By IRC Round Robin
Submitted September 1999
Summary: Another story in the group's Unintentional Season. Morgan Edge decides to delve into Superman's past in hopes of finding a way to destroy him once and for all. Meanwhile Lois and Clark receive some startling news about Lois' pregnancy.
An IRC Round Robin By Eraygun <Eraygun@aol.com>; Misha <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Moonsy <email@example.com>; zoomway <firstname.lastname@example.org>; CarmsFOLC <email@example.com>; chrispat <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Melisma <email@example.com>
FEEDBACK: All comments public and private are welcome but please no public editing.
Night was falling over Metropolis and from the balcony of his apartment Morgan Edge stared sullenly at the city lights and poured another shot of liquor into his glass. He quickly swallowed the glass's contents and grimaced slightly as the alcohol burned the back of his throat. As the skies over Metropolis grew darker, so did Edge's mood as he brooded over the mess his life had become.
A few short weeks ago he'd been the editor of Newstime Magazine, and he'd been respected, even feared. He was well on his way to becoming one of The Powers That Be in Metropolis. But now all that was changed and it was all because of Superman.
"Superman," Edge muttered, as he downed another drink. That meddler had not only cost him his job; he'd almost cost him his life. After the debacle on TV, it took every ounce of charm he had to convince Mindy Church that he could still be useful to her, even if it was just as a lackey or a gofer. And he still wasn't sure he'd been completely successful in convincing her. He was hanging by a thread and he knew it.
Edge dropped his glass when the silence in the apartment was broken by the ringing phone. Fearful that it might be Mindy summoning him to perform her late-night errands, he dashed inside to answer it.
"Morgan Edge?" an unfamiliar male voice asked.
"Who is this?"
"A friend. I figure you need one right about now."
"How do you know what I need?" Edge snarled.
"I know a lot of things about you. But that's not important right now. What's important is that I have something for you."
"Look, I don't have time for games—"
"I assure you, neither do I, Mr. Edge. So if you're not interested in what I have to offer I'll just hang up now."
Something in the mysterious voice was compelling, seductive. Despite his misgivings, Edge cried out in a voice laced with desperation. "No, wait! Don't hang up! What is it you want?"
"As I said before, I don't *want* anything. I want to give you something."
"Information about what?"
"About Superman. How would you like the inside scoop on Superman? With it you could have him on a silver platter."
Edge's hands began to shake. This could be it, he thought. His chance to get back at that costumed clown. But he was still wary. "Why do you want to give this information to me?"
"Let's just say I admired your work at Newstime. It was about time someone showed that alien up."
Edge smirked. At least his unknown caller had good taste.
"So are you interested?"
"Maybe. What do you have?" Edge grabbed a pencil and pad of paper and began frantically scribbling notes as the voice on the phone rattled off addresses, telephone numbers and directions. He was still wary, but what did he have to lose? And if this caller was for real he would have a way to get Superman, and maybe show up that harpy Lois Lane and her idiot husband Clark Kent while he was at it.
The ancient metal desk creaked alarmingly as Morgan Edge draped himself across it and smiled at its occupant.
The harsh tap of typewriter keys stilled, and in the ensuing silence, Edge could almost feel the laser gaze as it passed up from his hands to the top of his head. He shifted his feet, achingly aware of the scuff on his loafers, but reminded himself that only Superman could see through metal desks.
His assessor sniffed, loudly, pushed her glasses back up her nose again, and resumed typing. "What is it you wished to inquire about, Mr. Edge?" Her voice was oddly soothing, at odds with her entirely military posture and the clothing that should have gone out of style in the forties.
"Sergeant." The mild reproof in her voice had quelled better men than he.
Edge remained oblivious. "Sergeant Tarna …" He paused to brighten the intensity of his smile. "I was told that you might be able to help me out."
The clatter of typewriter keys did not cease. "Perhaps."
"You knew a Mr. Trask, did you not?"
Silence filled the room for a long moment. "Colonel Jason was one of the finest men I have had the privilege of serving under." Her beautiful voice quavered, and a single tear glittered in the corner of one eye, magnified by her glasses. "His death was truly tragic…"
Edge nodded and leaned closer as she spun her tale.
Lois tapped her fingers impatiently on the edge of Dr. Klein's desk. The lab was completely deserted, with nary a scientist in sight. She sat heavily in the chair behind his computer and watched the screensaver tumble across the screen. Finally, bored stiff, she reached for the mouse.
With a slight twist of her wrist the screen saver disappeared and she was met with the often absent-minded scientist's desktop. Much as she'd imagined it might be, it was chaotic. Files were strewn about, mingled with folders that bore names of things Lois didn't even have the energy to ponder. But tucked inconspicuously in the left-hand corner of the screen stood a lone icon. The familiar pack of cards and the word Solitaire greeted Lois like a welcome friend.
She double-clicked on the icon and began a game, stifling a giggle as she noticed that the doctor had found a way to customize the card backs. She sat dumbfounded at the half-clad medieval women that adorned the computer cards. Before she had the chance to ponder this new facet of Dr. Klein's personality, she heard the unmistakable sound of her husband's voice in the hall. She quickly tried to close the game but wasn't fast enough and found herself under their close scrutiny.
She managed to look sheepish as Dr. Klein's face turned red, the blush travelling up to his ears.
"I …I … my … nephew gave me that game for Christmas last year as a joke. I never really got around to deleting it." He hurriedly removed the game from the screen and took a deep breath. After he'd let it out slowly, he began talking again, finally regaining his composure. "But enough about me. We're really here to talk about you two."
"Good," Lois sighed. "I wanted to ask you…I wanted to know…"
Clark smiled and nudged Lois with his shoulder. "Go ahead, honey."
Klein folded his arms. "Yes, Lois, you can ask me anything."
"Anything? Thanks. Well, you see … it's a little more difficult having sex now…"
Klein tugged his collar. "R-Really?"
"Don't worry," Clark reassured. "That's *not* what she was going to ask."
Lois shrugged. "Spoilsport."
Klein sighed with relief. "Thank heavens. What *did* you want to ask?"
"Am I supposed to be this big already? I mean, I feel like a beach ball with legs."
Klein smiled. "Well, I haven't taken a look at the sonogram we took last week …I was saving that for your visit. But all signs so far point to a normal pregnancy, Lois."
"I know I've been eating more…" Lois interrupted herself and without looking, jabbed Clark with her elbow. "I *know* he's nodding his head."
Klein looked astonished. "That's amazing. He *was* nodding. Is that psychic connection getting stronger?"
Clark laughed. "Only the husband and wife kind."
"I see," Klein smiled and began to leave the room, turned back, unplugged the computer, and then exited.
Clark put his hand on Lois' shoulder. "You want to talk about that 'difficult sex' thing now?"
Lois laughed and covered his hand with hers. "Only if there's illustrations."
"Ooh," he purred and kissed her temple. "You're fine, honey," he whispered, knowing she was still preoccupied with thoughts that something might be wrong, or not 'normal'.
"Thanks," she whispered, and turned to kiss him. The kiss barely got under way when Klein returned. Lois reluctantly pulled away, but loved that Clark's face lingered in 'pucker' mode a few seconds after the interruption.
Klein cleared his throat, flipped on the fluorescent panel, and put up the sonogram. "I know this isn't exactly how things go at hospitals or a well-equipped OB-GYN clin…oh, lord!"
Lois gasped. "What?! What is it, Dr. Klein?"
"Take it easy, honey," Clark said, and held her close. "It's not bad news…is it, Dr. Klein?"
Klein, apparently robbed of breath, tapped the image. "Twins! Lois is carrying twins!"
Lois' jaw dropped. "B-but wouldn't that kind of information come out in a matter of weeks … not *months*?"
"Twins," Clark said, the astonishment in his voice unhidden.
Klein wiped his forehead. "Yes, Lois, normally … but I don't have the equipment here, and I can't exactly *ask* for the equipment without raising suspicions, and…"
"We made *twins*…" Clark was still lost in his own world.
"Twins … Oh boy," was all Clark managed before falling in a dead faint.
"Clark!" Lois quickly rushed to his side followed by Dr. Klein carrying a glass of water. He poured the water on Clark, who came awake sputtering.
"Wha…what happened?" he asked, wiping the water off his face.
"Oh, honey are you all right?" Lois helped Clark sit up and gave Dr. Klein a glare. "Was the water really necessary? I'm sure he would have waked up on his own."
"Oh, well, I didn't know what to do…I didn't…I didn't expect Super…I mean Clark to faint," Dr. Klein said apologetically as he gave Clark a paper towel.
"Dr. Klein, did I hear you right?" Clark asked with a bewildered yet happy look on his face. "We're going to have twins?"
"Yes, you did. It came as a surprise to me too. I didn't expect this… the ramification of this situation…I never even considered it." Dr. Klein walked to one of the nearby tables and picked up several printouts. He muttered to himself once in a while, completely forgetting Lois and Clark's presence.
Clark cleared his throat. "Excuse me, Dr. Klein?"
"Oh, sorry about that. I was just trying to figure out what this might mean … but I need more time."
Lois looked at Clark for support before she turned to Dr. Klein. "Just tell us one thing. Are the babies all right?"
"Oh yes, they are, my dear."
Lois gave a sigh of relief and looked at her watch.
"Clark, we need to get back to work. Thank you, Dr. Klein. We'll call back later."
Morgan Edge stroked his moustache as Sergeant Tarna returned to her typewriter. Hmmm, he thought. So in the 60's Trask found a small spacecraft near Smallsomething in the heartland of America and it had Superman's symbol on it.
He went into his office, gazing around with distaste at the cramped and dingy cubicle that had been tucked into a corner of the huge warehouse, then shrugged. It wasn't what he would have chosen, but if having to work in these conditions meant he could get rid of that super pain in the butt and the equally infuriating Lane and Kent *and* get him back in Mindy Church's good graces, he would make the best of it.
At least he had a computer, no matter how antiquated. Sighing, he turned it on and signed on to the internet. Thirty minutes later, he picked up the phone, and thirty minutes after that, headed out of the office on a mysterious errand.
Sergeant Tarna watched him leave and then picked up the phone herself. "Okay. He took the bait." She smiled at the response, hung up and went back to her typing.
Meanwhile, Lois and Clark were on their way back to the Planet. The shock of Dr. Klein's revelation had worn off a bit, and Lois was in full panic mode.
"Clark!!! I can't have twins!!! I don't even know how to look after one baby, let alone two!!!"
Clark deftly avoided the biker who almost swerved into their lane. "Did you say something, honey?" he asked absently.
Lois smacked him on the arm. "Claaark," she wailed. "We're having two babies!!!"
"Oh. I know…I wonder if multiple births are common for Kryptonians."
Lois glared at him. "What's the matter with you? *We* are the ones having these babies. You and me, not some hypothetical Kryptonians!"
Clark pulled into their usual parking space and turned off the car. He stared into space for a minute or two and turned to Lois, reaching out to cup her cheek in that loving way of his. He broke into a huge smile. "Lois. We're having twins!"
Lois shook her head and smiled back at him. "It's times like these I wonder if there really is intelligent life on other planets."
"Never mind, Clark."
Clark grinned sheepishly as he helped Lois exit the car and began shepherding her up to the newsroom. "I know I'm a little distracted, honey. But this is all just so amazing…"
"I know Clark. It is *amazing*, but —"
"And I can't wait to tell my Mom and Dad, and Perry and Jimmy, and of course your folks…"
"And we need to get another crib and a *lot* more diapers and…"
"Whoa, time out," Lois said as she sat down on a bench in the lobby of the Planet.
"Is something the matter, honey?" he asked as he sat down beside her.
"No, nothing's wrong. I just need to catch my breath. This is all happening so fast."
"Lo-is, I know you're nervous about it, but don't be. We can handle this." Clark beamed.
"You really think so?"
"It will be a piece of cake."
Lois flinched. "I think I would have felt better if you hadn't phrased it quite that way."
Clark frowned in momentary puzzlement. "What?"
He studied her carefully. "Oh," he said. "Don't tell me you're getting cravings again."
"Well… A teeny piece of cake would do it," Lois allowed. "And maybe some ice cream…"
"Wait right here, honey… Chocolate cake, right?"
"Uh-huh, and… oh, surprise me with the ice cream."
Clark looked around, then supersped to fetch the cake and ice cream, returning in a minute flat. "Will Rocky Road do?" he asked, handing over a brown paper bag.
"I thought you would have avoided *that* flavor at any cost," Lois teased. She had told Clark about Sarah Goodwin and her ice cream metaphor, and he'd smiled, but …
Clark pushed the elevator call button as she dug into her snack. "They were out of chocolate," he muttered, as the doors opened and they entered the elevator.
"Sir, there's a Rachel Harris in Smallville, Kansas, and a Robert Harris in Smalltown, Nebraska. Which number do you want?"
Edge tapped the tip of his pencil on his notepad and attempted to decipher his handwriting again. 'R. Harris kls Trsk, mdl of nowhere, Sml?'… Was that a 'v' or a 't'? he muttered as he squinted harder and pulled the paper closer. "Er, ah … Robert Harris, please."
"Do you wish to be connected, sir?"
Edge smiled wolfishly. "Please."
"Smalltown Sheriff's office."
"I've got a couple of questions to ask you."
Twenty minutes later, Edge hung up. He was certain the sheriff was hiding something. He'd started stuttering the moment he'd mentioned the summer of 1966, and had categorically denied that anything had happened at the Corn Festival a few years back. Especially when the good sheriff had explicitly denied finding a dead body in a pond during the middle of the Corn Festival. With his friend who'd moved to Metropolis … Morgan spun in his chair. Next stop, Smalltown Gazette archives.
In less than three hours, he was leafing through old photocopies of ancient microfiches dating back into what Edge could have sworn was the last century. He wrinkled his nose. They even smelled dusty, and they had just come over the fax. "Okay, Charlie King, what have you been doing with your life…?"
Halfway across the world, in the stark serenity of a boardroom, a tall man looked out over the Tokyo skyline. "King here."
"Charlie? That you?"
"Rob? What's up?"
"Hey, buddy, there was this guy who called here today. He was asking about the body we found."
"The one in Barrett's Pond. Remember? We found it during the Corn Festival?"
"So? There have only been two dead bodies found in Smalltown in thirty years. Some poor guy fell into the pond and we found his body or, what was left of it. Nothing mysterious about that. What's got you so spooked that you'd spring for a long distance call to Tokyo?" The man sounded amused.
"I don't like strangers poking their noses into Smalltown's business, that's all. He was calling from Metropolis -"
"Maybe they're trying to i.d the man -"
"And he was real nosy too- askin' about yer folks, and Lisa, and Maggie at the Gazette said he called her there too, after he talked to me."
"He asked about Lisa?"
Charlie dug out his wallet, and opened it in front of him on the table. His finger traced the outline of the picture inside. "We didn't do anything wrong. It's probably nothing, Rob … "
"I dunno, Charlie."
"But I'll call Lisa anyway."
"Okay. Tell her to give the rugrat a kiss from me."
After reading the formal biography of Charlie King, Morgan Edge sat back in his chair, a wicked smile on his face. The pieces fit. King lived in Metropolis, held a position that could account for him traveling around the world, and he was linked to a town where Jason Trask had likely died. Died trying to uncover the same secret that Morgan felt he was getting closer to now.
He flipped through a few other pages containing information about King and found that he was currently on business in Tokyo and that he had a wife and child. All this intrigued Edge and he started to form a plan, but before he could plot out the course, the radio quietly playing on his desk caught his attention.
" … Sources say Superman has been spotted in the Tokyo skies. No apparent disasters have been reported, so it leaves us to wonder what the Man of Steel is up to. Could it be romance pulling him to the other side of the planet? In other news … "
Morgan flipped the button that would silence the perky newscaster. Charlie King was in Tokyo on business and now Superman shows up in Tokyo with no disaster in sight? Coincidental? Edge wondered. Or just the connection I'm looking for?
"I feel guilty," Lois said as she set the plate on the coffee table. "Yesterday, sushi from Tokyo, tonight, paella from Spain. You're spoiling me, Clark."
Clark sniffed her neck and kissed it. "Don't smell spoiled to me."
"I'm serious," she smiled, and touched his knee. "I told you two years ago you had to stop doing this kind of thing."
"And *I* said," Clark replied, taking her hand in his, "making you happy makes me happy." He kissed her hand. "Let me be Superman for you for a while, honey." His voice was light, but his eyes showed concern. "I…I'm feeling kind of…protective of you right now."
Lois stroked his cheek. "I'm fine, Clark. The babies are fine. Trust me, I can tell," she said and took his hand and placed it on her stomach. "See? They must be playing volleyball."
Clark shook his head. "How do you get any sleep with that going on?"
Lois shrugged and with Clark's help rose from the sofa. "They sleep too, and so should we. It's back to work tomorrow."
Clark moaned. "Don't remind me. I'm still on European time."
"Poor baby," Lois teased as they approached the stairs. "I just asked for dinner, I didn't ask you to dedicate a new highway in Madrid."
"Well…they did name it after me. It only seemed fair."
"Then we'll name one of the babies after you, and you can do the ribbon cutting."
The next morning Lois and Clark stepped out of the elevator into the babble that was the City Room.
Jimmy, spotting them at the top of the ramp, shouted, "Lois! CK! Someone just called here looking for Superman - wants you to get ahold of him ASAP!"
"Right! We're on it, Jimmy." Clark took the paper Jimmy had copied the message on and hurried over to the phone. Lois watched as he dialed the number, spoke to someone briefly.
"What is it, Clark?" she said softly, coming up behind him as he stood and tugged on his tie.
"Someone just kidnapped this woman's daughter and grandchild. He said that he knew her son-in-law was Superman and that if she ever wanted to see them again… I was afraid of this…"
Lois pulled Clark's sleeve and they headed for the privacy of the conference room.
"What's going on?" she asked as she shut the door. "Superman's wife and child?"
"Honey, believe me, I have no idea what's going on. I *promise* you Superman does not have another wife and child."
"I know that, Clark," Lois said gently. Less gently she added, "Besides, if he did, invulnerable or not, he'd be a dead Superman." He laughed, but Lois could hear the nervousness he was trying to cover. "Clark, it's *not* me. It's not *our* babies."
"I know that, honey, but this is the kind of stuff I have nightmares about."
She grabbed his tie and kissed him. "It's someone *else's* nightmare, Clark. They need Superman."
He nodded. "I'll talk to the officer who reported it."
"I love you," Lois whispered to the closing door.
As Clark left to check out the crime scene, Lois asked Jimmy to pull up everything they had so far. He gave her the number of the person who'd called, and after talking to the distraught woman and getting the names of the victims, she turned to the computer files. Noting the similarities between the family histories of Clark and the father, she wondered who else might have been researching Mr. Charles King.
"Jimmy! Can you find out who's looked at this information in the last few days?"
"Sure thing, Lois." He sat down at her desk and she watched as he tracked the information through a series of databases. King's files had been accessed often in the preceding three days, and, according to Jimmy, whoever was doing it was getting in through a Newstime account.
He pointed to the screen. "Morgan Edge. When he got kicked out as editor of the magazine, he left himself a nice little back door into their computer, Lois. Didn't even bother to use an alias."
"Typical arrogance." Lois stared at the name on the monitor. "What are you up to, you slimy creep? And what does this poor man's family have to do with you *or* Superman?"
"I didn't expect to see you here, Inspector," Clark said as he landed in front of a large well kept home in the suburbs of Metropolis. "Isn't this a little off your turf?"
Henderson nodded. "Normally it would be, but if anything involving you happens, I get the call…"
"Bill, this isn't my fam—"
Henderson held up his hand and directed Clark to follow him inside the house. "I already know somebody has made a big mistake. The woman who was kidnapped is a Mrs. Lisa King, married to a Charles King." Henderson picked up a wedding picture off the fireplace mantel. "And unless that suit is padded to add fifty pounds or so, and you're using hair dye, I'd say he's got the wrong guy's wife."
"Not just his wife," Clark replied grimly.
Henderson sighed and nodded, "That's right. He took their little boy too. Robbie, age three."
"But he left the mother-in-law behind. I guess to deliver the message to me?"
Henderson smirked. "Actually, after you meet her you may decide she was left behind for another reason."
"She could be riding a broom sidesaddle."
Clark flinched a little. "Maybe I'll wait a bit before I talk to her. Do you have a description of the kidnapper?"
"Yeah, we do, and it should sound familiar to you."
Clark gritted his teeth in anger the moment Henderson passed the file over. "Morgan Edge… I should have known it was him! He's been hounding me forever, it seems."
"Calm down, Superman," Henderson said as soothingly as possible, recognizing the angry-determined look in Clark's eyes. "If you let him get to you, he'll have won."
Clark took several deep breaths. "Thanks. It's just so… frustrating, you know. I thought we had nailed him last time. Did the mother-in-law have any indication of where Edge was taking her daughter and grandson?"
"She said he said something about taking them back to Superman's roots… But that doesn't make sense, does it? You're from Krypton - how could he take them back to Krypton?"
Clark thought for a minute. "I have an idea - why don't you let me check it out, so we can bag this lunatic once and for all?"
At Henderson's nod, Clark took off and a few minutes later landed on the roof of the Daily Planet. After a quick change and flight down the back staircase he strode over to his wife's desk.
"Hi, honey," he began, when she interrupted him.
"Clark, it's Edge… He's the one who kidnapped that poor woman and her little boy." Her voice had tears in it, even if her eyes didn't.
"Shh… it's okay, honey," Clark whispered, trying to soothe her." I think I know where he is. I think he's taken them back to Smallville… I'm heading out there right now, but I wanted to check on you first."
"And I'm coming with you."
"Nuh-uh. This could get dangerous… I don't want to risk you or our babies."
"But it's not just you… it's our family he's after," Lois protested.
Clark folded Lois into his arms, his hands coming down to cradle her rounded belly. "He'll never get you, honey. I won't let him get close."
Lois sighed and settled into his embrace. "But he got to the King family. He traced them to Smalltown, Nebraska."
Clark snorted and straightened a little. "Smalltown? But that's nothing like Smallville."
Lois twisted and looked up at him. "You're kidding, right?"
Clark wrinkled his nose. "They're in Nebraska, honey. Cornhuskers all the way. Completely different."
"Cornhu…" Lois let her head drop to his chest. "It's the Midwest, Clark. To Morgan Edge, there's Metropolis and LA and the rest is a big cornfield in the middle."
Clark sighed. "He thinks Superman's roots are in a cornfield. Great. Next our kids will be going to the University of Ne…"
Lois' head jerked up. "His roots? Is that where he said he'd taken them?"
"Honey, he hasn't had time to fly to Nebraska or Kansas, or South Dakota, even! He's still here in Metropolis." Lois drummed her fingers against Clark's chest. "Wait… where was the first Superman sighting…?"
"The launch site's too far away."
"Not a sighting, then… Where did he get the name Smalltown from…?"
"There's a Sheriff Harris up there in Smallt…"
"Who was the first to… Harris? Like Rachel Harris, who shot Trask …"
"Bureau 39!" they shouted in unison, and Clark scooped up Lois and twirled her around, his feet lifting off the ground for a moment.
"Clark, the fl…Mmph!"
Clark kissed her quickly, and set her gently in her chair. "I love you when you're brilliant. I'll check out the warehouse and be right back."
"Clark, wait … oh, all right." She patted her stomach. "You just wait, buster. A few more months and I'll have backup."
Clark began loosening his tie, but tipped his head, his eyes distant. Lois knew the pose.
"What are you hearing?"
"Fire alarms on the other side of town."
"Go. I can phone Henderson."
Clark sighed. "All right… but, Lois," he said firmly. "Stay put."
Lois shrugged. "Where would I go?"
"Good," he smiled, and kissed her quickly. She picked up the phone as he vanished.
"What's wrong with 911?" Lois said, holding out the receiver.
"Must be that fire on the East End," Jimmy said and nodded toward one of the newsroom video monitors. "News bulletin just came on."
"Right," Lois sighed. "Clark told me about all the alarms."
"How would CK know?"
"Jimmy, do me a favor. When Clark gets back, tell him I went…furniture shopping."
"Wait a minute," Jimmy said suspiciously. "You're not thinking of going to that fire in your condition, are you?"
"Not at all," she said brightly. "I won't be anywhere near it."
"Okay," he smiled. "I think I'm as nervous as CK over the baby."
Lois returned his smile. "Don't forget the message," she said, and headed for the elevators.
Jimmy turned his attention back to LNN's live coverage of the fire. The reporter on the scene pressed at his earpiece. "I've just been told that Superman has arrived on the scene. He's quickly evacuating survivors…"
"All right, Superman," Jimmy grinned. The camera angle switched to Superman taking several hoses at once into the building.
In less than ten minutes, the fire was out. Jimmy walked away from the monitor in time to bump into Clark moving in the opposite direction.
"That's all right, Jimmy — where's Lois? I wanted to tell her that I was on my way to the…other assignment."
"You just missed her, CK. She said she was going furniture shopping, and…"
"Oh, man!" Clark said and sprinted past Jimmy.
He sped over the city and then hovered above the old warehouse. On the side, the words Bessolo Furniture were still faintly visible. When Clark x-rayed the building, he found Lois, another woman, a toddler, Edge, and a rather severe-looking woman in neo-military garb all in a centralized office area.
There was no sign of immediate danger, but naturally a trap for Superman meant there had to be one. He wasn't about to get the Lois lecture about barging in without looking. He sighed. He wished he'd never told Lois that he'd thought nothing of a giant cage hoisted to the ceiling in Lex's wine cellar. Though every instinct told him to burst in and take his wife out of there, Edge was not armed, so Clark decided to listen for a moment.
Edge looked nervous. He turned to the woman in the military suit. "If *she* knows we're here, then her husband knows we're here, and *he* knows how to get in touch with Superman."
The woman remained placid. "Isn't that what you wanted?"
"I didn't want him *here*! I don't have the kryptonite here. You said your people would get me some."
"They have," she said, her calm unruffled. "We can go there if you like."
"What about *them*?" Edge asked, gesturing to his captives.
"I can call a cab," Lois sneered.
"That won't be necessary," a voice spoke from behind.
The little boy, who had appeared more bored than frightened, leaped to his feet. "Syooperman!"
Clark smiled and picked up the child. "Hi. You must be Robbie."
"A father should know his own *son*," Edge said, with what little bravery he had left.
Clark handed the child to his mother. "You and your son should wait outside, Mrs. King. The police will be here shortly."
"Thank you, Superman," she said. She turned toward the door, but managed to slap Edge before departing.
"That's your wife, Superman?" Lois asked innocently.
"No," Clark said, and then lifted Edge from the floor by the squelched front of his jacket. "If it was, then this would be personal, and if it was personal, I just might lose my temper."
"Lose it anyway," Lois encouraged. "You can always get it back later. Happens to me all the time."
"So I've heard, Lois," Clark said, but didn't take his eyes off Edge, who had suddenly gone a whiter shade of pale.
There was the sound of police sirens outside the warehouse and Edge visibly sagged with relief. "Thank God."
"I guess you got off lucky this time, Mr. Edge, but here's a warning," Clark said, and Lois knew by his tone he wasn't kidding. He wasn't even Superman at that moment. "If I ever have a wife, and someone like you goes after her, there is *nothing* on this Earth that will stop me from getting to you."
Henderson walked in, followed by several uniformed officers. "Need me to take out the garbage?" he offered.
Clark set Edge down and Morgan's legs folded beneath him until he became a human puddle on the floor.
"Well," Henderson said, looking down at the figure in the fetal position. "I think we can put the pepper mace away." He motioned to two of the officers who scooped the frail man from the floor and carried him outside.
"I guess you can take Ms. Lane home, Superman. Her poor husband is probably there watching more of his hairs turn gray."
"Polish your pistol, Henderson," Lois said, to cover for Superman who was turning away and trying not to laugh.
Henderson smiled. "You know, Lane, you're the only woman I ever thought was tough enough for Superman," he said, and then patted Superman's arm. "But I don't think he'd be tough enough for you."
Clark finally allowed the smile to escape. "You're right," he said, and shook Henderson's hand. He waited until he and the other officers had left, then turned to his wife. "Lois, why can't you *ever* listen to me?"
Lois, ready for combat, looked into Clark's fearful eyes. "I do listen to you, Clark," she said softly. "But I couldn't get through to 911 because of the fire."
"I can appreciate that, honey, but this could have gone bad in a million different ways… I just … I worry about you so much."
Lois put a hand on his chest and with the other withdrew a piece of paper from her pocket and handed it to him.
Clark, still upset, sighed, glanced at the paper and read aloud, "'Regards from General Newcomb'… Burton Newcomb? The guy who helped us take down Trask?"
"The very same," Lois said. "That woman who was here — Sergeant Tarna, Edge called her — had that note taped to the door of the warehouse … almost like she knew I'd come."
Clark looked up. "Where'd she go? I didn't even notice her leave."
"I have a feeling she had her escape route planned. Now how about ours?" she asked, and kissed his chin.
Clark bracketed her face with his large hands. "Lois, I want you to listen to me. I know you'll fight this, or get angry, but this is important to me right now, more than it ever has been." He took a deep breath. "Until the babies are born, please don't do anything like this again."
Lois placed her hands on his. "I won't, Clark. I mean that."
Clark's eyes softened from urgency to disbelief. "You *mean* that?"
Lois pulled his hands from her face, but still held them. "When Edge mentioned kryptonite, I got so scared, Clark. I wondered if it could hurt…" She became tearful.
Clark pulled her close. "I know," he whispered. "It's okay."
"It was the first time I realized that something you're vulnerable to, *they* might be, too … and I promised *myself* this was the last time, even before you asked."
"I know this isn't easy for you, honey, but thank you."
"You're welcome," she grinned and kissed him. "Take us home, Clark."
He drifted off the floor with Lois in his arms. "I guess I better get used to three passengers from now on."
"Well," she said thoughtfully, "until they learn to do it by themselves."
"You think they'll fly?"
"Sure," she said confidently. "And won't be able to cook. A perfect genetic blend."