By Mr_D8A <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: April 2003
Summary: When Superman is asked to grant a dying little girl's wish, something amazing happens.
(Tank Ending by NicNacs <email@example.com>)
Edited by Elisabeth (of course. Couldn't submit a story without her) and Jill a.k.a. DrMcCoyY97
I want to acknowledge the use of Maria Ramirez from KLTV originally created by Irene D. Wilson Knat from LNN was created by the Author for 7 Days of Superman. He asks the tough questions, much like our beloved Tank.
I got the basic plot idea from reading NicNacs story "Landing Lessons" and Bolt From The Blue. I also want to thank NicNacs for taking up the original challenge and providing an alternate ending. Thanks NicNacs :D
Make a Wish is essentially a serious story, about some very serious issues. Without wanting to detract from that at all, even serious stories need a sliver of humor. Shakespeare understood that, and boy am I glad that he did, because it gave me an excuse to write an ending which some might consider in poor taste. <g>
The Make-a-Wish foundation, http://www.wish.org, is an organization that in the last 20 years has granted over 83,000 wishes.
Space Camp, http://www.spacecamp.com, is an organization that helps kids learn about flying and the space program.
All recognizable characters are the property of Warner, ABC, Disney and whoever else. Any resemblance to anything or anyone real is mostly accidental.
Perry White was listening to his favorite Elvis tune when the phone rang. Sighing, he hit the off button. He hated to interrupt the King, but such were the pressures of his business. The news waits for no man.
"Mr. White, this is Rachel Wilson, from the Make-a-Wish Foundation. I don't know if you remember me…"
Perry broadly smiled as he remembered the last time he had the opportunity to talk to Miss Wilson. Someone had been trying to pull a smear campaign on her organization, and Lane and Kent had rooted out the scoundrels. She had personally invited them to the Foundation to thank them and Perry for restoring the organization's good name. "Of course, I remember! What can I do for you?"
"I wanted to thank you again for the article your reporters put out. We had triple the normal donations that month."
"We'll be happy to write another one if it…"
"That's not the reason I called, though the offer is tempting. I called to get your help in making a wish come true."
Perry leaned back in his chair, completely taken by surprise. His mind trying to grasp how *he* could make a wish come true. What could he possibly offer? **Did they have a little boy who wanted to see how a newspaper was run?**
Perry quickly sat up, chastising himself for loosing his focus. There was only one answer to the question. He still remembered the photos of the happy children that lined the walls of the Foundation. "Anything. The Daily Planet will do its level best to provide whatever you need."
"We have a 6-year old girl, Jenna Graceson. She has an auto-immune disorder and the chances of her reaching her 7th birthday are slim. She was…"
Perry's mind started to turn the name over in his head. It latched on, and his blood started to boil. "I remember the story! She was a victim of that pre-school worker, Eisner, a couple of years ago. Molesting his charges when he *knew* he had tested positive. Putting him away for life was too good for him! The lives he destroyed with his sick, twisted… I… I'm sorry. I interrupted you."
The voice on the other end grew soft. "I understand, but time is short. Jenna's immune system is so compromised that a cold could be fatal, but she just so desperately wanted this wish, her parents would rather have it granted than to keep her cooped up in a sterile room during her last days. Since the doctors feel there is nothing more they can do, they've decided to allow her last wish to be granted. Or, at least, one of them."
"One of them?"
"She had a hard time making up her mind. First, it was to see the sunrise from the top of the St. Louis Arch. Then it was from the top of the World Trade Center in New York. Now, she's finally decided on seeing it from Space Station Prometheus."
"I like the kid already!"
"Yeah, you can't go much higher than that. But, we have run into a problem. The next scheduled supply run will not be for several months, and time is of the essence."
"I see. So how can I help?"
"We already have an environmental suit for her, donated by Space Camp. We just need a method of getting her up there. I was hoping that since you and the Daily Planet have such a close connection to Superman…"
"…that we could get you in touch with him. We'll get him! Even if we have to put out a front page request!"
"Thank you Mr. White! This will mean so much to Jenna."
A broad grin spread across his face again. "If you'll excuse me, I have a Superman to track down."
Perry had called Lane and Kent into his office and gave them the low-down. Within minutes of them leaving his office, the Man of Steel showed up.
"I understand that you wanted to see me? Lois and Clark have already filled me in, and the answer is yes. What is the next step?"
Perry looked happier than a preacher in a month of Sundays. He picked up the phone and dialed.
Superman arrived early in the morning at 219 Bird Street, out on the eastern edge of Metropolis' suburbs. The sun would not be up for at least a half an hour, but that was how Jenna wanted it.
Jenna's father stepped away from his wife and put his hands on Superman's shoulders. "Thank you."
Clark smiled. "Thank *you* for letting me make her wish come true." He turned to Jenna and squatted down just under her eye level. She was thin and pale, but she glowed so much that he wasn't sure he would notice the sun when it came up. "Are you ready?"
Jenna jumped up and down with as much excitement and enthusiasm as she could muster. "Yes!"
Clark reached out his arms, and she gently climbed into them. In moments, they were gone.
In the background a nearby radio announcer told of a severe thunderstorm sweeping up from the south that should arrive late that evening and stay for the next couple of days.
As they flew, Clark filled Jenna in on the agenda for the day. She was delighted that she was going to have all three of her wishes granted.
Their first stop was the top of the World Trade Center. There, holding her tightly within his cape, they sat facing the Eastern horizon. The sky brightened as the sun slowly made its way to the edge of the skyline. The first rays crept over the buildings in the distance, silhouetting them into the appearance of building blocks.
The look on Jenna's face pleased Clark to no end. He didn't know what it was about the sunrise that enthralled the young lady, but he was glad to give her glimpses of what was to come.
They quickly traveled west to the Great River valley, seemingly tucking the sun back behind the Earth's edge. In St. Louis, they sat on top of the Arch instead of in it, after Clark had generously warmed a section to protect against the chill offered by the humid river city. The area surrounding the Arch was quiet compared to the Big Apple. Sure, there was traffic, but the air was clearer and the sounds of birds could be heard. A mild breeze blew, swaying the Gateway to the West ever so gently. As it moved under them, Clark kept hold of Jenna's waist to reassure her that they were safe.
The sun finally caught up with them again, and it gloriously beamed across the buildings and wooded areas of East St. Louis. They waited until it had fully risen again before taking off, this time toward Huntsville, Alabama, home of the original Space Camp.
Jenna received a crash course in weightlessness and how to operate an environmental suit. Because of her frequent need to rest, it was an all-day event and she made many friends among the children at the camp. She ate with them, played with them, and learned with their help. All of them were excited for her opportunity to go to Space Station Prometheus. They were also thrilled at the chance to meet and talk with Superman. Clark occasionally left to deal with various emergencies, but not before telling Jenna. By the end of the day she was one happy, but tired, little girl. It was decided that she would spend the night as long as Superman agreed to stay nearby, which, of course, he did. Lois was very understanding about losing her husband for a night, but she extracted a promise of dinner in Rio de Janeiro in the near future.
The staff put Jenna through her paces one more time and she passed with flying colors. They gave her an honorary diploma, certifying her completion of the training. After lunch and a lot of tearful good-byes, Jenna suited up and the two of them took off east and up toward the space station. Prometheus was in geocentric orbit over Greenwich. It took Clark over an hour to reach it at a safe carrying speed and he was glad to have the tank of air specially designed for him by Dr. Klein. Jenna was mesmerized once they passed from the atmosphere into space. The airlock was already open for them when they arrived.
A slight man of dark complexion and thick Indian accent extended his hand to Jenna. "Welcome aboard Space Station Prometheus. It is an honor to meet you. I am Dr. Pracush Singh. I am at your service, Miss Graceson." He then executed a perfect bow.
Jenna blushed. "You can call me Jenna."
It was going to be a couple of hours before sunrise so Dr. Singh gave the two guests a tour of the station. The lack of gravity made the tour very interesting. Even though Clark had been in space a couple of times, he really didn't have the experience of dealing with weightlessness in a confined space. It took all his concentration to not fall into walls, ceiling or floor. In fact he, was so focused that he didn't notice when Jenna coughed. It was not much of one, but it was still a cough nonetheless.
By the time they reached the habitat section, the cough had become more pronounced. She finally had a coughing fit so bad that she lost her balance and fell headlong into Amy Platt. Amy automatically caught her and corrected their fall.
Jenna coughed a "Thanks" at her catcher.
Amy spoke slowly, deep concern on her face. "You're welcome. What's wrong?"
Jenna caught her breath, smiled and tried to shake off the question. "It's just a cough. It's nothing."
Clark looked at Jenna accusingly. "It's not nothing. A cold can kill you. We have to get you back to the hospital."
Jenna's eyes pleaded with him. "But, Superman, the sun will rise in less than a hour! Surely we can stay until then!"
"Let's contact the hospital and ask the doctor."
It took more than fifteen minutes to contact the doctor. It was late in the evening in the States. The electrical storm sitting on the East Coast didn't help matters either. The doctor was concerned, but said that as long as Jenna was able to rest and take a broad spectrum antibiotic available on the station, he could see no reason to leave immediately. But he wanted her back as soon as was convenient.
A short time later the Sun blazed over the edge of the world. One moment they were gazing at the twinkling landscape of the nighttime Earth, the next, blinding light. A piercing ray of light illuminated the portal with such intensity it was nearly physical. Even with polarized shades on, the years of programming to shield the eyes still took over, with two exceptions. Clark and Jenna. Clark basked in the energies of the Sun while Jenna simply stared at it. It was as though she was being cleansed by it as well.
"Isn't it beautiful?" she asked.
Clark flashed a grin at her. "Yes, it is."
After making sure that their air tanks were topped off, the staff and families of Space Station Prometheus bid them a swift journey.
The East Coast was still being socked with the mother of all electrical storms. It covered almost all of the New England states.
When they were several miles above they could see the lightning dance across the clouds. Some were massive, while others splintered like the veins of a leaf. It was an awesome sight to behold.
Clark had slowed some, trying to determine the fastest and safest route. Jenna started to cough again, her body racked with wave after wave of coughing spasms. It was so violent that Clark nearly dropped her. Trying to keep hold of her, he lost altitude. They hit the storm clouds and were tossed about like a feather in the wind. A bolt of lightning reached out and struck them. Their bodies were enveloped in the energies of the storm.
Dazed, they started to fall.
Before opening his eyes, he knew he was falling. He couldn't remember why he was falling. Then he heard the crash of thunder.
Clark quickly got his bearings and dove straight down. He saw her just before she crashed into the roof of a car. Horrified, Clark sped to the crash site.
Horror turned to worry as he examined her. *No broken bones…no internal bleeding…but her heartbeat was running like a trip-hammer!*
As he was about to pick her up, her mouth opened to breathe. Her little body started to thrash as she tried again and again to breathe. Her eyes flew open in a panic. There was no air.
The environmental suit she was wearing was a melted mass of metal and plastic. The line to the oxygen tanks had been seared shut, and the helmet had become one with the neck collar. She was sealed inside the suit.
In a flash, she wrenched at the helmet, and it shattered in her hands. She gulped at the cool, wet air that greeted her. Just as quickly, she lapsed back into unconsciousness.
Clark knew what had happened. Like Jesse and Waldecker before her, Jenna was now an *empowered* little girl.
It was time to visit Bernie.
Clark made it to Star Labs in record time. It was well into the morning when they arrived at Star Labs, but the weather made it difficult to tell. At least the rain had ceased momentarily.
Seeing Superman arrive had become almost commonplace, and so, a habit started to develop among the guards and staff. On first sighting, they would wave, and then reach for the nearest phone to call Dr. Bernard Klein. The Man of Steel rarely caught the good doctor off guard. So it was no surprise to him when the window to his lab opened.
He turned, expecting to see Superman step through the window, which he did. What Klein didn't expect was to see him carrying the body of an unconscious child. He rushed over quickly to assist Metropolis' Champion of Justice.
While Klein examined Jenna, Clark quickly explained what had transpired. After a couple of moments Klein stepped back, shaking his head. He immediately turned, grabbed a notepad and started writing in fits and starts, mumbling so disjointedly to himself that even with super-hearing, Clark couldn't understand him. Something about photo-sis, or something like that.
Clark stood by, waiting for him to say something. After a short time he realized that Bernie had forgotten his presence. Clark cleared his throat. This had the desired effect.
"Oh, Superman! I'm sorry! I forgot you were here."
"I guessed that. Why hasn't she awakened?"
"Her body shows all the symptoms of fighting off a major infection. Her temperature is 105 degrees, her heart rate is well over 120 beats per minute, and she's sweating profusely. I am going to attempt to insert an I.V. in her so that we can get some fluids into her."
Clark looked at him like he had grown an extra head. "What?! How? She's invulnerable!"
Klein smiled. "I have a theory. You are a veritable fountain of energy. As long as you have access to sunlight you could go without food and water for several weeks. The mitochondria in your skin cells are able to directly absorb energy from the sun…"
"I understand all that, but what does that have to do with you trying to stick a needle in her?"
Klein blushed. "Oh! Sorry. Got carried away. Each cell in your body is like a little battery that is constantly being recharged. When you are exposed to Kryptonite those cells not only stop recharging, they also start dumping their charge. That is why you lose your powers so fast. I think that something similar would happen if you were attacked from within, like with a virus. Your energies would internalize to fight it off."
Clark remembered when Mindy Church had infected him with a Kryptonian virus. Even before Dr. Lane had exposed him to Kryptonite, he wasn't very super at that time. He could see Bernie's reasoning, but that didn't get him any closer to understanding the current situation.
"And, if that were to happen then you might not be as invulnerable as you usually are, especially if you had no access to sunlight. The mitochondria in Jenna's body have been radically altered by your aura and the lightening strike. In essence, their normal function has been changed to use sunlight instead of glucose-like when someone puts a child on the Ketogenic Diet to control seizures. Their body goes into ketosis and uses fats instead of glucose. Jenna's body has gone into *photo-sis*, for lack of a better word. The only problem is that there is no sunlight right now, and there won't be anytime soon according to the weather stations.
"I have a feeling that her immune system is trying to make up for lost ground. It's fighting the HIV plus whatever else she has recently picked up, and it is quickly burning out the energy surplus that she has, as well as the natural reserves in her body. When she struck the car, her body was still organizing itself."
"What if I take her above the cloud cover?"
"That would only deplete her natural reserves faster. Before this all happened, she was a sick little girl. There are not enough raw materials in her body to accomplish what her super-charged system is asking of her. She is fighting for her life. I hope that her energy reserves are low enough for me to get an I.V. in her. If I don't, she might die and even if I do, it will still be a touch- and-go situation. I will have to monitor her constantly.
Clark stood there, stunned. Even being *super* might not be enough to save her. He stood by while Bernie attempted to insert the I.V. into her arm. At first it didn't look like it was going to go in, but ever so slowly he was able to get the needle in. Clark let out the breath that he didn't know he was holding.
"What would be really helpful, Superman, would be for the clouds to clear up. That way she would be energized by the Sun, and I could continue pumping fluids in her."
"I'll see what I can do. But first I'm going to gather up Jenna's parents."
"Why don't you bring Lois, as well."
"I think you could use the moral support."
Clark just shook his head. He always knew it had been a good decision to let Dr. Klein know about his *second job.* "Will do." And with that, he was off.
After quickly dropping off Jenna's parents, Clark made a beeline for Hyperion Avenue. Lois knew something was wrong before he had even finished spinning out of the suit.
"What happened? You were supposed to be back hours ago? Is Jenna alright?"
Clark just swept her up in a hug that told her what he needed from her. She gave the strongest man in the world what he needed most.
After several seconds Clark released her and told her the whole story.
Lois had been sitting on the edge of the bed during his tale. When he finished, she jumped to her feet. "Clark, how are you going to get rid of the cloud cover? The storm stretches at least a hundred miles out into the Atlantic! It's not like Cole's little storm that was centered over Metropolis a couple of years ago!"
"I don't have to get rid of the whole storm. I just need to open a hole over Star Labs. Here's what I plan to do…"
Clark's plan was simple but would probably work. At least Lois hoped so.
Clark spun into his suit. "Care for a lift?"
"In your arms? Any time."
Clark scooped up his soulmate and sped toward Star Labs.
Jenna's parents were alone in the room when Lois and Clark arrived. Dr. Klein had earlier excused himself, ostensibly, to run some tests on a blood sample that he had taken, but truthfully to allow them some time with their daughter.
Jenna's father paced back and forth while her mother sat by her side and placed wet compresses on her little girl's forehead. They both looked up when Lois Lane walked in. The look in their eyes asked the unspoken question. Was she there as a reporter or a friend?
"Superman's outside. He's going to try and clear the clouds enough to let the sunshine in."
Lois walked over to the window to find her husband. He was hovering about a hundred feet in front of the window with his back turned to them.
"Can he do it?"
Lois jumped a little at the man's voice next to her. She turned to look into the young father's eyes. **He's not much older than Clark or I.** She saw hope mixed with trepidation.
"He's going to try."
"That's all I ask."
Silently, they turned back to the window and waited for a Superman-made miracle.
Clark hovered there, studying the sky before him. He had just X-rayed the area ahead for any planes or building that might be in his field of vision. He had a clear shot for the next five minutes. He could see the sun on the other side of the clouds just above Lex Tower. His eyes started to glow.
He had never tried to use his heat vision before on a wide angle at full strength. He didn't know if he could keep it up long enough to burn all the way through to the sun on the other side.
Five hundred feet…One thousand…two thousand…three thousand. Only ten thousand more to go. But he was feeling the drain. He chided himself for not recharging before undertaking the task ahead of him. He started to falter in his hover pattern. Then he started to lose altitude. He reached deep within for the last dregs of energy, but they were not there to be had.
Dr. Klein burst into the room.
"It's working! The I.V. is working! Her immune system is winning the fight against the virus! In another hour or so she should free of the disease! We just need to keep pumping her full of fluids!"
Bernie's thunder was stolen by a distant thud. Clark had collapsed to the ground below. Lois gasped and bolted for the door.
By the time she reached Clark, there were already people bending over him. One of the nearby lab technicians was mumbling a prayer under his breath.
Lois tried in vain to not let her emotions control her as she not-so-gently shoved her way through to her fallen husband. At her touch, his eyes opened. There was deep anguish there.
"I couldn't keep it up any longer. I failed." Clark hung his head in self-flagellation.
Before Lois had a chance to speak, a masculine hand reached past her and took Clark by the shoulder. He looked up into the face of the lab technician. "No, you didn't. You just needed a little help from above. Look!"
Everyone turned up to the sky. Roughly where Clark had been concentrating his efforts, the clouds were parting, almost as if they were being pushed aside by a huge set of hands. Sunlight flooded the area, shining through the building's windows. After a moment or two, Clark could feel the energy coursing through his body. He picked Lois up and flew to the window.
Mr. Graceson opened the window and stepped out of their way. They all watched as Jenna was bathed in sunlight.
At first, nothing happened, then she started to stir. She slowly opened her eyes. "Mama? Papa?"
The Gracesons broke into smiles and hugged their child. "Yes, baby. We're here."
After being run through a battery of tests, Jenna was given a clean bill of health. Her energized immune system had successfully created anti-bodies against the previously unstoppable virus. She was HIV-free. She was also still super. Her powers were not as strong as Clark's were, but they were all there, intact. After several strenuous 'super' tests, her energy levels always returned to optimum. Her powers appeared to be permanent; however, Dr. Klein insisted that her parents bring her in once a month for testing and to report to him anything unusual.
Of course the Daily Planet got the exclusive, but with a very conservative headline, "Miraculous Mystery." Lane and Kent were able to keep the lightening strike out of the story with some verbal sleight of hand. Perry knew that the couple had not been entirely forthcoming, but he also knew that Superman could keep a pretty tight lip about certain aspects of his life.
Other papers where not so *hindered* by a lack of information. The Star headline was "Super-Healer," while The Dirt Digger ran "Present day Jesus!" with a picture of Superman with a full body halo.
Over the next couple of days Superman started to become mobbed everywhere he went. People from all points of the globe started to arrive in Metropolis with their ill loved ones, hoping that Superman would heal them too.
Perry called Lois and Clark into his office. "All points of entry into the city are crammed with the sick and opportunistic. They all want a miracle or superpowers. People haven't forgotten about "Resplendent Man" or Jesse Stipanovic. The Mayor has asked for us to contact Superman and have him straighten this all out. *No Comment* just isn't good enough!"
Clark squirmed a bit in his chair. "Surely this will all blow over in a while."
Lois knew that this was tearing her soft-spoken lover apart inside. She turned toward her husband to hide her sympathetic look from Perry. "I don't think so, sweetheart. Not this time."
Perry, misunderstanding Lois' look, concurred. "I don't think so, either. Even the Gracesons have disappeared."
Clark inwardly smiled at that. Since Jenna's powers were probably permanent, Lois and Clark had decided to welcome the Gracesons into the *family.* If Clark was going to help Jenna realize her full potential, there had to be no secrets. So, with Jenna's help, they had flown out to the Kents' farm in Smallville. Clark couldn't think of anyone better to help her out than the ones who had helped him out.
A light kick in the foot brought him back to the present. "Yes, I suppose you're right. We'll get a hold of him as soon as we can."
"Okay, now git!"
Lois and Clark hastened out of Perry's office into the nearby conference room. By the time Lois closed the blinds, Clark was seated at the conference table with his face in his hands.
"What are we going to do?" The plaintive tone in his voice spoke volumes.
Lois moved in behind him and encircled his neck with her arms. "We'll come up with something. We always do."
That brought a lopsided grin to his face. "I suppose so, but I think we could use a little outside help. Let's go to Star Labs and chat with Bernie. Maybe he can come up with something we can tell the public."
That evening Clark and Jenna brought the elder Kents and Jenna's parents back to Metropolis. Lois and Bernie were waiting for them when they arrived at Hyperion Avenue. They talked long into the night about how exactly they were going to proceed.
The following day Superman held a press conference in front of the old fountain in Centennial Park. He informed the members of the press that he would give a brief statement followed by a brief question and answer session. Just before they were to start, Superman made a gesture and Jenna floated down, holding onto her parents' hands.
"Thank you all for coming. I called you here to let you know as many of the real facts as I can give. First, I cannot *heal* people by touching them, casually or otherwise. If I could, I would have already made my rounds to every hospital I could find. I am not a god or a present day Jesus. I am neither perfect nor holy, nor do I have an inside track with God. If I did, my job would be a whole lot easier. Second, I can't take responsibility for Jenna's healing. What happened to her was an act of God. Third, Dr. Klein has done some testing and the preliminary results indicate that Jenna's powers are probably permanent. Are there any questions? Yes, Wilson Knat from LNN."
"A two-part question, if you please? Thank you. Firstly, you didn't say anything about *how* this happened. How did this take place? Secondly, is Dr. Klein planning to do any further tests to see if there is a way to promote the healing without the power transfer?"
A grim shadow fell over Clark's face. He didn't like what he was about to say. "Firstly, as I stated earlier, this was not by my doing. It was an accident. It nearly killed Jenna before it cured her. Secondly, there will be no refinement of the process. It is far too dangerous to try and replicate. The results are not guarantee-able. Dr. Klein said that the only reason that it worked was because Jenna's health had been compromised by an outside agent. If it had been a congenital disease or cancerous, then the transfer would have only made it worse. He also told me that this incident has taken at least a year off my life…"
A gasp came up from some of the crowd. Lois and the elder Kents both kept an outwardly stoic face at that announcement, but inwardly they still reeled from the news.
The day before, Dr. Klein had assured them that Clark would still have a long life ahead of him, barring any outside influence. Little Jenna was particularly disturbed by the news. She nearly bowled Clark over as she race around the table to hug him and tell him how sorry she was. Clark assured her that it was not her fault and that if she could gain a lifetime because of it, it was well worth it.
Clark's countenance changed to a more hopeful look as he continued. "The good news, however, is that Dr. Klein believes that the antibodies developed by Jenna's immune system may eventually lead to cure for HIV, but we won't know that for several weeks."
Spontaneous cheering began from the ever-growing crowd of spectators. After a few moments, Clark raised his hands so that he could proceed.
"Every person is precious to me, from the first moment of conception to the final moment of life. I wish that I could help all those that have come here to be healed, but I can't." The look of sympathy and regret on the Man of Steel's face showed how deeply he desired to help them and the frustration of not being able to do so.
"What I can do is continue to help out like I always have. Yes, Maria Ramirez from KLTV."
"Since Jenna's powers seem permanent, what kind of guarantee do we have that this six year-old won't run amuck?"
"In partnership with her parents, I have agreed to be responsible for Jenna's *super* activities. She will also not be playing super-hero anytime soon or, possibly, ever. She is far too young to withstand the harsh realities of my work. I will guide and direct her training so that she will use her newfound abilities for the betterment of humanity, whether in a costume or not. Who knows, she might even teach me a trick or two." That got a laugh from the crowd. "Yes, Lois Lane of the Daily Planet."
Lois grinned at her husband's formality. "What about her education? Surely she can't stay in a school with regular children?" They had talked long and hard about this the night before, so Clark was ready for it. Lois enjoyed playing the bad cop every once in a while. It showed that she still had that fighting edge to her.
"Why not? What better place for her to mature and hone her abilities. Since she has to live among people, she will have to learn to control her abilities. Of course, she will probably make mistakes, but she will have a year to make them with me first. It has been decided that she will be home-schooled until she gets used to her new abilities and then will be integrated into her age group. It is true that she will be able to do things faster and pick up new ideas quicker, but she will still be a little girl emotionally, and it is her parents' desire that she grow up as normal as possible."
Clark then motioned the Gracesons to step forward. He picked Jenna up and placed her on his shoulders. "I also ask that you give the Gracesons some space. Space to raise their daughter to the best of their abilities and space to function as a normal family."
"I am also issuing a warning. If anyone comes against any of her friends or family in order to control her, they *will* answer to me." The steel in his voice left no room for doubt as to the severity of that statement.
"Thank you." And with that, Clark and Jenna took off with her parents in tow.
Both sets of Kents and the Gracesons convened at Hyperion Avenue for supper. The Gracesons arrived via Superman Express to shake off any paparazzi.
Clark spun out of the suit. "I'm glad that's over!" He turned toward the Gracesons. "The attention should fade after a while. Especially after I teach Jenna about the effect of X-ray vision on film." Everyone got a laugh at that.
Just then Clark turned toward the kitchen in response to a request he alone heard. "Excuse me. Lois needs me in the kitchen. I'll be right back."
Steven Graceson turned toward Martha and Jonathon with a questioning look.
"You'll get used to that after while. Let's just say that Jenna won't have any excuses for not coming when called." Martha laughed.
With Clark's help, Lois brought out a ham steak dinner with all the fixings. Once everyone was seated, Clark raised his glass in a toast. "To new friends and family."
Steven Graceson lifted his glass as well. "To miracles, both large and small."
Lois raised her hand to interrupt. "Speaking of small miracles, I have an announcement to make."
Martha clapped the sides of her face. "You're not?"
Lois beamed from ear to ear. "Yes, I am! Clark, you're going to be a daddy!"
Clark looked nothing like the Man of Steel at that moment. His blank look slowly changed into a face-splitting grin. Martha and Jonathon were already hugging them in turn. The Gracesons got up and congratulated them. Even little Jenna started to do cartwheels in mid-air.
The sounds of laughter permeated the house on Hyperion Avenue.
And for those of you who *like* Tank Endings.
NicNac's Tank Ending (continued from the lightning strike.)
They fell a long way. The wind rushed past them ever faster. Jenna was no longer coughing; she didn't have the breath.
Still dazed, they landed in the river. Reflexes taking over after their breathless fall, they each took a huge gulp of water. Clark barely had time to realize that the water was contaminated with Kryptonite residues from Intergang's latest attempt at a Kryptonite manufacturing plant before he was overcome by the bitter liquid. Jenna, still clasped tightly to Superman's chest, was held under the water until she, too, drowned.
Lois went to Rio de Janeiro on her own, and met a tall, dark, handsome stranger. Barely a day into their relationship, she began to investigate him for a variety of terrible crimes. Anxious that his secret should not get out, he shot her one night as she slept. Unfortunately, he was a bad shot, and she bled to death slowly and painfully.