By Alicia U. <email@example.com>
Submitted: November 2003
Summary: In this sequel to "Medical Miracles," Lois and Clark seek proof that medical treatments for two of their greatest problems, offered to them by their counterparts in an alternate universe, will work.
Lois Lane stretched languidly, fighting against the powers trying to pull her from the depths of her peaceful sleep. She didn't want to open her eyes just yet; she would have to leave the warm, comfortable, wonderful nest of Clark's large, warm body.
At this moment, nestled in her husband's muscular arms, her life was perfect. Nothing in the world could tear them apart. She could stay like this forever.
But not if she couldn't stay asleep.
Stupid sun! Stupid daytime! Stupid circadian rhythms!
She couldn't fight it; she was awake.
Her eyes immediately fell upon her peacefully sleeping husband. He looked so innocent, so beautiful. She could watch him sleep for hours.
Without even knowing what she was doing, her hand softly stroked his face. She leaned down to plant a soft, chaste kiss on his lips. Resting her head against his smooth chest, she listened to the rhythmic, melodic beating of his heart.
As the steady heartbeat lulled her back to sleep, Lois's mind drifted.
Yesterday had been a turning point in their lives, driving them through the gamut of emotions and swirling them along the path of the unbelievable and the utterly unexpected.
Initially, all their hopes and dreams had been shattered when Dr. Klein had informed Clark that he would never be able to father a child with a human woman. The tests had confirmed the vast differences between his alien physiology and human physiology that couldn't be rectified. It was something Clark had feared all his life.
He was different. He *wasn't* a real man. He truly was the last son of Krypton. He would never have a true blood relative.
Poor Clark had been absolutely crushed. For Lois's part, she had been equally devastated. Of course she was upset on Clark's behalf; she had always known how much Clark wanted children, and she longed to give them to him.
But that wasn't the only reason.
She hadn't realized how much it would hurt. Her heart was being ripped from her chest.
She had never seriously considered having children, but she had always assumed it would be a possibility somewhere down the line if she so chose.
Sure, she didn't want children at the moment, but she did want them eventually. And now every possibility of her having a baby with the man she loved had vanished. It felt almost like she had been robbed of something she never really had, but wanted ever so desperately. A child would complete their lives.
Lois and Clark had made a pitiful pair yesterday, both so absorbed in their raw shock, neither willing to consider any alternate possibilities. They had lost something precious, and would never be able to get it back. In a matter of hours, they had sunk into a pit of depression with no light at the end of the tunnel.
Then there came a soft knock on their front door. That fateful knock had changed their entire outlook on life forever.
HG Wells had shown up on their doorstep with … a baby — their baby from the future.
Almost more unbelievably, he had told them that he knew someone who could help them conceive the baby he held in his arms.
Lois wasn't sure why she had believed him almost immediately. The moment she had seen the baby in the old man's arms, she had known it was hers. An almost magnetic force had pulled her to the baby.
Could it have been a mother's instinct?
All she knew was she would sacrifice anything to protect that little baby at all costs.
Clark had taken a little longer to convince. It was to be expected. He had been so horribly wounded by the knowledge that he was the one who would prevent them from having children that he didn't want to surrender to a glimpse of hope just to be shattered again. When he had realized that it truly was his future child, his eyes had lit up with a euphoria that made Lois's heart practically melt. It was like Clark's soul had been awakened and he was willing to take on their fertility problem with rekindled hope, knowledge that he could fix what had once been thought impossible.
Wells had told them that he knew a Lois and Clark from an alternate universe that would be able to help them conceive their child. Lois actually wasn't at all surprised that there was another alternate universe in existence, but she was shocked at the career path her counterpart had chosen. This alternate couple had chosen to go into medical research instead of journalism. Lois had trouble imagining what could possibly possess a Lois Lane of any universe to go into something like science instead of investigative journalism. Ever since she was a child, the thrill of the adventure of solving a mystery had captivated her and she had always known that she wanted to solve them for a living.
It had taken a while for Lois to get over the shock of learning that an alternate version of herself wasn't a reporter. Even by the time Mr. Wells had returned with their doctor counterparts, Lois still hadn't accepted that any version of Lois Lane could be anything other than a reporter. Needless to say, the two Loises hadn't gotten off on a good foot. In fact, they had tried to provoke each other. When the Clarks had heard a report of an earthquake in South America, they were both extremely leery of leaving the Loises alone together. However, after a time, they had realized that they had more in common than either could have ever imagined.
Sometimes being stuck together in an enclosed space did wonders. They either had to kill each other, which, honestly, almost happened, or talk to each other. Thank goodness they had taken the initiative to get to know each other before they killed each other. It turned out that they were more alike than they realized.
By the time the two Clarks had returned, the two Loises were acting like long-lost friends. Dr. Lois had become Lois's new best friend, for she had given Lois the greatest possible gift, a medical miracle. Dr. Lois and Dr. Clark had discovered not only a solution for their fertility trouble but, even more importantly, a vaccine for kryptonite poisoning.
Clark would be immune to kryptonite! Was it too good to be true?
No matter what, they needed to try the vaccine. Even if it didn't work, they had to at least try it. She had unwavering faith that it would work. It had to.
It would work because it had to work; it was that simple.
Lois was willing to try almost anything to protect the man she loved. Now that she had the cure for kryptonite poisoning so close, she didn't want him to wait to try it. She would try anything to preserve his health so he would be with her for the rest of her life.
As she gazed at her husband's sleeping form, her heart was filled with a sense of love that warmed her soul. She wasn't sure how she had lived before she'd met him. He completed her in ways she could have never imagined.
When he slept, his face took on an almost angelic expression. He was the strongest man in the world, yet when he slept he appeared so vulnerable.
And that was why he needed to try the vaccine as soon as possible.
She wanted to eliminate any vulnerability. It would comfort her whenever he was away, knowing he was immune from the one thing that had hurt him so many times — the one thing that could kill him.
"Mmmm, good morning, honey," Clark whispered, interrupting her thoughts. He reached out to her and pulled her close.
"You're feeling better today." She grinned at him, her spirits enlivened when she saw the lighthearted look in his eyes and the grin on his face. The burden he had carried yesterday seemed like it had completely dissolved and he was filled with his usual optimism for the world.
He grinned at her, wanting to come up with a witty remark, but nothing he could say could cover everything he was feeling. Instead, he reached up and cupped her face with his hand and brought his lips to hers in a deep, heartfelt kiss.
A passionate kiss could express so much more than words ever could.
"Mmm, you *are* feeling better today!" Lois exclaimed when the kiss finally ended.
"I still can't believe everything that happened yesterday. It seems almost like a dream."
Now was the time to discuss the kryptonite vaccine! Lois reached out to the dresser on her side of the bed and grabbed the notebook. "It's real, honey."
She was actually more excited about the kryptonite vaccine than about the fact that they would be able to have children some day. The vaccine was immediate while the thought of having kids was so far in the future that she didn't want to think about it.
"I still can't believe it. We're going to be able to have children."
Lois said simultaneously, "There's a kryptonite vaccine."
Clark grinned and said, "That's right! And the kryptonite vaccine!"
Lois glanced at the notebook with the chemical formulas and, more importantly, the exact formula to follow to make Clark immune to kryptonite.
"Get up; we have to go to the store to get the peroxide for you to drink."
Lois wasn't wasting any time.
"Do we have to do it now?" Clark ran a hand down her side. "It's sooo comfortable here like this. Can't we just stay here … alone, together. We haven't been alone since …"
"Oh. Right, but that seems like it was so long ago. So much has happened since then."
"Exactly, and that's the reason we have to get up."
"Thirty more minutes? That's all we'll need."
"Clark! We have to do it now! What if in thirty minutes, someone has kryptonite. Don't look at me. It has happened before!" Her voice softened. "I don't want anything to happen to you. I love you too much to ever think of losing you — especially when I know we can stop your biggest threat."
"I love you, too, Lois. Let's do it."
Lois tugged at his arm. "Come on, let's get up."
"But it's so comfy here." He grabbed her hand and put it to his lips and placed a soft, gentle kiss on each of her slender fingers. It could wait a little longer. Right now, he wanted to relax in bed with his wife. Peroxide was always available. Lois wasn't.
"Clark! I promise, after you drink the peroxide, and we can prove it works, we can spend the rest of the day here. Heck, we can spend the next thirty days here!"
Clark grinned at her. "Is that a promise?"
Lois nodded slowly.
He quickly sat up in bed and took the paper from her hand. As he speed-read the instructions, his face looked pained. "Lois, you want me to take some random vaccine before we even have Dr. Klein look at it."
"I thought we agreed that you were going to take it."
"I guess I'm just having second thoughts." Like thoughts about some of the strange side effects other trials had given him. The reward was monumental, but could he stand the trials he would have to endure to get there?
Plus, what if it didn't work?
"Don't you trust our alternate selves?" Lois didn't understand what he could be thinking. This seemed like the ideal situation.
"Of course I trust them." He backpedaled.
"Please take it, Clark. I don't want to imagine what could happen if …"
"Nothing is going to happen …"
"But now that we have the vaccine, I don't want to think about what would happen if someone came after you with kryptonite and you hadn't taken the vaccine yet and it's in our hands."
"Okay, honey, I'll do it. But what if something happens with the vaccine?"
"What do you mean?"
"Side effects. Like what if it makes me grow antlers or something?"
He shrugged. It didn't hurt to cover all his angles. Those TV commercials for different, new medicines really scared him even though he couldn't even take them. For most, he had no idea what the medicine cured, but he definitely knew all of their possible side effects — and none of them sounded the slightest bit pleasant! Who was to say that this vaccine wouldn't do the same thing?
Lois continued, "Thankfully, it's the weekend. I guess you're lucky we don't have to go to work today or tomorrow if you're so worried about funny side effects. But don't you think Dr. Clark would have warned us?"
"Come on, let's get dressed and go to the drug store and get some peroxide, then you can drink it and be immune from kryptonite poisoning forever."
Since Clark was the one who was actually going to be drinking this vaccine, he wanted to be sure he had it completely right. "How much peroxide? What concentration? What if we get it wrong?"
Lois reached out to get the sheet of paper to see the formula. "Commercial grade; a gallon, almost 4 liters, should work."
"We're just going to run to the drug store to get a gallon of peroxide? Won't people look at us a little funny? What would normal people be doing with nine bottles of peroxide?"
"Who cares?" was her first response. Then she offered another suggestion. "We could go to several drug stores. But who really cares? So what if people look at us like we're crazy? How often does that happen anyway? We should be used to it. And, really, a gallon of peroxide is nothing compared to some of the other stuff we've done."
"That's true." Clark nodded. It did happen quite often. They often did things that made the rest of the world look at them like they were insane. "Okay, let's do it." He really was excited about the vaccine, but he didn't want to get his hopes up in case it didn't work as planned.
Lois squeezed his hand reassuringly and said, "Let's go," as she led him out the door.
About an hour later, Lois and Clark returned home with eight large, brown, 500 milliliter bottles of peroxide. Lois pulled the first bottle out of the bag from Walgreen's and handed it to her reluctant husband. "Are you ready?"
Clark looked at the bottle quizzically. "Is *it* ready? Do we have to do anything to it or do I just drink it?"
What if it didn't work? What if he was drinking a gallon of peroxide for nothing? What if he and his alternate self had a different reaction?
Failure would be devastating.
He just didn't want to expect too much only to be crushed in the end.
"Of course it's ready." Lois couldn't understand his hesitation. He had seen the same instructions as she had. All he had to do was drink it! In her mind, this was the most amazing thing that had ever happened to them. She opened the top for him and raised his hand towards his mouth. "Just drink it already!"
He gazed into the bottle and made a horrified face. "That looks disgusting!"
"Clark! You can do it! How hard can it be?" He was stalling!
He made a show of plugging his nose and taking a first sip.
"I know I *can* drink it, honey." He made a horrified face as he tried to take the second sip. "That doesn't mean I have to like it."
"Clark, you swallow more disgusting things than peroxide on a daily basis."
"Well, yeah, but I'm usually too caught up in the moment to notice their taste."
Lois groaned loudly. "Can't you just do the same thing here? Just chug it! Don't you remember college?"
"Honey, this isn't the same. What if it doesn't work correctly if I just chug it?"
"Good point. I'm no scientist, so I have no idea how the body responds." Lois wanted to pull her hair out. Why was he making this such a production? She handed him the second bottle.
"Okay, one more sip. I can do it." He tilted the bottle and poured the cold, fizzy peroxide liquid into his waiting mouth.
"See, that wasn't too hard." Clark had been acting like drinking that peroxide had been the hardest thing he ever had to do. Maybe it was. He'd tried several potential kryptonite vaccines in the past and all had caused adverse reactions. Maybe he was just being overly cautious and his weird reaction was a defense mechanism.
Lois tried to reassure him by kissing him, but he pulled away quickly. "Lois! Don't kiss me! I still have peroxide on my lips!"
"Yes, you do! And now you might be immune to kryptonite." She stared at him, trying to see if she noticed any side effects. "Are you feeling okay?"
Clark waited a second for the peroxide to firmly settle in his stomach, burped softly, and said, "I think … I think I'm okay. Nothing … yet. I don't feel any different … yet."
"It worked!" Lois exclaimed. Who would have ever thought a simple, widely available chemical like hydrogen peroxide, simple H2O2, would be the missing link between Superman and kryptonite! It was so simple, yet so ingenious. She owed Dr. Lois and Dr. Clark her life. "I'm sure it worked." Yes, she was being optimistic and making assumptions, but she desperately wanted to believe that it had worked.
"We don't know that yet!" He was being cautious. As much as he desperately wanted this cure to work, he couldn't let his mind accept it. What if it didn't work? He didn't want to face that kind of disappointment. It would hurt him so profoundly; he wasn't sure how he would deal with it.
"Then we have to see Dr. Klein."
"Why?" Clark never wanted to see him again after yesterday. That man …
"To test the vaccine," she said matter-of-factly. "You *need* to test it." Lois needed to know the results as soon as possible. The waiting might kill her!
"Test it? You want me to be exposed to kryptonite voluntarily?" What if it didn't work?
"Clark, how will we know if it worked or not if you don't test it?"
"Well … I just don't like the idea …"
"Clark! Don't you trust Dr. Lois and Dr. Clark?" She rubbed his leg in a comforting manner. "And even if you don't, we need to test this in a controlled environment. I don't want you out on the street in god knows where when some crazy person comes up to you with a stolen piece of kryptonite to be the first time you test it! You need to see if it really works like we think it does, to see if it has any limitations. The only person in this universe that can do it is Dr. Klein."
Of course he trusted Dr. Lois and Dr. Clark implicitly. Actually, he trusted this alternate version of himself so much more than the Clark from the first alternate dimension, probably because Dr. Clark had *his* Lois and wasn't competition. Yes, he believed Dr. Clark about the vaccine, that it had worked on Dr. Clark. Who was to say it would work on Reporter Clark?
Clark took a deep, shuddering breath. "What if it doesn't work? What are we going to do?"
"What do you mean, what if it doesn't work? It's going to work."
"How do you *know* that, Lois?"
Lois took a deep breath before she said, "I don't *know*. No one *knows*. But I *believe* it will work because I *trust* our friends. Why would they tell us something that doesn't work?"
"Clark! I need to believe it will work. It's the one thing that keeps me going."
"But what if I am convinced that it will work, and it doesn't? It's happened too many times. For so many reasons, I really want this one to work. I am so set on it working … what if it doesn't? It will break my heart."
Clark took a shuddering breath. There. It was out in the open now.
Lois hugged her husband tightly. So that was his problem. He didn't want to believe it would work because he wanted to avoid the hurt that was bound to overtake him if it failed. She wasn't sure what to say to him; she couldn't argue with his logic. It was a good point.
"But you can't think like that. If you expect the worst, it's bound to happen."
Clark took a deep breath. Even though he didn't want to believe it would work, he knew there was a possibility it could work. And that meant they had to test it. She was right. It was far better to test it in a controlled environment than to take his chances on the street.
"Fine. How are we going to tell Dr. Klein about this?" He changed the subject abruptly on purpose; he didn't want to further the discussion about his fears since he already felt vulnerable enough.
Lois was surprised at his abrupt acquiescence, but she wasn't going to protest. She decided to face the other problem at hand. "What do we really need to tell Dr. Klein? We could just tell him the story Dr. Clark told us about how he discovered the vaccine."
"That I somehow ended up drinking a liter of peroxide?"
Lois shrugged. "Well, yeah. Tell him you were putting out a fire at the peroxide factory and you swallowed it by accident."
"And where is this peroxide factory? Do peroxide factories even exist?" Clark hated lying. He was so bad at it; he needed to have a concrete story to work from. They needed to cover all the angles flawlessly.
"I don't know. Just say it was at a chemical factory. Be as general as possible. The only important part is that you drank the peroxide and then you were exposed to kryptonite without any effects and that you want to test it to see what happened. Maybe even let him figure it out himself. He would love it. It would probably make his day, no, his life!"
"I wish you could come with me," he said simply. Without her with him in Dr. Klein's office, he would probably mess up the story. They were the perfect team, complementing each other's strengths and compensating for the other's weaknesses.
Lois smiled and placed a soft kiss on his cheek. "I really wish I could come with you, but …"
"You can't come because we don't want him to know about me yet, especially after the …"
"Fertility tests," Lois finished. As much as she respected Dr. Klein and loved him for everything he did for Superman, she knew they couldn't let him in on their secret at this point. Maybe they would tell him eventually, but not now.
"But, honey, I'm a terrible liar." Clark sighed deeply. Without Lois with him, how was he going to explain this situation to Dr. Klein?
Lois's jaw dropped. What was he talking about? "No, you're not. You fooled me for two whole years."
"I am so sorry, Lois. I wanted to tell you, really, I did, but …"
"Let's not go down that road again." Lois sighed. She was the one who had brought up the subject. How stupid of her.
Clark nodded. Over the years, they'd had this discussion thousands of times and they'd hashed and rehashed everything they had done so many times and had completely worked through it. "What should I do? I can't keep lying to him. He grilled me hard enough about the fertility tests. I almost cracked."
"If you want him to answer your questions, you're going to have to tell him something."
"What about the truth?"
"The whole truth? That a Superman from an alternate dimension came to give you a kryptonite vaccine? Do you really think he'd believe you, or would he think you're completely off your rocker?"
"Okay, maybe not that much."
"Just be as general as possible. Really, I'm serious; say it happened when you were at a chemical plant. He can't ask too many questions there."
Clark nodded slowly. She was right. He couldn't tell Dr. Klein the truth. The poor doctor would think he was insane … or even more insane than usual. "Okay."
Lois continued, "Maybe since you discovered the kryptonite vaccine accidentally, we can have him try to figure out the fertility treatment on his own."
"How do we know he'll make the connection?"
"We'll just have to take that chance." She shrugged. "And give him a lot of hints. I know Dr. Lois said it would be okay for me to see a regular obstetrician, but I want to have confirmation from Dr. Klein that the treatment works."
"And I'm not comfortable having him know the truth yet."
"He'd be just one more person that knows when he really doesn't have any need to. I mean, more criminals seem to be investing in truth serum these days than ever before. What happens if someone associates Dr. Klein with Superman?"
Clark laughed slightly. "Dr. Klein isn't known for having a high resistance to torture."
"Okay, so we're agreed. We're not going to tell Dr. Klein the secret yet."
"No, absolutely not. He has been really good for us — helped me with so many problems — but it just isn't essential at this point."
Lois squeezed her husband's hand. Then she tried to lighten the mood, "Yeah, and he might do something crazy like try to publish a paper on the whole thing. I can see it now! The cover of 'Science' would read something like Quantitative Variations in the Use of Red Light and Marinara Sauce by Bernard Klein."
Clark shuddered involuntarily at the thought. "We're not telling him. Even though I think he knows better than that, I wouldn't put it past him!"
"No, we won't tell him." Lois pulled on his hand and dragged him towards the door. "But you *are* going to see him about the kryptonite vaccine."
Clark tried to stall one more time. "But it's Saturday. How can we be sure he'll even be there?"
"Clark! This is Dr. Klein we're talking about. Those weird scientist people are *always* in their labs, even on weekends. How many times have we gone to him for help with a story late at night or on weekends? He's always there. I think he might live there!"
"Okay, you're right." He sighed deeply. "I guess I have to go."
Lois kissed him gently. "That's right, Clark. You do." Off his unsure expression, she felt compelled to say, "It's going to work. Don't worry!"
Even though Clark wasn't so optimistic, he put on a smile for his wife's benefit.
Lois added, "Hurry home! I'll be waiting," as she kissed him softly and then practically pushed him out the door. Her heart thumped in her chest.
It was going to work. It had to.
Dr. Klein was a brilliant scientist. With enough subtle hints, he would figure out the vaccine and fertility solution on his own.
Bernard Klein's office was a familiar place, indeed. Superman had been there so many times over the past two years, it almost seemed like a second home. However, right now, it seemed almost foreboding, unwelcoming. This small, sterile laboratory was the last place Clark wanted to be.
He paced around uncomfortably, waiting for the scientist to arrive. Of course Dr. Klein was there on a Saturday afternoon. Lois was right. He probably lived there. Was there ever a time when he ventured to S.T.A.R. Labs that Dr. Klein wasn't either in his office or in his lab?
In fact, no matter what time of day or night, S.T.A.R. Labs was always a bustling place. Lois had been right; scientists apparently never left their work!
Before Clark had totally straightened his thoughts and prepared himself to see Dr. Klein again, the door swung open and the short, bald man in a long white lab coat hurried into the lab.
Clark was face to face with the man who had hurt him so profoundly yesterday.
"Dr. Klein," he said stiffly.
"Oh, Superman. Good to see you!"
He didn't have the time or the energy for a social conversation. "I need to tell you something about … " Oh no! He was tongue-tied! Why now? See, this was why he needed Lois! "Well, about, I guess …"
"What is it, Superman?"
That was rude! Clark wanted to leave right there and never come back. Too bad he had promised Lois that he would test the vaccine. "Okay, Dr. Klein. This morning, I was putting out a fire at a chemical plant in …" Shoot! Where was the chemical plant? "Egypt." Where did that come from? Okay, he would go with it. "And there was an accident where I swallowed some chemicals. I think it was a large vat of hydrogen peroxide. Maybe a liter or so."
"Okay." Dr. Klein listened in rapt attention, mentally picturing everything Superman said. He wasn't sure what Superman was getting at, but he was sure it was something important.
"But the person who set the fire had kryptonite. And it didn't hurt me." God, this sounded so lame. No one would ever believe this cock and bull story! He was so bad at lying! Look at who he was trying to lie to! Dr. Klein was the one person in the world that would believe this insane story.
"You're kidding!" Dr. Klein's mind was already working to determine any possible correlation between peroxide and kryptonite. How on earth? What kind of experiments could he perform? Where there any other variables? "How amazing. Are you sure it was kryptonite, Superman?"
"Oh, I'm sure."
"Really. Quite perplexing. Hydrogen peroxide, you say?"
Clark nodded. "I was wondering if it was a fluke or if there's something about the peroxide that somehow does something to make me immune to kryptonite." He knew he sounded vague, but he was shocked that Dr. Klein had bought the Egypt part of the story. Could he have come up with a more random country?
"Fascinating! Peroxide is such a simple chemical, two hydrogen molecules bonded to two oxygen molecules, molecular weight 34.822. Typically used in bleaching agents and semiconductor etching. It's a very strong oxidizing agent that is very unstable, producing nascent oxygen."
"Dr. Klein, please."
"Oh, sorry, Superman. I was just thinking out loud."
Clark took a deep breath. As uncomfortable as it was, he had to do it. "I want to see if it was just a fluke, so I was wondering if you could get kryptonite and expose me to it."
Dr. Klein took a step back, startled. "Good idea, Superman. Once we know if it does work, I can try to determine its mechanism of action."
"Okay, let's do it." Clark wasn't sure what was going to happen, but he was prepared for anything. He wasn't putting any faith in this so-called vaccine, but he needed to try it, if only to satisfy Lois. No, he needed to know, too. It wasn't just Lois.
"Okay. Superman." He walked over to the special vault and made a show of deliberately entering all of the security codes.
And then …
Clark inhaled sharply. There it was. Kryptonite. His arch nemesis. The one thing that could kill him. And he was standing right before it. Now he was holding it. And …
Nothing. It didn't hurt. He felt normal.
Oh, god, he felt fine!
"Superman, Superman, what's happening?"
Clark looked at Dr. Klein and grinned. "Nothing."
"Absolutely nothing! It's amazing." He shook the kryptonite in his hand. "I'm holding kryptonite!"
Amazing. Wonderful. Exhilarating. He had challenged his biggest enemy and had won! Incredible.
He was holding kryptonite in the palm of his hand. And it didn't hurt. Nothing hurt. He felt fine!
If only Lois were here to experience this with him. It seemed sort of cheapened not being able to share this moment with his wife, the one person that meant the most to him in the world.
Defeating kryptonite gave him such a high. Endorphins shot through his body, enhancing one of the most exhilarating feelings of his life. His emotions raced with excitement, but his happiness was somewhat dampened without Lois experiencing it along with him.
"Fascinating!" Dr. Klein exclaimed, stroking his chin thoughtfully.
"I guess it worked." Clark shrugged, not knowing the words to express his strong emotions. He didn't want to say anything else because he knew that he would bring Lois into the conversation.
"But how? What property of peroxide could possibly inhibit sensitivity to kryptonite radiation? It can't emit a counter radiation …?"
"Dr. Klein?" Clark interrupted.
"Superman, what? Is something wrong?"
Clark couldn't help but roll his eyes at the scientist's hyper-excitability. He had just wanted to stop the inevitable long dissertation on the possibilities of how the peroxide worked. It might last hours. Usually, Clark found it somewhat interesting, if a little annoying, but today, he needed to get home to tell Lois about what had happened.
"No, I'm fine." When Dr. Klein looked at him skeptically, Clark said, "Really. I was just wondering if I should give you a sample or something? Maybe you could compare it to one of the samples you have on file for me."
Clark shrugged like he had no idea if his suggestion was good or not. He was the king of subtle hints. If there was a prize for subtlety, Clark Kent would definitely win. He was awesome.
The exuberance that had overtaken Clark at realizing the vaccine had worked was making him too excited. He needed to control himself or he might let something slip.
The vaccine had worked! It was a huge weight off his shoulders. He wanted to tell Dr. Klein that he already knew how it worked; he wanted to tell Dr. Klein about the fertility treatment.
But he couldn't.
Lois was right, they needed Dr. Klein to figure this out on his own — they just needed to lead the scientist down the right path. It would not only confirm the research that their doctor counterparts had done, but it would protect the secret in turn.
"Oh, right, Superman. I'll need some samples to compare to the already catalogued data. I'm really glad we started the project of cataloguing your every bodily function."
Clark had been a little skeptical of this project in the beginning because he had been worried about the consequences of the criminal element gaining access to the database, but now he was beginning to understand its benefits.
"Come on, Dr. Klein. Let's get those samples."
A few minutes later, back in the lab, Dr. Klein speculated about the cause of the inhibition of kryptonite's effects.
Clark listened calmly, although he realized that Dr. Klein hadn't even come close to the solution the alternate Lois and Clark had proposed. Maybe the scientist would need a little more prodding in the right direction.
Well, Clark wouldn't interfere unless he noticed that Dr. Klein was so far off there was no hope of reaching the right solution.
But to do that, Clark would have to leave and let Dr. Klein work by himself. Clark wouldn't be able to fight the urge to interfere if he kept watching the scientist falter!
"When do you think you'll know something?"
Dr. Klein stopped mid-sentence, Superman's voice drawing him back to reality. "I, uh, I don't know. Are you going to wait here?"
Clark raised his eyebrows. "Well, no, I wasn't planning to. I have, um, rescues and stuff."
"Oh, right. But how would I contact you when I get the results?"
"I can come back tomorrow. Do you think that will give you enough time?"
Dr. Klein scrunched his face in thought. "I don't know, Superman. Research is a very fickle process …"
"So you're saying you're not sure when you'll know," Clark interjected.
"Okay, when you find something, anything, leave a message with Lois Lane or Clark Kent. They can get a hold of me easily."
"Okay, Superman." Dr. Klein turned around to his research and didn't notice when Superman flew away.
After Clark left Dr. Klein's office, he flew home as quickly as he could. He was bursting with excitement, dying to share his news with Lois. She was probably waiting on pins and needles.
Lois was probably more nervous than he had been.
She had believed the vaccine would work. If it hadn't worked, she might have been devastated. Since she had been so optimistic, a negative result would have crushed her.
He flew through the bedroom window and landed softly, exclaiming, "Lois!"
Lois appeared at the door almost instantly. She ran up to him, and wrapped her hands around his back. "Clark, what happened? Did it work? You're flying. It must have worked! Or maybe you didn't do it. What happened?"
"It worked," he said simply. Then he elaborated, "I held kryptonite in the palm of my hand." He picked her up and spun around. "And I'm fine!"
"It worked? Oh my god! It worked!" Lois felt the anxiety lift from her chest. She could breathe. It was amazing. Clark had held kryptonite in his hand and he was fine. He was immune! That meant …
Clark set Lois down and grinned at her. "They were right!"
"Oh my god! They were right!"
Lois pulled his head down to hers and gently touched her lips to his. She let the anxiety and tension flow from her body into the kiss.
She pulled away and dared to voice their mutual unspoken thought. "Then maybe the fertility treatment will work, too."
Clark sighed and said, "Now I'm more confident to try." He was filled with a new sense of optimism that he hadn't dare surrender to for so long. But now, it looked like things were beginning to fall his way. If the kryptonite vaccine worked, maybe it was natural that the fertility treatment would follow.
Lois tugged Clark's hand, anxious to get started. "Come on, come on. Let's try it."
"Now?" Clark stopped and gazed at his wife. She looked characteristically determined.
"Yes, now, Clark! You can't be arguing about this again." She grabbed the notebook off the bed and flipped to the page with the fertility treatment. "This isn't even painful! You already drank the peroxide; you were exposed to kryptonite. So now all we have to do is expose you to red light!"
"I thought it was a red laser."
"Oh, it says here that any red light source will work. We can go to Radio Shack and get a few hundred red LEDs."
"LEDs?" Clark gazed at her quizzically.
"I don't know what they are. The other Lois told me to get them at Radio Shack." Lois shrugged. "She said they would work."
"A few hundred? How much will that cost?"
"I don't know. Probably less than a laser. But I'd even be willing to buy a laser if we had to."
"Okay. Let's do it." He took the notebook from her and scanned the instructions. "I thought there was something with pasta sauce involved."
Lois chuckled. "Oh, no, honey. Well, yeah, pasta sauce is important …"
"What do you mean? Is this not complete? Do we not have the right formula?"
"Clark!" Lois put her hand on his chest to stop his downward spiral. "It's an aphrodisiac for you."
Clark grinned. "You know what pasta does to me …"
"So what they meant was that marinara sauce sort of makes us do it more often. Enhances our probability of success because it makes you …"
"Want to try more often." Clark kissed the side of her neck and trailed up towards her lips.
"Mmm-hmm." Lois sighed as his lips moved up her cheek towards her lips.
"That's right," Clark whispered. Then he pulled away suddenly before he reached her lips. "But why does it work?"
Lois shrugged. "There might be some underlying reason why it's an aphrodisiac, but I have no idea. I'm just happy it works."
"Me too," Clark whispered. "Do you want to start practicing?"
"Pasta for dinner tonight?" Lois whispered.
"Mmm-hmm." Clark nodded. "Pasta now?"
"No. Radio Shack now, pasta tonight."
"Really? Can't we have pasta now and Radio Shack later?"
"Clark! Come on! Let's just get this over with so you can go back to Dr. Klein on Monday and have him repeat the fertility tests."
"But you promise we'll go out for pasta after?"
"Let's do it! Radio Shack, here we come."
"Twelve Radio Shacks?" Clark sank down into a chair and sighed. He was shocked that he hadn't been interrupted by any jobs for Superman during their excursion. It was even worse than shoe shopping! He wouldn't have ever believed it, but shopping for weird circuit parts was much worse than shopping for shoes!
"Well, I guess red LEDs aren't as popular as I thought." Lois shrugged.
"Two hundred LEDs. And then we found a light at the twelfth store!"
"Well, now we know LED stands for light emitting diode."
Clark added, "And we found out that we have absolutely no idea what to do with LEDs."
"But we also found exactly what we needed." Lois moved to slide down onto Clark's lap.
He wrapped his arms around her and feathered kisses along her jaw line. "I swear, Lois, there's going to be some kind of tabloid article tomorrow. I can see it now, 'Daily Planet' reporters Lane and Kent go insane buying bottles of peroxide and weird LED things."
"So what. Who cares?"
"Not me." Clark grinned. He turned her head towards him and said, "It's pasta time."
"Mmm, you're right." Lois kissed him on the lips, allowing the passion that had been building up to escape into their soft, tender kiss, a wonderful hint of what was to come.
The next morning, under the bright red glow of Clark's fertility light, Lois opened her eyes. She hadn't been able to sleep all night, anxious that Clark would hear a cry for help and would get sucked into a plot where the person he was helping had kryptonite. Even though she believed the vaccine had worked, there was still a niggling fear in the back of her mind that maybe it hadn't worked.
She slowly turned over to gaze at her husband's sleeping form. But he wasn't sleeping either.
He smiled at her and said, "Good morning, beautiful."
"Good morning yourself, handsome."
"This stupid light kept me up." It wasn't the light that had kept him up all night; it was the knowledge that this was the final step. After this, he would know for sure if he and Lois would be able to have a baby together.
The fertility treatment seemed so simple, yet it was so complicated. His life depended on it.
"I'm sorry, honey," Lois answered, running her hand down his chest. She knew that he wasn't really upset about the light. He had to be worried about the fertility treatment. This was possibly the best or the worst thing that had ever happened to them.
"How long do you think I need to stay exposed to this light?" Instead of talking about his real feelings, he decided to dwell on superficial problems.
"I'm not sure how long you have to spend under this thing. I have no idea what kind of power this thing has." It was just a minor detail. So they hadn't found out the ratio of power to exposure time, big deal.
"I guess I could just stay here all day." He shrugged.
"Don't look at me like that, Clark! It's not that bad. We could play games or something. How long has it been since we've played Scrabble?"
"Lois, didn't we agree never to play Scrabble again? It's on the list of games we can't play."
"Lois, you made the list!"
"Okay, we can play Monopoly."
"I was just kidding. I don't care. Let's play Scrabble, but I am not accepting 'chumpy' this time!"
"Fine! Even though it's a real word even if it's not in the dictionary."
"Fine! We're only accepting words that are in the real Oxford English Dictionary!"
"Fine! And I'm sure chumpy is there! Too bad we don't have a copy of the OED."
"If you say so, Lois."
"Fine! Let's just play."
Instead of answering, Clark grabbed Lois by the waist and pulled her on top of him. Against her squeal of protest, Clark pulled her down on top of him and feathered soft kisses against her face.
Lois reached up and put her hands on his cheeks and stopped his rapid kisses, held his face still and captured his lips with her own. The hungry kiss quickly escalated to involve roaming hands and pleasurable sensations.
"Wait, Clark. We can't go any farther. What if this fertility treatment really does work? We can't do it now. Dr. Klein needs a sample to work with, and if it does work, and we don't use protection. I want the treatment to work, but we aren't ready for a baby now."
Clark sighed and reluctantly let Lois move off him. "You're right." He sighed dejectedly.
As soon as Clark let her go, Lois jumped out of bed, grabbed the game out of the cabinet, and set it up on the bed. She wiggled her eyebrows and said, "Come on, chumpy, are you ready to lose?"
Clark laughed and helped her set up the board. "I wouldn't be so sure of that!"
Halfway through the first game, as Lois stared at the board and her letters, the phone rang.
Their eyes met and then they shifted their gaze to the phone, both thinking the same thing. Could it be Dr. Klein already? What if it was? What could he have found?
Lois lunged for the phone and grabbed it on the second ring, knocking the game board off the bed. "Hello?"
"Uh, Ms. Lane."
"Can you get in contact with Superman and tell him I need to see him?"
Clark grabbed Lois's arm and squeezed it reassuringly. This could either be good or bad. How had he figured this out so quickly? Maybe the difference was really obvious. Or else maybe there was no difference at all.
Lois took a deep breath and answered, "Sure, right away."
After some annoying small talk, Lois hung up and turned to her husband. "Clark! Dr. Klein needs to see you. If it's that fast, he must have found something!"
"I know; I heard!"
"Go!" Lois exclaimed. "Now!"
Clark got out of bed and said, "Okay, I'm leaving. I'll have him repeat the fertility test, too."
"Go!" Lois pushed him towards the window. She didn't want to wait any longer; she wasn't sure if she could take the stress of anticipation any longer.
"Okay, okay, I'm going!"
He turned around and kissed her deeply, praying that Dr. Klein would have good news.
For the second time in two days, Clark flew through the window to Dr. Klein's office at S.T.A.R. Labs. This time he was not nearly as nervous as he had been before. Now he was certain that the vaccine had been successful. It was like a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders.
As soon as Superman landed, Dr. Klein spun around, beaming widely, and exclaimed, "Superman! It's amazing!"
The exuberant scientist continued, "I can't believe I've never noticed this." He turned around and sat down at his computer and loaded a few files, muttering to himself. "Incredible."
"What?" Clark had a feeling that he knew what Dr. Klein was going to say, but he wanted to hear the scientist's explanation, knowing the eccentric scientist could be trying to tell him almost anything from geese mating habits to ion channels in the mammalian retina with the results of the vaccine test somewhere in between.
Dr. Klein turned around to face Superman again. "After you left yesterday, I took your new sample and an old sample we had on file and exposed them both to kryptonite."
Clark raised his eyebrows, encouraging Dr. Klein to continue.
"There was a difference. A major difference," Dr. Klein explained. "Your blood was missing a catalytic component after the peroxide exposure."
Clark raised his eyebrows in what he hoped was a shocked expression. "What kind of catalytic component?"
Dr. Klein didn't even look up and continued, "I can't believe I've never noticed this before!"
"Oh, sorry, Superman. I exposed your recent samples to kryptonite along with your old samples and I saw something amazing. We've always known that your superpowers are inhibited by kryptonite, but I've never known its mechanism of action." He paused and looked at the Superhero. "There's a component in your blood that reacts with kryptonite."
"Really?" Again, he tried the extremely shocked expression. He was such a great actor, he probably deserved an Oscar!
Dr. Klein shook his head. "I can't believe it. Your blood seems very similar to human blood, but it has two different components. There's one enzyme that seems to account for your superpowers."
"Just one enzyme?" Clark pretended to be in shock.
"I believe it's an entire kinetic structure. When light is exposed to your sample, one component, the di-trans-guanyl-amine-cyclase-like component, binds to a light-sensitive enzyme in your blood and causes a conformational change."
Clark nodded. Yes, that was the D+RYS step Dr. Lois and Dr. Clark had described.
"When kryptonite is introduced into the system, it binds to the di-trans-guanyl …"
That seemed like a horrible mouthful of gibberish! "Can we just call it 'D'?"
"Sure, Superman, it binds to the D component and forms a complex that fails to cause the conformational change in the enzyme, thus inhibiting your superpowers and eventually killing you. However, the peroxide binds to the D component and takes the binding spot for kryptonite. Thus, it is still able to bind to the enzyme giving you powers, but not allowing kryptonite to interfere. It's amazing!"
"So you're saying it worked? I'm really immune to kryptonite's effects?" Clark knew he was; Dr. Klein had given him the same explanation as had the alternate Lois and Clark. It worked! It really worked!
"To the best of my knowledge, Superman, I think it worked."
"Really?" Clark couldn't express what he was really thinking because his emotions were so strong. He needed to go home to tell Lois! But he also had to make sure to keep his emotions in check in front of Dr. Klein.
"Yes, really. It's unbelievable that your biochemistry is really so simple. In fact, it's strangely uncanny how simple your superpowers actually are. Besides the one enzyme, I would assume that the rest of your body is virtually human. I hadn't thought to study it so closely before …"
There it was, the invitation to talk to Dr. Klein about repeating the fertility tests. Clark interrupted, "If I am so human, why am I incompatible to have children with a human woman?"
Now it was completely out in the open. Neither was sure how the other would react.
The smile on Dr. Klein's face immediately faded. "I don't know," he said simply. "Initially, the results looked quite promising, but then on my final test, something changed. It was like your … um … sperm …" The poor doctor fidgeted uncomfortably.
Dr. Klein clearly wasn't used to talking about the male reproductive system with a patient, let alone a superhero. That was why he had chosen to go into research instead of clinical medicine!
He continued, "But there is a complex in your sperm that made yours different from a normal man's, and that difference was so great, it made you infertile." Dr. Klein rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Interesting. It is very close to the light sensitive protein in your blood. Maybe …"
"Maybe you can repeat the tests to see if the peroxide had the same effect?"
Dr. Klein nodded. "It was completely unexpected, Superman. All of the other tests I ran, even the genetic tests indicated that you were so similar to a human. Twenty-three pairs of chromosomes, most of the same genes. There was one mutation that seemed to code for the protein that causes your superpowers. I believe if that protein can somehow become inhibited in your sperm, you will be able to have children."
"Really?" Clark's eyes lit up. This was the final test. If this worked, then he and Lois would finally be able to have children. Even though they weren't ready to have children right now, he was desperate to have the knowledge that he was normal, that they would be able to have children when they were ready.
Dr. Klein nodded. "Do you want to try again?"
Clark nodded enthusiastically.
"You know where to go? What to do?"
Blushing, Clark nodded. It was still embarrassing, but he knew he had to do it. "I think I've had enough practice."
Dr. Klein laughed nervously and handed him a small cup. "Okay then, you know what to do. You don't need any … help?"
Clark couldn't help but smile internally at the frightened tone in Dr. Klein's voice. He fleetingly wondered what the scientist would do if Superman had said yes.
Quickly, Clark turned on his heel so Dr. Klein wouldn't see his expression, and headed to the familiar private room.
Dr. Klein interrupted, "You know you can tell me, Superman. Is there a special woman in mind?"
Oh no! Not again! Clark turned around abruptly. Not again! "No." Clark took a deep breath and continued, "Right now, no. It's for my own information. I'm just … curious." He wanted to add 'insanely curious to find out if I can have a baby with my wife, to form a real blood connection with someone, to see that I have a purpose in life'. But he restrained himself quite nicely.
"Superman," Dr. Klein said quizzically, obviously not believing him.
"Really, Dr. Klein. At this point, I am just curious, wondering about my origins and my genetic make up."
"Of course, Dr. Klein. Why would I lie to you?"
"Oh, really? Okay, then. You know where the room is, right? And you don't need any … help?"
Clark adopted his best Superman voice and said, "Yes, Dr. Klein, I know where I'm going, and no, I don't need any help. I'll be back shortly."
A short while later, Clark came back into the lab with a full cup in hand.
"Here you go."
Dr. Klein looked at the cup and then up to its holder. "Okay, Superman."
"How long is this going to take?"
"I only need to repeat the final test." Dr. Klein shrugged. "A few minutes to run the assay."
"Let's do it!"
Clark felt his breath catch in his chest. This was it, the final step in their fertility test quest. He almost dreaded the answer. His emotions were running on overdrive, sending him through the gamut from fear to excitement. How he wished Lois were here with him right now.
They stayed in complete silence as Dr. Klein mixed the sample with several chemicals, stirred the solution, and ran a program on the computer.
"Amazing," the scientist breathed, breaking the almost reverent silence.
Clark's heart was beating faster than he could ever remember. "How does it look, Dr. Klein?"
"It's a miracle. Your sample seems to perfectly mimic that of a normal man. I think if you ever find the right woman …" Dr. Klein stopped and winked. "… You'll be able to have children."
"Are you sure?" Clark couldn't help but let his voice waver slightly. His emotions were too hard to control.
Clark's face broke into a huge smile. He couldn't believe it. "Thank you! I don't … I don't know what to say."
"Oh, Superman." Dr. Klein blushed, not sure what to say. "I'm glad I could help."
Suddenly Clark realized this was the best time for his other nagging question. "What about my child?"
"What about your child? You have a child?"
Gosh, Dr. Klein was certainly nosy today. Okay, every day. "Of course not!" Clark said immediately. "I don't even have a girlfriend yet." He sighed internally, knowing that he had lied. Maybe he hadn't lied! It was true that Clark Kent was happily married to the love of his life, but as far as the world knew, Superman was still single and an eligible bachelor. No, he was kidding himself. It was a lie. "All I'm trying to figure out is if my son or daughter will inherit my superpowers."
"Oh, well …" Dr. Klein ran his hand over his head, contemplating his answer. "Hmm, I'll have to examine this further, but I can't be sure. Since the light conversion enzyme is inhibited upon fertilization, I'm not sure if it can be re-activated or if it is a recessive or dominant gene."
"So in English, Dr. Klein."
"I don't know. It's serendipity, Superman."
"Happening by a happy chance. From the word Serendip, a former name for Sri Lanka, coined by the early English writer Horace Walpole after the fairy tale 'The Three Princes of Serendip' where the heroes made many fortunate discoveries."
"I know what the word means … and it's not even related to this situation." Clark hated snapping at someone who had helped him so much, but it was way off the topic at hand. Although maybe he had a point … Clark was just too excited about everything that had happened to keep his emotions in check.
"Oh. Sorry, I just discovered its derivation and I found it quite interesting." Dr. Klein blushed sheepishly.
Trying to get the subject back on track, Clark said, "So you're saying you don't know."
"I'll need to do further tests after fertilization."
Clark shrugged. "Okay. I was curious. It's just a hypothetical question." It was an important question, but still hypothetical at this point. "Thank you so much for everything." He smiled at the scientist, knowing that he could never convey his gratitude.
"You're welcome, Superman. Any time."
Superman nodded to the scientist and flew out the window without a second thought. His mind was filled with thoughts of Lois. He needed to see her to tell her his good news. She would be overjoyed. It had worked. Their wildest dreams had become reality!
As Clark flew through the window, he found himself exclaiming, "Lois!"
His wife had been sitting on the bed waiting for him. "Clark! Oh my god! You look happy. It worked! I know it worked."
Clark quickly changed into the clothes he had worn earlier and picked Lois up from the bed. "It worked! It *all* worked."
"The fertility tests, too?" Lois didn't want to assume too much. She would be happy with just the kryptonite vaccine.
Clark nodded and proceeded to set her on the bed again and cover her lips with his own, whispering, "Everything."
Lois surrendered to his kiss and allowed her hands to roam over his back and up through his hair, lacing her fingers through the dark, smooth locks.
She pulled away and whispered, "We can have kids?"
Before Clark kissed her again, he whispered, "Right now if we want."
Lois pushed him away abruptly. "Wait."
"What?" Clark pulled back and scowled at the horrified expression on Lois's face.
"You didn't mean that, did you?"
"That we should try to have kids right now." She took a deep breath. "I'm not ready yet. I mean, I am so glad to know that the option is available for us in the future, but …"
Clark put a finger on her lips and finished, "Now that we know it's possible, why rush it?"
"Exactly. We have all the time in the world."
Clark laughed as he said, "Let's wait a little longer until we're ready. Just let it happen naturally, serendipitously."
Lois smiled. Clark understood exactly what she meant. "Happily unexpectedly."
"Exactly." Clark leaned down to kiss her again, this time without any resistance.
Before Clark's lips covered hers completely, Lois said, "I'm still chasing that elusive Pulitzer, Clark. If our alternate doctor counterparts can have a Nobel Prize, we surely deserve a Pulitzer!"
"And we'll get it, honey," Clark promised before he surrendered completely to the feel of her body against his.
A little over a year after they confirmed the kryptonite vaccine and the fertility treatment, Lois and Clark welcomed a new family member into their lives.
The shelf that had held their collective Kerth awards now had a new inhabitant. In the middle of the shelf, the crowning jewel of journalistic excellence glowed out over the entire room. It was beautiful; it wasn't a glistening trophy like the Kerths, but its significance was so much more important. The Pulitzer Prize certificate cast an ethereal glow over the whole room, over Lane and Kent's lives.
But right now, no one cared about the Pulitzer Prize. Its glow was overshadowed by a new glow that had overtaken Lois Lane and Clark Kent. The glow of parenthood.
It was something they had both always wanted, but had never truly expected. A serendipitous occurrence had truly happened when least expected, but when they needed it most.
Clark pushed the door open and escorted his wife and new bundle through the door.
"Welcome home, Jonathan Herbert Kent," Lois whispered, planting a soft kiss on her baby's head.
"I can't believe it!" Clark gazed at his wife and baby and his heart was filled with a deep emotion that he had never felt before. It encompassed his every nerve ending. The pure beauty of everything that had happened was absolutely awe-inspiring.
Even before they could settle into their new life, Clark's head jerked up, superhearing kicking in.
"It's Mr. Wells," he whispered. "At the corner."
"He's here to take Johnny back to our past selves." Lois felt her breath catch in her chest. At the time, it had changed their lives, but right now, she couldn't understand how she had done it.
"Without him, this day would have never happened," Clark whispered.
"We owe him our lives." Lois took a deep breath. She knew she had to find a way to let Mr. Wells take her newborn son back to the past. It would be hard, too hard to imagine, but she had to do it. "Without him, this day would have never happened."
Clark kissed his wife on her forehead and said, "You're right. We owe him more than we can ever give."
Lois cuddled her new son. "I never knew I wanted it, but he's the greatest gift in the world."
Clark wrapped his arms around his family, and said, "It's serendipity."
Soon, their new baby boy would travel to the past to begin the long journey to this point, bringing their lives full circle.
A plan from an outside source had brought them to this point in life, but serendipity would guide them into the future.
Author's note: I must thank several people for the creation of this story. First, Carol Malo, my archive GE for Medical Miracles. In a follow up email telling me she sent the story to the archive to upload, she told me that Dr. Klein might write an article about the whole thing. Thus, the line about Dr. Klein's article about "Quantitative Variations of the Effects of Red Light and Marinara Sauce" belongs only to Carol, and not to me. Also, thank you to my PhD advisor, Dr. J.T. Mortimer, for making me look up the word "serendipity". He's right — it is a very interesting fact to know! (I also know about the Battle of Lepanto because of him!) And, finally, to my trusty beta Tricia who always encourages me whenever I think my story is absolutely awful.