Disclaimer: Superman Returns and the characters there in belong to DC Comics and the idea for the new movie to Bryan Singer. I claim nothing accept for the idea to my story so without further to do here we go.

Summary: Just when life for Lois Clark and Jason finally starts to come together, Lex Luthor's plan threatens to destroy everything. Can the help from an unlikely source help the family survive the trials of life? Find out and Review please.

AN: This is a continuation of Truths and Changes. I took a much darker tone with this story and some might find it a little depressing. There is a lot that goes on with Jason as part of Lex Luthor's plan to get rid of him and in these first few chapters a lot dealing with the cult and suggestions of abuse. If any of that bothers you, then you may feel better reading some of my other works. Also please leave a review or Comment. They truly help me.

Trials and Tribulation

Prologue: A troubled City

The past few weeks passed by in a busy blur. Lex Luthor was still at large, and more bodies of young children had been found down by the pier on the east side. At work, Perry had everyone focused on the big story at hand, which was the involvement of the Cult in their day to day lives. City-wide, parents of young children were panicked, and were keeping an alert eye on the young ones in their care.

During her investigation, Lois found that the bodies of the children were not of those native to Metropolis, but were rather on a grander scale of distribution. She had already arranged an interview with an Agent Jones of the FBI, and was more determined than ever to find out what was going on in the city she had grown to love.

Also covering the deaths of the children was Clark, but his involvement was more on the side of Superman, trying to find those responsible and bring them to justice. He was out of the office so much, that he was thankful of Lois's help in covering for him. Along with the woman he loved, he was also bringing in the news with nightly articles covering the efforts of the FBI and the local police force.

They put in long hours during the day, and by the time they arrived home in the evening there was little time to spend just for the two of them. Jason was back at school, and was having an easier time now that Randy and Phillip were looking out for him. Once school let out, either Lois or Clark would get him and take him back to work where he would play quietly in his daddy's old office so they could continue to report the news. Jason was blissfully unaware of what was going on in his city, though he had noticed how busy his parents were, but that didn't worry him.

Chapter 1: A Promise

How Clark had managed to find a sitter on such short notice was beyond her, but promptly at 6pm, the door bell rang, and Lois smiled as she heard Jason yelling that he would get it. Life had been so busy and hectic that she had forgotten what it was like to spend time with the man she loved, and despite the fact that she had several leads to catch up on; Lois was looking forward to this date with him.

After getting the door unlocked, Jason opened it and smiled up at Jimmy as he took his hand and pulled him inside. "Did you bring it with you?" the little boy asked.

Jimmy had never been one to baby-sit, but when Mr. Kent asked him if he would watch Jason he took a chance and hoped that he would do all right. "I brought it," replied the young photographer, as he showed Jason the display case his game cube was in. "Oh hi, Mr. Kent," Jimmy said, as Clark entered the family room from the kitchen. "I hope you don't mind if I set this up. I promise it won't mess up your TV," he added.

Clark had just finished cleaning up the mess Lucky had made in the kitchen and still needed a shower and also to change before he and Lois left for their night out. "I don't think that will be a problem Jim, just be sure not to let him play those games all night," he replied, in a squeaky voice. Clark was well aware that Lois wasn't fond of Jason spending a bunch of time in front of the TV.

Once Jimmy and Jason were settled, Clark went into the bedroom finding Lois nearly ready for their night out. They were going to dinner and a movie, and he was looking forward to spending time with Lois. She looked beautiful as always, but Clark managed to keep his mind on getting ready and after a brief kiss to her, he shut the door and started his shower.

Playing Sonic the Hedge Hog was exciting, and Jason had quickly managed to figure out that he needed most of the rings to get to the special ring level. He and Jimmy were taking turns, and so far his turn was lasting much longer than Jimmy's. "Come on guy," Jason muttered, as he tried to get Sonic to drill through the wall. When the little Hedge Hog complied with his wishes Jason whooped with joy.

In their bedroom, Lois heard her son's whoop and after dabbing on some perfume she walked out into the family room finding Jason playing a video game with Jimmy seated next to looking bored. "You've started a dangerous game with him," she said, softly as Jimmy looked at her. "I'm not sure you're going to get much game time in." Lois knew how much her son loved video games. The few times they had gone to The General's, Sam had introduced Jason to a war game on his PC, one Lois didn't approve of, which was always the case with her father, and Jason had picked up on it very quickly leaving little time for his Grandpa to play with him.

"I figured this could be fun for both of us," Jimmy admitted, as Jason cleared through the first level. He was starting to realize he had made a mistake and went over to the sofa where he took his portable game unit out of his duffle.

By the time they were ready to leave, Jimmy was trying to beat his way through the first level with Jason cheering him on. Neither Jimmy nor Jason had noticed them leave, and when they got out to the car, Lois found herself in Mr. Kent's arms. They shared a fleeting kiss before he opened the door to her side and then shut it once she was in the car.

With Jason finally in bed, Jimmy flipped on the TV after putting his game cube back in its case. There was a news broadcast about another fire in the east docks, and Jimmy wished he could go down and get pictures. He wondered if Lois and Clark were already down there to cover the story, and silently cheered when Superman arrived to put out the flames. As the broadcast ended, Jimmy looked past the TV as Jason walked in crying. "Hey, little guy, what's wrong?" he asked, as he went over to the little boy.

"I had a bad dream," Jason said, as he let Jimmy hold him.

"Do you remember what it was about?" asked Jimmy, as he rubbed his hand over Jason's small back. He felt Jason's head shaking no, and stood up carrying him back to his room. After getting Jason back to bed, Jimmy sat down on the edge looking down at his small friend. "Okay, now we have to think about something really funny so that you will dream about that instead," Jimmy told the little boy, seeing a smile form on his little face.

"I remember a time when mommy and me made chocolaty pancakes and she spilled the flour all over the floor," he said, as he laughed. "How do I dream about that?"

"Well you remember what that was like right?" When Jason nodded his head, Jimmy continued. "Close your eyes and remember it, and just think about that and when you go to sleep you should have good dreams," said Jimmy, hoping that would work. With Jason settled again, Jimmy went back into the family room and put in a movie.

Their dinner had been interrupted by the fires, but now as they sat in the theater all was well. Lois leaned in against Clark, more interested in his company than she was in the movie. It was an Epic film about the Trojan War, but she had never found those types of movies, or for that matter, any films all that interesting.

Clark could tell Lois wasn't interested in the movie and, finally, he whispered in her ear suggesting that they could leave if she wanted to. When they got outside it was still relatively early in the evening, so they drove down to the pier on the west side, the safer area to be, and walked down by the waterside.

As they sat down on a bench near the water, Lois could tell he was nervous about something. When he sat down next to her and handed her a box she took a deep breath and let it out. She opened it up and found a simple yet beautiful engagement ring inside. At once everything came to the surface. Her hands trembled but stopped when he took them in his.

"Lois, I know how hard life has been for you since I came back, and I don't want to hurt you or Jason, but I do want to spend my life with you. I can't offer you quite the stable life I would like, but I want to try if you will let me," he said, as he gazed into her brown eyes. He saw them tear up, and when she nodded her head, he took the ring out of the box and put it on her finger. After it was placed there Clark put his left hand on her cheek and leaned in to kiss her. "I promise to take care of both of you to the best of my ability, and I promise to keep you both safe," he whispered. They shared a long hug and he wasn't surprised to find her crying in his arms. He knew she was thinking of Richard and he couldn't find anything wrong with that.

"All of this frightens me, because I thought we would have a normal life with Richard. If you wouldn't have returned, both of us would be dead, and I don't know what would have become of Jason," she admitted.

It was late when they arrived home and Lois was emotionally spent. She wanted to be with him for the rest of her life, but she was afraid now more than she had ever been that somehow all of it would just be some dream and she would wake up one day alone.

The next morning as they were eating breakfast, Jason, who was always observant, noticed the ring on his mommy's finger. As he looked at it he remembered the ring his other daddy had given to her, but this one wasn't the same. "Mommy, where did you get that?" he asked, as he finished off another pancake. Today Simon was coming over for playtime, and Jason was ready for his friend to be with him.

Lois had nearly forgotten about her ring and as Clark came over to the table she looked at him and then to her son. "Jason, do you remember the ring your other Richard gave to me?" she asked, and when he nodded his head she continued. "Well, this ring is the one that Clark gave to me," she said, taking Clark's hand. "It is a promise to me that when it is the right time we will be married. " Lois watched her son as he took that information in.

But why didn't you and Daddy, Daddy Richard, get married? You had that ring from him for such a long time but you didn't marry him. Why?" he asked, feeling suddenly confused about the whole thing. When she asked him to come over to her side, he did, and when she settled him on her lap, Jason rested his right cheek against her chest holding her hand with the ring on it so that he could look at it.

"As much as I loved your Daddy Richard, I wasn't ready to be married," tried to explain, knowing that she would have to wait until Jason was much older before he heard all of the truth.

Jason didn't understand and asked to be put down. When he was on his feet, he ran to the door, put on his coat all by himself and went outside, chasing after Lucky. He understood his puppy because she was easy. All she wanted from him was a pat on the bottom or a hug, and never much more than that.

From inside Lois and Clark watched Jason, a moment before Clark took his eyes away from his son to look at his fiancé. "Do you think maybe we should wait?" he asked, unsure of how to approach this now.

The first time Lois had waited for five years, but that had been different, there had been a reason to wait, and now there was none. "Not for five years, but maybe for a while until things in our lives settle down. Well if you don't mind I want to try and run into work and write out a draft of Monday's article," said Lois, as she stood up. Clark stood up with her and they hugged, and when he held her in his arms she felt safe and sure of herself once more.

On Saturdays the office was relatively quiet. Perry was always there even on Sundays and after sticking her head in his office to give him an update, Lois settled at her desk and powered up her computer. As it came on line, for the first time, Lois realized her screen saver still had the picture of Richard and Jason at the pier eating ice cream, seated on a bench. The part of her life which included him was coming to a close, and there was pain in her heart because of that. Lois knew she couldn't change what had happened, and she didn't regret their involvement, but she did regret how much their lives had changed when Superman arrived.

She had always loved Superman. He had been her first real love, and she had never quite gotten over him. Now that her life with him was shaping into a real life, she was unsure, but she didn't know why. Lois reached out and touched the screen. "I'm sorry Richard," she said, in a soft voice. Lois got into her photo manager and found a picture of Jason at Martha's the moment he opened the package with Lucky inside and put that up as her screen saver.

After a few more moments of quiet reflection, Lois dialed the FBI and asked for Agent Jones to see if there was any news on the bodies found by the east docks. "So they think there is a connection with the children being mostly girls?" Lois asked, as she jotted down notes on her pad of paper. "No we won't print anything until you are sure – right - just call me if anything new should surface. Thanks." Lois hung up the phone and began to compile her notes and now that she was busy she found that work had a calming affect on her.

On the home front, Jason and Simon were playing a game of cowboys and Indians. Simon had brought two outfits with him, and while he wore the markings of a chief, Jason had on a small red hat with strings that drew up against his chin and a brown leather vest. He whooped and hollered as he chased Simon around the yard. "Halt or I'll rope you with my trusty lasso," Jason called out, trying to use a deep voice as he took the small rope and tossed it at Simon. As he threw it out, Lucky ran over and grabbed the free end. "Lucky no, that's not for you," whined Jason, trying to get it from her.

Simon stopped to watch, laughing as Lucky almost pulled Jason down.

"Bad girl," Jason yelled as he put the rope down and ran to the side of the yard where he found a stick. He ran after her and caught up to her as she began to dig into the rope. "Bad dog," he said again, as he lifted the stick to hit her over the head with it. Just as he was about to bring it down, hard on her head, the stick was taken out of his hand and he found himself looking into the eyes of his father.

Clark had been inside on the phone with Lois when he heard Jason tell Lucky she was being bad, and by the time he got to the door he found Jason about to hit the dog over the head with a large stick. Now he stood in front of his little boy gazing at him with a very disapproving stare. "What just happened, Jason?"

Jason could tell by the way his daddy was looking at him, and by the deep tone of his voice, that he was in trouble. "She got our rope and I was mad at her," he huffed, as he crossed his arms in front of his chest trying to be brave. With Simon watching them, Jason didn't want his friend to think he was a baby.

Clark knew that Simon was watching and turned to the little boy. "Simon do you mind going inside to wait for Jason in his room?" he asked. Simon agreed to do that and when he went into the house Clark turned back to Jason. "I know you were mad at her, but do you think it is right to hit her with a stick?" He asked patiently, waiting for Jason to realize his mistake.

As he thought about that Lucky came over and licked his hands. "She's so bad sometimes, and she has to know that I'm her boss!" exclaimed Jason, in his defense. He watched as his daddy stood up and followed him into the house. When he saw him put a chair in the corner, Jason sighed. "I hate time out and Simons here. Mommy wouldn't make me do that," he said, using a very grumpy tone with his daddy.

Clark finished putting the chair in the corner, remembering when he was a small boy, and the few times his own mother had made him spend time in one. "I think that you need time to think about what almost happened outside, and Jason, that isn't up for debate," Clark replied gently, as he led his son over to the chair. When Jason didn't move Clark lifted him up and sat him down. "Stay put," said Clark in a more authoritative tone. Once he was sure Jason was going to stay in the chair, Clark went back to tell Simon that Jason would be a few minutes.

It was close to supper by the time Lois arrived home, and when she entered the house she expected to find two wild little boys running around, but instead she found the house to be a very quiet place. After putting her purse and her briefcase down on the sofa just to the left of the door, Lois walked down the hall to Jason's room and found the door shut. As she was about to go in she felt Clark's hand on her shoulder. "Are they in bed already?" She asked, surprised by that.

"No. I sent Simon home with his mother."

Lois followed him into their room waiting for the rest, and watched as he began to pace. "Clark," she said

"He tried to hit Lucky with a stick, that time you and I were on the phone. I thought we resolved the problem and he promised not to be mean to her, but while I was in the back getting things ready for Simon, I heard her yelp and found Jason with the stick in his hand again. He promised me he didn't do anything, but Simon said that he hit her on the backside with it when she tried to pull off the Indian head dress he was wearing."

Lois could hardly believe what she was hearing, because Jason had never blatantly disobeyed anyone, accept for Lucy. "Is that why he is in bed?" she asked, wanting to go have few words with him.

"Yes. I called Simon's mom and sent him home with her, and when he left Jason told me I was the worst daddy he ever had," Clark told her, as he sighed and sat down on the edge of their bed. When she sat down next to him and wrapped her arms around him he drew in the comfort of her touch.

"I can't always make up excuses for him but you did the right thing. He may be trying to see how far he can push things with you and it seems like you know what you're doing," Lois said, trying to ease his guilt. They both heard Jason's door open, and a moment later he walked in with a tear stained face.

Clark knelt down on the floor and his son came willingly into his arms.

"I'm sorry I was mad today daddy. Is Lucky mad at me? Because she's not in my bed," he informed his dad, sniffing. Behind Jason, the growing pup entered the room and put her nose on his back making him laugh.

"Do you understand why I sent Simon home?" Asked Clark, as Jason hugged him once more.

"I hurt Lucky when you said no, but she made me mad," Jason whispered.

Clark held his son out so they could see one another. "Even if she makes you mad, you have to realize that she doesn't understand, and you have to teach her what is right and what is wrong," he explained, as he kissed both of Jason's cheeks.

Jason sighed. "Do I still have to go to bed?" he asked, and pouted when both of his parents said yes.

The sun shining in from his window warmed his body, and as Jason opened his eyes he smiled and gave Lucky a rub on her head. "I'm sorry I hit you. Daddy said that you didn't know I was mad at you." His puppy opened up her big brown eyes to look at him. Jason giggled as she snuggled up to him and began to lick his face. "You need to get your teeth brushed," he said, and wondered if he could do that.

As he still pondered whether or not Lucky could have her teeth brushed Jason sat up in his bed and rubbed his eyes. Afterward he slipped out of bed and walked across the room to his partially open door. He opened it enough to get out and padded down the hall to the right and arrived in the family room. No one was there or even in the kitchen, so Jason climbed up in his dad's big brown easy chair and turned on the TV. The volume was on low, and as he clicked the channel to the Cartoon Network, Lucky whined from within the Kitchen.

While Jason took care of his puppy, Clark opened his eyes finding Lois resting with her back pressed up against his chest. He could clearly hear Jason opening the back door to let Lucky out and for a few minutes he listened as his little boy sat watching TV. While he was listening, Clark heard a familiar wheeze, and without waking Lois, he got up from their bed. After getting Jason's inhaler off of his bedside table, Clark left the comfort of the bedroom he and Lois shared, and went to take care of their little boy.

Jonny Quest was really neat because he was smart and he and his friends could go inside the VR world and do almost anything. As Jason watched Jonny battling a bad guy, he wasn't aware that his daddy had entered the room, until Clark was standing in front of him. "Daddy, Jonny's going to get it this time!" Jason exclaimed. He was very excited. As a result his breathing was becoming labored, but Jason didn't pay any attention. When his daddy put his inhaler on his lap, Jason didn't miss a beat. He popped the lid off and let out all of the air in his lungs and then he put it in his mouth and inhaled while pushing down the canister. After that Jason held his breath for as long as he could and let it out, keeping his eyes glued to the TV. "Yeah, he did it," Jason said, as he coughed a little.

Clark chuckled as he gave Jason a kiss and stood up to go let Lucky inside. Jason was probably one of the only children on the planet who thought Jonny Quest was better than Superman, but that didn't bother Clark. His son knew the truth and knew that he wasn't bigger than life. Jason had taken everything with stride, well to some extent, excluding yesterday. As he opened the door he reached out and grabbed onto Lucky's collar. "Not so fast," he said to the puppy who was already up to 15 pounds. He led her over to the washer and grabbed an old towel and then got her to sit while he wiped the water from her fur. It was sprinkling again outside and as he finished he heard the distant rumble of an explosion.

By lunch Jason and Lois had seen where Superman had gone off too, and both of them sat watching the TV as he helped in the efforts to rescue the 12 miners stuck in a coal mine just outside of a small town in West Virginia.

"Mommy, what if the mountain caves in while daddy is in it?" Jason asked, as he tilted his head back until he could see her face. He was seated on her lap still in his red pajamas, concerned for his daddy.

Lois realized then that watching live footage of the rescue efforts likely wasn't such a good idea. She knew even if the mountain caved in, Superman would be safe, but his son didn't need to have such worries. "Why don't we see what's on your cartoon channel," Lois suggested, not getting a word of protest as she found it. Jonny Quest was still on, though this time the older version, something Jason still loved, and as Lois set the remote down she leaned back in Clark's recliner enjoying quiet time with her little boy.

Lois had just shut her eyes when the chirp of the phone caught her attention and before she could get it Jason did and put it to his ear. She smiled as he properly answered it.

"Hello this is the Kent Residence, Jason speaking," he said. He smiled as he heard the other voice. "Hi Granny, mommy and me are watching Jonny Quest, do you know about him?"

Martha had called to make sure her son was all right, the miners had all been rescued and she saw Superman flying off, but now she couldn't resist speaking to her grandson. "Well hello there Jason, don't you sound all grown up. I don't believe I know about him, will you tell me please."

A wide smile spread across Jason's face and as he told Martha about Jonny, he played with his mommy's engagement ring. "There are two of them," he explained, as his daddy walked into the room. His mommy stood up and put him in the chair and Jason continued to talk even when they kissed. "Yeah the older ones were when mommy was little and she said that sometimes she and my Aunt Lucy had to sneak and watch them because the General said that TV is a waste of good time, but he's not right. I know about computers because when I get bigger I'm going to be like Jonny and find a way to go inside them." Jason stated.

After kissing the woman he loved, Superman asked who their son was talking to not wanting to listen in. Lois told him she thought it was his mother, and in a blur of color Clark changed into sweat pants and a old shirt.

"Granny, guess what else," Jason said, and began to giggle as his daddy nibbled on his toes. "Lucky weighs 15 pounds now," he informed his granny, pulling his feet up in an effort to keep his daddy from nibbling them. He laughed when Clark began to tickle various spots around his belly. "Daddy wants you now," told her, and gave the phone to him as he slid off the recliner.

"Hi mom," said Clark, as he took Jason's place.

Monday mornings were always the worst, not only because it meant the beginning of a long week, but also because it was the end to a quiet weekend, well as quiet as it could get for Superman and his family. As he stood watching his son sleep, he thought about what he had gained, and there were times when he wondered if it would all come to an end. Even though he was helping to find out why children's bodies were being found down at the east docks, and also keeping up as best he could with the rest of the world, Superman had not forgotten what Lex Luthor knew or what had happened to Jason before Lois moved in with him. They had not heard anything from him for nearly a month and he knew that it was just a matter of time before it all came crashing in. As he knelt down by Jason's bed, he remembered the promise he made to himself about keeping Lois and their son safe, and there were times when he didn't know if that were possible. Superman knew that if anything happened to either of them it would destroy him, and that was why he knew above all else he had to keep both of them protected.

He heard Lois's alarm go off and leaned in kissing the top of Jason's head. Before he had come into his son's room, he had found another child's body down by the docks, and after waiting for the coroner to arrive, he came straight here, needing to see the reality of his son before his eyes.

Jason stirred in his bed but he was so comfortable where he was, snuggled up with Lucky under the covers that he didn't want to wake up. He felt someone rubbing his back, and he knew it was another day for school, but he wanted to stay home. Yesterday had been so much fun after daddy got back. Despite his mother's protests they had wrestled on the floor, and Jason had enjoyed that. Even as young as he was he knew his parents would be busy all week and there were times when he wished there wasn't such a thing as work. "I want to stay in bed with Lucky," Jason mumbled, as he felt the blankets pulled back. Lucky began to move and Jason tried to hold her but she left his bed. "You made her leave," he whined, as he rolled over and found his daddy there wearing his Superman uniform.

Finding Jason grumpy on Monday mornings was something The Man of Steel had come to expect. "I know, but your mommy and I have work, and you have school today," he replied, as Jason pouted.

"I don't want to go to school. I'll stay in bed with Lucky, she will keep me safe," Jason told his father, as his lips drew down making a very pitiful face. He looked past his father as his mommy entered the room. "Mommy, Daddy let Lucky get away and I want to stay here with her." He sniffed and wiped at a tear that came down his left cheek.

As Superman made his way out of the room, Lois took his place by Jason's bed kissing his cheeks until she made him laugh. She knew her love was still learning the tricks of the trade and after she tickled Jason out of his bad mood he helped her pick out what he wanted to wear to his school.

While his parents worked at the Planet, Jason made up his mind that he needed someone to confide in like Jonny did with Jessie and Hadji, and the only person he trusted completely and without a doubt was his best friend Rebecca. At recess he had managed to sneak a piece of paper and pencil out to the playground and now the two of them sat in the tunnel, a piece of concrete piping placed just on the edge of the playground where the kids could climb or hide.

Rebecca sat next to Jason watching him as he carefully wrote something on the paper, and when he put it in her hands he had his finger on his mouth, shaking his head. She looked at it and it read 'Superman is my dad'. Her blue eyes grew very big and when she looked at Jason, he was nodding his head. He took the paper and ripped it up and then shoved it in the pockets of his blue jeans.

"Really?" she asked, in a whispered voice.

"Have to keep it secret," he said softly, wondering if his daddy would find out. He wondered what would happen, but he was glad he finally had someone he could talk to. "We gotta make up code like Jonny and Jessie sometimes does. I think The Big S will work," he declared, and she smiled at him.

Before Rebecca could respond to him, the whistle blew, and she and Jason climbed out of the tunnel and ran to be with their class. She knew he wasn't lying because he wasn't one to come up with such tales and because a while back she remembered the picture and it sort of made sense to her now.

While Jason and Rebecca were talking about a secret that she had no business knowing, Superman was half way across the world helping to build an orphanage in London. Not all of his work involved disasters and it was times like these that made him realize that maybe there was hope for humanity.

AN: Thanks goes out to Mr. Firenze for the Beta on this chapter. Hit the Review button and leave me a few words. Please..