Immediately follows the events of SR. One does not discover that they are a parent without a bit of reflection and reevaluation of their priorities. What will that reflection mean for Clark, Lois and Jason? Eventually LoisClark, but it won't be an easy road to get there. Disclaimer: I own no rights to Superman, I make nothing off of this, it's all for fun.
My first fan-fic ever, please be gentle. The motivation behind this story is to give Richard fair(er) treatment. I stick with the assumption that Richard is a good man, and he won't be trivialized, demonized, killed off, or otherwise conveniently gotten rid of (though I have enjoyed some of the stories where that has happened). I am also taking the approach that one does not suddenly learn that he is the parent of a young child without re-evaluating his priorities. Finally, it's really important to me to keep things realistic, and the material will get a bit heavier as we move forward. Hopefully, you'll like the tale my muse has come up with.
Here we go:
Through the Eyes of a Child
Day 1, Tuesday, 8:00AM, Downtown Metropolis
It was the typical morning rush of Metropolis, with the sidewalks as crowded as the streets, while Clark made his way from the alley that he had ducked into for a quick wardrobe change. He had four blocks to walk before reaching the offices of the Daily Planet and allowed his mind to wander, as it had been doing most of the night, still enveloped by the euphoria that came from learning that he was father the day before.
As he was lying in the hospital fighting for his life, he had became aware of Lois' presence. Her scent, the recognizable rhythm of her beating heart, and finally her words, whispered so quietly that only Kryptonian ears could hear: "I wanted you to know that... that Jason is your son. And he has your strength." He hadn't asked her what she meant by that during his brief visit last night. He'd have to make a point of speaking with her about it later.
A son! His envy of Richard White grew even greater as he imagined how things might have been if not for his five year hiatus, which the press was now calling his "walkabout," appropriating the term from the Australian media. He found himself surprised at his use of the term walkabout, though he had to concede that the term fit.
He finally approached the front door of the Daily Planet building, noticing the headline from the paper's morning edition that announced Superman's recovery. He reluctantly pushed back the thoughts of his son, and what-might-have-been, and resumed the façade that defined Clark Kent.
This morning found Lois as ornery as it had found Clark euphoric. She'd gotten very little sleep after her unexpected guest last night. It hadn't escaped her attention that his first visit was not with her, but rather with her son... his son. There was no doubt about that after seeing Jason's piano toss. Superman certainly didn't seem as confused by that as she was. How was it that she had no recollection of their child's conception? All she had was a vague impression, like a dream that you've forgotten after you've woken up. She was angry with herself for not asking him about that last night. Lois broke from her reverie as it was finally their turn in the drop-off lane at Jason's school and one of the teachers opened the back door to help him out of his booster seat and seatbelt. Plastic smile firmly in place, she exchanged brief pleasantries with the teacher before Richard pulled ahead and they continued their morning commute to the office.
As Lois and Richard stepped off of the elevator, Clark was jovially speaking with Jimmy Olsen. "I feel great now, Jimmy. I guess it was just a flu bug going around." Clark silently thanked his mother again for calling into the Planet for him, while he was in the hospital as Superman. One advantage of having the nerdy, Golly-Gee-Whiz persona of Clark Kent was that it was not out of character for his mother to call to say that he wouldn't make it to "school" today. It helped that his fall to earth happened on a Friday, and he didn't need to account for his time over the weekend. Monday had been the only sick day. "Well, I hope none of us get that," Jimmy said cheerfully.
Clark finally glanced over at Lois and Richard, and offered them his trademark goofy smile and wave. He got a brief nod from Richard, but Lois remained oblivious to everything but the Starbucks coffee cup in her hand. Clark observed her briefly before concluding that she hadn't gotten much sleep. He doubted that she had shared Jason's true paternity with Richard, if his current demeanor was any indicator.
Jimmy also noticed Lois' demeanor. "Maybe she hasn't heard that Superman has recovered. She's been sick with worry ever since he fell from the sky." Clark nodded absently. She knew he'd recovered, but something else had kept her up. He suspected it was Jason's display of strength, and the incontrovertible evidence that he was the son of Superman, something that she was not likely to have remembered. He again felt the twinge of regret for having left the Earth five years ago. He was forced to break from his observation at the sound of Perry White's booming voice, which fortunately was not directed at him this time.
The stories of the day were still the earthquake aftermath. In spite of Superman's efforts during the quake, nearly 100 people had died, thousands were still without power, and cleanup was an ongoing effort. Clark was impressed that the Daily Planet building had gotten its shattered glass replaced as quickly as they did afterwards. Somebody had to have had some major pull to get that done. He sneaked another glance back towards Lois' desk, before settling down to work. She still had yet to speak a word since arriving in the office.
Overall, it had been a quiet day. Perry had divvied up stories on the quake reconstruction, which were both simple to write, and included the "tragedy" that sold papers, with a dash of "Superman" here and there (which also sold papers). There were relative few emergencies that required Superman's assistance, but it was enough to keep Perry happy with the content. Clark had already completed his articles well before deadline, and was killing time before submitting them through the publishing system software when he heard Jason's voice as he got off the elevator with his mother. Her mood hadn't improved all day, but the sound of his son's voice couldn't help but lift his. He continued to listen as the pair entered Richard's office, and she pulled out some crayons and drawing paper to keep him busy.
Richard looked up at Lois and opened his mouth to say something before quickly thinking better of it. He knew something was bothering her, but she wasn't ready to talk about it. Clark also knew that something was bothering her, and wondered if he should try to approach her as Superman. As Clark surreptitiously glanced over at them, he caught the boy looking back at him, with a confused expression on his face.
"Mr. Kent!" Clark was forced to once again pull himself away as he looked up towards Jimmy, who had just parked himself at his desk. "Have you found an apartment yet?"
Clark forced himself to give Jimmy his full attention. "Not yet, Jimmy," Clark responded. "I don't recall having this much trouble finding something affordable the last time." He had been amazed at the difference in cost during his five-year absence. He resigned himself to either having to choose something in a bad neighborhood or well outside Metropolis city limits.
Jimmy smiled, "I forgot to tell you earlier -- there is an apartment opening up in my building, but they won't be out for a couple weeks yet." He pulled out a business card and handed it to Clark as he added, "Here's the number for the building manager." Clark took the business card from Jimmy, and thanked him before dialing the number.
As he was arranging to look at the apartment, Clark became aware of the sound of a familiar small beating heart approaching him, which he immediately recognized as Jason. He turned to his son and smiled, holding out his index finger to signal him to wait. "Thanks, I'll see you at 7:00, then. Bye."
Turning his full attention to his son, Clark now warmly greeted him. "Hello, Jason! Did you have a fun day at school?"
The boy was quiet for a moment, still with a confused look on his face as he looked at Clark. As Jason walked over to Clark, he reached his arms up. Expecting a hug from the affectionate youngster, Clark bent down to meet him. He was definitely not expecting the boy to reach up and pull off his glasses. The confusion left Jason's face as he looked at Clark carefully, then down at the glasses as he asked, "Why do you wear glasses at work, but not when you wear your Superman suit?" Clark eyes grew in surprise to how quickly his little boy had figured him out.
Clark's disguise depends on the ingrained first impression that others have of him as a clumbsy, naïve, geek farmboy, which leads them to quickly dismiss him as a nobody. A child Jason's age is not so judgmental. He sees Clark clearly as Clark, and not filtered through some social/behavioral prism.