By Danni <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: 30 Dec 2002
Summary: What would happen if Lois had decided to break her engagement with Lex before the wedding and Luthor retaliated by throwing her in the basement with Superman?
Rated PG for some mild violence and language — nothing compared to modern TV.
These aren't my characters; I'm just messing around with them for a while, blah blah blah. I wrote this purely for fun and will make no profit from it. This piece of fiction is entirely original and any similarities between any other piece of work by any other author is purely coincidental. I apologise for excessive amounts of soppiness — I agree with my sister: Clark giving Lois a big pink bunny rabbit with the slogan, 'I love you,' on it is too much and bless her for making me take it out.
The idea came to me after watching 'House of Luthor'. What if Lois had decided to break the engagement before the wedding and Luthor had shoved her in the basement with Superman? Ho hum…
Thanks to anyone who reads my story. I hope it satisfies all my fellow obsessive L&C fans/incurable romantics out there. Enjoy!
All rights in the characters belong to DC Comics and Warner Bros. No breach of copyright is intended by their use in this non-commercial work of fiction.
Feedback is also very welcome — my dream is to be a journalist — be kind, it's my first fanfic — but hopefully not my last.
Lois Lane stared at her reflection in the elegant, floor- to-ceiling mirror. She turned this way and that, grimacing as the heavy silk material of her dress swept around her. To any other woman, it would have been a dream come true. After all, Lex Luthor was the third richest man in the world. He was charming, gracious, eloquent, well spoken, respectable: everything she'd always wanted in a man. Also, she was pretty sure that he loved her. All in all, it was a good deal. She should be ecstatic.
So how come she wasn't?
Lois hopped off of the chair that she had been standing on and sat on the floor, cupping her head dejectedly in her hands. This is supposed to be the happiest day of my life, she thought angrily, and all I can think about is Clark! This wasn't supposed to happen.
Clark's confession of love had come as a complete shock. He was her partner, her best friend and though she had hated to admit it at first, he was a darn good writer. He was kind, compassionate, generous, caring, humorous, charming…he had everything going for him. And he loved her. He had said so himself, that day in the park, but for the first time, Lois had known that they weren't just empty words intended to get her into bed. She had looked into his eyes; his beautiful, warm, coffee-coloured eyes and she had felt something. For a brief moment in time, the world stopped and she had felt her heart give a tiny, involuntary flutter. "Hey," it had said, but before it could voice its opinion, she had squashed it, completely, totally and she had told him that she didn't feel the same way, that he was her best friend and that he was the only man that she could ever bear to work with, but that was all. And all the time, while she was doing it, she had looked in his eyes.
And now she wished that she hadn't.
Pain, agony, anguish, torture, grief, torment, she had seen them all in his eyes. Oceans of hurt. Hurt that she, herself, had caused. And it had nearly killed her. But still, she pushed him away. And she was still doing it.
She had even gone as far as to ask him to contact Superman for her. Oh, how could she have been so heartless! Talk about kicking a man while he was down.
Not that Superman's visit had helped her in any way. She had made a fool of herself and he just didn't care. She had been fooling herself all along, thinking that he loved her, thinking, hoping, that she knew why he was so upset about her marrying another man. But she didn't. And at the same time while she was throwing herself at him like a hapless teenager, Clark had been there. In love with her. Waiting. Hoping. And she had just…stomped on his heart and left him, completely crushed, heartbroken.
And now it was too late. Even though she was slowly realising what he had known ever since he had met her, she was going to marry a man, who, although he was nice and all, she didn't love. Not really. Not in the way that she loved…
Slowly her eyes widened and she sat upright as a bolt of realisation hit her.
"I don't love Lex, I love Clark! All this time I've been lying to myself about being in love with Superman and all the qualities that I love about him are in Clark! Clark isn't some fantasy that I won't ever have a chance with but he's kind and he's caring and he's real and he loves me! He loves me!" The excitement in her voice quieted down a bit as she remembered what she'd said, what she'd done. Her chin trembled slightly.
"And I've hurt him…terribly. And he thinks I don't love him." Lois stood upright with a familiar look of steely determination in her eyes. "I'll soon change that!" she vowed and headed to her closet, where she had a pair of black jeans and a ratty old t-shirt stowed.
Lex Luthor grinned sadistically at his reflection as he knotted his dickie-bow around his neck. Today was the day, finally, when he would get everything that he wanted, and more. He was marrying the woman of his dreams and he had that Boy Scout in Spandex right where he wanted him. Oooh, he was making Superman pay for the way that he looked at Lois and worse, for the way that she looked back all right. He clenched his fists and looked down at his white knuckles, surprised. He took a deep breath. "Slow and easy, Alexander, slow and easy," he breathed.
Slowly, he unclenched his fists and opened his eyes. He smiled. There was really nothing to be angry about any more. Superman was writhing in agony at this very moment, downstairs in the basement. The pain of the kryptonite must be great, but greater still was probably the pain that he, Lex, was getting exactly what he wanted and Superman, if he was lucky, had a few more hours to live. "It's turning out like a fairy tale," he thought to himself, "except this time the villain gets the princess and the hero…" his lips twisted sardonically, "dies, helpless and alone." Lex gave his tie another yank and smiled.
Lois ran lightly down the corridor, her heart thumping. Although she wasn't relishing what she had to do, she couldn't stop the wave of ecstasy that washed over her every time she thought of Clark. She paused at Lex's door and knocked softly.
"Yes, yes, what is it?" came the sharp reply from inside.
Lois winced. She knew Lex enough to know that now was not a good time for anyone to interrupt.
<Oh, well, > She slipped inside the room and closed the door gently behind her. Lex was admiring himself in the mirror. He caught sight of her and spun around.
He crossed the room until he was standing in front of her.
"My love, what are you doing here? It's unlucky to see the bride before the ceremony."
He looked her up and down.
"Why aren't you wearing your wedding dress?" his voice had a note of suspicion in it. Lois swallowed.
"Lex, we need to talk."
His face grew wary.
"Why do I get the feeling that I won't like this?"
"Probably because you won't?" her voice was very small.
She crossed the room and stared out of the window, pensive. She took a deep breath.
"Lex, I'm sorry, but I can't go through with this — with the marriage. I don't feel — right. I don't feel like it'll last. I can't — pretend — to be happy, when I'm screaming inside," she took a deep breath and turned to face him.
"I haven't felt right for some time now. I pushed all my doubts and fears to the back of my mind, because I didn't want to believe them, but they're there, Lex, and I — I can't ignore them any more."
"Lois, what are you saying?" his voice was disbelieving.
"I'm sorry, Lex. I never meant to hurt you," her voice dropped to a barely audible whisper. "I can't marry you."
His voice was hoarse. "No…"
Slowly, she slipped the diamond off her finger and placed it on the small table next to her.
His face was the colour of parchment he picked the ring up. His fist clenched around it and his face hardened.
Lois' voice was beseeching. "Lex, please try to understand."
"I said no!"
Her eyes widened at the harsh bark in his voice. He crossed the room and grabbed her by the arms, forcing her out the door.
Clark winced as a fresh wave of pain washed over him. It had been half an hour now, half an hour of unbearable agony. And what made it worse was the knowledge that somewhere in this formidable mansion, the woman he loved was getting married…to another man. And not just *any* other man, oh no. Only the most sadistic, callous, evil man on earth.
Was he hallucinating…or was Lois' voice coming down the hallway?
The door flew open and Luthor stalked in, dragging Lois by her hair. Clark's eyes widened as he took in her attire. He knew that his sense of reason had been fogged by the kryptonite, but surely he wasn't imagining jeans and a scruffy t-shirt instead of a wedding dress? All thoughts of clothing vanished from his mind as Lex gave her hair a yank and screamed at her.
"What the hell is wrong with you, huh?"
"Lex, please, stop, you're scaring me!"
"I'll have done a lot more than scare you before this day is out!"
He threw her on the floor and stood over her as she wept, helpless.
"So you thought that you could just walk away, huh? Well I've got news for you, sweetheart. Nobody, nobody humiliates a Luthor, especially not some cocky, sarcastic, arrogant, WORTHLESS woman who can't see what's right in front of her eyes!"
He paced around the room agitatedly, while Clark lay there, stunned.
Lex slowed down and stared at her, helpless on the floor.
"Oh, Lois, don't you understand? I love you," he said, almost tenderly.
She looked up.
"No you don't." she said quietly, calmly.
He gawked at her, his silence giving her strength.
"You've fooled yourself all this time, thinking that you loved me," she began hesitantly, "but you don't. Not really. If you did, you wouldn't have treated me the way you did just now. That's not love, Lex, that's not even like. When somebody is in love with you, you can feel it. In the way he looks at you, touches you, holds you, comforts you. Love is telling somebody that you love them even when you know that they won't say it back."
Her voice trembled slightly as she got slowly to her feet.
"Love is knowing a person better than anybody in the world. Love is giving yourself, wholly, to somebody else. Love is being prepared to die for somebody. Love is…" she swallowed, "love is knowing that you want their happiness more than your own."
Her voice became stronger with every word she said.
"And you don't want that for me. You don't love me, Lex. And I don't love you. I don't think I ever did." He gasped at that, quenching her new-found courage. His face screwed up for a moment, then, suddenly, he slapped her.
So hard that she fell to the floor.
"So," he whispered softly, "you don't love me. Well, we'll soon change that."
"You'll never change it," she mumbled, almost unconscious.
He kicked her, plunging her into unconsciousness.
He bent down, his face close to hers.
"After a few years, with no other human contact…" he laughed softly…" things may look a little different."
He stroked her hair off of her face. He straightened up abruptly and stormed out of the basement, locking the door behind him.
Clark lay on the floor, watching her, astonished. His mind was in a complete whirl. How could this have happened? Surely Lois should be married by now. Unless …he shook his head. She had reassured him, without a doubt, that a romantic relationship with her was totally and utterly impossible. She just didn't think of him like that …but none of this made sense. Why had Luthor been so angry with her? His face hardened as he replayed what Lex had done to her, the way he had hurt her, thrown her to the floor …where she was lying now, unconscious. He had to wake her up, somehow…or she would die.
She would die.
Lois awoke slowly, to find her cheek pressed to cold concrete. Her eyes flickered around slowly, registering where she was. She moaned softly as pain flooded her body. She slid slowly, painfully slowly, upright so that she was in a sitting position. Looking around her, she slowly took full stock of her situation.
Lois jumped up and ran up the stairs, punching the iron door, shaking it, throwing herself against it until finally, she gave up, exhausted and stumbled back down the stairs to pace around the room restlessly. Clark grinned. It seemed that nothing, not even a savage beating, could stop this woman.
"Lois?" his voice came from behind her. She whirled around, to find herself staring into the pain-stricken eyes of -
She snapped into action, rushing over to the cage.
"What did he do to you?"
"He — ordered me — to go to — to the wedding. And — when I — refused — he locked me in — this cage."
"Oh, my God!"
She looked around wildly, searching for a key, for a keyhole.
She snatched up the keys, dumped on a barrel close to the cage. She fumbled with the keys, almost dropping them in her haste, babbling all the time.
"Just like him…leaving the keys in full view…I can handle jealously but really…and to think I nearly…I am going to kill him…I swear, that man is so utterly dead…and…"
"Lois, I don't mean to be rude, but could you please get me out of this?"
The door sprang open with an almighty bang and the sickly green glow sputtered out. Lois rushed inside and knelt down beside him, taking his head in her lap.
"Oh, God, I'm so sorry, this is all my fault!"
Clark reached up and stroked her hair out of her eyes.
"Lois, this is not your fault. I'm a little weak, but I'll be fine, as soon as I get some sun."
"Yeah, but there isn't much chance of that anytime soon, is there? Lex locked us in and there's no other way out, — the door is firm, believe me, I already checked."
Clark grinned inwardly.
"Well, it looks like there's only one thing to do, then, doesn't it?"
"Stick it out?"
Clark smiled for real.
"You read my mind."
"One of my many talents. I guess we should look on the bright side, huh?"
"Remind me again what that is."
"At least I figured that I couldn't marry Lex before I actually walked down the aisle. If I hadn't, I'd probably be married by now."
Clark stared at her.
"That was what that was all about? That's why Lex beat you? Because you told him that you couldn't marry him?"
Lois dropped her eyes.
His question surprised her.
"Why did you tell him? After all, yesterday you were all for marrying him and suddenly, you decide that it's not such a great idea?"
She bit her lip and gave a sad smile.
"I realised something."
There was a long pause.
"Do you care to tell me what it was?"
"I just…" hesitation, "didn't see what was right in front of my face. And now it's too late. I've driven him away and I don't know how to get him back."
Clark stared at her. Surely she didn't mean…
"Who is he?" He held his breath.
Her voice was gentle.
"I think — that I have to tell him, first."
He blew his breath out in disappointment. He must have misunderstood her.
Lois' dreams were coming true right before her eyes. She was holding the man she loved close to her, his head was on her lap…
And all she could think about was Clark.
Well, not exactly Clark, more like how much she'd hurt him. He'd laid himself out for her, surrendered every last shred of his dignity, bared his soul, worn his heart on his sleeve…
And she had crushed him.
She couldn't begin to imagine how much that must have hurt. If she had reached into his chest, tore out his heart, flung it on the floor and stomped on it, it probably wouldn't have hurt as much. And now…he was probably sitting at home, replaying the hurtful things she'd said, over and over again, his heart stinging at every word.
Or, even worse, he was probably taking the earliest flight out of Metropolis with all his stuff shoved into a cheap suitcase.
She'd hurt him so badly that he probably never wanted to see her again. What if she went over there, told him how she felt and he laughed at her? Told her that he never wanted to see her again? Escorted her, gently but firmly outside and shut the door in her face?
She didn't think that she could take that, take him telling her that she meant nothing to him, telling her to get out, that he hated her. She had told herself, after Paul and then again after Claude, that she wasn't meant to love somebody.
To be loved by somebody.
She had vowed that she would never again get involved with someone she worked with, someone that she had to see every day.
And now her well-laid plans were getting completely messed up, because she was doing precisely what she had told herself not to do.
She was falling in love.
"Actually, I'm not," she corrected herself mentally, "I'm already in deep. I'm head-over-heels. I'm completely, utterly, hopelessly in love with Clark Kent. And I'm still falling, with every day that I see him and know him better. When he smiles, I melt. When he kisses me, I morph into a puddle on the floor. And when he touches me, such a bolt of electricity runs through me that I could supply all of Metropolis with power for a year and still have some left over."
Clark glanced up at Lois, deep in thought. Who was the mystery man that she had mentioned? With the way his luck with her was going, it was probably a Tom Cruise look-alike with a pocketful of cash and a villa in Barcelona. How could he compete with somebody like that? Not that he'd have a chance, even without any competition, she had made that crystal clear. But God, he loved her. So much that he had told her, like a fool, thinking that she would be swept off of her feet and would immediately cancel her engagement to Luthor and tell Superman that he was a jerk and fall hopelessly in love with him.
<Wishful thinking, Kent, get a grip! > he told himself firmly. She wasn't interested and he should just leave it like that.
A loud voice interrupted his train of thought. Puzzled, he looked up, to see her holding a paperclip.
"Lois?" he questioned.
"I can pick the lock with this!" she exclaimed.
She scrambled to her feet and sprinted up the stairs. She crouched at the door, on her knees, fiddling with the lock. Clark got slowly to his feet and walked painfully up the stairs, pausing on every step. Just as he reached her, the door clicked open and the strong rays of the sun filtered through. He took a deep breath, scooped Lois up in his arms and flew off to find Lex…
Four hours later, Lois paced around her apartment, pondering over all that had happened that day and trying to work up the courage to visit Clark. The evening news flashed up on the screen and she sat down as the peppy newswoman read:
"It has been a beautiful, sunny day, for everybody in Metropolis except for one man, the critically acclaimed multi-millionaire by the name of Lex Luthor, who was captured by Superman earlier this evening and is facing a long trial, the end of which seems to be inevitable.
"Mr. Luthor is being charged with numerous offences, which include murder, the unprovoked beating of his fianc,e, Ms. Lois Lane, and the false imprisonment of both Ms. Lane and the Man of Steel earlier this evening. Luthor flew into a passionate rage when his fianc,e told him that she could not marry him and beat her savagely, slapping her across the face and kicking her in the stomach, causing her to fall into a deep state of unconsciousness. He restrained Superman in a cage surrounded by pure kryptonite and stormed off to his luxurious penthouse, where Superman caught up with him later this evening.
"Ms. Lane and Superman have both given their statement to the police, but neither were prepared to comment on the day's events.
"Mr. Luthor remains in custody, where he is held without bail."
Lois turned the television off, a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach. Until then, she had refused to process the day's events but now, as the weight of realisation came crashing down upon her shoulders, she finally realised how much danger she had been in. And if it hadn't been for Clark, at this very moment she would have had a ball and chain around her leg in the form of a golden ring. She had to see Clark. She had to tell him how much he meant to her, even if that resulted in total humiliation.
She grabbed her coat and rushed out the door.
Clark was pacing around his apartment, torturing himself, the image of Lois being beaten up stuck in his head. Why couldn't he have saved her, stopped him in some way? He knew why. It wasn't so much the kryptonite as it was the knowledge that she was there and not at the wedding, the blinding hope that had engulfed him for about two seconds.
Cruel hope. He should just face it. She wasn't interested and that was that. He should forget about her, maybe even move, far away from Metropolis, far away from his memories.
'No!' his heart protested. He sighed. No matter how much he told himself not to, he knew that he would never stop thinking about her. Also, he would not, could not stop loving her. Not now, not ever. Not until the day he died. Not even then. He would love her till the end of time, no matter whether or not she returned that love.
He knew that now.
There was a loud knock on the door. Clark, deeply depressed by this point, yanked it open irritably.
"Yeah, what?" he snapped, then stopped, frozen, at the sight of the woman on his step.
"Hi," she began, hesitatingly.
"Could I…" she gestured inside.
"Oh, sure!" he ushered her inside, his eyes glued to her back.
"Clark, I — I just wanted to say — that I'm sorry."
"Sorry?" Of all the things he thought she would say, that definitely wasn't one if them.
"All this time, you've been warning me about Lex and I wouldn't listen. You — you were there for me from the start and I pushed you away. And then — I hurt you. I hurt you so much and I regret that. More than you'll ever know. And — the thing that hurts most is that I — I didn't need to."
Clark frowned. "What do you mean?"
"If I had just stopped lying to myself sooner, I could have realised what I realise now. If I had done that, then I wouldn't have hurt you that day in the park."
Clark stepped closer to her, his heart dizzy with hope.
Lois swallowed. This was the hardest part.
"Realise — that I feel the same way you do — did. If I had realised that sooner, you wouldn't have wound up hating me and I wouldn't have destroyed our partnership — our friendship."
Clark's arms went around her, his eyes shining.
"Oh Lois," his voice gentle, "I don't hate you, I love you!"
She raised her eyes to his.
"You — do?"
Clark silenced her and proved it to her with a simple touch of mouth on mouth. After all, sometimes actions are louder than words…