By Tank Wilson
Submitted: July 2003
Summary: Lois faces up to some difficult choices in this challenge deathfic.
Occasionally someone (usually Juliet, when she's in a moody funk) will call for fics that are different than the norm. Stories which don't have happy ever after endings. These are the Darkfics (or in the more extreme cases Deathfics). While most folcs prefer light and waffy pieces with the traditional happy endings, there can be something therapeutic in the writing and the reading of a Darkfic. But these kind of fics come with their own set of problems. The key challenge is not to find a way to hurt, or kill a character. But to find a way to do it logically within the context of the story and not make it look simply gratuitous.
This story was written in response to one of Juliet's Darkfic challenges (on the Lois and Clark Fanfic Message Boards: http://www.lcficmbs.com/ ). I tried to present a very possible scenario for our characters and make the unfortunate ending a logical, if sad, consequence of that set up. Only you, the gentle reader, can gauge if I was successful.
As always, all characters are trademarked and copyrighted to their respective owners. Any and all feedback (even negative) welcome at TankW1@aol.com
Lois Lane dragged herself slowly out of another drug- induced stupor. It had happened again. She took several deep breaths as she pulled herself out of the depths of unconsciousness and tried to refocus on the real world. As usual, there wasn't much to look at.
She was tied to a sturdy chair in the middle of a small, empty room. A couple of other chairs and a small table were all the furniture she could see. A piece of white adhesive tape effectively kept her mouth still. She thought she hated the tape the most of all. A quick flex of her arms and legs told her that whoever had her this time knew how to tie their knots.
Looking around, she took in the modular look of the walls and the lack of any ceiling. She was obviously in an office space that had been installed into a larger structure, like a warehouse, or manufacturing plant. She frowned. Naturally, it would be an old, abandoned one.
This was the fourth time in the last two months that she'd been kidnapped. The scenario had been familiar. She was heading to her car in the basement garage of the Daily Planet, when a man jumped out of the shadows. There had been the sharp pinprick of a needle and then, nothing. Only to wake up here, only god knew how long later. She was under no illusions as to why she'd been taken. It was the same reason she'd gotten taken every time for the last several months. To get to Superman.
Shortly after she and Clark had gotten married, the bad guys had seemed to lose interest in her as a means to influence, or revenge themselves on, Superman. She was no longer seen as 'Superman's girlfriend'; she was a married woman. She was still Superman's friend, but not considered as important to him as she was once viewed. Kryptonite had taken her place as the weapon of choice to use against the Man of Steel.
Then, about five years ago, Dr. Klein finally came up with an antidote to the effects of kryptonite on Clark. Things were quite pleasant for about four- and-a-half years. But, as with all good things, there came an ending to that, also.
It was a little over six months ago that things began to change. Lois didn't know if she and Clark had just gotten sloppy, or if someone that they'd taken into their confidence had let the secret slip. She only knew that suddenly more and more of the bad guys seemed to know that there was more than a casual connection between Clark Kent and Superman. With Clark's parents having passed a couple of years earlier, Perry less than a year ago, and no one knowing Jimmy's whereabouts for at least four years, that pretty much left Lois as the number one target.
At first there were the typical revenge-minded felons who'd grab her. They'd come up with ridiculously elaborate schemes to trap, capture, and dangle Lois over the jaws of death in an attempt to 'punish' Superman for being the hero who put them where they belonged. But lately things had changed.
Now Lois was being used in a different way. In a more insidious manner. Her death was still a part of the equation, but now it was merely the threat to kill her that formed the basis of her participation. She was the bait, as it were. The goal was to get Superman under their power.
The previous three times had been near things, and twice she and Clark had barely escaped without serious consequences. The last time, Clark had been forced to actually commit a crime, before they had been able to work their way out of the dilemma. Lois felt a chill slither down her back as she thought of what Clark might be forced to do next. What would happen if Clark was asked to kill someone to save her life?
She and Clark had argued about it. He wanted her to go away for a while. Somewhere where she'd be safe. She immediately rejected the idea. She refused to let the bad guys dictate how she was going to live her life. Besides, the idea wasn't practical. It wasn't like it was just one or two villains that needed to be caught and she could come out of hiding and all would be right again. The word had spread and she knew her worst fears had been realized. There would be no escape, no respite from the forces of evil. Over twenty-five wonderful years of marriage were about to come to an end.
The situation had grown intolerable, and it had to stop now. That was why she'd come up with a back-up plan after the last kidnapping. She had hoped that she'd have more time. More time to spend with Clark, more time to just enjoy being his friend, his wife, and his beloved. Alas, the fates can be cruel, but she was ready.
Lois waited patiently for the next step in the little drama, that she almost knew by heart, to unfold. Finally, a couple of thugs, and a better dressed man entered the room. He watched, mutely, as his 'associates' busied themselves with her chair. Once they were finished, Lois noticed that one of the fellows had something in a tight grip in his hand.
The better dressed one came over and, unceremoniously, ripped the tape from Lois' mouth.
"Ow!" Yeah, definitely, the tape was the worst.
He raised a brow at Lois, then in a silky voice, spoke. "Before you shout out for your husband to come rescue you, I just want to point out that," he paused for a moment, "Mr. Smith is holding what we, in the terrorist game, call a dead man's switch. If for any reason," he paused again for effect, "such as some *super* interference, he lets go of the button he has pushed, a signal is sent to the explosives we have placed under your chair and — boom, no more Lois Lane, no more wife." He grinned.
Lois rolled her eyes. "How original. I guess I'm supposed to ask, in fear and panic, what you want with Superman?"
The better dressed man shook his head. "No, it's not necessary that you know our motivations, or our plans. You just need to call for your husband."
Lois barked out a crude laugh and shook her head. "You don't know me very well, do you? I have no intention of calling for Superman."
The man shrugged. "Then we'll beat you until you do."
Lois looked over at the other thug. The one not holding the switch. He was big, and mean-looking. She knew that he could hurt her very badly and not even break a sweat. She took a deep breath and gave the man a cruel smile of her own. "Beat away."
He was momentarily flustered by her comment. "I assure you that… ah, I see. You are hoping that — Mr. Jones — will forget himself and accidentally kill you, thus freeing your husband from our influence, no?"
Lois shrugged, but refused to look him in the eye. Everything depended on him making the right conclusions. "But, you see, Mr. Jones, is an expert. He can give a great deal of pain without killing his subject. You really will wish you could die."
Lois shrugged again. "I'm not a young woman anymore, but if you're so sure of your lackey, bring him on." Lois could see that she had the man thoroughly confused now.
"Perhaps we'll just wait a bit. There are other means by which we can get a message to Superman."
Lois almost smiled. She had him. Now was the time for the act.
Suddenly, Lois doubled over as much as her bindings allowed her to. She groaned through clenched teeth and she forced the muscles on her face to tighten in what would appear to be excruciating pain. She panted with quick short breaths, then groaned again.
"What is it? What is wrong?" The fellow came over and shook her.
Acting as if she were using all her strength to marshal a response, she spoke to him through lips stretched taut in a seeming rictus of agony. "Nothing. A little heartburn, that's all. I knew I shouldn't have had that bacon for breakfast." Her words had sounded forced and breathy.
The man backed away. "Something's not right here." He glanced around. "Where is her purse?" The one he named Jones jerked his head in the direction of the outer door. "Well, go get it!"
Jones rushed out, and within moments returned with Lois' bag in hand. He handed it over the man who Lois now thought of as 'the leader'. He rummaged through the bag for a few seconds, then dumped the contents out on the small table he'd been leaning against. His eyes immediately fixated on the small, brown, plastic bottle.
"What have we here?" he asked, expecting no answer. "It looks to be some sort of prescription medicine." He read the label. "If I'm not mistaken this is a heart medication." He grinned at Lois. "Do you have a heart condition, Ms. Lane?"
She faked another quick attack, then made a show of looking up at him and shook her head. "No, that's… that's for a cold. I've had the sniffles lately."
He nodded. "Sure it is." He turned to Jones. "Get her a glass of water."
After the thug had returned with the water, the leader came over to Lois, two tablets and the glass of water in his hand. "Are you going to take your medicine like a good girl?"
Lois glared at the man and clamped her mouth shut. He didn't speak, he just nodded toward his 'associate' with his head. Jones, in a flash, reached over and grabbed Lois by the neck. The suddenness, and the violence of the action caused her to gasp. Her mouth, now open, was quickly filled with the pills and a large splash of water. Instinctively her swallow reflex kicked in and she gulped down the pills and the water.
The leader stepped back and grinned at her. "There, now isn't that much better?"
Lois lifted her head and favored the man with the most evil grin she'd ever worn. "Yes it is." She'd won. Though some might consider it a pyrrhic victory at best, she had accomplished her goal.
Even after twenty-five plus years of happily married life, Lois still knew guys who knew guys. It hadn't been too hard to get what she needed. A few phone calls, a late night meeting, and some cash were all that it took.
Lois had never had a death wish. She was still young enough that she and Clark could have had several more good years ahead of them, if the world would have just let them be. But she knew that was never going to be the case. Not any more. She didn't want to die, but she also knew that she couldn't continue to be used as the leverage to force Clark, as Superman, into doing something terrible.
It was better this way. A fairly quick and painless death. She didn't fancy being beaten to death and was grateful that her acting ability allowed her avoid that while implementing her own plan. She preferred to go out on her own terms.
She knew Clark would be devastated, and her heart ached for him. He would grieve for her, and she wouldn't be at all surprised if Clark Kent didn't disappear entirely, and just Superman survived this. But still, when measured against the needs of the world, a Clark Kent and a Lois Lane weren't really too high a price to pay to let the world keep its Superman.
Suddenly a sharp pain lanced through her chest. That rat, she thought darkly, he said it would be painless. She leaned back in the chair and closed her eyes.
"I love you, Clark."
(fade to black)