AN:Here's the deal…Jason won't leave me alone. I don't want to mess with him, but he will NOT get out of my head. I created such a tortured life for him in Shadow of My Father that I had to come up with a huge amount of backstory just to make it work. I thought once I got that out of my head that he would leave me alone, but no. He wants more. Which brings me back to Superman fan fiction even when I said I wouldn't write any more.
So this fic is the backstory to my other fic In the Shadow of My Father, detailing just how Jason's relationship with Sups developed and eventually crumbled. I've got about 20 or so chapters planned that I could write to flesh out the whole messy story, but I'm going to be watching to see how well the story is received and then decide if I want to just do the first few chapters or go the whole distance. Let me know your thoughts when you leave a review. At this point in the story, you don't need to have read In the Shadow of My Father to understand what's going on. However, if I do continue all the way through, you will need to read it or else this fic won't make any sense. All you need to understand right now is that Jason has no idea Sups is his father.
Thanks go to htbthomas for the beta. How she beta reads EVERYTHING and still writes her own amazing story is beyond me. I think we can all agree that she is the current reigning queen of Superman fan fiction.
Age 6 – Keeping Secrets
When Mommy said we had to go to the Planet, she wasn't talking about Mars or Saturn or even Krypton. She meant we had to go to work. Blech. Not my favorite place in the world, but what else could I do? I don't think Mommy is allowed to leave me alone.
When the elevator doors opened on the fifteenth floor, Mommy gave my hand a squeeze. She smiled at me before we walked into the newsroom. It wasn't fun here, and she knew that I didn't like it, but she kept bringing me here anyway. I knew Mommy and Daddy thought the news was lots of fun, but to me it was just boring.
Well, most of the time it was boring. If it was about Superman, then it wasn't boring.
Mommy must have been in a hurry to get to her desk because she walked pretty fast. We passed Mr. Clark's desk so quickly that I hardly even had a chance to say hello. I waved at him, and he waved back. So cool! Superman waved at me!
I didn't understand why everyone made a fuss over Superman when he was dressed in blue, but no one made a fuss over Mr. Clark when he was dressed in a suit. Especially Mommy. Mommy knew Superman better than anyone, so why doesn't she talk to Mr. Clark very much? Maybe I should ask him.
"Stay here, munchkin, and don't bother anyone. I'll be right back," Mommy said as she headed off to Uncle Perry's office, leaving me all alone at her desk. I knew she would be gone for a while.
I looked over my shoulder at Mr. Clark. He smiled at me again. He was so nice. Mommy said not to bother anyone, but Mr. Clark never minded when I talked to him. I took off my coat and sat it down in mommy's chair.
"Hi, Mr. Clark," I said, wandering over to his desk.
"Hi, Jason," he said, rumpling my hair. "How are you today?"
I shrugged. "I wanted to go to the park, but mommy says it's too cold and that I'll get sick."
"Well, it is kind of cold outside."
I shrugged again. "I still want to go to the park. There are kids there, and there aren't any here."
He tilted his head to the side. "Do you like tag or hide-and-go-seek better?"
"Hide and seek. There's too much running in tag and I always end up coughing."
He looked sad. "I'm sorry about that."
"It's okay. It's not your fault I have asthma."
Shaking his head, he said, "That doesn't mean I don't feel badly about it. You should be able to run and play like all the other kids."
"I do!" I explained. "I love the playground!"
He bit his lip. "Which is your favorite: the swings or the slide?"
"Swings!" I said with excitement. "When I go high, I feel like I'm flying."
His eyebrows went up. "You like flying?"
"Sure I do. Don't you?"
He nodded slowly. "Yes, I do."
"Maybe we could go flying sometime," I offered.
He frowned. "Well, I'm not sure if Richard will go for that, but maybe if we—"
He was so silly sometimes! "I'm not talking about flying in a plane."
His eyes squinted at me. "What do you mean? How else would we…well…fly?"
"I dunno how you fly. You just do."
"Jason?" he said quietly. "You think…I can…fly?"
Looking very confused, he rested his elbows on his knees and brought his face closer to mine. "I don't have a pilot's license, so I don't know why you think I can fly."
I rolled my eyes. "You don't need a plane. You're Super—"
"Shhh!" His hand gently covered my mouth and stopped me from saying more. "How do you…how did you…?" He glanced around the room nervously until he saw Mommy. "We can't talk here," he mumbled.
"Ah, Lois?" he said standing up. "Lois? Could I um…could I…?"
Mommy turned around, looking frustrated. "Oh, Jason, I told you not to bother anyone."
"No, he's no bother. Really. He's not bothering me at all." Mr. Clark patted my shoulder. "I just thought…well… gosh…maybe he'd like a – a – a soda…or something." He pushed his glasses up on his nose. "I just wanted to make sure it was all right with you if I took Jason…to get…a soda." He was using his Mr. Clark voice right now. It was higher and squeakier than Superman's voice.
"I suppose so," Mommy said, looking a bit skeptical. "Nothing with caffeine though."
"Right," Mr. Clark said with a nod. "Jason," he looked down at me. "Let's go get a soda."
He led me down the hall to the break room where he bought me a can of Sprite. I thanked him and took a big gulp. The bubbles tickled my nose. I watched him as he closed the door and pulled out a chair to sit in. He looked worried, which made me worried. Did I say something wrong? Had I done something that made him angry at me?
He leaned forward, that same worried look on his face. "So…how did you know?"
I shrugged. "I saw your picture on TV. I thought…I mean…doesn't everyone know?"
"No, Jason. No one knows."
"Well, I figured that Mommy didn't know, 'cause she acts crazy around you when you're Superman, but she hardly talks to you when you are Mr. Clark."
He made a sad face. "You're right. Lois doesn't know."
"Why not? I don't understand. Wouldn't it be easier for you to help people if your friends knew you could help them?"
He smiled. "It seems that way, doesn't it? But Jason, this has to stay a secret. If someone found out…"
He didn't finish. "What? Would something bad happen?"
"I don't know. Maybe. Superman gets a lot of attention, and Clark doesn't. There are times when I'm very glad that I can just be Clark and no one knows who I am."
"But I know!"
He nodded. "I realize that." His eyes squinted again. "How long have you known?"
I looked down at the floor. "Since right before you saved us from the bald man who wanted to hurt us." I said it really quietly. I didn't like talking about that. I didn't like thinking about what happened. About what I did.
"Jason," he said softly, putting a hand on my shoulder. "That bald man is part of the reason why this has to stay our secret. You can't tell anyone." He looked at me right in the eyes. "When I'm Clark, you can't talk to me about Superman. And when I'm Superman, you can't talk to me about Clark. Understand?"
I nodded, suddenly very afraid. "You're not mad at me, are you?"
"No. Why would I be mad?"
I shrugged. "It sounds like you don't like it when people know."
He put both hands on my shoulders now. "Jason, I'm not mad at you. In a way… I'm kind of glad that you know."
He smiled. "You just can't tell anyone."
I shook my head. "I won't." I swallowed hard. "Will you still come visit me at night?"
His eyes went wide for a moment. "You know about that, too?"
"I don't have as many secrets as I thought I had, huh?" he mumbled.
"Is it a secret that you visit me?"
"Yes." He sounded very serious.
"Because…" His voice became deep. It was the Superman voice. "You're very important to me, Jason. I don't want you to get hurt because you're… because of me."
"Why would anyone want to hurt me?"
"Because of our… relationship."
"You mean because I know your secret?"
"Something like that."
I didn't really understand, but I would keep it a secret anyway.
Someone knocked on the door.
"Hey, you two." It was Mommy. She had my coat in her hands. "What's going on in here?"
Mr. Clark nearly jumped to his feet. "Lois, we were just um… Jason was… um…"
"Thanks for watching him, Clark. I know he can be a menace sometimes." She held out her hand to me and waited for me to take it.
"Mr. Clark?" I said, looking up at him. "Thanks for the soda."
"You're very welcome, Jason."
"Yeah, thanks, Clark," Mommy added. "Now, come on, Munchkin."
But I wasn't done yet. I needed Mr. Clark to know I was going to keep his secret. But I couldn't really say anything in front of Mommy. That was part of the deal, right?
So I hugged him instead. I hugged his legs and he patted me on the back.
Mommy looked confused. "Jason?"
"I'm ready to go now," I said, slipping into my coat and taking her hand.
As we walked back to the elevator, mommy asked, "So you like hanging around Clark, huh?"
"Yeah, he's really nice." Then I had an idea. "Maybe he could watch me sometime when you and Daddy are busy?"
Mommy frowned at me. "I don't know about that. We'll have to see."
Just the idea of having Superman as a babysitter made me want to jump up and down with excitement. But I had to keep that a secret. It was our secret. Mr. Clark's and mine. And I felt special for knowing it. I felt special because he trusted me.
Later that night, when he visited my window, I didn't hesitate to sit up in bed and wave at him. He waved back and then held a finger to his lips, telling me to stay quiet. Then he pointed at me and then put his head on his hands like a pillow, mouthing the words, You go back to sleep.
I nodded and lay back down on my pillow. "Good night!" I said to him before he flew away from the house, leaving me with his secret. Our secret, he had called it. I liked the sound of that.