sean_montgomery (sean_montgomery) wrote,
sean_montgomery
sean_montgomery

Underground - Chapter Four - Wreckage

Today I was greeted by numerous emails in my inbox telling me of story updates! *squee!* Because of that, I decided that I would go ahead and post chapter four. :) Not to take any attention away from far more deserving stories *coughLifeDVVeritascough*, but just because I simply haven't done it yet. Silly me.



Clark stood in the straightest posture Perry had ever seen him. “Missing? Since when?”

            “Earlier today. His last transmission to a Metropolis air tower was over seven hours ago when he was flying above the Atlantic. They tried to contact him when they lost his signal, but…” Perry’s words faded and he shook his head. “Last I knew, search planes were being sent out along the Atlantic coastline to find his plane. That was three hours ago.”

            “But why would Lois go to an abandoned hanger?”

            “It was one of Richard’s favorite places to get his plane repaired. A cheap little place that, up until now, was dependable.” Perry stopped and looked at the younger reporter. “How did you get there so quick, Clark? I remember seeing you at the Planet earlier…”

            Oops, Clark thought, clearing his throat and adjusting his glasses. “Uh, Lois had asked me earlier to meet her there when I had the time. Said she had something she wanted to look into – I guess that was it.”

            Perry relaxed a little at that, but suspicion never left his eyes. “I don’t remember seeing her this morning.”

            Keep calm. Keep calm. “She left a message for me on my phone. I was finishing a few things before I went to see her.”

            When Perry fully turned to look at Lois through the window, Clark let out a tiny sigh of relief. He didn’t think that smacking himself in the head would look professional, but he was already berating himself mentally. Pay attention to the little things, Clark. You’re gonna get yourself caught one day if you don’t pay more attention!

            “I know how much you want to stay and make sure she’s okay, Kent,” Perry said thoughtfully. “But the truth is that the world moves on. I need you at the Planet to help carry the load. We’re down one great reporter and I can’t afford to lose another.”

            Though he knew Perry was right, Clark felt his heart sink a little. He took another glance at Lois, listening to her heartbeat calm his nerves.

            “She’s got Lucy here. Lucy is a good doctor; she’ll take care of her sister. Right now I need you.” He turned and looked at Clark straight in the eyes, their intensity a warning against an objection. “I’m heading back to my office. Because of noon traffic, I’ll give you twenty minutes to be back in your seat. Am I clear?”

            Clark nodded his head but didn’t answer, still listening to Lois’ heart beat steadily and soothingly. Perry’s hand clamping on his shoulder forced the younger man out of his thoughts.

            “She’s in good hands, Clark.” Perry said. His features held the barest of smiles filled with amusement. It couldn’t have been a secret to Perry that Clark had harbored feelings for Lois for many years. An editor-in-chief saw everything down to the minute details. As Perry turned and walked the length of the hallway to the elevator, Clark stood rooted to the spot, shifting his hearing from the room before him to the floor below. Lucy was still getting answers out of another doctor. Something about time off and what would need to be done to give her sister proper care.

            She’s not going to like that idea, he thought with a small smile. If anything, Lois is going to fight it with all she’s got.

            Perry’s words echoed in his mind. I’ll give you twenty minutes to be back in your seat. She’s in good hands, Clark  

She’s in good hands.

            He opened the door and grabbed the back of the chair, returning it to its place next to Lois’ bed. When he reclined in it, propping an arm over the back, he played with the lapel of his jacket. Noon traffic wouldn’t be a problem for him, but twenty minutes didn’t feel long enough. The whole day wouldn’t. Not until he knew she was going to be okay and would see her face back at the Planet. He sighed deeply, his desire to be by her side warring with responsibility. If the world needed him he would have to answer, and he could always keep an ear out for Lois’ heartbeat and breathing if something should happen. He looked at his watch.

            Fifteen minutes left.

            It was one of Richard’s favorite places to get his plane repaired. A place that, up until now, was dependable.

            He looked out the window at the city. Cleaners would be coming by the docks sometime soon to clear out the wreckage. He stood and put his jacket on, still looking at the city. The docks were just a few minutes away, but he could get there faster by flying or running. Taking a final look at Lois, her heartbeat steady in his ears, he walked out the door and made his way to the staircase, leaping over each flight on his way to the roof.

 ---

            Police tape covered the area surrounding the wreckage. Clark knew there was no way he was going to get as close as he needed to without resorting to his uniform, but he wanted to seem just like every other reporter in the city. There were already two or three making notes and filming for the evening news. Showing an officer his press pass, he made his way as close as he could to the wreckage, pulling out a pen and a pad of paper. He somehow managed to keep his paper dry in the pouring rain by awkwardly leaning his torso over it as he wrote, noting small details about it and how the structure was currently piled.

            He glanced to his left and right, then looked over the bridge of his glasses. He zoomed in closer to the wreckage and closely observed every piece of wood and every scrap of paper that he found. There were folders under desks filled with old client phone numbers and addresses, but nothing out of the ordinary. The wood of the roof…

            He blinked and focused, staring at the pile he had discarded earlier when he rescued Lois. There were no shingles on the roof. From the discolored patterns on the wood, it looked like they had been removed. He took another look at the foundation, staring harder until he could see paint chippings like he was inches away. Three of the corners were structurally weaker than the fourth.

            He relaxed and looked at the pad of paper in his hands. He scribbled more notes, making sure to keep the paper dry and away from snooping eyes. The foundation was weak and unstable and the missing roof shingles would add water weight that the building couldn’t hold. Why would Richard be interested in a place that wasn’t structurally sound? And why would Lois investigate a place that wasn’t safe?

            Not that that’s unusual, he thought with a small grin. Lois has a wonderful knack for getting herself into trouble.

            He took another look at the pile of wreckage, committing every detail to memory to look over later. City officials wouldn’t want to have this sitting on the docks for long, and it might be the only chance he would have to look over it.

            Far in the distance he heard a door open and close. A chair groaned with sudden weight. Her heart sped up slightly.

            Clark froze, listening more intently until he felt he was sitting in the room. Was she awake? Another groan, this time from her, and his posture relaxed.

            “Hey, Lois,” he heard Lucy say. His shoulders relaxed and he continued writing about the wreckage.

            “Lucy?” Lois said, her slightly scratchy voice laced with confusion. “What are you doing here?”

            “Is that any way to say ‘hi’ to your sis? How about, ‘good to see you’? Or, ‘boy you look good. Have you lost weight’?”

            Lois laughed, but the effort was laced with pain. Lucy moaned at the same time Lois sucked in a breath.

            “I guess I shouldn’t try to make you laugh?”

            “It would be appreciated.”

            “Sorry.”

            A pause. “Where’s Jason?”

            “It’s only a little after one. He’s still at school.”

            Clark pushed back his coat sleeve and looked at his watch. He had five minutes to get back to the Planet and be in his seat. Pocketing the pad of paper and pencil, he made his way out of the docks and toward his desk, running as fast as he could without being seen. The conversation between the sisters died in his hearing, but he still heard the sound of her heartbeat, keeping careful count of its pace.

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