Title: Beyond Reach
Author: Nadia Mack
Disclaimer: I Own Nothing
Timeline: Post-Season Four
Summary: A visit from a stranger embarks Clark's family and friend on a journey that'll change his life forever.
Author's Notes: I wasn't going to originally post this. I wrote some time ago and well, I have this thing with time-travel and I figured you guys are tired of all that. So I'm just going to post this anyway and hope it's pretty decent.

Read carefully, POV alternates as you read further. You'll understand what I mean once you get to that point. Chloe knows Clark's secret. I used "Adventures of Superman" as another reference.

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Clark hurried out of the barn and walked quickly into the house, through the living room and towards the kitchen.

"Lois is really giving me a hard time right now," Clark announced to his parents. Instead of sympathy, he received laughter from them. "Come on, help me," their child pleaded.

Jonathan put his newspaper down. "And what exactly do you want us to do?" he asked with an amused smile.

Little did Clark know that his father actually encouraged Lois to bother him. After the tragedy that befell Smallville during Clark's high school graduation, his son has been cooped up at the barn for too long with guilt and self-loathing.

"She's driving me crazy." Clark shook his head in frustration. "She's being… very… nice to me"

Martha chuckled and Jonathan nearly spilled his coffee. Not the tactic he'd expected but it was effective nonetheless.

"And that's a bad thing, sweetie?" Martha arched an eyebrow as well as a smile.

Jonathan eyed the stove. "Did she cook you something?"

"No," he groaned. He wished she had now. "She's just been…" he paused with uncertainty. "Very nice"

Jonathan and Martha looked at him shocked, when in truth, they really weren't.

"Knock, knock." A cheery voice announced. Chloe Sullivan was at the door.

"Hi Chloe," Clark says.

"Hey Clark." She turns to the adults. "Mr. and Mrs. Kent"

"Want to join us for breakfast, Chloe?" Mrs. Kent asked, putting an extra plate on the table. Chloe didn't need to be asked twice.

Clark slumped down on the chair, his mood clearly sour.

"What's wrong with you?" Chloe asks.

Jonathan smiled. "Lois is giving him a hard time," he answers for his son.

Chloe chuckled and looked at Clark. "What'd my cousin do now?"

He hesitated. "She's being… nice to me"

Chloe laughed out loud. "Yeah, I can see why that's weirding you out." Clark kept silent. "Is my cousin really all that bad, Clark?"

Clark stares at her in bewilderment and wondered where she even came up with the question. "Of course not!"

She doesn't believe him. "Then why is it so hard to believe that she's a good person"

"I know she's a good person, okay. It's just… we argue, it's what we do. She insults me, I insult her back. It's the norm between us with hints of sincerity every now and then… but this... is out of character"

Chloe just shook her head knowingly, it seems like someone else had crawled under his skin.

"Oh, the road to true love never did run smooth," another voice enters to the conversation. The Kent's and Chloe didn't even realize he was there.

"Who are you?" Jonathan stood up, defensively putting himself between the stranger and his family.

"That's not important," he smiled mischievously.

Clark moved around his dad and took a step closer to the uninvited guest. "What do you want?"

"That's an excellent question"

"It'd be nice if you would just answer me?"

"Aren't you touchy. Relax superboy." He puts his left hand to his chest as the right was raised. "I come in peace," he quotes, and then smiles. "I've always wanted to say that"

Martha grows worried. "Please, what do you want from us?"

He was silent a moment before answering, but he did so staring straight into Clark's eyes.

"You're wife"

Everyone in the room is wide-eyed. They stare at him in disbelief.

"What?"

Clark shook his head. "I don't have a wife"

"No, not yet, but you're wife-to-be is here and I'm looking forward to finally meeting her." He thought a moment then retracted. "Nah, I'm lying, we're actually good friends in the future"

Chloe gasped. "The future?"

The stranger sighed at their childishness. "Oh you know future… the 'yet to be' or 'coming.' Geez, need me to give you a dictionary?"

"I have a wife?" Clark repeated.

Jonathan and Martha didn't know what to say.

The man nodded enthusiastically. "And a gorgeous one at that, and let's not forget smart and compassionate. Hey, she kind of reminds me of you." He laughs at his own joke, though he was telling the truth.

"You're lying. This is just some kind of a sick joke," Clark says angrily.

"Sure, I'm having fun with this, but I am telling you the truth"

"I don't have time for this." Clark walked forward, his tall frame towering over him. As he reached to push him out the door, he is blocked by an invisible field, throwing him across the room.

His parents and Chloe run to his side.

"What was that?" Chloe says with shocked eyes.

Clark unbelievably stared at the stranger. There was only one other thing in the world besides Kryptonite that can hurt him.

"Magic," he muttered under his breath. "You're insane if you think I'm just going to believe you"

"Why?" the stranger goaded him. "Because you know I'm right"

"You're not right!" Clark raised his voice high and forceful. "I DON'T' have a wife!"

The stranger shook his head in disappointment. "So young," he observed the young man meticulously. "So naïve"

"Look, there's got to be some kind of mistake," Chloe chimed in, hoping her support could help. "We've experienced a lot of crazy things over the years, but you're talking about time-travel"

"Thanks, Chloe," says Clark appreciatively.

The stranger smirked; it was time to bring out the big guns. "Would you like to see for yourselves then?" he challenged.

Clark was taken aback. This man had proof. How?

Jonathan and Martha gave each other looks of hope and fear. They had no idea what was in store for these kids.

"Why are you doing this?" Martha finally found her voice and spoke out pleadingly.

The stranger looked at her and smiled. "You ready?" He put both hands together and a beam of light begins to grow from his grasp. The group looked on with amazed yet worried faces.

"Wait! Stop!" Clark yelled at him as the light became brighter.

Then they were all engulfed by the light, and as fast as it came, they were left in a place that was unfamiliar to them.

"Where are we?" Chloe asked, looking around the sun lit room.

Clark gazed throughout what looked like two floor loft apartment, or could it be a penthouse?

"I don't know, Chloe," he replies truthfully, the day's events weighing heavy on his shoulders.

Jonathan remained by his wife's side. "Doesn't look like we're in Kansas anymore," he observed. Martha pulled him out towards the open balcony, her mouth slightly open.

"Jonathan, look, we're in Metropolis," she says out loud, garnering everyone's attention.

Clark rushes to her side. "Metropolis," he repeated, looking out into the lush city. "I don't get it, why are we here?"

"You'll see," a voice says out of the blue. The group turned around to see who was there, but all they found was themselves and no one else.

"Whose there?"

"Who do you think?"

"Why did you bring us here?" Clark asked desperately.

"To show you"

"Show me what?" he asks impatiently.

"You're future"

They all gasp. That couldn't be right. It isn't possible. Just then, someone else enters the apartment phasing right through Clark himself.

"WEEEEEEE…" the small child ran in with a toy plane in his hand. An adult followed behind with a bag of groceries in one hand and a cell phone on the other.

"Uh huh, Chief… yes… I know… it'll be there… Uh huh… Hmm… okay, Chief, I gotta go, my son's on the loose," she hurried off the phone and playfully chased her boy across the living room, diving in the middle and tickling him on the floor as the child laughed.

Jonathan, Martha, Clark and Chloe looked on in astonishment. It was Lois. What did she have to do with Clark's future? But from the looks of it, she was a different Lois… the same, yet older. And… they gasped in even more surprised when they realized who she was to the little boy, she was his mother, and she looked completely natural being one.

It wasn't just that that surprised them. No, there were many things about her that's changed. Her hair, her attire, the way she carried herself… everything.

"Momeeee!" the little boy continued to laugh. He had dark black hair with eyes that would change from hazel to blue when the sun hit it a certain way. He couldn't be more than a few years old. He looked so familiar to all of them but they can't quite grasp how.

Lois held the boy lovingly in her arms, kissing his cheek with parental affection as her child giggled in her embrace.

It was apparent that the rest of the room's occupants couldn't be seen by this version of Lois. Chloe walked over, looking at her closely, as if trying to make sure that what she was seeing was the real thing.

She kneeled down, covering her mouth with her hands.

"Oh my god," she whispered as it started to dawn on her who this woman really was. "Lois" She stared in awe of the change in her as well as taking in the sight of her son. "He's beautiful"

"There's got to be some kind of mistake," Clark suggested. "Whose kid is that anyway?"

"Yours," his mother said from behind.

Clark turned to her, shocked by her claim. "What?" he was so confused. "Mom, are you saying. You guys honestly think I would marry Lois of all people? This is a trick, it has to be"

Martha pointed to a frame photo and Clark followed, and in response, he gasped in surprise. It was a picture of him, Lois and the little boy.

"That's…" it looked so real. A photo taken in a playground, and they all had smiles. They were happy.

"Dadeeee!" the little one says, getting everyone's attention up. Clark looked up and saw… himself.

Real or allusion, he couldn't deny anymore what was transpiring before him.

The older Clark picked the little boy up. "Hey little guy," he greeted enthusiastically before bending down a bit to kiss Lois on the lips. Once he did so though, the boy imitated his father and reached for his mom to give her a kiss also.

Lois loved the attention. "Gotta love my guys," she commented.

Martha was in tears by the interaction as Jonathan barely held himself together. It was just so overwhelming. Clark suddenly felt weak in the knees and Chloe immediately moved to his side to keep him from falling.

"What's going on mom?" he weakly asked, staring at both his parents to give him some kind of rational explanation.

They could provide none and can only turn their attention to Lois and Clark's future counterparts.

Clark gently placed his son back into his mother's arms, it has been a long day and the little guy was beginning to tire. The boy snuggled into Lois' warm hold.

Lois chuckled. "He is soooo like you," she teased, sneaking a glance to her son and then to her husband.

Clark smirked. "Well…" he says the beginning of his rebuff, but he simply trailed it off with a smile.

Lois got up from the ground and moved to the couch, her son's eyelids showing signs of a sleepy future. "Shh… go to sleep, sweetie." She looked at her husband, his back straight and arms crossed. "What?"

"Don't I get special treatment?" he complained playfully.

Lois laughed and winked at him. "Wasn't marrying me enough?" she teased.

He shook his head indignantly. "No"

Lois began to rock her baby back and forth. "Hear that, little guy. Daddy's jealous," she whispered softly in his ears, but he was already deep into sleep. She envied her boy; he could sleep at all hours of the day.

"I am not," he failed not to grin. He moved behind the couch and rested his hands on her shoulders, massaging it gently. Lois leaned her head back and Clark bent down to kiss her forehead. "How's work?"

"Good," she released a sigh of relief. "You?"

"Same," he answered.

Somehow throughout the scene, Chloe managed to tear her gaze away for a moment. "I wonder what his name is." Little had she known that future Lois and Clark were just going to answer it.

"Hush little Ryan, don't say a word. Mama's gonna buy you a mocking bird. And if that mocking bird don't sing, Mama's gonna buy you a diamond ring. And if that diamond ring don't shine…"

"Ryan," all four of them repeated the familiar name as they gazed at Lois singing a lullaby to the sleeping child in perfect harmony. The Kent's didn't even know Lois could carry a tune. Chloe, though, seemed to have been the least surprised.

"Lois used to sing that song to Lucy whenever she had a bad nightmare," Chloe revealed. "She used to sing it to me too when we were kids, I haven't heard her sing like that than in years"

Clark wanted to collapse. "I don't understand what's happening." He was still shocked to find himself in the future, happy, in love and with a family. And he had it all with the last person he expected to share it with. Clark's attempt to relax began to work as he continued to focus his attention towards the family in front of him.

His family…

"I'm going to have to do a few runs tonight," Clark tells his wife, a little upset.

"It's all right"

"You sure"

Lois smiled. "We've been doing this routine for years, why the sudden hesitation"

"It was different before, it was just you and me. Now I just want to…"

"Be here for all the moments," she finished his thoughts for him.

He nodded. "Yeah"

"You are," she put her hand behind his head and pushed him down to her lips. "Help me put Ryan to bed"

He smiled before kissing her again. "Okay"

"Where are you going, Clark?" Chloe asked curiously.

Clark could only shrug. "I have no idea," he admits, watching his future self carry his child to the other room. A moment later, he never returned.

"What's taking you so long, son?" Jonathan asks, curiously himself.

"I don't know, dad. I'm just as confused as everyone else"

"Whoa!" Chloe says.

Everybody turned at Chloe's reaction, and when they did, their eyes go wide at the guest. By the balcony stood a beautiful woman wearing a silk cloak over an outfit that looked like it came from the colors of the American flag. Lois on the other hand, didn't look as surprised as the rest of them.

"Diana?" Lois turned to the guest at her balcony. "What are you doing here?" she says with raised eyebrows. Please let it not be another apocalypse.

"I got your message," she replies, entering the apartment.

"The Embassy… I left you a message at the Embassy. You didn't have to come all the way here; I know you have more important things to do"

"Help for friends are important, Lois." She looked around and sensed only one other person in the vicinity. Her normally calmed straight face turned into a smile. "How's the little tyke doing?"

Lois returned her smile. "Growing," she says. "I swear, he's like a miniature Clark"

They both smile at the description, and unbeknownst to them, so did the company with them.

"Speaking of, where is that husband of yours?"

"Running errands"

Diana understood. "And you?" She noted watching Lois packing some stuff.

"Where's she going?" Chloe asked aloud, but all she received was a shush in return, so she went back to watching Lois and this Diana's exchange.

"Umec," she answered.

"Lois," Diana's face turned from calm to worry. "There's a civil war going on over there"

"I know"

"And you're still going?"

"It's my job, Diana," she easily explained.

"How does Kal feel about this?"

Clark watched the scene with wide-eyes as he heard her utter his Kryptonian name. Chloe and his parents weren't far behind his own reaction. They were even more surprised to see how Lois didn't react to it. Now that they thought about it, since they were in fact married, it makes sense that she knows.

Lois paused. "I haven't mentioned it to him yet"

"Lois"

She sighed. "I don't leave for another day"

"That soon"

"What am I, thirteen?"

"No, but you have responsibilities here now," Diana tried to reason, picking up a family photo. She has seen Kal go through a period without Lois, and it's a sight that is not a welcoming one. She just wanted her to remain safe.

"Diana, thank you for looking after me, but I'll be as careful as I need to be. I'll only be gone a week. I'm never away from Ryan anymore than that, okay. Relax"

"Mind I remind you the last time you were hurt"

She stopped and turned. "I'd like it if you didn't"

"Then what would you like me to do?" She knew arguing with Lois once her mind was made up was a lost cause.

Lois silently thanked her and she knew that Diana got the message. "I was hoping you could stop by every once in a while. You know, check up on him, remind him to do the laundry and refill the refrigerator. Sometimes, he'd go on for days without sleeping"

"He isn't going to like this"

Lois was very much aware of that fact. "Clark never likes anything that deals with me and the term 'crossfire' in the same sentence, but I can't just sit around and watch people destroy each other. I'm in and out of there, and I'll be back before you know it. Hey, if I get into a jam, I'll be sure to contact the Watch Tower to beam me up, how's that?"

"Is that supposed to be a joke?" Diana glared at her.

"I'll be careful"

"I know you will, and don't think we don't trust you Lois, but we have a lot of enemies out there"

"Believe me, I know"

"Just do me one favor"

"Name it"

"Come home safe. There's a little boy in the other room who can't stand being apart from you that long"

Lois smiled at Diana gratefully before reaching out to hug her. "Thank you," she expressed thankfully.

"I can't believe this," Clark utters in disbelief. "Lois knows about me. She knows I'm Kal-El. This Diana person knows I'm Kal-El. Lois and I have a child together"

"Honey, take a deep breath," his mother insisted.

"I know this is all a little unexpected," added Jonathan.

"Unexpected is quite the understatement, Mr. Kent," says Chloe, who surprisingly wasn't all that bothered at the idea of Lois and Clark, especially after seeing their adorable little boy, Ryan.

Suddenly, another light engulfed them, sending them to another locale.

"Great, where the hell are we now?" Chloe says, exasperated at the turn of events. It was just getting good between Lois and Diana.

Clark looked around. "On the roof somewhere"

The rest of them looked around as well. "Yeah, nice investigative work there, Clark"

Clark rolls his eyes, Lois's influence clearly rubbing off on her little cousin.

"Hello, salty goodness!" Chloe says, garnering strange looks from the Kent's. "Oh, sorry, I meant that." She pointed to a handsome dark-haired man by the ledge, who was joined by future Clark.

"How are you holding up?" the person asked Clark.

"I'm down right terrified," he admitted.

"She knows what she's doing, Clark. It isn't the first time she's been in a war zone before"

"It's different now, more is at stake," he tried to argue valiantly. Clark bowed his head, ashamed for being selfish.

"It's okay, you know"

"What's okay? In less than 24 hours, my wife is going to be covering a civil war on a different continent with live fire going off everywhere"

"It didn't stop you before"

"She was shot, Bruce," reminding him of the last time she went overseas to cover a war.

"I remember, Clark"

"What was I suppose to do? I couldn't think straight, I just knew something bad happened to her and I flew. I flew as fast as I could and it led me to her." His voice then turned low. "That day is like a never-ending nightmare in my mind," he admitted guiltily. "I could still hear the blood filling her lungs and her heart beat weakening"

"I have men watching over Lois's every move. The JLA and the U.S. Government are doing everything in their power to keep her from harm's way." Bruce puts a hand to his shoulder to assure that he isn't alone. "We won't lose her"

"Will it be enough?"

"This is where you put your faith in your wife"

"I have faith in her"

"Yet you scrutinize her every move. Clark, I understand you're worried, but sometimes, you can be a little too overprotective"

"She WAS shot!" he continued to remind him.

"What?" Bruce begins to challenge him. "And that gives you the right to barricade her. Don't you think she goes through the exact same emotions as you do whenever you go out to save the day?

"That's different, and you know it"

"You've been together for years, Clark. Lois knows you better than any human being in this universe. But unlike you, she understands the obligations and sacrifices involved. As Superman, you don't have the right to chastise her actions… but… as her husband, you have every right to worry over her"

Clark inhaled deeply and stared out into the night sky.

"Life seemed a lot simpler when Lois and I was just a couple of teenagers in Smallville," he reflects softly.

The Kent's and Chloe perked up at the mention of their past, their present. This future is becoming to be entirely too real. And who's this Superman they were talking about? They all thought alike.

"Whether you admit it or not, Clark, you and Lois are born leaders. Your voice speaks louder than any hero with superhuman abilities because yours overwhelms us all and yet you use it to help mankind… and Lois… her words matter to the people of Metropolis, to the people of the world because it comes from the voice of a woman who is just like them, a human being who strives to make the world a better place"

Bruce uncharacteristically breaks into a chuckle, breaking Clark out of the thoughts he pulled him into and looked at him oddly.

"What?"

"I just realized, your son is going to have one hell of a future," says Bruce.

Clark smiled brightly. "He's our miracle"

"He's also our future"

Then his smile turns to a frown. "Don't!" Clark pointed to him authoritavely, his demeanor changing. "I've had enough with destinies growing up; Lois and I aren't going to put Ryan through that. His life is his own and we're going to support whatever decisions he makes"

"Clark"

"No, Bruce. I can't do it. Lois and I chose this life, Ryan was born into it, but the least we could do is give him a choice"

"And then what? In a few years time, there's a 90 chance that he's going to inherit majority of your Kryptonian abilities, but there's a difference now. He isn't alone. It isn't just you and Lois. You've got me, Diana, Chloe, your parents, even Alfred. People who'd rather gauge their eyes out than let anything happen to your son"

"I'll cross the threshold when we come to it, but right now, he deserves some semblance of normalcy"

Bruce sighed. "You're not some confused seventeen-year-old, anymore, Clark. You're an adult with a wife and child. You should be long past the normalcy phase"

"I am, but he's my son. I'm a father first and foremost, Bruce"

Then suddenly, another large light engulfed them and brought them back to where they were previously.

"Whoa now," Chloe complained. "That's just not fair"

"I was listening to that," Clark says as well, adding to Chloe's complaint. What was the point of showing him his future if he kept playing games with him?

They were back in his mom's kitchen, the food still warm.

"I thought I give you a glimpse of things to come. How'd you like it?" the still unidentified man said from the door.

"Why did you show this to us?" Clark says bitterly, the memories of the past few minutes still fresh in his mind. He couldn't get the vision of Lois and their future son out of his head. "Why did you show me?"

The man sighs. "I feel like I'm talking to myself"

"Answer me!"

"To restore your faith. To show you that you're future doesn't have to be bleak and lonely like you always make it out to be"

"So that was real? Lois and me… and Ryan?"

"It sure is, but don't worry, the memory will fade. It always does when people see things they shouldn't"

"What?" They all exclaimed.

"Relax, my friend. All in due time." And with that, he disappears.

"Clark, where are you going?" his mother called out. Everyone is overwhelmed, especially Clark. After a moment, he began to realize the memories were slowly but surely leaving his consciousness. So he jumps up and heads out to the door.

"Son, where are you going?" His father called out to him.

He stopped and turned, his face lit bright with a smile. "I'm gonna go find Lois before I forget"

"Whoa, wait, don't you think you should just let time work itself like he said?'" Chloe thought out rationally.

Clark shrugged. "Yeah, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't get a head start." He says full of hope. "Wish me luck"

"Good luck," they all say.

And this is where their story truly begins.

The End

Author's Notes: Talk about a rush, huh? LOL! It got a little expositiony in the end... but I needed to get my point across.