Prologue:

September 28, 1943

"Honey, why don't you try and get some rest." He suggested as he carefully got up off the bed with the baby. "You and Sam have had a big day and he's already gone back to sleep."

She nodded reluctantly and slipped down into the bed, dragging the pillows with her and sighed as her eyes began to close, looking too tired to argue with him.

And as she drifted back in to sleep, Clark looked down at his newborn son and smiled.

oooooo

His baby was sleeping peacefully in the crook of his arm and Clark marveled at the new life he held. It was hard for him to believe that the tiny body he cradled so carefully against his chest had, only hours before, still been inside Lois's and the young father could only imagine what she'd gone through to bring their son into the world.

He couldn't help but smile to himself with the realization that she would more than likely fill him on the details when she deemed it necessary.

"Hi, honey." He looked up to see the smiling face of his mother at the door of Lois's room. "Is it all right if we come in?"

"Sure, Mom." Clark replied quietly, not wanting to wake Lois because she needed her rest. The look on his father in law's face was worried as he followed Clark's own father into the room. "How is she doing?"

"She's fine, Sam; just tired." He explained needlessly because he knew Lois's father had been with her through the long hours while she'd labored to have the baby. "I'm really grateful that you were with her." Clark felt the urgent need to tell him. "Because even if I had been here, I don't know that I would have been as insistent to stay with her as you were, rules being what they are."

"That figures." The sleepy voice of his wife startled him and when he turned to look at her, she was smiling as her eyes slowly opened.

"That's because you weren't a father yet." Sam explained with a shrug. "If there comes the time you have a daughter and she's having a baby when her husband is AWOL-" He grinned. "Then you'll know where you need to be."

"Dad." Came the predictable admonishment and Clark laughed softly because he had the feeling something else was coming. "He wasn't AWOL; he was MIA."

There it was.

And her soft laughter warmed the new father's heart.

"Let me help you." Sam strode purposely over to the bed and helped Lois as she tried to sit up, all the while piling the pillows up behind her before he let her go and she sat back, sighing. "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine, Dad." She laughed and reached a hand toward the baby. "That kid's wearing me out already."

"Wait until he starts crawling." Mom smiled. "That's when things will get interesting."

Dad shook his head with a chuckle and Clark looked up at him. "What's so funny?"

"You, actually." He answered. "When you started to crawl, your mother was so afraid of you taking a header down the stairs, or trying to climb up when she wasn't looking that she asked me if I could figure something out to keep that from happening.

"My father thought I was crazy when I fashioned four small sections of fencing for the top and bottom of each staircase. I sanded them down as fine as I could and painted them so you wouldn't get splinters in your fingers when you tried to pull yourself up."

Clark had a vague memory of those small fences and remembered getting frustrated when he couldn't open them. "Do we still have them?"

"Son, it's going to be awhile before he starts to crawl."

"I know." He nodded and looked down at his yawning son. "I just think it's a good idea."

"Well if it's something that you and Lois want to do, we can make new ones." His father's look was a little sheepish. "I stored the ones I made for you out in the barn when we didn't need them anymore and the damp winters finally got to them."

"I did ask you to store them in the attic." Mom scolded him gently. "And you said, 'Sweetheart, they'll be fine in the barn.'"

Sam tried to muffle a snicker and Clark bent his head and kissed his son's forehead to cover his own amused laugh, but his wife caught it. "Clark."

"I know." He looked up at her and grasped the outstretched hand, kissing her fingers. "I know."

"So are you going to tell us what we have?" His father finally asked. "Is it a grandson or a granddaughter?"

"You have a grandson." Lois' face flushed as she smiled.

"A boy." Lois's father grinned and then he cleared his throat as he suddenly tried to look serious. "Though a girl would have been fine, too. Your mother and I had two and they made us awfully happy."

"Nice save, Dad." She laughed at the look of embarrassment on her father's face.

"I thought so." He reached out for her other hand and held it for a moment. "As long as you're all right, that's what really matters to me."

"And I bet you'll have second thoughts about going through that with me again, won't you?" Lois laughed again.

"If you need me, I'll be there." His look was deadly serious. "Just remember that."

"I'll remember." She nodded and when Clark saw her blink, he was sure she was trying not to cry.

"So, did you finally agree on a name?" Dad asked as Sam's tiny hand wrapped around Clark's finger. "As I recall, you were still trying to decide when you got sent out on assignment."

He and Lois glanced at each other and she shrugged as though to tell him, 'You can tell them.'

"You're right, we never really did settle on anything before I had to leave. But given what's happened in the last couple of days, it ended up being pretty easy." Clark started and looked down at his son again and brushed his fingers across the downy cheek before he focused his attention on their parents. "We're carrying on the tradition of having Jerome as his middle name, which made his first name make more sense."

"Son, you don't need to do that if you want to name him something else." Dad shook his head with a frown.

"Yes, we do." Lois interjected with a firm look at Clark's father. "Tradition is tradition and every first-born Kent male has the middle name of Jerome. And since he is first-born, that's the way it is."

His father tried not to crack a smile and nodded. "Fair enough. So how does Jerome make the baby's first name make more sense?"

"It was my idea actually. Because in my mind, there was only one name we could give him." He started and with a glance at Lois, she nodded her encouragement before he looked at his father in law and continued. "We decided to name him after you. Now I know that you and Dad didn't want us to name him after either of you, but you stayed with my wife during all those hours that the FBI was trying to get a hold of me and get me home. You kept her calm and helped keep her mind off what she was going through. I know how much she loves Mom, but I think it made it more bearable to have you going through it with her."

Clark sat silently, waiting, while the baby shifted in his arms and the General was speechless. His face flushed as he swallowed a couple of times and then unexpectedly, his eyes got teary. Another glance from Lois, her own eyes teary, told him that they'd made the right decision.

"Well, hell-" Was all he managed to say and Lois scolded him.

"Dad."

"What? He can't hear me; he's asleep." He recovered his bluster. "I don't know what to say."

"Thank you would be a start, Sam." Mom chided him gently with a smile before she nodded at the new parents. "That was a very thoughtful gesture."

"Samuel Jerome Kent." Dad smiled with approval. "That's a good strong name."

"Well considering who his grandfathers' are, it should be." Lois commented quietly and Clark turned toward her when he heard her sigh; she looked exhausted.

"I think it's time for us to leave you alone." Mom must have noticed it too because she looked concerned and reached out for Lois' hand. "You get some more rest and we'll come back later."

"Would you like to hold the baby?" She asked them and started to blink; a sure sign she was trying to stay awake.

"When you're better rested." His mother answered as she stepped over to the bed and pressed a kiss to her hair. "We've got plenty of time."

"Get some rest, Lo. You're going to need it." Sam grinned briefly before he kissed her cheek. "I'll call your sister and let her know that she has a nephew."

"Thanks, Dad."

"Thank you for naming Sam after me." He put a hand on her arm. "You've given me an honor I don't deserve."

"And you shouldn't have had to go through all of that, but you did it for me." Lois disagreed with a shake of her head. "I think you do deserve it."

"If you say so." Her father nodded and then stepped back. "We'll be back later."

"You should think about getting a little rest yourself, Clark." His father looked at him with a worried frown. "Why don't you come home with us and let Lois get some sleep."

"No!" Lois objected with wide eyes as she reached for him and their parents looked at her in surprise. "I haven't seen him for nearly a month and he's not going anywhere. If he behaves himself, he can sleep with me."

"Lois." Clark rolled his eyes and felt his face warm.

"What? It's not like we can actually do anything."

"Lois!" His voice cracked with embarrassment and she looked puzzled.

"What?" She asked again. "We can't."

"I think that's our cue to leave." Dad grinned. "I think they're about to have their first argument as parents."

"We're not going to argue." Lois disagreed with her father in law. "We're going to sleep."

"What about the baby?" Mom looked concerned. "Should I get the nurse?"

"That's all right, we'll be fine." Her voice held a note of confidence that Clark didn't feel.

"We will?" He looked at her, wondering what she was thinking and frankly, afraid of the answer.

"We're keeping Sam with us." She looked at him. "We'll just cradle him in between us."

"Are you sure that's such a good idea?" He pressed.

"It's pointless to argue with her, son." Lois' father chuckled. "Once my daughter makes up her mind about something, it's almost impossible to get her to change it."

"I'm finding that out." He glanced at her and she had an eyebrow raised at him as thought to say, 'Well?'

"We'll let you work this out while we go home and get some breakfast." Clark's mother laughed softly and leaned over to kiss his cheek, then the top of her grandson's head. "Get some rest; you've all had a pretty big day."

"Thanks, Grandma." He grinned and her eyes got teary.

"You're welcome, Dad."

He really liked the sound of that.

Dad.

Clark stood up carefully, the baby still sleeping in his arms. He looked uncertainly at his son's mother as the door closed behind their departed parents. "Honey, are you sure about this?"

"You and Sam aren't going anywhere." She insisted. "So hand over your son and take off your shoes."

"I don't think the nurse is going to be happy about this." He sighed.

"Clark, stop stalling." Lois gave him a look that wouldn't brook any more delaying tactics. "I need to get some sleep and I won't be able to do that if you're over there, sitting in a chair holding our baby. I want you on this bed holding me."

Clark had never minded losing an argument less than he did at that moment. It wasn't every day that a beautiful woman, who also happened to be your wife and the mother of your child, insisted that you sleep with her.

He was a very lucky fellow.

Lois reached out and he carefully placed the baby in her arms before he rearranged the pillows so she could lie down and settle him next to her.

Clark sat down in the chair to untie his shoes and then slipped them off. He tucked them under the bed before he stood up and noticed that Lois's eyes had closed. Sam was tucked next to her body and his small arms seemed to be reaching for his father.

That was all the encouragement he needed to sit down on the bed and then stretch out next to his family. He put one hand on Lois' waist and pulled her toward him so he could brush a kiss against her lips. Then after getting his other arm around her, she tucked her head into the hollow of his shoulder.

"Clark?" She returned his gentle kiss and sighed.

"Mm-hmm?" He answered as he drew her even closer, being mindful of the baby.

"Thank you."

"For what?" He asked as his eyes grew heavy, her reassuring warmth lulling him into much needed sleep.

"For Sam." He felt the butterfly touch of her lips on his again as his eyes closed and then she laughed softly. "I couldn't have done it without you."

"I was happy to help." He grinned and felt his face warm.

"I know you were." She laughed again and he felt her hand grasp his tie. "Clark?"

"What is it, honey?" He began to caress her back and she sighed again.

"How much do you think we should tell him about this?" Lois asked, her voice sounding sleepy.

"Isn't this something that can wait until he's old enough to ask?" He asked her sensibly.

"Probably. But I'm asking now." She replied, just as sensibly and tucked her head under his chin. "So what are we going to tell him?"

"Well, we should probably start with the night I got home from California." He took in a deep, tired breath and let it out on a sigh. "You were asleep on the sofa-"

"I wasn't asleep." She insisted. "I was resting my eyes waiting for you."

"You were sleeping, Lois." He smiled again. "Which is what you should be doing now."

"Speak for yourself, G-man." Lois chastised him. "I'm not the one who had to catch the red-eye from Chicago."

"Lois."

"Clark."

"Please go to sleep." He tried to hold back a laugh.

God, he really loved her.

"Only if you do." He felt the vibration of her suppressed laugh under his hand.

Clark opened his eyes briefly and Sam's eyes were closed. 'Enjoy the quiet, Dad.' He told himself. 'It won't always be like this.'

"Lois?" He smiled as he felt her body move carefully toward his.

"Yes?" Her head moved from under his chin and she looked up at him.

"I love you."

"I love you, too. Now how about working on that story?" She kissed his cheek and stifled a laugh. "The sound of your voice always puts me to sleep."

"Gee, thanks." Clark shook his head in bemusement before he gave some thought about how to start. "Once upon a time-"

"You can't be serious."

"Who's telling this story, Mom; you or me?" He kissed her forehead. "Now hush."

"Fine." She sighed and to his surprise remained silent.

That had to be a first.

"Once upon a time there was a beautiful night club singer and an overly serious FBI agent who, for some reason he still doesn't quite understand, fell in love and got married."

"Nice start there, Dad." She laughed softly.

"No comments from the peanut gallery." He chided her with a smile. "And once they were married, he couldn't seem to keep his hands off of her."

"Not just his hands, buster." Lois laughed again. "Are you sure we should tell our son that?"

"Okay, maybe not that." He sighed before he continued. "So a few months after the singer and the agent were married, they found out they were anticipating a blessed event."

"I like that." Her head settled on his shoulder. "I hope he thinks it's a blessing."

"Honey, Sam is going to love you as much as I do." Clark assured her. "You aren't going to know what to do with so much love from us."

"Tell me that in about six weeks." She snickered. "Then I'll show you what you can do with it."

"I'm sure you will." His face warmed at the thought.

"You can count on it." She replied. "So, how did their blessed event turn out?"

"They ended up having a son and they named him after her father."

"Now why would they do something like that?" Lois huffed. "Dopey parents."

"They did something nice, Lois." He shook his head in mock exasperation. "Because her father did something nice for her."

"He did, you know." She nodded her agreement as she caught his eye. "Clark, if he hadn't been here-"

"You would have had Sam anyway." He stated the obvious. "But you had someone that you loved and trusted to see you through it."

"That makes it sound like I don't trust your parents." She frowned at him.

"Not at all." Clark shook his head again. "The love you have for your dad is different from the love you have for my parents. Mom might have been able to help you because she's been through it, but I think having your dad's strength is what you really needed."

"I would rather it had been you."

"No, you don't." He shook his head. "I wouldn't have known what to do and I probably would have made things worse."

"I don't think so." Lois disagreed and Clark watched as she gently stroked the bottoms of the baby's feet, which Sam seemed to like because he started to gurgle softly. She was going to be a great mother. "I'm glad Dad was there, don't get me wrong. But having you there would have made things that much easier."

His answer to that was to kiss her. It was the only thing he could do because he loved her so much.

"I'll try to be there next time." Clark told her.

"And there is going to be a next time, you know." She nodded. "Because Sam is not going to be an only child, if I can help it."

"It wasn't so bad." He tried to sound convincing, but in truth, he had often wondered what it would have been like to be an older brother to younger Kents. "But I don't want Sam to be an only child either."

Don't smile Clark.

"And you realize there's only one way to do that."

"Which if you have your way, we'll be doing in about six weeks." He commented dryly.

"As if you aren't looking forward to it." Lois replied just as dryly.

"After waiting as long as we did before we got married, I don't think another six weeks will be that bad." He shrugged. "And we did wait a long time."

"Tell me about it." She snickered just before she kissed him. "But it was worth it, wasn't it?"

"Every agonizing second." Clark nodded and kissed her back. "And look what we got for our trouble."

"What do you mean our trouble?" She brushed a hand across his cheek. "In case you forgot, I'm the one who went through it."

"True." He kissed her nose. "And I love you for saying that you'll go through it again."

"As long as you're always here, that won't be a problem." Lois yawned at the same time Sam did and Clark laughed softly. Like mother, like son.

"No laughing, G-Man or you will go home."

"And you're going to wake up the baby, so shush." He made certain she wouldn't do just that when he kissed her.

"Clark?" He tried not to grin at the sound of her breathy voice grazing his ear just before her lips did.

"Yes?"

"Thank you for giving Sam to me." She pressed her lips to his once and then again.

"Likewise." He answered her kiss in the same way and then kissed her forehead. "But you know what I'd like you to do now?"

"What's that?" She grasped his tie and pulled him close to kiss him yet again.

"Say goodnight, Gracie." He did grin then because Clark knew that Burns and Allen was one of her favorite programs.

"Goodnight, Gracie." She laughed softly and kissed him one last time before she put her head down in the crook of his shoulder and sighed, continuing to stroke the baby's feet.

He waited for her body to relax as she fell back into sleep and then pressed a soft kiss to the baby's head before it was his turn to fall back into sleep with their newborn son tucked in between them; sleeping, too.