By Carla Humbert (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Summary: As Lois is about to deliver her baby, she worries that the hospital staff will notice something unusual about it.
Lois lay back on the hospital bed drenched in sweat and took advantage of the few pain-free seconds between contractions. She stared at the ceiling as nurses surrounded her and asked if she needed more ice chips, more cranberry juice, more massaging, everything was offered except the two things she begged for.
"DRUGS!" Lois screamed as the next contraction set in. "Give me drugs!"
"Now, now," the nurse smiled as Lois' nails dug into her hand, "remember Lamaze class, you and your husband agreed to go without the drugs. You want to do this naturally."
"CLARK!" Lois screamed through the pain. "Where is that, that, that MAN who did this to me?"
Lois looked around frantically and only saw generic white lab-coats. All she wanted now was to be through this and to have Clark to help get her through this. She had been panting and sweating for more than three hours and still no sign of Clark. "With my luck he's probably out saving some Romanian orphanage from a mud-slide, or catching a train speeding off a cliff!"
"What was that," a nurse asked. "Who?"
Lois realized what she had said, even through the pain. "I mean, my husband, he is off reporting some tragedy instead of being here. We're reporters, you know."
"I know," was the answer.
"And, I really need drugs!"
"I know, I know," was the tired response.
The contraction ended, the longest one yet. Lois relaxed against the pillows and closed her eyes. Where are you, Clark?
A snap of wind heralded the approach of the strange visitor flying in the window. Superman stood inside the room as everyone reeled in surprise.
"It's Superman!" yelled a nurses' aide as she fainted, taking the tray of medical tools to the floor with her.
"Clean that up!" screamed the head nurse as she dropped Lois' hand to adjust her own hair.
People scattered, picking up debris and dragging the fallen girl from the room.
Superman took advantage of the chaos to kiss Lois. "How are you?"
Lois opened her eyes a bit and shot death rays into her husband, the caped avenger.
"Sorry, I was busy." Superman whispered. "I am so sorry."
"How did you know what room I was in?"
"Darling, I'd know your scream anywhere." Clark smiled, holding her hand.
Lois tensed as another contraction began. "Get it out of me!"
Superman, who could leap tall buildings at a single bound and wrestle nuclear missiles, was helpless as Lois tried to puncture his skin with her fingernails. "Help her!" he pleaded.
"She's not ready yet," the nurse explained. "She has to be dilated to ten centimeters before she can start pushing."
Clark nodded, he knew all of this from the childbirth classes, but he felt so helpless as the woman he most adored was crying out in pain. He held her hand as tightly as he dared and bent to whisper in her ear. "I love you, Sweetheart, you can do this!"
"Why are you in the outfit?" Lois asked between panting.
"I had to come straight from work," he smiled.
"You couldn't take three seconds to change?" Lois asked, teeth clenched against agony. "What were you doing?"
Clark hesitated. "I was delivering a baby."
"WHAT?!" Lois swung a fist up and cuffed Superman squarely on the chin.
"It was a woman in Dallas, in a shopping mall, a breech birth." Clark defended. "It was a boy."
Lois, whose hand now hurt almost worse than the rest of her, screamed again. This was a new and different scream, for new and different pain.
The nurses, who were huddled away from the couple discussing Superman and how he looked in those tights, ran over.
"Time to push!" was announced.
"It's about time!" Lois yelled at the nurse.
"Are you going to stay, Superman?" the nurse asked in a surprised tone.
"Yes," Superman answered. "Clark Kent is unable to be here, and he sent word for me to take care of Lois."
"The poor man," Nurse sighed, "he is going to miss the birth of his first child."
Oh no, he's not! Lois smiled in triumph. Her husband was right here beside her, but she really wished it was Clark and not Superman so she could say things to him and hear things from him without having to censor everything. She was also glad that he wasn't leaving her side, if even for a second to change clothes. The whole experience was taking on a surreal feeling; nurses running, pain, Superman. Soon, it would be over.
"Okay, Honey, push!" commanded the doctor as he walked in the door. He waited until the final moment to arrive before he showed up. Lois was used to that, though, she WAS married to Superman, the king of the last minute.
"You can do it, Lois!" Superman cheered.
Lois pushed as she was commanded to and waited for the next instruction. None came.
"It's a boy!" the doctor announced as he stood holding a very small bundle.
He spanked the baby's bottom. The baby kicked in response and the doctor fell to the floor.
Superman watched in horror as the doctor fell, taking the baby with him. Then things got worse. As the nurses ran over to assist the doctor and pick up the baby, the baby picked himself up, slowly floating up over the bed and then softly lowering himself on top of Lois. Everyone watched as Lois put her arms around the baby and looked down at her son.
"It's Super-baby," a nurse said in awe.
Everyone stared at Superman. Superman stared at Lois. Lois stared at the baby.
"Is it yours?" the doctor asked Superman.
"Of course it is." A nurse answered. "What else can it be?"
"No!" cried Lois, looking up.
"No!" Superman echoed.
Lois looked up in fear at her husband. "Don't let them take my baby!"
Superman addressed the room. "Please, help us, if people get news of this, it'll be chaos."
Security guards entered the room.
"Too late." Superman said.
The guards ushered all the remaining hospital staff out of the room, warning them to keep it quiet.
"Hand over the baby, Mrs. Kent," a guard ordered.
"No way!" Lois cried and hung on to the bundle even harder.
Superman stepped between the guards and Lois. "You cannot get through me to get the child."
Lois started crying. She looked down at the small body in her arms.
Clark's eyes looked back at her. Her baby and Clark's baby. Tears from her eyes fell on the baby's tiny head. On the first day of her poor baby's life, they wanted to take him away from her! Lois thought of Martha and what that woman had gone through to protect her son's amazing secrets. Lois wasn't even going to get the chance.
She looked up at the guards, and at Superman. "Please, he's just a baby. You can't do this."
"That child is a threat to this hospital and this city. Who knows what that infant is capable of?"
"What's he going to do? Nurse too hard?" Lois seethed. "Get out of my room! I know the President! I have connections that will have you on the street so fast…"
Clark had never seen Lois like this, a mother lion protecting her young. He had a son. He had a son that was going to live the life of tormented secrecy that he knew, too well.
The guards stood their ground. "Mrs. Kent, we have had you under surveillance since you got here, we had a tip that something…super…might take place. And all those connections you have won't take kindly when they hear of your love-child with Superman."
Lois' eyes widened. "A tip from who?"
Superman moved steadily forward. "You will have to leave, now. The mother and child need to rest."
The security team stayed their ground.
More advancement on Superman's part. "Get out of the…" Suddenly, Superman faltered and seemed to waver in pain.
Lois looked up. "Clark?"
The guards looked at her in unison. "Clark?!"
Clark was hunched over in pain.
From his pocket, the officer in charge removed a sliver of glowing crystal. He held the stone in front of Superman. "New, improved, potent, courtesy of Luther. Call it a shower gift. He didn't know if he should send pink or blue, so he settled on green."
The baby started crying.
Lois screamed, "Put that rock away, you're hurting him! Both of them!"
"That's the idea, Mrs. Kent, or is that Mrs. Superman?"
Another guard kicked the fallen Clark with his boot, eliciting a grunt from him. "Man of Steel? Just a stupid reporter is my bet."
"Get the baby and let's get out of here."
Two uniformed men approached Lois on either side of the hospital bed.
Lois caught one off guard with a solid kick to the knee, but she was barefooted and held down by a baby and a hospital gown so it really wasn't much of a kick. The men kept coming. The one she kicked gave her a solid slap on the face. The other man grabbed the baby and was holding another splinter of green glow. The infant howled in pain. Lois screamed with him.
Mother and child were pulled apart in anguish.
"Where are you taking him?"
"We are taking both of them," he nodded to the others to pick up Clark, "for further research."
"Why? Why are you doing this?" Lois cried.
"Because we are well paid," was the answer given as the guards left the room carrying both the man she loved, and her child away.
Before her door closed again, she could hear the guards warning the staff to keep quiet.
"You are getting money for this, we don't want to hear anything leaking out about what just happened here. No calls to the National Tattler, no letters to Oprah and no calls to that damn Fox Mulder!"
Lois listened, too sore and too devastated to move. So she cried. "I am sorry, Clark. I am so sorry." She kept chanting that, feeling there was nothing else she could do.
"I'm sorry, Clark."
"Sorry for what? Come on, wake up."
Lois sat up and realized in a moment that what had been a nightmare, was actually a nightmare. Clark, dressed as Superman, sat next to her on the sofa where she had fallen asleep. Relief swept over her like waves and she crumpled up in Clark's arms.
"I flew by and heard you crying. Now you're crying again. What did I do?"
"I'm not ready to have your baby!"
That left Clark stunned for a second. "Okay, the wedding isn't for another week. I think you're being just a bit…well…off track."
"No, Clark, I mean, what if our baby is…special, like you? I'm not Martha, what if I mess up and secrets come out? What if I ruin everything?"
"Lois, please calm down. We can handle anything life throws at us. You and me, together, remember?"
Lois nodded and let Clark hold her close. He was right, of course, as long as she had Clark, she could handle anything.
Clark surveyed the mess on the coffee table. Ice cream containers, a pizza box, a bottle of soda and a double crunch fudge bar. He felt he knew the cause of the dream. It was the content of the dream worried him, more, because he himself had had the same dream. What if they couldn't be a regular family? What if his child also had to go through the pain of being different? What if, what if, what if?
"I'm afraid, too, Lois." Clark whispered while stroking her back.
She didn't answer. She had fallen back asleep. Superman stayed where he was. He was sure no one else in Metropolis needed him more.