sean_montgomery (sean_montgomery) wrote,

Underground - Chapter Six - Test

When the doctors and nurses came in five minutes later, Lois could feel butterflies begin to swarm in the pit of her stomach. She watched them closely as they lowered the handlebars and pulled the wheelchair closer to her bedside, releasing a small sigh when one of them took hold of both of her arms and the other gingerly held the cast on her leg. Counting down, they first helped her sit up, pulled her legs over the bed, and then gently guided her out of it to the wheelchair.

Lois hated every minute of it. She wanted to use that big cast on her leg to her advantage and kick the doctor in his smiling face and make a break for it… but knew she wouldn’t get anywhere. She couldn’t even get out of bed unassisted. If she was frowning before, her face completely fell when she finally sat in the wheelchair.

“There is some good news in this, Miss Lane,” her doctor was saying, holding a notebook over his arm and writing on it. “Your leg won’t have to be sticking out in front of you. It’ll be easier for you to get around and be in certain places, like an elevator for example.”

Yippee,” Lois deadpanned. She shifted in her seat and set her good arm on the armrest. She couldn’t even move herself anywhere. When one of the nurses took the handlebars and began guiding her out of her room, Lois suddenly wanted that oversized pair of sweat pants she owned just so she could cover up her leg. It was humiliating.

When she was wheeled out into the hallway, she found herself face-to-palm with Clark’s hand. He turned and acknowledged the doctor with a gesture to the elevator, then stood behind Lois’ wheelchair. She turned in her seat and had only moments to notice his large hands on the handlebars, and then the feeling of moving swiftly redirected her attention to the hallway. Clark was quiet down the long stretch to the elevator doors. He tapped his fingers on the handlebars while they waited. When they were the only two occupying the elevator, watching the nurses and patients walk through their limited line of vision, she finally couldn’t take it.

Clark,” she whispered, and hated how weak and nervous that whisper sounded to her own ears. She was happy he couldn’t hear it. It was probably for the best anyway.

When the doors closed and the elevator began moving, she heard him move to her side. He was squatting before her, one hand still holding onto the handle. He couldn’t have heard her…

“H-How’re you doing?” he asked nervously, but not without a trace of gentleness. He obviously knew what this was doing to her.

She turned to him and made a face. “I don’t like it.”

He adjusted his glasses. “I know. I could tell as soon as you came out of that room.” He took a long look at the wheelchair, and then looked at the wall to see how many floors they had left until they reached the lobby. “It’s not solitary confinement,” he reassured her again, standing and putting both hands back on the handlebars. “Think of it as… a very unique way to test your abilities.”

“I know you’re trying to help, but you’re failing miserably.”

“Sorry,” he mumbled. She could see him in her mind’s eye, fumbling with his glasses again or fidgeting with his coat like he did so often when he wore it. If those doors before her hadn’t opened, she would have tried to see him in their reflection just to know what he was doing. He began wheeling her through the lobby, but she put her good hand on the wheel to stop him. “Lois…?”

Around the corner she could see the streets of downtown Metropolis buzzing with late afternoon activity. She could see Lucy standing on the street corner doing her best to get a cab while holding Jason in her arms. She saw nameless faces scrambling to get to their destinations. Cars were whizzing by, like those taxis that were ignoring her sister.

The realization hit her as soon as she saw the world outside. Coming out of those doors would be a different Lois Lane than the one who had come in. I can’t do this.

“You can do this, Lois,” Clark whispered softly, leaning his head down a bit so only she could hear. “You’re strong enough to overcome this.”

No I’m not.

“You just stay who you are. The people who really love you are going to see past the wheelchair.”

His words were meant for comfort, but somehow they only brought more fear into her being. Regardless, she lifted her hand and put it on her lap, allowing him to wheel her away and into her new life.

Darn the man and all his mid-western charm and knowledge. For thinking about making me feel better about this stupid situation that I got myself into… for being the great friend that he is.

Neither sister nor son noticed her at first. She was almost ready to sigh in relief before Clark’s voice rang loud and clear under the awning, “Here she is, ready to seize the day!”

Darn the man period.

Lucy turned and greeted her with a smile. “Hey, sis! How’re you feeling?”

No sarcastic jibes. No sarcastic jibes…“Wonderful. Like I’ve been ran over by a semi and beaten to a pulp for good measure.”

Way to go, Lois. What a wonderful way to start your acting career.

Her sister blinked for a moment before shaking her head. “Good to know you aren’t taking this hard or anything,” she drawled, turning back to the street and waving her hand in the air, smiling broadly when a taxi finally pulled into the curb. She opened the door and ushered Jason inside, then turned to Clark.

“Can you help me… ah,” she gestured to Lois.

Clark looked back and forth between the car and his partner before realizing what Lucy was talking about. Grabbing hold of the handlebars, he held the wheelchair firm while Lucy, albeit a little awkwardly, guided Lois into the taxi. She was able to scoot herself into the middle and turned to help Jason with his seatbelt.

“Do you have all of her medication notes?” she heard Clark ask. She turned and adjusted her head to see the two of them better.

Lucy patted her pocket. “Right here.”

“Good. Good. Is there anything you need me to do? Can I help you at all?”

Lucy took her time thinking about it. “Nothing comes to mind right away. Really, the number one thing she needs right now is rest. And, as much as she’ll hate me for saying it - that means there won’t be any trips for Miss Lane to the Daily Planet for the time being.”

Lois turned to Jason. He was staring back at her curiously. “Do you buy that, kiddo?”

He shook his head. “Huh-uh.”

“Mom doesn’t either.” As much as she could, she leaned her frame out the door and pointed to Clark. “Don’t you listen to a single word she’s saying, Clark Kent! You’re going to find me working on a story just like I never missed a day!”

“Not when you’ve been ordered to have a few days of rest. Would it really kill you to take it easy, Lois?” Lucy asked, leaning against the doorframe. Instead of waiting for an answer, she turned to Clark. “She’s always like this, isn’t she?”

Clark stole a glance inside the cab and looked like he had stared death in the face. “Uh, sometimes. Usually. Not that it’s a bad thing. It’s something Perry really admires in her.” He cleared his throat. “If it would help, I could bring by one of the Planet’s laptops so that she could keep working.”

Lucy shook her head. “Nope. Doctors orders.”

Lois suddenly scrambled to the doorframe again. “Yes! Yes, please Clark.”

“Lois,” Lucy stuck her head inside the cab. “You aren’t going to work while I’m around. It’s time for you to relax and not worry about anything.”

For a second Lois turned her gaze beside her. Jason’s presence in the cab was making it hard to voice her intentions to continue her investigation. She wanted to keep Jason as far away from Richard’s disappearance as possible. Clark leaned forward and met her gaze. “Is that what you want, Lois?”

Pleadingly, she met Lucy’s stare. “Please, Lucy.”

Her sister rolled her eyes. “Fine,” she turned and pointed a finger at Clark. “But I’m expecting you to keep her away from any major investigations that are going to get her seriously hurt!”

Clark jumped and gulped, running his hands over his tie. “Yes ma’am!”

Lucy ducked her head into the cab doorframe. “And I’m expecting you to listen to him! You know you can be worse than Jason when it comes to obeying orders.”

Instead of being met with the expected retort, Lois smiled and nodded her head, looking genuinely grateful. “Thank you, Lucy.”

Her sister blinked and stood straight again. She looked at Clark. “That is Lois Lane in the cab, right?”

Clark paused and looked inside the cab. Lois was sitting inside and fingering the band that ran across her palm. In complete bafflement, he stood and looked at Lucy. He pointed at the cab door. “Uh…”

Lucy waved off whatever he was about to say. He obviously didn’t know she was joking. “Nevermind. I’m gonna take her home now. Let’s hope the aliens inside don’t take over her again, okay?”

Without another word, Lucy joined Lois in the cab and gave the driver the directions to Lois’ home. When they pulled out into traffic, Lucy shook her head and smiled. “You’ll never change, Lois. You have to have something to do, and it’s always gotta be something to do with work.”

Lois stole a glance at Jason before turning and leaning closer to Lucy. “The laptop has nothing to do with work, Lucy.”

“Really? Hoping to have a winning streak in Minesweeper?”

Lois waited until Lucy was staring her in the face. All amusement washed away when the sisters stared at each other. Suddenly Lucy understood that whatever was bothering Lois couldn’t be discussed somewhere as open to gossip as a cab, and definitely not with Jason around. “When we get to the house?”

Lois nodded. “When we get to the house.”

Tags: underground
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