Written for a claim community on LJ, 13fears. Prompt is Acrophobia.
Not Her Fear
The moment she knew that he could fly, he knew exactly what her next request would be.
"Please?" she looked up at him innocently. Claire, his lovely, melancholic long-lost daughter, had cornered him on one of his rare breaks and had asked him to take her for a quiet flight around the city.
"Claire… I can't just jump out my window and fly around whenever I want to," Nathan explained to her sternly. He tugged at his suit coat, straightening out any wrinkles. "I'm a political figure. What if someone catches us on camera?"
Claire rolled her eyes and then pouted. He hadn't known her for very long, but that pout was starting to get to him. "It's almost eleven o'clock on a Thursday night. Either people are in bed or partying too much to notice. Please? Just once?"
Her emerald eyes sparkled at him, and when he looked into that cheeky face, he just couldn't say no. He sighed heavily and said, "Fine. Put on something warm." Nathan pointed a finger warningly at her. "Just really quick, though. This isn't going to be around the world or anything."
Claire felt defeated, but she was reluctant to his terms. She grinned at him and then replied, "Aww…no Lois and Superman ride? Maybe next time."
Nathan shot her a displeased look and then rolled his eyes. "You're starting to sound like Peter."
"Aren't you scared of heights?" Nathan asked her. Claire wrapped her arms tightly around his torso, resting her head against his chest before he took off from the roof. She looked up at him curiously.
"Of course not. I've launched myself over tall buildings before."
Nathan pursed his lips, not really sure how to approach that last statement. "Buildings this high?" he challenged; there was no way he could believe she wasn't just a little bit scared. She kept looking awkwardly down at the ground, and even though she was wearing a large wool sweater, she kept shivering against him.
"Okay, then, here we go. Hold on tight," Nathan said, watching the expression on her face closely. It changed from surprise, to awe, and then molded into a look of pure wonderment. She looked around mystified, and her cheeks began to redden from the cold. Her long hair blew around in the wind, light tendrils sporadically tickling his face.
Flying was natural to him. He glided his body against the shift of the wind, cautious of birds or any other flying objects. He could readily sense when the temperature had changed, or when the air started to become thin.
He took it slow, and Claire hugged tightly against him. He heard her breathe out "wow" against his chest, but he could feel her still shivering, looking down and paling as she realized just how high he could take her.
"Are you sure you're not afraid of being this high?"
She moved her head quickly, looking at him in exasperation. "Will you stop asking me that? It may be high, but I think it's really cool."
He watched her, and he could still feel her shaking against him. Instinctively, he squeezed her closer to his body. Maybe she was just cold?
"Look, I'll prove it to you that I'm not afraid of heights. See that building over there?" She pointed and his gaze immediately followed. "Go ahead and hover above it, and then drop me."
"I'm serious! I want to show you what I can do and prove to you that I'm not afraid."
"Alright, fine," Nathan responded, sighing heavily. "I believe you. I'm just … not going to drop you." His face paled and he felt nauseous. Claire might not have been afraid, but he'd been afraid for her – just one more paternal gesture that proved he cared.
The silence between them was drowned out by the shifting winds, and then he said to her, "I'd never do that. There must be a better way to show me your powers than that."
"Okay then," Claire answered resolutely. She lifted her chin and rewarded him with a big smile. "Now take me higher."
Nathan paused, and then returned her smile. He shifted upward, resisting the wind. The stark breeze chilled his face, and Claire snuggled closer to him. His arms around her were just a little tighter – more protective.
Maybe Claire wasn't afraid of heights – but he knew she wasn't fearless. Flying was a new thing for her, so it was natural she'd be afraid at first. But she truly wanted to share his gift with him, and it warmed him to the core. She was one step closer in getting to really know him – the part of him he kept so hidden from others. And he would let her get to know him too, hoping one day they could share their abilities with each other.
Together they soared higher, flying much longer than he had agreed upon. Nathan didn't mind though, and at this point he'd probably give her anything she'd ask of him.
Anything that a father could.