Disclaimer: I don't own Superman and I'm not making any money off of this fic. It'd be nice, but I'm not- o well.
So- this is my first Superman fic, and I haven't seen the original movies in a long time, so if I screw up the mythology, correct me. This starts towards the end of Superman Returns and goes off from there- it's going to focus more on the people than the action, but there'll still be action (it's Superman, how can there not be?). I'm open to suggestions, too... Enjoy!
- - - Chapter One
The kryptonite was almost glowing. It was all around him. The entire continent that he was raising into orbit was made of it. It hurt, to put it mildly. Clark could feel his blood boiling beneath his skin and his strength ebbing away. For the first time ever, Clark felt the coldness of space. He'd been in space before, but he'd never felt the coldness of it. It surrounded him, driving away what was left of his strength almost as strongly as the kryptonite. And then he just couldn't do it anymore.
He felt himself floating backwards, falling. Unable to keep going up, to keep pushing the crushing landmass away from the planet he'd come to love.
Then there was heat. He was reentering the atmosphere. Clark could see the orange and red light around him and feel the heat; another new experience. He closed his eyes; it was just too hard to keep them open. He was still falling. The rush of air as he fell was usually exhilarating, but this time he knew he wouldn't be able to pull out of the dive and swoop back into the heavens; this time he was really falling and was going to crash.
He heard the ground rushing towards him before he felt it.
- - -
Clark's fingers were tingling. So were his toes. There was a strange buzzing in his ears. The buzzing turned into a voice. A familiar voice, but he couldn't pick out the words. The voice, a female voice, washed over him; calming his nerves. And then it was clear; Lois was here, wherever here was, and she was talking to him.
"I don't know if you can hear me," she said softly. "They say … sometimes people can hear you… I just wanted to tell you," she paused for what seemed like forever. Then her voice was closer, softer. "I thought you should know that Jason… you have to come back to us, Superman. Jason is your son. If anything, you need to come back for him."
The words hit him like he'd hit the Earth only a few days ago.
I have a son. Jason is my son.
And Lois was kissing him. And then she wasn't. He was alone in his bed again. The buzzing in his ears turned into footsteps getting closer. Jason kissed his forehead. Heat spread from that little kiss to every place in his body. It drove away the tingling in his fingers and toes, and spread through his insides like wildfire.
The door closed. He was alone within himself again.
The warmth had worked its way through him and he could feel himself coming around, but he was too tired to open his eyes. He fell asleep.
Clark woke when he heard somebody enter the room. He kept his eyes closed and played like he was still in his coma. The nurse, he assumed, checked the monitors and felt for his pulse. She stood for a moment and he could hear her breathing, but then she was gone and he was alone again.
He listened carefully; the room was empty. He opened his eyes and scanned the nearby halls. The only person within human earshot was the policeman standing dutifully outside his door. Smiling to himself, Clark got out of bed, pulling the various electrodes off of him and letting them fall onto the bed. The monitors flat-lined and Clark remembered when the monitors attached to his father had made that noise so many years ago; he stopped for a minute and let the memory wash over him. It was a sad one, but it was one worth remembering. He'd always remember his father.
He found his suit on the chair across the room. There was a large hole where Lex had stabbed him. Clark paused a moment to look at the hole, running a hand over the spot. Taking a deep, steadying breath, he put the suit on in a whirlwind of blue and red.
I have to see my son. The reminder of his own father had pushed that into the foreground of his mind.
Clark went to the window and opened it. The breeze was a rush in itself even though his feet hadn't even left the ground yet. He smiled, climbing up into the window and drifting out over the street.
Nobody noticed the blue figure passing overhead. There was a crowd below the main door, but Superman's window was on the side of the building. Clark flew off into the night, heading for Lois and Richard's house, where he'd find his son.
After he'd said what he'd had to say, Clark floated out the window again, leaving the window open because it was a warm night, and he secretly hoped the breeze would give his son dreams of flight.
"Good night!" Jason's voice came across the yard. Clark turned in the air, giving his son a sad smile before his eyes fell on Lois standing in the yard below.
"I-" Lois started, but her voice caught in her throat. "I thought you were going to die," she finished, barely above a whisper. Of course, Clark heard her.
There was so much emotion packed into those words. More emotion than he'd thought he'd ever hear coming from her again. Without really thinking, he flew down and took her in his arms, holding her close.
"I'm okay," he whispered in his ear. She pulled him closer and he could feel her tears falling onto his shoulder.
"Jason, what are you doing up? Get back in bed," Richard's tired voice came from inside, but Lois didn't hear him.
"M'kay," Jason said, and Clark heard the click of the window closing again. The voices were more muffled now, but Clark heard Richard tucking Jason in for the night.
"Take me above the clouds again, Superman," Lois whispered, pulling away to look into his face. He ran an inventory of his muscles, determining whether it'd be safe to take her flying after only just waking. She misread his uncertainty in himself as a reluctance to take her. "Please, I just need…"
But they lifted off the ground before she could finish, and she grabbed him tighter. She was holding him around the waist this time, pulling him intimately close instead of just holding onto his arms like she had the last time he'd taken her up. She sighed with relief as they floated over the bay, and Clark could feel her relaxing in his arms.
"I was so worried," she whispered.
"I'm okay," he assured her again, and she smiled.
"Is that all you can say?"
"I'm just as surprised as you are that I'm here right now," he said honestly. She wasn't so happy to hear that.
"I don't know what I would've done if… you hadn't… With Jason-" her voice caught again and Clark held her close, still looking into her eyes.
"I'll be there for both of you from now on, I promise," he whispered. And he meant it. "I'll find a way."
Lois sighed, breaking eye contact to lay her head against his chest. She could feel the famous "S" emblem against her cheek and smiled, just glad that he was there with her.
Below them, Richard watched from the window of the boy he thought was his son's bedroom. Emotions danced painfully across his face. She said she didn't love him. That she never had, he reminded himself, but she'd obviously lied. Lois was clinging to him like a child clings to its mother when it's frightened. They disappeared into the clouds over the bay and he pulled Jason's curtains closed
Jason was already asleep behind him. The little boy's innocence calmed Richard's nerves, at least long enough for him to leave the room. Richard went out on the porch, intending to confront the pair of them when they came back, but he lost confidence after only a few minutes. How can I compete with Superman? He sighed, running a hand over his tired face.
Richard went to bed and tried not to think about what the woman who was supposed to be next to him was doing.
Clark landed twenty minutes later. As usual, he landed and then set Lois down gently afterwards, making her smile when she noticed. "Always a gentleman," she commented. He smiled back, recapturing her lips in a brief goodbye; they'd had enough passionate kisses over the Atlantic that they could settle for a chaste goodbye, a sad reminder that they'd never really be together again. She sighed into his chest, her hands roaming across his back and avoiding the area where he'd been stabbed. "What happens now?" She asked.
"Now, you go back into your house and say goodnight to our son, and then lie down and sleep next to your fiancé," he said a little sadly.
"And you fade into the night sky?" She asked, equally as sadly but with a little smile.
"Into the night sky," he said, kissing her gently again. She stood back, her arms slipping from around his waist to his forearms, not wanting to let go.
"Goodnight, Lois," he said softly.
"I'll see you around?"
"I'm always around."
And he was gone.
Lois watched him rise into the clear sky and disappear behind the buildings of Metropolis. She pulled her robe closer around her, missing his heat when he was gone. With a sigh, she went back into the house and locked the doors, stopping at her son's door to check on him before making her way to her own bed.
Richard heard her come in, but kept his eyes closed. He had been counting the seconds until she returned; she had been gone much too long for his taste. He heard her toss her robe over the nearby chair and felt the mattress shift to accommodate her weight. The blankets shifted as she got comfortable; she didn't snuggle up to him like she normally did, but lay flat on her back. Her breathing suggested that she was crying, but he didn't have the strength to roll over and… what? Comfort her? No, he couldn't comfort her; she was pining for another man's arms, to be in another man's bed.
A super-man's bed.