The Invisible Man
by Darth Stitch
Disclaimer: Big Blue and the rest of the merry Metropolis and Smallville crew belong to DC comics and all the other Powers that Be. Am just borrowing them for fun.
Warnings: Heavy spoilers for Superman Returns. Consider yourselves warned.
Notes: Part of a story arc begun in "The Little Things" but you don't have to read the others to get this story. Oh and some reference to events in Superman II.
Dedication: For medusalethe, on LJ, for the help in finding Jason pics. Thankies!
Sometimes, Clark Kent wishes he weren't so darn good at being invisible.
Funny how easy it was to do that despite the fact that one was 6'4, weighed about 225Ibs and possessed superhuman abilities. He's had it drummed into him since he was old enough to understand how different he was from any other living, breathing, regular human being on Earth. He's had to watch out for the little things, to be extra careful with every step and every move just so that he doesn't end up inadvertently hurting somebody. That's half the reason why Clark appears so clumsy sometimes – he's aware that he doesn't always know his own strength.
Of course, Clark is aware why he has to be good at being invisible. Superman doesn't wear a mask like Batman does. He's right out in the open, his picture on every newspaper and magazine. And being a reporter, Clark knows first-hand exactly what the public wants to know about Superman – every detail about his life from the most important to the most inane. And he can't be Superman 24-7, can't be there to save the day for each and every person. Even super speed can only go so far and despite all his abilities, he is still just one person.
So Clark knows it's best for him to hide in plain sight and the "aw, shucks, golly" shy country boy persona isn't really an act. Despite his years in Metropolis and having gone all over every conceivable part of the globe, Clark Kent is and will always remain a smalltown boy at heart. He knows he could have the world at his feet, amass untold wealth and wield the sort of power only a god could dream of. But those things have never been important to him. It's the little things that Clark cherishes. Things like a home, a family, love.
He envies Richard White immensely but he can't hate the man for having what Clark could have had, what he had given up to go on his foolish useless quest to a dead world. A sensible part of Clark's mind points out that he had never known Lois was pregnant when he had gone and that it's useless to beat one's self up over the might-have-beens.
And Richard knows the value of what he has, a good man, a brave man – everything Clark had wanted for Lois when he chose to let her go, to give her that last kiss to make her forget who he was. Clark reflects with a trace of bitterness that perhaps he did too good a job. Once again, he was invisible to Lois, who could only describe him as "just Clark" and nothing more.
He just didn't count on having Jason enter into the picture.
God, how he loves that little boy, revels in every moment that he can steal with him, knowing that stolen moments were all he was going to get. He knows that Jason has to learn the truth some day, that Clark owes it to him and his mother. It was easier figuring out how to lift an entire Kryptonian continent from the sea and fling it into space then to sit down and explain everything to the love of his life and tell his son who he was.
"You look sad again, Mister Clark," Jason pipes up from beside his chair.
Clark is flustered and his flailing about in his chair isn't feigned. He always keeps an ear out for Jason and his mother but they both share the knack of sneaking up and startling him.
Jason giggles. "You're so funny, Mister Clark."
Mister Clark. Clark knows he'd rather hear the boy call him something else but just for now, he likes the way "Mister Clark" sounds when Jason says it. "You just surprised me, you sneaky little guy."
Jason beams. "I'm good at being sneaky. Just like Mum. I'm gonna be a reporter when I grow up. And Superman too. I can do that, right? You do it too."
Clark laughs, appreciating the whole worlds of irony in that innocent statement. "I don't see why not."
Jason again gives him that bright beaming grin and then, as easily as if he's been doing it for years, he clambers onto Clark's lap and Clark lifts him up and makes him comfortable. They stay that way in a companionable silence for a few moments. Clark likes it – Jason is about the only person, aside from Jimmy, who really sees him. More than that, Jason has figured it out pretty quickly who he really was, accepting it with a child's sense of wonder and causing not a few heartstopping moments for his father.
But he appreciates it nevertheless. To Jason, he's never invisible.
"Why are you so sad sometimes, Mister Clark?" Jason asks again. Just like his mother, once he's latched on to something, he's not going to let it go. Then again, maybe he also comes by his stubbornness from his father's side too.
Because I want to be your Daddy. Because I wanted to have been there for your first breath, your first word, your first step. I wanted to have been with your Mum when she was carrying you and when you were sick. Because I love your Mum very much but she's already with the man you call Daddy and he's a good man and I've lost that chance.
Clark wants to tell him all that but instead he answers, "Even Superman can be sad sometimes. But I'm not sad now."
Clark smiles at his unknowing son gently, "Because you're here. And –" Clark pauses for dramatic effect, "that means your Uncle Perry won't get mad at me for not finishing my article! You're going to help, aren't you?"
"Fearless reporter Jason White reporting for duty, sir!" Jason chirps.
Clark pulls out pens and paper so Jason can scribble and draw all he likes. Yesterday, he has already proudly announced to Clark that he's going to put his pictures and write stories together just like his mother was doing and win a "Pea-u-witzer." Clark is sure that his son will be able to do just that one day.
Jason frowns as he looks up at Clark and then, before Clark can stop him, he reaches up to take off Clark's glasses. "Your glasses are dirty, Mister Clark. How are you gonna work like that?"
"How can you see through that, Clark?" Lois asks him in exasperation, reaching up to take off his misted-up glasses and cleaning them with her handkerchief.
For a minute, he's completely exposed and there's nothing to prevent her from seeing what she's never noticed about him before…
Clark watches his son clean his glasses with a corner of his t-shirt and for a few moments, Clark knows he's completely exposed. Anyone could just walk by and see Superman wearing Clark Kent's business suit. Anyone. Richard. Lois. Clark watches his son indulgently and decides that he's not going to care.
Just for once, for this moment, he's not going to be invisible.
- end -