By Rachel Smith Cobleigh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Summary: An orphan who's been bounced around to different foster families all her life begins developing powers that only Superman has. Suspecting she is one of many illegitimate children Superman has fathered, she runs away to Metropolis to confront him.
Sarah Turner sighed and rubbed her forehead. It was the worst moment for her to end up with a headache. This situation was tiresome enough without a headache to compound it. "C'mon," she said, turning to the dark-haired teenager beside her. "Let's go in and meet your new family." The girl didn't respond to Sarah's prompting, but instead continued to stare silently, down at her tightly clasped hands. Sarah reached out and touched the girl's arm. The girl didn't shy away, didn't move, didn't look up. "It'll be okay this time, I promise. We made a mistake with the last home, one which we're going to be extra careful never to make again. I'm sorry…but this family is expecting us to come in and say hi, at least."
"I…don't want to, Miss Turner."
Sarah reached up to smooth the girl's hair down. "I know, Anna." She paused. She felt sorry for this young girl— just one more of the hundreds of homeless children that she was responsible for. Somehow, though, Anna seemed different. She wasn't like all the other teenage girls that Sarah had under her care. Most of them were bitter about their lives, and turned to violence as a way to vent their anger. Especially the ones who were older, who were near Anna's age. Sarah looked at the young girl sitting across the seat from her. She was slouched slightly, kneading her hands in her lap. In all her years as a social worker, Sarah had seen so many angry, hurt children, that she had sometimes shielded herself from their pain…but this girl was different. Tears almost came to her eyes as she thought of the tiny girl who had been found, alone, in a car seat on the side of the road, thrown almost a hundred feet from a car that had crashed into a tree and then exploded.
Experts at the scene were amazed that the baby had survived being thrown that many feet in only a car seat. They called her a miracle. The two bodies that had been in the front seat of the car were charred beyond recognition. After almost a year of searching for a link to any relatives, the DSS had given up and put the child in the care of the state of Kentucky.
That was when Sarah had been assigned to Anna's case. Since about the age of three, Anna had been in and out of nineteen different foster homes and orphanages. Now, at seventeen, she was still the quiet girl that others seemed to find easy to pick on—and use. Sarah grimaced at the horrible mistake that had happened in the last home. Anna had been abused, seriously. It wasn't common for children to end up in unsafe homes—the DSS checked out every family thoroughly, but there were still a few that got through the process. Through everything, Anna had kept her quiet personality.
"Come on, now. Let's just go check this family out. If you don't feel comfortable being here, if anything makes you want to leave, tell me. We can find you another place." Sarah turned and opened her door. "Okay?"
Anna looked up at her, her dark eyes almost listless. She opened her door and got out, and almost slammed it closed behind her. Sarah took a deep breath, and got out herself. They walked up to the front door and she pressed the buzzer. ***
Anna liked to read. Whenever she went to a new house, her first order of business would always be to find out how to get to the nearest library. The families usually didn't mind her going off by herself. She didn't play with the other children that often, so, not understanding her, they let her take care of herself. Anna knew she was different. After she had gone through puberty, she had never gotten another cut, or bruise, or scrape. It was not until she had turned sixteen that she realized that it was strange that when one of the neighbors' Rotweilers had leapt up and bit her forehead, the only effect it had had on her was to barely break the skin. Her foster parents thought nothing of the incident, since they believed that she had made the story up to get attention. After all, if that dog really had bitten her, she'd have had a lot more than a tiny scratch on her forehead, they said. So nobody believed her. What else was new? She was used to being referred to as "the foster kid," so why should anybody think that she was telling the truth?
The incident seemed strange to her, somehow, so she went to the library and looked up everything she could find on dog attacks, animal bites, tetanus shots…to vaccines, health risks, sicknesses, then antibodies and T-cells, the circulatory system, the nervous system, the brain, the eyes…and in her searching, she came across a short paper entitled 'Laser Vision: Only Superman?'
It had been written nearly two decades earlier, by a research scientist named Dr. Bennett Klein. In his article, he discussed his ideas about the optical powers of Superman. Anna had blinked, reread the article over again—this time, in a matter of a few seconds. Completely. She was suddenly very frightened. She had never done that before! She had done it so quickly, and yet she could recall almost all of it exactly! She had something close to a photogenic memory…but why had she never even known about it before? She had shivered, then, sitting by herself in that huge library. She looked up into the seemingly cavernous room, looked around the empty tables, along the paintings on the walls, and then up at the ceiling, at the heavily carved wooden girders supporting the roof. The carved wood leapt in twists and waves and curlicues, along the beams. Anna had looked closer at the old wood carvings, much closer. When she noticed that she could see the detail and even the grain of the wood, she pulled back her vision and gasped. The sound echoed in the room, bouncing around the wood and the walls for several long seconds. She had hugged herself, then, and sat silently in the straight-backed chair, alone, and knowing that she had somehow changed. ***
For that next year, whenever she could escape from the house, she would go down to the library and look up anything that held any reference to Superman. She had never really thought about him before. He was just a really powerful guy who helped out when bridges collapsed, or there were mud slides in Peru, or when some lunatic hijacked military satellites and tried to hold governments hostage with them. He was in the news every once in a while. No one knew much about him, and he never told anyone about himself. He had been rescuing people from disasters for as long as she could remember.
The librarian had been happy to help with the search, and had let Anna make copies of every article and paper that she could find in the library, free of charge. After a few months, Anna had a folder full of stories about him. The librarian also showed her where the library put all the newspapers. Most were on microfilm, so Anna quickly started searching through the pages, going back through the years. Every respectable library in the country had a subscription to the Daily Planet, and Anna soon found that most of the information on him was concentrated in that paper. She also quickly realized that almost all the articles concerning Superman were written by the well-known, husband-and-wife news team, Lois Lane and Clark Kent.
"Lane & Kent", as they were known, lived just outside the city of Metropolis, home of the Planet, and also, as it seemed, Superman. In one of his first interviews with Ms. Lane, he had as much as said so. Anna wanted to speak to him, to ask why she had some of his powers. She had read more of Dr. Klein's work, which was mainly about Superman, and he had commented on the same exact abilities that she had experienced.
As she continued her searching in the old copies of the Planet, two articles in particular seemed to correlate with her situation: one, about a man who had suddenly gotten Superman's powers, and then, had just as suddenly lost them only a few days later, and the other, about a little boy who had been found with Superman's powers. The boy's mother had stated that Superman was the father, but for some reason, the child, also, lost his abilities shortly thereafter, and the whole situation had quieted down to quickly disappear from view.
Anna saw the link between the two cases: the two people seemed to have the powers for some unknown amount of time, and only a few days after their abilities became public knowledge, they lost them. She couldn't help but wonder if Superman had done something to each of them. Considering the story about the little boy—strange that Anna never found any evidence that Superman wasn't the father—it didn't take a huge leap of the imagination for her to wonder if there were other children in the world who were like the boy and like her. To wonder if Superman wasn't really his father…or hers. ***
The knowledge that she could be an illegitimate child of that powerful being who no one really knew anything about haunted her for the next several months. She turned herself inward, became harder to talk to, and did her best to not use her powers. She pushed them back, whenever they tried to surface. Whenever her hearing suddenly turned on, and she heard people talking about things she didn't want to hear. Whenever the family let her be touched by that man who always came to the house on the weekends. She tried to be normal, to not let anyone know she was a freak. She was still an unwanted child, though, tossed from one home to another, every few months. She would never fit in. And it was all his fault. ***
After Miss Turner left her at the new house that evening, Anna took her folder of articles, her brush, and the fifty-seven dollars that she kept in a pouch, and put them in her travel bag. Then she dropped the bag out the window, went downstairs, through the kitchen, and outside, "for a breath of cool night air" she said to her new foster mother.
Then she went to the bus depot in the center of town and bought a one-way ticket to Metropolis. It was an eight- hour ride to the city, and Anna slept through the night, through the whole trip there, with her travel bag tight between her legs on the floor. ***
"Honey, kin ye wake up for me?" A hand touched her shoulder. She suddenly opened her eyes and swung her arm out to push the hand away. The man jumped back a foot or so. His eyes were a little wide with surprise. He obviously hadn't expected her to move so fast after being asleep all night. He smiled a little.
"Sorry if I scared ye'…it's just that I's gotta get this bus gassed up and ready for the next guy and the return trip. I didn't mean ta wake ye' up so sudden-like," he said apologetically. Anna sat and stared at him for a second.
"Um…yeah. Sorry for hitting you, sir. Sorry." She picked up her bag and edged out from between the seats. The driver stood back to let her pass. He smiled again and nodded for her to go ahead of him. As she reached the steps, she stopped and turned back to him.
"Mister, how can I get to the Daily Planet from here?" she asked quietly.
"Ye' mean that big newspaper?"
"Yes," she replied, pulling the bag handles over her shoulder. The driver tilted his head to the side a bit.
"I reckin' you could jes' take a cabbie over there…" he eyed her for a second. "But then, ye' might not have the money for them ridic'lus rates nohows. Metro cabbies are the worst. But hey, I like ye'…I got a friend in the cabbie bus'ness, I reckin' he'll take you by there for nuttin' if ye' say Ole' Mac Tucker sent ye'. Here," he scribbled a name on the pad of paper he had in his shirt pocket, and tore off the sheet. "Thit's his name. Billy McDonall. Right good feller, he is, too." He gave her the piece of paper. "His route takes him out by this bus stop first thing in the mornin'…if ye' wait over there—" he pointed to the street corner, "—he'll be by soon enough."
Anna smiled hesitantly, and looked at the piece of paper in her hand.
"Thanks, Mister. I owe you one now." She started to reach for her bag, but the driver just shook his head and smiled at her.
"I reckin' I oughta do at least one good deed ev'ry day." He nodded over towards the corner. "Ye'd betta be gittin' along over there, now, honey. Little Billy'll be along sooner 'n ye think. It's 'most seven o'clock, y'know."
Anna stepped down the rest of the way. "Thanks again, Mister. And whatever you say…I still owe you one." She smiled at him and made her way across the parking lot to stand on the corner. ***
After she stepped out of the cab and waved Billy off, thanking him several times, she turned around and looked up at the huge building that stood, implacably, before her. The gigantic logo of the world's most widely-read newspaper stood out from the concrete building, its neon-blue lettering proudly shining out to the world, "THE DAILY PLANET." She stood for several long minutes, her old bag slung over her shoulder, a slim figure on the curb, transfixed by the symbol standing before her. This was where Superman had made his first public appearance, had first had his picture printed for the world to see, where he had saved people countless times. This was where his only sure connection to the rest of the world was: the writing team of Lane &Kent.
As she stepped through the revolving doors into the building's great lobby, Anna couldn't help but wonder how and why the reporting team had been the only two people whom Superman made frequent appearances to. It seemed, from all the articles that they had written, that he always seemed to show up when they needed him. Everybody else had to holler "Superman!" a few times at the top of their lungs, but these two cited his involvement in their stories again and again, as if he just arrived when they needed to talk to him. They were just two more nosy reporters, so why them?
She walked across the lobby towards the building directions on the far side, and peered at the sign. It listed the floor each department was on…Advertising, Help Desk, Mail Room, Missing Persons, Printing, Public Relations, Newsroom…her fingers traced down the list, stopped. The Newsroom was where most of the reporters' desks were, where the head honcho, the Planet's editor-in-chief, had his office. Best to go the top and work her way down. She stepped into the open elevator, along with a sizable group of people who looked like Planet employees. Well-dressed, well-paid professionals. She felt like she stuck out painfully in her faded, somewhat baggy overalls and her blue-and-white flannel shirt, her tired out old bag slung over her shoulder. Well, who cared if she stuck out? Her business here was just as important as theirs was. She turned her thoughts from them and stared at the closed doors in front of her.
When they opened again half a minute later, they opened to a huge room littered here and there with desks, various coffee machines, and people bustling about. She stood, frozen, in the doorway, as people jostled their way out of the elevator, past her.
So many people! All knowing what they were doing, and doing it quickly. She stood, transfixed, in awe…
"Hey! Are you stayin' on this elevator, or is this your floor?" A voice called out behind her. She stepped out through the open doors automatically and stood silently when they closed behind her. She walked over to the railing and leaned against it, looking out over the newsroom.
A man in his forties came out of a doorway on the far side of the room with a clipboard under his arm and walked a few feet to look over the shoulder of another older woman, sitting in front of a computer, typing furiously.
"What're you up to now, Lois?" The man asked, leaning over to look down at her screen. Anna gasped, realizing that the woman sitting at the desk must be Lois Lane. Her hearing seemed to have already tuned in to their conversation, so she just let it keep working. How ever it worked, anyway.
"Oh, just a little piece on that police charity scam, Jimmy." Lois hit a key and leaned back to look at Jimmy— Anna realized that his was the name embossed above the building directory: "James Olsen, Editor-In-Chief." Jimmy, heh. Obviously, Lois Lane wasn't into the "Mr. Olsen" stuff. Anna wondered why.
"Still working on that one, eh?" Jimmy had a grin on his face. Lois looked back at her computer screen.
"So the kids take up a lot of my time, what can I say? When they all finally leave home, Clark and I are moving to Florida. Where we'll have peace and quiet." She rubbed her forehead. Jimmy shook his head.
"I have a feeling that no matter where you move to, you could never stand just 'peace and quiet'…you'll be trying to drag CK into another crazy story—" he shook his head, "— not that he won't be trying to enjoy that peace and quiet." They both looked over at the small room that Jimmy had come out of.
"He and Perry talking it up about 'the old days'?" Lois asked, getting up out of her seat. Jimmy stood back. They started walking back towards the little room—Anna realized it was Olsen's office.
"Yeah…" Jimmy leaned over and whispered in a conspiratorial tone—Anna had to concentrate more—"…they're getting some good laughs out of the dozens of times Perry tried to get you to see past the Man In Blue…" They both laughed a little and straightened up as they walked into the room. The door shut behind them, and Anna heard some more good-natured ribbing that was obviously about some private joke.
She glanced around quickly. No one was looking at her, so she walked down the ramp and started across the newsroom towards the office. Three feet from the door, a young man skidded to stop in front of her and crossed his arms. He had dark red hair and a lot of freckles.
"Sorry, but I can't let you just stroll in there without permission from the Chief. Can I help you, instead?"
Anna looked over his shoulder through the blinds on the windows, seeing four people inside: Jimmy, Lois Lane, a man that looked really ancient—probably way past seventy, she guessed—and…Superman. She gasped and stepped back a foot, her eyes frozen on him. The red-haired kid turned around and looked towards the office, too. Anna took the opportunity to dive around him and go for the door. Just as her hand grabbed the doorknob, she felt arms close around her waist and start to pull her back. She wriggled out of the kid's grasp and tried to grab the knob again, but he tackled her and they both ended up in a heap on the floor, arms and legs thrashing.
"You," she pushed him back, trying to control herself, "leave…me…"she slid her bag over and swung it around to connect with his head, "…alone!" He slumped to the floor, several feet from where she had pushed him off. As she stood up, and started to dust herself off, she felt another set of hands clamp down on her arms—this time, not so easy to wriggle out of.
She knew immediately who they belonged to, and twisted with all her strength. He hadn't expected the force behind the move, and his grip loosened. She took the opportunity to finish spinning around, and managed to land a good, solid punch right in his stomach before she leapt out of his reach and stood a few feet away, her eyes flashing. That had felt pretty good.
Clark stood bent over, shocked, coughing, both hands wrapped around his stomach. What in the…? Who was this girl? How had she done that? Lois had reached him by now, and was trying to pry his hands off. He relaxed his arms and straightened up, his stomach sore. He looked up at the girl a few feet in front of him and Lois followed his gaze.
The girl was average height, with thick, straight black hair tied back in a ponytail and the darkest pair of eyes he had ever seen. There was something eerily familiar about her, but he couldn't pin it down. Maybe it was just the way she held herself, dark eyes silent, body relaxed. She seemed to not consider any of them a threat, and strangely, least of all, him. She looked at the four of them, Jimmy, Perry, and Lois and Clark together. Her gaze stopped and rested on him. Her eyes seemed to accuse him.
"I need to speak with you," she said tautly. "Now."
Lois moved her hands over her husband's stomach lightly. She looked up at him. "You okay?" she asked. He broke his gaze from the girl and looked down at his wife.
"Ye-es…" he looked back up at Anna and gestured behind her, "…would…you like to go in there?" She turned and saw a room over in the corner with "CONFERENCE ROOM" painted on its glass doors. No. There was no privacy. She turned back to him and shook her head. He raised an eyebrow.
"Let's go for a walk," Anna picked her bag up from where she had thrown it and dropped it on the desk next to her. His desk, she knew. Then, she turned and ran across the room to the open elevator. ***
When she had made it out to the sidewalk again, she stood and waited for Lane and Kent to follow her. Hah. Lane & Kent, indeed. Try Superman & Wife. Seeing them together made her ache. They seemed right together. What was she, just another 'mistake' in his past that he had put behind him? Anna felt so wretched. She wanted to reach out and pound him, and now that she knew for sure that she could have some effect, she—there they come! As soon as she saw that they had caught sight of her, she darted down the street and started around the corner of the Planet—she felt his hands close over her shoulders, but she didn't wriggle out this time. Instead, she pulled him along behind her, until they had reached the end of the closed alley behind the building. She started to twist out of his grasp, but he had learned his lesson. He simply let her go. She stood back from him, her eyes flashing.
"Tell me what is going on here," he demanded, eyes narrowed. Now his were flashing too. Anna turned her nose up slightly.
"No," she said, smiling tightly. "Let's wait for your…wife." She bit off the last word. He made her even angrier, just standing there, looking for all the world like he was the one who had been slighted. Lois Lane rounded the corner at a slow jog, her breathing a little ragged.
"What's…all…this…huffff…about?" she asked, slowing to stop in front of them. In response, Anna suddenly stretched her arms skyward and pushed herself *up*. She was shocked for half a second at what she had just done, and then she started going faster.
With the wind whistling in her ears and her flannel shirt flapping around her arms, she dove across the sky and dropped to a landing on top of the highest building that she could see in the Metropolis skyline. For some reason, it had the word "LEX" glowing on each of its four sides. Suddenly, she turned and looked to see a swath of blue and a flash of red go zinging by.
She spun around to watch the colors stop a few feet away from her. It was Kent. He'd finally put his suit on. The lily-livered coward—had to face her in a fake front, did he?
"Can't let the world see you for who you really are, huh? Gotta hide in some outrageous outfit that looks like somebody had a bad day with Spandex?" Anna crossed her arms, planted her feet. It felt good to finally get a angry. She'd held it in for so long that she felt like exploding into a fury right here and now. No. She was going to talk to him first. Then she was going to hurt him as much as she could, for everything he had done to hurt her.
"Sorry it offends you," he said, walking towards her slowly, "…Lois doesn't mind me in it, which is probably why I still endure all the ribbing and insults I get when I show up in it. I suppose it comes with the job. People have to find something wrong with me, and wearing a Spandex suit that doesn't leave a whole lot to the imagination is probably the most obvious thing to bring up."
He stopped, now only a couple of feet from her, his eyes quiet. They stood regarding each other for a moment. Anna didn't say anything, but only stared up at him, looking for some shred of shame or anger. He didn't seem uncomfortable to be there. She looked him up and down slowly. He shifted slightly at her perusal. She looked up at him. He looked down at himself and grimaced, barely.
"Excuse me." He stepped back, turned into a small tornado for half a second, stopping as he had been dressed the last time she saw him. She raised an eyebrow at that. Modesty? From him?
"So that's how you do it," she said. He adjusted his tie as he looked at her. Neither of them said anything for few seconds. Anna continued to gaze at him angrily.
"How did you know who I am?" he asked, finally.
"How did you know that I knew? I never said anything to you," she fired back.
"The amount of strength you used to get away from me that first time. That was controlled. You knew how much you had to use. I saw what you did to Andy out in the newsroom. If you had used the same amount of strength on him, you would've broken his arms, yet all you did was knock him out." He looked at her. She shook her head.
"It's so obvious! You looked exactly like Superman! It only took a couple of seconds for me to realize that 'Lane & Kent' got so many Superman exclusives because one of them was Superman! I can't believe no one else has figured it out in over two decades." Anna floated over to where he stood. There was a slight smile on his face.
"You're right. I've wondered the same thing myself dozens of times." He replied. She settled down to the roof again, a couple of feet from him.
"How many women have you been with since you've come here?" She asked suddenly, her eyes almost black and burning. The smile disappeared off his face, and his eyes narrowed.
"What do you mean?" He asked quietly, warningly.
"You know exactly what I mean." She stared up at him, her gaze unwavering. He was silent, his eyes dark, looking at her. Looking back up at him, she had the sudden impression that she was acting out of place and she felt like a disobedient, rebellious teenager. She pushed the feeling away quickly. He was the one who had wronged her.
"How many other innocent children are there out in this world who are like me and that little boy that I read about in the Planet?" she said through her teeth.
"You heard me!"
"What little boy?" He asked, frowning.
"Don't act like you don't know anything about us! I bet there are many of us! Children born as freaks because you had your passionate fling with any woman who took your fancy! You didn't care! Now every one of us is left to be unwanted children with powers that we don't even understand! We're ignored, hated, tossed around from family to family like just another unwanted animal!" Anna suddenly exploded from off the roof and dove into him. He stumbled backward, but didn't fall down. She pounded on his chest with her fists.
"What did you do to that poor little boy!?" Tears streamed down her cheeks. "You hurt him! You crippled him! Then you just left him and the mother to suffer! I hate you! Hate you! What you did to us! You don't even care!" She screamed up at him through her tears, her fists still pounding on him. He steadied himself and put his arms around her, pulling her closer to him. Her fists slowed down…stopped. She was crying so hard that she couldn't see through her tears. His hand moved up and cradled her head against his chest. She cried, exhausted. And she didn't understand what was he was doing. Why was he holding her? He didn't care about her! He had left her to be tossed around by people who didn't care! Why was he holding her? Why…? Her breath started coming in little hiccups, she couldn't see…his hand was rubbing her back, softly. She leaned the side of her head against him, tears still running down her face.
Clark held this young girl against his chest, wondering who she was, what she had gone through in her young life. He tried to make sense of what she had cried. Who was the other little boy he had crippled? A cold feeling started to tighten in his chest. Had he done something to hurt this girl's family? Accidentally? His mind slowed down suddenly…this girl had asked how many other children were like her…she was like him…how many children were like him? Only his children. His thoughts suddenly stopped cold when he realized which little boy she had asked about. The only other child who had ever been found to be like him—to have his powers—was the little boy whose mother had accused Superman of being the father. Clark quickly fit in her other words…how many women he had been with… This girl thought that she was an illegitimate child that he had fathered! He knew that was impossible. Lois was the only woman— AMY! His mind suddenly started shouting in three hundred and ninety-seven languages at him. He looked down at the dark head below his, shaking and crying. He took a deep breath.
"How long have you had my powers?" he asked her quietly. She shifted slightly in his arms and sniffed.
"I don't…know." she replied, half-hiccuping.
"When did you first notice them?"
"Last year. A dog jumped up and tried to attack me. The only mark I…ended up with was…a tiny scratch on my forehead," she stopped, sniffed. She turned her head up a little. "Um, do you have…a…handkerchief…?" Clark looked down at her and smiled slightly.
"I, ah, never usually have to carry one on me—"
"—but here's something just as good if you need it," he said, offering her his sleeve. She smiled a little at the thought of Superman offering somebody his sleeve to blow their nose on. She quickly swiped at her nose with her own sleeve and looked back down at his chest.
"Ah, no…that's okay. You should be glad I didn't take you up on it. I've haven't blown my nose for several years, either, and I could have made a pretty irreparable mess of that sleeve, if I wasn't careful." She laughed a little.
"I'm glad," he said, smiling, and put his arm around her again. She thought of how good it felt to have someone hold her like this. Miss Turner was nice, but she was also just doing her job. For some reason, Clark Kent—Superman—just held her, when she had beaten on him and screamed at him, no less. He didn't seem like he was trying to distance himself from an illegitimate child, and he also didn't seem to be trying to take her powers away. She could clearly hear some people talking in the building below them.
"What am I?" she asked, quiet again. He didn't answer for a few moments.
"I can answer that question the way you want me to, if you answer my question first," he replied. Anna tensed, waiting for him do something to her. She braced herself.
"Did you first find your powers when you…started changing?" he asked.
"You mean, when I started…becoming a…woman?" Anna felt strange answering this question. This certainly wasn't what she had expected him to ask. How could this make a difference?
To Clark, however, her answer meant all the difference. He held his breath.
"Well…now that I really think about it…I never really got hurt again—until that dog bite, that is—after I started changing," Anna paused for a long second. "…so, I guess I'd have to say…yes."
Anna looked up at him to see his reaction. She expected a frown, or a thoughtful expression, or something…but tears? He was looking down at her with a half-stunned expression, and there tears on his cheeks. Anna didn't understand. She pulled herself out of his embrace and looked up at him. He still hadn't answered her question, and now he didn't seem to be making any sense at all.
"What am I?" she asked again. He hadn't taken his eyes off her, and now he seemed almost unable to move. After a few seconds, he reached out and took her small hands in his own.
"My…oldest…daughter," he said quietly, a light in his eyes. Anna tried to pull her hands away. She didn't understand why he was so…so…
"Am—" he stopped, looked confused for a second. "What is your name?" he asked.
"Anna. Bancroft," she said, her own name suddenly sounding foreign in her ears.
"Anna," he said, softly. Trying the sound himself. "It's pretty. A peaceful name. Though," he said, glancing down at his stomach ruefully, "I don't know if it really fits you." He smiled a little. Anna smiled back. He had a point.
"Anna…please, let me tell you a story." His eyes were quiet again, still full of emotion, but quiet. She looked up at him, saw him take a deep breath. She knew she could trust him.
Clark held Lois in his arms as they floated through the warm night sky. They weren't talking, weren't kissing…they were just quietly floating through the air, up above the first layer of clouds. Just quietly enjoying the rare peace of the moment, together. Lois shifted slightly in his arms.
"I…have something to tell you—wanted to tell you, for a few days, now." She turned her head up and looked at him. He didn't open his eyes.
"Your mother called and wants to have a friend of hers come over and redecorate the entire house for us?" He asked, half-seriously. Ellen Lane's obsession with the furniture in their living room was already a family legend. Lois tapped him on the nose.
"C'mon, Clark, be serious. I'm trying to establish a defining moment in our lives."
"A 'defining moment'? Where do you get these heroic lines anyway?" One eye was open. Lois growled in mock frustration.
"Claark." In her opinion, it was a great word to growl with.
"I had a doctor's appointment today—" Now both his eyes were open.
"So that's where you disappeared off to after lunch today. Why didn't you—"
"—and it was to confirm something that I've been wondering about for the last week or so."
"Clark, I'm pregnant!" Lois fairly shrieked in his ear. Her face was all aglow and she was wriggling. A grown woman, wriggling. Those were his first thoughts. He had just found out that he was finally really going to be a…a father, and all that his mind could register back to him was that his grown wife was wriggling. Well, why shouldn't she be wriggling? He should be wriggling! A father!
The night ended quietly. ***
Little Amy Lara Kent was born on the twenty-second of April that Spring. She had beautiful, soft black curls and the darkest pair of eyes Clark had ever seen. She had his dark-toned skin, and her mother's pretty nose. She was the pride and joy of both her parents, and the first grandchild to be born to both sets of her grandparents. When her father tickled her, she would coo and giggle and laugh. Just like her mother.
A year and a half later, Lois took her food shopping one Saturday afternoon while Clark was working. Perry had given him a small assignment to allow Lois the time to sneak off and buy him a birthday present. She was looking for the ingredients of his favorite meal, and realized she'd forgotten to get one of the sauces from the next aisle over. She left the carriage for a second and went around the corner to retrieve the jar of sauce.
When she came back, Amy was gone.
The Metropolis PD searched for months afterward. The Planet printed pictures. The kidnapping of the only child of the city's famous news team rocked the country. Superman was everywhere, working himself almost to exhaustion. But after more than a year of fruitless searching, even he had to go back to his life. The city quieted down again. Lois and Clark receded into the background of the city, and tried to pull themselves back together. Finally, a year later, Lois became pregnant again. Life began to move on. They resumed their jobs at the Planet, and Lois published her first novel. This one not about a depressed character named Wanda Mae, but instead about a mother who found peace after the death of her child.
They continued to find joy in each of the children who had followed little Amy. Each year, when April twenty- second came by, they would remember her birthday, and each of her younger brothers and sister learned of who their oldest sister was, and the joy she had brought to their parents.
Anna sat on the back porch of a large white house. There was a swing set in the back yard, a sandbox, and various trucks and cars littered about the yard. Something that looked suspiciously like a caravan of construction trucks carrying assorted Barbie dolls and little plastic men with guns was lined up near the stairs. After her father had told her about who she really was, and she had told him everything she knew about how she was found, they had just talked for a while about life with their special abilities, about trying to fit in, about lots of things. She had felt so free and easy talking to him—it struck her as really weird that she could have such a good conversation with her…father. He had understood her, and she felt like she had understood him. Finally, someone who saw her as more than just another kid.
She felt lucky to have such a great dad—it was going to be really strange thinking of, and calling, him that. Only a couple of hours earlier, she had been wanting to pay him back for all the years, and now she felt like turning to him just to cope with them. Boy, she had some run of emotions. She hadn't gone through this many emotional roller coaster rides in all her years in the different foster homes. It felt good.
Lois and Clark stood watching her through the screen door, watching the way her thoughts played across her face. Clark squeezed Lois gently and pressed his face down into her hair. She leaned her weight back against him. Anna turned, suddenly, hearing them. She looked back at them through the door and smiled. She finally felt wanted.