Season 7, based on a plot arc by Steven DeKnight
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Read the story from the beginning here.
Read Chapter 4 here.
Over the course of the next week, Lois wrote several more articles based on information Lex gave her. Her editor was enthusiastic about her improved writing, and she had to admit it was nice to see her articles in the paper, even if it was a tabloid.
But she couldn't do real reporting this way. She was uncomfortably aware that what she was producing was really more along the lines of propaganda for LuthorCorp, rather than serious, hard-hitting journalism. In order to write the kind of articles she thought she should be producing, she needed to get out of this house and do research. Interviews.
She grew increasingly restless, until one morning she stalked into the library. Sunlight drifted through the stained glass windows, striping the floor with purple and crimson bars. She strode toward Lex's huge desk and dropped her hands onto the gleaming surface, staring into his eyes.
"Lex," she said. "I have to get out of here."
He lifted his head from the papers he was studying, and gazed at her, a look of mild reproof on his face. "Aren't you comfortable here, Lois?"
She was perfectly comfortable. Between the incredibly sumptuous meals, the expensive wines, and the gloriously luxurious bedroom, she couldn't imagine being more comfortable. And yet there were things more important than comfort.
She didn't know what story she'd been working on. She only knew it had led to her being in the woods with a head injury. But she had the nagging feeling that it was important.
And even if it wasn't... well, she needed to get back to her life.
"I'm very grateful for everything you've done for me," she told him. "But I have to go home. I know what we talked about before, but even if I'm in danger... I have to face that danger. I have to pursue whatever story I was chasing when I was injured, Lex. I can't just stay here and let you shelter me forever."
He smiled, a small, wry curve of the mouth that said that this was exactly what he had expected. "Somehow I knew you'd say that," he said. "But Lois, there is more reason for you to remain here than ever."
She lifted an eyebrow. "What do you mean?"
"I mean," he said, indicating the file in front of him, "my people have managed to determine the idenity of the person who's trying to kill you."
"Really?" She walked around behind him, and saw a photograph of a green-eyed, dark-haired young man. He wore a flannel shirt and a goofy smile, but despite the questionable wardrobe choice and the silly expression he was an astonishingly good-looking guy. She felt a little quiver of recognition. It was faint, but she was sure she'd seen this young man before.
"Who is he?" she asked.
"He's your best friend," he answered.
Lois stared down at the picture, and the strange feeling of familiarity grew stronger. She had no trouble believing this young man was her friend.
What she did have trouble believing was the idea that he wanted her dead.
"He..." She frowned, trying to force a path through the mists in her head. "I know him. I..."
"Yes," Lex said, his voice quiet. "As I said, he is your best friend. Or was."
She stared down at the open, honest face, and vertigo gripped her. "Why would he want to kill me?"
"Clark Kent has..." Lex hesitated a long moment. "A secret, Lois. He's kept it a long, long time. I don't know what it is, but it's my belief that you discovered it, and now..."
"A secret," she repeated, looking at the innocent eyes in the picture. "A secret he would kill for?"
"Yes," Lex said. There was an edge to his voice she didn't much care for. "A secret that's so important he'd kill anyone for it. Even you, his best friend."
She hesitated, staring at the picture. He sighed, put the file down on his desk, and stood up.
"Lois," he said softly, taking her hand in his. "You have to trust me. I'm only trying to keep you safe."
He moved a little closer, and she looked up into his eyes, overwhelmed by his magnetism. There was something so attractive about him, so appealing. She felt her stomach melt a little, deep inside.
But then she glanced back at the picture, and the glimpse of open, honest eyes made her heart twist in her chest.
"I trust you," she said, not entirely truthfully.
She saw him relax, just a fraction. "Then you understand why I can't let you leave? I can't let anything happen to you, Lois. You..." He hesitated, then spoke in a soft voice. "You mean too much to me."
There was an earnestness in his voice, but it was artificial, practiced, like an actor speaking lines on stage. She had the sudden abrupt impression that she meant nothing to him at all. That perhaps no one really mattered to him.
Except the boy in the picture, her mind added.
She blinked, startled by the thought, and smiled at him, her smile as artificial as his words had been. She hoped he wouldn't notice.
"I do understand," she said softly. "And thank you."
He smiled back, and released her hand. She turned away to hide her churning thoughts.
She did understand. She understood very well.
She wasn't a guest here at all.
She was a prisoner.
More to come...