By Celine LC <email@example.com>
Submitted March 2000
Summary: When Lois and Clark's newborn child mysteriously disappears, it's up to them to find out what happened. The first story of "The Series of Lauren Kent."
Author's notes and thoughts and everything else:
This is my first attempt at fanfic. Actually it wasn't until a few weeks ago that I even knew what fanfic was. Sad, but true! My idea for this story was to focus on Lois and Clark. And, well, I did. That was nearly all I focused on (but I have always liked to focus on them rather than the bad guys!). I hope you find the plot somewhat believable, at least more believable than the "Contact" episode or the one featuring Katie Banks. My other idea for writing was to continue with a series of stories about a new baby of theirs. But first, please tell me about what you think of this first story.
List of Characters: (all are WB's, not mine, except Lauren; she's my creation. Oh, and a few others also)
-Three other schoolboys
-The "Crooks"(yet to be discovered!)
Written: From 16 October, 1999 to 3 November, 1999
Dedicace a ma petite chere, Lauren, qui j'adore beaucoup. Je t'aime m'etoile. L.V.
"You're doing wonderful, honey."
"Push! You can do this, Lois."
"Honey, I love you so much. You're doing magnificently. Keep going, honey. It'll be over soon."
"Shut up, just shut up. I *am* pushing. Can't you see that?!?"
"Okay, now relax. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10. Oh honey, I can't believe it's happening already. You're do—"
"Alright, Lois. Push! Breathe baby! You are almost done. Relax, now."
"Clark, just shut up. I do not want to hear you right now. You are making me very *mad*. Just shut up, *supermouth*!"
"Push! Good, Lois."
"We're seeing the head. You are doing perfectly, Lois. Relax now."
"Oh Lord, will this ever be done? I don't know if I can push any longer. God! Will this end?"
"Push. One more time and the head will be out," the doctor said.
"Did you hear that, Hon?"
"Aaaghhh! Yes, Clark, I heard it. I am so happy — shut up!"
"We've got the head out. One MORE big push and the shoulders will be out and the rest is a piece of cake."
"There we go."
A baby's cry filled the room. Lois let her head fall down to the pillow with a sigh. Clark took his wife's hand and squeezed it. His smile stretched from ear to ear. Lois again lifted her head to look at the doctor.
"It's a little girl," said the doctor. He had wrapped the uncleaned baby in a pink receiving blanket and handed the miniature bundle to Lois. She awkwardly cradled the crying baby. Clark bent over and touched the protruding hand of his newborn. Lois stared down at the bundle in her arms. She smiled and felt a tear form in the corner of her eye. Slowly, the baby ceased its constant scream. Its little fist rested on Lois' chest. Clark placed a kiss on Lois' cheek. She felt sweaty and warm.
"Hey, Lois. This is our little girl. She is so beautiful." Clark looked back down at his precious newborn. "Hi, sweetheart. I'm your daddy. And the beautiful woman holding you right now is your mommy." He talked softly to the little child.
Lois smiled. She laid her head on the plush pillow which rested behind her. She closed her eyes in the most complete relaxation she had experienced in at least 36 hours, when she had first began having her contractions. As soon as she did, the door opened and a nurse came bustling in.
"Hi, my name is Nurse Alexander. You can call me, well, Nurse Alexander," she said with a slightly smug voice. "Time to take the baby."
She snatched the baby up, with little care, turned around and walked quickly out of the room. Clark stood up and looked slightly aggravated. Lois' expression was nearly blank. Clark shook his head and looked down at Lois, who was looking at him with a small grin.
"Honey, she needed to be washed and dressed. They also need to check her health," Lois said, reassuring Clark that everything was fine. "They need to make sure everything is working right and developed completely. A lot of parents don't even get to hold their baby right after it is born. They usually get to see it *after* everything is checked out."
Clark nodded and sat down on the bed next to Lois. She placed a hand on his thigh and he touched her now flat stomach. Lois yawned, causing Clark to yawn also. She smiled and placed her other hand on top of the hand resting on her abdomen.
"We still need to find the perfect name for her," said Lois. "I don't know that we have *the* name for her yet."
"Yeah. Good time to think of one, too," said Clark. "She's so beautiful. What are we going to call this precious little girl?"
"First of all, is she going to have your last name or mine?" asked Lois.
"I was hoping she would take mine, Lois," said Clark. "This is something I really looked forward to when we learned you were pregnant. To be able to say 'this is my daughter, 'So-an-so Kent'." Clark took Lois' hand in his and tenderly kissed it. "That is, of course, if you don't have the desire to have her take your last name."
"Honey," explained Lois, "I didn't take your last name because I felt attached to my own. I lived with it and worked with it. I got hooked on it. Then I got hooked on you but I didn't want to change this part of my life. Everything in my life was changing when I got engaged to you. I wanted one thing in my life to remain the same. I wasn't sure if I could handle a complete 'make-over' in my life; so I kept my last name for a sense of *myself*. Do you understand that?"
Clark nodded. Lois continued, "But that doesn't mean I'm *not* a Kent. I am. You are my husband. I'd be honoured to have *our* little girl have your last name. It's not a problem."
Clark looked at Lois and leaned over to place a kiss on her lips. Desiring a short peck, he got more than he asked for as the kiss lingered for a few seconds. He situated himself so his head was near Lois' ear. He whispered a sweet nothing in her ear that made her giggle and kiss his face.
"Back to the name-making process," Lois said.
"I like another process so much better," Clark replied teasingly.
"Let's just focus on *this* baby first, okay," said Lois, with a roll of her eyes. "Is there any name you really like?"
"I like the name Lois," Clark said with a laugh.
"Come on, Clark," Lois responded, with a serious expression on her face.
"Okay, okay, okay, okay. I would like it to start with an L, in honour of her most beautiful mother."
"Alright. I won't complain," Lois said. "Any suggestions?"
"Lisa, Lori, Lana, Laura, Lynn, Lois, Leslie, Linda, Lara, Loretta, Lauren, Lynette, *Lex*ie." Clark listed off a few names.
"Lexie? That is not even *funny*!" said Lois. "I did hear the name Lauren. Do you like that?"
"Lauren Kent." Clark said the name and repeated it numerous times. "I do. How about you? Lauren Kent."
"Yes, actually I like it a lot." Said Lois, speaking slowly.
"Okay then. 'Lauren' it is! Do you want a middle name?" asked Clark.
"It's not necessary, but if you would like it. I don't have one," Lois said.
"We can make one up later," said Clark. "We don't need one now."
Lois didn't respond. She had closed her eyes and was trying to sleep. Clark bent over and placed a wet kiss on her lips and held his lips to hers. She opened her eyes and pulled his head away from hers.
"You make it very difficult to sleep," Lois said. "Do you know that?"
Without answering, he took her head in his hands and brought her lips to his. He kissed his wife and held her face against his. Lois wrapped her arms around his waist and caressed his back with firm, vertical movements. Clark worked his way to the crevice of her neck, tenderly kissing every square inch of her delicate skin. Lois closed her eyes again and took in the relaxing sensation of Clark's passionate touches. Clark continued to nuzzle Lois. She let her body become limp, her head stretched back, exposing a large portion of her tender skin for Clark to nuzzle as he held her tightly around her waist. He halted his kisses at her neck to look at his precious lover. He laid her down gently on the bed. Her eyes were closed and her body remained loose. Clark placed one more kiss to her forehead. Lois had fallen asleep.
Clark got up from the bed and quietly left the room. He headed toward the nursery to see Lauren. He saw twenty or more cribs filled with sleeping or crying babies. He read the cards on each crib looking for the one that read 'Lane, Lois'. He scanned through each row, but when he reached the last crib he was disturbed at not seeing the crib holding Lauren. He remained in deep thought until he was interrupted by his name being called. He turned around to see who had called for him. He was glad to see Lois' doctor, Dr. Lehman, walking toward him.
"Hello, Mr. Kent!" Dr. Lehman said, "Congratulations on the birth of your baby girl. She is beautiful and healthy, as is your wife."
"Do you know where she is?" asked Clark, sounding a bit nervous. "I was expecting to see her here."
"Is she not in the nursery?" inquired Dr. Lehman. "She should be in here, if not with your wife in the room. But there is a good chance she still is in the lab getting everything fine-tuned and in order."
Clark furrowed his eyebrows and nodded his head. "I'll see if she is in Lois' room. Thank you, doctor." With that he headed back to Lois' room. On the way there he spotted a few kids with a video camera. He smiled at them and stopped to talk.
"What are you guys up to?" he inquired.
One of the boys looked up. His eyes went wide. "You're Clark Kent!"
"I am?" Clark teased. "And who are you?"
"Rob Wells," said the boy, sounding proud. "And these are my friends, Laurent DesLauriers, Patric LeDemain, and Marcel DeMai."
"Wow. Nice to meet you," said Clark, shaking each young man's hand. "Are you working on a school project?"
"Yeah. For our Advantage Class. We are supposed to take a video camera to important places in the city. I suppose the hospital would be important enough. We went to the Daily Planet, to tape that, but you and Lois weren't there. This was our second choice," Rob explained with a big grin on his face. "You know, Mr. Kent, you are my hero. When I grow up, I want to be just like you!"
Clark smiled and patted Rob's back. "Are you getting any good shots?"
"So far. We've caught every person and thing brought through these halls for the past two hours. Pretty exciting things!" Rob said in an animated voice.
"One bed had some lady with blood all over. We may not get to use that," added Marcel. "Too bad."
Clark shook his head at the grotesque comment just made. He began to walk away and said, "Well, good luck. Hope you get a good grade."
The boys issued their thanks and went back to their work. Clark continued on his way to his wife's room. When he reached the room, he was surprised to find the door open a crack. He became excited at the thought of it being Lauren returning. He rushed in the room. At the sight of what was behind the door, Clark stopped in his tracks. A woman stood near the bed and her face showed signs of worry. This didn't concern Clark nearly as much as the look Lois had on her face. Her lips were pursed as if she was going to break down and sob at any moment. Her eyes looked near tears but were filled with fear and insecurity. Her hands were clenched in tight fists and she seemed relieved at the sight of Clark.
"Honey?" Lois said with a questioning tone. "Was Lauren in the nursery already?"
"No, she wasn't," Clark answered slowly. "The doctor said she was still with the nurse getting checked out."
"*This* is our nurse, Clark," said Lois in a terrified tone. "Mrs. Wilks."
"*What*!?!" Clark spoke in utter disbelief. He put his hand to his forehead. "*What* are you talking about, Lois? *Our* nurse already took Lauren. Mrs. Alexander."
Lois put her head in her hands and began to cry. Clark, still contemplating the situation, sat down on a chair. Mrs. Wilks continued to stand there transferring her stare from Lois to Clark, then left. After five minutes of complete silence, Clark stood up and went over to Lois. He placed a hand on the back of her bowed head and nestled his nose into her damp hair. She was still crying and her face remained buried in her arms. Clark lifted her head to look into her eyes. He caressed his love's cheek in lingering, gentle strokes.
"Lois," Clark spoke in a cautious manner to his now fragile wife. "She will turn up somewhere, I promise. The other nurse probably got her schedule mixed up. Instead of picking up Toni Duda's baby, she picked up ours. Okay. Just keep positive. And I'm going to have *you know who* check out the building, alright? Any sign of our little girl and she'll be in his care immediately. No questions asked."
"How will he find *our* baby?" questioned Lois.
"He's memorized her precious cry already. He heard it and instantly told himself that nothing ever would touch her in a harmful way." Clark looked at Lois and gave her a reassuring glance that he'd make sure everything would be fine. She looked down and said nothing to him. Clark gave her one last kiss and loosened his tie. He turned around and left the room.
He headed to the elevators, super-hearing the whole way for the cry of his little one. He pressed the down-button and waited rather impatiently for the doors to open. It seemed like an eternity passed before the doors finally opened. He quickly got in and pressed the button that would bring him to ground level. Another eternity seemed to pass before the doors opened again. When they did, he wasted no time before he was walking out the door and to the alley where he was safe to change identities. In a flash, he was flying around the building as the muscular superhero. He flew around the building, every floor listening carefully for the cry he most desperately hoped to hear. After multiple rounds, he flew in the door and stopped his flight at the front desk in the lobby. The receptionist gave him her attention quickly.
"I need to scan this building," Superman said with as brave a face as he could don at the moment. A child would have seen his fear under his mask of gallantry and heroism. Concealed by his image as a courageous superhero was the complete horror and panic that his daughter *might* not be as safe as he had made it seem to Lois.
"Yessir. Go on ahead," said the receptionist. Immediately, Superman was making his way through the halls at a quick pace, looking into rooms and listening for any noise that would bring him to his child. Within twenty minutes, he had the whole building finished and everyone there on the look out for anything suspicious. He flew back into the lobby. He sat down on a chair in the waiting area, covered his legs in his cape, and put his head in his hands. He was not going to let anyone see his emotion, so he got up and flew out the door and high above the city streets.
He used his super-sight to scan over the surrounding area for anything that might tell him who took the baby. As he got farther away from the hospital, his hopes began to get further away from him. Stopping tears was now out of the question and trying to hide them seemed like a waste of time. He allowed his tears to fall freely. The day that was meant to hold joy and pure happiness was torn from Lois and him.
He flew to an isolated little hill and cried for all it was worth. What could he do? This baby was so little and the world so big. Even he couldn't make it right. On top of that, the child was so helpless in this brand new world. What could she do to protect herself? The answer to that question hit him hard. Nothing, the baby could do absolutely nothing. She was completely defenseless to the world's dangers. This made him cry even more. The questions that ate at him multiplied with every second he sat there.
After he was all cried out, he put on his I-am-going-to-damage-the-fool-who-tried-to-harm-my-love look and remembered back to when Tempus had run for president. (John Doe is a darn nice guy). He had used inventions from the future to make people do things without knowing it. One of his stunts made Lois drive off a cliff. After that, Superman went to Tempus and showed his pure anger. (You stay away from her, or I promise you will see my ethics *dis*appear). He now said the same about Lauren; he decided he'd do anything to insure Lauren's safety. If anything happened to her, he'd never forgive himself. After contemplating his next move and what he was going to tell Lois, he flew back to the hospital.
He got to the hospital in a matter of seconds due to his faster speed in flying and his new sense of bravery and hope. He changed his identity in the adjacent alley and walked into the hospital as the reporter who had left prior to his "treasure hunt". He took the elevator to the maternity floor where he got off and headed for Lois' room.
"Honey." Clark spoke softly just in case his darling was sleeping. She wasn't.
"What did you find out?" Lois asked apprehensively.
"You need to stay calm, Lois." Clark tried to explain to her as carefully as he could. "I couldn't find her anywhere near the hospital or in the hospital. I flew around numerous times. Didn't turn up anything suspicious. I'm going to get the police here. We'll get this figured out in no time. Okay?"
"Oh, Clark, this is so awful," said Lois. "We were supposed to protect this child when she was born. I was supposed to nurse her. This wasn't supposed to happen. Today was going to be one of the most precious and exciting days of our life. It wasn't supposed to get wrecked by one of our usual happenings. Of any day in the world, this is the one I did not want ruined, Clark. And it was, it was completely ruined for us. I hate this so much. I can't believe it is even happening to us. Why does everything special in my life get messed up in one way or another? Every special event in my life has been screwed up by some ignorant and evil person. What—"
"Lois, please," pleaded Clark. "I know this is hard. It is tearing me apart too. I just cried for ten minutes, not understanding why this is happening. But that has never got me anywhere and will never get me anywhere. Action gets results. We can cry later. Right now, we need to fight to get her back. And soon."
Lois just nodded and laid her head on Clark's shoulder. She began to cry. Clark, despite his previous comment, allowed her to do this for a few minutes. Lois quickly regained her composure and wiped the tears from her eyes. She nodded to Clark, telling him she was ready to get down to business. Clark picked up the phone and dialed the local police investigator.
Lois looked out the window. She wondered where her newborn was. She hadn't realized just how much she wanted a child. When she learned she was pregnant, she hadn't gotten all that excited. She had thought is was going to be just another thing to worry about on top of everything else she stressed over. Now, after she'd given birth and had the chance to see her newest priority, she had fallen in love with her immediately; she had bonded with her. Now that she was torn from her, stolen from her possession, her heart ached. She desperately wanted that little girl back and promised as soon as she was returned to her, she'd not let her out of her reach again. She returned to reality when she heard Clark say his good-byes to the police investigator.
"He's getting right on it. I told him everything we know. Honestly, it wasn't a lot, just a bite into the novel." Clark talked to Lois so delicately.
She nodded and smiled as much as she could. She returned her gaze to her fidgeting fingers. A last tear fell from her eye.
Clark sat down and closed his eyes and slept. He was awakened, not ten minutes later, by a visitor in the room. It was the police investigator. Clark stood up and shook the man's hand and greeted him with as much enthusiasm as his soul would allow.
"Hello, Mr. Kent," said the investigator, in a kind voice. "My name is Sergeant O'Malley. I got here as quickly as I could. These cases aren't to be taken lightly."
"Thank you, Sergeant," Clark said.
"I have a few officers questioning possible witnesses around the hospital, and a few down at the station making calls to potential onlookers, like taxi drivers, hotel concierges, and any other people who could have come into contact with the kidnappers. I can't promise you a *quick* recovery of your child, but a recovery, of course. If you had waited any longer, you might not have been so lucky. Alright?" Sergeant O'Malley spoke in a monotonous tone.
"Thank you, sir," said Lois in a serene and soft voice. She looked at Clark to find his reaction to the Officer's news. She was upset to see discord and panic in his eyes and his jaw was shaking in pure horror. O'Malley read the body language, bid his adieus, and left the room.
As soon as the door was latched, Clark let his tears fall freely. Lois got out of bed slowly and walked sorely to Clark. She sat down on the chair next to him and pulled him down to her lap, where he buried his face into her shoulder and wept. Lois wrapped her arms around his body and held him. She thought about how many times she had cried on Clark's shoulder. She felt it was time she be his shoulder and support in his time of need. She expected to cry, but tears did not come. She needed to be strong. Although this man was the man of steel, he still needed to be supported. He had his difficulties and things he couldn't handle himself. That was what Lois could do. Just be there for him. How could she expect him to stomach all his feelings? In his chest a human heart beat. A heart like everyone else had. It felt hurt and pain too.
She kissed Clark's head and rubbed her nose in his fine hair. She could feel his irregular breaths and his chest heaved in a different way as he sobbed nearly uncontrollably. She consoled his heart by speaking to him soothingly. She caressed her husband's back and continued kissing his head. Clark continued his cry for 5 minutes and stopped. He remained in his position against his wife's chest, feeling her heartbeat and steady breathing. This, he found great comfort in. Lois placed one last kiss on his head and brought his gaze to her eyes. She smiled and without saying a word, told Clark that she believed everything would turn out okay. He smiled and got up from Lois' lap. He took off his suit coat and rolled up his sleeves. Lois perceived his action as his way of saying he was ready to get to business. It made her smile inside. Quickly, she repressed the smile, telling herself that this was no time to be happy. This thought put a stern look on her face. She followed Clark downstairs. As they went they talked about what they planned on doing.
"Let's go to the front desk and see if they had any suspicious visitors or a guest list type of thing," said Clark. "They may keep a list of all the visitors who come by the hospital."
"And we might recognize a name on the list as someone who has hateful feelings towards us or might have a cause or reason for devising this type of plan," Lois continued Clark's thought.
"Right," Clark said, enthused. Ding! The door to the elevator opened up to the main floor. The team went straight to the front desk. The receptionist was on the telephone. She held up a finger telling them to wait a minute. They talked useless chatter as they waited. A minute later, the receptionist hung up the phone.
"Can I help you?" she asked politely. "Ms Lane, you're a patient here, am I right?"
"Yes, Ma'am," answered Lois. "We wanted to know if you keep a daily list of the names of visitors to the hospital."
"I'm sorry, Ms. Lane," said the receptionist, sounding truly apologetic. "I'm afraid we don't."
Lois and Clark looked at each other, both slightly discouraged.
"I don't want to be intrusive, but does this have anything to do with Superman being here or the State Police?" inquired the receptionist.
"Yes, Ma'am," said Clark. "Thank you for your time."
The two smiled at the woman and left the table, heading back to the room. Again, they held their planning session as they walked.
"Let's get you dressed and we'll see if we can find Sergeant O'Malley." Clark was onto his next idea. "We'll see if he turned anything up."
"Hopefully he did," Lois said in a monotone.
The elevator seemed to be taking a long time and felt rougher than normal. It suffered a few harsh jerks, the lights went off, and it stopped between two floors. Clark frantically searched for the emergency button, but soon found out that it wouldn't be much help since every alarm in the building was going off already. He then fumbled around in the dark for the phone. He found it, but knocked it off the jack. He found the hand piece and held it to his ear. He found no dial tone. He cursed under his breath. Lois placed her hand on his shoulder and quieted him.
"I can't believe this is happening." Clark seemed uncharacteristically agitated and angry.
"Just relax, honey," Lois said. "Everything is going to be fine. This gives us time to stop and think about what's going on. I think we need to clear our minds and really focus on what could have happened. We haven't ever *not* figured out a case we were assigned, or not assigned in our case, when we were together. But one of the conditions we had was practical thinking and pure concentration on the subject. Right?"
Clark nodded. Lois continued, "I think if we can free some space in our minds for this problem, we could figure out the answer quickly. First, we need to find a way to clear our brains. I think this room has set the perfect atmosphere for a fun necking session."
"Honey," said Clark. "Let's be serious."
"What makes you think I'm not being serious?" Lois asked, actually sounding serious.
"How can you think of something like that at a time like this?" Clark began to sound angry.
"What *else* am I supposed to be thinking about Clark?" Lois raised her voice. "We are stuck in an elevator. There is *no* way out right now. You're right, Clark. All I should worry about is our little Lauren out there somewhere without us and probably in prominent danger, but would that do me *any* ounce of good right now? No, it wouldn't because there is *nothing*, absolutely nothing I can do right now. We are stuck. This elevator is not going to move any time soon. The electricity is out, the phones are out and we are stuck between two floors in the hospital. All thinking about it would do for me is freak me out more than I already am. Am I worried? Yes, Clark. I am so worried my heart is beating twelve miles a minute and has been since Mrs. Wilks came into the room. But I can't bear the constant fear of it. I need to stop a while, relax and get my mind thinking straight. Otherwise, I won't be an ounce of good. If *you* can't settle down and stop acting so capricious about this, neither will you. I know it is tearing you apart but you need to pull yourself back together. And hold yourself together. You hear me?"
"I'm sorry, honey. I don't mean to be acting this way but I am just so scared right now." Clark's voice was shaky. "I've never been so scared in my life."
"I know, my love. I know you're scared." Lois spoke in a softer tone. "I am too. I've been scared so much in my life, but never this much. The only way I get through it is by keeping myself together. And a way I feel better, always, is in the arms of the man I love. All I meant by wanting to make love with you right here — it *was* a joke, but I wanted to be held. It makes me feel safe and secure. That was all. My mind is on Lauren. I am dying inside, as are you, but I wanted to take my mind off it for two or three seconds to get my head straight. Do you understand?"
Clark nodded and as soon as he did, Lois threw her arms around him and pushed her lips to his and deeply, deeply kissed him. They sat down slowly on the floor, laid their shoulders against the wall of the elevator, and deepened the kiss even more. The kiss lasted for an eternity and when it was finished, both closed their eyes and laid their head against the wall. They each took a deep breath and when they caught it, they began the next round of fondling and embracing each other. When their breath ran out, they'd break and catch it as the other loved on the cheek or neck, and then they would jump right back into their love making. Both were surprised when the lights turned on and the elevator began to move — both were glad the lights turned on before they moved! Within seconds, the doors opened and the lovers were able to leave their temporary prison.
The halls of the hospital were full of havoc and dismay. The nurses, doctors and a few patients were out congesting the hallways. Mothers went to the nursery to check on the well-being of their newborns and older people were shaking on the verge of a heart-attack. Lois and Clark grasped each other's hands and made their way through all the masses of people in the halls.
"Caused quite a stir throughout the whole building," Lois said as she gazed around the halls, looking at people's expressions. "I hope nothing serious happened. Someone could have died in that 'blackout'."
"We were in the elevator for over an hour," Clark pointed out.
"Didn't seem like it," Lois said to Clark, smiling. In the hall ahead, they saw Sergeant O'Malley. They called for him and he turned around.
"Hi, you two. Where did you disappear to?" asked O'Malley.
Lois and Clark looked at each other and just smiled.
"Never mind. I don't think I really want to know," O'Malley said. "We're really in a jam. We don't have a lot of information to work with and that makes it hard for us to do anything that will get us anywhere. It's like trying to find the real Elvis in a group of Elvis impersonators, or a needle in a haystack — in an expression you'd understand."
"Keep on trying, okay?" said Lois, trying to sound fine with the news. Devastation was already hitting her hard. "We'll give you everything we turn up."
"Thank you. I'll be working as fast as I can." O'Malley looked sincere. "I just wanted you to know that I have my heart in this. I love kids and know what they mean to the parents. I have two beautiful little newborns. They mean the world to me. So I have a little added incentive, along with the other men and women working on this case."
"Thank you, sir," said Clark. "We appreciate that a lot."
The officer left the room. Lois and Clark looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders and sat down. They sat thinking for a few minutes.
"Wait a second!" Clark's voice boomed, thus ending the silence. Lois looked at him, startled.
"When I went downstairs to see if I could see Lauren in the nursery, there were a few kids video taping the halls. They were right down the main hall on this floor," Clark explained.
"Maybe they — Oh Clark!" Lois threw her arms around Clark.
"They said they got everybody who passed by on video for half the day." Clark sounded ecstatically happy.
"Do you remember the kids' names?" asked Lois.
"Uhhh! Rob Wells," said Clark.
"Let's see if we can find this guy." Lois threw on a pair of jeans and a tee shirt that lay on the floor of her room, grabbed her jacket and headed out of the room. Clark followed right behind her. The two went once again down the elevator and to the lobby desk. The receptionist looked up and smiled.
"Hi, again. Can I help you?"
"Do you know which school had children here taking videos of the hall?" asked Lois.
"I think, but I'm not sure, that it was a local school. Greenwood Middle School," the receptionist said.
"Thank you very much," Clark said. He smiled, turned around and headed out the door. Lois smiled and followed him.
"Let's go check out this school and see what comes of it," Clark said. They got in the car and started out. Lois took Clark's free hand and squeezed it tight.
"Honey, I cannot tell you how excited I am," said Clark. "I hope this will give us the answer we need to get our little girl back. I can't wait to find these boys."
"If ever the video shows the kidnapper, I am not sure I'll be able to repay those boys back," said Lois.
"Give them an A+ on their project and a graduation from the 8th grade!" Clark said with a big smile and a laugh.
"Right!" said Lois.
They pulled the Jeep Grand Cherokee into the Greenwood Middle School parking lot. Lois squeezed Clark's hand again. They parked in visitors parking and got out. Clark put his arm around Lois' shoulder and they walked to the doors. They followed the signs to the front office. Clark gallantly opened the door for Lois; she gladly accepted his offering and walked in. The office secretary looked up and a smile crossed her face.
"Lois Lane and Clark Kent," she said. "I love your work. I never miss reading your stories. You two are a great team. Oh, and you just had a baby. Congratulations!"
"Well, thank you," said Lois, sounding reserved.
"Can I help you?" the secretary asked.
"Yeah. We're investigating a robbery that took place at the hospital and we are aware that there were a few of your students videotaping there. We'd like to see this tape to find some evidence," Clark explained. "We'd like to speak to a young man named Rob Wells."
"Yes, sir," the secretary said. "If you don't mind, I'd like a teacher with you, for safety measures. Not that I don't trust you, but it is policy."
"No problem," said Lois.
"I'll make a call to his teacher and send you with Morgan, here, to find the room. Okay?"
"Thank you," said Clark. A redheaded girl came out from the copy room and invited Lois and Clark to follow her.
"How are you, young lady?" asked Lois.
"I'm fine, thank you," answered Morgan.
"That's great," said Clark. Silence took over again. They made their way down the long hall. The halls were lined with gray lockers and there were pep club posters scattered on the walls. Finally the girl stopped.
"Here is Mrs. Leonard's room, Mr. Kent, Ms. Lane," said Morgan.
"Thank you, Morgan," Lois said.
They opened the door to a room full of kids working. The teacher went right up to them. She was a tall, but very slim woman who looked to be in her late thirties or early forties.
"I heard you wanted to speak to a student of mine," said Mrs. Leonard. "Rob Wells. He's a sweet kid. *Rob*!" The boy got up immediately and went over to where the adults were standing.
"Hey, Clark!" said Rob excited.
"It's Mr. Kent, please, Rob," said Mrs. Leonard.
"Hi, Rob," Clark replied. "You probably know my partner in crime and wife, Lo—"
"Lois Lane, of course," interrupted Rob. "What's up?"
"It's, 'How are you?', Rob," corrected Mrs. Leonard.
"We're doing just great, Rob," said Clark. "We need your help."
"Sure, I'll do anything to help you two," Rob responded enthusiastically.
"May we talk to him outside the room, ma'am?" Lois asked the teacher.
"I'm sorry, Ms. Lane." Mrs. Leonard shook her head, "It's against school policy."
"Okay," answered Lois.
"Rob, we'd like to watch that video you made at the hospital, if you have it available," Clark spoke in a firm tone.
"Sure. Why?" asked Rob, curiously.
"There was a theft and we're investigating the crime," answered Lois quickly. Rob's eyes opened wide, his eyebrows went up, and his jaw dropped in shock.
"Do you mean my tape might be used as evidence?" asked Rob amazed.
"If it shows us what we need to see," said Clark. He turned his attention to the teacher. "Mrs. Leonard, could we borrow this young man's project for a few hours?"
"Of course, no problem, Mr. Kent," said Mrs. Leonard, as she went to her desk and picked through a pile of VHS tapes. She pulled one out of the stack. "Here it is."
She handed the video to Clark. "Use it for as long as you'd like. I know it was done on time. The boys won't be marked late even though it's not on my desk."
Clark smiled. "Thank you. And thank you Rob, for letting us use your project."
Rob shook Clark's hand, smiled, and said farewell to the reporting team.
Lois and Clark left the room and walked quietly down the hall. They spoke not a word. They didn't need to. Their facial expressions showed their emotions and all the answers they each needed from the other. They walked out to the car. Lois took the driver's seat and Clark the passenger's. They sat there idle for a few seconds, then Lois held out her hand. Clark gave her a high five. Lois rolled her eyes.
"What?" asked Clark with a laugh.
"The keys would help," said Lois. Clark dug through his pockets. When he found them, he handed them to Lois, teasing her slightly with them. "Thanks a lot, darlin'," Lois stuck them into the ignition, fired up the engine and they were off. They drove to the Daily Planet. They found a tight parking spot at the side of the street. Lois stopped by it and was rather discouraged because the squeeze was impossible.
"Clark," Lois sounded glum, "there is no parking left. What is going on?"
"Elections, don't you remember?" said Clark.
"Oh, right," Lois said with a nod. "Did you vote?"
Clark shook his head. "Lois, just pull parallel to the parking space and I'll show you some magnificent parking."
Lois gave him a strange look but did as he told her too. She hopped out of the car, as did Clark. Clark walked over to the driver's side window, leaned against the car, and gently, yet mightily, pushed the car into the space. Lois closed her eyes, shook her head, and smiled. Clark looked proud. "That was beautiful parking."
"I'm speechless." And she was.
The two walked hand in hand into the newsroom. They immediately heard two familiar voices.
"Lois? Clark? I thought you were going to take the week off. And, Lois, did you not give birth today?" It was Perry.
"Hi, Perry," said Lois. "We ran into a problem at the hospital and it needed immediate attention."
"Am I supposed to be surprised?" Jimmy piped in.
"Well, no," said Lois sheepishly.
"The main thing is, how are you and the baby?" asked Perry.
"Fine, Perry, we're fine." Lois answered looking at Clark. Clark looked down and kept silent. "But we need to get to work."
"Git on it!" said Perry. He went on his way with Jimmy right behind him.
Lois looked at Clark. His face looked grave.
"Clark, what is it?" asked Lois.
"Hon, you *don't* know if Lauren is fine," said Clark.
"You're right, Clark," said Lois. "I sure hope she's fine."
"Let's take the video into the conference room," said Clark, changing the subject. They got up and went to the conference room. They shut the door, locked it and inserted the video into the VCR. The television automatically clicked on and they started the video. After 20 minutes of fast-forwarding through the dull parts and Clark super-seeing the whole thing, two hours of the video tape had been viewed. Yet, nothing showed signs of the thief, or a child for that matter.
"I just don't understand it at all," said Clark. "They were nearly inside your room video taping the hallway."
"Maybe it's farther on." Lois tried to sound convincing, but she, too, was not all too sure of it. "Let's watch the whole thing."
They pressed play and the video began again. Lois pressed fast-forward and the screen began to move at superspeed. She didn't want to try to comprehend the images, so she watched Clark scrutinize the screen. Another fifteen minutes passed but the movie revealed nothing. Lois placed her head on her two fingers and sighed. Just as the video became fuzzy and the image was lost, Clark jumped up with wide eyes. He took the controller and rewound the video and played it on normal speed. When it got to the part he wanted to see, he paused it. There was a woman on the screen. She had brown hair and she was very tall and thin. Her hair was cut into a little bob and she appeared to be very self-conscious about something. Lois furrowed her eyebrows and shook her head.
"Clark, this woman does not have our child," Lois said, agitated. "Face it, Clark. The person is not on the video and neither is Lauren. It's a worthless tape to us. Let's just return it to Rob."
"Lois, look at the woman again and think real hard about another *family* we've had to face." Clark sounded excited. Lois concentrated on the television screen. After a few minutes of deep thought, Lois' mouth dropped open and she uttered a sound of pure shock.
"The Newtridge sisters have Lauren," said Lois. Her emotion changed to anger.
"Let's show O'Malley!" Clark leaned over and hugged Lois. We're going to get her back. Our little girl. And when we do, we'll spend some quiet time with her at home."
"Let's not spend *any* more time here, Hon," Lois said. She grabbed her jacket and hurriedly left the room. She whizzed past every staffer, leaving Clark to apologize to them all. Lois got in the passenger side of the car and Clark, the driver's seat. Lois had her cell phone out and had turned it on. Her shoulders dropped suddenly.
"Honey, what is it? Is there something wrong?" asked Clark nervously.
"No, I don't have the Sergeant's number," said Lois, disappointed.
"So, what?" Clark said, unaffected by Lois' concern. The trip to the hospital was quick. As soon as they got the car parked, Lois was out and walking toward the door. Clark shook his head and laughed but followed her lead to the door. This time they passed the receptionist and went right to the elevator. They rode up to the maternity floor and when the doors opened, they walked right into the police investigator.
"Clark? Lois?" He seemed surprised to see them.
"Hello, Sergeant O'Malley," said Clark. "I am so glad to have found you so quickly. We've got evidence. Very tentative, but we have reason to believe that the Newtridge sisters are to blame."
"That's a very strong accusation, Clark," said O'Malley. "Do you have evidence that shows they were even here?"
"Yes, this video shows one of them at the hospital," Lois piped in. "We'll show you."
They led the officer to the nearest television with a V.C.R, which happened to be in Lois' labor room. They slipped the tape in and pressed play. Clark paused it to the exact place where the Newtridge sister could be seen.
"There she is, officer," Clark said.
"Okay, we'll find her," O'Malley replied. "I'll call the local police and get everybody on it. We'll also notify the surrounding counties. Of course, you know this is all circumstantial evidence. They may not be the culprits."
"We understand. Thank you," Lois said.
And with that the Sergeant left in a hurry.
"Maybe Superman would be willing to help?" Lois suggested to Clark with a smile.
"Was that a request or a demand?" asked Clark.
"Maybe both," Lois said, pushing him toward the window. Clark opened the window and in one motion, switched identities and flew out in a red and blue whirl. Lois still was surprised whenever he did that, even after five years of marriage. She laid down on the bed and sleep consumed her.
She didn't know how long she had slept, but a cold breeze woke her from her slumber. A shiver traveled down her spine and goose bumps formed on her arms and legs. She looked at the window and was surprised to find it was open. She threw her legs out from under the covers and walked over to close the window. She shut it and looked out the window. It was a nice night but she felt it couldn't be enjoyed without the company of her new family. How she dreamt about being back together. It ate at her heart and tears began to form again in her eyes. She sighed and slowly turned around. She nearly screamed at the sight of Clark sitting on the chair in the corner of the room. He had a very big smile on his face and his eyes had regained the usual spark and gleam.
"I didn't see you, Clark." Lois sounded shocked. "How long have you been here and why didn't you wake me?"
"I love to watch my little girls sleep," said Clark, motioning Lois with his eyes to come see what was around the corner. Lois slowly walked over to where Clark sat and let out a sigh of utter happiness.
"You've got her," Lois said ecstatically. "Why didn't you wake me up, Clark?"
"I told you. I love to watch my little girls sleep," answered Clark.
With that, he got up and hugged Lois, promising her that this wouldn't happen again and that he'd make sure of it. Lois kissed him then diverted her attention to their sleeping child.
The baby was perfect. She wore a pink kimono and had a white blanket wrapped around her delicate body. It rose and sank with every breath the baby took. She wore a cap to cover her fine, satiny, full head of hair which shone a deep shade of black. Her eyes were tenderly shut and her eyebrows were thin and flawless. Her nose was small and round and her mouth was pursed. Her face was red, but the tint was dark, without an imperfection visible. She had her tiny hands clenched in miniature fists and held them near her chest.
Lois and Clark observed this beautiful, precious sight, with gratitude and pure love, joy and satisfaction.