By Laura Davies AKA Bratling AKA BrightFeather
Finished: July 2005
Disclaimer: If you think I own Lois, Clark, Jimmy, ect, you're sadly
mistaken. I stole them, hugged them, squeezed them, called them
George and gave them back like a good girl. All Lois and Clark
related characters are owned by the WB and DC comics. <g>
All other characters not seen in the series are a figment of my
chocolate and PEZ high imagination and belong to me. ;) In other words,
Rachel, Jamie, and all other new people are *mine*! All *mine*!
Mwahahahaha! Other bouts of weirdness can be attributed to
sleep-deprivation. Any resemblance to any other work of fiction
is strictly coincidental and probably due to Pixie Stix induced
Author's Note: This is the sequel to Little Girl Lost, but can stand on
its own. For those coming in late, Rachel Kent is Lois and
Clark's adopted daughter. She was severely abused by her
stepfather, whom she calls 'Papa Gary' before our favorite couple got
her. At this point in the timeline, Rachel is six years old, and
Matthew James, or 'Jamie'--Lois and Clark's biological son--is a month
old. (Born July 20, 1999, 4:45 PM, 9 lbs. 7 oz. ;) And yes, I've
been living in their heads for too long!)
As with Little Girl Lost, this piece is somewhat dark, and may be
offensive to some readers. Again, I'm tackling serious subject
matter--readers beware. Violence by and against children is on
the rise, and I believe that Rachel is probably the best Kent child to
deal with this subject because she already knows that the world isn't
all sweetness and light, and can sometimes be a dark and scary
place. I promise an interesting read with a happy ending--I've
always hated stories than end unhappily. This story is dedicated
to all those who asked for "more about Rachel" as well as the survivors
of child abuse.
My thanks go to all the beta readers who worked with me on this
project, Jenni, Pat, Cindy, she who wishes not to be named, Nan, and
Robin, the readers on both message boards, and to the #lanekent
crew. This story was almost two years in the telling, so my
thanks to all the readers who stuck it out and kept asking for
more. Thanks especially goes to Nan and Jenni, both of whom
refused to let me quit.
"There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid."
August 21, 1999 4:30 PM
Centennial Park, Metropolis
Rachel walked quickly into the woods, glancing back to where her mother
was pacing with her baby brother next to the playground. Her
momma had given permission for her to go play, so she wouldn't be
looking for her for a few minutes. It was late afternoon, and
Jamie was crying *again*. It seemed as if he never stopped!
She knew that they had to take care of him, but it seemed as if her
momma and daddy were paying more attention to the baby than they paid
to her. They were so worried about him. Sometimes she
wondered if they remembered she existed.
"Take *that*." She heard a voice say somewhere in front of her.
Curious, Rachel snuck quietly up to a thicket of bushes and peeked
cautiously through the green leaves. She shivered as she saw the
gloved figure hit a smaller form with a rock over and over, muttering
under its breath. Quietly, she wormed her way into the bushes and
watched in horrified fascination as the person stopped its actions and
began to arrange the still body. Rachel's eyes widened as she
noticed the condition of the body. She could see blood--lots of
blood--all around the silent form. 'Maybe they're playing and its
just ketchup,' she thought. The person turned toward her, still
holding the blood-spattered rock, so she froze lest she be discovered.
Rachel curled herself into a tight ball, being careful not to disturb
the greenery around her as the horrifying events played out in front of
her. She desperately wanted to call for her daddy, but knew that
the attacker would probably reach her to shut her up before her calls
of, "Help, Superman" could reach his ears. She bit her lip; desperately
holding back tears as the person finished, dug a hole, buried the rock,
covered up the disturbed spot with leaves and other debris, and left
the scene of the crime. She looked at the body of a small boy,
and yanked on a strand of hair. She didn't know if he was dead or
alive, but something about his silent form reminded her of the way her
first mommy had looked at the funeral.
"He's dead," she whispered, terrified by what she had just seen.
Rachel waited for a few minutes before crawling out of her hiding place
and making her way back to the bench were her momma was sitting with
the now sleeping Jamie. “Can we go home now, Momma?” she asked,
tugging on Lois's shirt.
Lois examined Rachel closely, concerned. “What's the matter,
peanut?” she asked, freeing one hand to brush a lock of tangled hair
away from Rachel's face.
Rachel smiled brightly, refusing to show the terror she felt when
thinking about what she had just witnessed. “Nothing, Momma--I
just wanna go home. It's *hot* out here.”
Lois studied Rachel intently before finally nodding. She laid
Jamie in the stroller and gathered up his things before standing up and
holding her hand out to Rachel. “Hold my hand, Rachel,” she
“Rachel, you have two choices: you can either hold my hand, or you can
hold on to the stroller.”
Rachel grimaced, reached for her mother's hand, and walked silently
beside Lois to the car. The images of what she had seen kept
replaying themselves in her mind--and at that moment, she didn't want
to be touched. She knew that her momma and daddy would never hurt
her, but what she had seen brought back memories that she'd rather
Rachel reached back and ran a finger over circular scars just above her
hairline, remembering how she had received them. True, Papa Gary
hadn't ever hit her with a rock--he preferred his fists, his
belt. And the person who had hurt the boy was considerably
smaller than Papa Gary. She climbed into the Jeep and shut her
eyes tightly as Lois unfastened the car seat from the stroller and
belted it and Jamie into the car. Rachel fastened her seatbelt and
waited as her mother folded the remains of the baby's stroller and
loaded it into the car.
Rachel's mind shied away from the memory of what had just happened as
well as the remembrance of how Papa Gary had occasionally put out his
cigarettes. Lois got into the Jeep and looked back at her
daughter. “Baby, are you all right?” she asked, concerned by the
expression on the child's face.
"I'm just tired, Momma," Rachel said listlessly. She couldn't
talk about what she'd seen. Momma had enough to deal with because
of Jamie's colic and she'd been doing some editing work from home when
he was sleeping. She leaned over and kissed her brother on the
cheek. She had to protect him, and that meant protecting her
parents as well. Silently, she vowed not to say anything about
the little boy she'd seen killed. It would worry them, and she
didn't want to give them any reason to give her back.
Rachel frowned slightly as she remembered rumors she'd heard in the
orphanage about kids being given back even after they were
adopted. It wouldn't happen to her. "I'm okay," she
whispered, curling up in the seat as much as she could manage while
still being buckled in.
Rachel closed her eyes and tried to forget what she'd seen by
remembering the last time she'd convinced her Daddy to take her
flying. She loved the way the wind felt in her hair and the feel
of his strong arms around her, holding her as if she were the most
precious thing in the world. She let her mind drift to her momma
holding her and singing as she rocked her to sleep.
With sudden clarity, she knew that they'd never give her back, but the
irrational fear was still there. She really missed having more of
Rachel considered telling what she'd seen, but it would only hurt and
worry her parents. She refused to do that--she'd never even told
them about how Papa Gary'd liked to put out his cigarettes when he was
angry for that very reason. She sighed and snuggled back into the
seat, letting her eyes drift shut. Rachel smiled as she let the
happy memories she'd made with her family drift through her mind.
Her thumb slowly made its way into her mouth as she fell asleep.
August 21, 1999, 5:30 PM
348 Hyperion Avenue, Metropolis
Lois unbuckled Jamie's car seat and glanced over at Rachel. She
frowned in worry as she noticed the thumb stuck in Rachel's
mouth. It was becoming a common occurrence to find her daughter
curled up in strange places, cuddling her bear, and sucking her
thumb. More often than not, Rachel was sound asleep when they
found her. Why, just last week, they'd found her in the hidden
closet where Clark kept the Suits.
Rachel's therapist had claimed that Rachel was just feeling a little
insecure, and that it would pass as she adjusted to having a new baby
in the house, but Lois just couldn't help but feel concerned. She
pulled the baby carrier out of the car and set it in the stroller,
making sure that the brake was on, before reaching over to unbuckle
Rachel's seatbelt. "Wake up, peanut," she said quietly.
Rachel stirred against the seat, then cracked open her large, dark blue
eyes. "Momma?" she asked around her thumb.
"We're home, sweetheart," Lois said.
"Okay," Rachel answered, climbing out of the car. She followed
Lois up to the door and inside just as Jamie started crying
again. Lois unbuckled the baby carrier and took Jamie out,
expertly cradling him in her arms. She walked back and forth,
shushing him softly. Rachel shivered. When her other
brother had cried, Papa Gary had punished her. She tiptoed past
them and hurried up to her room.
Lois watched her go, worried by her little girl's behavior. She
determined to ask the therapist about it at the next appointment and
started singing softly to Jamie. Fervently, she hoped that he'd
grow out of the colic quickly. She was starting to lose patience
with the constant crying, not to mention losing way too much sleep over
She put her son up on her shoulder and began rubbing his back.
“Shh, sweetie, it's okay.” Lois walked over to the rocking chair,
sat down, and began to rock. Deftly, she unfastened her blouse
and nursing bra and offered her breast to Jamie. He turned his
head away and kept crying. She sighed and fixed her
clothes. It had been worth a try. He wasn't hungry, wet, or
cold--it was just colic again.
Lois turned as she heard the soft thump of Clark landing outside.
He hurried over to her and held out his arms. “I think it's my
turn,” he murmured, taking the baby from her.
Lois rubbed her eyes tiredly. “Thanks,” she said, standing up to
plant a kiss on Jamie's forehead. “It's a good thing I love you
so much, kiddo, or I'd be tempted to try for a trade-in.” Clark
chuckled and leaned over the crying baby to kiss her gently.
Lois broke off the kiss quickly and smiled. “I'm going to check
on Rachel,” she said as she started walking toward the stairs.
Clark watched her go until Jamie upped the volume. He made
soothing noises and rubbed the baby's tummy gently. He took off
and flew around the room, humming a lullaby in a slightly off-key
voice. Jamie started to quiet down. "Shh," he
whispered. "It's okay, buddy."
The baby continued to whimper, and then started to scream yet
again. Clark stopped rubbing Jamie's tummy and started patting
his back instead. "Shhh," he murmured again. He looked at
his wailing son and grimaced. He was glad that he could be there,
but he wasn't sure how to help his little boy. Dr. Klein and
their pediatrician, Dr. Lindsey, said that the colic would pass, but
sometimes he doubted it. He'd cut back considerably on Superman
calls since they had gotten Rachel, and had cut back again with Jamie's
birth. Sometimes he just felt... torn. He *had* to take
care of his family, but the world needed him, too. At that
moment, however, he couldn't think of anyone who needed him more than
the helpless, colicky baby in his arms.
Clark flew back and forth, hoping that the motion would soothe his
son. The baby continued to cry. He sped up, praying that it
would work--it always did, eventually. Unfortunately, Superman
burdened with a howling infant wasn't exactly something that the
general public could see--otherwise, he might have been tempted to try
flying to Smallville and back. Jamie's crying wasn't exactly
Clark rocked his son back and forth as he flew and was gratified when
the baby finally settled down. He continued flying until Jamie
yawned and fell asleep. He flew slowly upstairs and settled the
infant in the bassinet before tiptoeing out the door and shutting it
gently. He spun back into his street clothes and went
downstairs. He was sure that Lois and Rachel were hungry, and it
was his turn to cook.
August 21, 1999 5:45 PM
348 Hyperion Avenue, Metropolis
Rachel huddled in the linen closet and pulled a blanket over her
head. Closets were good for hiding. She hadn't liked them
before, when she was still living with Papa Gary, but the closets in
the Kent household were different. Papa Gary had always put her
in the 'punishment closet'--it still scared her to think about
it. He had boarded up the cracks, so that light couldn't get in,
and she had felt as if she were suffocating once locked inside.
She could still hear Jamie crying, and the sound made her
nervous. She hadn't heard noises that loud for a long time--the
Kents weren't a yelling kind of family. Papa Gary had been, but
he'd been in jail for *months*. He deserved it, too, Rachel
thought rebelliously as she pulled up her shirt to look at one of the
old scars on her belly.
She smoothed the shirt down and pulled the blanket closer. Rachel
grimaced in distaste at the thought of her former stepfather. He
wasn't going to hurt her again, nobody would--her daddy had *promised*,
and Superman always kept his promises. She shivered; at least her
parents hadn't seen her scars. She'd been living with them for
almost a year, and she still hadn't let them near when she was missing
clothes where her scars would show. She figured that it would
only hurt them to see exactly what he'd done to her, and she couldn't
let that happen; she *wouldn't* let that happen. Rachel
sighed. Momma always got a sad look whenever she saw one of the
few *visible* scars, so seeing more of them wasn't a good idea.
Her Momma and Daddy had *never* liked it that she wanted to take a bath
on her own, but they accepted it. They always seemed careful not
to push her about stuff like that--they even seemed to understand when
she didn't want to be touched. She knew that they waited right
outside the bathroom door for her; just in case she needed their help.
Rachel leaned back against some throw pillows in the corner of the
closet and sighed. Sometimes she wished that she could tell
everything, but the very thought of it made her tummy feel funny.
Not even the doctor-lady who had her draw pictures every week
knew. The thought of how she had let him hurt her made her
feel... ashamed. Daddy kept telling her that none of it was her
fault, but a small, insidious whisper inside her head said
differently. Part of her thought that she didn't deserve her new
family--that Papa Gary was right and that she *was* bad.
Sometimes, for brief periods of time, she forgot, but it didn't take
much to remind her. Sometimes she still expected swift reprisals
when she spilled her milk, dropped a toy, came back from playing minus
a hair ribbon, or when they were just plain upset about
something. Her Momma and Daddy hadn't ever hit her, but a small
part of her was still waiting for it. Rachel reached for Aimee
and cuddled her before putting her thumb back in her mouth. She
had heard momma asking the doctor-lady about her thumb-sucking, but she
didn't know why it was a problem.
It was... comforting. Her world had always been uncertain--at
least until the adoption papers had been finalized--and it was one of
her few constants. Sure, she hadn't done it after her momma and
daddy had gotten her, and she had stopped doing it in front of Papa
Gary after he'd beaten her for it, but it just felt natural. It
was also an effective barrier--as long as she had her Aimee, CJ, and
her thumb, the world would be stable around her for a brief time.
Rachel settled back into her nest of extra blankets, towels, and throw
pillows with a sigh. It had been a long day and she was
tired. Her stomach cramped, forcibly reminding her that it had
been a long time since lunch. She pushed the hunger away with the
ease of long practice and closed her eyes. She yawned and began
to picture herself with the family she loved. It wasn't all that
hard to banish her bad memories if she tried, she decided. All
she had to do was to replace them with good ones--and the Kents were
good for that. She drifted in between being asleep and being
awake, content despite the muffled, yet still angry howls of her baby
Rachel cracked open her eyes as the door opened. "Peanut?" Lois
"G'way," she replied. "Am *sleepy*."
Lois crouched down on the floor and pulled the blanket off of Rachel's
head. "Wouldn't you be more comfortable in bed?" she asked,
Rachel frowned. "Nuh, uh. I like it here," she said.
Lois sighed and shook her head. "Baby, it'll be time for supper," she
murmured. "C'mon, Rachel, honey. I know you must be
hungry--lunch was a long time ago."
Rachel simply snuggled back into her pillows defiantly. "What's
the matter, sweetheart?" Lois asked.
Rachel buried her face in one of the pillows, not wanting to
answer. Lois reached out to stroke the child's hair. "Is it
the noise, peanut?" she murmured.
Rachel nodded hesitantly, her face still buried in the pillow.
Lois reached out and pulled the unresisting child to her, hugging her
gently. "Rachel, it's *okay*. Nothing bad is going to
happen because Jamie cries," she promised. "He's a baby with
colic; and he'll grow out of it." She kissed Rachel on the
Rachel wound her arms around Lois's neck and hid her face again.
"Promise?" she whispered, still scared.
Lois continued to stroke the child's hair. "Yes," she said
simply. Rachel sighed and laid her head on Lois's shoulder.
"Let's go downstairs, peanut. Daddy might need some help with
Rachel simply cuddled closer to Lois. "Carry me, Momma?" she
asked, her voice tremulous.
Lois sighed and kissed Rachel again. "Baby, you're *really*
getting too big for me to do that," she said.
Rachel looked at her pleadingly. "Please?" she pleaded.
Lois gathered the little girl close, stood up, and slung Rachel over
her hip. "Thank you," Rachel murmured, once again burying her
face in her momma's neck. When her parents were holding her, all
doubt faded about what might happen and was replaced with feelings of
love, comfort, and safety. Nothing could hurt her when they held
her, and it was then that she allowed herself to believe that nothing
ever would again. She found security when they hugged her, and a
peace that she had yet to find anywhere else in her world. Rachel
tightened her grip on her momma's neck as they started down the
staircase for supper.
Somehow, as Lois held her, the fear and horror brought on by witnessing
the murder earlier that day lessened. The killer couldn't get
her, and she knew her parents would always keep her safe. Her
stomach knotted again and let loose an audible growl. In the
meantime, it was suppertime, and she was hungry. Rachel smiled
and laid her head on Lois's shoulder. Food was starting to sound
really good--even if her momma *did* manage to burn it again.
August 23, 1999 4:00 PM
Daily Planet, Metropolis
Clark flipped through his notes, stopped, and started typing furiously
into his computer. His latest story would barely make the
deadline for the morning edition--if he hurried. He glanced
around furtively; no one was watching. He began typing at
superspeed, finished his story quickly, and LANed it to Perry.
He grabbed his notepad and leaned back in his chair to think. He
missed Lois. It just wasn't the same at the Planet without
her. Her maternity leave would be up in a little while, and
lately she'd been talking about taking a leave of absence--or just
coming back part-time. If they were careful, their finances
*could* work out on his salary alone, but he missed having her with
him. They'd been partners for a long time, after all.
Clark understood that she didn't want strangers raising Rachel and
Jamie, but they *would* be within reach--Jamie downstairs in the Planet
daycare center, and Rachel would be there after school. He sighed
and looked down at his notes for the next story again. He was
doing everything he could, but sometimes it just didn't seem like
enough--he'd need to split himself in two to do everything that needed
to be done!
He supposed he was lucky that no twisted, maniacal, evil, megalomaniac
geniuses had shown up lately. After all, taking the time to catch
one wouldn't be good for his family; Lois, Rachel, and Jamie needed him
more than the world ever could. Some criminals had noticed his
distraction, and had tried to take advantage of it, but he'd worked
things out with Henderson and Zymeck so that the police and emergency
services were taking up the slack.
He hadn't told them much, but they had agreed with him that even
Superman deserved a private life. He'd just said that he'd found
someone and that they wanted to give a deeper relationship a
chance. He hadn't given any other details; hadn't told them that
he'd already been married for two years. Clark wished that
he could have told them the whole truth--the two men had been his
friends for years--but he'd reconciled with the fact that he couldn't
tell the whole truth if he was to keep Superman's image years ago.
Clark swiveled his chair in the direction of Perry's office.
"Yes, Chief?" he said.
"A body's just been discovered in Centennial Park--get over there and
cover it." Perry ordered.
Clark stood up and grabbed his jacket, notebook, and pen. "I'm on
it, Chief," he answered as he hurried toward the stairwell. He
went up to the roof, looked around, and spun into the Suit. He
flew as close to the crime scene as he dared and touched down in a
tangled thicket. Quickly, he spun back into his street clothes
and hiked the short distance to the crime scene.
He watched as the coroner bagged the victim's hands and examined the
body before placing it in a body bag. He looked around, furtively
using some of his superpowers, but found nothing. Clark frowned
and tightened his lips--he *hated* it when a child was murdered.
Now that he had Rachel and Jamie, he couldn't help but to see them in
the same position. He hurried over to Henderson and smiled.
"Henderson, is there anything you can tell me about this one?" he asked.
"Not much of a story here, Kent," Henderson said, shrugging. "Kid
probably took candy from the wrong person--we don't even have an ID on
the body or time of death yet. We’ve had some kids the vic’s age
reported missing, but it’ll take time to sort through the reports to
get a positive ID. Hell, for all we know, the boy was killed
elsewhere and dumped here; it rained yesterday, so forensics doesn’t
"C'mon, Henderson--what can I print about this?" Clark said.
Henderson thought about it for a moment. "We've got a seven year
old Caucasian boy, light brown hair, gray eyes, nice clothes. The
cause of death isn't official yet, but you couldn't print that,
anyway... at least until we catch the perp." Henderson rubbed his hand
over his eyes. "The crime may have been sexually motivated; we
don't know for sure, but that's off the record, too."
He leaned back against a nearby tree. "Every day I pray that for
just *once*, we'd have a few days without crime. I wish people
would put me out of business," he muttered.
Clark gripped Henderson's shoulder sympathetically. He definitely
knew the feeling; he'd like a few days off for Superman, too, without
having to leave town to get it.
Henderson continued, not really paying attention. "I especially
hate it when the vic is a *kid*. I just don't understand how
someone could kill a child," he ended with a sigh.
"I don't either," Clark offered quietly. "I know I'd probably go
nuts if something happened to Rachel or Jamie."
Henderson smiled tightly. "Yeah--every time we get a kid as a
vic, I see Charlie or Anna in their place." The two men were
silent for a few minutes, thinking of their respective families.
Clark broke out of the reverie first. "Thanks for the
information, Bill," he said. "You'll keep me informed?"
Henderson nodded. "Yeah," he said with a sigh.
Clark clapped the detective on the back. "Tell Lucille and the
kids that I said hi," he requested.
Henderson nodded. "Tell Lois we miss her--and give Rachel a hug
for me." He smiled faintly. "That kid's got guts."
Clark chuckled. “I will," he promised before leaving. There
was just enough time to call Perry before heading home early.
Henderson was right--there really wasn't much of a story. It was
tragic, but until the police got some leads, it was just another
unsolved murder case to go on the books. If he hurried, he could
get dinner ready before Lois got back from taking Rachel to see Dr.
Summers. He quickened his pace and hurried out of the
woods. Lois and Rachel were always tired after coming home from
one of these visits, and with Jamie's colic, Lois was bound to be
exhausted. He knew he’d also have to tell Lois about the
murder. After all, it would probably make the news—the untimely
death of a child always did—and she’d be editing some of the
articles. Now if only there were no calls for his alter-ego...
August 23, 1999, 4:30 PM
Metropolis Children's Medical Center
Rachel walked quietly beside Lois on her way to Dr. Summers's
office. Every week it was the same--go to the doctor and draw
pictures. She'd been careful lately to only draw happy
stuff. Her Momma didn't need to worry, and if she drew other
stuff, she knew that Dr. Summers would tell Momma, and then Momma would
Rachel dragged her feet as they reached the door. Going there
every week wasn't really all that fun. Sure, it was great that
she got her Momma all to herself, because Grandma Lane was babysitting
Jamie, but she didn't really like going. They walked into the
waiting room and she sat down on one of the chairs while her momma went
to sign them in.
Rachel looked around the room, hoping that they'd added different toys
since the last time she'd been there. She smiled at her momma
when Lois came back and leaned into her. She closed her eyes and
felt Lois begin to caress her hair. She frowned and opened her
eyes when she heard a ruckus coming from the front desk. A big
girl was yelling at an older woman, and the woman, ignoring the girl,
was giving the lady at the front desk a hard time.
Finally, the noise ended and a woman marched over to a couple of
chairs, the girl in tow. She sat down on one of the chairs and
picked up a magazine. The lady flipped through it, tossed it
down, and smiled at Lois. "Hello," she said in a cultured
voice. "I'm Emily Barnett." She held out her hand.
Lois stopped stroking Rachel hair and grasped the outstretched
hand. "Lois Lane," she said.
Ms. Barnett brightened. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Ms.
Lane--I've read your work, and it's always wonderful to meet somebody
famous like yourself." She motioned to the little girl sitting
beside her. "This is my daughter, Megan."
Lois smiled and hugged Rachel. "And this is my daughter, Rachel,"
Rachel took one look at Megan and stiffened before hiding her face back
in Lois's side. "She's just a little shy," Lois explained as she
resumed stroking Rachel's hair.
Rachel snuck another peek at the other girl before hiding her face
again. She shivered--the bigger girl was scary. Big kids
usually didn't bother her, but this one did. Her momma and Ms.
Barnett continued to talk, exchanging pleasantries until their names
Lois stood up and offered Rachel her hand. She took it and walked
silently towards the door, shooting scared looks back at Megan over her
shoulder. Rachel reached up and tugged on Lois's shirt.
"Momma?" she whispered.
Lois crouched down. "What, peanut?" she asked.
Rachel used one finger to trace the circles under her momma's
eyes. "Momma," she began hesitantly. "I don't wanna come
here no more."
"*Any* more," Lois corrected. "Why, Sweetie?"
"I don't like it here," Rachel answered, semi-truthfully. She
refused to think about the exact reason *why* she didn't want to come
back, because thinking about it would make it real. Her face took on a
stubborn look that meant she would not be moved.
"Peanut, how about we go see Dr. Summers today, and we'll figure out
something else, okay?"
Rachel nodded reluctantly. "Okay," she agreed.
They went inside the office and Rachel sat down at the table with a box
of crayons. Listlessly, she began to draw as her momma pulled Dr.
Summers aside and started to talk.
Rachel listened intently, wanting to know what was going to
happen. "Dr. Summers, I'm worried about Rachel," Lois said.
"She's been hiding in closets lately, and I think it's because of
Jamie's colic. She's still taking baths by herself." Lois bit her
lip in worry. "Now she says that she doesn't want to come here
anymore," she said. “I think that Rachel's hiding things from
us--it's like she doesn't really trust us.”
Rachel played with a crayon. Maybe her momma was mad at
her--maybe she didn't really want her around anymore. She looked
down at the table, allowing her hair to hide her face. Maybe her
momma didn't love her anymore. It was a constant, irrational
fear--if she wasn't good enough, her parents would stop loving her.
"Ms. Lane, if Rachel doesn't want to come here, don't force it--we
haven't been making much progress, and it's possible that we've gone as
far as she'll let us with art therapy." Dr. Summers walked over
to her desk and pulled out a business card. "I don't like to give
up on my patients, Ms. Lane, but I can't help Rachel if she refuses to
let me; and she hasn't been trying. Perhaps Dr. Jenkins can help
her--he's the best child psychologist in Metropolis. I'll forward
her case file to him tomorrow."
Lois took the card reluctantly. "Are you sure?" she asked.
Dr. Summers nodded. "I'll write out a referral and get it to you
by the end of the week."
Lois took a deep breath. "Thank you, Doctor," she said.
Lois turned around and came over to Rachel. "Peanut, it's time to
go," she said quietly.
Rachel took one look at her momma's face, jumped up, and slipped her
hand in Lois's. "Okay, Momma," she said.
They hurried out of the office, and to the Jeep. Rachel climbed
into the back and buckled her seatbelt. Her momma was upset, very
upset. She just hoped that her daddy would be home soon, because
Momma always felt better after Daddy held and kissed her. She
grinned as she thought about the last time somebody had made her Momma
mad--first she started babbling to daddy, then she had gone somewhere,
come back, and then she and Daddy started *kissing*.
Rachel covered her mouth with her hands to keep a giggle from
escaping. She'd heard noises coming from their room that meant
that Daddy was making Momma feel *really* good. They'd had to
explain it to her after she'd walked in when she had just had a
nightmare one night. And it *had* tied in with the explanation
about how babies were made, too.
Rachel smiled and snuggled back into the seat. She'd *never* have
to go back to that stupid doctor again.
Sound and Fury
August 23, 1999, 5:45 PM
348 Hyperion Avenue, Metropolis
Lois paced back and forth in the living room, the therapist's words
echoing in her ears. Dr. Summers's words had made her angry--no,
more than angry, furious! How could anyone just give up on a
child who'd been through so much? The thought of Rachel's abuser
still made her want to hit something or someone, and now that her baby
had been abandoned yet again by an adult made her want to deck the
Lois took a deep breath and flopped down on the couch. She'd been
reading books on dealing with the aftermath of abuse, and they all had
one thing in common--it was absolutely necessary to forgive in order to
move past the abuse. Part of her knew that she had to forgive
Rachel's ex-stepfather, as well as Dr. Summers--she didn't want to be a
hypocrite by *not* doing it--but sometimes when the hurt was as
grievous as what had been inflicted on her daughter, forgiveness came
hard. How could she teach Rachel to forgive when she was having
problems with it herself?
It had taken years for Lois to finally forgive her parents for the
unintentional damage they had inflicted during her childhood, and her
experiences had definitely colored how she behaved. She didn't
want that for Rachel. Lois wanted her little girl to find
healing, to be able to just be a happy child--and until she found a way
to forgive Papa Gary, that just couldn't happen. She'd seen far
too many people throughout her life that, because they refused to
forgive people who hurt them, became consumed by anger and
bitterness. That wouldn't happen to Rachel.
Lois sat up and rested her face in her hands. She was tired, and
she just hoped that Jamie would sleep a while longer. She needed
to edit a story for Perry, but Jamie's constant crying was wearing her
down. She ran her hands through her hair and got up to go check
on the baby.
Lois peeked into the crib, and was relieved to find Jamie sleeping
soundly. She tiptoed out of the room and started looking for her
daughter. She checked the linen closet, and, finding it empty,
headed down the hall to Rachel's room.
"Peanut?" she called softly, as she stuck her head through the door.
"Yes, Momma?" Rachel's blonde head looked up from a Superman
coloring book. She smiled charmingly and held out her box of
crayons. "Color with me, please?"
Lois dropped to her knees beside her daughter. "I'd love to,
baby, but Grandpa Perry sent me stories that I need to edit--how would
you like to help me?"
Rachel put her crayons back in their box and stood up. "Does this
mean that I get to help read?" she asked eagerly.
Lois nodded. "Of course, baby."
Rachel's face split into a wide grin and she clapped her hands.
"Goody." She threw herself at Lois, and gave her a hug.
"Don't send me away, Momma."
Lois returned the hug before looking at her daughter, startled.
"Why would I do that, peanut? You're my little girl, and I love
Rachel pulled back. "Sometimes," she whispered, scuffing the toe
of her sneaker against the carpeted floor. "Mommies and Daddies
say that, and they lie. Sometimes, they say that and then hurt
Lois tipped up her daughter's face and found that the haunted look had
returned to her eyes. It was the exact same expression that was
often there after a particularly bad nightmare. "And sometimes,"
she said gently, "they tell the truth, because they really *do* love
their babies, and would never hurt them." She kissed her daughter
on the cheek. "Your Daddy and I love you, Rachel Kent--and that
will never change."
"Really-truly," Lois said, pulling her baby in for a hug. "Now,
how about we go look at the stories that Grandpa Perry sent me, and
then we can start dinner? I think your Daddy left something that
we can throw in the oven."
Rachel simply clung more tightly to Lois. She kissed the top of
the child's head and, with a bit of difficulty, stood and walked toward
the door. Lois knew that it wouldn't be the last time her little
girl needed reassurance--the books all agreed with that--but she and
Clark would be there to give it. Adopting Rachel hadn't been
easy, but it had been one of the best decisions they'd ever made.
August 23, 1999, 6:30 PM
348 Hyperion Avenue, Metropolis
Clark hoisted the bags of groceries higher in his arms and opened the
door. He went inside, kicking the door closed behind him and
headed for the kitchen. Something was starting to smell good, and
he grinned when he found Lois and Rachel in front of the laptop editing
stories. At least, *Lois* was editing, while Rachel
'helped'. "How are my two favorite girls today?" He put the
bags on the counter and turned around.
Rachel threw herself out of Lois's lap, ran across the room, and
wrapped her little body around his legs. Clark disentangled her
gently, then swung her up into a big hug. Rachel's arms came up
around his neck, and she clung to him tightly, burying her face in the
join between his neck and shoulder.
"Daddy," she said, her voice muffled, "you're not ever gonna leave like
my first mommy did, are you?"
Clark looked at Lois, not quite sure where Rachel's question was coming
from. Lois motioned that she'd tell him later before turning her
attention back towards the article for the morning edition that she was
editing. Clark rubbed Rachel's back soothingly. "Sprite,
I'm not planning on *ever* leaving you--I always come back."
Rachel's grip tightened on him. "Even if the bad men have
kryptonite?" she asked.
Clark kissed Rachel's forehead. "Sprite, not all the kryptonite
in the world could keep me away." He shot Lois a look of apology
and headed for the living room. He sat down on the couch and
rearranged Rachel so that she was cradled in his lap. "What's the
Rachel cuddled closer to him. "Nuthin'," she said. "I
*missed* you, Daddy."
Clark hugged her tightly. "Sprite, that's really sweet, but
*something* is bugging my little girl." He started caressing her
hair. "Rachel, what' the matter? You can tell me and your Momma
anything." He hugged her again. "I won't get mad, sprite, I
Rachel simply laid her head on his shoulder and sighed. "I can't
say," she whispered. It was safe in Daddy's arms, and she
couldn't worry him. Daddy wouldn't let the bad person who had
hurt the little boy hurt her. And Daddy couldn't do anything
about the bad dreams and memories that wouldn't go away.
Clark's head shot up as he heard the baby start crying. "Want to
help me feed Jamie?" he asked, getting up from the couch.
Rachel looked at him and nodded slowly. "Ok," she agreed.
Clark walked toward the kitchen, and grabbed a bottle of breastmilk out
of the fridge. He shot Lois a grin. "Rachel and I will get
him," he said, stopping her from getting up.
Lois simply nodded, settled back in her chair, and continued editing
the article. Clark zapped the bottle, tested it, and then turned
to leave the kitchen, still holding Rachel. She held on tightly
as he took the stairs two at a time and hurried to the baby's
room. He put her down, then lifted Jamie out of the crib and took
him to the changing table.
Rachel watched as Clark changed the baby's diaper. He balled it up and
threw it in the diaper bin before picking Jamie up and settling him in
his arms. "Would *you* like to feed Jamie?" Clark asked.
Rachel's face lit up. She'd watched her momma feed him, and her
daddy a few times, too, but she'd never been asked to do it
before. "Can I?" Rachel smiled. If she could make Jamie
stop crying, then nothing bad would happen.
Clark smiled, sat down in the rocking chair, and patted his lap.
Rachel climbed up into it, and he put Jamie in her arms, keeping one
arm underneath to make sure that he was properly supported. He
handed Rachel the bottle and showed her how to hold it before wrapping
his other arm around her and the baby.
Rachel put the bottle in his mouth and smiled as he began to suck on
it. She giggled when he blinked at her. "Hello, Jamie," she
said. "You're sure noisy for somebody as little as you are."
Jamie blinked again and opened and closed his hands. "I'll make
you a deal," she said. "You stop screaming all the time, and I'll
teach you how to ride a bike when you get bigger."
Clark's mouth twitched up into a smile. "Rachel, sweetheart--"
"Shhh," she said, glancing back at him. "I'm talking to my
brother." Clark hugged her, trying to suppress the chuckles that
were trying to come out.
"I'll teach you how to spot the bad peoples and how to read, too,"
Rachel promised. "No more yelling, ok?"
Jamie spit his bottle out, and Rachel laughed, taking that for
assent. She put the bottle back in his mouth and watched as he
drank the milk. "Y'know," she said, "you're kinda cute--for a
boy. I bet you're the only boy in the world that doesn't have
"Hey," Clark objected. "*I'm* a boy."
"No you're not," Rachel said. "You're *Daddy*, and that's
Clark rolled his eyes. "What about Perry, Jimmy, Grandpa Kent,
and Grandpa Lane?"
"*They* don't have cooties." Rachel looked at Jamie again, and
smiled as he spit out his bottle. "See? Jamie agrees with
me. They're not boys, either. They're grandpas, and Jimmy's
an uncle. Those aren't boys."
Clark suppressed a chuckle and hugged the kids. Rachel leaned
down and kissed the squirming baby on the forehead. "Sarah says
that she's got a new baby at her house, but I bet that you're
cuter." She watched as he finished the bottle, then started to
"I'll burp him," Clark said, throwing a cloth diaper over his
shoulder. He picked up Jamie, put him against the diaper-covered
shoulder, and rubbed the baby's back gently.
Rachel leaned back against Clark and sighed contently as she reached to
scratch a scar on the underside of her arm. She giggled when
Jamie burped and held out her arms to cuddle him again. She had a
family. It wasn't perfect, but if she was lucky, she'd get to
Clark carefully put Jamie back in Rachel's arms and put his arms
underneath to support the baby. He dropped a kiss in Rachel's
hair. "Thanks for helping, sprite," he said.
Rachel leaned down, pulled up Jamie's shirt, and blew a raspberry on
his tummy the way she'd seen her daddy do it. She pulled the tiny
shirt down and looked up at Clark. "He's *my* brother," she said
fiercely. "And as long as I'm here, *nobody* is *ever* gonna hurt
him." She turned her attention back to the baby, not noticing the
worried look on Clark's face at her comment.
August 25, 1999, 1:23 pm
Metropolis County Morgue
Henderson knocked, then entered the chief coroner's office.
"Beth--Dr. Forrest?" he called.
"Just a second," came a voice from the direction of the cold
room. A few minutes later, a petite blonde wheeled a metal table
out into the area. She parked it next to the dissecting table and
nodded in his direction. "Henderson."
Henderson shoved his hands in his pockets. "Do you have the
results on Little Boy Doe yet?"
Dr. Elizabeth Forrest covered the face of the cadaver, wiped off her
hands, then walked over to her desk. "I ran his finger prints
through the database, and came up with an ID." She picked up a
file folder and handed it over.
"Thank goodness for school fingerprinting programs," he muttered.
"According to the computer, his mother reported him missing four days
ago." She blew her bangs out of her eyes with a puff of air
before reaching for her case notes.
"So it was Joey Anderson?" he asked.
"Yeah. I'd say from the state of decomposition that he died
approximately four days ago, between three-thirty to five pm--the
parents have yet to be notified."
"Guess that leaves it up to me, huh?" Henderson asked.
"Better you than me--my job is to figure out how and when they
died--you get to lovely job of finding out why and who did it," she
"Thanks, Liz," he said absently. "So what was cause of death?"
"Just what it looked like at the crime scene--blunt force trauma to the
head. Bill, the kid was healthy. No signs of abuse, no
other signs of trauma that can't be accounted for by the usual climbing
and falling out of trees." She picked up a pencil and started
tapping it on the desk.
Henderson walked over and gently took the pencil from her. "Is
there any chance that it could have been an accident?"
Beth shook her head. "The trauma is pretty centralized, and the
fractures show repeated blows to the same place--probably with a rock,
or some other jagged object. I found some splinters of it in the
wound as well--you find me the rock, and I can match it up." She
turned to flip through papers on her desk. "I hate autopsying
kids, but at least he wasn't a floater."
Henderson leaned against the desk. "I'd almost forgotten your...
legendary hatred of floaters."
"Well, there's a reason for that," she said brusquely, pulling out her
chair and slumping down into it.
"Care to let me in?" Henderson asked, curious.
"Trust me, you don't want to know." Beth smiled
humorlessly. "Don't you have some parents to tell?"
Henderson sighed. "Yes. The boy's mother is still waiting
at home for him to call, and his father has been working from home
since Joey disappeared."
"Tell Zymeck I said hello," she said, pushing away from the desk and
walking over to the autopsy table.
"Will do." Henderson headed towards the door, and held it open
for the young assistant who was on his way in. Zymeck's youngest
kid had been rushed into the hospital for an emergency appendectomy, so
he'd been unable to come along to pick up the autopsy report.
Henderson left the morgue, wandered out to his car, got in, and started
it. He radioed in to the station, got the Anderson's address, and
headed toward the more upscale neighborhoods where they lived. "I
hate this part," he muttered. It was bad enough that a little kid
was found dead, but they the fact that they didn't have any leads
didn't help any. It was set to be a long day.
September 5, 1999, 11:30 pm
348 Hyperion Avenue, Metropolis
Clark slipped into bed and held his arms out to Lois. Wordlessly,
she scooted over and laid her head on his chest. He leaned down
and kissed the top of her head. "Rachel's asleep again, and her
nightmare didn't wake Jamie up," he said quietly.
Lois sighed and began to stroke his chest absently. "I'm hoping
that the new shrink can help with those."
"Maybe he can," Clark said as he ran his long fingers through her
hair. "Her nightmares aren't as frequent as they used to be,
though. She'll be all right, honey."
"I know... I just worry."
Clark caressed her back gently. "I can't believe that we've had
her for close to a year," he said finally.
"If anyone told us that we'd have two kids this time last year, I would
have had them committed." Lois planted a kiss on his chest, then
laid her cheek back against it.
He chuckled. "But Jamie *could* have been twins."
Lois grabbed her pillow and smacked him upside the head.
"Cla--aarrk," she groaned. "One at a time is *enough*."
Clark laughed, then leaned in for a kiss. He kissed her gently, loving
the way her soft lips clung to his. He broke off the kiss with a
groan as he heard the cry for help. "A cattle car just jackknifed
and turned over on the freeway," he said with a sigh.
Lois kissed him softly. "Go," she said.
Clark sighed, pushed himself out of bed, then spun into the Suit.
Sometimes being Superman wasn't a lot of fun--the cattle were probably
spooked, and it would take quite some time to clean up the mess.
"I'll try and be back before Jamie wakes up," he promised.
"I'll be waiting," she said before grabbing his pillow.
Superman gave his wife one final glance before leaving through the
window and heading towards the scene of the accident. He grimaced
as the slow drizzle soaked into his cape, making it cling to him.
A few minutes later, he landed next to the overturned trailer.
The cattle were milling about, evading every attempt to recapture them,
while cars slowly attempted to pass without hitting the animals.
Superman wiped water out of his eyes and looked around for the person
in charge of the scene. The Emergency personnel hadn't showed up
yet, but the trucker was watching the cattle with a puzzled look on his
face. It was obvious that the man had no idea of how to recapture
his cargo. He walked up to the trucker and tapped him on the
shoulder. "What happened, sir?" he asked.
The man sighed and shook his head. "I guess my tires have gone
bad. I thought they'd last one more trip. The streets are
pretty wet tonight and well, I started hydroplaning, and then before I
knew it, I'd turned over and the cattle got out." He looked at
Superman worshipfully. "I don't know how we're going to round
them up--Superman, can you help?"
Superman nodded, then carefully lifted the trailer and set it
upright. He soldered the broken latch back in place with heat
vision, then began to carefully catch the cattle, one at a time, and
put them back in the trailer. He'd heard about something like
this happening a few years ago in Texas, but he hadn't had to help with
it. The corners of his mouth twitched as he remembered watching
the news report; the cowboys from the local rodeo had ridden out and
taken care of the problem.
Superman stopped after his tenth steer and glared at the rest of the
cattle. He couldn't do it at superspeed, because that would spook
the rest of the animals. The *last* thing he needed was to rescue
people from cars that the cattle had managed to stampede over. It
was bad enough that some of them had minor injuries due to some cars
not having stopped in time. He knew that they were probably
destined for someone's dinner table, but it didn't make it any easier
to listen to their sounds of pain.
Superman approached the nearest one, talking to it in a soft
voice. He picked it up, then walked back to the truck.
Despite the fact that it was starting to rain harder again, traffic had
ground to a halt, and a crowd of curious onlookers, or rubber-neckers
as they were called, had gotten out of their cars to watch him work.
It was over an hour later when he caught the last animal and put it
back in the trailer. He wiped the water out of his eyes again,
then tossed his now sodden cape back before walking over to the
"Bless you, Superman," the man said gratefully.
"Please try to be more careful," he requested. The man
nodded. Superman took off and headed towards home. The
thought of a nice, warm bed with Lois in it was sounding better and
It was times like this, he thought grumpily as he fought with his cape,
that he wished that he'd managed to talk his mother out of putting the
blasted thing on his uniform. It was horrible to deal with when it was
wet--it clung in spots, got tangled around his legs, and was generally
Superman landed on the patio quietly, then soundlessly went
upstairs. He hung his wet, bedraggled suit on the towel rack and
dried off before going back to bed. He slipped under the covers
and smiled as Lois snuggled back up to him. He hugged her close
to him and glanced at the clock. It was past one-thirty, which
meant that Jamie would be waking soon for something to eat. He
sighed and settled back into the pillows, happy to at least be at home.
Clark's eyes began to close, and he drifted off, only to wake a short
time later to the cries of a hungry baby. Lois stirred beside
him, and he kissed her on the forehead before slipping out of
bed. "I'll get him, honey," he whispered. He hurried
downstairs, pulled a bottle out of the fridge, and went to Jamie's room.
Clark picked his son up out of the crib and held him close as he walked
over to the rocking chair and dropped down into it. He warmed the
bottle, tested it, then stuck it into the baby's mouth. He kissed
Jamie's forehead and started to rock. How would he manage it, he
wondered, not for the first time. He'd already cut back on
Superman's activities, but there never seemed to be enough time.
How could he manage two busy careers and still be there for his
family? He didn't want Rachel and Jamie to grow up without him;
he couldn't let that happen. He wasn't sure how he would manage,
but he would, somehow. He didn't want to screw up the most
important job he'd ever had--being Rachel and Jamie's daddy.
Clark smiled as the baby slowly stopped sucking and his eyes
closed. He kissed his son again, then stood and put him back in
the crib. He tiptoed out of the room and back downstairs to put
the remaining milk in the fridge before returning to his and Lois's
Clark got into bed and sighed. It would be a long time before
anything was solved, and for the moment, he was tired. He
gathered Lois in his arms and closed his eyes. He hoped that they
could work everything out, but he knew it would be a hard balancing
act. A wave of tiredness swept over him and he slowly drifted off
September 10, 1999, 12:00 pm
348 Hyperion Avenue, Metropolis
Outside, thunder rumbled and lightening flashed as yet another early
September thunderstorm unleashed its fury over the city. Inside the
house, another kind of storm raged as Rachel thrashed around, the
nightlight in between her bed and the nightstand bathing the small
child in an eerie light punctuated by the flashes of light from the
storm outside. Mumbles of "no, no, please," came from the child's
mouth as she was gripped in yet another nightmare.
Rachel cowered in the corner, hiding from who she knew was coming. Papa
Gary had a new friend again, and together they would take away the only
people that she could ever remember loving her.
"Hello, Rachel." The familiar voice said.
Rachel shivered and hid her face before a rough hand forced her to look
at him. "Look at me, brat." Papa Gary stood in front of her with
darkness at his back. He reached in and snatched Aimee from her,
then dangled the toy from two fingers as if it were filthy. "So,
you *do* like this dolly after all."
He released her face, then reached in his pocket for his lighter.
Rachel backed further in the corner, not daring to cry out. She
watched as he ripped the doll limb-from-limb, then lit it on
fire. He dropped the toy in a metal wastebasket before walking
over to Jamie's crib and pulling the baby out of it. "Do you like
this toy, too?" he inquired, laying the baby on the bed before reaching
in his pocket for a cigarette. She shook her head frantically as
he lit up.
He smoked in silence for a few minutes, then flicked some hot ash on
the baby, making him squall. Finding some courage that she didn't
know she had, Rachel ran over to protect her brother from her personal
"So you *do* care about him," he said with a smirk. Papa Gary
stubbed his cigarette out on her arm. Rachel suppressed a cry of
pain as he motioned to someone that she couldn't see, and the person
who hurt the little boy came in and smiled at Rachel.
"What have you got there?" the person asked.
Rachel hid Jamie behind her and shook her head, refusing to
answer. Papa Gary grabbed her arms and threw her towards the
wall. His new friend came up to the bed and smiled. "A
little boy... just what I was looking for."
Rachel sat up in bed, breathing heavily. She got up and hurried
down the hallway to Jamie's room. She smiled in relief and wiped
the tears out of her eyes when she saw that he was sleeping in his crib.
Rachel pulled herself over the bars and settled carefully next to him,
curling her legs up in order to fit. She kissed him on the cheek
before putting her arm around him. "I'll never let them get you
Jamie," she promised.
"I can't tell Momma and Daddy what I saw," she whispered. "I
can't tell what *he* did to me, either, because it would make Momma
Rachel pulled an extra baby blanket over herself and cuddled closer to
her brother. "I saw her hurt that boy," she said softly.
"She *killed* him." Slow tears ran down Rachel's face.
"Papa Gary would have done that to me, too. If he comes back, he
could hurt you and Momma."
She kissed the baby again. "I won't let them hurt you, Jamie; if
she finds out that I saw, she'd come and hurt us like she did the boy
because she's a *bad* person." Jamie stirred in his sleep, his
tiny lips smacking as if he were drinking.
"I'm scared," Rachel said in a small voice. "The bad dreams won't
Jamie started to snore softly.
Rachel scrubbed the tears from her eyes. "If I tell, Momma'll
cry," she said softly. "And Daddy will be sad, too." She
buried her face in the blanket and smelled Jamie's clean baby-smell.
"I don't want to make them sad," she whispered.
Rachel sniffled, then relaxed next to the baby. "I'll protect
you," she promised. "I keep *everybody* safe. If you an' me
are the only ones who know that I saw, then the bad person won't come
and hurt us. If you an' me are the only ones who know how Papa
Gary hurt me, then it won't make Momma and Daddy sad."
She showed the sleeping baby a small, puckered, round scar. "He
burned me there," she said softly. "He was burning my teddy bear
and decided that it didn't hurt me enough."
Rachel pulled the hem of her nightgown up and showed Jamie a long, thin
scar on her stomach. "Papa Gary was playing with his pocket
knife, and he was mad one night," she informed him.
"There are lots of bad peoples, Jamie," she said, kissing her brother
on the cheek. "You can't trust nobody but Momma, Daddy, our
Grandpas, and Uncle Jimmy."
Rachel tugged her nightgown back into place and sighed. "Peoples
are *mean*," she said. "They'll hurt us if we let them, but we
can't act like we know that. If they know that we know, the
hurting will get worse."
"I know," she whispered, "because Papa Gary got meaner when I
cried. Other peoples will, too, because they're like *him*."
"You and me, Jamie. We'll take care of each other. And if
Momma and Daddy have another baby, we'll take care of her, too."
Rachel snuggled down into the mattress and smiled as Jamie moved
slightly. She was beginning to get sleepy again, and she knew
that with her beside him, nobody could hurt her baby brother.
Rachel closed her eyes and began to remember the story that Daddy had
read her, just like the girl in the book; she'd protect her brother
from the trolls.
Light of Day
September 14, 1999, 9:00 AM
Little Creek Park, Metropolis
Henderson rubbed his nose as Beth carefully brushed the dirt away from
the bones. "What can you tell me, Beth?" he asked.
"Well, I can't determine age or sex yet, but this was definitely a
child." She grimaced and looked up at him. "The body has
been here for six to eight months, and it was buried under a thin layer
of dirt." Beth brushed more dirt away from the skull with a soft
brush. "See the skull fracture?" she pointed at an
indentation on the bones.
"Yeah," Henderson nodded, then squatted down to get a better
"Blunt force trauma. Henderson, this looks remarkably similar to
the Joey Anderson case, but I won't know until after I spend some time
examining the body." Beth frowned and continued to brush the dirt
gently away from the bones.
Henderson knuckled his eyes, trying to forestall the coming
headache. "It looks like we may have a serial," he
Beth cocked an eyebrow. "Well, this is just the second body; if
it's even the same killer," she pointed out. "Right now, we have
what might be a double murder case, but until we've got three or more,
this isn't a serial, and the FBI doesn't need to be involved yet."
Henderson watched as she started gathering the bones up and placed them
in boxes for transport. "I'll call David Carson and get him to
come in," he offered.
"I thought he'd retired," she said, frowning as she concentrated on a
tricky part of the extraction.
"He has... mostly. But he's still willing to do a job like this
when we need him; he says that it keeps his skills sharp for his
shows." Henderson stood and stuffed his hands in his
pockets. "Forensic sculptors are hard to come by."
"God willing, we'll get an ID on this kid," Beth murmured.
"I want to catch this guy," Henderson said. "Preferably before he
"Yeah. And we'd all like to be put out of business one of these
days. I bet even Superman'd like to have a few days off."
"Probably. Do me a favor and send me the autopsy report as soon
as you can?"
"Always. We're being leaned on as much as you are to figure this
out." Beth sat back on her heels and grinned. "Maybe you
should talk to Lane and Kent; they seem to solve a lot of the weirder
cases for you, after all."
"Smartass. I'm going to check with Zymeck and see if he's got
Beth flipped her hand at him, shooing him away. "Happy
hunting--bring me back a killer so that I don't have to do this again."
Something about Beth's words gave him pause. As much as he hated
to admit it, many of Metropolis's trickiest and strangest cases had
been solved by Lane and Kent. It was true that Lane wasn't really
investigating cases much these days, but he was sure that she'd want to
help with something this important… for an exclusive, of course.
Henderson sighed. He'd have to get permission from the Captain,
but he was pretty sure that a trip to the Daily Planet was in order.
September 15, 1999 9am
124 Hospital Drive, Metropolis
"Momma, do I *have* to go?" Rachel whined, dragging her feet.
Lois turned around to face her daughter. "Yes, you do," she said,
putting her hands on her hips.
Rachel pouted. "But Lindsey says that he shrinks heads, and I
don't want my head shrunk, because I like it the way it is."
"Rachel Elizabeth Kent, we're going inside, you *will* talk to the
doctor, and your head will be the exact same size when we come
out." Lois said, exasperated by Rachel's behavior. Rachel
had been whining ever since she'd been told about her new doctor.
Dr. Jenkins wouldn't hurt her, and a phone call to his office had
assured Lois that she'd be able to watch through a two-way
mirror. It had taken a while to get an appointment--because he
was the best child psychiatrist in Metropolis, his schedule was pretty
Rachel stuck her tongue out at Lois. "You're *mean*, Momma," she
Lois put her hand on Rachel's shoulder and ushered her forward into the
medical center's elevator. "Yup. I'm the meanest mommy in
Rachel turned around and threw herself at Lois. She buried her face in
Lois's stomach under Jamie's baby sling, allowed some warm, salty tears
to escape, and wrapped her arms around her mother's legs. "No,
you're *not! You’re the bestest mommy in the whole *universe*."
Lois disentangled Rachel, and gave her slightly tearful daughter a
hug. "Sweetie, I was just kidding. Now, are you going to
cooperate with the doctor for me?"
Rachel stuck her lip out in a pout and stopped crying. "Don't
"I didn't ask if you *want* to, I'm asking if you're *going* to."
Rachel wiped her arm across her face, scrubbing at her recent
tears. "Okay, but only 'cause *you* want me to, Momma."
Lois pulled a tissue out of the diaper bag and wiped Rachel's
nose. "Good girl." The elevator dinged, and the doors
opened, so Lois held out her hand to her daughter.
Rachel took her mom's hand meekly, and they walked down the corridor
and went into the doctor's office. Lois signed in, and it wasn't
long before they were admitted.
"Hello, Mrs. Kent," Doctor Jenkins said in a loud, booming voice.
He glanced at Rachel and smiled. "And you must be Rachel."
Rachel ran behind Lois and hid. Lois shook the doctor's hand,
then turned her attention to the little girl clinging to her
legs. "It's okay, peanut," she murmured. "Dr. Jenkins is a
"Un uh," was Rachel's response. "He's *scary*."
"I'll try not to be scary," the doctor responded, gentling his
voice. "I just thought you'd like to play in my playroom for a
little while, and maybe talk a little. I've got lots of neat toys
"No. Momma told me I shouldn't go with strangers, and you're
"How about if your mom and your baby sister come with you to my
playroom. Will that be okay?"
"Jamie's my *brother* an' it's my job to protect him," Rachel said
"He won't be out of your sight, sweetheart," Lois promised.
"Promise you won't leave?" Rachel asked.
Lois nodded. "I'll be right there if you need me; now would you
like to go play in the doctor's playroom?"
Rachel bit her lip. "Okay," she agreed finally. They walked
into the doctor's playroom and her face lit up when she saw the
dollhouse. "Can I play with that?" she asked.
Doctor Jenkins nodded. "You can play with anything you
want." He showed her the box of dolls that went with it.
Rachel opened the front of the dollhouse and sat down, examining the
rooms. She picked up a blonde little girl doll, and put her in
one of the rooms. When she was satisfied that the tiny figure was
in the right place, she quickly grabbed two dark-haired grown-up dolls
and put them in other places in the house. While watching Rachel
pick up a doll for the nursery, Lois placed her purse and diaper bag on
the sofa and sat down next to them, relieved that her daughter seemed
to be relaxing. Even she had been a bit apprehensive about this
change of doctor, though she couldn't admit that to Rachel.
Dr. Jenkins watched Rachel play for a few minutes, then started asking
questions. "Can you tell me about the people in the house?" he
Rachel shook her head and kept playing. She made the little girl
doll hide behind the daddy doll, then had the daddy doll pick the
little girl up. Carefully, she steadied the little girl and moved
the daddy into the little girl's room and had him tuck her in.
Dr. Jenkins pointed at the little girl doll. "Does she like it
Rachel nodded slowly, then picked up the little girl and moved her to
the nursery. She put the little girl in the crib with the baby
and had her kiss it, then moved it out of the room, down the hall, and
"Rachel," he said, keeping his voice soft and gentle, "please tell me
about the family in the dollhouse?"
Rachel looked back at Lois. When her momma nodded, she started
speaking. "That's Beth," she whispered, pointing at the little girl
doll. "She's going to hide, because the baby is crying again."
"Why's the baby crying?" he asked.
"Because he's got colic," was the answer as Rachel continued playing
with the dolls.
"Then why is Beth going to hide?"
"Because the baby is loud, and loud is bad. Loud means that
somebody hurts you."
"Does the daddy hurt Beth?" he asked, motioning towards the man doll.
"No," Rachel said moving that doll up to where the little girl
was. She put the little girl in the man doll's arms. "The
new daddy loves the little girl."
"She's 'dopted, like me," Rachel explained. "Her old daddy was
*mean*, and he hurt Beth."
"Was your old daddy mean?"
Lois's eyes widened in shock. She'd suspected something like that
had happened; it was fairly common in severe abuse cases for the child
to be punished for things it couldn't help, but she hadn't been
expecting that it would come out so quickly.
Rachel looked at the doctor, then ran to Lois, climbed on her lap, and
buried her face in her mom's shoulder. Lois rubbed Rachel's back
as the child started to cry. "Shhh, it's okay, sweetheart," she
Jamie chose that moment to start crying. Rachel stiffened, then
pulled away. Before Lois could react, Rachel had pulled the top
of the sling away from the baby and given him her finger. “It's
okay, Jamie. We're safe, and nobody's gonna never hurt us.”
Rachel leaned down and kissed Jamie's forehead. To Lois's
surprise, the baby seemed to settle down. His cries became
whimpers, and even those stopped as Rachel stroked his face.
“See, Jamie? All better,” she murmured.
“Sweetie, what was the matter with the baby?” Lois asked, astonished.
“He was scared, a'cause he don't know where we are,” she explained.
“Thank you, peanut.” Lois kissed Rachel's cheek.
Rachel smiled and leaned back against Lois. “Rachel?” Dr.
“Yessir?” she answered cautiously.
“Would you like to play some more? I promise not to ask about the
mean old daddy.”
Rachel nodded, then got up to walk over to the dollhouse. She
picked up the little girl doll and put it in the baby's room.
“Beth likes it there,” she said. “She loves Mattie.”
Lois watched the scene unfold, hoping that her little girl had finally
found someone who had the knowledge to help her deal with what *that*
man had done to her. She checked her watch and grimaced as she
noticed that the session was almost over. Rachel's books were in
the car with her briefcase, and Perry was expecting her back at
work. He'd been amazingly generous in letting her work from home
well past her maternity leave, but it was time to get completely back
into the swing of things. She hadn't really been working on
any cases, but that time was almost over. She and Clark had found
some leads, and would be starting on a new investigation that day that
required her to be at the Planet.
September 15, 1999, 11:20am
Daily Planet, Metropolis
Clark finished typing the story into his word processor and hit the
spell check button. He ran through the document quickly, then LAN'd it
to Lois. "Honey, could you look over my story, please?"
Lois looked up from her terminal and smiled. "Sure," she
said. "Just a minute; I'm almost finished."
Clark leaned back in his chair and picked up his picture of Rachel and
Jamie together. He pulled his handkerchief out of his pocket,
wiped off a bit of dust, then set it back on his desk. With the
discovery of the second body earlier in the week, he'd been having
second thoughts about going out for his nightly patrols. His
family needed him to protect them more than the world did.
He knew it would devastate him if Rachel became one of the
victims. Sure both the victims had been little boys so far, but
with a predator roaming the streets of Metropolis, you could never
tell. The first victim, while he'd been found in the park, had
been nowhere near there when he disappeared. It was possible that
the kids had been kidnapped before they were killed.
The thought of leaving his family alone in the house just made Clark
feel uneasy. He worried that something might happen if he weren't
around. He knew it was irrational and that nothing might happen,
but at the same time, he wanted to protect them. Rachel and Jamie
were so little, and Rachel had been through so much all ready.
Lost in his reverie, he almost didn't hear Perry call. "Lois,
Clark, in my office, now!"
Clark grabbed his notebook, stood up, and headed towards Perry's
office. "I wonder what Perry's got," Lois commented.
Clark grinned. "Maybe somebody found Elvis in their blender."
Lois pretended to take him seriously for a moment. "Nah.
Maybe they found him at the Tasty Freeze."
Clark's grin got wider. "Tasty Freeze? Are you sure they
didn't catch him washing those sequined suits of his at the Laundromat?"
Lois bumped his hip playfully with her own. "Nope. Those
suits would disintegrate in the wash."
"And how would you know that, Ms. Lane?"
"Um... Let's just say that when I was twelve, I tried to wash one of
Mother's sequined evening gowns after Lucy got it dirty."
Clark opened the door and held it for her as she went inside.
"Let me guess, Ellen got mad?"
"She was furious," Lois agreed. "At least, when she was sober
enough to care."
"What do you need, Chief?" Clark asked, turning his attention to Perry.
Perry nodded to Henderson. "Inspector Henderson has something for
us, but he'll only let us have it if the two of you investigate.
Since you've got my granddaughter and grandson to worry about, I'm
giving you the choice, but it'd make a hell of a story. It's
about the child murder from a month or so ago; they've found another
body that they think might be connected."
"Perry," Lois objected. "We've always been professionals--"
"I know, darlin'." Perry said softly. "But with two kids of
your own, and with Rachel suffering as she has..." he trailed
"If we can catch the killer before another child dies, it's enough,"
Clark said firmly. At least if they were investigating, he'd be
doing something without taking time away from his family.
"Good. Henderson," Perry began as he gestured towards the man who
was sitting in the chair in front of his desk. "Why don't you tell Lois
and Clark what they need to know?"
Henderson fidgeted uncomfortably. "There isn't much more than
what's been in the papers; that's the problem. We haven't found a
murder weapon, and we don't even have an ID on the last body that was
discovered. Our pathologist determined the cause of death to be
the same, but that's not conclusive as to who killed them."
"So what you need are connections?" Lois asked.
Henderson nodded. "You two are the best at finding that sort of
thing. I was hoping that you could keep your eyes and ears
open--maybe see what you can find out about the victims?"
"What's being done to ID the skeleton?" Clark asked.
"We sent the skull to David Carson," Henderson said. "He's the
only forensic sculptor within 200 miles."
"Isn't there computer equipment for that kind of thing?" Lois
asked. "I remember Jimmy talking about it."
Henderson shrugged. "Yes, but with more budget cutbacks, the
department can't afford it. They'd rather pay David to
reconstruct a few faces a year than spring for all of that fancy
"Can we meet him?" Clark asked. "It might make an interesting
sidebar about how these things are done."
Henderson stilled for few minutes, apparently lost in thought.
"Sure. I'll email you directions; I was going down there around
eleven tomorrow, anyway."
"Thank you," Clark said with a smile.
"If you find out anything, please let me know," Henderson requested.
"I'll go call Bobby," Lois said, heading out of the room. "He
might know something."
Clark simply nodded to Perry and Henderson before heading out the
door. It was nice to have an excuse to work the case during
office hours; it meant that he'd have more time to stay home and
protect his own family. Sometimes he felt as if time was
continually running away from him. Before he knew it, Rachel
would be getting ready for college if he wasn't careful.
Occasionally, he'd wondered if shooting around the sun at high velocity
would really send him back in time; it had worked in Star Trek...
He shook his head to clear the cobwebs and walked back to his desk.
Just as Clark was about to sit down, the phone rang. He picked it
up and was surprised to hear Samantha Parker's voice. "Sam?" he
asked worriedly. "Is something wrong with Rachel's adoption?"
"No, no, Mr. Kent. Rachel's adoption is fine. I'm calling
on another matter, but I need to speak to both you and your wife." Sam
sounded breathless, as if she had been running.
"Sam, hold on. I'm transferring you to the conference room; the
newsroom is too noisy for this." Clark quickly transferred the call and
hurried to Lois's desk.
Lois took one look at his face, hung up her phone, and stood up.
"What's the matter, sweetheart?" she asked.
"You didn't have to hang up on Bobby," Clark protested. "This
could have waited for a minute or two."
Lois shrugged. "He must be out, because he's not answering.
Tell me what's going on, Clark."
"Samantha Parker wants to talk to us," he said. "She's on hold
right now; I transferred the call to the conference room."
Lois bit her lip. "Is it Rachel?" she asked.
"I don't know," he answered honestly. "She said it wasn't about
Rachel's adoption, but that she needed to talk to both of us."
Lois nodded slowly and drew in a deep breath. "Okay, let's find
out what she wants."
Together, they hurried into the conference room. Clark closed the
door while Lois answered the phone and put it on speaker. "Ms.
Parker?" Clark said.
"Mr. and Mrs. Kent," Sam's voice answered. "This isn't about
Rachel at all; this is about her half-brother, Timmy."
"Ms. Parker," Lois said. "Timmy is with the rest of the kids from
the Juliet Illegal Adoption Ring. I don't see what this has to do
with us." She pulled out a chair and sat down.
Clark came up behind her and put his hands on her shoulders. "I'm
afraid I agree with my wife," he said quietly. "It's a shame that
he and the other kids ended up back in the system, but they're being
taken care of, aren't they?" He knew that he probably sounded
callous, but Rachel and Jamie kept them busy, especially now that Lois
was working full time again. He didn't *want* to sound callous,
but he had his own family to worry about, and he didn't have enough
time for them as it was.
"Timmy *was* in foster care," Sam corrected. "His foster parents
had to move out of state, and they obviously can't take him with them."
"I see," Clark said. "And why are you calling us?"
"Mr. and Mrs. Kent, your license is still good and you're rated for one
foster child. We like to keep biological families together, and I
was hoping that you could find it in your hearts to take Timmy Russell
"I don't know," Lois said hesitantly. "Rachel's been having
problems adjusting to the new baby, and I don't know how throwing
another child into the mix will affect her."
"She just started seeing a new therapist, too," Clark said. "He
seems to be doing her some good, and giving her someone else to adapt
to might not be a good idea."
"I understand your concerns, but Timmy is only four; he fills in the
age gap between Rachel and Jamie nicely. And it's not like he's a
stranger to her--he's her brother."
"We'll have to talk about this, Sam," Lois said finally.
"I'm afraid there's not much time for that," Sam said. "I have to
find a placement for him by the end of the day; I can only keep him
hanging around the office for so long."
"We'll call you back," Clark promised. "We just have to figure out if
this will work."
"Thank you both," Sam said, then hung up.
Clark turned to Lois. "What do you think?" he asked.
"Rachel's just starting to open up about her old life to someone," Lois
murmured. "I'm not sure if this will do her more harm than good."
She pushed a lock of hair behind her ear and looked up as he moved
around the table to drop heavily in one of the other chairs.
"She's had so much trouble lately," Clark said slowly. "Since
Jamie developed his colic, the happy little girl we had a few months
ago seems to have disappeared. I'm loathe to give her someone
else to deal with."
"But at the same time, Timmy *is* her brother," Lois pointed out.
"Maybe we'll find out that we need to adopt him, too."
"He lived in the same house Rachel did," Clark said. "Maybe
having him around would be good for her."
Lois leaned forward. "Tell you what. Since we can't seem to
decide, we can flip a coin," she offered. "Heads, we take him,
tales, DFCS can find another family for him."
"Lo-is," Clark protested.
A nervous grin spread over her face. "I was kidding, Clark," she
said. "It'd take a pretty cruel person to decide a child's fate
with the flip of a coin." She bit her lip again, picked up a
kleenex, and started shredding it absently.
"Seriously, honey, do you think we should?" Clark asked. "I'm not
sure about this whole idea."
Lois sucked in a deep breath. "Yes. I think we should at
least take him provisionally. If it doesn't work out, I'm all for
telling Sam to find another family for him, but it'd be nice for Rachel
to have another kid to play with."
Clark considered it for a few minutes. "Maybe you're
right." He stood up and paced restlessly for a few minutes.
"Maybe having someone closer to her own age to play with would bring
back the real Rachel." He looked over at her and smiled.
"I'll call Sam if you talk to the daycare and see if they can handle
another four-year old."
"It'll only be after school," Lois said as she picked up the
phone. "Rachel's school has four-year-old kindergarten, so we'll
have to enroll him."
"I'll go call Sam back," Clark said, and headed towards the door.
He still wasn't sure of this, but they had to at least try.
Rachel could get to know her half-brother again. He grimaced as
he thought of another problem: Superman. If Timmy was half as
smart as his big sister, hiding his alter ego would be a huge challenge.
September 20, 1999, 5:02 PM
Centennial Park, Metropolis
Melissa took one backwards look at the playground and started jogging
away. Her brother was playing happily in the sand box, and he
wouldn't miss her while she ran to the restrooms down the trail.
She smiled as she passed under the green, leafy trees, happy that the
path was shaded for once. It wasn't often that they came to the
north side of the park, but the city was replacing some of the old,
battered equipment on the south side, so they'd ended up coming there.
She glanced back one more time at her little brother, who was barely in
sight, before she turned back towards her goal. She hated
babysitting, but if she wanted a new CD player, she didn't have much of
a choice. Her parents had made it clear that they wouldn't
replace it again if she broke it. It wasn't *her* fault that it
had fallen out of her locker and her English Literature book had fallen
on top of it!
Her kid brother, Mikey, was pretty good for a five-year-old, but he
*loved* to follow her around, and he was *annoying* about it. So
intent she was upon her own thoughts that she didn't notice the
blockage in the path until it was too late; she tripped and went
sprawling headfirst into the dirt.
She got up, brushed herself off, and turned around to find out what had
tripped her up. Her eyes widened in surprise and shock as she saw
the inert body of a three-year-old boy. His pants were down
around his ankles, exposing gray underwear, and blood was seeping
slowly from his forehead. Melissa dropped to her knees beside the
child and put her head on his chest. She breathed a sigh of
relief when she found a slight heartbeat, then checked to see if he was
She bit the inside of her lip when he wasn't. Before she could
think of what to do, the emergency training she'd received for years in
Girl Scouts kicked in, and she started performing rescue breathing.
After five minutes without a response, she pulled out the cell phone
that her mom insisted she carry when she was babysitting and took Mikey
to the park, and called the cops.
"I'm in the north side of Centennial Park on the path between the
restrooms and the playground," she began. A sob escaped from her
throat. "My name is Melissa Anderson, I'm here babysitting my
brother, and I just found a little boy on the path. He's not
breathing, and I've tried CPR. I don't know what to do!"
"Calm down, honey," the warm voice of the operator said. "Keep
trying, hang tight, and we'll have somebody over there. Where's
"He's still at the playground!" Her voice rose in decibel and pitch
until it sounded almost as hysterical as she felt. "I left him
there for just a minute, I swear I was going to go back!"
"It's okay, Melissa. Listen to me. Check the child's
Without thinking, Melissa obeyed, but this time, couldn't find a
pulse. "He doesn't have one," she said as another sob escaped.
"Take a deep breath, honey. There's nothing you can do for him;
you've done everything you can. Keep me on the line, go back to
the playground, get your brother, and then come back and wait for the
"But my brother's only five," she objected through her tears. "He
shouldn't see this."
"Nobody should, Melissa. But you need to get your brother to keep
him safe, all right?"
"Okay," she agreed in a shaky voice, then got up and started back
towards the playground. Some days it just didn't pay to get out
September 20, 1999 5:05 PM
Daily Planet Daycare Center, Metropolis
Lois and Clark walked hand-in-hand into the daycare center, intent on
picking up Rachel and Jamie. Clark smiled at the attendant behind
the desk, and they hurried back towards the rooms where the children
were. As usual, they split up, Lois going to get Jamie while
Clark went to the back to pick up Rachel. He opened the door, but
before he could go inside, a small, brown-haired whirlwind attached
herself to his leg.
"Daddy!" she called. "I *missed* you."
Clark laughed and swung her into his arms. "I missed you too,
Sprite. How would you like to go home and have dinner? Your
mom and I have something we'd like to tell you."
A slightly suspicious look stole over Rachel's small face. "Is
Mommy having another baby?" she asked.
Clark smiled. "Not yet, Sprite. But we do have a surprise
Rachel wound her arms around his neck, hugged him tightly, then laid
her head on his shoulder. "Please tell me, Daddy?" she murmured.
Clark rubbed his hand up and down her back gently. He could tell
that the thought of something else changing in his daughter's small
world was upsetting her, and since he and Lois would be telling her in
a few minutes anyway, he supposed it didn't really make sense to wait.
"Baby, how would you like for your half brother to come and live with
us? Samantha called today and asked if he could, and your Mommy
and I said yes."
Rachel buried her face in his neck. "Is he gonna stay with us
"I don't know, Sprite," Clark answered honestly. "We don't know
how Timmy will fit in our family."
"And you and Momma will love me just the same?" she asked.
"Always, baby," he answered.
"Good." She answered, her voice muffled. "Then I guess it's
okay, but I don't like Timmy much."
"He's been bounced around for a while, Sprite. Would you be nice
to him for me and your Momma?" Clark asked.
Rachel pulled back and looked at him. "But what if he's mean to
me, Daddy?" she asked.
Clark kissed her on the cheek. "Sprite, if Timmy decides to be
ugly, you can come and tell me or Mommy, but don't be mean back, okay?"
Rachel bit her lip, sighed, and nodded. "I guess." She tightened
her hold on him and once again buried her face in his neck.
Clark hugged his daughter tightly, then grabbed her full backpack from
the rack. He smiled at the daycare worker and headed out the
door, shutting it tightly behind him. Lois was waiting for them
at the front desk.
"Clark," she began hurriedly, "Perry just called down from the
newsroom. There's been another one, and he wants one of us to
Clark reached over and took the baby carrier. "You go," he said
with a smile. "I can handle these two for a while, but I'll need
Lois nodded and put Jamie's diaper bag down next to Clark.
"Henderson is on his way down to the lobby; he was talking to Perry,
and he said that he'll give me a lift to the crime scene and then back
to the house."
"Momma?" Rachel said.
Lois leaned over and kissed her daughter. "I'll be back for
dinner, Peanut, ok?"
Rachel sighed and nodded. "Okay."
With a final wave, Lois left. Clark carefully put Rachel down and
gathered up his children's possessions. "C'mon, Sprite. Let's go
home," he said with a smile.
Rachel kept close by his side as they left the daycare center and
headed down to the underground parking garage. They'd have to
wait to start dinner until after Timmy arrived; the child was sure to
be hungry. He frowned slightly as they stepped out of the
elevator and walked to the jeep. He wasn't sure what the boy
would eat; some kids were very picky when it came to food.
Clark thought about it for a few minutes, then decided to stick to
stuff that most kids would eat. "How would you like hot dogs and
fries for dinner, Rachel?" he asked.
Rachel climbed into her car seat before answering. "Can we have
potato salad, too?"
Clark smiled. "Not with french fries, kiddo." He leaned
over and strapped her in before lifting Jamie's carrier into the car
and buckling it in as well.
Rachel pouted for a few minutes. "Ok-a-a-y," she said with a
Clark shut the door and got in the car. Timmy would have to sleep
in the guest room for now; lucky for them that their house had four
bedrooms. He started the car and pulled out of the parking
space. They'd have to stop by the grocery store on the way home
for the ingredients for dinner.
September 20, 1999, 6:20 PM
Office of Social Services, Metropolis
Samantha Parker sat at her desk and flipped through a case file.
She glanced over where little Timmy Russell was looking through a
picture-book and sighed. He'd been being unbelievably good since
they'd had to retrieve him from his last foster home, but she knew it
wouldn't last. Children his age usually weren't as still and
quiet as he was being. She knew his background; it included the
abuse of his half-sister, but from all accounts he had been treated
well. Timmy was in foster care because not only had his father's
parental rights been terminated when Rachel's condition had come to
light, but also there was a dearth of blood relatives willing and able
to care for him.
Samantha closed the file with a sigh, got up, and walked over to where
the child was sitting. "Timmy," she began gently. "How
would you like to go live with the people that adopted Rachel?"
Timmy seemed to consider the question for a few minutes. "Are
they nice, Ms. Parker? Do you think that they'll adopt me,
Samantha smiled. "I don't know, kiddo. The Kents are really
nice people. Besides Rachel, they also have a baby boy named
Timmy's eyes lit up and a smile spread over his chubby face.
"Really? So I'd get a baby brother?"
"For now, yes," Samantha said. She knew better than to lie to any
of her charges. She reached down and picked up his
suitcase. "Are you ready to go meet them?" she asked with a smile.
Timmy nodded, his smile growing bigger. "I haven't seen Rachel
for a long time," he said. "What does she look like? I
Sam reached for his hand. It really wasn't surprising that he
didn't really remember his sister much. He was only four years
old, after all, and he hadn't seen her for almost a year. "She's
pretty," Sam answered finally. "Her hair's gotten darker; it's
almost light brown now, and it gets darker every time I see her.
She's got dark blue eyes--like yours, and she's very shy."
"What about the baby?" Timmy asked.
"I haven't seen him," Samantha answered. "He was born after
Rachel was adopted, so I haven't been over there lately."
"Okay," Timmy said. "Does Rachel like it there?"
"Very much," Samantha confirmed. "She loves the Kents." She
ushered him outside and to her car. She dumped his suitcase in
the back, helped him into a car seat, and fastened it securely.
She hurried back around the car, slid in and started it. It
wouldn't be long before they got to the Kent's house, and in a way, she
was glad; one more child would be in a safe home.
September 20, 1999 6:30 pm
348 Hyperion Avenue, Metropolis
Rachel sat quietly in the corner of the room, playing with Aimee and
Aimee's new friend, Monika, that Grandma Kent had made. She
wasn't so sure about Timmy coming to stay with them--after all, he'd
always been pretty mean to her when she'd had to live with Papa
Gary. Maybe he'd be nice now. Maybe he wouldn't hit her or
call her ugly names.
She cuddled Aimee close, then sat her in one of the chairs and
pretended to pour tea in the small china teacup. "Drink up for
Mommy," she said softly. Rachel frowned slightly,
then got up to wander towards the kitchen. Playing tea party
wasn't as fun without her grandpas to play with her. A smile
replaced the frown as she thought of Grandpa Perry trying to sit on one
of her small chairs. He'd looked so silly trying to sit at her
Rachel pushed open the kitchen door, went in, and climbed up on one of
the stools. "Daddy, when will Momma be home?" she asked
Clark opened the bag of frozen French fries and dumped them on a cookie
sheet before answering. “Soon, Sprite. Inspector Henderson
won’t keep her any longer than he has to.” He reached over and
tugged Rachel’s ponytail gently. “He knows we need her home,
“Good. I want Momma home.” Rachel slid down from the stool,
walked over, and hugged Clark tightly. “I’m scared, Daddy,” she
said in a little voice.
Clark picked her up and kissed her forehead gently. “There’s
nothing to be scared of, sweetheart,” he murmured. “I promise
that everything’ll be okay.”
Rachel sighed and laid her head on his shoulder. “Can we go
flying soon, Daddy?”
Clark rubbed her back gently. “We’ll see, Rach,” he
promised. “Timmy can’t find out about my other job.”
“Cause he might tell?” Rachel asked.
“Yes. We don’t know Timmy yet. Maybe we’ll adopt him, too,
and then we’ll tell him.”
Rachel wrapped her arms around his neck. “Okay. I won’t
tell Timmy even if he’s real nice now.”
“Was he mean before, sprite?” Clark asked.
Rachel didn’t answer; she just laid her head on his shoulder
again. Clark kissed her on the cheek. “Kiddo, I need to check the
fries. Would you please do me a favor and go make sure Jamie’s
okay?” he asked.
A big smile spread over Rachel’s face. “Sure!” she said. “I
need to tell him about Timmy, anyway.”
Clark put her down and turned to stick the fries in the oven.
“He’s in the playpen in the living room,” he called as she hurried out
of the room.
“I know, Daddy!” Rachel pushed through the kitchen door and ran over to
the playpen. She smiled as she watched Jamie stick his fist in
his mouth. "Hey, Jaimers," she said.
Rachel carefully climbed into the playpen and sat next to the sleeping
baby. "My old half-brother is coming to stay with us," she
informed him softly. "I'll keep him away from you; I
promise. He's mean; least he was before."
Jamie's fist left his mouth and he let out a quiet snore.
"I'll protect you, 'cause you're *my* brother," she said, then kissed
him on the cheek and climbed out of the playpen. Rachel looked at
Jamie, a smile on her face. She was sure that he was the cutest baby in
the universe, and he was *her* brother. Nobody would ever be
allowed to lay a finger on him if she had her way. Things would
be different for him, because he would *always* have somebody to love
Rachel looked up, startled when the doorbell rang. It had to be
*him*. "Daddy!" she called.
Clark came out, wiping his hands on his jeans. "I'm coming,
Sprite," he said with a smile.
Rachel held her arms out to him. "Please, Daddy?" she asked.
Clark reached down, swung her into his arms, and settled her on his
hip. "What's the matter?" he asked.
Rachel didn't answer; she just buried her face in his neck. She
felt the kiss he placed on her forehead as he started moving towards
Clark opened the door, revealing Samantha and Timmy. He flashed
them a quick smile and motioned them inside. "Come on in," he
said. He looked at the little boy.
Timmy didn't return the look. His sullen dark blue eyes were fixed on
the floor as the ambient light shone on his sandy-brown hair. His
hands were shoved in the pockets of his blue jeans, and he occupied
himself with scuffing the toe of his ragged sneaker against the wooden
floor. "Is that Rachel?" he asked finally, pointing at her.
Sam stepped a little closer to Rachel and Clark, then smoothed back a
strand of Rachel's light brown hair. "Yes, it is," she answered.
"She's feeling just a little shy today," Clark said with a smile.
"Give me just a minute, and I'll help you take your stuff upstairs."
"Is my room up there?" Timmy asked. At Clark's distracted nod, he
took off and hurried up the stairs.
Clark sat down on the couch and settled Rachel in his lap.
"Sprite, will you be okay down here with Jamie?" he asked. "I
need to go upstairs and get Timmy settled in."
"Okay, Daddy," she whispered, sliding off his lap. Rachel walked
over to the playpen and pulled a blanket over Jamie as she listened to
Clark stood and watched Timmy gain the landing. "Thank you for
bringing him, Sam."
"I'm just happy you could take him, Mr. Kent," Sam offered with a
smile. "I'll be back in a few weeks to see how he's settling in."
Clark offered her his hand, and they shook before he walked her to the
door. Sam left and Clark looked back at Rachel before heading
upstairs. "I'm going to show Timmy where he's sleeping; I'll be
right back, Sprite."
"Okay, Daddy," Rachel said softly as she watched Clark pick up a small
bag and head upstairs. She turned back to the playpen.
"I'll protect us, Jamie. I promise," she murmured.
Timmy walked into the closest bedroom. It was *girly*, so he
decided that it must be Rachel's room. And that meant that it was
now his. His last set of foster parents had tried to teach him
that girls were to be treated nicely, but he knew that Rachel was the
exception. He was better than she was; he belonged and she
didn't. Daddy had said so, and Daddy was always right.
Besides, it was all her dumb fault that Daddy had to go away and he had
to live with strangers. She *owed* him. What was hers in
this nice place was his now. It was only fair. He ran over
and jumped on the bed, bouncing up and down. It wasn't long
before Mr. Kent came in.
"I see you've found Rachel's room," he said pleasantly.
"'S mine, now," Timmy answered.
"Nope," Clark said. "You'll be sleeping down the hall, Tim."
"But I like it here," Timmy whined.
"Tough, kiddo," Clark said. "This room belongs to Rachel."
He held out his hand. "Come on, and I'll show you what'll be your
room while you're here."
Timmy stuck his lip out in a pout, then came over and took Clark's
hand. It wasn't *fair*. It was obvious that Mr. Kent wasn't
about to let him have his own way. Looked like he liked Rachel
better than him. Didn't matter. She would never, ever,
belong more than him. He was special. Daddy said so.
Rachel was trash. She was an accident. *He* wasn't.
He followed Mr. Kent down the hall to a bland guest room. "You'll
be sleeping here," Clark said, offering him a grin. "We just
found out about you today, so we're putting you in the guest room for
now, and we'll see about getting some of your stuff later."
Timmy didn't say anything. He could always take Rachel's toys,
after all. He'd even seen a cool teddy bear that he liked sitting
on her bed.
September 20, 1999, 6:50 pm
348 Hyperion Avenue, Metropolis
Lois unlocked the front door and walked inside. "I'm home," she
A small, light brown-haired whirlwind barreled into her, tiny arms
wrapped around her, and a face burrowed its way into her stomach.
"Timmy's here," said a muffled voice.
Lois smiled. "Hello to you, too, Peanut." she said.
"Momma, will you still love me now that he's here?" she asked in a
Lois hugged Rachel tightly. "I'll *always* love you, baby," she
promised. "Nothing could ever make me stop."
Rachel rubbed her face against Lois’s stomach. “Good. I’m
Lois smiled. "I think we can fix that--I smell hot dogs."
"Daddy's cooking, but Timmy is in there too," Rachel explained.
"Well, kiddo, why don't we go in and see if dinner's ready?" Lois asked
as she stood up and took Rachel's hand.
"Okay," Rachel said with a worried smile. She followed Lois into
the kitchen and sat down at the already-set table next to Timmy.
She didn't really want to sit there, but there wasn't much choice in
Clark walked by, mussed her hair affectionately, and set some hot dogs
on the table.
Lois walked out of the room and came back with Jamie, whom she put into
his bouncy chair. Jamie grinned at Rachel and stuffed his fist
into his mouth.
Rachel smiled at her baby brother, then looked down at her plate.
Her hot dog was missing! She looked suspiciously at Timmy who was
happily chomping one down and there was another on his plate. He
stopped to smirk at her, then pinched her arm, hard. She started
to pinch him back, but didn’t--her Daddy had asked her to be nice to
him, and she’d do it if it killed her.
She reached for a French fry, only to have Timmy steal a handful of
them and put them on his own plate. Rachel glared at him, then
took one, dipped it in ketchup, and ate it. It was obvious to her
that Timmy hadn’t changed much. He’d always been encouraged by
Papa Gary to take anything she really wanted.
Timmy helped himself to more of her fries, so she scowled at him,
picked up her fork, and started to eat her beans. She’d make sure
that she got to set the table from now on so that she could make sure
to be out of Timmy’s reach. “Daddy, may I please have a hot dog?”
she asked softly.
Clark fixed her another one. "Of course you can, Sprite," he
said, handing it over, then turning back to his conversation with her
Momma about work.
Rachel took it from him and took a large bite. Timmy wasn't going
to get this one. She smiled at Jamie again as he gurgled at her,
spitting up some of the baby cereal that Momma was feeding him.
She chewed and swallowed her hot dog and was about to take another bite
when Timmy knocked it out of her hand and pinched her again.
"Hey!" she protested, "you did that on *purpose*!"
Clark stopped talking to Lois and looked at them. Timmy had a
huge grin on his face, as if he were vastly amused at his half-sister's
complaint. "Timothy Raymond Russell, *did* you do that on
purpose?" he asked.
One look at Clark must've let Timmy know that he meant business.
"Yes." He answered. "She's good-for-nothing- trash. She's a
*bastard*; an *accident*. She doesn't deserve to sit with
me. Daddy said so, and Daddy's *right*."
"No, he's *not*." Rachel broke in. "*Your* daddy's in *jail*
cause he's a *bad* man."
"Rachel!" Lois said sharply.
"Sorry, Momma," Rachel muttered, staring down at her plate.
"Rachel, come here," Clark said softly.
Rachel slid down from her chair and went around the table. Clark
picked her up and set her in his lap before turning to Timmy.
"Timmy, go wash up and then go to *your* room, NOW."
"I don't see why," he sneered. "*Rachel* was the one who was bad,
Rachel hid her face in Clark's chest and refused to move.
"NOW, Timothy," Lois ordered, her eyes snapping dangerously.
"We'll be up later to talk about how we treat other people."
Jamie picked that moment to start crying. Lois turned away from
Timmy, put a cloth over her shoulder, picked Jamie up, and laid him on
Timmy slid out of his chair, shot a murderous look at Rachel, then
stomped out of the room.
Clark hugged Rachel and she scooted back slightly to look at her
daddy. "I'm sorry," she said softly.
"I know you are, Sprite," he said with a gentle smile. "Just
"Call him names again and be nice to him?" Rachel asked.
"That's right," Lois said. "We need to prove to him that there
are better ways than being ugly to people to get along." She smiled at
Clark and he grinned back.
"Are you still hungry, Rach?" Clark asked.
Rachel nodded. "Uh huh."
Clark stood up, and started to put her down, but she clung to him
tightly. "Don't let go, Daddy," she begged.
Clark sighed, slung her over his hip, refilled her plate, and put her
back in her chair, then leaned down and cleaned up the mess from her
ruined hot dog. "There you go, Rachel," he said with a
Rachel kept one hand wound in his shirt, and let go reluctantly.
Daddy's arms were *safe* the way the rest of the world wasn't. At
least Timmy had been sent upstairs. She looked at Jamie and made
silly faces at him until he stopped crying. "Jamie doesn't like
Timmy," she announced. "I don't, either."
"Peanut," Lois began. "I don't think you know the real
Timmy--there could be a very nice little boy in there. Promise me
that you'll be nice to him or at least try?"
Rachel nodded. "Okay, Momma." She was willing to do almost
anything for her parents, and she didn't want to be like Timmy,
either. She picked up her hot dog and started eating. It
was much different being a Kent than living with Timmy and Papa
Gary--there Timmy was allowed to do whatever he wanted to her.
Here, it didn't look like he would be allowed to hurt her. She
smiled. Here, she belonged, and Timmy was only temporary.
September 20, 1999, 8:00 PM
348 Hyperion Avenue, Metropolis
Clark peeked into Rachel's room, where Lois was engaged in reading his
little girl a story. Rachel had her thumb in her mouth and her
head was leaning against Lois's shoulder. Aimee was tucked under
one arm, while Clarkie-Bear occupied the other. He grinned as she
looked up at him, removed her thumb from her mouth, and smiled, then
stuck her thumb back in her mouth and looked at the pictures in the
book Lois was reading.
Rachel's room hadn't changed much in the past year. It still had
scenes from fairy tales painstakingly painted on the walls by himself
and his mom, with an important addition. Ever since Rachel had learned
about the secret, she insisted that princesses had to be rescued by
Superman, so they'd put decals of Superman flying to the rescue into
He turned and walked quietly down the hall to check on Jamie. He
tiptoed into the room and peeked into Jamie's crib. His baby was
fast asleep, with dark eyelashes curling on his chubby cheeks.
Clark tugged the blanket up and glanced around the Winnie-the-Pooh
decorated nursery. Rachel had wanted Superman in there, too, so
they'd let her pick out a soft Superman toy for the baby's crib.
It just wouldn't do to have people identify the Kent children with
Superman, after all.
Clark kissed his son on the cheek, then silently left the room and
headed to where Timmy was staying. He entered the room to find
Timmy sitting on the bed with his bottom lip sticking out and his arms
crossed stubbornly over his chest.
He looked up and glared at Clark, then turned to face the wall.
"I hate you," he announced. "You're *mean*. Rachel's
"No, she's not," Clark corrected gently. "Hate isn't a nice
feeling to have and it twists you up inside." He sat down on the
bed next to Timmy in the sparse room. "You'll find that life is a
lot easier if you're not insulting people all the time. This
time, Timothy, *you're* wrong."
"Am *not*," the boy retorted.
"Timothy, we *never* call names and we don't use bad words, either,"
Clark said insistently. "You *never* take things that don't
belong to you. Rachel's had a hard time, and her mother and I
won't tolerate you being ugly to her. Just treat her the way you
want to be treated, and we'll be okay. Do you *understand*?"
"Yes, sir," Timmy said sulkily.
"Bath time, and then get ready for bed. Do you need any help?"
Clark asked. "I ran you a bath before I came in here."
Timmy shook his head. "I can do it," he said.
"Bathroom's third door on the right." Clark directed. "I'll be in
to check on you in a few minutes."
He watched as Timmy trudged out of the room and sighed.
Intellectually, he knew that Timmy was just parroting what he'd been
taught, but that didn't mean that he had to like it. It was his
job as Rachel's dad to protect her, and he hated the fact that Timmy
seemed intent on hurting his baby girl. Timmy's attitude would
change. It had to.
He got up and followed Timmy into the bathroom to make sure he didn't
drown in the bath. Despite the child's insistence that he could
do it himself, Clark wasn't about to leave him alone in the tub.
Things would work out; somehow they always did.
September 30, 1999, 1:30 PM
David Carson's Studio, Metropolis
Henderson escorted Lois and Clark inside the large, cluttered, well-lit
building. Clay dust lay thick and heavy near the door, and every
surface was littered with projects in various stages of
completion. Some were swathed in many layers of plastic, while
others lay open to the air and ready for inspection.
A clay-spattered potters' wheel stood in one corner, surrounded by
tall, free-standing shelving units that were covered with
plastic-swathed shapes that had boards under them. An easel stood
in another corner, and stacks of half-used tubes of paint, unused
canvasses, and finished canvases occupied another corner.
A rail thin, balding, gray-haired old man came out from behind a stack
of wood lugging two medium-sized blocks of clay and dumped them on a
table, then walked over to greet them. "Bill," he said with a
half-smile that was mostly obscured by his bushy mustache. He
wiped his hands on his paint and clay spattered jeans and held out his
hand. "Nice to meet you two," he said with a bigger smile.
"I'm Lois Lane and this is my partner, Clark Kent," Lois said with a
"We're from the Daily Planet," Clark finished.
"So you're here to find out about the process and check my progress on
the little boy's face?" Carson asked.
"Yes, sir," Clark said.
"If you'll just follow me," he said. "I teach a figure sculpture
class at the Metropolis School of Art and Design--I teach them how to
construct faces from the inside out."
Carson walked over to the table he'd dumped the clay on and pulled a
piece of plastic off a wire stand that supported the skull. "Yes,
it's real," he said, interpreting their looks. "The different
eraser lengths represent different tissue depths, but since they were
determined over a hundred years ago, I tend to add a bit of extra
flesh. People are more well-nourished now than they were then."
"So what are all the bands of clay around the skull for?" Lois asked.
"They connect the different depths and provide a base to build on," he
explained. "I'll be adding the eyes in next. Bill, did the
pathologist determine the race of the child?"
"Caucasian," was Henderson's answer. "So far, all the victims
have had blue or green eyes and light brown hair."
"Makes my job easier," Carson commented. He grabbed a small box
and extracted a pair of blue eyes, which he then stuck to the clay
supports inside the eyesockets of the skull. Carefully, he filled
in the space around them, making adjustments until the skull stared
straight ahead of himself. With a set of small tools and more
clay, he created the upper and lower eyelids, then started adding flesh
to the skull.
"How long will this process take?" Lois asked.
"Usually a week, give or take a day or two," Carson said. "A lot
of this is done by feel--if it doesn't feel right, it probably
isn't. Thirty years of doing this let me know when something is
"What about hair?" Clark asked curiously.
"We'll take pictures of it with different hair styles and colors and
circulate them," Henderson explained. "I've worked with Dave
Carson turned around from his work and smiled. "We use a
different kind of clay for this than for regular figure sculpture--it's
called plasticene and it doesn't dry out like normal clay. After
we're done here, I'll cut it open to get to the skull, clean it off,
and the morgue will get it back."
"Call me as soon as it's finished?" Bill asked. "We need to get
this boy identified."
"Of course." Carson said absently as he warmed up a piece of plasticene
and added it to the skull.
Henderson gestured towards the door, and they headed out of the studio.
"So how effective is this process?" Lois asked finally.
"About 98%. Most people use computers to do the same thing
because it's faster," Henderson explained.
"How can you tell what race a person is from their bones?" Clark asked
Henderson shrugged. "I'm not sure. It has something to do
with different bone structure for different races. You'd have to
ask Dr. Elizabeth Forrest--she's the coroner on this case."
"Thanks, Detective," Lois said with a smile.
"We'll call if we find anything," Clark added.
"You do that." Henderson waved as they climbed into the Jeep and drove
October 3, 1999 4:00 PM
Daily Planet Daycare Center, Metropolis
Rachel stood on her tiptoes to peer in the window of the baby
room. She wasn't supposed to be out of the older kids' room, but
she'd snuck out to check on Jamie. The teachers would know where
to find her, anyway. They always did when she went to visit her
She dropped back down to the floor, opened the door silently, and
tiptoed into the nursery. She glanced around, then
hurried to Jamie's crib when she saw that the teachers were busy
changing diapers. Quickly, she pulled herself into the
crib. Jamie gave her a smile, then stuffed his fist in his
mouth. "Hey Jaimers," she whispered, giving him a kiss.
Jamie blinked at her sleepily.
"I had to get 'way from Timmy," she explained, carefully picking the
baby up and settling him in her lap. "I don't like him; he's
still mean." Rachel cuddled him closer, taking comfort in the
clean baby smell of her brother.
Jamie pulled his fist out of his mouth and stuck his foot in, looking
enormously pleased with his accomplishment.
"Wow! I can't put my foot in my mouth!" Rachel hugged him
gently. "I won't let Timmy touch you," she promised again.
"He pinches, *hard*."
Jamie closed his eyes and sucked on his toes.
Rachel shifted his warm weight into a more comfortable position and
kissed the top of his mostly-bald head. "*You're* my brother,
Jamie, not *Timmy*." She said the last word with disgust, as if to let
the baby know how much she detested the interloper.
Jamie's foot popped out of his mouth and he stuck his fist back in.
Rachel yawned. Jamie followed her example. "It's not safe
to take naps there," she confided. "Timmy pulls my hair and then
tells Teacher that I'm lying when I tell. He never does it when
she can see, either."
Jamie's eyes started to slide shut.
Rachel put him down on the mattress, then curled herself around
him. "I'll protect you, Jamie," she whispered as her own eyes
began to close. "I love *you,* not *him.*
Catherine Roberts, the teacher in the Infant Room, found the two of
them a few minutes later. "Jess, come see who showed up here
again," she said with a half-smile.
Jess put the child she was holding into the playpen and walked
over. "Rachel Kent again?" she asked. Her expression was
torn between amusement and irritation.
"Yeah," she said. Catherine picked up a blanket and spread it
over the two children.
"Cate, you know that she's not supposed to stay here!" Jess said.
Catherine shrugged. "I'll take responsibility; five-year-olds are
heavy and she obviously feels safe here with her baby brother. Besides,
she's asleep and I don't want to wake her up."
"You'll get your head handed to you on a platter," Jess warned.
Catherine shot her a grin. "I doubt it. The Kents are
Joyce's favorite parents."
Jess shrugged and turned back towards the rest of the children.
Catherine lingered for a few minutes, fussing with how the blanket lay,
before she left to join Jess.
Rachel and Jamie slept, cuddled together, for a while, with Rachel
dreaming of teaching her brother how to walk and run away from bad
people. Her little arm tightened around him as if to protect him
from anyone who would offer him harm.
October 3, 1999, 5:30 PM
Lois saved the file she'd been working on, told the computer to shut
down, and began clearing off her desk. Clark had been called away
at the last moment by a call for help, so it was up to her to get the
children and take them home that night. She sighed and reached
for her purse and briefcase.
Some days it seemed like a never-ending cycle. Go to work, drop
off the kids, work, get the kids, take care of them, try and get Jamie
to stop crying, feed them dinner, make sure they all get baths, get
them to bed. Then, the next day, it started all over again.
She sighed again.
She loved Rachel and Jamie. She was still getting used to
Timmy. But there were some days, when things had been especially
tough, when she wished she could just run away for a few days and not
have to take care of them. Her parents had been helping out, and
before they got Timmy, Clark's parents had been perfectly willing to be
brought up to babysit for the weekend. That relief, however,
would be put on hold until they decided if Timmy would be staying with
It would be too hard to explain how Clark's parents had gotten to
Metropolis from Smallville just to babysit for a night or two. It
was early yet to know how things would work out; Timmy had only been
with them for a day. Lois stood up, pushed her chair in and
headed towards the elevator.
It didn't take long to get downstairs and into the daycare
center. "Hi," she said, smiling at Amy, who was sitting behind
Amy looked up from her papers and smiled. "Off early tonight, Ms.
Lane? You know the way back."
"Thanks, Amy," she said. Lois headed back to the rooms, stopping
in the infant room first. She peeked in the window and frowned
when she noticed Rachel sitting on the floor with Jamie. She
loved it that she was adjusting to having a baby brother so well, but
wasn't Rachel supposed to be on the playground? She knocked on
the door, then entered.
Rachel jumped up, ran over to Lois and buried her face in her stomach.
"Momma!" she said.
Lois disentangled herself and crouched down to Rachel's level.
"Why are you in here, Peanut?" she asked as she tucked a loose strand
of hair behind Rachel's ear.
Rachel looked down at the ground as if she were ashamed. "Timmy
was pinching me, so I runned away. *Jamie* loves me, even if
Lois gave Rachel a gentle hug. "I think we're going to have to
have a talk with Timmy about pinching," she said.
Rachel bit her lip. "He'll be meaner if you do," she
whispered. "He was always meaner if Kirsten said anything."
Lois kissed Rachel on the forehead. "Who's Kirsten, baby?"
"The nanny that Papa Gary fired because she was gonna tell."
Rachel looked like she might cry. "She hadda go back to Denmark
Lois hugged her daughter again, mentally cursing the man who'd hurt her
baby. "Sweetie, your Daddy and I will deal with Timmy--he can't
go around pinching you and thinking that it's okay. Did you do
anything to make him mad?" she asked.
"Uh uh," Rachel said. "He was trying to take Clarkie Bear away
and I didn't wanna let 'em. He tore off Clarkie Bear's arm,
too." Her lower lip started to wobble. "Teacher took him
'way and his arm hurts."
Lois dug in her purse, pulled out a tissue and wiped the tears
away. She held it up to Rachel's nose. "Blow," she
Obediently, Rachel blew her nose into the tissue, but kept
sniffing. "We'll fix Clarkie," Lois promised. "I can sew
his arm back on and set it so he'll heal. He may have to wear a
sling for a few days, but he'll be good as new."
Lois's sewing skills were on par with her cooking skills, but even she
knew enough to sew a toy's arm back on. And she could always ask
Martha for advice.
"Really?" Rachel asked.
"What are Mommies for?" Lois asked with a smile. "Now, let's get
your brother, and then go down the hall to get Timmy, okay?"
"Okay. Momma, can I sit next to Jamie? Timmy might hurt
him." Rachel gave her a pleading look that Lois knew she must
have picked up from Clark.
"We'll see." Lois stood up and held out her hand for Rachel to
take. She smiled when she felt the small hand slip into hers and
together they walked over to where the Infant Room teachers were
sitting. "How was Jamie today?" she asked as Jess settled him in
"He cried a lot, as usual," Catherine said with a resigned sigh.
"He's growing out of it--he doesn't cry as much as ye used to and he
also seems better when Rachel's here with him."
Lois favored her daughter with a proud smile. "I know. Do
Rachel's teachers know where she is?"
Catherine nodded. "When our little Houdini turned up here again,
I let them know."
Lois thanked the women, picked up Jamie's baby carrier, and left the
room, making sure that the door was shut tightly behind her. They
had some babies in that room that were just beginning to walk well, and
she didn't want them to escape.
She kept her stride short enough that Rachel would have no problems
keeping up and hurried to the after-school rooms. It was a matter
of minutes, to pick up Rachel's things, including the damaged toy, and
call for Timmy.
The moment Timmy appeared, Rachel hid behind Lois and refused to come
out. Timmy bounced up to them and gave Lois a wide grin.
"Hihi, Ms., Lane!" he said cheerfully before spotting Rachel. His
face darkened. "Why does *she* have to be here?" he demanded.
Lois's lips tightened. "Timmy, Rachel is my little girl.
I'm here to pick all three of you up and take you home. Now, I've
heard that you haven't been very nice today. Can you tell me what
Another smile blossomed on Timmy's face. "Rachel wouldn't let me
have her stupid bear, so I took him from her," he frowned. "It
broke." He stuck his lip out in a pout. "Wasn't supposed
to. Was *mine.* So I pinched her good. She deserved
it. Daddy says she's a filthy little bitch. He's right."
Lois frowned. It was… disturbing to hear such language from a
four-year-old. She reminded herself that he was just repeating
what he'd heard. She felt Rachel pressing herself closer to her
legs and reached back to put a hand on Rachel's hair. "No, he's
not," she said.
Lois suppressed her natural inclination to swat Timmy on the
butt. She wasn't allowed to do that, as much as she might want
to. "Timmy, we don't say things like that. Ever. It's
not nice. Taking Rachel's toy and ripping it was ugly, too.
And we never, *ever* hurt people because they don't do what we
say. Is that clear?"
"Yes ma'am," he said sullenly. "But she's still a filthy little
bastard *and* a bitch," he muttered.
Anger tore through Lois. She would *not* allow this child to
trample over her daughter. "We'll discuss this more when we get
home," she said, her voice deadly soft. "Get your stuff."
Lois watched as Timmy gathered his belongings. She pointed him
towards the door. "Now *march*." She shot an apologetic look at
the teacher and hurried out the door. She was angrier than she
could ever remember being at a child. She took some deep breaths,
willing herself to calm down.
She needed to talk to Clark about this. True, it was early days,
but behavior like this could not be allowed to continue. Lois
tightened her grip on the carrier and offered her free hand to
Rachel. She was grateful when Rachel took it.
As she watched Timmy walk in front of them, Lois decided that perhaps
it was past time that he had a date with a bar of Ivory soap. It
was nontoxic, so it wouldn't hurt him, but it tasted bad enough that he
might think twice before using that kind of language.
Fervently, she hoped he'd stop picking on Rachel. She didn't want
to send him back. But if he continued to behave as he had, they'd
have no choice but to ask Samantha to find another home for him.
Lois knew they couldn't allow him to terrorize Rachel and call her
names. It just wouldn't do.
She could hear Timmy muttering something under his breath as she found
the Jeep in the parking garage and unlocked it. Lois silenced him
with a look, then buckled him into his car seat before fastening the
baby carrier in beside him. She put Rachel on the other side,
hoping that the slight distance would make Timmy keep his hands
off. She kissed Rachel on the cheek and gave her a small hug
before going around the car.
"What would you like for dinner, Peanut?" she asked as she started the
Rachel seemed to consider the question for a minute. "Psghetti,"
she said decidedly. "With meatballs?"
Lois did a mental inventory of the freezer. "We're all out of
that--how about we swing by Cugino's on the way home?" she asked.
Rachel smiled for the first time since Lois had picked her up.
"Goody," she said. "I like Mister Mario."
"Who's that?" Timmy asked, his lip still stuck out in a pout.
"You'd better be careful, Timmy," Lois advised. "My dad always
told me that if I stuck my lip out like that, a little birdie would
come and poop on your teeth."
She knew that she probably shouldn't have said that, but his reaction
was enough to make her suppress a laugh. He withdrew his lip
hastily. "Who's Mario?" he asked again.
"That's *Mister* Mario," Rachel informed him.
"Right, Peanut," Lois said. "He works at Cugino's and he's a
really nice man."
"Uh huh," Rachel said. "An' he always tells me how pretty I am
an' gives me candy, too." She paused for a few minutes.
"I'm just not allowed to eat it until after dinner."
Lois glanced back at Timmy. She could tell that he wanted to say
something nasty. She was pleased when he didn't say anything at
all. She pulled up in front of the restaurant, parked, and got
the kids out of the car. Together, they went inside and stood in
the take out line to order.
Lois turned and smiled as Mario waved from behind the counter.
The only word to describe Mario was... average. He was shorter
than Clark, and balding, with mousy-brown hair and a hook nose.
His saving grace was the large, crooked smile that always seemed to be
spreading across his face.
Before Lois could say anything, Rachel spoke up. "Mister Mario!"
That crooked grin of his made an appearance. "Why hello, little
miss Rachel." He reached in his pocket and handed her some tootsie
rolls. "Why, you get prettier and look more like your Momma every
time I see you." He winked, then gave Lois a suspicious
glance. "Are you sure this one is adopted?" he asked with a grin.
Rachel accepted the tootsie rolls. "Thank you, Mister
Mario! Yes I am. Momma and Daddy sawed me and loved me so
much that they made me their little girl," she informed him.
"They're lucky then," he said solemnly. "Because if they hadn't
got you first, I might want you to be *my* little girl. My wife
would love you, too."
Lois smiled. "Good thing we found her first," she said.
Mario laughed. "Well, Ms. Lane, what will it be?"
Lois hoisted Jamie's baby carrier a bit higher and wished she'd thought
to bring the baby sling. "Two orders of fettuccini and two child
orders of spaghetti and meatballs," she said.
She glanced at Timmy, who was shooting evil glares at Rachel, then
reached for purse to pay for the meal. "How come Rachel gets
candy and I don't?" Timmy whined.
Mario looked over the counter at Timmy. "And who might you be,
young man?" he asked.
"Timmy," the boy answered, as if Mario should know exactly who that was.
"This is Rachel's biological half-brother," Lois explained.
"Social Services asked if we could keep him for a while."
"Ah," Mario nodded wisely. He reached in his pocket, pulled out a
couple more tootsie rolls, and gave them to Timmy.
Timmy looked at the candy and scowled. "Rachel got more than me,"
Lois could see that Mario was repressing the urge to roll his
eyes. "She's older and bigger than you are." He said.
Lois handed him the money, and with a thank you, ushered the children
over to a bench to wait for their orders to be ready. She sighed as she
stopped Timmy from pulling Rachel's hair in retaliation for getting
more tootsie rolls than he had. She could tell that if they kept
him, Timmy's integration with their family would be a lot harder than
Rachel's had been.
October 3, 1999 5:25 PM
Skies of Metropolis
Superman flew quickly towards the scream for help. He hadn't been
able to make out much, but it sounded like a child. His mouth
tightened almost imperceptibly as he raced towards the source. It
wouldn't be the first time he'd been called by an abused child.
At least, that's who he was assuming the cries were coming from.
Rachel had been an exception; her stepfather had instilled a fear of
him into her. It was likely that if she hadn't been found, his
baby daughter would've ended up as a statistic. With the child killer
loose, it was still a possibility. He still didn't know how he
could protect his own children when the world looked to him to help
Superman angled towards a small clearing in the park. The
screaming had stopped, and he was worried about whoever had been doing
the screaming. It was something that, with Lois's help, he'd long
learned to accept. No matter how fast or strong he was, sometimes
it wasn't enough and people died. That what he could do, and the
lives he could save, were enough.
It didn't stop the hurt from the times that he wasn't good enough to
save people, however. He'd just learned to accept that even with
being Superman, he couldn't save everyone. Superman took a deep
breath and landed. He scanned the leaf-strewn ground until he saw
it--a small body was crumpled on the ground underneath a nearby tree.
He hurried to the child's side and carefully felt for a pulse. It
was too late. Superman reached into a pocket that he'd gotten his
mom to sew into his capes and pulled out his cellphone. It was a
matter of minutes to call 911 and inform them of the latest murder.
Carefully, Superman stepped back from the rapidly cooling body so as
not to disturb the crime scene. There were times when he wished
he could be faster. There were times when what he wanted most was
to save just one child from the kind of predator who was stalking
And he was still struggling with balancing his two jobs and being there
for his kids. How could he really keep Jamie and Rachel safe if
he couldn't stop the murderer from killing somebody else's child?
October 3, 1999, 8:30 PM
348 Hyperion Avenue Metropolis
Lois grabbed her sewing kit and the pieces of Clarkie bear, then sat
down, cross-legged on the bed. Carefully, she pinned the bear's arm in
place. "I guess that Home Ec class they made me take in high
school will finally come in handy," she muttered. She hadn't ever
had to do much in the way of sewing--an occasional button here and
fixing a hem there, but that was about it.
She wasn't that good of a seamstress, but even she should be able to
sew an arm back on a teddy bear. Lois threaded a needle, knotted
the end of the thread, and carefully started stitching. After a
few minutes, she finished sewing up the seam, knotted the end, and
snipped off the thread.
Pushing herself off the bed, she crossed the room to root around in the
dresser for one of Clark's handkerchiefs. She grabbed one out of
the drawer and went back over to the bed. She fashioned it into a
sling and put Clarkie-Bear's arm into it. Just as Lois was
finishing, Clark walked into their bedroom. His shoulders were
slumped, and he had his hands stuffed into his pockets.
"Clark? Sweetheart, what's wrong?" Lois asked.
Clark shuffled over to the bed and dropped down beside her. "I'm
not sure if I can do this," he mumbled.
Lois put her arm around him to give him some comfort. "Do what?"
For the first time since he'd gotten home, he looked at her, *really*
looked at her. "I found the next victim," he said softly.
"I heard him screaming, and I didn't make it in time. If I
couldn't stop his murder, how the hell can I protect you and the
kids?" He moved closer to her. "If anything happened to you
or our children, it would destroy me," he whispered.
Lois put her other arm around him and gave him a tight hug.
"Sweetheart, I know you want to protect us, and it's sweet. But
we can't live and be afraid every minute that something bad will
happen." She brushed a kiss across his lips. "You can't
wrap us in cotton wool to keep us safe."
"But there are so many criminals out there who'd like nothing better
than to come after us," he pointed out. "Jefferson Cole did it,
Luthor did it, Tempus *keeps* doing it--what's to stop people like them
from coming after Rachel and Jamie? Even Timmy?" Clark
straightened slightly and wrapped his arms around her to hold her close.
Lois kissed the underside of his jaw. "You told me once that it's
not the years that count; it's the moments," she pointed out.
"Clark, together we've beat every crook, supervillian, and criminal
that's come our way. I know you're worried, but we'll make sure
that our kids have a safe, normal childhood."
Clark hugged her tight and kissed her gently. "Together," he
whispered. He looked and the mended bear in her lap and
smiled. "I thought your sewing skills were on par with your
Lois batted him on the chest. "Hey! I *did* make your
alternate self his first Suit!" She linked her fingers with
his. "Seriously, we do have a problem, though. Timmy."
Clark nodded. "I caught him pulling Rachel's hair tonight."
Lois sighed. "He's been picking on her all day. I gave him
a time out." She grimaced. "I *wanted* to wash his mouth
out with soap; the names he was calling her! But, well, I
couldn't do it."
"I'm not sure if I could, either," he admitted. "Mom washed my mouth
out about once--that was all it took."
Lois took a deep breath. "If he keeps on doing this--"
"We'll have to ask Sam to place him with another family," Clark
finished the thought. "We can try to teach him better, but
"You can't save a person who doesn't want to be saved," Lois
said. "And the more he picks on Rachel, the angrier I get."
She bit her lips. "I've been having problems dealing with him as
it is, because he looks like Gary Russell."
Clark pulled her close to him, and she rested her head on his
shoulder. "I know you've been trying to forgive him and get past
what he did to Rachel," he said quietly.
"I don't want her to have problems trusting people; I want my baby to
have a happy life." Lois whispered.
Clark hugged her again and brushed another soft kiss against her
lips. Together, they sat and comforted each other for a while,
letting their physical closeness bring brief solace. While they
couldn't fix everything, together they could overcome it.
October 6, 1999, 9:30 AM
124 Hospital Drive, Metropolis
Lois sat quietly in the waiting room with Rachel tucked under her
arm. Their appointment had been supposed to start five minutes
ago, but the doctor was running late. They'd dropped Timmy off at
kindergarten, and she had Jamie in his sling across her chest.
Rachel hadn't really wanted to come--again, which had almost made them
late for the appointment as it was.
"Momma?" Rachel said, looking up at her.
"What is it, baby?" she asked.
"Do we *hafta* go in?"
"Afraid so." Lois said.
"But Mo-o-mmaa," Rachel whined.
"Rachel, we're going in, and you're going to play in Dr. Jenkins's
playroom, just like you do every week." Lois said firmly.
"Okay," Rachel said with a sigh. "I still don't wanna."
"But you need to," Lois said gently. "Don't you like Dr. Jenkins
better than Dr. Summers?" she asked.
"Uh huh," Rachel said with a cautious nod. "He's nice."
"Then why don't you want to see him, baby?" Lois asked.
"Because he shrinks heads," Rachel said firmly. "He hasn't shrunk
mine yet, but he *will*."
Lois suppressed the urge to laugh, then almost jumped when the
receptionist called their names. "Rachel Kent."
Lois stood up, picked up her purse, and held her hand out to her
daughter. Rachel took it reluctantly, and they went up to the
window. "Mrs. Kent, there's a problem with Rachel's records," the
receptionist said. "They were supposed to arrive a while ago, but
they haven't. We need them as soon as possible. It's in
Rachel's best interest that Dr. Jenkins see them."
Lois worried the inside of her lip with her teeth. "I'll do my
best to get them to you by Wednesday. Is that okay?"
"That's fine. You can go in now."
Lois opened the door and walked in with Rachel. She crouched down
briefly. "Rachel, do you need me to go in today?"
Rachel scuffed the toe of her sandal against the floor. "Yes,"
she said softly. "Don't leave me alone in there, Momma."
Lois kissed Rachel's forehead. "I won't," she promised.
"Not until you're ready."
They walked down the hallway and into Dr. Jenkins' playroom. Dr.
Jenkins was inside writing something on a notepad. He looked up
and smiled. "Hello there, Rachel."
Rachel hid behind Lois's leg. "She's been being shyer than
usual," Lois explained.
He put his hand on his knees and leaned over so his face was closer to
Rachel's level. "It's okay, kiddo. We're just going to play
some more today. Your Mommy and baby brother can sit right here
on the couch. Is that all right with you?"
Rachel nodded hesitantly. "I guess so--can I play with the doll
"Sure you can!" Dr. Jenkins gave her a large smile.
Lois let go of Rachel's hand, sat down on the couch, and pulled out
some research that Jimmy had given her about a story she'd been working
on. Rachel started towards the doll house, then glanced back at
Lois, who gave her an encouraging smile. "It's okay,
peanut. I'm right here if you need me."
Rachel nodded, walked over to the doll house, and pulled out the same
dolls she'd played with the last time. This time, however, she
picked out a little boy doll with brown hair. She placed them
around the house.
"And who is the new little boy?" Dr. Jenkins asked.
Rachel bit her lip. "He's Justin. He's from Before. He used
to live with Beth and her old daddy, but now he lives with her new
She picked up Justin and made him hit Beth. "Justin doesn't like
Beth. The old Daddy used to laugh when Justin hurt her, so he
told him to do it," she whispered. "Justin calls Beth mean names."
Dr. Jenkins pulled over a small chair and sat down nearby. "What
do the new Daddy and Mommy say?"
Rachel hesitated before answering. She picked up the daddy doll
and made it pick up Justin and deposit him in another room. "They
tell Justin to stop and put him in time out. But Beth doesn't
like Justin. She's scared of him."
"So what does Beth do to feel less scared?" he asked.
"She hides," Rachel whispered. She put Beth in a little closet
and shut the door. "Justin can't get her there. And
Mattie's crying doesn't hurt, neither."
Rachel moved the dolls around some more. "Beth feels safe when
her Mommy and Daddy hold her, too." She volunteered. "Her Daddy
is special. He keeps the bad people away from her. And
Mommy drives the Monsters away."
"Who are the Monsters, Rachel?" he asked softly.
"Bad dreams," was her response. "Her Daddy keeps bad people like
the OldDaddy and the FakeDaddy from getting her."
"Who is the FakeDaddy?" he asked.
"He took Beth away." Rachel said. "He took her from her new daddy
and new mommy and she didn't want to go." She smiled. "Beth
caused trouble until he let her go home."
"Where is the OldDaddy now?"
Rachel hesitated, then looked up. "Jail," she said softly.
"Beth told a judge that he hurt her, and the judge put him in
jail." She got up, ran across the room, climbed up on the couch
next to Lois, and buried her face in Lois's shoulder.
Lois kissed the top of her head and rubbed her back. "It's okay,
peanut," she said. "He's not here, and if you want to tell Dr.
Jenkins what happened, nobody will be mad." She felt her blouse
getting damp as Rachel started to cry. She pulled Rachel into her
lap. It was a bit awkward with the baby sling, but she managed it
and wrapped her arms around her daughter.
"Shhh," she said softly. "I'm here, sweetie. It's okay to
be scared sometimes."
Rachel snuffled a little and pulled back. Lois pulled some
tissues out of her purse, and wiped away her tears. By now,
Rachel's nose was starting to run so she wiped that, too. "Blow,"
she said, holding it up to her nose.
Rachel obeyed. "I love you, Momma," she said, her eyes still wet
"I know, baby." Lois put the used tissue in her purse for later
disposal and kissed Rachel on the forehead. "I love you,
too. Now, would you go play with Dr. Jenkins for a little while
Rachel bit her lip, then nodded slowly. "Okay."
Lois watched as Rachel slid off the couch and walked back to the doll
house, and sat down. She needed to get the records; it was
obvious to her that Dr. Jenkins was getting further with Rachel than
Dr. Summers ever did. The hope in her heart that her little girl
would get better grew brighter as she surreptitiously watched Rachel
play and listened to the dialogue between her daughter and the
doctor. She turned back to her file. Everything would,
eventually, be okay.
October 7, 1999 9:00 AM
Metropolis County Morgue, Metropolis
Dr. Elizabeth Forrest turned away from the latest body and gave Lois
and Clark a half-smile. "With the ten-car pile up on the freeway
and the apartment fire the day after, we've had a backlog of cases in
the past few days, so that's why it's taken so long to get to this."
Henderson leaned against the wall. "What can you tell us, Beth?"
Beth uncovered the small body before answering. "The killer is getting
sloppy," she said. "There was a bloody fingerprint on the last
body, and I recovered some DNA from under this one's
fingernails." She motioned for them to come forward.
"That means that you can find the killer, right?" Lois asked.
"Not really," Beth answered. "Yes, we have DNA and fingerprints,
but until we have something to compare it to... We have to have a
suspect before we can come up with anything definite. So far, we
don't have one."
"Ma'am, is there anything else you can tell us?" Clark asked.
Beth shot him a smile. "Call me Beth. And yes, there
is. The fingerprints were too small for the killer to be an
average, adult person. Also, the angle of the wound suggests that
our perp is short--there are bruises on our victims that suggest that
the murderer was restraining them somehow before they died."
Lois bit her lip and walked slowly around the body, examining it.
"So, you're saying that the killer tied them up or something?"
Beth simply nodded. "In a way. Our perp knelt on his
victims to tie hold them down."
Henderson pushed off from the wall. "So, what you're telling us
is that our killer is either a midget, or another child?"
"That's a high probability, yes." Beth covered the body back
up. "We have IDs on all the bodies except for the skeleton and
this latest victim."
"So is Mr. Carson finished with the bust yet?" Lois asked.
Henderson answered this time. "I called him yesterday--he'll be
done later on this week."
Lois jotted down some quick notes in her notepad. "They get
younger and younger," she muttered.
Beth sighed, shook her head, and started wheeling the corpse towards
the cooler. "They *all* do. Both the victims *and* the
Lois exchanged a glance with Clark. "Any luck on matching the
fingerprints?" she asked Henderson.
He shook his head. "They're not in AVIS," he replied. "So
whoever is doing this doesn't have a record."
"Have you called the FBI in on this to get a profile or something?"
Henderson grimaced. "They closed the local office--budget cuts,
and we'll be getting someone later this week."
Lois frowned and tapped her pen against her notepad. "Not many
leads," she muttered.
"Let's go see what we can scare up," Clark said with a shrug.
"We've got to find the killer."
"Before they strike again," Lois said.
October 7, 1999 12 AM
Daily Planet, Metropolis
Lois walked up behind Clark and laid her hand on his shoulder.
"Clark?" she said softly.
"Hmm?" Clark was busily typing up a story and not paying much attention
to what was going on around him.
Lois wrapped an arm around his neck and kissed his ear.
"What is it, honey?" Clark said absently as he typed the last word.
Lois let go, turned, and leaned against the corner of his desk.
The revelation that the killer was another child was probably the most
frightening thing she'd heard since they'd gotten Rachel. What if
Rachel were next? For that matter, with all the hate and just
plain meanness Timmy had been showing, what if *he* were the
killer? More than anything, she needed to talk to her
husband. He'd always been able to talk her through things when
she was scared. "Clark," she bit her lip.
Clark reached for her hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. "Honey,
I won't let anyone get Rachel or Jamie or even Timmy." His eyes
hardened with steely determination.
"I know," she said softly. "But--what if *Timmy* is the
killer? I know he's young, but he just *hates* so much--"
Clark stood up, pulled her into his arms, and gave her a gentle
hug. "He can't be; he was with you during the last murder."
Lois relaxed with Clark's familiar touch. "He's too little,
anyway," she said. "I mean, some of the victims are bigger than
he is. It's just that he's *so* ugly to Rachel, and uses such bad
language, and I really don't know if we can keep him the way he
behaves. Nothing we do seems to have any effect on him, and
Rachel's been withdrawing more since we got him, and I don't *want* my
baby girl to do that. All I really want for her is that she grows
up happy and safe and learns how to trust us again and…" Lois stopped
Clark waited patiently for Lois to stop. "She already *does*
trust us, honey." He gave her a 100 mega-watt smile. "It's so
hard for me to say no to her when she really wants something. I
mean, she looks at me and I swear that she thinks that I can do
anything and fix anything because I'm her daddy."
"And then there are other times, when I can see so much pain in her
eyes," Lois said softly. "And she won't tell me what the matter
"She'll tell us when she's ready," Clark said. "I know that she
loves us and she trusts us; she's just not ready yet to tell us what
happened before we got her." He held Lois close to him.
"I hate to do this, but we need to tell the kids not to play with any
strange children until we find the killer," Lois said.
"Yes." Clark affirmed. "At least it's only until this is over."
He paused for a moment. "Honey, we have to consider calling Sam
and asking that Timmy be put somewhere else. He's getting worse,
and I really don't want him to hurt Rachel anymore."
"I hate to admit it, but you're right. Can we give it another few
days?" she asked.
"Of course," he said. "I really don't want to give up on him,
either." He leaned down to steal a kiss, but was interrupted.
"Hey, hey, hey! This is a newsroom, not Elvis's Honeymoon
Hideaway!" Perry's voice boomed out.
Lois looked up. "Perry, we promise we'll stop--for now," she said
with a smile.
"It's just, with the killer--" Clark began.
"Say no more," Perry said gruffly. "Tell that granddaughter of
mine that I want to come and visit sometime next week."
"We'd be glad to have you, Chief," Clark said. "I think Rachel
Perry smiled broadly. "Nice to know that I'm appreciated."
He walked back towards his office.
Lois sighed and rested her forehead on Clark's shoulder. She'd
never understood the kind of fear she had now until she had kids.
Before, she'd always known that Clark would rescue her. But it
was a dangerous world, and she knew full well that sometimes, despite
everything, rotten things could still happen. She felt Clark's
lips on her cheek and smiled. She wasn't in it alone.
October 7, 1999, 11:35 PM
348 Hyperion Avenue, Metropolis
Rachel sat up with a start and rubbed her arm across her eyes.
The Monsters were coming more and more since Timmy had come. Her
bad dreams had been getting worse. She shivered and slid out of
bed. The safest place in the world was in her Momma's and Daddy's
bed with them. *They* couldn't get her there.
Rachel bit her lip. Maybe if she told what Papa Gary had done,
some of the monsters would forget how to find her. She pulled at
the side of her pink, ruffled nightgown. Maybe it wouldn't make
them sad. Maybe they'd give her hugs and kisses instead of being
Rachel wanted those hugs and kisses. She wanted her parents to
kiss her hurts and make them better. She was sure that her Daddy
could fix anything. And that her Momma could make anything be
better than it was. It wasn't because her Daddy was Superman--it
was because he was Daddy.
She grabbed Aimee and Clarkie off her bed and headed towards her
parents' room. Rachel slipped inside, walked over, and stood
beside the bed. "Daddy?" she said, her voice high with fear.
Clark rolled over, sat up, and yawned. "What is it, Sprite?"
"I hadda bad dream. Can I sleep with you and Mommy?" She
didn't call Lois 'Mommy' often. More common was 'Momma' but
slowly and surely Lois was replacing the mother she barely remembered
except for a vague sense of anger for leaving her with Papa Gary.
As her first mother faded from memory, Lois was becoming, in her mind
at least, the only Mommy she'd ever had.
Clark simply picked her up and put her on the bed in between himself
and Lois. "Of course you can." He kissed her on the cheek.
"Mommy?" Rachel said.
Lois pushed herself up and gave Rachel a hug. "Tell me about the
Rachel bit her lip again. "Papa Gary was hurting me like he used
to," she said finally.
Clark pulled her into his lap and put his arms around her. "It's
okay to tell us what really happened, Sprite," he said quietly.
Lois moved closer and reached out to caress her hair. "We won't
ever be mad at you for that," she promised.
Rachel relaxed into the broad expanse of her Daddy's chest and closed
her eyes. It was safe here. She took a deep breath.
"Papa Gary used to use me instead of an ashtray," she whispered
finally. "He laughed when I cried." She wiggled out of her
nightgown, leaving her undershirt and panties on and showed them the
round, puckered scars on her upper arms. She'd tried telling a
teacher once, but the teacher hadn't believed her. Her Daddy's
arms tightened around her.
Lois kissed her fingertips and pressed them to the scars. Clark
shifted so that he was facing Lois, so her Momma wrapped her arms
around them both, making a Rachel sandwich. Tears began to roll
down Rachel's cheeks at their silent acceptance. "He broked my
arm and made other bones hurt," she said with a sob. "An' he used
to hit me with his belt buckle all the time."
Rachel pulled off her undershirt and wiggled until they could see the
scars from the buckle on her back. "He played with his pocket
knife on my tummy, too," she whispered. "Said that he wanted to
see how hard he had to press to cut. Said he'd wanted to be a
doctor once and he needed to find out."
Lois let go a little so that she could press kiss-laden fingers to the
scars. "He was wrong, peanut," she whispered. "So wrong!"
Rachel continued as if she hadn't heard. "He burnded me with hot
water, too. Told the doctors that I pulled it on me from the
stove." She started shaking. "He said that I was too little, but
when I got bigger, I was gonna take my old Mommy's place." She
looked up at Clark trustingly. "What did he mean, Daddy?"
Clark kissed the top of her head. "Rachel, sweetheart, he meant
that he's a bad man and that when you got bigger, he was planning on
touching you in places that he shouldn't."
Rachel thought about it for a minute. "Bad touching?" She
made the connection to the talk they'd had in school about good touches
and bad touches. She thought for a minute about the explanation
she'd gotten when she'd accidentally walked in on her parents trying to
make a baby. "So he was gonna do to me what you and Mommy do
together to make me a new brother or sister?"
Lois nodded. "It's very, very wrong when somebody does that,
peanut. *You* get to decide if somebody touches you there when
you're old enough. And hopefully, you'll wait until you find
somebody who loves you like your Daddy loves me and marry him."
Rachel started to cry harder. "He called me bad names like Timmy
does." She started hiccupping. "I don't want him to hurt me
when I'm bigger." She stood up slightly in Clark's embrace and
threw her arms around his neck, still sobbing.
Clark returned the hug and rubbed her back gently with a large, warm
hand. "Shh," he murmured. "It's okay, Rachel. We
won't let him hurt you ever again."
Rachel hiccupped again. "Promise?"
"Yes." He hugged her tight and as she relaxed her grip, he
settled her back in his lap. "I will *never* let anyone hurt you,
kiddo. You're my baby girl."
Rachel snuffled a little, hiccupped, and settled back into his
lap. "Even if they have Kryptonite and guns?"
"Even then." Lois wiped her tears away, then playfully touched Rachel's
nose. "That's what I'm here for, Rachel. I can throw the
kryptonite away so your Daddy can break the bad guy's guns, put them in
jail, and keep you and me and your brother safe."
Clark hugged her again and kissed her forehead. "Let's get you
dressed again so you don't get cold, sweetheart." He reached for
her undershirt and helped her pull it on, then did the same with her
nightgown before tickling her tummy gently.
Rachel let loose a watery giggle. It had been all right.
She was tired, though. Her thumb crept up to her mouth and her
eyes started to drift closed. She felt her daddy cuddle her
close. Safety. Peace. Love. The bad men would
never get her. Especially Papa Gary. Daddy and Mommy would
keep her safe just because they were Momma and Daddy and they loved her.
She slipped closer and closer towards sleep, secure in the love and
support of her Mommy and Daddy. Unconsciously, she snuggled
further into Clark and fell fast asleep.
Clark picked up his daughter and carefully laid her on the bed between
them. His mouth was tight with suppressed anger. "They'd
better make sure I never get my hands on that man," he said tightly.
Lois reached over and grabbed his hand. "Stand in line," she said
tersely. She took a deep breath and released it. "I keep
telling myself that she's safe with us now and that I need to let go."
Clark gave her a twisted smile. "When you figure out how, let me
know. If anyone ever hurt her--or you--or Jamie."
Lois squeezed his hand. "I know."
Clark reached out, cupped her cheek in his hand, and wiped away the
single tear that was rolling down her cheek. He took a deep,
slightly shaky breath. "We know what we're dealing with, now," he
offered. "And we're a family."
Lois leaned forward and kissed him gently. "She's ours now," she
said slowly. "And we can help her overcome what *he* did to her."
Clark reached for her hand and laced his fingers through hers.
Together, without letting go, they laid down with Rachel sandwiched in
between them. Even with their daughter right there and safe, it
was a long time before they slept.
October 8, 1999, 9:45 AM
Metropolis Children's Medical Center
Lois paced back in forth in the therapist's office, impatiently waiting
for her to show up. She needed those records! The
receptionist had insisted that she needed to talk to Dr. Summers before
she could have them. Clark had offered to pick them up, but then
he'd had a Superman call at the last minute, so it was up to her to get
them. She didn't mind... much. They'd been sharing the
child-rearing duties pretty equally since they'd gotten Rachel.
Theirs was a partnership in every way. It was just so frustrating
when emergencies made their previous plans moot! Rachel had
needed comforting again when they'd gotten up, and Timmy had started
pulling her hair again at breakfast.
They'd ended up leaving a message on Sam's voicemail, so it was
uncertain when she'd manage to get back to them about Timmy. They
weren't giving up--yet--but they wanted her to know the kind of
problems they'd been facing with him. That way, if they did ask
her to find him another family, it wouldn't be a complete shock.
Bored, Lois started looking at the drawings on the walls. Lots of
hearts, flowers, and rainbows. Smiling faces. One
particular grouping caught her eye. She frowned as she saw the
red drops that seemed to be coming from the flowers. The drops
almost looked like… blood. It was a series of drawings--each
drawing had another flower. The girl in the pictures was smiling,
but the flowers were all crying. The last picture, dated the week
before, had what looked like a screaming flower on it.
Lois was no expert, but she thought that the drawings must be the work
of a very disturbed mind. She looked at the dates on the bottom
of the drawings. Strange. All the dates were almost right
after the murders. And the drawings were obviously the work of a
Lois eyed the drawings suspiciously. Art therapy was a popular
way for children who had problems to receive some form of treatment for
them. She'd looked into it before deciding to allow Rachel to
continue to see Dr. Summers. The biggest problem with the field
was that it was still relatively new, and there simply weren't
doctorate programs in it yet. While Dr. Summers also had a PhD in
psychology, to go with her bachelors and masters in art therapy, she
wasn't actually a real MD doctor.
Looking at the pictures, Lois decided that if the child who had drawn
the pictures was under *her* care, she'd see to it that they were
medicated. Heavily. She wasn't a psychiatrist, but the
drawings were... disturbing. At least, they were if you knew
anything about the murders. The drawings were signed, too.
It seemed like the artist had been proud of her work.
Lois turned around as she heard the door open. "Dr. Summers," she
said with a nod.
"Mrs. Kent," Dr. Summers said. "I was told that you needed
"Yes, I do. But there is something I'd like to ask you." Lois
motioned towards the drawings. "I need to know who drew these."
Dr. Summers walked over and glanced at the drawings. "Charming,
aren't they? One of my patients drew them. The flowers are
crying as an outlet for the pain that she can't articulate because of
her stepfather's death. I think we're making real progress."
"What about the unusual colors that she used?" Lois resisted the urge
to take out a notepad and take notes. Her memory was good enough
to remember at least the child's name until she got out the door.
"Children often use different colors when they draw," Dr. Summers
explained. "It doesn't mean anything."
"So there isn't a deeper meaning?" Lois asked.
Dr. Summers shook her head. "I'm afraid not. In some of
these there are," she motioned towards the walls. "Rainbows are
one of the hallmarks of a sexually abused child if other markers are
there. Megan Barnett has made some progress since her mother
first brought her here--she's been bringing me these pictures at least
once a month."
"I see." Lois said, not really understanding at all. "Is
there anything you can tell me about Megan and her case?"
Dr. Summers turned to face her. "I'm afraid not," she said.
"I'm still bound by doctor-patient confidentiality."
"Of course not, thank you anyway," Lois said. "Now, about my
Dr. Summers walked around her desk, picked up a file, and handed it to
Lois. "I'm sorry I couldn't help Rachel," she said.
"Sometimes, no matter how much I want to, I just can't help...
Lois snatched the file, and shoved it into her briefcase, repressing
the urge to hit the doctor in the solar plexus. Her mouth
tightened and her eyes flashed. "My daughter is *not*
disturbed. Perhaps you ought to reexamine how you treat your
patients, *Doctor*! Perhaps you ought to go back to school,
because your professors obviously failed to teach you well enough the
first time! *You* would be 'disturbed' if you'd gone through half
of what Rachel has; it's amazing that she's as normal as she is!"
Lois whirled around and stormed out of the office, down the hall and
out of the building. She hurried to the jeep, slammed the door
and leaned her forehead against the steering wheel, breathing
It had taken almost all of her concentration not to hit the
therapist. Yes, Rachel had problems. Understandably
so. But she *wasn't* deranged. Lois closed her eyes for a
few minutes, and took some deep breaths. After regaining her
composure, she started the car and headed back to the Planet.
She'd take the records to Dr. Jacobs' office during her lunch
hour. And she had a feeling that Clark wouldn't be all that happy
when he heard about Dr. Summer's comments. And she also had to
tell Henderson about the drawings.
October 8, 1999 6:05 PM
348 Hyperion Avenue, Metropolis
Timmy glared across the dinner table at Rachel. Nothing had
worked. *He* was the one who got punished *all* the *time.*
Mr. and Mrs. Kent didn't seem to realize what a *bad* girl Rachel was;
instead they thought that *he* was bad. It just wasn’t
fair. He slid down in his chair a little and kicked her under the
He almost smiled when he saw her flinch, but when she didn't react
otherwise, his mood plummeted. He wanted to stick his lip out,
but he didn't want a birdie to fly in and poop on his teeth. He
moved his fork through the mashed potatoes, making a road for the gravy
to run down.
Mrs. Kent was mean and Mr. Kent wasn't much better. They wouldn't
let him have stuff from Rachel's room. They liked her
better. Sulkily, he played with his dinner, then decided he'd had
enough. "Can I be excused... please?" he asked as he'd been
taught to do.
Mr. Kent nodded. "Wash your hands, please," he requested.
Coming from him, Timmy knew it wasn't a request. He glared at Mr.
Kent and stomped to the bathroom to comply with the order. A
little smile spread over his face. He didn't *have* to
wash. Mr. Kent wouldn't be there to *make* him. He turned
on the water in the bathroom and started splashing it all over the room.
After a few minutes, he decided he was done and wiped his hands on the
only dry towel that was left in the room. He stomped out, still
angry, but happy that he'd been able to get *back* at the mean people
he was living with.
He climbed the stairs, stopping to rest when the long flight made his
short legs ache. He wandered down the hall and peeked
into the baby's room. He'd never been in there. Ever.
Rachel always showed up and kept him from going in. Boldly, he
walked inside and began to poke around.
He had just found a cool Superman doll when he heard the door
open. He turned around and was shocked to see Rachel standing
nearby, her fists balled up and her eyes flashing. "This is *my*
brother's room, and you're not allowed in here," she said. He was
even more shocked when she took the doll away and started pulling him
out the door. "Stay away from Jamie and his room," she ordered, a
scowl on her face.
"I don't have to," he said. "The Kents are gonna send you back,
and then he'll be *my* brother."
"No he won't. He's my brother, and you can't change it. You
don't belong here and Jamie and me *do.* So *there!*"
Rachel stuck her tongue out at him.
Timmy glared at her, but a small idea began to form in his mind.
Maybe he was going about this wrong. No matter what he did to
Rachel, she wasn't really reacting. But if he pinched *Jamie,* he
had a feeling that she'd be more fun. "Bastardbitch," he said,
then turned around and walked to his room. This required further
October 10, 1999, 8:00 PM
348 Hyperion Avenue, Metropolis
Clark flipped through the file again. It *looked* good, but until
they got the DNA evidence, it was impossible to tell if Megan Barnett
had really killed the boys. She was only twelve years old!
He'd heard of children killing other children, but it was the first
time that, aside from a gang war, he'd ever heard of it happening in
Clark looked up and smiled when he heard Rachel's voice. He
closed the file--she didn't need to see that, and put it on the coffee
table. "What is it, Sprite?"
Rachel ran over and climbed into his lap. "Timmy said that you
were gonna give me back and keep him. Is that true?"
Clark hugged her close. "No, it's not." He kissed her on
the cheek. "Baby, we adopted you, remember? That means that
we want to keep you forever. And that you're staying with us no matter
Rachel snuggled into him, and he kissed her on top of her head.
"Daddy, I saw sumpin'," she whispered.
If it weren't for his superhearing, he wasn't sure that he could've
heard her at all. "What did you see?" he asked with a
smile. He figured that she'd seen something good, but her body
language said otherwise.
"I saw a big kid," Rachel began. "She was hittin' a little boy
with a rock." Tears began to roll down her face. "She
buried the rock next to the boy and left."
Clark rubbed his hand up and down her back, offering her physical
comfort. "How was the boy when she left?" he asked gently.
"He-he-he looked *dead,* Daddy," she started to cry harder. "And
then when Mommy took me to Dr. Summers' office, the girl who hurt the
boy was there, too!"
Clark gathered her close. "Shh. Sweetheart, it's all right," he
"What if she comes to get me and Jamie?" Rachel sobbed.
"I won't let her, Rachel," Clark promised. "She won't be able to
get you two because your Momma and I will keep her away."
Rachel's sobs started to slow, and only showed by the occasional hitch
in her breathing. "Good. She's scary."
"Sprite, could you help me with something?" Clark asked.
Rachel bit her lip. "Okay," she said.
"Would you come with me to the police station tomorrow to tell
Inspector Henderson and Lieutenant Zymeck what you told me?" Clark
Slowly, Rachel nodded. "Will they put the big kid where she can't
"Anybody," Clark corrected absently. "They're going to
try--Rachel, they might ask you to show them her picture with different
ones around it. Do you think you can do that?"
"Yes!" Rachel nodded vigorously. "It'll make it so she won't hurt
Clark hugged her again. "You're the best little girl in
Metropolis," he said with a grin.
"You're the best Daddy in the universe," she informed him.
"C'mon, kiddo, it's almost your bedtime."
Rachel seemed to hesitate for a moment. "Can you give me a bath,
Clark stood up and tossed her gently into the air with a laugh.
Rachel giggled as he caught her. "Of course. How about
bubbles for my favorite little girl?"
"Okay," she agreed. "Can I have my boats, and my plane, and my
rubber duck?" she asked.
"Sure you can," he said with a grin. Clark started upstairs,
Rachel still in his arms.
She threw her little arms around his neck and kissed him on the
cheek. "I wanna marry you when I grow up," she said
solemnly. "That way, I can fly forever."
Clark laughed and tickled her tummy. "Sprite, I'm already married
to your Momma."
She considered this for a minute. "Then I wanna marry somebody
who can fly like you," she whispered in his ear.
Clark settled Rachel on his hip. "I'm afraid that won't work,
either," he said solemnly. "The only other people here who might
be able to fly someday are going to be any brothers and sisters that
your Mommy and I make."
"No fair," Rachel pouted. "Guess I won't get married then,
because boys that can't fly are dumb."
Clark repressed a chuckle and carried her upstairs. He was sure
that Lois would agree with Rachel--she'd married *him* after all.
He mussed Rachel's hair and headed towards the bathroom. "C'mon,
Sprite, let's get you clean."
October 10, 1999, 11:00 PM
348 Hyperion Avenue, Metropolis
Lois leaned back against her pillows and scribbled in her
notebook. She'd gotten down just about everything from earlier
that day, but she was trying to remember where she'd heard the name
before. She knew that it wasn't the first time she'd heard the
name, 'Megan Barnett.' It was familiar, but she just couldn't
Lois chewed on her bottom lip, trying to convince her recalcitrant
memory to cooperate with her. It wasn't working. She looked
up as she heard Clark's light footstep outside the door. "Is
Rachel okay?" she asked softly.
Clark nodded. "I have to admit that I was surprised when she
wanted me to tuck her back in after her nightmare," he said. "She
usually wants you." He walked over and sat on the bed beside her.
Lois reached over and took his hand. "I know," she said. "I
think she's trying to let you know how much she trusts you, sweetheart."
Clark pulled her into his arms and laid his cheek on the top of her
head. "She proved that," he whispered. "Rachel witnessed
one of the murders. She can identify the killer."
"What?" Lois sat up, dropping the notepad and pencil which she still
"Yeah," he said, grimacing. "It knocked me for a loop, too."
Lois wrapped her arms around Clark. "Which one?" she asked.
She was trying to remember if there'd been changes in her daughter's
behavior that she could have spotted. She'd known that something
had been bothering Rachel, but not what.
"The first one--not the skeleton, but the one that we all *thought* was
first," he said.
Lois sighed and leaned into him. "Is Rachel all right?
Every time we think things are going to get better, we get thrown
another curve ball."
"I think so. She seemed relieved after she told me." Clark
tightened his grip slightly. "I know. At least she told one of
us," he reminded her. "I'm taking her with us to talk to
Henderson tomorrow. As soon as we have a suspect--"
"We do," Lois interrupted. "Her name is Megan Barnett, she's
twelve, and from the drawings that were hanging on that quack of an art
therapist's wall, she's a *real* wacko."
"They have DNA," Clark reminded her. "If she did it, they'll get
her help and make sure that she can't hurt anybody else."
Lois burrowed into him. "It's bad enough that every once in a
while, yet another megalomaniac tries to take over the world--why do we
have children killing other children?" she muttered. "And why did *our*
daughter have to see that?"
Clark hugged her gently. "I don't know," He paused for a few
minutes. "As long as we make sure our kids know better, and teach
them better, I'm not sure what else we can do," he said honestly.
"I know." Lois shivered a bit. The thought of a child
serial killer was frightening. She'd taught Rachel not to talk to
strange adults--not that she'd taken much convincing--but strange
children? How else would she ever have friends or a normal
Clark rubbed his hands up and down her arms. "Makes you realize
that they're not safe, doesn't it?" he asked.
Lois nodded against his chest. "But we never really are, are
we? Well, except when you're with us." She pulled back
slightly and kissed him. After the kiss ended, they held each
other tightly, comforted by simply being together.
September 11, 1999 7:00 AM
348 Hyperion Avenue, Metropolis
Rachel skipped downstairs and turned on the television. It was
cartoon day! Her favorite show would be on any minute, and she
wanted to watch it. She turned the television to the right
channel, then went to the kitchen for breakfast.
She scooted the step-stool over to the countertop, climbed on it, and
got the Superman bowl that Grandpa Perry had given her out of the
cabinet. Getting down off the stool, she grabbed a spoon out of
the drawer, then laid the bowl and spoon on the table. Rachel bit
her lip and moved the stool in front of where the cereal was
kept. She climbed on it, then on to the counter. She opened
the cabinet, grabbed a box of Life, and, clutching it to her chest, got
She walked over to the table, opened the box, poured some cereal in the
bowl, then, using the step-stool again, got some milk out of the
fridge. Carefully, using both hands, she poured some milk on her
cereal. She left the milk and cereal on the table, picked up the
bowl, and carried it into the living room. She set it on the
coffee table and sat down on the couch.
Rachel started eating her breakfast, stopping to laugh occasionally at
the cartoon characters on the screen. "Rachel?" She looked
up to see her Momma walking down the stairs.
"Hi, Mommy," she said cheerfully. "I got my own breakfast," she
added proudly. She'd never managed to do it all herself before.
"Morning, Rachel," Lois said with a yawn. "Wow." She walked
over, sat on the couch, and gave Rachel a hug.
Rachel nestled comfortably in Lois's embrace. "Momma, I don't
wanna go to the police station," she said. "Policemen are scary."
She felt her Mommy kiss the top of her head. "Why are they so
scary, honey? I've got some friends who are policemen, and they'd
never hurt you."
Rachel bit her lip. "Papa Gary said they'd put me in jail," she
"Peanut, you haven't done *anything* wrong--they only put bad people in
jail." Lois pulled Rachel into her lap.
Rachel sighed softly, leaned back against her Mommy, and put her thumb
into her mouth. She sucked on it for a few minutes. "Do I
have to go in by myself?" she asked finally, pulling it out of her
Her mother's arms tightened around her. "Of course not!" She
looked up to see Lois smiling. "You get to pick if Daddy or me
goes with you, baby. One of us has to stay home with Jamie and
Rachel laid her head on Lois's shoulder. "Can Daddy take me?" she
Clark came downstairs, carrying Jamie, who was crying, and
yawning. "Honey, I think he wants something I can't give
him. Will you take him?"
Lois laughed. "Of course."
Rachel slid off her Mommy's lap and ran to her Daddy. "Daddy,
will you take me?" she asked. "I don't wanna go in that place by
Clark handed Jamie to Lois, who rearranged her clothes to feed the
baby, and knelt down to Rachel's level. "I'll be with you the
entire time," he promised. "Let's get you cleaned up from
breakfast and out of your pajamas, ok?"
Rachel nodded. "Do we have to get dressed up like we're going to
visit Grandpa Perry at the Planet?" she asked.
"Yep," was Clark's answer. "So Mommy will tie ribbons in your
hair that match your dress," he said with a wink.
"Good," Rachel said. "Those are the prettiest ones."
Clark picked her up and settled her on his hip before reaching for the
dishes on the coffee table. "Let's go put these in the sink and
get you dressed," he suggested.
Rachel nodded as her thumb crept back toward her mouth. As long
as she was with her Daddy, the policemen would never take her away.
September 11, 1999, 9:35 AM
12th Precinct, Metro Police Department, Metropolis
Clark gave Rachel's hand a squeeze as they walked into the police
department and up to the front desk. "Hey Jake," he greeted the
desk sergeant. "Is Henderson or Zymeck around?"
"Henderson is. It's Zymeck's day off," Jake replied. "You
can go right back." He peered nearsightedly over the desk.
"And who is this pretty little girl?" he asked.
Clark gave him a smile as Rachel shrank into his leg. "My
daughter, Rachel." Rachel hid her face. "She's just a
little shy," he explained.
Jake nodded. "Mine's the same way. I'll tell Henderson that
you're on the way." He picked up the phone as Clark and Rachel
started making their way through the precinct.
"I'm scared, Daddy," Rachel said in a small voice.
Clark stopped, crouched down and gave her a hug. "I know you are,
sweetheart." He said. "I'll be here the whole time, okay?"
Rachel nodded. Clark stood up, took her hand again, and started
walking towards Henderson's desk. Rachel lagged behind, obviously
reluctant to talk to the detective. He sighed, picked Rachel up,
and swung her into his arms. She hid her face in his neck.
Clark rubbed her back gently. "It's okay, Rachel," he
murmured. "Inspector Henderson is a friend of mine--he's got a
little girl at home who's only a few years older than you."
Rachel pulled back a little and grabbed a fistful of his dress
shirt. "Does he hit her like Papa Gary hit me, Daddy?" she asked,
her big blue eyes filling with tears.
Clark brushed her sugar-brown bangs out of her eyes. "No, baby,"
he said softly. "Henderson would never hit little girls."
He pulled a handkerchief out of his suit jacket pocket and gently wiped
away her tears. "You're safe, Rachel. I
Rachel threw her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly.
Clark figured if he'd been human instead of Kryptonian, he'd be having
problems breathing because her hold was so tight. "Is it okay if
we go talk to my friend?" he asked.
Her eyes wide with fright, Rachel nodded. Her thumb crept up into
her mouth. Clark pulled it out and wiped it off with his
handkerchief, but she simply gave him a reproachful look and stuck it
Mentally, Clark shrugged. Lois had talked to Dr. Jenkins about it
and was told that she'd probably stop when she felt more secure.
He smiled, shifted Rachel to one arm, and held out his hand.
"Henderson," he said.
"Hi, Clark." Henderson took the proffered hand and shook it.
"You remember my daughter, Rachel?" Clark asked.
"Of course I do," Henderson said with a smile. He stood up and
came a little closer. "Hi, Rachel," he said. "My, that's a
Rachel turned her head to get a look at him. Clark stayed silent,
hoping that Henderson's gentle behavior would make Rachel change her
"It matches its owner," he commented with another smile.
"What do we say, Rachel?" Clark asked softly.
Rachel pulled her thumb out of her mouth. "Thank you," she
said. "Grandma Lane gave it to me."
While it *was* a pretty dress that his daughter was wearing, Clark had
wondered when Ellen had brought it home from a shopping trip what would
posses someone to spend three hundred dollars on a dress for a
six-year-old. It was great that Ellen had accepted Rachel, but
sometimes he worried that she was spoiling Rachel *too* much.
Sure, the dress, all the dresses that Ellen had purchased, actually,
were classically designed and well-made, but Rachel would outgrow it
before she managed to wear it for very long. It also didn't help
that she'd bought several outfits for Jamie from the same upscale
"Have a seat, Clark." Henderson gestured towards the chair beside his
desk. His eyes flicked towards Rachel. "What can I do for you?"
"Did Lois call you with what she found out?" he asked.
Henderson nodded. "Zymeck went to go pick up our suspect
yesterday, but the family's out of town for the weekend. We'll
bring her in on Monday."
Clark sat down and settled Rachel in his lap. "Rachel has
something to tell you. Don't you sweetheart?" he gave her a
"Daddy, he's *scary,*" she said, shrinking back into him.
"Clark, do you remember Carmen Johnson?" Henderson asked.
Clark nodded. She'd been the detective who'd interviewed Rachel
about Gary Russell. "Yeah. Is she working this case?"
"No, but I'm sure it can be arranged." Henderson turned and
beckoned to a young, black woman. "Hey Carmen!" he called.
Carmen came over. "What is it, Bill?" she asked.
Henderson nodded towards Clark and Rachel. "Clark here says that
his daughter has something to tell us about the serial."
Carmen dropped to her knees. "Hey Rachel," she said with a
smile. "Remember me?"
Rachel nodded shyly. "Uh huh. You're pretty. An' you
helped put Papa Gary in jail."
"That's right, honey." Carmen smiled and took Rachel's hand
gently, and gave it a squeeze. "Now, your new Daddy said that you
know something about the little boys' murders?"
Hesitantly Rachel nodded again, and leaned back into Clark. "I
saw a big girl hurt one of them," she said. "She hit him with a
rock, and I think she made him dead." She bit her lip. "She
buried the rock by the little boy after he stopped moving."
Carmen gave her hand another squeeze. "Good girl. Now, did
you see what the big girl looked like?"
Rachel nodded. "Yes, ma'am," she answered. "I saw her at
Dr. Summers' office, too." She shivered. "She's scary."
Clark dropped a kiss on the top of her head. "You're safe,
sweetheart," he said softly.
Rachel scooted closer to his chest.
"Miss Rachel?" Carmen gave her a smile. "Would you please look at
some pictures and see if you recognize the big kid?"
Rachel bit her lip. "Can Daddy come, too?" she asked.
Carmen nodded. "Sure. But he doesn't have to go
anywhere--Henderson can get them."
Rachel's thumb crept into her mouth as Henderson fetched the
pictures. Clark figured that they'd had a line-up made, just in
case a witness could be located.
Carmen let go of Rachel's hand and smiled. "Does chocolate milk
come out of that thumb, sweetie? It came out of mine when I was
Clark suppressed a laugh as Rachel looked insulted. He cuddled
her close instead. Henderson handed Clark a card. "Would
you look at that for us, Miss Kent?" he winked at Clark.
Rachel nodded and looked at the card in Clark's hand. She pointed
at a picture without hesitation. "That's the big girl," she said
around her thumb.
Carmen smiled. "Good job!" she said. "How would you like
some ice cream?"
Rachel pulled her thumb out of her mouth, grinned, and looked up at
Clark. "Please, Daddy?"
Clark chuckled and kissed her on the cheek. "Will you be okay
with Carmen?" he asked. "I need to talk to Inspector Henderson
for a minute."
Rachel hesitated for a few minutes, then nodded. "You'll be right
here?" she asked.
"I won't leave this spot," he promised.
"Okay. Carmen's nice." Rachel slid off his lap and held her
hand out to Carmen. Clark watched Carmen lead Rachel towards the
"She'll be okay," Henderson said. "Kids are resilient--and she's
gotten ice cream with Carmen before."
Clark looked at him in surprise. "What do you mean?"
"Carmen keeps some in the freezer for the cases involving children," he
explained. "So when Rachel came in to tell us about her
stepfather, Carmen gave her some."
Clark nodded. "So, what next? I mean, will Rachel have to
Henderson grimaced. "Probably. I'd like to minimize the
trauma to Rachel, but we're going to need her ID to explain the warrant
to get the perp's DNA."
"So it *is* Megan Barnett?" Clark asked.
"Until we get the DNA comparison done, we can't be a hundred percent
sure, but yes, we think so," Henderson said. "As soon as we have
her in custody, we can decide what can be published."
Clark nodded, then waved as Rachel skipped back to him, carrying an ice
cream cone. "Will you let us know when you have her?" he
asked. "Lois and I would like to watch when you do the
"All right," Henderson agreed. "But before you publish anything,
the lieutenant needs to see it."
"Fine with me," Clark said as he reached down to pick Rachel up.
"I guess we'll see you Monday." He waved to Henderson as he and
Rachel left the precinct.
"That wasn't so bad, was it, Sprite?" he asked.
Rachel shrugged, concentrating on her treat. "Maybe policemen
aren't that scary," she said, giving the ice cream another lick.
Clark chuckled and pulled the keys to the Jeep out of his pocket.
He hurried toward it, opened the door, and buckled Rachel in the back
seat. Silently, he hoped that with their help, his baby girl
would overcome what her stepfather had done to her.
Clark pulled his handkerchief out and rubbed at some of the chocolate
smears on Rachel's face, trying for damage control, before he closed
the door and went around the car. He climbed in, started the
ignition, and started toward home. He was sure that as long as
they stuck together, their family would be okay. There was more
than enough love to go around.
September 11, 1999 1:45 PM
348 Hyperion Avenue, Metropolis
Timmy glared across the living room at Rachel. She was sprawled
out next to the playpen, coloring in a coloring book, and she was
stopping every once in a while to show it to the baby. It wasn't
fair! She'd gone out with Mr. Kent before he'd woken up, and come
back eating ice cream! And he didn't get any.
He'd been trying to provoke a reaction from her, but no matter what he
did, she rarely did anything in return. Timmy pushed the truck
he'd been playing with away, stood up, and crossed the room. He
balled his fists up and without saying a word, hit his
half-sister. Rachel bit her lip, and simply glared at him.
"Meanie poo-poo head," she muttered.
How dare she?! Timmy scowled and walked over to the
playpen. He'd get her!
Rachel, seeming to read his intentions, scrambled to her feet, climbed
into the playpen, and picked up Jamie. She hugged him to her, his
head on her shoulder and one arm slung across the baby's small
body. Carefully, keeping an eye on Timmy, she grabbed the blanket
that was in the playpen and climbed out of it. "Leave my brother
alone!" she ordered.
Timmy smirked. Now the stupid baby was easier to get to!
Rachel sat down on the floor, put Jamie in her lap and wrapped her arms
around him protectively. Without a word, Timmy went around
the playpen, grabbed Jamie's arm, and bit it.
The baby started to scream, and Rachel's face darkened. "It's ok,
Jamie. Mommy will be here in a minute." Carefully, she laid
the baby gently on the ground, and stood up. "I *told* you to
leave my brother alone!" she yelled.
Timmy didn't see it coming. Rachel balled up her fist and punched
him, hard in the stomach. She followed that with a punch to the
face. Timmy sat down on the floor and started to cry.
Rachel kicked his leg. "Don't ever touch my brother again!" she
Timmy cried louder. He heard the adults coming downstairs and
redoubled his efforts to cry harder. The moment he saw Mr. and
Mrs. Kent he pointed at Rachel. "She hit me an' kicked me," he
Lois strode over and picked up Jamie. "What happened, Rachel?"
she asked, her voice soft with steel underneath.
Rachel looked at the floor and scuffed her toes on it. "Timmy hit
me, and then he bit Jamie, so I made him stop. He's *never* gonna
hurt Jamie again; he'll be *sorry* if he does."
Mr. Kent dropped to his knees in front of her. Timmy scowled and
sobbed even more noisily. They were ignoring him in favor of the
bastard. "Did you hit Timmy, Rachel?"
Rachel nodded. "He *deserved* it. If he hurts Jamie, I'll
do it again!"
Lois and Clark exchanged a glance. "I'm calling Sam," they said
Lois handed Jamie to Clark. "I'll do it," she said. "He's
leaving *tonight.*" She picked up Timmy and headed towards the phone on
the desk. "Stop it, Timmy," she ordered. "Rachel shouldn't
have hit you, but frankly, I'm surprised it took her as long as it did."
"What you gonna do?" Timmy sniveled.
"I'm calling Sam. We were willing to give you one more chance,
buster, but that little display was the *last* straw." She put
him down on the floor and picked up the phone. "Don't move from
that spot until I tell you to."
Timmy scrubbed his arm across his face. That hadn't worked out
the way it was supposed to--Rachel wasn't supposed to fight back.
And now he was getting sent away. It just wasn't fair.
Clark sighed, stood up, and held out his hand, juggling a screaming
baby in the other arm. "Come on, Rachel," he said. "Let's
take a look at where Timmy bit your brother, then we have to have a
Rachel crossed her arms over her chest and followed him to the
bathroom, defiance and anger on her face. Clark rubbed the baby's
back and glanced back at her. Part of him agreed with what she'd
done, but she should have known better than resort to violence.
He strode over to the bathroom, and examined the bite mark on Jamie's
arm. Thankfully, the skin hadn't been broken.
Clark washed it off anyway and slathered on some antibiotic
cream. Without speaking, he put his hand on Rachel's shoulder and
guided her out of the bathroom and into the kitchen. He pointed
towards a chair and rocked Jamie back and forth until he settled
down. He put the baby in his bouncy chair and sat down beside
"Rachel, you know better," he said softly. His heart ached as he
noticed the tears running down her face. "We don't hit people
unless there's no other choice. It's mean and ugly."
Rachel caught her breath in a sob. "Are you gonna give me back,
too?" she asked. "Are you and Mommy gonna stop loving me?"
Clark pulled her into his lap. "Never," he said. "You're
our baby girl, sweetheart. You'll *still* be our baby girl when
you're married and have babies of your own."
Rachel grabbed his shirt and twisted her fist in it. She buried
her face in his chest. "Cindy won't be coming over next week," he
said softly. "I'll call her parents and cancel. That's
going to be your punishment for hitting Timmy."
Rachel nodded against his chest. "I'm not sorry," she said, her
voice muffled. "He deserved it. He shouldn't have bit
"Rachel," Clark said warningly. "I want you to tell me what else
you could have done instead of hit him."
Rachel sniffed. "Could've gotten you an' Mommy," she answered
"It's great that you defended Jamie; he's little and helpless, but you
still should have done something different, Sprite." Clark wiped
some tears off her cheeks.
"Do I gotta say I'm sorry?" she asked.
"I think that would be a good idea," Clark answered solemnly.
Rachel slumped and studied her blue jeans. "Ok," she said.
Her voice was so soft that Clark was sure that if he wasn't Kryptonian,
he would never have been able to hear it.
"Is Sam gonna come and get Timmy?" she asked.
Clark nodded. "Your Momma is calling her right now," he
said. "We were giving him one more chance, but we can't let him
hurt you and Jamie."
Rachel leaned back against him and put her thumb into her mouth.
Clark kissed her forehead and gave her a hug. While they'd initially
hoped that Timmy would fit in their family, they'd since learned that
Gary Russell's parental rights hadn't actually been terminated,
anyway. Timmy was only in temporary foster care until his father
got out of jail.
"Rachel, I've got to go get Timmy packed. Do you want to stay
with me, or do you want to stay here?" Clark asked.
"Can Jamie and me go back in the living room?" she asked.
Clark nodded. She slid off his lap, he stood up, and picked up
the baby. "Are you okay, Jaimers?" he said.
Jamie turned his head at the sound of Clark's voice and smiled.
He reached for his daddy. "Ah ah," he said.
Clark kissed Jamie's forehead and reached for Rachel's hand.
Together, they walked back into the living room. Clark put the
baby in the toy-strewn playpen, and spread the blanket out on the
floor. He picked Jamie up and laid him on it, then put some toys
Lois was still on the phone, talking to Sam. "Honey, I'm going to
pack up Timmy's things, ok?"
Lois nodded and kept talking. If he'd wanted to listen in, he
could have, but he didn't want to. Lois could handle it; if
Timmy's stuff was packed up, Sam could pick him up as soon as she got
over to their house. As far as he was concerned, the sooner she
came to get him, the better. Much of Rachel's fire had been
hiding since Timmy had gotten there. He wanted it back.
September 11, 1999, 4:00 PM
348 Hyperion Avenue, Metropolis
"Peek-a-boo!" Rachel hid her face, then uncovered it.
Jamie laughed and slapped his hands on the floor.
Rachel grabbed a rattle and shook it. Jamie reached towards the
sound, but his arms were too short. He got another toy that was
in easy reach and, with both hands, pulled it towards him and stuck it
in his mouth.
Rachel glanced back to where Timmy was sitting and frowned. She
got up off the floor, ignoring Jamie's whimper of protest that she'd
stopped playing with him, and went to stand in front of Timmy.
"I'm sorry I hit you," she said. "Daddy said I should say sorry."
Timmy stuck his lip out in a pout. "They're sending me back," he
said. "Wouldn't be if you hadn't hit me."
Rachel rolled her eyes and went back to keep playing with her
brother--her *real* brother. As far as she was concerned, Timmy
wasn't. He was mean. *That's* why they weren't keeping him.
She sat down on the blanket, then glanced over at her Mommy. Lois
was working on her laptop--Rachel figured she was writing a story for
Grandpa Perry. Timmy's suitcases were by the door, and she knew
that somebody must've called for Superman, because Daddy had gotten the
*look* that meant that somebody needed him.
Carefully, she picked Jamie up and put him on her lap. Rachel
grabbed the rattle again, shook it, and helped her brother stick it in
his mouth. She kissed the top of his head, then looked up when
the doorbell rang. She hugged Jamie tight and watched as her
Momma opened the door to let Sam in.
"Sam, I'm sorry--" Lois began.
Sam smiled. "It happens, I'm afraid." She motioned to
Timmy. "You're coming with me, Timothy," she said.
Timmy slowly got out of the chair and walked as slowly as he could to
Sam. "I'm sorry," Lois said. "We just can't keep him if
he's going to attack Rachel and Jamie."
Sam sighed and shook her head. "There were some reports of him
being a little hard to handle in his first foster home, but nothing
like this. I'll see if we can get him in to see a therapist."
"Don't send him to Dr. Summers," Lois said dryly. "She's a quack."
Sam laughed and picked up Timmy's suitcases. "There are others
that work for the county," she said with a smile. "Thanks for
She started out the door, then turned to look at Timmy, who was simply
staring at Lois. "Timmy," she said softly. "Come on, it's
time to go."
Timmy followed her, his lip stuck out in a pout. Rachel watched
him go, still not quite ready to believe that he wouldn't be coming
back. She watched her Momma shut the door behind them.
Lois locked the door, came over, and dropped to her knees on the
blanket. "Yes, Peanut?" she answered.
"Is Timmy gonna come back?" Rachel looked down at Jamie and gave
him her finger to hold. He, of course, stuck it in his mouth.
Lois reached over and brushed a wayward strand of hair out of Rachel's
face. "No he's not," she said. "I'm sorry, baby, but we
couldn't keep him; he was hurting you and Jamie."
"I love you, Mommy," Rachel said.
"I love you, too," Lois said in return.
Rachel kissed the top of Jamie's head and smiled. The police
would get that bad big girl, her parents knew what Papa Gary had done
and they loved her anyway, and Timmy was gone for good. Maybe she
was safe now. Maybe it was safe now to believe that she had a
family forever. Maybe it was safe to believe that she'd never be
Sure, the judge had told them that they were a family, but in her
experience, good things didn't last. She'd lived with the Kents
for almost a year, but it was still hard to believe that they loved
her. Her new daddy was Superman, and people said that Superman
couldn't lie. *He* said that she was his little girl, so maybe it
was actually true. She wanted her new family to be a forever
family. It was just that she didn't feel like she deserved it.
September 12, 1999, 10:30 AM
348 Hyperion Avenue, Metropolis
Lois smiled as she watched Rachel play with Jamie. He'd been
trying to roll over lately, but he hadn't quite managed to do it.
Rachel was currently trying to teach him how, and had spent a little
while showing him how to crawl and turn somersaults. She wasn't
really sure if Rachel thought that she could actually teach an almost
four-month-old baby to turn somersaults, but it was kind of fun to
watch her try.
Lois smiled as she felt lips touch the back of her neck. "That
had better be my husband kissing me," she said teasingly.
"Oh, it is," Clark said.
Lois turned around, kneeling on the couch. "Don’t you think you'd
better kiss me properly, then?" she asked.
Clark smiled, then leaned in and kissed her gently.
"Nice start," Lois said breathily.
"Only a start?" Clark kissed her again, this time dipping his tongue in
her mouth for a taste.
Lois sighed and melted into the kiss. Clark's hand came up to cup
her cheek, his thumb caressing her cheekbone. The kiss ended
slowly, and Lois rested her forehead against Clark's. "Did Perry
say when he'd be here?" she asked finally.
"No," Clark began, just as the doorbell rang. He kissed her
again, briefly, before going to answer it.
"Mommy?" Rachel tugged at her shirt.
Lois turned around and sat down on the couch. "What is it,
"Since Timmy isn't here no more, can we go see Grandma and Grandpa
Kent?" Rachel asked.
Lois's eyes darted to the door, just in time to see Clark let Perry
in. "*Any* more. And we'll see, sweetheart."
Rachel smiled, climbed up on the couch next to her, and gave her a
"Where's my favorite granddaughter?" Perry called.
Rachel started to giggle and shrunk down behind her. "I haven't
seen her anywhere," Lois said with a wink. They'd started playing
this game when he came to visit a few months ago, and Rachel had yet to
get tired of it.
"Well, let's see," Perry pretended to examine the room. He walked
over to the curtains and peeked behind them. "She's not behind
Rachel giggled again and Lois suppressed a smile.
Perry looked inside the fireplace. "She's not pretending to be
Santa Claus." He looked in the fish tank. "And I don't see
any Rachel Fish."
Rachel started to laugh harder.
Perry smiled. "I don't see her anywhere!" He held out his
hands. "Rachel! Where are you?"
Rachel slid off the couch, walked over, and tugged on his pant
leg. "Grandpa Perry, I'm right here!"
Perry looked down with a fond smile. "Why so you are, Darlin'."
"Can we play tea party?" Rachel asked, "and will you fly me?"
Perry laughed. "Or I could just catch you now," he said, and
began to growl. "Because I'm the big, bad wolf, and I'm gonna eat
Rachel shrieked and started running. Clark walked over to the
couch and sat down beside Lois. "Be careful," he said.
Perry gave them a wink as he gave chase. "Big, bad wolf can't eat
me!" Rachel taunted with a grin. She slowed down to pick her way
around the baby's blanket.
Perry prowled closer to her, and reached out to snatch her up.
Rachel evaded him and ran to the other side of the room. He
followed, his longer legs eating up the distance. Rachel ran into
the corner, and he trapped her there. With a growl and a laugh,
Perry grabbed her and began to tickle her.
Rachel started laughing. "Help, DADDY! Save me!" she called.
Lois smiled and kissed Clark on the cheek. "Go ahead," she
said. She stood up, keeping an eye on them as she scooped up
Clark hurried over and snatched Rachel. "You do realize that now
that I've rescued you, Princess, I get to carry you away!"
Rachel kept laughing as Clark swung her over his shoulder and carried
her to the other side of the room. "Let's fly, Daddy!" she said.
Breathing heavily, Perry flopped down on the couch. Lois and
Jamie joined him. Perry offered his finger to the baby.
"Grandchildren... are the best," he said between pants.
Lois laughed as they watched Clark spin Rachel around. "I think
kids are pretty good, too," she said.
Perry turned and eyed her suspiciously. "Are you *sure* that
you're Lois Lane?"
Lois laughed. "No pod people here," she said with a grin. "I
admit that I wasn't sure I wanted them for a long time, but I think
I'll keep them," she said with a wink.
Perry watched Clark spin Rachel some more. "Y'all don't need to
pretend with me," he said suddenly. "Just because I don't know
officially --doesn't mean that I don't *know*."
Lois assumed her most innocent expression. "I'm not sure what you
mean, Chief," she said.
"I've been in the business since before you were born," was his quiet
answer. "I wouldn't be a man in my position without being...
observant. I've known for years about Clark. He's from Kansas,
sure, but for my money he was born on Krypton," he said softly.
Rachel started to wiggle. "Put me down, Daddy, please."
Clark complied and followed her as she ran over to the couch.
"Grandpa Perry, you know that Daddy pretends to be Superman?" she asked.
Perry nodded, extracted his finger from Jamie's grip, and pulled Rachel
into his lap. "I sure do, Darlin'," he said. "I thought
your Daddy might want to know."
Clark sat down on the other side of Lois. "How long have you
known, Chief?" he asked.
"I suspected from the beginning," was the answer, "But I didn't know
for sure until those New Kryptonians showed up."
"You waited so long to say anything, why now, Perry?" Lois asked.
Perry smiled. "Well, you two lovebirds have these two little
munchkins now, and I figure if Luthor manages to come back from the
dead again or something, you'll need me and Alice to help out."
He paused and gave Rachel a hug. "Alice... doesn't know," he
Rachel got out of Perry's arms. "Grandpa, can we have a tea party
Perry smiled. "Why, we sure can, Miss Rachel. I'd never
turn down an offer to have tea with a beautiful girl." He stood
up and started walking towards the small table that her tea set was set
Clark wrapped his arm around Lois and she leaned against his
chest. It really wasn't that surprising that Perry knew.
He'd been their boss for years, and with the way Clark had to leave for
emergencies, well, many bosses might have fired him by now. It
wasn't like he'd publish it or tell anyone, either.
Lois tipped up her face and kissed the underside of Clark's jaw.
Four years ago, she would've told people they were crazy if they'd
suggested that she'd be content sitting with her husband and baby
watching their daughter play with their boss. Much had changed in
September 13, 1999, 9:00 AM
12th Precinct, Metro Police Department, Metropolis
Lois and Clark sat behind the one-way mirror and watched as Henderson
and Dr. Shafer, the police psychiatrist, questioned Megan
Barnett. Clark knew that they'd already gotten DNA from the girl,
because he'd heard Henderson tell Zymeck that Forensics was testing it.
"We don't *need* a lawyer," an older woman protested. "My
daughter didn't do *anything*!"
Clark rolled his eyes. "Riight," Lois muttered.
"Mrs. Barnett," Henderson began. He pushed a piece of paper
across the table. "If you'll just sign this waiver, we can get
She took the paper and signed it. "Now *what* could this possibly
be about. My daughter can't have done anything wrong!"
"Shut up, Mom!" Megan snapped. She leaned back in her chair and
smiled. "They brought us here to talk to me."
"Yes, we did, Megan," Dr. Shafer said.
Henderson pressed the record button. "We need to tape this for
our records," he said softly.
"We'd like to know how you feel about little boys," Dr. Shafer said.
Megan shrugged. "They all try to leave in the end. My
stepfather did it." She smiled. Clark shivered. The
smile wasn't a pleasant sight; it reminded him of a snake, of Luthor.
"What do you mean that they leave?" Henderson asked.
"They *leave,*" Megan said impatiently. "My stepfather
died. He was going to leave us, but before he could, he tripped
over me and fell down a cliff." She shrugged again. "Mom
put me in therapy after that."
"Megan, we have an eyewitness that puts you at the scene of one of the
child-murders that have been happening over the last few months,"
Megan's lips turned upwards into a smirk. "I made sure they
wouldn't leave me," she said. "I can go back to play whenever I
want, and they're waiting for me."
"We found out who they are and sent them home, Megan," Dr. Shafer
said. "Their families have them."
Megan leaned forward and slapped her hands on the table. "You had
no RIGHT!" she yelled. "They're *mine*!"
"Their families missed them," Henderson said. "They wanted them
"They're *mine,*" she insisted. "They came with me to play!"
"Why did you pull their pants down?" Dr. Shafer asked.
Megan shrugged. "Because it made them look stupid. Because
that's what my stepfather, Chris, did to me to punish me. He
pulled *mine* down and gave me a spanking at school. Why
shouldn't I? They were being punished for leaving."
"So they're your toys?" Dr. Shafer asked.
Megan shrugged again. "Why not? They're much better than
Henderson stood up and leaned forward on the table. "What you did
was *wrong,* Megan," he said. "I'm very angry at you for hurting
those little boys!"
"So?" Megan said. She smirked at him and clasped her hands neatly
in front of her. "Chris was mad when he saw me beat up a little
boy. I knew he'd fall when I tripped him." She gave
Henderson a once over. "He made a 'thunk' when his head hit the
rocks. It was fun."
"How many were there?" Dr. Shafer asked.
A wide, happy grin spread over Megan's face. "Five, with
Chris. Five that can never, ever leave me again."
Lois moved closer to Clark. He took her hand and gave it a
comforting squeeze. She gave him a brief smile of gratitude
before turning her attention back towards the interview.
"But don't you feel bad that you killed those little boys?" Dr. Shafer
Megan tilted her chair back, balancing it on its back legs. "Why
should I? They shouldn't have tried to leave."
Henderson exchanged a glance with Dr. Shafer. "I think we're done
here," he said quietly. He stood up and walked around the
table. "Mrs. Barnett, I'm sorry, but I'm placing your daughter
under arrest for the murder of Chris Barnett, Joey Anderson, Benjamin
Smith, Lamar Rogers, and Alexander Epps. Stand up, please, Megan."
Megan stood up, but immediately punched him where it hurt. He
gasped, grabbed her, and handcuffed her hands behind her back.
Mrs. Barnett glared at Henderson. "Is that really necessary?" she
"Yes," he said, then finished reading Megan her rights.
"Your daughter's a sociopath, Mrs. Barnett," Dr. Shafer said.
"Are you saying she's psychotic? That she's crazy?" Mrs. Barnett
Dr. Shafer shook his head. "She's not psychotic. She's
sociopathic--psychotics aren't responsible for their actions because
they can't tell the difference between right and wrong." He stood
up and leaned casually against the wall. "Sociopaths know the
difference; they just don't care. Eating ice cream or killing
someone; it's all the same to them."
Lois shivered. Clark put his arm around her waist, hoping to lend
some support. It had been their good fortune or misfortune,
depending on the way you looked at it, to run across more than their
share of sociopaths as reporters. As Superman, he'd had personal
dealings with most of them. He watched as Henderson took
possession of Megan's elbow and started pulling her towards the door.
"You are *not* putting my baby in a holding cell!" Mr. Barnett said
Henderson turned slightly. "No, ma'am. We'll be sending her
to Juvenile Hall until her trial. I suggest you get a
lawyer." He left the room, pulling a struggling Megan with
Clark gave Lois a one-armed squeeze. "C'mon, Honey. Let's
find out what we can print and get out of here," he said.
Together, Lois and Clark walked out of the room and headed to
Henderson's desk to wait for him to finish talking to the uniformed
cops who he assumed would be taking Megan to Juvie. It was a
relief that Megan would be off the streets, but he still wondered how
he could manage to do what was needed as Superman and still handle
everything else in his life. Sometimes, he thought that their
family motto should be, 'No easy answers," because there never were any.
He supposed it would be an ongoing battle to keep his priorities
straight; if his family came first, he was sure that things would work
out. If the past half-dozen years had taught him anything, it was
that sometimes thinking in shades of gray was necessary to accomplish
everything he needed to do and survive. He and Lois and Rachel
and Jamie were a family, and it had to be enough.
October 1, 1999, 4:00 PM
348 Hyperion Avenue, Metropolis.
Clark zipped the last duffel bag closed and carried it
downstairs. While Megan Barnett's trial was ongoing, Rachel's
part in it was over, so they were heading to Smallville for some
much-needed decompression time. It wasn't the first time they'd
spent the weekend at the farm with his parents, and it probably
wouldn't be the last.
Even before the trial had begun, thanks to his contact in the DA's
office, he had known that the girl was being tried as an adult.
The DNA tests had come back positive, and with the other evidence and
her confession, there was no question that the verdict would be
guilty. With four counts of first degree murder, it was unlikely
that the twelve-year-old would ever be released into society.
Perry had been happy with their articles covering the investigation and
the trial, so he'd been more than happy to give them the afternoon off
to get Rachel out of town. His parents were expecting them, and
he had plans to show Rachel the tree house and perhaps take her
Clark set the duffel bag on the floor. "Is everybody ready?" he
"Yes!" Rachel skipped out of the kitchen and hurled herself at him.
Clark swept her up into a hug, then set her down. "I'm going to
take the luggage first, Sprite," he reminded her.
Lois followed Rachel, albeit at a more sedate pace. Jamie was
cradled in his baby sling across her chest. "Rachel, how about
Daddy takes you next, and then comes and gets me?"
"Okay." Rachel bounced around a bit. "Daddy, when I get
big, I wanna fly like you do."
Clark swallowed, hard. How could he explain to his baby without
making her feel like she didn't belong that she would never be able to
fly? He dropped to his knees and gave her a gentle hug.
"Sprite, you're more like your Mommy than me," he said finally.
"Mommy isn't Kryptonian and neither are you, so I'm afraid that you
can't fly like I can."
Rachel seemed to consider this for a few minutes. "Then I'll fly
really, really, really fast planes," she said with a grin. "Then
I can go as fast as you can, too!" She bounced up and down a
little. "Susie says that her brother flies planes for the Navy
and he can fly as fast as *you,* Daddy. Maybe I'll do that."
"If you want to, baby, you can," Lois said. She sat down on the
couch and patted the cushion next to her. "C'mon, sweetie.
It won't take Daddy long to fly our stuff to Grandma's and Grandpa's
Obediently, Rachel walked over and climbed on the couch. Clark
stood up, brushed off the knees of his jeans, and spun into the
Suit. He picked up the baggage, and, as fast as he could without
disintegrating his cargo, left and flew to Smallville. It
figured, he reflected, that his most vulnerable child would decide that
she wanted to choose one of the most dangerous professions when she
Then again, last week she'd wanted to be a doctor. He landed in
the farm yard, put the bags on the porch, and started to fly back to
Metropolis for his family. Things changed constantly. He
was hoping for a small period of peace to finish the process of
integrating his family and to allow Rachel some space to heal.
He was lucky. He had Lois. He had their children.
Together, he was sure that there was no way that any of Metropolis's
criminal element could overcome them.