Title: Darkest Dreams
Rating: T. HOWEVER, please note that this fic is quite dark, and does have graphic violence at certain points. PLEASE heed the "angst" warnings at the beginnings of the chapters, especially chapters 3, 8, and 9. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED BEFOREHAND! As for everything else, you won't find any bad language or…"awkward" situations in this fic.
Notes: Hello, all. I've been posting this story under the section for "Lois and Clark" the TV series, but with a mind of its own, the plot twisted and is turning into movie verse. So this starts in LnC, but slowly curves over and (if things keep going the way they are at the moment) will branch into SR, and eventually into post-SR. So I hope you enjoy.
Any encouragement, criticism, and any review as a whole (flames exluded, of course; they will be used to keep myself safe from the bitter bite of winter. Brr!) will be very good for both my self-esteem and creative juices. Thank you. I hope you enjoy it.
This story takes place shortly (very shortly) after The Green Glow of Home, in the LnC season. But if you haven't heard of LnC, please don't be frightened off because it starts in that universe. I think it makes enough sense with just the basic Superman mythos. That is, I hope it does.
Oh, yes. This story is unbetaed, so besides the characters, names, etc…everything is mine. Especially the mistakes.
Warnings: I love deep, wrenching angst of both the physical and psychological facets. If you don't like it, don't read. On the other hand, I've tried not to make this a straight-out torture-fic, even during the worst parts, and I've done my best to make the characters 3D, dynamic, and active. Most of this fic is dealing with the effects of such terrible things, rather than the things themselves, if that makes sense.
Thanks to a reviewer, I've been told it would be best if I were to add a little stronger warning. There is some graphic violence and serious pain here, people. I try not to be crude, but if you are young, easily scared, and/or dislike that sort of thing, please do yourself the favor and preserve your innocence by being very careful in moving forward. That said, for those who like that sort of thing, I hope you enjoy.
There. That's three warnings and the fic hasn't even started yet. I hope I haven't scared you all away. :D
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Chapter 1: Lois Lane's Luck
Lois had come to realize that there was something funny about her life. Now and again she would take a brief pause in the mad rush of the newsroom and life in general and look back at the experiences that had poured forward—like fate had decided to toss a steaming mass of overcooked spaghetti into the too-small strainer of her life. Well, it was a good image, she thought (she had ample experience with both over and undercooked spaghetti) but maybe not so useful in what she was trying to say.
It seemed to her that she could look back at her more recent near-death experiences and realize how lucky she really was. Had the smallest thing gone wrong—even the change of events by a single second—she would have been dead who knows how many times over. So she was quite glad that everything did indeed fit into their places so everything turned out quite well. She may not always admit it, but at least alone at home after the break of yet another news-shattering article after yet another life-threatening occasion she could rightfully believe that fate was her friend.
But she didn't realize how quickly that friend could turn her dreams into a nightmare.
The day started off quite normal, for Lois Lane. She and Clark had just got back from Smallville, and now she was perched over Perry White's desk like an indignant hawk.
"What do you mean, you still want that space-filling article about the average growth rate of cows and the pagan rites of mid-American corn-worshipping?" she demanded. "We went to Smallville and came back with a front page story about a crazy government operation gone wild. What more do you want?"
Perry leaned back in his seat to look at her. "Well, what I sent you two for, of course. Look, honey, that article's nice and all, but the whole reason I sent you to Smallville in the first place was for this, not for you to get shot at and almost killed by some fanatic from the government. I want that article on my desk by noon."
Lois opened her mouth for a retort, but Clark beat her to it.
"Right chief. We'll get right on it." He put a hand on the small of her back and guided her towards the door despite her protests. He closed the door behind them and spoke in a calm tone that drove Lois mad.
"It's not unreasonable, Lois," he ventured bravely. "After all, that was the whole reason we went to Smallville in the first place."
"Fine, Farmboy," she retorted. "We're partners, right? Well, then you can write it. You're more experienced in this field, anyway." She stopped, grimacing at the unintentional pun, and then turned on her heel, pausing only to pick up her purse from her desktop. "I'll fix all the mistakes you make when I get back."
"Where are you going?" Clark asked, immediately suspicious. It wasn't that he didn't trust Lois—okay, maybe sometimes he didn't, but that was besides the point—it was just that Lois was one of those gifted people that could be crossing a street, get knocked from behind by a random-passing android-disguised as a human woman, fall down and lose her memory only to be brought to a doctor that was trying to brain-wash their patients as assassins. Clark shook his head. Okay, so that was a little far-fetched, but the idea was there.
"Taxes," Lois bristled. "Idiot government sent me a letter saying I had to meet with some representative to get something cleared up. I tried to call them, but they're all full of complicated terms and long-winded explanations that I swear they make up to intentionally confuse us." She pulled a wrinkled letter out of her pocket and brandished it. "I'm tracking them down. One I get this figured out I'm writing a series in incompetence of government officials. I'll have another front page article ready to fly." She turned sharply towards the elevator. "We'll see how Perry likes that."
Clark winced in sympathy for whatever poor fool was set to meet the wrath of Lois Lane. Whoever it was didn't stand a chance.
The elevator doors opened and Lois stepped inside, turning only at the last moment to catch Clark's eyes again. "Have that done when I get back, Kent." The doors closed behind her.
Clark didn't move for a moment, standing beside his desk as he stared after the tornado most knew as Lois Lane. He shook his head with a smile and sat down at his desk, turning to his computer as he pulled up a word document. He had written only a couple paragraphs before a cry for help caught his attention. He didn't even take the time to close it before he was out of his seat and heading towards the door, loosening his tie as he went.
Lois was still muttering to herself as she pulled up to the curb to park next to the old warehouse that matched the address on her envelope. She stepped out of her car and frowned at the offending building, taking in the colorless grey walls before her. It was clear that the building had had perhaps a more practical use in its day, but now it was looking a bit rundown and dusty. It was fitting, she decided as she left her car and walked in the front door.
The reception area was disappointingly well-furnished: comfortable, business-like, and character-less like countless other government buildings. The lighting was stuck between a commentless too-bright and boringly dull, the wall a bland off-white, and above the practical couch for waiting there hung a typical picture of some random farm—probably in Kansas, Lois thought to herself, annoyed.
The receptionist was a pale, thin woman with pinched lips and wiry hair pulled back so tight that Lois wondered that it didn't pop right out of its bun and the seemingly tame hair would change into dangerous projectiles to innocent passerbys. Lois was sure it would qualify as a working hazard.
"Excuse me, Miss Glutwich," Lois said, noting the desk plaque bearing the bold letters "Francine Glutwich." What a perfectly awful name. "I'm here to meet with a," she checked the letter, "Mr. Logram."
"Name?" the woman drawled, not even looking up from a thick stack of papers that practically could have been written in another language if not for the rare "and"s and "the"s.
" Lois Lane."
"Sit down. It will be a few minutes."
Lois purposefully did not move to the couch to follow Francine Glutwich's brisk instructions, but stood there at the desk, hoping for some sort of annoyed reaction from the foul-looking woman. Disappointingly, however, Miss Glutwich didn't even glance at her again. The minutes ticked by, and Lois's heels began to ache from standing still. She knew she shouldn't have worn her heels today. Too prideful to sit down now even considering the wait, she let her eyes drift to the small muted TV in the upper corner of the room, where a bored-looking anchorman was pointing out the fair weather that was due for the next day, week, month, and maybe even the next month after that.
The weatherman stared dully out of the screen. Lois looked back, tapping her foot and realizing that this nice little reception area was in fact missing a vital staple—the vapid and pointless magazines that cluttered most other such waiting areas. Normally she didn't consider them worth anything but fire kindling on a cold winter night, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
She was saved as the weatherman was pushed aside for live footage of a mudslide in Peru, where Superman had just reached the scene and soon the camera was struggling to find him as he darted in and out of the mud-covered slope, hardly a blur on the camera. She allowed a small smile. At least the government had some idea of good television. She watched for a minute before looking back at Glutwich, her smile vanishing behind a glare. To think that the sour woman probably spent her free hours here staring at Superman's rescues whenever they came up on the screen. She probably lived just to see those short glimpses on the TV, but was smart enough not to show it in front of her. Lois's blood turned bitter. How dare the woman! She was old enough to be his grandmother.
A red light flashed on the desk and Miss Glutwich paused over her papers long enough to point down the hall to the right. "Room 42," she said. "He's waiting for you." She immediately dismissed Lois and went back to her papers.
Lois stared at her for a moment, a scathing retort on the tip of her tongue, but 'Francine Glutwich' didn't even glance at her again. With yet another grumble to herself Lois turned sharply down the hall, checking the room numbers as she went.
She found the room only a few doors down the hall. She stopped before the door that bore a proud plaque with a large 42, and beneath it in a more civilized font, "Dr. Philip Logram."
"Brilliant," Lois muttered. "Now they have doctors running the tax bureau. No wonder they have problems." She opened the door and stepped inside.
Dr. Logram was seated at his desk, speaking on the phone. He looked up as Lois entered and gestured towards the seat before his desk. Lois bit down on her tongue and sat down, glaring at him in hope that he might realize her impatience. It was in vain, again—the man was spouting legal euphemisms and seemed quite oblivious to her. Lois shifted, looking up into the corner of the room where yet another TV was situated. She smiled as she saw Superman there yet again. She watched him as he worked furiously, and after about fifteen minutes longer he finished. His hair was slightly mused from its usual slick style and his skin and suit were thick with dirt and mud, but he was pleased in that formal way of his. It was a miracle, but no one had died, thanks to Superman's quick work.
He waved at the camera briefly with that dazzling smile of his before disappearing into the sky above the cheers and thanks of the people, and the camera returned to the studio.
Lois was annoyed at herself to have lost track of time watching the superhero work, and the annoyance turned external as she turned to glare more furiously at the man before her. He caught her eye, gave a small smile and held up a finger. She shifted, gripping her purse in her hands and already imagining the headline of her next article: "Superman Saves Government Goons from Rabid Reporter." And the first line: "Superman's hero status has been put into question after saving a number of government representatives for taxes from a rampant Lois Lane…." She allowed herself a tight smile.
Dr. Logram finally closed his phone call and set it on his base behind him. Before he even had a chance to put a word in, Lois jumped down his throat.
"Dr. Logram, I'm Lois Lane and I received this letter stating that I had some complicated-and-very-difficult-to-describe-and-understand error in my taxes last quarter. I have waited an hour and a half. I hope this will be quick."
The doctor smiled. He was an older man—with shocking white hair, though his face was less lined than she would have expected considering. He looked friendly enough—like a kindly grandfather—and Lois braced herself. She never did trust those with the good looks. They usually turned out to be the poisonous ones.
"Ah. Miss Lane," he said. He opened his desk drawer beside him and bent over to file through it. "Thanks you so very much for waiting. I think I have your files right here. Ah, yes."
He straightened, and Lois went very, very still as she found herself blinking down the barrel of a gun.
WHOO! FIRST CHAPTER OF MY FIRST FIC EVER POSTED! REVIEW REVIEW REVIEW:D