By Sandra Jean Wampler (email@example.com)
Summary: A mysterious figure stalks Jory and Lane Kent, the grown children of Lois and Clark.
[Hi again, well this is yet another attempt at fanfic by yours truly. I am not sure if ya'll will like it but it was certainly fun to write. Someone once asked me what the future held for Lois and Clark. The question has bugged me for a long while, so I took another approach to the solution. Lois and Clark create a future with each other in my story _Floating_. Here's a look at the results. Again, comments are more than welcome if you're gentle. Hope that you enjoy!-- sandra]
The writing on the frosted door leading into the building read: _Artifact Inventory and Business offices_ _Metropolis Museum of Natural History_. Just in the door, the hallway branched off to give way to a smaller one with a window at one end. Three offices lined it. The shuffling of papers and the sound of muttering came from the office on the right.
The room was a rather cluttered office that consisted of several desks, lots of filing cabinets, bones and artifacts scattered everywhere. The two people in the room were collectively tap-dancing around each other pretending that they were not nearly as interested in what each was doing as they truthfully were. One was a very good looking young man about 25 years old -- his dark brown hair curled softly at his neck and was just long enough to look slightly unkempt. The woman was about the same age, maybe a bit older and she was leaning over a keypad entering data. Her bright red hair flashed with the fire and energy apparent in her handsome face. Both were working steadily if not a bit sleepily.
The young man absently walked over to the desk in the far corner (yeah, the one covered with about 4 stacks of papers and several kinds of anonymous sorts.) He sat at the desk and stared in an overwhelmed fashion, then looked suddenly enlightened. He got up and walked over to where the woman was sitting. Gently he picked her up off the top of her own desk that she been sitting on. He reached under her and retrieved a newspaper. Then he simply walked over to his desk, pulled a soft drink out of the drawer, propped his feet on the top and started reading the morning edition of the Daily Planet.
"You know, for a fellow who has as much education as you claim, one would have thought you had learned a few manners now and then," the young woman snapped.
She rolled her eyes at his comment. "Why do I even bother??"
She stormed out in a fury as the young man calmly watched her and smiled silently to himself. She always did get her back up when they had to come in this early in the morning. Granted 6:30 am was a bit much, I mean, he didn't ever have to get up before 7 when he worked at the Planet, and well...there was the farm. He had to get up at 5 then and be ready to work if he wanted to help get the crops in... He sighed. Why was it every time he meant to be nice he always started a fight with her? Getting up, he went to the doorway and leaned against the frame. Looking out into the hall, he saw her stretched out on the community couch. She was so stubborn!! It was like she blamed him for having to come in early. It wasn't his fault that Dr. Ross was one of those annoying people who liked to see half a day's work done before the sun rose.
"Gil?" he wandered over to her tentatively and sat down on the arm of the couch.
"What now?" She sounded tired.
He wondered if she had been having trouble sleeping again. Lately she had been getting some weird phone calls and he thought that they were really starting to irritate her.
"I'm sorry, Gil...I didn't mean to start the morning off like this... I'm just used to getting up early, my gra..
"Your Granddad always had you up at the crack of dawn so you could do some of that country boy stuff, huh? You know...For a city-boy you have an annoying habit of seeming very...home grown." Immediately Gillian regretted her statement. She didn't mean to be so harsh on him. He was so sweet to her most of the time. And, well, She cared a great deal about him even though she didn't like to show it. Not now anyway. He always let her sleep the hour or so before Dr. Ross came in on those days of the insipid early-bird meetings. She just wasn't used to all of this. She was sure that he was confused about where they stood in their relationship as well, but she didn't' have any answers for him anymore.
She too had worked at the Planet growing up. It wasn't much different there. Everyone was always busy and there was always something important to do that should have been done yesterday. And usually she wasn't such a witch, but this phone call thing was really getting to her. And she still hadn't told her dad yet. Oh, good grief. What was he going to say about that?
Dad had always worried that his work with the Planet would have gotten the family into trouble, but well, he'd been working with the paper for half of his lifetime. Then when she was 19, she had gotten a grant to work as an intern with the Ross's. Well, okay so it was more like slave labor-- digging up bones, crawling around in pits and doing the things that were better suited for the "younger generation." Her dad had thought it would be good for her and with her fascination of artifacts and all she gave it a shot. Which is where she eventually ran into this fellow. Again.
They'd kind of grown up together, but he had spent the past 10 years working with his grandfather and traveling. Or something like that. She'd had an incredible crush on him when she ran errands at the Planet and he'd be doing summer internships just for the experience or rather like her because it was a job that they were guaranteed to get as long as they worked hard. It helped to have influential parents these days. As she was thinking, she started dropping off again. She really hadn't slept at all last night. Or the night before. This place was the only one in the city that felt 'comfortable' enough. She felt safe here. And as much as she hated to admit it, she felt safe with him so close by.
About this time she felt him brush away a long tendril of hair that had fallen in her face. Unconsciously, she turned her face so it was cupped in the palm of his hand. Startled, he looked at her again and sighed.
damn she was beautiful. Not in a Glamorous way, but in a fiery one. All that hair...* It took every ounce of willpower to not run his fingers through it. He wished that they had not lost touch over the years. He had to spend a great deal of time out at his grandparents' farmhouse when his powers started to surface. Getting them under control had not been easy. Oh, they had kept up through letters, but so often she had been in a place where mail didn't often until about three months after he'd posted it. Then, after the accident... he quit writing... Oh well... Chest la vie, right?...
As he leaned down to kiss her forehead, the sound of someone clearing her throat came from behind him. Glancing up, he noticed a tall woman who's strawberry-blonde hair was only just starting to develop white streaks. She was smiling at them and winked before she entered the office across the hall from his office.
He started to wake Gil up, looked at his watch and instead, wandered into the woman's office.
"Well, hello there young man. I was wondering if you two would ever make up your minds about that. Seems to me you almost decided to." She leaned forward on the desk, laughter sparkling in her matured eyes. "Really, Lane, you are just like your father. It took him two years before he could even get up the nerve to ask your mom out on a date."
Lane smiled. "You know, Aunt Lana, you keep this up and I'll tell Pop the real reason you want me working for you. He'd never let you hear the end of it, you know."
"Why do you think I let him talk me into getting you this job?"
Lane Kent rolled his eyes and smiled at the woman at the desk. She was about 60 years in age, although she looked more like she was in her early 50's. Dr. Lana Lang Ross stood up from her desk and reached across it to give her favorite godson's cheek a tweak and then walked out of the door.
"If you don't want me to scare the hell out of her, Lane, you had better go wake her now." She shook her head at the horror in his face, smiled and gave him her best I_warned_you_about_hesitation look, then started walking toward the couch.
"Sleeping on the job again, Ms. White!?"
She had to go out and get some fresh air. That was all there was to it. Gillian White pushed herself away from her desk and sighed. Stretching her muscles, she glanced toward the file room where Lane was working. *Better him than me.* Picking up her bag and walking over to the doorway she paused. *Should I tell him I'm going? Nah... he probably won't even notice that I have left.*
With that, she walked out of the door, down the hall, around a few corners until she was at the door entering the actual museum. Opening it, she entered the quiet cathedral dedicated to the ancient beasts that roamed the earth far before man. This was her favorite place. She enjoyed the quietness surrounding the old bones. There was something magnificent about the simple idea that these beings did indeed exist at one time. Celtic and Egyptian Mythology were her hobbies-- this was her passion.
She wandered about the rooms as she thought of her morning tiptoeing around Lane. The problem was that she did care. Too much, possibly. He infuriated her. And she loved that. The problem also was that he had as of yet been apparently oblivious to how she felt about him-- deep down, that is. Oh, sometimes she was quite certain that he cared a great deal about her. They had been dating off and on for months now, but there was always something holding one of them back. *If only he would be honest with me.*
**If only you would be honest with yourself** Gillian sighed and turned toward the information desk. She struggled internally for a few minutes and argued all the pros and cons of telling him what had been happening the past week. The consequences were just too great. Things were going well enough with them, and she honestly didn't think she could handle losing him anymore than he could risk letting her in.
Gil raised her head up and smiled at the older woman controlling the mayhem of the information area. "Good afternoon, ma'am. How are you today?"
She hadn't spoken to him at all in the past five hours. Sure there was a nod here, and 'excuse me' there and your occasional 'Would you please move!', but that was all. It was driving him insane. Periodically, he would look up to see her lost in some thought. Lines of concentration and exhaustion were etched across her face. Around lunch time, though, he left the file room to see if taking her to her favorite deli would endear her toward him again. So, he closed up the cabinet, turned off the light and strolled through the door that led into the office.
She was fast asleep. Her tangled curls were haphazardly drawn back from her face with one of those 'scrunchy' things his sister was so fond of. *Hmmm...They looked a sight better on Gil than they did on Jory.*
The muscles in Gillian's face had relaxed and she had balled up her jacket underneath her head. She would have looked peaceful if it was not for the worry lines she'd developed over the past few weeks. *If only she would talk to me. We have been friends for years! It even looked like we were going to finally get around to a real relationship before this prank guy started the calls. It's that damn stubborn independence women have-- especially Gil.* He grabbed his own jacket off his desk and draped it over her. Wanting to resist the urge, but unable to, he leaned down and kissed her gently near her lips. Visibly relaxing at his touch she snuggled deeper into her self-made pillow. Lane smiled down at Gil, then walked out of the office, turning off the lights and locking the door behind him.
He paused once more and stared at the door intently. Smiling to himself, he checked the lock again and put the keys in his pocket.
"Going somewhere important?" A feminine voice called to him from the window down the hall. He turned and grinned at her, ignoring her I-caught-you-and-don't you-forget-it look, and put a finger to his lips.
"Shhh.. Gil's asleep-- finally, and I don't want her to wake up for a few hours if possible."
The young woman in the window could easily have been Lane's twin. Except for her height (about 5'7" to his 6") and her lighter hair, they looked exactly alike. His Dad swore she looked just like Mom, but most folks only saw their uncanny resemblance to each other. When they were kids, she used to dress up like him and they would play jokes on the neighbors. The bizarre thing about her now was the outfit, or rather the 'costume' that she was wearing. It was white spandex with a red "S" embossed on the front and a long red cape draped around her. She looked entirely comfortable in the costume and just sat on the edge of the window sill waiting for Lane to join her. As he was walking up to her, she intently peered through the wall to his office and glanced at Gil.
"What did you do to her, big brother? Slip her a Finn Mickey?" She winked at him and hopped down from her perch just in time to avoid Lane's intention of pushing her out the window.
"You know, Jordon, keep this up, and people will put two and two together. Or, even worse, I'll read in the Morning Star that I'm now 'dating' my baby sister. Can't you use the door like normal people?" He sighed and took a deep breath before wrapping his arm around her shoulder and swiftly twirling her around so that she became a blur. When Jordon slowed down, she was pouting. She had, however, changed into a stylishly causal blue business suit.
"Fine, be that way. So, where are you taking your favorite sister to lunch?"
"Well...there's this nifty little place in Belize I've not tried yet. How's that sound to you?"
"Great, maybe we can find something there for mom and dad's anniversary."
Laughing, Lane nodded and they headed out of the building arm in arm.
Gillian awoke with a start. It was like something had awakened her and yet there was no distinct sound-- no particular reason. Only a cold chill and goose bumps told her that something was wrong. Unconsciously she pulled Lane's jacket a little closer to her and then listened alertly for anything that might explain the uncanny feeling that told her _She _ was _ n o t _ a l o n e _. Then, just barely, she heard it. A grating sound-- something like the noise you hear when someone is trying to close a file drawer very quietly.
She shifted silently and rose from her chair. Inching toward the door to the file cabinet, she noticed that the office door's lock had been forced open. A shiver ran through her body as the fear seeped in with the knowledge that someone had entered and she hadn't even noticed. By the time she reached the slightly open door of the file room she was trembling.
*Gil. Get a grip.* **easy for you to say...** Gil grabbed the nearest object, a fire extinguisher and put her hand on the door knob.
Just as she did this, it SLAMMED into her and she sprawled backwards as a dark figure stalked toward her and leaned over her.
*Oh....no..!* Her shriek was silenced abruptly as something came down hard on her head and all went black.
Distantly she head a chilled voice whisper in her ear. "Not, yet, my sweet. Soon, though. Soon I'll have you all..." The menacing laughter was the last thing she heard before giving into the darkness. Jory and Lane were walking along the quiet domestic streets of a little town in Belize looking through the small market squares and just chatting. Jory was now wearing jeans and a T-shirt and her talk was animated for several minutes about the various things in the windows and the street fairs.
Lane seemed a bit distracted though and only nodded occasionally. Seeing that he had other things on his mind, Jory picked up a stuffed purple elephant and waved it in front of his face.
"Here we go. This is the idea," she tweaked the elephant's nose. "We buy this for Mom and paint pink spots on it and then hang it from the Fortress of Solitude as a reminder of girls in yellow polka-dot bikinis and little green men..." She frowned. *Boy, is he out there or what?*
"Hello!!! Earth to Lane. Requesting immediate return from Krypton!"
Lane snapped out of his daze and glared at his sister.
"Yeah, yeah, I know... watch what I say." She mimicked her older brother by putting on a stern face and puffing out her chest a bit. "Someone might hear you!" She softened her look. "Really Lane, what's with you. You didn't say more that ten words all during lunch and if I didn't know better I would say you look positively ill... Now, come on...It's me here... What the hell is wrong?" Jory pulled Lane's arm out of his pocket, grasped his hand and drew him over to one of those silly little "couple" benches-- the ones that had two seats melded together so that you could sit facing each other...but couldn't 'touch'...really odd things... but anyway...
He reached up and removed his glasses rubbing the bridge of his nose: a habit he'd apparently picked up from his Dad. "Sorry, sis... I guess I'm a touch preoccupied."
She gave him a wry smile. "So I've noticed. So. Does this have anything to do with Gillian?"
He looked at her with a mixture of amazement and exasperation. Then he stood up and started pacing in front of the bench.
"I don't understand her! She won't talk to me. She _refuses_ to call the police and all I can do it sit there and watch her get more and more exhausted. I know she doesn't sleep, but I can't really blame her. This idiot just won't leave her alone. She changed her phone number and as of yet she hasn't bothered to tell me what the new number is. I know that she doesn't want to give it to me because she doesn't want the phone to ring... or something silly like that... yet I can't help wondering if she just wanted me to leave her alone completely." He sighed and slumped to the seat again. Talking a little softer, he continued. "I don't understand. Things were going great. Jordon? We'd gone out a few times and I thought she was finally coming around, but then _this_ started. Now I don't know what to think. It's like all of a sudden she decided to shut me out. If only I knew what this guy was saying." He raised a hand to halt Jory's statement. "No, I won't do that. Not after last time. You and Pop can handle balancing the powers and a normal life. I can't." Remembered pain etched his handsome face and Jordon placed a comforting hand on his.
"Ah..." She replied squeezing his hand. "So, that's it. You feel helpless and deep down you know that you could help her but you won't because you are afraid she'll get hurt?"
He nodded and his face crumbled at the imagined horror that only he could explain. Jory had never gotten him to talk about his last girlfriend, and she didn't think now was such a good time either.
"Lane... You can't go on hiding what you are from everyone... especially from yourself. It wasn't your fault. And _This_ time you CAN make a difference. She needs you, Lane. Help her...?"
Jory hated this. She and Lane were closer that most siblings because of their lineage. There was a link too though. Her mom compared it to something akin to that which is often present in identical twins. Many times they were aware of what the other was feeling. Once Jory had fallen out of a tree before she'd developed her powers and ended up falling on Lane because somehow he'd known she was in trouble. There were other times when they could feel the emotional pain of the other. This was certainly one of those times and she knew she could not push any further.
"Please..." he pleaded with her... "Don't ask me to do it. I..." he sighed. "I don't know that I could handle losing another person I care about. And Gillian.. Jory... I am in love with her. . . and it is killing me that she won't let me help her. But I need her to ask me. I don't want to fall into the same pit Dad did when he almost lost Mom."
Jory leaned over the stupid bench and hugged him tightly. She covertly wiped away the few tears that had escaped his eyes and kissed him on the forehead.
"Okay. Really, I'm sorry I pushed so hard. I just hate seeing you like this. I had to try. Lane, will you at least let _ME_ see what I can find out? How much could it hurt? She certainly hasn't connected us yet, and if nothing else," she winked, "I could at least get her number for you."
He laughed at that and stood up. Reaching down, he snagged her in a big brotherly bear hug and then grinned at her. "Well, alright, if you insist. But don't forget that number."
Glad to have him smiling again, she linked her arm through his and they headed out of the park and back toward Metropolis.
*Ohh....Gods that really hurts...* Gil raised her head and tried to sit up but a quick wave of nausea swept over her and she sank back into the darkness. Some time later she was vaguely aware of voices coming down the hall. - - - - - - -
Here, can you hold on a minute? We finished most of the stuff this morn...ing...Oh, God." In a panic at the sight of the mangled door, Lane automatically scanned the office with his x-ray vision and immediately detected Gillian sprawled on the floor. Practically tearing the door off its hinges in the attempt to get to her as quickly as possible, he knelt down next to her and checked her pulse. Her hair was matted with blood and her pulse was very faint. There was a giant gash just at the edge of her scalp. Jory scanned the room to see if there was anything of note and then knelt down next to her brother.
"Lane, " she said softly, "Let me look, come on, give me some room..."
Lane backed up slightly but continued to hold onto Gil's had as Jory started examining her.
"Sure... You're the one with the medical degree," he said in a shaky voice. He watched Gil closely and periodically checked to see what Jory was doing. "well?
Straightening up for a moment, she sighed. "She has a medium concussion and she's going to be weak for a while due to blood loss, but I believe once we get her cleaned up and all, she will be okay. There's no pressure on the brain and the swelling is going down. I'll stitch her up if you would like. I can tell you one thing, Lane," and she looked up at him; the seriousness of the situation imprinted in her expression. "Whoever did this left her for dead. He hit her hard enough that had we not gotten here when we did, she could have possibly slipped into a coma- the concussion combined with blood loss can be fatal if not treated immediately. We need to get her home and cleaned up. Then we need to wake her. I have some medication that will keep the swelling down in my bag."
"We'll take her to my place. I don't want her anywhere that psycho can get to her and I need her near me." Lane gently gathered Gil in his arms, and headed out the door.
When Jory stepped out into the hall she was again in her costume. Hesitating, she gave Lane a questioning look.
With a heavy sigh, he handed Gil to her briefly and spun around. Emerging from that twirl in a familiar blue and red costume, he retrieved Gillian and together with Jory, flew out the back window.
Lane paced the living room floor. He'd let Jordon take Gil into his bedroom and clean her up. Jory seemed to think that he had no business in there with them-- it wasn't decent she said... *besides, if Gil found out she'd have them _both_ made into mincemeat.*
He walked to the kitchen briefly and grabbed a carton of OJ out of the fridge, draining it in about four seconds. *I can't stand this..* He started for the living room again and stared intently at the door; peering through to the other side and cutting off his x-ray vision an instant before he got himself into even more trouble. *Argh!!*
Funny, it was never this difficult to control his powers. Even with Anna he'd never really had the urge to peek through that door. Of course this was an emergency situation. Jory was in there doing stitches and giving her a thorough examination. Frustrated, both with himself and well, just frustrated, he went over to sit on the couch. He picked up a magazine, put it down, turned on the TV, then turned it off. Then he stood up and returned to the fridge and pulled out another container of OJ and drank it.
Standing in the doorway, he stared out into the air and wondered.. *This is ridiculous.. I mean I was never this...it's just that... God, she has to be okay. What is Jory _doing_ in there??* He walked over to the door and just as he was about to knock on it, it opened.
"Your pacing is making even me nervous. Lane, big brother, she's alright. I'm going to make her some soup-- IF you have anything _remotely_ healthy in those cupboards of yours and if you don't mind my puttering about you kitchen.
Lane smiled weakly. "Um...sure...but... " He looked toward the bedroom. "Jory...is she.. I mean...can I go.." He swallowed and looked beseechingly at his sister then back toward his bedroom.
"Go on in," she said softly.
As Lane went in and shut the door, Jordon sighed, weary with the amount of tension still sitting on her shoulders. She knew that Lane couldn't afford to lose Gillian. In fact, his future depended on it. Anna had died 4 years ago, but he still carried it around a bit. He refused to acknowledge that he needed to be able to use what he had.
She wandered over to the entertainment center and selected one of her Mom's favorite CD's. Within brief seconds Mary Chapin Carpenter could be heard over the various speakers in the spacious apartment. She skimmed through the louder songs and paused at one the evoked a flood of memories. For a few minutes she just listened... and let the memories flow.
'I can recall the sound of the wind as it blow through
the trees and the trees did bend.
And I can recall smell of the rain on a hot summer night
coming in through the screen...'
She smiled remembering the many nights when they had just sat outside at her grandparents farm and listened to the night life. . .
'I crawl in the bed when the lightening flashed and I'd
still be there when there when it stopped...
Dead to the world 'til the morning cast its light all
around the room...'
*Oh Lane, where did those days go? If only you would listen to your baby sister just once... *
Jory walked into the kitchen and pulled out a few pots, and grabbed the chicken soup out of the pantry. (Nana must have left this last time she came to Metropolis). Smiling reflectively, she began to fix Gil some soup.
'The day you left home, you got an early start.
I watched your car back out in the dark...
I opened the door to your room and
I turned on the light.
All that was there was a bed and a desk, a couple
No sign of someone who planned to come back..
It must have been a hell of a suit case you packed...'
When she had been barely thirteen, she'd woken up to Lane screaming at their parents. He had continually pushed them to explain something and asked them why they hadn't told him... what they had hoped to gain?... all the types of questions that parents never really had good answers for.
The next day he'd walked into her room and given her a kiss on her forehead, set a new teddy bear on her bed and walked out. He never lived at home after that. Oh, he had come to visit, now and then, for holidays, but he spent his high school years in Smallville and then went to college and traveled and
His move back to metropolis was the best thing that had happened to Jory since he had left 10 years ago. She often wished they could go back ...
'Twirl me around, and twirl me around,
Let me get dizzy and fall to the to the ground.
When I look up at you looking down,
....Say it was only a dream.... Jory sighed and absently stirred the soup. That's alright... What did you do? Forget something? She thought back to the difficulty everyone in the family had when Lane left. Her parents were left no choice after that. They had to tell her about her heredity and Dad's moonlighting as Superman. It _was_ a rather startling revelation, but actually Jory had known for several years already. She'd caught her daddy twirling into his suit once and well, she figured he'd had a reason for keeping it secret... so she kept it as well.
It was no surprise either that Lane hadn't understood their reason for not telling. He was the sort of person who simply would never have considered telling anyone. He didn't make mistakes... They had sent him to live with Nana and Grandpa for high school because Jonathan had raised Clark and helped him into the powers so it made sense for Lane to learn the same way, and well, it was a bit more secluded. Less people around to see mistakes. Jory's attention was drawn back to the kitchen. She wandered over to the fridge and summoned forward some milk. She poured three glasses and returned the bottle to its place. She stared at the three glasses and wiped away a tear struggling to make its way out of the corner of her eye.
*Come on now Jordon, this is not the time to be feeling sorry for yourself.*
Resolutely she walked into the other bedroom and shimmied out of her skirt and blouse. Removing her costume as well, she wandered into her bath room and closed the door...
Lane walked into his bedroom and stared at the almost angelic face of the woman lying there.
*Angelic?? well, that's probably the only time that thought will cross my mind... *
He smirked to himself and then smiled tenderly down at her. Crossing to the side of the bed, he sat down on it gently leaning next to her. He just wanted to be nearby if she woke up. It made him feel better and he hoped that she would feel safer.
Amazingly, her features relaxed again at his presence. He brushed away a wisp of hair from her face and pulled the cover up a bit closer to her chin. Sitting there running his hands trough her hair absently, he listened to the music that his sister was playing.
Periodically, he noticed that she seemed rather troubled. Once in a while he caught brief images that the music was invoking. It still amazed him after all these years how much of a psychic link they seemed to have. Only Lane, for instance, knew that right now Jory was so lonely that she was distracted enough to be sitting out there at the stove with her hand on a warm burner. Mentally he pictured her hand and moved it for her. It was trick he'd discovered when he had been in Smallville one summer. It had been the one way he kept in touch with her over the years. Actually, he was rather certain it was also something she was unaware of. His Mom was the only person in the world who knew he had that ability. She could 'pick up' things that her children were doing now and then. Dad laughed once and said she had picked up her own special talents during her pregnancies... *But then I guess giving birth to three Kryptonians might have its effect on a person. He chuckled to himself.
Gillian stirred on the bed and as she shifted she moved a bit closer--almost instinctively-- toward Lane. Unable to resist, and, frankly, not wanting to, he took her in his arms and held her to him. Resting his head on the pillow above hers, he thought about their relationship in the past.
She had finally accepted his offer for dinner. Okay, now where to take her? It seemed to him that the best thing would be to just be spontaneous and do what felt natural. There was this little restaurant down the street that was quiet and romantic, but still casual. It just might do the trick. He called them up and made a reservation for 7:30, then went to the shop down the street and purchased a simple bouquet of baby carnations. The yellow and white flowers radiated cheeriness and he almost bounced back to his apartment. Walking into his room, he decided upon a simple black shirt and a pare of casual slacks. He thought about cutting his hair, but opted not to... It looked better long in his opinion. He then proceeded to do that one thing that was a constant reminder that he was not, nor ever would be, entirely normal--shave. Around 7 pm Lane glanced at the clock and went down to his car.
The dinner had been fabulous. They had caught up on all the things missed over the past 7 years, and she had honestly seemed interested in him. The expression of admiration and complete joy illuminates her face when she realized he'd actually remembered her favorite flowers. It had warmed his heart like nothing else. Sometimes he wondered if that was when he knew exactly how much she meant to him. He had walked her back to her apartment and when at her door he had no idea what to expect. They had been flirting around the office for months now and it was never very apparent what she'd thought of him. Many times he'd thought of kissing her, but now, well, he was nervous. Then she just smiled up at him, told him what a wonderful time she'd had and leaned toward him. She wasn't much shorter, so he could easily look directly into her eyes as she moved closer, and closer. It had been a soft kiss, sweet with promises of hope buried underneath contentment.
When they stood back, both of them had been breathless and he'd smiled at her as she turned and closed her door. He didn't quit smiling for weeks. Even his close friend Tad teased Lane with very little mercy.
Things had gone swimmingly for several weeks, and by the end of a month, he and Gillian had discovered new meaning to their friendship and Lane was beginning to understand exactly what his parents had kept telling him all his life. About 3 weeks ago, though, things changed. Gil started acting jumpy and then she quit calling him and changed phone numbers. He managed to get out of her that some weirdo had been calling her, but not much else. He knew she wasn't sleeping. Despite what he'd lead Jory to believe, he had been unable to restrain himself from flying over occasionally to check in on her. He never made an appearance, but he had just wanted to know if she was alright. It was when she started drawing back from him that he realized he truly loved this woman. It was driving him mad... If only she would talk to him.
Lane returned to the present when he felt her shiver. apparently he wasn't the only one thinking about the disturbing phone calls. Gently he tightened his hold of her and leaned his head down on hers. Shortly he dozed off and wandered into the land of dreams. - . - . - . - . -
She was running again. All she could do was try to get to him before that maniac did. It angered her that she was so frightened, but then she, and only she knew what _he_ might be up against. If she told him, well, it would get him killed. Only the fact that she stayed frightened kept the psycho at bay, because apparently he fed off her fear. She knew it was just a matter of time, though, before he got tired of her 'games' as he called them. - - -
It had stared about three weeks ago, when she'd just gotten home from a date with Lane. They had been so happy. She had walked into the kitchen to drop off her purse and shed her wrap. Then, while on her way to the bedroom, her phone had rung...
She smiled to herself as she set down her purse and reached for the phone. *Funny, he always calls me to make sure I got home safely. I wonder if he ever follows... oh well... no.. he wouldn't...* Cheerfully, she answered it.
It was several frozen seconds until she realized what the voice had actually said. "Ms. White, please, listen carefully. Continue to see Lane Kent and you will be responsible for his imminent demise... " *click*
That was the entire message. For five days, it was all that she was told. It happened consistently. It didn't matter, there was always a call waiting for her. Then it began to change.
"Well, well, Ms. White, How are you doing today, my sweet? Still seeing your alien friend? Really, my dear, you can do better than him... He's a murderer, Ms. White. Did you know that? Y o u c o u l d b e N E X T... "
By this time, Gillian was frantic. She had known that Lane was half Kryptonian. Actually, she'd known Clark was Superman most of her life. It was one of the leading reasons that her father had adopted her. He always said that it was real good sense to adopt a kid with smarts like hers.
Then one day, upon reaching her apartment after work, she noticed that her door had been left ajar. Taped to it was a package and in it was a syringe-- filled with liquid kryptonite. . The sick feeling in her stomach told her what it was. It was an infinitesimal amount, but she knew enough about Superman to know that it was a deadly amount if injected into Lane's blood stream.
The message waiting for her was horrifying. The sick bastard told her all about Anna. And from his point of view it had been Lane's fault entirely. She crumpled to the floor when the man called again.
"Darling! It's so good of you to fix my favorite desert last night. I made sure to wash the dishes before I went to work. I hope you don't mind but I borrowed a few things. Noting important really. Take care of yourself and don't forget ... Stay away from Lane Kent..." *click*
She could still feel his presence in her apartment. For the next week the same message was repeated, or something similar. Something was always missing, or rearranged or added. She couldn't' run because then he'd kill Lane, and she couldn't stay much longer or then she would go insane. The day before the attack, she had decided she was going to have to leave, or tell someone. She just didn't know who. She just didn't think she could handle another phone call.
Then the phone rang.
Jory answered it in another room...
Quieting Gil, he stroked her hair and tried to take in everything he had just experienced. Gillian had been recreating much of the past few weeks in a dream. It had been jumbled, but in his own sleeping state of consciousness, he had for some very strange reason, picked up everything going through her mind that moment. He'd *seen* her dream. It frightened him.
She cried and buried her face in his chest. Oh god, the pain she must have gone through these past weeks. He was stunned to say the very least. She had been trying to protect him. All this time... He had been so selfish to think she hadn't cared anymore. It explained a great deal. This deal. This animal was certainly going to pay for what he had done to her. He glanced down at her and discovered her looking up at him. Lane was suddenly aware of his position. He had his leg slung over her protectively and her head cradled in his arm. Gillian had her arms pressed against his chest. His shirt caught in one fist while the other one traced down his side and lingered on his hip. Lane raised his head and propped it on his arm.
Looking down at her, he smiled softly and the electricity of the moment was only heightened by the mutual knowledge that they had just shared something beyond normal means. Their thoughts were still intermixed as Lane brushed away a stray tendril and cupped her chin.
Gillian wasn't sure quite how she had gotten here, but she did know that she was safe, and that somehow he had actually become part of her while she slept. He now knew what she knew. She could no longer protect him and yet in her own way he seemed to feel that she had. She stared into his eyes and suddenly knew she had to tell him what she had known for years.
Leaning up just enough to meet him, she kissed him softly. That kiss spoke volumes. Lane caught his breath as the hint of something unspoken hovered in the air. Only it was not his thought. Looking down in wonder at her, he placed a hand at the back of her neck and pulled her to him. Their emotions consuming them for a few stolen moments in time, they let themselves be immersed briefly in the passion that had been staved off for so long.
Gillian carefully broke off the kiss and breathed in slowly. "I love you, Lane Kent..." she sighed against him and buried her head so that he couldn't see her embarrassment.
Lois Lane-Kent marched into her children's apartment with a no-nonsense air. She looked around, straightened up the blanket on the couch and walked to the kitchen to set down her purchases. Sighing, she smiled slightly to herself and cleaned up the now useless pot of chicken soup, and poured the three glasses of milk down the drain. Humming along with the soft music in the background, she wiped down the counters and stove. Then she pulled a container out of the bag. Heating it for a few seconds in the micro-warmer, she poured the stew into three bowls and set them down on the counter.
*Hmm...Somewhere in here I know there has to be a couple of trays. Where's that x-ray vision when you need it?*
Bending down and finding some trays underneath the sink, she retrieved them and set two of the bowls on one, and the third on the other. Pulling out two cartons of chocolate milk from the bag, she rinsed out the three glasses and refilled them. She unwrapped a loaf of bread and placed two slices next to each plate and laid a carnation on each tray. Then, picking up the smaller tray, she quietly walked into Jory's room.
Lois paused at the doorway and smiled down at her little girl. It still amazed her to this very day that she was a Mom. Happy and content like she never thought was humanly possible. Then chuckling at the irony in her last thought-- after all maybe it hadn't been 'humanly' possible to tame Lois Lane-- she walked in and set the tray down. Sitting at the edge of the bed she examined her floating daughter and pushed her gently back onto the bed.
Lois brushed a hand across Jory's forehead and shook her head. Waking her children was often something akin to waking the dead after they had been through a long day. And, from what Lois had gathered in her brief conversation with Jordon, she had been quite busy the past few days. Lois, scooted back on the bed, lifted the still floating form of her daughter up enough to slip under her and then pulled her down where her head could rest on Lois's lap. Stroking her hair, Lois thought about the life of her middle child.
Jordon was two years younger than Lane, and she had all the spit-fire of Lois and the calculated strength of Clark meshed in with a few bits and pieces of quirkiness that Lois could only attribute to Martha. The amazing thing to Lois was the sad reality that Jordon had grown up too quickly and yet still seemed to survive.
At twenty-four, her daughter was a resident at Metropolis general. She, of course, had set records in school, and somewhere along the line decided that the best way to use her 'gifts' was to help save peoples lives. Despite several offers of transfer, Jordon worked as the youngest head resident at MetroGen. She had spent the past three years working in the ER and was now in charge of all doctors there. At first, she had a difficult time getting people to accept a young girl as an intern much less as a full fledged doctor, but her persistence paid off and it was soon realized what an asset she was. Of course, no one there knew that Jory had special talents to help her along. She could see things others couldn't thanks to the x-ray vision: immediately diagnosing if there was any internal bleeding, ruptures, where the fractures were, if the person could be moved or not and why. All the things that most doctor had to guess at she could see. After several years, her staff had learned to trust her 'instincts', and most were incredibly loyal to her. One young man in particular kept Lois updated on much of what happened with Jordon.
Jory didn't know it yet, but Lois had a feeling that, if she let him, the young man would make an incredible difference in her daughter's life. He was an EMT ambulance driver, and had often been around the scenes of stories Lois had been 'involved' with. Because she still used her maiden name for her stories, (Lane and Kent just sounded too good to mess up) he didn't realize at first that she was Jordon's mom. It also didn't help him much for Lois to not look a day over 40-- apparently some things become part of you when you bare Superman's children, and one of those is that your aging process slows down considerably.
Once Michael discovered who she was, he started keeping her appraised of Jory's career. (A mother can't help wondering how her children are faring. It's a natural thing.) The very particular thing that Mike did was call Lois, when Jory pushed her self too hard. He was a smart young man, and had known there was something 'different' about Jory. He had worked with Jory for about 2 and a half years by now. He also knew enough about her apparently to know that sometimes she pushed herself too hard. Then, about a month ago, Lois had gotten the surprise of her life.
Michael had received a call from dispatch about an explosion on the wharf. Being the first to arrive, he had found in an alley way a crumpled _beaten_ woman lying behind a dumpster. Turning her over, he discovered it was Jordon. She had been a mess. Her clothing had been torn to shreds and she was bleeding. Glancing around she spied the remains of a brief case. In it, still lying in its lead container was a glowing green stone. Without really thinking of the possible meaning, he switched into auto pilot and shut the lead box, took it and stuffed it underneath the passenger seat of the ambulance, then carefully loaded Jordon onto a stretcher. All he knew was that he had to get her out of there. Then over dispatch he called in and told them he had gotten stuck in traffic-- they might want to send someone else. Only he knew that there were no other people involved.
Lois had been sitting in their living room waiting on Clark to return from a routine fly around the city, when she had heard a frantic knock at the door. Opening it, she had found Michael standing there with Jordon in his arms and tears streaming down his face. Her heart fell as she realized that the blood on his shirt was her daughter's. Stepping out of his way he wordlessly carried Jory into the bedroom she indicated and ever so gently laid her down. Then as Lois started checking her over, he related everything that he knew.
Without hesitation and with apparent practice, Lois picked up the phone and dialed Clark's beeper number for family emergencies-- the kind that requested immediate attention and it was on a frequency that only he and the kids could hear. She walked over to the bedroom window and opened it. Seconds later Superman flew into the window, slightly startled at the presence of a stranger in their bedroom, but noting from Lois's stance that the young man was a friend. He paled when he saw his daughter lying there lifeless. Lois had never seen him look as scared and she knew he was fearing the worst. He was also touched at the tenderness this young man was showing to his Jory. After a quick examination Clark decided that with time Jory should be alright. But they had no real idea what Kryptonite poisoning of this magnitude did to half-Kryptonians, so all they could really do was wait.
Meanwhile, Lois went down to the ambulance parked in the alley two blocks down and removed the lead box. she never told anyone what she had done with it-- just that it was in a very safe place. Michael never mentioned that night to Lois again, and as far as she knew Jordon still didn't know that he had saved her. It wasn't his style to brag about it, and Lois had the distinct feeling that he just wanted her to be safe. They would figure out the rest in good time.
Lois smiled again and pulled Jory _back_ down to the bed. *Good grief, this child floats more than all the Kent's together! Then again, she always has...* She shook her head. *Well, it's about time for sleeping beauty to wake up and get something to eat. Apparently she's been using her powers again. And, according to Michael, she worked for four days straight. He'd called her to tell her that he thought Jory had been pushing herself too hard and might get hurt if she did anything 'strenuous' on her day off. She had also lost a patient yesterday.
"Jordon...dear, come on now...You need to eat something..." Lane woke up suddenly, sensing that something wasn't quite right. Then, noticing the draft underneath him, he groaned. *Not...now!*
Quickly he floated them back to the bed and prayed that Gillian hadn't noticed. Oh, wait. She already knows.. *not* wanting to explore how he felt about that, he pulled the falling covers back over them and rested his head on the pillow. They were spooned together rather comfortably and he didn't want to lose that just yet. Several hours ago he had heard his Mom open the bedroom door, pause a bit, and smile at him when he looked up. Closing the door again, he heard her put (and he glanced at the wall) a tray of food in the fridge. Then he fell back asleep.
Wrapping his arm around Gillian again, he sighed. He had been pondering how to handle the situation for about an hour when she suddenly turned in his arms to face him.
"Hi.." he said softly and bent down to kiss her nose.
"Hi yourself..." she licked her lips nervously and smiled. "Fancy meeting you here, huh?"
"What? Didn't you know? I always carry home damsels in distress and put them in my bed... Makes for a good heating pad." He teased her and then stared at her. *She was so beautiful.*
"Ah...do you now. Well, then, what else do you do to your thousands of damsels?"
"Hundreds, then... My, my a choosy man, I like that..."
"How is this..." He kissed her passionately and it turned sweet and soft before they had to come up for air. "I don't know, laddie, I think you'll have to be a bit more selective..."
Then, as if afraid that he would say something he might regret, Gil sat up and gave him a very business-like look.
"So, what are we going to do now?" Grinning at her hesitation and embarrassment, but made solemn at her inquiry, he sat up and leaned back against the headboard. Pulling her to him so she would have the safety of his arms while they discussed the situation, he told her the plan that had been forming in his mind.
Gillian's apartment building was only about seven blocks from Lane's, so they walked leisurely there the next morning. It was Saturday and neither of them were expected at work. Lana had given them both the next few days off anyway. As they approached her building, Lane leaned down and whispered something in her ear, she laughed and they both walked up the steps. Kissing her briefly and opening the door, they presented the perfect picture of a happy couple...
Walking down the hall together, Lane bent down and very quietly replied to her nervousness that only someone close would notice. Inwardly he thanked higher powers for making her little betrayals of nervousness things that were not entirely obvious to those who had not grown up with them. Especially like the tiny almost invisible indication that she was chewing on the skin beneath her lower lip or the way she was tracing the inside of the ring on her right hand with the tip of her thumb. Most of the time such things were not even slightly obvious. He was just familiar with them. He was familiar with every nuance of her being. *I just hope that this maniac isn't so observant.*
"Mom, slipped in here earlier as the cleaning lady and straightened the place up. She didn't find much, but I do know some things were rearranged. Um... Try not to notice... be wrapped up in us....okay?"
Gillian grinned hesitantly up at him, "That won't be too difficult you know." She said, kissing him with everything she had in her.
Lane opened the door with her key, and led her into the apartment. He turned on a light, then walked casually over to the kitchen area. It was quite a bit like his Dad's old place-- where they lived when he had been little actually: A two room studio apartment with bath. It also had the convenience of guarded windows and doors-- something very helpful for a disguised hero.
* Now why in the world did _that_ go through my mind?* Lane shook his head to clear it. It seemed that for some reason, unknown to him, Gillian inspired the latent superhero in him. He smirked at himself and focused on the apartment.
Gil had gone directly into the bedroom to change into some fresher clothes. Walking toward the fridge, Lane noticed that there was a half-dozen roses in a vase on the table.
*Hmm... I thought mom said she threw those out... Oh well, better get rid of them before Gil sees 'em.*
He quickly snatched them out of the vase and dumped them in the trash under the sink. The water had been kind of sticky so he washed off his hands. In the process, he removed a couple of thorns that had left themselves attached to his hands.
*Geeze... These suckers are huge... when you get pricked.* He shrugged. *Oh well... now... what can I find us...*
Gillian re-entered the room in time to see Lane pull out the bottle of champagne he'd brought her a few weeks ago to celebrate a new archeological conquest. They hadn't gotten to drink it due to her sudden need for sleep half-way through a movie. She smiled softly and went over to the stereo and put on a CD. With The Police in the background she wandered over to him, accepting the glass of champagne.
"Maybe..." he replied.
When _Walking on the Moon_ started playing, Lane brought Gil up to him, set their glasses down and danced with her...
"Patience, love. It will be over soon..." He whispered against her ear.
"I know. It's just, I'm having such a wonderful time so far, with you... And it's going to end badly." A tear gathered in the corner of her eye. He kissed it away, and smiled gently down at her.
"We're going to be okay, Gil. I promise."
She suddenly pushed him away from her. "_HOW_ can you say that?! What right have you to sit here and tell me everything will be fine because you have this idea that you can control everything. How can you promise that?!!"
He looked bewildered. Her sudden change stunning him briefly. It wasn't exactly rare, but he had never really seen her this agitated at him before. *It's the stress.*
"Gillian, listen to me. I'll protect you. Okay, It can't get much worse... " he trailed of uncertainty tainting his voice.
She was incredibly frightened now, both by his promise, her knowledge of him and her feelings. She was so terrified that he didn't love her too. He hadn't said it. She had. She was the weak one and had given him what she had held so close for so long. So she struck out to hold her self in.
"Oh....and _THAT_ is supposed to make me feel better?? Lane you're not Superman. You may be his son," she let her voice lessen to a deadly quiet, "but you don't have the guts to use your powers. So, tell me, how... " She moved up to him and looked deeply into his shocked eyes. "How, can you tell me that you will protect me, if you can't bring yourself to love me enough to break that senseless rule of yours about your powers?"
Crying now, softly and with such heartbreak that she was certain she wouldn't be able to stand it, she sat on the couch...
Lane looked down at her stunned. He felt as if she had just hit him with a brick wall and all the Kryptonian powers in the world could never give him enough strength to resist them.
Lois Kent looked up at her husband from over the top of her youngest daughter's head. The eleven-year old smiled up at Clark and stood. After hugging her mother she ran up to him.
"What do you think, daddy?" She twirled around in her new dress and flipped her long thick braid over her shoulder.
"Well, now let me see." He ran a gentle hand down the braid and smiled. "Looks rather nice, Pumpkin. I'd say your mother did a splendid job. Now," he bent down to look at her more closely. "Do dad a favor and let's try not to make any of the kids in the row in front of you suddenly grow rabbit ears for this year's picture?"
Marty giggled to her self, tackled Clark with as big of a hug as she could give being the smallest member of the Kent family and ran out the door.
Lois sighed. "MARTY!!! your bag? And your lunch??"
Her little pistol dashed back into the room, a blur, and retrieved her satchel from her mom and ran back out the door.
Clark shook his head and then raised his hands in defense when Lois glared at him with her She's-your-daughter- not-mine look.
"Hey, now wait a minute, why is it MY fault she's, oh, a little absent minded..."
"A little, Clark?"
It was then that she really looked at him. Oh, he looked normal enough and certainly gorgeous. His dark wavy hair had only a hint of grey at his temples making him look very distinguished, and he was wearing a pair of jeans and one of those really nice sleeveless sweatshirts... But that was it, he looked 'normal'. Something bothered her ... His colouring wasn't' quite right.
"Clark " She walked up to him. "Sweetie, what's wrong, your sweating." She felt his forehead and blanched at the slight temperature.
"Clark Kent, you never sweat. Did something happen this morning on your patrol??"
Clark looked a bit surprised and ran his hand across his brow. His forehead creased.
"Now that you mention it..." He sat down on the bed. Lois walked over to him and took his hands in hers meaning to just keep contact while she tried to discover what was wrong.
"OW!" She placed her finger absently to her mouth. Clark jumped and looked a Lois who was staring at his hands. Imbedded into one of his thumbs was a thorn about half a centimeter long.
"Clark... your invulnerable... you can't get pricked by a thorn... "
Desperately trying to control her panic, she looked into his eyes and knew he had no idea how he could have possible been exposed to kryptonite. Then, as if someone was whispering things inside her head, she got that same feeling she always did when one of her children was in trouble.
"Clark," his eyes were starting to glaze, "Clark! you have to tell me, did you get this from those flowers I had lying in the sink?"
"They ....wer... purrfectllllee. . " his eyes grew. He knew something was happening to him. Three minutes ago he could speak perfectly. Now he felt as if he was standing outside himself. Everything was slurred and seemed warped... so far ... a w a y...
"Clark. Those flowers were from Gillian's apartment."
Lois panicked. Clark had passed out and all she could think of was that if she didn't get help soon, he would die.
"HEY!! Get out of the friggin' way, you idiot! What the bloody hell do you think the sirens are for?!!"
A young man with short brown wavy hair and a smattering of freckles across his nose was determinedly trying to get through the morning rush hour traffic. He hated mornings like this.
"Jack! you still back there?"
"Yeah , but sheesh man, take it easy. things are starting to fall off the balcony up there. I just got bonked by a water bottle."
Mike chuckled and shook his head. This was their usual morning routine.
"Nope! gotta move.. EXCUUUUUSEEE ME!" He grinned as he pushed a cabbie out of the way, gently of course and parked in front of a large building. Yelling back to the back, "Mike's taxi service has arrived! Have a good day at work, man! Say hi to Donna for me!"
The back doors to the ambulance opened and a older man in his late thirties stepped out of the ambulance and waved to Mike in the rear view mirror.
"I will, but you know you could have... Ah nevermind. You'll be late. Later Mike!" Closing the doors, Jack started walking up the steps to the Daily Planet building.
Lois began to panic when Clark fell forward on the bed. She knew she couldn't leave him and needed a medical team to help him, but she also was rather certain that Lane was in danger. Caught in indecision she did the only thing she could, she called for back up.
Mike pulled back out into the traffic and grinned to himself. He loved his job. When the radio started squawking at him he called into dispatch with a smile.
"Hiya, Judy, what's up? Someone caught in this mess already?
"Oh Mike, good it's you, listen a Mrs. Kent called in she wanted you to give her a ring immediately.
"Really? Did she say why?"
He heard Judy sniff over the phone. "yeah, Mike ..." *sniff* "She said Superman is dying..."
An hour or so later, Jack stood in his office and stared at the ceiling several minutes after he returned the phone to its proper place. For the first time in 10 years, he had drudged up his past to connect with someone who could get them access to Lextech. He hated himself for it. He hated his past and the things he had done. Not that they were bad-- just governmental. Now all he could do was wait, and they were running out of time. Then the phone rang again and he snatched it up.
"Yes." he visibly relaxed as he listened to the voice on the other end. "Good. We appreciate it. Bye." He punched another button and dialed again.
"Mike? Yeah, it's me. We're in. What do you need me to do?" He nodded a few times and then grinned slightly. "Heh. Sure thing. I'll meet you in the alley in an hour."
He turned back to his desk and straightened things up a bit, turned off the lamp and sat there in the darkness to wait... alone... Lane was speechless. *How could he not have realized that she didn't know. He fingered the pouch in his pocket and then went over to Gil. Kneeling down in front of her, he put his head down on her knees and grasped her hands in his.
*Oh, Gillian, what a fool, I have been.*
**Yeah, a grade 'A' fool. Don't tell me, you oaf, tell her.**
*Jordon, stay out of this, and stay out of my head will ya?*
**Sorry, sheesh, but someone needs to give you a swift... never mind.** She paused at his slowly rising temper.
** Alright! alright.**
"Gil, I am such a fool, I'm so sorry."
Lane put his head back down to look at the floor so Gil couldn't see the sudden smirk on his face when off in the distance he heard an "OW, damnit Lane that hurt..." as he threw up the mental wall he had learned to construct just for instances like this. Then he tuned out everything around him.
Lane looked back up at the teary-eyed woman sitting there. She seemed so hopeless and afraid. His heart shattered at the thought that he could have almost lost her again due to his stupidity.
"Gillina, love," he paused with her giggle at the childhood nickname. "My love, You are and have been for so long everything to me. Enough so that I am even going to go so far as to turn into a blubbering idiot so as to get across these feeling to you." He grinned up at her. "No matter how corny they sound. Gil I never thought for once that you had any doubts about my feelings for you. It never occurred to me." He smiled sheepishly. "Jory always told me my face was billboard, so I assumed you _knew_."
Gillian sniffed reproachfully. "Knew..."
"Knew, Gil, that I love you with all my heart. That I never thought that I would ever be able to use my powers without feeling guilty-- until, that is, I fell in love with you. Gillian, for the past four weeks, I have flown by your house every night. I sat outside your window until you fell asleep. I've never been very far away, and I didn't even notice that I was doing it until Jory yelled at me this afternoon for being such a stick in-the-mud."
"Really?" She smiled down at him and ran a finger through his thick dark locks. A small amount of sweat mixed in with his hair and slicked it back a bit. She grinned as she noticed just how much he looked like Superman when it was like that.
"You look a great deal like your dad this way. I met Superman once you know-- about four years ago. He saved me in a cave-in. . ." She paused when she noticed he was grinning broadly at her. "That...that was you??? But that was...after Anna died...I mean. . you weren't...and that time..."
Lane chuckled richly and leaned up to kiss her quickly on the nose.
"Yes, well, old habits are rather hard to kill completely." Gil caressed Lane's face gently and shook her head in wonderment.
"I was so afraid I was going to lose you. That this psycho would kill you before I got the chance to tell... "
"Yeah, I know...me, too...I have never been as scared as I was yesterday when I found you on the floor. If Jory hadn't been with me..."
Lane fumbled a moment with something in his pocket as he kissed her. Breaking off the kiss, he looked at her and smiled shyly. "Gillian, I do love you, with all my heart-- just like in the storybooks, and all those wild dreams of yours we enacted as kids."
"Will you marry me then? Could I possibly be worthy enough?"
Gillian gasped as he held up in front of her the most exquisite antique sapphire and diamond ring. It looked to be about 12th century Celtic and the carving, the intricacy was fascinating.
"You..." She gulped. "Want me to..." She suddenly felt like her windpipe was going to fail her. "Marry you?"
His face fell. He'd had the ring for 2 years. Jory had found it in County Clare Ireland and he knew he would love it. Better yet, Celtic Mythology and antiquities happened to be one of Gillian's hobbies. Suddenly Lane didn't feel very sure of himself anymore. Maybe it _wasn't good enough... Maybe HE wasn't good enough. . .
Gillian was stunned. She had secretly dreamed of this moment for so long. Once she had covered a wedding story for the DP, and all she could do was wonder if she would ever be lucky enough to go through something like that... with Lane... only then it had been a youthful fantasy. It seemed almost unreal. And he was so wonderful, most of the time, and considerate...and sexy...and staring at her with the most terrified, heart-broken look right now... oops ...
She smiled up at him quickly coming out of her brief daze. She spoke no words, did nothing, but what was in her heart to do. He was still holding the ring between two fingers and she started slipping her own finger through it-- letting him finish. He clasped her hand in his and leaned in to kiss her. She then led him toward the bedroom and smiled at him. It was a wicked smile, seductive in its intent and yet a bit wary as well. He followed, though, because he could do nothing else.
She sat down on the bed and slinked her hands up to his tie, using it to pull him to her. For some reason, none other than an itching at the back of his neck and the awareness that someone was trying to tell him something, plus most likely the simple fact that his focus was suddenly on his desire for Gillian and not on blocking out the others close to him, he was bombarded with the sound of his name being shouted at a screeching level. Moving on pure instinct, he reacted as if an explosion had gone off and threw Gillian down to the floor. He covered her mouth with his hand as she shrieked and scanned the room.
** Lane!!!!!!!!!... oh, good, there you are...you have to get out of there. NOW! the flowers... they are coated with kryptonite. there... I don't know where ...*
*Can you look, Jory?*
**Lane, I just used more effort that I could really afford to get your attention...**
Lane's head hurt and the sudden intense fear in Gil's eyes didn't help much. He scanned the room with his x-ray vision and the rest of the apartment from where he was. For some reason he was having more difficulty than usual. Of course he never was very good at it anyway. At first he didn't notice much, then his eyes darted back to the bedroom closet.
"Gil...?" He whispered against her ear. "Since when have you had a lead-lined closet?" The blankness on her face answer his question.
"Okay, I want you to listen to me very carefully. When I count to three, crawl to the door and leave... run if you have to, but leave...Do you understand?"
She nodded and a tear fell on her cheek. "I'll be fine. I promise.." He kissed the ring on her finger and then slowly counted.
"One..." He heard the latch on the door lift up slowly, silently.
The familiar cocking of a gun stilled his heart with the bitter taste of fear. He did his best not to show Gil how frightened he really was. How was he supposed to tell her that a little voice in his head said he could be affected by the kryptonite already? It would explain the light sweat and clamminess, not to mention the actually physical exertion it had taken to scan the apartment.
"Three.." Gillian pushed herself quickly across the floor, crossing the threshold of the door and ran into the living room. Lane heard the door open before he really saw it and he saw the gun fire before he could really react. He leaped forward and caught the second bullet as it drove toward Gillian. Then another shot fired, and another, and another.
Gillian screamed and hit the floor in a panic. The sound of a body thudding on the ground caused her to look up in time to see a blur of white and hear a howling as Jory dove at the gunman leaning over the Lane's crumpled body. At the same time, another movement caught her eye as the man pulled out a needle and brandished it at Jory. Gil started to call out to her but her voice caught in her throat. Jory screamed in utter rage as the man fired once more at Lane then started to point the gun at Jory again.
A shot fired.
Miles away in her apartment, Lois cried.
Michael dropped his gun as the man died.
Jory stood in the room stunned and turned toward Mike. Then, she fainted. In a bit of a panic Mike ran over to her and prayed to about a dozen Gods that she was alright. He caught he before she hit the floor with a speed that rivaled Superman's and gently eased her down. Grasping her hand he noticed that she held something. In her hand was a kryptonite bullet. He removed the bullet in her hand and quickly ripped a strip of cloth from her cape to make a tourniquet around her wrist just in case the burn on her hand had infected the blood stream. He then walked over to the stretcher out in the hall and removed a led-lined case from the supplies he had brought with him. Lois had been afraid some of the hideous stuff was still in the apartment, so she had sent it with him, just in case. He put the bullet in the case and brought the stretcher into the room.
Jordon had revived herself soon after the bullet had been taken away and was doing her best to stabilize Lane. Working as a team, she and Mike managed to get most of the wounds cleaned up enough out remove the bullets immediately. Apparently only the last bullet had been deadly.
"We're running out of time, Mike."
Jory shook her head as she removed yet another bullet. "You don't understand. There's more to it that just stabilizing him." Her hands shook as she attempted to remove the last bullet. Vaguely she was aware of Gillian rhythmically squeezing the air bellow to help Lane breath. Muttering under her breath she shook her head and tried to gasp the bullet again. A gentle hand stopped her. Looking up, she saw Gillian reach over for the clamp and proceed to remove the bullet herself. In absolute shock, Jory just watched her until she herself felt a slight pricking sensation on her right arm. Startled she turned her attention confusedly to Mike.
"Damn, I was afraid of that."
"What the hell are you doing, Mike?" Jory regained some of her composure and glared at him then returned to stitch up a gash in Lanes forehead. She stopped and started so many times that finally Mike encased her hands in his.
"Jordon... Stop... You're hurt... Let me do it, okay?"
"You don't understand. I have to get him... he needs help... he. . " Jory looked up at him and he could see that the effects of the Kryptonite were taking their effect on her as well. How was he supposed to take care of her and Lane if she was going to be so damn stubborn? Gillian laid a hand on his arm then and gently pushed him out of the way so she could strap Lane down and get him ready to travel. He wondered briefly where she learned to do all of this, but selfishly his thoughts returned to Jory. *Where the Hell is Jack? He was supposed to be here five minutes ago... *
Jory was getting restless while he was off in 'la la land' and he focused on her again.
"Jory! Listen to me. It's taken care of. Jack is bringing an ambulance. He'll be here soon and then we can get Lane out of here and take him where he can be treated properly."
Jordon fought him off with her hands as she again attempted to sew the cut closed. *No.. He doesn't understand.. Lane is dying and there is not a damn thing I can do about it. * She suddenly felt faint and the room swayed just a bit. Mike's voice was starting to sound insistently distant.
"Jordon! Listen to me." His voice quieted. "I know. Okay?" Exasperated with the many factors that were starting to get muddled up and with his own fear, he did the only thing he could think of to bring her out of the glazed trance she was in. He kissed her. Granted it was probably a bad idea, considering the circumstances, but she was getting hysterical and he needed her lucid. He just hoped Gil forgave him later.
"I know... it's okay, Jack just returned your Dad home. He's fine, and Gil and I will make sure that Lane gets the kryptonite scorched out of his system and returns to his old self. Jory, I need you to stay calm, sweetheart. Okay?" Her shocked expression registered very little other than surprise, but she nodded. He sat her down on a chair next to the end table of the couch and motioned for Gillian to help him take the stretcher out into the hall. It took him a few moments to get her attention. *Damn, what is it about women that they have to think about every little thing during a crisis...*
Gillian was still in shock from the entire situation. Lane, her Lane, was sitting there on a stretcher bleeding. *He - can't- bleed. He's invulnerable. Dear Gods, the kryptonite. The sweating. I should have known. *All the evidence was there and she had missed it.*
She glanced over at the man lying dead in the doorway of her bedroom. His face was twisted into a wry smirk of irony. Blood drained from her face as recognition dawned on her. Richard. Thoughts of college pranks and fun laughter between friends flashed through her mind as she stared down at her 'old stoic friend.' He'd never been much of a sport when they joked around, but then he had really just tagged along to keep an eye on his sister. Then later, when Anna had started dating Lane, he had hung around Gil to apparently 'compensate' for his loss. He had always seemed so angry and jealous of Lane, but Gil had never thought much about it at the time. Then he'd disappeared. Now, she knew why. Anna had died... All this because the poor man thought that Lane had not been good enough. Lane had once mentioned that he didn't trust Rich. Gillian wondered if... *No... Don't even think that way. Besides, it's over. There's a great deal more to do so get with it.*
She looked over at Jory and recognized the symptoms that had appeared in Lane an hour earlier. Poison. Mike apparently had his hands full trying to keep Jordon from spearing Lane's skull with a needle, so Gil gathered her strength and retrieved her Corp knowledge. She started prepping Lane for his travel in the ambulance, hooked up an IV and strapped him in. Mike could deal with Jory. All they could really do anymore was wait any way. . .
"What? Oh sorry, Mike, yeah he's ready to go. Jack is coming with the ambulance? I can't believe you are letting him drive that thing. It seems to me he shouldn't be allowed to drive a bicycle much less an ambulance, but hey what do I know. By the way, thanks so much for your help. Your timing couldn't have been better, we almost died and I don't think Jordon would have survived if she had to kill Ri.. umm.. the man herself..." She babbled on as they worked their way downstairs to the back alley and into the ambulance.
Mike understood her babbling and figured that if it helped her then he wouldn't complain. Jack helped get everything locked into place and returned to the driver's seat.
Mike looked at Jack. "You know where to go, right?"
"Um, Mike, one I've already been there." He started up the vehicle. "Two, is isn't exactly like Lextech Nuclear is that difficult to find."
Jack paused as he pulled the ambulance out onto the street and then picked up the phone attached to the dash. "Furthermore, you forget that, though it was a number of years ago, I have done this before."
He handed the phone to Mike and continued driving. His attention focused on the traffic, not the conversation.
Mike grabbed the phone, checked Lane's vitals as he dialed a number. He glanced back in time to see a car pull up in front of Gillian's apartment and an elderly gentleman get out. Sighing with thankful relief that the reinforcements had arrived her watched Gil dash into her father's arms as Perry took control of the situation with practiced finesse.
Jory was sitting back against the cushioned bench near the rear of the ambulance looking rather pale and weak. He worried about her but knew that there was little left for him to do other than hope she could heal. Something told him that she too had recognized the dead guy, but he didn't dare push. Gillian certainly had recognized him. Lane's pulse was weak, but at the moment it was stabilized. Picking up the phone he dialed the number again and waited.
"Yeah, hi. Is the Chief there? Thanks. Oh, It is Mike." He glanced at Jordon while he was waiting to be transferred and noticed two tears streaming down her face. Creeping back to sit next to her he rested a hand on her arm. "Yeah!, Dad... I'm fine, and for the moment so are the others... yeah, yeah. . Dead. He's dead. He was going for all three." He paused and swallowed.
"No. I did." He glanced up at Jory briefly and his breath caught in his throat. She had the strangest look on her face. "Um. Well, he is stabilized, and the other is in good condition recovering at home now... What press? He's the bloody editor of the Planet! Yeah, well it helps to know the wife of the editor of a major newspaper. Look, Dad I have to go. We're almost to Lextech. Me too." He smiled at Jordon. "Sorry, Dad, she's taken."
Hanging up the phone he looked up at Jordon again and stuttered. "Well, um.. it looks like everything is t-taken care of. .
The ambulance stopped and Jack hopped out to unlock the back doors. Jordon started unfastening the restraints on Lane's stretcher.
"I'm going to take him in alone. It's safer that way." She paused for a moment and looked at Mike, then, as if afraid she would lose her nerve or maybe because this might not work she leaned toward Mike and gave him a long deep kiss. Whispering thank you she used her remaining strength to lift Lane up and take him out of the ambulance. She walked into the building without looking back.
Clark paced rapidly for about five more minutes and then looked at his youngest daughter's watch.
"It's _still_ 3:05 daddy. Want me to go see what is taking so long?"
"No, no, dear that's okay.. I am sure your mother has taken care of everything.."
"If she remembered to at least.."
Right about then Lois came dashing in and breathlessly sighed. "Clark... I can't find a pen. Where's a pen? No, I don't need a pencil, I need a pen. Marty, go and see if they are ready yet, where's your brother? Oh, yeah outside...okay, now. Daughter straighten your dress. Clark don't give me that look. Okay, so I am nervous, what?...you aren't..." Lois grinned and looked down at her daughter. "How many times in the last 5 minutes has your father asked the time, Marty?"
Marty grinned broadly. "Only 43 so far, mom.." With a quick nod, Lois winked at her daughter and planted a hard passionate kiss on her husband's lips, then dashed back out the door she had come in.
Several minutes later she dashed back in and ushered Marty out the door. "Go!. oh and be careful. . and shouted. "Don't trip!!. . . and don't forget. . You're next!"
"When you're thirty... " Clark muttered to no one in particular under his breath.
Shaking his head Clark drew her to him, "Mrs. Kent, you really shouldn't encourage a child of fifteen like that. It's bad for her father's health. I would hate to have to start beating the boys back at such a young impressionable age.
"I thought you were supposed to be invulnerable, Mr. Kent." She said huskily.
"Not entirely... " He grinned down at her wickedly.
Laughing, Lois just leaned into him for a brief kiss which was then interrupted but the fatherly face of Perry White and the distinct sound of him clearing his throat.
"Um... kids, I don't know about you but I think...we should get this show on the road.
"I'm with you, Perry," Lois laughed as Clark paled about three shades and stuttered.
Perry just laughed and crooked his arm for Lois who linked hers through his and walked through the now opened door. Perry walked her down to the front of the room and ushered her to her seat. Kissing her hand, he bowed, looking very gallant in his tails, and winked at her. Then he took his own seat next to Alice.
Back at the hallway entrance Clark was still pacing, hearing a noise he looked up and tears sprang to his eyes.
Lois smiled up at her son and winked at the other two young men standing there with him. Mike winked back at her and then whispered something to Lane before looking back down at his watch. Standing with them, Jack was continually pulling them back by their collar and telling them to stop fidgeting.
"I'm too old for this," he kept muttering.
Finally the music started up, and a harpist played a hauntingly beautiful Celtic ballad as the doors in the back of the room opened. Everyone in the room turned and looked. The murmur of voices hushed as a little girl started walking down the aisle throwing (haphazardly) rose petals down on the ground. The giddy two year old zigzagged halfway down the aisle before she got distracted by someone's hat. A very beautifully dressed and rather mature looking Marty started down the aisle. Her deep green dress dipped off her shoulder to a long train down her back, she held her head proudly. (Although her mother wondered if it was because she had beaten her parents at their own game and gotten to wear the dress after all.)
He kept looking down the aisle as the little girl poured a handful of petals on his cousin's head, and then wandered a few more feet down toward the front of the room. His ears felt like they might start ringing if someone didn't do something soon. Then he saw her and everything, including time, froze.
*Oh dear,* Lois thought as she smiled to herself and snatched her unruly granddaughter into the aisle with her and all her rose petals. *I hope he doesn't faint before she gets down the aisle.* Quietly she chuckled and she looked back to beam as her daughter and Gillian slowly moved down the aisle toward the front. She couldn't remember a time when girls had looked prettier. She felt Martha take Lara from her and squeeze her hand. Jonathan put his arm around Lois and beamed happily at the procession.
When they got up to the alter, he barely heard much of what was going on until there was a gentle pressure on his arm and he looked up to see Clark Kent grinning down at him.
"Well, son, she's all yours." Then a bit softer so that only he could hear.
"Maybe *you* can keep her from floating..."
Mike nodded and chuckled then turned to Jory and took her hand. They walked up the steps to the alter and began their life together... - - - - - -
"Nana?? Why would Aunt Jory be floating?"
The End... for now...
[Small disclaimer. In my little world I did change a few things. One thing being that Jack didn't disappear after the first season, and though not apparent yet, neither did Cat Grant. Also, I tend to borrow the story-lines from the comics just as often as I do the series. I did try my best to keep things clear and explained.
I hope that I realized the characters enough. I do plan a few parallel story-lines if anyone is interested. One or two about Gil and Lane (including one about Anna) and one about Jory and Mike. Marty has to grow up first. Thanks for reading it!-- sandra]