A/N: okay, guys. Before you start reading the fic, I need to tell you something IMPORTANT, be so kind and read my author's note.
I never, ever start to publish a novel-length fic before it's finished (it's my Rule Number One in writing fanfiction), but this time something happened that forced me to break my own rule: an excellent author has just published a fic that handles a topic very similar to mine.
I started writing this fic in the second half of August, and I'm currently writing chapter 11. (Should anyone doubt that, check out the latest entry in my ffnet forums/'works in progress' thread – you'll see that this fic was announced there as a WIP on 27th August).
I wanted to wait with the publish date for another two-three weeks (as I expect I'm going to finish writing the fic in about three weeks), but, in order to avoid being yelled at that 'hey, you stole someone else's idea!', I decided to start to publish it now. I hope you understand my predicament and that Nautica7mk won't be mad at me for posting a fic like this at the same time she does – I seriously hope our fics will be different enough. I do not intend to be anyone's competition, I just want to avoid being called a plot-thief. I'm sure that all fanfic authors can relate :)
Please keep in mind that my fic is about 70 percent written at the moment, so I'm NOT taking ideas from any other author in the fandom. Stealing plot elements is simply beneath my dignity. Should you find more than one element in my story that resembles Nautica's, then it's merely a coincidence. Those who know me from other fandoms know that I'd never sink so low as to steal from other people's fics.
I must also tell you that English isn't my native language. Although I have an American beta, she might not notice all the mistakes I make, so don't be harsh when pointing them out.
This story starts as an AU ending to the SR movie. I based it mostly on SII and SR, and barely on anything else. From the Smallville series I only used the fact that Lana and Chloe exist, but Chloe isn't related to Lois and Lana never slept with Clark. Neither Lex nor Lois ever visited Smallville and Ben Hubbard doesn't exist at all.
Thanks to Eve for the grammar beta and my mum for the plot beta.
o O o
Who Am I?
Lois looked at the unmoving form of Superman lying in the hospital bed. He looked so peaceful, as though he was only sleeping… but Lois knew better. She knew he was in a coma from which he might never awaken. At the thought of never seeing those amazingly blue eyes, never hearing his rich baritone and never seeing his smile again, her heart clenched. How she loved this man! For years and years she'd tried to convince herself that she was over him, and convince the world that Superman meant nothing to her, but she had known all along that she'd been trying to deceive everyone, herself included.
She cast a quick glance at her son who was deeply immersed in admiring the Man of Steel's blue-red-yellow suit on the chair. He deserves to know, she thought, turning back to Superman. He deserves to know that Jason is his…
She bent to his right ear and whispered, as quietly as possible, "Jason is your son." Even if he had heard her, he gave no sign but slept on. With a sudden thought she gently kissed him on the lips, then drew back.
So much for reviving kisses, Lois thought dejectedly and stood up. That was when he first stirred.
"He's moved!" Jason exclaimed, running up to the invalid. For a second it crossed Lois's mind that her son might have seen her kissing Superman, but the flash of a pair of sky blue eyes made her forget it. She felt her knees going weak and she had to sit down before her legs decided to force her down.
She unceremoniously dropped herself on the bed next to him, clutching his hands. "You're back…" she whispered, not even trying to fight her tears.
"Back? Where?" Superman asked quietly, his voice sounding distant. He freed his hands from her grip and quickly cast his eyes around. "In a hospital room? Why, what happened to me?"
"You fell from the skies after you pushed that huge mass of land into space," Lois replied gently, running a caressing finger down the side of his face. He caught her hand and gently placed it back into her lap. His cheeks were flushed, as though he were feeling embarrassed at the intimacy she had been showing.
Lois knitted her eyebrows. Just a few days ago Superman had seemed more than willing to kiss her and felt very eager to hold her in his arms. Why was he pushing her away now? Hadn't he heard what she'd told him about Jason?
"I… I'm sorry Miss…" he muttered. "I did not mean to be rude or anything, but… do I know you?"
Lois's eyes widened. He couldn't have… amnesia, could he? Please, no… "Of… of course you do," she said quickly. "I'm Lois Lane, remember? Reporter of the Daily Planet, your um… personal press contact."
"I have a press contact?" He raised an eyebrow at her.
"Of course you do!" Jason chimed in. "You're famous, Mr. Superman!"
That was the first time Superman noticed the child. "Oh, hi there. Who are you? And what did you just call me?"
The little boy glanced at his mother, as though waiting for her approval to continue. Lois looked back at her son with equally confused expression, so Jason decided to take things into his hands. Superman was behaving rather weird, surely because he was still very sick; that left him, Jason, the only responsible male in the room. He cleared his throat, straightened his back and held out his right hand just like his Daddy Richard had taught him. On most occasions he had just introduced himself to people with a 'hi, I'm Jason', offering a smile, but this was a serious situation that called for maturity. And he was a real man already, his Daddy had told him several times… And real men introduced themselves with a straight back, an impassive expression and a strong handshake. "We've met before, but you seem to have forgotten, so I'm introducing myself again. Jason White, pleased to meet you, Mr. Superman."
The man in the bed looked dumbfounded as the child shook his hand. "What did you call me again?"
"Superman. That's your name," Jason replied seriously. "Hasn't your daddy taught you to return a handshake properly? I mean, your grip was like a dead fish or something…"
"Jason!" his mother said with a scolding stare.
The little boy shrugged. "But that's what Daddy taught me. A real gentleman grabs the hand of the other properly to show that he has a strong personality. Or something like that. Perhaps Superman's daddy never taught him that."
Superman wasn't looking at the child, but staring at the wall, his mind reeling. Daddy? His daddy? Who was his daddy? Did he have a daddy at all? And what was with these two people insisting on calling him Superman? "I…" He turned back to the charming woman and her precocious son. "In all honesty, I don't know what my father taught me and what he didn't. I don't know if I had a father at all… and I don't know who I am."
"You're Superman, how many times do I have to rep-" Jason began, only to be silenced by his mother.
"Jason honey… would you do Mommy a favour and wait outside?"
The little boy made a pout but nodded and left the room.
Lois made sure her son had properly closed the door behind him then returned to the bed and sat down. "You don't remember a thing?"
The man shook his head. "What am I supposed to remember?"
Lois heaved a sigh. This wasn't going to be easy. In the fairy tale when Sleeping Beauty got awoken by the Prince's kiss, she fully remembered everything that had happened to her before she'd fallen asleep a hundred years ago. Superman, however, seemed to have total amnesia, and he hadn't even slept a hundred years, just a few days. Had the Kryptonite affected him so badly? Or had he hit his head when he'd crashed with the ground? The doctors had mentioned some minor concussion that must have been due to his weakened-by-Kryptonite state, as under normal circumstances the Man of Steel would never have been hurt in any way…
Lois wordlessly took his hand and motioned him to get out of the bed. As he did and his covers fell back, she bit back a gasp. His body was so… perfect. Even through the short-sleeved shirt he was wearing, his muscles looked so toned, his shoulders so wide, and his backside in that tiny piece of underwear… Oh my gosh. Not even an ancient Greek sculptor could have carved him to greater perfection. She'd almost forgotten how good he looked without clothes…
She halted in her stride. Did she remember him without clothes? Well, certainly, there had been those funny dreams about her and Superman making love in a crystal palace in a silver bed looking like something that had been beamed down from the Enterprise, but hadn't those been only dreams? Certainly, Jason was there, a living proof that something had happened between her and Superman, and during her pregnancy she kept wondering whether those dreams had anything to do with reality, but now that she again saw him without his suit, a feeling of dejá vu washed over her.
"Are you feeling okay?" he asked, eyeing her with a curious glance. His head was cocked, his shoulders hunched a bit, and Lois realised that he reminded her of someone. Someone… insecure. Someone… boyish and mild-mannered. But whom?
"Er… of course," she replied with a forced smile and led him to the chair on which his clothes were lying. She turned to face him, her eyes boring deeply into his. "What my son said was right, but I think he started it a bit… rudely." She let out a chuckle. "You must forgive him for that, he's just five after all."
"Er… Miss Lane… don't worry, I'm not mad at your son. He's a very interesting little boy. I think I like him."
As clueless and lost as he looked, she couldn't help thinking that he was endearing. There was definitely something innocent and boyish about him – something that she'd never seen in him when he'd posed as Superman. Then it crossed her mind: did he pose as Superman? Was he someone else as well – someone who just occasionally appeared to be the strong and unwavering hero? Was he deep down much more vulnerable? Was he showing his real personality now?
"Just call me Lois, please. I know… I know you don't remember, but we used to be… friends. Very… close friends."
"Then you surely know everything about me."
I wish I did, she thought bitterly. "I know a lot about you, but not everything by far. You are Superman, saviour of thousands on Earth. You have come from another planet and have these special powers like flying, heat- and X-ray vision, enhanced hearing and invulnerability… or least, as long as there's no Kryptonite around, because that's the only thing that can hurt you. And that is what hurt you. That is what made you fall from the skies and hit yourself so bad that you fell in a coma and now have amnesia. And this…" she pointed at the clothes on the chair, "is your suit."
Superman let got of her hand to examine the suit. He picked it up and held it at arm's length, frowning. "Was I at a costume ball before I had this… accident?"
"A costume ball?" She blinked.
"Yeah, you know… where people dress up in funny clothes… There is such a thing as a costume ball, isn't there?"
"Yes, there is…" Lois nodded. Like most amnesiacs, Superman too remembered the average things in life – like how to speak, how to ride a bicycle, where to go if in need of a loaf of bread, but he didn't remember a thing of his own life and the people he had known. "But… this isn't a costume. I mean, yes, of course it is, but… you never wore it to costume balls. You wore it when you went on your amazing rescue missions."
The man shook his head in disbelief and dropped the clothes back on the chair. "I don't like it. It looks so stuck-up with that huge red 'S'. I can't believe I ever agreed to wear something like this. And 'Superman'? What kind of silly name is that?"
A name that I gave you, Lois thought, blinking back a tear and turning away from him to not let him see her watering eyes. As she looked out the window, she was greeted by the sight of Metropolis bathing in sunshine. The sun!
The man next to her made a face. "Do you insist on calling me that? It makes me feel… awkward."
Lois fought down the urge to roll her eyes. "Listen here Su… You get your strength from the sun. You usually fly high up into the sky to get filled with sunshine. It revitalises you, recharges you and heals you. All you have to do is fly into the stratosphere where the sun's rays are not filtered by the ozone layer, and you'll be healthy again! You will remember everything!"
The young man was scrutinizing her with a dubious and still very boyish expression. He looked like an elementary school pupil who couldn't decide whether to believe his math teacher that two multiplied by two was four. "Are you sure I can fly?"
Lois smiled. "Yeah, absolutely sure. We've flown together several times. You can fly quicker than a speeding bullet. You stopped falling airplanes with your bare hands, you… you can do it."
He bit into his lower lip. "I can try. But I don't have to wear this, do I?" He pointed at the blue suit on the chair.
"I'm afraid you have to," she chuckled. "I'm sure the ladies would love to see you in underwear, but… others might be scandalised. You'd make the front page in an instant… Not that you aren't making the front page these days…"
"What do you mean by that?" He raised an eyebrow at her, the look of total puzzlement on his face. She was sure she'd seen this particular expression on someone before, but it hadn't been Superman.
"Are there journalists here?"
Lois stepped to the window and opened it. "Look down."
Superman walked to the window and let out a gasp. There were hundreds, no, thousands of people on the streets. They looked like a crowd of fans camping in front of a five star hotel, hoping to catch a glimpse of their favourite movie star. "Uh… they aren't all journalists, are they?" he asked in a wavering voice.
The woman shook her head with an amused smile. "Just about one-tenth of them. The rest are normal people, your well-wishers, your admirers… people who love you and want you to heal. You owe them that much. So don't keep the sun waiting!"
With an expression of insecurity, he nodded and lifted his blue suit off the chair. "I still don't like it."
o O o
Two minutes later, Superman was standing on the windowsill, looking down into the abyss. He didn't know if he'd ever been afraid of heights, but now he felt that he was. Something gently touched his shoulder and he looked back to see Lois Lane's encouraging smile. "You can make it. I know you can. Trust yourself – I trust you."
He couldn't have explained why, but something warm and fuzzy spread inside his belly. This lady was really so nice to him… a friend, if he could believe her. And there was something in her eyes that made him trust her. And she trusted him, so he had to trust himself.
With a deep breath, he jumped.
The g-force immediately sucked him towards the centre of Earth. He heard a squeal from above – probably coming from Lois, and several screams from downwards.
'Look, it's Superman!'
'But he's falling!'
'Heavens, he's jumped out a window and forgot how to fly!'
'CLAAAARK!' shouted a vaguely familiar voice that could have probably belonged to an elderly lady. Superman saw a tree speeding towards him and realised that in fact he was speeding towards the tree, but before he could have collided with it, the g-force simply stopped existing and he was soaring up, up...
In an instant he was at the same level with the window he'd jumped from. "Hey, Lois, I can fly! Look!" He did a loop-de-loop in the air, laughing like a five-year-old. "This is great! I think I love flying! But Lois, why are you so pale?"
Thanks to his super-reflexes, he caught her just in time as she fainted.
o O o
"Mommy, mommy, can I come inside?"
Lois blinked to find herself on the bed that Superman had just recently vacated. What happened? Then it came rushing back to her: his jumping from the window, her heart missing a beat, then his infantile loop-de-loops… I must have fainted. Damn you, Superman, no man on Earth has ever made me faint besides you, but you know just how to do it as often as possible…
"Mommmmmyyyy!" came a whining voice from outside.
"Oh… Come in, Jason!" she called out to him, and the little boy entered.
"Er… I hope recharging himself with sunshine… how long have you been waiting outside?"
Jason frowned at his mother. "Are you forgetting things like Superman too? You sent me out twenty-two minutes ago, I was looking at the watch on the wall of the corridor."
Twenty-two minutes. Lois sighed. Then she had been unconscious for at least fifteen minutes. But what was taking Superman so long? He usually needed a few minutes only to regain his strength… I hope he didn't go flying for the fun of it before he healed… in his current state, he could go hopelessly lost.
In the next instant a blur of blue and red flew through the window and crashed into the opposite wall. Half of the wall tumbled down, leaving a second entrance next to the real door.
Superman frowned at the huge hole he'd created. "I think I'll have to learn how to slow down…"
"Why, don't you remember how to slow down?" Jason questioned him.
"Hasn't the sun brought back your memories?" Lois asked with a concerned expression.
"No." A familiarly goofy smile spread on his face. "But I love flying!"
o O o
A/N: okay, that was silly (but deliberately silly). There will be quite a few silly moments in the fic, as an amnesiac Superman must be somewhat funny, in my opinion. Later the story turns somewhat darker and Supes turns more serious, I promise you that.
Until then, please, review (and keep in mind what I wrote in my A/N at the beginning of the chapter)!