Andorian Ice Princess <email@example.com>
Submitted: April 2002
Summary: When an assassin out for revenge steals some Kryptonite and kidnaps Clark, it's up to an already undercover Lois to save him and Superman. But will she have to blow her cover to save him?
This is a piece of fan fiction. It is written for pleasure and not for profit. The characters of Lois, Clark, Jimmy and Perry are all the property of DC Comics and ABC. All other characters are my own.
NOTE: This is my first L&C Fanfic. Please be kind in your reviews. But tell me what you think. (I put chapter titles in because I thought it would be easier to read).
Just wanted to thank Wendy for giving me the courage to actually post my first L&C Fic!
(Note: Inner thoughts are in '—')
Chapter 1 — The Trap
"All right, Mr. Kent," said the leader as he yanked the gag from Clark's bruised mouth and held a gun to Clark's face and cocked the trigger, "call for Superman or this is the last thing you see."
Clark stood before a disguised Lois beaten, bound and helpless and unable to call for his alter ego. She heard the gun cock and knew that if she didn't reveal herself Clark would die. But if she did she would die also. 'What do I do?' she asked herself frantically as she stared into the face of her beloved fianc‚.
A FEW DAYS EARLIER
"Good morning, my love," Clark smiled as he walked up to his beautiful fianc‚e. The last few weeks since she had taken an undercover assignment had put such a strain on their relationship Clark didn't know where things stood half the time.
"Oh hi, Clark," Lois said as she heard Clark approached her paper filled desk.
"Oh hi, Clark?" Clark asked in shock. "Um, Lois whatever happened to 'Good morning, sweetheart' followed by a kiss?" he asked sadly.
"Oh hi, Clark," Lois mumbled again as she kept her gaze transfixed on her writing. Clark looked down and noticed his fianc‚ was frantically writing down names and dates. "What's the deal, Lois?" Clark asked as he sat down on the edge of her desk.
Lois finally put down her pencil and looked up into the perplexed face of her fianc‚, Clark. "Clark, can't you see I was trying to remember something and that if I don't write it down right away I'll forget it? And if I forget it then I'll lose my lead and if I lose my…" Lois continued to ramble on.
Clark sat and stared at her and couldn't help but smile at her.
"Am I rambling again?" Lois finally managed her trademark smile that snagged Clark in the first place.
"Um, yeah," he said slowly. "What's the big deal anyway?" he asked.
"Oh, just a story, you know," Lois said firmly.
"Just a story?" Clark asked.
"Yeah, you know, my undercover story."
"Ah, yes, the one you somehow forgot to tell me about until last night?" Clark mused. "Care to explain that?" he asked.
"Oh, it's no big deal. You know." Lois laughed lightly. "Just a fluff undercover piece I'm doing for the east-side women's shelter."
"The one on the east side," Lois said rolling her eyes.
"Yeah, okay. But I still don't…" Clark said as Lois watched his trademark look off into space.
"A sniper on the top of the Hallmark building."
"Bye," Lois said as Clark was already heading for the stairwell. She listened for the familiar Superman boom and then went back to writing her story on the leader of the underworld assassin gang, Miles Rinaldi. ''Sorry, Clark.'' Lois sighed inwardly. ''You'd just worry and tell me not to do it. And this is going to be a Pulitzer for sure.'' She smiled. ''Besides I have a strong cover. What could go wrong?'' she said as she hurried to get dressed and head undercover.
"Here you go, Mr. Rinaldi. The last piece of Kryptonite we could steal," one of Miles Rinaldi's loyal but brainless henchman Rico said.
"Thanks, Rico. Take it to Stuart. He'll know what to do with it," Miles said slowly as he handed the chunk of green rock back to his henchman. The man left and Miles stood before a large map and smiled. "And once you are out of the way, Superman, Metropolis is just the beginning."
He turned and looked at the note before him regarding Clark Kent. "So, Mr. Kent, you have the misfortune of being Mr. Goody Goody's best friend. Pity for you." Miles laughed wickedly.
He looked at the picture on his desk and a mean frown crossed his face. "Not long now, brother, and we'll have our revenge! Our revenge on both of our enemies, Superman and Clark Kent."
Lois changed and rushed to the Paradise NightClub, the place she always met the man she was undercover spying on. She looked at her reflection in the mirror. "You always wanted to be a blond." She laughed as she fingered the long blond strands she was sporting. She had also put in blue contacts to change her eye color and added a fake mole for an extra touch. She felt bad about lying to Clark, but she knew this story was a good one. "Besides," she told herself, "Clark couldn't have gone undercover here. I mean, what excuse would he use when he wanted to Superman? 'Oh, excuse me, I have to return my video for the 500-hundreth time?' " She smiled as she used to remember some of the lame lines Clark handed to her in the beginning. They annoyed her then, now he didn't need an excuse. "Oh, if the world only knew I was engaged to its first superhero." She smiled and went to her regular booth and waited. Sure enough the slimy man who was researching slowly walked up to her.
"Hello, Donna, my love." The man said slowly as he cozied up to her in the booth. He kissed her on the cheek and smiled. "How was your day?"
"Oh, Miles, it was okay. Did some shopping, got my nails done, you know, regular girl stuff." She laughed. "So what's on the agenda for tonight?" She winked.
"I have some business to take care of tonight," he said. "Sorry no fun."
Lois put on a disappointed face. "But I thought we were going to go dancing," she whined.
"Sorry, darling, but daddy has to work." He smiled. "Besides, after tonight, I won't need to work ever again." Miles laughed as one of his henchmen walked up to him.
"And why is that? Robbing a bank?" she teased.
"You could say that." He smiled as the man sat down in front of them.
"Hey, boss. Everything's set," the man said.
"Excellent. I'll be up shortly."
"Yeah, operation Kent is a go."
"Shut up, you idiot," Miles snapped.
'Kent?' Lois said to herself. 'They can't mean Clark. Could they? Why Clark? What's happening tonight? I have to find out,' she said inside her worried brain.
Lois turned to Miles and tried to be natural, all the while her heart was racing with fear of what she might hear.
"Um, Kent? As in the Kent state bank?" Lois smiled sweetly.
"You have something to do right, Rico?" Miles asked in an annoyed voice.
"Uh, yes, sir," he said as he quickly got up.
"Uh, yeah, something like that," he smiled warily.
'Kent Bank, my foot,' Lois said to herself. 'He's lying to me. But could he really mean Clark? And why? What does he have planned? I have to find out now!'
Superman finished up his task and sped back to the Planet in hopes of getting a better explanation from Lois. He quickly spun back into Clark and headed into the newsroom only to find Lois not there. "What in the world," he asked himself? "Why didn't she wait for me?" Clark wondered as he headed for Perry's office.
"So, tell me again why I can't see you tonight?" Lois asked Miles.
"Because me love," he said as he kissed her on the mouth.
'Yuck,' Lois thought, 'it's a good thing Clark isn't here to see this. This guy would be dead in a second.'
"I have to finalize some plans. But I promise tomorrow you'll see all the action!"
"Oh goody, action!" she said with a large fake smile. She blew him a kiss and then turned to leave. Miles waved goodbye and then walked to the back of the bar to a secret room.
Lois quickly took off her disguise and quietly stole around to the back. She knew Miles and his boys met there and had made herself a small and unnoticeable hiding spot with which to see what was going on. She carefully placed herself inside the small alcove and opened the little spy hole she made to listen.
"Well, Stuart?" Miles asked. "Is everything ready?"
"Oh yeah. Mr. Goody Goody will never know what hit him," Stuart laughed.
"And the most recent hit?" Miles asked.
"Still on track," Stuart smiled.
"Excellent. I don't want anything to go wrong this time. Is that clear?" Miles said angrily.
"What about Kent?" One of the goons asked.
"After tomorrow Clark Kent will no longer be around to hinder us," Miles smiled evilly.
Lois heard them mention Clark and her heart stopped. What? It was Clark they were talking about. What do they have planned? She felt panic and tension starting to build up inside of her. Ever since she learned that Clark was Superman she was doubly concerned.
"And Superman?" someone else asked.
The mention of Clark's alter-ego snapped her back to reality.
"With my little surprise planned, Superman will never know what hit him." Miles laughed. "And when he does, it'll be too late."
"To the death of Superman." Stuart laughed as he raised his glass. "And Clark Kent, also."
Lois sat back and started to tremble. What do they have planned? Sadly, she now had to wait until they left the room or risk being caught. "Oh Clark, what do they want to do to you," she asked sadly. "I can't let them hurt you. Wait, what am I talking about? They can't hurt Clark. He's Superman. But they said they had something for Superman." Her brain was a flurry of panicked activity. "I have to get back and tell Perry. He has to pull Clark from the assassin story."
They finally left and Lois quickly vacated her hiding spot and ran to her jeep. She sped all the way back to the Planet and rushed into Perry's office, not seeing Clark already sitting there quietly.
"Chief, you'll never guess what Miles has planned!" she blurted out.
"Ah Lois…" Perry started as Lois spun around to see Clark sitting in a chair with a perplexed look on his handsome face.
"Clark!" Lois exclaimed.
"Lois," Clark said firmly.
"What's going on?" she asked with a puzzled stare at Perry.
"Miles?" Clark said getting up. "As in Miles Rinaldi? Lois, that's my story," Clark insisted.
"Uh, I think I better give you guys a few minutes," Perry said sheepishly as he quickly left his office.
Lois turned to Clark and knew she owed him an explanation. She put on a sheepish smile and tried to find something to say.
"Miles?" Clark started.
"Look, Clark, Perry assigned me to this story before you. I'm working on a different angle than you, that's all," she said as she turned and headed for the window.
"What angle? The inside one?" Clark questioned. "You're not undercover at the shelter are you? It's in Miles organization, right, Lois?"
"Um, yeah," she said turning back to him. "Clark, what's the big deal?"
"Big deal? Oh, maybe it's just that Miles is an international assassin."
"Which you haven't proved yet," she said. "Their organization has terrorist ties."
"Which you haven't proved yet," she said again.
"Not to mention that he vocally hates Superman."
"So does every other crime syndicate." She smiled. "Face it. You're not good for their business."
"Funny," Clark said not laughing. "Face it, Lois, this guy is a major player. How could Perry even think of sending you undercover alone?" Clark asked.
"Actually, I, um, volunteered."
"You what? Without me?" Clark asked in surprise.
"Clark you'd stick out like a sore thumb. Besides what would happen if Superman were needed. What excuse would you give Rinaldi then?" she countered.
"Why didn't you at least tell me?" Clark asked. "Then I could have Superman at least keep an eye on you."
"Yeah, that's just what I need when I'm undercover in a crime organization. Superman flying overhead giving me away," she pouted.
"What?" Clark asked with a hurt face. "But Lois…"
"Clark don't give me that look," Lois said softly. "I can't give in to you right now."
"It's not about giving in, Lois. It's about being smart. And being smart is not being there alone," Clark tried to reason. "So what did you learn?"
"They have something planned for Superman," Lois said, not mentioning Clark. She reasoned this way: If Superman was warned then Clark would be fine. "What am I saying? You are Superman." She laughed. "They have something planned for you."
"Did you hear what?" Clark asked.
"No, sorry. Do you think they have Kryptonite?" Lois asked in a concerned tone.
"I doubt it. Dr. Klein's is in his secret lockup. We got the stuff from Trask and Luthor. So unless they found a way to manufacture it, it's probably some other type of weapon. It'll be okay." Clark smiled.
"I have to find out," Lois said as she pulled away from Clark and started to pace Perry's office.
"What?" Clark asked looking at her. "You're still planning on going back in?" he asked in shock.
"I have no intention of stopping now, Clark," Lois said firmly. "And no matter what you say, I'm not going to stop."
Clark just looked at his determined fianc‚ with a sad face. "You even took your ring off," Clark said before he turned and left Perry's office.
"Damn it," Lois cursed as she looked down and realized that she forgot to put her ring back on. She rushed after Clark and caught up with him at his desk.
"Is that part of the disguise, Lois? Forgetting me?" Clark asked sadly.
"Clark, I'm not forgetting you," Lois said firmly. "I can't go undercover as this guy's girlfriend and be engaged. Why are you blowing this out of proportion?" Lois asked.
"I'm not," Clark said simply.
Lois was about to comment further when Perry called for her, and Clark's phone rang.
"We'll finish this later, Clark," Lois said as she turned to go see Perry.
"Sure, Lois," Clark said sadly as his phone rang. "Clark Kent," he answered.
"Yeah, it's me… Marty. I have the information on the next hit you wanted," said the disguised voice of Rico.
"Where can I meet you?"
"Tonight at 6 pm sharp. Behind the Paradise Nightclub. And come alone."
"Yeah, no worries there," Clark sighed to himself. "See you then," he said as he hung up and looked at Lois in Perry's office. He watched Lois frantically explaining something to Perry. "Even now, Lois, you still don't fully trust me. What's up with that?"
Clark finished up his work and heard Lois come back to her desk. He looked up to see if she was looking at him, but sadly she was too wrapped up in her story to notice. He got up and went and sat down beside her. "Lois?"
"Yeah, Clark?" she said without looking at him.
"I, um, wanted to know if you wanted us to have dinner tonight?" he asked. "Say about 7pm or so."
"Um, can't tonight, Clark. I'm just going to grab something and work late," she said.
"You're kidding, right?" Clark asked in surprise.
Lois looked up at him with a firm smile. "Clark, if this group is planning something against Superman, who knows what else they have planned. I have to find out and stop them."
"You? Stop them?" Clark smiled. "What? Like by yourself?"
"Don't patronise me, Clark," Lois said. "Now, what is the real issue? Because I know it's not this story."
"I guess the real issue is you not telling me in the first place." Clark sighed sadly.
"And for that I am sorry," Lois said with a smile.
"And the ring."
"The what?" she asked.
"The ring. You could have made an excuse for it," Clark said.
"Clark, I'm not about to blow my cover for the ring," Lois said without thinking.
"I mean, it's not like it's in danger of getting lost," she said. But as she noticed the look on his face she knew she hurt him. "I didn't mean it like that, Clark," she said as he got up and walked back to his desk.
"Yeah, Lois. Sure. Just you probably don't mean anything else," he said feeling sorry for himself.
"What?" Lois said standing up. "Clark, come back here and let's settle this right now."
"I need to clear my head, Lois," Clark said sadly as he headed for the elevator. He got in and the last look he gave her was one of sad defeat.
"That's just great," Lois pouted.
Clark sped home and spun into a pair of jeans and sweater. He would be meeting his informant shortly. "Good. It will take my mind off today." He sighed. He quickly ate some supper and then headed for the door. "I hope we can work this out tomorrow," he said, looking at a picture of Lois on the table. "I love you, Lois."
"When's Kent coming?" Miles asked Rico.
"He'll be here very soon," Rico said. "Why do you have that green stuff with you? It's just Kent. He ain't Superman."
"I just want to show Kent the surprise I have for his friend Superman. Besides it won't hurt him, will it?" Miles laughed as they watched Clark get out of the cab and slowly walk towards them.
"Welcome to my parlour, Mr. Kent." Miles smiled as Clark neared them.
Clark walked towards the place Rico said to meet him. He entered the dark alley and walked towards his two waiting captors. Clark looked around and saw no one. He was about to scan with his x-ray vision when Rico stepped out of the shadows.
"Hiya, Kent," he said.
"Hey, Marty. What have you got?" Clark asked.
"You, actually," Rico said as he pulled out a gun.
'Yeah, right,' Clark thought to himself, 'as if that scares me.' He sighed.
"What's this all about, Marty?"
"Hands where I can see em, Kent," Rico said harshly. "And the name's Rico. See that back door? Move, now," he demanded meanly as he pushed the gun in Clark's chest.
Clark just sighed and decided to play along. He turned around and headed for the darkened doorway. When he entered the room he was greeted by another man he recognized as Miles Rinaldi.
"What's going on here?" Clark demanded as Rico slammed the door shut behind him.
"Just want to talk to you, Kent," Rinaldi smiled. "You've been causing my hitmen some problems with your troublesome meddling and story expos‚s. It's not very good for business. Neither is your friend Superman."
"What Superman chooses to do with his time is not my concern. What do you want with me, Rinaldi?" Clark demanded.
"Just to show you something." He smiled. "But first, Rico, if you would be so kind as to restrain Mr. Kent for me."
"What?" Clark asked in surprise.
"Just for my own piece of mind. So that you don't dart away until I'm finished what I have to show you. Besides, I don't want you trying to stop me in any way." Rinaldi laughed.
"Sure thing, boss," he smiled as he grabbed some rope and moved towards Clark.
Since Clark still didn't know what they had planned for Superman, he had no choice but to let Rico tie him up. 'Besides,' he smiled inside as he said to himself, 'this won't hold me for long.'
"Hands behind your back, Kent," Rico said meanly.
Clark complied. He felt his wrists pulled behind him and tied tightly together. If he didn't have his super-strength to rely on he'd be in trouble as he felt Rico tighten the knots. "Shesh, Rico, not so tight," Clark added for effect. Both men just laughed.
Clark pretended to struggle against his bonds as he stood before his captors. "Now what?" he asked.
"Now you stay with us," Rinaldi said. "It's payback time."
"What?" Clark asked in shock as Rinaldi turned around and pulled out a small lead-lined box.
"For you and Superman," he laughed.
"What are you talking about, Rinaldi," Clark demanded angrily.
"Before I get to you I want to show you the gift I have for your friend Superman." He smiled as he opened the small box.
Clark stared in horror at the small green rock before him as he was immediately hit with waves of pain. He staggered a bit backwards and if not for Rico holding him up would have collapsed on the floor.
"Kryptonite!" he gasped in horror.
"That's right," Rinaldi said, snapping the lid down but not closed all the way. Clark cursed silently as he felt his strength slowly leaving him. "What do you think? Think Superman will like it?" Rinaldi laughed.
"I think you'll be sorry for this," Clark vowed meanly.
"Oh really?" Rinaldi laughed. "Let's go."
"What? Where are we going? Where are you taking me?" Clark asked weakly.
"You honestly didn't think I'd capture my brother's killer and then turn him loose without some kind of punishment, did you?"
"What are you talking about? I don't know your brother."
"Well, I'll make sure you do. But in the meantime, Rico, shut him up for the ride, okay?" Rinaldi sighed. "He talks too much."
Rico moved in behind Clark and forced a thick musty smelling cloth between his lips and tied it tightly behind his head, gagging him effectively. Clark fought to stand uprights as the Kryptonite was slowly killing him. Clark cursed angrily into the gag as Rinaldi grabbed his arm and pulled him towards another exit, where a dark van was waiting to take him away. Rinaldi snapped the lid shut on the box with the green rock in it, but it had already taken its toll on Clark as he just lay helplessly on the floor of the van as it sped towards his prison. Clark looked up at his kidnappers with a fearful glare.
"Relax, Mr. Kent," Rinaldi smiled as he looked down at Clark's scared face, "I think you'll like your new home."
Title: A Darker Shade of Red… Chapter 2 — Welcome To My Parlor
Lois finished up her notes and sat back in her chair. She looked at the engagement ring on her finger and sighed. 'Why would Clark think that just because I didn't wear the ring on my undercover assignment that suddenly I've stopped loving him? How could he think that? I love Clark, more than life itself. Why is he being so paranoid?' She looked at his picture and sighed. Clark was the strongest man on earth, and yet when it came to matters of the heart, he was completely lost. 'That's what I love the most about him.' Lois laughed to herself. 'I guess I could use a break tonight,' she said to herself as she picked up the phone to dial Clark. "Oh Clark, I hope you're not on patrol yet."
Clark lay on the floor of the van trying in vain to break the ropes that bound him. He cursed angrily into the gag as he worked himself into a useless sweat.
"Sorry, Kent," Rinaldi laughed, "Rico is a master knot tier. You're not leaving us unless we let you go. And can you guess when that'll be?" Rinaldi laughed. Clark cursed the green rock for sapping his strength and knew that if he were exposed to it again he'd really be in trouble. All he could do was wait and pray his strength came back fast. But in the meantime what did his captors have in mind? Was it just the Kryptonite they had for Superman or something else?
He looked at Rinaldi and thought about what he said. Killed his brother? 'I didn't kill anyone,' he insisted inside. 'He must have me mistaken for someone else. Right?'
Rinaldi looked down at Clark and smiled. "What's going on inside that reporter brain of yours, Kent?" He laughed as he leaned in close to Clark. "Trying to figure out who my brother is and how you killed him?"
Clark just closed his eyes and rested.
"At least have the decency to look at me when I'm talking to you," Rinaldi shouted as he kicked Clark in the stomach. Since his strength had left him, he felt the blow and winced in pain, as he cried out into the gag. Clark opened his eyes quickly and looked up at his kidnapper with an angry glare.
"Better." Rinaldi laughed. "Don't worry, Kent, you'll have lots of time to contemplate your actions. You see I have no intention of ever letting you go." He laughed. "That is at least until Superman is dead. Then I'll decide what to do with you." Rinaldi pulled out the small lead box and opened it. "Think Superman will like my surprise? Well, part of it?" He laughed. "And this is just the tip of the iceberg."
Clark was immediately hit with waves of searing pain as Rinaldi brought the horrible green rock close to him. He clenched his eyes tight and fought to stay awake.
"Shesh, Kent, I didn't kick you that hard." Rinaldi laughed as he snapped the box closed. "Take it like a man, will ya?"
Clark just lay on the floor of the van trying to gasp for air through his gagged mouth. He tried to tell Rinaldi to take it out so he could breathe normally, but all that came out was garbled sounds.
"Complain all you want but you're with us for the long run, Kent, so get used to being restrained and helpless like this, because when we do get to your new home, things will only get worse for you. When we get there I'll be able to treat you however I want, and trust me, I won't be treating you well. So if I want to make you walk around my house wearing nothing but that gag in your mouth, I can." Rinaldi laughed.
Clark looked up at him in panic and fear. 'No he wouldn't,' Clark thought. 'How in the world would I live with that shame? How would Superman? And how could I face Lois if I somehow did manage to escape? He's just joking, right? I mean he wouldn't to that, right?' Clark's brain now raced with a new kind of terror. Superman had faced enemies in the past with Kryptonite before, but they simply wanted to kill him. What did this guy now have in mind? Something he feared worse than death. 'He can't to it,' Clark insisted.
Rinaldi looked at the look on Clark's face and smiled. 'I wonder if he's really afraid of being shamed like that? I can use this to my advantage, play with his head, play with his fears.'
"Yes, maybe I will make you walk around bound and gagged wearing nothing else." Rinaldi started to laugh. "Whadda ya say, Kent, think you'd be able to deal with that? I think my men would get a kick out of seeing big shot Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent reduced to nothing more than a shamed house servant?" Rinaldi continued to laugh his sick laugh.
'He can't do that,' Clark insisted inside his already tormented brain. 'He just can't.'
"Think on that for the rest of the ride," Rinaldi said firmly.
After a few minutes Rinaldi leaned forward and grabbed the side of Clark's gag and jerked his head up to look at him. "And if you thought that simple kick hurt, you'll be in a lot more pain when I really get started. You will pay for murdering my brother! That is my vow to you," he said as he let go and pushed Clark's head back down.
'Damn it,' Clark cursed inside as he shook his head no that he didn't kill his brother. But Rinaldi just looked down at him in contempt and Clark knew it was a losing battle. He closed his eyes again and just rested, trying to get his strength back.
'Why didn't I at least tell Lois I was meeting Marty? Now I'll probably never see her again and it's all my fault. Of course I knew if she went undercover she'd have to explain the ring to Rinaldi. She did it to protect herself and her cover and me. Why didn't I see that? Am I still worried that she'll leave me? I know she loves me. What's the real problem? Why am I so worried she'll leave me?' He just closed his eyes and sighed as Lois's face came into his mind. 'I love you, Lois. I pray that somehow you can find me. And I pray it's before he has a chance to carry out his twisted plan.'
"Clark, if you're there please pick up," Lois said to his answering machine. "Look, we have to talk this through, Clark. I'm sorry about the whole ring thing. But surely you could understand. I had to take it off. I mean how was I to explain to Miles that I was engaged when I'm undercover as his girlfriend? I mean how would that look. If it'll make you feel better, I really hate being away from you, being around Miles, pretending to like him. Clark, are you there, listening to me? If you are and not picking up, I'm going to be mad, and you've seen me mad; it's not pretty. Clark? Okay, bye," Lois said as she finally ended her message.
"He must be on patrol. Maybe I'll just flip on the news and check what Superman is up to," she sighed as she walked over to the TV in the empty newsroom and flipped it on. "I'm sure Superman is somewhere saving someone," she muttered as she sat down.
'I wonder if Lois is even thinking about me right now.' Clark sighed as he lay on the floor of the van in pain. 'She's probably too wrapped up in her precious story to care. If she only knew that I was being kidnapped by the very man she's supposed to be cozying up to. She better not get involved in this or I'll really be in trouble. I can't protect myself, let alone her. And Miles better not touch her in…' Miles' mocking voice interrupted his thoughts.
"You know, Clark, for a big guy like you, you sure don't take a lickin' and keep on tickin'." Miles laughed as he looked down at Clark. "I just hope you can endure what I really have planned for you."
'I will if you keep that rock away from me,' Clark sighed inside. Clark just closed his eyes and concentrated on where he might have known Miles' brother from. But try as he might, he was unable to remember where he knew him from, much less how he died.
Clark felt the van slow down and knew he was in big trouble. He had tried to watch the street signs from the van window to see if he knew where he was, but after a while all he saw was dark sky. 'Must be away from Metropolis.' He sighed. 'That's just great.'
"Home sweet home," Miles laughed as the van pulled to a stop. "Get him out Rico," Miles said as he jumped out of the van carrying the lead box with the Kryptonite in it. Rico climbed in the back and helped Clark stagger out of the back of the van. Clark looked at the massive house before him and knew he'd have a hard time getting out of there without his superpowers. 'Damn it,' he cursed as he looked at the high fence and state of art security system guarding the fortress he was about to enter.
"Bring him," Miles said to Rico as he headed for the house. Rico grabbed Clark by the forearm and dragged him towards the house. Clark stumbled from his lack of strength and fell to his knees cursing angrily into the gag.
"If you try to escape again I'll shoot you someplace not vital Kent," Miles said meanly.
Clark just sighed as he let Rico help him stand up again and continue dragging him towards the house. Clark looked at the dark entrance before him and felt something come over him that he wasn't used to feeling, fear. Fear of what lay ahead for him and Superman behind those large dark doors.
"Welcome home, Kent," Miles laughed as he grabbed Clark from Rico and pulled him inside.
'Oh Lois, I really need you.' Clark sighed as the heavy doors slammed shut sealing him inside the large house.
"Okay, so Superman is not working tonight." Lois sighed as she turned off the TV and headed back to her desk. "Where are you, Clark?" She stared at her phone almost willing it to ring and hear Clark's voice on the other end. "Oh, I can't take much more of this," she moaned as she gathered up her stuff and headed for the door. She looked at her watch. It was almost 7pm. "You said you'd be home at 7pm. I'll just stop by and see if you still want to make me dinner," she said firmly as the elevator doors sealed her inside, taking her down to the parking lot.
"I'll give you the brief tour before I show you to your room, Kent," Miles said firmly as he dragged Clark past a bunch of open rooms. Clark looked inside each one and saw either one lone man or two sitting and working.
"Those are my men, Kent. The ones you haven't exposed yet. Or should I say the ones you'll never expose." Miles laughed as he pulled Clark into a larger open office like room with four men already waiting.
"Hello, boys." Miles laughed as he placed Clark in the middle of the room while all the men stopped their talking and just stared at the captive reporter with angry glares. "Boys, I'd like you to meet our new houseguest, Clark Kent, star reporter for the Daily Planet." Miles laughed. "Our permanent houseguest. I'm sure you're all familiar with the wonderful work he did in helping to put our friends away."
I'm in trouble Clark said as he nervously looked around the room at the angry faces.
"Nervous, Kent?" Miles mocked in his face. "Nervous about being here alone with us?" He laughed. "Like this?"
Normally, a few large armed men would not even make him blink an eye. But he was bound, gagged and without his superpowers thanks to Miles' Kryptonite. Not exactly how he pictured Superman. At least he wasn't dressed like Superman. One of the thugs walked up to him and stared at him with a mean glare. Clark just stood as best he could and tried to stare back with an angry glare.
"He don't look tough at all, boss." The man named Carlos laughed as he looked at the worried look on Clark's face that he tried to hide. "His stories are tough, but I wonder if he is?"
"Test him out for yourself," Miles said.
"Okay," the man said as he proceeded to punch Clark in the stomach. Clark's body jerked back and he slumped to the ground on one knee, breathing heavily into the gag. Since his hands were tied behind his back he was unable to get back up on his own.
"How do you like feeling so helpless, Kent?" Miles laughed.
"Oh, let me try. He put Sammy away," said another as he walked up to Clark and punched him in the face. Clark's head jerked back and his body followed, causing Clark to land on the floor on his butt. He sat on the floor in front of the men trying to regain his composure, but with their laughter and his pain, it was a losing battle.
"Kent liked my little surprise for Superman," Miles laughed as he brought out the box with the Kryptonite in it.
Oh no, Clark groaned, not again.
"What? Tired of us already?" Miles laughed. "Very well," he said as he walked up to Clark and grabbed a handful of hair and jerked him up. Clark screamed out into the gag as he was roughly hauled to a standing position. Miles dragged Clark towards a leather armchair and pushed him into it. Clark was grateful to be sitting in a normal chair as he let his weary body slump into it to rest, at least for a bit.
"Where is he going to stay?" Asked Rico.
"I have arranged for Kent to stay in the presidential suite," Miles laughed.
"Ohh, lucky guy," laughed Rico. "What do you say, Kent? You like the royal treatment you're getting right now?" Rico laughed as he walked up to him. Clark stared straight ahead and would not give his captors the satisfaction of seeing another fearful stare. Clark drowned out Rico's endless rambling as he looked into the corners of the room and noticed small video cameras. 'Are they filming me or is someone watching?' he wondered.
Lois finished changing and grabbed a handful of movies she and Clark liked to watch. She cursed herself for not prying Miles for what exactly he was up to. 'What are they planning for Superman?' She thought about that as she headed to Clark's. 'And what did he have planned for Clark? And why? Clark did expose some of Miles' supposed hitmen. Would he be planning a hit on Clark because of that? I have to find out.'
'Thankfully, I have an early appointment tomorrow with Miles. I will make sure I find out about the Kent comment and what they have planned for Superman. But how? What can I say to make him open up to me?' She stopped outside Clark's apartment and stopped her jeep. "Oh Clark, I hope your home."
"I don't think Kent is listening to you anymore, Rico," Miles said as he walked up and stood before Clark. "You know, for a reporter you have very bad manners," Miles said looking down at him.
Clark looked up and showed he couldn't speak by just cursing angrily into his gag.
"Oh, you want to join in with us," Miles mocked. "I'll remove it for a bit if you promise you won't curse or say nasty little profanities to us. Do you promise?" He laughed.
'Are you insane,' Clark asked inside but did nothing.
Miles punched Clark in the stomach. Clark gasped out as he doubled forward in pain. Miles pushed him back up to a sitting position, and Clark tried to fight back the slight tears of pain. 'I can't take much more of this,' Clark sighed. 'And he hasn't even started yet.'
"Do you promise!" Miles yelled.
Clark nodded his head yes.
"Good boy," Miles said firmly as he yanked the gag out of Clark's mouth. Clark thankfully breathed in a few full breaths of air and sat back in the chair against his bound hands.
"Why have you kidnapped me, Rinaldi?" Clark asked weakly as he just stared ahead, not looking up at Miles.
"Kidnapped you?" Miles laughed, "you know, Kent, kidnapped is such a strong word. I mean, it usually implies the person doing the kidnapping means to return the person they kidnapped for a price and at a certain time. I however," Miles paused as he grabbed Clark's chin and forced his head up, "have no intention of ever letting you go. You're mine now, to do with as I please. And when Superman is dead, I'll take great pleasure in your slow death!" He yelled in Clark's face.
"You'll never get away with this," Clark said firmly as he pulled his head away. "You will be stopped."
"Oh really?" Miles laughed at Clark. "By who? You? Sorry, Kent, but you're a bit tied up at the moment." He laughed and the whole room laughed also. "Or maybe you mean Superman?" he said as he went to fetch the box with the Kryptonite in it.
Oh no, Clark said in horror, not again. Just don't let him open that box, Clark prayed. This time his prayer was answered.
"You see, this little present is just my insurance against Mr. Goody Goody. It will stay with you just in case he decides to rescue you when we're not around. The real surprise, my partner Stuart is working on right now. And if you're a very good boy I might even show you." Miles laughed. "But not tonight. Tonight I want to extend some personal hospitality to you. Just to show you how happy I am to have you here. Something to make you feel real welcome."
"Yeah, I'll bet," Clark said sarcastically. 'And if he leaves the Kryptonite with me, I'll never regain my strength, and if I'm exposed to it too long I will die.'
"Clark, why won't you open this door?" Lois said as she continued to pound on it. She opened her purse and in no time had the lock picked and was in. "Clark, are you in here? You better not be hiding on me," she said as she put the videos down and walked further into his quiet apartment. "Clark?" she called as she walked up the stairs to his loft bedroom. "Clark?" she called again.
But Clark didn't answer; the apartment was quiet after her echoes died down. She walked back to the living room and slumped sadly into a chair. "If you think I'll just leave, then think again," she said out loud. "I'm waiting here until you get back," she said firmly as she went to his couch and decided to watch some TV just in case she missed Superman in action on her way over.
"Oh, Clark, I'm so sorry. Please come back soon so I can tell you that." Lois sighed sadly as she sagged further into the couch.
"Well, I think I'll show Mr. Kent to his room for the night. Get him settled in. He has a big day ahead of him tomorrow." Miles laughed as he grabbed Clark by his jacket collar and yanked him up. Clark swayed a bit on his feet, but soon found his footing and was able to stand without help. He was tired and weak but thankful he wasn't exposed to Kryptonite again.
"Follow me, Kent," Miles demanded as he turned and headed for the door. Rico put his foot out and Clark tripped and crashed to the floor face first. He cursed quietly as the men just stood around and laughed as he struggled in vain to get up.
"You really should be more careful, Kent," Miles laughed as he hauled Clark back up.
Clark followed Miles down a darkened hallway further into the dark house. They walked past a room that had a nuclear symbol on it and guessed that that's where the surprise for Superman was being made. 'What in the world could it be?' he wondered. He followed Miles into a smaller office and as he entered noticed that it too had a camera in each corner.
"I want to reacquaint you with my brother before you are put down for the night. Actually he was my half brother, same blood, just different names," Miles said as he turned and looked at the shocked look on Clark's face. "I meant put down as in sleep. Relax, Kent, I'm not going to kill you, yet," he said meanly. "But make no mistake, I am going to kill you."
"Why?" Clark asked.
"Recognize this face?" Miles said as he held up a picture of a man Clark did indeed recognize.
"James Green," Clark said quietly.
"I see you remembered him. I'm glad because you killed him."
"That's not possible," Clark said firmly.
Miles got angry and swung and punched Clark square in the mouth causing his already bruised lower lip to split and bleed. Clark tasted his own blood and knew he was in serious trouble.
"You killed him!" Miles yelled as he punched Clark in the stomach. Clark staggered backwards but managed to stay on his feet.
"You sent him to prison!" Miles yelled as he punched Clark again. Clark cried out as he fell to the floor on his side. He cursed the fact that his hands were tied so tightly behind his back as he had no defence against his beating.
"He took his own life in prison!" Miles yelled as he kicked Clark in the ribs.
"And you're to blame!" He kicked him again.
Clark felt the wind go out of him and gasped in pain as he tried to get the air to come back to his lungs. He just lay on the floor breathing painful ragged gasps while Miles walked around him and yelled at him, accusing him for the death of his brother, which in reality wasn't his fault.
"Why did you have to expose him?" Miles yelled down at Clark. "He was just a child. Why couldn't you have left him alone!"
"I didn't know he'd kill himself," Clark wheezed.
"Yeah, well he did," Miles yelled as he kicked Clark again. "Thanks to you!"
Clark cried out and prayed he'd black out and have Miles stop this senseless beating. Clark closed his eyes and tried not to think of the pain resonating throughout his battered body. He longed to be snuggled up with Lois on the couch at his place right now. Man, how he longed for the feel of her soft body, the smell of her perfume, and the sound of her silky voice. But instead he was in hell, enduring a beating while his captor planned not only his demise but also the demise of his alter-ego Superman, who he would be unable to call for even if they asked him to. 'Oh, Lois, I need you to figure out where I am.'
"Okay, Clark, you better have a very good explanation as to why you're not here yet. I checked the news and Superman was off duty tonight. So where are you?" Lois asked out loud. She got up and started to look around for clues as to where Clark might be. She wasn't meeting Miles until around noon tomorrow so she had some time to work things out with Clark before then, if only he'd get back from wherever he was. She grabbed a blanket and curled up on the couch. "I'm not leaving here until you get back and we work this out, Clark," Lois said firmly as she dimmed the lights and looked at the door, willing it to open and present her with her beloved fianc‚. "Oh Clark, where are you?" Lois sighed.
"What? Had enough already, Kent?" Miles laughed as he looked down at Clark who was just laying on the floor in pain. "Very well." He sighed heavily as he pulled Clark up. Clark swayed on his feet and wished he had passed out as the pain pounding in his tired brain was enough to make him feel like he was dying. But he knew he couldn't give in. He had to hold on and pray that Lois by some miracle would figure out where he was. 'It is just wishful thinking,' he asked himself as Miles grabbed his arm and led him out of the room and back into the darkened hallway. He pulled Clark to the end and they came to an elevator.
"To the dungeon, we go," Miles said happily as he looked at the worried look on Clark's face. "You're not afraid of the dark are you, Mr. Kent?" Miles laughed as the elevator doors closed. Clark noticed there were no numbers to count down how far he went, but it felt like they were falling forever. Finally the elevator stopped and the doors opened to reveal a very dank dingy dark corridor before them.
Miles dragged Clark past some jail cell like rooms to the very end of the hallway. He opened the cell like door and threw Clark inside. Clark bumped into the far wall and stood there facing his captor with a look of uncertainty.
"This is where you will spend the rest of your days, Kent," Miles said as he walked up to him. "Homey isn't it?" He laughed in his face.
Clark just stared at him with an angry glare but said nothing.
"I hope the cold and dark don't bother you, Kent." Miles laughed as he went to turn off the small cell light.
'Only when I'm like this they do,' Clark said inside. Miles walked back up to Clark and glared at him meanly.
"You know, I have no remorse about treating my brother's killer like this," Miles said.
"I didn't kill him," Clark said calmly.
Miles punched Clark in the stomach again and Clark doubled forward. This time Miles didn't catch him but let him fall to the ground. Miles fetched some rope and bent down. "Well, since you're already on the ground…" Miles laughed as he proceeded to bind Clark's ankles together very tightly. He looked at Clark who lightly struggled against his tight bonds. "I will kill Superman, you know," Miles said calmly.
Clark looked at Miles but said nothing.
"It's my promise to me. Just like your death is my promise to my brother," Miles said firmly as he bent close to Clark and pulled the gag back into his mouth and re-tied it behind his head again tightly. Clark just cursed angrily and tried to turn his head away, but Miles succeeded in silencing him.
"I just don't want you calling for Superman while I'm not here," Miles said as he stood up, "but if by some chance you do manage to call for your friend, I have a little surprise for him." Miles laughed as he pulled out the small lead box with the Kryptonite in it.
Oh man, Clark sighed as he looked at the instrument of his death in the hands of his captor. Please don't let him leave that in here.
"I'll set it just outside the door," Miles said almost reading Clark's thoughts." This way if he wants to get you, he has to face this first."
'Yeah, don't worry about that.' Clark sighed inside. 'Superman's not coming anytime soon.'
Miles opened the box and set it outside Clark's cell.
Clark felt the small waves of pain starting to overtake him. He knew at this rate that the Kryptonite would slowly kill him. It was almost worse than being exposed up close; no quick exit here. Miles came back and glared down at Clark in anger.
"This is for my brother!" he yelled as he once again kicked Clark in the gut. Clark cried out into the gag and lay on the cold cement floor breathing hard.
"Sleep well, Kent." Miles laughed as he turned around and walked away. "I know I will."
Lois tried to stay awake to wait for Clark's explanation but soon sleep won the battle and she closed her eyes and was fast asleep on his couch still waiting for him to return and tell her where he was.
"I love you, Clark," she whispered into the empty apartment as darkness finally overtook her.
"You really are a pathetic sight, Kent," Miles called out with his back to Clark as he walked away from him. Clark heard Miles walking down the empty hallway and felt the darkness envelop him when Miles turned off all but one dim candle. He laughed at Clark's terrible predicament as the elevator doors closed and took him away from Clark's view.
Clark closed his eyes and tried to block out the searing pain now resonating throughout his body. He tried to concentrate on anything but his situation, but with the Kryptonite reminding him of his sapping life force, it was a losing battle.
'I love you, Lois,' was the last thought his sleepy brain told him before it gave way to the darkness and he thankfully passed out.
"How are we doing, Stuart?" Miles asked as he walked into the lab about an hour later.
"Almost done, sir." Stuart smiled. "This nuclear warhead is set to detonate as soon as Superman touches it; this one about 60 seconds later. Of course, as soon as he touches the first one he'll be unable to get to the second one as he'll be dead," Stuart said with a smile.
"Perfect," Miles said with a large grin, "absolutely perfect."
"By the way what was the delay?" Stuart asked in interest. "You were supposed to over see the final sequence testing."
"I had to pick up our new houseguest," Miles smiled.
"Houseguest?" Stuart asked in surprise. "Who?"
"That troublesome reporter from the Daily Planet, Clark Kent," Miles said firmly. "The man who murdered my brother!" he spat.
"But James took his own life in prison," Stuart said in confusion. Miles rushed up to him in anger and grabbed him roughly by the throat. "He murdered my brother. There is no mistaking that fact. And I don't want to hear anything else from my workers around here. Is that clear!" Miles shouted in anger.
"Workers?" Stuart said as he pulled away. "I think I'm more than a mere hired hand," Stuart spat. "I'm your partner in this, remember? The demise of Superman affects both of us. Now I don't really care what you do with this reporter; however, if you try to short change me on the deal with Superman, I will take it as a personal offence against me and get mad. And you know what I'm like when I get mad," Stuart said firmly.
"I know that you are more than a hired hand, but make no mistake I am in charge around here. I run the show and I call the shots," Miles said, "and as long as we remember that, neither of us will have a problem."
"That's fine by me," Stuart said as he turned back to his computer terminal. "So, do you think this Clark Kent who I have heard is the friend of Superman will actually call him here?" Stuart asked without turning around.
"Well, if he doesn't, he'll simply die first, and we'll find another way to get to Superman. Kent is engaged, you know." Miles smiled. "To the Planet's other top reporter, Lois Lane. So never fear Stuart I have everything covered," Miles said as he turned and left the room.
It was early in the morning when Lois finally awoke. She slowly opened her eyes and expected to find Clark looking down at her. 'Hopefully he's just asleep,' she said inside as she got up and made her way up to his bedroom. Much to her disappointment Clark was not in bed. "Where in the world are you?" She asked as she went to the phone. She quickly dialed her mother-in-law and was happy for a quick response.
"Good morning, Martha," Lois said.
"Hi, sweetie, how are you this early morning?" Martha asked.
"I'm okay. Is Clark there?" Lois asked in haste.
"No. I haven't seen him since you two visited us last week. Is everything okay?" Martha asked in concern.
"I'd like to say yes but after yesterday I'm not sure," Lois said with a heavy sigh.
"What is it?"
"Well, Clark and I had a silly argument yesterday, at least I thought it was silly. Anyway, I'm over at his place. Actually, I have been here waiting since last night, and he still hasn't come home. I've checked the TV and Superman hasn't been busy. Normally, I don't worry about Clark because, well, you know," Lois rambled.
Martha just smiled as she listened to her future daughter- in-law talk. Martha in the beginning was worried about Clark's liking Lois, but with Clark's kind persistence and seeing how much Lois really did love Clark, she just couldn't see anyone else but Lois for Clark.
"Anyway, I think he might be in trouble or something," Lois finally finished.
"Well, I am working undercover to expose this guy who apparently has something bad planned for Superman. Clark is sort of working on the same story but from a different angle. Anyway, I told Clark that they had something planned for Superman, but I forgot to mention they also planned something bad for Clark. I thought if I told him they were going to take on Superman that that would be warning enough. I guess I was wrong. Oh Martha, what if something has happened to Clark? It would be my fault," Lois moaned.
Clark slowly felt his world coming back to him as he lay in pain on the cold floor. He slowly opened his eyes and tried to focus on anything to make him snap out of his stupor. Much to his relief he noticed the small lead box of Kryptonite was gone. 'Thank goodness,' he sighed inside as he tried in vain to stretch his battered body. He managed to roll himself onto his other side, but it did no good. This side hurt just as much as the other side.
He tried to pull at his bound hands but found them cold and stiff. He tried to flex them a bit to get some blood flowing through them again, but only succeeded in chaffing the already cut skin under the ropes. He remembered being exposed to Kryptonite before, but he never had to endure a beating like this when he was so vulnerable. 'Yeah, and unless I'm found fast it'll just get worse.' He sighed inwardly as he lay his head back down on the cold cement. He closed his eyes and tried to picture James Green before his death. 'Yeah, he was just a kid. Well, somewhat, but he was also a cold-blooded assassin. How could I not expose him?' Clark asked himself. 'I exposed a few others. How could I just leave him out? If he is old enough to take a life without remorse he should be old enough to deal with the consequences.'
'I wonder if Lois is meeting with Miles today. She told me they have something planned for Superman. Surely she just won't let that die.' Clark knew that whatever difficulties he and Lois were having never stopped her from worrying about Superman, which he found strange since he was Superman. 'I know she'll push to find out. I just hope she doesn't push too hard. And if she pushes too hard will she expose her cover? Then what? I can't even help myself. How in the world will I be able to help her?'
The elevator doors opening and Miles stepping out with a grim look on his face interrupted his thoughts. 'Oh man, he looks mad. This can't be good for me.' Clark sighed heavily.
"Okay, Lois, just take a deep breath and think. Did Clark say he was meeting anyone last night?" Martha asked.
"No, in fact he was supposed to make me supper. But wait," Lois said as she searched her memory of the past day's events, "he did get a call and I think he wrote something down. I have to go, Martha. I'll call you when I hear from Clark," Lois said as she hung up.
"Okay, bye," Martha said as she hung up. "If Clark is in trouble then Lois is the best person to find him," she said out loud. "I just hope he's okay."
"Morning, Kent, sleep well?" Miles laughed as he unlocked Clark's cell and walked in. He bent down and cut the ropes that bound his feet. Clark thankfully moved his feet, trying to get some circulation back into his tired legs. Miles roughly hauled him up by his forearm and dragged him out of the cell towards the elevator doors. Clark was thankful as he felt the heat start to warm his body.
"Ready for breakfast?" Miles asked as they got in. Clark just looked at him with a blank expression. Does he really expect me to answer?
"You know you look kinda rough this morning, Kent. Bed not soft enough?" Miles laughed. "Or not warm enough?" He laughed again. "Well, if you thought last night was bad, tonight will be even worse."
Clark tried to pull away from Miles' grasp but Miles held onto his arm firmly. The elevator finally stopped and they got out and headed into a rather large kitchen. Clark was immediately hit with the smell of food. Normally he didn't need food, but with his superpowers depleted so much he actually found himself hoping to have even a small taste. Miles pulled him to the corner and pushed him down into a chair while he walked around to the other side. Clark just watched Miles with a look of contempt. 'I don't care how I do it; I just have to stop this guy. But how? Think, Clark, think. If you were an ordinary man how would you get out of here?'
Another man walking into the room interrupted Clark's thoughts. This man he did not recognize, nor had he seen him the night before. I wonder if this is the guy that was in that locked room?
"Ah, Stuart, good morning," Miles said with a grin as Stuart walked up to join them. "I'd like you to meet our new guest, Clark Kent of the Daily Planet," Miles said with a gesture to Clark. "Clark this is Stuart, the genius behind the demise of your pal Superman."
"Pleased to meet you, Clark," Stuart said slowly as he looked at the captive reporter before him. "I'll forgive you if you don't shake hands." He laughed. Clark just rolled his eyes and sighed. 'Yeah, that was really funny. What an idiot,' Clark thought.
"You know, you look a bit pale, Clark. Maybe your diet is not quite right," Stuart said as he went about fixing a plate of food. He brought it and placed it in front of Clark.
"Sorry, old chap, but I have Clark's breakfast right here," Miles said as he drew a syringe from his pocket. "Clark's on a special diet, you see," Miles said slowly.
'I cannot show fear to these creeps,' Clark said inside. 'I cannot let them see any fear.'
"Okay, but what a waste," Stuart sighed as he pushed the plate to Miles and then went and got one from himself.
Miles leaned back in his chair and looked at Clark. "Think this is fair treatment for taking a man's life?" Miles asked as he leaned forward and pulled the gag from Clark's bruised mouth. "Think I'm being fair?"
Clark looked at him but didn't answer. Miles leaned forward and backhanded Clark's mouth, causing his dry lips to crack and bleed. 'Damn it,' Clark cursed inside.
"I asked you a question, Kent," Miles snapped again.
"Fair?" Clark said slowly. "The only thing I'm guilty of is doing my job. I didn't kill your brother, and I am not responsible for his death!" Clark said firmly. "You, on the other hand, are guilty for practically every crime imaginable," he said.
"You murdered my brother," Miles said.
"He killed himself. I only told the truth about what he was doing. If he couldn't handle the truth then he should have been in another line of work," Clark countered.
Miles sat back and looked at Clark with an amused expression. "You amuse me, Kent," he said. "I mean here you are totally helpless, beaten, bound, at my mercy, no one knows you're here, no one will save you and the only person who has the capability to even try will be dead if he does. And despite the fact that I gave you a good beating last night with the promise of more to come, you still have a very firm defiant attitude. Tell me why?" Miles asked.
"Because no matter what you do to me, good will always win in the end," Clark said. "And you will suffer the same fate as your brother. It's just a matter of time."
Miles looked at Clark and laughed a mean wicked laughter. "I like your attitude, Kent. You'll need every last drop of it if you are to even endure one day of what I have planned for you." With that he sat back and started to eat his breakfast in front of Clark. Clark looked at the quiet man beside his captor. 'Who is this Stuart? What's his role in all of this besides the fact that he had apparently designed something to be used against Superman? What's the real story?'
Miles and Stuart ate their breakfast in silence in front of Clark. Clark was happy to be away from the effects of the Kryptonite but wondered what was in the needle. 'If he gives me drugs, how will my system react? And what kind of drugs are they? What will they do to me?'
Lois finished getting dressed and raced to the Planet. She rushed into Perry's office with a panicked expression on her face. "Chief, we need to talk about Clark," she said as she plopped herself down in a chair in front of his desk.
"Sure thing, Lois, what is the problem?" Perry asked putting down the file he was reading.
"Has Clark been in this morning or called at all?" she asked.
"Uh no, not that I can recall. Why?" Perry asked.
"Chief, I think something has happened to Clark. I overheard Miles talking with some of his men about the demise of both Superman and Clark Kent," Lois said.
"What?" Perry asked in shock. "Why didn't you say something sooner?"
"Well, I told Clark about Superman and I, um," Lois said searching for an excuse as to why she wouldn't warn her fianc‚ also.
"Thought that Superman would look out for Clark also?"
"Um, yeah, something like that," she said sheepishly. "I need to know if you have any of his contacts or notes?"
"Uh no, much like you, Clark keeps his stories under wraps until it's ready to be published. You taught him well," Perry sighed.
"Yeah, too well," Lois sighed also. "His desk," she said as she quickly got up and darted out of the room.
"His what?" Perry called to her back.
Lois rushed to Clark's desk and spied his notepad by the phone. She grabbed a pencil and began to lightly rub over the imprints from the note Clark must have written the night before. 'Thankfully you have a heavy hand Clark,' Lois said to herself. 'A hand I'd give anything to be holding right now.' She sighed sadly as she finished her task.
"Marty at 6pm at Vine and 6th," Lois said out loud as she grabbed her purse and rushed out of the building.
"Well, that was tasty," Miles said to Stuart. "Thanks so much," he said as he got up and walked over to Clark. Clark didn't look up as Miles approached him but kept his gaze fixed firmly ahead. "I'll be back, Kent," Miles said in his ear, "and then we'll have some real fun."
'Yeah, I can't wait,' Clark said inside as Miles left the room. Clark looked at Stuart who was quickly finishing up, trying not to look at the captive reporter on the chair beside him.
"I didn't kill his brother, you know. He kidnapped an innocent man. And by your helping him you're an accessory. When Miles goes down, you will also," Clark said firmly. "Do you want that?"
"You can't try that reverse psychology crap on me, Kent," Stuart said firmly. "I might not agree with Miles' reason for bringing you here, but I have agreed to use you to get Superman here," Start said as he stood up and hovered over Clark. "Now by the looks of your bruised mouth, you really don't need another hit, right? So sit there, shut up and behave or I will stuff that gag so far in it'll take Superman to get it out," Stuart spat in Clark's ear.
Clark felt Stuart's anger penetrate him and he knew it wouldn't be wise to push him further. So much for trying to turn them against each other. Clark sighed as he leaned back against the wall. He tried again to work at his bound hands but it was a losing battle. He licked the blood from his lips and felt himself shudder at the awful taste in his mouth. "Could I at least have a drink of water?" Clark asked slowly. "My lips are really dry."
Stuart looked at the battered reporter and Clark thought he actually saw what looked like a look of guilt. A change of heart? Probably not, but it is something to go on. "Please, just a small drink," Clark said.
Stuart sighed heavily but much to Clark's delight he turned on the tap and filled a small glass of water and brought it to him. He brought it to Clark and Clark got two hearty gulps before Miles stormed back into the room and slapped the glass away from Stuart's hand, spraying water all over the front of Clark before the glass smashed to the ground.
"Who said he could have a drink?" Miles demanded of Stuart.
"Do you want him to die before he can get Superman here?" Stuart countered firmly in Clark's defence. Clark looked up at Stuart in surprise but didn't say a word. Maybe there is hope there afterall.
Miles was about to say something more but stopped when he realized that Stuart was actually right. "Just don't do it again," Miles said firmly. "And you," Miles said looking at Clark, "ask again for anything when I am not here and I swear you'll be sorry."
Clark looked past Miles as two of the burly thugs came into the room. "Bring him," Miles said as he turned around and left. The two men rushed up to Clark and each grabbed an arm and dragged him out of the kitchen. They pulled him down the hall and into another room. Clark gasped in horror at what was before him. Suspended from an iron ring in the ceiling was a rod, at each end of the rod were two chains hanging down with two leather clasps at the ends. 'Oh man,' Clark thought, 'this cannot be good for me.' Clark was thankful that the suit was tucked neatly into the hidden pocket his mother had made for him in his clothes, but if Miles did intend to strip him down, then there was the possibility it would be found. 'If that happens, I'm dead,' Clark thought.
"Untie him," Miles directed as he walked up to Clark. One of the men walked up behind Clark and cut the ropes that bound his hands. Clark pulled his hands in front and vigorously rubbed his wrists to get some life back into them. "Take his jacket and shoes," Miles said. The man moved up and, as Clark started to take his jacket off, helped him by yanking it off his sore arms. Clark took his own shoes off and stood in the middle of the room and looked at the man before him. 'What in the world does he have planned for me,' Clark thought as he noticed Miles start to slowly circle him.
"Put him in, boys," Miles directed. And before Clark could say anything the two men rushed up to him and bodily moved him into the middle of the room, towards the device that would leave him completely at their mercy. Clark struggled in vain as the men succeeded in firmly securing the leather shackles to his wrists. Once that was done they stood back. Clark pulled at the chains but they would not give.
"What do you think, Clark?" Miles laughed as he pulled on a chain near the wall, which proceeded to jerk Clark's arms high into the air, pulled tightly above his head. Clark tried to pull at them, but found no give at all. 'This is really not good for me,' Clark said fearfully.
"Think I am giving you the same chance you gave my brother?" Miles said angrily as he punched Clark in the stomach. Clark's body jerked back in pain. "Think I'm being as fair to you as you were to him?" he yelled as he punched him again. Clark's body again jerked back harshly against the chains. Miles was about to hit Clark again when Stuart brought in the lead box with the horrible green rock in it. 'Oh no, not that.' Clark sighed in pain. 'Not now.'
"You forgot this in the kitchen," Stuart said as he brushed past Clark and walked up to Miles. "You wouldn't want Superman coming to take him and then get away, now would you?" He said handing the box to Miles.
"Thank you, my friend," Miles said taking the box. He walked back up to Clark and held the box in front of his face. "Did you think I simply misplaced it?" He laughed quietly in Clark's face.
Clark just stared at him in anger but didn't say a word, as he just concentrated on not thinking about the pain shooting through his body. Much to Clark's delight, Miles went and put the box down on a shelf away from Clark without opening it.
"Now, where were we?" Miles smiled as he turned back to a captive Clark.
"Damn it, nothing here," Lois cursed as she carefully searched around the spot Clark was to meet his informant. She looked at her watch and knew she'd be meeting Miles shortly. 'I have to find out what he has planned for Clark and Superman. But what if Clark really is in trouble? What if Clark has been taken somehow by Miles? What then? How in the world will I be able to save him, much less stop his plan for Superman?' Her brain raced with frantic questions as she sped home to get changed into Donna.
"Oh, Clark, if you are in some kind of trouble, just hold on, I'm coming," Lois said firmly as she tried to downplay the fear she had inside regarding her true love. "I just hope you don't doubt my love for you Clark. If you hang onto that feeling then you'll be able to survive wherever you are and whatever you're enduring. I just hope you're okay."
"Man, you really are a wimp, Kent," Miles said as he stepped back from a badly beaten Clark and looked at him. Clark raised his bruised face and looked directly at Miles. 'I can't take much more of this,' Clark said inside his tormented brain as he tasted the blood that flowed from his mouth and nose.
"You're lucky I have a previous engagement or you'd really be in trouble," he said walking over to the shelf. He opened the lid on the Kryptonite box and Clark was immediately hit with intense waves of searing pain. 'No,' he said inside. 'I can't give in, I can't give in,' he said over and over again. He felt himself starting to falter and his body started to sag and pull on his captive wrists. He grabbed onto the chains above the leather clasps to keep himself from pulling his arms from their sockets.
Miles walked back up to him with the needle in his hand. He walked behind Clark and taunted into his ear, "when I get back tonight, Clark, you'll beg me to kill you." With that he pulled the gag back into Clark's bruised mouth and retied it tightly behind his head. Clark tried to fight him off, but with the crippling effects of the Kryptonite, it was a losing battle.
"Hope you like your mid-morning snack," Miles said meanly as he plunged the needle into Clark's neck. Clark cried out into the gag as he sank into the darkness, his body slumping down in captive defeat, his arms pulling on his wrists. Miles laughed at Clark's sad state and walked back to the shelf. He closed the lid on the Kryptonite box and placed the needle beside it.
"Well, I have to see Donna now," Miles said with a smile. "I wonder if she'll enjoy the show I have for her tonight. I mean she has reason to hate Kent almost as much as I do. Afterall, he did put her cousin away. I wonder if she'll take as much delight in his peril as I am. Well, there is only one way to find out." He smiled as he turned off the light and locked the door, sealing Clark in this dark prison.
Lois slowly walked towards the place she was meeting Miles. Her heart was pounding so loudly she could have sworn Miles would know and suspect something. 'You can do this,' she said inside. 'You have to find Clark; his life may depend on you.'
She took a deep breath and pushed the door open.
Title: A Darker Shade of Red… Chapter 3 — Into The Lion's Den
Lois made her way slowly towards Miles and tried to downplay the nervous apprehension racing through her body. 'What if he has done something to Clark, what then? I mean I just can't ask where he is and then go save him. Calm down Lois,' she scolded herself, 'you still don't know if he has Clark. This all could be one big misunderstanding. Yeah, right.'
"Hey, beautiful," Miles said as "Donna" walked up to him.
"Hey, yourself." Lois smiled as she walked into his embrace and regrettably gave him a kiss. 'Yuck,' she thought. "So what's on the agenda for tonight? You promised me some real action," she said with fake smile.
"Yes, I did," Miles said as he moved them into a corner booth. "And I meant what I said. But let's have some dinner first. It's not good to watch the entertainment I have in mind on an empty stomach." Miles laughed as he motioned for the waiter and they ordered some drinks.
Lois sat there with a glum smile hoping that Miles would take the bait and ask her what was wrong. He did. "Why do you look so down, my love? Bad day?"
"Yeah, no thanks to Superman," Lois said trying to add a little disgust in her voice, which was very hard to do.
"Superman?" Miles asked in interest. "What happened?"
"Well, I went to withdraw some money," she said with a fake smile, "you know, the way you showed me. Well, I was half way through when that, that, thing," she said with emphasis, "flew into the store and stopped me. Oh yeah, he let me go with a warning, me being a woman and all, saying there were better career choices I could be making. Yeah, as if I need his help in telling me what a better career is." She paused looking at Miles. "I'm rambling again, right?"
"Yes," he said pointedly.
"So, anyways, here I am and that's why I'm down," Lois said pouting again. "I just wish he'd leave here already. I mean, isn't there another place he can go and attach himself to, burden their lives?"
"I didn't realize that you had this much disdain towards the boy in blue?" Miles asked.
"Yeah, well I guess today was the last straw," Lois said.
"And have you been to see your cousin lately?"
Lois turned to him with a sharp glare, as she searched her brain at his comment. 'Oh yeah,' she told herself, 'he was one of the guy's Clark's story put away.' "Don't even get me started on that one. That no good do-gooder Kent. You know, if it wasn't for his lies, Wally would be here right now with us," Lois said turning away in fake sadness. "He should be shown you just can't mess with people like that, you know," she said turning back. "I'm sorry," she said with another fake smile, "I'm sure you really don't want to hear my opinion about Clark Kent." She picked up a menu, hoping it would at least get some kind of reaction from Miles.
"I'm glad you feel that way, my dear," Miles said as he too picked up his menu, "because I really think you'll enjoy tonight's entertainment. And as for Superman, well, don't worry about him, I have a plan that will take care of that. But let's eat now."
Lois just looked at Miles and tried to downplay her anxiety. 'What in the world does that mean? Does he have Clark? How can I ask without making myself seeming like I'm prying? And if I pry too much, will he get suspicious? Oh Clark, I wish you were here right now.'
Stuart quietly made his way towards the locked room that Clark was being kept in. He quietly unlocked the door and slowly turned the handle. He walked up to Clark's unconscious body and stared at it. He felt somewhat sorry for the trapped reporter before him, but he knew if he let him go before they got Superman that he'd be the one to pay. And he knew what payment from Miles meant… a slow, painful death, the one he was sure Clark would end up experiencing. He walked up to Clark with another needle in his hand and plunged the tip into Clark's neck. Since Clark was unconscious he didn't feel it.
"It's a basic sustenance compound, Mr. Kent," Stuart said as he pushed the liquid contents all the way into Clark's neck vein, "it'll help you endure the next few hours. After that, by the looks of you now, I'm sure you'll be dead or pretty close to it. Just don't die before Superman comes. I really don't want anyone else involved in this," Stuart said firmly as he turned and left the room, engulfing Clark in the darkness once again.
It was killing Lois all throughout dinner not being able to ask anything more about Clark. But Miles had asked about her sudden interest in the reporter and she knew she had to stop. Supper of course seemed to last for eternity. 'Oh Clark, I hope you're okay. I hope they're not making you endure anything bad.' And the only reason Miles is still here, she reasoned, is that they are keeping him in a place he can't change into Superman without giving himself away. 'But he could change if he wanted to, right?' she asked herself. 'I mean, he's still okay, right?' She nervously looked at Miles who seemed to be wearing a smile that would rival the Cheshire Cat. What's the real story? Lois wouldn't have to wait too long to find out.
"Well, my love, dinner was excellent. Ready for some fun?"
"More than you know," she smiled as she got up out of the booth and he followed her. He walked ahead of her and led her to his waiting car.
"So which hotel are we going to?" she smiled.
"Actually, we are going to the house tonight," Miles said holding the door for her.
"Oh really?" Lois asked in fake sweetness. "I have never seen it before. This will be a real treat," she said as she got in.
"Actually the real treat's what's inside the house," he said firmly as he closed the door on her.
"Yeah, I'll bet." Lois said dryly as she watched as Miles walked around the front of the car and got in.
They rode most of the way in silence as Lois just watched out the window as the city got smaller and smaller in the side mirror. In no time they pulled down a driveway that led to what reminded Lois of the Wayne Manor, just as big, just as daunting and probably just as secure. 'Oh man,' she sighed, 'it's a good thing I've got a ride out of here.'
"Home at last," Miles said as he brought the car to a stop. Lois just stared out the window with a wide-eyed look on her face. "My love?"
"It's so big," she said quietly.
"Yeah." Miles laughed. "Wait'll you see inside," he said as he got out, and she did the same. They slowly walked up to the front entrance and into the main foyer. Lois looked around and noticed little security cameras all over the place. 'If they are keeping Clark here, then with those little cameras all over the place, it's a good bet he wasn't able to change into Superman,' she said inside.
"Now what?" she asked somewhat hesitatingly.
"Now we make ourselves a drink and then I'll introduce you to tonight's guest entertainment," Miles said as he led her towards the den. Once inside she took off her coat and put her purse down beside it. She was about to walk away when something on the desk caught her eye. It was a paper with some notes on it, but more importantly it had Clark's name on it circled and then with an X through. 'What in the world?' she wondered.
"Want a drink, my love?" Miles asked breaking her thoughts.
"Um, sure. Whatever you're having will be fine." She smiled as she walked up to the bar. He poured them two glasses of brandy and then kissed her on the cheek.
"Did I tell you you look beautiful tonight?"
"Well, you can say it as often as you like," she smiled as she kissed him back. 'Yuck again. Where's Clark!!!!' Her mind screamed at Miles.
"So, what do you have planned for Superman?" she asked finally.
"Ah, come and let me show you," Miles said as he pulled her by the arm and led her to the room that Stuart was supposed to be in. "Where in the world is he?" Miles asked. Lois looked around at all the equipment and tried to imagine just what he was planning. "I think you'll like this, my love," Miles said with a grin as he flipped on a nearby computer terminal. "You see these two nuclear warheads?"
"Yeah, so?" Lois asked playing dumb.
"Well, they are set to detonate 5 minutes apart. Think Superman could stop both?" Miles asked.
"Easily," Lois said rolling her eyes.
"Well, not this time. See the tip of the first one contains Kryptonite. So when the boy in blue gets near, it'll kill him and then both will destroy my intended targets," Miles laughed. "Brilliant, isn't it?"
"Were did you get the Kryptonite?" Lois asked.
"A secret, my love. But it's a brilliant plan, right?" Miles laughed.
"Yeah," Lois sighed sadly, "absolutely brilliant."
"So where's this entertainment you promised me?" Lois asked sweetly.
"Right this way, my love," Miles said as he took her hand and led her back into the hallway and stopped in front of a locked door almost at the end. Miles slowly opened the door and opened it to reveal nothing but darkness. Miles walked in and flipped on the light switch. Lois followed him and when she stepped out from behind him, she felt her heart stop cold at the sight before her. There trapped in the middle of the room was her beloved fianc‚, Clark, and Superman. She fought back tears of terror and sadness as she looked at his battered appearance. 'What in the world could have rendered Clark this helpless?' She looked away for a brief moment; unable to bear what she knew Miles would make her watch; the senseless beating of her fianc‚.
"Is that Clark Kent?" Lois asked in a shaky voice. 'Oh my god,' she said inside, 'tell me that's not Clark.'
Miles walked up behind Clark who was slowly starting to awaken. "Why yes, it's none other than the man who murdered my brother and put your cousin away, Clark Kent, star reporter for the Daily Planet," Miles said in disgust as he punched Clark hard in the back.
Clark's body jerked forward as his body absorbed the blow. He slowly felt his world coming back to him and started to awaken from his drugged status. He slowly opened his eyes and tried to shift his body to a standing position.
"Miss us, Kent?" Miles mocked.
It was taking everything in Lois's power not to tackle Miles right now and take Clark down from that horrible trap he was in. She fought back tears as she watched him slowly awaken. 'Oh Clark, how did this happen?' She balled up her fists tight to keep her tears from coming as she stared at Clark's helpless state.
"When did you take him?" Lois asked.
"Last night," Miles smiled at Clark. "Yes, Kent here spent a very enjoyable evening with us. Didn't you Kent?" Miles said as he hit him again.
'Oh Clark, I'm so sorry.' Lois sighed inside. 'I thought you were just avoiding me. I'm so sorry.'
Clark cried out into the gag as he finally found himself forced awake and fully opened his eyes.
Lois watched as he lifted his head to look at them and gasped at the sight before her. 'Oh Clark, what did he do to your beautiful face?' she asked herself as she noticed his swollen and bruised eye, bloody nose and cut and bruised lips. She noticed the tight gag in his mouth and forced herself not to start to cry. Oh, if only he could become Superman and just fly away right now. But why didn't he before? What did this to Superman to render him this helpless? They must have Kryptonite around here some place.
"What do you think my dear? Think this is fair punishment for the man who murdered my brother?" Miles asked as he slowly circled Clark.
Clark finally managed to get himself upright again, but still held onto the chains above his wrists to keep himself from putting too much pressure on his arms.
"Think this is fair for the man who sent a child to prison?" he yelled as he hit Clark again. Lois turned away unable to watch Clark endure this undeserved treatment. Miles walked up to Clark and pulled the gag from his mouth. "Enjoy your nap, Kent?" he mocked in Clark's face. "How about the little snack I gave you?"
Clark said nothing but just stared at Miles in a defiant way. 'I'll not show weakness to him, I'll not show fear,' Clark kept telling himself.
"How do you like my hospitality, Kent?" Miles asked as he walked back to Lois.
"What do you think of Kent now, Donna? Think he's as tough as he's pretending to be?" Miles laughed.
"I um," Lois started, "think he's in a lot of pain," she said softly.
Clark lifted his head at the sound of Lois's voice. 'Am I dreaming or do I really hear Lois's voice?' He slowly turned his head to look at Lois and once their eyes locked he knew he at least had a chance. There was no way Lois could just watch this and not try to do something. Every other time he would have dreaded her involvement, now he couldn't wait for it. 'I know she'll help me.'
Lois met Clark's gaze and just stared back in sadness. 'Oh Clark, you have to hold on until I can figure out how I can get you out of here.'
"What if Superman comes for him?" Lois said.
"Well, up until now, Superman hasn't shown any concern for his best friend," Miles said walking back up to Clark. "Of course, I haven't given him a chance to call for him either. Have I, Kent?" Miles laughed in his face. "I have kept Kent pretty quiet until now," Miles said turning back to Lois, "which I hope he will get used to." He laughed as he walked past her to the shelf. "But if he does somehow manage to call for his do-gooder friend I have a little insurance kept with Kent at all times," Miles said as he opened the box with the Kryptonite in it and walked back to Lois.
Clark immediately felt the pain from the Kryptonite start to take over and he fought to stand upright.
Lois stared in horror as the horrible green rock neared her and knew it was the reason Clark was rendered so helpless for so long. "How long has he been exposed to that?" she asked quietly.
"Since last night, right, Kent?" Miles laughed as he walked up to Clark with the exposed rock. Clark gasped in pain as the rock came near to him and he knew at any second he would pass out if that box wasn't closed.
"You know, Kent, you're really a wimp." Miles laughed he noticed Clark wincing in pain.
'Not. He's not,' Lois insisted. 'If you only knew who you were really talking to,' she said inside. 'He's the strongest man on earth!'
Lois fought back tears as she watched Clark's body starting to falter as the deathly rock was brought near to him. She rushed up to Miles and closed the lid shut, much to Clark's relief and Miles' surprise.
"Well, you wouldn't want Superman flying overhead and seeing it, now would you? Then he'd never come," she asked as she tried not to look at Clark. For if she did she knew she'd break down.
"Yes, my dear, you are quite right. Got to like a woman that values the same things, right, Kent?" Miles laughed as he turned his back and walked to put the box away. "Like the death of Superman."
"I will get you away from here," Lois quickly whispered in Clark's ear.
Clark strained a smile but with the crippling effects of the Kryptonite still playing with his system it was more of a grimace than anything.
"I love you," Lois mouthed as Miles turned around to them again.
"Want to have a piece of him, my love?" Miles asked as he walked up behind Lois and put his arms around her and pulled her back into his embrace. Clark watched in disgust and tried to hide his anger and rage towards the man touching his fianc‚.
"I think he's had enough for tonight. I mean, if you hurt him too much then he might be unable to call for Superman," Lois said sadly as she looked at Clark.
"That's really too bad, my dear. I really thought you'd take as much pleasure in his slow death as I am," Miles said into her ear.
Lois just closed her eyes and fought back tears. "Sorry," she said.
"That's okay. He's going to be here with us for quite awhile. I have a lot planned for him," Miles laughed as he pulled away from Lois and walked back up to Clark. "Remember my threat in the van, Kent?" Miles laughed.
Clark looked at Miles in contempt but said nothing.
"What did you say to him?" Lois asked trying to sound happy.
"Oh, nothing much, eh, Kent? Only that I would turn him into my own personal servant. What do you say, Donna? Think Kent's pride here could handle the shame of walking around the house with only this in his mouth and nothing else?" Miles laughed as he tugged on the gag.
Lois just looked at Miles in horror and disgust. He can't be serious. He must be joking. She looked at the expression on Clark's face and knew that Miles must have been taunting Clark with this horrible threat. She had to help him get away tonight. But how? How could she get close to help him if he was like this? 'I can't let him be subjected to Miles thinking, he'd never survive it. It would destroy him,' she thought. The shame of that would kill him.
"What do you think my love?" Miles asked firmly as he walked up to her.
"Well, he definitely has the build for it," Lois said sweetly. Clark just closed his eyes and tried not to look at Miles laughing face. 'I know Lois is joking,' he told himself, 'but it still hurts.'
"Hear that, Kent? I think that was a yes." Miles laughed as he looked down at Lois. "I thought for a second you were getting soft on the man who murdered my brother and sent your cousin away for the rest of his life."
"I think not, Miles. But look at him, he's really in no condition to appreciate fully the shame you have in mind for him," Lois said, trying to sound firm.
"As always, you're right again, my dear. Well, Kent," Miles said as he turned back to him, "it'll just have to wait a few days."
'Yeah, and hopefully you'll be dead by then and Clark will be safely away from you,' Lois said inside.
"Yeah, Kent, it seems like the ladies have a soft spot for you," Miles said as he punched Clark in the stomach. Clark cried out as his body jerked backwards in pain. Lois bit down on her lip as she heard Clark cry out in agony.
"I don't have that soft spot," he said as he hit him again. Clark faltered a bit as he gasped for air.
Lois just stood and listened to Miles next taunt and fought to keep herself in her spot. 'Oh, Clark, don't listen to his horrible words,' she said inside.
"I wonder if your lovely fianc‚ is worried about you right now? But you know women, so fickle." Miles laughed as he walked behind Clark. "She's probably out on the town right now, seducing some other poor sap. That is if she's still loyal to you. I mean you're really not much to write home about. Can't dress worth a damn and have nothing to show for in the way of money," Miles said as he hit Clark in the back. Clark cried out again but stood his ground as best he could. "And besides, you're not exactly, well, you're not Superman." Miles laughed at the sad irony of his statement, to which Clark's anger and Lois's hatred for Miles grew stronger.
Miles was about to hit Clark again when Stuart walked into the room. Miles turned to him with a mean glare. "I told you I was not to be disturbed when I'm with Kent!" His angry voice boomed.
"Sorry, but I need your key for the final test," Stuart said firmly.
"I see," Miles said turning to Lois. "Want to keep Mr. Kent company for a bit?" Miles asked.
"Yeah, why not," Lois said trying to sound calm.
"Very well," Miles said as he turned and followed Stuart. Lois waited until she heard another door down the hallway close before she walked up to Clark.
"This room has a camera in it," she said softly.
"Please help me," Clark said softly as Lois felt her heart break as she neared him.
"I will find a way, Clark," she said trying to sound firm as she noticed the red blinking light in the corner. "I can't keep this up," Lois whispered to Clark, "I can't watch you endure this much longer."
"What's she saying to him I wonder?" Miles asked as he watched on the camera.
"Pretend to slap me. Then put the gag back in my mouth," Clark said.
"What? Why?" Lois asked softly.
"Because he's watching and the only way for you to help me is to make it seem like you hate me," Clark said sadly, "which after that ring comment you probably do." He sighed.
"For that I will gag you," Lois said as she went for the gag. "But I could never hate you, Clark," she whispered, "I love you."
"What in the world is she doing?" Miles asked.
"Helping him?" Stuart asked.
"She wouldn't do that," Miles insisted.
"Are you sure?"
"Oh Clark, your mouth is so bruised," Lois whispered.
"Just do it," Clark said softly. "It's the only to prove to him you're still on his side. Now yell at me, whatever you want and then gag me," Clark said.
"Fine," Lois said stepping back. "How could you ask me to believe you? You killed Jimmy! You sent Wally to prison," Lois shouted. "Stop telling me those lies."
"I didn't do anything," Clark said trying to raise his strained voice. "Your boyfriend killed him," Clark said firmly. Lois went to Clark and proceeded to slap his face. But Clark was ready and jerked his head back as her hand touched his face, which helped to lessen the blow.
"Miles didn't, you did," Lois said trying to sound angry as she rushed to him and pulled the gag back into his mouth. "Forgive me, Clark," she said as she succeeded in gagging her beloved fianc‚. Clark pretended to struggle against her touch. They spent the rest of the time in silence until Miles returned.
"You were about to say something about Donna's loyalties?" Miles laughed as he watched Clark try to fight the gag being put back in.
"Um, no," Stuart said as they both turned back to the terminal.
Lois looked up and saw the red light still on. But is he still watching, she wondered? She better not take the chance so she just stood back and stared sadly at Clark who tried in vain to pull against his bonds. 'Oh Clark, I have to get you away from here, I just have to.'
Miles quickly finished up and entered the room with two large men behind him. Lois stared at them in horror. 'Oh, this cannot be good for Clark,' she said inside as they all walked up to a helpless Clark.
"Well, Kent, ready for bed?" Miles laughed. "Take him down," Miles ordered the two men beside him. Lois watched helplessly as Clark was roughly taken down and then let fall to the floor to rest a bit before Miles grabbed some more rope and went to bind his already cut and bleeding wrists. Lois was about to object, but she knew she would just draw suspicion to herself, so she just had to watch in torment as Clark was tied up again. "Too bad you can't tell me not to, eh, Kent?" Miles laughed as he tightly tied Clark's wrists together in front of him. Since Clark was already gagged he only mumbled inaudible words, to which Miles and his men just laughed. Miles finished tying Clark's wrists and then let him lay on the floor to rest a bit. Much to Clark's dismay, the rest of the men and Stuart filed into the room. Miles roughly hauled Clark up and stood him before the group. Lois noticed the amused looks and heard the laughing from the men who just taunted Clark. 'Oh, how can he stand to be treated like this without losing his cool?' she thought. But she knew if Clark did lose his cool he would pay dearly for it.
"Well, Mr. Kent, now is the moment of truth," Miles said as he drew his gun. 'No, Lois screamed inside. They can't kill him.'
Miles walked up to Clark and stuck the gun into his chest above his bound hands. "Now I'm going to ask you to do me a favor, Kent. It's simple really, but the end result will mean either a quick or a slow death for you." He laughed. "Listening carefully?" Miles taunted. "I want you to call Superman. Is that clear?" Miles asked.
Clark looked at him as if he was insane.
"IS IT CLEAR?" Miles yelled in his face.
Clark again looked at him but didn't nod his head.
"Okay, you want to play hardball, eh?" Miles yelled as he backhanded Clark's face causing his mouth and nose to bleed again. Lois had to turn away to keep herself from crying.
"All right, Mr. Kent," said Miles as he yanked the gag from Clark's bruised mouth and held a gun to Clark's face and cocked the trigger, "call for Superman or this is the last thing you see."
Clark stood before a disguised Lois beaten, bound and helpless and unable to call for his alter ego. She heard the gun cock and knew that if she didn't reveal herself Clark would die. But if she did she would die also. 'What do I do,' she asked herself frantically as she stared into the face of her beloved fianc‚?
"CALL HIM NOW!" Miles yelled.
Clark looked at him and said nothing. Miles pulled back on the trigger and Clark closed his eyes. 'I just can't do it,' Clark said inside.
Clark opened his eyes and stared sadly at Lois. 'I love you Lois, now and forever,' he said inside as he committed her face to memory. Even with the disguise, he would always know it was her.
'I have to do something,' Lois said. Then an idea came to mind as she walked up to Miles and whispered in his ear. Clark watched as a slow smile started to spread across his face. 'That doesn't look good,' Clark thought. 'But what would Lois be telling him? '
"Very well, Mr. Kent," Miles said as he put his gun down, "we'll try again tomorrow."
"I'll let you think on that all night. You either call for Superman or you die. I don't think you're that noble, but I guess we'll find out, won't we?" Miles laughed as he roughly stuffed the gag back into Clark's mouth and pushed him to the ground. Clark fell to the ground and landed on his side, cursing angrily into the gag.
Whatever Lois told Miles was enough to delay his execution, for now. But they had to figure out a plan of escape. 'Yeah, how can we do that when I'll be locked in that damn dungeon for the night?'
"Go secure the perimeter," Miles said to his men. "He won't give me any trouble now." Miles laughed down at Clark.
He left Clark lying on the floor and turned to Lois with a smile. "Did you pack your pyjamas?" he asked with a smile.
Clark heard his question and started to curse into the gag. 'Damn it, Clark,' Lois cursed inside, 'just be quiet already. As if I'm going to sleep with him,' she said inside. Lois walked up to Miles and whispered in his ear something that at first made him frown but then turned to a smile.
"I understand, my love. But I still want you to spend the night," Miles said to her.
"Like I'd want to leave," she smiled back. 'Yeah, like I'd leave here without Clark,' she thought.
Miles turned to Clark with a mean look which even scared Lois. "Ready for bed, Kent?" he asked as he roughly hauled him up by the arm. Clark winced in pain as he felt his body being pulled up and tried not to falter on his weak legs. "Man, Kent, you truly are a wimp." Miles laughed as he pulled him towards the door. Miles dragged Clark to the end of the hall and pressed the button for the elevator.
The three of them got in and Lois tried not to look at Clark's sorry state but found herself unable to turn away. He needed to see the strength and love in her eyes to help him hang on a bit longer. Clark rested on the wall and just stared back at Lois. He felt sort of stupid standing before her bound and gagged, but he knew she'd never think any less of him in this state. If anything, he felt bad for her having to witness what she just did. The thought of Lois actually staying with Miles in his room made him want to lunge at Miles right now, but he knew if he did, he'd pay for it. And in his condition a beating was the last thing he needed. He would just have to trust Lois enough to know she'd come up with an excuse so as not to sleep with him. 'She will, Right?' he asked himself?
"Hope you'll sleep a bit better tonight, Kent." Miles laughed as the doors opened and they all got out. Lois looked down the long dark corridor and shuddered. 'Oh, I can't believe Clark has to endure all of this.' But as she looked around she noticed the cameras were turned off. 'I wonder if that'll be all night?' Miles pushed Clark towards the end and pushed him into the open cell. He shoved Clark so hard that Clark lost his balance and crashed to the floor.
Lois had to stifle her anger as she watched Clark enduring what he had to. Miles grabbed some more rope and tightly bound Clark's ankles together. Miles stood up and looked at Clark and laughed. "Man you really are a pathetic sight, Kent." With that he put his arm around Lois and turned to leave.
'Clark will freeze like this.' "Man, it's cold down here, won't he freeze to death?" Lois asked.
"He better not," Miles laughed as he slammed the iron door shut. "Damn it, I left the Kryptonite upstairs," Miles said. "Oh well, I guess I could use the exercise and bring it back down," he laughed as he pulled Lois down the hallway.
She noticed some other corridors and wondered where they led. "Where do those lead?" she asked.
"Eventually outside," Miles laughed, "but I don't think anyone has ever tried to find their way out. But don't worry, my love; Kent is in no condition to free himself, much less think about escaping."
"Oh, that's good," Lois said slowly as they got into the elevator. She met Clark's sad gaze once more before the doors closed and took him away from her view. She wished there were a way she could get Miles not to put the Kryptonite with Clark, but she also knew that wasn't going to happen.
Clark watched Lois leave before he put his head back down on the cold cement ground to rest. He looked up and saw the camera was not on. 'Why? I guess he figures I'm no threat.' Clark sighed. 'Which, at this point I'm not.' He made the most of the camera being off by curling up his body into a ball-like position and tried to untie his bound feet. It was a slow process as his whole body ached and the cold was starting already to affect his fingers. 'Oh Lois, I hope you can figure out a way to help me.' Clark sighed as he closed his eyes and tried to get some sleep.
They reached the top and Lois actually considered revealing her cover just so that she could spend the time with Clark. But if Miles found out she was indeed his fianc‚, he wouldn't hesitate for a second to use that against Clark, and right now in his condition it would kill him. She couldn't take that chance. Stuart met them just as they got out of the elevator and whispered in Miles' ear.
"Ah, you're right. I guess we will be able to sleep without his Superman insurance with him." Miles laughed.
"I could take it down for you," Lois offered wanting to seize the opportunity to be with Clark even for a brief minute. "That is, if you want me to," she smiled.
"What an excellent idea, my love," Miles said to her as he went and retrieved the small lead box. He gave it to her but not before he planted a big kiss firm on her lips.
Lois took the box and walked slowly backwards to the elevator.
"Hurry back, my love," Miles smiled to her as she got in. Lois gave him a wink and watched as he turned around and followed Stuart back into the secret room.
Lois willed the elevator to move faster and prayed very hard that when she reached the bottom the cameras would be off. The doors opened and Lois was relieved beyond words to see that they were indeed still off. But for how long? She rushed down the corridor to the cell that contained Clark.
"Clark?" Lois said as she felt her eyes start to water at seeing him hurting so much. She set the box away from him and went to untie his feet. "Hold on Clark," Lois said sadly as she felt the ropes finally start to loosen. She frantically pulled them away and then went to untie his hands.
Clark looked up at her and tried to speak. "Oh, sorry," Lois said as she helped him sit up and then carefully untied the gag from his mouth. "Oh Clark," Lois said as she gently kissed him on the lips. "We are getting out of here now," Lois said looking up at the camera. She went back to try to untie his wrists but the knots were too firm and she was in too much of a panic.
"Help me stand," Clark said weakly.
"I have to untie you first."
"Lois, if those cameras come back on while you're doing this, it'll be game over for both of us," Clark said. "Please help me stand up."
Lois knew Clark was right and helped him stand and steady himself. She wrapped her arms around his cold body and hugged him close. "Oh Clark, I love you so much. I just can't believe what you had to endure," Lois said sadly as she felt a few tears fall down her face. "I just can't believe Miles treated you like that, and I can't believe you had to stay here last night."
"I knew you'd find me, Lois. I never thought anything else," Clark said firmly. "Now let's get out of here before we are both in big trouble," Clark said as he went to turn around and head for the door.
"But you're still tied up," Lois said, "but I kinda like you like this."
"I thought you'd like that, since you can't do that when I'm him," Clark teased.
"Maybe that Kryptonite is good for something," Lois teased back.
"Lo-is," Clark sighed.
"Kidding," she said.
"I'll remember that," Clark smiled. "Now let's leave before Miles catches on."
"That's it," Miles said as the final test results produced what he wanted. "That's perfect," he said with a smile.
"So you must really trust her to be alone with Kent enough to leave the camera's off," Stuart said.
"I can't believe I forgot," Miles said as he walked over to another terminal and pushed a button. The screen came to view but instead of seeing Clark in his cell he saw an open door, a box on the ground and no sign of Clark or Donna. "What the hell?" Miles yelled in anger as he rushed out of the room. "BOYS ELEVATOR NOW!" Miles yelled as he went for his gun. Miles pressed the button as four of his thugs joined him in the hallway.
Lois heard the elevator starting to move and jumped. "Clark we have to pick a hallway and pray it's the right one," Lois said as they stood a few yards down from the main corridor, standing before two more.
"Pick one, Lois. You're better at this than I am," Clark said.
Lois looked at the two paths before her. Both were fairly dim but one was more well travelled than the other, the right one. She grabbed Clark by the arm and they took off down the left one. "Are you okay?" Lois asked as Clark stumbled a bit in the darkness.
"Yeah, I'm starting to feel warmer now, so that's a good sign," he sighed. "Thank goodness that Kryptonite is not near here," Clark said as they slowly made their way down the darkened hallway. The candle Lois brought only provided light for a few feet in front of them. It didn't show what was ahead.
Lois heard Miles shouting behind them and her heart started to race again. "What if they catch us before we get outside? What if they catch us before you get your strength back?" Lois asked.
"Let's try to make sure that doesn't happen," Clark said firmly. "Think Miles will know which one we're down?"
"I don't know, Clark. But every rat knows his maze well, so I would imagine he might," she said dryly.
"Which one, boss?" Asked one of the men.
"You two three take that one," Miles said to the right one, "and you come with me down this one," Miles said looking down the left. "A reporter would choose the one less travelled by, right, Kent?" Miles mused quietly. "Let's go." But as they disappeared into the darkness they were unaware of the man standing in the shadows waiting. Stuart watched as Miles went down the left and waited a few minutes before he grabbed his flashlight and went after him.
"Hold on a sec, Lois," Clark said as he stopped for a bit.
"What's wrong, Clark?" Lois asked in a panic.
"My feet are just a bit sore," Clark said. "I lost my shoes remember."
"I know, Clark," Lois sighed, "but we really have to keep moving," she said gently. "Can you break the ropes yet?"
Clark pulled against the ropes and felt them loosen a bit. "I think my strength is returning, but I doubt it if I'll get it back fully tonight," Clark sighed. "I was exposed for too long and had to endure too much," he said as they started to move again. "But I won't let him hurt you, Lois," Clark said to her. "I still can't believe he said he wanted to shame me like that. I mean why would he even think of something that demented?" Clark asked sadly as they started to walk again.
"I don't know, Clark. The mere thought of it made me sick," Lois said. "I'm just glad you didn't have to experience anything like that."
Lois was about to say something more when they heard Miles behind them.
"Hurry, Lois," Clark said in a panic as they both started to walk faster.
"Clark!" Lois said in a panic as Clark stumbled and fell. She helped him up only to hear loud footsteps running after them.
"Stop them, Louie, but don't kill them!" They heard Miles shout.
"Whatever happens, Lois, pretend I made you free me," Clark said.
"What?" Lois half screeched. "You were bound and gagged, just what kind of threat made me untie you, mental telepathy?" Lois asked sarcastically.
"Look I just don't want you hurt," Clark insisted.
"Clark, you can't even untie your hands. How in the world will you be able to stop them once they get us?" Lois asked as they started to run. "Let's worry about that when we are free from here," Lois insisted. They ran for what seemed like forever. Down twisting and turning hallways and passages, each more dark and seemingly more a dead end than the last one. But they weren't about to give up if there was even a chance that the end might be near, the end and their freedom.
"Lois, you go for help and I'll stop them. They want me anyway," Clark said firmly as he slowed down.
"Clark Kent!" Lois said firmly as she grabbed his bound hands and pulled him forwards. "If you stay then I stay, so then we'll both be in trouble. Now, do you really want that? I mean especially since I went through all the trouble of rescuing you. I mean is this the thanks I get? Like I said to Perry…"
"Lois, you're rambling," Clark laughed.
"Sorry." Lois laughed. She was about to comment further when she felt cool air coming at them. "Clark, feel that?" she asked excitedly.
"Yeah, it must mean we are close to the end," Clark sighed heavily, "thank goodness."
"Are they still behind us?" Lois asked as she turned around to see. It was her mistake as the thug sprang out of the darkness towards her. Lois screamed out as she ducked and the man managed to hit Clark instead. They both tumbled to the ground. Clark cried out as the man punched him in the side. Lois jumped on the guy only to have him hit her in the stomach, causing her to hit the wall behind her. Lois cried out which made Clark bring both of his bound hands up and punch the guy in the face. The man cried out as he felt his nose break and Clark brought his knee up and connected it with his groin. The man screamed out as he crashed back down to the cold floor. Lois kicked him in the side and Clark hit him again in the face. The man hit his head oddly on the ground and finally lay there unconscious.
"Hurry, Clark, get up," Lois said as she rushed to help him. Clark tried to lift the heavy man off his legs, but Miles ran up to them and pulled Lois back against him.
"All right, Kent, this time I'm not going to waste anytime in ridding the earth of my brother's murder!" Miles spat at Clark. Clark just sat on the floor with his hands still bound and the large thug still on top of his legs. At this point, the way he was and without his superpowers it would take a miracle to save him.
"Any last words?" Miles asked meanly.
"Yeah, I didn't kill him," Clark pleaded. Lois just watched as Clark tried to tell the mad man who was going to kill him that he was innocent. She felt a tear escape the corner of her eye and roll sadly down her face.
'Oh Clark, I'm so sorry,' she said inside.
"I was just doing my job," Clark said firmly, "but he took his own life. I'm not guilty of that."
"You'll always be the one that took his life," Miles insisted as he cocked the trigger.
"You need me," Clark said in a hurry. "I can get you Superman."
"I don't need you to get him," Miles said. "I'll get him on my own. Sorry, Kent, but this time you really do lose."
"Miles, please don't do this," Lois begged.
"And you, my dear. You and I will have a few quiet moments after Kent is dead and you can explain to me why you helped him escape," Miles said harshly into her ear.
"But without any further adieu," Miles said looking back down at Clark, "it's time for you to die, Kent!" Miles said as he aimed the gun at Clark's chest.
"Don't do it, Miles," came a voice behind them. Clark looked up in shock and Miles and Lois turned around equally as shocked to see Stuart facing them with his gun drawn as well.
"Are you crazy, Stuart? He tried to escape! Now he has to pay," Miles shouted.
"You are just blinded by your hatred for Kent," Stuart said as he neared them. "We still need him to get to Superman."
"If we kill Kent we can still get his fianc‚, Lois Lane. Superman is a friend to both of them," Miles said.
"Oh yeah, if Lane finds out that Kent is dead, do you really think she'll stop at nothing to find his killer? We'd never be free," Stuart said. "Now he's still tied up. Let's take him back upstairs, call Superman and be done with this," Stuart said.
"No, Kent dies now," Miles said as he loosened his grip on Lois. She pulled away from Miles and stood beside him.
"Listen to reason, Miles," Stuart said firmly.
However, Miles' sense of reason had left him long ago, leaving only blinded hatred and jealousy. "I can't do that. He murdered my brother. A life for a life, Stuart," Miles said.
"You're blinded by hatred and jealousy and I can't let you kill him without our plan being accomplished first," Stuart said as he cocked the trigger and aimed the gun at Miles.
"And I can't let you stop me," Miles said as he cocked the trigger and aimed the gun at Stuart.
Title: A Darker Shade of Red… Chapter 4 — The Aftermath
Lois let out a cry and Clark just watched as both men's bodies fell to the ground dead. Lois stared at Miles' dead body on the ground before her and just couldn't bring herself to move. She heard Clark trying to free himself behind her and she turned to him.
"Clark!" she said as she rushed to him and helped pull the goon off of Clark's trapped legs. She held onto his bound hands and helped him stand up. She fumbled to untie his hands and soon found herself crying and not being able to stop.
"It's okay, Lois," Clark said softly as she frantically pulled at the ropes around Clark's wrists. "Lois, it's okay," Clark said again.
"I have to free you, Clark," Lois said firmly as she pulled at the knots and finally started to feel them loosen. "I want you free of this," she said as she pulled on the knots and finally they came loose. "I can't let you go back in that thing," Lois said as she frantically pulled them away from his wrists and threw the rope to the ground before she wrapped her arms around his waist and hugged him close. "I can't let Miles do that do you, Clark," she cried.
"It's okay, Lois, I'm fine and he's dead," Clark said softly as he held her close. Clark winced a bit in pain from the bruises on his chest, but he wasn't about to tell her to stop. It felt so good to hold her again, he didn't want the moment to end. But as he looked back down at the two dead men he knew they still had a few things to take care of.
"Are you okay?" he asked softly.
"I am now that you're really safe," she smiled up at him.
"We should call the police, Lois," Clark said looking down at her.
"Yeah, I guess so," Lois said as she regrettably pulled away from Clark's embrace. She reached into her purse, which was still strung around her shoulder and pulled out her cell phone. Clark went to check each of the dead men's pulse to make sure they really were dead while Lois called the cops. Clark sighed as he looked at the two dead men before him. "I guess they lived up to their name of assassin," Clark mused as he noted the perfect shot each had taken at the other man and hit them dead in the heart, killing their man instantly.
"What about the stuff in the lab?" Lois asked. "Do you feel like walking back there?"
"You actually want to go back there?" Clark asked in surprise.
"Only if you do," she said.
"Well, I would like to get my shoes and jacket," Clark said slowly. "By the way, nice wig," he smiled as they started to walk back.
"Oh yeah," Lois said as she tore off the wig and dropped it onto Miles' body. "Donna died today also, thankfully," she smiled as she wrapped her arm around Clark's waist and they walked slowly back to the main area. "What about the other guys?" Lois asked.
"Well, when Superman is better," he smiled, "he'll go back and make sure they are all taken care of." Clark stopped in his tracks as another realization struck him.
"What is it, Clark?" Lois asked.
"Well, I saw other men in other rooms. I wonder if they were the goons who chased us or if they were other hitmen. Can we really go back and take the chance and find them if we are unarmed?" Clark asked.
"What else can we do?" Lois asked. "Wait down here?"
"We could head outside and wait for the cops."
"You have no shoes or jacket, Clark. In your weakened condition you could freeze," Lois said softly.
"Well, the cops should be here soon, right?" Clark asked. "So hopefully by the time we get back up, they'll be here," Clark said.
"Yeah, hopefully," Lois sighed. "I just can't believe you had to endure all this Clark. And it was all my fault," Lois said sadly.
"What?" Clark asked in shock. "How in the world could it be your fault, Lois?" Clark asked as they finally reached the main area.
Lois stared sadly at the cell Clark had spend the previous night in and then her eyes travelled to the means that kept him so helpless, the small box of Kryptonite. "If I hadn't started the stupid argument in the first place you would have been with me instead of in there," she said sadly.
Clark pulled her close and sighed. "I would have gone to see him anyway, Lois. Always follow the lead right? You taught me that."
"Yeah, too well," she interrupted.
"Anyway," he smiled, "it's because of you I'm even still alive. Alive and thankfully not having to live with the shame that Miles had planned for me. You saved me Lois, you and you alone." Clark smiled as he gently kissed the top of her head.
"Yeah, but the Kryptonite," she moaned, "it allowed them to hurt you so much." She said as she looked up at him and gently caressed his slowly healing face.
"Yeah, but Lois you couldn't have stopped them even if you had been here," he said firmly, "and if you had revealed yourself earlier you would have only made things worse by probably getting hurt yourself. Then that would have been worse for me. The only thing had made me endure and helped me hang on was the fact that I knew you'd figure out a way to save me. Once you told me about their plans for Superman, I knew you'd never let that die. I knew you'd help me. I knew it." Clark smiled.
"Then why did you have such a problem with the ring? I had to hide it for the cover," Lois said.
"Yeah, I was just being stupid," Clark sighed. "Forgive me?"
"Yeah. Forgive me?"
"Nothing to forgive, Lois," Clark said as he gently kissed her. "But as much as I'd like to stand here kissing you, I'd really like you to dispose of that Kryptonite and then let us get out of here and continue this back at my place."
"Sounds good to me," Lois smiled as she went to retrieve the box with the Kryptonite in it. She picked it up and stared sadly at the cell that Clark was tied up in when she found him. Clark saw Lois standing by the cell and walked up behind her. "Lois?" he asked.
"I'm fine, Clark. I just keep seeing the look on your face as Miles tied you up and then laughed at you. You should not have had to experience that, Clark. Not you, not Superman," she said softly as she turned to him.
"Come on, Lois, stop beating yourself up over that. I endured what I did and now, thanks to you, I'm okay," he said firmly. "But we really should get upstairs."
Lois let Clark take her by the hand and lead her to the elevator. They both got in and waited in apprehension as it ascended slowly to the top floor. When the doors opened both reporters stood and waited for anyone to come and join them, but no one came.
"I guess those guys chasing us were the ones I saw in the rooms earlier," Clark said as they both got off and walked towards the lab. Lois walked up to the computer terminal that Miles showed her and pushed the button to turn it on. It came to life still showing the plans for the supposed down fall of Superman.
"Thank goodness this never came to fruition," Lois sighed as Clark came up to join her. "I mean, even if you stopped the first one the second one or whichever one had the Kryptonite in it would have killed you for sure," she said.
"Yeah, good thing," Clark said as he looked for a way to disarm it. "How do you turn this thing off?" Clark asked.
"Is there an abort code?" Lois asked.
"Not that I can see. What if this thing is set to go off anyway?" Clark asked in haste.
"I'm calling Jimmy. Maybe he can hack in and try to…"
"Lois, look," Clark said loudly. Both looked in horror as the timer on the screen before them started to count down.
"Who started this?" Lois asked.
"I did," Rico smiled from behind. "Miss me, Kent?" Rico laughed as he walked into the room with his gun drawn. "Why don't we watch the downfall of Superman together."
"Why, Rico?" Clark asked. "What do you have to gain from this?"
"Oh, nothing much but Miles' legacy. And of course the half billion dollars he has hidden away," Rico smiled as he neared Clark. "You know, I liked you better tied up." Rico laughed at Clark.
"Yeah, well get used to disappointment," Clark said as he lunged at Rico. Clark slammed into Rico and both men fell to the floor, the gun still in Rico's hand. Rico hit Clark in the side of the head with the gun. Clark cried out a bit but managed to punch Rico in the side.
Lois meanwhile quickly called Jimmy and told him what was going on. "Can you hack in and stop this thing?" she asked in a panic.
"I'll try," Jimmy said as he started to type away on his computer in front of him.
Lois turned back to Clark who was still trying to wrestle the gun away from Rico. Rico hit Clark in the back with the butt end of the gun and Clark countered with a hit to his jaw. Rico brought the gun up under Clark's chest and was about to fire when Clark managed to bring his hand up between them and push the gun down.
Lois screamed in horror as both Clark and Rico slumped to the ground.
"Clark!" Lois said as she rushed to him.
"Oh man," Clark groaned as he rolled off Rico's dead body.
"'Oh man' is right, Clark," Lois said as she helped him stand up, "I thought he shot you."
"Yeah," Clark paused, "me too."
They both hurried back to the terminal to see it still counting down. "Jimmy?" Lois asked in haste.
"This one's a tricky one Lois. It'll take me a few more minutes," he said excitedly.
"You only have a few more minutes," Lois said.
"Can't Superman stop at least one of them?" Jimmy asked.
"No Superman is detained," Lois said looking at Clark.
"How in the world do you know that?" Jimmy smiled.
"Jimmy!" Lois spat.
"You're right. I don't want to know," he said as he typed in a code sequence.
"Um, Lois?" Clark said as the timer neared 60 seconds.
"60 seconds, Jimmy. Hurry," Lois said.
"I'm trying," Jimmy said.
"30 seconds, Jimmy."
"Yeah, I can see that."
Both Lois and Clark watched in horror as the clock counted down in slow motion to zero. But Jimmy succeeded in stopping the clock with only 1 second to go.
"Whew," all three of them breathed in unison.
"Thanks, Jimmy," Lois smiled. "Can you download that data and save it?"
"Yeah, sure, no problem," Jimmy said happily as he hung up.
"Well, that was close," Clark said.
"Yeah, too close," Lois sighed as she walked over to the camera set up. "I guess we should take these for evidence, right?" she asked.
"Yeah," Clark said as he walked up to her, "burn the ones with me in them."
"Like, I'd want to re-live that again?"
"I see," Lois said as she grabbed the tapes and stuffed them into a nearby duffel bag.
"Man, we hit the mother load here," Clark mused as he put some files into the bag along with the tapes. "We'll sort through it all tomorrow," Clark said.
"Sounds like a plan partner," Lois smiled.
"I wonder where he got the Kryptonite anyway?" Clark asked.
"He told me he found it," Lois said.
"Found it?" Clark asked in surprise. "Where?"
"That he didn't tell me," she said.
"By the way, how did you get him to forgo my execution when I was told to call for Superman?" Clark asked in surprise.
"It's a secret," Lois smiled.
"You're kidding, right?" Clark asked in disbelief.
"Nope," Lois smiled.
"Are you seriously not going to tell me?"
She as about to answer when they heard the unmistakable sound of police sirens pull in front of the house. "Saved by the bell," Lois smiled. "Come on. Let's get your shoes and leave."
"Don't have to tell me twice," Clark said as he headed for the room he was in earlier. He entered the door and walked slowly up to the contraption that held him earlier. He stood and stared at it for what seemed like an eternity. Lois came into the doorway and stood in silence and watched Clark. "Oh Clark, I can't imagine what you're thinking about that thing right now. I can't even believe I had to see you in that" she said sadly.
Clark sighed heavily as he went and got his shoes and jacket and turned to see Lois standing in the doorway. "I called Dr. Klein and told him to come and get the Kryptonite. He'll know how to take care of it." Lois smiled as Clark put on his shoes.
"Thanks, Lois," Clark said.
"Are you okay?" she asked softly.
"I keep wondering what would have happened if the suit hadn't been tucked away, what he would have done then? I mean it was bad enough he hated Clark Kent, but what if he had known he also had Superman trapped here. And then all that talk about the servant," Clark sighed heavily as he paused. "I just don't know Superman would have lived with himself if Miles had actually been allowed to follow through?"
"I don't even want to picture you as Superman in that thing," Lois sighed as she heard footsteps rushing towards the door and trying to open it. "I guess we should let them in," she said as she walked to the door and opened it. Henderson rushed in and looked from Lois and then to Clark. "Lane, Kent, care to explain your call?" he asked.
"Um, yeah," Lois said.
"Wait for you outside," Clark said moving past her and stepping into the night air.
Clark put the bag down on the ground and leaned against a cement post while Lois told Henderson what happened. Clark studied the large fortress before him and was thankful he was now on the outside looking in and not tied up at the same time like when he arrived.
It still amazed him the hatred and anger Miles had for both him and Superman to be willing to make him suffer like that. But yet the man thought nothing of taking another life simply for money and training his brother to do the same. And when the system finally caught up with James Green, and he was rightfully put in jail and sadly took his own life, he turned his blame not to himself but to a person just trying to uncover the truth.
Clark smiled as he watched Lois walk up to him and was thankful to be leaving. "Um, how are we going to get home?" Clark asked.
"We could borrow Miles' car?" Lois asked.
"Um, borrow usually implies that we return the thing borrowed," Clark smiled.
"Okay, so we'll take it and then tell Henderson where to find it," Lois said firmly as she turned and headed for Miles' car.
"Do you even have the keys?" Clark asked.
"Has that ever stopped me before?" she asked.
"That's not the point, Lois." Clark laughed as he watched her get in and hot-wire the car and it started.
"Are you coming or do you want to walk?"
"If I hitch-hiked do you think I'd get picked up?" Clark teased.
"Like that?" Lois asked. "Oh, yeah."
"Funny," Clark said dryly as he got in the car and they headed back to his place.
They rode most of the way in silence each contemplating the events of the past few days and why they actually happened. They finally reached Clark's place and both were never so happy to be there in all their life. Clark grabbed the bag and headed up the stairs with Lois in tow.
"You want to come in for a bit?" Clark asked softly.
"Now that I have you back safe and sound I'm not letting you out of my sight, mister," Lois said firmly with a smile.
"Even when I take a shower?" Clark teased.
Lois just blushed at his comment and felt herself go warm all over at the though of seeing Clark's wonderful body with nothing on but water and soap.
"Oh, um…" Lois stammered as Clark let them in. He spied the messed up couch with the blanket and the movies on the floor beside them and tried to remember not picking them up before he left.
"I guess I forgot to clean up before I left," Clark sighed as he walked into the living room and headed for the couch.
"Oh, I did that," Lois said with a smile.
"What? When?" Clark asked in surprise as he turned back to her.
"Last night when I slept here waiting for you to return," Lois said.
"You actually came here? How did you get in?" Clark asked.
"I, um, picked the lock," Lois said sheepishly.
"Lo-is," Clark sighed. "I thought I gave you a spare key."
"Yeah, well I was in such a panic I left it at home," she sighed. "Sorry."
"Don't be sorry. We can use that blanket and those movies tonight," he smiled as he hugged her close.
"I'd really like that," she smiled back. "But first you need a shower. You smell like rats."
"Gee, thanks," Clark said dryly.
"You better call your mom," Lois said.
"Well, I kinda called her and probably worried her about you being missing and all."
"You called my mom?" Clark asked in surprise.
"Um, yeah," Lois said walking into Clark's kitchen. "I'll call for takeout." Clark went to the phone and called his mom, after which Lois ordered some supper for them.
"Okay, shower time," Clark said. "You'll have to wait. I'll have to do this the old fashioned way," Clark said with a grin.
"Oh man, tough luck," Lois teased.
"Thanks Lois," Clark said dryly as he walked up the stairs to his bedroom and eventually his bathroom. Lois heard the shower turn on as she fished through the duffel bag and spied the tapes from Clark's capture. She put it into the VCR and not knowing what exactly to expect was shocked to see him enduring his torturous beatings. She felt tears coming to her eyes as she watched him standing before Miles and his men listening to their taunts and enduring their hits when he was first brought in by Miles. She heard Miles laughing as he pulled Clark up by his hair, and she felt her heart break all over again as he endured another beating in Miles private office. Lois was so caught up in watching she didn't hear Clark finish his shower and slowly make his way down the stairs. Lois looked up at Clark with a tear stained face and he rushed to the VCR and turned it off.
"Why Lois? Why torment yourself like that?" Clark asked sadly as he sat down on the couch beside her.
"Sorry. I really didn't know what you had to endure, Clark," she said as she rested her head on his chest. They sat in silence until the delivery man came with their supper. They put on the movie and ate in silence. After supper, Clark eased his sore body onto the couch and Lois spooned up beside him as they started to watch their second movie.
"I love you, Lois," Clark whispered in her ear as he tenderly kissed her cheek.
"I love you, Clark," Lois said as she hugged him close.
In no time they were both fast asleep in each other's arms until the sun of the early morning woke them up. Lois was the first to awaken and she slowly turned around to face Clark. He was still asleep with a peaceful look on his face as he breathed slow deep breaths that almost hypnotized her. Lois gently leaned in and kissed his now healed mouth. In fact as she looked at his face she noticed the bruises were now a distant memory. She carefully peeled herself away from her sleeping fianc‚ and covered him with the blanket. She grabbed the bag of stuff and headed for the door. She took one last look at Clark, sighed happily and left for her own place, where she could shower and start the day right.
Clark awoke with a strange feeling; he was not in bed. He looked down to find himself on the couch in his apartment, with no Lois beside him. He felt his face and chest and there were no bruises or sore marks left from the beating he had to endure. "Did I imagine it all?" he wondered as he slowly got up. "Am I really back to me?" he asked. "One way to find out," he said with a smile. And in about five seconds his place was cleaned. "I'm back." He smiled as he quickly changed and went on the patrol he missed the night before.
"I see Superman has been busy this morning," Perry said walking up to Lois's desk. "Did he take the night off or something?" Perry laughed.
"Even a super hero needs a night off, Chief," Lois smiled.
"Yeah. Well, where's Kent? He take the day off?" Perry asked.
"Oh Clark?" Lois asked. "He'll be here shortly. Just had to take care of a few things," she smiled.
"Okay," Perry said as he turned and walked away, just as Lois heard the familiar swoosh and turned around to see Clark coming out of the exit stairs with a smile on his handsome face.
"Good morning, Lois," he smiled as he walked up to her desk and bent down to give her a kiss.
"Good morning, sweetheart," she smiled as she kissed him back.
"Ah, now that's how I like to start the day off," Clark said.
"Really? Because I thought you'd like to wake up in my arms," Lois said with a fake frown.
"Funny," Clark said sitting down beside her. "So what did you find in the files from last night?" Clark asked.
"All the evidence that not only confirms the expos‚s you did on some of Miles' men, but it gives detailed information about the ones you didn't have anything on. It'll all be covered in the story I have already started for us." Lois smiled.
"You already started it?" Clark asked in surprise as she handed him a mock copy.
"Yeah," Lois said. "Here. Tell me what you think."
Clark looked at the title of what would be tomorrow's cover story:
'A Darker Shade of Red' by Lois Lane and Clark Kent.
"Miles Rinaldi was a man driven on by one thing and one thing alone, vengeance. He was the mastermind behind a group of skilled assassins that included his younger half- brother, James Green. Among some of the assassins already exposed by Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent, Green was sentenced to life in prison. Sadly he took his own life in prison leaving a bitter taste of hatred in Rinaldi's mouth towards not only Clark Kent but Metropolis's resident hero Superman. Rinaldi blamed Clark Kent for the death of his brother while he blamed Superman for stopping his plan at world domination.
Red has often been called the color of hatred and anger. But Rinaldi's hatred for both Superman and Clark Kent was a 'darker shade of red', a shade so deep it eventually cost him his life in the end, as he was betrayed and murdered by his partner, Stuart Ryer."
Clark looked up at Lois and smiled. "Wow, Lois, that was one terrific start," he smiled.
"You think so?"
"Yeah, it'll even make Superman want to read it," Clark teased.
"Very funny." She smiled. "And speaking of Superman, it was nice to see him back in action," she said as she leaned in close to him.
"Yeah, tell me about it," Clark sighed, "because for a brief moment there I honestly never thought I'd fly again." Clark said softly as he leaned in close and took both her hands and held them in his. He looked down at the ring on her finger and brought it to his mouth and kissed it.
"You saved my life, Lois," Clark said looking up at her. "How can I ever repay you?"
Lois looked into his kind eyes and smiled. "You can marry me."
With that she leaned in and kissed him tenderly on the mouth. Clark held her hands in his as he leaned in and kissed her back.
"I love you, Lois, now and forever," Clark breathed.
"Now and forever, Clark," Lois whispered back as they continued their kiss.