… and now he was unable to do anything.
'Please… let my powers come back…Please!!!!'
Almost without realizing it, Clark started to rock back and forth, almost as if he were cradling her. Lois opened her eyes, almost without seeing him. "You know… I was brave… I didn't say anything… nothing…"
"What do you mean?"
"They… wanted to know… who Superman is… how I could contact him… they wanted me to call him so they could kill him… I didn't say anything…"
Clark felt a deep pain in his heart: she got into all of this just to save her hero. He was responsible for what happened to her. What kind of people could do this to someone else! They tortured Lois and she didn't call Superman.
"You were very brave… " he whispered
"I didn't say it… I couldn't do it… I couldn't tell them that you are the only man in the world able to find him… one day you have to tell me how you do it…"
Clark almost forgot to breath from shock. Lois had gone through this for *HIM* not for Superman! For Clark! Why? And how she was able to resist? Instinctively, Clark held her more tightly, as tight as he could without hurting her. Her body was so badly injured.
But Lois was still talking "… and someday… I also want a house… and some babies…" Clark realized at that moment that she was raving because of the fever. "And I want a dog… and I want my son to have your eyes… and your smile… I love your smile… Oh, Clark…"
"I'm here…I'm right here…" he reassured her, holding her tightly against himself. Lois felt the contact with his bare skin against her face. She turned her head and her mouth started looking for his. She explored his body, trying to reach his neck and mouth. She found his nipples and her tongue started to play with them. Her breath was hot on his skin.
"Lois…" Clark's voice was husky and extraordinarily sexy, and in her confused state Lois was only able to feel the pleasure that contact with this male body made her feel. The salt taste that still covered their bodies made her crazy.
Clark stopped her, raising her face until he was able to look into her eyes. They stared at each other for a long time, slowly their mouths moved closer until their lips brushed each other. At the beginning, it was a very light kiss, as if they wanted to be sure that they were safe and were no longer going to be hurt; then there was a second one, more passionate, sweet and furious at the same time.
'I have to stop her… I have to stop myself!' Clark's mind was screaming, but his body started moving of its own accord. They found each other, Lois by way of delirium and Clark by way of passion.
And in that moment all the fear they had felt for each other in the last three days exploded. Both of them had been terrified they would never again see the person they loved. Dark, deep fears that now were been dissolving into their passionate kisses, and caresses and wonderful emotion.
"I love you Clark… I love you so much…" Clark seemed to start at these words. He stopped in order to stare at her.
"I love you too, Lois…more than anything in the world!" Lois started kissing him again, the heat rising from her body was intoxicating. When Clark's excitement became more than evident, he pulled himself away suddenly.
"Clark Jerome Kent! What kind of man are you?" he cried out loud. "You say that you love this woman more than life itself and then you take advantage of her this way! You are a rat!" Clark almost cried to himself, then he turned to Lois. "I'm going to get you out of here… I still don't know how yet… but I'm going to take you away from here… I promise!!!!"
Lois just kept whispering his name and other words he was unable to understand. He got up suddenly.
"Think Clark… think… OK! I've got to get her covered!!! Her clothes, try to dry her clothes." Clark started to order himself aloud, as though speaking in this way helped distract him from the lure of Lois' naked body. He grabbed them and, again using his heat vision, they were dry in a few moments.
After drying his clothes in the same way, he quickly slipped his on, then approached Lois. Putting her clothes on was strangely easier; he tried to concentrate on what he had to do and not on the way her body reacted to his touch.
Next he tried to float and he found he was able to do it with no problems. Metropolis wasn't that far, he would take her there then… no… he couldn't take her home. He was quite sure that Bureau 39's men would be lying in wait for them, watching both of their apartments. There was one place in the world… far from here, but safe, where he could take her.
He held her in his embrace. Lois was completely senseless and her fever seemed to be climbing higher and higher. It was very painful for him to see her like this, but she would be safe in a few more minutes.
A new day was already starting. The sun hadn't begun to rise when he'd left the cave, but he'd still been very prudent. He didn't have the Suit, he didn't want to risk leaving her alone while he went to get it, but he knew that the closer he came to Kansas, the safer they both were. No one was going to be waiting for them and it was still quite dark there.
He opened the door a bit too roughly and it surrendered to his strength, barely remaining on its hinges. It was still night at the farm and his frightened parents hurried downstairs.
In the doorway was Clark, pale from worry, with Lois in his arms. "She's hurt, very hurt… help me!"
"Bring her to our bedroom… quickly!" Martha directed, and so he did. Martha sized up the situation and told Jonathan to get a basin of cold water and some towels.
"Honey, why don't you go to sleep for a while? We'll call you if she wakes up. You seem to be going to pieces!"
"It was the Kryptonite. I'll be better soon, don't worry. I'm not going to leave her…"
"Then why don't you take a shower? While you're doing that, I'll get Lois undressed and try to get her fever down. Meanwhile your father will call the doctor."
"I guess that's a good idea…"
A few minutes later, Clark was back, clean and dressed. He stopped for a moment in front of his parents' door before he knocked.
"I brought her a T-shirt, it's one of mine… she'll be more comfortable in it."
Martha smiled. "Good thinking. "
Clark set it on the bed, turning his back in order to let his mother dress Lois without him seeing, though God only knew how much he wanted to.
"Clark? I'm a little embarrassed asking you, but… would you give me a hand?" His eyes widened. "And don't look at me that way! This poor baby is full of bruises and who knows what else. I think I already hurt her enough undressing her…"
"It's OK. I mean, I've done it before… I mean she was soaked… I had to undress her… it was too cold to let her stay dressed in the wet clothes and…"
"Clark, you're babbling! You don't have to justify your actions… I'm more than sure you acted in the best way possible, now shut up and give me a hand!" Clark sat on the bed near Lois, slipping his arms around her. Martha kept the sheet firmly against Lois' body as Clark felt a drop of sweat rolling down his temple. Lois was completely and gorgeously naked under the sheet. Martha tried to hold back her smile, noticing her son's expression, while she made Lois wear Clark's shirt.
Instead of making her lie down again, Clark held her in his arms for a couple of minutes. From the moment they left the cave, Lois had not regained consciousness. Clark was quiet, listening to her heartbeat race because of the fever. Martha caressed his head and kissed him on the forehead.
"I'll go make some coffee! I think we'll need some, Doc doesn't like being woken up in the middle of the night." They smiled at each other, then she left.
It was almost half an hour later when the doctor arrived. Martha was still downstairs in the kitchen and ran towards his car as it pulled up.
"Thanks for coming, Doc, I'm sorry, but Lois seems to be very ill; and she has a high fever…"
"Martha, if you give me hot coffee… well, I guess I can forgive you for getting me up so early!"
"I'll take you upstairs and then I'll go get it for you!" Martha led the way, followed by the doctor and Jonathan. Just inside the door she stopped suddenly, tipping her head to one side as she exclaimed, "Aren't they cute?? They seem made for each other!!"
The two men cautiously stretched their heads into the room.
Lois and Clark were asleep, each embracing the other. Clark had fallen asleep on the blanket with his arms holding her to his chest. Lois' arms were above the sheet, one arm holding him around the waist and the other resting on the arm that was affectionately encircling her.
The doctor looked at them. "Are they ever going to get together?"
"If by tomorrow they aren't a couple… it'll mean that I don't understand anything about young people… It's very clear that they adore each other!" Martha caressed her son's shoulder. "Clark? Sweetie… the doctor is here… wake up." Clark opened his eyes and smiled at the woman he was holding, then he realized the situation and he moved, a bit embarrassed, from the bed.
"I fell asleep…"
"I can see that! Come on, we have to let Doc do his job." Jonathan almost had to push his son from the bedroom.
Clark waited downstairs with his father without too much patience. The wait seemed endless.
Eventually the doctor appeared on the stairs. "Relax, Clark, your *friend* is going to be fine. She just needs to rest awhile, and you too for that matter; you look pale. I gave your mother a prescription… your friend will feel a bit woozy when she wakes up. She's very bruised…looks like she's been kicked by a bull. Care to tell me what happened?"
"It's a long story, Doc…"
"I have a lot of time!"
"There are some people… who don't like Superman… unlike most people. Since he appeared they want him dead. They thought Lois knew how to contact Superman, or at least that they'd be able to lure him into a trap by making her call for help. I haven't a clue as to how they tried to persuade her… I… she was in their hands for three days…"
"Okay, son, don't worry… she'll be fine. In a few hours she'll wake up and then she'll start behaving like that runaway locomotive we all remember."
Clark went back to his beloved Lois as soon as possible. Beyond his fear, he felt very guilty for what had happened to her. It was almost evening when Lois started to move with a moan. Clark looked at her and held her hand.
"Hi… how are you?"
"I feel as if a truck ran me over." She paused a moment, looking around ."Where are we?"
"How did we get here?"
"It's a safe place." This seemed to be enough for her.
Lois closed her eyes, breathing deeply with a moan, then suddenly she opened her eyes wide, staring at him.
"You shouldn't have come looking for me… it was too dangerous!"
"I didn't care, Lois… I could never leave you in the hands of those animals!"
"I was so scared… "
"I know, honey… "
"Clark… " She stopped herself, looking into his eyes, then she dropped her gaze, biting her lip as she added without looking at him "Please… would you hold me?" Clark didn't make her repeat her request as he took her into his arms, holding her gently. Her body still smelled of the ocean.
Trying to cuddle herself deeper into his arms, she was unable to hold back a moan of pain. Instinctively, Clark loosened his grip. "No…" came her answer, it was a moan, a prayer and a barely audible whisper.
"Am I hurting you?" She shook her head, no.
"I…" she said, hiding her head between his neck and shoulder. "I'd like to stay like this forever."
"I know you don't feel anything for me… but…" she took a deep breath and continued, "I love you so much…" and then her mouth started to cover his neck with little, light kisses.
Clark moved her back a couple of inches until he was able to look into her eyes.
They stared at each other, silent for long moments, then without speaking, their mouths joined for a hot, passionate kiss. They moved back a bit in order to catch their breath then they moved forward to kiss again and again…and again.
Their hands started to explore each other, tenderly, and their bodies, even separated by the uncomfortable blanket, strained to become closer. It was so extraordinarily different being in each other's arms. Different from any other they had met in their lives, excited and relaxed at the same time, both aware that it was possible to not be afraid of the other, both aware of how easy this was and how right it was to love each other.
Suddenly Lois felt Clark stiffen and she looked at him. "What… did I do something…?" Clark stared at her for a moment and Lois was never so unsure of herself.
"No!! My parents… they're coming up the stairs…"
"How do you know?" At that same moment, the voices of the Kents became audible to her ears also.
Lois just sighed, "Why now?!" She stopped and her eyes shone. "I like the way you taste, Kent. I guess I'll have to rewrite my three famous rules… Martha, Jonathan!"
"Hi, sweetheart… It's good to see you awake… how do you feel?"
"Well, I can say that I feel better when I try not to breathe…" she answered, keeping hold of Clark's hand as if she were loathe to let him get away. Martha smiled at this gesture.
"If you have the strength to joke, it means you're feeling better."
"I'm fine, Martha, but I need a shower. It's been… how long was I held captive?"
"I'd guess three days."
"Three days?! I have to be in a pitiful state!"
"You look wonderful!" Clark answered.
"And you aren't very objective," she added, smiling.
Martha stared at them; she could see the sparks darting between them. It was clear to her, the way Lois was looking at him, that she had reconciled her feelings for Clark. That first visit to Smallville, after Clark had almost died, she had looked at him differently for most of that afternoon, but she didn't have this look in her eyes then. She looked tired, that was very evident, but there was a new light shining in her eyes also.
"Lois, sweetheart, I can give you some clean underwear, but I don't think my dresses would fit you. You'll have to be satisfied with some of Clark's things. They are a lot bigger and with the bandages and all the rest… you'll surely be more comfortable."
"Thanks, Martha… "
"Are you able to get to the bathroom?"
"I think so… "
She got up slowly, smiling in order to disguise the pain she felt throughout her body. Clark's shirt was too big for her, so it left her leg naked to midway down her thigh.
"You see… you don't have to worry…" Then, suddenly everything went dark around her and she staggered violently as her legs collapsed under her. Clark took her in his arms and tried to take her back to bed. "Can you help me to the shower?"
"Are you sure?"
"Martha… could you stay with me? I mean… if you aren't busy… "
"Of course, sweetie, everything else can wait!"
"You are welcome." Clark kept looking at her; Lois barely had the strength to open her eyes. "Listen, I'll put you in the bathtub… this way you won't need to stand, you can wash and dry yourself and then I'll take you right back to bed!" She smiled at him, nodding. "And I think your temperature is rising again."
Martha approached her, kissing her on the forehead in order to check her temperature. "Yeah, maybe a little, but she'll feel better after a bath!"
Clark set her in the bathtub and his mother followed them. Lois thanked him and in answer Clark gave her a light kiss on her lips. "I'll wait outside." She nodded and at that same time her stomach rumbled noisily. An embarrassed smile appeared on Lois' face "I guess I'm a bit hungry too…" she apologized.
"Lois, when was the last time you ate?"
"Mmm, let me think… Tuesday dinner… "
"What?! Well, how about this, you have your bath and I'll go make something for you…"
"Clark, if she hasn't eaten in so long, you have to make something light…"
"I'll make the best chicken soup you've ever had in your life!" he said as he was going out the door.
Lois smiled while Martha helped her to slip off the T-shirt and the bandages that the doctor had administered. Her ribs and back were almost scary, she had lots of livid marks on the area and some cuts besides.
"You poor dear, what did they do to you…?" the older woman whispered. "Is the water OK?"
"It's perfect, thanks. It's over, right? I mean, Superman is safe, *Clark* is safe."
Martha stared at her awhile in order to try to understand why Lois had joined those two statements.
"I was so worried for him, I mean for Clark, you have no idea how scared I was when I saw him on the bluff. I haven't a clue how he found us… Oh, God… I said horrible things about him. That thug and his men were there and they wanted to force me to call Superman, they were armed, and I had the precipice behind me, then suddenly I saw Clark and one of those crazy men had a rifle pointed at his back. They asked if he knew how to contact Superman… Clark looked at me… I felt as if I had died. It was like they had asked him to choose between me and his best friend… no, in fact that is what they did… I couldn't let him live with this guilt… I turned toward their leader and I started to laugh. He approached me and forced me closer to the edge of the precipice…"
/*/ "What's so funny, b
"You want to know where *Superman* is and you ask a stupid farm boy? Look at him… he came here alone and unarmed… he's an imbecile!" /*/
"…I swear to you, Martha, I never thought that about Clark… it was only in order to protect him… to make that man mad… He's a good reporter… he has great instincts… and he's so sweet… It was only to protect him!"
"I know, Lois, and Clark knows it too, do you want to tell me what happened next?"
"I kept laughing, saying the joke was on them, until he got angry and I fell down…"
/*/ "You're very good at laughing… let's see if you're that good at crying!" the leader said as he turned toward his men.
"Get the rifles with the Kryptonite rounds ready!" Then he turned to Lois. "Are you sure you don't want to tell us how to call that filthy alien?" Lois turned toward Clark with a horrified gaze, but then she smiled at him, and with a challenging gaze turned toward her captor. She knew she would be unable to bear new tortures, it was too big a risk. She turned towards Clark, lifting a hand in a small gesture of farewell, and then she simply stepped back over the precipice. /*/
"…One moment later Clark was there, he had thrown himself over too… " the tears started to roll down her cheeks uncontrollably, "…and then he was holding me tightly, and I felt so good… I was sure I was going to die… but I felt so good just being in his arms… then there was the impact with the water… it wasn't as violent as I expected… I guess Clark softened it for me with his body… but I haven't a clue how it could happen… then everything became confused… I can't remember what really happened, and what I dreamt… I can't remember…"
"Honey, you had a fall from a great height and then you went into the ocean during this season when no one would think of going swimming. You were wet and tired and, judging by your stomach, very hungry…" Lois laughed, her stomach was making itself known again. "Everything will be all right… do you want me to wash your hair too?"
"Yeah…" it was almost a prayer. "I feel like a salt statue!" When she felt the warm water flowing over her hair she moaned with pleasure. "I'm starting to feel… human again."
Downstairs, Clark put the chicken in the broth to cook. He paid all his attention to it, even helping to bring the water to a boil with his heat vision. When this was ready, he put some spaghetti in with it. It had been quite some time since he had left Lois in the bathroom. He ran upstairs and walked into the bedroom. He heard the water running for a while and then it stopped. He didn't listen in, he refused to eavesdrop on whatever Lois and his mother had shared. He was planning to wait patiently for them when he realized that no one had thought about clothes for her. At that same time Martha opened the door.
"Perfect, you're already here. Can you take her back to bed?"
He walked slowly into the bathroom, Lois was trying to tie her robe firmly around her but every time she did this she winced from pain.
Clark approached her, trying not to look where the robe had opened, letting him have a glimpse of her breast, almost completely bared to his gaze.
Lois blushed, feeling herself lifted into his arms once again and she hid her face in his shoulder. How had she been able to fight these feelings for so long? At that moment, cradled in his arms, she felt like she was in paradise.
"Your fever is rising again… you're hot! Now I'll get your dinner and then you're going back to sleep!!!"
"Yes, Dad!!!" She stopped suddenly. "PERRY!… we have to call him! He'll be worried to death!!!"
"We sent him an email… early this morning… it wasn't safe to phone."
"When is this story going to end?"
"You'll see… it'll end soon…" He made her lie down on the mattress.
"I'd hoped it had ended with Trask's death…"
Clark caressed her head. "I'll be back with Italian chicken soup…" and he was gone. She hadn't realized how quickly Clark could move.
A couple of moments later he was back with a tray full of steaming soup, a large piece of bread, crackers, a carafe of water and a glass, some pieces of fruit and a slice of cake.
Lois didn't eat very much, but it was enough to give her a bit more energy. She turned toward Martha and saw her yawn. "I'm sorry, I've stolen your bed… I can't stay here… you were both woken up very early and now…"
"Lois, calm down… there is plenty of time before we have to sleep… and we'll manage what…"
"I'll put her in my room, problem solved!"
"No, Clark. You need sleep as much as I do!"
"I'm going to sleep on the couch… don't worry… It's not a problem!"
"Are you sure?"
Clark rolled his eyes. "You know, I almost preferred it when you treated me bad!" he said, giving her a quick kiss on her lips. He slipped his hands under her and lifted her carefully in order to move her to his room.
"Wow," she whispered.
"I find amazing the way you are able to lift me… I mean… you're not seeming to make any effort…"
"Well, you aren't that heavy… and I am pretty strong!"
"I didn't know you were also so… modest…"
"You know… that's my best quality!" They both laughed as Clark's hand opened his bedroom door.
"You are really very different when you are here in Smallville… like that last time… you were so… so relaxed."
"I'm home… "
Lois smiled, shivering. Clark took notice of this and saw that the robe she was wearing was a bit damp. He set her on the bed and got out a T-shirt and a pair of sleep shorts.
Lois smiled, a little embarrassed. "Thanks… "
"I'll wait outside while you dress… "
Lois watched him leave the room. For the whole time, since she had left the bathroom, Clark had made every effort to avoid looking at her body where the robe parted and left her bare to his gaze, until she had stopped feeling embarrassed about it. But she realized it anyway and she dressed quickly. Her head was starting to spin a bit, but she tried not to think about it. When she was finished, Lois called to Clark.
Clark made her lie down, almost forcing her to sleep. He watched her for almost an hour, then he silently went downstairs , switched on the PC and started to search the Internet looking for any information possible on the men who had done this to Lois. This time he had very few clues to start with. He was so worried for Lois. He didn't want her taking any more risks. He worked a couple of hours and then decided it was time get some sleep too.
/*/ Lois had her notes in her hand while she waited for a cab outside the Planet that evening. She had worked at this article for the better part of the day. She had eaten a sandwich earlier and now she was starving. She decided she was going to order a pizza. Well, maybe a whole pizza was too much, but she could always save a slice or two for breakfast. Of course if Clark were with her she'd be even happier. It has been just a few days into his absence and she already realized just how important Clark was becoming in her life. He had been away almost a week, only two more days and he'd be back again. Good. Of course she was never going to admit that to him, but she felt so happy to be writing as a team, happier than she had felt her whole life.
She asked herself how, that first day in Perry's office, she had been able to avoid noticing him. One thing was for sure, since she had looked into his chocolate-colored eyes her life hadn't been the same.
Lois felt, rather than saw, the two men behind her, but as soon as she realized that, one of them had already caught her and the other was covering her mouth with a cloth. The strong smell emanating from the cloth made her feel suddenly tired. In a few seconds her eyes closed, her papers slipped from her hands, scattering on the ground. The men easily carried her to a waiting van that was parked quite close.
Lois woke up some hours later, she was lying on the floor, her wrists tied behind her back while her ankles were tied with ropes. She started to wake up before she was able to open her eyes. She remembered that she hadn't come here and this was somewhere she had never been, the noises around her didn't seem familiar, or from any of the places she had ever been.
She was able to hear a voice, a really threatening voice, that scared her more than she was ready to admit.
"We have the reporter, we'll find some way to make her talk, you'll see… she's not so tough… scare her with some well placed blows and you'll see, she will tell us where we can find the alien…" Her brain came to full attention instantly. They wanted SUPERMAN!!!
"I'd say by tomorrow we'll find him… and kill him. NO mercy…" Lois felt her heart explode. NO!!! They wanted to kill her hero, her ideal man, the gentlest man on the planet. WHY?!?!?!
She heard steps approaching. "Oh, our guest has woken up… we'll talk later!"
Lois felt a man's grip on her arms and she was forced to get up. She stared at him and saw him laugh. "Don't look at me with that defiant look, baby… you still don't know who you're dealing with!"
Lois didn't let her gaze drop.
"We know you have quite a relationship with that alien, tell us where he is!"
"The only thing I know that was alien was that sandwich I had for lunch!"
The man slapped her in the face so hard that she fell to the ground, then, as before, he pulled her to her feet.
"Tell us where the alien is! Or we are going to have to convince you!"
"Superman is certainly more human than you!"
Another blow, this time to her stomach.
"People a lot stronger than you have tried to resist… none have been able to do it."
"It's useless! I've never been able to contact Superman!"
"Trask thought you were probably the only one who was able to contact him!"
"Trask was a madman! He threw me out of a plane!" Another blow.
"Just answer the question! If you are able to tell me how you contact Superman it means that his theory wasn't wrong."
Lois wanted so much to call Superman, to be able to get away from this awful place, but the only thing that this man offered as help was the memory of Jason Trask. She turned to look around the room; spread around she saw many areas lighted by a sickly green glow. It could be only one thing: Kryptonite!
Lois told herself that she had to avoid calling Superman at all costs. The world needed him a lot more than it needed her. In that moment she made the hardest decision of her life.
Her chest, her back, her face, every part of her body was hurting. It had been going on for hours. Lois didn't care about the tears that she was sometimes unable to stop. Her only thought was not to cry out, in order to avoid having Superman hear her.
The man in front of her started to become tired. Then suddenly he stopped her questioning and left. Her exhausted gaze followed him. He wasn't an ugly man. If only he had a better character. He was young and violent. She saw him joined by another man, who had been spying on them through a one-way mirror. It was darker than where Lois was but she knew someone else was there. She had seen the glow of his cigarettes during all her interrogation. And she was also able to hear the young man's angry voice, but it was too hard for her to concentrate on what they were speaking about. She was too tired. Lois felt as if she were going to faint, but she was tied so firmly that there was little chance that she would fall.
She was unable to hear what was being said by the two men. She could see that the guy who was questioning her was quite angry. The other man had to be his superior. Both of them seemed to be a strange mix between gravediggers and FBI agents. Lois needed to delete her fear so she tried to imagine them with funny ties on their dark clothes. Maybe ties with big pink pigs with blue jackets on them. Even Clark would refuse to wear such ties. And this thought made her smile. He had such strange taste in ties. She told herself that if she survived she would have to ask her friend why his choices were so bizarre… Who knew, maybe he was color blind.
//Clark, I don't want it to end this way between us!!! Not this way!!! But I'm sure you'll understand!! Superman is your best friend! You'd do the same thing, wouldn't you?!//
Lois didn't realize that she had fainted until a bucketful of ice water brought her suddenly to her senses.
"Now, again. Where is Superman?"
"I don't know!! I never knew that!! I've never been able to contact him!!!"
"And who has saved you, up until now?"
"It was just luck! HE came at the right moment…"
"Ohhh, Really? And how do you think that happened?"
"He told me once that he had really good hearing…"
"Stop saying that b$%&*!"
Lois took a deep breath without answering. The pain she was feeling helped her to make it, and she started to cough.
"I want to know how to find him!"
"I don't know!"
"All right, if you don't know, then who does know?!"
//Clark… no… I can't betray him!!!// But the fear in her eyes betrayed her thoughts.
"Well then, you tell me who he is and we'll invite him to this fun little party! Tell us who he is and we'll let you go."
"I don't know anyone able to contact Superman!!!!" Lois had a few seconds of not being able to draw a breath. The man had hit her with such force she thought her body wasn't going to be able to resist. She wondered how much more of this she could take.
The man threw another bucket of ice water on her. All this water. She almost groaned when she felt all the water rolling down her body. It was a double torture. Cold and thirst. She was tempted to beg the man in front of her to let her drink. But it would be useless and this would put her in a worse situation. She knew this man would use this need against her. But now the cold was becoming even worse that the thirst. Trying to avoid shivering was impossible, and her wet clothes and the ropes were affecting her more then the water itself. Lois had the temptation to suck the water from her jacket, but the way she was tied impeded that.
"You know, for a while there I believed you! Instead, now I'm starting to think you are covering for someone! And it's not only the alien!"
"But what has he done to you?"
"He's an invader! He's the advance guard… but the others are going to arrive!"
"His race is extinct!"
"That's what he says!"
"He's never lied!"
"Really? Then where is he hiding?"
"I don't know!"
"Then he lied to you."
"Then you know where he is?"
"No… but… "
"If you don't know where the alien is then that means he's not honest with you… so he lied to you!"
"He would never hurt us!"
The man hit her once again "Sucker!"
"You don't know him!! He's so HUMAN!! He loves this planet!"
Another blow, this time it was so violent that it made her faint.
Lois awoke hours later. She noticed that the light in her room had changed. She was cold and hungry.
She eventually realized that she was alone and tried to free herself, but the more she tried to loosen the ropes, the tighter they became around her wrists.
She heard the door open with a bang.
"Oh, our guest is awake! Did you sleep well?!" Lois shot him a glance full of hate.
"You'd better be careful with that look; you could kill someone!" he said mockingly.
"If only I could do it!" She saw the man approach the column she was tied against. He was now in front of her, with a knife in his hands.
"Do you want to do this the hard way?" There was no response from Lois. "OK, as you prefer."
Lois felt the cold of the blade against the skin of her neck, then felt the knife tip slide along her chest above her clothes. She held her breath when the cold blade touched her skin at the end of her shirt. She felt its iced tip run over her belly.
The man now made it move under her clothes.
Lois wasn't wasn't able to avoid trembling.
Then the last button of her shirt flew away under the pressure of the knife. The man's hand was raising her shirt. He had a funny smile on his face.
The blade's touch became harder and she felt the pain that the tip made on her abdomen where it scratched her. That man wasn't stabbing her, he was trying to scare her, to make her talk.
Lois moaned but she did not speak. The man in front of her turned to look at someone she was unable to see from her position. Angry, he brought the knife up near her throat again.
"If you don't talk… I swear I'll really hurt you… so much that you can't even imagine!"
Lois heard the sound of footsteps approaching. He must be the same man that she'd seen before, the one who had been hidden in the darkness. He, again, had a cigarette between his lips.
"You have to understand, Miss Lane, that we are just trying to save the Earth. This alien has to be eliminated!"
"This *alien* is the only positive thing that has happened to our planet!"
"And what if he, for some unknown reason, became crazy? If he became power hungry, who could stop him?"
"It won't happen. He doesn't want the power!"
"You are so naive!"
"I'm a realist! You two are the crazy ones!"
"Miss Lane, it's not safe to talk like that, our friend could become angry."
"This one isn't a friend of mine!"
"You are quite strong, Miss Lane, and a good reporter too, but you can play around too much!"
"You're as crazy as Trask was before you."
"A real pity to lose Jason in that way…"
"Well… I didn't cry very much! He wanted to kill a friend of mine! In fact, he wanted to kill his whole family!"
"Maybe Trask was a bit overzealous!"
"Why don't you kill me now and we can stop this stupid fooling around? I'd never tell you how to contact Superman, even if I did know it!"
"For me, it's enough that you can cry, Miss Lane… and then your friend will come anyway."
Lois couldn't avoid staring at him. Her head was firmly tied to the column. The man made a gesture toward the younger one, who after a minute, returned with a bucket. he pulled from the bucket what looked like a leather strip, very similar to a wide belt, then he looked at Lois with an amused expression he picked up the bucket and slowly poured the ice water over Lois' head.
Lois held her breath at the sudden freezing contact. She was able to feel the ice cubes rolling down her body. "It certainly seems a pity to waste all this water, doesn't it?"
Lois almost cried seeing all the water create a puddle under her feet. Ironic, she was completely wet and her mouth was almost completely dry.
Well then, Miss Lane, would you kindly call Superman?"
"No, even if it was the last thing in the world I could do!" she said firmly, without moving her eyes.
At the older man's gesture, the younger one approached Lois and the leather strip was tied tightly around her head. It was so cold, as if it wasn't enough that the water already made her feel cold. After he finished tightening it around her head he tied a rope around her head, to prevent any other movement. Lois could feel the iced water drip on her face.
"We'll see… do you know what's happening to you? In a while, you'll think you've gone crazy. Trust me, I know what I'm talking about… Well, if you decide to collaborate with us in order to save the world, all you have to do is call us, or at least call your friend."
Lois couldn't move her head. She was scared like she had never been in all her life. She knew these men were not joking. She heard the door slam as they went out. She was trembling, as much from the cold as from fear. She could hear the noise of her teeth chattering, but she was unable to stop herself. It was so cold!
She wondered again, how much more of this she could resist. She wondered how she was going to resist if she was hit as much tomorrow as she had been that day. She wondered if she was going to die soon. She wondered how much longer she could survive without putting Superman in danger, or worse, Clark.
Everything seemed so calm. Time passed and her dress was drying. If only that leather strip wasn't tied around her head. It was still wet, it started to annoy her. Something about the taut feel of the belt against her skin prickled at her mind, the vague notion that she was in trouble, that something bad was on its way, but she couldn't focus on it, couldn't bring it close. It was too cold. She was too tired and she hurt too much.
Time passed very slowly. God. How much tighter was this damn strip going to get! She tried to push against the column in order to make it slip away, but it was useless. Her mind started to wander. Strange thoughts were overlapping in her mind. She couldn't avoid thinking about Superman, but she also couldn't avoid thinking about Clark.
Clark's gaze when she was under the spell of Miranda's perfume and Superman's when he was under the same effect and he declared his love for her. Clark's hug when that assassin tried to kill her in her apartment, the way Superman had rescued her from the vault where the invisible robber had trapped her. And then Clark's laugh and the austere distance Superman sometimes tried to keep from her.
God, what a headache!!! Why was it hurting so much?
The door opened suddenly, making her jump.
"Well then, have you decided to call your friend? Oh, the strip is still not tight enough?"
Lois was unable to figure out how they could know how tight it was.
The man approached her and touched the leather. Lois was unable to suppress a shudder.
"Well maybe… it's still too wet to hurt, you know? The more it dries, the tighter it will get around your little head; you'll think your head is going to explode. And then it will hurt more and more… and then more… always more; so why don't you avoid all this pain and tell us where we can find him?"
"I don't know how to contact Superman! I've never known how to do it and I don't know anyone able to do it!" The man punched Lois in the stomach once again. Lois wondered if she even still had one.
"We'll see how you'll think in a couple of hours."
"I don't know how to find him; I can't put myself in contact with him. I don't know anybody able to do it."
"Then why don't you ask for help? I'd guess one 'Help Superman!' would be enough."
Lois closed her eyes, trying to take a deep breath. The man gave her another blow with his hand in the same place where he had hurt her with the knife. Lois closed her eyes tight, trying not to feel the growing pain she felt in most parts of her body. The man went away without seeing the two big tears rolling down her face.
She had to slip the leather strip off her head somehow. It was now her only thought as it tightened more and more. She tried to exert leverage on the rope that was holding her against the column. She felt the rough plaster scratch her back, but it was nothing compared to the pain she felt from the strip. She had taken more than an hour to make it move a couple of millimeters, but she was already able to feel relief. The leather was now almost completely dry, but to her good fortune, it was also more rigid, so it was easier to move.
She could only move a few millimeters, the ropes were so tight around her. She spent what seemed like endless hours before she was able to slip the strip from her head. In this way, the rope holding her to the column also grew loose, not a lot, just millimeters, but it was enough it allowed her to breathe a bit easier.
Then, exhausted from the effort, she fell asleep, or maybe she fainted, she would never be able to say which it was.
When she woke, up she realized that it was already a new day outside. She saw both of the men standing just in front of her.
"Frankly, Miss Lane, I admire you. I would never have that imagined you would be able to slip that strip from your head, and I never bet that you would be able to resist this long. But how long do you think you'll be able to do that? We could torture you. Pull out your fingernails, burn you with hot irons…" Lois' eyes looked terrified. "Or maybe something like this,. but why don't you reflect on that for a little while? I'll give you another couple of hours… then we'll talk with you again. Perhaps you'll have found a little more of your memory of how to contact Superman."
The next hours were the longest of Lois' life. Any noise, no matter how small, made her jump. She was also very cold. She had hoped that the sun would warm the room as much as possible, but this was winter. How could the sun be so warm? What she wouldn't give if only Superman would come and take her away. But with all the Kryptonite, Superman would surely be dead before he would be able to take more than a couple of steps toward her.
When the door opened, she was ready to face the worst. This time, the younger man entered alone.
"So? Have you decided to help us?" Lois looked at him with hate in her eyes but did not speak. "I already told you not to look at me that way!" Lois turned her head away from him and at that same moment regretted it. She realized her little moment of weakness gave him a lot of power, for the first time since she was there she did what he asked. It was a little thing but she realized he noticed that too.
"You see, honey, if you want to you can be smart." The man was now in front of her, laughing, his gun pointed at her head. Lois thought that it was going to be the last thing she was going to see in her life. She tried to focus on Clark's image. For some moments Lois was too scared to close her eyes. She was desperately trying to hide her terror.
The man made the same request for the umpteenth time, "How can we contact Superman!"
Lois again opened her eyes, trying to be calm, and answered "*I* *don't* *know* *how* *to* *contact* *Superman*!"
She saw the man move the gun a couple of inches, she heard the bullet move past her ear and penetrate the column behind her. She opened her eyes wide. The man moved the gun back to in front of her face.
"Now then, where is he? Please answer me, it would be a real pity to have to blast your pretty face."
Lois' voice trembled when she repeated, "I don't know how to contact Superman."
"OK, if that's what you want!" Lois could hear the shot explode. She saw all her life run in front of her eyes as if it was a movie, all in a single instant. It seemed an endless amount of time before she was able to once again open her eyes. She saw the barrel pointed at her. The man moved it and his face was barely an inch apart from hers.
"The next time, honey, the bullet may be real… are you wondering!?" He turned and walked away. This time Lois was unable to help herself and she started to sob. She cried for a long time, so much that in the end, in that position, she had trouble breathing. She felt like she might suffocate and it was long minutes later before she was able to draw an almost regular breath.
By now she had lost all sense of time. She was so tired. The door opened but she didn't have the strength to look up. There were two men, the same two as always, standing directly in front of her. The younger man inserted his arms between her and the column, Lois moaned. The man moved her wrists towards himself and cut the ropes that were holding them. Her arms slipped along her side while she took a deep breath, it turned out to be too deep though and she started to cough. The men looked at each other then the older one made a gesture. The younger one caught Lois' wrists again and tied them as tightly as they had been earlier, but this time they were in front of her. Then he made sure that Lois' right arm was turned so that the inner portion was exposed to them.
Clark was sleeping deeply when a voice invaded his brain, waking him. Lois was singing, not loudly, just a little bit above a whisper. But it was late; why would she be singing at all? He was by her side in a flash. Her fever was again very high and in her delirium she kept singing and talking.
*Would you like to swing on a star
carry moonbeams home in jar
or be better off than you are
or would you rather be a mule
A mule is an animal with long funny ears
he picks up at anything he hears
His back is brawny and his brain is weak
he's just plain stupid with a stubborn streak
and by the way if you hate to go to school
You may grow up to be a mule
Oh would you like to swing on a star
carry moonbeams home in jar
or be better off than you are
or would you rather be a fish
A fish is an animal that swims in a brook
He can't write his name or read a book
To fool the people is his only thought
and though he's slippery he still gets caught
but if that's the kind of life that you wish
you may grow up to be a fish.*
/*/ The man approached her with a syringe in his hand.
Lois had been tied so long that she could feel her wrists burning. They had also started to bleed, but she preferred not to look at them.
"Are you going to tell us where we can find Superman or do we do this the hard way?"
//Hard way? They've only been hitting me since I got here!// "I already told you… I DON'T KNOW HOW TO CONTACT SUPERMAN! I've already told you!"
Another violent blow caused her to turn her head. How many blows had she already sustained? She had lost count.
"We'll see if you know what this is? A long time ago it was very common… but you know, sometimes the old ways are the best ways… it's fans call it truth serum."
Lois shivered. How could she fight this one. She had to think very quickly. the only thing she could do would be to keep her mind busy. She felt the needle penetrate her vein.
'God, help me! Help me not to betray Clark! I don't want to put him in danger!'
The older man stared at her for the longest time. Then with an icy calm, he approached to within a few inches from her ear and asked, "What's your name, darling."
"Cat-woman!" she answered with disdain.
"Try again. What's your name?"
"C…" She wasn't able to complete that thought. "Lois" was all she was able to say.
"OK, now we try it with another question. Do you know how to contact Superman?"
"I already told you;. I know how to do it!" On her face was written panic, this was getting dangerous. What would Perry say to her in this situation? Surely he would tell her one of his Elvis stories… Elvis! HE was the answer!!!
"And now? If you want to be alive tomorrow, you'll have to tell me how we can do it."
Lois started to sing, not caring that the man in front of her was hitting her badly all over her body. She didn't sing loudly, it was barely a whisper, but she sang in order to keep her mind busy, so that the serum could not make her talk.
She sang for an endless time, after she finished with all the Elvis songs she knew, she moved on to other, more silly songs.
*Would you like to swing on a star (**)
carry moonbeams home in jar
or be better off than you are
or would you rather be a pig
A pig is an animal with dirt on his face
his shoes are a terrible disgrace
He has no manners when he eats his food
He's fat and lazy and extremely rude
But if you don't care a feather or a fig
you may grow up to be a pig
And all the monkeys aren't in the zoo
everyday you meet quite a few
so come on it's all up to you,
you could be better than you are
you could be swinging on a star, (big finish)
YOU COULD BE SWINGING ON A STAR
do do do do do do do dooooo *
Clark was unable to make her stop. He dipped a towel into cold water and started bathing her face and arms. He held her close to him, trying to calm her down. He went to the bathroom many times for fresh water with which to bathe her fevered body. After a while Martha was woken by the sound of the running water.
"I'm sorry, Mom. I didn't mean to wake you, but her fever is high again…"
"It's not a problem, sweetie, you know that. Doc said this could happen. She is very weak and usually a fever rises during the night. I'll go get her medicine. We have to make her take it then she'll be better. By the way, Doc is going to come over here again tomorrow to check on her."
*Whenthedayislongandthenight, thenightisyoursalone (*)
Whenyou'resureyou'vehadenoughof thislife, wellhangon
Whenyourday isnightalone (holdon, holdon)
Everybodycries, everybodyhurts, sometimes
everybodyhurtssometimessoholdon, holdon, holdon,
Holdon, holdon, holdon, holdon, holdon,
"You aren't alone, Lois, I'm here with you… for you…"
"Oh, Lucy, I miss Clark so much…"
"Honey… I'm here…"
"Clark… Clark… NO!"
…and in that same moment Dillinger's gun roared. Lois saw Clark's expression change in wonder. She had heard about it, when you are shot, the pain doesn't come for a while. She saw him drop and tried to accompany his fall to the ground. Her tears helped her to see him clearly. She kept calling his name, not caring about what was happening around her.
A moment later those men were carrying him away without even giving her enough time to tell him she loved him. Not even giving her enough time to hold her dying friend's hand.
"Lucy! You don't understand!. I never told him, I never told him how much I loved him!!! And now it's too late…he died… and I couldn't even hold him in my arms when it happened."
"Please! Lois, forgive me. I never meant it… I never wanted you to suffer… If only I could go back…" he said, holding her tightly. He understood that she was reliving his 'death'.
Martha and Clark had to force her to take her medicine. Lois, who seemed not to realize what was happening, rebelled with all her strength, almost as if she were being poisoned. She started to sing again and again it was barely a whisper. Clark held her in his arms the same way he had the previous night, cradling her almost like she were a child, whispering to her of his love and telling her of all the wonderful places he would take her. Several hours flew by before the fever broke and her delirium calmed. By the first light of the new day, she seemed normal again.
Lois tried to stretch herself and she smiled when, upon opening her eyes, she saw Clark sleeping close to her. She stared at him for a long while. His one arm was around her waist and the other one was buried in her hair. He was so gorgeous, but there was something different about his face. His glasses were twisted, they had probably moved while he was sleeping. She gently slipped them off, taking care not to wake him . She stared at him carefully then and suddenly her mind let her see the truth.
"Oh, my God!" she whispered. 'Clark is Superman, Clark is Superman!!'
This explained why he was so vague when she asked how they had gotten to Smallville. This also explained how Superman could be always in the right place at the right time and why Clark vanished so often and his lame excuses for his mysterious disappearances. 'Oh my! I really saved his life.' If they had caught him, they wouldn't have needed much time to figure out he was Superman with all that Kryptonite she knew those crazy men had. They wouldn't have had to make too much of an effort to kill him.
//And now? What am I going to do now?//
Clark breathed deeply for a moment before waking. Lois stared at him with a smile on her face.
"Hi. Good morning…"
"How are you?"
"A lot of better…"
"You had a high fever, you rambled all night…"
A mischievous light burned in her eyes. "I didn't let you sleep all night, did I? That's a pity; but that is not the way I had in mind to keep you awake, you know?"
Clark laughed, kissing her. "I adore you!"
"Me too. Even if… I don't know if I like you more with or without the glasses, but I'm sure I love you more with Clark's hat hair than with Superman's hair."
"Lois, when did you… I don't have hat hair!"
"Just a few minutes ago… and yeah, you have hat hair."
"Are you angry?"
"No… yes… I don't know… Probably I'm too tired to be angry. But, I know I love you… and oh my! it's so good it's scary…"
"I want to spend the rest of my life with you… and that scares me."
"Lois, I've loved you since the moment I saw you. When you burst into Perry's office… I knew you were the one I wanted to spend my life with."
"I have an excellent way to prove it…" Again that mischievous glint was in her eyes.
"Lois?!" His voice was half embarrassed, half amused.
"Well, it was just a suggestion…" she said, in the tone of a just rebuked child.
"I love your suggestions!" They started to kiss, but a moment later she stopped suddenly. "Clark, the article for the Planet!"
"I don't think I like your ideas…"
"Come on, grab paper and a pen."
"Then we won't have any interruptions—later…" In less than a second Clark was again sitting next to her with a notebook and a pen.
He smiled and kissed her again. "I'm a man who is full of surprises…"
This was, to be sure, the most pleasant article they'd ever written in their lives. It was almost a miracle that they managed to finish it. Every statement was punctuated by a kiss or a laugh or a caress.
"Clark? There is something I need to know. When you came to the cliff, you weren't wearing the suit… I mean *you* came, not Superman."
"I understand. You want to know how I realized it was a trap?" She nodded.
"When that man phoned me I heard you moan. I was so worried. I had been looking for you for a day and a half; I'd x-rayed all of Metropolis, but I hadn't thought about the old lighthouse. By the way, I didn't notice how strange that call was until I heard you moan…"
/*/ Lois looked at the men again coming toward her. Each step bringing them closer and closer to her. She wondered if he was really walking that slowly or if she were just too tired. //Please, stop!!//
"Well, Lois? You still don't want to help us? However you prefer, but you will help us, sooner or later…"
Lois saw him pull out his cell phone and dial a number.
"One…two…" The man was counting the rings. "Three… Hello? Daily Planet?"
Lois heard her heart beat crazily, it seemed ready to explode.
"I need your help…" Lois could hear the false worry in his voice. "You are Mr. Kent, aren't you? They've caught Lois Lane! They are sure she can contact Superman!!! I know they are going to kill her! I don't know if you are able to contact Superman, but please do all you can. He's her only hope; and, Mr. Kent, you're the only one I can trust!"
Tears were rolling relentlessly down Lois' cheeks. //Leave Clark out of this… leave him out!!// she begged mentally. //I don't want him to feel responsible!//
The man was silent for a while, as though he was listening to what Clark was saying.
"Tell your friend that she is being held hostage in the old lighthouse keepers' cottage, 30 miles north of Metropolis. I haven't a clue about her current condition, but I do know this, they are unscrupulous people!!"
The man was a few inches from Lois and while his voice sounded really worried, he was caressing her hair. Lois tried to draw away but her ropes were too tight to allow much movement. The only sound she was able to mutter was a soft moan.
Lois stared at him through her tears. She saw him end the phone call and then he looked at her with a sort of smile. "It would have been easier if you had talked, you would be saving him a lot of pain."
'"I couldn't cry out, They had gagged me, but he was so close… I was so scared! Clark, I didn't want you to feel guilty. Clark, I didn't want them to catch you too, and when I saw you…" Clark held her in his arms when he realized she was unable to continue.
"Honey, it's over… it's over! I arrived in a blur. I was going to enter, but I felt the Kryptonite… There was a lot of it, I guess. I saw you through a window and I tried to go in, but I was barely able to fly. I knew it was a trap. If I had come in, they would have killed us both. So I left so I could get my strength back. I needed more than half of an hour in order to recover enough to decrease the effect of that. I barely was able to walk for minutes. I lost completely almost every power. Then I thought that they were waiting for Superman, not Clark, so I slipped off the suit. Then I heard them take you out of the cottage and bring you to that bluff. They said they would make you cry out and that Superman would surely hear you, or that I would find him and he would be there anyway. I wanted to get you away from there a lot earlier, if only I had been able to, but I couldn't fly and…"
Lois caressed his cheek. "You saved my life, anyway I never would have survived that fall if you hadn't been there with me. Clark, I guess you haven't a clue how I felt as we were falling down…" then she added in a whisper, "I was so happy to be able to die in your arms." Clark kissed her and held her.
"Honey, you need your rest now. All you have to think about now is getting better."
The next day
Lois looked at him, laughing. She always knew it was fun talking with Clark, but now he could really be himself with her, and that was really incredible. Lois couldn't remember when she had laughed so much in her life. She was still sore from her ordeal, but she really did feel a lot better. Suddenly, Clark jumped up and in a flash he was standing by the windows.
"I think they're coming—Bureau 39 agents! Come with me, quickly!"
"Where? It's daylight out there; they would see you fly!"
"I know. After what happened with Trask, my father and I built a shelter. We have to go there."
"OK, but what about your parents?"
"I don't think they're in any danger. Trask died before he was able to tell anyone I'm Superman and nobody saw Superman help the Kents, but I need to warn them." He opened what Lois had thought was a wall and helped her inside.
"Wait here, I'll be right back."
Clark was back in a couple of minutes. They heard cars stop in front of the house. Clark had brought with him all of their clothes and anything else that could prove that they had been there, then he put his arms around Lois and helped her down the long tunnel.
Lois didn't speak, but Clark was able to hear her heart beating furiously.
Their descent stopped when they reached an area deep under the house.
"We're below the level of the cellar here, it's a little cold, but there are blankets and everything else we'll need."
"Clark? I'm concerned for Martha and Jonathan!"
"I know, so am I, but I'm keeping an eye on the situation. I'm listening to everything they say… so if something goes wrong, I'll go upstairs. But this time you have to promise you'll stay here… you have to swear it! If they have Kryptonite, I can't protect you. If anything is going to happen, this is a safe place; they won't find you here."
"Don't talk like that." He kissed her to stop her protests.
"Everything will be OK…" He turned his face up towards the ceiling and then his eyes began to twinkle. "Mom's a great actress!"
"Why? What's happening upstairs?"
"Their leader just asked about us, and if she knows how to contact Superman, and she is pretending a panic attack… 'Where is my son? Where's my baby' I love this woman!! He paused. "Damn!"
"Doc just pulled up." Clark was quiet, listening to what was going on upstairs.
The doctor was a smart man, all these cars and trucks made him a bit suspicious. He came into the house as soon as he knocked.
Hi, Jonathan, Martha. I just came over to check up on you. You should still be in bed. I'll have to recommend that you find another doctor if you can't follow my orders!"
Martha gave a deep sigh of relief. "Yes, I'll do that, as soon as these 'gentlemen' leave."
"Not so quick, Mrs. Kent. Where are you hiding them?"
"What are you talking about?"
"I'm pretty sure, it's a perfect place here. No one to see Superman land, it's secluded and quiet…" He motioned for his men to start searching the house for either the reporters or Superman. " It'll be better for you if you tell me where they are!"
"Listen to me very carefully! You can't come in here, tell us that something has happened to our son and his partner, then threaten us, and unleash your trained dogs to search our place! You can play the bully all you want, but you've probably never seen an angry mother! If you try to hurt Clark or his friend you'll have to answer to me!"
"Calm down, Mrs. Kent. Nobody wants to hurt your son, as long as he's not Superman!"
Martha laughed but was now calmer. "If Clark was Superman… well, he was really shameless about avoiding all the work here on the farm. Thanks so much, Mr. Whateveryouare, this summer we're going to make him work harder!"
"Martha, honey, calm down!" Jonathan was worried that his wife was pushing things too far.
"Now, if you'll excuse me. I think you've been in our house too long." She grabbed the phone and dialed the Smallville police. "Martha Kent here."
"Put the phone down…"
"The police will be here in no time. You know it comes in handy when you've known the sheriff since she was in diapers."
"You are playing with fire."
"And you are playing with my son's life!"
"Chief, no one's here. No trace of Superman, nor the two reporters, but we found this…" The man showed him an album filled with newspaper clippings, all of them about Superman.
"Well, I can see you have a real interest in this alien."
"Martha… Mrs. Kent, is everything all right? Hello??" The police officer sounded alarmed.
"Please let me speak with the sheriff, it's very urgent!" Martha turned toward the man in front of her. "An extreme interest, when every one of those is from the Daily Planet and the articles were written by my son. Oh, how silly of me. I didn't let you have the fun of figuring that out for yourself. I'm sorry…"
"Mrs. Kent? Are you all right? What can I do for you?" Sheriff Harris was worried for Martha, this was the first time she had called her at work.
"We have a big problem here at the farm… *unwelcome* guests…"
"I'll be right there!"
"Very funny, Mrs. Kent, but do you really believe that a country sheriff can stop us?"
"Well, Trask was stopped by her. I'm tired of all this. Who do you think you are? You come in here with guns drawn and threaten two old people… what do you want to do? Do what Trask did? He tied us up and almost set us on fire. Is that what you want to do to us? Or maybe you'll tie us to an ant hill?"
"You're pretty brave, Mrs. Kent, but I don't think you understand the seriousness of the situation."
"I don't think you understand. Superman is so powerful, he could have the world at his feet, but instead of seeking power, he saves the world instead. By the way, do you remember when he destroyed the Nightfall asteroid? Well, I thanked him for that; can I say the same about you?"
In the silence that was the country, the sirens from the sheriff's car echoed loudly.
"There is nothing here for us, now, but I warn you; we will be back—someday."
"Pray that my son is safe, otherwise you should be the one who is worried, you can be sure of that, I'm a lot more dangerous than Superman!"
Jonathan and the doctor were staring at Martha, completely shocked. Never had they seen Martha so firm in all her life. They were afraid for her, and down in the shelter Clark was too.
While he was listening to everything that happened above, his fear grew as he realized that he was losing his powers. He realized that he was weakening quickly.
Lois felt him tense.
"They have Kryptonite…"
"Kryptonite?!" He nodded and she tightened her embrace. "Everything will be fine soon… it'll be all right…"
"Lois? if something were to happen to them, I couldn't forgive myself. I'd better go…"
"NO!! You can't!!!"
"You don't understand. It would be worse for them; they've protected you until now. There would be no escape from them, not for them, nor for us."
"You can hide here…"
"No! I'm not going to leave you… I finally found you and I won't let you go!"
"Mrs. Kent, if you happen to see Superman… please give him this little present. You seem to be pretty resourceful, I'm sure you'll find a way to give it to him." The man gave her a crystal made of Kryptonite that was bigger than the one Wayne Irig had brought to their house almost a year before. It would have been beautiful if it weren't for the devastating effects it had on their son. "And be sure to tell him… we have a lot more where this came from." Then he motioned to his men and they quickly left and got into their cars and trucks and in few minutes they vanished.
The sheriff's car screeched to a halt just in front of the Kents' house.
"Martha, Jonathan, are you all right? Doc, what are you doing here?"
"Thanks for coming so quickly, Rachel! Oh my god, I was so scared!!!" Martha was finally able to let her emotions flow.
"You were wonderful!" Jonathan said as he held her in his arms and kissed her.
"That's true, I was wonderful," she giggled. "I have to see how the kids are… but before I do I guess I should explain…"
Martha told her guests what had happened, of course avoiding the part about her son's secret identity, while Jonathan ran out quickly in order to put the Kryptonite in a safe place.
The official excuse was that Superman was quite a good friend of Lois and Clark, and he was going to be there in a few hours to up on them, after the their bad experience, and since no one knew the real dangers this rock had on the superhero they wanted be sure it was out of sight.
Lois looked at him, very worried. "Clark.. how are you?"
"Are we switching roles now?"
"Don't be funny… can I do anything for you?"
"Just be close to me…" She held him tightly.
"So, is this close enough?" she asked, smiling and kissing him.
"It is… for now." Her kiss became deeper and he shared her passion. She felt the fear that he felt for his parents grow more and more. As his desperation grew, so grew his need to touch her body, to caress her and to kiss her.
"Clark, we have to stop kissing each other only when we're worried… well, we want to start kissing more often, period."
"I always knew you were a genius!"
"I always thought you were the intelligent one!"
Clark made her sit on the little bed that was there and he sat next to her. "I'm scared," he confessed. "Not for me. But for them, and for you. Lois, I don't want someone to hurt you to get at me… I don't want my parents to suffer because they raised me as their son. They are my parents… the only ones I've ever known — my real parents couldn't have hoped I'd be found by better people."
"I know, Clark; but they'll be all right…"
"And if they were hurt?… How can I help them?"
"Clark, it's not your fault. They have no reason to hurt your parents. They don't know we are here, they think we are dead. The article in the Planet hasn't gone to print."
"Yeah, I know, but…" Lois' hand caressed his mouth and he was silent.
"Shhh" she whispered, a moment before kissing him, then she held him again. "Nothing will happen." Clark hid his face in Lois' hair.
"I couldn't bear it if something happened that was my fault. Lois, I'm so sorry for what happened to you… you don't know how much…"
"Clark, I couldn't bear to live without you… never again…" This time he kissed her.
They hugged fiercely, but Lois was trembling. Clark took a blanket and wrapped it around her shoulders. "And how are *you* feeling?"
"Fine," Lois nodded in answer. "What's happening upstairs…" she asked after a long silence.
"The Kryptonite…" he whispered.
Lois turned towards him with terror in her eyes.
"No… no… I mean I can't feel it anymore…"
Lois started to breathe again, smiling.
"Kids? Can I…?"
"You kids can come upstairs… whenever you're ready!"
"MOM!" Clark laughed, embarrassed because of the implications of that simple statement.
A couple of days later
"So, you've really decided to leave? Are you sure you can't stay here a couple more days?"
"We've thought about it, but we really have to go. Lois is fine now, and we need to figure out how to stop Bureau 39."
"I'm sure that you'll do it." Clark held her in a big hug.
"Thanks, Mom! For everything." Martha shrugged her shoulders, smiling, then she turned toward Lois.
"Honey… you take care of yourself… and take care of him too!"
"I will, Martha, I will."
Jonathan started his car.
"But you didn't tell me why you are using the car…" Martha watched them get in and then stepped up to the window.
"If they are checking the house they probably have radar too. I don't want them to think we were here all the time."
"But you've always avoided them…"
"I can, but Lois' body—I don't think she could handle the speed—we'll drive away from the farm and then we'll fly to Metropolis."
"Bye, Martha and thanks…"
"We will!" Martha watched the car drive away with a sob. But she felt somewhere in her heart that all would be right again, or at least she hoped it would.
To be continued (maybe)
*When the day is long and the night, the night is yours alone
When you're sure you've had enough of this life, well hang on
Don't let yourself go, everybody cries
and everybody hurts sometimes
Sometimes everything is wrong, now it's time to sing along
When your day is night alone (hold on, hold on)
If you feel like letting go (hold on)
When you think you've had too much of this life, well hang on
Everybody hurts, take comfort in your friends
Don't throw your hand, oh no, don't throw your hand
when you feel like you're alone, no, no, no, you are not alone
If you're on your own in this life, the days and nights are long
When you think you've had too much, of this life, to hang on
Well everybody hurts, sometimes
Everybody cries, everybody hurts, sometimes
everybody hurts sometimes so hold on, hold on, hold on,
Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on,
You are not alone*