Richard tried to steady his hands on the controls, flying through the worsening rain, but the implications of that revelation were making him shaky. I was right on both suspicions. Clark is the twins’ father and so is Superman. They’re the same person. My God, what a perfect disguise.
Seeing Lois and Superman had reminded him too strongly of that moment in the supply room between Lois and Clark. The same magnetic attraction fraught with tension – the same yearning look in Lois’ eyes, the same heartache in his. The resemblance was too much to deny then. It was amazing how much a pair of glasses, a gray suit, and a completely different set of mannerisms could hide. If he’d never seen Lois and Clark in an unguarded moment, Richard might not have recognized the similarity.
But he had seen it. I really did steal Superman’s girlfriend. And I’ve been raising his children. Oh, holy… Kala’s hearing! I knew that wasn’t natural! And Jason breaks more of his toys than he really should. Those kids have been developing freaking superpowers right under my nose! How did I miss that?!
Lana was easing Lois into a seat just behind him, and Richard grinned wryly. That’s how. Lois has been keeping his secret all this time. Strangely, the knowledge made him feel just slightly better. Lois had lied to him, but given whom she was protecting with those lies, they didn’t sting him quite so badly anymore.
It was a lot to think about, but Richard had even more worries. Lois’ teeth were chattering; he could hear them from here. She needed to go to a hospital, and getting her to sit still long enough to be examined was usually difficult. She was currently being quiet, but he didn’t expect that to last very long. And Jason and Kala had been on that island, exposed to kryptonite. They were safe now, according to Superman, but Richard’s heart wouldn’t rest easily until he saw them with his own eyes. Their human heritage should have protected them from the deadly radiation, but what if they’d inherited their father’s vulnerability?
Behind him, Lana tucked the thermal blanket around Lois and sat beside her. Water was still dripping off the reporter’s hair, and she was huddled into a miserable ball on the seat. Lana tested her temperature with the back of her hand and found it a trifle low, but not dangerously so. Lois was unresponsive, drowning in her own pain, and she didn’t even move when Lana unzipped her boots and poured off the icy water inside them.
The designer didn’t like leaving her like that, but she went up to the front to check on Richard. He had also been immersed in the cold ocean, but one glance told her he would be fine. Physically at least; his mind was another matter, churning with anxiety and shock. “Richard,” Lana said gently, resting one hand on his shoulder. “Do you have any towels or anything on board? She needs to get dried off – so do you.”
He blinked at her for a second, and then pointed out a cabinet in the wall. Lana found a couple of towels inside, and tossed one to Richard, frowning at the abstracted way he caught it. Then she returned to Lois, tousling the excess water out of her hair.
The reporter’s eyes focused on Lana’s face for the first time since Superman had woken up, eyes full of defeated sorrow. It was the first time in this entire escapade, from start to finish, that she looked once and for all as though she were going to give up. “He’s going to get himself killed,” Lois said bleakly.
Those words stung Lana. She was already getting a headache from trying to wrap her mind around the fact that the boy who’d watched her so wistfully all those years ago was the same person as the world’s defender. She’d seen the same mix of joy and sorrow in Clark’s eyes, watching Lois and the twins in the Chinese restaurant. Seeing that yearning look again on Superman’s face just moments ago made the truth very plain. To think she would lose him forever – the love that never was, the good friend he had become, and the hero she admired – that was just too much for Lana to contemplate. Lois’ pain, in light of her own feelings, was impossible to even comprehend. How difficult all of this must have been for her all these years, just watching her now.
“No,” she said firmly to Lois, letting her words convince herself also. “Don’t you think like that. He’s Superman – he can do anything. He managed to save the twins, Lois, and get them back to Metropolis. We have to have faith in him.” And in Him above, she thought silently. Dear Lord, please spare Clark. He’s needed here.
Lois was still shaky and disconsolate tears still sparkled in her eyes, but she made herself nod. What Kal-El was attempting was dangerous – incredibly, insanely dangerous – but Lana had a point. If anyone could succeed and survive it, he could. He had before, with nearly every odd stacked against him. He could do this, she tried desperately to convince herself. She couldn’t silence the part of her heart that had already begun to mourn him, but the rest of her could pray as Lois had never prayed in her life.
The two women were silent, lost in their thoughts, until they heard Richard mutter, “What the…? Whoa.” He was staring out the window, and Lois and Lana looked out the seaplane’s windshield just in time to see what had put that amazed tone into his voice.
The weight was crushing, almost unbearable. Almost. Lifting the island made a mockery of all those times he’d flown swiftly and confidently, bearing burdens that made people stare in awe. A car? He could lift it one-handed. A jet? It had been difficult to stop, but once it lost its acceleration it wasn’t particularly heavy. The Daily Planet globe? Awkward to handle because of its shape and size, but no test of his strength in the end.
This was a test, one in which he was very nearly overmatched. Kal-El strained with every fiber of his being against the monstrous weight of the island, his hands and shoulders already sore. The massive conglomeration of crystal, stone, and earth inched skyward almost imperceptibly at first, but Kal-El didn’t let himself stop even for an instant.
Millions of gallons of water poured off the sides of the island as it rose above sea level. Huge chunks of rock broke away from the underside of the structure as well. Both of those reduced the weight by tons, but Kal-El felt very little relief in the terrible pressure across his shoulders. He could hear the low squalling of crystal grinding against crystal above him, and felt his heart sink as he realized that the kryptonite was still growing down through the stone toward him.
An involuntary shiver rippled through the hero. The reasonable, rational response to the deadly radioactive substance creeping closer to him was to flee, but he couldn’t do that. No one else could have attempted this task – no one else could even dream of succeeding at it. It was his responsibility, just as the invasion by General Zod and his followers had been his responsibility.
And I very nearly failed then, Kal-El thought, his face fixed in a grimace of effort as the island rose a few more feet. I almost wasn’t able to win against them, and every life lost during their brief conquest still weighs on my conscience. I don’t regret being with Lois – even if we didn’t have Jason and Kala – but I regret the timing. And I regret letting myself be convinced that I couldn’t be the hero and the man. I regret believing that I had to choose between Lois and the world.
The memories were bittersweet now, but he didn’t try to suppress them. From the moment Lois pulled the gun on him to the moment he’d awakened with her in his arms, those were the memories that gave him strength to continue in his Herculean task.
After seeing the twins safely into the emergency room and getting Kala a blanket to keep her warm, Maggie Sawyer headed back outside to her patrol car. Her radio crackled with updates, officers all over the city trying to keep the peace in the face of panic and disorder caused by the EMP, the fires, and the earthquake. It wasn’t an easy day for the Metropolis police department. Why couldn’t I have listened to my mother and become an insurance saleswoman instead? The wry thought made Maggie chuckle – she was a cop to the marrow of her bones, even when her city was coming apart at the seams.
“Lieutenant Sawyer!” The call over the radio was so full of astonishment that the officer forgot to code it. Sounded like Davis, maybe – she’d have to talk to the younger cop later. “Lieutenant Sawyer, look! Up in the sky!”
“Ten-four,” she said brusquely. Metropolis General Hospital was situated not far from the river, and from the emergency room Maggie could look down the broad avenue and see almost all the way to the bay. The skyline was just clear enough for Maggie to see what had Davis so flustered, in spite of the rain clouds moving over the city.
“Holy Mother of God,” Maggie muttered. Something huge was slowly rising into the air – something that looked like an island. For a moment she was frozen in shock, simply staring. She only knew one man who could do such a thing.
Maggie turned and hurried back into the emergency room. In a low voice, she told Perry, “Come with me.” He left the twins with Ella and followed her outside to the ER’s covered circular driveway, where the sight of the island lifting toward the clouds left him speechless.
“Listen, White, you’d better not roll on what I’m showing you until I say so, or so help me I’ll have your head on a platter,” Maggie said threateningly.
“Are you out of your mind, Sawyer?” Perry growled over the sound of the raindrops. “Ella and I have been getting updates from the Coast Guard and the Army – that damn island wasn’t there yesterday. That’s what caused our earthquake. And that’s where Luthor had the twins. Now Superman’s taking the thing out of our atmosphere? Something huge is going on, and that is just the tip of the iceberg.”
“Still–” Maggie started to cut in, but Perry overrode her.
“And my best damned reporter is right in the thick of it! I don’t know exactly where she is right now, but you can bet if Superman’s carrying a whole island up into space, Lois will be involved somehow! We sat on the news about her twins getting kidnapped – we even held the presses when Lois herself got snatched. You really think I’d roll on something this big without her eyewitness account?”
“You’re a shameless newshound, White,” Maggie said. “Lois and the twins are mixed up in this, and I don’t want them dragged through the papers if I can help it.”
“Then talk to Raines’ tabloid,” Perry retorted. “The Planet won’t print a word of this until we have Lois’ input. The story wouldn’t be complete without her, true. But Jason and Kala are pretty much my grandkids, and I wouldn’t endanger them no matter how big the story is. No, we’re going to have the exclusive straight from Lois herself – and she’ll decide how much we can print.”
Lieutenant Sawyer looked at him in mild surprise. She’d known for years how close Lois and Perry were; in spite of all their quarreling, they truly were like father and daughter. But she hadn’t known until this moment just how deep the editor’s affection for his successor was. That he would sacrifice a story, give up the chance to be the first paper publishing news of this magnitude, spoke volumes of his concern for Lois and her twins. Hell, if Perry was as cutthroat as she was accusing him of being, he’d already have interviewed the twins.
Maggie just nodded at last. People were stopping in their tracks, cars screeching to a halt at the wondrous sight above them. No one on Earth had ever seen an island fly … and it seemed no one, besides than the policewoman and the newspaper editor, wondered just what it was costing Superman to perform this amazing feat.
His strength was bleeding away like water running out of a sieve, and he had no way to staunch the flow. Pure kryptonite had pierced the stone above him, huge jagged crystals glowing an evil green as they grew closer. Even worse, the sheer size of the island kept him in its shade, cut off from the life-giving sun. Kal-El struggled upward, the muscles in his arms trembling with effort, a vein standing out in his forehead.
A quick glance showed him that he was just above the clouds, with many miles to go before the massive crystal structure was free of earth’s orbit. But he couldn’t give up. Letting go now would cause the island to fall back into the ocean, causing a tsunami. I have to find the strength to go on, I have to. The thought was desperate, his determination fading in the face of the pain and weakness radiating through him.
Jor-El’s voice echoed in his mind. Kal-El, my son, you’re all that remains of a once-proud people. And in you Krypton’s glory will live on…
The words galvanized him. I’m not the Last Son of Krypton anymore. I have Jason and Kala… I have to do this for them. Even if kills me.
Of all the images that had flickered before his vision, each bolstering his strength on the long journey up, the last one was the most powerful. The twins, his twins, Jason and Kala looking up at him with such wonder as they bathed in the light of the sun. For them – he had to do this for them. The island and its growth of kryptonite would always be a threat to them if he didn’t force it far enough out into space. That gave Kal-El the will to clench his teeth and force himself onward, temples throbbing with agony, every muscle shaking, his entire body on the verge of collapse.
Faces swam before his blurring vision, each with its own memories: Pa teaching him to drive the tractor; saying goodbye to Ma before he left in search of Krypton; Jimmy getting his first front-page photo and buying everyone cigars as if it were his first child; Perry trying to scold him into showing a little more spine around Lois – oh, Lois, how he regretted leaving her like this. For an instant, she was there with him in his mind, a reminder of her impish grin, usually tossed over her shoulder just as she was gearing up to get into some trouble. Thank God, I told her I love her. I never want her to doubt what she meant to me ever again. She already had to for long enough.
Weak as he was, there was no way Kal-El could foresee surviving this. Surely this would end at any moment, his body closing down and floating forever in the frozen void of space. Although it did little to console him, at least he’d said goodbye this time…
He was high above the earth when his strength finally trickled out. With one last feeble push, Kal-El began to drift backward from the island. Though his sight was dimming, he saw that the mass of stone and crystal was moving steadily away from him. I did it – it’s out of orbit, it’ll keep going until it hits a comet or something. Thank God…
Conscious thought blinked out then, those cerulean eyes rolling closed, and as the hero began to fall back into gravity’s grasp, a last memory came to comfort him. The twins. Jason’s bright blue eyes, so merry and so calm at the same time. Kala’s crooked mischievous smile, the mirror of her mother’s. Their small arms around his neck, so trusting, his daughter’s voice murmuring, “Daddy.”
When Richard and Lana had flown back to Metropolis that morning – was it only this morning? It feels like a lifetime, Richard thought – they had docked the seaplane as close to the Daily Planet building as possible. That marina happened to be close to Metropolis General Hospital, and Richard’s car was now parked in its garage. It seemed as if luck was with them for the moment. He taxied the plane over the choppy surface of the river, and jumped out to hurriedly secure it, ignoring the rain on his already-wet clothes.
Lana managed to get out before Lois did, and turned to help the reporter onto the dock. The wood planks felt a little unsteady under Lana’s feet, as if the surge from the earthquake had loosened the pilings. Not a very pleasant thought.
Lois held onto the door for a moment. Her entire world still felt utterly askew, her thoughts and emotions twisted by ongoing events to the point that standing, let alone even walking forward was difficult. Despite how long she had been out of the freezing water, her toes were still a little numb, and even with her boots dried off and back on, her feet weren’t warming up. In spite of that, it wasn’t in her nature to show hesitancy, and she covered her reluctance to jump down onto the dock by looking up at the sky.
The island was no longer visible above them in the storm-tossed sky; Kal-El had taken it above the cloud cover some time ago, no sign of either him or it, which could only mean one thing. Closing her eyes in relief, Lois’ heart swelled as she let a small smile of thankfulness spread across her lips. He had done it. He had done the impossible, again. Oh, thank God, she thought wearily and with more gravity than she ever had before.
But as she opened her eyes again, Lois startled when her sharp vision caught something bright burning in the sky above. Some part of the island falling through the atmosphere, heating up with the friction of re-entry? But for all its brightness, it seemed very small…
Lois’ heart froze in her chest as the grateful smile drained off her face, watching the object’s descent with utter dread. Icy chills ran down her spine, her stomach knotted, and her breath stuttered. Not a chunk of rock burning up like a meteor… The orange glow left the falling object as it slowed against the air, and Lois could just barely make out its shape and a flash of red swirling around it…
The intensity of her devastation roared in her ears as her gaze remained locked on the plummeting object, which was becoming easier to see by the instant. Kal-El, she thought, her heart breaking, and it seemed as if her mind had shattered, too. Her traitor thought of what seemed like years ago echoed back to her, What if we save the twins, only to lose their father? What if it’s a trade? Then as if awaked by a vicious slap, Lois jumped without hesitation, trying to hit the dock running, screaming his name. The world was surreal around her, her now-rapid heartbeat the only sound she could hear in that awful moment. She had to get to him, she had to fix it, had to take back everything. It couldn’t end like this, not like this…
Lana had to grab her again, nearly yanked off her feet by Lois’ hysterical attempt to get to the falling hero. “Richard!” Lana yelled, in tears herself as the situation nearly undid her as well. He hastily knotted the lines securing the seaplane and rushed to help Lana.
Between the two of them, they managed to stop Lois from running headlong in the direction they’d seen Superman falling. She’d screamed herself hoarse, the unfamiliar name still falling brokenly from her lips when Richard picked her up and carried her off the dock.
No one was in attendance at the marina, fortunately, and they were able to get the sobbing reporter to Richard’s car. Still holding her, he told Lana, “Get my keys – left front pocket. I’ll drive, but I’m not putting her down anywhere but the back seat.”
Lana nodded; Lois was being incredibly unpredictable, nearly catatonic one moment, possessed of extraordinary strength and determination the next. The redhead couldn’t help blushing a little as she reached into Richard’s pocket for his keys, but she quickly got the back door unlocked and got in with Lois as soon as Richard set her inside.
Richard got in the driver’s side, glancing at both women in the rearview mirror. “Lois, we’re taking you to Metro General,” he said firmly.
“No,” she murmured, swallowing painfully. “No, I have to go to him…”
“An ambulance will get there first,” Lana said, her voice gentle. “They’ll probably take him to Metropolis General, too.”
Richard nodded as he started the car. He actually had no idea what would happen to Superman, to Clark, but he’d say anything to quiet Lois while they drove. Lana could only attempt to soothe her as the raven-haired woman whimpered, curled up near her in her own anguish. Now they could see that she had a necklace of bruises forming on her throat, and Richard wondered fearfully how badly she’d been hurt before she ever jumped into the water.
Traffic was dreadful. Simply, utterly, awful. Not only was it raining, not only were there wrecks on most major streets, but some cars had simply been abandoned as their owners gawked at the island and the falling hero. Richard gripped the wheel and cursed under his breath as he drove into oncoming lanes and up on sidewalks, weaving a path to the hospital. He was more conscious than ever of Lois’ pale skin and haunted eyes in the rearview mirror, and his mind insistently reeled off a list of calamities she could be suffering from: broken bones, internal injuries, shock, hypothermia, internal bleeding… The worst of them was shock. Lois wouldn’t even know the extent of her own injuries if she was in clinical shock, and her condition could rapidly worsen.
Just hold on, he prayed, listening to Lana’s soothing murmur as the redhead tried to keep Lois warm.
Sirens howled ahead, and Richard snapped his full attention to the road. A cavalcade of police cars roared through the intersection in front of him, leading an ambulance with its siren wailing. The cruisers were actually nudging abandoned cars out of the road to make a clear path for the ambulance.
“That’s him,” Lois whispered, sitting up.
Richard couldn’t fault her logic; no other person would get that kind of urgent treatment at a time like this. “Buckle up,” he said, and floored the accelerator.
His Saab fell in line right behind the ambulance, chasing the procession to the hospital. Richard gritted his teeth as he drove; he knew he could follow any turn the ambulance could make successfully, but their course felt more like slalom skiing than driving down one of the largest streets in Metropolis. Lois could do this without turning a hair, wet streets or dry, he thought wryly, wrenching the wheel left around a stalled pickup and then right around two wrecked taxis. I’m a lot happier working in three dimensions.
They made it to the hospital before the pulsing sirens managed to give Richard a migraine. Richard didn’t even slow down at the security booth, just followed the squad cars and the ambulance right into the emergency bay. He pulled the Saab up onto a concrete median and opened his door just a fraction of a second after Lois opened hers.
“Hey! You can’t park there!” the security guard yelled. Richard didn’t even turn to look, his eyes on Lois as she nearly stumbled and then broke into a tired run toward the ambulance, never even noticing the continuing shower.
A familiar blonde head was getting out of one of the cruisers, and Lieutenant Sawyer did a double-take to see Lois coming toward her. “What the…” she began, and then took in Richard, Lana, the car, and the security guard. “They’re fine!” she called, thoroughly confusing the guard, and then focused her attention on Lois. “Dammit, Lane, how do you always manage to show up at a moment like this? You’ve got more lives than a sack full of cats.”
The reporter could barely summon up a rusty chuckle, her mind fixed on the gurney the paramedics were unloading. Even though uniformed officers surrounded it, she could see a flash of blue and red. “Maggie, is he…?” she started to ask as she got closer.
Lieutenant Sawyer got a better look at Lois, and her expression of surprise became one of concern. “He’s unconscious. Lois, you come with me. They might need you.” She caught the reporter’s elbow in a firm grip, and then looked at Richard as she added, “The twins are okay. They’re in the waiting room with Perry and Ella…”
Before she finished the sentence, Richard was gone, rushing through the doors to the waiting room. Lana followed him, and Maggie propelled Lois through the paramedic’s entrance. At least she tried to; Lois halted and craned her head around, her heart torn between her children and their father. She caught one glimpse of her mother in the waiting room, flanked by Jason and Kala. They seemed all right…
“DADDY!” both twins shrieked in surprise and delight, leaping off the bench. Richard fell to his knees, his arms flung wide, and Kala and Jason dove into his embrace. Lois savored one last look at them, Richard kissing them both and the twins hugging his neck, before she let Sawyer pull her into the emergency room.
“You look like hell,” Maggie muttered, flashing her badge to get them past the nurses’ station.
Lois’ fragile control broke yet again, and she snarled, “Yes, well, I’ve been kidnapped, punched, tied up, beaten, almost raped, beat up the guy who tried, got smacked in the head fighting Luthor, he strangled me unconscious and then held my own goddamn gun to my head – and just to make my day complete, I jumped into the freezing fucking ocean to save Superman! So excuse me if I don’t look like fucking Miss America!”
Doctors, nurses, other patients, and police officers all looked up interestedly as the raving reporter hustled past them, Maggie setting a swift pace through the warren of treatment rooms. Sawyer chuckled and replied to the tirade, “Miss America’s blonde this year, isn’t she?”
Lois stumbled again, and swore loudly at Maggie, herself, and fate. The lieutenant caught her arm again to steady her. “Nice to see your life is back to normal, Lane. Causing trouble, kicking ass, and swearing like a sailor.” Pale blue eyes caught hazel, and a wry grin curved Maggie’s mouth. “I missed the real you.”
“Bite me, Sawyer,” Lois growled. “Where the hell is he?”
“All the way back,” Maggie replied. Watching her friend a moment longer, her keen policewoman’s observation noted how played out Lois was. Under the expensive coat, she was also soaking wet, and her complexion was pale except for dark smudges of exhaustion. Yet she still forced herself to keep up the bruising pace. Wonderingly, Maggie said, “You’re scared, aren’t you?”
A blazing look from hazel eyes, and Lois hissed, “No, Sawyer. I’m terrified.”
Then they arrived at a large glass window that gave them a view into the treatment room where Kal-El lay, a nurse rhythmically pumping air into his lungs. Doctors and nurses swarmed over him, milling incomprehensibly at first glance, but there was method to their swift actions. Lois’ gaze locked onto his still form, feeling once again as if her heart had frozen.
She approached the glass warily, her hands coming up to meet those of her ghostly reflection. Two strong male nurses grabbed Superman’s suit at the neck and ripped it open, baring the chest Lois knew so well even from so long ago. The reporter flinched a little, disturbed by the violence of the motion. One nurse started attaching EKG leads to Kal-El’s chest while another clipped a pulse oximeter to his ring finger.
The doctors quickly found the gunshot wound and flushed it, removing a couple of tiny fragments of crystal. They also discovered an injury Lois hadn’t seen, what looked like a stab wound in his side. She shivered as she saw them extract another small shard of crystal. Pierced twice, and he still managed to lift an island, she thought.
A number of hospital staff and police officers had gathered, keeping vigil over the Man of Steel while the doctors worked frantically to save him. Someone murmured, “Is that Lois Lane?” But Lois herself never even glanced around. Even with the crystal out, he was so very still…
Don’t die on me, she began to say, but remembered Kala’s hearing. They were so far away from the waiting room, it seemed impossible that she could catch the words, but Lois took no chances. “Don’t quit on me,” she whispered, staring as if she could burn a hole through the glass.
The doctors were still moving at a frenzied pace, one of them staring at the heart monitor and scowling. Lois’ breath froze as she saw the green line on the monitor go flat…
One doctor attempted to get a needle into Kal-El’s vein, but the metal bent without piercing his skin. Another gave an order, and a nurse rolled a cart over to the bedside. Lois’ eyes widened as she recognized the defibrillator. “Don’t quit on me, Kal-El,” she murmured, her voice rising in pitch and volume as the machine charged. “You can fight this. Don’t quit now, this is nothing…”
Everyone in the room stepped back as the physician in charge pressed the defibrillator paddles against Kal-El’s chest. The shock intended to jump-start his heart rebounded through the machinery, causing it to explode. The watchers and the hospital staff leaped back as the lights flickered.
Even the catastrophic failure of a defibrillator wasn’t enough to completely short-circuit the hospital’s electrical systems. They’d been designed with multiple backups, and soon the lights and monitors came back on. What they showed was depressing: Kal-El still lying there so very motionless, and the heart monitor still tracing a flat line. The doctors looked down at their patient, then at each other, with devastated expressions. There was nothing they could do for him.
Lois lost it then, pounding on the glass in front of her and shouting, “No! No, don’t you quit on me! I know you can hear me, dammit! Don’t you quit! Don’t make me lose you again!”
Her outburst shocked Maggie so badly that the lieutenant didn’t even think to restrain her. A large orderly tried to pull Lois away from the window, but the hysterical reporter shoved him away with strength born of desperation. Maggie realized that the glass might not be shatterproof; the way Lois was pounding on it, she was in very real danger of breaking it and cutting herself. The policewoman grabbed her friend’s arm and pulled her away, Lois fighting her every inch of the way. Unnoticed, uncontrollable tears poured down her face as she screamed to the unmoving figure on the gurney, “No! No! I’m not letting you quit on me! I know you can hear me! Fight this! FIGHT IT! You’ve managed to save the whole human race, don’t tell me you can’t save yourself!”
Her voice had grown hoarser as she shouted, her throat afire. The further Maggie and the orderly managed to pull her away from the glass partition, the harder it was to watch the heart monitor. Several of the fluorescent bulbs had gone black during the power surge, and the room had no windows to the outside…
Lois’ eyes shot wide open with realization. No windows – no sunlight. She found a last reserve of strength and dug in her heels, refusing to be moved. “Sunlamps! Someone get a sunlamp in there!”
At first the hospital staff outside the room looked at her dubiously, but Lois fixed her gaze on the most senior of the spectators and snarled, “He gets his power from the sun! Don’t just stand there, you white-clad idiot! If you want to save him, he needs sunlight! Don’t you think I’d know?!”
The doctor stared at her, brow furrowed, and then understanding dawned. This was Lois Lane – if anyone would know how to save Superman, it would his chronicler. A renewed burst of activity met her words, and the orderly rushed off along with several others. Maggie relaxed her grip, watching Lois warily. Her posture seemed calm, almost resigned, but her eyes were still wild with fear.
Wearily, Lois walked back up to the observation window. Her breath fogged the image before her, her throat thick with tears. Her voice was so rough now that she could no longer scream – she could only hope.
Pressing one palm against the cool glass, Lois whispered, “I don’t know if you can hear me, but you fight. I need you … we need you. Please, Kal-El… Fight…”
In the waiting room, there had been a few moments of confused babbling while Richard cuddled the twins protectively and Ella and Perry fired questions at him. Jason and Kala needed him more, though, and he let Lana answer for him.
“Lois is going to be okay,” the redhead said. “She just went in back with one of the police officers to see Superman…”
“She’s here?” Ella interrupted. The fire that blazed in her hazel eyes was very familiar to those who knew Lois well. “I’m going to see my daughter.”
Before she could march up to the admitting nurse and demand to be allowed into the treatment area, Kala stiffened in Richard’s arms. “Something’s wrong,” the little girl whispered, her eyes huge and seemingly hollow with fear. In the next instant, she tried to bolt for the nearest door.
The adults and Jason found themselves trying to calm and restrain Kala as she struggled, tears rolling down her face as she screamed, “We gotta get to Mommy! Please, somethin’ bad’s happenin’! Hurry, we gotta get to Mommy!”