DISTRIBUTION: Twisting the Hellmouth, Lois and Clark Archive
CROSSOVER: Lois and Clark
SUMMARY: In her time of greatest need, Lois Lane hears a voice asking "Are you ready to be strong?" Now she must deal with the consequences, while investigating the collapse of Sunnydale and dealing with her new partner Clark Kent.
DISCLAIMER: I don’t own the characters. They belong to a lot of people who aren’t me. I don't own Buffy, or Lois and Clark.
Scrubbing at the blood on her hands, Lois stared at herself in the grimy bathroom mirror. In the harsh neon glare of the bathroom light she looked pale and washed out. The bruises on her face were already fading and the swelling was slowly going down.
She closed her eyes for a moment and flinched as a flash of memory came over her. The sensation of her hands crunching bone was something that was going to haunt her nightmares for a long time.
Lois Lane had been sure she was going to die tonight. In a way, she almost wished she had.
Of all the risks she’d taken, this one shouldn’t have been any different than the others. Somehow it had.
She never would have gotten out alive if it hadn’t been for the voice.
“Are you ready to be strong?”
The voice had rung out in her ear even though no one had spoken the words. Somehow, it had compelled her, drawn her in, given her strength that she never would have imagined her having.
That strength had kept her alive, but it had come with a price.
She was going to have to live with what she had done for the rest of her life.
Lois felt as though she was walking through a dream. She’d double checked her makeup and the swelling of her right eye was barely noticeable. The bruises had already faded with an unnatural speed.
She looked professional as always, and she held herself erect. There was no reason that anyone else had to know about her own personal hell. They already avoided her. The people at the office only tolerated her because she got results.
Risks had carried her to three Merriweather awards, and her current story might get her nominated for a Pulitzer. For someone who was only twenty six, it was an impressive resume.
Risk had carried her to the top, and it was only now that Lois found herself wondering if it had all been worth it.
The story she had in her hands might win her a Pulitzer, and the thought of it should have filled her with joy. Instead, all she felt was numb.
Her hands still shook when she wasn’t paying attention.
She walked through the Bullpen, wondering when everything had gotten so quiet. The place was almost deserted, although she could hear the television blaring from the conference room.
She stepped through the door, to find a crowd of people who had their eyes glued to the television.
The picture of a massive crater, dwarfed by the tiny trucks and vehicles parked by the rim was stark, as were pictures of refugees huddled in busses.
She saw Perry White, her editor get up silently and slide around the periphery of the room. He stepped outside the conference room and said in a low voice, “Where have you been honey? I’ve been worried about you.”
He stared at her, and Lois had a sense that she wasn’t fooling him with all the makeup.
“I’ve got the gunrunning story. I just got back from the airport.”
“From the Congo?”
“I flew through London.”
She hadn’t bothered to try to sleep, knowing that it would be useless. Instead, she’d used her time productively, writing story after story that would be the end of these men.
What they did to people was a crime.
“I have the proof to nail them to the wall. I’m going to have the story that’s going to…”
“Give me what you have. The rest you’ll have to finish up on the plane,” Perry said. “I almost sent the new hire out on the Sunnydale story by himself.”
“The crater back there. It was a town in California with a population of thirty eight thousand. Nobody seems to know what happened.”
“Terrorists?” Lois asked. The only thing she could think of that would do that kind of damage was a meteor impact, or an underground nuclear detonation. The Meteor strike would have been observed.
Perry shrugged. “Keep your traveling clothes together, and I’ll have you on a flight with your new partner.”
“Partner?” Lois scowled. She’d tried having partners in the past, but it had never worked. She’d always ended up driving them away.
In the end it had become clear to her that she worked better alone. No one else was willing to take the risks she did.
“He’s just the man we need for this.” There was a strange certainty in Perry’s voice that worried Lois.
Perry gestured, and a handsome man smoothly rose from his seat and smiled at her.
Lois fought to keep from scowling again. She hated handsome men. They were full of themselves and they generally weren’t all that bright either.
“Clark Kent, I’d like you to meet Lois Lane.”
“Let’s get things straight before we go any further,” Lois said as he packed the last of the suitcases in the back of the taxi, making it look effortless. With her newfound strength, which seemingly hadn’t gone away, Lois could have matched that feat, but she was still impressed.
“You like to be top banana,” Clark said, interrupting her. “You call the shots, and I look and learn.”
Lois frowned. “You’ve been talking to people at the office?”
“I watch people,” he said. “Sometimes I can be a pretty good judge of character.”
“Well, I also don’t like being interrupted. I’m the top banana, and I’m the lead reporter on this. You are the new man here, the low man on the totem pole. Where did you say you were from again?”
“I didn’t.” Clark opened the door for her, and gestured for her to get in. The cabbie inside looked bored.
“Let me guess. You come from one of the red states in the middle of the country. You are a country boy, and you still think it’s polite to rise when a woman enters the room.”
Clark nodded. “I can square dance too.” He slipped into the taxi beside her. Closing the door, he leaned forward and said “The Airport please.”
“Where are you from?” she asked.
“A small town named Smallville.”
Lois smirked and looked away for a moment. The handsome man was nothing more than a good looking farmer.
She could work with him, if he was as naïve as he pretended to be.
Now all she had to worry about was this collapsed city, and the source of her mysterious new strength.
And she’d have to come to terms with her own guilt. Luckily, Lois Lane could achieve anything if she set her mind to it.
She was asleep a moment after she found her seat on the plane.