By Jenni Debbage <email@example.com>
Submitted: December 2003
Summary: The beginning of Clark's affection for his daughter is revealed in this vignette from the author's Kent Family series.
My real life has been so stressful lately that I haven't been able to find the inspiration to write. However, today I went out for lunch to a local inn and I heard this song. It's a Paul Simon number, and a line in it goes 'Sure as one and one is two, there isn't a father loves his daughter more than I love you'.
I'm not exactly certain if those are the correct words, yet they made me think how Clark would feel about his daughter Clara. A scene came to my mind of Clark sitting watching his baby daughter just after her birth, when she needed a complete blood change to save her life.
This glance into a moment of time fits into the earlier years of my Family Kent series, some months after 'A Huntress' Revenge'. I don't often do a purely reflective piece and I'm not sure if I can write this, but I thought I'd try.
Clark sat entirely still, his breathing hardly disturbing the sanitised air of the special unit as he watched the tiny baby. His baby — his daughter, and yet for all his super powers, there wasn't anything else he could do to help her but wait. Wait and pray that he and the doctors had done enough to ensure that this tiny scrap of humanity would survive.
Of course that was the problem. His daughter wasn't totally human, and the mixture of his Kryptonian blood and Lois' had left his lovely little daughter, who had only been introduced into the community of Earth twenty-four hours ago, fighting for her life.
Lois and he had been so stressed out when they'd first learnt of her conception that it had never occurred to them that there might be a problem. In the early days of the pregnancy, he and Lois had gone through a life-threatening trauma which had left them little time to even envisage that there might be a complication with their new baby's existence. It had been one of life's major bombshells when Dr Beth Peters had arrived on their doorstep one night to inform them that antibodies had unexpectedly shown up in Lois' blood during one of her routine exams.
Much as though they'd desperately tried to think of a way of saving their baby's life without giving up the secret, they'd finally had to accept that Dr Peters would have to be told about Clark's true identity.
Fortunately, that had proved to be a wise decision. Not only because Beth had appreciated the importance of keeping the truth from the outside world, but because she had immediately started work with Bernard Klein to find a way to save the unborn child. Together they had kept alive the tiny spark of life until they could safely induce labour at a time when the baby might survive.
Already this precious cherub had undergone blood transfusions while still sheltered within her mother's womb, and miraculously she had made it into the world. Thrice Clark had given his blood to save his daughter, but now he could only watch and hope. Hope beyond hope, that his loving presence would somehow reach out to touch his tiny premature baby, giving her the strength to cling to the life that Lois and he had bequeathed to her.
A sad shadow of a smile touched Clark's mouth as he thought of his courageous wife, who had fought so hard to stay awake, anxious to be aware of everything that was happening to her baby girl. Yet, eventually, exhaustion and the sedative she'd been prescribed had lured her into sleep, ensuring she got the much needed rest which her body required to heal.
Lois' blood too had been infected by his alien genes when giving birth, but thankfully Bernard and Beth had been prepared for that eventuality and had already developed a serum to counteract the effects of the unique combination. The serum, they'd been told, would also spare any subsequent unborn baby from the life-threatening condition, yet it had been discovered too late for this cherished child.
Clark moved infinitesimally, a frown marring his clear brow, as he remembered how Lois quite mistakenly blamed herself for her daughter's plight. She hadn't wanted a second pregnancy so soon after the birth of their son, and she felt that fate was cruelly paying her back for her selfishness. Yet that was totally untrue. If anyone was to blame for this frightening predicament it was his own alien physiology.
So now he sat in a fog of guilt and trepidation in the dimmed light of the special baby unit while the night staff quietly went about their business — the only sound the beeping of the life-monitors. She was so small; not much bigger than the abandoned kittens he'd rescued from the river a few days before… and when she'd cried, her whimpers were just as pitiful. His heart ached when he heard them, though he was grateful for any sound at all.
The baby moved. Her little hands reaching out towards something… contact, reassurance and, perhaps, love. Clark had all these in abundance, and he stretched his hand through the small opening of the incubator, willing his daughter to learn from his gentle caress all the wondrous things that awaited her here in the circle of her family.
A mother who would love and protect her child with all her boundless tenacity and tenderness; grandparents who would gladly help their first grand-daughter along the way with their vast source of wisdom and caring; family friends who waited anxiously, encouraging this tiny being to survive; and a father who would literally move mountains to ensure that neither harm nor despair ever touched her life.
Little fingers closed round his larger ones and a tremulous grin graced the corners of Clark's mouth as he assessed the surprising strength of his daughter's grip. In that moment, he realised that Lois had passed on her amazing spirit to her baby, and that both his girls would never give up until they won safely through.
Clark found the tension easing out of his muscles. It would be light soon and Lois would come to share his vigil by the side of their little miracle. The days ahead might be difficult, but they would endure as long as they had each other. And something he knew without a shadow of doubt.
"As sure as one and one is two, Clara, there is no father in the world loves his daughter more than I love you."
… or should that be 'The Beginning'?