By Letitia Logan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted February 2000
Summary: Lois and Clark, married five years, are still struggling to have a child and dealing with the pain of the agonizing process.
Lois zapped the TV on for company, but the pictures and words were lost on her. She was just too distracted. Impatiently, she zapped it off again. Getting up, she paced around the room. Hearing the jingle of keys, she rushed towards the door, throwing her arms about an unsuspecting Clark.
"Wha-." He was cut off as Lois's lips pressed down on his for a long lingering kiss. "Maybe I should walk through this door more often," he grinned at her when he could, throwing his coat onto the coat tree. He held her at arms' length to get a better look at her. Her smiling mouth and shining eyes told the story. "So what's all this excitement about?" he asked, curious. "Let me guess—you've won a Pulitzer in the last hour or so that I've been gone?" he toyed, and unable to help himself, leaned forward to trail kisses along her jaw line.
"No, you goose," she giggled happily. "Something much better. Oh, Clark… we're finally gonna be parents!" Against her neck, his face shot up and she felt his body stiffen in surprise. But instead of the elation she had expected, Clark's expression was hard, guarded.
He turned away from her to look out of their lounge window. "Are you sure?" He didn't mean for it to come out harsh. Outside on their street, an old man struggled with his garbage and a kid whizzed by on a BMX bike, but Clark stared unseeingly past it all.
More hurt and disappointed than she showed, Lois managed, "Dr. Klein has confirmed it."
Clark felt a spark of hope, but he quickly squelched it. He needed to be absolutely certain. He couldn't afford to get his hopes up again. They've been married five years now—five happy, fulfilling years marred only by an absence of a child to complete their family. Painfully, he recalled all those times of grief and bitter disappointment-not to mention the guilt that it might be his Kryptonian heritage that was the source of their problem- when Lois had her false alarms and the early miscarriage. He didn't think he could go through it again. If he didn't let himself hope, maybe it wouldn't hurt so much. "How long?" he asked cautiously, still with his back to her.
Lois stared at his rigid back and tried to be understanding. Not succeeding, she felt hot tears course silently down her cheeks. "Three and a half months," she answered in a steady voice she did not feel.
Three and a half months! Clark cursed himself for his insensitivity. How could he be so selfish as to think he was the only one feeling the pain? The uncertainty? God, what Lois must be feeling to have waited this long to tell me! Swinging around, he noticed her tearful downcast face. In two strides, he had her in his arms. "Lois, honey…I'm so sorry…so very sorry. I didn't mean to react like this. It's just that… oh, I should've noticed the signs. I never meant to hurt you. You know that, right? God, I'm so stupid!" It only made her cry harder. He buried his face in her sweet-smelling hair and held her tighter, as if he could absorb her pain. They stayed like that until her shuddering ceased.
She looked up into his face and offered a wobbly smile. "I'm still waiting on the Pulitzer. I'll be sure to tell you if I start getting signs of one. So far, there haven't been any."
He wondered if he could love her any more than at this moment. Chuckling, though his heart was still heavy, he captured her lips for a slow, tender kiss which conveyed infinitely more than any fierce hungry kisses.
Lois glanced around at the streets before her, willing Bobby Bigmouth to hurry up. Where was he? She didn't want Clark to worry about her, even though she'd left a note, knowing how anxious he was about their baby. A little voice inside her head niggled at her, telling her she should've listened to her husband and stayed at home, but then her sharp reporter's mind kicked in, telling her that she's a grown woman and can take care of herself, thank you very much. Besides, this could be important for the story she and Clark were working on—organized kidnapping and selling of newborns—which had become rather personal to her due to its very nature.
A waitress came and, knowing Bobby's appetite, she ordered the works. She had chosen a table out in the open, right along the street, so that she could enjoy the warm afternoon sun. Sitting down, she rubbed the mound on her stomach lovingly. There was a time when she'd been sure she didn't want a baby to complicate her life and career, but those feelings had changed radically after her first miscarriage. She'd never expected to feel so empty and devastated. The only way to fill the gaping hole in her heart was to have another baby. She tried not to think of the difficult years they had had trying to get pregnant because now, finally, she was and the threat of a miscarriage had passed.
She heard some commotion behind her, further up the street, but paid no heed as she spotted Bobby sauntering down the street. Smiling in her relief, she rose and waved a little to catch his attention. She saw him return her smile, probably in anticipation of the food to come, and managed to take a step forward before someone cannoned into her from behind, sending her flying dangerously towards a nearby table. The sharp corner of the table caught her viciously in the stomach before she collapsed onto the ground, clutching her middle and wracked with pain.
The purse-snatcher didn't even stop in his flight as he darted off across the road.
He didn't see Lois sobbing in pain and grief as she felt warm blood rush down her legs, killing her unborn baby. Feeling like a broken doll, she cried desperately for Clark, panicking when she couldn't find him among the sea of faces that had gathered around her. Someone touched her shoulder, yelling for an ambulance, and then her vision blurred and swirled until there was nothing but black.
Clark wearily made his way into their home and sank onto the sofa. Not seeing Lois, he thought she was sleeping upstairs. What a day it had been. There was another earthquake in Japan, a bomb scare in Israel and finally, a collapsed bridge at Brighton. Turning his mind to happier thoughts of Lois and their baby, he x-rayed their bedroom and finding it empty, the entire upstairs. A wave of anxiety rose in him before he noticed the yellow note Lois had left. Knowing that the restaurant was open till as late as 2 a.m. and thinking that Lois had not been gone for long, he was slightly reassured, but nonetheless ready to fly out in a moment to find her. He pressed a button on the answering machine. There were seven messages, but Clark had no time to feel surprised as he heard the first message from a nurse at Metropolis Hospital.
Within 30 seconds, he was outside Lois's room, pale and shaking inside. Only Perry was there. It was 12:48 a.m. and having been told that Lois's condition was stabilized, Jimmy had been ushered home along with concerned colleagues. Her parents were in France, trying to patch up their marriage.
"Lois is okay now, son," Perry offered, seeing the look on his young reporter's face. "She's resting."
Clark exhaled in relief, dimly aware of the disapproval in Perry's voice at being unable to reach him. "And the baby?" he asked in a misleadingly steady voice.
Perry looked ill at ease, uncomfortable in his role as the bearer of bad news. "I'm sorry…she lost it." He reached out and patted Clark awkwardly on the shoulder.
Clark didn't notice. It seemed the entire hallway and Perry receded, plunging him into a private world of darkness where there was only himself and the news that his baby had died. He felt a gut-wrenching pain and fought for breath as if his ribs had contracted, crushing his lungs. Engulfed with grief, he had never wanted to cry as much as he did now. Irrationally, he thought of the little blue and pink knit jumpsuits he'd bought—blue if it was a boy and pink for a girl. They would never feel the warmth of a small, wriggling body now, he thought. He wondered numbly if it was possible to die from the grief and anguish that was threatening to overwhelm him. As if he was several thousand miles away, Clark heard Perry explain what happened. Wasn't Lois's fault…mugger…fell…pavement restaurant…meeting Bobby—
He couldn't hear anything else at this point except for the sound of his own horror hammering at him like a million nails. Not again, not again! his mind raged, feeling as if his very soul was being torn apart.
It seemed forever before he heard Perry's concerned voice. "Are you all right, son?"
Clark forced himself to focus on the familiar face. "What?…fine. I'm fine." But he didn't look it.
"Maybe you should go in and see Lois," he suggested gently. "She might be awake."
"No. I…I don't want to see her." He was terrified of how he was going to react. He didn't want Lois's face to remind him of what happened to their baby. He desperately needed time alone.
"Now there. I think it'd be best if you do. She needs you right now. You've gotta be there for her."
Perry was right, but Clark doubted he had enough strength for Lois too. He felt like an old man, so weak and exhausted was his body that he had difficulty swallowing. As if talking to himself, he murmured, "I warned her. I told her to be careful. I wanted to be there to protect them. But she didn't listen. She had to go out alone." Somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew he was being totally irrational. Lois couldn't have known what was to happen, but he couldn't accept the truth. It would mean allowing his guilt at not being able to be there for her swamp him.
Suddenly furious, he turned on Perry. "It's her fault! She jeopardized our baby's safety! I told her to stay home. To rest! But she had to go running off for a story. Her work has always been first with her. She put it before our baby! I won't forgive her!" The anger felt good. He felt more in control.
Perry's face became stern. "Young man, you listen here and you better-" But he didn't get a chance to finish because Clark turned and stormed down the hall.
Propped up in her bed, pale and stricken, Lois regarded the man who had been like a father to her. "Is Clark here? I thought I heard his voice."
Perry took in her condition and decided to lie. "Clark? Uh… no. We still can't get a hold of him, honey. Don't worry. He'll be here." But he couldn't quite meet her eyes and that gave him away. Tears sprang to her eyes. "He was here, wasn't he? But he doesn't want to see me…'cause he blames me." She looked at her boss, almost daring him to say otherwise.
Wanting to comfort, he patted her arm. "Of course he doesn't. The man's so crazy with grief he doesn't know what he's saying." Without meaning to, he'd given Lois her answer. "I have to find him, Chief. Which way did he go?" she asked, already climbing out of her bed. Perry tried to stop her, but she wouldn't have it. "Which way did he go?" she asked more firmly. "I need to find him."
Something in her bright eyes and the determination in her voice made him reply, "He went down the hall. To the left."
The next thing he saw was Lois's back as she flew down that hall.
Clark had stopped on a bench further down the hall to gather himself. Inside, his mind was still screaming in protest at the loss and refusing to be soothed with reason. Something warm and wet was making a trail down his face and he realized with a start that he was crying. For a while, he did nothing to hold the tears back. Crying silently, he grieved for Lois, their baby, for himself and all those suffering through the same anguish.
Getting up, he dragged his arm across his face to regain his dignity. Taking a deep breath, he turned to leave before he heard a desperate cry of his name.
Lois was flying down the corridor, her face tear-stained and pale, looking very vulnerable in a blue hospital gown that was a little too large. Seeing her this way touched something soft and protective in his heart and all at once, he saw everything in a new light. The last thing Lois would've wanted was to harm their child. She couldn't be any less devastated than he was. And he'd been acting selfishly and unreasonably.
Clark ran to meet her and they clung to each other as if the hospital was a giant sea of water waiting to drown them. He felt a stab of guilt at how frail she seemed against his body. Her shoulders shook as she cried, her hands clutching at his back.
"Clark…sorry. It's all my fault…shouldn't have gone"—sob, sob— "…never meant to…our baby"—sob, sob—"I'm so sorry," she finished almost incoherently, her voice muffled against his shoulder. He held her as he might a child, rocking gently as his hands soothed her neck and back. "Shhh, my little love. It's not your fault. It's not," he whispered fiercely. "They'll be other babies, you'll see. We've got plenty of time, honey. Lots. I love you, Lois, no matter what," he promised as his throat constricted against a lump of emotion.
A sob caught in her at his loving words. "I love you too, Clark…so much," she said, softly, into his eyes. Then she leaned her head on his broad shoulder again. Immediately, Clark realized what a toll this must've taken on her and how weak she must still be feeling, especially after her miscarriage and now this emotional outburst. Gently, he scooped her up and carried her back to her room. On the way, he passed Perry who had followed Lois, to make sure she was all right and then retreated when he saw the couple hug. He clapped Clark on the back and beamed. Words weren't necessary.
Clark laid side by side with Lois on the narrow hospital bed, his arm supporting her head as he held her close. She had been asleep shortly after he'd picked her up and had been for the last hour. He moved slightly, gazing down at her lovely features and felt a wave of tenderness for the woman who had come to mean everything to him. She seemed to be frowning in her sleep so he leaned forward and pressed a kiss to her forehead.
Her eyes fluttered open and she gave him a wan smile, which nonetheless conveyed her joy that he was by her side. She pressed herself closer to his big body, needing the comfort of his warmth and strength. "Clark, I think…I think we should talk about this," she began tentatively. "I mean… unless you don't want to. I'd understand."
The uncertainty in her voice touched him and he knew she was right. So however painful and hard the subject was, they talked and talked about the death of their already much loved baby, knowing that only then could they move on.
Her cheek was wet and stunned, Lois realized that the tears weren't coming from her. Shifting herself, she stared up at her husband. "Don't cry, darling," she whispered, one hand cupping his face. In response, he crushed her against him, burying his face in her hair. Sometime while they were talking, he had felt a tremendous feeling of love for Lois. The emotion was so fierce and strong that he had been a little afraid. He knew they would survive this… and much more- whatever life threw at them. Perhaps it was this realization along with all that they've been through that once again moved him to tears, however unmanly they had seemed to himself. Mistaking his reaction, she said desperately, "Darling, everything's gonna be all right. We WILL have a baby. We will. I promise." A tear zigzagged down her face.
Realizing he was upsetting her, Clark brought his face up and smiled tenderly at her. "Honey, I know. I know. It's gonna happen. We were destined for a baby."
Slightly puzzled by his absolute certainty, she hesitated. "How do you know?" He leaned in and kissed her softly on the lips. "Because, my little tornado, there is nothing that I'd like more and you've NEVER disappointed me. Besides," he continued with a loving smile tugging at his lips, "Nature—not even God, dare I say—will risk trying to get in your way."
He was right. A year and a half later, Lois delivered of a healthy baby boy who came into the world with a lusty cry of protest, which immediately endeared himself to his misty-eyed parents.
In their home, Clark was busy getting acquainted with his sleeping son. He placed the perfect little fist in his own large hand, marveling at the incredible softness of the skin. Happiness warmed his heart as he gazed upon the product of his and Lois's love. He knew he would protect this little being with his life. Bending, he kissed the baby's fists, his tiny feet and the cute button of a nose. Amazingly, Zachary Jonathan Kent remained in sweet sleep. At the sound of a giggle, he looked up to see the mother of his child smiling into his eyes. He'd forgotten that Lois was fondly watching on, snuggled between the sheets on the other side of the bed. Lovingly, he cradled the precious bundle against the crook of his arm and joined his wife in bed. Kissing her on the mouth, he handed her the baby.
With a gentle finger, she traced the soft curve of her baby's face, giggling with delight when Zack's fist opened and closed again in response. Her eyes twinkling with love, she smoothed the dark downy hair before transferring her gaze to Clark. "He's gorgeous, isn't he?" she asked unnecessarily. "Just like his Daddy." She smiled. He grinned back. "He may look like me, but will he have his Mommy's fiery temper, her stubbornness, foolish pride…" he softened at Lois's mock indignation, "… indomitable spirit, endearing sense of humor, wit, remarkable intelligence—" he would've continued except for Lois's interruption as she shut him up with a stirring kiss. "You forgot passion, darling," she teased, rubbing his bottom lip with her thumb.
"I'm sure he won't ever lack that," he said seriously, grabbing her hand and pressing a kiss to the palm. Without releasing her hand, he brought it to rest against his heart as they shared a lover's look. As if sensing the loss of attention, the baby wiggled and opened his eyes for the first time. For some reason, he had either been crying with his eyes screwed shut or sleeping since the day he was born and brought home that night. It seemed that small though he was, he had wanted to surprise his parents.
And surprised they were as they stared wondrously at his dark emerald green eyes. Zack gurgled, as if delighted with his success. Lois was the first to find her voice. "How?… Clark, they're beautiful! It must be from your side of the family. No one I know has those color eyes. Wow!"
Clark laughed uncertainly. "I don't know…I've seen projected images of my parents, but I … I don't think they had eyes like Zack's. But, yeah, I guess it's possible…maybe my grandparents or…or someone."
Lois grinned. She was thoroughly delighted with this startlingly distinctive feature of their son's. Her gracefully arched eyebrows furrowed, she asked, "This might be a problem…disguise-wise, I mean."
Amused at how far Lois had thought ahead, he said pragmatically, "Let's worry about that when the time comes. I want to enjoy our baby. Besides, maybe he wouldn't need a disguise. I mean, things change. Attitudes change."
She smiled. "You're right."
They lapsed into silence as they studied Zack's beautifully made face, seeing in it some of the features that might've been his brothers' or sisters'. Sensing their sadness, Zack curled his fingers around each larger finger that had been stroking his arm, uniting the family in their newfound, and definitely deserved, happiness. Presently, Clark kissed his son's forehead reverently, hugging his wife closer. "Strange, how the same color have come to mean two completely different things to me," he mused. "While one is potentially life threatening"—he referred to Kryptonite—"the other has given me a new life." He looked adoringly down at Zack and then at Lois. Indeed, it was like a new beginning for them. Finally a family. With a lifetime of love and laughter to look forward to.