Birthday Surprise
By Thomas Mc

Author's Notes : I do not usually write Lois and Clark stories but the idea for this little 'short' story just came out of left field one day and demanded my attention. Once I began writing it the thing just began to grow and grow until what started out to be a short little vignette snowballed into a much longer and more complicated story. So, for what it's worth, here is my second Lois and Clark story.

Just a little shout out to Nan Smith: This story was inspired by the incident of the waitress with the green bracelet in her "Home' series, but the incident in my story involves different characters and goes in a radically different direction.

This story starts many years after the end of the series and involves Lois and Clark's oldest son.

Chapter 1

Kristen glanced around the quiet music store where she was working. It was Tuesday evening and the store was empty except for her. She rested her chin on her hand and sighed as she looked out the front of the store into the nearly empty mall. There were no kids in the store because most of them were at the free concert being given in the park by a currently popular local rock group. Kristen had really wanted to go to that concert but her boss had scheduled her to work nearly every evening this week since he would be out of town. To top it off, Stephanie, who was a senior at her school and was supposed to also be working today, had called in sick so Kristen was here alone tonight. What a lousy way to spend her seventeenth birthday.

Thinking of her birthday brought her attention to her new bracelet. It was a birthday present from her older brother, Christopher, along with the matching necklace and earrings. Her brother was in his first year in college and wanted to go for a degree in geology. He was also an amateur jeweler. By combining his interest in collecting unusual stones with his interest in creating jewelry and his natural artistic flair, he had managed to make a modest amount of spending money by selling his creations. He had also come up with some very beautiful pieces for their mother. The set that he had made for Kristen's birthday had crystals that were her favorite color mounted on silver jewelry that had been shaped into Celtic interlacing designs. The resulting pieces were exquisitely beautiful.

Christopher looked nothing like an artistic craftsman. He was six foot five and built like a football linebacker. In fact he did love football and was going to college on a football scholarship as a linebacker on the varsity team. Kristen was barely five foot even and very slender of build, with long wavy brown hair and dark eyes set in a delicate pixie like face. At first glance, those that didn't know her would have taken her for thirteen or fourteen years old. Two more mismatched siblings would be hard to find, yet they had always been very close.

She was brought out of her distracted reverie by the sounds of someone flipping through the CD racks and glanced over toward the front of the store. The Johnson boys were there and the oldest was surreptitiously watching her. Those three were trouble and she knew by the look on the oldest boy's face that they were up to no good (they usually were). She picked up the phone, ready to call security if necessary. The oldest boy said something to his two brothers and the three of them turned and walked out of the store, acting all casual and innocent.

A minute later she walked over to where they had been and found a stack of CDs, that had all come from that part of the rack, shoved underneath the rack where they would normally not be noticed. She pulled them out and, after checking that they were still sealed, put them back where they belonged. Well, that had managed to kill a few more minutes of her boring shift. She glanced around and, seeing nothing else to do, went back to the checkout counter and back to her daydreaming.

After a few minutes Kristen was again gazing around the store in boredom. Her gaze fell on the poster of Superboy hanging on the opposite wall and she sighed. They had just gotten in a shipment of those posters last week. She had bought one that same day and it was now hanging on the inside of her bedroom door.

The only good picture of Superboy had been taken by an amateur photographer who had been lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. He had sold the picture for a small fortune and now she was staring at a blown-up two-foot by four-foot copy of that same picture. It had apparently been taken just as Superboy was lifting off. It showed him facing three quarters toward the camera, looking upward, his arm raised, his body tilted slightly forward and about a foot above the ground.

Superboy had first appeared about eight months ago during one of the worst thunderstorms in recent history. A light rain had suddenly and unexpectedly transformed into a massive monsoon-level downpour. The suddenness of the terrible storm had taken everyone by surprise and caused a massive chain reaction pileup out on the interstate. Over a hundred cars had been involved. Her own father had been caught in the middle of it, though he had fortunately been unhurt, and the car had only lost a bit of paint from the front bumper and the left rear fender. Emergency crews had been unable get through because of the blocked high-way and the heavy rainfall.

Superboy had showed up with Superman. The two of them had quickly transported the paramedics and their emergency equipment to the scene. Then under the paramedics' direction, Superboy had worked on freeing people trapped in their cars, starting with the most seriously injured first. As soon as he got them out of their vehicles the paramedics treated their injuries enough to stabilize them. Meanwhile, Superman had dealt with two tanker trucks that had jack-knifed and had started the chain reaction pileup. One carried gasoline, the other liquid oxygen. A very dangerous combination if ever there was one.

Once Superman had dealt with the tanker trucks he began transporting the injured that had been stabilized to the local hospital while Superboy had continued helping the paramedics remove and treat the remaining victims. After all of the injured had been taken care of they had transported the uninjured motorists with disabled vehicles to a local shelter. Finally after all the people that needed help had been taken care of Superman and Superboy had moved all the badly damaged vehicles off to the side of the road.

Superboy's first appearance caused quite a feeding frenzy in the general media and over the next few days several names were suggested in the newspapers for the new young superhero including Superson, Superman Junior, Superman II, Superkid, and Superboy. In the end Superboy had stuck.

Since that time Superboy had appeared about a half dozen times though he had yet to stick around long enough for anyone to interview. The only thing that Superman had said about him was to acknowledge that Superboy was his son. Kristen's mind wandered to the radio report that she had heard on her way to work a few hours ago. While Superman had been busy in West Virginia rescuing a couple of dozen coal miners from a collapsed mine, Superboy had rescued several people from a burning building in uptown Metropolis.

Kristen was thinking that if there was a son of Superman then there must be a wife of Superman somewhere out there. This lead to her picturing herself encircled in Superboy's strong arms as they both lifted off into the sky together. She sighed again. Oh, to dream the impossible dream.

Her attention was drawn back to earth by the sound of someone entering the store. She looked over and was surprised to see the 'other' object of her romantic fantasies as Jonathan Kent entered the store. She sighed again. Jonathan Kent, oldest of the four Kent children, was the most popular senior at her high school. He was one grade ahead of her and the hottest guy on campus, a tall athletic drop dead hunk with a personality that invited friendship. The rumor was that he was currently going with the head cheerleader but the word was also going around that it was strictly casual and he was still available. She called out a standard greeting to him as he headed toward the back half of the store.

Trying to look casual, Kristen moved out from behind the counter and started straightening the display racks. After a short interval she slowly began working her way toward where Jonathan was browsing the classic rock section. Her heart was pounding as she was desperately trying to get control of her emotions and work up enough nerve to actually speak to him.

As she got closer she saw him start frowning and shake his head a couple of times then his face got very pale. It looked to her like he wasn't feeling well at all. She became afraid the he was going to become very sick right there. Then he swayed and grabbed the edge of the nearest display rack. Kristen's nervousness immediately turned to worry and she quickly approached him ready to help. "Jonathan, are you OK? You don't look so well."

Jonathan's face twisted in pain then he pitched forward. She reached for him as he fell over, his head bouncing off the edge of the rack, accompanied by a tearing sound. Then his head banged hard on the tile floor as he collapsed. Kristen knelt at his side as she cried out. "Jonathan!" He was laying face down, un moving on the floor. Oddly enough, in the back of her frantic mind, she noticed a foot long piece of his shirt was hanging from the display rack beside him.

Jonathan's face was turned to the side and his glasses had been knocked askew. His eyes fluttered momentarily then closed. She tentatively reached out and touched him. "Jonathan?" He shifted slightly and emitted a painful groan. She gave his shoulder a gentle nudge. "Jonathan, say something." This time he didn't move. "Oh God Jonathan, please don't die on me." She was beginning to feel the edges of panic as she gently turned him over to see how badly he was hurt. Her mind seemed to have gone numb as she stared uncomprehendingly at what she saw. His glasses slipped halfway off his face and his shirt was ripped wide open showing blue, red and yellow underneath.

Then her eyes went wide and she gasped as she finally comprehended at what she was looking at. Under Jonathan's torn shirt was deep blue spandex with a very familiar red and yellow shield in the center of his chest. She glanced up at the Superboy poster on the wall then back down at Jonathan. This was impossible! It couldn't be! But the resemblance, now that she was aware of it, was uncanny. She reached out to remove the skewed glasses and smoothed his hair back only to see Superboy's face fully emerge.

Jonathan let out a groan as his face screwed up wincing in pain. This seemed to snap her out of her stunned state. She looked past the CD racks toward the front of the store. She couldn't let anyone see Jonathan . . . or Superboy like this. She jumped up and ran over to the front of the store and closed the metal gate. It wouldn't prevent anyone from looking into the store but it would keep anyone from getting close enough to see Jonathan on the floor behind the CD display racks.

She ran back to the checkout counter and picked up the phone to call 911. She stopped after pressing 9 and, shaking her head, hung up the phone. She couldn't call for the paramedics because then they would see what Jonathan was wearing and his secret would get out. They probably wouldn't even know how to treat him anyway. For that matter who would know how to treat a sick Superman? What should she do? Who could she call for help without giving away Jonathan's secret? For a second she considered simply yelling out "Help Superman!" But then she thought better of it. If Superman showed up at the mall it would bring all kinds of unwanted attention.

Then inspiration struck. His parents!

Who would know better how to help Jonathan than his own parents? They surely already knew about his secret. She got the phone number for the News Department of the Daily Planet and called.

A male voice answered. "Daily Planet News Room. James Olsen speaking."

Kristen responded. "Please sir, it's urgent that I speak to Lois Lane or Clark Kent."

The man responded. "May I ask what this is about?"

She paused a moment debating over what to say. Finally she just blurted out. "It's about their oldest son, Jonathan, he's very ill. Please let me speak to one of them."

There was a pause filled with muffled voices then a female voice came on the line. "This is Lois Lane. Who are you and what is this about my son?"

Kristen took a deep breath and tried to pull herself together. "This is Kristen Mathers at the Music Trading Company in the Metro Center Mall. Jonathan was in here when he suddenly passed out in the middle of the store. When he fell he tore open his shirt and after I saw what he was wearing underneath I thought I should call you instead of 911."

There was a gasp at the other end of the line then some more muffled voices. A new male voice spoke. "We'll be right there. Please don't let anyone else near him."

She responded. "The store is empty and I've already closed up the front gate so no one else can come in." She swallowed nervously as she glanced over at Jonathan's barely visible prone body. "Please hurry. He doesn't look so good and I'm scared he could be dying."

"We'll be there as quickly as possible." Then the line went dead.

Kristen paced nervously for several seconds then returned to check on Jonathan. He continued to show signs of feeling pain despite being unconscious and the bruise forming on his forehead looked very nasty. Her mind swirled with questions and guesses. How could he be hurt? Everyone knew that Superman and Superboy were invulnerable. If Jonathan was Superboy then that would mean that his father, Clark Kent, must be Superman. Then the realization finally hit her still dazed mind. Clark Kent was Superman? Superman and Superboy were walking around among them disguised as ordinary people? Could she be mistaken about Jonathan being Superboy? Yet the more she compared the poster to Jonathan the more certain she was that they looked identical. If he really was Superboy then what could have done this to him?

Less than two minutes later she heard a sound at the mall entrance and looked up to see two people standing at the front gate. She recognized Lois and Clark from the posters on the sides of the city buses advertising the 'Hottest Reporting Team in Town'. She cried out in relief as she ran toward the gate to let them in. "Oh, thank goodness you're here."

As she reached the front of the store Jonathan's father suddenly groaned in pain and grabbed at the gate then he collapsed to the floor. "Clark!" Lois cried out as she knelt down next to her fallen husband.

Continued in Part 2

( rev 130514 )

Disclaimer: This story is based on the television series "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman." The recognizable characters and settings in this story are the property of D.C. Comics, Warner Bros., December 3rd Productions, and anyone else with a legal right to them, and I have no claim on them whatsoever, nor am I profiting by their use. The story, however, is a product of my own imagination. No infringement on copyrights is intended. This story is presented merely for the enjoyment of fans.