In honor of Valentine's Day, and of the fact that a number of people
have already asked me if I ever intend to write another Lori and
Clark story, I thought I'd dash off a little vignette. This one is
something of a historical landmark considering my usual type of
story, because it has absolutely no A-plot whatsoever. All standard
disclaimers apply.

________________

Home 4A: A Valentine Vignette
By Nan Smith deimos1@earthlink.net
Rated G
___________________

Superman arrived in the apartment he shared with his wife Lori,
through the skylight. It had been a day that had kept him busy
almost from the moment they had gotten out of bed this morning,
starting with a severe snowstorm that had begun sometime during the
night. Of course, February was the season for snowstorms, but it
seemed as if it had just been the trigger for one disaster after
another.

In spite of all the anti-collision devices and navigational systems
installed in ground and air vehicles alike, accidents always
increased in this kind of weather. Impatience often led drivers to
ignore the warnings of the various protective devices and do other
unwise things, which frequently led to accidents. Human impatience
was the one obstacle that modern science seemed unable to completely
vanquish.

He'd wanted to be home early today. Lori hadn't been feeling well
for several days and had finally promised, somewhat reluctantly, to
talk to the Kent family physician today.

The lights were on when he touched down, and that meant Lori was
probably home. He listened and instantly picked up her heartbeat in
the bedroom and with it the soft sound of sobs.

Instantly, he was in the room, to see his wife sitting on the bed,
crying quietly.

"Lori? What's wrong, honey?" At once, he was beside her, an arm around her.
At the sound of his voice, she looked up, her eyes red and puffy and
her nose running. Clark produced tissues for her. "Lori? Honey,
what is it?"

"Oh, Clark," she whispered.

Clark quelled the surge of fear that rose in his chest. "Honey,
what's the matter?"

Lori wiped her eyes. "I saw Ronnie," she said. "Clark..." She took
a shaky breath. "I'm so sorry."

"Sweetheart, what *is* it?" Clark grasped her shoulders, trying to
keep his voice steady. Surely, if it were too bad, his granddaughter
would be here with Lori, wouldn't she?

"You know how I've been feeling sick the last few days? I was
feeling better today, and then... Well, after it happened, Ronnie
ran some tests..."

"What did she find?" Clark kept his voice level.

"Clark..." Lori inhaled softly. "I was about six weeks pregnant,
but I miscarried this afternoon. There was something wrong with the
baby...it couldn't..." She began to sob in earnest. "I was going to
have a baby, but I lost it. Oh, Clark, I'm so sorry..."

"Oh, honey." He pulled her close, feeling a little guilty at the
relief that surged through him. "It's all right. I thought--"

Lori was still crying. "I didn't want children this soon, but
now...I was going to have your baby and I didn't even know it, and
now it's gone!"

Clark smoothed her hair, making soothing sounds, simply holding her.
"Lori, sweetheart, it's all right. It's not the end of the world.
I'm sorry it happened, too, but I was afraid something was wrong with
*you*!"

Lori shook her head. "No, I'm fine--except for this. I know how
much you want children--"

"Shh." Clark held her tightly. "Honey, this happens, sometimes. It
doesn't mean it will happen again."

She sniffled. "You don't mind?"

"Well...I didn't say that. I *do* want children, and I'm a little
sad it happened, too, but it will be all right. Really."

"Ronnie said that." She hiccupped. "She said it didn't mean
anything was wrong with me...just that sometimes things go wrong."

"They do, sometimes. But maybe the next time, when you're ready to
have a baby, it won't."

She was silent, cuddling against his chest. At last, she sat up. "I
think, maybe I want a baby sooner than I thought," she said, softly.
"I didn't realize it until I'd lost it."

He wiped away the tears on her cheeks with the edge of his cape. "We
can talk about it," he said. "Having children is a big step.
Remember, once it's done there's no changing your mind."

"I know."

"And babies are a lot of work."

"I know that, too."

"And you still want one?"

She nodded.

"Well," he said, "at least we have a little while to think about it
before we can try, anyhow."

"Ronnie said a week."

"Then we'll have that week to make up our minds for certain."

She gave him a tremulous smile, but there were still tears in her
eyes. " Okay. I'm so sorry, Clark. I feel like I failed you."

"You could never fail me." He dabbed at the fresh tears on her face
with his cape again. "Lori, Lois miscarried once, too, and I never
believed she failed me. Why should I think that about you? I'm only
sorry that you feel so bad about it." He moved to kneel in front of
her. "Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. In less than a week it will be
the anniversary of the day I found you. Sweetheart, do I need to
tell you what a difference that day made in my life?" He took both
her hands. "You changed the world for me, Lori. After I met you, it
was full of hope again."

"Really?" she whispered.

"Really. And if you want a baby--*after* we've had a little time to
talk about it--we'll try."

"Oh, Clark." She slid down onto the floor with him to wrap her arms
around his chest. "I love you so much."

"And I love you." He tilted her face up to press a kiss on her lips.
"Always and forever."


The End