Chapter 14


Lois stared at her nude reflection in the mirror. Her hair, still wet from her shower, stuck fast to her chest and back, sending rivulets down her body. The only adornment she had was her bracelet; the stone sparkled with water droplets. She stuck her tongue out at the reflection. Her cheekbones stood out sharply, her elbows and knees were spikes compared to the basketball roundness of her belly. She didn't mind the belly, not really, but she wished where someone would invent some sort of sling to help carry the weight. Ultrasounds showed that the baby was actually small for thirty-four weeks but quite dense, resulting in a higher-then-average gestational weight. Thank you very much, kryptonian genes. Her belly was completely spherical due to the greater amount of amniotic fluid. Apparently, the baby realised she needed more protection than usual and so Lois retained water like a camel. Her pelvic bones shifted early this week, officially heralding her pregnant-waddle. She couldn't remember the last time she saw her toes.

Then again, there was something to be said about how satisfyingly womanly she felt in this baby-wielding body. She loved the maternity clothes, especially the clingy stuff that silently proclaimed "Look at me! I'm successfully holding life in here!" Her body exuded fertility.

She did the Demi Moore pregnant pose. Demi Moore probably airbrushed the stretch marks out. Switching to a front view, she attempted the Christina Aguilera pregnant pose which wasn't really fair because she wasn't lying down nor did she have a lollipop. She wasn't even going to try the Angelina Jolie pregnancy pose. Her hands splayed on her belly. Little Whatsit punched feebly at them. Thirty-four whole weeks and the kid hung in tight. Even with the anemia, the never-ending morning sickness and the immunosuppressants, she clung tenaciously to Lois' womb. Whatsit was a fighter, Lois thought to herself, and fell even more in love with the child.

Slowly, she trailed her hands from her abdomen to her breasts. She cupped them, humming in a critical manner. Through those awkward teenage years, she'd hated them. Having a relatively big rack in an army base which when your dad was the boss created a split personality of sorts. On the one hand, the ninety percent male population treated her like a tall drink of water out of a golden cup when the General wanted her to toughen up. On the other hand, the ninety-percent male population had treated her like a tall drink of water out of a golden cup during a time when she desperately needed approval. Lois reached her mid-twenties before she accepted that she had large breasts for her frame and this was okay. After all, her boy liked them.

Speaking of her boy...

Clark leaned against the door jamb, hands in his pockets. "You're lucky my mom's out on a business dinner. Are you finished admiring yourself, yet?"

"Not quite." She lifted her breasts up. "I think I'm getting saggy."

"You aren't."

"I am. My nipples are huge."

"You didn't have milk in them before. You have beautiful breasts." His glasses fogged slightly.

Slightly mollified, Lois faced the mirror again. "I wasn't complaining about the nipples. They were on the small side before. I'm really going to have to kick my ass to get my figure back though. Middle-aged muscle just doesn't recover quickly from flab like this. I'm all misshapen. Also, don't get freaked out but I think I'm growing hair down my buttcrack."

"You're beautiful," said Clark, firmly, resolutely.

"But my butt is getting hairy."


"My ankles are slowly disappearing into my calves."


"And I think I'm getting stretchmarks on my vaj. How is that even possible?"

"Sublime." He pressed up behind her now, his hands over hers, slowly tracing the curved underside of each breast. He had paws compared to her and Lois was no petite china doll. Yet such was his strength that he didn't form calluses; the pads of his hands were soft, pink, silken. His knuckles barely grazed her aureoles. Their twined hands created a primitive bodice, the Kawatche gem glowing faintly. She shivered and shifted her stance to let him slip his trouser-clad leg between her naked ones. The image in the mirror was so erotic: herself naked and overwhelmingly ripe; Clark, a jacket short of a full three-piece suit. He was dark against the peach of her skin, sharp angles to her rounded curves.

"Through you I drain the pent-up rivers of myself, in you I wrap a thousand onward years, on you I graft the grafts of the best-beloved of me," Clark quoted in between feather-light kisses on her nape and shoulders.

Lois' lips curled up. "Oh really? And if I were lacking, would it be the moisture of the right man lacking? That sounds so wrong and pervy."

"Mmmm." His breath tickled her ear.

She rocked on his thigh, back arched as she looped her arms up and around his neck. When he moaned at the sight, her smile grew. "Are we starting something we can't finish?"

Clark groaned. "This isn't fair. You're so... I want to touch you all the time and I can't."

"I'm sure we can get creative."

"But your doctors said--"

"Did they specify penetration? I'm pretty sure they just nixed penetration; we can still play." Lois ground her bottom against his groin. "I want to play, Clarkie."

"Lo-is!" The last syllable came out as a hiss. "Sweetheart, you're driving me crazy." His hands swept down to her hips and, holding her steady, he rubbed his knee between her thighs. "Arms and hands of love-- lips of love-- phallic thumb of love-- breasts of love-- bellies press'd and glued together with love."

He rolled one of her nipples, at the same time, pressed his knee up against her. Pleasure shot up from her womb and Lois' legs buckled. God, she loved pregnancy! She loved how pregnancy pretty much turned her entire body into a giant nerve-ending.

"Earth of chaste love-- life that is only life after love, the body of my love-- the body of the woman I love-- the body of the man-- the body of the earth." Clark's erection poked at the small of her back. He sucked on the tendons of her neck, his tongue hot against her skin as he traced curls along her sides. Lois pulled at his chin so she could kiss him properly. With a delicate flick of her tongue, she caressed the roof of his mouth.

That was the breaking point. Clark scooped her up in his arms and super-sped to the bedroom. Lois was already popping the buttons on his pants. "I won't go in," he panted. "I just... I just need... I need..."

"Me too, me too, oh god, oh god, wait, wait, wait." She screeched the last word.

"Are you okay? Did I hurt you?" Clark immediately withdrew.

"You didn't do anything. Being on my back just pinches everything." Lois rolled to her side. Her back did not like the missionary. "Let's rethink this. What if we do it side by side?"

"If we're not doing, um, penetration, that's a pretty awkward position. Can you sit up maybe and I'll just..." Clark touched his mouth and wiggled his eyebrows. He was just too precious; he quoted Walt Whitman at her but had to turn the phrase "oral sex" into a round of charades.

"What about you?" she asked.

Sighing, he said, "I'll be fine."

"How can you be fine? We haven't boogied in months. My libido is so high, everything is Freudian. Did you know I think I actually orgasmed eating a cheesecake?"

Clark blushed. "Erm. Uh. Yes. Well, the doctor-- all the doctors-- said we shouldn't so I just... took care of it a few times. To be quite honest, I've been so worried about you that I haven't had the urge, really."

Lois poked his chest. "You better still see me as sexy after this is all over. I don't want to be a Madonna on a pedestal just because I gave birth."

"Do you not see the state I'm in? Madonna is hardly the word I'd use unless you mean the singer, not the religious figure." His gaze lowered and Lois suddenly remembered she was splayed on a bed, probably quite debauched-looking.

"What if," she said, "I take care of you and you take care of me and together, we can recite literary pornography at each other until we spontaneously combust?"

They never made it through an entire poem.

When he really stopped to think about it, Conner realised that Ollie spent so much time visiting Metropolis, he might as well still live at Queen Towers. He was practically family. He mentioned that fact as he, Ollie and Martha re-painted the nursery. To his delight, Ollie blushed.

"Uh, you sure Lois' hormones aren't leaking over? I've heard of sympathy pains but not sympathy mood swings," he blustered to cover up his embarrassment.

Conner let glue from his paintbrush drip on Ollie's head. These days, his control over his E-field was such that he could float for long periods of time instead of just shooting between places. "Fine, if you're going to be that way. I was going to propose Olivia as a name."

"I told you before, Olivia is a disgusting name. I can barely tolerate Oliver and it's mine."

"Oliver's a fine name for a fine man," said Martha.

"See? If Grandma says it, it's true," Conner said.

Ollie turned the same rosy stain he was using on the floor mouldings. He quickly changed the subject. "How's the mural turning out?"

"Check it out yourself." Conner floated back down on the floor, looking up with everyone. A cartoon galaxy spun around a grinning sun under which the crib would stand. In the far corner over the rocking chair was the Crab Nebula, the remnants of a star gone supernova as Krypton's sun had. While the light show from that explosion wouldn't reach Earth for thousands of years yet, the circumstances around the nebula's explosion echoed that of Rao, Krypton's sun. Grace designed the image and Ollie found someone who could turn the artwork into wallpaper which Conner now applied to the nursery ceiling.

"That's beautiful," Martha said. "With the lovely warm yellow on the walls and the dark wood furniture, this will be the best nursery yet. And I'll have to agree with Conner, Oliver; you are family."

"Thanks, Martha." If Conner didn't know better, he'd've sworn his boss' eyes galzed with emotion. Ollie cleared his throat and said, "I meant to tell you this tomorrow when you came into the Watchtower but what the hell. You've got great control over your powers now and your dedication to Batman's regime, while completely insane, has been consistently good. You may have noticed that we're letting you participate in harder missions."

Conner's mouth pulled up into a grin. He knew what was coming. He just knew what was coming.

"Consider yourself re-instated into Young Justice."

With a whoop, Conner did a back flip off an unpainted wall. His grandmother laughed and Ollie chuckled with her.

"Down boy!" he said, "Should you be doing that when you've barely recovered from Grumpy's House of Grimness? I'm not going to take you off the roster for injury."

"I haven't seen anyone this excited about going back to work since..." Martha paused. "I've never seen anyone this excited about going back to work. Not even you, Ollie."

"Hey, between Clark and Bruce, I think I'm a pretty good mentor. I certainly dress better." Ollie fastidiously dusted his shoulders.

Conner wagged his head. "Dude, there is totally no way to respond to that statement without my ass getting whooped. I say we get back to painting the nursery."

"Diplomatic." Ollie nodded at Martha. "He gets that from you."

Conner's cheeks reddened to the same hue as the crest on his uniform as his grandmother gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Really, having Ollie as a pseudo-uncle was one thing but having the boss witness his family being mushy was totally mortifying.

The due date inched closer and closer, arrived, and went by without incident. Since the pneumonia scare on Week Twenty-Eight, she and Clark met with her health team met twice a week. They were now on Week Forty-Three. A frustrated Lois flipped her bangs away from her face. "I know you all worked very hard to make sure this baby didn't miscarry but this waiting game is driving me nuts. Is she mature enough to be born or not?"

Etta, Chapel and Pieter exchanged looks. "Normally, we would have induced four weeks ago," said Chapel slowly. "The baby's heartbeat is strong and there's a lot of movement but considering Kon-el had a twelve-month gestational period, I'd rather err on the side of caution."

"She's constantly tired," said Clark. He lifted Lois' arm up. "Look at her watch. It's on the smallest setting and it's still loose. Some days, she barely makes it out of bed. My son is attending Batman College to make sure he can take pick up my League shifts."

"You're not doing much better," Lois retorted. "You're taking on too much juggling two jobs and fussing care of me. Your mom's living with us for a reason."

"It's not fussing if you need it. Mom can't fly you to the hospital in under a minute. The doctors said as far as they can tell by the ultrasound, the baby may be mature enough to be born."

"Okay, so Batman College is extreme but I'm sure I'll go into labour soon."



Etta waited for the exchange of glares to subside. "There are a lot of things that scans still can't predict like lung maturity and gut development. In my experience, the baby will tell you when it's ready to go out."

"If I may speak as Lois' GP, I think we have to come to a compromise," said Pieter. "I know the baby may not be fully mature but considering the physical and psychosocial distress Lois is under right now--"

"Emphasis on psycho," Lois interjected.

"-- I think we should induce within the next two weeks. We don't have the drugs Luthor gave Ms. Lang. Quite frankly, after what I've read about the man's bioengineering R&D, I wouldn't try his findings if it promised to cure cancer. This may be the best we can do with what we have."

"Thank you," said Clark.

"Ultimately, it's up to you, Lois," said Chapel. "There are pros and cons to waiting as well as inducing. There may even be pros and cons we haven't thought of just because this is such a ground-breaking--"

"Special," Etta amended.

"-- pregnancy."

Lois looked down at her crossed arms. She tapped a staccato rhythm as she mulled her options.

"You don't have to make this decision now," Pieter said. "Have a think over the next couple days. We'll reconvene in a couple days anyway."

But she shook her head. "I don't need that much time; I already know my answer. I want to induce." She smiled wryly as Clark let out a relieved sigh. Questions hovered behind his eyes but he stayed silent until the health team ironed out details. Then he pulled her aside.

"Why?" he asked. "All these months, you've been so concentrated on making sure the baby's healthy at the expense of what you want. I was so sure you'd wait it out."

"A while ago, a certain plaid-loving someone said if anything happened to me, Mom wouldn't have a daughter, City would fall apart in two minutes, and my husband and son would be utterly destroyed." She shifted in his arms to kiss under his jaw. "I couldn't do that to them."

Tenderly, he stroked her cheek. "Thank you. Conn's cooking is horrible when he's depressed."

As they headed out, Etta pulled on Clark's sleeve. "Do you know a good, natural way to induce labour? Have intercourse."

Laughing, Lois pulled her into a tight hug. "I really, really like you."

"Yeah? Sorry but I'm spoken for."

Suddenly, inexplicably, Lois burst into tears. A perturbed Clark whisked her out of the room, knowing she hated to let anyone see her cry. In a few minutes, they were in the barn-loft in Smallville. Dust mushroomed into the air as they fell into the old couch.

"Hormones?" Clark asked tentatively.

"Yes!" Lois punched the couch and a smaller dust cloud puffed up. "No! Maybe? I just... It's been two years of hard work and drama and now I said I'd give birth-- or rather, cut the baby out of me early and then we'll meet her if nothing goes wrong but something always seems to go wrong and even if it doesn't, I have no idea how to raise small children and I don't think Conner counts 'cause he came pre-grown and I just had to smooth around the edges and even that I couldn't do or else he wouldn't've been dating two girls at the same time and I'm going to be an awful mother!" The diatribe ended in a wail and multiple attacks on the innocent old couch.

"Lois." Clark tried to hold her again but she pushed him away.

"Even now, I'm snotting up your shirt and crying for no real reason except that I'm fucking petrified. I'm so scared, Clark. I'm not supposed to be scared."

"Said who?"

"Said... said me."

"I guess if Lois Lane says it, it must be true." Clark tipped her chin up. "It's okay to be scared."

Stubbornly she shook her head. "It's my job to be strong for you, remember? I can't be strong for you if I'm a whining bag of drugs and amniotic fluid."

"Oh Lois."

"Oh Smallville." She wiped her nose with a sleeve then she inhaled, blinked and hiccupped. "Oh, my God that was a rush! That was like an emotional exorcism. Twenty months of repressed whining burst out of me like the Hoover Dam broke in two."

Clark laughed. "You're certifiable, you know that, Lane? I couldn't have predicted that reaction from you so, of course, you'd do it."

"We're a team. I hold you up, you hold me up and together, we limp to the finish line, giving the losers the finger as we go."

"I wouldn't give anyone the finger."

She patted his chest. "Of course not, cutesome. That's why I give them both fingers. You stand there in your tight tights and look pretty for the cameras."

Sternly, Clark said, "You're avoiding your meltdown. It was only five seconds ago."

"Geez, I just lost it! Pregnant women lose it. I'm probably going to ask you to fetch me three prickly pears and a kumquat fresh off the shrub next."

"True but only to avoid talking about your meltdown."

Lois glared. "You know me too well."

He pulled her into his arms and this time she didn't resist. "Talk to me, sweetheart. Please?"

So she did. And it was glorious.

Contributions from the same groups funding the Watchtower provided S.T.A.R. Labs with private access to one of the best maternity wards in western Canada. Having the operation anywhere in the States was too risky. At the same time, the health team wanted to work in a setting where English was the primary language. At Week Forty-Four and Three Days, half a dozen people had descended into Star City on the Californian coast where a plane waited to take them north. Lois, Clark and Conner were there, of course, with Martha Kent. Bart and Vic shared a two-four to dull their nerves.

"Geez, I didn't know I was having a baby shower," Lois said, staring at the gathering in Ollie's living room.

"News of your immanent delivery spread like a bad rash in our incredibly small circle of friends," said Bart.

"Clark called you all?" Lois guessed.

"He must've been working three phones at the same time." Bart studied Clark's countenance. "I think he wanted enough people around to catch him when he faints."

"You mean if he faints."

"Nope, I mean when. The Boy Scout looks like a sneeze could topple him over."

Ollie entered the room, arms spread magnanimously. "I have cigars, brandy and shiny new snifters. We can board the plane now."

"What about the health team?" Clark demanded.

"They're already at the hospital prepping. You're worrying too much. Everything's going to be fine, Boy Scout." Ollie slapped him on the back. Clark swayed.

In the two hours it took to fly from Star City to Vancouver, the sky had darkened to deep velvet blue. City lights and pointed evergreen branches blurred through the car windows. The party drove several cars each taking different routes to the hospital. Clark and Lois wouldn't be separated, of course, but Conner put up such a fuss that Vic navigated their car down the same route. In civilian gear, they went through the staff entrance, avoiding crowds and elevators as much as possible.

Pieter met Lois and Clark in the waiting room just outside the OR. A makeshift wall with a sign proclaiming "Under Renovation" blocked the room and its short hallway from the rest of the ward. "Clark, wash vigorously up to your elbows. There's a sink and soap in the room. Lois, change into the hospital gown. You're going to get your epidural now."

"Wow, that's one hell of a welcome to the country," said Lois.

"The sooner it goes in, the sooner it'll work and the faster we can get the baby out," said Pieter. To Clark, he added, "We'll also need your help during prep to see the baby's position."

Clark nodded.

"Is he all right?" Pieter asked Lois.

"He's been getting quieter and quieter since we landed," said Lois. "I think he's having an absence seizure."

"That's a little better than fainting, I guess."

"But by how much?"

Clark was actually frozen by the complete certainty that either Lois or the baby or both would die tonight. He couldn't shake the thought. His hands shook as he lathered his arms up to his elbows in disinfectant soap. The flimsy ties on his gown tore; he went through two gowns, three masks and four caps. Thankfully, the nitrile gloves held. As he washed up, Pieter helped Lois onto the operating table.

"We're going to give your epidural now," he said. "Go on your side and curl your knees up as high as possible."

"Oh sure. 'cause that'll happen with a baby in my stomach," said Lois.

"Just do your best." Pieter gestured to the anaesthetist who rolled in a small ultrasound imager "Breathe deeply and regularly; if you tense up, it'll hurt more."

Clark appeared at Lois' side and held her hand. "I've had a long history with pain. I'm pretty sure I can handle a needle in my--OW! Fuck!" Lois yelped.

"Finished," said Pieter. "Now the catheter for your bladder."

Lois buried her head in Clark's chest. "This is a level of intimacy I never wanted us to reach."

He kissed her forehead, still unable to speak. By the time Conner entered, Lois had all her lines in and a curtain had been raised just under her arms, blocking her view of the operation site. There seemed to be an excess of people in the room-- Etta headed the operation with Beth Chapel and Pieter Cross attending, an anaesthetist from S.T.A.R. labs manned the monitor and three nurses prepped the equipment needed.

Etta pointed to a chair in the corner of the room. "Drag that over and sit by your aunt's head. Stay close so we all have easy access to the monitors and the IV, okay?"

Conner did as he was told. Clark sat on her other side, having given the health team a detailed description of the baby's position in the womb. He laid his head beside hers on the examination table. Minutes later, Conner did the same.

"Please don't die, Aunt Lo," he whispered brokenly. "I already lost one mom. I'm going to have serious issues if I lost you too."

Lois patted his cheek. "Stop that, both of you. I'm going to be fine. This time tomorrow, you're going to wonder why you worried so much."

"Okay, we're starting now," said Etta. "Let us know if you feel anything more severe than pressure."

Clark pressed his cheek closer to Lois and trembled, his breath coming out in ragged pants. Lois stroked their hair. "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy, when skies are grey. You'll never know, dear, how much I love you--"

"Please don't take my sunshine away," Clark joined in.

Conner snuffled into the sheets. "Dad, you can't sing."

The anxiety in OR faded to the sound of chuckles.

The six individuals in the crude waiting room passed time in the following ways: Ollie, Vic and Diana played poker. Martha completed half the puzzles in her crossword book. Bart ate an endless amount of cafeteria food. Nothing made the two and a half hours shorten.

"Is it supposed to take this long?" Ollie demanded, referring to his watch again.

"Perhaps they are taking their time, being cautious," said Diana.

When Pieter exited the OR, his gown, cap and gloves shed, all six jumped to attention. "Mother and child are doing well," he said, beaming.

Martha leaned into Bart, the strength fleeing her knees. Vic let out a relieved puff of air.

"We thought you might want to say hello so we took a little extra time to clean up," Pieter explained. "Come on in."

All the equipment in the room except for the IV pole had been pushed to the periphery. Lois now lay on a new bed with a blanket tucked under her arms. At the head of the bed was Conner, on her right was Clark. All three were enraptured by the tiny swaddled person on Lois' chest.

Clark managed to wrench his attention away at the sound of his guests. "Hi," he said. "This is our daughter."

They crowded around. The baby slept, oblivious to the awe.

"Why does her skin look kind of..." Vic looked for a diplomatic way to say "scaly."

"She's got scales," said Lois. "Etta says her body's still a little mixed up-- the kryptonian genes are generating skin at a faster rate than she really needs. That's why she's slathered in emollients. She's our little lizard."

"She's beautiful," Martha declared. "You did a good job, Lois, honey."

"She did," Clark said, dropping down to kiss her once more.

"What will she be named?" asked Diana.

Clark, Lois and Conner looked at each other, stunned. Conner smacked his head with the palm of his hand. "Crap, I don't believe this! We still haven't decided on a name!"


next chapter
previous chapter