By Pam Jernigan (ChiefPam@nc.rr.com)
Summary: Lois and Clark are captured by the Jansen gang — boy, Lois sure wishes she had brought Superman instead. But while they're locked up, they've got an opportunity to … talk …
"They're really there? Thanks Bobby!" Lois hung up the phone and looked at her partner. He was just returning to the newsroom from somewhere, and she paused to appreciate how good he looked in a denim shirt, khaki pants, and an orange-red tie that Martha had called "Passion's Flower". "Clark! Over here!"
Clark changed course and walked over to sit beside her. "What is it?"
"News about the Jansen Gang." Lois's eyes sparkled with excitement, and she looked more beautiful than ever, wearing a light green vest over a cream turtleneck and pants combination. The Jansen Gang had claimed responsibility for several small, recent, bombings, and the Daily Planet reporters had been on their trail for weeks, without much luck. Even Superman had come up empty. "Bobby just confirmed it - they're holed up in that warehouse you were suspicious of, down by the docks. He thinks they've got something big planned for next week."
"That's great news!" Clark quickly glanced around the newsroom, which was quiet for a change. "I think we should tell Superman, don't you?"
Lois reached out to grab her partner's sleeve. "Oh no you don't. We don't need him. You and I can check this out quietly, see if there's anything really going on."
Clark looked like he wanted to argue, but then gave up. When Lois had that look in her eye, not even Superman could stop her. At any rate, he'd be right there if he were needed. He sighed, smiled, and followed her out of the building.
That didn't stop him from grumbling all the way there, however. "I still think we should have let Superman handle this."
"Don't be ridiculous, Clark" They'd reached the warehouse door, and Lois was busily picking the lock. "What would Superman do, anyway - rip the door off the hinges? I'm the lockpick expert, you know; this way they're not tipped off that someone's here. Aha!" The lock opened.
Clark smiled. This "Lois vs Superman" argument was getting to be a game with them. "Rip the door open? I hope he's more subtle than that. Anyway, he could just stand outside and search the whole building with a glance."
Lois gave him a disgusted look. "Like I said, Clark, we don't need Superman for that!"
He shrugged, pulled his glasses down, and started scanning the building. Lois waited, fiddling with her engagement ring, until he'd had a chance to see everything. "Well, what's the deal?"
"I can't see anyone," he admitted reluctantly, "but this is an old building, and there's lots of lead paint; it obscures several areas."
"So we'll be careful. Anyway, these characters haven't actually killed anyone yet." Lois opened the door as quietly as she could, and slipped inside.
Clark followed her, dropping his voice to a whisper and keeping his glasses lowered, so that he could still use his enhanced vision but not give himself away if they ran into anyone. "Sure, not yet, but who knows what they might do if they catch us here?"
A new voice answered him. "Who knows, indeed?" Lois whirled around to face the speaker, and after hastily pushing his glasses up, Clark turned as well. A short blond man was standing just to one side of the door, holding a gun on them.
Lois shot an accusing glance at her partner, who'd failed to spot the man. Clark looked around intently, trying to understand it himself, and then he saw the reason - a small closet with lots of pipes and plumbing, recently re-painted. Apparently the gang had been prepared for Superman.
The blond man gestured with his gun, and the two reporters reluctantly raised their hands. "Gee, Clark," Lois said in a resigned tone, "I wish Superman were here."
"Yeah, Lois, I'll bet he does too."
The blond man laughed. "Oh, he shouldn't. We've prepared a contingency plan or two for Superman. Maybe with such nice bait, he will show up." More blond gang members arrived and started to tie the reporter's hands behind their backs. Clark submitted, sighing with frustration, but biding his time; he didn't want to take any chances when there was a gun pointed at Lois. Lois struggled a little out of reflex, but her attention was on the man before them.
"This is a trap for Superman? What have you got planned?" She demanded hotly.
He laughed again. "I can't tell you that, Miss Lane - it's a surprise. I will tell you all about it afterwards, though - just so that you can die happily. I'm so glad you finally arrived, by the way, we've been trying to lead you here for weeks. You're the one person Superman cares most about, they say - the perfect bait."
Lois started to look worried. "You should know that I dumped him - I'm going to marry Clark!"
The man just chuckled this time, and motioned for his henchmen to start moving the captives further into the warehouse. "Ah, but I'm sure you're still friends. At any rate, we'll soon find out, won't we?" They were lead into a large, darkish room. Chuckling, the Jansen gang members left them there, closing and locking the door with a clang, leaving the room illuminated only by one small, dirty window.
Once the door was closed, Clark took a quick survey of the room. "At least they're not bugging us." He broke the ropes holding his hands, and freed Lois. "Well, this is a mess."
Lois hugged him. "Clark, I'm worried. What if they've got Kryptonite?"
"I don't feel any, but with all the lead floating around here…" He held his fiancee protectively, using his vision and his superhearing to try to explore their surroundings.
Lois enjoyed his embrace for a moment, then pushed gently on his chest. He let her go, and she started pacing. "Okay, so they've got something cooked up - something they think can hurt Superman." Even though Lois knew that Superman and Clark were the same man, she continued her habit of speaking of him as two separate people - she didn't feel she could take the chance of blowing his cover by a slip made in the wrong company. "I think our best bet will be to stay here for a while, and try to determine what they've got planned, so that we can avoid it." She smiled wryly. "Rushing into things isn't *always* the best plan - you taught me that."
Clark looked worried and determined, "Lois, I'm going to get you out of here now - I want you away from those guns!"
Seeing his concern, she cuddled up to him again. "No, really, Clark, we can find out a lot more by staying awhile. They want to get Superman before they kill me, anyway, so I should be safe enough for now. It that changes, we can adapt then. Right now, we're in their headquarters - and might be able to overhear their plans. Besides, what could Superman do right now? Get trapped, probably. They're obviously prepared for him. They may not be so prepared for us." She grinned, running her fingers over his collar and around his neck.
Clark reluctantly admitted to himself that she was right - they were in a good position to overhear any plans being made. Although his vision was clouded at the moment, his hearing worked fine - and just then he heard the blond gang leader making a telephone call. He listened intently. Lois recognized that look, and patiently waited until he filled her in.
"He's calling all his friends… they'll be having a meeting in half an hour to go over the final plans to trap Superman."
Lois smiled. "So we can't leave until then, right?"
"I suppose…" Clark didn't like waiting, but until he found out what they had that they thought could stop him, he didn't want to be too hasty.
Lois's smile deepened, and took on a sensual quality. "So we're stuck here for half an hour… at least… We can have some, ah, quality time - you can't run out on me when we're locked in a room together." She looped her arms around his neck and began kissing his jawline.
Some time later, Clark started hearing voices in the warehouse. He ignored them at first, too wrapped up in the enjoyable sensations of what had turned into a heavy make- out session. They were lying face to face, on their sides. But he started hearing important things, and very reluctantly pulled back from Lois, while still holding her cradled in his right arm. She moaned in protest.
"Shh.." he whispered, laying his finger across her well-kissed mouth. She kissed his finger softly, but then she shifted focus and became more aware of her surroundings. "They're back?"
He nodded, still listening, and floated them back to a standing position from where they'd been hovering just over the dirty floor. Lois straightened her clothes, and tried in the dim light to check them for any stray dust or grime - his altitude control was sometimes a little shaky when he was distracted. Satisfied, she then started working on Clark's tie. Finally, she pulled his glasses out of his jacket pocket, and handed them to him.
"They've got a little Kryptonite, alright - a bullet." Clark reported in a grim tone. "They're really obsessed with me - the Superman me, that is; all the bombings were just a plan to get you here, so that they could lure me in, and kill me. They're probably a front for somebody."
Lois rolled her eyes. "Is Lex at it again? Why the heck won't he just give it up?"
"They don't say who it is. In fact, for an elaborate plan, it seems a little weak at the end. I guess this guy just thinks he's a really good shot." Clark shrugged, a little relieved.
"Sweetheart, a Kryptonite bullet could kill you, we know this. It's not that weak a plan."
Clark grinned "Ah, but they'll only use the bullet on Superman. They won't waste it on little old mild-mannered me."
Lois returned the smile. "Didn't I tell you we could handle this without Superman? Alright, we could get out of here now… and send in the police. You're not showing your suit anywhere near this place until they are under control." She poked his chest with her finger to emphasize her point. "Do you understand me?"
Clark hesitated, "Lois, we could still get shot on our way out… maybe I'd better fly you out of here."
Her expression firmed. "Clark, you can't. Show the suit, and they'll shoot you. Go in street clothes, and they'll know who you are - that would endanger a LOT of people. I know you can move fast enough not to be seen, but I think I'd get damaged - windburn or something."
He clearly didn't want to be persuaded, but couldn't argue with her.
She kissed him lightly. "I'll be fine. So let's get out of here. They should all be in the conference room; I think we can make a clean break out the way we came in."
Mindful that they'd be leaving clues behind, Lois picked the lock on the door. Clark very carefully checked the corridors beyond that point. "I think it's okay - but if we do run into anybody, run, okay? I'll be behind you, and regular bullets hardly even tickle." Lois nodded, and they started out.
They were nearly to the door when they were spotted from the side. Clark was in an agony of nerves. He wanted very badly to protect Lois better - but unfortunately, she was right. The blond henchmen began firing, and Clark did his best to get between Lois and the bullets. They made it through the door and closed it behind them. Clark picked Lois up and carried her to her jeep, skimming above the ground so as to not be too obvious. She scrambled into the front seat and crouched down on the passenger side while he drove them out of there.
There didn't seem to be any pursuit, so Lois climbed up onto the passenger seat. "Whew! That was close!" She seemed exhilarated by the experience.
"Glad you enjoyed it." Clark was still rattled by the danger she'd been in.
She smiled at him, appreciating his concern. "Well, some parts were better than others, of course… wait a minute…" Clark glanced over at her to see her awkwardly patting her left shoulder. "Pull over, will you?"
He found an empty parking lot, and stopped the jeep. "What is it?"
"Is this what I think it is?" Lois sounded like she was in shock.
Clark looked at her shoulder. The backs of her vest and turtleneck had small, black-rimmed holes in them. "You were hit! Are you bleeding?"
"That's what I thought it was." She still sounded unnaturally calm. "No, I'm not bleeding. I did feel something on my shoulder… but it wasn't what I'd imagine bullets would feel like."
Clark stared at her, thinking furiously, "My aura!"
Lois quirked her eyebrows politely. "Your what?"
"It's what protects me - kind of a psychic field surrounding me and my clothing. I didn't think I had any control over it… but I was really scared for you back there. On the other hand, maybe it's the same thing as when I'm floating us - I'm not physically supporting your weight…"
They met each others eyes, pondering the implications. Then Lois began to grin wickedly. "I can see all sorts of advantages to this!"
Clark groaned. "Oh, no you don't - we can't assume this will always work… And I don't want to find out the hard way that it doesn't!"
They continued the argument all the way to the police station, and Clark thought he *might* have won. With his Lois, it was hard to tell.
(Okay, so it's got some weak spots - writing it was a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Be warned - if you tell me you liked it, you'll just be encouraging me to write more <g>)