Lois opened her eyes and saw an unfamiliar ceiling. Crap, she thought, feeling stiff and sore as if she had been sleeping in one position for a long time. She briefly wondered if she had overindulged the night before but found that her memory was foggy about last night.
She tried to sit up only to find herself naked and tied down to an operating table by padded restraints. Her chest had a thin pink scar down the breastbone. Oh, shit, she thought, I hope it's not one of those urban legends that turns out to be true. She saw that she was not in a tub of ice and didn't see a note nearby warning her to get to the hospital because they had removed an organ. Other than feeling tired and a bit achy, she didn't feel the kind of pain she expected something like that would entail. She looked around and saw that it was the only piece of furniture in the room.
Not that taking one of my organs would do anybody any good, she thought. After years of marinating them in booze and nicotine, I can't say they're doing ME much good. She struggled against the restraints, trying to free herself. She heard the door to the room open and turned to see who had opened it. She thought she saw Clark for a split second when she felt a sudden jab in her neck and couldn't resist the compulsion to close her eyes.
When she woke up again, she found herself in her bedroom. She took off her nightie and saw no scar on her breastbone. "What a whacked out dream," she sighed in relief. "I got to cut back on the tequila." It must be a mash-up of all the times I've ever been held hostage and tied up, she thought. She glanced at her alarm clock and said, "Shit, I'm late."
"You just have a certain glow. Facial?"
Lois looked up from her work computer to see the Daily Planet's film reviewer Melanie Wilcox standing near her desk. "No, Melanie."
"Hot sex . . ."
"Oh, go review Chainsaw Apocalypse 4!" she said, knowing that horror was one genre she loathed.
"See you later!" said Melanie as she walked back to her cubicle.
To be honest, she did feel good despite having a rather peculiar dream. Instead of feeling groggy, she felt rather clear-headed and full of buzz like she had already gulped down her morning coffee. Lois looked at her phone and punched in the code for her voice mail. Besides a few returned calls from potential leads, there was one that disturbed her. It was from Chloe.
"Lois . . . Oh, my God, why are you doing this!" The last sentence was more screamed than said. After swallowing, Lois listened to it again, trying to see if she heard anything in the background that could give her a clue to what could've happened and where Chloe was. She picked up her cell phone and called Chloe's home number and cell number but nobody picked up.
She went into an empty conference room, locked the door behind her and said, "Hey, Bart, it's me. Can you get into contact with Clark? It's about Chloe . . ."
The police investigated, the Justice League searched and Lois waited. Weeks passed by and there was no sign of her, not even a body. There were literally hundreds of leads but all the sightings ended a day or two before the message left on Lois' voice mail. And even the leads stopped after a while. Her computer and her notes in her computer was checked but there was no sign that she was going to meet someone or that there had been any trouble recently.
Lois thought about the first time she had come to Smallville after hearing that Chloe had been killed in the explosion. That story had a happy ending but there was no sign that this was going to have one. There was a possibility that Chloe had gone deep underground but the message Chloe had left made Lois pessimistic. Besides, what work was so secret she couldn't tell her or the Justice League?
Weeks turned into months.
At first, Lois just thought she was lucky. She didn't get the usual scrapes and sprains from plunging headlong into danger. It took having an entire building fall on top of her to realize that something was up. Trapped in the rubble, she could only wait for rescuers to find her. Clark was away on a mission of mercy to Peru. She looked at her broken right arm; part of the bone was sticking out. She was wondering how to staunch the bleeding until her train of thought was interrupted by her arm starting to repair itself. She watched with sick fascination as the arm straightened and the bone slide beneath the skin leaving no puncture wound. When the firemen and paramedics found her after eight hours, they told her it was a miracle that she was unhurt and that almost everybody else had either died or suffered major injuries. She did nothing to disabuse them of the notion by snarking that they didn't call her "Lucky Lane" for nothing.
She remembered how people in Smallville would mutate and gain new powers. She wondered if she had become one of them. It wasn't like she hadn't had exposure to a lot of kryptonite over the years, considering that small town was studded with the stuff and how many Lexcorp labs she had busted into without wearing protection over the years.
When she got home, she found Clark waiting there for her, looking tired and in a bathrobe. It was obvious he had just gotten back home and taken a shower. After she drank a glass of bourbon, she told Clark about what had happened. To her relief, he smiled, hugged her and told her that he didn't care if she was a mutant or not just as long as she was OK.
"Hey, anything for an ex," he said. "Take care of yourself."
Lois clicked off her cell phone. She felt awkward and not a little dirty for going to him to find a specialist who could examine her but she wanted to know a few things without Clark over reacting. Hospitals were places he had been taught since childhood to hate and avoid and all the accidents and injuries that had put him and his friends and family in them didn't help.
Also, he had special reason to loathe them right now. A few months ago, she had found a lump in her breast and it had freaked her out. She had seen her mother come down with lung cancer. She had seen her lose her hair, her appetite, her hope, her senses and finally her life despite a disfiguring surgery and heavy doses of radiation and chemotherapy. Even though the lump in her breast turned out to be a benign cyst; it had rattled the both of them.
After she had told him about what had happened to her arm while trapped under the rubble, Clark had discouraged her from going to a doctor, saying that it was dangerous because medical records could be hacked or stolen. However, Oliver had reassured her that this doctor was one hundred percent trustworthy and could handle anything. In any case, she remembered the dream she had before Chloe's disappearance . . . She had to know the truth.
"Why did you do this?" she said to the man who had just closed the door, the man she had shared her home and heart, the man who had done the unthinkable.
"The reason I'm a mutant isn't because my constant exposure to kryptonite. It's because someone operated on me and transplanted someone else's heart into me . . . Isn't that right, Clark?" In her mind, she wanted him to deny it all. She wanted him to act like she was crazy or that this was some horrible scheme of an enemy of his to make her turn against him because the truth was too horrible.
Clark stared at her and Lois felt the strange sensation that as long as she had known him and as much as she had learned that she didn't really know him. She had underestimated him greatly before she knew the secret and now she knew that she had greatly underestimated him after as well.
It was a long time before he said, "Remember that time you had that breast lump and you were scared to death it was cancer."
"Yeah, I remember that but it turned out to be a cyst."
"Sure . . . this time. It made me realize that the next time it could be the real thing or that it could be lung cancer next time or maybe while I'm off saving the world, you could get into a car accident or a fire. There's always something that could take you away from me. It gnawed at me every single day, every single hour."
"Is the heart beating in my chest Chloe's? Is it, you bastard?"
"It was the only way."
"Why? How could you? She loved you! She was your friend!" She became nearly nauseous as she thought about how Chloe had admired and cared about Clark. She thought about how, years ago, her cousin had pined for him. She thought about Chloe's last few seconds as she realized that the person she trusted most was going to kill her. Maybe she was even awake while her heart was being removed. "Where did you get this idea?"
"Once a man tried to transplant Chloe's heart into his wife to make her immortal."
"That's crazy." Lois wanted to cry.
Clark was eerily calm, his voice almost flat. "Yes, he was crazy but I did my research and he was right. Chloe had the ability to bring people back from the brink of death and it was her heart that was contaminated by kryptonite. Her heart is the only reason you came out of that rubble alive. I realized that if I didn't have someone who could be with me forever, I'd have to watch the one I love grow old and die, mourn and then end up trying to find someone again and repeat the process forever. I knew that if I didn't do something, I'd become even crazier than him and God knows how dangerous I'd be then. I once turned back time to save someone I loved." He smiled in a way that didn't reach his eyes. "You asked me why I did this. I did it because I love you."
She felt something new and strange for Clark and realized it was fear. "I'm not staying here. There's no way in fucking hell . . ." she said before she found herself trapped in a tight embrace and his lips on hers. She struggled against his kiss and . . .
"What?" Lois frowned because she thought she had something important to say but it had totally fled her mind.
"You said you had something to say to me."
"If you remember, we can talk about it later. How about we go to bed?"
Lois smiled. "Sure, tiger!"
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