Meant to Be

By Blueowl

Description: A horrible gas explosion starts a turn of events that brings about the meeting of David. A meeting that will lead Superman to the fact that when bad things happen, one must remember that everything is connected and meant to be…
Note: In this AU story, Superman has only been around for a few months now, so Lois does not know he is Clark.
Caution: Possible tear-jerker.
Disclaimer: The characters depicted in this story belong to DC comics; they do not belong to me, I only wish they did. The only things here that belong to me is the story idea and the characters I created for it.

Superman landed in front of the still slightly smoking apartment building. He saw fire trucks parked up and down the streets and gave a silent prayer as an ambulance sped off, sirens blazing, towards the hospital. The rescue crews had already been in action for a short while before Superman had been alerted about the fire, for he had been at another disaster; a subway tunnel collapse.

The fire department had the flames well under control, and the firemen had finished bringing out the people within. Superman quickly took in the scene and saw there was little that needed his assistance, however, something quickly caught his attention. There was a small group of paramedics around a small form on the grass several dozen yards from the building. Making his way to them, they shifted back slightly, and looked up at him, the still form on the ground before him, two paramedics kneeling on either side.

Apparently they had just gotten him out of the building, and since there was no available ambulance (the last just having left), they had been forced to place him on the grass until one arrived for him.

He was a little boy, probably around the age of eight, slightly wrapped in a blackened blanket, deep burns on his face and hands. His eyes were slightly open, looking at him. The burn was really bad on one side of his face, and it appeared that even if the boy had wanted to close his eyes, he wouldn't have been able because of the burns. His cracked lips were parted somewhat, his white teeth just beyond.

The rescuers around looked at Superman, but Superman was still looking at the child, wondering if he should ask to take him, or assume they had everything under control.

"Can you hear me?"

Superman was honestly surprised by the calm voice that had come from the boy, and was even more perplexed by the question.

"Of course I can hear you," he answered, coming closer, the boy's eyes following his face; none of the rescuers moved.

"Can you take me to my mom?" he asked. He hadn't moved his lips as he had said this, and it was obvious why. He simply couldn't. The burn went across his face, going across his lips as it got progressively worse the further to the right it went.

Superman looked over at the one who seemed to be the head of the paramedics, for he was an older gentleman, gray hair at his temples, a veteran paramedic. Superman recognized him, having met him a few weeks ago at another fire.

"Can I take him to the hospital?" Superman asked.

The paramedic looked at him for a moment, as if startled by something before answering. "Superman…" but he paused, and then began again. "Superman, we've already called-"

"But it'll be faster if I take him." He stated, kneeling down beside the boy, the two medics by him backing away. "I'll take him to Saint General's; Andrew's is still getting people from that subway collapse." The paramedic took a moment to think, his face unreadable, before simply nodding his head, allowing Superman to pick up the boy.

The people around seemed at a loss for words, which wasn't uncommon, as he lifted up the boy and headed off.

Saint General Hospital was further than Andrew's, but Superman figured the boy would get care faster from Saint General; it's halls not overflowing with patients, or at least, with not as many. The boy simply stared for the time they gained altitude, until they leveled out and were moving horizontally.

Superman had to fly at a slower pace than what he normally would while carrying an injured person, since he didn't want to cause any more pain for the boy. He had also learned from experience that you had to be especially careful with burns.

"What's your name?" Superman asked, certain it would help keep the boy calm, talking, -and- awake.

"David," he answered, gathering up the energy to speak to his hero. "Can you tell my mom something for me?" he asked, his eyes so deep and full of innocence.

"Uh, sure, but I'm sure you can tell her when she gets to the hospital, David," Superman replied, privately marveling at how this child was speaking well enough to be understood while not moving his lips as well as being in the pain Superman was certain he was in.

"She's already at the hospital. She's a doctor…Saint General. Dr. Johnson," he whispered, as if thinking. Then he spoke again, his voice remarkably steady, and eerily serious. "Superman, I'm going to go where my daddy is and where he is my mom can't go…at least, not yet. She has something important to do." Superman caught a flash of awe go through David's eyes before he continued, his eyes focused on something above Superman. "I see him right now."

"What, where?"

"Up there. I see others too. My sister is calling me."

Superman was suddenly very worried. The boy was clearly in shock, seeing things…hearing things…

"Are you alright?" Superman asked, knowing it was sort of a dumb question. Who is alright after getting 3rd degree burns on one's face? Not to mention having been carried out of a burning building?

"Yes. But will you talk to my mom for me? Because I need to go." His eyes start to seem to glaze over slightly, as if no longer really seeing Superman.

"Hey! David, stay with me," he said, just keeping the panic from his voice. "What do you want me to tell her?" he asked, willing to do anything to keep the boy conscious.

"I'm safe. I'm with Daddy and Marie. Don't be sad, for I'll be watching, and so will they, so don't quit." His eyes seemed to smile despite the fact that his face was unable. "Daddy says we'll be together again, but not right now."

"I don't understand."

"You will."

"Please fight, stay awake," Superman nearly pleaded, the hospital coming into sight. He couldn't lose him now.

"Superman, I'm already gone."


"It's the only way."

"Way for what?"

"For my mom to do what she was meant to do."

"And what's that?"

"Find the cure for cancer." Superman was too concerned for David to really grasp what he had just said.

"But why do you need to go? You don't need…" he couldn't bring himself to say the words 'to die'.

"Superman, I told you, I am already."

"No you're not, you're talking with me, and we are almost to the hospital, you are going to be okay," he said quickly, looking at the young burned face.

"Superman, I'm holding my daddy's hand. I was already going to him before you even landed and saw me… You see, that was why all those people looked at you strangely, for you were the only one who could hear me. They saw that I was gone…"

"But why?" He couldn't think of anything else to say.

"My mom has a job to do, and for her to do it, this had to happen. It was meant to be."

"But -why-?"

Superman's heart trembled as the boy took a moment to respond, the only thing that seemed to have any life was his eyes, and even that was now fading.

Superman had to focus his hearing as the boy whispered his answer.

"For her to meet you…" he breathed out. And then, he was gone.

"David. David!"

Superman looked up at the sky, willing his tears to stay in his eyes as he swallowed, the boy somehow even more limp in his arms, blackened and charred cloth brushing against his red and blue.

He held David firmly against himself as he descended, landing at the entrance he normally used for delivering patients, but when he landed, he simply stood there. The sun setting behind him as he continued to hold him.

- - -

Saint General Hospital

They had gotten word about the apartment, and that they would be getting the majority of the injured from there since the other hospitals had their hands full with the people from the collapse of the subway tunnel.

Dr. Price was on his way to the entry doors, having just spoken to his friend over the phone, that man being the veteran paramedic. His friend informed him that Superman was on his way with a patient, but that the patient was, well, beyond their help. The old paramedic continued, saying that Superman had insisted on bringing the boy, and that, personally, he was worried about Superman. He had never seen him like that, and he had worked along side him a few times before, like at the mall fire that had happened a few weeks ago. He mentioned something about Superman answering a question that wasn't even asked by any of them, and that it had appeared that he had been answering the boy.

Dr. Price pushed that knowledge aside as he pushed open the door just as a familiar soft breeze met him. He stepped outside, a few nurses and other doctors joining him. He paused, frankly startled by what he was now seeing.

The bright light from the sun silhouetted the mighty man's frame, a small form held tenderly in his arms. The hero's head was down, looking at the young face resting gently against him as he simply stood, as if time itself had froze, acknowledging no one.

Dr. Price gathered himself quickly, stepping towards the awesome being and the past innocent.

"Superman?" he asked, his voice breaking the stillness in the air.

Behind Dr. Price was a stretcher that had just been brought out, the other doctors and nurses staying back, allowing Dr. Price to handle the situation.

Superman slowly rose his face up to the wise doctor, his eyes meeting his, showing the doctor the loss and pain within his soul, and the tears in his eyes. The doctor paused, looking down at the child cradled in the two powerful arms, and stifled a gasp.

"David…" Price whispered nearly silently.

Dr. Price placed his hand on the boy's chest, the blanket loosely wrapped around the burned form. Price turned slightly, giving the sign to bring the stretcher over. Superman gently placed David down upon it, and with his hand, softly closed the child's partly open eyes.

There was suddenly a commotion beyond, near the entrance Price had come from, and a hysterical cry shook the air. Bolting from the swinging doors was a woman in a white doctor's coat, tears streaming down her face. She came to a dead stop beside Price, right before her son, and directly across from Superman who was on the other side of the stretcher, his uniform darkened by ash and dust.

The sound had been suddenly switched off as far as many were concerned, including Superman. He couldn't hear Dr. Price trying to calm David's mom, couldn't hear her unyielding sobs, or of the shocked and crying voices that had risen all around them. For right then, he could only process sight, and even that was nearly too much to take.

He had unconsciously taken a step back, not even aware that ambulances from the apartment were now driving past to the entrance beside this one. He was stationary, everything around him moving so slowly. He watched as the mother lowered her face, leaning over the body of her son, gently taking his hand and kissing him on his forehead, her body shaking.

Then time all but stopped for him, as she raised her streaming eyes up to him.

And she looked at him, taking in his posture, his clenched fists, and his slumped shoulders, and lastly, found his eyes so like her own. She watched, oblivious to everything around her as Superman could no longer hold back the tears in his eyes, and she saw, before he disappeared, a tear run down his face.

The world went back to spinning as sound was reintroduced to her, the all so familiar sonic boom sounding overhead, the voice of Dr. Price back, however muffled.

She closed her eyes, wanting to go to any kind of oblivion, anywhere but here, anywhere but where her son was gone.

- - -

Superman shot across the sky, easily breaking the sound barrier, wanting to get away, away from it all. His initial plan was to go to Smallville, but he quickly changed his mind, going around the world instead.

He was unable to comprehend, not able to process or understand.

He didn't know what he should do, didn't know where he should go, or what he really needed, and so he just flew.

Finally he slowed, not really knowing where he was going, until he stopped, finding himself just outside a window. The curtain just partly pulled back, just enough to see within without using his extraordinary vision. Lois Lane in front of the TV, notes for stories sprawled all over the coffee table, dressed in simple PJ's.

He breathed out, releasing a tension that had been within him. He calmed himself, watching Lois as she worked and snacked on a tub of double-chocolate fudge ice cream. A part of him hoped she would somehow notice him; however, another part of him was content in just seeing her quietly work, free from the horrible burdens in the world.

- - -

Part 2 coming soon...