Barbara (htbthomas) wrote,
Barbara
htbthomas

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Déjà Vu: Chapter 31: Voice

A/N: Well, I was good and distracted by the Spider-Man 3 trailer this week, and watching way too many Heroes episodes that had been collecting on my DVR (O_o -- thank you very much, bistyboo1974jenna_knight and therealmarajade) but I managed to get this done anyway!
 
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Déjà Vu

 
Chapter 31: Voice
 
Lois gripped her mini-recorder tightly and took a deep breath – she might have tried to shout, to scream around the hand clamped over her mouth – but the pistol stabbed harder into her back, and she choked it off, heart leaping to her throat.
 
“I would think twice about that, Ms. Lane,” Mitchener warned her, his pleasant tone jarring to her ears. “The Man of Steel may be faster than a speeding bullet… but can he stop a bullet at point-blank range?”
 
As fast as Clark was, Lois didn’t want to tempt fate by trying to find out the answer to that question. Not now, not when I have so much to lose… my little Jason… and what would losing me do to Clark…especially after we just found our way back to each other… All at once, Lois wanted to kick herself! Stupid, stupid, stupid, Lane! What the hell were you thinking, turning your back on a subject? That’s a rookie mistake… 
 
Mitchener continued to speak quietly during her mental tirade. “I’m going to remove my hand now, Ms. Lane. You will give me the recorder in your hand, and then we are going to walk silently to the parking garage. Nod your head, please, if you understand.”
 
Pulse pounding, her mind raced instantly through all the options she saw before her. She could scream anyway, and likely end up with a bullet through her chest for her trouble.  She could try to elbow him in the stomach, but what if his finger instinctively squeezed the trigger? She could try to kick his feet out from underneath him, or knock the gun out of his hands, but he was staying behind her and likely well out of reach. She realized unhappily that there was very little she could do if she wanted to survive; the best option was to play along and try to buy some time. Maybe on the way down to the garage, she could find a way to make a break for it…
 
Lois nodded, and gingerly held the recorder behind her back. What else could she do?
 
Mitchener slowly removed his hand from her mouth, still clearly expecting her to try something. When she didn’t, he plucked the device from her palm, switching it off with a click. He then spoke in a tight voice, “Very good, Ms. Lane. I regret the necessity of this, but please lead on. Remember, not a sound. Not even the barest whisper.”
 
The deputy mayor kept behind her and slightly to the side as they left his office, moved through the waiting area, and went into the hall. Though stunned by this turn of events, she had the presence of mind to cooperate. Luthor, I know how to deal with him…she thought, but this guy? I thought I had figured him out, and then he pulls a gun on me! There’s no telling what he’ll do…
 
Disgusted with her misjudgment of the man, Lois launched into a fresh round of self-recrimination. Why did you turn your back on him, Lane? Are you becoming reckless again, depending too much on your Super Safety Net? No, she argued back, I’ve always been reckless… even during the time Clark was away. I regularly scared Richard to death…
 
Or is love making you soft?
 
Mitchener wordlessly directed her to the stairwell by nudging her back with his gun, and they began a long descent down the dimly-lit stairs toward the basement. Lois prayed fervently that someone would happen by… For pity’s sake, it was only 5:00pm! But even if someone did run across them, who would suspect good ol’ Vic, ‘the nicest guy you’ll ever meet’? Especially when he was so courteously guiding his companion down a dark staircase with a hand resting lightly on her back? Her face twisted in an annoyed grimace.
 
I mean I suspected him of malfeasance, graft, under the table dealings… but murder? It all really came down to that. No matter how much Lois and Clark had suspected of him, none of it was big enough to make a man in his high position threaten to kill her! There must be something else… something so much more…
 
She paused on a step, struck with the thought. The last question I asked him was about helping friends in prison…while looking at his pilot’s license. Does he think I know more than I really do?  ‘Vic’ prodded her to keep moving, reminding her of the weapon at her back. So she kept walking, an odd expression stealing across her face. It was a good thing Mitchener couldn’t see it from behind, or she might already be dead. Only a few people – Perry, Richard, Clark, Jimmy – really knew this look for what it was. Mad Dog Lane had caught the scent of a story.
 
They descended for several more floors, until they reached the basement level. "Would you be so kind as to turn the handle, Ms. Lane?" he asked pleasantly, sounding for all the world as if he were inviting her to step out for a breath of fresh air or a nice summer walk. Could you be so kind as to throw yourself off a—
 
Lois suppressed the mental jab and braced herself, thinking that the noise of the door opening might disguise a whispered call for help. But is it worth it to try anything?  Inside, she warred between fear and curiosity. Just what is he hiding? What could be so important that he’s willing to kidnap me? The interview was only just starting to enter aggressive territory, and a seasoned politician like Mitchener should have been able to brazen out any number of tough questions…
 
No, it doesn’t matter, she decided boldly. No story is more important than my little boy knowing that I’m safe. She opened the door with a forceful push, deciding to risk it all anyway. But a sudden rush of air caught her off balance, making her stumble in her high heels. Her eyes widened, and she found herself hoping against hope that she would see that beloved red and blue… Clark…?
 
A second later, her heart sank. The parking garage appeared completely deserted. Several yards away was a sleek black BMW, obviously their next destination. “Now do keep walking straight ahead, Ms. Lane. That’s it.” Lois found herself gritting her teeth as the pleasantly patronizing tone of his voice grated on her nerves.
 
When they were within a few feet of the car, the trunk silently popped open, obviously controlled by an electronic key fob. The trunk was relatively empty, save for a duffel bag, a bundle of dry cleaning and a few odds and ends. Maybe he would stash her in the trunk… she hoped he would. If he had to drive the car, he couldn’t keep a gun on her, and he couldn’t keep her from shouting for help…
 
“Under the duffel bag, you’ll find some rope. Would you be so kind as to get it out and hand it to me,” he requested. Yes, and do you mind if I garrote you with it? she thought back at him, her mental tone sarcastically sweet.
 
But the longer the search took, the more worried she became. Hands shaking, she dug beneath the duffel bag for the rope. She hoped desperately that she would feel something that might help her escape. How long could she stall before Mitchener would get suspicious? 
 
He came around from behind her, and she saw his pale face for the first time since her ordeal had begun. His features were taut with tension, his eyes hard. For a moment, Lois glimpsed a glint of sheer desperation, in their cool depths. But his voice remained as smooth and carefully modulated as ever as he jerked the gun toward her again. “Please make haste, Ms. Lane. We haven’t got all night.”
 
Lois’ fingertips brushed against the rough hemp of the rope, and she pulled it as quickly as she could from underneath the bag. He held out his open hand, until she dropped the rope nervously into it.
 
Keeping the gun trained on her – it looked like a .22, but she couldn’t have said more – his fingers tightened around the rope. Mitchener dropped his gaze to the object in his hand, and his eyes darted between her paralyzed form and the rope several times. His eyebrows lowered in… annoyance? Confusion? Anger? Then eyes flickered with some indefinable emotion, and his lips tightened in a grim line.
 
I don’t think he can figure out how to tie me up, and still keep the weapon on me, Lois realized. Hope surged once again, and possibilities for escape branched out in a thousand different directions.  Maybe I can still make it out of here…
 
The deputy mayor stepped closer to her, raising the pistol to her temple. Or maybe not! 
 
“I’m sorry, Ms. Lane…” he apologized, wearing a strange, set expression on his white face, then his fingers tightened on the handle, only inches from her face. 
 
Her eyes spasmed shut in alarm, and a primal shriek tried to rise from deep within. “CL—!”
 
Pain stabbed into her temple like a blazing crack of lightning, cutting off the scream before its complete utterance. And then…
 
- - - - -
 
Noise. It was the noise finally that woke Lois out of the whirling darkness. Her head throbbed dully, her stomach churned uneasily, and a low roar filled her ears. She could feel her body shuddering in resonance to the sound, creating sharp twinges, like fire, on the side her head with every vibration, and the clamminess of wet cotton consumed her mouth. She tried to swallow, but nearly choked on the sticky mucus congealing at the back of her throat. A gag? What an apropos term…
 
Keeping her eyes closed, she tried to move her limbs, and found in frustration that her wrists were tied behind her back, her ankles bound together. She twisted her wrists gently, then more firmly, until the rough fibers of the rope burned into her skin. It was just as useless to move her feet – the ankle bones ground together tightly when she moved them.
 
Lois finally risked opening her eyes, since they didn’t seem to be covered. She was lying on the floor of some sort of small aircraft. Wincing at the pain of moving her pounding head, she slowly craned her neck to look toward the cockpit. The door was open, presumably so that Mitchener could check on her, and he sat in the pilot’s chair, a set of heavy headphones over his ears. A memory stirred.   How many times had she seen Richard wearing exactly the same gear on family excursions? Only this time, the faintly familiar sight filled her with fear...
 
Where is he taking me? she wondered in agitation. All that was visible through the small section of the viewscreen was black starless sky. Just how long have I been out? He must have pistol-whipped me. She sucked in a breath. It’s a wonder that I’m not already dead…if he hadn’t hit me in just the right way, his blow could have been fatal. So either he’s had training, or I’m one lucky…
 
The plane suddenly hit a patch of air turbulence, and she let out an involuntary nauseous groan around the gag. But Mitchener either ignored her, or the deafening roar of the plane’s engines drowned out the small sound.
 
Her stomach clenched and a wave of queasiness unrelated to airsickness hit her. I have no idea where we’re going, how long I was unconscious… is Clark looking for me? How long before someone notices I’m missing… Richard? Perry? Anyone?
 
The air-pressure popped in her ears, and she felt the plane begin its descent. Mitchener's light tenor broke the silence, pitched to carry over the sound of the plane. “I'm sorry for your uncomfortable position, Ms. Lane,” he said, “but it couldn't be helped. No worries, though,” he added almost cheerfully. “We're almost there.”
 
He obviously knows I’m awake, uncomfortable and in pain… the smug bastard. He had barely done more than give her polite directions the whole time she had been his captive. If he would only say something, anything, to give her a clue about why he had kidnapped her, where they were going… She growled in helpless frustration. By keeping her silent at City Hall, unconscious in the car and gagged on the plane, he had done more than keeping her from calling for help. He had robbed her of her quick tongue, her probing questions, her voice
 
The plane touched down unhurriedly. She swallowed again, trying unsuccessfully to clear her ringing ears and dry mouth. As soon as all movement had stopped and the engines had ceased, Mitchener roughly removed the headphones from his ears and opened the hatch. Face set in a tense expression, he warned, “Now, for your sake, Ms. Lane, let's see some good manners. No funny business when I untie your feet.”
 
Lois thought seriously for an instant about defying him, but a glance at his white face revealed that his façade of politeness was beginning to show cracks. She didn’t know what he might do to her if she failed… and she still didn’t know why he had taken her… Her reporter’s instinct for keeping a low profile when on the scent won out over her fear.
 
He levered her abruptly to her feet, and grasped her upper arm firmly to lead her down the stairs. When her feet were once again on solid ground, she craned her head around to look at the brightly-lit airstrip. On three sides, she could see nothing but dark pines, and before them the land tilted upward. The jagged peak of a mountain cut off the bright moon. There were no other signs of civilization, no lights in the distance in any direction…
 
Just before Mitchener dragged her unrelentingly toward the peak, she thought despairingly, Where the hell am I?

Next: Chapter 32: Guests

Tags: superman returns
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