By Saskia <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: September 2003
Summary: Some of the events from the episodes "Barbarians at the Planet" and "House of Luthor" seen through the eyes of a very unexpected person.
This story is written for a dear friend of mine, Jana, on her birthday. I hope this makes up for the long distance and the silly ocean that's between us. Hope you had a great day!
I'd like to thank a few people without whom I couldn't have written this. First RetroRose, as my BR and brainstormer. You've been of so much help, I can't thank you enough. Then Anne, as my BR and inspiration, and my evil twin <g>. You always know how to call on my evil side ;). Next, Anna, thank you for BRing too, and for all your support. And finally, Jose, thanks you for the test reading. You all helped me so much, I appreciate that very much!
Also, a big thank you to my GE, LabRat.
Usual disclaimers apply here. Any and all feedback is welcome.
Escape to Freedom — A Birthday story for Jana By Saskia
A dark figure was sitting cross-legged on the hard, cold concrete floor. He needed to seriously think. He knew he was in a lot of trouble, and he just had to find a way out of it. But that was hard.
He was so tired; he hadn't slept much lately. His muscles were feeling sore, too, from the bad conditions he found himself in, in this room. There just was something about this place that never made you feel comfortable. He had found out that his sitting position on the floor felt best. The floor was cold, but not too cold. He planned on getting away soon anyway, after he found his escape route, so he could deal with a little cold. Outside, it was warm, and he would be okay there.
All he wanted was to get back to the world again soon. This room was so small, and he had spent quite some time here already. Every minute was one too many. If he didn't know any better, he'd swear the walls were closing in on him. After each hour, it seemed like the space he had was getting smaller and smaller. It was quite scary. He had never felt like this before. He wasn't claustrophobic, was he? No, he couldn't be. He was strong and independent. He could handle this situation, he had dealt with a lot worse before.
The situation wasn't his fault either, so he was okay. Everything would be solved soon. He would get help. Better yet, he hoped his help would arrive soon. This whole thing stunk, and it made him feel very desperate. It wasn't his fault things got out of hand, or out of his control!
It was still a mystery to him how he had ended up here. One moment everything was fine. The Planet was okay, he had an excellent job, nice colleagues, and above all, he had friends on whom he could count. Then, all of a sudden, he had felt like he was in a rollercoaster. His entire life had been turned upside down. First with the financial troubles of the Daily Planet and the layoffs, then Luthor had moved in and had made many changes that had influenced his career. But that was only the tip of the iceberg; his second home had been blown up. That's where the rollercoaster had really started to speed up, to turn into the loop. He didn't remember much of what had happened afterwards, everything had just gone too fast. The result was the same however, he was still locked up in here. He had no idea how the heck that had happened.
How could one go from a happy normal life to this miserable state? In such a short time even?
Well, he could always blame it on the system. In this case, the system had the name Luthor.
But, for all of his life, he had blamed everything on the system. He'd had a rotten life, and for the first time since he could remember, he was happy. Really, truly happy. But then, BOOM, this had happened. Maybe he just wasn't meant to be happy. If that was really the case, he would go back to his old life as soon as he got out of here. That life had been satisfying and brought in enough money, which was something he really liked. In that case, he should figure a way out of his prison.
Hold on, outside of this room his life would be hell. He should come up with proof of why he was innocent, and justify his anger at the system.
Jack decided it was time to put some order to his mess. He closed his eyes and tried to focus on those moments right after the bombing in front of the Daily Planet. He had just visited the medical team that was checking on people to see for injuries. He had been cleared, no injuries, and he hadn't inhaled any dangerous gasses or smoke. He had looked around and spotted Lois, Clark, Jimmy, Perry and Luthor talking, so he headed over to them. When he had got closer, he heard Luthor talking, and he seemed angry. He was saying something about who could have done this. Obviously, the philanthropist knew. So Jack had moved closer, he didn't want to miss out on that. Then Luthor had spotted him, and an angry look had crossed his face.
Jack got angry again when he remembered what had happened next. With a jolt, he stood up and started pacing around the room, as much as that was possible anyway.
Luthor had pointed at him and accused him of placing the bomb. How *dare* the man say that? He was innocent after all! He didn't have any reason to destroy the place he liked so much. All right, so he didn't like Luthor one bit, and the creep was most likely aware of Jack's dislike of him. But that was no reason to blame him!
And there had been evidence too, according to Mr. Creep. Evidence, his foot! For something he didn't do, that was highly unlikely. Darn it, Luthor had really thought this through. Jack got angrier and angrier when he thought of that… that… that crooked slimeball. Luthor had said it was *his* lunchbox, and the police had found explosives in *his* room. For crying out loud, he didn't even know how to get explosives, let alone how to get them to work with a timing device!
His criminal past may be known, but that was all some innocent stuff! Why had Luthor chosen him? He hadn't done anything to set that bastard off, had he? Not that Jack could remember.
Ooh, shoot! Jack gave the bed a hard kick. The situation was very frustrating.
Just then, he remembered something he had said a few days before the explosion. He had noticed Clark getting told off by Luthor, and since Clark was his friend, he had decided to stick up for him. Maybe he shouldn't have said "Who died and made you king?" to Luthor. Now that he thought about it, it could be the cause of why he was here. Not that he regretted it one bit. No way; the scum deserved it.
Okay, he now knew why was in juvey. He also knew he had to get out of here as soon as possible. That new kid they had brought in yesterday was going to cause him a lot of trouble. He'd overheard the boy saying he and his brother had pulled a frame- up. They had apparently planted incriminating evidence in an apartment. Some hours later, the gossip had mentioned explosives too. So there was only one conclusion. That fellow was talking about him. He had been deliberately put here.
The sad feeling that came over him quickly replaced itself with anger again. What had he done to deserve this? One simple remark couldn't be enough to put him in juvey. Luthor could easily have pinned it on Jimmy as well. Maybe it was his past. But that didn't matter now, so Jack quickly dismissed that idea. Well, whatever it was, it didn't really matter. He was up to his neck in this mess.
His lawyer wasn't even any good. Instead of helping to clear his name, the man wanted him to admit his guilt. And that's what they call a lawyer these days. That was the most ridiculous thing he'd ever heard! He was paying the man, so the man should do everything in his best interest!
Good thing Clark believed him, after that visit. They'd arranged another lawyer, someone just out of law school, and not some phony hired by Luthor. So that helped a bit already, but they still had no proof.
Proof. Why did people always want proof? Couldn't they just trust him on his word? Damn, an innocent in jail. Was the world going nuts, or something? Maybe they should use a lie detector, that would prove him not guilty.
Hang on, what if they discovered other things? They could find proof of other activities of him in his past. So not a good idea. Nope, not a good idea at all.
Jack felt like banging his head against the wall; he was so frustrated, annoyed and angry.
Slowly, he took a couple of long breaths and calmed down a bit. He was in juvey, but didn't want to be here. The people he thought were helping him weren't going fast enough. There was only one thing left to do. He had to get out now to show the world just how great Jack Black was. He would show them all just how innocent he was.
But how to get out of here. That might prove to be a bit more difficult.
Jack walked to the window and observed the mess he had made. He hadn't paid attention to what he did in his anger, but it wasn't too good. The bed couldn't be called a bed anymore, and the desk had seen better days.
Turning around, he stared out the window, not noticing the bars that blocked his view. He longed to be a part of that world again, to walk among the people, smell the scents of the street, or just to see the sky at night again.
There was only one way to do that. He needed to break out. With his 'experience,' that wouldn't be too difficult. He could always bribe a guard. Blackmailing was fun too. If he had something to blackmail with, that was. And he didn't actually have money to use either. But it was an option. It was worth a shot. He'd figure something out.
Then there always was the possibility of sneaking out when he was allowed some time in the exercise yard. He didn't want any contact with the other guys, so he was always alone. Nobody paid any attention to him. And the wall wasn't that high… Yeah, that sounded like a good plan. So, first thing tomorrow, he was going to check it out. If all went well, he should be a free man this time tomorrow.
With that prospect, Jack felt slightly better again. Freedom was just around the corner. It would go much faster if he slept a bit. So he started fixing his bed, just enough so he would be comfortable to sleep on it. While working on that, Jack started to hum one of his favourite songs, Freedom by George Michael. He thought the song fitted him perfectly now. Just a few more hours, and he would be free again…
<and with that, we slip back to HoL…>