The (Mis)conception

By Blaise Pascal <>

Rated PG-13

Submitted April 2000

Summary: Guess who wants to have Clark's baby? Not Lois this time, although she seems to be the one setting her unwilling husband up with the "other woman." Perhaps there is no other choice. What possible reason could Lois have to encourage Clark's intimacy with another woman?

Note: This story is set in the same universe as "The Wedding" and "The Rehearsal." I would like to thank those FoLC's on Zoomway's message board who encouraged me to finish this thing when I was struggling with it. Comments welcome.

Disclaimer: The story is mine, but the characters are not. I'm merely borrowing the characters from WB, DC Comics, etc., etc. No borrowing, copying, or distributing without my permission, etc., etc. ***

[Metropolis, 348 Hyperion Avenue]

[Wednesday, September 2, 1998, 3:02 A.M.]

Lois Lane woke up suddenly. A glance at the alarm clock told her that it was 3 A.M. She turned to snuggle into her husband Clark Kent's arms, finding a cool pillow instead. 'I wonder where he went to this time?' she asked herself. She cocked her head to one side, listening for sounds from the nursery, expecting to hear cries from C.J., Laura, or both. Nothing. Everything was quiet. She was about to go back to sleep when she heard Clark's voice, or more accurately, Clark's moan.

"Oh, Lois…"

Now instantly awake, Lois reached over and turned on the light on her nightstand. To her astonishment, there was Clark, floating near the ceiling on the other side of the room. She couldn't help but grin at the scene before her. 'That must be some dream he's having,' she thought, stifling a giggle. Clark had admitted that he'd had erotic dreams about her, but never in their nearly two years of marriage did a dream cause him to float while he was sleeping.

"Oh God, Lois… Yesssss…"

Lois began to squirm. Normally, she wouldn't be hearing those sounds unless they were making love. But there was something about the way Clark moaned Lois' name that sent shivers up her spine. Not surprisingly, she was starting to get turned on from listening to Clark's moans. "Oh God, I want him, right now," Lois whimpered. But in order to take him, she had to reach him first.

"Clark, wake up," she called to him. He moaned again in response.

Lois got out of bed and walked towards Clark. To her annoyance, she found that she still could not reach him. She jumped up and slapped his shoulder. "Honey?"

Clark bolted up. "Lois, what's—" he started, but didn't finish his question because he hit his head on the ceiling, tearing through the plaster in the process. Startled, Clark fell, nearly colliding into Lois, but he stopped himself from crashing through the bedroom floor by using his powers.

Lois looked, wide-eyed, at Clark, with bits of plaster on his head. Dust and plaster started falling from the ceiling, creating a snowstorm in their bedroom. After staring at Clark for a few moments, Lois broke into gales of laughter. "Talk… talk about… a wake- up… call!" Lois gasped, collapsing on the bed.

Clark stood in his 'Superman' pose and tried to give her a stern look. He failed and joined Lois in her laughter. A minute later, after composing themselves, Clark asked Lois, "What happened?"

Lois sighed. Sometimes she wondered if Clark's being dense was limited to his molecular structure. "I woke up and found you sleeping near the ceiling. It sounded like you were having a dream about me. I then woke you up, but I guess you thought that you were still in bed…" Lois pointed towards the ceiling. "… And then *that* happened."

Clark remembered the dream. Smiling sheepishly at his wife, he remarked, "I *was* dreaming about you, though I don't usually float upwards while I am sleeping."

"You mean you've done it before?" Lois asked incredulously. Clark answered by blushing deeply. Lois smiled in delight at the revelation. "You have! How come I never knew about it?"

"Well Lois, most of the time it happened before we were married," Clark explained, feeling very embarrassed. "I've had a *lot* of interesting dreams about you, that's for sure." Now it was Lois' turn to blush. "But I don't think I've been doing it much, except recently."

"Recently, huh? Did you have another costume dream, Clark?" Clark began to wonder if his face could turn any redder. Lois smiled to herself. 'He's so cute when he does that.' Without letting him answer verbally, she continued, "I take it that you did. Who was dressed up this time, you or me? And in what?"

When Clark didn't answer right away, Lois went to Clark and cupped his face in her hands, trying to reassure him. "Clark," she said gently, "you know that you can tell me. In fact, what was it you said when we were first married? 'We are supposed to share everything.'"

"Okay, okay." Clark sighed. When was he ever going to learn that he could never keep anything from her, no matter what it was? "It was you this time. In your Ultrawoman suit," he said in a rush. He broke eye contact with Lois and looked with interest at the pieces of plaster on the floor.

Lois smiled tenderly at Clark. She tilted his head so that he could look directly at her. "The Ultrawoman suit, huh? I forgot about that. I wonder if I still have it…"

"Lois, this would be number six in the past two weeks. We've had you in the chicken suit, the biker outfit, and the concubine outfit. And we've had me in that cop uniform when I went undercover as Superman, and in the new-Kryptonian suit. And every time I dreamt it beforehand. Don't you think that's a little odd?"

Lois sighed. 'Clark's *still* hung up about being normal.' Taking his face into her hands again, she answered, "No, Clark, I don't think it's odd. So your subconscious is going through a costume phase. I think it's your subconscious' way of wanting to keep our marriage interesting. I can only love you for that." She pulled his head towards her and gave him a gentle kiss. While she absentmindedly flicked pieces of plaster off Clark's shoulders Lois asked him, "Do you want me to look for the Ultrawoman suit?" Clark was about to answer when a twin set of cries emanated from the nursery.

"Ha, they interrupted us *before* we even started. That's a start," said Lois with sarcasm. Clark was on his way to the nursery when she stopped him. "I'll go. Why don't you clean up the mess." Lois got up and padded her way out the bedroom.

When she returned a few minutes later, she found everything in order and her husband sound asleep. Lois let out a yawn. 'It's just as well,' she thought. 'I'm too tired to look for the suit anyway. Tomorrow night, maybe…' With that, she went back to bed and fell asleep almost immediately. ***

[Friday, September 4, 1998, 9:30 A.M.]

It was an unusually cool and breezy Friday morning, a perfect day to start Lois and Clark's weekend. They had just written yet another outstanding story together (their fourth since Lois' return from maternity leave), and their editor Perry White had rewarded them by giving them Friday off. And since Monday was Labor Day, Lois and Clark ended up with a four-day weekend. After Superman dropped off the twins at Clark's parents' farm in Smallville the previous evening, and after making love late into the night (minus any costumes, though), they woke up sore but refreshed, without the benefit of an alarm clock. (Well, without three alarm clocks. One had fallen off the nightstand and had broken during last night's lovemaking session, and the other two were in Smallville.) It was 9:30 A.M.

"Oh, it feels so good to wake up this late," Lois sighed, as she sat up and stretched. "I don't suppose Perry would let us do this all the time, would he?"

"I doubt it, Honey." Clark rose and took Lois in his arms. "We ask him that and we'd be out of the jobs 'faster than a speeding bullet,'" he teased. "But you know, with the exception of Superman, this may be the first peaceful weekend we've had in a while."

"You're right! We don't have to go back to work until Tuesday, your parents have got the twins, Mother is going with Daddy on that conference in LA, Lucy is still on vacation God knows where, and there has been no psycho-psychiatrists or mad scientists making hybrid Kryptonite or supposed sons of Lex Luthor or guys with telekinesis or mmmmff…" Lois' babbling was immediately silenced by a passionate kiss from Clark. Lois could only sigh contentedly as they explored each other with their mouths. 'I'm so lucky, for he's all *mine*!' They parted, both breathing heavily. Getting up, Lois walked wobbly to the bathroom, still affected by Clark's kiss. "Now would, uh, would you be a dear and start breakfast while I, um, take a shower?"

"Honey, wait…" Clark called to her. Lois turned to look at him. "Why don't we take that shower together?" Clark gave her that *look*, the look that showed her how much he loved her, how much he cherished her, how much he wanted her. 'God, he looks at me like that and I just want to melt,' Lois thought. She gave Clark a sultry smile and, taking his hands, led him to the bathroom without another word. ***

An hour later, Lois and Clark finally sat down to eat their breakfast, or more accurately, brunch. Lois had changed her mind and had decided that she would cook some 'Eggs ala Katie Banks.' As they ate, they discussed what they would do in the next four days.

"Clark, what *are* we going to do this weekend?" Lois asked. "I sure didn't expect to get Friday off, though I'm glad we did. We needed this."

"Whatever you want, Lois. Maybe we can do some 'normal' things together, like go grocery shopping, work in the yard, clean the house…" Lois began to look at him strangely. "Like I said," Clark continued hastily, "we can do whatever you want."

"But Clark, what about you?" Lois asked as she helped herself to some more coffee. "Isn't there something *you* would like us to do… besides making love, of course?" Clark could only grin at his wife at her comment. "Or isn't there someplace in this world that *you* would like to go to?"

Clark raised his eyebrows at that comment. He replied while he spread some jam on his toast, "Lois, I've been to a lot of places in this world, but I did so because I was looking for something. Happiness, security, a sense of belonging. And I've found that something, or I should say, I've found that *someone*." Clark smiled at her.

Lois grew teary-eyed and almost dropped her coffee. "How come you always say the nicest things to me?" she asked, pretending to be exasperated.

"Because I mean it," Clark answered simply. Taking Lois' hands, he pulled her onto his lap. "Lois, I don't care where we go, or where we *don't* go. I'll be happy as long as I'm with you." Clark leaned over and gave Lois a peck on her lips.

Lois returned the favor by giving Clark a more substantial kiss. "Clark," she murmured, "you keep this up and we *will* be spending these four days the same way we spent our honeymoon…" Lois moved to his ear and flicked it with her tongue.

Clark pulled back and looked at Lois with hunger in his eyes. "And that would be a bad thing?" he asked huskily.

Lois lowered her voice to a barest whisper. "I never said it would be," Lois breathed, continuing to play with his ear.

Clark closed his eyes. "God, Lois…" He was about to scoop Lois in his arms and fly them to their bedroom when the doorbell rang.

"Oh, I don't *believe* this!" Lois yelled. "There's always something! I swear, if that's Mother interrupting us again, or even Jimmy…" Lois stopped, noticing that Clark wasn't listening. He had taken the liberty to lower his glasses to see who was at the door, but now he was staring at the door with disbelief. "Clark? What is it? Who's at the door?"

"I can't believe this, Lois. It's… you. I mean, it's a woman who looks exactly like you, with your old hairstyle."

Lois was stunned. "A woman who looks like me? Oh my God! It's not… it's not… my *clone*… is it?"

"I don't know, Lois, but I'm sure the clone is dead." Clark looked through the door again. "She's got a bag with her, so I'll x-ray it… Her driver's license says… 'Kent, Lois Lane'… '344 Clinton Street, Metropolis, New Troy'!?!?"

"Well, that doesn't make any sense!" Lois exclaimed. "Maybe she's me in the future? But why would she, err, we, be living in your old apartment?" The doorbell rang again.

"I guess we won't find out unless we answer the door," Clark sighed, as he walked to the front door and opened it.

The woman stepped in timidly, holding a carry-on bag. "Lois Lane? Clark Kent? Mr. Wells told me that I could find you here."

There was a deafening silence in the house.

Clark spoke first. "Mr. Wells? As in H.G. Wells?" The woman nodded. "Does that mean that you're… you're…"

"I'm Lois Lane Kent from the other dimension."

For a minute Lois and Clark could only look at the woman as if she had seven heads. The woman, feeling uncomfortable at their lack of response, asked, "May I come in?"

Clark mentally shook his head and reprimanded himself for his lack of manners. "Yes, of course! Please." He led the woman to the living room and motioned her to sit down.

Lois finally recovered from her shock and sat in a sofa across from the woman with a plop. "You're from the alternate dimension? Does that mean that your Clark has found you?"

For the first time since she arrived, the woman smiled. "Yeah, he found me. We got married, just like you, last October."

"You got married?" our Lois asked. She beamed at the visitor. "That's wonderful! Oh, I'm so happy for the both of you. Honey, isn't that great news?"

Clark sat down next to our Lois. "Yeah, Lois, this is great news! It's also good to see that you're alive and well. I couldn't imagine going through what your Clark did, living without you." Lois smiled at him, and reaching out, squeezed his hand. Clark smiled back and continued, "So tell me, Lois, um, other Lois…" He paused. "Hmm, what should I call you?"

"That's a good point, Honey." Lois looked thoughtfully at the other Lois. "Why don't we call you 'Mrs. Kent?' Almost no one calls me that around here, and Clark's mom insisted early on that I call her 'Martha.'"

"That's fine. In fact, almost everyone calls me that in my world."

Lois looked at the visitor with surprise. "Really? People don't call you 'Ms. Lane?'"

The other Lois shook her head. "I decided right after we got married that I should change my name. To hear someone call me 'Mrs. Kent' sounds wonderful to my ears. It reaffirms the fact that I'm married now, something that I was afraid I would never be."

"That sounds familiar," Clark murmured, smiling at his wife. "But I think 'Mrs. Kent' sounds too formal."

"Just don't call me 'Mrs. Superman,'" said the other Lois. "Some people have called me that, too, though not in my face."

"I wouldn't dare," Clark agreed, chuckling. "How about 'Lois2?'"

"That sounds fine," Lois2 assented.

Lois spoke up. "So, Lois2, I think Clark was going to ask you where your husband is, right, Clark?" Her husband nodded.

Lois2 looked uneasy again. "Well… he didn't come with me," she replied. "You've probably figured that this is not a social call. I don't think Mr. Wells would allow that."

"That's right," Lois mused. "Mr. Wells visited us only when there was trouble with Tempus…" Lois2 flinched, and Lois became alarmed. "Oh my God. Is it Tempus? Has he done something to your Clark?"

For a moment Lois2 looked as if she was about to cry. Then, composing herself, she answered in a low voice, "Lois, Clark, I need your help. In fact, my world needs your help." Avoiding Clark's eyes, she continued, "I think I want to talk to you first about this, Lois, alone."

Clark looked confused. "I thought you needed our help. Why do you want to talk to Lois alone?"

"Please," Lois2 said, in a strangled voice. "I want to talk to your wife first."

Both Clark and Lois noticed clearly how distressed Lois2 was and didn't want to upset her any further. "Okay, I'll go check…" Clark started, then stopped when his super-hearing kicked in.

<RRRRIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNGGGGGGGG! I repeat, a hostage situation at Metropolis National…>

Both Lois-es noticed the look. "What are you hearing?" his wife asked.

"A bank robbery, with hostages." Clark said grimly. He quickly spun into his suit. Lois2 appeared completely unfazed by the transformation.

Lois walked to Clark and gave him a quick kiss. "Be careful," she said.

Clark smiled lovingly at his wife. "Always," he promised, and flew out the window. Right after he left, Lois2 burst into tears.

"Oh dear," Lois said, as she went to sit down beside the weeping Lois2. Lois grabbed some tissues from the tissue box on the coffee table and handed them to her visitor. Lois2 began to calm down.

"I'm sorry, Lois, this is… this is very hard for me. I'm about to ask for something I… I… have no right asking." Lois2 shuddered.

Lois had a sinking feeling in her stomach. She was afraid that something bad had really happened to the other Clark. 'And they just found each other!' she thought. Trying to think positively, she said, "Why don't you let me be the judge of that. You said you need our help? What is the problem?"

Lois2 let out a huge sigh. "All right, I'll start from the beginning. My Clark and I decided that we wanted to have children. Both of us were alone before we met." Lois threw a questioning glance at her visitor. "You know how Clark's parents were killed when he was ten?" Lois2 asked.

Lois remembered. "Yes. Apparently, that was Tempus' doing."

"Well, my parents died when I was six."

Lois gasped. Sure, she had some problems with her parents in the past, but to imagine herself living without them was an entirely different matter. Finding herself in tears, she grabbed some tissues for herself. Lois2 asked, "I assume yours are still alive?" Lois nodded again, and Lois2 went on. "My parents were killed in a plane crash. For all intents and purposes, Clark and I only had each other and no one else. Both of us, especially Clark, didn't want to be alone when one of us dies, so we decided to have children as soon as possible." Lois2 smiled sadly at Lois.

"But what about Lucy?" Lois asked.

Lois2 looked momentarily confused. "Who's Lucy?"

"You don't have a younger sister named Lucy?" Lois2 shook her head. Lois recalled what Lois2 just said and smacked her forehead. "Oh right, you said your parents died when you were six, and Lucy is seven years younger than I am." Lois decided it was best not to dwell on the subject. "So you and your Clark decided to have kids right away."

"Yeah. The only problem was that I didn't get pregnant. At first, we were so eager to try that we forgot that one little detail about Clark not being human. So we went to see a scientist from S.T.A.R. Labs by the name of Dr. Bernard Klein…" Lois2 noticed Lois jerking her head up. "What? Oh, you have a Dr. Klein here, too?"

Lois nodded. "Clark, as Superman, saw Dr. Klein over a year ago, asking him to do some tests to determine if we were compatible. I guess that's what your Dr. Klein did?"

"Yeah, he did," Lois2 said in affirmative. "Anyway, Dr. Klein ran some tests on Clark, and unfortunately, he had bad news for us…"

Lois broke in. "Ours did, too. Dr. Klein first thought that we were incompatible, but then later found out that there was a glitch in the testing."

Lois2 looked surprised. "Really? You must have been very upset by the news at first."

"We were." Lois dabbed her eyes. "Clark wanted a family of his own. He did not hide that fact. But I… when I was alone, I had vowed that I would *never* have children. That all changed after I married Clark. I had found myself wanting to have Clark's baby so badly. I had felt that I lost something when Clark first told me the test results."

"I know how you feel. Dr. Klein found out what our problem was. It turned out that my Clark had an extremely low sperm count."

"Oh my God…" Lois said, stunned. 'The alternate Clark has fertility problems? How terrible for him and Lois2! Did something cause this?' Tears reappeared in her eyes. She knew that if her Clark were sterile, then he would have been completely shattered. "How did… how did your husband take the news?"

"Not very good. But that wasn't the worst of it. Dr. Klein discovered that after he ran the tests that the sperm that was left were all dead. Clark gave two more samples to Dr. Klein, all with the same results. Low sperm count, and after the tests, all the sperm died. It was as if Dr. Klein's intervention with the sperm had something to do with it."

Without waiting for Lois' reaction Lois2 continued her story. "It turned into our first major spat in our marriage. Clark just simply flew off and disappeared for over a day. I didn't know where he went off to until his friend Rachel Harris called me and told me. It turned out that he went to his farm in Smallville. I went over there and gave him a piece of my mind, telling him that this was *our* problem, not his, and that he should talk to me about his problems and not shut me out."

Lois, who was blown away by Lois2's story, finally smiled a little upon hearing the alternate-Clark's reaction. "Sounds like something my Clark would do." She shook her head. "What is it with our Supermen, Lois2? They try to do everything at once, and when something goes wrong they decide not to bother us with their problems."

"I don't know, Lois," Lois2 sighed. "But we have to keep them in line, to make sure that they don't bottle stuff in. Fortunately, I was able to set him straight. We spent the entire night discussing our options. He wanted us to try artificial insemination, but I told him that I would rather adopt than to have another man's baby. So nothing was decided when we returned to Metropolis. Then Mr. Wells paid us a visit."

Lois Lane didn't become one of the best investigative journalists in the country because of her writing alone. It was because of her tenacity, her intuition, and her desire to help others. But most of all, it was because of her powers of deduction. And using those powers, she began to realize what Lois2's trip was all about. Lois2, a great investigative reporter herself, recognized the signs. She held up her hand. "I know what you're thinking, Lois. But let me finish the whole story before you say anything. Please?" Lois assented, and motioned for Lois2 to continue.

"Mr. Wells came to our apartment to tell us that there was an anomaly with our timeline. Did Mr. Wells mention about a Utopia, founded by you and Clark's love and by your natural descendents?"

"Yes, he did, about three years ago," Lois replied.

"Same with us, though Mr. Wells told us about it more recently. But one day, he had made a trip to *our* future and right before his eyes, our Utopia had changed into a world of greed, war, and chaos. He backtracked to see if he could find the source of this change of the timeline, and found something in the early 1970's.

"My Clark had told me all about your dealings with that diabolical being you call Tempus, and it had turned out that he had struck again. Clark was in some, some accident as a child, and it had affected his sperm. He won't tell me what it was, now that he knows what it did to him. Mr. Wells had tried to go back to that time period and stop Tempus, but he couldn't. So, Tempus' actions had threatened our Utopia. Without children of our own, they won't establish our Utopia.

"When my Clark heard this, he was about to fly away and disappear *again*, but I stopped him. It didn't take a genius to figure out that Clark was really hurting now. But so was I! I mean, it's one thing to find out that Clark is basically sterile, but to also find out that Clark's infertility will threaten our world as we know it…" Lois2 stopped and began to cry in earnest.

Lois' heart went to Lois2. She had enough experiences with Tempus to last her a lifetime. 'Damn that Tempus!' Lois thought savagely. 'Why does he keep trying to destroy us, regardless of the dimension?' After Lois2 calmed down again, Lois asked, "So then what happened?"

Lois2 hiccuped. "Mr. Wells, Clark, and I discussed the alternatives. Actually, it was more like Clark and I discussed and Mr. Wells rejected. First, Clark brought up artificial insemination, and then I brought up adoption. Mr. Wells had to remind us that our Utopia was founded by our *natural* descendents. At least, that's what he had said about *our* Utopia. Mr. Wells somehow had found out that if we had children that were not our own, then they would die before they finished grade school. Don't ask me how he knew. Mr. Wells then said that the only alternative left is to enlist your help, Lois.

"I couldn't believe what Mr. Wells was suggesting! Asking your husband to donate his sperm so that I could be artificially inseminated? There was no way either of you would go for that. I mean, this would be your Clark's child! What would he think about having a child that he would never see, even if both of you agreed? But my Clark reminded me that his sperm didn't survive any intervention from Dr. Klein, and he thought that your husband's sperm wouldn't either. That left with one last alternative…" Lois2 would have continued, but Lois bolted up so fast that she could rival Superman's speed. Nearly knocking over the vase of flowers on the coffee table, she tried to steady herself as she tried to deal with the swirl of emotions in her head. It was very clear to Lois as to what Lois2 was asking. Lois2 was asking for Lois' permission to procreate with her Clark.

"Oh my God," Lois whispered. "How could you… how could you ask me for… that?"

"Believe me, Lois, I didn't want to. I despise this. I despise the fact that this Tempus has threatened my world. I despise the fact that I would have to sleep with another man to have a baby. And I despise the fact that this will cause pain for all four of us. But I also know two things. It wouldn't be too difficult to pretend that your Clark is mine when we have to… you know. And if our roles were reversed, I could not deny you the joy of motherhood." Lois2 looked away.

Lois knew that Lois2 was right; she could not deny Lois2 that joy either. She mentally cursed Tempus again for his actions. "Even if I give you my permission," Lois stated, "that still leaves Clark. I don't think he will go along with this. I know that he loves me with all his heart."

"I know he does. And my Clark loves me." Lois2 looked at Lois. "But tell me, Lois, are there times when Clark, as Superman, didn't want to go out to a rescue?"

"Oh sure. Clark hates being interrupted when he's spending time with me, especially during my pregnancy. But after I found out that Clark is Superman, I understood that he had to go away, because he has to help."

"Exactly. Helping others is a part of who both of you are. Clark has had these powers for most of his life, and I'm sure he realized that with these powers came responsibility. And if you're anything like me, Lois, you help others by writing articles for the Planet, informing the public about any injustices that you see. Neither of you could just sit on the sidelines and not do anything if you could help. Don't think about helping my husband and me. Think about helping my world. A world that will fall into despair and chaos if Clark and I do not have children. It's something that my Clark and I don't like, being responsible for the whole world. I know the two of you wouldn't like it, either.

There was another point that was not brought up, Lois realized. She felt so guilty about what she had done to the other Clark. First, she had come over to his world and created Superman. She was sure that he fell in love with her there, but there was no way she could stay in his world. For over a year, Clark had to endure the fact that he had lost his true love before they had even met! Then, he came over here, and she nearly kissed him (okay, they nearly kissed each other), since her husband was then trapped in a time vortex. He helped Lois deal with her temporary loss, despite his pain. Lois knew that her counterparts would never admit it, but she owed them, in a huge way, for what the other Clark had done for her and her Clark. This may be the opportunity to return the favor. 'But what a way to return the favor!'

Without betraying her emotions, Lois addressed Lois2. "Look, I see your point. I really do. But again, even if I give you my permission, I don't think Clark will want to do this. Speaking of Clark, I think we should talk to him about this right now. Like you said, this would affect all four of us. And if you and your Clark work the way we do, you would know that Clark and I make decisions together."

"You're right," Lois2 said. "Clark and I work the same way. So I guess we'll wait till he comes back, huh?" She sighed. Lois in turn draped her arm around Lois2's shoulders in a comforting embrace. ***

When Clark returned to the townhouse an hour later, he found the two Lois-es looking very somber. Quickly he spun out of his suit and went to join them. Looking at Lois2, he asked her gently, "Are you ready to tell me what's going on?"

Lois squeezed Lois2's hand in encouragement. The other woman answered, "I guess so." Without looking at Clark at all, Lois2 retold her story. Clark went from sympathetic, to anger, to astonishment, to sympathetic again, and to disbelief, as Lois2 explained her dilemma and her and the other Clark's conversation with Mr. Wells.

When Lois2 finished, Clark was simply blown away. His counterpart, sterile? The alternate universe's Utopia threatened? And the most amazing of them all: Lois2 asking him to procreate with her? He noticed that Lois had not said a word while Lois2 told her story. Does Lois actually *approve* of this? How would she feel afterwards? How would *he* feel afterwards? Immediately, he knew that even if Lois gave him her permission, he would feel very guilty about it.

"Lois, I mean Lois2, I am so sorry for what you and Clark went through," Clark started, "but I'm not sure if I can help. And it's not because I don't want to; it's because I don't think I *can*, physically. While you look like Lois and talk like Lois, you're not my Lois."

"But surely, you can pretend that she's me?" Lois2 asked, looking visibly troubled. "I can cut my hair, eat some chocolate in your presence…"

"Wait a minute," Lois interjected. "You *know* that I eat chocolate? How come?"

"My Clark told me, of course," Lois2 replied, with confusion in her voice. "It was when he came over to your world that one time that he knew."

Lois threw up her hands. "Great, now everyone here *and* in the alternate universe knows that I eat chocolate!"

"Lois, it's okay," Clark soothed, as he stood behind his wife and grasped her shoulders. "I think your secret is safe with Lois2, as far as her world is concerned. Anyway, they already have their own Lois Lane, a beautiful, intelligent woman…" — Lois2 beamed at the compliment — "… who, unfortunately, is not my wife… Hold on. Are you telling us that your Clark is okay with this, this, notion of another man sleeping with you?"

"Not at first," Lois2 admitted. "But like I said, helping others is a part of who he is, a part of who you are. It would be the ultimate contribution to our world if he and I could help bring in our Utopia. The funny thing was that I was more against the idea of sleeping with you than he was. It was *he* who finally convinced *me* to come see you both."

Lois started to think hard about the situation. She was right that Clark wouldn't go along with this, but they should give themselves time to discuss this rationally, but without an audience. "Honey," she said slowly, "what about AI? The other Clark thought that it wouldn't work here, but he doesn't really know, does he? I mean, our worlds are a lot alike, but there are differences, too. Maybe we should ask Dr. Klein about it."

Clark was puzzled at what Lois just said, but the look on Lois' face told him not to say what was on his mind right now. Lois faced Lois2. "All right, Lois2, this is what we'll do. Can you get Mr. Wells to maybe bring you back here in, let's say, three weeks?"

Lois2 looked very uncomfortable. "Um, Lois, you also have to consider my monthly cycle."

"Oh, right! So when do you ovulate?" Lois2 blushed in response, and Lois understood immediately. "Oh, I see. In a month, then."

"Why a month, Lois?" Clark asked, but then he finally understood. "Oh. Duh!" Clark mentally kicked himself for momentarily forgetting about human biology.

"Anyway," Lois continued on, "we'll find out if it'll work here, and go on from there. That's the best we can promise for now, Lois2. Is that okay with you?"

Lois2 was clearly unhappy at what Lois and Clark was suggesting, but it was obvious that Clark was very much against the idea of sleeping with her at this point. Lois, on the other hand, was looking as if she was considering the idea intellectually. Their plan was the best one for now; Lois could perhaps convince Clark to sleep with her counterpart while they wait for her to return in a month.

"O.K., we can do that," Lois2 conceded. "At the very least, it gives *me* time to get over the idea that your husband and I may… well, you know."

"Well, that's settled," Clark said, although he didn't think so. There were still unanswered questions about Lois2's visit as a whole, so he decided to voice one of them. "Where is Mr. Wells? Why is it that he didn't come with you?"

For a split second, Lois2 looked apprehensive, as if she had something to hide. But she recovered quickly, and answered Clark. "He wouldn't tell me. Maybe he thought it was something that the three of us should do ourselves." She shrugged.

Clark wasn't convinced, but he decided not to dwell on that. "So how are you going to come back here in a month?"

"With this…" Lois2 replied, brandishing an electronic device that was slightly larger than a palmtop.

Recognition appeared on Lois' face. "Clark, that looked like the device Mr. Wells had…"

"… when we broke Tempus' curse," Clark finished. He looked at the device with interest. "So you can travel through time as yourself and not in another person?"

"In another person?" Lois2 asked, confused. "This is basically a time machine, developed in the 24th century. I think that's what Mr. Wells told me. It's an interesting machine, because he said that once I return to my own time and my own universe the machine stops working."

"Why would they invent something like that?" Lois asked Lois2.

"Maybe because too many people have been traveling through time?" Clark suggested. "I don't know, Honey, but at least we know how Lois2 is going to see us in a month."

After reassuring Lois2 the they were going to see Dr. Klein first thing on Tuesday, and after the three of them talked a little bit about life in the alternate universe, it was time for Lois2 to go. Lois and Clark stepped back and watched in amazement as Lois2 disappeared in a flash of light, right before their very eyes. ***

[Sunday, October 4, 1998, 2:17 A.M.]

Lois woke up to find herself on the ceiling, snuggled into her husband's arms. She sighed dreamily, feeling content. On Tuesday Lois and Clark will be celebrating their second wedding anniversary, and in an unusual move for Perry, he had granted them one week of vacation time. (Neither Lois nor Clark had taken any extended time off since they had begun working together five years ago.) It wasn't as if they didn't deserve it. Between their work, Clark's other job as the 'Man of Steel,' and raising two three-month old babies, by the time this weekend approached, they were simply tired. Perry practically threw them out of the newsroom on Friday, ordering them not to come back until a week from this coming Monday. They were too tired then to even argue, which was not like them. This time, Lois and Clark had dropped off the twins at her parents' place (Sam and Ellen remarried over four months ago), and, except for Friday night, they had spent their time off reenacting their honeymoon, alternating between staying in the bed or on the ceiling.

Two years. Two wonderful years! In that time period, Lois never tired of being in Clark's arms, feeling secure, feeling loved. If anyone had told her five years ago that she would turn out like this, married to a 'hack from Nowheresville' (she groaned inwardly as she remembered calling Clark that), having two children, and winning a Pulitzer and another Kerth, she would have considered that person totally nuts and had that person committed. (Well, she would have believed the Pulitzer and Kerth part.) And while there were bumps along the way, those were a piece of cake compared to the obstacles they had to overcome before they had gotten married.

Her feelings of contentment right now, unfortunately, were turning into feelings of anxiety, as she recalled the events a month ago. First of all, there was that exaggeration, um, distortion — O.K., it was a lie! — that she had told Lois2. Both Lois and Clark had known that AI was not possible in their universe, because Dr. Klein had told them so over a year ago. Nevertheless, Lois wanted time for her and Clark to digest all of what Lois2 had said. So in the spur of the moment, she lied, in order to get rid of Lois2 quickly so that they could talk about this alone.

Then there was the question on Lois2's story herself. Was she telling the truth? Was the other Clark really sterile? Would the alternate universe be threatened if they did not have children? This Lois, if she was who she said she was, *was* very upset over the entire situation, and clearly did not like the idea of procreating with another man. On the other hand, Lois2 didn't seem completely enthused over Lois' idea of trying AI here, even if it wasn't possible.

But there was no other way to check up on Lois2's story. Lois and Clark could not contact Mr. Wells like the way that they could easily contact Superman. Mr. Wells only came to them when there was trouble. Since they have not heard from Mr. Wells, could that mean that there was *no* trouble, at least for them? Perhaps what they were doing was *supposed* to happen, and Mr. Wells didn't tell them this because he didn't want them to know too much about the future? It was also possible, however, that Mr. Wells wasn't *able* to contact them, because he might be in danger himself. So either way, there was no way for them to know.

Lois and Clark's only option, at that point, was to figure out who could that women be if she wasn't Lois Lane. Unfortunately, they didn't get very far. At this point, they had encountered only two other doubles: one was Lois' clone, and the other was the woman who worked with Dr. Ariana Carlin, Lex Luthor's ex-wife. The clone had died with Luthor (Clark was sure of this), but the other woman, a one Lauren Loxley, was alive and well, and still enjoying accommodations at the Metropolis State Prison. They had visited her, but Ms. Loxley had refused to speak to them.

Thus, there was nothing left for Lois and Clark to do, except to wait until Lois2 returned, which was any day now. For now, they were going to accept Lois2's story. Before Lois and Clark could decide if they could help Lois2 at all, however, they would talk to her further about a couple more things, because in all the excitement surrounding Lois2's visit, Lois and Clark had forgotten about two more issues that were never addressed.

The first issue was the fact that Clark, if he were to have a child with Lois2, would in all likelihood never see this child. Clark would never witness the child's birth. Clark would never be able to help raise the child. And Clark would never see the child grow up into a person who would use his or her superpowers for the benefit of the world. Should Clark let this happen, they would need to know if the child would be told the truth about his or her parentage.

The other issue was not any easier to deal with. How many children would be required? If the Lois and Clark in the other universe wish to have another child, the two couples most assuredly would have to go through this again. Clark certainly wouldn't want to repeat the experience. Heck, if she were honest with herself, *she* wouldn't want to repeat the experience. Would one child be enough to establish the Utopia that the alternate universe desperately needed? The only person who would know the answer to this question was Mr. Wells, but again, he wasn't here.

What were they going to tell Lois2? If there was only another way for them to help her! Lois was now starting to get a headache from thinking about all this. She looked at the alarm clock and groaned. 2:30 A.M.! She relaxed into the cocoon that was Clark's embrace, and tried to go back to sleep. ***

[8:30 P.M.]

"So…" Lois started, with difficulty. "I assume that you jumped straight here from a month ago?"

"That's right, Lois," Lois2 answered, looking uncomfortable. "If I had returned home, this time machine would no longer work."

There was tension in the air in Lois and Clark's brownstone. Lois2 had just arrived, and there was considerable difficulty getting to the subject at hand. Clark was standing near the fireplace, wishing that someone would cry for help so that he could get away for a while. 'What, and leave Lois alone with Lois2?' Clark shook his head. 'That wouldn't be fair to her. We're supposed to work this out *together*.'

Truthfully, Lois and Clark had not talked much about the dilemma, at least not after the conversation they had right after Lois2 had left a month ago to come here. Clark was still amazed that Lois would want to consider having him procreating with Lois2. She did have a point, however, in mentioning that *he* had not seen the alternate universe and their problems, and that she had.

He glanced at Lois, and noticed that she was looking at him, pleading with her eyes. She could no longer make small talk, and she wanted Clark to 'say the scary words,' as someone once said. He took a deep breath and forged ahead. "Lois2, Lois and I had discussed the problem at length, but we realized that we forgot to ask you something when you were here last, so we'd like to ask you now."

"Go ahead," Lois2 prompted.

Clark sat next to his wife and grabbed one of her hands for support. "We wanted to know if the child would be told the truth about his or her father, and we wanted to know how many children were you planning to have?"

Lois2 jumped up immediately, reacting to the second question. "How many children?" she asked, her voice breaking. She started pacing. "We could never… do you think I could do this, we could do this, every time we wanted another child?" Tears began to fall from Lois2's cheeks. "Whatever we do, whether it's to use AI or to sleep with someone who's not my husband, it's one time too many! But it's necessary. Yes, Mr. Wells said our descendants will establish Utopia, but it doesn't necessarily mean that we have to have more than one child! There's no way Clark and I could ask you to do this again." Lois2 sat back down and put her face in her hands. Lois and Clark could only look at each other. 'That's one question answered.'

"Lois2," Lois prodded, gently. "What about the child's origins? Would you tell the truth about Clark?"

Lois2 sniffed, and wiped her eyes. "We would tell the child the truth. We would tell the child how we wanted to have him or her but couldn't, and that it was only possible because of the love and kindness of two people who wanted to help."

Clark cringed upon hearing this. There was so much hope in her voice. And Clark, despite the fact that he had always wanted to help, wasn't sure if he could this time. Then suddenly, his super-hearing kicked in. 'And just a minute ago, I had wished to be interrupted…' But then, he realized the enormity of the situation he was hearing.

Lois noticed the faraway look in his eyes and sighed. "What is it?"

"An alarm at S.T.A.R. Labs!"

"Oh my God! What if it's the kryptonite? Go!" Lois commanded, pushing Clark away.

Clark spun into his suit. "I'll be back as soon as I can, I promise!" he called, and flew out their window.

Lois2 turned to look at Lois. Lois noticed how Lois2's face was blotched from crying. The visitor asked in a timid voice, "Can we talk?"

Lois sighed, feeling terrible about what she and Clark may have to say to Lois2. She sat across from her counterpart. "Sure…" ***

Clark wasn't able to return home until midnight. It didn't take long to deal with the alarm at S.T.A.R. Labs (apparently someone carelessly tripped it and ran), but he then had to deal with three car accidents, an attempted rape, two more robberies, and an escalating gang war in Baltimore, among other things. He x-rayed his house as he approached and found that Lois2 was sleeping in the guestroom and Lois was in the bathroom, getting ready for bed. Entering through the windows, he spun out of his suit (quietly, so that he wouldn't wake up his guest) and tiptoed up the stairs. He opened the bedroom door.

And stopped. And stared.

There was Lois, lying on their bed, totally naked. Any coherent thoughts he had immediately flew out the window. Except one.

"Uhm, Lois, do you think we should do this? What about… ?" Clark gestured towards the guestroom.

"Cla-ark," Lois sing-songed, "this is Lois we're talking about here. She'll understand. Besides, she was out like a light an hour ago. I guess traveling through time took a lot out of her." Lois stood up and crooked her finger at him. As if in a trance, Clark closed the distance between them until their faces were inches away. Then Lois crushed her lips against his, acting as if they hadn't made love in a week. Clark pulled back after a few moments to allow himself to drown into her gaze, but was surprised to find that her eyes were filled with unshed tears.

"Honey," he said gently. "What's wrong?" He brought up his hand to wipe away a tear from her face.

"Nothing, Clark. I'm just happy. Just happy that I have you, and you have me." Lois ran her hands through his hair and then pulled him towards her.

"I love you, Lois," Clark whispered, as their lips met. Then he scooped her into his arms and started towards the bed. ***

In the guestroom, the other Lois was lying in bed, awakened by voices from the other bedroom. Tears were running down her cheeks as she tried to go back to sleep. ***

[Monday, October 5, 1998, 8:49 A.M.]

Clark awoke to a sound of a fire alarm. Carefully getting out of bed so as not to disturb Lois, he spun into his suit, slower than usual. He glanced at the alarm clock and shook his head. 8:49 A.M. It was just as well that he woke up, for the alarm clock was to go off in ten minutes. After enjoying the view for a moment of his sleeping wife in bed, he flew off to the scene of the fire.

The fire was at a building not far from the S.T.A.R. Labs, and it was clearly not accidental. After talking with the fire chief for a few minutes, Clark flew off in the direction of the Daily Planet building, but then stopped in midair. Of course! Clark Kent was off this week. He can't make an appearance at the Planet. As he glanced back at the scene of the fire, he was relieved to see Paul Hurst from the Planet's City section talking with a bystander. Clark flew back to give the young reporter a few quotes as Superman. 'Paul will be ecstatic getting his first Superman exclusive,' Clark thought, grinning.

Unfortunately, after the fire, there were other things that required his attention (like a couple of robberies, attempted muggings, and a hostage situation at the Metropolis Airport), so he wasn't able to return home until two hours later, making him not in the best of moods. On one hand, being away as Superman prolonged the inevitable talk with Lois2. On the other hand, he was away from his wife, and being away from Lois, when he wanted to be with her right now, didn't make him a happy camper.

He touched down in the balcony of their brownstone and spun into his normal clothes. Upon entering the house, he found out, to his surprise, that it was empty. Looking around, he found a note next to their answering machine, and the answering machine was blinking. Clark scanned the note quickly, causing him to smile:


Went to the mall. :)

I love you,


Clark smiled as he remembered a time when Lois left a similar message, that time on his voice mail at the Planet. It was about six weeks ago, and Clark had returned to the office from a source and found that Lois had gone early. That night, he went on a patrol, and he came home to find his wife with a pair of handcuffs in one hand and a policeman's uniform in another, inviting him to strip-search her. To his amazement, the uniform looked exactly like the uniform he wore when he went undercover as Superman, when Intergang first attracted Lois and Clark's attention, about four years ago. Although Lois knew that Superman had posed as a police officer, she had never seen him wearing the uniform.

Superman had been warned to stay away from the South Side, because it was one of the places where Intergang was operating. Unfortunately, Lois' uncle Mike Lane owned a cafe at the South Side, which put him in danger. Lois gave Superman the idea to go undercover so that he could still check things out. It was the perfect solution; one night, Uncle Mike was being threatened by a group of thugs, possibly Intergang henchmen. Clark arrived at the scene, dressed as a cop, and took care of the thugs without any difficulty. He sprinted away when he and Uncle Mike heard the police sirens.

So there was Lois, standing there in their bedroom with a sexy smile on her face, asking him to strip-search her. Clark had confessed to her a couple of days before that he had a dream about making love to her dressed as a cop, and Lois was giving him another opportunity to make his dream come true. Clark spun out of his suit and into the uniform, and then he proceeded to strip-search his wife, which didn't take long, because she was wearing a nightgown and nothing else. It was one of the most memorable nights of their marriage thus far.

Clark then started to think about Lois2, and he sighed. There was just no way he could sleep with her. He loved Lois completely, whom Lois2 looked exactly alike. Maybe it wouldn't take a lot of imagination to pretend she was Lois, but she wasn't Lois, and he loved Lois, and Lois2 would have to understand that.

And what about the other Clark? Does *he* understand what he and Lois2 had to do? Is he really okay with the idea of his wife sleeping with another man so that she could get pregnant? Clark could understand his counterpart's absence — if the roles were reversed, certainly he wouldn't want to be nearby Lois and Clark2 while they were together; then again, he would never allow that to happen, even if he were to be sterile. On the other hand, he and Lois still did not know Clark2's views and feelings on the whole situation, as uncomfortable as his presence would have been. If he had been with Lois2 a month ago then the situation would be more credible. Something just didn't add up.

His heart heavy, Clark looked at the note again. He read it twice and frowned. Why would Lois go to the mall? Clark's last 'Choose-Your- Costume-Fantasy' was a month ago, and it involved Lois as Ultrawoman. Because of Lois2's visit, and because of all the work he and Lois had to do this past month, he had forgotten about that dream until now. Lois' Ultrawoman costume was packed away in the attic. Even if Lois didn't have the costume anymore, her appearance was so brief, he doubted that any costume store would have the Ultrawoman suit now. He lowered his glasses and glanced through the ceiling to the attic, just to be sure. Yep, the costume was still there.

The sound of their doorbell interrupted his thoughts. He redirected his x-ray vision to the door and reflexively stepped back in shock. "Oh no, it can't be…" he whispered. He rushed to the door.

Clark threw open the door and there stood a very disheveled, a very agitated, and a very impatient Lois Lane. Unfortunately, it was not his Lois Lane, because this one had longer hair. So Lois2 was now safe and sound, but what about his Lois? She still hadn't 'returned' from the mall. He had a bad feeling that something happened to her. Have both of them been abducted? Did Lois2 escape from wherever they were being held? Was his Lois in danger?

Lois2 meanwhile was ready to march into the house when she stopped and stared at Clark. Wow! The resemblance was uncanny! Change the glasses and he was the spitting image of her husband. "Oh my God," she breathed.

Clark looked at her in concern. Lois2 didn't look hurt, but maybe she suffered from some internal injuries. "Are you hurt? Are you in pain?"

Lois2 shook her head. After looking blankly at Clark for a few moments, she composed herself. "Oh my God," she tried again. "It's you! You're the other Clark!"

"Yes, I am," Clark blinked, clearly confused. Did she not remember who he was? Maybe Lois2 was suffering from some form of amnesia, and that she had forgotten about her visits to his universe. But he didn't see any bumps or bruises on her forehead. He was about to ask Lois2 about it when she spoke up.

"Clark, I think your Lois is in danger! There's a double that's been posing as me!"

Clark's blood ran cold. Lois in danger? A double posing as Lois2? He was about to grab her by the shoulders and force her to explain herself when he stopped himself short. If this was the real Lois2 then she wouldn't appreciate it. Instead, he assumed his 'Superman' pose and glared at her. "Just who are you?" he spat out.

Lois2 wouldn't let herself be intimidated by Superman. She crossed her arms in a similar pose and glared back at him. "I am Lois Lane Kent of the alternate dimension. I was kidnapped by a woman who claimed to be your wife, and was brought here. I believe that she's now pretending to be me, and that she's after your Lois." She turned and made her way to the living room.

Clark followed her, and then sat down on the couch with a plop. He was astounded. Never in a million years would he have expected this. The woman who visited him and Lois a month ago and yesterday was therefore not the real Lois2. The woman who claimed that she was married to the other Clark was therefore not the real Lois2. The woman who asked him to procreate with her was therefore *not the real Lois2*! But wait a minute! It is also possible that the woman who first came over *was* Lois2, and that the woman sitting across from him was the fake. Trying to control his anger, he spoke in a low, even voice. "How do I know that you aren't really the double and that the woman is the real Lois2?"

Lois2's face fell. 'Clark wasn't sure who to believe.' Then a thought came to her. She responded, "Perhaps the best way is for me to show you…" ***

[Somewhere in Metropolis]

[11:03 A.M.]

For the umpteenth time Lois struggled with the ropes. Nothing. There was just no way for her to get free.

Lois had woken up this morning to find her husband gone. She had assumed that Superman was needed, so she had decided to cook and have breakfast ready for him when he returned. Before she could reach the kitchen, however, she felt something strike her back, and she then want black. When she came to, she found herself in a strange apartment gagged and tied to a chair.

She struggled with the ropes again. Lois jerked her head, and in the process, her gag loosened slightly. At the risk of getting dizzy, she alternated between bobbing her head up and down and shaking her head from side to side. After a few tense moments, she was free from the gag. She took a deep breath, preparing to scream for help, when she heard footsteps approaching her. Then she felt a gun at the back of her head.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you, Lois." Lois turned around to see Lois2 standing behind her. Well, it was obvious that this woman wasn't really Lois2.

"Who are you?" she demanded.

"Oh, let's just say I'm 'an accident victim who was at the right place at the right time,'" the other woman replied smugly. She took Lois' gag and tied it again around Lois' mouth, securing it tightly.

Lois' eyes widened as she realized the significance of the woman's words. This woman who pretended to be Lois2 was in fact Lauren Loxley, the double who worked with Ariana Carlin. ***

[Metropolis, 348 Hyperion Avenue]

[12:46 P.M.]

"So your Lois went to the mall and hasn't returned?" Lois2 asked.

"That's right, and I'm really worried. The double isn't here either, so it's possible that she has her."

Lois2's heart went out to Clark. She could only imagine how *her* Clark must feel now, knowing that she was missing. "Was that the only note you found?" she asked gently.

"Yeah… no! Before you came here, I noticed that there was a message on the answering machine. I completely forgot about it!" With determination, he strode to the machine and pressed the play button.

"Clark, this is Lois2! Lois has been kidnapped! We were on our way to the mall when someone grabbed her and took her away in a van! One of the guys said that if you value her life, come to the top apartment of the apartment complex at 256 N. Washington Avenue. Or was it 265 N. Washington Avenue? You have to be there by 1 o'clock. I'm on my way so see if I can help out." Click.

"Oh, give me a break!" Clark exclaimed. "Who does she think she's trying to fool! It's obvious that she has Lois. And I've got ten minutes to get there! I have to go!" Clark spun into his suit. He was about to fly out the window when Lois2 stopped him.

"Clark, wait! Let me go with you!"

"You're not going with me! You just escaped from that lunatic!" With a look of fierce determination on his face, Clark again strode to the window, but Lois2 grabbed him and spun him around.

"Aren't you forgetting something? I'm fine! And I'm going with you, buster!" She jabbed her finger into his chest. "The double does not know that I escaped. We can use this to our advantage."

"No! I can't! I can't put you at risk! Your husband would never forgive me. I… can't." Without letting Lois say another word, Clark flew out the window as fast as he could.

"Clark, wait!" Lois2 cried. Superman's sonic boom was her only response. "*Darn* it!" Lois2 exploded. Looking around, she sighed. "He's so much like my Clark. O.K., what was the address again?" She looked at the answering machine and found that it was still blinking, which meant that Clark, thank goodness, didn't erase the message. She pressed 'Play,' and after listening for a few seconds, ran out of the house in a speed that rivaled Superman's. ***

[Metropolis, 265 N. Washington Avenue]

[12:51 P.M.]

In no time, Clark was able to find Ms. Loxley's apartment. As he flew closer, he noticed that one window was open, the one near the fire escape. 'How convenient,' Clark thought sardonically. With a burst of speed, he flew into the window and landed in the living room of the apartment. What he found surprised him.

There was a woman with long hair who looked like Lois, tied in a chair with a rope, and gagged. There was also a gun, broken glass, and an overturned table on the floor, as if a scuffle had taken place. But there was no sign of Lois. Clark was about to x-ray the apartment when he heard a voice from the bedroom.

"Superman? Is that you?"

"Right here, Lois."

Lois came into the room (with short hair, Clark noticed), saw Clark, and said, "Took you long enough. But thank God you're here. My double had wanted to kill me. But I was able to get the gun away, fight back with some Tae Kwon Do — thank God I haven't dropped the class — and was able to subdue her. Not bad for a person without superpowers, huh?" As she babbled, she fiddled with her watch, which she was wearing on her right wrist.

Clark's eyes narrowed at her gesture. Lois always wore her watch on her left wrist. In fact, people who were right-handed usually wore their watches on their left wrist. That must mean that the woman standing before him was left-handed. Which means…

He quickly looked at the woman tied up in the chair. He then noticed that her hair was not cut evenly. 'Or it's a wig not on straight,' he realized. He immediately grabbed the wig and pulled it off the woman's head and found that her real hair was short, just like Lois'. He removed the gag.

"Superman!" Lois gasped, darting her eyes towards the standing woman. "It's a trap!"

Clark turned around, and was greeted by waves of pain flowing through his body. He crashed to the floor.

Clark tried to right himself up. Every part of his body screamed as he did so, for the pain was too intense. Giving up for the moment, he sank to the floor. Looking at Lois' double, he groaned.

It turned out that Lauren was wearing a rather odd-shaped locket around her neck. The locket was made out of lead, and inside it was a piece of Kryptonite. 'Idiot! How could I have not noticed it before?' Clark reprimanded himself. He tried to scoot away from her but his arms and legs simply wouldn't work together.

Lois could only watch helplessly at her husband as he grimaced in pain. She struggled with the ropes again, wanting to do something, anything, to help get Clark away from the Kryptonite. But it was to no avail.

"How did you know it was me, Clark, or I should say, Superman?" Lauren asked, with an icy stare.

"The watch," Lois responded defiantly. "You're wearing it on the wrong wrist. I'm right-handed. Superman isn't 'galactically stupid,' you know!"

"Yes, he is!" Lauren shot back. "He could have agreed to sleep with me and I wouldn't have to have resorted to kidnapping you. But nooooo!" She turned to Clark, waving the gun threateningly. "You had your eyes on Lois and no one else. I figured that you wouldn't go for it when I came back. So we're going to have to do it this way." Clark in the meantime had tried to get up, but Lauren pushed him back down with her right leg. He moaned again in response. He opened his eyes and looked at Lauren. He was surprised to see that instead of anger, there was fear in her eyes.

"If you're Lauren, then who's the woman in your jail cell?" Lois demanded.

"Oh, I don't know," Lauren replied airily. "He brought some woman there before he helped me escape."

'He?' Then Lois groaned. It was Tempus. It just had to be! And he's done it again! Somehow he had enlisted the help of this woman to try to wreck her and Clark's lives. When will this madness stop?

Lauren idly fingered the Kryptonite as she went on a completely different subject. "Did you know that Superman has a lot of female 'admirers' where I was staying? We call it the 'Superman Fan Club.' You know most of them. Miranda, Constance the magician, Mrs. Cox, the resurrected Bonnie Harper, Amber Lake, Samantha from that tabloid; the list goes on.

"I really thought that Samantha was crazy, you know? Superman, having an illicit affair with Lois Lane? Yeah right! But when John told me about Clark, it made perfect sense! Of course there was no affair, because Clark is Superman!" Lauren glanced down at Clark. "Or 'was', judging by the way he looks. What's the matter, Clark? Not feeling 'super'?" Clark managed to let out another groan.

'So Tempus was calling himself 'John Doe' that time,' Lois mused. Looking about, she thought furiously. Of course, she knew the drill. Whenever you are captured, you need to buy some time. So she asked, "So, why us? Why the whole charade?"

"Why you, Lois? Simple: revenge. You did put me in jail, you know," Lauren said sardonically. Then she started to become agitated. "John thought it would have been the easiest way to get to both of you. But of course, he thought that Clark would have gone for it too, the 'Boy Scout' that he is."

Lois' eyes blinked in surprise. What was wrong with this woman? Was she afraid of Tempus? Before she could ask Lauren, the woman edged closer to Clark.

Lauren let go of the locket, letting it bounce off her chest. "Well now, before I kill you both, I'm going to fulfill my fantasy now." Lauren knelt, and with her right hand, stroked Clark's thigh. Clark tried to move away from her, but couldn't. "It just isn't fair. The man who I despise has to have a body to die for. Still, I've been wondering what Superman would be like in bed. I assume, Lois, that the suit really does come off?" Lois' response was an indignant sound. Lauren got up, walked to Lois, and leaned forward until Lois' face was inches from hers. She smiled sweetly. "What was that? Does that mean that it does?"

"Go to hell," Lois said and spat the other woman's face. Lauren, looking very angry, stood back and slapped Lois' face in return.

Clark let out a groan, and both women turned to him. "Lauren," he spoke, faltering, "if you… you… touch her… again…"

"Aw, Superman, are you in pain?" Lauren asked in mock sympathy. She wiped her face with her sleeve and knelt at Clark's side. "Where does it hurt? Do you want me to kiss it to make it feel better?" Without waiting for Clark's response, she leaned forward and crushed her lips against his. Lois could only cry out as she witnessed the scene before her. Clark tried to turn his head away, but Lauren took his face in her right hand and held it steady as she explored his mouth with hers. Then she rose, stepped back, and began to unbutton her blouse.

Suddenly, there was a sonic boom, and something whooshed through the window. Make that *someone*. A woman, wearing the Ultrawoman costume, flew in and was on a direct course to crash into Lauren.

Before Lauren could even turn her head to the source of the commotion, the two women collided. This caused Lauren to spiral backwards. She crashed on to the overturned table and hit her head hard against the tabletop, knocking her out.

Lois could only stare in amazement at her rescuer, who was on the floor grimacing in pain. This rescuer looked exactly like her when she was Ultrawoman! She could tell, even with the mask on. 'This must be the real Lois2,' she thought. And she has superpowers! But how did she get them?

The real Lois2, meanwhile, was inching her way towards Lauren. Reaching the fallen woman, she took the locket, closed it, and removed it from Lauren's neck. Immediately Lois2 relaxed and her breathing returned to normal. Clark, however, was slower in recovery.

There weren't many things that could render Lois Lane totally speechless, but certainly this was a one of them. She stammered, "How… how did you…"

"Not now," said Lois2, with difficulty. "I'll explain later." She got up and went to Lois. With a little more effort than usual, she tore the ropes off Lois. After she was free, Lois sprang from the chair and scooted to Clark's side.

Lois shook her head as she smoothed the hair on her husband's head and caressed his face. "Clark? Are you okay?"

"Ughh, that hurt," he croaked. Once he noticed that Lois was now free, he sat up, grimacing. "I'll live. How about you, Honey?"

"Some rope burns on my wrists, but other than that, never better." Now that the ordeal was over, Lois wanted to kiss her husband senseless. She pulled his head towards hers and started doing just that.

"*Ahem*. Excuse me," Lois2 said politely, not wanting Lois and Clark to forget where they were at the moment. They immediately disengaged. "Better," Lois2 smirked. She took the ropes that had bound Lois and began to tie Lauren up. "Clark, I can't believe that you left without me! Didn't you figure that the double would have some more Kryptonite?"

Lois turned to Clark. "You did what?" she asked incredulously.

"The double had me trapped with Kryptonite before, and Clark didn't want me in danger. Oh!" Lois2 extended her hand to Lois. "We weren't properly introduced. Lois Lane Kent, alternate dimension. Also known as Ultrawoman." Dazed, Lois shook the other woman's hand. Lois2 finished tying Lauren up. "Does he do that to you as well, Lois? Going off to do things without you?"

"Constantly. I guess since you have superpowers that your Clark doesn't do it as often."

"I'm afraid not," Lois2 replied. Then she frowned. "He still worries about me, and I'm sure he'll be worried sick when he finds me missing. Which means we have to hurry."

"You're right," Lois agreed. She got up and glanced at her husband. To her relief, his color was back to normal and he was trying to stand. She helped him up.

Lois2 made a quick check to see that Lauren was okay. Satisfied, she addressed the couple. "Clark, you're looking better. If you're up to it, why don't the two of you fly home? I'm going to the Metropolis State Prison and switch her back with the unfortunate woman who's there right now. That woman is my double in my universe, by the way. I'll be at your house afterwards and we'll talk. Really talk. Okay?" Lois and Clark nodded in agreement.

"All right then, I'll see you in a bit," Lois2 said. She picked up Lauren and strode to the window. Lois could only watch in amazement as Ultrawoman flew out the window. Then they heard the sonic boom a short moment later. ***

[Somewhere in the Skies Above Metropolis]

[1:33 P.M.]

Lois loved being held in Clark's arms while flying. She was never tired of it, ever since the first time, when Clark flew her back to the Daily Planet from EPRAD over five years ago. Of course, she did not know that Clark was Superman then. 'Who knows what would have happened if I knew earlier,' she wondered. Hopefully, they will continue to do this all the days of their lives.

Lois looked over at Clark and saw that he looked pensive, and almost sad. She nudged him. "Honey? What is it?"

Clark sighed. "Did you notice the look on Lauren's face before Lois2 arrived? She almost looked…"

"Afraid?" Lois finished. Clark nodded. "Maybe Tempus threatened her with her life if she didn't succeed," she suggested.

"Maybe," said Clark. "It would explain why I thought I heard her crying last night while…" He stopped, looking almost embarrassed.

"While we were making love?" Lois' eyes widened. "I thought I saw you once with that look. For a minute I thought that you weren't distracted enough."

"Trust me, you distract me all the time," Clark teased. Lois swatted his arm, though lightly, so as not to get hurt. "But seriously, Lois, we thought she was Lois2. Not only did she look like you and talked like you, but she cried like you. And you know how I am when you are hurt or upset…" Clark shrugged helplessly.

Lois smiled at her husband warmly. Yes, she knew, and she loved him for it. "It's okay, Clark," she assured him. "It's been a crazy past few weeks for both of us, hasn't it?"

"Yeah, it has." Clark smiled fondly at his wife and glanced up ahead. He did a double take, looked again, and chuckled. "Looks like you've just distracted me again."

"Why do you say that?"

"Because I can see the Chesapeake Bay up ahead. We went too far south."

Lois giggled as Clark turned around and headed for home. ***

[Metropolis, 348 Hyperion Avenue] [1:50 P.M.]

When they returned to their brownstone, they found out that Lois2 hadn't returned yet. So they decided to distract each other some more (by necking on their couch) while they waited. A few minutes later, they heard a whoosh on their balcony, signaling Lois2's return. Lois reluctantly pulled away from Clark's embrace.

Then Lois and Clark heard Lois2 doing a super-spin, and a moment later, she emerged into the living room. She was wearing jeans and a MetroU sweatshirt, and they looked at her in amazement.

The pairs of eyes on Lois2 were making her a little uncomfortable. "What?" she yelped.

Lois and Clark looked away. Lois spoke up. "It's nothing. It's just weird hearing someone doing the super-spin when it's not coming from Clark."

"Oh. My Clark taught me to do this when changing clothes. It's the easiest way to do it," Lois2 shrugged.

"It certainly is," Clark agreed.

"So what happened to Lauren?" Lois asked, changing the subject.

"Well, I had to stop by here first, because that was where she had left the time machine," Lois2 explained. "Before we arrived at the Metropolis State Prison she came to. She must have hit her head on that table pretty hard, because she didn't know who I was! Me, the both of you, Tempus… she didn't even remember being in prison! So I brought her to her cell, left her there while I took *my* double back to my universe, came back, and brought Lauren to the prison infirmary."

"Wait a minute," Clark interjected. "I thought the time machine would stop working when you returned to your world…"

"That must have been another lie," Lois reasoned. "Now I wonder if Lauren was telling the truth at all."

"I guess we'll find out when Lois2 tells her story," said Clark.

"Anyway," Lois2 stated, "the doctor confirmed it; Lauren has amnesia. Of course, we don't know if she'll one day start remembering, but I think you may want to keep your eyes on her, in case she does." Lois and Clark nodded in agreement.

"So how did your Clark find you?" Lois asked, curious. "That was one thing that wasn't brought up when Lauren was here."

"It's a long story," Lois2 answered. "The gist of it was that Mr. Wells found me and brought me back last year. It was weird, though, to come back to Metropolis to find that Perry was now the Mayor, that a guy younger than me was the owner of the Planet, and that one of the reporters could actually fly! Clark was a big help in getting me back up to speed. It's disconcerting to find yourself four years behind and have to spend months in the morgue playing catch-up.

"Clark and I also hit it off very well. Within a couple of weeks we were dating, and within a few months we were engaged. Never had I thought that I would fall in love with someone and get engaged just like that!" Lois2 snapped her fingers. "But there was this connection with Clark that I couldn't explain, and there was something about him that always made sense to me, even when most of my life didn't."

Lois and Clark looked at each other with their hearts full of love. They realized that Lois2's story wasn't much different than theirs. Lois took her husband's hand into hers and squeezed it. Lois2 didn't miss the gesture, and she was starting to feel a bit homesick. It's only been a few hours in her perspective and she missed her husband terribly. She hastily continued on with her tale.

"We were married on October 11, 1997, and fortunately, we were able to keep the wedding low-key…" A gasp from Lois stopped Lois2 short. "What? Do we have the same wedding date?"

"Actually, no," Clark explained. "We were married the year before, but on October 6th."

"Which means tomorrow is our 2nd anniversary," Lois added.

"So our dates are almost the same," Lois2 mused, and then made a face. "Yuck. What a way to spend your anniversary!" She gestured to Lois. "You getting kidnapped" — then pointed at Clark — "and you getting hit with Kryptonite. I feel so guilty that you had to go through all that. If I knew, when I met Lauren, that she wasn't the real Lois, then none of this would have happened."

Lois couldn't believe her ears. "Lauren *visited* you, pretending that she was me?"

Lois2 grimaced, as did Clark. "Yeah, she did," she admitted. "It was my day off at the Planet, though not for Clark. She came over, and we were getting acquainted. What she had said about the two of you collaborated with what my husband said, so there was no reason for me to think that she was not Lois Lane. I then proceeded to tell her everything that happened to Clark and I since I returned from the Congo. And I mean everything. Unfortunately, that made it easier for her to play *me* when she visited you."

"So the story she gave us was true?" Lois asked.

"Maybe," Lois2 said slowly. "What did she tell you?"

Clark recalled Lauren's first visit. "Well, she first said that you and Clark were trying to have children, but couldn't. Then you visited your Dr. Klein, and he said that your Clark had a low sperm count. Then Mr. Wells visited you and explained how Clark had some accident as a child that caused the low sperm count, and that it was Tempus' fault. Apparently this threatened your Utopia, which was why you came here."

Lois2 frowned. So Lauren mostly didn't tell the truth. She sighed heavily and avoided Lois and Clark's eyes. "The only thing that was true was our visit to Dr. Klein. And that happened only because we, uh, had a spontaneous encounter in the kitchen one morning and that we had forgotten to, well, take precautions…"

She glanced back at the couple and saw that they were trying hard not to laugh at what Lois2 had just said. Then it dawned on her. "I guess that it had happened to you, too," Lois2 said wryly. Lois and Clark responded by nodding their heads. Then they gave up trying to keep a straight face and started laughing.

After Lois and Clark calmed themselves down, Lois2 continued. "So besides visiting Dr. Klein, none of what she said was true. We weren't planning to have children, yet. We don't know why Clark has a low sperm count. We haven't seen Mr. Wells since he found me over a year ago. And certainly we haven't been told about any Utopia.

"While Lauren was in my world, she pulled out the Kryptonite. Let me tell you, that was the first time I was exposed to it, and it *hurts*! Suddenly, it was "poof," and the powers were gone! She dragged me next to her and pulled out her time machine. We arrived in some abandoned warehouse, she tied me up, and she put some Kryptonite beyond my reach. She then left to go see you for the first time."

"How *did* you get your powers?" Lois asked. "Did you always have them, or did you get them recently?"

"No, I didn't always have them," Lois2 shook her head. Had it been over a year ago already when she received superpowers? "Clark and I were on a stakeout one night in the Metropolis Park Cemetery, about two months before we were married. It was a dark and stormy night. We were huddled together behind a tombstone when suddenly we were struck by lightening! A bolt from the blue! Neither one of us was hurt, thank goodness. The bad guys we were watching didn't even notice! We nabbed them, and later, I pulled open a gate as we were leaving the entrance of the cemetery. Imagine our astonishment when I accidentally pulled a gate off its hinges and was holding it in my hand!"

Lois and Clark gave each other knowing looks, remembering a similar incident three years ago when his powers were temporarily transferred to her. Lois2 shook her head, as if she still didn't believe what had happened to her. "Eventually I had to make myself a costume. Clark came up with the name 'Ultrawoman,' and I started helping him with the rescues."

"Does everyone know who you are?" Lois inquired.

"Unfortunately, yeah. Clark and I didn't want this process of copying powers to become public, so I lied and said that I had always had them."

Clark became thoughtful. He hadn't thought of *copying* his powers to Lois. It would certainly make things easier for the reporting team Lane and Kent. It would certainly make things easier in raising their children. It might also alleviate some of his worries about his wife's safety. But would Lois want his powers again? He wasn't sure, but it wouldn't hurt to discuss this, though, once they are alone.

"Apparently," Lois2 said, interrupting Clark's thoughts, "Lauren didn't like what you said when she visited you the first time. She came back to the warehouse angry and afraid, and then we traveled a month ahead. Before she left me again with the Kryptonite, I got her to tell me what her plan was, and why was she was doing all this."

"Besides revenge, of course," Clark remarked.

"Not just Lauren, but Tempus too," Lois2 reminded him. "She told me that he came to see her out of nowhere when she was in jail, and offered to free her in exchange for helping him enact revenge on you two. He must have known the two of you pretty well, because Lauren told me a lot about your getting together and getting married." Lois2 shook her head and sighed. "He basically planned it all. I also think that he might have threatened her with her life, because when we went a month ahead, she looked very nervous, almost frightened. Of course, I was kind of out of it with the Kryptonite, so I might have been hallucinating."

"It would make sense, though," Lois noted. "Clark said that he had heard her crying last night when she spent the night in the guestroom."

"I'm just glad that I was able to reach the Kryptonite and get rid of it when I was back in the warehouse," Lois2 said firmly. "I spent the next morning mostly walking to your house, after I found out where it was. Fortunately the streets of Metropolis were laid out mostly the same way, as I knew it in my world. Plus, walking kept me in the sun, which helped me get my strength back."

"I'm sorry I didn't ask for your help," Clark said, contrite. "Even though you had showed me this morning that you had superpowers, I was concerned for your safety, you know."

Lois rolled her eyes at her husband. "That sounds familiar," she said sarcastically to Lois2.

"Well, you and your husband had known each other only for over a year," Clark spoke, trying to defend himself. "If anything had happened to you now, I don't think I could forgive myself." Clark shrugged helplessly. "Anyway, I'm glad you were able to rescue us. I really don't want to think what would happen if Lauren succeeded."

"After having her way with you, she probably would have killed us both," Lois guessed. "Our Utopia might have been threatened. Just like what Tempus had wanted. Thank God C.J. and Laura were away from all of this!"

"Thank God," Lois2 repeated, getting up. "Well, I have to get going. I don't want my Clark to be worried. You know how Clark can be." She smiled. "Besides, I miss him terribly."

"Wait!" Lois exclaimed. "What about you and your Clark's, um, dilemma? What are you going to do about having children?"

Lois2 drew out a long sigh. "We don't know. We weren't really thinking about having children before — we've been so busy being at the Planet by day and being a superhero by night. Like I said, we checked with Dr. Klein only because we forgot, uh, you know." Lois2's face turned a little pink. "We may adopt, since it had worked before, if you know what I mean. Or Dr. Klein may find a way around Clark's problem. Or we may not have children at all. And don't worry, we're not going to do what Lauren did, asking Clark to procreate with me. No offense, Clark, but you just don't do it for me."

Clark grinned, not feeling the least bit insulted. "The feeling's mutual, Lois2."

Lois went up and hugged Lois2. "Thanks so much for your help. It looks like we're in you and Clark's debt, again. And if you decide to have children, don't give up. Anything is possible, you know."

"I know," Lois2 murmured, stepping back. "Take care, Lois and Clark. I hope we meet again in better circumstances." She pulled out the time machine, pushed a couple of buttons, and disappeared in a flash of light.

Immediately afterwards, Lois and Clark turned to each other and hugged. She rested her head against his chest. "Quite an adventure, huh?" Lois asked quietly.

When Clark didn't answer, Lois tilted her head upwards and saw that all-familiar faraway look in his eyes. "Honey, what is it?"

"A huge accident on the highway," Clark told Lois. She stepped back to give him room to spin into his suit.

"Clark?" Lois stopped him before he flew off. "Why don't you make a patrol while you're at it?" Clark nodded wordlessly and left. ***

[5:01 P.M.]

Clark was anxious as he made his way back home. The accident on the highway, plus the patrol that Lois had suggested that he do, kept him busy for over three hours. It wasn't until about five o'clock that he was able to return home. He spun into jeans and a T-shirt after he entered the house. The house again seemed deserted, but this time, Clark was able to hear Lois' heartbeat from their bedroom. Good. Now they could have that talk. He jogged up the stairs and made his way to the bedroom.

"Sorry, Honey, for taking so long…" Clark started, but then he momentarily lost all ability to speak. The bedroom was dark, since the curtains were drawn. In the middle of the room stood Ultrawoman, with a huge grin on her face, and assuming a 'Superman' pose.

For a moment Clark panicked. Did Lois and Lois2 somehow switch, and Lois was in the alternate universe? The sound of Lois' voice interrupted his thoughts.

"Honey, are you okay? Did something happen?"

"Lois?" he asked with uncertainty. "Is that you?"

"Of course it's me, Honey! Who else could it — oh!" Clark could see recognition in Lois' eyes as she realized what this scene was looking like. "I'm sorry, Clark, it's really me, not Lois2. I wasn't thinking."

Clark exhaled slowly, feeling very relieved. "So why the Ultrawoman suit?"

"Well it occurred to me, Clark, that there was that costume fantasy that we hadn't acted out yet. Remember a month ago? I was wearing the Ultrawoman suit in your dream, and when you woke up you tore your head through the ceiling."

Clark grinned sheepishly as he remembered. "Oh yeah! We never got around to doing that because of Lauren and Lois2."

"Well, I don't see any other Lois Lanes around, do you?" Lois said, as she made her way towards her husband. "And Mother and Daddy still have the twins." Her face was now inches from his. "So, Clark, ever made out with a superhero?" Lois began applying light butterfly kisses on his face.

"Lois…?" he whimpered, lost in the sensations she was creating. Clark tried to clear his head; there was something he wanted to discuss first. He pulled back gently. "Honey, wait."

"What is it?" Lois asked, looking confused.

"I was just wondering, if there was another reason why you donned the suit now. You're not about becoming Ultrawoman again, are you?"

"Becoming Ultrawoman?" she asked, not understanding. "How could I?"

"Well, it's possible," Clark shrugged. "Remember Lois2? Remember 'Resplendent Man'? Remember the little boy who was supposedly my love child? One zap from a lightening bolt and you could have superpowers too."

Lois sat on the bed, stunned. Of course! It's very possible for her to get superpowers. The thought simply hadn't occurred to her, despite meeting the real Lois2. Wouldn't it be great for both her and Clark to be invulnerable? 'No it wouldn't,' she thought. She glanced at her husband, seeing the uncertainty in his eyes. Then she understood.

She stood up and wrapped her arms around Clark's neck. "Clark," she said quietly, "I know what you are thinking. You're thinking about my safety, weren't you?" She didn't wait for Clark to acknowledge her, because she knew her husband very well, sometimes better than herself. "It would be easy, you know. I could jump headfirst into danger and not worry about getting hurt. We would have no problem juggling work and raising our children at the same time. We could work together on rescues so that we could spend more time together."

Lois paused, trying to put her thoughts into words. "But it would not be me. I am Lois Lane, award winning investigative reporter, a mother of two beautiful children, and a wife to the most wonderful man in the world… or I should say, in this universe," she corrected herself, smiling. "I am not a superhero, though. I was Ultrawoman once, and it made me realize that I loved you more, more than what I thought was possible. But I also realized that I have my own way of fighting for truth, justice, and the 'American Way,' and that is by being a journalist. This was what I had always wanted to do, ever since I was little. I would not have it any other way." Lois reached up and brushed back a lock of hair from Clark's forehead. "Besides, I still wouldn't be completely invulnerable, you know, as long as there's Kryptonite out there."

Clark smiled tenderly at his wife, leaned forward, and placed a soft kiss on her lips. "I figured that you would say that. I try not to be so overprotective, yet here I am, doing it again."

Lois returned Clark's kiss with a more substantial one. She then pulled away briefly. "Yes, you are." She then caressed his face. "So why don't you do something else instead, like letting Ultrawoman have her way with you?"

"Oh, really?" Clark growled. "I would have thought that Ultrawoman was above all that."

"Well I am a woman, Clark," Lois pointed out, "just like you're a man." She let out a puff of breath on his face. "And this woman has needs, wants, and desires, just like any other woman." She began to nibble Clark's neck. He groaned at the contact.

"Help, Ultrawoman," Clark whispered, as Lois turned to his face and sought his mouth with hers.