By Alicia U. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: June, 2003
Summary: H.G. Wells does some universe and time travelling in his efforts to assist Lois and Clark in overcoming their fertility problem and finds some intriguing help in an alternate world's Metropolis Institute of Technology.
A short, elderly man with round, wire-rimmed glasses and a grey bowler hat slowly climbed out of the driver's seat of his very unusual vehicle. Then he proceeded to make sure his machine was securely parked between some large buildings in the nearly-deserted ally. He puttered around the vehicle ensuring that it was very well hidden from the casual observer's eye. When he was satisfied, he glanced at the street sign at the corner of the alleyway to make sure he was at the right location.
"Hyperion Avenue," he muttered to himself. "Aah, my trusty friend, you've gotten me to the correct destination again. Let's just hope our timing is precisely correct."
Then he patted the front of the vehicle in a sort of farewell and started on his way.
The strange old man had an interesting habit of talking to his trusty machine. It was sort of like he thought that it was more likely to respond favorably to positive encouragement — almost like some sort of animal rather than an inanimate object. The thought was quite laughable. There was no way that his vehicle could ever be compared to any dog, horse or human he knew!
This machine and he had been through many life-changing experiences together. He would almost dare to call the vehicle his best friend; however, at times it could be his worst enemy. This incredible invention had proven itself a catalyst to change both history and the future. It was an undeniable asset if in the right hands, but sometimes it was in the possession of the worst people that were aimed at doing the most horrible things. Now was not the time to think about those mistakes, though. The man had many more important things on his mind.
Those thoughts just made him realize what a mistake designing this machine might have been. For the last twenty years of his life, he had spent long hours weighing both the merits and the flaws of his sacred brainchild. Even through the agonizing debates with himself, he realized that it was impossible to reach a conclusion as to whether it was right or wrong for him to invent this vehicle. The one thing he was sure of, though, was that he would never be able to part with the machine he had dedicated most of his adult life to creating.
However, there was something much more pressing at hand today than his debate with himself over the merits of his machine. This problem was more important than anything else that was troubling his mind. For once his troubles did not deal with the criminal who had stolen his vehicle and had wreaked so much havoc many times before in countless different time periods.
The short, elderly man nodded in a sort of farewell to the vehicle. Then without a second thought, he hurried down the street towards a house he had visited many times in his past, and would probably visit again many times in his future.
The taxi cabs and other cars rushing past him in a hurry to get wherever they were going and the pedestrians stopping, however quickly, to marvel at his apparent oddity were now completely commonplace to him. However, when he had first come to this world, all of those things had greatly surprised him.
The man, as always, did not notice the strange looks the pedestrians were giving him nor did he marvel at the different cars that were speeding past. There were many much more important things on his mind. Of course he looked out of place, but he didn't really care. Like every time he had previously visited, now he again had a sense of urgency that did not allow him to feel self-conscious about his appearance.
It was true that his clothes were a bit out of date. Yes, he did look quite unusual and out of place walking around in clothes that were in style almost 100 years ago. There wasn't time to ponder this thought today, though because there were so many more important things to do! He had not traveled here today to think about neither the fashions of the time nor the psyche of Metropolis residents; he was a man on a mission.
In a few minutes, the man had reached destination, the lovely brownstone at 348 Hyperion Avenue that housed two of the most important people he knew. If this was the day he had expected it to be, there would be much excitement in this lovely house. Its inhabitants would be welcoming a new member of the family home. It would probably be one of the happiest times in the couple's lives. If he had made his calculations correctly and his trusted vehicle had not let him down, today was the day they all had hoped and prayed for and that he had helped make possible.
The short man adjusted his hat and quickly raised his hand to knock. Before he could even strike the door, it opened and a man he knew so very well stood before him bursting with enthusiasm. Yes, this was definitely the correct day, judging from the younger man's appearance.
Maybe it should have seemed weird to the man that the younger man appeared to know that he was there before he even had the opportunity to knock on the door. However, this young man was blessed with many superhuman wonderful powers; he probably realized someone was coming to the door and did not want to disturb their new family member because of a doorbell ringing or loud knocking. This man was the fabled Superman. And the older man was ever so glad to be able to call him a friend.
"Aah," the older man said, "I see my calculations were indeed right on target." He grinned at the exuberant man on the other side of the door. "May I come in?"
"Mr. Wells!" the Superman exclaimed extending his hand in greeting. "Come in, come in! Lois and I have been expecting you!"
This old man at the door was a very welcome visitor, indeed.
"Yes, yes, precisely. I should have expected that you'd have figured it out that I would be here at this point in time precisely," the old man said, shaking his head a bit. Sometimes this time travel thing was a bit much for him. "You must have known that I planned to visit you on this day and you remember it from your past. Quite right, you know. It is rather funny that you know what I am going to do before I even do it."
Yes, the visitor at this house was H.G. Wells, author and time traveler. In his book "The Time Machine," Wells had written about a man who invented a machine that allowed him to visit different time periods both past and future. What many people did not know, however, is that the story was somewhat autobiographical. Wells had always been an inventor; however, the other inventors in his circle of friends had always sort of written his inventions off as fancies of a slightly mentally unbalanced writer whose imagination had taken hold of his mind. However, they were so wrong. This time machine that he had invented and had written about had been one of the most influential devices in future history. He had saved Superman's life on many different occasions with this time machine. However, in Wells's time, Superman did not even exist so none of his contemporaries believed his stories. Most of his contemporaries wrote him off as a lunatic with an incredible imagination.
And that led them to today. Again, Wells found himself on the doorstep of Superman's home, more accurately described as the home that his alter ego, Clark Kent, shared with his wife, Lois Lane. It was the day Wells had long anticipated — the day when the first child of this super couple had come home. In the history of the future, today was one of the most important days in history because Superman's children had helped to create the wonderful Utopia of the future.
For once, Wells's arrival did not trigger feelings of anxiety in the Kents, for they knew the reason for his visit. For once, it was not because the deranged time traveler, Tempus, had escaped to wreak havoc again. Wells was there today because he had played an instrumental role in allowing this day to come about.
"So for once the tables are turned, Mr. Wells," Clark, his eyes dancing with excitement and mirth, responded.
It usually happened that Wells had knowledge of the future that surprised the Kents. But this time, it seemed like the Kents had realized what Wells was going to do even before he did it.
Before Wells could respond, Clark put his hand on Wells's shoulder and guided him into the living room.
Just as she saw her husband and the visitor at the entrance to the living room, the woman, who was carrying a newborn baby, exclaimed, "Mr. Wells! It is so good to see you again! Clark and I have been waiting for you!"
"Yes, yes, indeed, Miss Lane. Your husband told me." He grinned at her widely and his eyes drifted down to the baby in her arms. "My dear," his breath caught in his chest as he realized the importance of the infant whom Lois Lane held in her arms. "So this is the child, the blessed child."
Lois smiled down at the baby in her arms and said in an uncharacteristically soft voice, "He is, isn't he."
Clark clapped his hand on Wells's shoulder and said, "Mr. Wells, please sit down."
"Yes, yes, indeed, Mr. Kent," Wells said as he took the offered seat next to the couch.
Clark sat down next to Lois and found himself stroking the baby's head unconsciously. He still couldn't believe it. Here he was with his wife and newborn son. He almost couldn't believe that just two years ago, he'd believed that this day would never come — that they would never be able to have a child of their own.
In fact, if H.G. Wells hadn't shown up when he did two years ago, he and Lois would have forever been under the impression that they would never be able to have a baby of their own. They would have believed Dr. Klein that he and Lois were biologically incompatible.
"Now, I know you may not want to do this, Miss Lane, Mr. Kent," Wells began.
Wells cleared his throat nervously and found himself suddenly very uncomfortable about the question he was going to ask. Of course it was much easier now that he knew that the parents realized what he had come to do and that they seemed anxious to let him do it, but he knew that it would be hard for them to let go of their newborn son if only for a few seconds.
His plan was going just splendidly. In fact, he had just had the brilliant idea a few days ago.
Ever since he first discovered Utopia, he had asked how Lois and Clark had been able to have their children and he had heard several versions of the same stories. He knew that Clark had been told that his biology was incompatible with a human woman and that their species were just too different to ever have a child together. However, the future proved this wrong as Wells found out. The most common story the children of the Utopian future learned in their Kent History classes was that the Kents learned that they could, indeed, have children because of the influence of a nameless old man in a hat. And that got Wells thinking. Who else could this man have been? It sounded like, well, it sounded like him. It was at that point that he realized, to his utter dismay, that he must have had some role in the creation of this wonderful Utopia.
Yes, it had to be him. From that point forward, he had taken it upon himself to find out just how he had helped Superman and Lois Lane be able to have children. And as the days passed, Wells did some intensive research and came up with the exact time that Lois and Clark would have been finding out that they were biologically incompatible of reproduction. Then he came up with the idea to bring them their future baby to make them realize that the future would eventually work out in their favor. However, as to how the future would work out that way, he was at an incredible loss for ideas.
But a small sliver of luck had fallen his way. It was incredibly serendipitous, almost like the fates had been on his side for once. To get his mind off this quandary he had put himself in the midst of, he decided to visit the alternate universe to help that Clark find his Lois who was lost in the Congo on an assignment. He had a much more solid plan about how to do that than the complete lack of a plan to help the Lois and Clark of his universe with their problem. However, something happened when he set the time machine to switch universes and that eventually led to his realization of what he had to do to help the Kents conceive a child.
"Like we said, Mr. Wells, we have been expecting you. We realized that you were here to take him to the past," Lois said in a somewhat shaky voice, interrupting Wells's thoughts and in fact putting his thoughts into words.
She didn't like the idea of giving up her son, just two days old, for any length of time especially if she couldn't see him. But she did remember a night not so long ago when she and Clark had been in an infinitely darker place. When Mr. Wells showed up, he had given them a wonderful gift — and their baby son was an integral part of that gift. She knew that in order to give herself the gift that she was holding in her arms today, she had to give her past self past that same hope.
"Just promise that you will be careful with him, Mr. Wells. Please."
"Oh, I will, Miss Lane. Believe me, my dear, he is cargo more precious than I have ever carried before."
To Lois, these words sounded strangely like famous last words. "But, but, what about Tempus? He isn't going to take my baby? Are you sure you are completely safe?"
Now Lois was having some major doubts. The more she thought about it, the less her rational mind was willing to let her newborn son go with Mr. Wells. Before it was actually time to let him go, Lois had told herself that she would be able to do it. Now that the decision was upon her, though, the answer was not quite so cut and dry.
"Lois, it's okay. Really, it is. Nothing is going to happen to him." Clark wrapped an arm around his wife's back in what he hoped was a comforting hug. He sure hoped he sounded a lot more confident than he felt.
Clark knew that he was harboring most of the same new parent jitters that Lois was openly showing. They were both justified in expressing so much more anxiety for their child than the normal new parents. After all, since Clark was Superman, if people found out that this little boy was Superman's son, they might want to hurt his precious child to get back at the Man of Steel. Plus, even disregarding the fact that he was Superman, he and Lois had many enemies in their own respect as reporters, and their son was not entirely safe. There were thousands of people in Metropolis alone who would want to get their hands on this child. And Clark had vowed never to let anyone touch their baby boy.
He was filled with a sense of dread about letting Mr. Wells take his son somewhere that he was unable to go. The boy would not be under his protective eye. However, he was inclined to trust H.G. Wells in this case. After all, if it wasn't for Wells doing this, they wouldn't have ever known that they could even have a baby in the first place, and their new son would not even exist.
From the look in Lois's eyes, Clark knew that she was wrestling with the same doubts, but reaching the same conclusion.
Lois took a deep breath and clutched her son tightly to herself. "Okay, Mr. Wells, I know you have to do this." She glared at him menacingly when she said, "But don't let anything happen to him. Guard him with your life."
Clark squeezed Lois's shoulders tightly and again ran his finger lightly over his son's head.
"But we know you have to do this," Clark said with a tone of finality. "And we are so grateful to you for this, believe us."
Lois nodded enthusiastically. "Yes, Mr. Wells, I know we wouldn't have him if it weren't for you."
Then Clark stood up and took his son out of Lois's arms and very gently handed him to Mr. Wells.
"Please don't keep him long!" Lois exclaimed, already suffering from a severe case of separation anxiety.
"Yes, yes, my dear, I'll have him back in just a moment," the man said quickly. I assure you, my dear, you won't even realize he's gone."
Clark held Lois close because he could sense that she was very nervous and that she was experiencing many visions of the horrible danger that her son was going to be exposed to the second he left her arms. He, too, felt very anxious at the thought of letting Wells take his son away to the past. Even though he knew how wonderful it was to have seen his future child at that point in his life and that it had given both him and Lois a renewed sense of optimism for the future, as a parent, he couldn't rationalize the thought of allowing his newborn child to travel two years into the past without some form of protection. It was even worse for him to deal with because the reason for his newborn child to travel through time was an extremely selfish one.
"Mr. Wells," Clark said a bit more sharply than he intended, "maybe I should go with you. You know, to ensure that you get there and back safely?"
Wells shook his head animatedly. "Oh, no, Mr. Kent!" he exclaimed. "I can't let you do that!"
Lois seemed a lot more comfortable with the idea of Clark going with their son. So she exclaimed, "But why not? Both of us would feel a lot better if you had some Super help."
Lois's eyes flashed with anger over Wells's reaction. She didn't understand why he would reject such a logical plan.
Clark unobtrusively put his hand on Lois's shoulder to restrain her from jumping at Wells to take the baby out of his hands and ruin the whole thing. "Mr. Wells…"
"Miss Lane, Mr. Kent," Wells said sympathetically. "I realize what both of you are thinking. I can assure you, though, that everything will be fine. Indeed, it will. I, myself, would love some Super assistance, but I can not allow it."
Both Lois and Clark glared at him, their eyes both begging the same question.
Wells continued before either of them could stop him, "But you see if Mr. Kent were to come with me, he will be changing the past. If the Mr. Kent of the future and the Mr. Kent of the past even meet, it will cause quite a rift in the lifetime continuum."
"The lifetime continuum?" Clark asked.
He looked at Lois and he was sure that his puzzled expression mirrored the one she was wearing. Neither of them had ever heard of such a thing as the "lifetime continuum."
"Indeed, Mr. Kent. The lifetime continuum is a very fragile thing, indeed. We do not want to tamper with it," Wells said in a very determined voice.
Lois looked at Clark and then directed her gaze back to Wells. "But, Mr. Wells, what is this lifetime continuum?"
This was really grating on her nerves and she knew that she was about to change her mind about letting her son go with Mr. Wells. The more she had to deal with his crazy theories, the less likely she was to give up her son to this man.
"Oh, dear me!" Wells exclaimed. "Didn't I explain that before?"
Both Lois and Clark shook their heads.
"Oh, so sorry! The lifetime continuum is a very important component to all traveling through time. It is at the very crux of the problem that many people have had." He looked at Lois and Clark, who still didn't seem to understand. "Yes, of course, if the lifetime continuum is ever broken, there are many horrible consequences to whomever breaks the continuum." Then he stopped talking, thinking he had adequately explained himself.
"But what is the continuum, Mr. Wells!" Clark exclaimed in exasperation. Sometimes Mr. Wells was even more difficult to communicate with than Dr. Klein! It was really hard to believe that H.G. Wells was a writer!
"Oh, yes, of course, Mr. Kent. It is quite simple, in fact," Wells said quickly. "The lifetime continuum is a very strict pattern of a person's very existence. Someone cannot travel into the past or the future to change their lives. It ruins the continuity of their life and can cause dire consequences, hence the term, 'lifetime continuum'."
"But then why are you allowed to take our son back? How can *you* travel through time and not ruin the continuum?" Lois asked.
Wells answered calmly, "Well, Miss Lane, it is not that easy to explain. You see, I am not a factor in either your past or your future, thus I do not have an effect on your lifetimes. I am a bit of, I don't know really how to describe it: I believe I am a bit of an impartial observer."
Clark huffed loudly. Wells was definitely not an impartial observer. If Wells was an impartial observer, then Superman was really a monkey disguised as a man dressed as a Superhero! The statement was just that absurd.
"You see, Mr. Kent," Wells said quickly, "that is not the best way to explain it, but I think you see what I mean. What I meant to say was that I am not someone who is a constant force in your life, a contemporary, perhaps." He suffered through a bit of an irritating thought. "You see, Miss Lane, Mr. Kent, the reason I can travel through this time period, but not my own is that, well, to be completely honest, I am dead to everyone in this time. Therefore, in this time period, I cannot hurt my past or my future because, well, I am not really here." He noticed that the Kents were both still not convinced. "You both do not want to know what will happen if you go back to visit yourselves in the past. It is too horrible for me to say. I am desperately sorry, though, my dear Miss Lane, but I just can not bear to tell you what would happen. It is always a bad idea, believe me," he said in a tone that made it completely obvious that he'd had experience with this.
Clark looked at him in obvious disbelief and said, "But, Mr. Wells, didn't Lois and I go back in time to save me as a baby? Wasn't that changing my future and my past?"
Lois nodded in agreement. Now it seemed like Wells was making excuses and definitely wasn't telling them the truth. He had probably just made up this whole "lifetime continuum" thing! She had to fight the urge to take her son right out of his arms to ensure his safety. Actually, she wasn't entirely sure whose safety she was protecting: her son's or Wells's. Because if Wells was responsible for something hurting her son, he had better fear for his life!
"Precisely, Mr. Kent," he said in a matter-of-fact tone. "You did, indeed, save yourself as a baby." Before Clark could interrupt, he continued, "You see, my boy, that did not ruin the lifetime continuum because as a baby, you were not old enough to remember yourself as an adult," Wells said like he was making perfect sense.
Lois glared at Mr. Wells when she said, "So you're saying that Clark can't go back two years in time with you because if he makes contact with the past version of himself, the past version of himself will be able to remember it? But that doesn't make sense! Clark and I both remember everything that happened the day you took our son back to our past selves. How will Clark being there change that memory?"
"Miss Lane," Wells said as calmly as he could, knowing that what seemed like perfect sense to him might not seem that way to the Kents, people who had not seen the horrors that he had witnessed. "Again, it is a very complex problem, one that I have spent many an hour deliberating. Since your son is a baby, he will not able to remember his trip through time and since you did not yet know him, it was harmless to show you a little piece of your future, especially because it gave you hope when you both were in such a horrible state. But if you had seen your future self…" he trailed off and shuddered involuntarily. "I assure you, Miss Lane, there would be a fate far too terrible, too horrible, words could not even describe it."
"Just how horrible is horrible?" Clark asked, obviously weighting the consequences in his mind. "Remember, I'm Superman!" he added in his best Superman voice.
Wells looked at Clark hoping that he revealed the extreme gravity of the situation by the expression in his eyes. He was pleading with them to accept his word on the subject as truth. However, he knew that this was too much to expect from the Kents. They both had a reporter's instinct, the instinct to question even the most concrete facts. Actually, it was a quite admirable trait that helped them both stand out as such memorable historical figures even if it weren't for Superman.
However, for once, he wished that he did not have to back up his statements. He did not want to express the horrors he had seen in words. It was almost too much for him to think about.
The worst time travel breach of the lifetime continuum that he had ever seen had happened just recently. In Utopia, time travel was to become very common; however, there were some very important rules that needed to be instilled to ensure the safety of all of the time travelers. One rule, the rule that was the most strictly enforced, was that people could not visit anywhere in time except before they were old enough to be cognizant of the situation or after their death, but they could not visit their past when they were old enough to understand the meaning of the situation — old enough to have a recollection of their future selves. Basically, no one was allowed to go back and change his past by altering the way they reacted to a situation because it caused a wrinkle in the lifetime continuum that would become irreversible.
This rule was instilled because of one man: Tempus. Although he deserved what he had gotten in the end, it was still a horrible way for a man to meet his end.
"Mr. Kent, Miss Lane," Wells said in a very serious tone. "Let me explain to you why you no longer have to fear Tempus, for it will ease your minds a bit and it will illustrate the gravity of the consequences for breaking the lifetime continuum."
Lois and Clark nodded eagerly. They had not realized that something had happened to Tempus. They had assumed that something had happened to lock him up safely in the future without the power to use a time machine because they had not seen him in a few years, ever since he had run for president as John Doe. However, the thought that he might come back was always paramount in their minds.
"Right, indeed, now, where do I begin? Yes, of course, a few weeks after Tempus had somehow escaped from prison, he had come across another time travel device. Apparently, as I have heard in many tales from witnesses, Tempus had a plan where he would recruit versions of himself from both the past and the future to come together to form an army to destroy the Utopian civilization we all know and cherish with all of our hearts."
Lois gasped involuntarily. Whenever she thought of Tempus, her heart leapt into her throat. Of course if he wanted to destroy Utopia, he would start at the source: either her, Clark, or their children.
Wells continued, "As I was saying, Tempus had no knowledge of the lifetime continuum, and even if he did, he would have just disregarded it thinking he was above the rules. However, as soon as the first Tempus of the future had met the first Tempus of the past, strange things began to happen. First, anyone who had contact with the Tempus from any time period seemed to notice interesting changes in their patterns of movement, sort of like you would see in a person with a brain tumor on their motor cortex. However, Tempus did not stop there nor did he even seem to realize the changes in his body and mind. And, mind you, these changes were quite catastrophic!"
"Of course he didn't," Lois muttered.
Wells did not acknowledge Lois's comment and continued, "Tempus continued to travel to different time periods in his life to recruit more versions of himself for his army, not even realizing all of the problems he was causing to himself as well as the past and future versions of himself. Then when they were all together, well, I did not see it myself, mind you, but I did hear about it many, many times, it seems there was a massive explosion and every Tempus from both the past and the future seemed to rise up in flames and then they all disintegrated. And in the end, since he had so destroyed his lifetime continuum, it was as if," his voice trailed off with the horrific memory. "It was if he had never existed."
"Are you serious?" Clark asked in a hushed voice. "Are you sure it was Tempus? Are you sure it really happened?" It was almost too much to hope for that Tempus might really have changed his life so dramatically that he would have never existed.
"Indeed, Mr. Kent. I am positive. I have searched far and wide, yet there is no record anywhere of anyone named Tempus ever existing. It is utterly amazing."
"Oh my God," Lois muttered under her breath. "He really never existed? So he can never hurt us again?"
"Indeed, Miss Lane. I believe he is truly gone. And you can now see the consequences of ruining your lifetime continuum. This is why I can not allow Mr. Kent to accompany me to the past. You see, my dear, as much as I would love to have his help, I cannot allow it."
Lois again looked at Clark and saw that he still seemed a bit troubled. She knew that they both were having doubts about the validity of Wells's assumption that Tempus truly was gone and would not hurt them again.
"And you are absolutely positive the Tempus is gone?" Clark asked again. "He really can not come back to hurt us? Even if it was before he ended his own life?"
"Indeed, Mr. Kent. I believe that he is gone, completely gone. There is no chance that he will be able to bother you or your family again." He grinned at the Kents, happy that he could share this incredible news.
Then Wells looked down at the baby in his arms. "Now, Miss Lane, Mr. Kent, I believe it is time for me to take this little man back to the past. The sooner I do it, the sooner you will have him back."
Lois looked at Clark, still not entirely sure that she wanted to do this. However, Clark seemed resigned to the fact that he would have to let Wells go.
"He's right, Lois. We have to let him do this now. If we wait any longer, our doubts will get the best of us," Clark said in a very resigned tone.
"Miss Lane, Mr. Kent, I assure you that you will not even realize he is gone," Wells tried to reassure them. "I promise that I will make sure to bring him back not even one second from now. You won't even realize that he is gone!" Wells touched the baby's head gently. "I would never let anyone hurt this blessed child, the co-founder of Utopia. I will sooner sacrifice my own life than let anything hurt him."
Although both Lois and Clark knew that he was completely truthful, neither of them could be as optimistic as he was. It seemed like every time he traveled through time, something bad happened. Even though he was positive that Tempus was completely out of the picture, they were not sure if they believed that Wells could keep their baby completely secure. However, they both knew that it was a chance they had to take if they wanted to ensure that they would be able to have their baby in the first place.
They both remembered the state that they had been in on the day that Mr. Wells had brought their infant son to them almost exactly two years ago. They had been in such a dark place, and Mr. Wells had given them the optimism to press on and to live life to its fullest once again. After that day, they realized that their future would, indeed, be bright and that they would have a baby that was their flesh and blood.
It was funny to Lois. For most of her life, she hadn't even given the thought of having children more than a fleeting consideration and her answer had always been that she never wanted children. She had thought that they would cramp her style, ruin her career, and ruin her life. Actually, the thought that she had hidden in the back of her mind was that she would be the one to ruin her child's life like her parents did to her. She knew that her parents had not had the best parenting style and that people often learn by example. Thus, she reached the conclusion very early in her life that she would not inflict that kind of pain on her own child so she wouldn't even have a child in the first place. But those thoughts all changed when she fell in love with Clark. All of her doubts got pushed aside, and she realized that she wanted to have a baby with the man who she loved — to have someone who would be genetically linked to the most wonderful man she had ever known. When Dr. Klein had told them that they wouldn't be able to have children together, both of their worlds were crushed. However, their worlds became so much brighter when H.G. Wells had shown up with their baby from the future. It had seemed like it was a dream come true. And she knew that she could not deprive herself of that memory.
"Okay, Mr. Wells," Lois said with a slight quiver to her voice. "Go. Just go. But please bring him right back."
"Miss Lane," Mr. Wells said in a very serious tone, "I would sacrifice my own life for his safety."
Clark nodded his head knowing that Wells was absolutely serious. "Okay, Mr. Wells, we'd better get going. Where did you store your time machine? Lois and I will walk with you."
"Indeed, Mr. Kent, I hid my machine in the alleyway a few blocks north of here. Let's go."
Wells handed the baby back to Lois so that she would have a few more minutes to be with him until it was time to go.
Before they left the brownstone, Lois made doubly sure that the baby would be warm enough and that he would be comfortable throughout his long journey. Then she agreed that it was time to go. As they walked out the door, Clark lagged a bit behind Wells so he could wrap Lois and the baby close to him so he too could share a few more minutes with their baby.
Unfortunately, before they knew it, the short walk from their brownstone to where Wells had stored the time machine was over. Wells had walked ahead of the family and had already started the time machine. "Okay, Miss Lane, everything is ready."
Even though she felt very weird about it, Lois kissed her baby on the head and forced herself to hand him to H.G. Wells inside the time machine. As she did so, it felt like a piece of herself was missing, and she almost felt like she was going to collapse.
Similarly, Clark had a feeling of foreboding as he watched Wells take his son into the time machine. But if Wells was right about Tempus being gone, then there was nothing to worry about — or was there?
"Miss Lane, Mr. Kent, I'll be back before you know it!" Wells exclaimed as he turned on the time machine and the air around the machine began to ripple.
Lois and Clark both waved at the machine and, when it was out of sight, Lois collapsed into Clark's arms, and they waited for the machine to return.
Wells felt the normal shaking as his time machine materialized into its chosen time location. As always, it made him slightly woozy to cross through the portal into a different time period, but the time travel was more than worth all of the slight discomfort. In fact, the journey took a mere few seconds and the pain lasted even less than that.
Almost immediately after the time machine had vanished from the year 1999, it reappeared in the same alley from which it had left. Wells cleared his eyes and looked around, examining his surroundings. Strangely, it seemed to be the exact same place as the one from which they had left. The only obvious exception was that Lois and Clark were no longer standing next to the time machine. Wells was amazed that in two years not much had changed in this neighborhood. If he didn't know better, Wells would have believed that the time machine had made a mistake and had merely brought them back to the time they had left. However, he trusted his machine more than that. He knew that it had taken them to the correct time. It hadn't failed him many times, and he didn't think that this would be a failure either.
Wells stood up carefully so not to wake the baby. Then he realized that if a trip through time had not disturbed the baby, Wells wasn't sure if anything would awaken him. It was amazing, but throughout the journey through time, the baby had not made a sound and had been fast asleep the whole time.
Carefully, Wells stepped out of the time machine and underwent his traditional ritual of hiding it from the common eye. This time, though, it was a bit more difficult because he was holding the baby in his arms. Although hiding the machine would have been much easier if he could have put the baby down for a second, Wells made the sacrifice of time. After all, he had promised Lois and he wouldn't let the baby out of his sight. He didn't want to be responsible for anything that happened to the baby in the mere few seconds that the little boy was out of his protective grasp. This baby's safety was far more important than the mere few seconds that he was wasting hiding the machine.
When he was finally finished hiding the machine, he gently touched the baby's head and said, "Aah, yes, my boy. We're off to meet your parents." Then he said to the time machine, "My trusty friend, let's hope you've gotten me to the correct destination again. I know you haven't let me down. Let's just hope the time is precisely correct." Then he patted the front of the vehicle, pulled the baby close, and started on his way.
"Quite peculiar, isn't it, my boy?" Wells asked to the sleeping child. "It quite seems like we've never left, yet this is a very different place indeed."
The baby opened his eyes, but still did not make a sound.
"Yes, you are finally up, I see. Oh my! Please don't start crying now! We do not need any attention drawn to us as we are quite an unusual pair."
He nodded in a sort of farewell to the vehicle, and without a second thought he carefully slipped out of the alleyway and proceeded to scuttle down the street towards the brownstone that he had just visited two years in the future. This street was almost more familiar to him than his own street was since it seemed like an eternity since he had been back to his old life. He had visited this street countless times in his past, and he was sure he would visit it again many times in his future. All of this seemed like deja vu to him because he had just done the same ritual less than an hour ago, but in reality it was two years earlier than the time he had visited less than an hour ago.
As it always was, it was a very familiar site to see the taxicabs and other cars rushing past him in a hurry to get wherever they were going and the pedestrians stopping, however quickly, to marvel at his apparent oddity. Only this time, people were not only gawking at his old- fashioned attire, but also at the tiny infant in his arms. He was very lucky that he was in a large city, though, because in such a large city, people tended not to stop on the street to chat and did not often remember apparent oddities that they saw during their commutes.
In a few minutes flat, he was at his destination, but he knew that the mood of the home's inhabitants would be much more somber than it had been two years from now. If this was the day he had expected it to be, Lois Lane and Clark Kent would have just heard news that would have shattered their lives. It would have sunken them both into a pit of depression that almost seemed irreversible. And that is why he and his tiny companion were visiting them today.
Wells tiptoed up the walkway to the large mahogany door and deliberately reached up to ring the bell. Then he made sure his companion was slightly hidden under his jacket so he wouldn't be apparent on first glance. He didn't want to spring the surprise on the Kents without a prior explanation.
After just a few seconds, the door slowly swung open. When Wells laid eyes on Clark Kent, the same man who had opened the door so jovially just an hour ago, he did not even look like that same man. To be completely honest, he looked like a mere shadow of his normal self. His eyes were surrounded by dark circles, his hair was not combed, and his shoulders were slumped. These were all signs of the intense depression that he was obviously feeling. There was now no question in Wells's mind that he had traveled to precisely the right time period. It was absolutely obvious just by looking at Clark. This Clark Kent was not like the Superman who Wells had met so many times before. This troubled Superman looked like he had difficulty just getting out of bed in the morning and that there was no way he could possibly save the world in his condition.
Wells could also hear a soft sobbing coming from inside the house. He suspected that Lois Lane was in no better condition than her husband. In fact, there was a good chance that she was in worse shape. Yes, this was definitely what Wells had expected. Today was the day that they had learned that they would not be able to have children together, and he knew that they were absolutely devastated about it. Luckily, he was here to tell them that their Dr. Klein had been mistaken.
Wells looked straight into the vacant eyes of the man on the other side of the door who hadn't even acknowledged him and said, "Mr. Kent, you must be wondering why I am here today."
Clark shook his head woefully, not even wanting to think about the reason Wells was there. Could it be something to do with Tempus? Was it something in the other dimension that needed his help? What could it possibly be? Whatever it was, though, Clark was fairly sure he wasn't going to be in the mood to help.
"Mr. Wells," Clark said softly with an uncharacteristically exhausted tone, "this is really not a good time."
Clark was too distraught to look directly at Mr. Wells. Thus, he did not realize what Wells was holding in his arms.
Wells's eyes twinkled merrily even though Clark was in such obvious pain. He was going to be the bearer of the best news either of the Kents could possibly hear at this point in their lives.
"Oh, but, Mr. Kent," he said conspiratorially. "I do believe this is the best time. If my clock is set correctly, I am to believe that you and your wife have just received some horrible news."
Clark looked entirely startled and could not think of a response. Normally, he would have been much sharper and would have come up with something adequate to say in a few seconds; however, in this case, he found himself just staring blankly into space.
Luckily Lois, dressed in a large sweatshirt and a pair of shorts, her eyes extremely red and puffy, came up behind her husband to see what was taking him so long at the door.
She asked, "Clark, who's…" but she trailed off as soon as she laid eyes on their visitor. "Oh, Mr. Wells," she said in a somber tone.
Of course H.G. Wells was here today. If anything, his visit was absolutely the icing on the cake for the horrible farce her life had become. He was probably here because Tempus had broken out of prison again and was out to ruin their past or their future or the alternate dimension or something equally as horrible that he would require their help for.
However, her thoughts changed when she got a better look at Mr. Wells. He seemed to be carrying something; it was something that was wrapped up in a dark blue blanket similar to the one that Clark had been wrapped in when they had saved him as a baby. Lois gasped audibly.
"And a baby!" she exclaimed.
Now she was not sure if she was happy or horribly upset. Was Mr. Wells trying to tell them something or was he trying to crush their fragile sanity?
Lois focused all of her attention on the baby and she instantly sensed some kind of connection between herself and the baby. It was the weirdest feeling she had ever experienced in her life. It was like she already knew this baby, and she had a very important role in his life. Oddly, she felt a very strong urge to protect him at all costs.
Then, as if he could feel Lois's eyes on him, the baby opened his eyes and let out a soft cry. It wasn't like Lois had ever had any experience with babies, but she could tell that this baby was only a few days old. What was even stranger was that when he opened his eyes, he seemed to focus right on her. Lois was overcome with the strange feeling that this baby had an intense connection to her.
Wells noticed the look in Lois's eyes and could tell that she saw something in the baby, that she might have been making the connections in her mind. Yes, she definitely had a very astute reporter's instinct, indeed.
"Yes, Miss Lane, there is something familiar about him, indeed. Am I right?"
Lois started at his statement. Even though she couldn't figure out what could possibly be drawing her to this baby so intensely, she wasn't sure if she wanted to know.
Then she was struck by what seemed to be an absurd thought. But this was H.G. Wells, so the absurd was absolutely plausible.
"Is he?" she stammered, "Is he? He isn't Clark as a baby?"
Wells smiled benignly and shook his head. She was very close to the correct answer, though. He was sure that with a bit more consideration she would be able to come to the correct conclusion.
"No, my dear Miss Lane, look more closely. Do you see something quite familiar?"
Lois quickly shot a glance at Clark, but she saw that he had shifted his glance to the ground, undoubtedly thinking about the events of recent days and probably hating Mr. Wells for reminding him of the one thing he could never have.
Then Lois took a step closer to Mr. Wells and gazed into the baby's large brown eyes. She gasped in shock with the realization that startled her to the core.
In a very shaky voice that she didn't even recognize as her own, Lois whispered, "It can't be. He has… he has my eyes!"
She grabbed Clark's arm and forced him to look at the baby that he had been avoiding ever since they realized that Wells was carrying him.
Clark's eyes widened with the same shock that Lois had just experienced. He moved his mouth without making any words, but he still didn't believe what was right before his eyes.
Lois grabbed Clark's arm a little harder and then she exclaimed, "This is our baby, Clark! Look at him!" Then she looked at Mr. Wells and asked, "Isn't he?"
Wells beamed with happiness at the look of extreme joy in Lois's eyes. He knew that he had just brought her out of her pit of depression. Now he saw the characteristic look of determination in her eyes. It looked like there were thousands of questions swirling around her mind.
"Precisely, my dear," he responded in a matter-of-fact tone.
Clark looked at him skeptically. After what he had learned from Dr. Klein, he had a hard time believing that Mr. Wells was really holding his son. It was impossible, wasn't it? There had to be some sort of catch.
"But, Mr. Wells, I don't see how this can be possible," Clark said in a very shaky voice. "We just found out that Lois and I are not…" his voice shook ever so slightly. Everyone in the room realized that his emotions were beginning to take over when he continued, "We can't… we can never…"
"Clark," Lois interjected, afraid of watching Clark break down completely. "Why don't we let Mr. Wells sit down?"
Wells nodded quickly and said, "Indeed, Miss Lane. That is a good idea."
Lois nodded quickly and ushered Mr. Wells and the baby into the house and shut the door behind them. Wells headed into the living room, and Lois grabbed Clark's hand and pulled him the few steps behind Wells into the living room.
In all the years that Lois had known Clark, even before she found out that he was Superman, he had always been the rock that she depended on, even when she didn't realize it. He had more strength than anyone else in the world. And by strength, she didn't mean mere physical strength.
Clark was such a super man in more than just one sense of the word. He was the one person in the world who was always been the eternal optimist, the one who believed that everything would turn out right in the end. She, on the other hand, was more of a pessimist.
It was almost frightening for Lois to witness her husband in such a state of depression. However, it was expected. Lois knew that for all of Clark's life he had wanted to share something in common with someone. Even though he was closer to his parents than anyone else she knew, and she knew that he knew that she was his soul mate, Lois had always realized that Clark longed to have a child of his own, someone who shared a bit of his own family genes. Even though they hadn't really talked about the issue before they got married, Lois had just assumed that they would try to have children eventually. That dream was crushed, though, when Dr. Klein informed Clark that Superman could never have a baby with an earth woman.
That news absolutely crushed Clark. He seemed to become a shadow of the man he once was right in front of Lois's eyes. Of course she was crushed too, but she knew that she had to try to be strong for her husband. After all, he was always the one that had been there for her no matter what had gone wrong in her life; this time it was her turn to return the favor.
Before Lois and Clark made their way into the living room, Lois made sure that she quickly stood up on her tiptoes and planted a soft kiss on Clark's lips hoping that it would serve as a sort of reassurance that everything would be all right. She was a little scared to find that his lips were uncharacteristically dry and that his eyes were still fairly motionless. He was so unresponsive; it was sending chills up her spine. Was he in shock or was it an intense denial?
Lois, however, was determined to find out more about this baby that Mr. Wells was holding. With her mind full of so many questions, it felt like she was forgetting some of her earliest questions as new questions arose, she led Clark forcibly into the living room after Wells.
It was almost painful for Lois to watch as Wells settled himself comfortably in the chair next to the couch without saying a word. He was holding the baby extremely close to his chest in a very protective manner. The pain almost felt like pangs of jealousy.
It was very interesting that Wells looked so comfortable with the baby. She had been fairly sure that he hadn't had any children himself. It was sort of weird that he seemed like a complete natural holding this child. Maybe that is how she would seem, too, when she got to hold her baby for the first time.
Lois squeezed Clark's hand and led him to the couch. She knew that he was laden with confusion right now and he was not responding to it well. Of course she was just as confused as he was, but more than anything she was possessed by the desire to know everything she possibly could about this baby. How was it possible for her to have Clark's baby even though all of the odds were stacked against them?
There were so many things Lois wasn't sure about, but she was positively convinced without a doubt that Mr. Wells had not been lying to them. This baby lying in his arms was her baby from the future. In addition, she was also completely sure that this was not a dream because she had already pinched herself several times. But she had also been convinced that she and Clark would never be able to have children together. How had they overcome these incredible obstacles?
Ever since she had set eyes on that beautiful baby boy, she felt that her heart was significantly lighter than it had been just a few minutes ago. Before Clark had opened the door to reveal Mr. Wells and the beautiful baby, Lois felt her heart shattering into pieces with the news that she and Clark had just received. Now, though, she felt completely rejuvenated.
She was struck by the intensely optimistic feeling that everything would work out right in the future. However, there were more questions swirling around her brain than she could vocalize in a lifetime about this future. She and Clark had obviously received the wrong information about their compatibility if that baby was any indication.
Clark, however, was filled with doubts about the validity of anything Wells had said. He was sure that he trusted Dr. Klein implicitly. There was no chance that he had not performed all of the tests absolutely flawlessly. He knew that the results were true since Dr. Klein had been so reluctant to tell him about them, obviously afraid of his reaction.
Bernard Klein was the most brilliant scientist and one of the most honest men whom Clark had ever known. Clark doubted that Dr. Klein had a duplicitous bone in his body. While Clark was certainly no scientist and did not have any personal knowledge of the subject, he believed that Dr. Klein had performed every test possible, and, if his results indicated that Superman could never father a child with a woman from Earth, then Superman could never father a child with a woman from Earth. There was absolutely no reason for him to doubt Dr. Klein's scientific results.
Why was Wells doing this to him? Clark knew that as Superman he was always regarded as "the Man of Steel." The masses of people in the world often assumed that nothing could hurt him. However, Clark knew that there were far more things in the world other than Kryptonite that could put him into the depths of despair and utter pain. His hopes and dreams were just as fragile as any human's. And they had just been completely crushed to smithereens. Why was Wells trying to give him another sense of false hope? He didn't even want to look at the baby because it made him wish for what might have been. Now that he had completely come to terms with that fact that he and Lois would never be able to have children of their own, he didn't want to fill his mind with a false sense of optimism only to be crushed again.
Clark sunk into the couch and busied himself looking out the window, almost begging that he would hear some distant cry for help so that he would be free of this painful situation. He couldn't help but wish that he would wake up and find out that this was all a horrible nightmare.
Lois, on the other hand, was absolutely enthralled by the idea that Dr. Klein had been wrong. She was absolutely aching to hold the little baby in Mr. Wells's arms.
"Mr. Wells," Lois said quickly, "may I hold him?"
Lois was overcome by the feel of a strange force that was pulling her towards the baby. Plus, she was filled with another even stranger sense of awe and wonderment that this could actually be her child. Less than a month ago, she hadn't even wanted a baby. In fact, she had even been afraid of children, especially of defenseless babies. Babies were just so dependent, so needy. Lois had never been sure if she would ever be able to handle something like that, something that needed her so much, something that only depended on her, something that couldn't do anything for itself.
However, now it didn't seem like she even knew that woman she had been. Her feelings towards children had undergone such a metamorphosis in the last month. Ever since she and Clark had first started talking about having a baby, her desire for children had increased into something completely tangible. It was a feeling that had grown from absolutely nothing.
Now it was like something deep inside her was aching to hold her own baby in her arms. She had just gotten one of the biggest shocks of her life. Before now, she had never really wanted a child and especially not a baby. However, she had always thought that the option of having a baby sometime in the future would be available to her. Finding out that she would never be able to have a baby with Clark, even if she did eventually decide that she wanted to, was a very painful blow.
Wells shook his head quickly. "No, Miss Lane, so sorry. I'm afraid that I can not let you hold him."
"Oh," Lois responded, a bit put off, almost too put off to launch into one of her usual tirades against injustice.
She hadn't anticipated that Wells would not give her the chance to hold her own son. The force that was drawing her towards the tiny baby was becoming almost unbearable.
"Why not?" she asked in a voice not much louder than a forceful whisper.
Wells smiled slightly even though Lois was giving him a stare that would have made even Superman's knees wobble in fear. However, Wells knew that she would accept his explanation once she heard it. The good thing was that she seemed to be open to the fact that Wells was, indeed, holding her son. However, he was not able to say as much for Mr. Kent.
"My dear Miss Lane, I am afraid that if I would let you hold your son today, I would be robbing you of the most precious moment of your life."
Lois looked up at him quizzically. She had no idea what he was talking about.
"Indeed, Miss Lane," Wells said quickly, noticing that as always his short explanation was not enough to pacify Lois Lane. "What I meant to say is that if I were to let you hold him, my dear, you would not get to experience one of the happiest moments in your life which is inevitable in the future. A bit of the fun of living is the unknown. I merely brought your son here today to give you the slightest sliver of hope, to let you know that your Dr. Klein was wrong; that your future is, indeed, very bright."
With that statement, it was as if Clark was awakened from a long slumber. He exclaimed, "But how can he be wrong, Mr. Wells. Dr. Klein is the most brilliant scientist I have ever met. He has three PhDs and is the most respected scientist at STAR Labs! "
All of his dreams had been shattered by Dr. Klein. Even though he loved his adoptive parents and couldn't have asked for a more loving family, he, like many other adopted children, had always dreamed of someday having someone who shared his own flesh and blood. Ever since he started to realize that he was different, Clark had always dreamt of having a child. However, Dr. Klein had given him absolutely no hope. Clark didn't dare think that this vision of Wells might not be a dream and that he might be real. He didn't want to get his hopes up again just to see them trampled once more.
Lois turned her attention away from Wells momentarily so that she could answer her husband. She was almost frightened that her husband had fallen so deeply into his dungeon of depression.
"Clark," Lois said calmly. "Dr. Klein is only human. Maybe he did make a mistake. Can't you at least consider the possibility?"
When she saw the look in her husband's eyes, she immediately regretted her last statement.
"Lois!" Clark exclaimed. "You want me to consider the possibility again? What do you think I've been doing ever since I talked to Dr. Klein! It's all I have been thinking about! He's gone over the results more than five times. He can't be wrong."
Clark's face was now red with anger. Maybe it wasn't anger, but an intense pain that was now fully expressing itself.
Lois, however, was not going to let Clark win so easily. She was just as stubborn and determined as he was.
"But, Clark, Mr. Wells has seen the future. He knows what is going to happen to us. And he is holding our son! Clark, honey, I know this baby is our son."
Before the situation could get too far out of hand, Wells interjected, "Precisely, Miss Lane, you are entirely correct. I have seen the future, Mr. Kent, and I can assure you that this little baby is, indeed, your son."
Clark opened his eyes for the first time and really saw the baby that Wells was holding. He wasn't sure what finally awakened him, but he knew that it was something very powerful. As he gazed at the tiny creature in Wells's arms, Clark was possessed by the realization that that small child was indeed his son! Even though the baby was so small, he could see that the baby possessed a perfect combination of himself and Lois. He had Lois's eyes and ears, and his nose and mouth. Plus, he was wrapped in a blanket that looked exactly like the blanket that had been wrapped around him as he had made the long journey from Krypton to Earth. It was unbelievable! He didn't know how it could be possible, but there was no doubt that this little boy was, indeed, their son!
He finally pulled his gaze away from the baby and stared at wide-eyed Lois. He grabbed both of her hands and pulled her close. Full of exuberance for the first time since he had heard Dr. Klein's news, Clark kissed Lois with a fire that he hadn't felt for a while.
When the kiss broke, Clark exclaimed, "He's our son. Lois, he's our son!"
Lois couldn't believe how Clark had changed in the few seconds that had passed. First, he wouldn't even look at the baby, not allowing himself to think that there was a possibility that Dr. Klein had been wrong, and now he was just as sure as she was that this baby was their son. She wasn't going to challenge it, though because she had set herself to accept anything that might have pulled Clark out of his funk. After all, she just wanted him to be okay again, to show some glimmer of optimism.
When the kiss broke, Lois's thoughts traveled back to the question of why Wells was being so incredibly protective of the little boy. It wasn't like she was going to break him if she held him. She had held other babies in her time. Okay, it wasn't many babies, but she had held other babies.
"Mr. Wells, I really can't understand why won't you let us hold him? He is our son!" Lois said, trying to plead her case again.
"My dear Miss Lane," Wells said with a bit of a sparkle in his eye, "I told you that I brought him here so you have some hope, that you challenge your Dr. Klein's results, that you fight the good battle to ensure that you have a descendent who will be the founder of the wonderful Utopia of the future. But, my dear, I can not let you hold your son." He took a deep breath and continued, "You see, if I were to let you hold him now, I would be robbing your future self of the greatest feeling ever to experience. You see, my dear, if you were to hold your child today, it would change the future."
What was Wells talking about changing the future? Maybe she didn't understand a lot of the time travel basics, but Lois didn't understand how she could change the future when it hadn't even happened yet. Obviously, Clark was having the same doubts because he spoke before she could formulate the words.
Clark looked at him quizzically. "Why would it change the future? What feeling are you talking about?"
"Mr. Kent, Miss Lane," Wells responded with a slight hint of nostalgia in his voice. "You see, in all my travels through the past and the future, I have learned that one of the greatest joys in anyone's life is the moment when a new parent holds his or her newborn baby for the first time. It is, well, quite honestly, it is the most amazing feeling anyone could ever hope for. If I would allow you to hold him today…"
Lois had realized the point he was trying to make, so she finished his thought for him, "And if you would let me hold him today, I would regret it in the future because I would have already held my newborn baby. It would take away that special feeling all new mothers are entitled to?"
Wells grinned at Lois, knowing that she finally understood the reason he could not let her hold her child. Even though he had never experienced the special bond between a mother and a child himself, he knew that it was something that could never be experienced again. This time traveling was very tricky business. There were very tight boundaries of what could be done to ensure the continuity of the lifetime continuum so not to disrupt the past or the future.
"Precisely, my dear," Wells said quickly. Then he added, "Indeed, it is why I can not tell you when this baby was born, nor his name, nor if you have any other children."
Wells closed his eyes and debated within his own mind about telling them about the rest of the future. Of course he could not disclose the secrets that were to occur in the future, but part of him was bursting to tell them. He wanted to tell them of their other child, this little boy's younger sister who was born two years later. Then he wanted to tell Lois and Clark about how their two children took on the personas of Superman and Ultra Woman and became the founders of the wonderful Utopian civilization of the future. However, as much as he wanted to share what he knew of the future, he knew that it was not possible for him to do this — for if he were to do this, the future might no longer exist in the form he knew.
Lois nodded slowly, now completely aware of the consequences of disrupting the fragile balance between the past and the future. It was never good to know too much about what was to happen in the future. However, she was more than grateful that Mr. Wells had shown them a small piece of their future. And she accepted the fact that she couldn't hold her son. She accepted it, but she definitely didn't have to like it.
She looked over at Clark and could tell that he was still so in awe of the fact that the child that Wells was holding was, indeed, their son that he could not form a coherent sentence. So she voiced the unspoken question that she knew was burning in Clark's mind.
"Mr. Wells," she said in a soft voice, "How is it possible? How are we able to have a baby together when Dr. Klein said it was impossible?"
"Oh, yes, right," Wells said quickly. "I am afraid that I am not entirely sure of the solution."
Wells immediately realized how stupid it was to be unprepared in front of two great reporters as soon as those words left his mouth. He could immediately sense that both of their ears had perked up and their eyes were dancing with unspoken questions. He would have to talk very quickly to avoid the barrage of questions that he wouldn't be able to answer. He felt his face turning a strange shade of red as he spoke. If he ever needed a good explanation, now was the time. It was just too bad that he'd come into this discussion almost completely unprepared. If he'd learned any lessons from his many visits with Lois Lane and Clark Kent, it was to be extremely prepared with explanations of anything he was going to tell them. However, in this case, he was in such a rush to show them the baby and to lighten their spirits he hadn't thoroughly thought his explanation through. He had thought that they would be so overjoyed to see their future child that they would have just accepted the fact that he could help them. He should have known better.
"It is not that I do not have an idea, though. You see, Miss Lane, Mr. Kent," he began. "I believe I should start from the beginning."
Lois raised her eyebrows and said, "That's probably a good idea."
"Yes, of course," he began a bit nervously. "Just a few weeks ago — in my life, of course — I was reading a Kent History book in one of the wonderful Utopian libraries. Oh those wonderful libraries. Do you know…" Wells caught Lois's eye and realized that he had strayed off course. "Indeed, I believe I have gotten off track."
He stifled a laugh realizing that this was one of his major flaws. It seemed like he had the most horrible tendency to stray off track, especially when he was a bit uncomfortable. However, in this case, he was trying to bide his time until he could come up with a good explanation: one that would satisfy even Lois Lane and Clark Kent.
He continued, "You see, when I was pouring over this wonderful book, I came across a horrific fact that startled me to the core. This book said that you had learned that you could not have children together in the year 1997. I had not previously been aware that this was a problem. I'd always assumed that the two of you — well, ahem — that your children were conceived without any trouble."
He felt his face turning red as he discussed this subject. Conception was not one of his normal, every day conversation pieces. In his time, especially, these things were just not discussed openly. Poor Wells was very embarrassed that he seemed to be butting into Lois and Clark's private matters.
Clark broke his silence and said, "I'd always thought it would be that way, too, but I guess I was wrong."
Wells grinned as he watched the interplay between the couple before him. After Clark had spoken, Lois had, probably completely unconsciously, reached out to squeeze Clark's hand. Clark, in turn, had wrapped one of his arms around Lois's shoulder and she had snuggled closer to him. Wells couldn't help but feel a surge of pride that he was the one to help make their lives complete.
Wells continued, "Then I was shocked to see that you found the solution to your — er — problem with the help of a short, elderly man with wire-rimmed glasses and a strange hat. You see, I spent many hours trying to determine just who this man was. I must say, I was positively startled when I realized that the description of this man fits me perfectly despite the fact that it did not say my name explicitly."
"I see," Lois said quickly, hoping to edge him on a bit more quickly.
It was strange for her to hear that there were "Kent History" books in the future, but she didn't dwell on that fact. She was more concerned with how they managed to solve the problem at hand rather than how an author got the story to put in a book about her from the future. It never even dawned on her that she might be the one who had written the books in the future.
"Indeed, Miss Lane, I was quite flummoxed. That discovery sent me into quite a troubled place. Ever since I learned about this problem, I have been deliberating about how to find a solution."
"I'm not sure if I understand this, Mr. Wells," Clark said quickly. "How are you supposed to help us? Do you have any of the qualifications in this area to help us? You can't have more medical knowledge than Dr. Klein!"
Wells's eyes lit up and his mouth widened into a large grin. "Precisely, Mr. Kent. I know nothing, indeed, about reproductive medicine nor about your physiology." He paused dramatically and then continued, "But I know someone who does."
Lois and Clark both looked at Wells with the same look of surprise in their eyes. The only person they knew who had any real knowledge about Superman's body was Dr. Klein; he had determined that Superman was unable to have children with an Earth woman. Who could know more about Superman's physiology other than Superman's personal physician?
"Who?" Clark asked quickly. "How do we know we can trust this person?"
Clark was leery that the person whom Wells had found would know anything about his physiology. It had to be someone whom he intended to bring back from the future. However, Clark remembered that last time Wells had tried to bring someone from the future back to the past with him: Tempus. And he didn't even want to think of that!
And if that was what it took for him to be able to conceive a child, he wouldn't do it. There were just too many risks involved. He didn't trust many people with his secret, and he had never actually told any of them; they had all found out on their own. Of course having a baby was important to him, but it wasn't so important that he would risk meeting another lunatic from the future.
At the same time, Lois also spoke. "Mr. Wells, how can this person know anything about Superman's physiological makeup?"
As much as she wanted to give Clark the baby he had always wanted, she, like Clark, was leery of anyone knowing anything about Superman's physiology. In fact, she'd often had her doubts about letting Dr. Klein study Superman even though Dr. Klein was one of the most trustworthy people she knew.
"Mr. Kent," Wells began, answering the less sensational question first. "I assure you that you can trust my sources implicitly." Then he turned to Lois and grinned. "Miss Lane, my sources know everything there is to know about you and Superman and both of your — ahem — reproductive systems."
"What are you talking about?" Lois asked loudly. "How could anyone know anything about my reproductive system? Well, my gynecologist, maybe, but she doesn't know anything about Superman!"
This was just utterly unbelievable. He couldn't expect them to believe this? Could he? How could anyone know about Superman? Even more frightening: how could anyone know about Lois?
Clark's heart was racing. He did not feel right thinking about anyone other than Dr. Klein knowing anything about his physiological makeup. He felt even sicker when he realized that someone seemed to know about Lois's physiological makeup, too!
Wells realized that Lois and Clark had not caught onto what he was trying to tell them. He'd thought that he had given them enough clues for them to piece the answer together themselves, but he obviously had been wrong. It was a pity. He loved to see the looks of realization on their faces as the answer came to them.
"Miss Lane, Mr. Kent, I ask you, who knows more about your bodies than yourselves?"
Lois glared at Wells in disbelief. She knew her body, but she definitely couldn't say that she knew anything about the way her body worked. It was even less likely that she would know how to fix any kind of problem that she was having with her body. And she couldn't even think of how she might know anything about Clark's physiology!
Clark stared at Wells with his mouth slightly open, as if on the verge of asking him a question. In reality, there were so many questions swarming around Clark's admittedly cloudy mind that he couldn't formulate a coherent question. He knew a lot about his body, but he would never trust himself more than he trusted Dr. Klein in matters of his own physiology. After all, Dr. Klein was a specialist! He also knew quite a lot about human physiology, just because he had always been curious about the differences that existed between himself and humans. However, as much as he might know about human physiology in general, he certainly did not know about Lois's body specifically. Of course, he knew it very intimately, but he could never trust himself to study it medically. There had never been any need for either Lois or Clark to study their bodies medically. After all, like most people, they had always relied on specialists like Dr. Klein. Neither Lois nor Clark had ever even thought of studying their bodies on their own.
Since his mind was full of questions and he didn't really know where to begin, Clark really allowed himself to study the baby in Wells's arms for the first time. His eyes focused on the baby, the little child who looked so much like him. The baby seemed to be fast asleep. Clark had babysat many an infant in his days in Smallville, and he couldn't remember any infant as quiet as this one seemed to be. However, he remembered his parents telling him stories about how quiet he had been as a baby. They had told him that their friends were shocked at how quiet and well- behaved he had been.
Lois was the first to be able to speak. "Mr. Wells, I don't see how Clark and I can solve our problem. Honestly, we don't know anything about medicine, and I wouldn't trust either of us. We're reporters, not doctors. Clark may be Superman, but I wouldn't even trust Superman in a situation like this." She smiled slightly at Clark before she said, "No offense, honey."
Clark shifted his gaze over to Lois and gave her a half smile. "None taken, honey." Then Clark turned to Wells and said, "I agree with Lois. She has a point here. I mean, every time we talk to Dr. Klein, we only understand about half of what he is talking about."
Lois looked at him and said, "Half?"
Clark shrugged his shoulders and said, "Okay, a lot less than half. It usually sounds like he is speaking gibberish."
"Indeed, Mr. Kent, I did not mean that you and Miss Lane would be playing doctor…"
Lois grinned at Wells, knowing that he probably was not familiar with the other connotation of what he had just said. She interrupted, "But wouldn't we have to — play doctor — in order for us to conceive a baby in the first place?"
Then she wiggled her eyebrows at Clark in a very playful manner. Her spirits had been significantly lightened ever since she realized that it was possible for her to have a baby. In fact, she might have even characterized her mood as giddy.
Clark rolled his eyes at Lois. Normally, he would have found Lois's behavior amusing, but he didn't think that now was the right time. He was more concerned with what Mr. Wells was saying.
Wells's cheeks reddened slightly as he realized the connotation of what he had just said. Certainly, that term was not construed the wrong way in his native time, but he had spent enough time in the future to realize the alternate connotation of "playing doctor". Obviously that is what it had meant to Lois. He was completely embarrassed.
"Miss Lane, indeed you would have to — ahem — play doctor as it were to be able to have a child. I would rather we not discuss that aspect, if it is okay with you! I'd much prefer that those aspects of your life be kept entirely private."
Clark forced a smile, but then he tried to guide Wells back on track, "Mr. Wells, I still don't see how Lois and I can solve our problem if we know nothing about the reproductive system and we are not doctors!"
Wells could sense Clark's desperation in his words, and he tried to tell the rest of the story as quickly as possible.
"Indeed, Mr. Kent. I understand how this may be a bit hard to believe. After all, I haven't finished what I have been trying to say. You see, Mr. Kent, Miss Lane, I believe I told you how entirely confused I was when I read that I was the one to help you with your problem." He quickly paused and looked from Lois to Clark; they both seemed to be listening in rapt attention. "I spent many days searching through many different books and talking to many people about how your problem was solved. However, I seemed to hit a dead end. To get my mind off this problem for a moment, I decided to visit the alternate universe to see how that Clark was getting along. I had a few ideas about helping him find his Lois that I wanted to share with him."
Normally, Lois and Clark would be bursting with questions about how the other Clark was doing, but this time neither uttered as much as a sound.
Wells continued, "I set my time machine to take me to the alternate universe, but something must have happened with the universe flux capacitor. When I landed, it was definitely quite obvious that I hadn't made it to the alternate universe I knew. In fact, I quite supposed that I had made a mistake setting the controls and merely traveled back in time instead of back in time and through the universe porthole as I had intended. However, as I explored a bit, I realized that I was, indeed, somewhere I had never been before."
"Another alternate universe?" Clark asked in disbelief.
Wells nodded and then continued, "Indeed, my boy. Once I realized I was in a completely new place, my first instinct was to look at the 'Daily Planet' newspaper."
Lois and Clark both nodded. For both of them, looking at the 'Daily Planet' would have been their obvious first choice of what to do, too. It was reassuring to both of them that their beloved paper existed in this alternate universe.
Wells continued, "I must say, I was quite surprised when I looked at the paper. You see, there were no stories by either Lois Lane or Clark Kent on the front page. Plus, the editor's credit did not go to Perry White."
"This doesn't make sense. Lois and I aren't part of the 'Daily Planet'? Perry isn't either? Do we even exist in this universe?"
Wells ignored Clark for the moment and continued his story. "I was even more surprised to see that someone named Clinton was president of the United States. What shocked me even more was that he was being impeached — and that the two of you were not in the middle of the action."
"The president is being impeached?" Lois asked almost instinctively. "He couldn't have done anything as bad as John Doe." She spat out the name.
"Precisely, my dear, this president seems to have had, well, many an illicit dalliance. It also appears that he has lied about it. But this is not any of my concern. I do not see why illicit dalliances have anything to do with being president."
"Or with being Superman," Lois added quietly, remembering how the tabloids had manipulated her relationship with Superman over pictures taken of their so-called 'illicit affair'.
"But I digress," Wells continued. "I was quite shocked to see the paper without any familiar names to be seen."
Lois stopped Wells's story and interjected, as if she had really heard what Wells was saying for the first time, "Wait, we don't work for the 'Daily Planet'? No one we know works there? I don't think I like this Universe!"
Wells nodded at Lois's comment. "I quite agree, Miss Lane. I was perplexed when I realized that you did not work for the 'Daily Planet!' In fact, I despaired that you mightn't even exist in this universe!" He shook his head woefully. "Despite my greatest fears, I resolved to search for you in this universe. However, I did not have to search very long. You see, at first glance, I did not realize it, but even though you hadn't written any stories for this newspaper, you were both involved in a story that appeared on the front page."
Clark quickly glanced at Lois and saw that her expression was one of befuddled confusion. It seemed like she was feeling the same thing that he was. What kind of universe was this where he and Lois weren't reporters for the 'Daily Planet?' It scared him even more that Perry wasn't affiliated with the 'Planet' either. He took a small amount of solace in the fact that it seemed like the paper was still reporting real news and it hadn't turned into some tabloid rag. However, the fact that both he and Lois and been the front page story was a little troubling. Did the whole world know his true identity? Why else would he be on the front page?
Lois spoke again before Clark could, though, voicing an even more absurd thought than Clark could even fathom. "Mr. Wells, we aren't criminals? Are we?"
Wells smiled benevolently at the couple before him and then he exclaimed, "Heavens no, Miss Lane! Of course you are not criminals in this alternate world!"
Both Lois and Clark breathed small sighs of relief. Although neither had really believed that they could be criminals in any universe, neither had believed that Lois would be dead in an alternate universe. It seemed like almost anything was possible. Of course anything was possible: Lois was married to a man who could fly! Nothing was unbelievable now.
Wells continued. "I was quite shocked, indeed, when I read the article. It was a small article at the bottom of the front page. I almost passed it by, in fact." He looked at Clark and then back at Lois before he continued. "I have a very limited knowledge of this subject so you will have to bear with me. You see, I was quite surprised when I looked a bit more closely at the front page and started reading the article. The article was about a group of professors of I believe it was called Physiology and Bio-something- medicine Engineering from the Metropolis Institute of Technology. They had invented an instrument, I am not entirely sure for what, to cure some sort of aliment of the spinal cord. I am not entirely sure what I read because I did not understand most of the article. In fact, I do not even know what this engineering is! It certainly was not around in my time. However, I flipped the article to its continuation on the fifth page, and as soon as I saw the picture that accompanied the article, I was quite sure that I had found exactly what I was looking for."
Lois shook her head in disbelief. Something about this alternate dimension definitely didn't seem right. She couldn't fathom any version of herself working anywhere other than the 'Daily Planet'. Lois didn't know much, if anything, about engineers except for that fact that they took all of those scary classes in college: physics, differential equations, and other subjects that made her cringe just thinking about them. She wouldn't have touched any of those classes with a ten foot pole when she was in college.
"Are you sure it was really our alternate selves?" Clark asked. "Are you saying that Lois and I are professors?" He raised his eyebrows showing his disbelief.
"Indeed," Wells answered with a grin on his face. "The picture was unmistakable. It was a group of nearly twenty people, but you and Ms. — I mean Dr. — Lane were right in the center of the picture most prominently. Apparently, you and she had been in charge of this project."
Lois was still in disbelief about what Wells was talking about. How could she and Clark, in any universe, ever do something as boring as engineering? She knew the kind of people who did things like engineering. Hell, she'd had to interview hundreds of them for various stories. Weren't they all really nerdy eggheads — sort of like Dr. Klein?
Lois interrupted Wells before she burst, "We are Bio- whatever engineers? That doesn't make sense! Don't engineers like math? Where's the adventure in that?"
"My dear, if I recall correctly, I do believe they call themselves, ah yes, Biomedical Engineers — they conduct some sort of medical research, I believe. And, I must say, you are the engineer, my dear. It seems that Mr. Kent is a physiologist."
"But how? Why?" Lois asked.
She still couldn't fathom the fact that she could ever be anything other than a reporter. To her, nothing could top the thrill of the investigation and the adrenaline rush that came when her name appeared on the front page of the paper. And that was why she could never picture herself as anything other than a reporter.
Wells shook his head. "I have no idea, Miss Lane. All I know is that in this universe, your alternate self performs research in the medical field and she calls herself a biomedical engineer. She is actually quite proud of it."
Clark was equally as surprised. He had always liked math and science when he was in school, but his passion had always been for writing. Maybe it wasn't completely out of his realm of possibilities for the career he would have considered when he was in high school, but he definitely couldn't picture himself doing anything other than what he was doing now. It was a good sign, though, that in this universe, he and Lois seemed to be partners. Maybe what Wells said was true: he and Lois were destined to be together, in any time and any universe. They had a love that transcended all boundaries.
"Is there a Metropolis Institute of Technology in our dimension?" Clark asked. "I always thought MIT stood for Massachusetts Institute of Technology! Even then, it's still hard to believe that Lois and I are professors in that dimension. It just doesn't seem right."
"No, Clark, I don't think there is a Metropolis Institute of Technology," Lois said quickly. Then she turned to Wells and began her barrage of questions again. "Mr. Wells, if I believe that in this dimension Clark and I are some sort of engineer people, how does this help us in any way?" she pointed from herself to Clark to show Wells that she had meant herself in this dimension. "None of this makes sense! I just, I can't picture myself or Clark doing anything but writing for the 'Daily Planet'."
Of course, both Lois and Clark knew that there were bound to be differences between universes. In the alternate universe that they had already had experience with, Lois was dead and Clark had lost his parents when he was a child. Of course they had different personality traits, but deep down they were still fundamentally similar in their beliefs. Plus, in that universe, both Lois and Clark had been reporters. Both Lois and Clark were having a hard time believing that in this new universe, their alternate selves had chosen a career that was so completely different than the career that they both loved so dearly. In their minds, being a reporter was a part of their self- definition. It was a large part of their souls.
"Indeed, Miss Lane, I'm afraid I had a bit of trouble believing it, too," Wells said calmly. "Maybe it would be better if I told you the whole story."
Lois and Clark nodded their acquiescence. They wanted to know everything that they could about Wells's adventures in this new alternate universe. Their minds were trained to have an intense desire to know everything that happened in any situation.
Wells began, "As I was saying, I meant to travel to the alternate universe that we had known about previously to see that alternate Clark…"
The blurriness that always surrounded the time machine when it made any sort of dimensional transfer began to clear, and Wells blinked his eyes to help them adjust to the change in brightness. He had expected to be greeted by the somewhat familiar street next to the 'Daily Planet' building in the alternate universe where that universe's Clark Kent worked. Since he had been put into such a quandary about the problems in his own dimension, he had decided to take a small break from that particular problem. Thus, he had chosen to visit the alternate universe to test his theory to help the alternate Clark find his long lost Lois.
However dimensional transfer was not often as predictable as normal travel through time. In this case, he had to both travel back through time and through alternate universes. When his eyes began to clear, Wells immediately noticed that something seemed wrong. Nothing about where he had landed seemed like the alternate universe that he had visited before, yet it was not exactly like the universe he had left either.
"Oh, dear, this does not seem right," Wells said softly, again slipping into the habit of speaking to his time machine. "Are you quite sure you have taken me to the correct location?"
The alternate universe had been a place of filth and crime when he had first visited. Since Superman had arrived, some of the crime had been eliminated, but it was still a bit of a dark place. This Metropolis that he had arrived in seemed much cleaner, much brighter. It almost looked like the universe he had come from, but there were still the faintest of differences. Maybe there was something defunct in his universe flux capacitor, and his machine had merely taken him back in time. However, there was something inside of him telling him that he hadn't just gone back in time. He had to have transferred through dimensions. Didn't he? It certainly did look like an entirely different place, indeed.
However, the time travel seemed to have worked correctly. It did not appear that he had landed in his beloved Utopia, so he must have traveled back in time, if not to the right universe.
He checked all of the settings on his machine. The time travel controller was set to the year 1997. That was correct. The dimensional control was set to 3. Wells gasped in shock. Hadn't he checked all of his controls before he had turned the machine on? Could this possibly be a third alternate universe? It seemed entirely impossible, didn't it? But, then again, wasn't time travel impossible? Wasn't a first alternate universe impossible?
Yes, this must be a third alternate universe, Wells determined. It was quite a serendipitous mistake. Now he had the adventure of exploring a new alternate universe for the first time. He absolutely thrived on adventure, as much as he hated to admit it. It was the thrill of the adventure that kept him going.
Wells gazed around at the buildings surrounding his machine. It appeared that he had landed right in his desired location, for as he looked up his vision was blocked by the famous 'Daily Planet' logo.
"Ah, the 'Daily Planet'," he said. "I am sure this trusty paper will hold just the information I need as it always does."
Wells knew that if he was near the 'Daily Planet' he had to be near Lois Lane and Clark Kent. He was quite curious about the functions of a Superman in this alternate universe. It seemed to be so clean it was almost sparkling. Plus, he couldn't see any obvious sign of crime on the street. Superman must really be having an effect in this universe, possibly even more so than in his own universe!
Very excited to meet this world's Lane and Kent, Wells quickly hid his time machine and bid it farewell. Then he quickly made his way around to the front of the building, eager to see what would await him.
However, before he went into the building, he stopped to catch a quick glance at the most recent copy of the paper that someone had tossed into a garbage receptacle. He wasn't sure what made him stop to check the paper, but he did pull the paper out of the trash can and inspected it.
"Hmm," he said, a bit confused as he scanned the front page.
The first thing about this paper that confused him was the fact that on the whole front page, there was not one story about Superman. The second thing that struck him oddly was the main story. It seemed that the president, a man named Clinton, was being impeached. Interestingly, the reporters credited with the story were not Lane and Kent.
Strange, he'd always thought that a story this large would have been written by Lane and Kent. They were sure to be in the midst of a story so huge. In fact, it didn't seem like any of the stories on the front page were authored by either of the star reporting team he knew from his own dimension. Then when he inadvertently gazed at the editorial credits on the top of the front page, he was very surprised that he did not see any names he recognized from any of his visits to the Kents of his universe nor the Clark of the alternate dimension. Something didn't seem right. This universe was obviously quite different than either of the other universes.
His heart started to beat a little more quickly. Now he was concerned about this universe. Did Superman even exist? If Lois Lane and Clark Kent did not work for the 'Daily Planet', there was a chance that Clark did not even exist in this universe! It was something Wells hadn't even anticipated. There didn't seem to be any evidence of Superman in this world, but the world also seemed very peaceful — almost too peaceful, especially for a world without a Superman.
As Wells mused, his attention was drawn to the deep blue sky. However, his concentration was broken by a flash of blue and red in the sky and the characteristic sonic boom of Superman.
"Aha!" Wells exclaimed. "So Superman does exist!"
If Superman existed, it was fair to assume that Clark Kent also existed. Maybe in this universe, Superman's deeds were so commonplace that the papers did not even bother reporting on them any more. Perhaps his existence had practically eradicated crime in this universe. Maybe Utopia was closer than he ever realized.
With his spirits comforted by the sight of Superman, Wells set his sights towards finding Lois Lane and Clark Kent in this dimension. Since Superman existed, Clark Kent had to exist. And if there was a Clark Kent, there was bound to be a Lois Lane. He didn't know why he was using that logic because it obviously hadn't worked in the other alternate universe. His logic that if there was a 'Daily Planet', Lois Lane and Clark Kent would work there obviously had been faulty.
Just as he was about to put the paper back in the trash, his eyes caught the headline of the story in the bottom right corner of the front page: "Neural Prosthesis Advancements Give the Paralyzed a Chance to Walk." He wasn't sure what drew him to the article, but he began to read. Of course, the article was of a very scientific nature in an area he, sadly, had a very limited knowledge of, but his main concern was the large picture of the research group on the fifth page.
His breath caught in his chest as he realized just who he was looking at. In the center of the group of students and researchers, Wells saw two very familiar faces. When he read the caption, he knew for sure. These two researchers were Dr. Lois Lane, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Metropolis Institute of Technology, and Dr. Clark Kent, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Physiology at Metropolis Institute of Technology. Even more peculiar was the fact that many of the other names and faces of the people in the picture were very familiar: Dr. Sam Lane, Dr. Perry White, Dr. Bernard Klein, and Jimmy Olsen.
They did exist! Lois Lane and Clark Kent did, indeed, exist in this universe, if not in the form Wells had expected. And many of the people who had played an important role in their lives in his universe also seemed to play a large role in this universe as well. Wells was absolutely delighted to see that Lois and Clark seemed to work together in this universe. It seemed like they were, indeed, partners in a sense. Was it too much to hope for that they would be married in this universe?
However, Wells had a hard time believing that Lane and Kent were engineers. He really couldn't picture them as anything other than reporters for the 'Daily Planet'. In his universe and the other alternate universe, both Lois Lane and Clark Kent showed the same characteristic drive for the adventure of the investigation as reporters. They all seemed to have an incredible flair for writing, as well. Yes, this universe was strange, indeed.
Wells folded up the newspaper and stuck it under his arm and turned away from the 'Daily Planet' building. It was obvious that he wasn't going to get any of his questions answered here. Now it was his task to find this Metropolis Institute of Technology and then find Dr. Lane and Dr. Kent. However, this was a monumental task for him to undertake.
The first thing he needed to find was a map. He wasn't familiar with the Metropolis Institute of Technology and he had absolutely no idea how to get there. There were plenty of people walking up and down the street whom he might have been able to stop and ask for directions, but he wasn't sure what their reaction was going to be to him. He knew that he stood out in the crowd here as he always did. However, since this was his first time in this universe, he or 'had absolutely no idea' how these people would react to a stranger asking for directions on the street
Wells did not have to brave the reaction of the crowd, as he had feared. It seemed like a higher power was looking out for him because as he started to walk and turned the corner, he saw signs directing him to Metropolis Institute of Technology by the banners that were posted on every light pole.
Luckily, it turned out that the University was less than two blocks away from the 'Daily Planet' building right in the middle of busy downtown Metropolis. Wells followed the signs and walked there quickly, avoiding the eyes of all of the people who seemed to be staring at him.
However, he was really quite used to people on the street staring at him and he had grown rather accustomed to it. He knew that he stuck out in situation like this. Here it was even worse. Not only was he from a different time period, but from a different universe as well. That definitely put him at a disadvantage.
As he walked, Wells marveled at how different this universe seemed than his own universe. The differences were very minimal at first glance, but on further consideration, Wells realized that this was truly a different place. He wasn't sure if there was even a Metropolis Institute of Technology in his universe.
When Wells realized he had reached his destination, he stopped in the middle of the sidewalk having no idea what to do next. Okay, so he knew that this was the place that Lois Lane and Clark Kent worked. However, it seemed a bit bigger than he had anticipated. There were more than two city blocks full of buildings that seemed to make up this university. How was he supposed to find two people? It seemed like it was harder than finding a needle in a haystack.
However, it seemed like all of the luck in the world was behind Wells that day. After Wells decided to walk in between the buildings to see if he could come up with a plan, he felt a large hand on his shoulder.
"You look lost. Do you need any help, sir?" the man said in a friendly voice.
This man was the first person who had stopped to see if Wells needed any help. Obviously Wells stood out in this time and this universe. He must have looked more out of place than anyone walking the streets of Metropolis that afternoon. Actually, people must have thought that he was some strange transient person with a mental imbalance who had been wandering the streets. They had probably been too afraid of him to offer any help.
That voice! Wells knew that voice! He turned around and was surprised about his good luck today. The man who had touched his shoulder was none other than the famous Clark Kent! This Dr. Clark Kent looked exactly like the Clark of his universe with the only difference being that his clothes that he wore to work were slightly more casual than the suit and tie Clark wore to his job at the 'Daily Planet.' They even seemed to wear the exact same glasses. Wells felt his breath catch in his chest.
"Yes," Clark said with a hint of surprise in his voice, but with a smile nevertheless. Obviously he didn't know who this man was or why he seemed to know who he was.
"I've been looking for you, my boy."
Wells extended his hand and Clark shook it. Wells grinned widely at the young man who looked so familiar.
Before Clark could answer, Wells continued with an introduction. "I am H.G. Wells. I know this will be quite hard for you to believe, but I am from the past and from a different universe."
"What?" Clark said. "You're H.G. Wells, the author? But you're dead."
Wells had to fight the urge to roll his eyes. Yes, apparently he was dead. Of course he was dead. Why didn't anyone wait until he was done with his introduction before they made the assumption that he was dead? It was interesting to see that he had chosen the same career in this universe. However, it didn't seem like he had invented a time machine here.
"Oh, yes, I suppose I am dead. As I said, I have invented a time machine that can also travel through dimensions."
"A time machine?" Clark asked skeptically. He raised his eyebrows over his glasses and shook his head. "But time travel is impossible. And different dimensions? There can't be!"
"Indeed, my boy. I have invented a time machine, which I have adapted for interdimensional transport. You see, I am from an alternate universe. In fact, I know of three alternate universes now. Quite amazing, indeed. You see, I am a bit of an inventor as well as a writer."
Clark wasn't sure that he understood what this man was saying. Was it just the rant of a crazy man?
"Mr., uh, Wells, are you looking for something? I really have to go. I'm meeting my wife at noon."
Wells smiled at Clark, glad to hear that one of his questions had been answered. This Dr. Clark Kent was married, and Wells would bet that it was to a certain Dr. Lois Lane. Maybe if he hinted that he knew about Clark's life, Clark might believe that he really was who he claimed to be.
"And I believe Dr. Lane would understand if you were late," Wells said hoping Clark understood his underlying meaning. Then he drew an "S" across his own chest.
Clark visibly stiffened and grabbed Wells's shoulder. "Who are you? What do you know? How do you know my wife?"
Wells smiled at Clark and said quietly, "Mr. Kent, I told you, I am a time traveler from a different dimension. In my world, I invented a time machine. It was quite a daunting task, but I have always dabbled in inventing. Indeed, this was my first invention that truly worked. I traveled into the future and I found a wonderful Utopian civilization started by the descendants of Clark Kent and Lois Lane. There, Clark Kent is known as the famed Superman. I have met the Kents of my universe on many occasions. I will not bore you with the details, however. I have also met the Clark Kent of the second universe, but, alas, his Lois Lane was lost in the Congo several years ago."
"You know?" Clark sputtered. "You really are H.G. Wells? You're really from a different universe?"
"Indeed," Wells answered.
"I have to call my wife." Clark pulled a cell phone out of his pocket.
"Oh, quite good, the telephone. Indeed, now where are the cords?"
"Oh, uh," Clark said, a bit confused. "It's a cell phone."
"Aah, I see, a cell phone." Wells nodded his appreciation. He had seen these things called cell phones before, but this one seemed more primitive than the ones he had seen in the Utopian society.
Clark dialed his wife's number frantically needing to consult her about this strange visitor who he wasn't sure if he believed or not. It was true that he did really seem like he came from a time in the past. Maybe his story was true. Maybe he was crazy. All Clark knew for sure was that he needed to talk to Lois about this. This weird little man knew all of their secrets!
"Oh no! It's only 11:45. She's in class and won't answer her phone!"
"Dr. Kent, I have so many questions to ask you!" Wells exclaimed. "Indeed, I am so happy I found you."
Clark stammered, "Well, my wife and I usually have lunch at the little coffee house across the street."
"Perfect! Indeed, I believe I have always wanted to dine at a coffee house. The concept is quite exciting. Drinking coffee in a quaint house."
"Uh, right," Clark said skeptically, now sure that he wasn't going to be able to get rid of the little man. But he did want to talk to the man further. How could he know that Clark was Superman? How did he know that he was married to Lois? Could he be telling the truth? Was he really a man from a different universe's past?
Wells followed Clark across the street and through the door of the little coffee house without speaking. However, when they found a table near the window, Wells was overcome by an uneasy feeling.
"Dr. Kent, I'm afraid I do not understand. Yes, I see they do, indeed, sell coffee, but this is not a house. Where is the bedroom, the living room…"
Clark interrupted, "No, no, Mr. Wells. It's not a real house. 'Coffee house' is just a generic term for a restaurant that sells coffee."
"Oh, how peculiar. I would think that a name like this would be quite misleading."
Clark cleared his throat to keep from laughing at Wells's comment. He still wasn't sure if he could believe this Wells character's story or not, but for some reason, he was starting to like the older man and was starting to trust him. Who knew? Maybe he was telling the truth about everything he was saying. Stranger things had happened.
Clark changed the subject so he wouldn't start laughing. "Uh, my wife should be here in a few minutes. She has a class until noon."
"Oh, indeed, I read in the newspaper that you and your wife are engineers. Quite strange, because in the other two universes, you are both reporters for the very same newspaper."
"Really?" Clark asked. He couldn't picture himself as a reporter. Actually, he couldn't picture himself doing anything except medical research. In his profession, he was able to do research that would improve the medical profession in many ways. Plus, it gave him plenty of opportunities to work as Superman without drawing any suspicions. His work schedule was very flexible, and if he had to leave to be Superman, no one really noticed. Most importantly, he was the man who knew the most about Kryptonian physiology. He also had his PhD in physiology, so he had a very detailed knowledge of human physiology as well. Yes, this was the perfect job for him.
"Indeed," Wells said calmly.
"Reporters, hmm. I can't imagine being a reporter. That seems like such a high stress environment."
"That it is, my boy," Wells agreed. "But they thrive on it, I suppose. Life as a professor is not stressful?"
"No," was Clark's immediate response, but then he amended his statement. "Well, not really. Maybe it is on the days before grant proposals are due, but beyond that, it is very low stress."
Wells nodded slowly. He had a feeling that this Clark Kent was much more laid back than the Clark Kent from his universe.
"You are a medicine engineer professor?" Wells asked.
Clark laughed at Wells's name for his profession, but then he answered, "Yes, I guess you could call it Medical Engineering. I'm an Assistant Professor in the Biomedical Engineering Department here, but I am trained as a physiologist. My wife is also a biomedical engineer. We both work in the Neural Control Engineering Laboratory. I work on the physiological side while my wife works on the designs."
"Quite good," Wells said a light bulb beginning to brighten in his mind. To make innocent conversation, he asked, "Neural Control? You're not trying, well, to control people's thoughts."
"Oh, of course not!" Clark exclaimed. "We're trying to enhance the quality of life for people with spinal cord injuries by developing…"
Wells interrupted, "Quite good, I'm glad to hear that you aren't trying to control people's thoughts, but I am afraid I have never heard of it. I am sadly afraid that I may not understand any of the details you try to tell me for I am afraid I am a writer who dabbles in inventing. I am afraid I never knew much about the body."
While Wells was talking, Clark shifted as if he heard something. Then the front door of the coffee house opened. In walked a beautiful woman who bore a striking resemblance to the Lois Lane of his world. Of course, her hair was much longer, almost to her shoulders. Other than that, she was an exact match!
The woman Wells already knew to be Lois made her way to the table and Clark stood up to greet her. Then he helped her take her coat off.
"Mr. Wells," Clark said with a large smile on his face, "this is my wife Lois."
Wells stood up to shake Dr. Lane's hand, but then as soon as he saw her without her coat, he was struck by an incredible realization that set bells off in his head. Dr. Lane was obviously pregnant. They had solved the fertility problems between a Kryptonian male and an Earth female. All the pieces of the puzzle were beginning to come together beautifully. This was the solution he had been desperately searching for!
What an amazing mistake he had made. It was hard to believe that changing just one setting on his time machine had brought him to this universe that held the answer to the question to which he had been devoting so much of his energy.
"…so when I noticed that she was with child, I realized that they had solved your problem."
Wells had finished his entire story with a complete lack of interruption from either of the Kents. It seemed like they were both completely transfixed by the story he had just told.
Lois gasped. She had immediately made the connection. If the Lois of that world was pregnant, all she and her Clark needed to do was find out how that Lois and Clark had overcome their obstacles. Obviously, it was very beneficial that the Lois and Clark of that universe were medical researchers rather than reporters. They were probably the only people who knew the most intimate details of both human and Kryptonian physiology and the possible interactions that made it difficult, but not impossible for the two to reproduce.
Clark had come to the same conclusions as Lois. "Mr. Wells, she's pregnant? They found out how a Kryptonian male and an Earth female can reproduce?"
"Indeed," Wells agreed.
For the first time since he had arrived, the baby in Wells's arms began to squirm and fuss. Then the squealing began.
"Oh, poor little thing," Wells said to the baby boy. "You must be hungry."
Lois was torn. She hated the fact that the little boy seemed to be frantically screaming, and it was tearing at her heart. He needed his mother. Even though she wanted to hear the rest of Wells's story, she knew that the baby had been in the past for too long. He needed to get back to his rightful place in the future. Her spirits had been significantly lightened by the knowledge that she would eventually be able to have such a beautiful, perfect little baby boy. However, now she had to get to work. They needed to find out just how that little man was able to be created. But first Wells needed to take the baby home.
"Mr. Wells, I think he wants to go home. He needs his mother," she said with a tinge of sadness in her voice.
Clark wrapped a strong arm around Lois shoulders. Then he said, "Thank you, Mr. Wells. You've given us a greater gift than you know."
Wells smiled at the couple, glad that he had achieved his goal. He had, indeed, significantly raised their spirits and given them a renewed hope for the future. The about face that they had made since he first saw them was absolutely amazing. It seemed like an incredibly dark cloud had been lifted from them both.
When Clark had answered the door, he had looked like he had given up all hope in the world. Lois, too, had looked heartbroken. However, now they looked like their old selves: full of questions and the desire to conquer this problem. Wells could tell that Lois, especially, was absolutely champing at the bit to sink her teeth into this problem. It was an incredible change.
Then, when his eyes focused first on Lois, then on Clark, and finally on both as a couple, he was struck by an interesting thought. He realized that they were not the only ones who had received a great gift. They had given him the most wonderful gift in the world, too, even more than he had ever given them. They had given him a greater purpose in life.
"Indeed, my boy, I believe you have given me the greatest gift of all. You and your descendents founded the Utopia I had always dreamed about. I owe you both the greatest gratitude."
As Wells and the Kents spoke, the baby's whimpering got much louder so that they almost could not speak over his cries. They all knew that he needed to get back to his parents in his correct time period because he had to be missing his parents terribly.
"Oh, dear me, I do believe he is quite hungry."
Both Lois and Clark felt their hearts going out to the screaming little boy. They both longed for the opportunity to hold their son close and attend to his every need. However, they understood the reasons why they were not able to touch him now.
Lois said, "Mr. Wells, you have to take him back. He needs his mommy."
She couldn't justify keeping the baby in this time period any longer. He had served his purpose giving her the knowledge that she would be able to meet him again soon. Once more she realized just how much she desperately wanted a baby. Just looking at her future son filled a vacancy that she had not even realized that she had in her heart.
Her future self was probably frantic about her son's safety; she knew herself well enough to know that. Even though Mr. Wells would probably set his time machine to return himself and the baby about a second after he had left, that second was probably going to be one of the worst seconds of her life.
Clark added, "I know you can't tell us when he will finally be born, but it is still comforting to know that he is our son and that some day in the future we will be able to hold him."
Clark, who had been so heartbroken before Wells had arrived, felt a large weight lifted from his heart. Even though he hadn't believed Wells at first, now he was sure that this was his future child — his own flesh and blood! It was amazing; he and Lois were going to create a perfect new life together.
"Indeed, Mr. Kent," Wells said. He stroked the baby's head in an attempt to settle him down. "Now, I fear I should leave you to take this little man back to his correct time period."
Wells stood up slowly, and Lois and Clark both stood up with him.
Lois asked, "Can we stay with him until you get to the time machine?" because she wanted to spend as much time with the baby as she could. After all, she wasn't sure how long it would be until she would be able to see him again.
Clark added, "I don't think you should be walking alone," because he was afraid of the many dangers that existed in the world outside of his home. Wells and the baby would be much safer if they had Superman's protection as they ventured outside. Plus, that would give him a few more minutes to marvel at his future child.
"Indeed, please do join me. Of course you can say 'goodbye' to him at the time machine."
As soon as Wells stood up and started to rock the baby, his whimpers became quieter and his eyes began to close again.
"It's amazing," Lois breathed as she started at the baby.
"Aah, indeed, I believe he knows we are going home."
Clark knew that he wanted to get this over with as soon as possible. The longer Wells and the baby stayed here, the harder it was going to be to see the baby go.
"Uh, okay, are we ready to get going?" Clark asked.
Lois nodded slowly, resigned to the fact that she was going to have to let the baby go. However, she was strengthened by the knowledge that she would soon see him again.
"Let's get this over with," Lois agreed.
"Indeed," Wells added.
When they left the brownstone, it was dark outside. That was good in Wells's opinion because the number of people on the street had significantly decreased, and there were far fewer people to realize how much he stood out. They were definitely a strange group walking down the street.
Lois and Clark let Wells lead the way and they walked a little bit behind him. Clark knew that Lois wouldn't want to walk quickly because the quicker they got to the time machine, the sooner they would have to say goodbye to their baby. They hadn't even held him, but they both had an intense feeling of closeness to this baby. Neither of them were excited to see the baby go even though they knew how much their future selves were probably worried about their son. However, they knew Wells well enough to know that he would arrange the time travel so that their future selves would only think their baby had been gone for less than a second.
Sooner than they realized, Wells had led them to his final destination. They were standing in the alleyway where Wells had parked his time machine.
"Oh, drat!" he exclaimed. "It seems this dreadful bird has taken up residence here again."
Lois and Clark looked at each other in amusement. If anything would lighten their mood right now, it was seeing Wells trying to shoo a large pigeon off the front of his time machine.
Wells tried to push the bird off the front of the machine. However, with one arm holding the baby, it was not an easy task.
Lois and Clark both had to stifle their laughs at the sight before them. The old man in old-fashioned clothes holding a baby running and swaying his free arm to try to frighten a large pigeon that was on the front end of a time machine — it was absolutely absurd. Yet somehow, it was the least absurd thing that had happened to them today.
For some reason, Wells seemed very familiar with this bird. He was yelling at it and talking to it like he was almost on a first name basis with it.
"Uh, Mr. Wells, have you met this bird before?"
"Oh, Miss Lane, I may not have met this particular bird, but I have had quite bad luck with these pigeons. They seem to think they are my, well, my hood ornament. Is that the correct term?"
"Yes, that is the right term," Clark said.
Clark now couldn't fight off his laughter any more. The mere thought of Wells's time machine with a large pigeon as a hood ornament drove him over the edge of sanity. It wasn't often that something so absurd would amuse Clark, but today even stranger things had happened and he needed a release.
Once Clark had started laughing, Lois could no longer hold her own laughter in. It was true to think that laughing was very contagious. She felt bad for Wells, though, because he didn't seem to have any idea what they were laughing about.
Once their laughter had finally subsided and it looked like Wells was not having any luck with this stubborn pigeon, Clark shrugged at Lois and she nodded. Their unspoken conversation was an agreement that they would help shoo the bird off the front of the time machine, which is what they should have done from the beginning. It wasn't fair to watch Wells try to shoo the pigeon with only one free arm, especially when the other arm was holding their future son. After all, he had done so much for them; he shouldn't be their object of amusement.
Once Lois and Clark joined the game, the pigeon seemed to realize that it was outnumbered. It immediately flew away because it seemed to have a feeling that once Lois and Clark were involved its fun was over. Interestingly, it was like the pigeon had the mindset of the many criminals that Lois and Clark had helped put away with their stories.
Now that the bird had left its perch at the front of the time machine, Wells had climbed in and was beginning to set the controls. The mood that had been so jovial a second ago had completely sobered. In fact, Wells was sure he saw the faintest tear trickling down Miss Lane's cheek. However, he knew better than to mention it.
Instead, he tried to offer some encouraging words, "I will be back quite soon. Indeed, after I return this little boy to his correct time, I will visit the new alternate universe and meet with Dr. Lane and Dr. Kent to see if they are willing to help you."
Now Lois and Clark had both sobered back into reality. They both knew that Wells was just about to leave. It was a relief to know that he did plan to recruit Dr. Lane and Dr. Kent from this new alternate dimension to help them. It was pretty obvious that they had agreed to help because their son was born at some point in the future. That was a very welcome thought.
As Wells turned the knobs on the machine to set the correct date and time to return the baby to, Lois leaned over the machine to catch one last glimpse of her future son in Wells's arms.
Wells, however, had a different idea of what she was trying to do.
"Miss Lane, didn't I tell you that I could not tell you when this little boy was born? I am afraid that I cannot let you see how I have set the machine controls. Mr. Kent, I trust you will not look either."
Lois's face flushed a deep crimson. Actually, she hadn't really been looking at the controls to see where in time this baby was from. She had really been trying to catch one last glimpse of her future son before Mr. Wells took him away. Okay, she was trying to catch a glimpse of her son, but she was also curious about when he was from. He had caught her. How could he know her so well? He even knew what she was doing even before she realized what she was doing. However, it probably wasn't that hard to realize her thoughts in this situation. She was probably wearing them all on her sleeve.
"Sorry," she muttered.
"Of course," Clark added at the same time Lois was speaking.
Clark knew that as much as he wanted to know when his future son would be born, he also didn't want to do anything that might change the future. That was the problem with time travel. It seemed so fragile. One false move was all it took for something to change catastrophically.
Lois and Clark looked at each other sheepishly. They were both struck with an incredible curiosity. It was almost unbearable. However, they both were able to resist their temptation.
Wells pressed the button on the machine telling it to travel into the future. It began to rev up and Wells pulled the baby close.
"Do not worry, my dear. You will see him again soon," Wells said as the machine began to dematerialize.
After the machine had vanished, all traces of both Wells and their son were completely gone. It seemed like it had all been a dream. They both stood staring at the place where the time machine had just vanished.
Lois was the first to break the silence. "Clark, did it really happen?"
"I think so."
Clark shook his head. It was hard to believe that they had just received the best gift possible. They had seen their future son and had found out that they were able to conceive a child.
Lois turned towards Clark and wrapped her arms around his waist.
"I love you, Clark," she said softly.
"I love you too, honey," he answered.
Those three words were very simple, yet they meant so much. In the middle of their crazy lives, those three words provided a sort of ground. The rest of the world could go completely crazy around them, but the knowledge that they were there for each other with an unconditional love made the rest of the world seem sane.
"Are you ready to go home? We must look pretty weird standing here in a deserted alley."
Lois laughed slightly. Clark had a point. They must look really strange standing there hugging next to some garbage bins in a deserted alley.
"We probably should. I don't want to talk about this anywhere someone might be listening."
A second. It had only been a second since H.G. Wells had taken their baby back to the past. However, for Lois Lane and Clark Kent that one second had seemed like an eternity. As soon as the time machine had vanished, Lois had fallen into her husband's arms. Clark squeezed her tightly, wanting to be strong for her, but knowing that he was just as worried as she was.
However, even though the second seemed like an eternity, once the second was up, the time machine began to materialize in the exact spot that it had left from. Both Lois and Clark released the breaths that they had both been holding waiting for the time machine's safe return.
"They're back," Lois said, stating the obvious.
Clark didn't respond, but he just nodded, too overjoyed to speak. For some reason, he had been sure that something would happen to their newborn son traveling through time. Even though he remembered Wells bringing the baby to the past, that didn't mean that something couldn't have happened to them on the way back to the future.
Before the machine had completely shut down, Lois had grabbed her son out of Wells's arms.
Clark wasn't far behind Lois, and as soon as Lois had the baby in her arms, he wrapped his arms around both of them.
He looked fine — their baby was fine. Their baby had just traveled two years into the past and didn't look troubled at all.
Wells spoke. "Mr. Kent, Miss Lane, he was a perfect angel. Indeed, he hardly made a sound, but I think he might be hungry."
Lois nodded and answered, "He should be due for a feeding. We should get home so I can feed him."
Clark nodded, but he was troubled by something Wells had told them. Now that they had their infant son back in their arms, they were able to think rationally again — and Clark had a nagging thought going through his mind.
Before he could let Wells go, Clark asked, "Mr. Wells, you told us that Tempus never existed."
"But if that's true, why do we still remember him? Lois, you remember him, right?"
"Yeah, that doesn't make sense. If he never existed, he would have never come with you to us and the Kents would have never found Clark. Everyone's lives would have changed."
Wells took a deep breath. Yes, that definitely didn't make sense. Strange, he hadn't really thought about it before. However, there was an obvious response — well, obvious at least to him.
"I believe it is because he originates from outside of your realm of consciousness."
"Our what?" Clark asked. Today they had learned some interesting new concepts: lifetime continuum, realm of consciousness.
"Your realm of consciousness. Indeed, because he is from outside your realm, and he did technically exist before he killed himself, and he did such life-changing things, I believe that we are able to remember him and his actions because he impacted our lives in such a profound matter."
"And you're sure he really doesn't exist?" Lois asked just for absolute clarification, not even trying to ask about this realm of consciousness.
"Indeed, Miss Lane, Mr. Kent, quite sure. I believe we've seen the last of our friend Tempus."
"Thank God!" Clark exclaimed.
Even though Lois and Clark weren't sure if they believed Wells's explanation, they had even more trouble believing that Tempus was really gone. However, since Wells and their son had traveled through time without any disruption, there was always the chance that Wells was right. They both would live much easier if Tempus was truly gone, never to be feared again. The easiest thing for them to do right now was to believe Wells on his word and pray that he was correct.
Wells looked to his time machine. He knew that he was imposing on the new parents and their infant. They didn't need him here even though he did want to see first hand how they behaved as new parents.
"I believe I have worn out my welcome, Miss Lane, Mr. Kent."
"Already?" Clark asked.
"Indeed," Wells answered. "You and Miss Lane should be alone with your son right now. And I am off to the alternate universe right now to visit Dr. Lane and Dr. Kent."
Lois grinned when Wells mentioned their counterparts. She hadn't seen them or heard from them in years, but she would always owe an extreme debt of gratitude to them for the baby she held in her arms right now and also for the vaccine for Kryptonite that they helped to develop.
"When you see them, tell them Lois and I are so grateful for everything they've done for us."
"Indeed, Mr. Kent," Wells agreed.
"Mr. Wells," Lois said softly, "Clark and I wanted to thank you for all of your help." It seemed like a non sequitur, but Lois added as she looked lovingly at the baby in her arms, "Do you know what we named him?"
Wells did, indeed, know the baby's name because it was well publicized in the future, but he humored her.
"No, Miss Lane. I do not believe you have ever told me. Quite sad because he was my traveling partner and I did not even know his name. Indeed, I did not know what to refer to him as, so it was quite uncomfortable."
"It's Jonathan. Jonathan Herbert Kent."
Even though Wells had known that the boy's name had been Jon H. Kent, he'd never realized that the "H" stood for Herbert. He should have guessed, though. However, it still absolutely floored him. It was such a wonderful surprise. One of the founders of the wonderful future Utopian civilization that he loved so much shared his name.
"Oh, Miss Lane, Mr. Kent, thank you! Indeed, I can not even express my gratitude for this incredible gesture."
Clark said, "No, Mr. Wells, we're the ones who should be thanking you. If it wasn't for you, we wouldn't have little Johnny here with us. You were the one who found the alternate universe; you were the one who changed our lives."
Wells felt his cheeks flushing. He coughed nervously; he was very uncomfortable with this praise for something that he considered his duty.
"Indeed, as I've always said, I believe you're mistaken. You changed your own lives. I was merely the catalyst for that change."
He climbed into the time machine and turned it on, making sure that the controls were set precisely.
"Farewell, Miss Lane, Mr. Kent, little Jon," Wells exclaimed as his time machine began to dematerialize. He was off on another extremely important mission; he was going back to the alternate universe to talk to Dr. Lane and Dr. Kent about helping the Lois and Clark of his world conceive the baby that he had just left in this time period.
As soon as Wells had left the baby with his rightful parents, the journey to convince Dr. Lane and Dr. Kent from the alternate universe to help the Lois and Clark from his universe to conceive a baby began. It was obvious that the alternate Kents had devised a clever way to enable themselves to be able to conceive a child together. If he knew Lois Lane and Clark Kent, he was sure that they would be more than willing to help their alternate selves.
The first time he had met them, he had been too shocked by the fact that Dr. Lane was with child even to start to talk to them about how they had solved their problem. Maybe they hadn't even experienced the same fertility problems as the Lane and Kent of his universe. There were so many questions left unanswered.
When Dr. Lane walked into the coffee house, Dr. Kent stood up to meet her and whispered something to her. Even though Wells did not have Superhearing, he was sure that he knew the just what they were talking about — him, obviously. However, he was sure that he didn't even want to know what they were saying about him.
"Mr. Wells," Dr. Kent said with a huge grin on his face, "this is my wife Lois."
Wells was quite shocked when Dr. Lane took off her coat and revealed that she was pregnant. "Oh, indeed," was all he could say.
Dr. Kent had continued, "Lois, honey, this is H.G. Wells."
Lois sat down in the chair that Clark had pulled out for her and she looked at Wells with an expression of confusion written on her face. She looked up and down and shook her head slightly.
"H.G. Wells? The author?"
"Yes, my dear, indeed, that H.G. Wells."
Clark answered Lois's obvious next question. "Apparently he's a time traveler from another dimension."
"A what?" Lois shook her head in disbelief. "But that's impossible!" Then she whispered under her breath knowing Clark could hear her, "Are you sure he's not pulling your chain, honey. I mean, look at him. He might be looking for money or something."
Clark smiled and shook his head. He responded out loud, "Honey, he knows about me."
"Indeed, Dr. Lane," he said softly and drew an 'S' on his chest with his finger.
Lois felt her breath catch in her chest. Who was this man, what did he know about her husband, and how did he know it?
"You must be mistaken, sir," she said quickly. "My husband isn't Superman."
Clark covered her hand with his hand. "Honey, he really knows. And for some reason I believe him — about everything."
"Clark!" She gave him a pointed look. "You didn't admit anything to an obviously crazy man!"
"Dr. Lane," Wells said in a soothing voice, "I assure you, I am not crazy. Indeed, I am H.G. Wells, an author by trade, but my real passion is inventing. You see, I have dabbled in inventing for many years, but I have finally crafted a time machine that can also cross the dimensional portal. Indeed, I have been to the future in my universe and I have visited this universe and one other universe that is not my own."
"But that's impossible."
Obviously Lois Lane of any dimension needed cold, hard facts. How was he going to present them to her to get her to believe him?
"Indeed, it is not, my dear."
Clark jumped in. "I don't know why I believe you, but for some reason I do."
Lois rolled her eyes. Her husband was way too trusting. He was too naive for his own good. Clark trusted almost everyone. Then again, she trusted almost no one. It was probably why their relationship worked so well.
"I'm not so sure. It just seems too incredible."
Wells nodded. He knew that it seemed absurd. In fact, if he hadn't been the time traveler, he wouldn't have believed it himself.
"Would you like to see my time machine?"
Lois looked at him skeptically. Should she believe him? What was he going to do to them if they went to this time machine with him? What could he do to them? Her husband was Superman!
"Yes, actually I would."
At the same time, Clark said, "No, we believe you. We really don't need to see it."
Lois turned to Clark and glared at him. "Clark, you don't want to see a real time machine?"
"But, Lois, I have to teach a class at 1:30."
Lois looked at her watch and answered, "But, honey, it's only 12:15. It won't take an hour and fifteen minutes to see a time machine."
"But, honey, you have to eat something."
"Oh, Clark, come on. I've eaten about half my sandwich. This is much more exciting."
When she saw the look in Clark's eyes, she knew that she had to make a concession. He was just about to cave. She knew it.
"Fine, I'll take it with me."
Then Lois looked at Clark with a pleading look in her eyes. She knew that he couldn't say 'no' to her when she looked at him like that. Obviously, it wasn't that he didn't want to see this crackpot's time machine; he probably wanted to sit here and make sure that she had enough to eat. He worried about her way too much. However, she did appreciate that he was so concerned about her. It was part of what made him the perfect husband and why so many people were jealous of her.
"Okay, fine," Clark said reluctantly. "Let's go see your time machine, Mr. Wells."
Wells, who had been watching this interplay in rapt attention, interested to compare their relationship to the Lois and Clark he knew, answered, "Dr. Kent. I did not leave it very far away, indeed. You see, I parked it in the alleyway next to the 'Daily Planet' building. It only took me a few minutes to walk here."
The small group stood up, and Clark helped Lois put her coat back on. Then they made their way out the door and started to walk towards the 'Daily Planet' building.
Wells led the way to the time machine, but it was a rather quiet walk. Lois and Clark hung behind him obviously talking about him. He didn't mind, though. His thoughts were full with other concerns. Since the Lois Lane of this universe was pregnant, they must have solved the problem that the Lane and Kent of his universe were facing. Could that be the key to the solution? Would these medical researchers be willing to share their findings with his friends in his own dimension? How would he be able to convince them that this was a worthwhile idea?
Sooner than he realized, Wells found himself in the alleyway where he had parked his time machine. It seemed like if one actually knew where they were going, the walk was much faster.
"Indeed, Dr. Lane, Dr. Kent, this is my beloved time machine." Then he removed its cover to reveal the machine in all its glory.
Lois looked at Clark, not exactly sure what to say. It just looked like a pile of junk put together. There was no way it could work as a time machine. She had been right. This guy was just a huge crackpot.
Clark, on the other had, was intrigued. This machine did look like it had been made many years ago. On closer examination, some of the parts from the machine looked like things he had never seen before. Maybe they were from the past, but maybe they were things that were yet to be developed in the future. He didn't know why, but for some reason, he believed that this really was a time machine.
"So, what do you think? I do not want to brag, but it is quite a magnificent machine, is it not?" Wells asked when neither of his companions had said anything in response to him.
Lois was the first to answer. "Mr. Wells, are you sure this really works?"
"Indeed, Dr. Lane. Would you like me to show you?"
Clark shook his head. Leave it to Lois. He knew that she was probably going to ask to take a ride in it with him.
If this really was a time machine, Lois knew that she wanted to ride in it with this supposed Mr. Wells. What could be more interesting than traveling through time? Okay, maybe traveling to a different universe. However, she did not want to put herself at risk by going into some crackpot's idea of a time machine.
"Absolutely," Lois answered.
At the same time, Clark said, "No, Mr. Wells, it's okay. We believe you."
Wells shook his head. Obviously Dr. Kent was worried that Dr. Lane would get the idea that she wanted to come for a voyage in his time machine. However, he knew that they still had doubts about the validity of his claims. Besides, he was excited to return to his own universe to think about the discovery that he had just made.
"Indeed, Dr. Kent, I believe Dr. Lane needs proof. I am sure you are merely humoring me, too."
He stepped into his machine and started calibrating the dials. Dr. Kent and Dr. Lane both gasped in surprise as soon as the lights on the machine began to turn on one-by- one.
Lois moved back a step and Clark instinctively wrapped his arms around his wife to protect her. Who knew what was going to happen?
Then something absolutely unbelievable started to happen right in front of their eyes — the air around the machine began to ripple blurring the machine to their eyes.
"Oh my God," Lois breathed.
"Maybe it actually is a time machine."
Before the machine vanished, Wells called, "I will return to my own universe now, but I will be back soon. I have many things to talk about with you."
Now, though, as Wells found himself in this alternate universe again, he wished that he had returned here sooner so that he could gauge Dr. Lane and Dr. Kent's reactions to the time machine vanishing right in front of their eyes. He also regretted not initiating a conversation about the baby that Dr. Lane was carrying. It would make this visit so much more comfortable.
However, this time, he had come to this universe very well- prepared. He had a copy of the 'Daily Planet' from his universe, a picture of the Lois and Clark from his universe, and a list of the subjects that he needed to talk about with the Dr. Lane and Dr. Kent from this universe — just so he would address all of the things he needed to talk about without getting off track. He was more than determined to get this right this time! Oh, he had learned his lesson from the Lois and Clark of his world. Now he had proof of everything he was going to tell the Drs. Lane and Kent! Nothing could stop him.
Now the task at hand was very daunting for Wells. He had to find the Lois and Clark of this universe again. It wasn't enough in this case to rely on blind luck again. Obviously he now knew where they worked in general, but not specifically. He could not rely on the blind luck of running into Clark Kent again. Metropolis Institute of Technology was a very large place so finding Dr. Lane or Dr. Kent's office was no small task, indeed.
After he hid the time machine, he started off down the now familiar path to the Metropolis Institute of Technology. It only took a few minutes before Wells had reached the coffee house that he had been to before. He looked up at the clock on the top of the tallest building on the campus and noticed that it was reading 12:30. Was he lucky enough that Dr. Lane and Dr. Kent might be eating lunch at this very spot right now? He decided to sit on the bench on the other side of the street from the coffee house and wait until 1:00 to see if they would come out. It was much easier to have them find him than to have to search for them in this massive campus.
However, as the time trudged on, Wells was disheartened to find that his professor friends had not emerged from the coffee shop in the time that he had been sitting there. It was a nice day outside, though, so maybe they had chosen to have their lunch somewhere else. Maybe they had other responsibilities that kept them from eating at the small coffee house. Maybe Superman had been needed and Dr. Lane had just decided to eat in her office. What horrible luck! Now he would have to look for Dr. Lane and Dr. Kent somewhere in the massive MIT campus.
Wells stood up with trepidation, knowing that he stood out like a sore thumb on a university campus. However as he looked around, there were many people that looked, well, strange — even to him. Maybe he didn't look as out of place as he thought. No, with the looks even the strange people were giving him, he knew that he definitely looked out of place. Yes, he had to complete his work very quickly before people started asking him questions. If luck were with him, he would find Dr. Lane and Dr. Kent quite quickly.
As Wells walked up the grassy area in between the main buildings — called a 'quad' — he marveled at the large numbers of people who were sitting out on the grass enjoying the sunlight. There were people eating lunch, reading books, and even an entire class being conducted using one of the statues as a blackboard. Very peculiar.
It always seemed that luck was on Wells's side. As he walked up the grass casually examining each building, something caught his eye. At the end of the grassy area, at one of the picnic tables, a very familiar couple was eating lunch. Could he be that lucky? Was it really Dr. Lane and Dr. Kent? They were a fairly distinct couple — one that stood out in a crowd of students. They didn't look young enough to be students, but they really didn't look old enough to be professors. Plus, he could tell even from yards away that they were grinning at each other with a look of love that he had only ever seen two other people share. Yes, they had to be Lois Lane and Clark Kent. As he walked closer, their features became apparent, and now he was absolutely sure that he had found them.
And just as he started walking towards the couple, he noticed the man motion to the woman. He had probably noticed Wells walking towards them and had told his wife. Yes, he had expected Clark Kent to be able to see him quickly. However, now that he was faced with talking to them again — convincing them to help the other Kents — he wasn't sure how he would begin. Assuredly, he had his list of subjects to discuss, but that didn't cover how to begin to broach the subject.
As Wells walked closer to the couple, both Dr. Lane and Dr. Kent had gotten up to meet him.
"Mr. Wells," Lois greeted him. "That was really a time machine! Where did you go?"
Clark smiled at him. "We're sorry we didn't believe you."
"Indeed, Dr. Kent, Dr. Lane, I know it is quite hard to believe. In fact, I didn't believe it myself when I first traveled through time. To answer your question, Dr. Lane, I went back to my universe. I wanted you to see that my machine indeed worked, and I also had a matter that I had to attend to in my own universe." He looked from Dr. Lane to Dr. Kent, and then he continued, "You see, it was quite serendipitous that I discovered your universe. I was quite surprised to see first that you are both medical researchers and second to see that you are with child."
Lois subconsciously covered her belly with her hand. What could her being pregnant have anything to do with Mr. Wells? She didn't know why, but the thought sort of scared her. He couldn't want to, she wasn't sure, take her baby away or something equally horrible. She wouldn't let him do it.
Clark, too, felt a pang of worry in his chest when he thought of the possible reasons why Wells might be concerned with their having a baby. He reached out and wrapped his arms around Lois's back and pulled her close to him.
She sighed with relief when she felt her husband's strong arms wrap around her. Whenever she was in his arms, she felt safe, secure, like nothing could possibly hurt her. Actually, it was probably true. Her husband, Superman, would never let anything happen to her.
"Really?" Clark said with a hint of trepidation in his voice.
Wells felt a grin spreading across his face. He dropped his voice so no one on the busy quad could possibly hear their conversation. "Indeed. You see, Dr. Lane, Dr. Kent, the Lois Lane and Clark Kent of my universe are in a far different state. They have just found out that they are unable to have children together. When I saw the two of you here, I immediately thought that you might be able to help them — to show them how a man from Krypton and a woman from Earth are able to conceive a child together."
Lois turned to Clark and knew that he felt the same pang in his heart that she did. When they had first decided to have a child together, they had thought the same thing. Luckily, working in the medical field and having the help of several close friends, they were able to come up with a solution to their problem. However, the year that it took to come up with the solution had been one of the worst years of their lives.
She looked back at Mr. Wells and said, "We shouldn't talk about this out here in the open. Let's go back to our office."
"Good idea, honey."
The walk to the office that Lois and Clark shared was a virtually silent one. Lois and Clark walked a bit ahead of Wells. They were holding hands and walking quickly, probably trying to avoid talking to anyone who stopped in their path. As they walked, many people, students and professors alike, stopped to greet the couple. One girl stopped Lois and reminded her of a meeting they had the next day. Another young man stopped Clark to remind him of a make-up test he had to take. Both Lois and Clark brushed the students off expertly, and, before Wells knew it, they had made it to the office.
The office that Lois and Clark shared was in the back corner of the Biomedical Engineering building on the top floor. Wells asked if this office was strategically placed so that Clark would be able to leave to be Superman whenever he was needed. However, it seemed that he was needed a lot less in this universe than in either of the universes that Wells had been to before. It was a large, airy office that was both well decorated and well organized.
Clark motioned to a chair indicating that Wells should sit down and then he and Lois brought the chairs from their desks closer to Wells.
"You said that in your universe, that version of us is having trouble conceiving?" Lois asked after they had all settled in their seats.
Clark furrowed his brow and asked, "But why do they need our help? Don't they have their own medical colleagues that could help them? That's how we finally solved our, uh, problem."
Wells nodded slowly. Obviously they didn't know that the Lois and Clark of his universe were not medical researchers like they were. He prepared himself for the shock that was to come when he told them that their counterparts were reporters for the 'Daily Planet' rather than medical researchers. They would be even more surprised when he told them that the Metropolis Institute of Technology did not exist in his universe.
"Indeed, Dr. Kent, they have consulted a specialist. However, they do not work in the medical field. To make it worse, they do not have the immense medical knowledge and many connections that you do. When their Dr. Klein told them that they were not able to conceive a child together, they had him run many more tests, but in the end they had to believe him."
"They aren't biomedical engineers?" Lois asked.
That couldn't be right! She couldn't imagine herself as anything but a biomedical engineer. What possible career could her counterpart from the other universe have chosen? Biomedical engineering was her job — her life! Before she had met Clark, her entire life was devoted to her research. She had invented several medical devices that helped improve thousands of lives. What other job could possibly be as rewarding?
Wells chuckled slightly when he saw the expressions on both their faces. "Indeed. I can say that the other Lois and Clark were quite shocked as well when they found out that you are biomedical engineers."
"Well, what do they do?" Clark asked with a hint of disbelief in his voice.
"They are the best team of reporters from the greatest newspaper in the world, the 'Daily Planet'."
"Reporters?" Lois spat. "Are you kidding? I could never picture myself doing something like that. They just seem so, so, I don't know, so slimy!"
Again, Wells laughed audibly. "You see, my dear, when I told the other Lois that you are professors, she reacted in quite the same way."
"I don't believe it. I could never see myself as a reporter," Lois continued. "Wait, what did she say about professors?"
Wells's cheeks turned a slight shade of red when he tried to stumble out an explanation. "Well, I suppose she said that all professors are too nerdy, although I am not quite sure what she meant by nerdy."
Clark shook his head. "No need to explain, Mr. Wells; it's a common stereotype."
Lois felt her cheeks reddening with anger. "I don't believe it. A reporter called me a nerd! I bet she isn't even a good reporter."
"Lo-is! It's a different universe! If she's anything like you, she is absolutely incredible at anything she does!" Clark tried to calm his wife down. "But I'm still having trouble believing that our alternate selves are reporters, of all jobs. What about Clark? Does he have the same powers I do? How does he find time to use them as a reporter? Isn't that a pretty busy job? How can he slip away unnoticed?"
"Aah, Dr. Kent, quite perceptive. Indeed, he does have the same powers that you seem to, and he has developed his Superman alter ego. However, he finds life as a reporter quite advantageous for slipping out to help people in need. Plus, his wife is there to cover for him."
Lois stepped in again, "How do I know I can believe you? Do you have any proof that I am a reporter in your world?"
Wells nodded. He knew that a Lois Lane of any world would not be satisfied by mere word of mouth. Luckily he had brought a recent copy of the 'Daily Planet' of his world with him. He took the copy of the paper out of his inner suit pocket and presented it to Lois.
As she and Clark perused the paper, they both gasped audibly as they read the by-lines and the editorial credits.
Finally, Lois was the first to speak. "My God. It's like everyone we know writes for this paper! Lois, Clark, Perry White, Jimmy Olsen. Jimmy Olsen? But he's Clark's student."
"Indeed, in my world he is Mr. White's — I am not sure what his job is — but he works for Mr. White and takes photographs and occasionally writes stories. Maybe 'student' or even 'apprentice' is the best term for him."
Clark added, "You said that they consulted Dr. Klein about their fertility problems?"
"Yes, he is quite helpful."
Lois said, "Right, Mr. Wells, Bernie is one of the people who helped us with our problem. And he helped to discover the vaccine for Kryptonite that has really helped Clark. He is one of our best friends and most respected colleagues. And Dr. White is our boss — the department chairman."
"Indeed, Dr. Klein has helped Superman." Then Wells stopped for a second. "Did you say a Kryptonite vaccine? Oh, my friends would absolutely need that."
Lois nodded. It was all making sense — everyone who affected her life as she knew it seemed to be involved in some way in her counterpart's life, only in different forms. However, she was still stuck on the fact that her counterpart had chosen a career as a reporter. She was obviously good at her job — she could see that just by reading the first few paragraphs of the front page story in the paper in her hands. However, she just couldn't understand how a Lois Lane in any incarnation could choose a job that was not in medical research.
"I just don't get it. How could she be a reporter?"
Clark answered, hoping to shed light on the situation, "Well, honey, I could probably see myself as an investigative reporter. Think of how many more people I could help. I wouldn't have to listen for news broadcasts or cries for help. I'd be right in the middle of the news every moment of every day."
"What are you talking about, Clark?"
Lois turned towards her husband and looked at him like he was crazy. How could he think something like that? She had always thought that Clark felt exactly the same way she did about their work.
Then she added, "Honey, are you forgetting what we do? Our job is to create devices that improve people's lives. You save just as many lives as a BME as you do as Superman."
"I guess you're right, honey. I mean, I don't really think I would have been a good reporter."
Lois rolled her eyes at her husband. "Of course you would, Clark. You're good at everything you do. Plus, you write better than any engineer I have ever met."
"Not better than you."
"True. Good point. Okay, so maybe the two of us would make an incredible writing team, but I still don't see the draw. Where is the excitement, the thrill of discovery?"
Wells interrupted. "You see, my dear, I believe you are looking at this in the same way as your counterpart. She said exactly the same thing — that she doesn't understand where the excitement is in medical research. I believe that the two of you are more alike than you realize."
Clark squeezed his wife's hand hoping that she realized that Mr. Wells was right. Maybe they all craved the same thing, but found it in different ways. He had chosen to become a physiologist because his father had guided him to become the expert in all physiology so if anyone discovered his true identity they wouldn't be able to 'dissect him like a frog' because he would already be the expert in the field that they would consult. He knew that Lois had chosen her career because it was all she had ever been raised to want to do. Her father was the world-renowned Sam Lane, founder of the Neuromuscular Stimulation Lab at MIT and one of the world's leading pioneers in the treatment of spinal cord injury. Ever since her mother left her family when she was very young, her father had taught her that there was nothing else in life other than engineering. In fact, she had worked with him every summer since she was fourteen years old. Of course she chose this as her profession — although she would have excelled in any profession she had chosen. However, he was more than eternally grateful that Lois had chosen this work. If she hadn't, he would never have met her — and he didn't even want to think about what would have happened to him.
"I guess you're right," Lois begrudgingly admitted.
Then Clark, whose hand had made its way to cover his wife's belly, thought back to the reason for Wells's visit. "You said, Mr. Wells, that the Lois and Clark of your world think that they are infertile?"
Wells was glad that Clark had gotten them back on track. He was so bad at getting off track and often needed to be reminded of his initial reason for visiting.
"We thought so, too," Lois said softly not really wanting to remember that time in her life.
"If they are in anywhere near the dark personal place we were in a couple of years ago…" Clark trailed off.
Lois finished his thought. "I don't wish that on anyone."
Knowing that Lois was thinking the same thing, Clark told Wells, "We want to help them."
Lois covered his hand with her own and said, "Right, Mr. Wells. We'll go to the alternate universe and show them how we solved our fertility problem."
Clark added, "And our Kryptonite vaccine."
Wells felt his heart skip a beat. Had they really been that easy to convince? Obviously they were much more trusting than the Lois and Clark of his universe. He had been ready to pull out his list of all the reasons that they needed to help. If that had failed, he was prepared to bring the other Lois and Clark here and force them together.
He hadn't been prepared for them to volunteer to travel to the alternate universe! Since Lois was pregnant, he had just assumed that he would bring the other Lois and Clark to this universe. Plus, weren't all of their medical supplies here?
"Wouldn't you rather I brought them here?"
Lois looked at Clark and she answered for both of them. "Are you kidding? Do you think we would pass up the opportunity to travel to a different universe?"
Wells nodded. It was a typical Lois Lane response. He shouldn't have expected anything different.
"You don't need any of your medical supplies that are here?"
Clark shook his head. "It is an easy solution. I just need to show their Dr. Klein what we found. He's probably just overlooking it."
"Well then, quite good."
"When do you want us to come with you?" Lois asked. "We really could leave right now if you can return us to the same time we leave from."
Clark nodded. Now was definitely the best time to go. His 1:30 class was being taught by Dr. Murphy today and they were free all weekend. Besides, since Wells was a time traveler he would be able to return them to a time right after they left. All they had to do was gather their research notes.
"Oh, quite good," Wells answered excitedly. "We could leave as soon as we arrange some disguises for you."
"Disguises? Are you kidding?" Lois asked. "Why do we need disguises."
"Indeed, so no one is able to recognize you in my universe. It would not be prudent for people in my Metropolis to see two Lois Lanes and Clark Kents."
"Fine," Lois answered. They sooner they agreed with him the sooner they would be traveling through dimensions.
Clark asked, "Do you want us to go home so we could get some disguises?"
Wells nodded. "Indeed."
As soon as the Drs. Lois and Clark had gathered all the research notes that they needed, the small group quickly made their way out the Dr. Lane and Dr. Kent's office. The professors expertly avoided everyone who looked like they wanted to start a conversation. Obviously they were two very popular people in their department. Students and professors alike all stopped to talk to them along the way. However, no one succeeded in breaking their concentration. They were people on a mission!
Before long, they had made their way to the large parking lot behind the BME building. Wells had a good idea what car probably belonged to his companions. Since the Lois Lane of his world owned a large Jeep Grand Cherokee, he assumed that the Lois Lane of this world would own one too.
He was quite surprised when they stopped next to a sporty convertible. Hmm, that was strange. It certainly wasn't the car that he pictured them owning.
"This is your car?" Wells asked in surprise.
"Yeah, it's mine, actually," Clark said. Why did Wells seem so surprised about that? "What kind of car did you think we'd have?"
Since Wells was only vaguely familiar with the different cars of this time period, he shrugged his shoulders and said, "Indeed, I believe I was mistaken, for the Clark Kent of my universe does not own a car. Lois Lane owns a large Jeep, as I believe it is called."
Lois raised her eyebrows. "A Jeep?" Okay, maybe she and the other Lois had one or two things in common. "I drive a Jeep. It's at home." No, they couldn't have the same car.
"Yeah, we took my car today because it was a nice day and Lois wanted to ride with the top down."
Lois wrinkled her nose at her husband and stuck her tongue out. "I don't think so, honey. I think you were the one who suggested we take your car."
"Okay, fine, let's not fight about it. Even though you were the one who told me you wanted to feel the wind in your hair."
Lois felt her face turning red. She whispered, "That's not what I meant!"
Then Clark changed the subject because he knew not to rile his wife up any further. "Mr. Wells, you said that the Clark of your world doesn't even own a car?"
"Indeed, he does not."
"How does he get around?" Lois asked.
"I suppose he either walks or lets his wife drive him."
Lois rolled her eyes. "That's how Clark used to be until I made him get his own car." She shrugged her shoulders. "Well, that and I thought it would be fun to ride around town in a convertible."
Clark laughed and wrapped his arms around his wife. "She likes the wind in her hair. That's why she likes flying with me so much."
Wells, a little nervous about where this conversation was headed, wanted to change the subject of conversation. He could have feigned innocence about the type of car they were riding in, but he couldn't fake it that well. In the future in his universe, he had studied the evolution of the automobile through the years. In fact, he could probably consider himself an expert in the automotive industry. Even if he didn't know the specifics of the model that they were riding in, he knew enough about how convertibles worked and how cars in general worked for him to try to feign innocence.
Luckily, Wells did not have to pretend that he had questions about their automobile.
Lois changed the subject. "Come on, Clark. Let's just get in the car. We're just wasting time here! The sooner we get home, the sooner we can travel to the alternate universe!"
She was getting really excited about the prospect of not only traveling to another dimension, but also of meeting a woman who seemed so different from her yet so like her at the same time. It was quite a paradox, and she wanted to see it for herself.
Clark shrugged his shoulders and unlocked the doors with his little remote control. Yes, Lois was definitely a no- nonsense kind of person — and that was one of the many, many reasons he loved her so much. She complimented him so well — covered his weaknesses with her strengths. In this case, opposites definitely did attract.
After a short ride, in which Wells barely talked because he was busy taking in the scenery of this Metropolis, they arrived to what he was sure was Lois and Clark's home. During the ride, the streets became more and more familiar to him. He almost didn't believe it, but this Lois Lane and Clark Kent lived on Hyperion Avenue! And his breath almost stopped when they car pulled into a driveway of a quaint brownstone that looked exactly like the house he was so familiar with in his universe!
"Oh my!" Wells exclaimed.
"What?" Lois asked.
She had been watching Wells as they drove through the city. There was something very strange about the way he was acting.
"Indeed, my dear Dr. Lane, this looks exactly like the house that the Lois Lane and Clark Kent of my universe live in. It is even on the same street, and the address is exactly the same — 348 Hyperion Avenue!"
"You're kidding," Clark said in a non-committal tone. He wasn't sure if he had expected the coincidence or if he was surprised about it. After all, he was not the expert on alternate universes.
Before Wells could answer, he caught a glimpse of the Jeep Grand Cherokee that was parked on the other side of the driveway. It was not a silver one like the Lois of his dimension owned, but it looked exactly the same — only gold! However, he decided not to mention this fact to Dr. Lane and Dr. Kent. He had already pointed out enough coincidences for them. It was probably best to leave the element of surprise. It was the same reason that he did not show them the picture of the Lois and Clark of his world that he held in his pocket. A little element of surprise was definitely beneficial to everyone involved. It made life more exciting.
Instead of dwelling on the similarities, Lois and Clark had decided to get out of the Jeep and head towards the house. It wasn't a good idea to talk about traveling to an alternate universe in the middle of their driveway. Their neighbors probably thought they were crazy enough as it was!
"Mr. Wells, why don't we continue this discussion inside?" Lois said.
"Oh, indeed, quite a wonderful idea."
Once they walked through the front door, Wells had to bite his bottom lip to keep from gasping in shock. This house was the house he had visited so many times in the past! How could they be so similar yet so different? Even though he had never studied either of the houses extremely thoroughly, at a first glance they looked exactly the same!
"Mr. Wells?" Clark asked as he waved his hand in front of the older man's face.
"Oh, Dr. Kent, indeed I believe I must have lost my concentration."
Lois furrowed her brow. Why would he have lost his concentration? Unless… "Mr. Wells, please don't tell me that this house is exactly the same as our house in your world!"
Wells shrugged his shoulders showing that he was guilty. However, he didn't want to share too much of the truth with them at this point. "Of course not, Dr. Lane," he answered.
Clark, who had sort of expected that response, decided not to dwell on it. He wanted to get going so that they could soon take their trip to the alternate universe. It was something that he hadn't even realized he wanted to do until just a few hours ago, but now he was desperate to go. After all, he wanted to see if Wells was really telling the truth. Of course he believed that Wells was a time traveler from a different dimension; he even almost chanced to believe that they were reporters there; however, he did not believe that two reporters made enough money to live in the exact same house as they did and own the exact same car as they did. It just wasn't possible! He needed to know for sure. The only way he could believe it was to see proof. And to get that proof, they needed to go to the alternate universe. Then, to get to the alternate world, they had to accept the fact that Mr. Wells believed that they needed disguises.
"Okay, Mr. Wells, what kind of disguises do Lois and I need to travel to this alternate world?"
"Oh, quite right, Dr. Kent. I am afraid that I've nearly forgotten about those disguises!"
"Clark! Why did you remind him?"
"Sorry, honey, I just wanted to get on with this."
"But the disguises? We could have gotten away without wearing disguises!" Lois shot a disgusted glance at her husband.
Wells smiled at the couple when he said, "Dr. Lane, Dr. Kent, I know you do not think these disguises are necessary, but, believe me, they are. If anyone from my dimension were to see a pregnant Lois Lane…"
Lois interrupted, "Fine, fine, let's just get on with them. I'm sure we can find something to disguise ourselves." She was resigned to do it as much as she didn't want to. The last thing she wanted to do was make her counterpart's life harder.
After about thirty minutes rummaging through different closets in the house, Lois and Clark finally had disguises that Wells believed would fool people in his universe.
"Oh, come on, Mr. Wells, are you sure these, uh, disguises will really keep people from recognizing us?" Lois asked. She wasn't so sure herself. In her opinion, she looked really stupid, but still like herself.
"Won't they attract attention rather than deter it?" Clark added.
"Or maybe people in the other universe are just really stupid!" Lois said.
Wells shook his head quickly. "No, I do not believe you will attract any more attention than I will. I assure you, you do not look a bit like the Lois Lane and Clark Kent of my universe."
Lois rolled her eyes. That didn't change the fact that they looked really stupid! "Do we have to wear them before we get to your time machine?"
She didn't want anyone she knew possibly seeing her like this. In fact, the knowledge that they had these things in their house sort of made her cringe. How could they own these things? Even worse, how did Mr. Wells find them?
"We could, well, indeed we could fly to the time machine. I think it is quite important for you to wear your disguises."
"Oh fine! Where did you park your machine?" Lois asked.
"In the same place as before — next to the 'Daily Planet' building."
"Fine! We'll wear them, but I am not saying we'll like them."
Throughout this discussion, Clark Kent hadn't said a word and had let his wife argue for him. After all, he certainly wasn't stupid! He certainly wasn't going to argue with Lois! Of course, he was probably very excited for their inter-dimensional trip and just wanted to get there in any way he could.
"Do you have your notes for the fertility treatment and for the Kryptonite vaccine?" Wells asked, wanting to make sure that they were completely prepared before they left.
Lois nodded quickly and said, "We're ready. Come on, let's just go."
In a few seconds time, the small group had landed next to Wells's time machine. He proceeded to put Dr. Lane and Dr. Kent into the places in the machine that would best hold their weight and then he climbed in. They were relatively silent during this time and Wells hoped that they were not having second thoughts.
However, when he turned around to look at his passengers, all he saw on their faces were looks of excitement and anticipation.
"Dr. Lane, Dr. Kent, are you ready?"
"As ready as we'll ever be."
"Let's go!" Lois exclaimed as the machine began to dematerialize.
Throughout the trip through the swirling lights and fuzzy sights Lois hung onto Clark for dear life. Although she felt like she was going to be sick, she couldn't close her eyes for a second because she didn't want to miss one second of this incredible trip. If she had doubted Wells before, now she knew that he was definitely legitimate.
Before they really realized what had happened, the world began to come into the clear again. Then, when all of the haze had disappeared, Lois and Clark looked around at the surroundings and were absolutely shocked. Wells definitely hadn't been lying to them! This alleyway looked exactly like one that was no more than a block from their house — yet it felt different. The world looked darker, dirtier. It looked so similar to their world, but there were obvious differences.
"Wow, that was amazing," Clark breathed.
"Are we really in another universe?" Lois asked. "We have to be, right? It looks so familiar, but foreign at the same time."
"Dr. Lane, Dr. Kent, welcome to my universe," Wells said with a great, proud grin. "Indeed, it does look quite similar to your own world. I was quite surprised when I landed there initially that it was not this world."
Clark nodded slowly. He could see how Wells could make that assumption; however, he could also see the many differences that Lois did. Whatever the case was, he did not feel comfortable sitting in this time machine like a sitting duck. He wanted to meet their counterparts in this universe — these reporters!
"Come on, let's get going," Clark said.
He was beginning to feel really impatient. Actually, he was surprised that he was the impatient one. Normally, the roles would have been reversed and Lois would have been the one who was anxious.
Wells nodded. "Indeed, Dr. Kent. I need to secure my machine and then we can go."
While Wells proceeded with his traditional ritual of securing his machine, Lois and Clark ventured to the end of the alleyway. However, Clark did pick up Wells's conversation with his time machine.
"Lois," he whispered, "Mr. Wells is talking to his time machine!"
"You're kidding! What is he saying?"
"Um, he is sort of yelling at it for getting us here two hours later than he wanted us here."
"Oh my! He really is a crackpot!"
Just as Lois uttered the word 'crackpot', she heard Wells behind her and stopped talking. Even though Clark was probably the only person who could have heard her, she didn't want to talk about someone when they were right next to her.
"Indeed, Dr. Lane, Dr. Kent, are you ready?"
"Indeed," Lois answered, mocking him before she even knew what she was doing.
Wells, as always, didn't seem to notice anyone mocking him, though. He merely said, "Quite good! Let us go!"
As they walked down the street, Lois and Clark were amazed at just how familiar this street looked. Wells had not been pulling their chains! This neighborhood did look just like theirs. However, if this neighborhood was anything like theirs, they both knew that many people were staring at them because of their odd disguises. Even though Wells seemed to believe that these disguises were working, they were definitely not so sure. They both felt like they stood out even more than they would have as themselves. The only reason that they had agreed to these disguises in the first place was because they had absolutely no a priori knowledge of what this universe would be like. Now that they saw that it seemed pretty similar to their universe, they knew that Mr. Wells had been wrong.
When they got to the house — 348 Hyperion — it looked exactly like their own home in their universe. The only difference they could see so far was that there was a silver Jeep Grand Cherokee parked on the street in front of their house rather than a gold Jeep and a red convertible parked in the driveway. It was weird — in this universe they didn't even have a driveway.
Wells was the first to make his way up to the door. He proceeded to knock loudly, and then they waited for their counterparts to open the door.
As they waited, Lois was possessed by a strange curiosity. She was sure that Clark was thinking the same thing.
"Clark, do you see anything?"
Clark knew exactly what Lois was implying the second the words came out of her mouth. Even though he had been thinking about it himself, he had come to the conclusion that it just wasn't right.
"Lo-is, I am not going to look into someone's home!"
"But, Clark, it looks just like our house. Come on, I just want to know if it is really the same."
"Come on, honey, we're going to be inside in a few seconds. I am not going to invade their privacy."
Then the door creaked open, not giving them a chance to finish their conversation.
A few minutes after Wells had left to take their future son back to their future selves, Lois and Clark slowly and silently traversed the short road back to their brownstone. They both had many thoughts filling their minds, but their walk home was very quiet and almost serene and peaceful. Neither was really sure if they wanted to talk about their problems where anyone could hear. Talking about Superman's fertility problems on a public street probably wasn't the best thing to do. Instead, they walked in a comfortable silence until they reached their door.
As Clark got his keys out to unlock the door, his thoughts finally overcame him and he had to speak. Strange, that was really uncharacteristic for him. Usually, Lois was the one who initiated these types of conversations.
"It's all so unbelievable," he said, referring to the whole situation.
Lois smiled at Clark and shrugged her shoulders. She wasn't really sure what else to say, and she wasn't even sure if Clark wanted an answer. That seemed as good an answer as any. She was just as overwhelmed as he was. There really wasn't anything else she could say to answer either of their questions. After all, it was a confusing situation that had to be trusted on mere faith. She wasn't one to often subscribe to that philosophy.
As they walked through the door, Clark said, "Cute, honey, but I'm serious. It's just really hard to believe. I mean, another alternate dimension, our being professors…"
Lois finished, "Men who can fly?"
Clark shrugged his shoulders, and then he found himself sinking down onto the couch, overwhelmed about everything that had happened. He had seen the baby, his baby from the future, with his own eyes. The baby was definitely his. He was sure of it. Why was he having so many doubts? Where had all of his optimism gone? It was probably due to the fact that it seemed like he was grasping for straws — like he was dreaming the impossible dream.
Lois sat down on the couch next to Clark and wrapped her arm around his back. She knew he was having trouble accepting what had happened. Actually, Lois realized that ever since he had found out that he couldn't have children, he had been depressed. She hadn't really tried to help him with it, though, because she had been too depressed to notice herself.
However, once she realized that Wells was holding her future child, it was like all of her depression had just magically gone away. Lois had thought that seeing their future child had done the same thing for Clark. She wished that it had brought him out of his depression, but maybe she had been wrong. Why was he doing this to himself? Mr. Wells had shown them that they were eventually able to have a baby. If she could accept it, why couldn't he?
She knew that he probably needed more reassurance than she did. After all, he was probably blaming himself for all of their problems in the first place. However, Lois knew that it wasn't healthy for him. Plus, she knew that she had to make him realize that she did not blame him for anything at all. This was their problem — not just his. Plus, it was all going to turn out well in the end. She was sure of it.
"Clark, it's going to be okay, you know."
The corners of Clark's lips turned up into a slight smile. He knew in his heart that everything was going to be okay, but his mind had a slower time constant than his heart. It took his mind much longer to accept the fact that his heart had always known.
"I know," he answered softly.
"I know you know. I'm just making sure you know."
"I know," Clark repeated, but this time his voice had more feeling.
He locked eyes with Lois and reached up to cup her face in his hands.
Lois realized that he really did understand that everything was going to be okay, but he just needed some time to adjust to the situation. After all, everything that had happened in the last few days had come as major shocks to his system.
Clark found himself leaning in to give his wife a long, meaningful kiss. It was the first real kiss they had shared since Wells had shown them their future son. This kiss was absolutely amazing because both of their spirits were significantly lightened. For a few moments, nothing else mattered.
"I love you, Lois," Clark whispered when the kiss broke.
"I love you, too."
After spending a few minutes in silent reflection, Lois was struck with an annoying thought that had been plaguing her ever since Wells had told them about the new alternate universe.
She knew that she was spoiling the peaceful mood that she and Clark had created, but she just had to talk about it. After all, it wasn't really like them to have many long, peaceful moments without some controversy.
"So, Clark, do you really think Mr. Wells was right?"
Clark wasn't sure exactly what Lois was referring to. After all, Wells had told them more than one shocking thing today. She could doubt the validity of any number of those things. However, he had a pretty good idea what she was talking about.
"About the alternate universe. I don't know why, but I am still having a hard time believing it." She corrected herself, "Not that there is another alternate universe. I can believe anything now that I've actually been to the first alternate universe."
Clark finished her thought, "You can't believe they aren't reporters."
He could have predicted exactly what she was going to say in this situation because he knew her so well. It was strange, but sometimes it seemed like he knew what she was thinking even before she thought it herself. However, then there were the other times; those were the times when he had absolutely no idea how her mind worked. The times when he knew what she was thinking were few and far between, but he wouldn't trade them for anything.
Lois shrugged. "Yeah. I mean, I know it is beneficial to us that they work in medicine, but I don't see why I, even if it isn't really me, would choose a career that isn't journalism."
"I'm not sure, Lois. All I know is that I'm more than grateful that they do work in the medical field."
Lois wasn't convinced. As much as she tried to picture herself working in a lab and teaching classes all day, she just couldn't do it. That just seemed so boring, so stifling. It wasn't anything she could identify with.
"I mean, of course, I'm sure I'll be eternally grateful to our alternate selves. After all, I know they are going to give us the greatest gift possible, but I still don't get it. I don't see why Lois Lane, in any form, would choose to be anything other than a reporter. It's such a part of what I am, how I define myself."
Clark shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know. Maybe the other Lois defines herself by being an engineer. I think anything is possible. Besides, this Lois and Clark from the other universe are not us. It's like the Clark from the other alternate universe. Even though he and I share the same name and look alike, we've had so many different life experiences."
Lois finished his thought, "And those different life experiences are the cause of your personality differences?"
"Well, exactly. I mean, who's to say that the Lois and Clark of the other dimension are exactly like us. I mean, what right do we have to think they would be our exact doubles?"
"You're right, Clark; of course you're right. I mean, what right do we have to assume that our life choices are the right choices to make? That's downright egocentric."
"And what right do we have to judge them before we've even met them. Mr. Wells said that the other Clark became a physiologist so he would be able to be a specialist in both human and Kryptonian physiology. Since he's the expert, maybe he thought it would stop the authorities from 'dissecting him like a frog' if they ever found out he was an alien. He would have beaten them to the punch by already being the one to dissect himself."
Lois nodded slowly now seeing why Clark might have made the choices he did. However, the thought that Clark understood his rationale troubled her. What would have happened to her life if her Clark had chosen the same path in life as the alternate Clark? It was rather disconcerting that Clark actually understood the rationale. Actually, it seemed like he might have even considered doing something like that at some point in his life.
"But why didn't you make the same choices in your life?"
Clark shrugged his shoulders. "I'm not sure. I guess it was my parents. Sure, my dad had me paranoid that the authorities would want to harm me if they ever got their hands on me, but I was never so paranoid that I wanted to change my life. When I was in college, I liked almost all of the subjects that I took. I don't know why I chose journalism. I guess I always told myself that it was because I loved to write."
"Well, don't you?"
Lois smiled at her husband. Of all the writers she knew, herself included, Clark was the one with the greatest gift for writing that she had ever seen. Whenever she read anything he wrote she could feel the emotion in every word. He had an incredible feel for the human spirit in every story he wrote.
"Of course I do, but I think it's something more. I think, however subconsciously, that I chose journalism because it provided me with an outlet to help people. Being so close to the news, I have a first hand account of all of the world's problems. And even before I became Superman, I always wanted to find a way to fix them."
Lois reached out to squeeze her husband's arm. He was nothing if not the eternal Boy Scout, and that was one of the many reasons she loved him.
"If you and the alternate Clark are supposed to have similar personalities, I really don't see why he didn't take a job somewhere he could help more people."
He turned around to smile at her. "I think he can help just as many people as I can — if not more. I remember Mr. Wells saying that he saw Superman in the alternate world, so that Clark must have developed Superman as well. And I think that his work as a medical researcher has the potential to help so many more people than my work. The things he discovers can potentially help thousands, if not millions, of people."
"Don't sell yourself short, honey. You help as many people as you can — no one expects anything more."
Lois thought she might have an insight into why Clark had chosen journalism rather than any other career. It seemed like she and Clark were destined to be together. After all, as Mr. Wells had proven, she and Clark were soulmates. She would bet that the reason Clark had chosen to become a reporter in this universe was because she had chosen that career. The Clark of the alternate dimension had probably chosen to go into physiology because she had chosen to go into the same field — or vice versa. She might have chosen to become a reporter because the universe knew that Clark was going to become a reporter. Maybe it was some sort of cosmic force pulling them together. They were two souls, destined to meet and fall in love time and time again in any universe.
Then Lois changed the subject. She felt like they had established why the Clark from the alternate universe had gone into medical research, but they hadn't established Lois's motivation.
"I don't know, Clark. Maybe the alternate Clark has his reasons — and I am sure they are more than legitimate. But I just don't understand Lois's rationale for going into the medical field. Maybe I just don't see how I could be anything other than a reporter. I liked science enough in high school, but the only thing I really felt a flair for was writing."
Clark shrugged his shoulders. He had to admit, he couldn't see his wife as anything other than a reporter either. However, he did think that he knew the reason that she had chosen her particular field. Again, it seemed to be a different parental influence.
"I don't know, Lois. Didn't Mr. Wells say that the Lois of the alternate world worked closely with her father?"
Lois made an angry face. She didn't want to think of working with her father. It gave her a bitter taste in her mouth and made the image of herself as a medical researcher even grimmer.
"Oh my God, I probably became a biomedical engineer because of my father!" she spat. Then after a second more consideration, she added, "Maybe we have a better relationship in that universe. Maybe he didn't ruin my childhood and shatter my entire family."
Clark added, "Maybe he pushed you in the right direction and you listened to him."
"Huh? The right direction? What do you mean by that?"
"Nothing, no, honey, I wasn't implying anything. Believe me."
"Come on, Clark, just tell me what you're thinking."
Clark was about to amend his statement, but then he heard a television broadcast from next door.
Lois noticed that he was fidgeting in his seat, and she realized that he had heard someone who needed Superman's help. She could tell that he didn't want to leave in the middle of their discussion, but she could also see that it was something important and he needed to go.
"What is it?" she asked quickly, hoping he would get the idea that it was okay with her if he left and that she didn't care that he was leaving in the middle of a heated discussion.
"Train derailment a few miles outside the city."
It looked like he was still hesitating, so Lois exclaimed, "Go!"
"Okay, I'm going. Sheesh."
Clark quickly spun into his Superman suit, and before Lois realized it, he was gone. Then Lois decided to do some research of her own, and she went over to the computer and began surfing the internet.
Less than an hour later, Clark had cleaned up the entire mess caused by the train derailment. Actually, the situation had really been under control by the time he got there. Luckily, the train that had derailed hadn't been a passenger train and only the crew was on board. They had all escaped without injury. Very luckily, the train hadn't been carrying any hazardous materials, so the clean up had been very easy.
He quickly flew in through the open window in their bedroom and spun back into the jeans and t-shirt he had been wearing before he left. Then he quickly made his way down the steps looking for Lois.
From the steps, he could see her immediately. Lois seemed to be working very hard on something. She didn't seem to hear him, so he decided to surprise her. He was feeling very energized and in a much better mood than he had been for what seemed like an eternity.
He silently floated behind her and wrapped his arms around her neck and placed a kiss on the top of her head.
"Aaah!" she screamed.
It didn't take her long to realize who had grabbed her from behind. Clark seemed very sorry for scaring her, but she knew that he hadn't meant to try to give her a heart attack. She loved the fact that her husband tried to tease her and do romantic things to her, but she wanted to tease him a little. Then she covered her heart with one of her hands. "You scared me!"
"I'm sorry, honey," he said apologetically. Usually when he did things like that, she was more than a step ahead of him. "What are you doing?"
"Oh, uh, I've been on the computer."
"Doing some background research on reproductive physiology. You know, I thought it would be helpful for us to have some knowledge on the subject."
Clark nodded in agreement. It was amazing to him how Lois's first reaction to any situation always seemed to be to go into 'reporter mode'. He looked at the things that she had printed out and some of her handwritten pages. She had already made an outline of the subjects they needed to find more information about, notes on the reproductive system, and notes on biomedical engineering. She was absolutely amazing.
"Wow," was all Clark could say in response.
He scanned all of Lois's material at Super speed and tried to digest all of the information he had read.
Meanwhile, Lois began to try to elaborate on what she had found, "Okay, I am really not sure if any of this is going to help us or not. I hate not being able to do anything, but I know that we really can't do anything proactive until Mr. Wells makes his next move. After all, even though I am not sure if I understand any of what I'm finding, it's always better to be prepared, right?"
"Yeah, I know what you mean. It's really agonizing, isn't it?" Clark was usually a very patient man, but this wait was tying his stomach in knots.
Lois nodded. "It's the worst type of waiting." She, unlike Clark, definitely did not consider herself a patient person at all.
Clark smiled back at her and put his hand on her back reassuringly. "Hopefully, it will all be over soon and we will have some good news for a change."
Lois grinned at him and nodded. "Exactly." Then she changed the subject slightly. "Clark, I'm not sure if I'm ready to have a baby right now, but I know I definitely want one eventually. I guess finding out that I couldn't have one made me realize how much I really want one."
"I know," Clark said softly.
"And now that we found out that we will eventually have one, I know that the only thing I want to do is find out how we can."
Clark nodded; he felt the same way. Yes, he and Lois had different opinions about children initially. He had always loved children and had always wanted at least one, but he had realized from the beginning that she might not want children. When he had found out that she did want children, he had been overjoyed.
"I know, me too."
Lois nodded at him. She knew how much he wanted kids, and for what seemed like the first time in her life, she wanted them too. Even though she was scared of the changes that a baby would cause to her life, she knew that having a baby would be worth all the sacrifices.
Then Lois groaned in frustration. "We've only been waiting for Mr. Wells for an hour and a half. Why does it seem longer than that? Time is absolutely dragging!"
Clark shrugged his shoulders. This waiting was so painful. It seemed much longer than the hour and a half it had been. "I don't know. We have no idea when he'll be back, so I think we are wasting our energy waiting for him."
"But how do you suggest we burn off some of our excess nervous energy?"
"Well, I could take a couple of laps around the world," Clark joked.
Lois rolled her eyes at him.
"Or we could, you know, go upstairs and practice conceiving a baby."
"Now that's an idea I can get on board with. Race you upstairs! No Superpowers!"
This time, Clark didn't want to race his wife upstairs. This game was fun, but sometimes it was just easier to use Superpowers. This was definitely one of those times. Clark grabbed Lois by the waist and flew up the stairs.
"Hey, you cheated!" Lois exclaimed, but the next thing out of her mouth was a loud giggle. She definitely wasn't as mad as she had pretended to be.
After finding a way to waste a little more than an hour doing things much more satisfying than waiting for Mr. Wells to return, Lois and Clark lay on their bed, basking in the amazing afterglow of what had just happened.
Lois broke the mood, though, when she asked, "Do you think we'll get to visit the other universe?"
Clark's sense of adventure kicked in when he said, "I'd certainly love to. After all, you've been to the other alternate universe and I haven't."
"Yeah, but I was kidnapped by Tempus!"
"Don't say it isn't fair, Clark. I did not take a vacation to the alternate universe. It certainly wasn't a picnic being thrown into the jaws of death."
"That isn't a vacation for you?" Clark asked in a joking tone.
Lois joked back, "Only if I know you're around to rescue me."
Clark rolled his eyes and said, "I knew it!"
Lois shook her head and laughed. Then she tried to get the conversation back to the subject at hand, "Didn't Mr. Wells say that the Lois of the other universe was pregnant?"
Clark understood her meaning and said, "Yeah, I bet they won't want to travel if she is in that condition."
"Oh, correction, you mean that you wouldn't want me to travel if I were in that condition."
Clark sighed, but hoped Lois hadn't heard him. He should have known that she would have interpreted his statement that way. Well, of course they both knew that he wouldn't want her to travel to alternate universes if she were pregnant. He had just hoped that she wouldn't want to put herself and their baby in danger.
The corners of Lois's lips turned up into a smile and she continued, "Oh, Clark, come on, you know I wouldn't travel to an alternate universe if I were pregnant. I wouldn't even go to Suicide Slum. You're not the only one who wouldn't want me to put our baby in danger."
Clark kissed the top of her head softly, then he said, "I see, so that's why you want to wait, isn't it? You want to make sure you have that ever elusive Pulitzer before you have a baby and can't dangle above the jaws of death for a long period of time."
Lois shrugged her shoulders and said, "Is there anything wrong with that?"
"Of course not."
Then Lois added, "So maybe we should get ready for a trip to the alternate universe!"
Just when Lois said that, the doorbell rang. Maybe their trip to the alternate universe was coming sooner than either of them had anticipated.
"Who is it so late at night?" Lois asked after she looked at the clock. It was well after 10 p.m. She had a very good idea just who it was, though.
They both pulled on their robes and headed downstairs.
Clark lowered his glasses and looked through the door. "Honey, I don't think we're going to get that trip to the alternate universe," he said with a dejected tone to his voice.
"Why not?" Lois asked. And then it dawned on her. "Are you serious? They're at our door? You mean that they are out there with Mr. Wells right now?"
"Exactly," Clark said as he reached out to open the door. He shook his head quickly. "But you won't believe what they look like."
Lois bit her bottom lip nervously. She wasn't sure what was going to happen. Of course she already knew that everything was going to work out in the end, but she had no idea what they were going to have to go through to get there. She was also a little afraid of meeting her alternate self. Meeting the alternate Clark from the other universe had not been too bad, but she knew that her Clark had been very uncomfortable around him. Would it be the same for her and this alternate Lois?
"What do they look like? Are they as nerdy as we, uh, I, knew they would be?"
"Well, I think Mr. Wells probably dressed them because they're wearing…"
Then Clark's Superhearing kicked in and he caught a bit of the conversation that was going on outside. He had to fight back an all-consuming laugh when he realized what they were talking about. Wow, they were certainly having a very familiar conversation!
"What is it?" Lois asked when she saw the familiar look on her husband's face.
She knew that he had heard something. Hopefully it wasn't some kind of disaster. How was she supposed to deal with Mr. Wells and a version of herself and Clark from the other universe? But the promising thing was that he looked amused. He definitely would not look amused if something horrible had happened.
He fought a laugh back and stopped opening the door for a second. "Honey, you should hear what they are saying out there!"
"What? What are they saying? You mean them, right?" She motioned at the door.
Sometimes she really wished she shared Clark's powers. There were many times that she would have given anything to hear what Clark heard.
Clark grinned as he nodded and said, "They sound just like us!"
"Really?" Lois was skeptical.
How could two engineers sound anything like they did? She and Clark had to be more eloquent than them by definition. They were paid for their eloquence.
"Definitely." Clark nodded with a sly grin. He decided that he definitely needed to narrate this for his wife so she would get the full effect of what he was hearing. "Okay, Lois just said 'Clark, do you see anything?' And then he said, 'Lo-is, I am not going to look into someone's home!' Then she said, 'But, Clark, it looks just like our house. Come on, I just want to know if it is really the same.' And now he just said, 'Come on, honey, we're going to be inside in a few seconds. I am not going to invade their privacy.'"
When Clark spoke, he mimicked the alternate Lois and Clark's gestures and vocal inflections perfectly. Then he added, "And you said they'd be nothing like us."
Lois rolled her eyes at her husband. "Come on, we don't sound like that."
Clark raised his eyebrows. "Are you sure, honey?"
"Yeah, I'm positive. We don't act like that. We are much more, I don't know, sophisticated."
"Are you kidding?"
"Okay, fine, Clark, by sophisticated I just might mean that we don't debate about the issues. You would have looked into the house already."
Clark shook his head in disbelief. What was she talking about? He knew that he wouldn't look into someone's house if he couldn't see a purpose. However, he knew that Lois would probably con him into doing it. Their conversation would have gone exactly the same way. In fact, he remembered that they had just acted out that exact same conversation less than a week ago when they were waiting for a source to open his door.
"Are you really sure about that, Lois?"
Lois patted Clark on the arm telling him without words that the subject was closed. Then she said, "Come on, Clark, just open the door already. We don't want anyone to see ourselves knocking at our own door."
"Lois, I don't think you have to worry about that," Clark said quickly.
Then, before Lois could say anything else, Clark had opened the door and the strange party outside was revealed. Strange was not even an adequate word to describe them. They were an interesting, not interesting — scary, group, indeed. In fact, it almost looked like they were headed to a Halloween party — a strange Halloween party!
First, there was Wells, who was always an oddity in this time period — and quite possibly in his own, too. He always drew stares from passersby wherever he went. Poor Mr. Wells always stuck out in any crowd like a sore thumb. Plus, he often seemed completely oblivious to the entire thing! He never had any idea that anyone was looking at him strangely. In fact, he seemed to think that he fit in wherever he went. Actually, it was usually quite the opposite. He probably thought that the Lois and Clark he was with looked completely normal.
Then there was the couple he was with. And they were interesting to say the least. They obviously were Lois Lane and Clark Kent. There was just one major difference — they were wearing very cheesy disguises. In fact, it was fairly evident that Mr. Wells had probably come up with them.
The alternate Lois was wearing a long, carrot-red wig and a pair of large sunglasses with green rims, even though it was obviously dark outside and the sunglasses were quite gaudy. She was obviously pregnant and wearing a pair of jeans and a long University of Kansas t-shirt. The oddest thing about her, though, was that she was wearing a mask. It was a mask that covered her whole face — a large, hairy, gorilla mask complete with large fangs and angry eyes that were obscured by the large sun glasses.
If it was at all possible, the alternate Clark looked even worse. Okay, maybe not worse per say. It was probably a tie. They both looked horrible. Lois looked scarier, but Clark looked funnier. He was wearing a large, red foam cowboy hat which was pulled down to obscure his eyes. His outfit consisted of a pair of denim shorts and an inside out sweatshirt. However, the piece-de-resistance was a large, bushy, and obviously fake moustache. He almost looked like some sort of cowboy porn star from the late 1970's.
Without waiting for an invitation, Mr. Wells walked through the door and ushered the other couple in behind him.
Lois and Clark's jaws dropped as they got the full view of their alternate selves for the first time. They both hoped that their alternate selves did not dress like this normally — and especially that the alternate Lois did not normally wear an ape mask! Hopefully it was all Mr. Wells's idea for disguises so they wouldn't be recognized, and not how people dressed in their world. Wells was the only person who either of them thought could possibly come up with a hare-brained idea like this — if it was a hare- brained idea. If it wasn't Wells's idea for a disguise, Lois and Clark both weren't sure what they would do, and how they would be able to keep straight faces when they looked at their alternate selves.
Before either of the couples talked to each other, the alternate Lois turned to Mr. Wells and said, "Okay, can we please take these ridiculous disguises off?"
When those words left the alternate Lois's mouth, the Lois and Clark of this dimension both let out sighs of relief.
The alternate Clark added, "We really look stupid."
"This damned mask is itching! Why did I have to wear the mask? Why couldn't Clark wear it? He doesn't have sensitive skin. Why did either of us have to dress like an ape?"
"Certainly, you may take them off. I'm afraid I do not quite see what is ridiculous about them, though, and you do not look stupid. It prevented anyone from stopping us, am I correct?"
Didn't he realize how incredibly stupid, and not to mention out of place, his two companions looked in this universe? Did he really think that people normally walked around in foam cowboy hats and gorilla masks on any day other than Halloween? The poor man was severely misguided.
The alternate Clark raised his eyebrows as he pulled his ridiculous moustache off. "I'm not even going to try," he muttered disgustedly.
The Clark from this universe was the only person in the room that heard his counterpart's remark and had to stifle a laugh.
Both the alternate Lois and the alternate Clark continued to remove their 'ridiculous disguises' with the alternate Lois taking off her wig and glasses and then ripping her mask off her face and throwing it down disgustedly. Then she ran her hands through her hair and tried to straighten it out after it had been cooped up under the mask and the wig for so long.
The alternate Clark removed his cowboy hat and looked at it with disgust. Why had they agreed to wear these stupid disguises? Were they really that stupid as to believe Wells?
They could be sure that they certainly wouldn't be wearing any sort of disguise on their return trip. In fact, the alternate Clark was planning to burn both his awful cowboy hat and Lois's mask with his heat vision when Wells wasn't looking. When they had taken Wells's word, they hadn't known anything about the alternate universe. However, now that they had seen the alternate universe, they were sure that they could come up with better disguises than what Wells had made them wear. Actually, they were sure that they could get away with forgoing the disguises for their return trip because he could fly them back to the time machine. Why hadn't they thought of that before?
Then the real Dr. Lane and Dr. Kent stood before their alternate selves — as almost exact duplicates. The only obvious differences were between the Loises. The two Clarks definitely looked almost exactly like mirror images of each other. However, Dr. Lois had long hair and was pregnant while the other Lois had short hair and was definitely not pregnant.
The two couples did not speak after the alternate Kents removed their disguises. They were too enthralled at how identical they looked. It was strange. Clark looked so much more like this alternate Clark than like the Clark from the second dimension. The resemblance was almost uncanny. The Lois and Clark from the first dimension both found themselves staring at the other Lois's obviously pregnant belly. Wells had not been lying. They had obviously discovered some sort of way around the fertility issues between a Kryptonian and a human — and they were going to share their secret. It almost seemed too good to be true. It was as if it was the ultimate realization that Wells had been telling the truth all along — that their prayers were about to be answered. This was the final realization that fostered their new hope.
Wells was the first to address the Kents of this universe. "Aah, Miss Lane, Mr. Kent, quite good. I knew you would still be awake. That is why I chose to disturb you at this time precisely."
The alternate Lois interrupted, "No you didn't, Mr. Wells. You wanted to get here two hours ago, but your machine had some sort of glitch."
Wells laughed good-naturedly. "Indeed, Dr. Lane. Quite perceptive. I'm afraid it was my fault. I was so excited to be coming back here; I accidentally set the machine two hours later. Indeed, I did not realize it until we were here already."
"It's okay, Mr. Wells," Clark said quickly. Actually, the two hour delay had given them time to think — and time to relax. "Lois and I are just glad that you're here now."
Lois chimed in, "Exactly."
Even though they were all there in the same room and talking to Mr. Wells, the two couples still were not talking to each other. It was weird — sort of like they were afraid of talking to people who were their exact duplicates.
The tension in the room was mounting. Someone needed to say something — anything — to start a conversation. Obviously Wells's efforts were not working. If anything, he seemed to be making the situation more awkward. His eyes were darting between the two couples, and he was making everyone involved very nervous.
This dimension's Lois, as was usually the case, decided that she needed to do something about it. Since she seemed to be the dimensional travel expert, she took it upon herself to try to break the ice. She looked at her alternate self and extended her hand.
"Um, hi, this is sort of awkward. I'm Lois Lane. And, uh, I guess you're Lois Lane, too."
The alternate Lois took the extended hand and shook it. "Um, yeah, I guess you're right."
"You know, this is going to get really confusing," Clark said quickly, interrupting the women's greeting. "What should we call each other? We can't both be Lois and Clark. That definitely can't be a good idea."
The alternate Clark spoke for the first time. "Well, why don't you call us Dr. Lois and Dr. Clark?" Then he quickly added, "We don't want to lord our advanced degrees over you, but it is a good way to distinguish us."
Clark shook his head quickly, and tried to tell them that he understood. "I think that's a great idea. We didn't think you were trying to make us feel bad at all."
"Absolutely," Lois added. "So we'll be Lois and Clark and you guys will be Dr. Lois and Dr. Clark."
Dr. Lois smiled at the woman who looked exactly like her. Even though she had thought that they would have nothing in common, she was starting to think that they might be more alike than she had originally anticipated.
Lois's eyes had been fixed on Dr. Lois's pregnant belly since the first time she laid eyes on it. Her mind filled with many questions ranging from the how they overcame the fertility problems to how it felt to be pregnant.
Clark was still shocked that Dr. Lois and Dr. Clark had shown up at their doorstep. He had been planning to travel to the alternate universe. In fact, he was almost disappointed that he didn't get to travel through dimensions. He was the only one in this room who could not say that he had visited an alternate universe! However, he couldn't be mad about that fact, though, because Dr. Lois and Dr. Clark were the two people who were about to change his life for the better by giving them the greatest gift possible. Travel to different universes was far less important to him than the ability to conceive his own child.
Lois was plagued by so many questions that her mind overflowed. The first question that came out of her mouth was, "You guys traveled through dimensions even though Dr. Lois is pregnant?"
Okay, that might not have been the right question to ask. Lois realized that even before the last word left her mouth. If Dr. Lois was anything like her, she would immediately take offense at that question.
Dr. Lois felt her face heating up. This stupid reporter had definitely pushed her buttons. "Yeah, what's wrong with that?" Dr. Lois asked — obviously taking offence at Lois's statement. She looked like she was on the warpath. "What should my being pregnant have to do with dimensional travel?" she challenged.
Clark shook his head. He was surprised that Lois had asked that question. Maybe she was suffering from the same sour grapes that he was about not being able to travel to the new alternate universe. However, Clark knew that he had to try to smooth the situation, but he had a feeling that it wasn't going to work. After all, he knew Lois Lane — and Dr. Lois had not seemed much different than his wife in the five minutes that he had known her.
He tried anyway, though. "I think Lois was just wondering if the trip was safe for your baby."
Dr. Clark stepped in, his feathers having been a bit ruffled, too. "Are you saying that we don't know what is safe for our baby? We both do work in medicine."
"No, no, not at all," Lois jumped in. "I think Clark and I were both expressing our surprise to see you here. We were planning that Mr. Wells would take us to your universe."
Dr. Lois crinkled her nose and shook her head. "Do you think we would want to miss the chance to see another universe? I don't think so!"
Clark nodded quickly. Obviously, no one would want to miss the opportunity to travel to an alternate universe — especially if they hadn't even realized that it existed before now. "I know; that is the main reason that Lois and I wanted to go to your universe so badly."
Lois added, "Clark's jealous that I have gone to the other alternate universe and he hasn't."
"I am not!" he exclaimed. "Okay, I am. But right now, Lois and I are just grateful that you are here for us. Whether we came to you or you came to us doesn't even really seem like an issue to us."
Wells interjected, "Indeed, Mr. Kent. Quite good. Now that you all know each other, I believe I am just in the way. I will be back shortly to see your progress and to take Dr. Lane and Dr. Kent back to their universe."
Before any of the inhabitants of the small room could say a word edgewise, Wells had disappeared out the door. For a little, old man with no Superpowers, he certainly had the power to disappear quickly. As usual, he left without any warning as to when he would be back or where he was going. He was just going to leave them here — alone!
"Is he really leaving us like this?" Dr. Clark asked as he stared at the door that Wells had just left through.
It was a little hard for him to believe — and he felt a bit abandoned. Had Wells really just stranded them there? How were they supposed to get home? What the heck was this Wells guy thinking leaving them alone with these people? Regardless of the fact that Lois and Clark seemed to be nice people — sort of like themselves — it didn't make him feel the slightest bit secure in this strange, foreign universe. If he had been here alone, he probably wouldn't feel so anxious. Since Lois and their unborn child were with him, however, it drastically changed his perspective.
Clark chuckled and then he said, "You really don't know him that well, do you?"
Then he shrugged his shoulders. It seemed completely normal to him that Wells would do something like this.
Clark knew what Dr. Clark must be thinking. He was obviously skeptical of Wells's motives. Obviously, Clark wasn't even usually sure of what was going through that old man's mind. However, he usually did have a method to his madness. And he was definitely right that he tended to get in the way. In the grand scheme of things, it was probably better that Mr. Wells had left.
Lois shook her head. "I think it's good that he left us alone. It got him out of our hair. Now we can get down to business."
Now that Dr. Lois and Dr. Clark were here, Lois wanted to get straight to the business of the fertility treatment. It was a little disconcerting sitting in her living room talking to two people who looked exactly like herself and her husband. There was just something that seemed so wrong about it. The sooner they got to work on their problem, the better it would be to get her mind off the strange awkwardness of the situation. It felt strange, for lack of a better word, almost unreal, but it was actually happening.
Even though it was an awkward situation, both Lois and Clark had to admit that they were sort of glad to see Mr. Wells go. He seemed to get in the way more than anything else. Now they could explore their fertility problem without sharing the intimate details of their life with Wells, the man who actually seemed to know a lot more about them than anyone else.
Dr. Lois then joined the conversation. "For you, maybe. This is your home, your world. Clark and I are stranded here."
Her heart began to flutter because of the thoughts that were flying through her mind. Were they really stranded? Could they trust Mr. Wells? How did they know that they could trust everyone here? They didn't know anything about Mr. Wells or this universe. They had agreed to follow the strange little man on an impulsive whim. How could she be sure that they were safe? If it had just been herself and Clark on this trip, she wouldn't have been concerned, but now that she was carrying this new life with her, she didn't want to put it in danger.
However, she knew that they had made the right decision coming to this new world. They were correct in believing Wells before. He had actually been telling them the truth about the alternate universe with alternate versions of themselves. Why shouldn't they trust him now? After all, this was definitely the best adventure she had ever had in her life.
Dr. Clark continued, "I mean it's not like we don't like your universe or anything…"
Dr. Lois raised her eyebrows at that comment. This universe was so much like their universe, but it wasn't, at the same time. She wasn't sure if she was comfortable here. Even through all of the similarities, there were still so many obvious differences. The differences were a bit disconcerting. Things that seemed like they should be so familiar turned out to be completely foreign.
"But it is a little, I don't know, too dark. Our world is so much more bright and shiny."
"Too dark?" Lois asked in a cautiously guarded voice.
She didn't want to start an argument with their guests again. They were sure to take whatever she said, however innocent, the wrong way. But her blood was boiling at that comment. Just one more thing, and she would burst. She wouldn't be liable for what she said.
Dr. Clark tried to smooth the situation over. Leave it to his wife to voice her opinion on everything. Normally, he loved it, but in this case, it wasn't a good idea. She had to be careful not to offend their hosts. Even though they were there to help these people, he still felt like they had to be courteous to their hosts. After all, they were guests in this universe. Maybe it was his wholesome Kansas upbringing that Lois always teased him about, but he couldn't help but be grateful to their hosts for allowing them to be guests in this lovely home. It wasn't like they were doing this strictly out of the goodness of their hearts. They had agreed to help Lois and Clark because they knew the suffering this version of themselves was experiencing, but they had chosen to travel to this universe for the pure sake of adventure.
"No, no," he said. "Not too dark. Just different. I think my wife was just trying to illustrate the difference in the atmosphere in this universe."
"Hmm," was all Lois replied.
She, too, did not want to start another argument. After all, Dr. Lois and Dr. Clark were here to help them. It seemed like the only way that she could see to show her gratitude was to jump on their throats. What was it about Dr. Lois that really got on her nerves? Was it that they were so different that she couldn't even see herself there? After all, Dr. Clark seemed a lot like her Clark. However, there were some differences. Dr. Clark seemed a lot more laid back than her husband. He seemed to go with the flow a lot more than Clark did. It was interesting to see two men that were so identical, yet so different. Maybe that is why the two Clarks seemed to get along. They had similar personalities, but there were just slight differences. She and this other Lois probably were having trouble getting along because of their obvious personality differences.
Now both couples lapsed into a period of silence, just staring at each other. After their initial squabble, they were all afraid of what to say so not to offend each other. Lois and Clark both knew that they hadn't gotten off on the right foot with the Drs. Lois and Clark. They did not want to say anything that would jeopardize the chance that the Drs. Lois and Clark would be able to help them. After all, what would happen if they offended their guests so much that they decided that they just wanted to go home without sharing their vast medical knowledge?
Dr. Lois and Dr. Clark, too, were quite uncomfortable. Was this what it was going to be like? Did people always get awkward around their alternate personalities from alternate universes? They asked just how many people had actually met different versions of themselves from alternate universes. The answer was obvious — it was probably just Dr. Lois, Dr. Clark, Lois, Clark, and the other version of themselves whom Mr. Wells had told them about.
"So," Dr. Clark broke the silence. Unfortunately, he had spoken without a real game plan. He was just completely uncomfortable with the tense silence that had overtaken the room.
After Dr. Clark spoke, the room lapsed back into silence. It was incredibly uncomfortable. Everyone in the room wanted someone to say something — anything!
They were all curious about the different paths in life that they had taken, how their differences had arisen in their career and life choices. The curiosity spanned from childhood, to Superman, to the couples' first meetings, to Dr. Lois's pregnancy. However, no one knew how to broach any of the subjects — which would probably lead to arguments.
Lois, as always seemed to be the case, became the one to try to break the ice. She knew that she shouldn't ask any of the burning questions that were flowing through her mind. Thus, she tried to start the conversation with a very innocent statement. "So, um, maybe we should all sit down."
They weren't getting anything accomplished just standing in the middle of the foyer staring at each other. Maybe if they got into a more comfortable position, the mood would lighten.
Clark, too, saw what Lois was trying to do. As they made their way towards the living room, he did his part as the good host by wondering, "Do you want anything to drink?"
Dr. Lois smiled at him and nodded. "I'd love a glass of water."
Then Dr. Clark answered, "I'm fine, thank you."
"Honey, could you get me a glass of wine?" Lois asked. She knew that she needed some sort of sedative to relax her nerves.
"Sure. One glass of water and one glass of wine coming up. Are you sure you don't want anything?" he asked directing the question at Dr. Clark.
Dr. Clark shook his head slowly and made a motion with his hand signifying that he was fine.
When Clark went into the kitchen, Lois led the visitors into the living room and motioned to them to take a seat on the couch. When they had sat down, she proceeded to sit down on the chair next to the couch. Okay, now they were sitting down. Should she broach a conversation? Well, trying to talk was better than sitting in absolute silence. The tension in the air was so thick, it could be cut with a knife.
"So, how did you meet Mr. Wells?" she asked. It was a safe enough question: non-threatening and about something they had in common. She was brilliant!
Dr. Clark shrugged his shoulders. "It was sort of weird, I guess. I was walking across the campus to meet Lois at the coffee house where we meet for lunch, and I saw this strange old man who looked really out of place. So I went up to him and asked if he needed help. It was really weird that he seemed to be, well, looking for me of all people! It was a bit disconcerting."
Clark, who had just come into the room and given Lois and Dr. Lois their drinks laughed at Dr. Clark's statement. It brought back memories of the first time he had met Mr. Wells. He handed the drinks to their respective owners. Lois stood up and sort of motioned for him to sit down on the chair. After he sat down, Lois settled down on his lap and he wrapped his arms around her.
As he was sitting down, Clark interjected, "Well at least you met him on the street. He came all the way up into the newsroom to meet me!"
Dr. Clark shrugged his shoulders, but then he nodded. It sure would have been hard to explain if Mr. Wells had shown up in the middle of a class that he was teaching.
"True, but it was still really weird. I was really shocked to the core when he told me that he knew who I really was. When he told me that he knew that I was Superman, I wasn't sure what I should do — if I should run away from him or if I should listen to him. For some reason, he didn't seem too threatening, so I listened to him."
Lois took that statement as her opportunity to have one of her questions answered. "So, you are Superman in your universe? The Clark from the other universe that I have visited hadn't developed his Superman persona until I convinced him to do it."
Dr. Lois jumped in to answer, not to be out-done by her reporter counterpart. "Well, I sort of take credit for helping Clark develop his Superhero alter ego."
"That's true, honey," Dr. Clark said with a huge smile on his face. "She's right. If she hadn't convinced me to stop denying that I did want to use my powers to help others and that authorities were not going to capture me and 'dissect me like a frog', I would still be hiding everything that I can do."
Clark jumped in. "Did your father use that 'dissect you like a frog' thing?"
"Every day," Dr. Clark said slowly. "It's one of the reasons that I went into physiology. We decided that if I were the expert, I would be the one that they would call on to study myself if they ever found out about me. You know, it would sort of put me at an advantage over them."
"Yeah, my dad used to tell me the same thing. But I don't think he was as paranoid."
Dr. Clark shrugged his shoulders again. "I don't know if it's really my dad that's the paranoid one. I guess, deep down, my dad would support me whatever I chose to do with my life. I think above everything else, I have always suffered the strains of that deep-set paranoia about being an alien and what people would do to me if they ever found out."
Dr. Lois interrupted, "Yeah, but then I figured it out."
"You're right, honey. You are the first person besides my parents who has ever found out that there was anything different about me."
"And I didn't want to dissect you like a frog — even though you know I could have."
Dr. Clark smiled widely and said, "And I know you have threatened to do just that many, many times."
Dr. Lois reached across and slapped his arm very lightly and started to laugh. "I have to admit, though, honey, you sure look cute when you're threatened." Her voice took on a more serious tone when she said, "You know I would never really do it, though, Clark, right?"
"Of course, Lois," Dr. Clark said softly. "I can tell when you're joking. You're the one person I have ever really trusted completely." Then he squeezed her hand and leaned in to place a soft kiss on her cheek.
As Lois and Clark watched the interaction between Dr. Lois and Dr. Clark, Lois felt herself feeling a small connection with their visitors. It seemed like Dr. Lois and Dr. Clark had the same strong relationship that she and Clark did. It was very interesting that both she and Dr. Lois had played a large role in creating Superman. Okay, she wasn't the one who told Clark to do it, but she had come up with the name. In fact, Clark had often told her that she had given him the idea in the first place.
When Dr. Clark turned his attention away from his wife, he declared, "Because of Lois, I gained the courage to do what I have always wanted to do — help people in need."
Clark found himself nodding along with Dr. Clark's statement. After all, Lois had done almost the same thing for him. Before he came to Metropolis, he had always been a nomad, a drifter. As soon as it seemed like anyone was going to catch on to his differences, he moved on. That was, until he met Lois Lane. The first time he set eyes on her, he knew that he wanted to stay near her for the rest of his life.
"And so we came up with the idea for Superman," Lois finished.
"What about you, Clark," Dr. Clark asked.
Clark squeezed Lois's hand and then he began. "I'm not really sure why I decided to come to Metropolis. I guess I had been traveling around the world for too long, and I wanted a place to finally settle down. I guess I figured that in such a big place, no one would really notice me and I could be myself — helping people anonymously without anyone ever realizing what I was doing. I figured that if anyone ever figured it out, I would just move on like I had everywhere else." He squeezed Lois's hand. "But the second I set foot in the 'Daily Planet' newsroom, I knew that I had found a home. It just felt, I don't know, right. Then, when Lois burst into my interview with Perry White, I knew I was in love."
"Perry White?" Dr. Lois asked.
Dr. Clark added, "He's our department chairman.
Lois raised her eyebrows. For some reason, she couldn't see him as anything else other than Editor and Chief of the 'Daily Planet'. She almost struggled more with seeing him as an engineer than either herself or Clark!
"He's our editor," Clark said. "It's weird how our universes seem to be so similar yet so different."
Lois shook her head. Some of the similarities were uncanny. However, the differences were profound.
Then Dr. Lois said, "Anyway, I interrupted. Please continue. How was Superman born?"
Clark grinned as he spoke, "Okay, as I said, during my interview with Perry, Lois burst in with a big story. I almost don't even remember what she was talking about because I was so struck by her. When I saw her, I realized that I never wanted to leave Metropolis if it meant leaving her. To make a long story short, it took a lot of work, but eventually I got a job at the 'Daily Planet'. I was absolutely ecstatic that Mr. White partnered me with Lois on a huge story about the Messenger space craft. However, when we were investigating, I did several things that seemed — unusual. I was afraid that people — Lois — were beginning to get suspicious. I knew that I wanted to stay in Metropolis and I wanted to help people. But I was stumped. One day, though, after I had gotten dirty and practically ruined the clothes that I was wearing, Lois gave me the idea for Superman. She told me that I should bring a change of clothes to work — and that gave me the idea to create an alter ego."
"Hmm," was Dr. Lois's response.
She was still struck by the idea that the alternate versions of herself and her husband were reporters of all things. It was even more shocking that Perry White, the world-renowned pioneer of biomedical engineering was the editor of the 'Daily Planet!'
"Reporters," she muttered shaking her head slightly.
Luckily, she didn't say everything that was on her mind. The results definitely wouldn't have been pretty.
"What do you mean — reporters?" Lois asked in a very menacing voice, the skin bristling on the back of her neck.
Before anyone could respond, both Clark and Dr. Clark got the familiar far-off look in their eyes like they were hearing something. They both took on troubled looks as they heard the distant radio broadcast.
"What is it?" both Loises asked simultaneously.
Dr. Clark said, "Earthquake in Ecuador. It sounds like there's a lot of damage."
"Well go!" Lois stood up and pulled Clark out of the chair.
Clark stood up and quickly spun into his Superman suit.
Dr. Lois said, "Wow, you two do that the exact same way!" She was a bit surprised that Clark's Superman suit looked identical to her husband's. On second thought, though, she asked what else she would have expected a "Superman suit" to look like.
Then Dr. Clark asked before Clark could answer, "Do you want me to come with you? It sounds like you might need my help."
The thought of having two Supermen in one place was an interesting concept. There always was the chance that someone would realize that there were two of them, but they both could move fast enough that it wouldn't be a problem.
"Sure," he said quickly and decisively. Then he added, "If you want to come."
Then Dr. Clark pulled something out of his pocket and spun around like Clark had just done. A second later, both Supermen were standing next to each other looking like mirror images.
"Are you two going to be okay here alone?" Clark asked.
Lois rolled her eyes. "Of course we are, Clark. Do you really think Dr. Lois and I are children?"
Dr. Lois smiled sweetly at her husband and spoke before he could open his mouth. "Just go, honey. We'll be fine."
As the two Supermen flew out the window, they both had a feeling that Dr. Lois had spoken famous last words.
Before the two Loises had time to blink, the two Clarks had disappeared and were on their way to deal with the horrible disaster in Ecuador, leaving the two Loises alone together. The tension mounted by the nanosecond and within a second after the Clarks left, it became so thick it could almost be seen. Neither of them knew what to say to the other. They both felt like they had nothing in common with their counterpart and had nothing to talk about. Besides, from the second they learned about each other, both Loises knew that they probably wouldn't like their alternate self. After their initial conversation, they were both sure that they had been correct with their initial judgment.
It was really uncomfortable. They were just sitting there staring at each other. Lois was sipping her wine more quickly than she normally would have. Okay, she was gulping her wine. Dr. Lois was swirling the water around her cup. Someone had to do something.
Dr. Lois wasn't sure what to talk about with this woman who looked so much like her, yet was so different. Should she say something about her short haircut? After all, she had been thinking about cutting her hair for a while. However, Clark had convinced her that she looked better with long hair. Now that she saw herself with short hair, though, she wasn't so sure Clark was right. Maybe she would look good with shorter hair. Oh that was great. She was here sitting with a woman who was her double, and all she could think about was getting a hair cut.
Lois, on the other hand, was having slightly different thoughts. Maybe chugging an entire glass of wine had slightly lowered her inhibitions because she decided to make the first move. "So," Lois began the conversation.
Right, that was a great way to start a conversation. However, she had no idea what to say to this woman. After all, Dr. Lois had obviously reacted poorly to her innocent question about dimensional travel during pregnancy, so pregnancy obviously wasn't something good to talk about. Who knew what kind of faux pas she would make this time. Even though she was genuinely curious about these things, her questions would probably come off as accusations again.
"So," Dr. Lois repeated.
Like Lois, she had no idea what to say to start a conversation with this woman. Maybe she should bring up the hair issue. After all, it was probably a good ice breaker.
Then Dr. Lois continued, "I really like your hair."
Lois subconsciously reached up to touch her hair. "Oh, uh, thanks." She hadn't been expecting a compliment.
"I've always wanted to cut mine sort of like that, but Clark told me that he likes my hair long although I don't really think he would mind either way."
Lois smiled at her counterpart. At least it seemed like she was trying to make an effort. However, it didn't really excuse her for that "reporter" comment that she had made.
"Yeah," Lois agreed, "I don't think Clark really has a preference either way. He thinks I look beautiful no matter what my hair looks like."
Dr. Lois shrugged her shoulders. "Yeah, I know what you mean. When we met, I had relatively short hair and he told me that he loved it. Then when I let it grow out, he liked that too. I keep telling him that he would like my hair even if I dyed it purple."
Lois laughed despite herself. "You're right. My Clark's the same way. Actually, when we first met, my hair was almost as long as yours. Then when I cut it even shorter than it is now, he didn't say a word about it. He just kept telling me how nice I looked. I'm actually not sure if he was trying to butter me up or if he actually likes my hair every way I cut it."
Dr. Lois joined in the laughter. Then she tried to advance the conversation. "You know, our husbands seem to really have a lot in common."
"Yeah they do. I mean, they even do the same spin move!"
This conversation seemed almost, well, amiable. Maybe they had more in common than they realized. They both had husbands who were head over heels in love with them. Maybe that was sort of a starting point.
Or maybe not.
Dr. Lois said, "Well, I guess the two Clarks do have a lot in common, but, to be completely honest, I really don't think we do at all."
Lois felt a large grin spreading across her face. She couldn't help it. This woman had just insulted her in so many ways, yet she really wasn't that mad any more. Okay, obviously she was still mad. She was Lois Lane, after all. However, the situation seemed extremely absurd. After all, here she was sitting in her living room with a woman who looked and sounded exactly like her yet was so different. Dr. Lois had been right. Even though their husbands seemed to have so much in common, she couldn't see anything that she and Dr. Lois had in common other than their husbands — and the fact that they both believed that they had nothing in common.
Lois looked at Dr. Lois, relived that she had been the first to say something. "Oh, thank god!"
"I'm so glad I don't have to fake it any more?"
"Fake what?" Dr. Lois asked, genuinely surprised.
"Fake that we actually have something in common. I'm starting to think that the only thing that the two of us can agree on is that our husbands seem so similar…"
Dr. Lois finished, "… and that we aren't."
"Exactly. I mean, come on, what could I possibly have in common with an engineer?"
"And what on Earth could I possibly have in common with a reporter?"
Then there was silence again. The silence definitely was not a comfortable one. It was sort of like the calm before the storm. And with the two Loises involved, the storm was sure to be worse than a hurricane!
Lois's eyes flickered, mirroring the anger that Dr. Lois felt. She couldn't believe that someone would insult her profession — her life! She had worked too long and too hard to have someone belittle her like this! After all, she was an award-winning journalist, well respected in many circles.
Dr. Lois felt the hair at the back of her neck bristle. How could a mere reporter insinuate that all engineers were nerds? Should she tell her that she thought that all reporters were slimy weasels?
"Well," Dr. Lois said with a slight rueful laugh in her voice, "I guess we have one more thing in common."
Wait, no, she hadn't really meant that. If she had, that might mean that the two of them could possibly have something else in common. No, no, she couldn't be thinking along the same lines as this, this, reporter! Even in her mind, she stumbled over the word!
Lois raised her eyebrows and said, "Really?" in a suspicious tone.
She didn't want to admit to anything — especially not that there was any more common ground between her and Dr. Lois. In fact, she was fairly sure that there was no possible way for the two of them ever to find any common ground — besides their husbands.
"Unfortunately," Dr. Lois answered with a very dejected sigh. "I mean, I agree that we don't have anything in common. After all, I never actually thought I would be having a conversation with a reporter for the 'Daily Planet' of all things."
"Is that an insult?"
"That depends," Dr. Lois said, trying to remain neutral. After all, she was trying to be insulting — but only if Lois was being insulting by that 'engineer' remark she had made.
Lois rolled her eyes. This woman was impossible — absolutely insufferable! How could the other Clark — who seemed so much like her husband — put up with her? But, then again, she had come into this situation with a large preconception. Obviously, Dr. Lois had, too. Maybe they had more in common than she was willing to believe. After all, besides being married to Superman, which was an obvious similarity since Dr. Lois was the only other person she had ever met that she shared it with. Plus, they both seemed to despise the other's profession. And they had both come into the situation with obvious preconceptions about how the other would behave.
Lois sighed loudly. Then she said, "You know, this is really getting us no where. We really got off on the wrong foot with each other. Why don't we just start over?"
Dr. Lois raised her eyebrows. What was Lois trying to do? Was she really being genuine here? She was right, though. They had definitely gotten off on the wrong foot. Maybe Mr. Wells had done something to misguide them about each other. Obviously she didn't know him very well, but she had a strange feeling that he had somehow led them astray.
"Um, okay. But how do you propose we do that?" Dr. Lois was genuinely confused. It was much harder talking to this version of herself than she ever imagined it to be. Maybe a fresh start would help them.
Lois shrugged her shoulders. Dr. Lois's guess was as good as hers. After all, neither of them had ever had any experience in dealing with an alternate version of themselves before.
"I don't know. Why don't you go out and ring my doorbell again. It would be like we were meeting for the first time again."
Before Dr. Lois could say "okay," a strange feeling came over her. It was a very familiar feeling of distrust. She did not know this woman at all — even though they could have very easily been identical twins. What if she were trying to pull something?
"Wait a second. Why should I be the one who goes outside? Are you just going to lock me out there?"
Lois groaned loudly. Here she was making the effort to be nice to her guest — to start all over with an open mind — and she was being second guessed!
"Lo-is," she said, in a tone reminiscent of Clark's, "just do it!"
When Dr. Lois didn't jump up and run towards the door, Lois felt her frustration reaching the boiling point. "Okay, fine, I'll go outside and knock on my own door." Then she muttered, "It's not like the neighbors don't already think Clark and I are crazy."
"And they wouldn't think you were crazy if they saw a pregnant version of yourself knocking on your own door?" Dr. Lois asked. "Well?" she continued, trying to hold her anger under check.
Lois rolled her eyes. She didn't want to admit that Dr. Lois did have a point. However, she wasn't asking Dr. Lois to go beyond the vestibule. None of the neighbors would even see her, right? Oh, none of this was making any sense any more. Nothing had made any sense in the reality domain ever since Wells had come to visit them.
"Aah! Fine, if you won't do it then I'll do it!"
Without turning back, Lois stormed to the door and slammed it as she completed her act of leaving in a huff. Once she was outside, she took several deep breaths trying to calm her emotions. It would not help anything if she suddenly turned into "Mad Dog Lane". She credited herself with really being able to control her emotions now that she was older. When she first graduated from college, she could not control when she would snap. Now she snapped at very categorically planned occasions. And this was not one of them.
Dr. Lois shook her head as she watched Lois storm out the door. Part of her asked if Lois would even come back. Actually, a small percentage of that part of her almost hoped that Lois would not come back. However, when a loud knock came, she forced herself to go through the motions of going to the door and opening it for the alternate version of herself. No, not the alternate version of herself — the psychotic version of herself!
When the door whipped open, the two Loises were once again face-to-face. However, this time, reporter Lois, at least, was going to try her hardest to get their relationship restarted on the right foot. Of course it was impossible to think that they would be able to forget all of their preconceptions about each other and everything that had already happened between them, but they were going to have to try to at least be civil with each other. They were both adults — and intelligent adults at that. Not only were they intelligent, but they were probably very close to being brilliant.
Dr. Lois gazed at the woman at the door — who was grinning at her with the most fake expression she had ever seen. Maybe it was easier to read Lois because they had many of the same facial expressions — and this was definitely a forced smile. It was sort of strange, but Dr. Lois thought that she almost felt like she knew exactly what Lois was thinking.
Lois burst in the door and stopped right in front of Dr. Lois with her hand extended. "Hello," she said in a loud, determined voice that she often used in an interview. "My name is Lois Lane, Kerth Award-winning journalist from the 'Daily Planet'."
Oh, so this was the game they were going to play. Dr. Lois flashed the same toothy grin at her counterpart and replied, "I'm *Doctor* Lois Lane, Young Experimenter of the Year Award-winning biomedical engineer from Metropolis Institute of Technology."
Lois felt her cheeks flushing. This wasn't how it was supposed to work. Obviously Dr. Lois had just challenged her. "Well, I will eventually win the Pulitzer Prize." She raised her eyebrows and waited for Dr. Lois's retort.
"Huh," was the first thing out of Dr. Lois's mouth. Who cared about the Pulitzer Prize? "The Pulitzer Prize? I'm going to win the *Nobel* Prize plus I'm going to be elected to the National Academy of Engineering." Now that was definitely a better award if she had ever seen one. Heck, it was probably two or three times the award — or even fifty times the award, if she was really going to be technical.
Lois felt her cheeks redden when she said, "Well, I get published every day in the 'Daily Planet'. People all around the world know my name."
Dr. Lois shrugged her shoulders. "You think that's really important? I discovered a neural regeneration procedure that allows severed spinal cord neurons to regenerate! People all over the world know my name. And you think I don't get published? I've published over 50 articles in scholarly journals including 'Nature' and 'Science', and I have written three book chapters!"
Lois felt her anger reaching a boiling point. Who was this woman to imply that just because she had a PhD and because she had published book chapters she was better than Lois Lane? Okay, even if she was Lois Lane. Her idea had backfired to the extreme. They definitely hadn't started off on the right foot. They had picked up right where they had left off.
Finally, Lois decided that this bickering absolutely had to stop. It wasn't helping anyone involved for her and Dr. Lois to be fighting like this. If anything, she knew that if Clark would come home to see the two of them screaming at each other, he would rub it into her face for years to come. Yes, she was acting like a child — the very thing she had promised Clark that she wouldn't do.
"You know what?" Lois said slowly, in a much more subdued tone.
Dr. Lois noticed the change in Lois's demeanor immediately and almost felt her thoughts. Indeed, she knew that if her husband would return and find the two of them at each other's throats, she would never hear the end of it. Maybe they had to try to mend their broken fences if only just to prove Clark wrong. She and Lois were adults. They could handle being in the same room together.
"What?" Dr. Lois responded her voice suspicious, but no longer yelling.
"I really think we're more alike than we think." Lois paused for a second waiting for the inevitable argument. But when Dr. Lois said nothing, Lois was sparked to continue. "After all, I mean, we are both hyper- competitive — even with each other."
Dr. Lois could sense where Lois was trying to go with this. She was trying to build a bridge to common ground. "And I suppose that we are both the best in the fields we have chosen." Wow, she even held her tongue when the thought that her career was better crossed her mind.
"Obviously," Lois said, and they both laughed for the first time that day. "Plus, we both love seeing our name in print — whether in my case in the newspaper each day or on the cover of the novel I'm writing, or in your case in your scientific papers and textbook chapters."
Dr. Lois found herself nodding. Lois had a very good point. It seemed like they were definitely more alike than they had first realized. She had made some good comparisons — all very valid. Now she was going to speculate. "Did your mother leave your family when you were a little girl?"
"No," Lois said, but her mind was trying to digest what Dr. Lois had just implied.
Strange, Dr. Lois's mother had left. That meant that she had grown up with her father. And hadn't hated him. Maybe that was why she had become an engineer. She had taken after her father. It was the direct consequence of actually having a relationship with Sam Lane. Yep, she was the best investigative reporter in the world for a reason. She felt her mind screaming, 'Go deductive reasoning skills!'
When she noticed that Dr. Lois was looking at her like she was crazy, she added, "But my father did."
Dr. Lois now understood why Lois had not followed in her father's footsteps. If her father had left their family in the way that her mother had, she would have felt the rejection of abandonment from the different side of the parental spectrum and would have denied anything to do with her father. Thus, she would haven never even considered becoming a biomedical engineer. In fact, it would have been the last possible career she would have ever seen herself embracing. So that was why Lois had become a reporter. A reporter was probably the farthest thing from an engineer that she could think of. Maybe she and Lois did think alike; they were just governed by drastically different life experiences.
"You know, Lois, maybe we have more in common than we ever realized."
For the first time, Lois found herself agreeing with her engineer counterpart. They really did have a lot in common. They were both married to Superman; they both were abandoned by a parent at an early age; they both strove to be the best at everything they did. Yes, maybe they did have something in common.
"You know, you might be onto something." She smiled and extended her hand once again. "Do you want to start over? This time for real?"
Dr. Lois grinned at her counterpart and grasped her outstretched hand. For some reason, it felt like all of the tension in the air had been cleared. Maybe it was the revelation that they had very strong reasons for choosing such different lives that released all of the confusion and doubt in the air. They were truly ready to start out on a fresh leaf.
"Absolutely," Dr. Lois said with a very large grin. "My name is Lois Lane and I am married to Superman and was abandoned by my mom when I was a little girl."
"Hi, Lois. Do you mind if I call you Dr. Lois to avoid confusion? My name is Lois Lane, as well, and I am married to Superman, too, and was abandoned by my father when I was a girl." She knew that it sounded really lame, but it was a step towards peace.
"You know, would you like to sit down in the living room? I know we have a lot to talk about."
Lois wrapped her arm around her counterpart's back and said, "Absolutely. I have so many questions for you!"
While the two Loises were getting to know each other, the two Clarks quickly flew towards South America at breakneck speed. Just after they took off, Dr. Clark asked, "I've been meaning to ask you, Clark, how do you find time to be Superman with such a demanding job? I love my job because I can leave for hours and no one really misses me. When I think of working for a newspaper, I sort of think of daily deadlines and I am not sure I would be able to meet them."
Even though they were flying almost faster than the speed of sound, Clark was able to answer, "I don't know. It's not that hard. I'm close to the news, so I am on top of everything that happens. Plus, Lois is there to cover for me." He shrugged his shoulders brushing of the comment like he thought that what he did was really nothing special or even slightly out of the ordinary.
"Hmm. I can see how that might be advantageous," Dr. Clark said.
Even in his low-pressure job, he found that having Lois in on the secret definitely helped him — especially if he was in the middle of a class when he heard a cry for help. Lois always seemed to know exactly what he was teaching and always was able to fill in for him. She was his saving grace.
Before Clark could ask Dr. Clark the same question, they found themselves flying above Ecuador. As soon as they saw the damage below them, Clark came up with a plan. He was really glad that Dr. Clark had come with him because this was a job that was almost too big for just one man — even one Superman! The disaster area was just too large for him to cover by himself and save everyone who needed help.
As the two Supermen surveyed the damage, Clark voiced exactly what Dr. Clark was thinking. "I'll start on the far east and you start on the west. Make sure you're on the look-out, though, because we don't want to get too close together."
"Right. We don't want anyone to know that both of us were there. But I think it is so chaotic down there that no one will even notice. They'll be so grateful for the help."
"True, but we can never be too careful," Clark agreed.
Dr. Clark nodded and then said, "Okay, I'll watch out. If I see that you're getting too close, I'll head to the sky."
Clark nodded in agreement and then the two men surveyed the damaged area one more time. They needed a second to mentally prepare themselves for the death and destruction that lay below.
With no more than an initial survey of the damage, the two Supermen set off to perform their duty. Sure, they knew that there was going to be devastation and destruction, but they both hoped that they would be able to be as much help as they humanly, or more accurately Kryptonianly, could.
"… and then he told me that he had to pick up a shipment from his 'cheese of the month' club!"
"You've got to be kidding!" Dr. Lois said.
Now the two Loises were sharing their favorite stories about the myriad of excuses their husbands had used to get away to be Superman throughout their careers. The amazing thing was that they each recognized many of the excuses the other Clark had used. The 'cheese of the month club' was just one example.
Both Loises were now finding out how much they really had in common. It was so much more than they ever thought possible. As they sat on the couch sharing stories about their lives and their loves they both realized that the other Lois was telling tales of many things that had happened to both of them.
The more they talked, the more it became apparent that their initial thought that they were polar opposites couldn't have been farther from the truth. In all actuality, the two were quite similar — almost like they were the same person. Shockingly, they even found themselves enjoying the other's company; although, they still weren't sure if they wanted to admit that fact to each other. It was very scary, but they both had the same fleeting thought of how they might even have been becoming friends.
After the latest excuse, they had both dissolved into an uncharacteristic fit of laughter. If an unknowing observer had been watching, it probably would have seemed like the two Loises were getting along like long lost best friends. They were talking animatedly and giggling excitedly — just like two old friends catching up on old times. It had been years since either had completely dissolved into such fits of laughter to the point where they couldn't even breathe. Both knew that they had much more in common than they had ever dreamed possible — although they still hadn't admitted it to each other yet.
After a few minutes of laughing at this excuse that Clark had used, Dr. Lois finally regained her composure and said, "My Clark used to use that one all the time." The she amended her statement. "Actually he still uses it! I just heard him say it about a week ago. I mean, come on, the 'cheese of the month club?' I always asked how anyone would believe it, and no one would question it."
Lois rolled her eyes. "I don't know. But it works on so many people." She almost felt like slapping herself on the head for not realizing anything sooner. "I can't believe he fooled me for so long before I finally figured it out." She shrugged her shoulders. "I guess I can speak from personal experience on this topic." Then she chewed thoughtfully on her bottom lip as she thought of the best response. "I guess it's because he says things so quickly. I think it works because he's gone by the time it registers in anyone's head that they should question what he had just said. Poor Clark, he really has no idea sometimes…"
"… and that's why they both need us. It seems like in any dimension Clark Kent needs Lois Lane."
"Exactly. A Clark Kent without a Lois Lane is just like bread without butter! It just doesn't work. I mean, I still don't understand how he got along without me for so long."
"Well, without us, they would be telling people that they obviously had to leave their important conversation or interview or presentation because their uncle's cousin's best friend's daughter's dog was having surgery or something. For such an intelligent man, he does not think well on his feet," Dr. Lois said.
Lois rolled her eyes. "Yeah, it really is pretty funny sometimes. But I have to admit, coming up with excuses off the top of your head at a second's notice is not the easiest thing in the world to do."
"Yeah, I know what you mean. I have so much trouble trying to explain when he has to leave in the middle of a class he is teaching. Luckily it doesn't happen too often. My tongue gets tied and I'm sure I say things that sound as dumb as 'cheese of the month club'."
"I can imagine," Lois said. "Do his students ask a lot of questions about his disappearances?"
Dr. Lois answered, "Well, not really. Most of the time, they are so happy when he lets class out early that they don't even bother to question it. I think that's why he chooses to teach undergraduate rather than graduate classes." A grin spread across her face at the thought. "You know, they really do ask fewer questions than any of my graduate students, and most of the undergrads just seem to accept things that the professor says and does as truth." She shrugged her shoulders. "You know, I always thought that undergraduate classes were just a chore that we had to suffer through before we were awarded tenure." Then she smiled again and laughed slightly. "I thought Clark was absolutely insane for offering to teach them. I always thought that graduate classes were so, I don't know, intellectually stimulating."
Even though Lois wasn't sure what kind of tangent Dr. Lois was going down, and she was pretty sure that she wasn't that familiar with university politics, Lois thought she knew where her counterpart was coming from. After all, she knew that had she been in a similar situation, she would probably have wanted to teach graduate students rather than undergraduates.
Then Dr. Lois continued, "But I guess I was wrong. Since the classes are so large, most of the students don't even care when Clark has to let the class go early. So far, only one student has really complained about it. And Clark is a really approachable guy. Any students who really want to learn come to see him privately about his lectures anyway."
"Yeah, I can see Clark having a revolving office door for his students."
What Lois didn't add, though, was that she had a sneaking suspicion that while Clark probably had an open door to his students, Dr. Lois was probably the exact opposite. She knew that if she and her Clark were the professors, the situation would be very similar. Even Jimmy, who liked Lois, had a much stronger connection with Clark. She didn't blame him, though. Clark had such a magnetic personality that people were just drawn to him because he was so open and friendly. As she had always been told her personality definitely wasn't open and often wasn't friendly. However, since she'd been with Clark for so long, some of his personality traits were beginning to rub off on her.
"He helps anyone and everyone no matter what their question is. I can't believe how his students seem to be able to talk to him so easily. We share an office, so I get to see it first hand. Even if a student is coming to see me, they end up talking to Clark most of the time they are there." She wasn't the slightest bit jealous or disappointed, though. "It's probably the reason they don't question his disappearances. Since he is such an incredible guy, they probably think that he is just being nice to them by letting them out of class early."
Lois found herself laughing at the thought and remembering back to her days in college. "Yeah, that makes sense. I loved all of my journalism classes, but I think I would have loved to be let out early. I definitely wouldn't have questioned it."
"See, that's exactly what happens." Dr. Lois looked at her belly pensively then she added, "Plus, I guess he and I don't really have to think of too many off the wall excuses any more, though. Now that I'm pregnant he can usually get away by telling people that I need him to get something for me." Then Dr. Lois changed the subject abruptly. "I can't believe we thought we didn't have anything in common."
Then Lois rolled her eyes when she said, "Oh come on, let's not go over that again. You know, we should just blame Mr. Wells and forget about it."
Even though Dr. Lois had brought up her pregnancy voluntarily and had given Lois an open invitation to ask the many questions that were darting around her overactive imagination about pregnancy, for some reason Lois did not jump on the opportunity. Maybe she was afraid of what the answers to her questions would be. Because of that irrational fear, she decided to wait just a little bit longer before she approached the pregnancy issue — even though it was paramount in her mind.
"You're right." Then Dr. Lois shrugged her shoulders. "I'm not sure how, but it seems like everything is his fault."
It seemed appropriate to blame Wells for the preconceptions that they had formed about each other. After all, he was the one who had told them about the other's career choice and had allowed them to think horrible thoughts about the other without setting them straight. He was the man who had had set the wheels of doubt turning in both of their heads, thus he must be guilty.
Even though Lois agreed that it was probably Wells's fault, she was having some second thoughts. After all, Wells had done so many good things for them. And the good things definitely outweighed the bad. It just wasn't fair to blame him for everything that went wrong.
"Yeah, but he's also done a lot of good things, too. Of course his methods are a little unorthodox."
Dr. Lois made a face and then a sound of disbelief. "A little?"
"Okay, he would never be considered 'normal' in any sense of the word, but he has done a lot for us. I mean, he has done so much for Clark and me. Just today, Clark and I got to meet our baby from the future, and it helped us regain the will to try again, to consider the fact that Dr. Klein might have been wrong." She took a deep breath to collect her thoughts before she continued. "I mean, we were absolutely devastated when we found out that we couldn't have children together. But Mr. Wells gave us new hope. Plus, he found you and brought you here. Even though he is a little, well, weird, and sometimes his plans go horribly awry, he is very well-meaning and I love him for it — even if he drives me crazy sometimes."
Lois felt her voice faltering. She hadn't realized the emotions that had been building up inside of her over the long day. It had been a roller coaster ride, and she had not yet recovered.
Dr. Lois smiled at her counterpart with what she hoped was a reassuring expression. After all, she knew exactly how Lois felt. She had gone through the same thing a little more than a year ago. And Lois's eyes seemed to be reflecting the emotional turmoil that Dr. Lois herself had been tortured by back then. Now that her problem was solved, she felt an intense desire to help the other Lois move past this painful time in her life.
She said, "Clark and I are going to help you, Lois. The two of us know all too well what you're going through." She unconsciously covered her rounded midsection with her hand. "For the longest time, Clark and I thought that we would never be able to have a child."
Then it became hard for her to talk as the emotions that she hadn't dealt with in so long began to rise to the surface. She felt a lump in her throat and almost lost the power of speech. However, she quickly used all of her will power to swallow the lump in her throat and push those painful emotions away to the back of her mind as she had done so many times in the past.
Lois remained silent for one of the first times in her life. She was hanging on to ever one of Dr. Lois's words. The feelings that Dr. Lois was describing were exactly the ones that Lois was experiencing now. It was somewhat comforting to realize that someone else shared her pain — and had been able to overcome it.
As her mind drifted back over the last year or so, she realized that it had been one of both intense pain and happiness. But she and Clark had persevered together through both the good times and the bad times. After the second it took Dr. Lois to compose herself, she continued, "It was really hard on both of us. We both decided to start trying to have kids as soon as we got married. It was so important to both of us. Okay, maybe it was a little bit of jealousy on my part, but that's not important."
Dr. Lois paused for a second and remembered the intense pangs of envy that she had felt when she had held her sister's children for the fist time. After all, she was the older sister — and that meant that she should have had kids first. Thankfully, Lois had held her tongue and hadn't questioned the jealousy. It would have been hard for her to explain the irrationality of the whole situation — and she didn't want Lois's opinion of her to plummet.
After a very quick pause, Dr. Lois continued, "Clark and I decided very early on in our relationship that we wanted to have kids right away. After we got married — well, and a little before to be completely honest." She felt her cheeks heating up in embarrassment — even though there really was no reason to be ashamed. "We tried and tried to get pregnant. Not that it wasn't, you know, fun…"
Lois laughed at the thought. Then she interjected, "Not at all…" Her voice took on a slightly dreamy quality as the images of her and Clark and the many ways they would practice making a baby clouded her mind. But then she was jarred back into the harsh reality of Dr. Lois's painful story.
"Exactly," Dr. Lois answered.
It was true. She definitely wasn't complaining about all of the trying that she and Dr. Clark had done. It was definitely incredible — to say the least. But when it had gone too long without results it became more of a chore than a source of pleasure.
Then Dr. Lois continued, "We tried tirelessly for about eight months, well, maybe it was even more — I lost track of time after while."
Lois found herself nodding in response. She thought that she had a pretty good feeling about where Dr. Lois's story was going. And her stomach was sinking just thinking about it. How painful it must have been for them! They wanted children so badly, but they went so long without any results.
"I mean eight months with nothing — nothing! Each month, we'd get the pregnancy test, and fifteen minutes later we would look at the telltale results that would crush all of our hopes and dreams." Dr. Lois sighed in resignation. It felt like she was reliving these memories as she was speaking. "But then the thought hit us like a ton of bricks. We both just suddenly knew at about the same time that neither of us had even bothered to consider the fact that Clark and I might be incompatible. In fact, I had never thought of him as anything other than 'human.' We were so enthralled with the idea of having our own baby that the optimism outweighed our rational thoughts." Dr. Lois screwed her face up with disgust at how she and Dr. Clark had completely neglected the obvious for so long. "I guess one day both of us just knew what our problem was: Clark is an alien so why should we have assumed that he could reproduce with a human normally?"
Lois fought the urge to comment on Dr. Lois's last statement. They hadn't realized that Clark was an alien before? Now that just seemed funny. No, that wasn't fair for her to think that way. It wasn't natural for someone to automatically assume that she wouldn't be able to have a baby with her husband. Of course the thought never crossed Dr. Lois's mind that the fact that Dr. Clark was an alien would inhibit their chances of conceiving a baby — even if they were the best scientists in the world. She decided to let Dr. Lois continue without interruption.
Dr. Lois continued, "How could we really be sure that he could have a baby with a human without doing conclusive tests? We couldn't believe we hadn't thought of it before and that Clark hadn't explored his own reproductive compatibility before. It was the one thing he was optimistic about. We couldn't believe that it had never dawned on us before. After all, Clark is the only person in the world who has studied his own physiology so extensively. I guess he had always just assumed that since he was so human-like in so many aspects, that he and I would be able to have a child together — and I didn't even think to question him initially."
Lois shook her head slightly. That was one major difference between the two couples — other than the obvious difference in career choices. Lois and her Clark hadn't really wanted to start having kids right away, preferring to wait until they were both ready. They'd always known that they wanted to have kids together eventually, but they hadn't really set a time to start trying. It had just always been something that they both knew they wanted eventually — just not yet. The reason that she and Clark had decided to let Dr. Klein run tests on Clark was to make sure that when they decided that they wanted to have children they would know for sure if it were possible. Clark didn't have the advantage of being able to study and intimately understand his own physiology so they wanted Dr. Klein to learn as much about him as possible. She knew that it would have been so much more heartbreaking to learn that she and Clark were unable to have children when they finally decided to start trying. Now it felt like someone had stolen something that she hadn't even really known she wanted. If this had happened a few years from now, she was sure that it would have affected her even more dramatically.
Dr. Lois continued, "So we decided to start running some tests. And we realized that the blood component that gives him his Superpowers, the RYS enzyme, is also found in his sperm."
"The RYS enzyme?" Lois asked. She'd never really liked chemistry, but now she would have to pay close attention in this case. This was one of the most important conversations that she would have in her life. Dr. Lois was going to explain the inner workings of Clark's body to her.
"Yeah, Clark named it the Red/Yellow Sun converter enzyme — the one that takes the energy from the Earth's yellow sun and converts it into his Superpowers. Initially Clark thought that the enzyme only showed up in his blood — and we were shocked to find it in his sperm too."
"Really? So the RYS converter enzyme accounts for his Superpowers?" Lois asked as she grabbed a pad and pen off the coffee table and started scrawling notes as a course of habit.
"Exactly — and we figured that it was probably the barrier that caused our fertility problems. And we thought that if we could somehow inhibit that enzyme, we would solve our problem — especially because, except for that one enzyme, his genetic structure is identical to a normal human's."
"So you were able to inhibit the enzyme and then get pregnant?"
Dr. Lois shook her head woefully. "It wasn't nearly that easy, Lois. It took months upon months or solid research. We weren't making any progress and were beginning to get really discouraged."
"But then you hit a big break?" Lois asked. She could hear the pain and long suppressed frustration in her counterpart's voice. As much as she wanted to hear the story of how they inhibited the enzyme, she was more concerned with relieving Dr. Lois of the pain of telling the story. After all, they both knew it had a happy ending.
Dr. Lois shrugged. "Yeah, we did. I almost couldn't believe it when it happened. Can I borrow that paper?" she asked. It was always easier for her to explain when she wrote something down — especially chemical equations. She and Clark had entire notebooks full of each inhibitor that they had tried and had failed.
"Sure." Lois handed her the pad and pen and scooted closer to her so she could read the scribbles — even if it wasn't guaranteed that she would understand them.
"Okay," Dr. Lois began as she started to scrawl the funny equations down in the notebook. "Let me start with what gives Clark his Superpowers."
Lois nodded her assent. She had no idea about anything Dr. Lois was going to say, so starting with the Superpowers was probably as good a place as any.
"Okay, I told you that the RYS enzyme is responsible for his Superpowers. What it does is it catalyzes the reaction between yellow sunlight and the D component in his blood to produce his Superpowers. I am not going to go into a long explanation about D because it's long and complicated and sort of unnecessary. It is a protein that we all have in our blood, but with the RYS enzyme, it changes confirmation when it reacts with yellow sunlight."
"Okay," Lois said. That made sense — sort of. At least she could follow the explanation thus far.
"The one way we know to inhibit the Superpowers and also inhibit RYS is with Kryptonite. But we didn't want to use Kryptonite because it would kill him to inhibit RYS to the level we need."
"Kryptonite! But didn't Mr. Wells tell us that you and Dr. Clark found a vaccine for Kryptonite?"
"Well, yes, we did. Just let me take you through this step by step." Dr. Lois found herself getting impatient with her counterpart's lack of patience. "When Clark comes in contact with Kryptonite, it inhibits RYS and instead of the sunlight reacting with D, the Kryptonite reacts with D creating the KyD complex which inhibits his Superpowers and makes him feel like a normal man. But that is just with the smallest amount of Kryptonite — almost miniscule, trace levels. But we both know that the level of Kryptonite Clark receives is absolutely impossible to control."
Lois nodded. She had seen the effect of Kryptonite on her husband many times — and it was always much worse than turning him into a normal man. Maybe the more Kryptonite he got, the more lethal it was.
Dr. Lois added, "But KyD is highly unstable — so if he encounters any more Kryptonite, it leads to a Ky2D2 complex that will eventually kill him if the Ky binds to all of the D molecules in his blood."
"That's putting it bluntly," Lois said almost under her breath. She couldn't believe how blase Dr. Lois seemed to be about this whole Kryptonite issue. Maybe it was because she and Dr. Clark really had figured out how to stop the effects of Kryptonite, and it just wasn't a threat to Dr. Clark any more.
Dr. Lois heard the comment, but she chose to ignore it. After all, she had made the exact same comment to Clark not all that long ago when he had initially told her of his discovery. "But sort of by accident, Clark and I discovered what stops Kryptonite poisoning."
Lois was now on the edge of her seat with anticipation. "How?" she whispered.
"One day, Clark had been at a chemical fire — and in the course of trying to secure all of the hazardous chemicals, he somehow ingested an entire vat of Hydrogen Peroxide."
"Hydrogen Peroxide?" Lois asked incredulously. "Don't tell me that normal household Hydrogen Peroxide inhibits Kryptonite."
"You don't believe me?" Dr. Lois asked.
"It's not that I don't believe you…"
"It's true. At first, it seemed like he'd just swallowed a lot Hydrogen Peroxide — you know, no big deal — a delicious after-dinner treat. It just looked like nothing had happened. Neither of us expected anything out of the ordinary; he'd ingested many more powerful chemicals with no adverse reaction in the past. However, later that week, he was exposed to Kryptonite and nothing happened! He was completely fine. We were in shock and we had to investigate. We even used the Kryptonite that we have in safe keeping."
"You have Kryptonite?"
"Well, yeah, for experimental purposes. Doesn't your S.T.A.R. Labs have some?"
Lois was adequately pacified. "Yeah, Dr. Klein does have some."
"It's just like the CDC keeping a small amount of smallpox — just in case something catastrophic happens and they have to redevelop the vaccine. Anyway when we exposed Clark to the Kryptonite nothing happened! And we took a sample of his blood…"
"How did you get a blood sample if he had his powers?"
"Good point. Well, Clark is not impervious to his own powers when he uses them in certain ways. Just like he can cut his hair with his heat vision, he can also extract his own blood from his skin almost by electrophoresis with the electric force generated by his heat vision."
"Oh," was her only response. She'd never seen Clark extract his own blood — but it did make sense that if he could cut his own hair, he might be able to draw his own blood.
"Anyway," Dr. Lois's voice was now bursting with enthusiasm. "When we looked at his blood sample, we found that the production of the KyD complex was inhibited by Hydrogen Peroxide — well, not Peroxide exactly, but by the free radicals that were generated by the Peroxide."
"So if I understand you correctly, Peroxide inhibits Kryptonite's inhibition of the RYS enzyme." She had absolutely no idea what she was saying.
"Right." Dr. Lois grinned at her counterpart. "In the presence of Hydrogen Peroxide, sunlight and RYS, Kryptonite is not able to bind to D…"
Lois finished the sentence, "And it can't hurt him. So did that solve the fertility problem as well?" Her heart was absolutely fluttering at the thought that by only ingesting Hydrogen Peroxide, Clark wouldn't be in danger from Kryptonite!
"Unfortunately, the fertility problem was more complicated." Dr. Lois sighed. "Stopping the Kryptonite worked systemically, so basically he still had a super body and super sperm. But when we examined the sperm next to the Kryptonite something really weird happened."
"What?" Lois whispered forcefully. The suspense was just too great for her to try to keep her cool.
"The Kryptonite seemed to partially inhibit the RYS in the sperm. We just needed to find a way to completely inhibit it. Then I had an incredible revelation. Red light! If a yellow sun facilitated the action of RYS, a red sun would logically inhibit it. Since we don't have a red sun, Clark and I decided to try regular red light. And it worked!"
"Oh my god!"
"Exactly! So Clark's sperm perfectly mimicked a normal man's sperm. With Kryptonite, red light, and Hydrogen Peroxide, Clark had normal sperm and a super body!" Then she touched her belly lightly, "And we were able to conceive this little angel."
"Wow," was Lois's only reply. She had to collect her thoughts for a moment. Then she tried to straighten out her thoughts. "So all Clark has to do is drink Hydrogen Peroxide to become immune to Kryptonite?"
She looked to Dr. Lois for confirmation.
"Right. So far, it seems like it works indefinitely, but we think he should probably repeat his doses every six months."
Lois nodded. It made sense — sort of — as much sense as something so completely off the wall could possibly make. "Okay, and then after he's immune to Kryptonite, he needs red light and Kryptonite to allow us to be able to conceive?"
"Exactly. Marinara sauce actually helps, too."
"Marinara sauce? That has always been an aphrodisiac for him."
Dr. Lois laughed. "It's an aphrodisiac for good reason. It's red, isn't it? The starch of the pasta and the red pigment of the sauce actually facilitate the inhibition of RYS in his sperm."
"Wow!" Lois exclaimed. This just kept getting weirder by the second. The questions kept flowing through her brain. "Does the Kryptonite need to be next to him when we make love for it to work?"
Dr. Lois smiled at her counterpart and laughed slightly. "That would be a real let down, wouldn't it? It would almost be like inviting Lex Luthor into your bedroom."
"Don't even get me started!" Dr. Lois must have a Lex Luthor in her universe, too. And he was probably Clark's enemy there, too. It seemed like everyone had basically the same personality traits in every dimension.
Dr. Lois could tell that her joke wasn't in the best taste so she said, "Sorry. That was a really bad joke. No, it works even if Clark is exposed to the Kryptonite a few hours in advance and the exposure lasts for about two days. It's also best to expose him to the red light and the Kryptonite at the same time."
"Oh, thank god." The relief that she didn't have to make love to her husband under Kryptonite and strange red light flushed over her at once. "How can we get the red light? Just a regular red light bulb?"
"Well, a laser would be preferable, but a red light bulb would work — he'd just have to be exposed for a longer time."
"Where am I supposed to get a laser?" Lois asked. Yeah, she would just add it to her shopping list: eggs, milk, red laser, chocolate ice cream.
"Oh, um, good point. A red light bulb should work. He would just need to be exposed to the light for a couple of hours then as opposed to just one shot of a laser." She stopped and considered the idea for a moment. "What about S.T.A.R. Labs?"
Lois nodded, her body now completely filled with energy. Of course, S.T.A.R. Labs! Dr. Klein loved collecting and playing with lasers. He would be sure to zap Superman with one if he asked nicely. "You're right. Dr. Klein would help us." Then she stopped for a second and took a deep breath trying to recover from the shock of the situation. Then she said, "I can't believe this is real."
Dr. Lois rubbed her belly again and said, "Believe me; I almost can't believe it either."
For the fist time that day, Lois was completely without anything to say because she was completely overwhelmed by the entire situation. It was going to happen. She and Clark were going to have a baby of their own. And all it took was hydrogen peroxide, Kryptonite, a red laser, and marinara sauce. It almost seemed too easy! Or else it was just too off the wall to be true.
But then she looked at Dr. Lois. The way that she was touching her belly made Lois realize that she had to have been telling the truth. She and her Clark had tried so hard for so long to conceive this child and, even though the solution seemed crazy, it was true.
It was like Dr. Lois already had an intense connection with her unborn baby. Lois couldn't help but wonder what that could possibly feel like. She had never in her life wanted to touch a pregnant woman's belly to feel an unborn baby before. It always seemed to her like she would be invading the other woman's privacy. After all, if she were in that situation, she would not welcome the advances of random women trying to touch her belly. But now, in an abrupt personality change, she was completely overcome by the intense desire to feel what Dr. Lois was felling — to form some sort of a connection with a child that Lois Lane and Clark Kent created together — even if it was from a different universe.
"Can I?" Lois asked as she motioned towards her counterpart's belly.
She wasn't sure if she expected Dr. Lois to agree or to blanch at the request. If she had been in the same situation, she would have definitely taken offence to such an invasion of her privacy. However, if it had been Dr. Lois asking, she wasn't sure how she would feel. If she were pregnant and Dr. Lois wanted to touch her belly, there might have been a connection between them that made Lois want her to experience the same intense joy that she was feeling. Lois just hoped it was vice versa as well.
Dr. Lois smiled widely at Lois and said, "Of course!" Then she guided Lois's hand to the spot where her hand had just been resting. "Do you feel her moving?"
"Her?" Lois asked. Did they already know the sex of the baby? That was weird — she was sure the baby whom Mr. Wells had brought with him had been a boy. Maybe their son was not their first child. Maybe it really had been a girl, and Wells was just trying to throw them off track.
Plus, Lois just wanted to start a conversation so she didn't have to answer Dr. Lois's question. Was she supposed to feel something moving? She had never felt a pregnant belly before, but it felt a little different than she had expected. It was a lot harder than she had thought it would be. Why did she think that a pregnant belly was supposed to be soft? That didn't make sense — there was a baby inside. How could it be soft if there was something inside of it? The baby was solid and definitely wouldn't feel like fat or something! Okay, she had ascertained that it was supposed to be hard, but she certainly didn't feel anything moving.
Dr. Lois laughed and then she said, "Oh, well, I don't really know if it's a girl or a boy. Clark and I sort of got into the habit of switching pronouns — because I keep telling him that I think it's going to be a girl. He's not sure; plus he told me that he would be equally happy with either a boy or a girl. I'm pretty sure he hasn't used his x-ray vision to look at the baby because he knows as well as I do that it wouldn't be safe, so he doesn't really know what it is either. So since I kept calling the baby 'her,' Clark started to play devil's advocate with me and started to call it 'him'. He maintains that our baby will be scarred for life if I keep calling it 'her', and it turns out to be a boy. Now it's turned into a game where Clark calls the baby 'him' and I call it 'her'."
"Oh," Lois began to answer Dr. Lois's remark, but then she felt something incredible. "Oh!" she exclaimed.
"Did you feel that?" Dr. Lois asked.
"What was it?"
"It was the baby! She just kicked!"
"Wow," was the only thing Lois could say in response.
She'd never felt something so amazing in her entire life. Now she knew that it was something that she wanted to feel for herself. She was faced with the overwhelming desire to experience exactly what Dr. Lois was feeling. The biggest feeling that overtook her, though, was intense gratitude. She would always be eternally grateful to Dr. Lois for giving her such an incredible feeling — and for the chance to experience the joy of having her own baby.
After hours of grueling but satisfying work, both Supermen were finally beginning to see an end to their labor. They had cleared debris, mended crumbling houses, and saved countless lives. In fact, after the two arrived on the scene, no lives were lost. Clark was glad for Dr. Clark's help in this case; he'd never realized how having another Superman around made his job so much easier. They had completely cleared the scene in less than half the time it would have taken one Superman to do it alone. Two heads were definitely better than one.
Clark slowly took off into the sky after taking a final glance at the landscape below him. He heaved a large sigh of relief as he realized that they really were done, and the disaster scene was now safe. The buildings throughout the area were now considered "structurally sound" and would not crumble even if an aftershock were to hit. Plus everyone that was stuck was now freed. It was quite a feeling of relief to see everything that they had achieved in such a short time making the entire area safe for human habitation once again.
Once he was high in the air he began to look for Dr. Clark. As planned, the other man had taken to the sky as soon as Clark had come within his enhanced range of view so that no one on the ground would realize that there were two Supermen on the scene. Of course initially the situation had been so chaotic that the victims had just appreciated the help, and were very unlikely to realize that Superman was in two places at once. But as soon as the chaos began to settle and Clark and Dr. Clark had gotten too close to each other, Dr. Clark had deferred to Clark and had quickly flown off into the sky without anyone noticing. The plan had been executed perfectly. They both knew that it would have been very difficult to explain two Supermen being at the scene, but they were acutely aware that in a crisis people tend to not notice things around them, and they would have been too distraught to notice the presence of more than one Superman. It was a risk they were both willing to take.
Within a second of Clark being in the sky, the other Superman had appeared next to him and they were ready to head back to Metropolis.
Dr. Clark extended his hand to Clark and he said, "Good job, buddy. I've never seen another Superman in action before and I have to say, you are incredible."
"Likewise," Clark answered. "I never realized how much help it would be to have you with me. Normally this would have taken me all night, but we're done in just under two hours."
"It's my pleasure," Dr. Clark answered. "I've always thought that I was put on Earth to help as much as I can — and it applies to Alternate Earths, too, I guess."
Clark nodded pensively. Dr. Clark had just echoed the thought that had always run through his own mind about why he had been blessed with these incredible powers. "Me too. For my entire life, I've always wanted to use my gift to try to assist anyone in need."
The two Supermen took off towards Metropolis eager to get back home to see how their wives were getting along. They both had been very nervous to leave the two women alone together both knowing their wives. The Metropolis Fourth of July fireworks display had nothing on the potential explosions that would happen between two Lois Lanes when left alone together.
Both Loises had protested that they would be fine together. The two women had pleaded that they weren't children who needed a babysitter. Both Clarks knew their wives well enough to realize that two Lois Lanes might not be safe alone together at all. A Lois Lane of any dimension was a passionate, opinionated, impulsive woman who did not keep her composure well in an uncomfortable situation. With that thought, the two Clarks sped up their flight home having absolutely no idea what they would find when they returned. They both knew, however, that the sight that awaited them would not be pretty.
As they were flying over the Midwest, Dr. Clark decided to start the conversation again — this time on a lighter subject. They had been flying in silence and Dr. Clark wanted to break the ice again. He knew that Clark was probably replaying the disaster situation in his head, but it wasn't healthy for him to obsess about the fact that they hadn't gotten there immediately after the earthquake and weren't able to save absolutely everything in the region.
Trying to lighten the mood, Dr. Clark asked, "Clark, I've been meaning to ask you, where did you get your suit? I guess I should have expected us to have the same Superman uniform, but it's still pretty weird."
"My mother made it for me," Clark said simply. He wasn't sure how much more Dr. Clark was expecting him to say.
Dr. Clark grinned at his counterpart. "Really? Mine did, too. After Lois came up with the basic idea for Superman, I took the idea to my mom and she had the design for the suit ready in a few hours." Then he paused for a second and changed the subject slightly. "You know, I have no idea why I thought your suit would be different than mine. Maybe I thought that it would be something unique to each of us."
Clark shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know. Maybe it is universal throughout every universe: if there is a Superman, he is destined to wear bright blue spandex."
"Do you like the spandex?"
"I guess it is aerodynamic," Clark said in a noncommittal tone.
He didn't want to admit his true feelings about the spandex. As a rule, he didn't like the spandex, but there were some times that he did enjoy wearing it. For example, the look in Lois's eye whenever she saw him in the Superman outfit was worth all of the humiliation he had once felt.
"Yeah, I know, but isn't it a little…"
"… Revealing, uncomfortable, dehumanizing?" There, he'd said it. How had his mom ever thought that he would like wearing a costume like this? Over the years, the costume had grown on him more than he was willing to admit, but he still wasn't entirely sure if he had a positive feeling about wearing such a revealing outfit.
"I was going to say tight, but you covered it well."
"Well, I'm a reporter; I have a gift for descriptive language. It's how I pay the bills." Clark figured that Dr. Clark realized that he was joking. Dr. Clark was definitely more laid back than Dr. Lois because he laughed at Clark's statement while Dr. Lois, or Lois for that matter, would have taken offence to it. Then Clark continued, "But my mother made the suit for me, so I can't exactly complain… "
"Uh," Dr. Clark said, interrupting Clark's sentence. "Did you hear that?"
"Hear what?" Clark had been so involved worrying that Dr. Clark had gotten the wrong idea about what he had just said that he hadn't been paying attention to anything else. In fact, they had been flying just over the outskirts of Metropolis.
Then they both heard it again as they approached the brownstone at 348 Hyperion Avenue. It was a loud, feminine squeal — not exactly a squeal of pain, but neither man wanted to take any chances. It was obvious that the squeal definitely belonged to Lois Lane. Which Lois the squeal belonged to, though, was a matter of conjecture. Each Clark thought that the squeal had come from his own wife. They both had absolutely no idea what they would find when they got home. However, both men knew that they probably wouldn't like what they saw. It would undoubtedly be a scene of mass chaos and destruction. The two men were nearly reaching a panicked state. Would they be able to handle the situation? Both Clarks knew that the only fool proof way to settle their wives down would be long smoochies with their respective Superman. That was definitely something that neither man would object to, though.
"Do you think they're fighting down there?" Clark asked.
"I sure hope not. But do you really think they're not fighting? These are two Lois Lanes we're talking about here!" Dr. Clark sighed exasperatedly. He knew that he was wrong to leave the two Loises alone together! They really did need a babysitter. Then he said, "Maybe we better check on them down there to make sure they aren't killing each other."
Clark had a horrible image of what could be going on between the two women. Could they possibly be throwing things at each other? It seemed completely out of character, but sometimes Lois really had the capacity to surprise him. "Or damaging my house!"
"Or my baby!" Dr. Clark knew that his wife would not let anything happen to their unborn baby, but it was still a valid concern in his mind.
The two Supermen took off at an even greater Superspeed than they had been flying previously. In a matter of seconds, the two men had flown through an upper window, quickly spun into their "Clark" clothes, and hurried downstairs into the living room.
Both men were surprised at the scene that greeted them in the living room. Pages of notes were scattered across the coffee table, and there was no sign of death or destruction. Even more shocking was that the two Loises were not screaming at each other in anger at all. The two women had been squealing apparently not because they were pulling each other's hair out, but because they had felt Dr. Lois's baby move or at least that is how it appeared to the two men.
"Honey," Dr. Clark said in a cautious voice. He didn't want to make any waves in the calm that they had just invaded.
"We're home," Clark added, somewhat surprised by the scene that had unfolded in front of him.
The two Loises looked at each other, both now aware of the thoughts that must have been running through their husbands' minds. They must have thought that their wives would have been at each other's throats in anger. Did they really have such little faith in their wives?
Lois turned around to face Clark and asked, "How did it go?" She was treating the situation like there was nothing out of the ordinary happening.
Yes, she and Dr. Lois had become friends. What was weird about that? Obviously those silly Supermen did not trust their wives. From the look on Clark's face, Lois knew that he had expected to come home to the worst possible situation between the two women. Yeah, okay, she would give that to them. The two men did have valid grounds to assume the worse given the icy atmosphere between the two women that had existed when they left. But that was all water under the bridge now. For Supermen, Clark and Dr. Clark certainly weren't the fastest to grasp things.
It looked like the situation in South America had gone well because Clark seemed to be in a good mood. He didn't have that familiar haunted look in his eyes like he often did when he returned from a particularly difficult rescue. Maybe since he had Dr. Clark with him this time, the rescue had been easier. Plus, this time he actually had someone to share the experience with who actually knew about everything he was talking about. As much as she tried to support him, she couldn't know exactly how he was feeling since she hadn't been right there with him.
Dr. Clark tried to process the images in his mind to come up with a coherent question to ask the two women, but he decided it was just better to answer Lois's question. "Oh it went very well." Then he moved next to his wife and wrapped an arm around her.
Clark added, "I would love to have another Superman around at all times. It sure makes my life easier."
Lois grinned at him and answered, "Well, you'll have to wait another twenty or twenty-five years for that, honey."
"What?" Clark asked immediately. Then he realized what she was talking about — their future child might be able to become the second Superman or Ultrawoman. "Our child? We can have children." It was a statement rather than a question. He knew that they could have children.
He knew that his sentences weren't coherent, but he didn't care. Plus, they had both known that the Drs. Lois and Clark would be able to help them with their conception problems. If the sight of their future child hadn't convinced them, seeing the pregnant Dr. Lois definitely had.
Lois put her hand on Clark's chest and said, "Honey, Dr. Lois told me the solution to all of our problems: their Kryptonite vaccine and fertility treatment. Clark, you are never going to believe the Kryptonite vaccine!"
Clark felt his breath catch in his chest. The Kryptonite vaccine — it was real! It was absolutely incredible — like a weight was about to be lifted off his chest. How would it feel for him to be finally rid of the fear of Kryptonite poisoning?
Dr. Clark turned to his wife and whispered, "Did you tell her already? I wanted to be here when we told them."
"Sorry," Dr. Lois said in a guilty tone. She'd known that her husband had wanted to be there to tell their counterparts about the medical miracle that they had discovered. Dr. Lois didn't have a chance to answer him further, though, because Lois continued telling her husband about the Kryptonite vaccine.
"All you have to do is drink a gallon of Hydrogen Peroxide every six months because of something called free radicals. And they inhibit the inhibition of your RYS converter enzyme." Then she looked to Dr. Lois for confirmation. "Right?"
Both Dr. Lois and Dr. Clark nodded. Dr. Lois answered, "Mostly."
"That's the gist of it," Dr. Clark agreed.
"Hydrogen Peroxide? Like hair dye and cleaning fluid? That Hydrogen Peroxide? I have to drink a gallon every six months?"
"Honey, did you not hear what I just said? Hydrogen Peroxide makes you immune to Kryptonite! How could you be complaining about it?" Lois interrupted. "Aren't you the man who swallows bombs and only burps afterwards?"
Clark quickly shook his head. "No, no, I'm not complaining. I'm just in shock! All I have to do is drink a gallon of Hydrogen Peroxide? That's all? I'd be willing to drink 50 gallons of Peroxide a day if I didn't have to worry about Kryptonite! I can't believe it!"
It seemed almost too good to be true. Simple Hydrogen Peroxide was able to neutralize Kryptonite! Dr. Klein was going to be shocked. Plus, if the solution to the ever elusive Kryptonite vaccine had been so simple, maybe the fertility issue was equally simple — just hard to find. Maybe that's why Dr. Klein had thought that he was infertile. He could only hope. Clark didn't even think to ask how the Hydrogen Peroxide worked nor about the RYS converter enzyme that Lois had mentioned.
Then he asked the question that was almost more pressing on his mind, "And we can have a baby?"
Lois wrapped her arms around her husband's shoulders and whispered, "Any time we want to start trying." She wasn't sure why she was whispering, though, so she raised her voice. "You just have to take your Peroxide, be exposed to Kryptonite and red light simultaneously up to two days before hand."
"Red light and Kryptonite?" Clark raised his eyebrows in surprise. Now that seemed like an unlikely combination.
"Yep, Dr. Lois can explain it to you, but all I need to know is that it works. Something about a yellow sun converter enzyme and Kryptonite, and red light inhibiting. Dr. Lois can explain it much better."
"Okay," he said slowly.
Obviously Clark was the only person in the room who was completely out of the loop about his physiology. He'd never heard of a yellow sun converter enzyme. But he was willing to believe that it existed since the results of the treatment were so obvious in the other couple.
"Oh, and Dr. Lois said that pasta with marinara sauce also helps. And the more times we try, the better our chances are."
"Um, Lois, you know I'm not complaining about that, right? You know what pasta does to me. But, um, how does it work?"
Then Dr. Clark jumped in, "Um, I'm sorry to interrupt, but maybe my wife and I can explain the treatment to you. It's sort of getting late."
Then Dr. Lois and Dr. Clark proceeded to explain the entire process to Clark — basically the same thing that the two women had talked about before. They covered the RYS enzyme and how Kryptonite affected him. Then how he had ingested the Peroxide and the miraculous effect it had on him. Finally, they covered exactly how the red light and Kryptonite in combination with the Hydrogen Peroxide were able to inhibit the RYS enzyme in his sperm making it able to fertilize a human egg.
"Wow," Clark said after the explanation was over. "I can't believe it. Dr. Klein was wrong!"
Lois squeezed his hand and placed a soft kiss on his cheek. It was incredible; Clark was now showing a sense of optimism that she hadn't seen in days.
"Do you think we should tell Dr. Klein that he was wrong?"
"I don't know, Clark. He is the one who has the laser to expose you to red light and the Kryptonite. But it would also seem sort of fishy if you just went in there one day and declared that you have the solution to all of your problems."
"I don't know. I hate not telling him about this. What if I drank the peroxide and then had him perform more tests?"
Lois shrugged her shoulders. For some reason, she wasn't sure if she wanted Dr. Klein to know about the solution to the fertility problem. It would just raise too many questions. Even though she trusted Dr. Klein implicitly, she just didn't like the thought of Clark possibly having to tell Dr. Klein about his true identity.
"I'm not sure, Clark."
Then Dr. Clark jumped in, "If you're not comfortable with it, I'd suggest maybe just telling him about the Kryptonite vaccine. From what Lois and I have seen, her pregnancy is completely normal — no complications at all. There is absolutely no reason why Lois can't go to a regular obstetrician."
Dr. Lois interrupted, "And I do go to a regular obstetrician. So if you don't want to tell your Dr. Klein about the fertility treatment, you really don't have to. We can write down every step of the treatment for you. You just have to follow it exactly and you'll be able to conceive."
"Honey, I think they have a point." Lois looked her husband in the eye. He looked like he wasn't completely convinced that keeping Dr. Klein in the dark was the best thing to do. "Do you really want him asking you any more questions about your girlfriend? What if someone slips him some truth serum…"
"Clark, I'm not kidding. You know it's happened before. What if he tells someone that you are able to reproduce? What kinds of criminals might be looking for your, well, samples? It's better for him to think that you can't have a baby with a human. If I won't be at risk during my pregnancy, I really think it's better for the fewest number of people to know."
Dr. Lois added, "She's right, Clark." She just had to add her opinion even though she wasn't directly involved in their situation as she wrote down the exact instructions for the Kryptonite vaccine and the fertility treatment.
"You're all right," Clark said slowly. "As much as I would love to let Dr. Klein in on the secret, I want to protect my family much more." He kissed Lois on the cheek and pulled her close when he said, "We won't tell him. But I will drink the peroxide and have him 'discover' the Kryptonite vaccine like Dr. Clark did. I'll just tell him I swallowed the Peroxide by accident at a chemical plant."
"I love you," Lois said softly.
"I love you, too, Lois," Clark said just before he leaned down to kiss her.
Dr. Lois and Dr. Clark both felt slightly uncomfortable as they watched their counterparts kiss. The both knew that they had served their purpose in this universe and were ready to return to their own world.
Dr. Lois said, "Wow it's after 1 AM!" She remembered that it had been just before 10 PM when they had arrived in this universe. They'd solved the problem in a very short amount of time.
Dr. Clark said, "Now that everything in this world is fixed, all we have to do now is wait for Mr. Wells to take us back to our own world."
As if on cue, just as Dr. Clark said the name, "Mr. Wells," there was a sharp knock on the front door.
Lois and Clark broke their kiss when they were interrupted by the knock on the door. They had heard what Dr. Lois and Dr. Clark had said and were almost sad to hear that the other couple was ready to leave so soon.
"Are you really sure you want to leave?" Clark asked.
He had so many more questions for his counterpart about being Superman in the alternate universe. Clark wanted to share ideas about crime fighting and disaster prevention. Plus, he really enjoyed having another Superman around to share all of his experiences with. Of course he loved Lois and how she supported him unconditionally, but sometimes it was impossible for her to understand the exact depth of the emotional turmoil that he experienced after a particularly difficult rescue. Talking to another Superman was really therapeutic for him.
Dr. Lois answered, "It has been wonderful seeing this world and meeting you, but it really is time for us to get back."
Even though they were sure that Mr. Wells was the man knocking on their door at this time of night, both Clarks used their x-ray vision to see their visitor before they opened the door. As they expected, a dapper gentleman dressed in old-fashioned clothes was waiting for them on the other side of the door.
Clark quickly opened the door and ushered Wells in.
"Oh, indeed, I see that I have arrived at the right time. So you have shared your secrets?"
Lois answered, "Yes, Mr. Wells. They are incredible. Thank you so much for bringing them to help us." Then she found herself hugging the small man.
Wells was surprised, but he found himself hugging her back. "Indeed, so now you have a Kryptonite vaccine and know how to have a baby?"
Dr. Lois said, "Just follow the instructions exactly, and I promise that you will be able to conceive a baby."
Then Dr. Clark turned to Mr. Wells and said, "I think we should be leaving. It's late and we're all getting tired. We don't want to bother our hosts any longer."
"Bother us?" Clark said with a hint of surprise. "No, no, you could never be bothering us. We'd love to talk to you longer."
Then Lois yawned loudly, involuntarily contradicting what her husband had said. It had been a long day with so many emotional peaks and valleys and she was both physically and emotionally exhausted. But like her husband, she wanted to spend more time with their counterparts from the alternate universe.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Kent, but I think Dr. Kent is right. We should be getting back to the alternate world. Indeed, it might not be good for Dr. Lane's baby for her to gain so many hours in this world."
With Mr. Wells's comment about their unborn baby, Dr. Lois and Dr. Clark were anxious to leave. They knew that it couldn't be too dangerous for the baby because they had only been gone a few hours, but they didn't want to take any chances. Mr. Wells was an experienced time and dimensional traveler, so they trusted him to decide what was safe and what wasn't. The last thing they ever wanted to do was put their baby in danger even if it put an early end to their incredible adventure.
Before Dr. Lois or Dr. Clark could say anything, Lois tried to speak. She was so grateful for everything that they had done and that they had decided to share it with her. "Thank you. I owe you more than I can put into words," Lois said as she hugged first Dr. Lois then Dr. Clark.
Clark hugged Dr. Lois and shook hands with Dr. Clark and then he said, "I can't even tell you how happy you have made me." Then he looked at Mr. Wells and at his wife. "How happy you've all made me."
"It was our pleasure, believe me," Dr. Clark said.
Dr. Lois added, "We got to see another universe and meet the two of you. Believe me, we should be thanking you."
"Indeed," Mr. Wells said. "It was quite our pleasure, Mr. Kent." Then he looked at the Drs. and asked, "Now are you ready to get into your disguises for the dimensional travel?"
"We are NOT wearing disguises, Mr. Wells. We absolutely refuse," Dr. Lois declared.
"But…" Mr. Wells tried to protest.
"I'll fly us to the machine. No one will be able to see us," Dr. Clark declared. "Goodbye, Lois, Clark, hopefully we will be able to meet again!"
"Goodbye!" Dr. Lois called as Dr. Clark grabbed her and Mr. Wells and flew away.
"Thank you!" Lois called after them.
Almost before they realized it, Dr. Lois, Dr. Clark, and Mr. Wells had vanished and were now completely out of sight — even out of Clark's sight. They were gone almost as quickly as they had arrived. Maybe that was the best way for them to leave. It saved the entire group the pain of a drawn out goodbye.
"Wow," was all Lois could say as she closed the door. Today had been a day that was absolutely beyond words.
"I can't believe it," Clark answered. He had the sheets of paper with the detailed explanations of both the Kryptonite vaccine and the fertility treatment in his hands, but he almost couldn't believe what he was holding.
So much had happened today that neither could find the words to talk about it yet. They had gone from a pit of depression when they had found out the results of Dr. Klein's fertility tests to a feeling of optimism from first seeing their own child from the future and then finally finding out how to conceive a child of their own. They both felt a huge weight being lifted off their shoulders both because now Clark would be immune to Kryptonite and they would be able to conceive a baby of their own.
As the couple walked slowly up the stairs, Lois said, "Honey, you know, I'm glad Mr. Wells didn't tell us when our baby will be born."
"Really? Are you sure? Am I talking to Lois Lane, the woman who hates to be surprised?"
Lois chose to ignore his last comment and said, "Yeah, I think I realized something very important. Some of the best moments in life come completely unplanned. I think in order to lead a happy life we need to have that element of surprise. If we knew when everything was going to happen, it would rob us of something incredible."
"Mr. Wells was right. If we were to know too much about our future, we would miss out on some of the best moments in our lives that are to come."
"And, honey, we have so many incredible moments ahead of us," Lois said as they reached the top of the stairs.
And she was right.
Author's note: Many, many thanks to my incredible BR, Tricia. Her comments were absolutely invaluable and she really helped me make this story what it is today. I also wanted to include a disclaimer that although I do know a lot about the human body, I know absolutely nothing about the Kryptonian body so everything medical in this story is an absolute fabrication off the top of my head. And I certainly don't advise drinking Hydrogen Peroxide <g>.