Lois and Clark

May 19, 2018:

Lois and Clark discuss recent events.

Rooftop, Daily Planet

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Perry White, Faora-Ul, Lorna Dane, the Brotherhood

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Daily Planet.

Home of the best writers and the most caring people in the world.

That's if you're into yelling, swearing, ribbing of the good natured type, high profile news articles and just overall tension. Tension, before the presses are released makes the floor itself overall stuffy. Stuffy enough where even though the a/c was on, windows were cracked and every now and then a paper airplane flies out of it.

Most of the things were done by computer; typing is an old mans game and hunting for a story was a womans. That woman was Lois Lane. Plagued by the latest stories and those of her own that she worked with, took the elevator to the roof and just.. left.

Upon her computer flashed the cursor, left with a blank document that could be timed to a pendulum swing.

To the edge is where she went, a smoke fished out of the pack of cigarettes that were quickly tucked into her top, it soon lit, deeply inhaled and the ledge of the roof sat upon with a foot swung. And.. since she -is- a lady, jacket taken off and placed to cover her knees, cause how she sits wouldn't have allowed her much dignity with her business-like attire.

*

Clark Kent.

Mr. Kent has never been one to enjoy a high-pressure situation. In a stuffy room filled with tense people rushing about he tends to be in the way. Tripping over people. Into people. Spilling coffee on fresh copy. As print media began to fail and the Planet began to consolidate the space needed to operate its print section with opportunities to engage in ‘Alternate Work Space’ a petition quickly circulated due to a very understandable fear that Mr. Smallville – rooted in tradition – would be the last to volunteer to give up his cubicle.

Pretty White had no fewer than three meetings with Kent. The first a very diplomatic session where the situation was framed as something that Clark would probably enjoy.

To which he responded, “Golly, Chief, I really enjoy my routine. Coming to work every day gives me purpose.”

The second was more direct. A cost-saving endeavor. They had a quota to meet. Clark had always been a team player.

To which he responded, “Mr. White, I don’t know. Most of the staff is very excited by this opportunity. I think when it’s all said and done you’ll have more than enough volunteers to meet your quota.”

The third meeting Perry ordered Clark offsite. Lois was there to assuage hurt feelings. Kent took it pretty well.

“You know, Chief,” Clark determined, “My parents are getting older. I think this will give me a chance to spend more time with them.”

Yes! Perry agreed — never questioning Clark’s worth ethic. Cover your assignments and he could spend two weeks a month in Kansas if he wanted.

[Exterior – Daily Planet’s Rooftop – Metropolis]

*bang*

The door to the rooftop swings open. Clark Kent arrives on scene with a stumble the emergency push-bar sometimes proving difficult to open. In his rumpled brown suit, the man is given a somewhat caustic look by the other two smokers on the roof. Not because of his arrival but because he moves for them as if seeking to engage them in conversation, “Mary Anne, William,” he begins, “hi.”

The extra-marital affair both maintained in no way needed Kent involved and so they began to extinguish their cigarettes, “Hi Clark,” William says about to flick the cigarette on the roof but remembering that the last time he did Clark admonished him for fifteen minutes, “Just headed back in. Deadline.” He drops his cigarette in the smoker’s pole ash tray. Mary Anne on his heels.

This leaves only Clark and Lois upon the roof.

Kent’s features adopt an uncharacteristic wry grin as he half-turns seemingly looking about. Quickly assessing not only that they are truly alone but also that no cameras, listening devices, or other technology seems to exist strewn about or hidden in the environment.

“Hey Lois,” his voice a near falsetto sing-song of concern, “Y’know cigarette smoking causes almost a half-million deaths per year.” He walks towards her then and stops far from the edge of the building for the need to maintain Clark’s fear of heights should someone happen to view them from afar, “I saw you come up after the staff meeting,” truthfully Kent does not miss much particularly when the subject is Lois Lane, “how are you?”

*

Meetings, they flew by like a bird with a worm in the mouth. Lois paid attention and sometimes did not. Not was one of those days. It wasn't as if her life was terrible and had lack of meaning, just other things on the brain. Formulating problems, figuring out facts, picking out words. It was always like this before a big story broke, or a big article. All of her reserves went into doing the people justice, whether she was writing about them or not.

Nevermind the affair partners, everyone knew something was up, a little snog here and there, stolen glances through cubicles and sweet little messages on company's servers. Every now and then, in the silence, one could see a flutter of a dress on the side where they hid, in which Lois created a 'tss' sound and a shake of her head. Along with the smoke that blew from her lips.

The loud bang of Clark made her head turn, and a glance towards her cigarette with consideration. Should she put it out? He would be able to tell either way.

His approach was waited on, like a cat stalking a bird, Lois turns ever so slightly, keeping herself straight enough to not fall from the high ledge of the Planet, and a half hearted smile was given as feet dangle and hands smooth over her jacket. "Well. Stories that I tend to run into could kill me quicker. Mutant weddings, kidnappings, hurt legs and broken ribs.." She lifts her arm to lightly pat her side. Not too much, it still smarts.

"Cigarettes? Assured destruction on my own dime." But.. how was she feeling? Her shoulders shrug afterwards. "I'm alright.." Yet she didn't sound too convinced.

*

Clark exhales deeply and when she raises her arm he sort-of glances down. The reaction not due to Kent’s squeamishness at the thought of injury but rather a pang of personal shame, “It looks like it’s healing well,” he looks back up then his peaceful blue eyes magnified by the grotesque prescription glasses that adorn his features, “I’m sorry I didn’t go with you,” he admits, “I’m always sorry when I don’t go with you.” Stepping forward then he seems to be unable to get within three feet of her, as if the ledge created some invisible barrier which even he could not pierce.

He had given her the signal-watch a number of years ago. She might cite its garish nature as ruining her cover; whether Middle-Eastern or Royal Wedding – but he suspected that her fierce independence and her journalistic desire to not expose fully her greatest source as true motivation. So, he does not harp on it.

“You’ve never told me what happened,” he reminds her as if she had forgotten, “I feel like they’re lucky,” he says lips tightening into a grimace, “No one knew where you were and then you just re-appeared.”

*

Lois shakes her head. "I was coming in from Afghanistan, traveling from London. Genosha wasn't that far off, it wasn't a sanctioned article." Lois was always sorry, one way or another, especially this time around. "It's not your fault." The cigarette was well finished, and with a lean to the side, Lois flicks the cherry, her fingers quickly licked to stanch the rest of the tobacco between her fingers, which were soon rubbed together to bite back the sting.

She knew he was looking, but that was par for the course. At least she didn't break anything further.

Though, the question caused her to go distant. If the ledge provided a wall, so did this memory. Along with the way her brows lower and scrunch, her hand lifting to gesture towards the air..

"One moment.. the bride is walking down the isle.. the next.." She clears her throat. "..it was like a whole new world. I was poor. I was hunted. A.. landlord came, mutant.. I didn't pay rent on time and something. It was an overwhelming feeling of.. this is it. Humans against the rest of the world, and we were a dying breed. And I felt that I hated them. That I was -so-, so angry. That nothing I did, no matter how small made a difference because I was going to die at the end of that particular day that I remembered."

She frowns, couldn't even bear to look at Clark, but she continued.

"The messed up thing is, I felt I was right. I felt that they were wrong. And I was willing to die for it. To kill .. whoever that was. I was.. -ready-.."

Lois trembles a little, then shakes her head. "But when I awoke I was in some sort of stasis tube. I was broken out by a few of the X-Men, that's what they called themselves. And.. Mauraders? They were there to kill us. I helped fight them off then.. I was told there was an explosion. And now.."

She gestures around. Immediately, her mind thought out the words .. 'sad' and 'sorry', and was highly thankful he couldn't hear it. Even still, there were nightmares. But about what? Unsettled feelings that were never really resolved. Feelings that were full of hate that did not sit right with her, mostly because they weren't her own.

"I think we were in another dimension. I guess that's what one of them said."

*

Clark listens to her. His hunched shoulders curl forward a hair as his hands knit quietly over the bottom button of his shirt where the paunch of skin folders over the top of his belt. It’s the intense posture of an overweight man approaching middle age. The intensity being unusual for Kent.

“It’s not my fault,” Clark replies shoulders sagging a bit for his mild-manners, “but I could have bee there but..”

“Lois,” he stammers, “It's okay. I can’t begin to understand,” he says, “You had ‘a vision’,” it’s the words Ma Kent would give an intense psychic experience, “you cannot help what you dream but reality sounds so much worse..,” Looking to the toes of his shoes, “X-Men,” he repeats the words and then slowly draws his gaze upward onto her again.

“You fought /with/ them?” He seems to sigh with no disbelief for any part of this, “I..” he stammers mildly, “I have a source whose an X-Man. On the city beat. A man called Cyclops.”

“Did he help you?”

*

"It didn't feel like a vision, Clark. It.." She lets out a sound of frustration, as if for once, the words were eluding her. "I lived it. In dreams, there are times when people like us can tell what's real and what's not. It -felt- real. The smells. The sounds. The touches. Anger and frustration and hopelessness." Her head shakes. "No, I couldn't help it, it was forced on me, that much I gather, but goddamn. It felt real."

Her hand twitches with the need to light another cigarette just talking about it; and with a final reach, she fishes the pack out of her blouse to lightly dig one out to tuck into the corner of her lip. Her brow furrows as both hands begin to feel around for a light, and with a shake of her head, she snatches it out and tosses it into the wind.

Carry away the troubles..

"Yeah. What else could I do?" She asks, both hands raised. "Either hide away, which wouldn't have worked or lend a hand. I lent a hand, had to do -something-." But.. as far as sources go, Lois raises a brow, a little smile appearing upon her lips followed by a shake of her head. "No, buut.." She starts, quite possibly thinking of stealing a source. "What does he look like?" As for any other mention, she does rock back a little bit, and realizes that she has nothing to lean on. So she jumps down, allowing her jacket to fall to the ground at her feet, which was bent and picked up.

"I guess you could say afterwards, I talked to .. I don't know if he's a leader or not. Offered counseling services for PTSD and an ear.." She dusts off her jacket, then looks up towards him. "What do you have going on with the X-Men that you need them as a source?"

*

“The Inner Light,” Clark replies to her struggle to find words, “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

His cheeks redden as if immediately sorry he brought it up, “It’s about a man who lives a whole other life while in a coma and then comes home and for a moment isn’t certain which of his lives his real,” A sheepish shrug of his broad shoulders, “We didn’t have a lot of outer-space in Kansas. Reruns helped me understand a lot about the world beyond Smallville,” he explains.

“I come back to that a lot when I’m having trouble sorting through my place in this world.”

He lets it fly away then also.

“I spoke with our pal, Superman,” Clark begins, “there’s another Kryptonian. Faora-Ul. She believes that mutancy is the next step in human evolution and so /he thinks/ she’s working with mutant extremists. He told me he spoke with Cyclops but I haven’t met with him yet.”

“I’ve tried to follow up though. On the city beat. From what I’ve found there’s a group in mutant town a ‘Brotherhood’ who have been handing out food but I don’t have your,” long pause, “nose for news. I haven’t decided how to approach it yet. If she’s there I’m scared she’ll see through my investigation.”

See through him. His faux identity.

“I thought maybe it was something you would want to look into,” Clark gives her a weak grin, “Stay in country for a while. Chase some local leads.”

“I did some research,” Clark says, “there’s a ‘Brotherhood’ who is an extremist group with ties to the Genoshian royals..”

*

Words spoken that came from the truest nerd; Lois could already hear Captain Picard's voice as she glances up towards the sky. She did not have the vision, but she could imagine the stars as the USS Enterprise slowly glides through the cosmos..

'These are the voyages..' And cue the horns.

"Getting out and having a drink with the locals probably would have helped too." Lois teases, then reaches out to lightly push at his shoulder. "Though I do imagine that some people think other things when it comes to finding out their place." Once again, that need reaches up within her but she pushes it back down. Smoking really was unhealthy, but it was a habit that was picked up during times of stress or deep thought. Something to do with the hand to mouth coordination that didn't involve expanding her wasteline or punching herself in the face. Although, there were times when the thought of a Three Stooges moment could have been amusing.

Superman was brought up and again, her eyes turn towards the sky as if she were expecting him, though she seemed lost, she wasn't. She listens with the utmost care as her chin lowers, arms fold about her chest and she begins to pace. She was already on the story, not in the thick of it just yet, but so far only few stepped forward and there were appointments there..

"This Brotherhood, do you think that they're hand in hand with this Faora-Ul?" It was a good question to ask, preparations need to be made. Guess she would have to wear that watch.. "When I put out the ad in the Daily Planet classifieds, I had a few reach out to me. Some didn't exactly state that they were mutants or not, but I can try to shake the tree to see what I come up with on that front. Slide in questions about backers, powerful allies, the sort.." Yes, those gears were turning, if Faora-Ul, a Kryptonian was involved.. "Is she dangerous?"

"I'll shake something loose too with Cyclops, maybe I can be pointed somewhere as well. I was told to check out Mutant Town as well, or some part close to that. Touristy place, I can't remember the name off hand but I have it down. Also.." The jacket that was in her hand was shuffled a bit, but alas, the watch was in her desk drawer. "Put a word into Superman for me? Maybe he has an angle that we both haven't thought of. When you see him next."

Investigating was her bread and butter, but the fact that she actually went to a wedding ceremony in Genosha made her think of one thing. "Genosha royals? One of them a woman, green hair..? The bride?"

*

Clark grins. His body rocking back at the point of impact.

“Well..,” he draws that word out, “I didn’t go drinking with anyone in Mutant Town and so no one was very eager to talk with me,” Clark replies. “A lady with dark hair dropping a steel shipping container full of food in the middle of the street. It /could/ be her. It /could/ be another mutant. I..,” he frowns gently, “I’m not sure.”

“Superman gave me a sketch of her though.” Kent says helpfully, “I can e-mail it to you. I just tried to think of what /you would do/ and it wasn’t walk store-to-store waving that sketch asking if she looked familiar.” As he looks at her and says these words he can barely suppress his smile. The image of Kent tripping over himself while waving a sketch of a terrorist…he may as well put a white-card in his fedora that reads ‘PRESS’.

“Sure,” he is quick to say, “I’m supposed to cover a meet-and-greet for Luthor’s Kid’s in Centennial Park. If I see him there I’ll let him know you want to speak with him.”

“Lorna Dane?” Clark’s always been good with names, “Yes and her father Erik Lensherr,” he seems puzzled and then reaches to adjust the rim of his glasses, “Oh,” he half-chuckles in correction, “Right. The wedding reminded me of the prince in Britain. They’re not royals,” he admits, “Not ‘officially’. That's who I meant.” He confirms.

*

"What -I- would have done was gone drinking with the mutants in Mutant Town. How else are you going to build comraderie, Clark?" She nudges him again with a fist, then tilts her head towards the door and begins to walk. "Ride down with me, it's starting to get a bit cool." As in, she wanted that picture, soon enough.

"You want to know what's troubling about everything that's happened in the past five years, Clark?" She asks, waiting by the door to tug it open for him to walk through. Once he was there, she did open it, waiting to follow him in after. "The entire time, maybe I was out to prove something. But I made it a point to not scream. Not once, whether I was afraid or stuck in the middle of a gunfight. I wasn't tortured, but there were times where.. I could have. I figure if I did, he would have came to my rescue. If I did, I wouldn't feel as I did now, broken and beaten the hell up."

But.. "Yes. Lorna Dane. I think her to be husband was Marco? I haven't been able to keep up with them after I've came home but.." She shakes her head. "..doubt I would get anything out of the two. I don't think my prescense was appreciated there too much. Like that'll stop me." She grins then, but grows a bit serious. "Why don't you come with me? Two heads are better than one. And you want to be there. So be there. Let's go to New York, do this together."

*

Clark thrusts his hands in his pockets, “You know I’m not good if I’ve been drinking,” he says, “I get all goofy.” He walks with slow shuffling steps the hunch of his shoulders making him appear a bit like a turtle for his rounded back and poor posture.

There is a beat of hesitation as she opens the door but he quickly moves on through without a display of overt chivalry. Just within the stair well he stops at the top of the stairs and pulls his hands from his pockets. Tilting his head down his glasses slide to the tip of his nose and he looks at her directly without the filter of glass separating them, “Lois,” his voice squeaks downward an octave, “I understand,” and pulling his hands out of his pockets he reaches to embrace her as a true friend, “and I’m so glad that you’re back.” It’s a gentle squeeze meaningful with no back-patting.

“I’m always here when you need me,” he begins to release, “and I won’t pretend to tell you what’s right or wrong for /you/ but what I do know is that sometimes you have to /really feel/ to value the experience. It also makes time off that much more meaningful.”

Stepping backward then he uses a finger to push his glasses back up his nose and he gives her an awkward smile, “I want to come with you,” Clark admits and starts for the stairs a hand reaching for the rail to steady himself, “if you’ll let me come then – one way or the other – I’d be delighted to help you with this.”

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