Season 5, after "Fanatic"
Rating: Adult. If you're under eighteen, please go elsewhere now.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the WB and DC Comics, not to me.
Read this story from the beginning.
Read the previous chapter.
The facility on the outskirts of Smallville was supposedly a LuthorCorp warehouse.
But in reality, it was a prison.
As they stepped into the dim interior of the building, Clark hesitated in dismay and shock. They'd gotten through the building's security, using a combination of his abilities and her hacking skills. One unfortunate security guard had been on duty, and had tried to stop them, but Clark had gently tapped him on the head before the poor guy even knew what hit him. He wouldn't wake up for a while.
"Oh, my God," Chloe said beside him. "What is this place?"
"I don't know," Clark said. He began walking again. "But it looks like these people are all being held captive by LuthorCorp."
"Can't be." Chloe looked wide-eyed at the long row of cells. Each one held an inmate, all sleeping on small, uncomfortable-looking cots. "I mean, yeah, Lex isn't ever going to win a humanitarian award, but this..."
"Yeah," he agreed. "This is scary." He looked around. "So how do we find Sara?"
Chloe shrugged. "The high-tech method, Clark. We look around."
They walked down the center aisle, peering into the cells. All the inmates seemed peaceful, but Clark saw bruises on some of their faces, and rage lit inside him. Keeping people in cages was inhumane enough, but the bruises spoke of even crueler treatment.
If this was really Lex's doing, then he was damn well going to see to it that Lex paid for it.
At last he halted.
"Chloe," he said softly. "Here she is."
He broke the stout lock on the iron-barred door and pulled it open, then stepped inside. He bent over Sara's motionless form, and a wave of sickness assailed him. Ignoring it, he shook her shoulder.
"Sara. Wake up."
She didn't stir, and he frowned. "Is she dreaming, do you think?"
"Probably." Chloe moved up next to him and studied the unconscious girl thoughtfully. "I wonder if she's in a coma again."
"Last time," Clark pointed out, "she really wasn't in a coma. She was being kept drugged. Maybe she's drugged this time, too."
"So you figure we just need to get her out of here, and wait for the drug to wear off?"
He shrugged. "It's worth a shot, I guess. The only thing is, we have to stay awake until she wakes up. The dragon will come after you, and it might come after me again too, for all we know. I don't want to risk it."
Chloe nodded, a look of determination on her face. "I don't want to lose my memories," she said softly. "I'll stay awake. Okay, Clark. Pick her up, and let's move."
Clark bent and tried to lift Sara's small, inert body. But she seemed to weigh an awful lot, and his feeling of nausea grew stronger.
"Ugh," he said, swallowing hard. "Whatever drug they're giving her... I think it's laced with kryptonite."
"Well, of course they are," Chloe snarked. "Kryptonite: the ingredient of choice for mad scientists everywhere." She bit her lip, frowning. "So are you telling me you can't lift her?"
Clark strained. "Well, I can lift her a little. But I'm kind of weak..."
"Let's try it this way," she suggested. "You grab her shoulders, and I'll hold her feet."
Between both of them, they managed to lift the unconscious girl. Carrying her together, they staggered their way out of the cell. Clark could still feel sickness roiling in his belly, but he thought he could tolerate it. Barely.
"What about the others?" he asked, keeping his voice low as they made their way down the center aisle. "Shouldn't we let them go, too?"
Chloe frowned, glancing warily at the cells and their inmates. "I don't know, Clark. We both know meteor freaks can be dangerous. It looks like even Sara might be hurting people. Maybe not deliberately, but still. If we let these people go without knowing anything about them..."
"They're being kept against their will, Chlo."
"But for all we know some of them could be from Belle Reve, or even the state pen," she pointed out. "The problem is that we just don't know all the facts here, Clark. Let's go home and call the cops instead, okay? They can decide what to do with these people."
He recognized the wisdom of her advice. "Okay," he agreed. "Right now, let's just get Sara out of here."
"God, I'm tired."
"It's only two a.m.," Chloe answered. She sounded as bright and peppy as ever-- at least partly due to the big frappuccino that sat on the battered steamer trunk. Clark had had several cups of black coffee, but it wasn't doing much to keep him awake. Living on a farm as he did, he was an early-to-bed-early-to-rise kind of guy, and he was really exhausted.
"I know you're used to all-nighters," he grumped, "but I'm not."
"Stay awake, Clark. If I can manage it, you certainly can. You had a nap more recently than I did."
He remembered a huge black dragon chasing him across a foggy, featureless plain. "Yeah, but that nap wasn't really restful."
They were seated on the floor, watching Sara, who'd been placed carefully on the sofa. So far she hadn't moved. Clark sighed and closed his eyelids, because they felt like they weighed a ton.
Chloe moved over on the old rug and poked him. "Stay awake, you."
"I'm trying." He opened his eyelids a crack and looked at her. She'd called the cops earlier, and the outrage in her voice as she talked to a police officer on a phone had amused him and touched him all at once. Chloe, he thought, was really something.
"Try harder. Talk to me."
"Okay." He was so exhausted that the question at the top of his mind just poured out. "Tell me something. Did we really make love this afternoon?"
She looked at him, and in her eyes he could see mingled affection and sorrow. "Yeah," she said softly. "We definitely did."
He could understand her sorrow, because he felt it too. Deep inside, he could still feel the terrible ache of the something that had been taken from him. And he was pretty sure that something was the memories of making love to Chloe.
He wanted those memories back.
"I wish I remembered it," he said.
She smiled sadly.
"So do I," she answered.
Around four, Sara still hadn't moved. Chloe was typing on her computer, working on some story or other, and Clark closed his eyes for a moment, just to rest them.
When he opened them again, he was on a dark, featureless plain.
Oh, no, he thought in a sudden panic, realizing he'd inadvertently slipped into slumber. No, no, no.
He turned and tried to run, but to his horror, he found he couldn't move. Despite the fear that pounded through his body, he couldn't seem to make any headway. He was trapped, unable to get away, and with a sick feeling of dread he knew that the black dragon was coming through the fog.
Coming for him.
And then he heard it, smelled it, and tried even harder to run, but he couldn't. He spun around to face it as it emerged from the fog. It was terribly close, its scales black as midnight, its sharp, vicious fangs glistening ivory, its crimson claws lifted into the air as it prepared to strike.
He knew it was going to tear him apart, rip him to shreds, take all his dreams away from him and leave him empty, and he screamed in mortal terror.
He could hear its voice, dark and terrible, inside his brain.
You're mine now. All mine.
He wasn't sure what the dragon wanted from him. It had already drained him dry of memories. He wondered what it might take from him this time, and the idea that it might take something more from him terrified him. He wanted to get his memories back, not give it still more.
Through his terror, he knew that in order to save himself, he couldn't just cringe here and let his fear overwhelm him. Somehow, he had to make contact with Sara. He had to.
With a massive effort, he shoved back the panic that pounded through him. He forced his eyes open and gazed up at the enormous monster, staring directly into its red eyes and holding out his hands in supplication.
"Sara," he whispered, very softly. "Please don't hurt me. Please. I'm just trying to help."
Read Chapter 12 here.