By Alicia U. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted May, 2003
Summary: In this response to the haircut challenge, Lois gets her hair cut in a very unusual way after Superman saves her from almost drowning.
The first thing that Lois Lane became aware of, as she struggled to open her eyes was the extreme darkness that surrounded her. She couldn't see anything around her. Had it really been so black before she closed her eyes? Did someone block out all of the light? Yes, maybe that was it. She just needed a second to clear her cloudy thoughts so she could fixate on what was happening.
Nothing that was this dark could possibly be good. Her heart began to pound as she started to realize just what was happening to her. Suddenly, an intense realization of her impending death hit her. This was big trouble. She was going to die. When her eyes were completely open, she was aware that water was rushing past her on every side. She was under water!
She blinked quickly and tried to remember what had happened. How had she ended up with her head submerged in water? Her mind was completely blank. Who had done this to her? Obviously she hadn't just decided to stick her head in rushing water for fun. Someone had done this to her. But where on Earth was she? What had she done that had caused her to end up here?
Even though her senses were impaired, there was one thing she knew for sure; opening her mouth was definitely a bad idea. If she did succumb to the overwhelming urge to take a large gulp of air, her struggle to survive would be over quickly. She only had a finite amount of air that needed to be conserved. Since she didn't have gills, her survival depended on her ability to hold her breath. If she planned to come out of the water alive, she had to use her stored oxygen sparingly.
Her next thought drifted to her possible sources for escape. Yes, there had to be a way for her to get her head out of the water. Wait a second. Where was Superman? Didn't he know that something was wrong? Ever since he appeared in Metropolis, she could always count on him to be there to rescue her whenever she needed him. Then she stopped for a second. She hadn't been able to call for help. Every other time he had come to help her, she had yelled or screamed so that he was able to hear her. How would he even know that she needed him? Unless they had some sort of telepathic connection, there was absolutely no way he could be aware of the fact that she was in danger. This time, it was up to her to save her own life.
Finally, someone, the person who had put her into this harrowing situation to be specific, had neutralized the Superman factor. She couldn't call for him so he would not even know that she was in trouble. Thus, he wouldn't be able to rescue her. Okay, so no Superman. That meant that she would have to get out of this situation on her own. Fine. She had defied death on many occasions in her life before Superman even came on the scene. And this time was no different. All she needed to do was figure out how to bring her head above the water. Once she could breathe again, her mind would become much more clear.
Yes, she was in trouble. Her air supply was running low and she had the intense desire to obey the insistent plea from the reflex that wanted her mouth to open. The need to breathe was absolutely imperative! She needed to breathe. Okay, she just needed to get her head above water. Saving that, she needed to keep her mouth shut until she felt air rather than water on her lips.
Another sense came back to her at that moment. It was at that moment she realized just how cold she was. This water was absolutely frigid, almost arctic. Now, as she was struggling to conserve her oxygen, it was even harder because she was shivering and her teeth were starting to chatter.
She had to get her mind off of the fact that she was running out of oxygen. Her mind would be better if she just focused on something else. One large question remained unsolved: how did she end up in the water? No, it was more than just one question plaguing her. Who had put her in the water? Where was she? Why was she there? What time was it? How could she get out? Would she ever get out? Right now, none of the questions looked like they would ever be answered. The more she struggled, the harder it became for her to keep her mouth shut so she wouldn't breathe in water.
No more air! No more air! She started to panic and opened her mouth gasping for breath. Her reflexes finally had won out against her better judgment. The water rushed into her lungs. She fought to turn her body around frantically trying to find air to breathe.
It hit her just then that she was upside down in the water. Her head was brushing up against something soft and there were plants growing next to her left ear. Then she realized that her feet were sticking out of the water because she felt air. Her feet were out of the water! It wasn't very deep at all. If she could turn herself around, then she would be able to breathe cool, fresh air again.
She struggled against the current to try to re-orient her body,, but she was stuck on something. What was holding her back? She felt her head scraping against the bottom of the water — maybe it was a river or an ocean. But there was something holding her that wouldn't let her turn her body around. In addition to scraping against the ground, her head was also stuck on something. Great, leave it to whoever had captured her to weigh her head down when they threw her in the water so she would be more likely to drown. It was just so typical; sometimes kidnappers were so predictable.
The one thing that was completely obvious to her was that her lungs were on fire and filling up with water quickly. She didn't have long before she completely lost consciousness. Even though her lungs were one fire, she knew that the water wasn't going to put it out. The fire was getting worse.
While she struggled to right herself, but failed miserably, her mind drifted. It was easier to focus on things other than her eminent death. No, no she wasn't going to die. It just couldn't end like this!
As much as she tried, she couldn't get the situation out of her mind. The one time she wanted to clear her mind completely, she couldn't shut off her racing thoughts. How long had it been since she had realized where she was?
Where was she? Would Superman find her? How could he ever know where to look?
Just as she was about to close her eyes again and gather all of her energy for a final struggle to free herself and bring her head above water, she felt herself being lifted out of the water. She also was aware of strong arms wrapped around her tightly. She was rising up out of the water. Either this was what dying felt like or something or someone was pulling her out of the water.
Suddenly she heard a voice frantically saying, "Lois! Oh my God, Lois, are you okay?"
That voice was familiar. She knew it very well. But who was it? It was a friendly and very concerned. Was it God? Lois didn't feel the water rushing by her any more. Maybe she was saved. But whose voice was that?
Again, she heard the voice, "Lois! Come on, breathe!" Then she felt the man patting her on the back so she would cough up the water that she had sucked into her lungs.
Yes, she could breathe! It was definately air on her lips now instead of water. Air! Fresh air! Before she opened her eyes, she found herself obeying the man's voice. He was right. She had to try to breathe. Since she was out of the water, it was okay for her to take in the oxygen she needed. Yes, she was going to live!
I took her a few seconds to expel the water from her lungs, but she still hadn't had the courage to open her eyes. The voice was so familiar, but who was it? She felt a warm sensation throughout her body. Warmth was exactly what she needed. Once she was able to stop shivering, she would be able to think clearly again.
When she opened her eyes, the first thing she saw was a bright blue shiny fabric. Who did she know that wore such shiny clothes? And red boots? Then she stopped her thought process right there. Was she really that stupid? Nearly drowning couldn't have impaired her senses that much! There was only one man who wore blue spandex and red boots! It was Superman, of course. Who else could it possibly be?
That voice certainly wasn't Superman's voice. It was a definate oddity. It was softer, less distant. This voice sounded genuinely concerned, even fearful. Yes, his voice didn't sound at all like the superhero she knew and loved, but it did sound familiar. She knew the owner of that voice.
"Lois, are you okay?" he asked again in that anxious voice that she recognized as someone other than Superman's. "Talk to me!"
"S-s-s-superman?" Intellectually, she knew it was Superman, but her mind was telling her that the voice belonged to someone else.
But who did it belong to. Then it hit her like a two-ton brick. The voice belonged to someone she knew so well. "C-c-c-clark?"
It was Clark. Superman was Clark. It only took a near drowning for her to realize how stupid she had been. She had known both men for over two years, but she hadn't made the connection until now. How dumb was she?
Clark obviously hadn't heard her or was trying to ignore her because he said, "Lois, can you sit up?"
Superman, no Clark, was looking at her with an anxious, fearful stare.
Lois found herself nodding slowly and allowing her partner to help her sit up. Everything was spinning around her, but she forced herself to try to regain her equilibrium. She wasn't sure if the dizziness was caused by the lack of oxygen to her brain or the revelation that Clark was Superman.
She repeated, "Superman. Clark. You're, you're…"
"Lois, honey, you knew that already. You've known for almost a year. Are you okay? Do you want me to take you to the hospital?"
"Honey?" She wasn't sure why, but Clark calling her "honey" sounded right. Wait, what was he saying? Was he crazy? Was she crazy? "I know? Really?" Maybe she did know.
Then she stopped talking and took a deep breath trying to collect her thoughts. Oh that's right. She did know. No, she hadn't known him for two years; it had been three years. The memories all flooded her mind at once. Everything was coming back to her. Yes, she did remember. That knowledge had been held in the back recesses of her mind; it was just one of those things that she pushed back as she was trying to survive. Clark was Superman. She knew that. Yes, and of course she was in love with him. They were engaged to be married.
Then she noticed the look of pained surprise on Clark's face. Obviously he was afraid that she was suffering from a type of amnesia, an adverse effect from the near drowning. Oh no, not amnesia! What thoughts must have been going through his mind! It hadn't been long since her last bout of amnesia. Poor Clark!
She smiled at him warmly and said, "Oh, Clark, of course I know. It just took me a minute to recover. I'm fine, sweetheart."
"Are you sure?" Clark wondered. His eyebrows were raised in disbelief.
"Clark, I'm fine, believe me. Okay, so I might have pneumonia, but I do remember. You are Superman. And I am madly in love with you."
"Oh thank God!" Clark exclaimed. Then he pulled her close into a strong, tight hug and pressed his lips to hers.
Lois responded eagerly with the passion of knowing that he was the man she loved and also the man who had just saved her life for the millionth time. When their kiss broke, Lois's curiosity again got the better of her. Now that she felt safe, the questions began to flow. "What happened, Clark? How did you find me? What was I stuck on? How did you get me out?"
Clark sighed deeply. "Um, do you really want to know?" He answered his own question. "Of course you want to know. Well, we are down by the Hobbs River just outside the city. I had brought you dinner, but your apartment door was open." He took a deep breath before he could continue. It had obviously been very painful for him as well — maybe even more painful than it had been for her. "And you weren't there, Lois. The first thing I did was listen for your heartbeat. I zeroed in on it and knew you were in trouble because it was racing. So I followed the sound until I found you here. I was shocked when I realized that you were under the water drowning. But do you really want me to tell you what you were stuck on or how I got you out?"
Lois raised her eyebrows imitating Clark's trademark expression. "Clark, tell me. I need to know what happened. Is it really that bad?" Then she answered her own question. "Yes, it has to be that bad. If it wasn't that bad you wouldn't be hesitant to tell me." Then she gave him a pleading look — the one that always worked with him. "Please, Clark."
"I am so sorry, Lois, you had a weight tied to your hair. The only way I could free you was by, well, um…"
"Clark, don't beat around the bush. What did you have to do?"
"Don't rush me, Lois. I did save your life, didn't I?"
"Um, honey, maybe you just shouldn't look in a mirror until you can get to a hair stylist."
"What?" Now that caught her by surprise. What did a hair stylist have to do with her being stuck in a river?
"I'm sorry, Lois, but your hair was stuck on a tree trunk. I had to cut it with my heat vision to free you."
"Oh my god! My hair?"
She wasn't sure if she was happy that he had been able to free her or afraid of what the rescue had entailed. No, no, she wasn't afraid of what he'd had to do, but of what she looked like. That stupid long hair of hers had always been a hassle. It was always hard to take care of and now it had almost led to her death. Maybe she was happy that Clark had to cut it. That it was he who had made the decision for her. It wasn't like she was indecisive — of course she wasn't. But it had always been hard for her to decide to change her looks. She had been hedging about cutting her hair again for a while now, but now someone else had made the decision for her. Even though it was uncharacteristic, she was almost thankful that he'd had to cut her hair to free her. Now the choice was out of her hands.
She reached her hands up to feel its length. Hmm, it didn't see, too horrible. And just to her touch, it felt like it was fairly evenly cut.
Suddenly she said, "Give me a mirror, Clark."
"Are you sure?"
"Okay, okay, don't say I didn't warn you."
He gathered her in his arms and flew off towards her apartment. When they flew through the window, Lois immediately ran into the bathroom to look at her new haircut.
"Wow," she said in amazement.
"Is that a good wow or a bad wow?" Clark asked with a hint of trepidation.
Lois gazed at her reflection and grinned. "Definitely a good wow. I've never had hair quite this short before."
Clark walked up behind her and squeezed her tightly. "I think you look better with shorter hair, anyway. Even if this style isn't exactly the best, the length is great, though."
Lois touched the ends of her hair and nodded slowly. "You're right, Clark. I do look better with shorter hair. I just need to get it styled tomorrow. Heat vision is definitely efficient, but it doesn't give the neatest hair styles." She pulled the ends of her hair in front of her face and realized that although they were both short, they definitely were far from being even.
"You look amazing," Clark said softly. "You're alive and you remember me so that is all I need. Even if you kept your hair just like it is now, you'll always be beautiful in my eyes."
"Thank you," Lois whispered. "Thank you for saving my life and giving me the courage to go out and get an amazing new hair-do. I don't know if I would have had the courage to cut my hair otherwise."
"My pleasure," Clark breathed into her now-exposed neck. "I love you, Lois."
"I love you, too, Clark."
This story was written to satisfy both the haircut challenge and the dark fic, deathfic challenge. I know it wasn't a deathfic, but I could never write a story where Lois or Clark dies.