By Barbara <Bml44@aol.com>
Original Air Date: September 23, 1997
Summary: Utopia has been disrupted, but by whom? Picking up where "Family Hour" left off, we join Lois and Clark as they learn the secret of the baby's origin. A secret that may put their lives — and the lives of their descendants — at grave risk. Part 1 of 2. Episode 1 of S5.
(with plotting assistance from Peace)
(edited by Diane Levitan)
This story continues the legacy created by Deborah Joy Levine and all of the wonderful writers of Lois and Clark, The New Adventures of Superman. For four fun-filled seasons, we laughed, we cried, and we even screamed and threw things at the TV screen. But mostly, we fell in love along with Lois Lane and Clark Kent.
Few TV series have captured the hearts and imaginations of its audience quite like Lois and Clark. As testament to its ability to completely enthrall its audience, the fans of L&C have been unable to let the series end. Season 5, coordinated by Leanne Shawler and written by a group of fanfic writers and editors, hopes to continue this tradition for the fans.
This is the first episode in a 22 episode "virtual season" picking up where the series left off. We've borrowed Eugenie Ross Lemming and Brad Buckner's final scene to set the stage, and acknowledge that all rights to this scene and these characters belong to Warner Bros., ABC, TNT, December 3rd Prod., DC Comics, and any other owning entity. We borrow them purely for fun and the enjoyment of the reader.
Finally, to the actors, the writers and the producers of Lois and Clark, we thank you for four wonderful years!
*Metropolis, June 15, 1997 1:00am*
Lois and Clark had hoped that once they were married, settled into their new brownstone, "putting down roots" as Clark had called it, they would finally be able to have a normal life. They would start a family, get involved in the PTA and Little League — just be 'Joe and Judy Regular'. But normal for Lois and Clark also meant continuing to be the Daily Planet's best news investigative team, which kept them tracking down leads at all hours of the day and night, and getting them caught up in the schemes of some of the world's most nefarious criminals. And, of course, normal meant keeping Clark's true identity a secret from the rest of the world. Then there was the question of whether they would be *able* to conceive a child. Okay, so normal was a relative term.
At least they could do something about determining whether or not they could conceive a child. They had Dr. Klein running some tests and had even looked into what was involved in the adoption process. It all seemed like a logical plan. A logical next step to a normal life. So why did everything seem to be unraveling?
It all started with their latest story. They had been investigating a string of mysterious deaths which led them to Klaus Mensa, a convicted con artist recently released from prison. Mensa was obsessed with developing his mind into the ultimate weapon and using it to control the people and objects around him. He was set on getting revenge on those he thought had double crossed him, and of course, one of those people just happened to be the business partner of Lois' father, Sam Lane.
Sam Lane, the eternal dreamer, was working on the latest in his series of *medical* miracles. After the success of "Abs in a Bottle," he was now working on "Breasts in a Bottle," destined to go down in infomercial history. Then there was the "Bummer-Be-Gone," which would strip the wearer of unpleasant memories. But, by far, the greatest miracle Sam had been working on was his reconciliation with Lois' mother, Ellen, and his relationship with his two daughters.
It was this reconciliation that helped Lois and Clark take a gigantic step when Dr. Klein's research determined they could not conceive a child. They decided to have Sam review Dr. Klein's test results in the hopes that he could find yet another miracle. As luck would have it, this only resulted in both Lois and Clark's parents being held as hostages and both of the Lanes finding out Clark's true identity. It had all turned out all right; their parents were rescued unharmed and Sam's "Bummer-Be-Gone" had even managed to rid them of any unpleasant memories in the process.
So, while relieved that their parents were safely tucked away in their guest rooms, Lois and Clark were seemingly back where they had started. Back to wanting a normal life and no closer to being able to have one. As they lay in their bed that night, they tried to sort out the madness of the whole adventure.
"Well," Lois sighed, "My parents are back to normal. Clueless that their son-in-law moonlights in tights."
Clark chuckled. "I guess knowing I'm Superman brought them nothing but unpleasantness. So now that memory is gone."
"Mmm. I don't think Mom remembers being mad at Daddy, either."
"Mmm," Clark grinned, "Apparently not, because I caught them kissing on the terrace."
Lois let out the breath she had been holding. "Oh, Clark, I'm sorry."
"I'm sorry that Daddy can't find anything wrong with Star Labs' data. He doesn't think we'll be able to have kids."
"Honey, I have not, for one second, doubted in us. We live the impossible. Now, a child is something brought about by love, isn't it?" He paused, searching her eyes for understanding. "Well then that, above all else, has got to be possible for us."
Lois held his gaze, lifting her head from his shoulder to thank him, once again comforted by his incredible faith in love. Looking into his eyes, she could see that all-too-familiar look. The look that meant he was going to be called away from her. "What? What are you hearing?"
"I'm not sure." Looking around the room, as if to gain a better understanding, he sat up, looking a bit confused. "I can't actually *believe* what it sounds like."
Clark climbed out of bed and began to head downstairs. Lois followed closely behind, anxious to see what had Clark so bewildered. As they entered the living room, they saw a light coming from the dining room, a light they both remembered turning off before going upstairs. Cautiously, Clark slid the pocket doors open and walked towards the bassinet that was sitting just inside. They were both stunned to find a baby, wrapped in Clark's S-shielded baby blanket, lying inside the bassinet.
Noticing a small note left with the baby, Clark picked it up and began reading it aloud. "Lois and Clark, this child belongs to you."
Overwhelmed with emotion, Lois reached down to pick up the infant, afraid to believe that the child could truly belong to them.
Hearing their parents coming down the stairs, Clark quickly turned to try to make some explanation of what had just happened.
"Son," Jonathan called, "Is everything all right?"
"Everyone okay?" Sam asked.
"We saw the lights," Martha added, moving towards the dining room.
"Lois," Ellen called.
Clark emerged from the dining room, suddenly unsure of just what to say.
"Uh … uh … yeah … uh … everyone, everything is absolutely fine. Uh, Mom and Dad and … uh … Mom and Dad … Uh … we have something to tell you."
Slowly, from behind Clark, Lois emerged holding a baby. Not quite knowing what to say, Clark simply grinned, presenting the child to the now stunned *grandparents*.
*Metropolis, April 2, 2079 8:00pm*
"Ah, what a beautiful evening." Passing up her usual wait at the bus stop in favor of an early spring stroll, Eva leisurely made her way through the now emptying streets of Metropolis. She lived only 15 blocks from campus, but she usually found it more convenient to make use of the city's public transportation than to try to carry an overloaded bag of evening work. She had decided to stay late tonight to finish up, opting for a quiet evening at home curled up with her latest mystery novel. With her work now left neatly on her desk until morning, she pushed her hands deeper into her coat pockets and headed for the park. "Might as well take the long way home and enjoy the walk by the river."
From where he was standing in the shadows of the alley, he could just make out her last words, thanking the gods for his good fortune. Taking a quick glance around to check for passersby, he quietly followed her into the park.
Lost in thought, Eva stopped and watched the moon as it danced across the water. It had been a long couple of weeks at work. Her department had just been awarded an enormous research project with quite a substantial grant. The project was going to be a great benefit to the university and had been sought after by all of the staff archivists. She was honored to have been chosen to coordinate the project with Lori. But then, who wouldn't be honored to work on a research project about Superman.
Superman had done so much for Metropolis and the world in the past 80 years. She had heard all of the stories about his many rescues, peace missions and scientific discoveries over the years; but since getting into the project, she was truly amazed at just how much he had been able to accomplish.
Looking around, she realized she was walking through an example of Superman's efforts. Twenty years ago, the harbor area was filled with run-down row houses used by drug dealers and rat infested warehouses used by Intergang. Spearheading a campaign of urban renewal, Superman cleaned up Intergang and the drug dealers while the city planners cleaned up the harbor. The neighborhood was now filled with vintage brownstones, apartment buildings, storefronts and even a city park.
Even more amazing than Superman's efforts to change Metropolis, were his efforts to assist the world in peace. With the world moving and changing so rapidly since his emergence in the late 20th century, Superman dedicated himself to assisting emerging nations in their struggle for freedom. He was instrumental in helping the former Republic of China become a nation of independent democratic countries and had just returned from helping celebrate the fifth anniversary of peace in the holy lands.
Turning back and looking out across the water, Eva couldn't help a small grin. As exciting as it was to work on a project about Superman, she had to admit that she was more excited about being able to work so closely again with her best friend, Lori.
Lori had started at the university about a week after Eva. They had quickly formed a friendship, bonding together in their attempt to get used to their new surroundings. Lori was from a small town and adapting to life in a big city, and Eva had just returned to Metropolis after finishing up at her parents' alma mater in the south. Eva had always found it best to keep people at arm's length, but Lori was the type that would just sneak up on you. Before you knew it, you had told her your life story. She had rediscovered the city while introducing it to Lori and had rediscovered herself through their many late night chats. It felt good to have a best friend again. It felt good to fit in again.
Lori had always amazed her; she approached life so completely differently, embracing and reveling in its many joys and pleasantries. No matter where they went, people seem to brighten in her presence. Eva had always marveled at this and had tried desperately to figure out just what it was that made people respond this way. She finally decided that it was just impossible to stay gloomy with someone so cheerful around. Somehow, that energy just seemed to rub off on you. Maybe it was something in that water they drank in that speck of a town she was from. Maybe she was just terminally happy. Whatever the source, Eva was glad it seemed to be contagious, because she hadn't felt so alive in years.
Thinking back on those first few months, she remembered watching her best friend fall in love. Lori had been rushing through the halls of the history department to deliver some papers to the dean. As she rounded a corner, she literally ran into a young professor on his way to class. After hastily trying to sort out their papers, they hurried on their way. Even in her embarrassment, Lori managed to tuck one of his papers in her folder in hopes of meeting him again. He was all she could talk about for the next few days. After finally getting up the nerve to call him, they met for coffee and had been inseparable ever since. They were married after a brief courtship and had just had their first child. She would be returning to work in just a few days after her pregnancy leave.
"That's what I've forgotten," her mind now back from its reverie. "I've got to get things going on her welcome back party. It's going to be so great having her back!" Smiling to herself, her thoughts now on decorations and hors d'oeuvres, she set off down the path towards home, still unaware of the figure in the shadows.
*Metropolis, June 15, 1997 1:15am*
Since there had not been time to discuss how they were going to explain the baby, all Lois and Clark could do was look at one another and hope that one of them would be inspired. Thankfully for Clark, Lois seemed to have formed a plan. He just hoped that even Superman would be able to survive this particular parting of the seas.
"Isn't he adorable?" Lois grinned, holding the baby up for inspection.
Finally coming back to her senses, Martha dared to ask what was foremost on all their minds. "Honey, where did he come from?"
"Well," Lois paused, "I'm not sure. We just found him with a note saying that he belonged to us."
"Someone just left a … a baby … on your doorstep?" Ellen stammered.
Thankful for an easy out, Lois and Clark quickly agreed. "Yes," they said in unison.
Martha moved towards Lois for a better look at the baby, tears welling up in her eyes. "Who could do such a thing?"
"I don't know, Martha. I guess that's something Clark and I will have to figure out."
Looking down into his big brown eyes, Martha could see the baby struggle to keep them open. "It looks like whatever he's been through has worn him out. Why don't we put him to bed and get some rest ourselves. We can try to figure this out in the morning."
"That sounds like a great idea, Mom." Turning to Lois, Clark continued, using facial expressions to convey what his words could not. "Honey, why don't you guys take the baby up to our room and I'll bring up the bassinet."
Understanding that he needed to hide a certain blanket and note, Lois tried to corral the parents towards the stairs. "Okay, Clark. Daddy, could you and Mom take a quick look at the baby, just to make sure he's all right?"
"Of course, princess," Sam answered. "There's no telling what he's been through."
"I'll get your bag, Sam," Ellen added.
As they all began climbing the stairs, Clark ducked back into the dining room and quickly lifted the blanket. Looking around the room for a safe place to deposit it, he saw his Dad walk through the door.
"Okay, son, they've gone upstairs. What's the real story."
Relieved to be able to quit pretending, Clark let out a long breath. "I don't know Dad. I heard a baby whimper and we came down and found *him*. He was wrapped in this," Clark finished, holding up the blanket to reveal the familiar crest.
"What else did the note say?"
"Nothing." Turning around to pick it up, Clark lowered his glasses to give it a better look. "Wait a minute, there is something here at the bottom." Taking another glance, he could just make out the indentation of writing. "It's signed, H.G. Wells. He must have used some kind of ink that would disappear, knowing I'd still be able to see it."
"Well, at least that explains a little more … "
"I guess. I was just worried that someone else knew about me. I wonder where he got the blanket?" Thinking about what he'd just said and seeing the amused expression on his father's face, Clark waved him off. "Okay, stupid question. When *couldn't* he have gotten it." Grinning, Clark handed the blanket to his father. "Could you hide this in your room? Sam and Ellen don't know about this and I'd rather keep it that way for now."
"Sure, son. Come on, we'd better get this bassinet up there before they come looking for us."
*Metropolis, April 5, 2079 8:20am*
Lori made her way up the familiar stairs to the third floor, hoping that Eva had not planned a big todo on her first day back. It had been hard enough leaving CJ at day care for the first time, the last thing she needed was to enter a room full of people twenty minutes late, with mascara lines under her eyes. Even though Clark had tried to assure her that they were gone, she knew they were still there. 'Maybe I can take the back stairs,' she thought.
As she opened the door to her department, she could see that things were much the same as she had left them eight weeks before. Thankfully, there were no banners or balloons, just the gentle hum of the staff going about their day. Approaching her desk, she did notice something peculiar. Eva's desk had been next to hers since the day she started. She couldn't help but laugh every time she saw the silly little clown she always kept next to her phone. She had apparently won it at a carnival years ago and it had become a sort of good luck charm. It was missing. And come to think of it, no matter how busy Eva was at a given moment, her desk was always orderly. Not only was the clown missing, but there were files and papers everywhere.
Looking around the room, she couldn't seem to spot Eva anywhere, but her chair was pushed out and there was a coffee cup among the disarray. Assuming she had just stepped away for a moment, Lori sat her things down at her desk and tried to get acclimated once again. She noticed a few coworkers approach with smiles just as the phone rang.
Whispering, she grinned. "I've told you to stop calling me here. What if my husband finds out?"
She could hear him laugh. "Well, I won't tell if you won't."
"Okay, but I have to warn you … he can be pretty intimidating. I know he takes my breath away with this little smile of his … sort of like the one he probably has right about now."
"Well, Mrs. Kent, I'll take my chances. I'm sure even Superman couldn't resist you when you, standing there looking so coy."
"Where are you?"
"In my office. I just missed you and thought I'd use the video feature on the phone again."
"Uh huh. I guess it's a good thing the trees on campus aren't lead lined."
"Well they would just have to go if they were. And by the way, CJ is fine. He's asleep in the crib, just as we left him."
"Thanks for checking. I miss him already."
"So, I see Eva didn't embarrass you with a big party. Where is she? I would have thought she'd have you cornered with the photo album by now."
"I don't know. I haven't been able to find her. She must be down in the stacks."
"Well, I have a class in a few minutes. Just wanted to make sure you were all right. I had missed walking to campus with you. Meet me here at 12:00 and we'll have lunch with CJ."
"Thanks. I hope I can make it that long without seeing him. I love you."
"I love you too, sweetheart. Now … get to work."
"Yes sir … "
Lori had never seen a more devoted father than Clark Kent. She was convinced that he had just about every breath, and drool, of CJ's first eight weeks on film. She often teased him that CJ was only going to recognize his father if he had a camera or CD recorder attached to his face, so having pictures to show the office was not a problem. Weeding them down into a small album had been her biggest challenge. After hearing the 'oohs' and 'ahs' from the office staff, she knew Clark's time had been well spent.
She had been so caught up showing off her son that she didn't realize Eva still hadn't made it to her desk. She had been going through the album with Jeremiah, the newest archivist on staff.
"Ah, now here's one for the mantle. The whole family in front of the fireplace."
Lori turned back to the album and laughed. "It ought to be, as long as it took to get that one. It took about 20 minutes for Clark to figure out how to work the timer setting. CJ and I almost fell asleep."
"Well you certainly make a handsome family."
"Thanks, Jeremiah. Have you seen Eva? I haven't seen her all morning."
"Um … she's not here. She took a leave of absence. Didn't she tell you?"
"She called Sylvia on Monday and said there was something personal she had to take care of and would be out indefinitely. I thought for certain she had spoken with you about it. I know you two were close."
"I spoke with her that night and she never mentioned it. Where did she go?"
"You'd have to ask Sylvia. I was helping Eva while you were gone, so Sylvia asked me to work with you until she returned."
"I'm going to go talk with her and see what's up. I'll be back in a minute."
*Metropolis, June 15, 1997 1:55am*
Lois and Clark sat staring at the child sleeping peacefully in the bassinet beside their bed. Neither wanted to speak, afraid they might wake the baby or rouse themselves from an incredible dream.
"Clark, is it just me or does he really look like you?" Lois whispered.
"No, honey, it's not just you. He does look a lot like the pictures of me at his age. And there's a little more to the story. I couldn't tell you until your parents were asleep."
"What? What do you know?" Lois cried, her need to find an answer overriding the need to suppress her voice.
"Shh … you'll wake the baby."
Whispering, Lois continued. "Okay, sorry. So … out with it … "
"Well, the note was signed by HG Wells. He must have brought the baby here. Why, I have no idea." Clark could see the information as it was processed in her mind and could anticipate her response. "And as to who the baby's parents are … I'm afraid to even go there."
Smiling, she looked back over at the sleeping infant. Exhausted by the events of the day and secure in the circle of her husband's arms, Lois drifted off to sleep. "Gee, I hope he's ours … "
Pulling her tighter into his embrace, he placed a soft kiss on her forehead. "Me too, sweetheart, me too."
*Metropolis, April 5, 2079 12:15pm*
Lori watched as her husband gently rocked their son. This had become their lunch time routine. Clark would come home and bring lunch for the two of them and hold CJ while they ate. He always wanted to know every detail of their morning. While she ate one of the delicacies the world had to offer, she would fill him in on anything new CJ had mastered. Today, he had chosen Chinese from her favorite restaurant in new republic of Canton.
"Honey, something weird is going on with Eva. Apparently, after she called me on Monday, she called Sylvia and said she had something personal to take care of and would be taking a leave of absence."
"Yes. She never mentioned anything like that to me. All she could talk about was how great it was that I was coming back and that I'd better bring lots of photos of her godson."
"Maybe she got a call after she talked with you and didn't want to wake you or the baby."
"Did she say anything else to Sylvia?"
"No. Sylvia said she was really vague as to where she was going. Eva's always been a private person, so she didn't really think anything of it. She figured I'd know."
"Well, if anything were wrong, she'd have told you. She probably just hasn't had time to call. I'm sure you'll hear from her soon."
"Come here," he whispered, motioning to her. "I have an arm that's really empty."
Clark watched Lori as she walked back across campus, making sure she arrived at her building safely. He didn't want to worry her, but he was concerned with the way Eva had just left town. Over the years, he had come to think a lot of Eva as well, and he knew she would never just leave without letting Lori know where she was going. Just in case, he decided to call his grandfather at The Daily Planet to see if he could check things out. If something had happened to Eva, he'd be able to find out about it.
*Metropolis, June 15, 1997 3:00am*
Clark awoke from a dream he seemed to be having a lot lately. He was sitting in their bedroom watching Lois cradle their child in her arms. But something about this particular dream seemed so real.
Reaching over, he found Lois' side of the bed empty. Looking around the room, he could see her sitting in the chair at the foot of the bed, gently rocking an infant in her arms. She looked up and caught his gaze, smiling gently.
"I know … I thought the same thing when I woke up. I heard him whimper and thought I was still dreaming." Looking down at the baby sleeping in her arms, she simply shook her head. "He really is beautiful, isn't he?"
Clark moved to her and kneeled by her side, still captivated by the image of his wife with the child. "You both are."
"Clark, what do you think Wells meant that this child belongs to us? Why would he leave us a baby?"
"I'm not sure."
"Could this really be *our* child? Could Dr. Klein have been wrong?"
"Lois, you know how much I want us to be able to have a child, but maybe we shouldn't … "
" … get too attached? Yeah, I know."
"Honey, it's just that wherever he came from, he has to go back."
"I know, Clark, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy him while he's here."
Just then, the baby turned his head, slowly opening his eyes. Seeing the smiling couple, he grinned. Clark, no more immune to the baby than Lois, started making cooing noises and tickling him.
"Uh, Clark … what was that about not getting attached?"
Blushing slightly, he tried to explain. "Well, like you said. Might as well make him feel at home while he's here."
"Uh huh … "
*Metropolis, April 5, 2079 1:10pm*
Lori returned to her desk, reassured after her talk with Clark. Seeing Jeremiah arranging the stacks on Eva's desk, she decided it was about time she did something productive. Besides, work would take her mind off of Eva. And CJ.
Picking up her notepad, she slid her chair over next to him. "So, where do we start?"
"Well, I was just about to move down to the stacks. Eva had mapped out how the project should be tackled pretty well. I've just continued working with that. Unless you want to change it?"
"No. If Eva had a game plan, I'm sure it's a good one. Let's go. You can fill me in on what you guys have done down there."
The main office space for the historical society was located on the third floor of what had once been the main library. One of the university's benefactors had donated a considerable sum to fully fund a new library, with state of the art equipment and room to combine what had previously been squeezed into two facilities. This left the old space available for the university's many research departments to expand. Each had office space in the what had once been the open reference areas and storage space in what had been the stacks. This gave each department the ability to house projects that would have been impossible before. Their new project took up almost a single floor in the stacks, which was the department's total storage space before the renovations.
Lori and Eva had been hired while the renovations were being made and had started just before it had been discovered that the new library would be delayed. As a result, the two ended up sharing a makeshift desk in the basement stacks. They spent their first four months working together, which gave them a lot of time to talk and they had quickly formed a strong friendship. They were almost disappointed when the renovations were finished and they joined the rest of the staff in the main office. They continued to work together off and on over the next three years, and both were thrilled to be working on this new project, as it would ensure they would be partnered for the next two years.
Lori realized that she and Eva had sort of fallen out of sync since her marriage. She never realized how much being the wife of Superman would change her life. The moment she had met Clark, she knew that he was the one she wanted to spend the rest of her life with, but it had taken a while to incorporate his second job into their lives. She found herself avoiding inviting people over in case he had to leave — even Eva. Clark was really bad at making up excuses on where he hadto go, and while he had gotten pretty good at excusing himself from his classes, he also had a grad student that could always step in. It was a little more difficult to leave in the middle of dinner in your own home. But, they had finally fallen into a routine. With a little help from Clark's parents and grandparents, they found that together their excuses were more plausible.
Then there was CJ. From practically the moment he was conceived, she and Clark could hardly think of anything else. It was something they had both wanted for so long. Lori was an only child and Eva had become the sister she never had. They included her in the many events along the way and were thrilled when she agreed to be CJ's godmother. This had been a special time for all three of them, and that's why it hurt so much that Eva would just leave without so much as a word.
Pushing these thoughts away, Lori made her way down to the stacks. Jeremiah began explaining what had been completed and what Eva had mapped out to be worked on next.
Pointing to the boxes marked and filed on the shelf behind him, he explained what was in each section. "This is where we left off on Monday. Eva must have stayed late, because there was a revised todo list on my desk Tuesday morning. I simply continued working on what she had outlined. As I said, if you have another idea, we can change it."
"What she has is fine. You two have gotten a lot accomplished while I was gone."
"She does tend to be a workaholic. I usually had to force her to leave the office."
Smiling, Lori nodded. "I know what you mean. I had to do that every day for three years. Thanks for taking over for me."
"Jeremiah, did Eva say anything at all about taking a trip? It's so unlike her to just leave."
"I've tried to think back since Sylvia told me, but I can't remember anything. I left around 6:00pm … that's chess night. She was here when I left and said she would be leaving soon."
"She called me about 7:30 and was still here. She must have gotten a call after that."
"I guess so."
"I hope everything's okay."
"I'm sure she's fine. She would have told you if it wasn't."
"That's what Clark said."
"Well, he's a smart man. You should listen to him."
Grinning, she added, "I'm sure that's just what he would say."
"Actually, I sat in on a few of his lectures. He's incredibly well versed for a man his age. He seems to have traveled extensively."
"Yes, he has. He would take the summers off and travel all over the world. He has some of the most remarkable stories."
"I'd love to hear them sometime."
"Well, sit next to him for two seconds and you will."
He grinned. "I'd love that. From the lectures I attended, I can tell he's an excellent storyteller. And I'd love to hear his stories of Superman. They would make an interesting addition to our collection."
Lori glanced up, uncertain of just how to take his comment. Seeing her questioning look, Jeremiah continued.
"The lectures I attended were on the attempts at world peace in the past century. Superman figured prominently in the discussions and Clark mentioned having met him personally."
"Yes, well, Superman is a friend of his family. By the way, Eva told me that we have something in common."
"Really?" Jeremiah wondered. "What might that be?"
"Our interest in Superman."
"Well, I will admit to a certain fascination with the man of steel. I take it Clark doesn't mind your interest?"
"Well, I overlook his obsession with Ultrawoman and he overlooks mine with Superman."
Uncomfortable with getting into a discussion about Clark and Superman, Lori tried to steer the conversation back to safer ground. "Actually, there is one thing that Clark loves more than telling his tall tales … chess. Why don't you come for dinner and take him on? I'm not much competition for him … maybe you could be."
"I'd love nothing better."
"Great. I'll see what his schedule's like for the rest of the week. I will warn you, you may have baby cries interrupting your game."
"It's been a long time since I've been around a little one. It would be refreshing."
"Okay, but you've been warned. I'll let you know tomorrow."
Jeremiah Thomas was a retired Ivy League professor who had returned to Metropolis to escape the harsh New England winters. Unable give up academia altogether, he had decided research would be a good change of pace. Eva and Lori were thrilled to have someone with his background working with them on the project. Lori really didn't know that much about Jeremiah, other than what Eva had told her during her visits. She got the impression that Eva had begun to think of him as a surrogate father. With his gray hair and beard, he did look remarkably like the picture Eva kept on her desk of her father.
Eva's parents were both professors and were well in their 40s when they decided to have a family. When Eva was in high school, her parents had been killed in an explosion in one of the labs on campus. Lori had asked Clark's father about the explosion, and he remembered getting there in time to put out the fire, but too late to save anyone that had been in the lab. Eva had planned to carry on their work at the university, but finally decided there were just too many painful memories. She finished up her graduate studies and returned to Metropolis to get a fresh start. Lori couldn't begin to imagine how devastating it must be to lose both of your parents, but she was glad Jeremiah seemed to be a willing substitute. He seemed nice enough, and he must be a good judge of character, since he was so impressed with her husband.
Smiling, Lori opened the box in front of her and began to lose herself in her work.
*Metropolis, June 15, 1997 5:45am*
Morning was announced at the Kent house not only by the gentle stream of light peeking through the blinds, but by the soft cries of the newest *Kent* making his presence known.
Without thinking, Clark walked to the bassinet, picked him up and began hushing his cries. Lois slowly opened her eyes and waited for her mind to register what was going on.
"Clark, is there an emergency?"
Moving to the bed and sitting beside her, he smiled. "Well if you consider a hungry baby an emergency … yes."
Snuggling close to Clark, she smiled and stared down at the baby. Comforted by being Clark's arms, the baby's cries were abated for the moment. His earlier comment finally registering, Lois stirred. "Clark, what are we going to feed him? And he'll need to be changed. We don't have any diapers."
Turning, he tried to calm her. "Honey … "
"And he'll need something to wear … "
"Honey … "
"And toys … and … "
Grabbing her arm to get her attention, he tried again. "Honey."
"Mom called the 24 hour pharmacy and had them deliver what he'd need. We can pick up anything else this morning."
"Thank God for Martha," Lois sighed.
"What would be do without your parents?"
Before Clark could respond, there was a gentle knock at their door. Clark turned and looked to see who it was. Smiling at Lois, he gently handed her the baby and got up to open the door. "I guess you can thank her yourself."
Clark opened the door to reveal a smiling Martha, peering at them from behind an overloaded tray. She had obviously been up for a some time, as the tray had everything from breakfast for Lois and Clark to a bottle and diapers for the baby. Clark took the tray from Martha and she quickly moved to sit by Lois, making funny faces at the infant. Through all of the commotion, the baby finally decided it was past time for breakfast, and time to let his dissatisfaction with the situation be known. What had started earlier as a soft cry, could now most likely be heard throughout Metropolis.
Lois had never felt very comfortable around babies. Somehow, the cute little creatures that would smile and coo in other people's arms, would immediately begin to wail if she were to pick them up. So, she had made it apoint to just avoid them. Since children were not something that had fit into Lois Lane's pursuit of a Pulitzer, this had seemed like a good plan. And it had worked just fine until she met Clark. Lately, she seemed to keep finding herself eavesdropping on the baby conversations in the office that she had once so studiously avoided. She would catch herself smiling at children as they passed on the street. And since they had gotten married, she had even started daydreaming of what it would be like to have a child.
But nothing could have prepared her for the real thing. Holding the screaming infant, she was at a complete loss of what to do. Could she be the same woman allowed an interview with the President of the United States? The same woman who had earned three Kerth awards? She could get information on a story at a moment's notice, but she was completely helpless when it came to the child in her arms. 'Shouldn't there be manuals that come with these things?' she thought to herself.
Martha recognized the signs of distress on Lois' face and quickly grabbed the bottle from the tray. Handing it to Lois, she smiled.
"Here Lois, this will do the trick."
Taking the bottle from her, Lois quickly stuck it in the child's mouth in an attempt to pacify it. Fortunately, he eagerly drew from the bottle, quieting his cries. Turning to a grinning Martha and Clark, she sighed. "It worked! You're a genius, Martha."
Martha placed her arm around Lois. "At this age, they're pretty easy to figure out. They're either hungry or need a diaper change.
Nodding her head in Clark's direction, she laughed. "And since you took care of the bottle, you can let Clark here tackle the diaper."
Laughing, Lois nodded. "I like the way you think, Martha."
All Clark could do was shake his head. He knew he was no match for the two women in his life. He was putty in their hands one-on-one; when they teamed up on him, look out. So, he did the only thing he could under the circumstances.
Smiling, he lifted his head toward the window. "I think I hear a bank robbery … "
"Don't even try it, mister," Lois warned. "You wouldn't want me printing an article that Superman is also vulnerable to dirty diapers, would you?"
Setting the tray down on the sofa behind him, Clark joined his wife and mother as they watched the child slowly pull from the bottle. Putting his arm around the two of them, he gently gave them a kiss on the cheek. "Might as well add two certain women to that list while you're at it."
Lois laughed and gave Martha a quick wink. "Well that goes without saying … "
*Metropolis, April 6, 2079 3:00am*
Lori awoke to the all too familiar sound of her son's cries. One of the benefits of being married to Superman, however, was that he always heard them before she did. As she turned to try to make it out of bed, she saw her husband cradling their son, trying to hush his cries.
"Morning honey," he grinned, climbing into bed next to his sleepy wife. "I *know* I had a talk with junior here last night that we wanted a 6:00am wake up call, but I forgot he doesn't know how to tell time yet. We'll work on that tonight."
"You do that." Looking over at the clock, she grinned. "He's only three hours off … "
"Well, he is your child. I guess he was bound to get that stubborn streak of yours."
"Watch it mister," she laughed, hitting him with her pillow.
Clark grinned, leaning down and whispering to CJ. "Close your eyes son, I don't want you picking up any bad habits from your mother. Next thing you know, she'll be teaching you how to babble."
Threatening him once again with her pillow, she couldn't help but laugh. "Oh, you are going to pay for that one, Kent."
Ducking from the pillow, he floated just out of reach. "Hey, I'm holding a baby here, Kent."
"And that's only going to save you for so long, buster. When you least expect it … "
Floating down next to her again, he gave her a devilish grin. "Promises, promises … "
"Okay," she laughed, laying down the pillow. "Hand over the baby and no one gets hurt."
"Do you hear how she talks to, me CJ? You'd never talk to Superman like that, would you? Of course you wouldn't."
Taking the baby from Clark, she leaned back against the headboard and began to feed him. Looking down at his small features, she still couldn't get over just how much he looked like her husband. She looked up at Clark who was just staring at the two of them. The look in his eyes took her breath away.
Reaching over, he kissed her softly. "You have no idea how happy you've made me. You've given me more than I could have ever dreamed."
"I love you too, sweetie. It's hard to believe how much our lives have changed in the last eight weeks."
"You know, I used to listen to the stories my grandfather would tell me about his parents. About how they met and how he created the Superman persona to have a life with her. I used to watch my Mom and Dad together and see how they fit Superman into their lives. I always wondered if they got tired of all of the lies, of all of the intrusions into their lives. Looking at the two of you, I know why it was worth it to them. Because I know how much the two of you mean to me."
"Clark, I told you the night I discovered your big secret that it didn't matter to me. I've loved you from the moment I saw you, all nervous and worried that you'd hurt me."
Reaching up to touch his face, she could see the love in his eyes. "And hurting me is something I know you could never do."
"I have a small confession to make. I wasn't worried that I'd hurt you that day. I was just too nervous to say anything. You took my breath away. I didn't know what to say. The longest three days of my life were the ones I spent waiting for you to call. I left that sheet with my name on the floor, hoping you'd pick it up. I almost went crazy trying to decide if I should call you."
"Clark Kent, I can't believe you. You knew what I was doing? You set me up?"
"What is it they say about all's fair in love and war?"
"Well I don't know anything about the war, but I guess I can't complain about your tactics." Looking down at their now sleeping son, she smiled back up at him. "Especially when this is the result."
"Have I ever told you how incredible you are?"
Handing him their son, she let out a yawn. "I forget, have you?"
"Guess I'll have to remind you, then," he grinned, gently settling his son back in the bassinet.
"Promises, promises … "
*Metropolis, June 15, 1997 6:30am*
Jonathan entered the room just in time to catch Clark in the middle of his diaper changing lesson. Lois was looking on, all smiles, but mentally filing all of Martha's pointers. She couldn't help but tease Clark, but he really did look like a natural with the baby. She only hoped that some day she might feel that way.
As Clark was putting the finishing touches on the diaper, he decided it was a good time to enlist his parents' help. Tickling the infant's stomach one last time, he gently lifted him, cradling him effortlessly in the crook of his arm. With his needs sated for the moment, the infant snuggled further into Clark's embrace and drifted off to sleep, eliciting a sigh from them all. Turning and closing the door, Clark led the group towards the bed and floated down next to Lois, careful not to stir the baby.
"Before Lois's parents wake up, we need to decide on a few things about this little guy." Looking over at his mother, Clark continued. "Mom, I'm sure Dad filled you in on the note. We need to agree on a story to tell everyone until we can figure out what Mr Wells needs us to do. And we're going to need your help trying to figure out just how to return him to *whenever* it is he came from."
With a quick glance at Jonathan, Martha agreed. "Honey, you know we'll help out in any way we can. Do you have any idea whose child this is?"
"No, Martha," Lois answered. "All the note said was that he belonged to us. But I can't get over his resemblance toClark."
Grinning broadly and moving in for a closer look, Martha nodded briskly. "Well, I didn't want to say anything before, but Clark, he does look just like you did at that age."
"I know, Mom. He does look like the pictures you've shown me."
Trying to get the group back to the problem at hand, Jonathan slid his arm around Martha and pulled her to him. "Son, if this is your child, why would Mr Wells bring him here? From what you two have told us, hasn't he tried to keep you from *knowing* what was going to happen in the future?"
"Yeah Dad, that's what we've wondered too. The only thing I can think of is that, whoever he is, he must be in danger, and Mr Wells trusts us to protect him."
Lois joined the discussion, now in *reporter mode*, working with protective maternal instincts she swore she did not possess. "Well, if he is in danger, it would've been nice for Mr Wells to let us know what's going on. I mean, Clark and I *are* investigative reporters, but even we can't investigate in a time we can't get to or even know when it is … "
"Honey, it's okay," Clark interrupted. "I'm sure Mr Wells will let us know what he needs us to do when he's able. Until then, the four of us need to be on our toes, in case this is our child. If this is a *super baby*, we don't exactly know what to expect. And we still have to explain his being here to everyone, including your parents."
Gaining her composure somewhat, Lois nodded. "You're right. Let's just stick with him being left on the doorstep. I mean he was, right? While we try to figure out what Mr Wells was thinking, we can tell everyone we're trying to figure out who left him. Perry's sure to think there's a story in there somewhere."
"Son, you know your Mom and I will stay and help out as long as you need us. And we do have a little experience with *super babies*."
"Thanks guys, I'm sure we'll need it."
"Clark, what about my parents?" Lois asked. "What if they see him do something … super. How are we going to explain that?"
"Well," Martha added, thinking out loud, "Clark didn't develop any of his powers until he was a teenager, and he had two Kryptonian parents. If this baby is only half Kryptonian, there's no reason to assume he would get them any earlier. Maybe even later than Clark."
Lois and Clark shared a glance, amused at Martha's never ending source of support. Reaching over, Lois took her hand. "Martha, you're better at this than Clark and I. You sure you don't want a job down at the Planet?"
Laughing, Martha gave Lois' hand a gentle squeeze. "Heavens no. Babies and *super babies* I know. I'll leave the rest of it to you two. I'm afraid Jonathan has spoiled me for big city living."
Dramatically wiping his brow, Jonathan pulled Martha close once more. "Whew! For a minute there, I was worried. Besides, Clark has his hands full rescuing one Kent, already. I don't think even Superman could keep up with the two of you."
"You took the words right out my mouth, Dad."
Lois and Martha shared a knowing look. "They're just jealous, Martha. You and I make a good team."
"Precisely," Clark agreed. "That's what we're worried about."
Just then, there was a knock on the door. Knowing that it was her parents, Lois walked to the door to let them in. Smiling back at Clark, she couldn't resist one last comment. "Saved by the bell, again, Kent. But we'll discuss this later …
"And I'm sure you'll win then, too."
"See Martha, marriage has been good for him."
The four *Kents* were sharing a laugh when Lois opened the door to find her parents, obviously aware that they had come in the middle of a conversation. Not to be hindered, Ellen quickly kissed her daughter and pushed past her to get a look at the baby. Sam gathered his daughter in a hug, wishing her good morning and leading her back to the others.
For all of their faults, Lois' parents truly did love both of their daughters. It seemed that reconciling their differences with one another had allowed them the freedom or ability to express it to their children, something that was new to all of them. They were both thrilled at the prospect of being grandparents and having a second chance with their daughters. Hearing the cries of the infant coming from Lois and Clark's bedroom, neither could resist the urge to come have a look.
Lois sighed. She never realized just how much she needed Clark until it came to dealing her parents. None of the Lanes had ever been good at expressing their feelings to one another, and as a result, they had spent most of their lives walking on eggshells around each other. But Clark just welcomed them in like he would anyone else. With his support, she found it much easier to spend time with her parents and avoid it dissolving into a shouting match. He seemed to know just when to steer the conversation to another topic or Lois out of the room.
Seeing the potential for some difficult questions, Clark attempted to distract everyone. "Well we certainly have a long day ahead of us. Lois and I need to figure out how this little guy found his way here. And until we can return him to where he belongs, he'll need a few things." Turning to his mother, Clark got the plan underway. "Mom, could you and Ellen find the baby some clothes, some more food … and anything else you think we'll need? Obviously you two know more about this than Lois and I do."
"Of course, dear," Martha said, with a gleam in her eye. "Come on, Ellen, let's go get ready and hit the baby stores."
Smiling, Clark turned to his father. "Looks like you and Sam are going to be needed, as well. From the sound of it, there will be a few packages to carry. Lois and I can work from here and watch the baby."
"Okay, son. Sam and I will try to make sure they leave a few things in the stores."
Sam moved over to Clark and gave him a pat on the back. "Clark, my boy, you thought Ellen got excited about your wedding? You have no idea how much she's been wanting grandchildren."
"Daddy … " Lois exclaimed. "Mother *wants* grandkids? My mother? The one in the next room? Doesn't she realize that will make her a grandmother?"
Putting his arm back around Lois, he couldn't help but laugh. "Yes, princess, but she has really been looking forward to you two having children someday. But don't worry. Jonathan and I will make sure she doesn't spend his entire college fund."
"Daddy, this baby isn't ours … "
"I know. We'll remind her of that, too."
"Thanks, Daddy. I think."
"Well, Jonathan, I guess we'd better get going before they leave us behind."
"You're right, Sam. We'll call you two later to see if there's anything you need."
"Thanks, Dad, Sam. We appreciate your help."
Walking them to the door, Clark slowly closed it and turned to look at his bride. Still in awe to see her holding the baby, he quietly sat back down beside her. He could see her emotions getting the best of her, now that the rest of the family had been dispatched. Putting an arm around her, he tried to add his support.
"Shh, it's all going to work out. We'll figure out how to help this little guy. And, we'll figure out a way to have one ourselves."
"Clark, I know I should be focusing on how to help him, but I can't help but want to just keep holding him. Pretend for a while that he really is ours."
"I know, honey. I want that just as much as you do, but we have a lot to do before our parents get back."
"I know. We need to put up the appearance of working on a story."
"Right. Why don't you go get dressed and I'll watch him."
Smiling back at Clark, Lois handed him the baby. "And you're just holding him so I can get ready, right?"
Giving her his best look of innocence, Clark nodded. "Of course."
"Yeah right … "
Lois and Clark had made their way down to the kitchen by the time Martha and Ellen came in, inspecting a sheet of paper. Looking over at Lois, who was feeding the baby again, they moved in beside her.
"Lois," Martha began, putting the list on the table, "there are enough bottles in the fridge to last until we get back. He'll probably need to eat every two hours. I showed Clark how to warm them, but you'll probably want to check them too. You might as well check his diaper after you feed him. And he'll most likely just sleep between feedings. We've written all of this down, but Ellen and I have our phones if you need us." The baby had drifted off to sleep, so Lois handed the bottle back to Clark. Not missing a beat, Martha continued. "And we can change him for you before we leave, if you like?"
Getting up to head upstairs, Lois shook her head. "That's okay, Martha. I watched Clark. I can do this."
"Okay, honey, we'll see you when we get back."
Lois headed up the stairs, wishing she had Clark's photographic memory. She had listened to everything Martha had told Clark about changing a diaper, but Lois had never done diapers. She had gone out of her way to avoid it when Lucy was a baby and didn't baby-sit infants for that reason. And now she had opened her big mouth again and would have to wing it. 'Maybe it won't be so bad. *Please* sleep through the whole thing,' she thought, trying to will it so.
Martha had left the diapers and changing supplies on the sofa next to the bassinet. Picking up a diaper, Lois mentally checked off everything Martha had told Clark. She opened the diaper, found the baby wipes and looked for the baby powder. Pleased with herself, she began to remove the baby's diaper.
Martha and Ellen were almost out the front door when it suddenly hit her. Turning to run upstairs, Martha quickly made her way to Lois and Clark's bedroom. "Lois," she called. "I forgot to tell you … "
Turning to see Martha in the doorway, Lois finished the sentence for her. "Not to leave him without a diaper … "
Seeing a wet and somewhat discouraged Lois, Martha tried to suppress a grin. "Umm … yes. Sorry. I'll send Clark up so you can get cleaned up."
"Thanks, Martha. Anything else I should know?"
"No, honey," she grinned, unable to help herself. "I think you've been baptized now."
"Thanks a lot, Martha," Lois grimaced, finally giving into laughter herself.
When the *grandparents* returned, you'd have thought that the entire baby department of Bloomingdale's had been delivered to the Kent's living room. Obviously, the grandfathers had gotten caught up in the shopping spree as well.
Calling through the living room, in spite of a possible sleeping baby, Ellen announced their return. "Lois, Clark. Where are you?"
Clark rushed down the stairs to head off Ellen, who was now approaching the steps. "Shh. Lois just put him down for a nap." Seeing the mass of boxes still being carried in by Jonathan and Sam, he shook his head in disbelief. "You guys do remember that there is just one *very small* baby here, not an entire orphanage."
Martha walked over to Clark and gave him a quick hug. "Honey, even a *very small* baby needs lots of things … even if it is for just a short time." Moving to the packages, she softly added, "And you'll need them all someday, anyway."
Clark heard Lois coming down the stairs and turned when he heard her gasp.
"Mother! Martha! What have you done? Did you leave anything at the store?"
"Now Lois," Ellen interjected, "I know it may look like a lot, but you'll see that you'll need every bit of it." Motioning to Sam, who was just helping Jonathan with the last of the packages, she included him in their defense. "Sam, tell her."
"Uh … yes, princess. You'll need all of it."
Clark moved to Lois and took her hand. "Well, lets see what they've bought, honey."
"Okay. Okay," Lois conceded. "So what is all this stuff?"
With the rest of the *family* upstairs turning Lois and Clark's bedroom into a temporary nursery, Lois and Martha withdrew to the kitchen to prepare another bottle. While showing her how to operate the bottle warmer, Martha could see that Lois was a bit preoccupied.
"Lois, what is it? I can tell something's bothering you."
"Oh Martha, I don't know. I mean, I thought I was ready for this. When we talked about all this before, I really felt ready. Now I just don't know if I can do it."
"Do what, honey?"
"All of it. I mean, today alone, I've been thrown up on twice and … well … you saw the diaper incident. I've changed three times and it's not even 1:00. I haven't been able to help Clark one bit on preparing a story or figuring out how to return the baby to where he belongs."
"Lois, taking care of a baby's not easy. It's a 24 hour a day job."
"That's what I mean. Clark and I already have two 24 hour a day jobs. How are we going to take on a third? Maybe Miss Bailey was right. Maybe we shouldn't be responsible for a child."
"Honey, what are you talking about? Who's Miss Bailey?"
"When Clark and I were talking about whether or not we could have a child, we thought we'd explore all of the options. So, we decided to get some information about adoption. Miss Bailey is from County Adoption and she did a preliminary work up on us. Out of a possible 100 points, she gave Clark a 97 and me a 19. Can you believe that? She said that I was a 'thrill addict' and that I 'dangled above the jaws of death like an hors d'oeuvre.' And, she said she couldn't recommend placing a child with us."
"What did Clark say?"
"That any child would be lucky to have me as a mother."
"And he's right. Lois, being a parent is one of the most demanding jobs you could ever take on. And it's not something you do for just a few years. It's a lifetime commitment. It takes all of the patience, courage and love two people can muster. If ever there were two people that possess that strength, it's the two of you."
"Martha, that sounds wonderful, but after today, I just don't know."
"Lois, you've had a baby just dropped in your laps. Of course there will need to be adjustments. We weren't exactly *expecting* Clark, either. For the first few weeks, I thought I must be the dumbest woman in the world. Everything was new to me. I made every mistake possible." Placing her hand on Lois' arms, she grinned. "How do you think I knew to warn you about the *diaper incident*. Clark got Jonathan and I more than once."
Lois looked up and laughed. "Really?"
"Really. But, together, Jonathan and I found a way to make it all work. And so will you two. Together."
From behind the two women, another voice joined the conversation. "She's right, Lois," Clark said, putting his arms around Lois. "We will make it work … together." Lois fell back into Clark arms, comforted again by the warmth of *family*. Remembering her earlier comment, Clark turned to Martha. "Mom, do you have to tell everyone about the diaper thing? Next thing you know, you'll be pulling out all of those old naked baby photos to show Lois."
Martha reached up and patted his flushed cheeks, "I'm sorry, sweetie, I didn't mean to embarrass you. And anyway, Lois saw those photos a long time ago."
"What? When? Where was I?"
"When you two came to Smallville for the Corn Festival. We looked through some old photos when you were out helping Jonathan in the barn."
Lois couldn't help but chime in. "You sure did have a cute little tushie, Clark."
"Mom, I can't believe you did that … "
Lois and Martha couldn't contain themselves any longer. Lois looked up at him and gave him a quick peck on the lips. "Gotcha."
"Okay, that's it. I'm going to have to separate you two … " Giving in to laughter himself, he dropped his head on Lois' shoulder. Suddenly unsure of *anything*, he looked back and forth between the two. "You really didn't, did you Mom?"
Lois and Clark had finally gotten the baby tucked safely in the bassinet and both sets of parents off to the guest rooms. They were just about to head upstairs themselves when Clark heard a soft knock on the door. Opening it cautiously, he discovered a rather concerned HG Wells.
"Oh, good. I had rather hoped to find you two alone."
Clark quickly ushered them into the vestibule so their voices wouldn't be heard upstairs.
From past experience in dealing with Lois, HG Wells thought it best to offer a quick explanation. "Clark, my boy, I'm afraid I need your help. I was … "
Before HG Wells could continue, Lois decided that she'd heard enough. "Wait a minute. Wait just a minute. First you leave a baby at our house without any explanation and then you waltz back in here and want to take my husband off … to God knows where … and just leave me here?"
"Lois, my dear, I entrusted the baby to your care because I knew that only the two of you could understand."
"Mr. Wells," Clark asked, taking Lois' hand, trying to calm everyone down. "Who is this little boy and why did you want us to take care of him?"
"I was just about to explain. I was traveling to the future and found that Utopia had somehow been disrupted. More to the point, it was stopped before it could be created. I traveled back in time to determine the cause and discovered the most distressing situation. Someone was trying to harm your descendants to keep Utopia from being formed. I did the only thing I could think of under the circumstances. I brought the infant here until we could set things straight in the future. Clark, we really must hurry."
Trying to take in all of the information, Lois had to clear something up in her mind. "Mr. Wells, you said that someone was trying to harm our descendants. What do you mean by *our descendants*. Who is this baby?"
"Lois, think back to your first trip through time, when you went back to save Clark as a baby. There was one bit of information I didn't restore to your memories. If you both focus your minds, I think it will come back to you."
Lois and Clark looked at one another, trying to make sense of his words. Watching them, HG Wells continued. "Lois, remember that this is when you first found out that Clark was Superman. You were quite upset that Clark had not shared his secret with you. Tempus even taunted you for not seeing beyond Clark's glasses. Do you remember what I told you?"
Images began racing through Lois' mind. She saw the time machine and heard Tempus' ravings. "I remember. He said he wanted to meet the woman who was *galatically stupid*. You said that I was just blind to love and that our story was one that parents would tell their kids time and again." His words finally sinking in, Lois turned to Clark as she repeated them. "And that our descendants were the ones that created Utopia."
Afraid to believe what he was hearing, Clark turned to HG Wells. "Are you saying that Lois and I are … we *are* able to have kids? That this is our … what … grandchild?"
"Well, your great great grandson, to be exact."
Lois and Clark looked at one another in disbelief. They were both overjoyed that they would be able to conceive a child, but both still uncertain how to help the infant upstairs. Emotions getting the better of him, Clark pulled Lois to him for a kiss. No words were needed.
HG Wells found himself in a situation he seemed to find himself in quite often with the Kents. Clearing his throat, he tried to return them to the task at hand.
Looking up into Clark's eyes, Lois smiled one last time and turned to HG Wells. "Okay. I understand why you brought our … great … great … grandson … " Pausing, she thought of another question. "By the way, what is his name."
"Lois, the less you know about the future, the better. I will, however, tell you that they call him CJ. I'd rather not tell you what that stands for."
"Fair enough. Okay then, I understand why you brought CJ here. What I don't understand is what it is you want Clark to do. And why you only want him to help."
"Lois, whoever has disrupted Utopia must also have discovered your great grandson's identity. I need Clark's assistance in explaining the danger he and his son are in. He has no reason to believe me, but Clark's abilities will be very difficult to refute."
"But if someone has discovered our great grandson's identity, won't they recognize Clark as well?" Lois asked.
"It's possible, but I'm afraid, my dear, that it's a risk we'll have to take," HG Wells added, turning to Clark. "Clark, there should be very little risk to you. The work you started with Star Labs was completed by your child. Kryptonite does not exist in the future."
"So," Lois wondered, still unconvinced, "what is the threat to the future? How exactly is this Utopia kept from being formed?"
"I'm still not sure. This is what I need Clark to help uncover." HG Wells turned his attention to Lois, hoping to explain his actions. "My dear, however this appalling plan is to be accomplished, Clark's abilities will be needed to stop it. Even Clark may have a hard time convincing your descendants of the danger. I'm afraid it will take *Superman* to set things straight again. And time really is of the essence."
Turning Lois to gather her in his arms again, Clark tried to reassure her. "Lois, honey, I've got to go with him … we've got to set things right!"
"I'm not arguing with you on that … of course you have to go." Lois pushed back against Clark's arms to catch his attention, the determination on her face matching his own. "But I'm going with you."
"I can help you!"
"Lois … no!"
"I don't want to lose you … " The sudden tremor in her voice threatened to shake Clark's resolve, but he knew … somehow, he just knew … that it was vitally important for her to stay behind this time. He drew her back into his arms, feeling her relax slightly against him, wrapping her arms around his waist, although he knew better than to interpret that as acquiescence. Even as she rested her head on his shoulder, he heard her mutter, "You've got to take me with you."
Clark sighed, resting his head against hers. He kissed her hair, then tilted her chin up to look her in the eye. "You're not going to lose me," he assured her. "But right now, this baby … our great great grandson … " he grinned, still overwhelmed by that thought, then sobered again, "this baby needs you here. Mr Wells said his life was in danger in the future … if that danger follows him here … My parents are great, but you're the one who knows tae kwon do."
Lois still looked unconvinced. She started to protest, "Clark … " but his lips silenced her.
"You said you wanted to help," he reminded her as he pulled back. She nodded, the mutinous look in her eyes starting to fade.
"This is the help I need. I need to know that CJ and my parents are safe."
"But Clark, Martha and Jonathan can take care of him … obviously, better than I can. And who's going to come *here* looking for a child from … " Looking over at HG Wells, she silently asked him to complete her sentence.
"2079," HG Wells answered.
"Wow." Turning back to Clark, she continued her defense. "Like I said, who is going to come here looking for a child from 2079. And what was it you said about us getting through this together?"
"We are. Lois, if this were our child, what would you do? You would protect it like you do me … with your life. Don't you remember? I fight the bad guy, you write the story. Someone needs to stay here and *write* the story."
"But, Clark … "
"Honey, do you think Mom and Dad can explain all of this to Perry … or your parents … or even to County Adoption, if they find out."
Sighing heavily, Lois agreed. "No … but Clark … "
"Lois, you know I don't want to leave you." Leaning down, he whispered in her ear. "I can't stand the thought of not spending *every* moment with you." He pulled back to look deeply in her eyes. "But we have to save CJ's future … our future … this is how *we* get through things."
For all her independence, Lois could never deny Clark anything when he gave her *that* look. The look that cut straight to her heart and sent shivers up her spine. And as much as she hated to admit it, she knew he was right. "Okay … you go fight the bad guy." Reaching up to cup Clark's face in her hands, she gazed at him silently, trying to quell her fear by memorizing every detail of his beloved face. Then she drew his head down toward hers. "Come back to me," she whispered an instant before their lips met again.
He held her tightly, kissing her hard. "Always," he murmured against her mouth.
HG Wells, who was once again forgotten by the couple, quietly cleared his throat. "I'm afraid we must be going, my boy."
Turning to HG Wells, Clark nodded. Giving Lois one last kiss, he whispered against her lips. "I love you, Lois Lane."
"I love you, Clark Kent." Pushing him towards the door, she sighed. "Now go before I change my mind."
Lois watched the two men disappear as they made their way down the street towards the time machine. Closing the door, she slowly walked up to their room alone, trying to figure out what to do next.
*Metropolis, April 6, 2079 7:30am*
Leaving CJ at day care the next morning wasn't any easier than the first morning, although Lori had been pleased to hear that CJ was accepting a bottle from the workers there. Clark and Lori once again set him in the crib, and watched him as he drifted back to sleep. As soon as he was settled, Clark ushered Lori out before she could object. It wasn't any easier for him to leave CJ than it was for Lori, but the longer they would dwell on it, the harder it would be to leave.
The university provided a day care center for the faculty which happened to be housed in the building next to Clark's. Lori's concerns with leaving the baby with strangers were alleviated somewhat, knowing that Clark could *look* in on him at anytime, and be there in a matter of seconds if he was needed. Even though her mind understood all of this, she still had a hard time explaining it to her heart.
They walked in silence as they made the trek across campus to her building. This had become their daily routine, walking to campus together, Clark kissing her goodbye when they reached her building. He continued to walk her across campus, even though he was at his building when they dropped off CJ.
"Honey, you do not have to baby-sit me. I'm okay. And it's silly for you to walk all this way to turn around and walk right back."
"I know you do not need baby-sitting. I just love having these last few moments alone with you." Clark stopped and pulled her into the gardens they were passing. Pulling her to him, he kissed her deeply. "And you know I never like to waste time alone with you."
Returning the kiss he started, they lost themselves in each other. They were quickly brought back to the present when the sprinklers suddenly turned on, showering both the spring flowers and the young lovers. Giggling, they ran back to the pathway.
"I can't wait to hear how you're going to explain this to your students."
"Well, heat vision does have it's advantages."
"Yes it does. Now dry me off before anyone comes along."
"You know, we are married. We're allowed to kiss. And it is spring … time for a young man's fancy to turn to love."
"I know, but I already get teased around the office enough as it is. No sense giving them ammunition."
"So, if I were to whisk you off to a deserted mountaintop for a little more *spring fancy*, you would object?"
"Well, I never said that … But how would you explain being late to your class?"
"No problem. Tim is always after me to let him take some of my classes."
"I see you've been putting some thought into this," she grinned, turning to continue on their trip to her building.
"Like you said, when you least expect it … "
"I think the world be shocked to see this side of their superhero."
"Oh, I think they would understand."
"You think so? Well, just the same, I don't want to read about it in your grandfather's paper."
"Where do you think I got the idea?"
"Clark … I knew the two of you shouldn't be left alone. Your mother warned me."
"Well," he grinned, leaning down to whisper in her ear. "He said my grandmother considered it one of the perks of being married to Superman."
Smiling, she couldn't suppress a giggle. "And so do I. But the last time you did that was what … eleven months ago? And look what happened then."
"Well, you said yourself you wanted more children." Kissing her softly on the cheek, he continued. "So far, you've just supported my plan."
"I do want more children, but I'd kind of like to have time to enjoy CJ first." Pausing to regain her train of thought, she pulled back and smiled. "And you are not making it any easier to remain sane here, Mr. Kent."
"I wasn't trying."
"I noticed. And don't think I don't appreciate your efforts, but I do need to get to work. I've already been gone eight weeks. And my excuses for you *making me late* are no better than yours."
Holding up his hands in defeat, he relented. "Okay … okay. I know when I'm beat. But remember … when you least expect it … "
"I'm going to hold you to that."
"Don't think I won't make you."
"So," trying to change the subject before she was late, again, "what time should I tell Jeremiah to come for your big chess battle tonight?"
"Tell him to drop by around 7:00. I'll have dinner ready by then and hopefully CJ will be settled. We can have dinner and then retire to the chess board."
"Okay. He's such a nice man and he seemed to be really impressed with you."
"Well," he said, grinning wickedly, "You're the only one I try to impress anymore, but it will be nice to have a good challenge at the chess board. I've kind of gotten tired of letting you win when we play."
"Hey … " Seeing the familiar look, she quickly kissed him goodbye. "Go. I'll call Tim and tell him he's on."
"Thanks. I love you, honey."
"I love you, too," she whispered as he rushed off, knowing he could hear her.
*Metropolis, June 15, 1997 11:00pm*
Lois sat alone in their bedroom, looking down at the sleeping angel in Clark's bassinet. She would never have thought that having a child around for such a short time would tear so at her heart. Since Dr. Klein had told them that they were unable to conceive, she couldn't shake the feeling that they had somehow lost something. Something she was unable to describe, until now.
In the four years she'd known Clark, they had lived through more than most people would in a lifetime. Even after wars in other galaxies, amnesia, alternate universes, kryptonite, diabolical government agencies and countless plots set on tearing them apart, they had just drawn closer to one another. Incredibly, nothing any psychopath could design had the potential of tearing at their hearts as much as this.
They had talked about having a family before they were married and Lois knew how much it meant to him. Before Clark, there was nothing that could have made her want to share the misery of her childhood with another generation. But after becoming a part of Clark's family, she finally realized what being part of a family was truly like. She couldn't help but be envious of his childhood. And she had to admit, that even after being married for only a few months, she was looking forward to starting a family. It didn't make it any less frightening, but for Lois, this was a monumental leap.
But now that she knew they *could* have a child, she couldn't figure out how she felt. She was relieved, overjoyed, overwhelmed … 'Face it, Lane … you're scared to death.' Looking down at the infant's tiny features, she couldn't help but wonder what their child would look like. Would he look like Clark? Would it even be a he? What did CJ stand for anyway? Could it just be coincidence that those were Clark's initials? HG Wells didn't tell her what his last name was, so she didn't know if he even was a Kent.
With more questions than answers, she dropped back on the bed, letting out a long breath. "Ugh … " Closing her eyes, she tried to settle her mind. She never realized how exhausting it was taking care of a child. Before she knew it, she had drifted off to sleep.
*Metropolis, April 6, 2079 7:00pm*
Jeremiah arrived at the Kent's apartment promptly at 7:00, a carefully chosen bottle of wine tucked neatly under his arm. He had been looking forward to the evening all day, mentally playing out each move carefully. He relished having such a formidable partner again.
Lori and Clark treated him to a wonderful Italian dinner, the recipe said to be passed down from Clark's great grandfather. Try as he might, Jeremiah could not get Clark to divulge the recipe, saying only that he had been sworn to keep the family secret.
"Well, I hope I'll have better luck at the chess board," Jeremiah joked.
"Why don't you two go play," Lori added, placing CJ in his bassinet. "CJ and I will take care of the dishes."
"Okay, honey. Just yell if you need anything."
With the two men locked in battle at the chess board and CJ sleeping soundly, Lori tried to get back to her thank you notes. Every time she thought she was through, another gift would appear. She had a few more to do since returning to work and she was determined to get them finished. With five more notes to write and only two cards left in the box, she decided to drop down to the corner pharmacy and pick up some more cards.
She entered the living room to find her husband and Jeremiah staring intently at the chess board.
"So, who's winning the battle?"
"Well," Jeremiah answered, "Clark had me running for a while there, but I'm holding my own now."
"Yes," Clark grinned, "I think he's on to me now."
"Well, I'll leave you to it. Clark, I'm going down to the store to pick up some more thank you cards. CJ's asleep in his room. Can you watch him until I get back?"
"Sure, honey. Be careful."
"I will. I'll be back in about half an hour. Go get him, Jeremiah."
"I intend to, Lori."
"Hey," Clark protested. "Whose side are you on, anyway?"
"I like pulling for the underdog." Lori grinned, patting his offended cheek. "You always win."
"Well I'll see if I can be the one to finally defeat him, Lori."
Watching Lori gather her things and head out the door, Jeremiah turned to Clark with a smile. "You have quite a woman there, Clark. She reminds me of someone I knew long ago."
Still watching her as Lori made her way down the street, Clark turned back to Jeremiah, unable to wipe the silly grin from his face. "I'm the luckiest man on the planet."
Jeremiah's comment finally sinking in, Clark was intrigued with his new chess adversary. "So, what about you? Is your family here in Metropolis?"
"No, no family left. I never married and my parents died many years ago."
"Sorry to hear that. Well, this young lady obviously made a quite an impression."
"Yes, she did. Just when I thought she was gone for good, she would always show up again."
"I know what you mean. I was a goner from the moment I saw Lori. She's had me just where she wanted me ever since." Peering down at the chess board, Clark made his next move. "So what happened to this young lady of yours … if you don't mind me asking."
"Uh … no, of course not," Jeremiah answered, quickly countering Clark's move. "I don't mind. I had to move on and never saw her again. And as I said, it was a long time ago." Anxious to move the topic away from his past, Jeremiah glanced around the room. Noticing a well used book of baby names on the table next to him, he quickly picked it up. Leafing through the pages, he noticed names circled and crossed out throughout the book. Grinning, he turned it to Clark. "I see you did quite a lot of research naming your son."
Clark laughed, nodding his head. "Well, you know Lori. She had to know all of the options before we decided. I think I have that thing memorized now.
"Well, Clark is a very strong name. What does it mean? Is it a family name?"
"It's actually Old English for 'cleric.' It's been in the family as long as the recipe for tonight's dinner. Now let me see if I can remember … Jeremiah … doesn't that mean one who is pessimistic about the future?"
"Very good," Jeremiah grinned, putting the book down. "You must have it memorized."
"Well, you certainly don't appear to have lived up to that moniker. Guess Lori did all of that worrying over names for nothing."
The two returned to their game, each impressed with the other's skill and knowledge of strategy. After weighing his options carefully, Clark was about to make his next move when he was interrupted by the phone. Excusing himself from the game momentarily, he made his way across the room to answer it.
"Kent residence." Recognizing the familiar tenor of his grandfather's voice, Clark was quick with a greeting. "Pops, how are you?"
"Well, I'm afraid I have a bit of bad news. I looked into your friend's disappearance and you were right. There is something strange going on. I had one of our reporters check with some of her neighbors and they say she never made it home that night. I even had him check the Jane Does down at the morgue, and I'm sorry to say that one of them matches her description. You might want to go take a look to be sure."
"Thanks, Pops. I will."
"I hope it turns out to be a coincidence, but I thought you'd want to know."
"So do I. And please don't say anything about this to Lori. I don't want to worry her if it doesn't end up being her."
"Sure, son. Now, you taking good care of my great grandson?"
"Of course. Spoiling him every chance I get."
"Good. Now say hello to Lori for me. I've got to get home before your grandmother comes here after me."
"Now isn't that why you stay late?"
"You're on to me. Just don't tell her, okay?"
"Mums the word. Take care, Pops."
Returning to the chess board, Clark couldn't seem to shake a feeling of dread. After a few minutes of watching Clark stare blankly at the chess board, Jeremiah broke the silence.
Not wanting to mention his concerns about Eva until absolutely necessary, Clark looked up and politely smiled. "Yes, everything's fine." Moving his queen to threaten Jeremiah's king, he announced, "Check."
Jeremiah searched the board for his next move, intent on making the proper defense. Reaching into his pocket, he slowly pulled a small chess piece from its case and placed it on the board.
Immediately, Clark felt a piercing pain shoot through his body and started to gasp for air, unable to discern the cause. Looking at the board, he saw the new chess piece's bright green glow. As he slowly sank from the chair onto the floor, he could hear Jeremiah's final words.
"No, Clark, checkmate."
(To be continued in Season 5, Episode 2 — "Time After Time")
Characters in this episode are copyrighted by DC Comics, December 3rd Production and Warner Brothers. No infringement is intended in any part by the author or the Season 5 group, however, the ideas expressed within this episode are copyrighted (c) 1997 to the author.