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20 May 2007 @ 01:12 pm
Posting Chapter Forty-One: A Dangerous Mind  
Well, it's a day late. *hangs head in shame* But it's here and with the htbthomas Seal of Approval. This is one of the darker chapters, so be ready. Then again, would you expect anything less of a chappie that was production titled, Lex vs. Lois? Happy reading, all!

I'm also including the two tracks that were used heavily for writing this particular chapter, for those of you that haven't gotten a copy off of The Revenge Playlist. I find they work very well... ;)

Evanescence-Snow White Queen
Within Temptation-A Dangerous Mind


You belong to me,
My Snow White Queen.
There's nowhere to run,
So let’s just get it over.
Soon I know you'll see
You're just like me.
Don't scream anymore,
My love,
‘Cause all I want is you…
~Evanescence, ‘Snow White Queen’ 

Every rescue worker in the city knew Superman’s mind was on something else.  He flew through the last of the fires, blowing it out with freezing super-breath as he passed, and paused only long enough to see that no one at the scene was severely injured.  Then the hero was gone, leaving without a word to the firefighters or the gathering press.

This last scene was near the Daily Planet building, and he headed there.  A thought had been brewing in Superman’s mind as he worked.  The logical assumption, finding Lois’ car near the shipyards, would be that he’s taken her on the ship.  Then again, the logical assumption on seeing the message about the island would be that he took the kids to an actual island, and while we followed it up, he was on the ship all along.  Luthor is smart enough to deceive us again; he might have them somewhere else entirely, expecting me to look for the ship.

Not to mention, he’s done something fairly large-scale with the crystals he stole from me.  I’m not sure exactly what would happen to most of them if you just dropped them in the water – they build various structures, including the chamber that stripped my powers away.  And Luthor has kryptonite.  If I go looking for the ship, I might just find a trap instead.  He has the twins and Lois – I can’t let him catch me, too.

He had seen Lois check her cell phone messages from her office phone, but doing so required a PIN number that checking them from the phone itself didn’t.  Unfortunately, though he’d watched her punch numbers into the keypad, Kal-El had never tried to figure out exactly what the code was.  It was one of the invasions of privacy that he spent a great deal of time avoiding, precisely because it would be so easy to do.

Now I wish I was a little less moral…  Maybe Perry will know what her PIN is.  The man who spent so much time flying around the city had learned long ago to fold his Clark clothes up and stash them in his cape pocket.  He looked a little rumpled after changing in the airshaft, but not enough to cause comment.  When he walked into the conference room, no one noticed his clothing at all.

“Where’s Lois?” Perry asked, Lana and Richard seconding the question.  Clark was caught out, his double life once again causing havoc.  How did I forget?  Damn, a cover story, quick… 

At his dumbfounded look, though, Ella spoke, her voice rising slightly.  Where is my daughter?” she demanded, feeling her fearful hunch proved.

“We split up,” Clark said, and quickly continued, “Lois was with Superman.  I figured she’d be safe.  But when all the fires started, I guess he had to leave her and take care of the city.  Lois didn’t show up where we were supposed to meet, and I found her car by the shipyards.  Everything was in it except her and the gun, and her phone was broken.”

“The shipyards,” Richard muttered.  “Luthor has her and the twins now, you can bet on it.  And we have no idea where the ship is headed – wish we could get Superman to look for it.”

“They might not be on it,” Jimmy said, and Clark was relieved to hear someone else voice his own thought.  “Luthor’s pretty devious.  It’d be just like him to send Superman after the yacht when Lois and twins aren’t even there.”

“You’re right,” Perry said gruffly.  “And knowing that evil sonofa…”  He glanced at Ella, and continued, “…gun, he’d have a trap laid for Superman.”

“But if not the ship, where?” Richard said in frustration.

“I wish we had a way to get Lois’ phone messages,” Clark said.  “It looked like she was listening to it and then dropped it.  Maybe there’s a message from Luthor on it.”

“Mrs. Mackenzie…” Lana started to say, but Richard leapt to his feet.

“We don’t have to go through all that,” the International editor said.  “Lois can get her messages from any phone.  All we have to do is dial her number and hit the pound key when her message starts.”

“Don’t you need a password or something for that?” Clark asked.

Richard looked crestfallen only for a moment.  “Yeah, but she has all her PIN codes and things stored in a file on her computer.  Perry, you can access her files, right?”

The editor-in-chief shook his head.  “She’s a department head, Richard.  Her files are password protected, even from me.  I.T. might be able to get it for you…”

Richard shook his head.  “They take forever to do anything.  Call them, but I’ll try to guess her password.”

“Good luck,” Perry told him.

Ten minutes later, Richard was still sitting in front of Lois’ computer glaring at her password protect screen, and only Ella Lane standing behind him kept him from cursing.  Knowing that Lois’ password was usually whatever was on her mind the most, he’d tried everything he could think of connected to the blackout.  Then he started trying names, but none of the family’s names worked.  

He seemed stumped, and despair made Lois’ office stifling, which was already crowded with Lana, Ella, and Clark watching Richard.  Then Richard gave an annoyed sigh and typed in Clark.

That didn’t work; however, it did make Ella raise an eyebrow.  Richard then tried Superman and Krypton, but neither worked.  After a moment, he asked through gritted teeth, “Clark, what’s your middle name?”

“Huh?”  He’d been watching, but seeing Richard try his name had made him nervous all over again.  When all of this was over, he and Lois would have to figure out what they would tell Richard … and everyone else.  “Um, it’s Joseph.”

Richard froze, his hands tightening into fists for a second.  Ella whipped her head around, eyes wide.  Clark found it easy to look confused; he had no idea that Kala’s middle name was Josephine, and that his daughter was named for him twice over.  The password wasn’t Joseph either.  Not even Elroy, the name of Lois’ childhood cat, worked.  

“Maybe it’s a place,” Ella said.  “Try Wiesbaden.”

Wiesbaden?” Clark asked.  “What’s the significance of that?”

“It’s the city in Germany where Lois was born.  Sam was stationed at the base there at the time,” her mother replied.

“No luck,” Richard said.  “But she does tend to use a place – when I met her, her debit card PIN was the building and apartment number she lived at.  I just wish I knew what location was on her mind the most lately…”

Clark didn’t want to say it – didn’t want to think it – but he had an idea.  “Did you try Fortress?”

“As in Solitude?  Good thought.”  Richard tried both words, but the image of Lois on the screen kept shaking her finger scoldingly.  “Damn!”

“Try Arctic,” Clark said.

Arctic?”

“That’s where the Fortress is…  Why are you looking at me like that?”

“Because Lois said she couldn’t tell us where it is,” Richard replied, looking at him narrowly.

In spite of the icy chill running down his spine, Clark gave him a helpless grin and pushed up his glasses.  “Well, she swore me to secrecy with everything about, you know, him.”  Which wasn’t a lie – Lois had talked a lot about Superman before she figured out the secret, and she’d always said that if anyone else heard her going on about him, she’d have to kill them.

Richard typed in the phrase, but it didn’t work either.  “I could’ve sworn that would be it…” he muttered.

A sudden flash of inspiration hit Clark then.  “Wait.  How’d you spell it?”

“A-R-C-T-I-C,” Richard said, looking confused.

“How does Lois spell it?” Clark said.

Lana felt very left out, as everyone else in the room knew about that particular quirk.  “Try it A-R-T-I-C,” Ella said, crossing her fingers.  All four of them cheered when the password was finally accepted.  

However, the moment was rather spoiled for Clark by the speculative way that Ella and Richard were looking at him.

 

 

I don’t share.  Lois felt her stomach lurch at the implication.  But she would never show that to Lex.  Instead she sneered at him.  “Oh, please, Lex.  I’m not your type – I have ethics.”

“I’m not your type either, Lois, being human, but we could work something out,” he said cheerfully.

“Oh, yeah, ‘cause the first thing I ever slept with was an alien,” Lois muttered, rolling her eyes and guarding her heart.

“I’m aware he wasn’t your first,” Lex purred.  “Women like you never wait.  For you, the first time was probably in the backseat of his daddy’s car.  How old were you, Lois?  Fourteen?  Fifteen?”

“You know nothing about me, Lex,” Lois growled.  “You’re just displacing your hatred of women on me.  What happened to you as a kid to make you such a misogynist?  Did the biggest tramp in school refuse to go out with you or something?”

He smiled thinly.  “Women are devious, treacherous creatures, Lois, ruled by fickle emotions instead of cold logic.  And I know enough about you to know you’re a prime example of the type.”

“You think so?”  She couldn’t let him see that anything got to her, couldn’t act hurt or frightened by anything he said.  Her only chance was to keep him talking long enough to turn the tables on him.  Long enough for Kal-El to find them.

“Oh, of course,” Lex replied.  “You fell in love with this hero and let your lust for him blind you to everything about him – including the fact that he’s an alien.  You do realize you’re lucky to be alive?  Giving birth to his spawn might’ve killed you, if they’d had their powers from the start.  And what a legacy that would be, hmm?”

“So he’s not from around here,” Lois spat, edging closer to him.  “He’s still more human than you are.  You don’t even have his excuse; you’re just a monster, a sick, warped, sad old man whose Mommy didn’t hug him enough or something.”

It wasn’t working.  Lex only smiled, circling to keep the distance between them the same.  “Such spirit, such utter ruthlessness.  You’d say anything to get the upper hand here, wouldn’t you?  You’re just like me, Lois, only you have limits.”

“I am nothing like you,” Lois replied hotly, unable to keep the vehemence out of her voice then.

“You aren’t?” Lex asked.  “May I remind you that you were perfectly willing to shoot an unarmed man in the back?  That’s cold-blooded murder, Lois.”

“That was justifiable homicide,” she hissed.  “Difference is, it was you I tried to kill.  Anyone who knew you would do the same.”

“No, no, no,” Lex corrected her.  “They’d say they would, of course.  They’d even mean it.  But when the moment came, most people couldn’t pull the trigger.  Most people aren’t killers, Lois.  You are – so am I.”

“I’m not a killer except when it comes to you,” Lois replied.  “And the city of Metropolis would give me a parade if I did.”

“You’re still just waiting for a chance to murder me,” Lex said, and knowing it didn’t seem to bother him very much.  “I find it amusing that your boyfriend is such a moralist, and you’re so very … practical.  Maybe that’s why he left you high and dry after he got what he wanted?”

Lois couldn’t keep up the illusion of being unaffected, and she knew Lex had seen the flash of hurt in her eyes.  But she tried valiantly to seem as though it didn’t matter.  “Oh, please.  Lex, you’re grasping at straws – you don’t know the first thing…”

“Don’t I?” he replied softly.  “The two of you were very cozy at his little Arctic getaway.  Had he taken you already, or were those hybrid brats conceived in the triumphant afterglow of having beaten me?”

“What the hell are you talking about?  Not everything is about you, Lex,” Lois snapped, disgusted by his insinuation.  After fighting him and the Kryptonian villains, she and Kal-El had had a lot more on their minds than celebrating their ‘victory’.  Namely, their traumatic breakup…

“Oh, Lois,” Lex chuckled.  “Did you even realize how obvious the two of you were?  The way you ran to him, that overly-long hug, and then the way you looked at each other.  He touched your cheek, and his voice was infatuated when he asked if you were all right.  If you two had been any more obviously sweet, I would’ve gone into a diabetic coma on the spot.”  Lex grinned wolfishly, seeing that he’d struck close to home.  “You must’ve been so disappointed to see what he was really like.  Barely a month later, he’s not just failing to return your calls, he’s left the entire planet.  Even I have a hard time believing you were that bad in bed.  Maybe he just wasn’t ready for the pressures of fatherhood.”

“He didn’t know,” Lois growled softly.  “He wouldn’t have left if he knew.”

“They all say that, darling,” Lex told her, making a mockery of the gentle sympathetic tone.  “Lois, you’re a smart woman – how on earth did you get yourself into a situation like this?  All he had to do was take one x-ray-aided look in your belly.  And you honestly believe he didn’t know?”

Lois clenched her teeth, refusing to rise to the bait.  That isn’t true, she reminded herself.  He wouldn’t lie to me – he wouldn’t have left me if he’d known.  Kal-El’s a better man than that.  This bastard thinks everyone’s as cold-bloodedly self-interested as he is.

Since she didn’t react, Lex twisted the knife a little further.  “What a terrible stain that would be on his heroic reputation.  But then, you did get your revenge by writing my all-time favorite article, Why the World Doesn’t Need Superman.  I loved it.”

“I love your boat,” Lois retorted, his sarcastic comment rallying her.  She hated it when people misinterpreted that editorial – it had been a wake-up call, not a kiss-off.  “This yacht’s a little rich for your blood, though.  What’d you do, Lex, swindle some old widow out of her estate?”

His smile looked friendly, but so does a crocodile’s.  “On the grand scale of things, it wasn’t much,” he admitted coolly, “but I needed the practice after prison.”

Lois nodded.  “Nice.  It’s kinda big, though, you know?  Almost looks as if you’re compensating for something.  I mean, we all know you’re phalli– oops, I meant follicly-challenged.­”

A glint of anger in his eyes, and Lex took a step nearer.  “Very amusing, Lois.  Very amusing indeed.  But you haven’t exactly had a chance to judge, now have you?  Though it can be arranged, I assure you.”

Lois saw an opportunity there.  Not a very pleasant one, but given the drift of his taunting, it might even work.  So this is what he wants.  If it saves Jason and Kala…  “Fine, Lex.  Let my kids off this boat, and you can do anything you want with me,” Lois said, though her stomach churned with nausea.  “You only need one hostage to guarantee Superman will come here.  Let the twins go.”  And though it pained her like dragging a barbed fishhook out of her flesh, she added softly, “Please.”

Lex moved even a little nearer, the gun slightly lowered.  “Anything?” he asked, an evil gleam in his eyes.

Squaring her jaw, Lois looked at him directly.  “I said anything, didn’t I?  Just let Jason and Kala go, and I’ll stay.”

Smiling like a shark, Lex murmured, “Tempting offer, Lois.  Very tempting.  However, I don’t think bedding you would be very good for my health – you might try to strangle me in my sleep.  No, much to my sorrow, I’ll have to decline.  Besides, you probably weren’t aware of it, but the engines started some time ago.  While our caped friend is distracted, we’re heading out to sea.”

Lois was still reeling from that knowledge when Lex added casually, “It’s nice to know you’d do anything for your children, though.  I suppose your protectiveness makes up for your lack of certain other parenting skills.”

She tried not to flinch, but he must’ve seen it in her eyes and bored in on that topic.  “You know, for someone who is so overprotective, you really should’ve taught them not to talk to strangers.  Kala and Jason actually made friends with one of my employees, Brutus.  Of course, there were problems.”  He was circling her again, his eyes greedy on her face, searching for signs of distress.  “The security team was chosen simply for their muscle; I paid no attention to their record.  No one knew that Brutus preferred his women young – very young.  Apparently, he attempted something with little Kala.”

Lois gasped.  She couldn’t help it.  Kala…  Oh, baby, I should have been there.  I should have been there to protect you…  And even as terror and heartbreak swept over her, rage began to well up.  If this Brutus had walked into the room, she would’ve leapt at him with only her bare hands.

Lex wasn’t done.  “Fortunately, your son intervened.  He threw a piano at Brutus – a grand piano.  Completely crushed him.  I don’t think the boy even realizes that what he’s done.” 

For one moment, Lois literally swayed with the shock of what she’d heard.  That the twins had been left alone with a child molester – and that Jason had been forced to kill the man to protect his sister – horrified her almost beyond bearing.  A piano?  He had the strength to push a piano at speed?  No wonder he was so upset when he said he had saved Kala.  Oh my God…  You monster…  How did I ever let this happen?  But Lex’s next words brought her back to reality like a well-timed slap.

“Such a wonderful mother you are, Lois,” Lex said softly, his eyes bright with the knowledge that he was finally getting deep under her skin.  “Not even seven, already your daughter’s a cocktease, and your son’s a killer.  I guess we know where they both got it from, don’t we?”

He had one instant to see the sudden fire in her eyes, and to realize that he’d stepped too close.  Then Lois leaped at him with a furious cry, grabbing the gun in her left hand with amazing speed.  He caught her right hand as she went for his throat, and they held each other pinned like that, fraught with violence.

Lex laughed softly, luxuriating in her rage and pain.  “Seems I hit a nerve there, Lois.  A little too close to the truth for you?”

Her hazel eyes narrowed.  In that blinding instant of unmitigated rage, nothing else in the world mattered except retaliation.  In that instant, it was Lex versus Lois, and she was determined to win.  Dropping his gun hand, she cocked her fist as far back as she could, popped one knuckle up, and punched Lex in the side with all the force she could muster.  You hit a nerve all right, you bastard, Lois thought as she felt bone snap, but I hit a rib.


                ... 

 

 



 
 
Latitude and Longitude: The Usual Spot, Awaiting Replies
On the Verge of: contemplativeThoughtful
Beautiful Noise: The A/C On Full Throttle
 
 
Syd Gillsydgill on May 20th, 2007 06:14 pm (UTC)
Holy Jeepers! That was amazing...absolutely amazing! Dark, but still wonderful! Poor Lois...and poor Lex, cause when Supes finds out...ohh...there is going to be hell to pay!

That was just riveting and you had me on the edge of my seat! My husband is now yelling so I must run! And now I have to wait an hour to read the next chapter! DARN IT!!! Another review coming shortly...by the way, would you also like to be reviewed over at ff.net? Because I've been reviewing over there like a madwoman...?
Loiskalalanekent on May 20th, 2007 06:21 pm (UTC)
Either would be really great, love! And don't think we're not reading them! You really surprised us with your marathon read! Congrads on getting caught up! And so quickly, too!

As for dark, yeah, it's going to be for a bit. We're finally up to our equivalent of the second EMP. And we still haven't mentioned New Krypton yet, which is coming. I promised that when this is done, nothing will break them apart.

And it takes alot to do that... ;)
Syd Gillsydgill on May 20th, 2007 08:19 pm (UTC)
Yup...Marathon reading at 1am! I'm so thrilled I'm up to speed! I loved it and I'm anxiously awaiting more!!

Nothing will break them apart huh? Wow...if that isn't a loaded statement I don't know what it is! *shivers in excitement*
Loiskalalanekent on May 22nd, 2007 05:14 pm (UTC)
Ah, but they still have a huge obstacle ahead of them, one that played a huge part in the film...and I don't mean Richard. :D
✰ ❝elliαniα❞ ĸatrine: ¤Her Precious Little Boy¤elliania on May 22nd, 2007 03:16 am (UTC)
I can't believe I'm right now writing this comment... I should be running to read the part two! But I wanted to let you know that I totally adored this first part!!!

Richard realising that Clark middle name is Joseph... priceless!! And what exactly is he guessing?? And what does Ella know?!! AH!

Lex, that sonofabitch!!
Not even seven, already your daughter’s a cocktease, and your son’s a killer.
What a monster he is!!! I used to like Lex. I always thought he was a funny and crazy badass... but you made me HATE him (which is good too! I love to hate him *wink*)

Congrats, girls! Even if I know I didn't read everything yet. *is scared*