by Starsky Hutch 76 and Vendikarr DeWuff
Because of the Ragnarok crisis, Superman and Power Girl had never had a chance to talk before his wife had called him and asked him to come home, because there was something they needed to discuss. He assumed it had something to do with Alexander Luthor Junior. Having the son of a version of one of his greatest enemies living on his farm would take some getting used to.
The man known variously as Superman, Clark Kent, and Kal-L had been both anticipating and dreading talking with his cousin Kara Zor-L and had hoped to get it over with. But as he flew back to Smallville, he was somewhat thankful for the delay, considering the way she had been staring daggers at him throughout the entire mission. Odin had promised them each a boon. Doctor Mid-Nite’s was obviously youth. When he’d taken off his mask, there stood a young Dr. Charles McNider. He hoped hers wouldn’t be that he get his comeuppance for letting her continue to think he was dead for the last four months.
Clark landed on his back porch and opened the front door. Why were the lights off? He had seen Lois’ car in the driveway, so he knew she was home. It was a lot earlier than she usually chose to go to bed.
“Clark?” he heard her say anxiously.
“It’s me, hon,” he said. “Why are the lights out? Are you OK?”
“I went to the doctor today,” said Lois Lane Kent.
“Are you OK? Nothing was wrong, was there?” he said with concern.
“No, it’s not that,” she said, stepping into the moonlight. Did she look younger? That wouldn’t be his boon. He and Lois were both comfortable with their ages. But rather than looking like a well-preserved woman in her fifties — still much younger than her true age — she looked to be in her mid-to-late forties. Was it a trick of the light?
“Then what is it?” he asked.
She stepped closer and put her hand on his arm. That was when he saw her shocked and bewildered expression. “I’m pregnant.”
“I can’t believe Kal couldn’t even stay to talk to me!” Power Girl said angrily.
“Lois called and asked him to come home,” Red Robin said. “She’s his wife. Probably the most important person in his life. I can understand him wanting to hurry out like that.”
“You can?” Power Girl said coyly.
“Yes. I can,” he said, pulling her to him. They leaned in for a kiss but stopped when they heard footsteps on the stairs leading down to the Batcave from the mansion.
“There’s something you should see, Dick,” they heard the Huntress say.
“What is it?” Red Robin asked, stopping short as he turned and received the shock of his life. There stood Alfred Beagle, looking as young as the day he met him over forty years ago.
“The most amazing thing happened just a short while ago,” he said.
“Pregnant?” Superman said in shock, “That — that’s great. How?”
“I don’t know!” Lois said, emotion rising in her voice. “All these years we thought it was impossible.”
“It must’ve been Odin,” Superman said. “He said he was granting each of us a boon. Where science failed us, he must have come through.”
“All these years I saw other women with their babies,” Lois said. “Pushing strollers in the park. Walking their kids to school. I just kept wishing — wishing so hard it would happen for us, even though I knew it was impossible. Now that it actually is, I’m terrified.”
“Terrified?!” Superman exclaimed. “Lois, why?”
“How strong you and Kara are. What if the baby kicks? Babies do that. Will carrying it even be safe?”
“Lois, I’ve told you before. My powers didn’t develop until much later. Carrying our child will be just like carrying any other. You’ll be fine,” he said reassuringly, pulling her to him. “I must say it seems to be doing wonders for you.” He smiled as he looked at her face.
“It must be part of the spell, to make sure I’m young enough to carry the child successfully. Being with you definitely has its perks.” She reached down to take his hand and brought it up to her face. “Oh, Clark. We’re going to have a baby,” she said with tears of happiness.
“Yes. We are,” he said, stroking her hair with his other hand as she leaned her head on his shoulder. “Yes, we are.” As he looked out the window at the stars in the sky, he wondered how anything could possibly be more right with the world.
Carter Hall held his wife tightly, so glad to be home, even if it was their Gotham City townhouse near the JSA Brownstone rather than their home in Westchester County. “I really am sorry we left without you, but it was an emergency.”
“I do understand, Carter,” said Shiera Hall. “And I put the time to good use. You say you were gone only hours, but here you were gone over a week.”
“I still don’t understand all the twists of other realms. You say you put the time to good use? How’s that?”
Shiera continued. “The world still needed the JSA, so I activated some heroes as the JSA Reserves. Some you know, and some you don’t. We just wrapped up a case involving several old villains and the same Powerstone that Luthor and Ultra both used back during the war. (*) But that isn’t all we’ve been up to.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See Showcase: JSA Reserves: All This and Earth-Two.]
Shiera then played the mission logs of the JSA Reserves, showing the Scarab and Harlequin foiling a bank robbery, Jade and Corona working flood relief in the Ohio Valley, Obsidian foiling a robbery at the Gotham Museum, and Corona and Scarab currently in Turkey working earthquake relief. She then showed him the reports of the Junior JSA and their battle with the Enchantress. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Junior JSA: Field Trip.]
Carter sat silenty for a moment, then said, “Whoa. So many heroes popping up while I was recuperating in New Feithera. And you’ve been coordinating all of this in our absence?”
“Yes, dear. It was something that needed doing. And I just did it. Now that the JSA is back, I think we can shut down the Reserves. I just wanted the world to know the JSA was here for them, especially after the press got word that you all had gone.”
“Well, it seems like there’s some real talent out there. It’s a shame to let it loose. Shiera, I want you to run the Reserves. If necessary, let’s put more heroes on the roster. There are times when we could use the help, and it would be great to know they are there.”
Just then, Carter winced in pain. “Oh, my back. I guess I am not quite cured… aaahhh!”
Carter fell to the floor screaming, Shiera running to his side. Then actual wings began to sprout from his shoulder blades, growing to a wingspan of almost six feet. Once they had stopped growing, Carter’s pain subsided.
“What is this?” asked Shiera.
“I guess this is my boon from Odin. I always wanted natural flight.” He picked up his Nth-metal wings. “Know anyone looking for a pair of hawk wings?”