By ML Thompson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: July 2005
Summary: On two different occasions, Clark asks Lois a question that makes her question his sanity.
My thanks to Carol and Gerry for their assistance on this story. As always, they gave me a lot of good tips to make this story better. And thanks to Julie for editing this story for the archives.
Lois Lane was finished breeding. This was the last time she was going to do this! Although, to be honest, she could recall thinking that once before. Still, this was absolutely the last time!
She muffled a scream as the pain hit her again. Her back felt as if someone were trying to snap it in two. She felt Clark's grip on her hand tighten and flinched inside. This was all his fault. She could clearly remember that puppy-dog look on his face when he'd first brought up the subject of a second child. She loved their son, Jon, to death. But the past year had been more than a little challenging.
"They don't call them the terrible twos for nothing," Martha had laughed.
Of course, Martha could laugh about it. After all, her favorite grandson, as Martha liked to call him, was always good as gold whenever his precious grandmother was around. She didn't realize what a handful Jon could be. If ever there were a more curious child, Lois wasn't sure she would want to meet him. And fast… How Jon could get from one mess to another so quickly, Lois was entirely uncertain. When she'd complained to Clark that Jon's flying abilities seemed to have kicked in a little early, Clark had just laughed.
But then, he could laugh. After all, with his powers, he could keep up with Jon.
Clark's voice seemed far away, coming through the fog of pain that surrounded her.
"Short breaths, like we learned in…"
"I know how to breathe, Clark," she snapped back, before putting into practice the breathing technique she'd learned with the birth of their first child. It didn't help much. If only someone could find a way to bottle this pain, it would make a great method of torture. The only reason it wasn't had to be because most torture techniques had probably been invented by men. But then, in this case, the pain she was in was definitely the fault of a man. She turned her head slightly to glare at Clark.
"Come on. You can do it, honey."
Honey. Oh, yeah. He'd called her 'honey' then, too. A weekend in the tropics. Jon spending time with his grandparents. It was Sunday afternoon and Lois had been basking in the afterglow of making love on the deserted beach, the warm sun like a caress on her naked skin. She was just drifting off into a contented sleep when Clark had spoken.
"You know, honey…" Clark's voice had been soft and soothing, lulling her into a false sense of security. "…maybe it's time we started thinking about giving Jon a little brother or sister. So do you want some ice chips?"
Lois' eyes snapped open. The pain had passed, although she knew that was temporary. The contractions were coming more quickly now. She looked into Clark's hopeful eyes as he offered her the ice…
…and scowled. She'd seen that same expression of hope on his face when they'd been on that deserted beach. "Have you lost your mind, Clark?" she had asked in response to his comment about having a second child.
Clark had only smiled. His finger traced a path down her arm. It was a long time before he continued, just as softly. "If Jon does have my powers, it would be great for him to have someone he can talk to about it. Besides…" He propped himself up on an arm so that he could look down into her face. The look of hope in his eyes reminded her of a puppy-dog begging for a cookie. "…wouldn't you like to have another baby? Don't you remember how it felt the first time you held Jon in your arms?"
Her expression had softened as she remembered the wonder of that moment. Still… In spite of all the help Clark gave her, the responsibility of raising Jon seemed to fall primarily on her shoulders. And although she didn't resent it, the thought of having another child to care for…
"I'm not looking for an answer right now," Clark had said, as if anticipating her hesitation. "I'm just saying that maybe we should think about it."
Yep. That had been the day all right. The day that had led to this one where… She couldn't quite stifle the scream when the pain hit this time. She hadn't remembered it hurting quite this much. Drugs! They were in the hospital. Why hadn't she asked for drugs? Was she insane? "I want drugs!" she gasped, releasing Clark's hand so that she could grab onto the front of his hospital frock, pulling him closer to emphasize her demand. "Get me some drugs!"
"It's too late, Lois."
Clark's voice was drowned out by the doctor saying, "It's time. I need you to push."
Lois sat up slightly, pushing with all her might as she grasped Clark's hand once again, digging her fingernails into it as hard as she could. She knew she wasn't hurting him, although at this moment, she couldn't help but wish she was. If she had to go through this, the least he could do was to feel a little pain as well.
"Push, Lois," Clark said, trying to encourage her.
What the hell did he think she was doing — taking the day off to go to a spa? The pain was blinding, encompassing her entire body as she continued to push.
"Come on, Lois. You can do it."
Why did he have to sound so much like a cheerleader, anyway? What did he want her to do — catch the football and win the Stanley Cup or whatever the big prize was called? What was he going to say next? 'Lois. Lois. She's our man. If she can't do it, no one can.' "Argg," she groaned pushing as hard as she could until she finally collapsed back onto the bed.
"You're starting to crown."
'Well, yippee,' thought Lois. 'Just get this thing out of me.'
"Just one more push," said the doctor.
"Come on, Lois. We'll soon be there."
We! What the hell did he mean by 'we?' He was just sitting there, holding her hand and chanting weird things in her ear. Surely with all those superpowers he could do something more. Maybe he could just reach in and rip this thing out of her. It couldn't hurt any more than it did right now. And at least that way would be quick.
Why was he even here, anyway? He'd already done his part. And she could remember his part as if it were yesterday.
"I'll be back in a minute," panted Lois, moving to get off the bed. He put his hand on the other side of her body.
"Why?" he asked.
"Protection. I forgot…"
He began kissing her neck. "Have you thought any more about what we discussed?"
"Huh?" She had no idea where he was going with this.
"About having another child."
"Clark…" She closed her eyes and moaned as he began nibbling at the base of her throat. As tempting as it was to let him continue, this was not a decision she was going to make simply because she was too overcome by passion to take the time to put in her diaphragm. She placed a hand on either side of his head and pulled his mouth away from her neck.
Her heart almost came to a complete stop when she looked into his hopeful eyes. She let out a breath. "You'll take midnight feedings?"
"And change the diapers," he promised, his hand coming up to cross his heart.
She gave her head a slight shake, a smile coming involuntarily to her lips. "Well…"
The optimistic tone she could hear in his voice was her complete undoing. She had to admit, since he'd mentioned the idea when they'd been in the tropics, she'd been thinking about the possibility of another child. It would be nice for Jon to have a sibling. She knew how much having Lucy had meant to her when she had been growing up. She also knew how much Clark wished he had a sibling — someone with whom to share the unique burden that came with being him. And after all, how much more work could it be taking care of two children than it was taking care of one? And at the moment, she hadn't been able remember a single reason why this was not a good idea.
She cried out again as she resumed pushing, suddenly thinking of one very good reason why this was not a good idea. Pain! Total, blinding pain! Pain which encompassed her entire being. Pain which wouldn't end until her insides had been ripped to shreds. Why hadn't she told him that they could only have a second child if he gave birth to it? That might have shut him up permanently.
Lois let her head drop back on the pillow in utter exhaustion as the sound of a child's cries filled her ears.
"Congratulations. You have a healthy son," said the doctor. "Would you like to cut the umbilical cord?"
Lois looked up as Clark finished cutting the umbilical cord and the still screaming infant was taken by the nurse to be weighed and cleaned. After wrapping the child in a soft warm blanket, the nurse handed him to his adoring father.
Why was the nurse giving Lois' child to that man? Didn't she know he was the villain in this piece? He was responsible for all of this. Yet he wasn't the one who had been forced to push something the size of a bowling ball from his body! He'd contributed a moment's pleasure to the creation of this new life. Nothing more! This was her child!
Lois' internal rant suddenly ended and her insides unexpectedly turned to mush when she observed Clark's face as he looked down into the face of his newborn son for the first time.
"Hey there, little guy," Clark said softly. "I'm your daddy." Clark adjusted the newborn easily so that he was cradled in the crook of his arm. Lifting his free hand, he offered a finger to his son. Lois couldn't help but smile as the little guy attempted to wrap his hand around the large finger. "Do you want to meet your mommy?" Clark asked, before moving up towards the head of the bed, his eyes finally meeting Lois'.
The look of love and wonder in his eyes was hypnotizing. She broke eye contact with her husband only when he finally moved close enough to place a small, squirming infant in her arms. She looked down. He was easily the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen — at least since the day she'd given birth to Jon. She traced a finger lightly over the small child's cheek, gently learning every line of the tiny face. Bright eyes actively sought out hers, seeming to give her a look of recognition, before he shut his eyes and drifted off to sleep.
"You were wonderful," said Clark. "I just wish it hadn't been so painful for you."
She looked up at him, tears congregating in the corners of her eyes. "It wasn't so bad, Clark," she said, before looking back with love at her newborn son.
Clark smiled, taking a seat beside her. "You know," Clark said, his voice soft and soothing, "maybe we should think about doing this again someday."
Lois' eyes snapped up to look into his.
"I'm sure the boys would love a little sister."
"Have you lost your mind, Clark?" she asked to which he only smiled.