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Déjà Vu: Chapter 33: Searching

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A/N: Grab a tall drink and settle in, folks. This one’s a long one!

 
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Déjà Vu
 
Chapter 33: Searching
 
Lois’ eyelids flickered open and shut, the green glow beginning to sear a red shadow onto her retinas. It was getting very difficult to keep her eyes open. She fought with every fiber of her being any lapse into unconsciousness, but it would be so easy to succumb…
 
Her sense of time was totally shot. Not only did she have no idea how long she had been out on the airplane, but now she had absolutely no idea how long she had been sitting there in the dark. She didn’t even have a ticking clock to measure the time by. All she was aware of was the steady dehydration in her body and loss of strength in her limbs.
 
Clarkshe thought weakly, it’s not fair that I might lose you just when we’re finally getting our lives together… Her eyes began to flutter closed again. Why did it take us so many years finally to get it right? 
 
Her head slumped into the leather headrest of the armchair as she lost the battle for consciousness to a swirl of dreams, snatches of conversation and memories…
 
The first time Lois ever laid eyes on him, it was as Clark. Some hayseed mama’s boy slumped against the opposite wall of Perry’s office, trying to move in on her territory – not that he stood a chance…
 
“Are there any more at home like you?"
 
“Not really, no...”
 
It was so easy to dismiss him – what a laughable first impression he had made. But even now, her subconscious mind was bringing out all the clues she had once missed…
 
“Really, Lois. Supposing that man had shot you? Is it worth risking your life over ten dollars, two credit cards, a hairbrush, and a lipstick? I mean...”
 
“How did you know that?”
 
“Know what?”
 
“You just described the exact contents of my purse.”
 
“Wild guess.”
 
She’d always had a million snappy retorts for him, brushed him aside with grace on her way to tweeze a few answers from the president. In fact, no man could avoid her facile tongue, until…
 
“Easy now, Miss. I’ve got you.”
 
“You’ve got me? Who’s got you?”
 
Tongue-tied and awestruck, she had watched him leave, rising into the air like a thing of beauty. Her fantasies had started right then and there. With clear understanding, her mind's eye could see through Clark's pretended disbelief about the abilities of her rescuer to detect his interest in knowing what she really thought of him.
 
The romantic interview on her balcony… their first flight… Lois was feeling so over the moon that she hardly remembered the dinner with Clark afterward, even at the most expensive place in town. She wondered what he had thought of her then…
 
Sometime between then and Superman’s first encounter with Lex Luthor, he had truly separated into two completely different men for Lois. He might have been content to save her life over and over again until the end of time with nothing but a worshipful gaze in return, but somehow something changed…
 
The memories began to course through her even faster – she had replayed her recovered memories from Niagara to the fateful kiss at the Planet a thousand and one times during this last week – but even so, everything in the past five years flew across her vision with blinding speed, pausing only briefly on the milestones. Superman’s disappearance. Clark’s seeming like an afterthought. Meeting Richard. Jason’s birth. Their joys over his development and worries over his health. The airplane rescue, and Superman’s teasing repetition of his words to her about the safety of air travel. The ordeal on the Gertrude
 
Almost like a movie running in slow motion, her mind paused on the look of wicked avarice on Luthor’s face as he processed the notion that Jason might be Superman’s son— 
 
Suddenly, the piano crashed through the walls of her mind like a subliminal anvil, obliterating Luthor’s terrifying visage, with its chilling, serpentine smile. She found herself sealed in the galley with Jason, his small hand slowly reaching toward the handle. At any moment, the door would burst open, Richard on the other side…
 
Slam!
 
The door was kicked open, flying right off its hinges into a nearby wall. Clark, in one of his ridiculous oversized suits and glasses, rushed into the room, taking both of them into his strong arms. Memory blended into the dream, and she sighed in relief that her protector, her love, was here to save them.
 
As they clung to each other, a sound filled her ears in the dream. Footsteps… drawing ever closer, inexorable. Thud. Thud. Thud. Clark’s head snapped up toward the sound; Jason’s eyes grew wide with terror. Clark brought them to their feet, muscles tensing in preparation for flight. Thud. Thud. Thud.
 
Lex Luthor slid into the doorway, the green glow of the pure kryptonite in his hand reflecting in his cold, lifeless eyes, making them look like nothing more than reptilian slits… Clark slowly began to sink to his knees, head bowed and a shaking Jason soon joined him, as Luthor stalked ever closer with the deadly mineral… Thud. Thud. Thud.
 
Thud!
 
All at once, Lois snapped awake fully from her nightmare, shivering with the realization that the sound she was hearing was real. Someone was pounding on the heavy door, with enough force that she could hear it even through the soundproofing.
 
Was it…? It must be… Clark! She wanted to shout, I’m in here, save me! But then her terrified mind added, still overwhelmed by the dream she had just experienced, Be careful! There’s kryptonite! Get the door open and get out of its range! But the gag and the soundproofed room made any warning impossible.
 
The pounding suddenly stopped. A quiet beeping sound emanated from a metal plate to the side of the doorway, and then the door popped open with a click. In a blur of color and a rush of wind, the lights blazed to life again, and she found herself enclosed in the circle of Clark’s arms. The door shut behind him in the backdraft.
 
“Oh, thank God,” he breathed, burying his lips in her hair. He held her that way for a few moments, seeming to drink in her smell and feel. 
 
Lois couldn’t resist sinking into him, feeling safe for an instant before she snapped back to life. All her muscles tensed. Clark! The kryptonite…!  she shouted mentally.
 
He released her with great reluctance, and pulled back, saying, “I’ll have you out of these in no time.” As he snapped her bonds like sewing thread, she realized for once that the broad ‘S’ on his uniform was not inspiring her with wild hope and sure faith… but was instead filling her with sheer terror – for him.
 
The gag came off with an effortless flick of his wrist. “Superman…” she croaked out in warning, but she hardly had time to breathe before his lips caught hers firmly in a breathtaking kiss.
 
The kiss felt more potent than they had yet shared. She was overwhelmed, her senses reeling beyond thought. His large, powerful hands drew her torso forward to meld against his, and she automatically wrapped her now-unfettered arms around his neck. A warm sensation started uncoiling deep inside her pelvis, and it flooded her limbs, sending her mind tumbling along a wave of memories of other kisses shared. But none could compare to the intensity of this, as they clung to each other, completely blocking out the world around them…
 
The kryptonite! shouted Lois’ saner side, and she broke contact, drawing in a gasping breath. “We’ve got to get out of here! There’s…”
 
But Lois could see by his gaze toward the crates that he had already noted its presence. “...kryptonite. I felt a sharp twinge when I first entered the room, but seeing you there, still alive…” He shut his eyes and let out a noisy breath, sweat beginning to gleam on his face. “It looks to me like it’s some of the detritus from New Krypton that fell away as I lifted it into space. Not the pure form that Luthor stabbed me with. It should be okay…” He visibly steadied himself, exhaling again and releasing her. Then Clark shot a glance at the closed door, and seemed to observe the absence of a handle for the first time. His brows drew together in consternation.
 
Following his fixed stare, Lois commented, “Mitchener used a remote control to open the door… Can’t you just… tear it off or something?”
 
“I could…” he began, and then a touch of wry humor entered his voice, “…if you don’t mind exploding into a million pieces.”
 
“What?” she asked, her heart leaping to her throat.
 
He nodded gravely, serious again. “As I was studying the control mechanism, I saw wires leading into the lead-lined wall. Wires of the type used to activate a bomb. It could be just a silent alarm… I can’t be sure, because the lead is blocking my X-ray vision, but I wouldn’t want to test it in this enclosed space.” He walked over to the metal control plate beside the door, and seemed to scan it.
 
“A bomb wouldn’t hurt you, though. Couldn’t you just cover me with your cape…?”
 
“And destroy any evidence in the process? Mitchener was a lot cleverer than I gave him credit for. Why do you think he grabbed you?”
 
“I don't know, but I think this whole business with L & V is much more far-reaching than we ever suspected.”
 
Clark responded, “He made an error in judgment then, probably…"
 
He had mentioned Luthor only moments ago, but it was just then that she realized he didn’t know her suspicions yet… “Luthor! I think they’re working together.”
 
Clark’s eyes, already squinting a little as he concentrated, narrowed further. “I should have known.” He sighed. “Are you sure?” He kept his back to her as he resumed his scan.
 
She started to walk toward him. “Someone was here, and it looked like they’d fled the scene very quickly. No car in the driveway, dirty dishes left out, unmade bed…” She ticked off the clues on her fingers. “Mitchener was very upset, but the final straw seemed to be the opera music…”
 
Clark finished his scan, and shook his head. “It’s wired from this side as well.” He put a weary hand to his forehead. Lois noted with concern that his face seemed paler than it had a moment ago, his movements somehow slower and more deliberate, as though they took real effort. Was the kryptonite, even in its weaker form, beginning to affect him more strongly now? “Opera?”
 
Lois closed the remaining space between them, wrapping an arm around his waist to lead him farther away from the crates. “Something Italian, I think. He seemed very annoyed by it, and stopped the music.” As they passed the CD player, Clark halted, touching the pause button, and the voice boomed out again. She could now hear that there were two voices, one lower and commanding, the other higher and arrogant sounding:
 
Pentiti, scellerato! – No, vecchio infatuato!
 
Pentiti! – No!... No!...
 
Si! – No! – Si, si! – No, no!
 
Ah, tempo più non v’è!
 
A grim smile turned up the corners of Clark’s mouth. “No wonder he was upset… this is definitely a message from Luthor.” He paused the music again, and leaned heavily against the bookcase.
 
“You recognize it?” Lois didn’t know why she was surprised; he seemed to be full of surprises these days.
 
“Not all farmboys listen to country music, you know…” he kidded her gently, his blue eyes warm with affection.  “I grew to enjoy opera during my early travels. And I can tune into radio frequencies at will. But even without knowing that this comes from the hellfire scene in Don Giovanni…” He blushed faintly despite his ever more pallid features. “I am fluent in most world languages – comes with the eidetic memory.”
 
“What was the message?” she asked curiously, helping him to sit on the floor at the farthest spot on the opposite wall from the crates of poison.
 
“It’s a scene between Don Giovanni – Don Juan – and the statue of the commander he murdered to hide one of his affairs,” Clark replied, as he was lowering himself, slowly and painfully, to the floor “The statue comes to life, takes his hand and commands him to repent…” His eyes traveled upward as he recited the lyrics in translation, “‘Repent, miscreant!’ ‘No, you driveling dotard!’... They argue for a few lines… ‘Ah, the time has run out!’… and in the next section, the statue drags Don Giovanni down to Hell.”
 
“What a bastard…” Lois shook her head, smiling grimly at Luthor’s slippery wit. “I think Mitchener believed he was a full partner in this scheme… but as usual he’s the only one left with dirty hands here.”
 
“And with a reminder of his damnation from a gloating Luthor to boot.” Clark’s words ended in a low groan – the kryptonite had weakened him more than she would have thought possible in such a short time.
 
She gently mopped his brow with her sleeve. “Are you all right? I’m sure we’ll figure out something… Does anyone know where you went?” She swallowed. “Does Richard know?”
 
“Yes... Don't worry. He'll be nearly here in the plane by now. He was only going to explain the situation to the police, first.” He moved his hand to cover hers where it was now resting on his shoulder. Then he winced, and curled in on himself. “But he won’t know the door code – I used infrared vision to determine the most frequently-pressed keys… and used my super-speed to try all of the permutations…” His eyes turned sadder as he tried to apologize, “Lois, I'm sorry. I should never have let that door fall shut. I'm afraid that my judgment where you are concerned is not the best ...”
 
“It’ll be fine, don’t worry, love,” she tried to assure him, trying to hold her rampant fear and desperation in check for his sake. Lois could see that the only thing keeping him coherent was their conversation. As tired and weak as she was, she knew she had to be the strong one this time. “Tell me how you found me,” she cajoled, stroking his hair with one hand.
 
He coughed, and smiled faintly as he saw through her ploy. “When I got back to the Planet after finishing my flyovers, it was about 5:00pm. Your desk was empty, and so was Richard’s, but that didn’t seem odd to me. I figured you had gone to pick up Jason, and just hadn’t returned yet. You might have even gone together, to tell him about the separation…”
 
Lois’ hand stopped its caresses for a moment, and she looked away, a pang of unease in her stomach. Jason still has no idea about how his life is going to be turned upside-down… She deliberately put aside that thought, telling herself, Let’s get through this crisis before worrying about the next… “Go on.”
 
“When Richard returned alone with Jason, I thought it was strange… I pulled Jimmy aside. ‘Off on a lead, Clark. You know how Miss Lane is – better than anyone, I bet…’ he insinuated – but then Perry suddenly ordered him into his office before I could find out what he meant by that…”
 
“He knows about us.” She could feel Clark tense. At the alarm in his eyes, she added quickly. “About our relationship and the break-up. Nothing else, I swear.”
 
He relaxed slightly, and continued. “About this time, Jason bounded over to me, Richard following at a distance. I gave Jason a quick hug, but I could tell that it bothered Richard, so I just asked the little guy how his day went while I waited to see if his… father… would join us.”
 
And thus begins the first of many awkward family moments, Lois thought sardonically. 
 
“I gathered up my courage and asked Richard where you were. He said that you hadn't told him exactly where you were headed – only that it had to do with the story we're working on.” Clark looked up at her earnestly, then. “I’ll tell you this much, he was remarkably calm about it… although he was beginning to be very tense. He must have been holding himself tightly in-check around Jason. But Jason picked up on it anyway.”
 
“The munchkin’s always been insightful,” she put in.
 
“He looked between the two of us, and asked, ‘Is Mommy okay?’ We both assured him that you were fine and that you’d be back soon. Richard took him into his office to color, and I started to type up the first of the ‘Superman interviews’ about the buildings of Metropolis for Perry…” His face darkened as he continued. “The problem is worse than we feared, Lois. I noticed evidence of eroded foundations, and weakened support structures in several other prominent buildings around town, two built by that Ottman Enterprises, and the rest… four or so others by L & V Construction.”
 
Lois inhaled sharply. “I have reason to believe it might have been a deliberate plan… when I suggested it, Mitchener almost lost it. If Luthor’s disappearance hadn’t thrown him for such a loop… I think I’m lucky to be alive.”
 
His weakened voice shook with horror. “But why would Mitchener… even under Luthor’s influence… plan something like this deliberately?”
 
“That I still don’t know…”
 
Clark clenched his fists in frustration. “I can't believe that while I was searching for him the world over, he was hiding just a couple hundred miles from Metropolis.” He cleared his throat. “Anyway… an hour passed, then two. I finished the article, turned it in with both our names on it. There was nothing more to do without you being there… Jason was getting antsy, Richard more and more annoyed. Even you usually check in every couple of hours. I had already found your car still in the Planet parking garage… So I took out my cell phone, and dialed your number. It rang through to your voice mail. I left a short message. Then I listened for your voice… your heartbeat…” Clark swallowed and squeezed her hand. “It just… wasn’t there.”
 
“Oh, Clark…” she sympathized, squeezing back.
 
“It was like my stomach dropped out and hit the floor. I was in Richard’s office before I realized it… I might have used super-speed, I don’t even know. He was not happy to see me, but something changed when he saw my face. ‘It’s Lois, isn’t it?’ he verified.
 
“‘She’s not answering her phone… and…’ I lowered my voice, for Richard’s benefit, since he doesn’t know that Jason knows about me, ‘…I can’t hear her… at all.’” Clark started to shake, trembling with the effort to stay conscious, and he slid down involuntarily, unable to hold himself upright any longer, until his head was resting in her lap.
 
He took a deep breath before continuing. “‘Not even with…’ He pointed to his ear. All I could do was numbly shake my head. Then a thought struck me suddenly.
 
“I asked him, ‘Could you please call Lois’ cell? And keep trying and letting it ring? I have an idea.’”
 
“‘But you said she wasn’t answering. And if you can’t even hear her…’”
 
“‘Please,’ I begged him. He did it, even though he was clearly confused by my request. As soon as I heard the sound, I ran for the stairwell. When I was out of sight, I shot into the air. Thank God you haven’t changed that ringtone, Lois. I found the phone, and your purse, on the side of the freeway.”
 
“So that’s where it went…” Mitchener must have dumped it out of the window on the way to the airstrip.
 
“Yes, but you were nowhere to be found, and there was no other evidence anywhere. The only thing I could do was return to the Planet.” He shifted uncomfortably, and she moved to place his head on her chest, closer to the beating heart he had worried about so much. “When I returned, purse in hand, Richard knew what I had feared since listening for you. Something was terribly wrong.”
 
Lois kept quiet, rubbing a hand along his back below the wide cape.
 
“We emptied your purse out onto the desk. The recorder was missing, but your wallet untouched. Then we found your notes.”
 
“The notes!” she exclaimed a tiny bit too loudly. Mitchener must not have searched my purse, or else my handwriting made the information indecipherable.
 
“Yes,” he smiled, “your badly misspelled, coffee-stained, chicken-scratch notes. At first it looked like nothing but a list of names… with the words ‘friend,’ ‘help,’ ‘bankruptcy,’ ‘prison,’ and ‘L.L.’ None of it rang any bells with me about our research…”
 
“I got a call this afternoon… very enlightening…”
 
“Richard and I puzzled at it a while, and then Richard asked, ‘What could the connection be between all these names?’ I looked again at the title: ‘Mich. frend Laidan.’”
 
“I think that ‘Mich’ must be ‘Mitchener’… perhaps these are all friends of his?’ Richard immediately went online, and I dashed over to your computer. Luckily, your password was still ‘imalwaysaround’…”
 
She poked him teasingly in the side. “Excuse me for having other issues to deal with lately.”
 
That drew a small laugh out of him. She took it as a good sign. As serious as this situation was, she had to keep his mind off of the kryptonite as much as she could.
 
“It took me several minutes of searching, but I found the Pi Kappa Alpha photo saved on your hard drive. By the time it was printing, Richard had a list of possibilities on his screen as well. He told me, ‘The only one I can’t find a connection with Mitchener is Robby…’ and suddenly the name Chase Robinson in the caption of the photo struck a chord in my memory.”
 
“‘Try Chase Robinson,’ I told him. The moment the screen brought up the article on Mitchener’s exclusive deal with his company, I was out of the office again, speeding to City Hall.
 
“I was only in the building for a few seconds before I knew for a fact that you had been there. I’ve always loved the scent of your favorite shampoo. The trail led to Mitchener’s office and out to the garage. But I couldn’t figure out what had happened… I considered trying to get the security tapes… but it would be so time consuming! And too many hours had already passed.”
 
Lois sighed. “I’m not sure you would have seen anything helpful, anyway. He kept the gun close at my back the whole time, and he never told me where we were going.”
 
“Just then, Richard called and asked me what I’d found. I told him you had been there, but were now gone. He said he’d found some interesting information.”
 
The farther into the retelling he got, the more amazed Lois was at the way the two men had worked together to find her, putting aside their differences for her sake. Most women are lucky if they have the love of one good man their entire lives, she marveled. Somehow, I managed to find two of them… She wiped some more sweat from Clark’s forehead, and sent out a silent plea to Richard, wherever he was now, Please get here soon…
 
Clark’s voice was become fainter now. “I must have looked a wreck with all my recent
comings and goings, not to mention that I was half out of my mind with anxiety over your safety. But Richard never brought it up, never threw your danger in my face. By now, Jason was a quiet bundle in the corner of the room, rocking slightly back and forth with worry. Richard and I kept trying to reassure him that everything would be fine, but… Finally, Richard took him on his lap and just held him.” At that last detail, Clark got a far away look in his eye.
 
“Oh, my poor baby…” she murmured, meaning both of them. 
 
“But we finally had a breakthrough. Richard remembered I had talked to him about the hidden pilot’s license in Mitchener’s office. He had pulled up a list of private airstrips and cross-referenced it with all Mitchener family holdings,” Clark said, a touch of amazement in his voice. “He had it narrowed down to several possible locations. While he worked to try to narrow the list further, I did a super-scan of the archives… and I ran across a write-up in the Style section of the Planet back in the 1930s. The Mitcheners had a resort cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains… and it was on Richard’s list. Somehow I knew this was it.” He coughed again, and this time she noticed with dawning horror that a few flecks of blood dotted the corners of his mouth.
 
But he plowed on with his story, and telling it seemed to give him renewed strength. “Richard volunteered to fly me here – there’s a lake within walking distance – just in case it was a trap for me. I knew he was right that it could very well be a trap, but I felt time was of the essence. I didn’t know whether a second could mean the difference between life and death for you…” He licked pale, bloodless lips. “He vowed to follow in the plane, just in case. ‘I’ll find someone to watch Jason… he doesn’t need to get caught in the middle again. Go find her, Clark.’”
 
He was almost whispering as he finished. “When I got here, and discovered a portion of the house I couldn’t see into, I knew I had found you. I left a brief voicemail for Richard, opened the door, and… there you were.” He closed his eyes, smiling faintly with relief.
 
“Just hang on, Clark. Hang on,” she pleaded. Where are you, Richard? she added despairingly.
 
Just then, the beeps she had heard before Clark’s entrance sounded from the control plate beside the door. Lois turned toward the opening doorway and flinched in fear.
 
Leveling his pistol at the two of them, hair and eyes completely wild, was the deputy mayor.

Next: Chapter 34: Deep

Comments

( 52 comments — Leave a comment )
mark_clark
Nov. 25th, 2006 06:11 pm (UTC)
I can understand why Lois would want to close her eyes. The green glow of the kryptonite would definitely get to you by being around it for as long as she had. I really enjoyed the flashbacks that Lois had. I could picture each one as she went along, beautiful. Plus the other flashbacks related to the events that took place prior and during Superman returns were wonderful as well.

Then the next thing she knows (and I don't mean she's a millionaire), after her dream of Clark rescuing her, Superman enters the room to get her out. Too bad he doesn't know about the kryptonite and Lois can't tell him that because she's gagged. But it was made even worse when he entered the room, the door closed behind him. At least with them together, they can try to figure a way out. Unfortunately, Superman had figured out that they only way out was to use the code to open the door and anything else would cause an explosion. But, Lois was glad that she wasn't alone anymore.

It's a good thing the kryptonite wasn't having that strong of an effect on Superman. I loved how Lois got his mind off of it by letting him tell her how he was able to find her. What really surprised me was how well Clark and Richard worked together in order to find Lois. I thought it was great that they were able to put there differences aside in order to find Lois. That was probably because they were thinking of finding her and to keep Jason from worrying. It was interesting that Clark and Richard came to the same conclusions as Lois did and that's what really helped them to locate her.

Besides that, Superman informed her about what he did while he was gone. His flyovers uncovered more evidence concerning the poor workmanship on several buildings. That was when Lois told him that she figured that was done on purpose and when she called Mitchener on it, Lois thought she was a goner for sure. Luckily that wasn't the case. Plus it still seems that Lex is linked to this in some way but they still haven't found any concrete evidence to show that.

The longer they were in that room, the krytonite was starting to have an effect on Superman and it was nice of Lois to let him talk about how he found her to get his mind off of it. That was nice to see because I was wondering how he found Lois. When the door finally opened again, it wasn't who they expected on the other side. Now I wonder what Mitchener plans to do with them. I guess I'll have to wait for the next chapter. Fantastic job, as always.
htbthomas
Nov. 26th, 2006 12:14 am (UTC)
I can understand why Lois would want to close her eyes.

Can you imagine the eyestrain! Ugh.

I really enjoyed the flashbacks that Lois had. I could picture each one as she went along, beautiful. Plus the other flashbacks related to the events that took place prior and during Superman returns were wonderful as well.

Thank you. I had to go to the shooting script of Superman: The Movie for those. It was fun, though.

What really surprised me was how well Clark and Richard worked together in order to find Lois. I thought it was great that they were able to put there differences aside in order to find Lois. That was probably because they were thinking of finding her and to keep Jason from worrying. It was interesting that Clark and Richard came to the same conclusions as Lois did and that's what really helped them to locate her.

This has always been my plan. Just wait 'till you see Richard's take on what happened. There are more surprises in store!

And what will Mitchener do? Well... tune in next time on Déjà Vu!
(no subject) - mark_clark - Nov. 27th, 2006 10:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
sean_montgomery
Nov. 25th, 2006 07:02 pm (UTC)
*jaw drops*

RRRAAARRGGHH!! *runs around the room*

Okay, the babbling-brook-that-is-Clark was INCREDIBLE. Not just because Clark talked his head off, but the detail into the investigation and the word-by-word account of what happened was SO in character! Eidetic memory must be a nifty thing for the Man of Steel. :)

But it seems that, regardless of its somewhat tainted form, the kryptonite is still having strong effects on him. Having the deputy mayor step in with the gun in hand... not good! But I like it anyway!

ECQ, you have delivered once again! Let's hope today and tomorrow are as kind to you as yesterday was - the edge of my seat is getting a little worn out from me scooting back over to it. :) Bravo!
htbthomas
Nov. 26th, 2006 12:27 am (UTC)
*runs around the room*

You do that a lot, honey. Is your carpet okay? ;)

detail into the investigation and the word-by-word account of what happened was SO in character!

Yes, that eidetic memory comes in handy. But I am reminded of Conan's ever-humorous reviews - What if he accidentally saw his elderly mother in the shower - and never was able to forget it? *shudders*

Let's hope today and tomorrow are as kind to you as yesterday was

There won't be another update this weekend... oh no. Still have to formulate and write the outline and get it back. :)
(no subject) - sean_montgomery - Nov. 26th, 2006 02:25 am (UTC) - Expand
kalalanekent
Nov. 25th, 2006 07:20 pm (UTC)
Wow....

Just...wow...

Barbara, that was wonderful. I don't think I'll ever be able to approach the level of perfection in dealing with their relationship the way that you just did. This hit me at the same level that the 'Final Goodbye' scene in SR did. I was biting my lip, teary-eyed, through most of this chapter.

This is the reason you're the Queen and I'm just a simple subject. Bravo, love.

And now I'm more scared for all of them than I've ever been before. There's so much more I could say here, but I'm still trying to get my head and heart together. Will add more soon.
htbthomas
Nov. 26th, 2006 12:33 am (UTC)
I don't think I'll ever be able to approach the level of perfection in dealing with their relationship the way that you just did.

Ah, don't say that! You'll get better and better the more you write and get feedback! I think you guys are really handling the two of them incredibly well in LS!

There's so much more I could say here, but I'm still trying to get my head and heart together.

And I can't wait for you to do that? Are you going to save it for ff.net?
(no subject) - kalalanekent - Nov. 26th, 2006 12:38 am (UTC) - Expand
ancarett
Nov. 25th, 2006 07:49 pm (UTC)
Nooooo! NoOOOOOOO!!!!

Nail-biting cliffhanger upon cliffhanger. It was great to learn what was going on back in Metropolis. Wonderful to see how Richard and Clark united forces to crack the puzzle and get ready to rescue Lois. I'm impressed at how you managed to take an exposition-heavy passage and keep it so compelling. I just kept scrolling and scrolling and AUGH!

AUGH! NoooOOOO!!! Cliffhanger! Poor Clark! The kryptonite! Poor Lois, with Mitchener at the breaking point! The suspense! The suspense!!!!

Well done. Just evil! Evil!
htbthomas
Nov. 26th, 2006 12:39 am (UTC)
I'm impressed at how you managed to take an exposition-heavy passage and keep it so compelling.

Compelling? *blush* Thanks.

Can you now see why the layout change seemed necessary? :P
(no subject) - ancarett - Nov. 26th, 2006 01:32 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - htbthomas - Nov. 26th, 2006 02:01 am (UTC) - Expand
bistyboo1974
Nov. 25th, 2006 07:52 pm (UTC)
*laps up latest chapter like warm milk*

Mmm, that was wonderful! ;-)

Oh, Clark! I knew you'd find her! But that darn kyrptonite...GUH! *wibbles*

Clark's retelling of the search, and Lois's comforting of him while he was speaking had an exceptional cinematic quality...I could really visualize the whole scene perfectly. So beautiful!

And now Mitchener's back, and looking a little worse for the wear. Wonder what kind of mood he's in at this point. ;-) Guess time (and the next chapter) will tell!

*enthusiastic applause*
htbthomas
Nov. 26th, 2006 12:42 am (UTC)
Clark's retelling of the search, and Lois's comforting of him while he was speaking had an exceptional cinematic quality...I could really visualize the whole scene perfectly. So beautiful!

Cinematic - wow. I love that. I always go for that, actually. I picture what is happening in my mind like a movie you can "feel", and then try to put it in words.

Wonder what kind of mood he's in at this point.

Um, wild? ;)
(no subject) - bistyboo1974 - Nov. 26th, 2006 01:21 am (UTC) - Expand
the_storygirl
Nov. 25th, 2006 10:03 pm (UTC)
AOUGH. Excellent chapter, I love it. :) I think the reason I love your fanfic so much is the marvelous way you keep everybody in charecter. It's the REAL Superman and the REAL Lois, not a carbon-copy.
htbthomas
Nov. 26th, 2006 01:09 am (UTC)
The REAL Clark and Lois? Thanks! Did you feel differently about the SR versions?
(no subject) - the_storygirl - Nov. 26th, 2006 02:09 am (UTC) - Expand
elliania
Nov. 25th, 2006 10:28 pm (UTC)
Wow! It always amazing how you could find a way to let us know what happened with Clark, Richard or others still being with Lois' Point of View!!! ;)

eek! I hate kryptonite!! My poor little Clark!!! Hurry up, Richard!!

Talking about Richard, he was the best part of it, for me!!
the more amazed Lois was at the way the two men had worked together to find her, putting aside their differences for her sake. Most women are lucky if they have the love of one good man their entire lives, she marveled. Somehow, I managed to find two of them…
It was really his moment of glory! Be compared to Superman, that's big!! :D He is so a great man!

Really nice chapter again!! I devoured it and I'm still not satisfy!!!! Ah! ^-^
htbthomas
Nov. 26th, 2006 01:14 am (UTC)
It always amazing how you could find a way to let us know what happened with Clark, Richard or others still being with Lois' Point of View!!!

That's always the toughie. I sweat that constantly. Glad to hear you liked it!

It was really his moment of glory! Be compared to Superman, that's big!! :D He is so a great man!

Yes, I told you all Richard wasn't out of the picture just because he knew the secret! He will do the right thing, even through his heartache. :)
sunlike
Nov. 26th, 2006 12:46 am (UTC)
Wow! How exciting! So angsty to read about Supe´s going trough all this suffering and telling Lois about the previous events until finding her! Please Richard , hurry up!

Thank you for the chapter.
htbthomas
Nov. 26th, 2006 01:14 am (UTC)
Definitely going for the angsty there. And I agree, hurry up, Richard! ;)
mr_beeto
Nov. 26th, 2006 01:44 am (UTC)
I think this story gets better with each passing chapter. You've really mastered the tension here, too. Love the flashbacks, morphing with dreams and reality of Clark.

The collaboration between Clark and Richard was divine as well. As you know, I'm firmly in the camp of keeping Richard the good man that he is. Unfortunately for him, he doesn't belong with Lois, but it would be out of character for him to be anything other than a good man who will set aside his heartache to save the woman that he still loves. I also love that Lois recognizes this:

Most women are lucky if they have the love of one good man their entire lives, she marveled. Somehow, I managed to find two of them… .

Oh, and the kryptonite! Such a tough break. So close, and yet so far. Sometimes, life just isn't fair. And you once again proven why you're the queen of the cliffies. Oh, the agony! To have to wait for the next episode...
htbthomas
Nov. 26th, 2006 02:07 am (UTC)
I'm trying to get better... I have been worrying a little that when the tension slows down (as it will pretty soon), it won't be as good anymore. *bites nails*

I knew you'd be happy with Richard - after his blow-up in Ch. 28, a lot of people worried he would go the other way. You never worried, though, did you? ;)

Yes, so close, but there is a shining light on the way!
(no subject) - mr_beeto - Nov. 26th, 2006 02:25 am (UTC) - Expand
willow_diamond
Nov. 26th, 2006 05:43 am (UTC)
YAYFORANUPDATEOMG.

I want the next chapter!!
htbthomas
Nov. 26th, 2006 11:52 am (UTC)
Well, the next chapter's just starting to be outlined... so it'll be a few days. :) Glad you're enjoying, though!
jenna_knight
Nov. 26th, 2006 07:01 am (UTC)
Excellent chapter! I'm interested to see what happens with Richard. Hopefully he'll show up soon. And of course I'm excited to see what happens Luthor and Mitchener. I only hope that Clark can hold out until help arrives! Nicely done.
htbthomas
Nov. 26th, 2006 11:54 am (UTC)
I'm completely clueless about what you know and don't regarding this story... *wince* But more will definitely be revealed next chapter. Thanks!
(no subject) - jenna_knight - Nov. 26th, 2006 05:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - htbthomas - Nov. 26th, 2006 06:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
kurosawabride
Nov. 26th, 2006 03:23 pm (UTC)
You know, your chapters always leave me at the edge of my seat. God, I love how Clark was narrating how he found Lois and how detailed it was! Meticulous, that gorgeous man. :DDDD

Much love! ^___^
htbthomas
Nov. 26th, 2006 06:07 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes, he's gorgeous all right... Sigh. It's fun to be in Lois' skin, just so that I can imagine holding him in my arms like that. ;)

Of course, I could be TOTALLY honest and say that it was only my way of keeping this story in her POV... but luckily it's totally in character for him to do that!
(no subject) - kurosawabride - Nov. 26th, 2006 06:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
oldromantic
Nov. 26th, 2006 07:54 pm (UTC)
Yay for another update!! It was as delicious as Thanksgiving Day dinner. :P

And as far as a more thorough review goes, I'll have to get back to you. I'm still processing. (There's still the obligatory reread to do...) ;)

*huggles*
htbthomas
Nov. 26th, 2006 08:44 pm (UTC)
I'll be waiting impatiently for it!
mithah
Nov. 27th, 2006 01:24 am (UTC)
I honestly have no idea what's going to happen next, and it's driving me batty! I usually have some modicum of an idea as to what's going to happen next in stories, but this could really go any which way (and as batty as it's making me, I'm loving it!). ECQ being evilly cliffy, as usual--you always have something up those voluminous sleeves of yours! And, shockingly enough, I can't wait for Richard to make an appearance, and not just because I'm hoping he saves the day, but because he deserves to be the savior every once in awhile (I can't believe I'm saying this; gah, I actually like Richard White and it's all your fault)! All I can say in my defense is that you keep everyone in-character exceedingly well.

As usual, I'm on the edge of my seat, biting my nails, anxiously awaiting more.

EEEK!
htbthomas
Nov. 27th, 2006 01:30 am (UTC)
I usually have some modicum of an idea as to what's going to happen next in stories, but this could really go any which way

*Mr. Burns voice* Excellent...

I can't wait for Richard to make an appearance, and not just because I'm hoping he saves the day, but because he deserves to be the savior every once in awhile (I can't believe I'm saying this; gah, I actually like Richard White and it's all your fault)!

I feel the same about him - he deserves some credit. And Richard likes you, too! *smoochies*
therealmarajade
Nov. 27th, 2006 03:26 am (UTC)
>_< XD LOVED THIS!! Really! Not only did we get Superman - and poor thing, can't get rid of Kryptonite, it's everywhere he goes, and it will definitely be worse now that they have a planetary mass built out of it! - but we got some very nice Richard and Clark interaction!

Each other let go of their issues in order to save Lois, AND I suspect that this will be very important to help Richard see how much Clark loves Lois and that he would do anything not to hurt her as well as to prevent others from hurting her.

I wish Richard and Clark could be friends - they are both noble and similar enough to one another - but I think their love triangle has ruined any chance a friendship between them might have.
htbthomas
Nov. 27th, 2006 03:47 am (UTC)
Yep, the kryptonite is definitely going to be a problem for him for a while. Poor kid.

AND I suspect that this will be very important to help Richard see how much Clark loves Lois and that he would do anything not to hurt her as well as to prevent others from hurting her.

You're absolutely right. You'll see. :) And about them being friends - I was just typing exactly the same thing in an ff.net review reply. Sigh. Sad, but true.

rogue_lane
Nov. 27th, 2006 07:08 pm (UTC)
Uh oh!

I loved LOVED the flashbacks, poor Lois, though I don't think it's very fair to Richard that she imagined that particular scene with Clark in his place, I mean I know he's the man she loves but Richard has been an essential part of her life for over 5 years.

Other than that I loved Richard and Clark working together and Perry knows! I wonder what's gonna happen there... anyway Lois trying to keep Clark awake had me with my heart in my mouth and that KISS made me weak in the knees, god girl you can write!
htbthomas
Nov. 27th, 2006 07:38 pm (UTC)
Ah, poor Richard, you're right. She's even pushing him out of her memories, now... So sad.

And thanks... The "you can write" compliment means a lot!
alamo_girl80
Nov. 27th, 2006 10:33 pm (UTC)
Oh SQUEE! Wonderfully LONG chappies make Mel Happy!

Oh, I like the mayor...and the addition of the Opera. Hee! Very deliciously melodramatically Luthor-ish touch. My Aunt Margaret would be impressed!

And can I say - I love Lois remembering her past with Clark. All the fun stuff from the first couple of flicks, the wonderful interactions. *grin* Ah, nostalgia....

Does the deputy mayor have krypto-bullets? Cause he's gonna need them!

Great stuff!
htbthomas
Nov. 28th, 2006 07:26 pm (UTC)
Sorry it took me so long to reply...

Anyway, I'm glad you liked the Uber-LONG-ness of the chapter. I'm pretty sure I'm looking at another hefty one for next time.

The opera was just me trying to catch up with mr_beeto - lol. Actually, I have quite a lot of opera history knowledge under my belt, and Don Giovanni is in my Top 10 of operas. Really great, no lie. And I generally am not Mozart's biggest fan.

All the stuff from the first film... somehow it just seemed fitting with the 14-disc set coming out today. :)
wikkibird
Dec. 6th, 2006 01:01 am (UTC)
*Wheeeeeeeee!*
Right, so I started reading this afternoon when I SHOULD have been working, and I'm just now finishing this up.... *takes deep breath* HURRY AND FINISH THE NEXT CHAPTER!!!! I *love* the way you write, pulling in the emotions of the character. *whee!* I can't wait to read more!!
htbthomas
Dec. 6th, 2006 01:10 am (UTC)
Re: *Wheeeeeeeee!*
Great! Now you know where that evil teaser comes from. I am pretty stucky-stuck on the next little bit of my chapter... hardly far at all from when I posted the teaser (there is about 2400 words, and I still have a lot of outline to go.)

But I've got coltdancer on the case, along with my primary beta. Hopefully we can get over the hump tonight. *crosses fingers*
Re: *Wheeeeeeeee!* - wikkibird - Dec. 6th, 2006 01:28 am (UTC) - Expand
jij
Apr. 12th, 2007 10:23 am (UTC)
Oooh, this had some wonderful hurt/comfort in it (both Lois and Clark, actually!), and I love the way you use that to work around the difficulty of filling us in on what's been happening while our POV has been out of commission!

I was only in the building for a few seconds before I knew for a fact that you had been there. I’ve always loved the scent of your favorite shampoo.

Aw, Clark as super-bloodhound...

He coughed again, and this time she noticed with dawning horror that a few flecks of blood dotted the corners of his mouth.

Eeeee! Oh, like I said, the little details of Clark's steady weakening break up the narrative and keep us so gripped...it works so well.
htbthomas
Apr. 12th, 2007 01:10 pm (UTC)
It's funny... I'd been writing fanfiction for over a year when I learned what hurt/comfort was. Being around LJ has expanded my knowledge of fandom terms ever so much!

One of the challenges with keeping this story strictly in Lois' POV was to figure out how to tell the other characters' side of the story. I often wondered if it seemed contrived, but the response to it was good, so I'm happy. :)
brdwaybebe
Aug. 2nd, 2007 06:22 pm (UTC)
“Really, Lois. Supposing that man had shot you? Is it worth risking your life over ten dollars, two credit cards, a hairbrush, and a lipstick? I mean...”


Awwww... Meemories. -wipes eyes-



Tongue-tied and awestruck, she had watched him leave, rising into the air like a thing of beauty. Her fantasies had started right then and there. With clear understanding, her mind's eye could see through Clark's pretended disbelief about the abilities of her rescuer to detect his interest in knowing what she really thought of him.


It's so awesome to go over these moments when hindsight is 20/20/ A brilliant new angle!



As they clung to each other, a sound filled her ears in the dream. Footsteps… drawing ever closer, inexorable. Thud. Thud. Thud. Clark’s head snapped up toward the sound; Jason’s eyes grew wide with terror. Clark brought them to their feet, muscles tensing in preparation for flight. Thud. Thud. Thud.


Briliant. I was all into the memories and then everything sped up as I readover the events of SR, and the unexpectedly, it's Clark rescuing she and Jason....



Lex Luthor slid into the doorway, the green glow of the pure kryptonite in his hand reflecting in his cold, lifeless eyes, making them look like nothing more than reptilian slits… Clark slowly began to sink to his knees, head bowed and a shaking Jason soon joined him, as Luthor stalked ever closer with the deadly mineral… Thud. Thud. Thud.
Thud!


-gulp- Poor Lois. I hope she wakes up soon.



Was it…? It must be… Clark! She wanted to shout, I’m in here, save me! But then her terrified mind added, still overwhelmed by the dream she had just experienced, Be careful! There’s kryptonite! Get the door open and get out of its range! But the gag and the soundproofed room made any warning impossible.


AHHHH! I mean I'm glad it's him!! But the K!! The K!!!! -panics- Oh Lois saaay something!!!!!!



The gag came off with an effortless flick of his wrist. “Superman…” she croaked out in warning, but she hardly had time to breathe before his lips caught hers firmly in a breathtaking kiss.


Very glad for the kiss, but LET THE WOMAN TAAAAAALK!!!! -panics more-



But Lois could see by his gaze toward the crates that he had already noted its presence. “...kryptonite. I felt a sharp twinge when I first entered the room, but seeing you there, still alive…” He shut his eyes and let out a noisy breath, sweat beginning to gleam on his face. “It looks to me like it’s some of the detritus from New Krypton that fell away as I lifted it into space. Not the pure form that Luthor stabbed me with. It should be okay…” He visibly steadied himself, exhaling again and releasing her. Then Clark shot a glance at the closed door, and seemed to observe the absence of a handle for the first time. His brows drew together in consternation.


OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG


brdwaybebe
Aug. 2nd, 2007 06:24 pm (UTC)
Clark’s eyes, already squinting a little as he concentrated, narrowed further. “I should have known.” He sighed. “Are you sure?” He kept his back to her as he resumed his scan.


-giggle- I love at the mention of Luthor's name he sighs like Not again!



“It’s a scene between Don Giovanni – Don Juan – and the statue of the commander he murdered to hide one of his affairs,” Clark replied, as he was lowering himself, slowly and painfully, to the floor “The statue comes to life, takes his hand and commands him to repent…” His eyes traveled upward as he recited the lyrics in translation, “‘Repent, miscreant!’ ‘No, you driveling dotard!’... They argue for a few lines… ‘Ah, the time has run out!’… and in the next section, the statue drags Don Giovanni down to Hell.”


Oh God Oh God....



“Yes... Don't worry. He'll be nearly here in the plane by now. He was only going to explain the situation to the police, first.” He moved his hand to cover hers where it was now resting on his shoulder. Then he winced, and curled in on himself. “But he won’t know the door code – I used infrared vision to determine the most frequently-pressed keys… and used my super-speed to try all of the permutations…” His eyes turned sadder as he tried to apologize, “Lois, I'm sorry. I should never have let that door fall shut. I'm afraid that my judgment where you are concerned is not the best ...”


-bites lip- See he tells peope where hes going! Smart eh Lois? LOL. -sighs- He's such a good man.



Then I listened for your voice… your heartbeat…” Clark swallowed and squeezed her hand. “It just… wasn’t there.”
“Oh, Clark…” she sympathized, squeezing back.


-sniffle-



trembling with the effort to stay conscious, and he slid down involuntarily, unable to hold himself upright any longer, until his head was resting in her lap.


-whimper- Oh Man Come on Richard HURRY!!!



“Yes,” he smiled, “your badly misspelled, coffee-stained, chicken-scratch notes. At first it looked like nothing but a list of names… with the words ‘friend,’ ‘help,’ ‘bankruptcy,’ ‘prison,’ and ‘L.L.’ None of it rang any bells with me about our research…”


LOL even in his pain he couldn't resist teasing her



“I was only in the building for a few seconds before I knew for a fact that you had been there. I’ve always loved the scent of your favorite shampoo. The trail led to Mitchener’s office and out to the garage. But I couldn’t figure out what had happened… I considered trying to get the security tapes… but it would be so time consuming! And too many hours had already passed.”


-sigh- he followed her scent



Mitcheners had a resort cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains… and it was on Richard’s list. Somehow I knew this was it.” He coughed again, and this time she noticed with dawning horror that a few flecks of blood dotted the corners of his mouth.


Brilliant way he found her... Oh no blod... You are mercilous, woman!!



Leveling his pistol at the two of them, hair and eyes completely wild, was the deputy mayor.


AHHHH!!


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