4868/One of These Things is Not Like the Others

From Heroes Assemble MUSH
Jump to navigation Jump to search
One of These Things is Not Like the Others
Date of Scene: 25 January 2021
Location: Ace of Clubs Pub
Synopsis: Lois' doppleganger nearly kills her with a drug cocktail meant to put down a horse. Superman comes to save her just in time and they have a sincere heart to heart in the Fortress of Solitude. (Content Warning: Heavy drugs use and discussion of overdosing.)
Cast of Characters: Lois Lane, Clark Kent

Lois Lane has posed:
It was an incredibly busy morning for the Planet, so there wasn't exactly time for them to talk, but something was very off about Lois Lane. For one? She came not just to work on time, but early. For two, she's in a neat, designer sweater dress with fleece lined leggings, knee high leather suede boots, and her hair up in a neat bun. She looks like she stepped off the campus of some preppy college. When a few people asked about it, she just muttered turning over a new leaf with the new year and made excuses to get off to work. Less people are complaining because she's been more productive this morning than in most weeks. Perry's practically glowing.

But even Picture Perfect Lois needs a break and to eat sometime. So, she's escaped to the classy little pub for their shepard's pie special and a single pint of low calorie beer. She's sitting by the window, working on her tablet as she eats. She seems the model of a perfect reporter. But possibly the most concerning thing that only super human senses would pick up? She's entirely and completely sober. Not a single drug in her other than caffiene and light beer.

Clark Kent has posed:

"Chief, something's wrong." Jimmy Olsen, cub reporter and 'what if Tintin was real' club member insists, "This isn't right! And...and you know it! What if she's sick? What if it's Brainiac? Or that mime guy?"

"Blanque." Clark says, quietly writing copy at the impromptu senior Planet associate meeting.

"You sure that's spelled right?" Perry asked Clark, ignoring Jimmy's....entire body had managed to frown somehow. "Listen, Olsen, here's what I know: in a world where the only thing people want from print are top ten lists, we're on time and ready to launch for ONCE. I can PRINT. My NEWSPAPER. So Lois made a New Years Resolution, what business is it of ours?"

"Lois WROTE one of those top ten lists!" Jimmy shouts, covers his mouth on shock, but decides that, yes, he is dying on this hill. There is an awful, terrible silence.

"I'm sure." Perry says after a moment, "That we're not the people to get that kind of delicate information out of Lois even if there is something wrong. It's usually her disgrace of an old man anyway, right Kent...?"

But Clark's already gone.


Clark Kent is not exactly the crowd for the Ace of Clubs, but he's welcomed like a hero anyway. Planet regulars eat free, Bibbo says, as long as they pay on time. This is Bibbo's idea of a joke and tells you everything you need to know about him.

Clark skips the chatting, for once, which isn't unusual, "Regular college intro'vert." Bibbo explains to the regular suds, as Clark makes a quiet path for Lois.

Who looks...

Clark tips his hat. "Excuse me, Lois." Clark says, gently. "I was wondering if you'd mind if I joined you?"

Lois Lane has posed:
Looking up from her menu, there's a pause from the dark haired, picture perfect woman on her working lunch. Lois draws in a slow breath through her nose, like she was calming herself after he startled her from deep thoughts. A smile follows a moment later, "Of course, Clark. You know I'd always make time for you. I... suppose I'm ahead of things anyway. Let me buy you lunch?" She asks, strangely cheery and warm.

She's *nice*. Disconcerningly, genuinely *nice*. And she still has some of that Lois charisma locked in her, so she's not a complete stepford wife, but everything seems unsettling how warm and put together she is.

Clark Kent has posed:
It'd be reductive to say Clark was worried because Lois was being too nice. Lois could be VERY nice when she was...either not high or just high enough, and doesn't have a story between her jaws and...alright he's getting ahead of himself. It's not Lois being kind that worries Clark, or even how she's dressing. It's...

...the meakness. She's acting like, well, how HE acts. And the clear, obvious pain just under it; Clark's known Lois for ten years, and it's hard to hide anything from a Superman's eyes. But confrontation isn't only a bad idea, it's not a thing Clark Kent would do. So Clark smiles his plain white bread and strawberry jam smile, and sits down, taking care not to somehow trip over a chair.

"That'd be lovely, thank you. Is everything alright?" Clark asks, because for a second it looked like he just punched her in the stomach.

Lois Lane has posed:
It's hard not to stare. It's been a long time since she saw the man's face and having him this close is more shocking, and ache producing, than she thought it would be. Lois looks quietly down, trying to make certain he doesn't see it in her eyes as she focuses back onto the tablet where she was writing up her latest story. "Oh, fine. I was just worried Perry sent you to come and get me back. Even an ace reporter needs to eat, right? Speaking of... have YOU eaten? Please, let me get you lunch. I really can't stay long but ...I'll put it on my tab, alright?"

Clark Kent has posed:
"A tab?" Clark's shock is so sincere, for just a second, he sounds like Superman.

"Bibbo you gave her a tab?!" Clark says again, looking at his old friend.

The big man shrugs, "Listen Mis'r Kent when Ms'Lane says 'do' I just do it on account of how she helped me out of my little trouble that one time. If she wants a tab I'll gives her a tab t'not pay all respectable like."

"I." Clark rubs his nose because Bibbo. "Okay I'll take a turkey club. Perry knows you need to eat, Lois." Maybe this is revenge. Maybe finding out he was Superman broke her brain and now she's pretending to be an exaggerated girl Clark Kent in some weird Lois mission to make him want to fly directly into the sun. "I was just out for a walk and happened to see you. You've really been burning the midnight oil though, huh?"

Lois Lane has posed:
A touch of confusion crosses her features at that question, "What? No? I mean... I try not. Best to get an early start on the day, after all. The news waits for no man or woman. Better I hit quota early, anyway, then we can worry on the long term, deep investigative stuff without wondering if we got enough clicks for the day, you know?" Lois is saying all the right words. These are the words the best sort of reporters should and do say. But they are not HER words.

And then she's flashing a truly warm, grateful smile over to Bibbo, "Soon as I get my debit card back, I've got you covered, you know that, Bibbo. I'd never betray a sweet man like you."

Clark Kent has posed:
Clark in fact recognizes the logic as his own, as little as he means it. The awful truth of the office is everyone knows Jimmy's...part column, part podcast, part liveblog, part trainwreck gets them the vast majority of the clicks they need to function. Jimmy doesn't even mind; he gets to make sure the Planet focuses on news, even with LexMedia and Galaxy trying to dig in. Still, it was...funny, being the good boy to Lois's bad girl, sometimes.

Maybe karma's real, Clark thinks, leaning back a bit. Bibbo waves, happily.

"What are you working on now, if you don't mind me asking?" Clark says, a little embarrassed to realize he's slipped into mystery solving mode.

Lois Lane has posed:
The questions just make her more uncomfortable. If she had to fool anyone, it had to be Clark, and he might also be the one to know her better than anyone. Lois tries to swallow her pulse down her throat, giving him another quiet, too-cooperative smile. Generally, Lois would tell him to f*ck off, that it's her lead to break or bury and he can get his own stories. It'd be joking, but she would say it that way. This Lois looks meek and almost shy.

"Ahh...just... a small investigation into current pain doctors who seem to make their living prescribing opioids only. You know it's really a dangerous endemic in this country and if I can expose them, all the better. Especially considering what I used to... Do. New leaf and all!" There, for just one moment, is hate in her voice. Hate of those drugs. Of the way her other half lived her life. Pure hate. But it flickers just a second then is gone.

Clark Kent has posed:
The opiod epidemic has been brutal, it's true. Clark and Lois had argued a bit about drug culture before, but she had even worse things to say about the corporations that had fed what had been quietly going on for the past few years. It's a good story, even if it'll likely be passed over by the average reader, but...it's also a little safe? Though maybe Lois is holding back, Clark thinks.

No, Clark thinks, eating his sandwich. He's stopped blinking.

"Can you tell me what's going on?" Clark tries the truth, for once, just to see how it plays.

Lois Lane has posed:
That question gets a blink from her. A little color leaves her face, but she doesn't immediately spill it all out. She looks back down to her food and the turns to start shutting off and packing up her tablet. "Nothing is going on, Clark." Well, that was a lie, the skip of her heart enough to show that well and clearly. "I'm just trying to get work done. I...I think I'm going back to the office. I work better at a desk." Those things were all true, Lois dancing around the issue it seems.

"Bibbo, can...can I get a box for this? I really need to get back to the offices." She looks like she's trying to get up and out of there in a whirl wind amount of time. She's also not meeting his eyes.

Clark Kent has posed:
People often ask how someone as mild mannered as Clark Kent can get anything done in as demanding a job as high end reporting. When you're reserved and gentle, how do you get the big story? Clark is a grinder; it's actually something he and Lois have in common, though she's (usually) much louder about it. Clark takes a story and grinds and grinds at it until all that's left is a fact. And then he puts it in the paper.

The change might be eerie if you don't know him; the quiet reserve becomes confidence, the gentle probing becomes insistence, he even stands up straight, gaining like three inches of height. "Lois."

"I've known you for ten years. We've been friends, enemies, rivals, partners...and I know when you're trying to drop me." Clark says, reaching a hand out to take her's. Looking achingly like the Clark SHE lost so long ago. "Something's wrong. Are you sick? Are you in trouble? Listen, I know I'm no Superman, but you know I've got your back, right? Just talk to me, please."

Lois Lane has posed:
That settles it. Lois needs to do more research on the person she was -- the person she's supposed to be. Clark's getting uncomfortably close and Lois knows she'll be caught any minute if she continues on this way. Slight panic is now covering feelings of guilt, but that just means all of her is on edge from what he can tell. "Clark, I do *not* have time for this. Nothing is wrong. I feel better than I have in ages. I just need to get back to work."

Pale eyes flicker over to the big restaurantuer, and Lois gives a deep sigh, "Never mind the doggie bag. Food was great. We'll talk later, Bibbo. Ciao!" She's being almost saccharine sweet there. The sort of sweet someone is when they don't really mean it but does it out of habit. And then she's turning, not even looking him in the eyes, as she moves for the exit double time.

Clark Kent has posed:
Well, now Clark had a choice. He could go after Lois, and really get into it, or...

"Gosh, Mis'sr Kent." Bibbo says, already eating Lois's abandoned lunch. "I never thoutta you as a Pressing Johnny." Bibbo puts a greasy hand on Clark's shoulder, shoving the other half of Clark's sandwich into his mouth. "You need to ledda lady like Lois Lane have her freedom, you know, it's like de old saying about the butterfly, how if you let it go it'll start a hurricane and if it comes back the red sky's yours, but if it don't then thirty days till spring."

"...come again?" Clark says, adjusting his glasses.

"Don't crowd the lady." Bibbo says, and gestures. There's the sound of an explosion. Clark frowns, deeply, at his old friend, "Hafta go to the head?"

"In a manner of speaking." Clark says, already hearing a job for Superman. This, Clark thinks about the mysterious Stepford Lois, isn't over...

Lois Lane has posed:
Metropolis is a large city, often filled with bits of chaos and issues that pop up screaming for Superman's attention. Thousands upon thousands of people going about their every day lives, trying to live normal, comfortable existences, knowing that the man in blue will take care of them when this get messy. But, for this day, the person who is deep in the mess is someone he knows well. And he might not have even realized it if her replacement had played her cards just a little better.

Drugs, the messy other side of Lois' not quite put together life, are part of what her doppleganger hated the most. Why did *this* woman get such a good life when she, little miss perfect, came from that hellscape? So, she'd lured her to where Lois can be her worst self. It's commonly referred to as a 'shooting gallery'. Usually an abandoned building, or a flop house, where people can use in peace and quiet then either wake up on a mattress somewhere or die in peace. The other woman's plans? Drug her up hard enough, swap clothes, IDs, everything, and leave Lois to die on a stained mattress in the bag of a building, surrounded by other druggies, a nameless statistic.

That's where Lois is now. She's in clothes that aren't hers, ragged and stained, something probably gotten off the street. She's trying to fight through whatever the woman gave her, but no one is really paying attention to the fever dream ramblings of a homeless looking addict. Only her still glossy brown-black hair and glasses mark her as anything but someone drowning under the country's drug problem.

Clark Kent has posed:
It wasn't anyone too awful. A few arsonists who got a little ahead of themselves, and their home made bomb went off. Out of all the reasons for there being a random explosion in Metropolis, Superman decided to take that as a 'gimmie'. At least it wasn't Krull, or Nucleon, or...

"Riot." Superman says, which confuses the hell out of the firefighters he was half listening to. "Damn it."

The Superman rips into the air after a, "Up!" and a, "Up and away!" to make sure no one lost their minds. Clark isn't feeling cheerful right now, because he knows a place where there are strange, inverted, angry doubles of everyone he knows. A planet he thought he'd saved. But evil never really dies in their world, does it? Damn it, he's going to have to tell Kara. He's...

Superman stops thinking, for a moment, closing his eyes and simply listening. It's maddening, hearing the beating heart of the human hive they call a city; every missed opportunity, every lost chance, every broken heart, every dead end. Everyone he could be helping. Clark has to focus, slowly, agonizingly, on a familiar voice, a familiar pattern of breath, and...

"Lois." Clark says, and Superman rockets into Suicide Slum. He's had dreams like this; nightmares where he saw Lois on the bed of some crack den, having finally gone too far for a story, or tweaked the wrong dealer, or just succumbed to whatever demons have been riding her for as long as he's known her. You can't get angry, Superman reminds himself, already feeling the air start to ripple and tear as he flies too fast for civilian space. Forcing himself to slow down, Superman's eyes glow as he looks amid the slums and flop houses of the shadow of Metropolis, searching for his best friend.

Lois Lane has posed:
It's not really a place Lois often comes. A few times, when she was desperate for a hit or a story, but it's not a place she comes on a weekday morning. And certainly not dressed like this. Someone put her here, and she's been here longer than that strange lunch. Probably longer than the whole work morning. He'll eventually happen upon the place -- a three story townhouse that is half condemned, only the back staircase even functional, all the front windows boarded up.

There's old, ratty mattresses and blankets in most corners of the floors that haven't collapsed in on themselves. The whole place smells the the sickness that the drug epidemic is. There's not even running water in the place. Lois' scent is a bit unique, clean from a shower yesterday and not as long term sick as a few of the others sleeping it off in the place. But there's old clothes on top of it and whatever her doppleganger shot her full of in her system.

Hell, she's probably only alive (and barely that) because she has used so many things under the sun. Eventually, people develop tolerances, and that's give her the time to fight back against what her replacement thought would be a lethal dose. But she's stopped even trying to fight to be awake. It's just gotten too hard...

Clark Kent has posed:
Clark remembers his first days in Metropolis living in places like this, fighting FunnyFace inc and Councilman Sneedly. The stink of poverty, the pain of desperation. The golden glow of the living human soul, dimmed and tarnished by the years of living hard. Sometimes it's hard being friends with a billionaire, even knowing how much Bruce gives, because he knows why Bruce gives. Clark looks up at the tallest building in town, casting a shadow right over the rat hole he grew up in.

"You could fix this in a day if you gave a damn." Clark says to LexCo Tower, sneering, arms crossed.

He can hear her heartbeat, slowed, weakened. He can smell her, even, though that's a power Clark rarely advertises because frankly ten seconds of talking to Wolverine tells you how creepy it sounds. The Superman walks through the broken doors, not even bothering to acknowledge one hallucinating junkie who swung a chair at him; the piece of furniture shatters and the little man stumbles back, shocked at his reality.

No one else dares make a move, so Superman just walks to...yes, he thinks, looking at the waking nightmare. Lois. "Hey." Superman says, gently, not sure if she can even hear him. "I've got you." Clark's eyes glow an alien light as he looks inside of Lois, his vision going microscopic as he tries to identify just what she's been pumped full of. It's nothing he recognizes from scent alone.

Lois Lane has posed:
The sound of a chair shattering is enough to cut through the dive into unconsciousness that Lois' mind has been slowly fighting all morning. She doesn't even really move, but there's something still there in her brain. Aware. Trying to fight back with every last inch she has because she's Lois-Fucking-Lane and some preppy bitch from another universe isn't going to get the best of her. But it's hard, full of this much poison and with a body ready to give up.

But then his voice is there. Reassuring. Solid, steady. A promise of something better. Lois isn't even sure if he's actually there or she's just hallucinating the best thing in the world to her, but her head slightly turns in his direction..."...Kal?" She rasps out, faint enough it's unlikely anyone else heard of it. But it might be strangely warming that, even drugged as she is, she goes to *his* name. His real one. That's who he is in her mind.

Whatever they shot her full is awful. Heroin as a base, so narcan alone might get her out of it, but there's a mix of two other depressants and something that is essentially a rufie. This was a very careful set up to look like an overdose with bad drugs. Lois was just too tough to fall to it.


Clark Kent has posed:
"Great Scott." Superman says. It's a complicated poison, and the best chemist he knows is busy. Joker's out, Bruce isn't going to be available. He's Kryptonian, earth poisons shouldn't be a problem, but...

Rao why did the last son of krypton have to be a jock?, Clark thinks, wordlessly scooping Lois up. Who is he going to get to help with this? "Kelex." Clark says, nodding to himself. The little robot was their best hope, but...would Lois survive the flight? Superman frowns, and shrugs his cape off, wrapping it around her. It was bad, she was dying, Lois couldn't...

"No." Superman says, and kicks into the air, smashing a hole through the roof as he doesn't have time for earth DOORS.

"Wow." A bloated drunk says, leaning up from his mattress, "Jesus was in a real mood wasn't he?"

Hurtling through the air, Superman tapped into the solar shielding that constantly covered his body, forcing it out just a little bit, feeling the strain of his own power struggling against the laws of physics. Lois will feel, if she can feel, warm; like the sun is suddenly her friend, as they fly through the air to Superman's Fortress of Solitude and the hope of a doctor.

Lois Lane has posed:
Lois is still breathing. Still faintly moving, at least, as she feels those familiar arms scoop her up and instinctively she tucks her body a bit closer to him. She's not the uncomfortable feeling of completely dead, boneless weight in his grasp which is a good sign. But she's slowly getting there. Today, there's no familiar wrap of her arms around his shoulders or spilling muttering of thanks. Or even the gentle kisses that had started to become a part of their lives as they figured out what dating was like. She's simply pressing her head into his chest, tucking against the only place in the world she feels safe, and trying to hold on.

By the time they are there, she's limp and deathly pale, only warm because of the sun on the journey and his body. Her heart still beats, but it's not even entirely clear if she's still breathing. Fortunately, he's got some brilliant doctors on staff, and even human medicine has dealt with such things for years. He's probably got her there in time, but it's going to be a terrifying few minutes while the robot works its initial save.

Clark Kent has posed:
Yeah maybe a hospital would've been smarter. Maybe Clark panicked. Maybe flying to the arctic was dumb.

But then Clark thinks of how many times doctors he trusted have poisoned people on Lex Luthor's order.

Clark just looks at her and his pet robot as if this is going to do anything worthwhile; he remembers, briefly, that poor woman Luthor drugged up and turned into some kind of virus based super villain who thought she was saving people by poisoning them. He can't even remember her name, she killed herself once she realized what he'd turned her into.

"Toxin. Little Jenny Vaughan." Superman remembers, sitting in a cold crystal chair in a museum to a dead world and two giant statues of dead people. The most living woman he's ever met is lying there, at the mercy of an old robot who sometimes assumes he's just warming up to the idea of conquering the planet.

Clark holds his head in his hands, just breathing for a minute.

Lois Lane has posed:
Fortunately, the first answer is a fairly easy one, little old robot or not. A shot of naloxone will get the worst of it out of her, and the little machine can probaby even counter a few other things. But it's only a little time after that first dose is given that Lois' breath comes again more ragged and even. Eyes fly open the moment consciousness hits her, dizzy panic half setting in as she gulps in a few more ragged breaths, just trying to get the room to stop spinning.

Is she dead? She must be dead. She's never been in a place like this before, at the top of the world, on a medical table she doesn't know. She tries to still the panic in her slowly waking up system, but being certain she's dead isn't really helping. "...Shit...shit... I didn't... I have more work to do... this is... not what I thought death would be... shit... Why is there a...robot here..."

Clark Kent has posed:
"Never doubt the potency of Kryptonian medicine, master!" Kelex tweets as Lois starts to come to, "If only we had a little blue kryptonite I'd be able to synthesize something that'd really knock her socks off! And then make them into better socks!"

"There's no Blue Kryptonite." Superman says, being super wrong again today. "Does she have enough oxygen?"

"Humans need oxygen?" Kelex says, slightly snooty as he injects something else into Lois that is glowing, green, and feels like mainlining a passion fruit. It helps a bit with the spinning. "The House of El always had a gift for stating the obvious."

"Lois." Clark decides to ignore the little robot as stepping on it isn't an option. "Lois, it's me, it's Clark. You're...safe. This is my space dad's robot butler. ..okay I know that sounds dumb, but I promise you're safe. Just breathe."

Lois Lane has posed:
Whatever the strangely oblong, snooty robot has given her definitely seems to help, Lois' eyes a bit easier focusing on the strange butler robot for a moment, and then they jerk back to the voice she would know anywhere in the world. Clark. Kal-El. He's here, next to her, and no matter how strange the room is it probably means she's not dead. She lets out a breath of quiet, stunned relief, her head lulling back onto the pillow a moment as she processes the fact that she's somehow not dead.

"...God, Clark... You're here. I'm probably not dead, and you're...here." Her hand reaches out for him, desperately grasping for his hand and then she's holding on as tightly as mortal strength can allow. She just hugs his arm against her, the rest of her body still weak. Shaking. But alive. "...I swear, I didn't... do it. I didn't want to go there...to use...that stuff. I know better. I do... I didn't do it on purpose, I promise..." She starts spilling out, the strangest mix of guilt and relief choked up in her throat.

Clark Kent has posed:
Clark still isn't quite sure what to do with a sobbing Lois Lane; they'd been in deadly danger together before, but outside of little slips...

...but how close, and how personal has it been before? Superman can only think of a few times. How many times had she needed someone to be there after a particularly harrowing adventure? Some friend he is.

No time to be in your head, Clark thinks, letting Lois cling to him (it's a bit of an awkward position) and running a hand through her hair in what he hopes is a soothing move. "I know. I know! You're smarter than that, Lois. I...did that other you do it?" Maybe kind of a work question, but Lois might also be relieved at the confirmation that it wasn't all a hallucination. "It's alright, you're safe, the only things here are Kelex and those weird robots I built."

"COFFEE OR TEA." A Superman robot with a weird metal skull instead of a face asks.

"Come on, Number Eight." Clark says.

Lois Lane has posed:
This isn't exactly the most romantic or relaxing space Lois has ever been in with him, but he's *here* and she's seemingly not letting go of his hand, not for the life of her. Pale eyes flutter shut as she feels his fingertips combing through her hair and just listens to those reassuring, somewhat calming words. Even if he also sounds like he's on the edge of some sort of break down. She lets her fingertips loosen just a bit, so she can bring his hand up to her cool lips and press a kiss against his knuckles. He really is here, and she's really not going to die.

She just wishes those quiet tears would stop. "...yeah. I didn't realize who...she was at first. Just saw this chick who looked like me at a bar, funny concidence, we started drinking... she gave me something... Fuck, I was stupid." And she's practically jumping out of her skin as the robot offers coffee or tea. Still on edge, a shaken mess from it all. But she seems stable enough, breath steadier along with her pulse which isn't near so stringy. Whatever his robot did, it worked.

Clark Kent has posed:

"He's got a little crush on you." The absurd nature of his life, Clark reflects, makes for a bad source of reassurance. The faceless robot has a crush on you. Superman moves a little so he can actually give Lois a proper hug, pulling a handkerchief out of his cap to hand to her.

It's red, with a little 'S' on it. "Gag gift from Wonder Woman." Clark says, blushing a little. "So she drugged you...and then stuck you with whatever Kelex just purged from your system. And she's trying to take over your life; the whole office is trying not to freak out about her."

A white lie? No, not really; the chief basically ordered him to go, as much as he'll never admit it.

Lois Lane has posed:
A little less shaken now, most of her levelled out and almost feeling normal other than that clammy sweat across her brow, Lois is happy to sit up a bit straighter and momentarily let go of his hand so she can wrap her arms around him. She holds on tight, head burying itself into his neck, like she could almost hide away from the world against him. She takes in a deeo breath of his scent and lets one hand come free so she can accept the kerchief, brushing at her cheeks.

"It's...sweet. You're old fashioned enough for a kerchief...I think it's sweet of her." She mutters gently as she sees the S on the cloth. The little silly things are easier to focus on than what just happened to her. How close she came to not waking up again. She curls her knees up into her chest, just leaning against him now. She's still chilly to the touch.

But he's asking, and he did just save her life. She exhales quietly into his throat, "...yeah. she said some washed up druggie like me...didn't deserve that life. She could do more with it. Hell...maybe she was right but..."

Clark Kent has posed:
"No." Clark says, firmly. SUPERMAN says, there's no debating what voice that is. "No I don't believe that. You can't steal a life, even if you are someone's copy. You're the Lois Lane here, and how Lois Lane's life works out your call."

Clark pauses, thinking of Conner and all of THAT baggage. He wished he had better things to say when he first showed up, poor kid. Clark lets Lois curl up, but keeps a cautious arm around her, as if some part of him thought she was going to dissolve into mist. Is this what it's like? Every time he flies home after being crucified by some alien wizard on television?

"If she wants a life away from that monster, fine, but it'll have to be her own. And this..." Superman scowls, furious for a deadly minute before relaxing a little, letting out a long, slow breath. "Lois I was scared to death."

Lois Lane has posed:
His arms around her seem to help more than anything. He's warm, solid, and completely steady. He's the man she's known and loved for years and not even realized it. Lois presses in a bit closer to him, letting her eyes shut so she can even ignore the robots in the room, just focus on being with him and being able to easily breath for the first time in hours -- it's grounding. Steadying.

"I know... I know that I... decide my own life. What she did was... fucked up. Really fucked up. Even if she's a...better person..." Saying that alone makes Lois shiver a bit, a strange mix of guilt and discomfort in her voice. "I didn't mean to scare you... I...I'm better than that. The stuff I do...it...It's not that bad, I swear..."

Clark Kent has posed:
"Lois, I work with John Constantine." Clark says, and it's kind of a relief to be able to admit this kind of stuff to her, still wild and new. Then he realizes she may have no idea who that is. "Wizard. Does drugs like the 80s never ended and track marks weren't real. Look, I'm not going to pretend like I haven't thought of the possibility of finding you in a situation like that, but Clark Kent's a well known worrier."

"Also I don't think you ever tried to murder anyone with super-heroin so you could steal their life." Superman says, and he realizes it's a bit reductive but Lois might actually need to hear that now, that she's not exaggerating what awful thing just happened to her. That it was real and wrong. "I talked to her for about five minutes over lunch before she freaked out and ran off, so I don't know much about the woman. From what I saw of her world...I don't think it was a very good place. Conditions can make monsters out of people."

"Some people." HIS Lois, he never worried about anything other than a few misdemeanors in the name of journalism.

Lois Lane has posed:
The comment about Constantine's habits is the first thing to make Lois laugh since this happened, but she does chuckle softly. "Sounds like you gotta introduce me to this friend of yours. We'd have a proper night on the town, I bet." Not in a flirtatious way, just in that Lois needs a few more bad idea friends and Constantine sounds like the best sort of bad idea. The laughter helps, though, her shoulders relaxing a bit more against him.

"And no... I'll kill someone if I gotta, like...If they are trying to kill me, but hell, I couldn't even do that to her. SHe just looked so...perfect and put together. It didn't seem like it could be...happening. None of it seemed real and the drugs felt...so good..."

Clark Kent has posed:
I've made a huge mistake, Clark thinks, but grins at the laugh. She's starting to recover.

The drugs are so good. That's the part Clark's never undersood, because, well, he can't. Superman can't even get drunk! As far as Clark knows, at this time, there's no real way for him to get inebriated or otherwise lose control of himself that doesn't come in a deadly radioactive package. He's tried to be understanding, patient, supportive, or just cowardly putting off The Drug Conversation until, like, they could have a normal week together as normal people. But that didn't happen.

"I wish I could understand." Clark says, after a minute, perhaps because of their honesty pledge. "Every time I haven't been in control of myself it's just been a waking nightmare. I also wonder how many of those feelings weren't your own. There were compounds in that solution I couldn't recognize, Lois. They might've been alien, or at least extradimensional."

Lois Lane has posed:
A slight shake comes to her head, though he can practically feel her getting slightly smaller in his arms, slightly curling away from him, her eyes on the floor. This is not a conversation she ever wanted to have with him either, though it's a facet of both of their lives. "No...god, Clark, I never... Ever want you to understand. To... go to sleep and wake up knowing you'd feel better if you just took a little hit of *something*... to dream about it when you... you can't get it. To not be able to shut off that *need*...want... Whatever you do? I never want you to understand. Sure, she gave me some fucked up shit, but I've been digging that grave for years... I know... why she said what she did. And I've got myself under control. I *do*. But...I never want anyone ot feel this."

Clark Kent has posed:
Clark feels like a freaking alien. Why would he even say that?! But what else can he say?

Maybe nothing. He can't fix this, he can't grab it by the throat and throw it through a wall, or burn it away with a blast of his super-vision. And even if he did, would he be any better than Lois's dopple? Clark doesn't want to fix Lois, he just wants her to be safe and happy, and that's a heartbreaking challenge at times. He's Superman, it's infuriating feeling powerless.

But he's Superman, so he faces the challenge. "Hey."

Clark leans in and kisses Lois's forehead. "You're okay. And you were very brave. You fought what she did to you as hard as you could, Lois. You wouldn't have made it here if you weren't fighting the entire way."

"Do you want to get out of here?" Clark pauses. "Not the fortress, we should probably give your body at least a night before using a teleporter or a flight back, but like I have a more comfortable place to sit than an exam table."

Lois Lane has posed:
As he starts muttering those ground, reassuring words, some of the panic and guilt that threatened to reach up in her throat suddenly tamps down. It's like he knew the exact things to say, the things she *really* needed to hear to mentally piece through the mess of what happened. Lois takes in a deeper, slower breath, then turns her head and presses a gentle kiss to the side of his neck. "I just kept thinking...if I could hold on a little longer, I knew you'd come. I couldn't move, couldn't get off that bed. Hell... felt like I couldn't breathe almost, but if I kept fighting...You'd be there." And she was right. He was.

"I wasn't going to let you find me giving up. So, I held on." She pulls back just enough she can look up to his eyes, giving him a somewhat pale, but earnest smile. She was always going to fight for him, even if that meant just fighting until he could save her life. "...yeah. A more comfortable room and maybe...less helpful robots...would be nice?" SHe admits with a tired, hiccupy little laugh.

Clark Kent has posed:
"I never worried about you giving up." That is the fundamental truth; Superman worries more about not being able to get there in time than Lois Lane quitting. He looks a little sheepish, then. "Krypton loved robots, I guess." Superman says, "I don't know how much I approve of the economics, but they're indefensible for maintaining the place. Man, I haven't shown you around here much, have I?"

Superman is tempted to scoop her up but realizes she might want to walk. Compromising, Clark stands up and offers her a hand; he can turn it into a one handed lift easy enough if she's too weak to stand, and just a gentlemanly boost if she wants to walk. "There's the workshop, I have a little archive of Kryptonian stuff I've found over the years, trophy room, the zoo..."

Lois Lane has posed:
It's a little slow going for her, as much out of wariness as it is actual weakness. The cocktail the helpful robot gave her actually has done a pretty damned good job of clearing her head, and most of what is left is emotional shock and exhaustion. Lois still wraps one arm around Clark's, slightly leaning against him as they make their way out of the medical room and into the large, lonely place. Her pale eyes go a little more wide as she starts looking around.

"No, we haven't been dating all that long, and my best friend certainly couldn't swing me by Superman's secret fortress without having a LOT of explaining to do..." Lois teases lightly, sounding a bit more like herself. She's happy to move on from the fear of the whole situation. She's alive. They're together. That's all that matters. ANd, of course, she's Lois Lane. She's curious as hell about this place.

Clark Kent has posed:
Lonely's a good word for the place. It's a mix of Clark's fastidiousness and Superman's inability to do anything half way. The main all is dominated by a massive state of two Kryptonians holding a planet up, looking up at the stars; there are a number of strange, wonderful relics on display, a massive chess board with images of Clark's friends and enemies not set against each other, bur sharing the board, a giant penny with the Joker's face on it, "THE BAD PENNY: GOOD FOR ONE CRIME", the actual Titanic or some similar doomed ocean wreck that Clark seems to be reconstructing in his spare time, a space shuttle, a strange floating bubble with a note on it that says 'DON'T TOUCH: MYSTERY SUPERMAN OF THE FORBIDDEN FUTURE". Everything seems strewn about, but if you follow the strange, clear crystal designs you can see a sort of order to it.

Clark guides Lois towards a much more human looking reading room; the books are strange crystal pads that work like ipads if people were serious about making them comfortable to use, there's a couch and a few overstuffed armchairs, and a lemon ginger tea's been heated up and served.

Lois Lane has posed:
As Lois quietly walks through his fortress, her arm tightens progressively against his arm. She could never really hold him too tight, he's simply too strong for that, but she's practically hugging his side by the time they are finished going through the archives. And she's not missed the fact there are no other humans here. Robots? Yes. But he seems perfectly isolated from organic company and that makes something tighten in her chest.

"...God, Clark...how long have you...Kept this place? Is there anyone else here? You...don't spend much time here, do you?" Lois asks, her tone more concerned than anything. She always expected how lonely he was, especially since she found out his secret, but seeing all this lands it home in a far different way.

Clark Kent has posed:
Clark looks a little embarrassed; showing your giant man-cave to a friend is always a bit of a trick. "Well, it all started when I got access to the ship that brought me here's special features. A recording of Jor-El, Kelex, and some Krrptonian crystal capable of being shaped into...well, anything. I thought it'd be a good idea to have a place where I could store all of the strange things I'd found even in my early adventures. Dangerous stuff I wasn't sure if Uncle Sam was ready for, or things I didn't under stand. This was ages before the research pact with STAR Labs."

Superman pauses for a moment, leading Lois to a chair and pouring her a cup unless she begs off. Hot drinks are important when you're sick, which is basically how he's rationalizing this whole thing until he can figure out what exactly anti-Lois stuck his Lois with.

"Eventually it became a kind of an outlet? Sometimes I like to make stuff, I guess, and this is a woodshed about the size I need. Supergirl, Superboy, Power Girl, they all have rooms but mostly use it for formal Kryptonian stuff or if the Fortress's resources are needed. Most of the League hasn't even been here, honestly, but it serves as an address when people need to think of Superman having a place he sleeps."

Lois Lane has posed:
The tea is accepted, probably the cleanest, most healthy beverage that she's had in a long time. It's coffee, booze, or more. She accepts it and takes a deep, long gulp of the tea, letting the warmth of it pour through her as she sinks down into the chair. "No. Couch. You, me. Couch." Lois, even still a bit in shock and just back from the dead, is still more than a little bossy. She stands and drags both him and tea over to the more comfortable couch, where she can sink down and settle with him together, more easily.

Then she processes what he's said. She's a little more relaxed when he says some of the others come here, very glad to hear he's not stuck here all alone. "I...I'm glad it's not just you. I'll want to read everything when I feel more... myself. But, I'll admit, I think I like your bed back in Metropolis more. But I might be a little biased, since that's the first place we ever slept together..." SHe admits with at tired, wry smile in his direction.

Clark Kent has posed:
Superman either doesn't pick up on or doesn't understand Lois's worry. He's fine! He sometimes needs a place to be alone and build weird monuments to dead people it's perfectly healthy on Krypton.

That excuse has lost its potency as actual Kryptonians keep showing up, Clark thinks, sipping his own tea. He's a sucker for sweet drinks, but something nice and warm is what's needed even in this perfectly controlled environment. The snow's out THERE and the mind plays tricks.

Clark sits on the couch and Lois talks about that night and she gets her second blush of the evening. "I admit I've been warming up to my place in Metropolis lately." Clark says, looking into his tea because GOSH he KISSED A GIRL. "It used to really just be a box I slept in. I am glad I sprung for a better mattress than what came with the place."

Lois Lane has posed:
The dark haired woman carefully shifts herself so she can drape her legs over his lap and lean against the couch's arm, which lets her look up to his face a little easier but still be in a lot of contact with his body. Lois would never call herself a needy person but, right now, she's a little more touchy than normal. It's been a long day.

"Well... if you like this place as home more, you'll just have to bring me back here a bit more often. But you have a very nice box in Metropolis and...hell. I wasn't going to let her kill me, Clark. We finally started figuring our shit out and I'd like at LEAST a few months of happiness before things go wrong. I haven't even met your parents yet and horrified them."

Clark Kent has posed:
"Oh I wouldn't call this place home. It's a club house and a part time headquarters. I..." Clark pauses for a second and realizes he has no idea what 'home' is despite sort of having three of them. Well. Leave it to Lois to drop a bomb like that in his lap.

"They'd love to meet you. They've been asking me to bring my friends down for years. I'm not sure if Ma really gets the whole secret identity thing..." Clark trails off, remembering a few proposed Thanksgivings she'd sent his way. It would be kind of nice getting everyone he knows under one tent for a meal, though. Physically, Clark is letting Lois take the lead here, content to be a life sized teddy bear if that's what's getting her through the evening. Clark certainly tries to keep in some physical contact with Lois, being a bit needy himself if he's willing to admit it after what happened, but she's the one who had the near death experience.

"This is probably the worst possible time, but I do need to tell you something. About Krypton." Clark says, looking at the ceiling. "Supergirl thinks she's found evidence of a piece of it surviving."

Lois Lane has posed:
Lois was just settling in to get comfortable enough she might be able to dip off to sleep with a few gently murmured words concerning his family, "Then...maybe we take a weekend off next month and fly out there. See your family. Just... really take a bit of time." Did a near death experience actually make her a little more wholesome? Or maybe she just realized how short life might be.

But her eyes widen more as she hears the comment about Supergirl. Her head picks up in a bit of shock, looking up to handsome eyes as she tries to process what he's said. "...what... What does that mean? Are people alive... on it?"

Clark Kent has posed:
Wow, that sounds...great. Clark smiles a little, at the half asleep girl in his arms, talking about visiting his folks. Finally bringing their lives together. He should've dropped the lie years ago, he thinks. How many years of having an actual friend had he been missing?

And then he goes and ruins it. "We don't know. It's a lot of guesswork. That Green Lantern, Sinestro, he's helping me out." Clark trails off. "His bosses might not like it, apparently they had issues with the Kryptonians during their expansionist days, but he says he can help us get a ship that'll pick up on the trail Supergirl found in a week."

Traveling light years in a week is enough of a feat that even Superman has to take it in. "I don't know if it's real and I don't know if I want it to be real. Outside of my family every Kryptonian I've met's been kind of a jerk. But I've got to try, you know? For Kara's sake if nothing else."

Lois Lane has posed:
Still a little drowsy eyed, Lois isn't letting herself drop off to sleep until they finish talking about this. She might be a druggie, and a bit of a paranoid conspiracy head sometimes, but she's a good partner. That much has shown through in just their few weeks together, and it's certainly not changed for the mess of tonight. She takes one last sip of her tea and then sets it aside, so her fingertips can come up and comb back through his hair.

"A week. So...you'll be gone at least two, if not a bit longer. I'll have to cover for you with Perry, but I can manage that. I covered for Terry for, like..two months. I can buy you a few weeks. And I know it'll drive you crazy if you don't go...so... Go. Just be careful for me, please? Just... come back. That's all I ask. Promise me that."

Clark Kent has posed:
This is a part of his life now, isn't it? Superman can't just shrug off Lois's concern because he knows exactly how terrifing it is to know your partner might be dead. Look what HE did.

"I'll come back. I promise." Superman says, and smiles, winking. "It's space. Worst case scenario, Mongul grabs us and Power Girl gets to work out some of her frustration on War World's pay per view."

He notices Lois is getting sleepy, and with a bit of super-vision, turns on some soothing music, intending to let her doze off. It has been, indeed, a long day.

Lois Lane has posed:
"...yes, but as you've say, every other Kryptonian you've met has been sort of a jerk. So... if there's even a handful of them and they are assholes? Just... be careful. That's all I'm asking." Lois whispers, but she trusts him when he promises he's going to come back and that's enough to help start shutting off the fretting in the back of her mind. She's exhausted, body and soul. Fighting hours upon hours for one's life, even if it's half passed out on a dirty mattress, is exhausting.

Here's she's safe, warm, feels healthy, and in the arms of someone she knows will keep her safe. It's a matter of minutes before her body goes gently lax in his arms again, breath deep and even. She's out cold and comfortably sleeping now.