For Better or Worse

By Lori McElhaney (

Summary: When Jonathan Kent falls into a coma, his family camps out at his bedside.


Lois woke up to the sound of her alarm ringing. She could smell coffee and something wonderful baking in the oven. "I'm so glad I married a "super" cook, she thought — "This is the life." She opened her eyes to find Clark smiling at her from the door. "Morning, Honey," he said, "The muffins will be ready by the time you get out of the shower."

Clark set the table and waited for Lois to join him. He had gotten up early and found some beautiful flowers from all over the world for a centerpiece. Today was a special day, their first anniversary. He still couldn't believe it — Lois was his wife. She was so much more than that. She was his partner in life, his work, his soul-mate. Together they each made the other whole.

Lois came into the kitchen and caught her breath "Clark, How beautiful!"

Clark gently took her in his arms and said "Happy Anniversary, Lois."

But, Clark, "Lois stammered — "Our wedding anniversary isn't until three months from now!"

"No, Lois, remember — the night before I had to leave for New Krypton — We pledged our hearts to each other then — "in my heart, I am your husband" "…and I am your wife." "Our official anniversary may be in three months but I will always keep this day as the real start of our marriage."

Oh, Clark, Lois sniffled, tears in her eyes, "I love you." They kissed until Lois broke away from Clark asking, "Do you smell smoke?"

"Clark, startled, said, "Oh no, the muffins, and rushed to take the burnt muffins out of the oven.

Lois dissolved in laughter, "C-C-Clark — are we having <Cajun muffins> this morning?"

"Very funny, Lois," Clark muttered. "We'll just have to stop somewhere on the way into the Planet this morning. Perry wants us in early today. He said he has a story for us to check out. Let's go, before you distract me again."

Lois leaned into his chest, "I can be very distracting, if you want me to." She dropped butterfly kisses over his face. She moved her hands lightly over his chest.

Clark responded, "I guess Perry can wait for a little while." He lost himself in her scent, her taste, her touch.

Perry watched as his star reporting team got off the elevator and walked into the newsroom. He couldn't believe it, but it seemed that they had become even better since their marriage. Everything seemed to click, each feeding off the other. He smiled, they were so much in love — he could tell by their body language, even across the room, they were aware of each other. He missed that connection with Alice and wondered again what had gone wrong with his marriage. He straightened and called for Lois and Clark to come to his office.

"Where have you two been?" Perry blustered, "I thought you were coming in early today." "Never mind! Here's the story I want you to check out — We got a tip that someone has been — "

Clark suddenly stood up, "Excuse me, Chief — I've got to … " Lois chimed in, "go and check on that delivery." "Right!" Clark said and ran out the door.

Perry looked at Lois, "What delivery?"

Lois stammered, "Bobby Bigmouth gave us a tip on a possible drug delivery, the time just slipped away from us this morning."

Perry said, "Well, what are you waiting for, GO, this story will keep." Perry smiled as Lois hurried out of his office. He thought Clark's excuses would get better with Lois helping him, but … Oh, well there was probably going to be a great story out of this anyway. He decided long ago that keeping his discovery to himself would be his gift to them. He thought he understood their reasons for secrecy. Although when he thought about it, he had some selfish reasons of his own — he didn't want to lose his best reporters.

Lois thought to herself, "I didn't like the look on Clark's face when he left." "He looked so, so lost." She checked the news reports and police and didn't find any robberies or major disasters. "What could have happened?" She decided to call Martha and see if she knew anything. But there was no answer at the Kent farm, and Lois began to worry. She decided to go home and wait for Clark to contact her.

The sun was setting and still no word from Clark. There had been a major explosion at the factory on the outskirts of Metropolis, but Superman didn't appear. Lois covered the story for the Planet, expecting to see the familiar figure in blue and red; but as the fireman and police got the situation under control, but Superman was nowhere to be seen. She kept hearing the comments about his absence, but had no answer. She knew that if he was able to, he would have been there. She began to worry that something had happened to him. Clark kept telling her that he would be fine, but this was one of her deepest fears every time he left in "the suit" — that he would assume he could handle anything, and once he would be wrong and never return.

After turning in her copy at the Planet, she returned home and called the Kents again. Still, there was no answer. She decided to call the neighboring farm and see if Wayne Irig knew where the Kents were; if she couldn't talk to someone about Clark she would go crazy. They had been so supportive when Clark had gone to New Krypton with Zara and Ching. They had kept reassuring her that Clark would find a way to return and he had. But, she needed their reassurance again tonight, she couldn't shake the feeling of dread that clung to her like a second skin. Wayne answered the phone and gave her the news. Clark's father had fallen and was in the hospital in critical condition. "Oh, no," thought Lois, "no wonder he looked lost when he left this morning." On the heels of those thoughts however, came the overwhelming feeling of relief, then guilt — I can't be glad of his father's accident. She left word with Perry that she was leaving for Smallville.

Arriving at the hospital, Lois saw Clark and Martha huddled together in the waiting room. Clark saw Lois and ran and held her tight. He looked like a little boy, lost and alone. "I'm sorry I didn't call, Lois, I've just been so scared, and my mom needs me."

"I understand, Clark, what happened?"

Clark responded, "I heard my mother calling my dad's name over and over again. She thought he was dead, but the head injury has left him in a coma. The doctors seem to think the next few days are critical. If he doesn't regain consciousness soon, the odds of him recovering are slim."

Lois said, "I'm so sorry, Clark. How can I help?"

Clark asked,"Can you sit with Mom for awhile? I want to find the doctor and ask him some questions."

"Of course, Clark," Lois replied. "She and your dad were my lifeline while you were away. I would do anything for them." She went and put her arms around Martha. "

"Oh, Lois, he looks so helpless lying there, I don't want to lose him." Martha sobbed. "

Martha, remember what you told me about hope and faith when Clark was gone? We've got to believe he going to be all right." She held Martha's hand and quietly waited with her.

Clark returned with the doctor. "The doctor is going to let us stay with Dad instead of the regular ICU visiting hours. His physical condition has stabilized, and he wants us to talk to him, it seems that some coma patients hear what is being said around them and he might come out of the coma faster that way.

"Mom, why don't you go first, and then I'll take you home to try to get some rest while Lois sits with Dad." As Martha protested leaving, Clark said firmly, "You've got to get some rest, Mom, you know I can have you here in a flash if something changes."

Lois and Clark sat in silence while waiting for Martha. Clark, sensing something was wrong, asked Lois, " Lois, what is bothering you? I know you're upset about Dad, but I think there's something more."

Lois sighed, "I'm not real proud of myself right now, Clark. I was so worried when you disappeared and I couldn't find you. When I talked to Wayne and heard about your father's accident — I was upset, but also very relieved that you were OK. I don't like finding anything good in your dad's misfortune."

Clark, hugged her close and whispered, "It's OK, Lois , everyone has those kind of feelings, you really love my dad and he knows it. It's mostly my fault anyway, for not contacting you and telling you what happened. I was wallowing in a lot of guilt myself because I wasn't there to help him. And when I thought he might not make it, it was really the first time I had faced the fact that Mom and Dad won't be in my life forever. I depend on their advice and understanding so much. I love you, Lois, and I'm so glad you are here with me now."

Lois said, "I hope I can help Jonathan, even though my dad is a doctor, I've never been really comfortable around hospitals and illness." "Just talk to him, Lois, make him want to come home to us," Clark replied.

It had been three exhausting days, as one by one they took turns talking to Jonathan, sometimes reading his favorite books, or playing his favorite music. But, he remained in the coma.

Clark, coming in to replace Lois, said, "Lois, you look so pale, I want you to try to get some more rest. My dad wouldn't want you to get sick trying to help him."

Lois said, "I am resting, Clark. This is a stressful time for all of us. We've got to keep trying!" Lois went out into the waiting room and thought, "I really have had no energy lately, I wonder…?" She went to the nurses station and asked a question.

When Clark, came out into the waiting room a few hours later, he saw Lois sleeping on one of the couches. Someone had covered her with a light sheet. As he watched her sleep, Clark again reflected on his good fortune. He thought about all they had gone through to get to this point. He had truly found someone who would stand with him, "in good times and bad, and in sickness and in health," in cloning, voodoo, alien visitation, he smiled — maybe he should write some new vows.

Lois blinked, and opened her eyes and saw him smiling at her. "What's so funny?" she asked.

"Nothing, I was just thinking about us," said Clark. "I know how lucky we are to be together, and I will cherish you always."

"There's something we need to talk about," Lois smiled, "but I think I want Jonathan to hear it first."

Clark, puzzled said, "What are you up to, Lois?" Lois just smiled enigmatically and started to walk into ICU. She stopped and pointed her finger at Clark — "No super- eavesdropping."

"OK, OK," Clark said, "I'll go and get Mom, while you sit with Dad, I'm sure she's ready to come back now."

Lois sat in the chair beside Jonathan's bed. She took his hand in hers and began to speak. "Jonathan, we all need you to wake up. Martha needs you, Clark needs you, I need you. And you know what? Someone else needs you too. You've raised Clark to be a wonderful person, Jonathan. Your grandchild needs you, Jonathan, did you hear me? I said you're going to be a grandfather. Isn't it wonderful? I hope I'll be a good mother. I don't have the best foundation for it, though. Clark's going to be a great father. I know the fact that we might not be able to have children has been bothering him. You're the first to know, Jonathan, and if you wake up I promise that if it's a boy, I'll name him after you. Please wake up, Grandpa Kent." In the silence that followed, Lois found tears coming down her cheeks. Then she felt the hand holding hers squeeze slightly. She looked up and saw Jonathan looking at her. "Jonathan!" she cried, "You're awake!"

Clark and Martha walked in and stared and both started to cry. They all hugged each other, laughing, trying to talk at once. Finally, the nurses came to see what all the commotion was about. They shooed out the family, while the doctor checked out Jonathan. Finally, they were allowed back in. Jonathan would recover, although he would have to remain in the hospital for a little while. As they all sat around his bedside, Clark asked his dad if he had heard them talking to him.

"Well, son, most of time it seemed I was in a fog, trying to find my way. I could hear parts of voices, telling me they loved me. But what cleared the fog was one phrase: Grandpa Kent. Lois, you don't know how much I've hoped to hear those words."

He looked up and saw Martha and Clark staring at Lois — "What did I say?"

Clark, got up and went over to Lois. "Lois," he whispered, "Is it true?" "Yes, Clark, you're going to be a father. I just found out this morning."

Clark closed his eyes, wonder, awe, and love washing over him. He wrapped Lois in his arms and kissed her. All his dreams were coming true with this woman.

The nurse came in and declared visiting hours over for today, Mr. Kent needed to rest and recover. Martha, Lois, and Clark all left to go back to the farm.

When they got back to the Kent farmhouse, Clark told his mother, "Lois and I are going to sit outside for awhile, I'll lock up." Lois and Clark walked hand in hand in the moonlight, lost in thought. They sat outside and looked up at the starry night.

Clark said, "I've always felt like, deep down, I didn't belong here. But, now with our child, and our love for each other, I feel I have a place here, on Earth."

Lois leaned against Clark, drawing his hands across her stomach, "Clark, I promised Jonathan that if he woke up, we would name our child after him. If it's a boy, that is. I'd also like to include his other grandfather in his name, too."

Clark said, "I'm sure your father would be pleased." "No," Lois said, "I mean his Kryptonian grandfather, Jor-el." "He has roots there, too."

Clark's eyes misted over, "Lois, that means so much to me, but wouldn't people think it's strange, including Superman's father's name for our child?"

Lois considered this for a moment and said, "No, I don't think so, I mean, in public Superman has always been both of our friends, what better way to honor a friend in that way? So, Jonathan Jor-el Kent is OK with you?" Lois asked.

"I think it's wonderful," Clark replied. "But, what if it's a girl?" Lois, at that moment let out a big yawn.

Clark laughed, "I think we have time to think it over. Come on, let's get some sleep."

Lois snuggled next to Clark in bed, "Ummm, my own private electric blanket."

Clark smiled, and held her close, "I knew I would finally find out why you married me. You just want warm feet."

"Clark," Lois asked, "Do you think I could have the baby here at the farm? Your mother told me once that there was a friend of hers in town that was a midwife — she could help deliver the baby. I want the baby to be surrounded by the love I feel here when he's born."

"Lois," Clark said, "I want you in a hospital!" "Clark," Lois sighed, "While I would probably be a lot happier with drugs close at hand, you know we can't risk this baby being examined by doctors. Besides, if anything went really wrong you could always get us to the hospital "super-quick"."

Clark was deeply troubled, in his happiness about becoming a father, he hadn't thought about the challenges and risks Lois was taking carrying his child.

"Clark," Lois murmured, "don't worry, I'll be fine, the baby will be fine. But, I'll expect you to be there, so I can yell at you!"

Clark listened as Lois's breathing grew deep and regular as she fell asleep. He cradled Lois in his arms and slept dreaming of the family he had always wanted.