Author: Nadia Mack
Disclaimer: I Own Nothing
Summary: Post Superman Returns. Behind the hero is a man longing to be free.
Author's Notes: For anyone who has read "Moving On," I'd like to take this opportunity to say thank you all for the wonderful feedback, and I appreciate the constructive criticism as well. Thank you Barbara for beta-reading this and the rest of the chapters.
Superman cruised his way across the sky, letting himself get lost in the sea of clouds. In these moments, sometimes he believed it was all just a dream, and any second now, he would wake up back in the Metropolis he knew before he left for Krypton.
He wondered what life would've been like if he had never left.
Hovering in solitude above the earth, he reached beneath his collar and removed a necklace that held a 14-carat white gold band inset with three diamonds. This particular ring belonged to his grandmother, an heirloom his mother, Martha, had given him shortly after he had gotten the job at the Daily Planet.
Before astronomers thought they had found Krypton, he had been about to propose to Lois. To his heart's disappointment, life didn't always turn out the way people wanted it to, and even more so for the last son of Krypton.
Now all he had were his memories. Lois was no longer his to pursue, and their son… their son had a father that loved him completely. His own mother had moved on with Ben Hubbard, a neighbor and friend of the family for many years. They were moving to Montana of all places.
Things had definitely changed. Some for the better and others…
It was hard to think about it without wanting to fall apart and break down.
He flew back down, using the night sky to cover his descent toward the town that had raised him. Smallville, Kansas. He needed to speak to his mother, but as soon as he landed, he realized that nobody was there. He entered the house and found plenty of moving boxes: some were filled, others were reaching halfway, and the rest had yet to be built.
So much had changed.
Then he remembered… his mother was in Metropolis. Some time during his unconscious state, he had felt as if she were calling out to him, but he had thought nothing of it until now.
Quickly, he flew back and hoped she was still there.
With his eyes focused on the streets, he found his mother's familiar red pick-up truck parked in the lot of a motel just outside the city. He landed a couple of blocks away, and changed quickly into his civilian clothing before discreetly making his way across the street to find his mother.
Once he reached the motel room, he knocked.
"Mom," he said.
The door flew open and his mother reached out and held him close. "Oh, my boy," she said, her heart beating loudly against her chest as she held him tight. "I was so worried," she whispered to his ear. "I couldn't…"
"I know, Mom," he said. After many days of agony, he allowed himself to get lost in the comfort of his mother's safe and loving arms. "When I was asleep, I heard you."
"I knew you would." She kept her hold on him for a few more seconds before reluctantly loosening her embrace. Martha took a good look at her son. "Your father would be proud of you. Both of them would be."
Clark smiled, the light not quite reaching his eyes. There was so much he wanted to tell her, he just didn't quite know where to begin.
"Are you alone?"
She nodded. "Ben went to the market to get us some food," she replied. "Come in." She led her son inside the small room and sat him down by the single table that helped fill the room of limited furnishings. "How are you feeling?"
"So many things," he admits. Clark inhaled deeply, sorting his thoughts. He wanted to just get right to it, but he himself was so overwhelmed, he couldn't even imagine what his mother would think once he told her everything.
"Take your time."
He smiled; his mother always knew how to make him feel comfortable even in the most uncomfortable of situations.
"I learned something tonight that… let's just say that I didn't expect."
"Does it have to do with Lois Lane?"
"How did you know?" he asked, surprised that his mother guessed right – yet at the same time, he shouldn't have been.
"When Ben and I went to the hospital, I saw her there. She had her son with her." She smiled when she remembered how tightly the boy held onto his mother. It reminded her of Clark when she and Jonathan first took him home. "He's a beautiful little boy."
An unexpected smile graced her son's solemn face.
"Yes, he is."
There was something bubbling beneath the surface of her child's ever present changing emotions, and it concerned her to some degree. "What is it, Clark?"
"It isn't just about Lois," he answered softly. "It's about Jason, too."
"Jason," she repeated, and then a light bulb went off. "Jason is the name of Lois's son?" she questioned carefully, making sure she wasn't treading on personal ground. She knew better than anyone how well her son kept his emotions in check especially around the people he loved.
Clark nodded. "Except he's not just Lois's son…" A beat passed between them before he found the strength to continue. "…he's my son, too."
Martha let out a soft and audible gasp, the revelation startling her. She had always known her son felt deeply for the young woman, but she never knew how far their relationship went… at least not until now.
She reached out and hugged him once more.
"Are you mad?" he mumbled into her shoulder.
"Not at all," she replied in earnest. She let him go and held his face in her hands. "You're a father."
He nodded quietly, but the sadness in his eyes betrayed the happiness of the truth he just shared with her.
"He doesn't know I am, though…" and with a heavy heart, he added, "And neither does Richard."
Martha looked on, confused. "Richard?"
"Lois's fiancé," he answered, stepping away and moving toward the hotel's window. He opened the blinds and looked out into the night sky, the stars glittering above them. "Richard White has been Jason's father since the day he was born. I can't get in the way of that."
"And how does Lois feel?"
"I don't really know."
"Did she tell you about Jason?"
"Well, that has to mean something."
"She doesn't hate me as much anymore," he said, trying to lighten the mood but it was obvious that he was failing miserably. "I can't expect her to let me intrude into her life after everything that's happened."
"But you and Lois share a son," his mother reminded him.
While the knowledge that she was a grandmother filled her heart with joy, the sadness she felt for her one and only son, and the possibility that he wouldn't be able to share in the same happiness and warmth that she and his father shared when they raised him loomed darkly above their thoughts.
"I'll always be there for them, Mom," he assured her, his eyes continually staring out into the window, while at the same time, he held onto in emotions. He felt the dam was about to break. "Even Richard... but when I left… when I abandoned her, I forfeited any rights I had concerning our son."
"Did she know she was pregnant before you left?"
"We never really talked about it. After all that's happened with Lex Luthor, everything afterwards just happened so fast."
"Maybe it's time that you two finally talk."
Clark looked back at his mother. "I can't do that to her," he said, his mind completely made up.
"She has a right to know who the father of her child really is," she said, her voice so soft and calm. "You can't keep her in the dark, not after this. And if you continue to bottle this up, especially since you work with her, it's only going to hurt you inside."
"How can I tell her now when she has everything?" he pleaded with the stress and whirlwind of emotions finally catching up to him. He turned back around and reached for the ring that dangled beneath his shirt. "I should never have left," he regretted.
"What's done is done," his mother said knowingly. "Not even you can stop the world from turning."
"I just want…"
"Martha, I'm back." Ben Hubbard entered the hotel room unknowingly interrupting a very sensitive and important conversation. He stopped when he saw the familiar face by the window. "Oh, hello there, Clark." He put down the bag of take-out and extended his hand. "It's good to see you, son."
Lifting his face toward the gentleman, he half-genuinely smiled.
"It's good to see you again, Mr. Hubbard."
"We tried getting in touch with you earlier; your mother was really worried about you."
"I'm all right, thank you," Clark assured him. He glanced and smiled briefly at his mother before turning back to Mr. Hubbard. "Well, it's getting pretty late; I'm going to head back and take care of a few things. Will you two be all right?"
"We'll be fine," Martha said, giving her son a reassuring smile. She crossed the room and embraced her son one more time.
"You have to do what you believe is right for yourself," she whispered. "Just know that you can't always wait for people to be ready for you."
"I know," he replied softly.
Instead of flying back to the Daily Planet, he decided to just walk the rest of the way even though it was several miles. His talk with his mom had helped, but he still worried about what it could mean if he decided to tell her everything.
He had planned to, of course, before he left. He wanted to take that next step. He was anxious to show her that he wasn't just a man who wore a cape and saved people, that he was a man capable of wanting the same things that humans do.
He wanted desperately to show that part of himself he'd kept hidden from the rest of the world. When he got back, he foolishly thought he could pick things up right where they left off. He should've known better and not let his selfish desires overstep the needs of others.
Lois had moved on with her life, and it was an act he couldn't blame her for, no matter how much he wished things were different.
He sighed, unaware until now how much his heavy thoughts occupied the night. So much so that he was only a quarter of a mile from the Daily Planet when a limousine stopped along the curb beside him.
The window rolled down, and the face of an old friend appeared behind it.
To be continued…