By JJ (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Summary: Metropolis is beset by a rash of kidnappings, and Lois gets the uneasy feeling that her child could be next.
"Clark, this is our last day home with Jeff. Tomorrow, he starts his baby-sitter and we have to go back to the Planet," Lois said, babbling. She continued without giving Clark enough time to comment. "What if we're starting him at the baby-sitter too early? He's only three months old, he can't even eat baby food yet. He's still on formula." Clark put Jeff in his bouncer and put his hands on Lois' shoulders.
"Honey, calm down, okay? We've already discussed this. If Jeff doesn't take well to his baby-sitter, she will just call us at work, we'll pick him up, go home, and take a couple more weeks off with him. Everything will be OK," Clark soothed. Lois wrapped her arms around Clark.
"It just seems like my baby's growing up too fast. He doesn't need me anymore!" she sobbed.
"Lois, I think you're still having mood swings from when you were pregnant. Look at Jeff." Clark went over and picked him up. "He's only three months old and still very dependent on his parents. He can't even sit up, let alone crawl or walk. His only way of getting somewhere is us. He needs you to feed him, change him, and bathe him. He needs you to do everything, OK?"
"You're right, Clark. I'm being silly," Lois admitted. "But what if he takes after you? He could start flying at the baby-sitter's. That's what really worries me."
"I didn't fly until I was 18, and I doubt he would start at three months. Just relax, OK?"
"OK," Lois promised. The next day, Lois and Clark went to the baby-sitter's. Lois handed Laura Wilkinson the baby and a piece of paper. "OK, here's where you can reach us. If for some reason we're out of the Daily Planet, which could very well happen, here's our cellular phone number." She handed the diaper bag to Mrs. Wilkinson. "His diapers, formula, burp rag, toys, wipes, and anything else he might need is in here. Thank you Mrs. Wilkinson."
"My pleasure," she said. "And please, call me Laura."
"OK," Lois agreed. "Bye, Jeff. Mommy and Daddy will be back this afternoon. We love you!" Lois blew him kisses.
"Bye, Jeff," Clark called. He realized Lois wasn't leaving in the near future. "You'll have to excuse her. This is really hard on Lois."
"Oh, I can understand. My husband and I don't have children, yet, but I'd probably be doing the same thing," Laura said. Clark drug Lois out to the car.
"You can call and ask how he is if you still miss him in a couple of hours. If we're not at work on time, Perry will kill us," Clark said driving to the Planet.
"Yeah, you're right," Lois agreed. They got to the Planet and Perry hugged Lois. Clark went to get them some coffee.
"Hi, honey," he said. "How are you feeling?"
"I feel great," Lois said. "I'm a little sad because today's my first day away from Jeff and it's the first day to be away from home."
"I see you worked off all of your pregnancy pounds," Perry observed.
"Yes. Clark and I went to the gym together and worked out," Lois said.
"Well, what did you do with Jeff then?" Perry asked.
"Clark's parents had come down to visit and help out so they took care of him." She walked with Perry over to her desk.
"You better get to work, Lois," Perry said. "I've got a great story for you two to check up on. I hope it won't upset you."
"No, Perry, I'll be fine. What's the story?" Lois asked.
"Three infants have been kidnapped from their baby- sitters. And the baby-sitters have something in common. Each time before the kidnapping, the baby-sitter said they felt tired and they laid down to take a nap. When they woke up and checked on the baby, it was gone. In the crib, was a teddy- bear with a note that said "Ha, ha, gotcha." Lois didn't realize she was holding her breath until she felt light- headed. She let her breath out.
"We're on it," she whispered. Perry went in his office just as Clark came over with the coffee. "We've got a story that Perry just put us on. About babies that have been kidnapped from their baby-sitters. What if Jeff's been kidnapped?"
"Lois, I'm sure everything's fine," Clark said. "If you feel so strongly, call Laura and check up on Jeff." Lois called Laura and she picked up after the first ring.
"Laura, this is Lois. I'm sorry, but I just had to check up on Jeff," Lois said, her heart racing.
"Oh, he's fine," Laura said. "He's sound asleep in the crib in here. He looks so adorable. He's curled up in a little ball."
"The fetal position," Lois said sadly. "OK, thanks. I'm sorry about calling you, and it's not that I don't trust you or anything—"
"Don't worry about it," Laura cut in. "Feel free to call me any time you want."
"Thanks," Lois said. "You can call us any time you need us too." They hung up.
"What did she say?" Clark asked.
"Jeff's fine," Lois said. "You were right."
"I told you," Clark said. "Now, we need to get going for the interviews about the kidnapped babies. Hurry up and drink your coffee."
"The last time I drank coffee at the Daily Planet, I was eight and a half months pregnant," Lois said sadly. "And three hours after I finished, I went into labor with Jeff. Eleven hours after that, I delivered him." She burst out crying. Clark wrapped his arms around her while she sobbed on his shoulder. Everyone looked at her.
"That's enough coffee for you," Clark said, putting her cup on her desk. "Lois, listen to me. I know it was hard for you to get away from Jeff today, but it's starting to get ridiculous. You'll be back home in exactly six hours and four minutes." Lois' crying reduced to quiet sniffling.
"I'm sorry. I am acting silly," she said. "I'll be professional at work from now on."
"She's just got some mood swings still from when she was pregnant," Clark announced to all of their staring co- workers. They went back to work, and Lois and Clark left.
"OK, our first interview is with Mr. and Mrs. Sean Pittson. Their six-month-old daughter, Jamie, was kidnapped two days ago," Lois read from their list. "They live at 1525 Sunrise Road."
"We're on our way," Clark said. When the interview was almost over, Lois and Clark had gotten a lot of important information that they believed could help them find Jamie. "You two didn't happen to receive any kind of ransom notices, did you?" Clark asked them.
"No," Mrs. Pittson sniffled. "We're willing to pay anything just to get our little girl back safely."
"Thank you," Lois said, standing up and shaking their hands. "The police are working very hard and Clark and I are going to help look too, just because we know what it must feel like."
"Oh, do you two have kids?" Mr. Pittson asked.
"Yes, I just gave birth to a son. He's three months old and we love him so much," Lois said. They got in the car and were headed to an interview when Lois suddenly told Clark to pull over.
"Why?" he asked.
"Just do it!" Lois screamed. "I have a bad feeling, and I have to call Laura."
"Lois, you promised—" Clark started.
"I know what I promised, but I have a real big instinct. Like a maternal instinct. Please, Clark, it's the last time, I promise," Lois begged. Clark pulled over.
"OK," he said. "Make your call." Lois called Laura on the cellular phone and she picked up on the fourth ring.
"Hello?" she asked, sounding sleepy.
"Laura, this is Lois. Clark and I were just on our way to an interview and wanted to check on Jeff. Did I wake you up?" she asked.
"I just lay down for a little cat nap. Jeff's fine," Laura said.
"Could you please look in his crib?" Lois asked. "It would make me feel so much better."
"Sure," Laura said. "I'll walk back there right now. OK, I'm in his room, and AAUUGGH!!" she screamed a bloodcurdling scream.
"What?! What's wrong?!" Lois asked.
"He's not here!" Laura screamed. "He was here when I lay down. I checked on him!"
"OK, we'll be there in minute," Lois said, hanging up. "Clark, turn around. Jeff's been kidnapped!" she said, tears streaming down her face. "My baby!" Clark turned around.
"I'm gonna kill whoever stole my son," Clark said. "Lois, can you call Perry and tell him he'll have to give the story to someone else?"
"I can't talk about it. You'll have to," Lois said. "I'll be crying so much he won't be able to make out one word." She handed Clark the phone.
"OK." He called Perry. "Perry, you'll have to give our story to someone else," Clark said. "Jeff's been kidnapped."
"Oh, Clark, I am so sorry," Perry said. "Oh gosh. Listen, I want you two to be on the story. Maybe you can find clues to lead you to your son and the rest of the kidnapped babies."
"OK, Perry, we'll do our best," Clark said.
"That's all I ask," Perry said. "You go check about your son, and come back to the Planet any time today. I want to hear about Jeff."
"OK, bye." Clark hung up the phone and pulled up beside Laura's house. They ran to the house and knocked on the door. A police officer answered it.
"I'm sorry, but we can't allow the media in just yet," the officer said.
"No, Officer," Clark said, since Lois was still sobbing. "We're Jeff's parents, the baby that was just kidnapped."
"Clark and Lois Kent! I didn't know you had kids. I heard that Lois was pregnant, but—" the officer started.
"Can you just please tell us if you have any clues or ideas about where our baby is?" Clark cut in.
"Oh, come on in," the officer said, stepping out of the door. "Unfortunately, the kidnapper was pretty good at hiding his tracks. We did find this note that says—"
"Ha ha, gotcha?" Lois guessed, remembering what Perry had said.
"No, actually, it says, 'Lois and Clark, I have your baby, along with the other kidnapped babies. I've actually sent the other babies' parents ransom notes, and I'll give them their babies back. You have to come find yours. LL'"
"LL?" Lois repeated. "That's Lex Luthor."
"OK," Clark said, thinking out loud. "All we have to do is figure out where he's hiding."
"We've got to go find our baby!" Lois exclaimed. Laura came out of the room with a tear-stained face.
"Mr. and Mrs. Kent, I'm terribly sorry about your baby. I feel so guilty!" she said, crying again. Lois put her hands on Laura's shoulders.
"Laura, it's OK, we know you had nothing to do with it, and it wasn't your fault. But we have to go. We just got a very important tip about where our baby could be." They ran out the door.
"I have to call Perry and tell him we won't be coming back and give him the latest news on Jeff," Clark said. He dialed Perry's number. "Perry, this is Clark. We got a note from Lex Luthor. He's got Jeff and the other kidnapped babies. He's sending the other babies' parents ransom notes and they will get their babies back but we have to find Jeff. We'll be tracking Lex down all day, so we won't be back into the Planet. Is that OK?"
"Son, I totally understand. You two take all the time you need," Perry agreed.
"Thanks," Clark said, and hung up. "Where do we start?" he asked.
"I don't know, that's the problem. As much as I hate to say this, maybe we should wait for Lex to come to us," Lois started. "I mean after all, if he knew where Jeff was, he must be following us. I think he will give us some clues if we just wait."
"OK," Clark said. "What do we do in the meantime?"
"We go home and look over our notes," Lois said. "We also think about the places where Lex might hide." They drove home and thought about everything they knew about Lex. Around 1:00 in the morning, they went to bed and tried to sleep. Around 3:30, they both fell asleep and at 7:15, Clark heard someone at the door.
"Lois," he whispered. "Someone's at the door." Lois was wide awake.
"Maybe it's Lex leaving us a clue," she said. "Let's go see." They got up just in time to see a hand disappear through the mail slot.
"I hear footsteps running away," Clark reported. He pulled down his glasses. "It was Lex. But I don't see Jeff. Look, he dropped us a note." Clark picked it up. "We have to go on a treasure hunt to find Jeff. This says: 'To find your son, follow the clues, clue number three will lead you to the treasure. Go to the place where they keep green paper in stock.' Lois, we need to get dressed. We're finding our baby now." They got dressed in T-shirt and jeans and went on the treasure hunt.
"Green paper?" Lois said, re-reading the clue. "That could be anything."
"It could be an art store, or paper store, a number of things," Clark said. "What would Luthor want?"
"Green paper! Of course! It's money, it's the bank!" Lois said. "Money is the most important thing to Lex." They drove to the bank.
"It's not open," Clark said. They glanced over and noticed the same thing: The ATM machine. "Here's another piece of paper." Clark opened it. 'Lois wore it once for me, twice for you, Clark, and looked very pretty. Go to the store where you buy it.'
"Oh great," Lois said. "We'll be stuck on this a long time. I wore a lot of things around you and him."
"But it would have to be specific. Something that would stick in Lex's head," Clark said. "If he's still upset about it, it would be-"
"My wedding dress!" Lois said. "Go to the wedding shop."
"Honey, you're brilliant. I would still be at clue one if it wasn't for you," Clark said, kissing Lois.
"Well, I did get to know him well," Lois said. "Now let's go, I want to find my baby." Clark took off.
"I do too," he said. "You know, after this clue, we'll find Jeff." He pulled up at the wedding shop, and they found a note taped above the word 'wedding.' Lois grabbed it and read it.
"OK, it says, 'to find your baby and me, go to the place where part of Lois died. This is an easy clue and you should find it in no time,'" she read.
"The underground place that collapsed when your clone died!" Clark guessed. He drove to it.
"See? You got a clue," Lois stated. They pulled up to the building.
"Let's go get our baby back," Clark said. They ran into the building and as soon as they did, Clark stopped.
"What's wrong?" Lois asked.
"I heard him cry. He's OK," Clark said, smiling. Using Clark's superhearing, they located their son. Lex was with him, standing over his crib.
"My baby!" Lois cried, running to him. Lex got in her way.
"Not so fast," he said. "Just because you found him doesn't mean I'll give him back." Clark ran to Lex and held him by the neck.
"Give us back our son!" he yelled. Lex reached in his pocket and pulled out kryptonite. Clark dropped Lex and fell to the floor in pain. Lois knelt down beside Clark.
"Clark!" she screamed. Jeff started crying.
"Lois, don't worry about me," Clark said. "It's affecting Jeff, it's hurting him." Lois nodded, and held Jeff.
"Shhh," she said, bouncing up and down to calm him down. "Honey, it's OK. Mommy's here." Lex walked over to Lois and shoved a piece of kryptonite down Jeff's blanket. Jeff started screaming at the top of his lungs. Lois took the kryptonite out. "Lex! Stop!" She put Jeff back in the crib. "I will not allow you to hurt my family anymore." She kicked Lex in the stomach. He dropped the kryptonite and fell to the floor.
"Ohhh!" he groaned. Lois threw the kryptonite into another room. She turned her back to Lex and bent over and picked up Jeff. She heard a click and slowly turned around to see Lex holding a gun to her back. "That's right. Just because I love you doesn't mean that I won't kill you. Now give me the baby, and I won't hurt you."
"Over my dead body," Lois said. "There is no way that I'm going to give you back my baby."
"Well, then I guess I will have to kill you," Lex said. Clark jumped up and got in front of his wife and child.
"Over my dead body," he said, firmly. "I hate to tell you this, Lex, but I wasn't exposed to the kryptonite long enough. All my powers are back." Clark took Lex's gun and crushed it. "I'll be right back, Lois. I have a criminal to take care of." He changed to Superman and flew Lex to the state prison. He found Lois holding Jeff in the car. "Is Jeff OK?"
"Well, he's a little scared, and still a little hurt from the kryptonite, but it's nothing a little rest won't take care of," Lois said. "Are you OK? I know you didn't have enough time to recover from the kryptonite."
"I'm fine," Clark said. They drove home. "I haven't gotten to see my baby yet." Lois handed Jeff over to Clark. "Hey, big guy. I'm sorry you went through all of that. You see, Daddy's Superman, and obviously you've taken after him. The only way you can be hurt is with kryptonite and that's not fun. I never thought that you could be affected by it so soon. I'm sorry." Clark kissed the top of Jeff's head. Jeff smiled.
"It wasn't your fault," Lois said, putting her arm around Clark's waist. "But our baby's OK. That's what's important."
"I wonder when he'll develop his powers," Clark said. "It might be different since he was actually born on Earth."
"Let's not worry about stuff until it happens," Lois said, smiling. "You'll make yourself sick."
Comments would be very well appreciated! Good or bad. I want to see what the readers think.