Taking place immediately after SR and purely for entertainment. Having rushed through my first attempt, this is my much revised take on the love affair between Lois and Clark. Please be gentle!

She watched as he soared into the distance and wiped away the tear that trickled down her face. She looked back at Jason's window to see him leaning out, searching the sky for another glimpse of Superman.

"Back in bed now munchkin."

"OK Mom, good-night" he waved down to her and disappeared back inside.

"Good-night honey"

She looked out over the dark still water trying to calm her racing heart. The utter joy of seeing him alive and well had been replaced by terror. Her life, so carefully constructed, was about to fall apart. A gust of wind ruffled her hair and she sighed. She would need to talk to Jason and soon, he was a bright boy and it wouldn't be long before he began to wonder where his newfound strength had come from. He knew, had always known, that Richard wasn't his natural father, the thought of him one day discovering the truth on his own had persuaded them it was better he grow up knowing. He believed his biological father was dead, as did Richard, at the time she told them she'd believed it also. Jason was too young yet to be concerned with the details and Richard, for reasons of his own, had chosen not to push her on the subject. She rubbed her arms against a sudden chill. How was she going to tell them? Richard would be devastated she knew, but how could she have denied Superman the knowledge of his son? The answer was simple, she couldn't.

The last thing she wanted to do was to hurt Richard, he had been a solid, and reassuring presence in her life from the first agonising months of her pregnancy; he had chased away the dreams that tormented her, the dreams that were the only clue she had to the identity of her son's father. He had, quite literally, saved her from going mad. How she could spend one glorious night with the love of her life and be left with nothing more than a dream was a question she had asked herself many times; now that he was back, maybe she'd get some answers.

With a heavy heart Lois headed back into the house, hoping to lose herself in the familiar act of writing. She sat at her desk, resting her chin in her hand as she stared at the taunting title the article on screen. She felt like a fraud. It was as though another person had written that editorial. She was almost glad she hadn't been at the award ceremony to collect her prize, almost. How could she say that the world didn't need Superman? How could she say that she didn't, not to mention her son? She had written it in self-defence, trying to force herself to move on but still, she had thought of him every day, Jason a constant reminder of everything that might have been. She had never stopped needing him.

He entered her life again much as he had the first time, her rescuer, and she realised now that she had been fighting a losing battle from the moment she had heard his voice tenderly asking "Are you OK?" Such an innocuous phrase and yet... Her finger was lazily tracing an S over and over on the mouse pad and she slammed shut the lid.

When he had come to her on the roof of the Planet she had been consumed by anger. After five years he flew back into her life, turning it upside down, and then had the unmitigated gall to ask for an interview. She wanted him to beg her forgiveness not address the masses, so she lashed out at him. "Please" he asked her. She knew if she touched him she would be all but lost, but was unable to refuse him. He took her up into the heavens and for just one moment she glimpsed how alone he truly was. Always the saviour, never the saved. She had so nearly kissed him afterward, but Richard was a good man and she loved him, she could not, would not, betray him. At least no further than she already had. Her heart though would no longer be denied; she loved Superman, but Richard… The tears were threatening again, why did life have to be so complicated? She sighed again and wiped her eyes irritably. There was time enough tomorrow to think about everything; right now she needed to sleep.

Clark did a sweep of the city and then headed for home. The farm came into view, the lights were burning and his bedroom window was open, awaiting his return. His clothes were laid out for him on the bed; it was always so good to be home. It was such a relief to be able to shrug off the characters he played everyday and just be himself.

He headed downstairs.

"Mom? Mom?"

"Oh Clark!" she ran to embrace him "I thought I'd lost you this time!" She sobbed into his chest while he held her gently.

"Sshh, its alright Mom. I'm OK, I'm OK."

Martha hugged him tightly and then stepped back and touched his face "How do you feel?"

"I'm fine Mom, really. Just glad to be home."

"Come into the kitchen and I'll fix you something to eat." He smiled at her retreating form and followed her in.

"I'm not hungry Mom, but how about some coffee?"

She made the coffee and sat down beside him, not wanting to stray too far just yet, needing the reassurance of proximity to know that he was truly there and alive.

"I was so afraid Clark and I couldn't even be with you." There was a catch in her voice but she went on "I saw Lois with a little boy as she left the hospital, at least you had somebody with you. "

Clark looked down at his cup "Yes, that was her son, Jason."

"Oh. I didn't know she'd gotten married, I suppose that came as a bit of a shock for you."

Clark snorted, "You could say that, but actually she's not married, she's engaged. His name is Richard, he's Perry's nephew. He's a nice guy." He sighed and took a sip of his coffee; it would be so much easier if he didn't like Richard, but he did.

"Oh, well, things are a bit different now than they were in my day. I take it this Richard is the boy's father?"

"Actually he's not Mom." He took a deep breath "I am." Martha stared at him wide-eyed in shock and he went on quickly "Before I left, before I went to Krypton, Lois and I, well, we spent the night together." He cast his eyes down to his cup again, ashamed "If I had known or even suspected I would never have left, never, but I had no idea. That's why she was at the hospital, she came to tell me before I died."

"Oh my" said Martha "Does the boy know?"

"I don't know. I don't think so." They sat quietly for a moment.

"What are you going to do? Have you talked to Lois yet?" She covered his hand with hers as he looked at her.

"Not really, no. She told me because she thought I was dying but now, here I am." He laughed, but Martha knew it was mirthless.

"I want to claim him as my son, to help him and guide him but how can I? How can I tell him that the man he loves as his father is an impostor?" his eyes were pleading with her for an answer she just didn't have.

He stood and moved to stare out of the window, hands in his pockets.

"I'll always be there for him, for them, as Superman. Anything else would just be too complicated." He sighed then continued quietly "I don't know what I expected to find when I came back, but not this. Perhaps I hoped, naively, that things would be the same, I don't know. I made her forget Mom, about us." He turned to look at her briefly, guilt stricken, then turned back to the window "It must have been torture for her, finding herself pregnant with no recollection of how it had happened. But somehow she remembered. Not everything, but enough. She was so angry with me and how can I blame her." He turned once more to face his mother, "I will always love her but I'm not about to destroy the life she's made for herself for some selfish desire of my own, it wouldn't be fair."

"Clark, come sit down." When he was seated she took both his hands in hers "Next to your father you are the finest man I have ever known. You'll do what's best for everyone; I know you will, you always do. But please Clark; consider your own happiness too. Must you always be alone?"

"I'm not alone Mom, you told me that." He smiled at her.

"You need more than an old woman in your life Clark Kent. I know you think it's dangerous, but life is all about taking risks. Sometimes you just have to have faith son."

They sat together in silence sipping their coffee.

"Maybe next time you come home you could bring me a photo of my grandson?" she said and smiled.

"I love you Mom" she kissed his cheek.

"I love you too Clark." She stood and patted his shoulder affectionately "Now lets get some sleep, I've got chores for you in the morning."

"Yes ma'am"

Her understanding eased him; it was always so good to come home.