Barbara (htbthomas) wrote,

Birthday fic: Hard Choices, 1/1

Title: Hard Choices
Author: htbthomas
Fandom: Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Season 1
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1,138 words
Summary: Trapped by terrorists in the editor-in-chief’s office at the Daily Planet with all of his colleagues – and Lex Luthor – Clark ponders just how to save them all without revealing himself.
Author's Notes: This is a Happy Birthday ficlet for mrsmosley, for her prompt: “Something angsty based on Lois and Clark, Season 1.” She mentioned that “Fly Hard” was one of her favorites from that season, so this is an exploration of a scene from that episode. Any dialogue that seems familiar is lifted directly from the episode. Thanks to mark_clark, as always.

My first attempt at Lois and Clark, please be kind. :)

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Clark tried not to look again at the clock. Every minute, second – no, nanosecond – that they were all trapped in Perry White’s office was that much closer to the moment when the bomb might go off. The terrorists, led by a man and a woman called Fuentes and Remy, from what he’d over-super-heard, were arguing loudly in the outer room. One of the laptop computers was still smoking from where Fuentes had shot a bullet through the monitor.

He zoomed in again on the controller box in Fuentes’ hand… he’d already thought of and dismissed several plans for disabling it. But if the terrorists that were holding him didn’t find what they were looking for – something to do with a gangster from the Prohibition era called Dragonetti – by the time people began arriving for work in the morning…

He hated to feel helpless, especially when he knew that he was anything but. His lightning-fast brain zoomed through all of the scenarios again:

He could fry the circuits in the controller box, but what if he got the wrong one? He would have to find the bomb and remove it before it could go off.

He could super-speed into the outer room and disarm the terrorists, tying them up for the police to find.

He could place himself in the line of fire, using his invulnerability and strength to easily overpower them.

He could open a window and fly all of them to safety, coming back to deal with the terrorists.

Clark clenched his hands in frustration. Every path he could see before him eventually led to one destination. Revealing himself as Superman.

His eyes cut toward Lois and Lex Luthor, sitting handcuffed back to back a few yards away. Lois was wearing a gorgeous black dress, a hint of cleavage peeking out of the square neckline… which she had put on to wear to the opera with Lex. As much as it pained him, he suddenly sorely wished that she were at the theater with him right now. If she hadn’t come in to make a last-minute change to a story, she would be out of this mess. But Lois looked far from upset – even handcuffed to a chair she was as vibrant and quick-witted as ever.

Behind her, Luthor softly groaned, still weak from the loss of blood from a bullet wound in his shoulder. For a wicked moment, Clark wished that the shooter had better aim – then Clark would have been too late to do anything. He pushed the ugly thought down immediately, quashing the feelings of jealousy he had no right to have. He’d had ample opportunities to try to get closer to Lois in the last year… so why hadn’t he?

Was it that he couldn’t trust Lois? No… he knew that wasn’t true. She had proven more than trustworthy with both Clark and his alter-ego. It wasn’t her fault that he kept an invisible wall between himself and Lois. It wasn’t that at all…

…or did he not trust himself?

Maybe it was just because she was getting so close to Lex. If she would only just listen to Clark’s warnings about him. But she was certain that Clark was suspicious for no reason. Perhaps if he warned her as Superman… would she listen?

Lois shifted, craning her neck to look at Luthor. “How are you feeling?” she asked in a low voice, full of concern.

“Fairly well, all told,” he murmured back. Clark kept his eyes on the two terrorists on the other side of the glass, who were still arguing fiercely over accessing the computer system, but his hearing focused on the pair behind him almost instinctually.

“Are you in much pain?” Clark could almost hear the sympathetic grimace in her voice.

“Nothing intolerable,” Lex replied, probably punctuated by an oily shrug. “Don’t worry about me, my dear. I’ve been through worse.” Clark had to fight to keep from rolling his eyes.

“Still, if Clark hadn’t known that Burma—”

It was Borneo, but before could even feel a twinge of pride that Lois had been about to praise his efforts, Fuentes and Remy opened the office door forcefully.

“Your system is locked up. Who can get me online with the computer?” Fuentes demanded.

Perry cleared his throat. “System? What?” he asked gruffly.

“I said the system’s locked up,” he answered impatiently. “Now who can get me online with the computer?”

Was this his chance? Clark stood quickly, pulling his cuff-buddy Jack along with him, and tried to appear eager. “I can help you. What file do you need?”

“That’s not your concern. Just get me onto the Metro-Comp database.”

Before Clark could respond, Lois cut in. “Metro-Comp? That’s the old database. We updated three years ago. He won’t know how to use it.” She rabbited forward in the chair, a triumphant smile on her face. “You’ll have to take me.”

Why did she have to sound so smug? Clark nearly ground his teeth in frustration. He could have them all out of this situation in seconds… But one look around, at Perry, Jack, Lois – and Luthor – his shoulders slumped in defeat.

Fuentes snapped his fingers briskly and the woman unlocked Lois’ cuffs.

“Be careful,” Lex warned, the picture of true concern.

“Don’t worry,” Lois assured him, even as she was being dragged forward by one arm. She was walking once again into the fire, bold as you please. And if that wasn’t bad enough, she shot back, just for Clark’s benefit, “Somebody’s gotta find out what they’re doing here.”

Then she was into the next room with a rough tug and a muffled squeak.

Clark sat back with Jack on the desk. If he could only concentrate, he knew he could think of a way to extract them all safely and preserve his secret identity. He stood again abruptly and drew close to the window, Jack beside him. He lowered the frames of his glasses to get a closer look at what was going on…

“How could you let her go in there?” Luthor demanded from his chair.

“It wasn’t exactly my plan,” Clark drawled.

“If anything happens to her, you’ll—” Lex was interrupted by a grunt of fear from Lois outside. “What’s he doing to her?” He got up carefully from his chair and came to join Clark at the glass-covered doorway.

Clark waved him quiet with a “Shh,” and focused in on Lois once again. “I’ve spent eight months preparing for this night,” Fuentes was saying, “So if you don’t give me the correct access code, I’m gonna—”

Fuentes had his hand around her throat, and a rush of anger filled Clark. If the terrorist so much as harmed her, he would—

“Superman…” Lois squeaked.

Enough was enough – secret identities be damned. “I’m going in,” Clark growled.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

A/N: The episode goes on, but this seems like a lovely place to stop, especially if I wanted to pick a spot to go AU, a time-honored tradition in the L&C fandom. What do you think? Should I?

Oh, and a little something extra for the DC fans, seen at Kimono's Townhouse this morning:

Tags: birthday fic, cooking with superman, fanfiction, lois and clark: tnaos

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