Friday, April 14, 2006

Saving Me, Chapter 4

Season 5, following "Void"
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the WB and DC comics, not to me

It took me three seconds to get to Metropolis.

It took fifteen seconds longer to locate Chloe’s heartbeat, in an old, rundown, three-story building in Suicide Slum. I stopped outside the building, hearing her heart pounding furiously. I restrained the reckless part of myself that wanted to smash into the building and get her out of whatever she’d gotten herself into. It seemed prudent to pause for a few seconds and gather information before charging into the building and kicking bad guy ass.

I cocked my head, listening for Chloe’s voice. I didn’t hear her saying anything, but I could hear her breathing hard, in a harsh way that indicated pain. Listening carefully, I heard a man’s voice.

“How’s that feel, bitch?”

Chloe didn’t say anything at all, but her breath rasped in her throat in a way that so clearly expressed pain that my fists clenched. I tried to use my X-ray vision to see what was going on. No luck, which didn’t surprise me. A lot of these old buildings are full of lead-based paint, which I can’t see through.

I listened carefully, establishing there were four heartbeats in the building. Chloe and three others. No way of telling who the other people were unless they spoke, but I had to assume the three other people were all enemies.

At any rate, the plan was obvious. Break in, take Chloe, leave. Nice, simple, and to the point.

I supersped over to the door. It was locked, so I yanked it off its hinges and tossed it aside. I could have just broken the lock, but the sound of Chloe’s raspy, pained breathing made me a little cranky. I sped down the stairs into the basement, toward her heartbeat, and saw a little cell with a door of iron bars. I would have yanked it off its hinges, too, except Chloe was handcuffed to it, so I gently pushed the door open.

I was aware of a sort of low-level nausea-- my gut was roiling, and my head hurt a little-- but I didn’t let it slow me down. There was a guy in the cell with Chlo. He had some sort of Taser thing and was zapping her with it.

As I slowed to normal speed, he swung around and used it on me. I didn’t try to get away, just let him see that zapping me with it was pointless. Then I took it out of his hands, held it up, and crushed it.

He turned white and looked scared, which was kind of what I was aiming at. I don’t like it when people torture my friends. Like I said before, it makes me cranky.

And I was even crankier because it was Chloe. Not just any friend. Chloe.

I lifted a hand and tapped the guy gently on the head, and he collapsed to the ground, senseless.

Chloe had fallen to her knees, her forehead pressed against the bars, and she looked sick and scared. I broke the handcuffs and scooped her up, snapping the metal cuffs off her wrists.

“Clark,” she whispered, her head falling against my shoulder.

Her ordinarily sleek blonde hair was rumpled, and she was so pale and fragile-looking that a wave of tenderness broke over me. Ordinarily Chloe is the furthest thing from fragile, and seeing her this way made my chest hurt.

“It’s okay, Chlo,” I said softly. “I’ve got you.”

“They… they know about you, Clark.”

I blinked, startled. “You told them?” I blurted, then wished I hadn’t. They’d been torturing the poor girl, after all. Not her fault.

She opened her hazel eyes and glared at me. “No, moron. You did.”

I considered that for a second, but couldn’t make any sense of it. Anyway, we didn’t have time to talk about it right now. I’d taken care of the immediate threat, but there were two other people in this building somewhere, and I had to assume they weren’t friendly. “We need to get you out of here,” I said, and headed for the exit.

No one tried to stop me as I ran up the stairs, Chlo in my arms. I could still feel the low-level nausea, and my head ached a little, but whatever was bothering me wasn’t enough to stop me, or even slow me down. Since I’d torn the door off its hinges and thrown it across the street, I didn’t foresee a lot of difficulties in getting out.

But as I approached the open doorway, I saw a kind of green glow blocking it, and I started to feel really sick. I stopped about three feet from the door, then staggered backward, so weakened and violently nauseated I almost dropped Chloe.

My grip on her loosened, and she slid out of my arms and stood up, then put her hand on my chest and shoved me backward. I backed away from the green glow willingly, feeling better the further I got from the door.

"Green K,” she said. “Damn it. They’re using green K radiation as a kind of force field.”

I nodded. There must have been some sort of lead shield in place around the doorway, which they’d lifted when I entered the building. I’d gotten in, but couldn’t get out.

“It keeps me in,” I said, “but not you. Get out of here, Chlo.”

“Are you kidding me?”

“No. I came to rescue you, and that’s what I’m doing. Run.”

She crossed her arms over her chest in a stubborn gesture that said plainly, I'm not going anywhere. She was wearing a white Met U T-shirt, and the movement made a small part of my mind aware of her, shall we say, female assets. I pulled my thoughts away from that quickly. I didn’t need to be checking out girls’ assets right now, no matter how nice they were (and Chloe's are pretty damn nice). I needed to find a way out.

“Go through that door and get out of here,” I told her. “I’m going to check all the other entrances.”

I turned around and headed down the hall. Almost instantly I started to feel very ill again. There was a “force field” in place there, too, blocking the whole hall and effectively stopping me from exploring the building to find another exit. I couldn’t access any doorways, windows, or stairs leading to the upper stories of the building. I zoomed back down the stairs to the basement, discovering there were no exits down there, just the one windowless cell.

I went back up the stairs. Chloe hadn’t moved—not surprising, since I’d been in superspeed. She hadn’t had a chance to blink yet. I dropped out of superspeed.

“I can’t get to any other doorways or windows,” I said.

I still wasn't really worried. It wasn't a problem, really… I could just smash through a wall. As many walls as I needed. I lunged for the wall beside me and slammed my shoulder into it.

Nothing happened.

Nothing, that is, except I could feel my strength draining from me rapidly, and my shoulder hurt. I reeled back from the wall, looking at it with shock. Once I was a few feet away, I felt more normal.

Chloe’s eyes went wide. “I think they used kryptonite in the paint,” she said.

I glared at her. “Are you still here?”

“I’m not going anywhere,” she said quietly.

“Chloe,” I growled. “They. Were. Torturing. You. Get out.”

“They used me to get to you,” she said softly. “It’s my fault you’re here. Isn’t it?”

“No.” It was hardly her fault that I could hear her heartbeat, and I wasn’t sure exactly how anyone else could have known that, either. “But I’m obviously not getting out of here without help, Chlo. You're going to have to save my ass. Get out and call the cops for me, okay?”

She hesitated a second longer, then nodded and headed for the door. Before she could get through it, a guy with a gun materialized in the doorway. It wasn’t the guy I’d knocked out. This one was bigger and fatter, but he had a mean glint in his squinty little eyes that made me think of a rat.

“Going so soon?” he said with a sneer.

Chloe rolled her eyes. “Obviously he’s been studying the Lame Lines for Villains Handbook,” she said to me.

Despite the seriousness of the situation, I almost cracked a smile. Chloe has that effect on me. “Let her go,” I said to the guy. “I’ll cooperate if you let her go.”

He grinned at me, looking more like a rat than ever.

“You’ll cooperate anyway... Kal.”

Read Chapter 5 here.

1 comment:

blackheart_me said...

OOHH no. He's going in there all reckless even thou he thinks he's not. He's feeling nausea...not good. AHh the green-K becomes visible. This is sad :( althou the white shirt joke almost made me smile i'm still ahella worried. the mystery guy revealed...