Author: Nadia Mack
Summary: Superman moves through the world with entirely new eyes.
Author's Notes: This isn't a sequel to Unmasked. Fallen is an entirely new story that I hope gets a different reaction than the first. It's different, far different, yet I hope to remain in-character and all that jazz. Special thanks to Barbara for once again taking on the task as my beta-checker. Have you read "Déjà vu"? If not, you're missing out. And one other story that I find myself enjoying is "Hold Your Tongue." You really have to check it out if you haven't.
"I have fallen into an abyss. I live in a world so curious, so strange. Of the dream that was my life, this is my nightmare." – Cammille Claudel
He felt cold. The pain felt suffocating. He couldn't breathe. His vision blurred and the sounds around him became distant, muddled. No amount of experience and victories could help him now as he struggled to catch his breath. Lex Luthor's machinations to kill him seemed trivial to what he felt as his face dropped flat against the cold icy floor.
He rolled over on his back, the massive pain threatening to send him into unconsciousness. His eyes could barely make out the tall crystalline landscape that formed his Fortress of Solitude, He was surrounded by the light of something red and it made him weak.
Who are you? His mind raced for answers as he forced each breath.
As if the thing had read his mind, Superman felt his lungs fighting for air as his entire body was lifted off the ground.
"You wouldn't recognize me," the thing said in an eerily calm voice. If it had a weakness, the Last Son of Krypton couldn't find one. "Do you know what I am, Kal-El?"
It knew his name. The name his biological parents had given him shortly before their death. The knowledge of his ancestors gave him comfort once, but now they served as a painful reminder of a world he would truly never know, and he, the son of Jor-El and Lara, was all that was left of it.
His mind wandered in the midst of the pain…
When he arrived on Earth, he was given a great gift which his biological parents could only hope to give him, a family. Jonathan and Martha Kent raised him without fear and prejudice. They loved him completely, taught him the ways of the world the best they could. Everything that he was, everything that he hoped to be, none of it would have been possible without the love and kindness of two farmers from a little town called Smallville.
His mind jumped back to reality, and he braced himself for another onslaught of pain, but it was too late, his senses were not attuned to any of its attacks, and he fell right back down to the floor, completely defeated. If he had been dying right now, he would probably not fight it.
"Your people created me," it said. The voice remained calm as if it was having a normal conversation with him. It grabbed his neck once more and forced Superman's eyes open. "Your eyes..." but Superman could barely see it. "They're your mother's eyes."
Superman gulped painfully as he attempted to comprehend its words.
"My... mot... mother?"
The grip around his neck tightened.
"Your father was an intelligent creature, but I was better. Smarter. Stronger. It doesn't even matter what sun I'm under." Superman blinked, his breathing ragged as the voice penetrated all his other weakening senses. "You won't defeat me."
With a single thrust, he was thrown across the fortress and slammed against a pillar when his consciousness faded into darkness. The ground beneath him shook violently as the surrounding structure began to fall in all directions.
His attacker watched as the last remnant of Krypton fell apart. Its face stoic, lacking the smile, or look of victory that would normally take hold of any human or enemy that triumphed over a seemingly impossible obstacle. When it was through, it walked away, not caring to look back, thinking it fitting that the fate of Kal-El mimicked the last few moments of his own father's life.
Two Days Later
"I don't like this." Lois Lane, Pulitzer Prize winning reporter, slammed her folder atop her desk and deeply sighed. It was happening all over again.
"He's probably just busy somewhere," Richard said in a failed attempt to explain Superman's actions.
Superman hadn't been seen by anyone on Earth for the last three days, and it had caused a flurry of questions and fear in the populace, especially in Metropolis. Lois' phone had been ringing off the hook with callers wondering where the Man of Steel was. In the last few months since his unprecedented return, he normally flew daily to various locations throughout the globe, aiding in any way he could, so his failure to appear at all had people, particularly Lois, troubled.
"It's not like him to be gone this long."
"He's done it before," Richard said a little too quickly, regretting the words as soon as they left his mouth. "Sorry."
Lois glared at him, quickly forgetting the awkwardness between the two since they had both mutually called it quits several weeks ago. Their separation was kept between them for the time being, with his uncle, editor-in-chief Perry White, the only known person aware.
She, along with her son, had moved out and back into the old apartment she owned in downtown Metropolis. She had sublet it when she moved in with Richard. Thinking back on it, maybe that had been foreshadowing that it would never have worked with Richard in the long run despite how much she had tried. She was too far apart emotionally from him to continue living the way she had, and it wasn't fair to either her son or Richard.
All the while, how she felt about Superman took a backseat until now.
"He wouldn't have left, if that's what you're implying," Lois said, holding her anger inside. She didn't even want to entertain the possibility that he had left again without saying goodbye. "Something's happened to him, I can almost feel it."
Richard laughed humorlessly at her words. As much as he respected the hero, it didn't stop him from feeling robbed of his life when Lois had told him of their history together and the child that resulted from it. He was still sorting out his feelings on the matter, but Lois assured him that he would always be apart of Jason's life, with or without Superman being in theirs.
What Richard didn't know was that a few nights ago, Lois had woken up in the middle of the night feeling as if something wasn't right. She had been about to put the feeling aside when Jason suddenly came into her room asking if he could sleep next to her. She asked if he was okay and he said that something felt different inside him, but it was gone now. She knew her son was scared about something, and she was given further proof when she felt him shaking.
The next morning, she excused it as something that happened every now and again, but when Lois started noticing that Superman had been gone, she instinctively knew something was wrong, and her son must've felt it.
He looked at her. "Yes?"
"I know this is asking a lot, after everything that's happened–"
"I'll get over it," he interrupted, hoping that it was true. "What do you need?" he asked courageously.
"I…" Lois hesitated, but she needed to know for sure and she knew she couldn't do this alone. "I need… I need you to take me somewhere."
"Where?" he asked curiously.
Lois took a deep breath. This was asking him too much, but she felt she had no other choice.
To be continued…