Small Changes

Written by: Adventure-Seeking-Juliet

Disclaimer: I do not own Superman, DC comics, Smallville, or DC's cinematic universe.

A/N So, it's been a while since I've dabbled in DC's cinematic universe...(six years, I believe.) A lot has changed over the years. For example, I was about fourteen when I first watched Superman Returns in 2009, and now I'm a twenty-year-old English major. Likewise, a lot has happened in the Superman universe. Everyone loves Man of Steel, myself included, but I'm still totally awe-struck by the idea of Superman as an unprepared father. I know there's been some father-son stuff in the Young Justice animated series, but I'm not a big fan of the whole clone thing (although what I've seen of the show and Connor/Kon-El is pretty amazing, so I definitely recommend it.) I'm returning to my fanfic roots to write about Jason White, the half-Kryptonian, half-human son of Clark and Lois. I know most people bitch about Returns, but, honestly, I still enjoy the movie. I liked the idea. While the movie itself could have been better, Jason was perfection. Plus, I have a deep, deep affection for Richard White, who, in my opinion, is the only man who could ever even compete with Clark. He is cool, intelligent, attractive (and despite how he's been written in many fics) he seems to be very understanding and level-headed.

Now, all that said, this idea popped into my head after re-watching Superman Returns. I've been marathoning the movie, while also viewing some old Smallville episodes. I've also (sadly) spent the past several weeks completely obsessed with SR fanfictions. After reading pretty much every single one of them, I've decided on a plot that echoes my own rediscovery of SR. It's been eight years. A realistic eight years...meaning no matter how much all of us would like to think that Lois and Superman worked everything out and were married within a year...they weren't. Lois and Richard are together. Life has gone on...but recent changes are about to turn the world on its head.

Just to clarify, I know this section of FF is probably dead. The movie came out in 2006. I just hope someone out there is interested in reading this story. It is a big improvement upon my original SR sequel story, that's for sure.

Part One: Thin Threads

It was the second Monday in August, and, as usual, Lois Lane was at her desk, typing up another Superman-centric article. The sun had risen about an hour ago, but she was still the only member of the Lane-White household who was awake. She'd been unable to sleep, and with the threat of a deadline looming, she'd showered, brewed herself a cup of coffee, and sat down at her desk with the intent to investigate Superman's recent run-in with a group of international mobsters.

That had been three hours ago. Now, Lois was nursing her third cup of black coffee and the page in front of her remained mostly blank. Three different voice recorders, one featuring the scathing audio of her most recent interview with Metropolis' head of police, were laid out in front of her, cluttering her desk space.

With an annoyed glance at the clock, Lois saved her document, pushed back her chair, and stormed back into the kitchen. She set to work brewing another pot of coffee, impatiently tapping her favorite red-ink, ballpoint pen against the counter top.

Her nerves were in shambles. She was sick of being saddled with Superman stories. Wasn't it enough that she thought about him and his stupid, perfectly-sculpted body on a daily basis? Or that he spent at least one night a week having hushed conversations with her-their-son? Apparently not. The coffee pot beeped.

With an angry flourish that almost upended the entire pot, Lois slapped the off button.

She didn't know what to do anymore. Things were a mess. Superman hadn't visited Jason in weeks and it was her fault. After years of awkward silences and stolen glances, Superman had finally told her about the memories he'd erased. The memories of their time together, of Jason's conception...and when she'd demanded Superman restore them, he'd refused. He said she hadn't been able to deal with the truth, that she'd almost died.

Like hell Lois thought. Like hell was Superman going to withhold her personal memories from her. Lois was furious with him. Angrier than she could remember ever being...and she'd had a lot of reasons to be angry with him over the past twelve years. She'd ordered him away, told him to leave her and her son alone.

And she was regretting it.

Lois began to pour the scalding coffee into her cup. In her haste, she slipped and the hot liquid overflowed, searing her skin. She uttered a curse, and turned quickly to the sink. Even after letting the cold water run over the burn, her finger seemed to throb.

"Great," she groaned, "just what I need..."


Lois jumped, spinning around to face her fiancée. Richard was standing next to the fridge, the milk carton in hand and a look of concern on his face, "Are you okay?"

"Fine," Lois said a bit sharply, "just burned myself. No big deal." She turned the tap off and offered Richard a fake smile.

He wasn't buying it.

"Really? That's it? How many cups of coffee have you had this morning? You look strung-out, Lois."

"I'm fine," Lois said through gritted teeth, "I've been up working on that article."

Richard shook his head, "I'm not surprised. But maybe you should lay off the caffeine." As Richard spoke, he'd poured himself a cup, adding a healthy amount of milk and sugar. Richard never drank black coffee.

Lois merely nodded, watching him. Superman wasn't the only man in her life who she'd had problems with lately. She and Richard had...argued. Several times. He wanted to get formally married, but Lois kept putting it off. He'd even accused her of being in love with Superman...and she hadn't been able to deny it. There was something there. It was different than how she felt about Richard, but her attempts to explain the situation to Richard had been failures. He still didn't even really know about Jason's true parentage.

She'd decided years ago that she would tell him when it was time. Weeks had passed by, then months, and now eight years had passed. Jason's allergies had vanished, along with the asthma, but she still hadn't told him. How do you tell a man that his son isn't his son? Or that his son is actually the son of a super-powered alien that she didn't even remember sleeping with?

Life had gone on after the incident on Luthor's boat. Between Superman's weekly visits, Jason's newfound allergen resistance, and the birth of Richard and Lois's daughter, Rachel, a year after Superman's return...Lois just hadn't had time to explain things to Richard the way she should have.

And what could she do now? Richard was Jason's father in all but blood, and Rachel was his daughter in every way. What would happen to them, to their family, if she dropped such a truth bomb on Richard now?

She and Richard had just sat down at the table when the sound of yelling and thundering footsteps sounded from the second floor.

Lois smiled to herself. Right on cue.

Jason and Rachel's arrival in the kitchen was announced by a loud thud. The two of them had skidded down the last few stair steps, arguing loudly about who was going to eat the last of the Fruity Pebbles.

Lois continued methodically sipping her coffee, and Richard merely sighed and opened a copy of the paper lying on the table. Every weekday morning had started like this since Rachel had been old enough to talk. A few minutes later, Rachel slid into her seat at the table, a large bowl of Fruity Pebbles in hand.

Lois and Richard shared a look.

"I see you won the argument...again," Lois said. Whenever the kids' cereal ran low, Rachel always won the last bowl.

"So what did you use this time?" Richard asked, chuckling as he watched Rachel stuff an overlarge spoonful of colorful cereal in her mouth, "Fake crying?"

"Negotiation," Rachel replied, "Mommy taught me." The table erupted into laughter just as Jason took his seat, staring glumly at his bowl of cornflakes.

After their laughter died out, Lois and Richard turned their attention to their son, "Are you excited to start at your new school today?"

Jason made a face, "Not really." Yesterday had been the kids' last day of summer vacation. Today, Jason would be starting his first year at Metropolis Academy, the city's second best private school, and Rachel would be starting second grade at Riverside Elementary.

Lois rolled her eyes, "Jason, its one of the best schools in the city. You'll love it. They have advanced music classes."

Jason matched his mother's eye roll with one of his own, "Yeah, whatever."

Lois closed her eyes and counted to ten. Jason was thirteen now, she had to remind herself constantly. The whole teenager and puberty thing was driving her crazy.

"What's the problem, Jason?" Richard asked, calmly.

"I don't have a problem! Why would you think I have a problem?" Jason asked. He was poking the lumpy, sugarless cornflake cereal with his spoon.

"Oh, I don't know," Lois replied sarcastically, "Maybe because you're being defensive?"

"I'm not being defensive," Jason said.

Lois was about to continue pushing him for an answer, but Jason just stared at the table, looking completely miserable. Something was seriously bothering him, but Lois knew better than to push him. She'd find out what was going on soon enough. She always did.

She was Mad Dog Lane, after all.

Apparently, Richard agreed with her as he also gave up questioning Jason. The table was silent now, save for Rachel's loud chewing and the sound of Richard flipping through pages of the paper.

Lois sighed, "Jason, your food is for eating, not playing. Rachel-please chew with your mouth closed. We're leaving in ten minutes."

Work was dragging.

Richard had dropped the kids off hours ago, but Lois still hadn't been able to get any work done on her most recent Superman article. After catching a taxi to the Planet, Lois settled down at her cubicle. She'd purposely avoided both Clark and Jimmy. They always wanted to chat when she was busy.

Of course, she was always busy.

Her mind was wandering back to the situation with Superman. She should ask him to come back and spend time with Jason, but, on the other hand, she really wanted to slap Superman and yell some more. He'd done something unforgivable, he should suffer for it.

But should Jason? Superman had said Jason would need him, especially now.

Lois groaned, "What does that even mean?"

"What does what mean, Lois?" It was Clark.

Clark was standing on the other side of her cubicle, holding a stack of papers in his hands. He coughed nervously, "I-I didn't mean to eavesdrop, but you were, um, talking to someone...can I help?"

Lois sighed, "I was talking to myself, Clark," She eyed her fellow reporter for a moment, "Actually... maybe you can help me."

Clark smiled, "I'm happy to help."

"Of course you are," Lois said, briskly, "So, this is the situation. I know this reporter from Gotham. She has a family, but one of her kids is from another relationship. She found out that her ex had done something unforgivable, so she told him to never speak to her or her son again. Do you think she did the right thing?"

Clark shrugged uncomfortably, "Gee Lois, that's a hard question."

"I know. I want to give her some advice, but I don't know what to say." Lois tapped her pen against the desk. The repetitive sound helped her ignore the strange earnestness of Clark's stare.

"There isn't an easy answer to your question. Sometimes it can be hard to forgive someone when they hurt you, even if it was done with the best intentions."

"How could something unforgivable be done with good intentions? It was wrong. Period."

Clark's eyes locked on hers. She'd never realized how blue they were before. Almost the same color as Jason's eyes. Superman's eyes. That thought shocked her back to reality. She had a problem to solve; Jason was Superman's son...and she had forcibly separated them. Get back on topic, Lane.

Clark was fidgeting with the papers in his hands, "But Lois...he is the boy's father. Doesn't he deserve to see his son?"

"As far as I'm concerned, this man doesn't deserve anything from her or her son," Lois paused, thinking, "but...I don't think it's right to deny her son the right to see his father."

Clark seemed to perk up, "I think you're right. Maybe she could give him some visitation rights on a trial basis. Sons need their fathers."

His voice sounded strangely rough. Lois almost felt bad for dragging him into her problems...hadn't Clark mentioned that his father had died years ago? The topic probably made him emotional. Lois decided to let the conversation rest. All she needed today was Clark Kent crying all over her desk.

Luckily, she had an excuse ready, "Well, thanks for the talk Clark, but it's nearly three. I have to pick the kids up from school."

Lois was gone before Clark could even mumble his goodbyes.

Lois tapped her foot impatiently.

Picking up the kids had taken an hour, thirty minutes of which were spent waiting in traffic at Riverside Elementary. On top of that, she had then been forced to go inside to get Jason. Now the three of them were in the elevator at the Planet.

"I have a deadline on that blasted article, otherwise you'd be home right now getting grounded," Lois aimed the remark at her son, who was leaning against the other side of the elevator staring forlornly at the floor.

"Are you listening to me?" Lois asked, her annoyance flaring up again.

Jason didn't even look up.

Finally, she couldn't take it anymore, "Jason!"

Her son's head snapped up, "What?" He didn't appear to have heard anything she'd said.

"What is wrong with you? You're in serious trouble at school. Why did you ignore your teacher like that? She was furious...this is not the way to start off a new year at a new school. Do you know how much we're paying in tuition?!"

Jason looked close to tears, "I'm sorry."

Lois's anger quickly dissolved into concern. This wasn't normal for Jason. Was this what Superman was talking about when he said Jason would need him more now? Was it some sort of super Kryptonian puberty? Over the past few years, Jason had only had one or two more incidents like the one on the Gertrude, and the incidents he had had were random and only occurred in times of extreme stress. Besides the disappearance of his allergies, he'd been a completely normal little boy.

Would that change now?

"Can we go home now?" Jason asked.

Lois sighed, "No...I have to work on something. Your father will probably head home in an hour or two. You guys can ride with him when he leaves."

Rachel squealed with joy when the elevator arrived on the top floor, "Yay! Can we do this everyday? I love seeing Mr. Jimmy and Mr. Clark." As soon as the doors opened, Rachel raced into the office, searching for the two men in question. Jason hung back, frowning. Lois thought he looked tired.

"Did you sleep last night?" Lois asked, accusingly.

"Yes, mom," Jason replied, rolling his eyes.

"You didn't stay up playing video games all night did you?"

"No! Can I go sit in Dad's office or something? It's loud in here."

Lois nodded her consent and returned to her own cubicle. She could see Rachel sitting at Jimmy's desk a few feet away. The little girl was occupied with trying to convince Jimmy to let her borrow his camera, but, to Lois's surprise, Jason didn't go straight to Richard's office. Instead, he was leaning against Clark's desk. The two were talking quietly and laughing about something.

If Lois hadn't known better, she might have thought they looked enough alike to be father and son.

A/N This story is set in 2014, by the way. Also, please review and let me know if you'd be interested in reading more. I apologize for any mistakes.