Title: Volar (Or, Flight)
Rating: T / PG-13, mostly for implications and some mild language
Fandom / Pairing: Clark/Lois, Superman: the Animated Series through Justice League Unlimited.
Disclaimer: Not mine. All characters belong to their respective creators and owners.
Summary: When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.
Notes: A small reference to the Smallville TV series. Mostly animated canon. Completely disregards the existence of Starro in the Batman Beyond canon. I refuse to believe it; I think that was just...grr. No. Do not want.
He remembers the first flight.
It was an accident, something that wasn't supposed to happen. In the darkness, he felt himself rising, moving, floating. For someone who was (until then) a hundred percent sure he was human, thank-you-very-much, it was a dream come true.
He remembered swooping past the Smallville water tower, over roofs of houses of classmates and neighbors. He remembered the feeling of the air against his skin and the way everything was suddenly different. He remembered the look of the moon a little closer, a little more within reach, and the way the night sky looked above clouds and lights with the rush of air in his ears.
He remembers the feeling of his heart pounding wildly in his chest and the giddiness that came with an adrenaline rush. It was glorious, it was beautiful, it was his first time.
You never, ever forget your first time.
up in the sky!
She jumps off the building mere moments before the bomb explodes behind her, sending debris and smoke into the air. She, however, is caught in freefall from one of the tallest buildings in the city. She feels no fear, only a strange exhilaration at the freedom she is being afforded. Beside her, she catches sight of flaming shrapnel falling past, leaving trails of smoke in their wake.
The press of the wind against her skin is almost painful in its intensity, and her eyes water almost immediately into her descent, so she shuts them tight. (It helps block out the image of the ground rushing to meet her.) She can't hardly breathe for the pressure cutting into her, and the pleasured feeling of weightlessness fades in the span of a thought. It all turns to knives pressed against her flesh, and the total weight of herself coalesces in the center of her chest.
There's a sharp force and suddenly she can breathe again. She's stopped, and she feels something solid pressed all against her, not at all like the air. This, this is warm and solid and smooth. Slowly, she opens eyes that have been squeezed shut hard enough that it hurts to relax the muscles. She catches sight of a strong jawline and lots of primary colors, and she has to breathe a sigh of relief. She's safe.
"Lois, what the hell were you thinking?!"
Okay, maybe not safe.
"I was thinking I needed to get off the roof before the bomb went off!" She retorts, her voice sharpening even as they soar through the air.
"Really? Because it looked to me like you weren't thinking at all." His response is cold, and if anything it baits her further. They touch down on a nearby rooftop, and she steps away and crosses her arms.
"Wasn't thinking? I was trying to stay alive."
"How? By jumping to your death?"
"Well, what other options did I have?"
"You could have hidden behind something! Or crouched on the fire escape."
"My window there was pretty narrow. Most of us don't have super speed." She punctuates this point with a sharp tilt of her head.
"And most of us remember our vulnerabilities. God, Lois. You could have died!"
"Well, I didn't--"
"--And maybe the next time I won't be here to save you!"
It dawns on her, then. "Is that what this is about?" The guilty look on his face is too obvious to miss. It makes her pinch the bridge of her nose. "Damn it all," she mutters, and breathes a heavy sigh. "Look, I was getting into trouble when you weren't here, I continue to get into trouble while you are here, and I still get into trouble when you're away. It's what happens. It's just a...a weird quirk I have or something. You can't always be there to protect me."
He sighs deeply, and his shoulders lose some of their stiffness. "I know that," he says, looking away. "I'm not...I want to protect you, Lois." He shoots her a ghost of a smile. "You just make it incredibly difficult, you know that?"
She laughs. "You're not the first to tell me that." There's a wry smile tugging at her lips.
"I'm sure I won't be the last," he remarks dryly, before enveloping her in a firm hug. After a long moment, he puts his lips by her ear. Softly, he tells her, "I was worried I wouldn't reach you in time."
"Idiot," she murmurs back. "I trust you."
They embrace for a long time.
it's a bird!
He remembers the way she asked him.
"Lucy's getting married," she tells him suddenly, in that direct way she prefers.
Naturally, he's nonplussed. "Really?" he replies mildly, fingers stilling over the keyboard. "Are you going?"
She sighs. "Not sure. If I go, I'll need someone to go with me. Little Lucy's getting married, which means I've got to have a date or field awkward questions."
"I'll go with you," he hears himself say, and wonders when his mouth started being able to move before his brain did.
Fortunately, Lois seems to have been expecting that. "You're serious?"
"Well, yeah." And he is; for her, he would do anything.
"Well. Okay. Lucy's getting married in Central City, something about wanting to meet The Flash and that the brand of villain there runs more towards crazy than destructive." They both smile a bit at that, though for completely different reasons. "Anyway, it's in four weeks from now."
He flips his datebook over to that weekend. "Okay," he says, eyeing the blank pages. "It's a date."
She beams, and he's nearly taken aback by its brilliance. "I owe you a big one, Smallville. Now, remind me to coach you on the whole fam damily."
"Fam damily. You'll see."
Which is how Clark, a month later, found himself in a car on his way to Central City. He already let Wally know that he would be in town, and the League knew that this weekend he was only to be reached if apocalypse was on the brink. Otherwise, he had the weekend (and Lois) to himself. Well, himself and the family.
Lucy was marrying an accountant, Lois told him on the drive up. "He's a good guy," she says in that no-nonsense voice she uses when rattling off facts. "Steady job, pretty cute. I've never seen them together in person so I can't say if they're a good together or not." She run a hand through her dark hair. "Still, she sounded really happy, so..."
He makes a quiet sound of assent from the passenger's seat, and looks out the window. It's been a while since he took the land route to Central City. The countryside's actually quite beautiful, and they leave the urban sprawl of Metropolis behind for wide expanses of backwoods.
"We're not too far from Smallville, are we?"
He blinks and does some fast math. "No. Maybe a few hours?"
"I always wondered why you didn't get a job in Central City. Surely you'd have liked to work closer to your home. Plus, you've got a face for TV."
"Finally, you noticed," he jokes, and she cracks a smile. "Actually, I thought about working in Central City, but Metropolis has The Planet. You know how some kids grow up dreaming of seeing their name in lights in Gotham City?" She nods, eyes flicking over to his face. "Well, that was me and The Daily Planet."
She let out a long, low whistle. "Wow, Smallville. And then you travelled across the globe?"
"Yeah, I went a little bit of everywhere." He shrugs. "What's with the third degree?"
"In case you haven't noticed, we've got a long drive ahead of us." She shrugged. "I figured, what the heck."
He grins. "You realize this means I get to interview you, right?"
She rolls her eyes (he can tell by the way her head shakes) and smirks. "All's fair in bylines and war?"
"I like to think of it as quid pro quo."
Several games of Twenty Questions later, they pull into the hotel, Clark finishing up an anecdote involving a windmill, two cows, and Lana's hair.
"...And that's why Bess has an extra spot in some photos," Clark ends, grinning.
"I can't believe you did that!" She cuts the engine and shoots him a grin. "So is that why she always says--"
"'Yes, that's why she always says that. She never quite forgave me for it." He unclasps his seat belt and opens the door.
Lois follows suit, popping open the trunk. "Well, I can't say I blame her. After what you did to her hair..." She presses on the remote and the car locks, then beeps.
He presses the back of his hand to his forehead melodramatically. "Not you too!"
At the desk, the receptionist hands them their keys and points them towards the elevators. As the car descends, Lois rattles off their schedule - rehearsal wedding, rehearsal dinner, wedding the next evening. "You can sleep in," she finishes, smirking slightly.
"I'm thrilled," he responded dryly. "Hey, maybe we'll see The Flash."
Lois rolls her eyes. "Maybe we'll see Linda Park." The bell dinged and the doors revealed an empty car.
Clark shifts his weight. "What floor are you on?"
She nods and glances at her watch. "We've got about an hour until the rehearsal starts."
"Mmm," he supplies, noncommitally, eyes closed.
The elevator comes to a halt gently, and the bell dings quietly. She pulls her small suitcase behind her, a bag slung over the other shoulder. "See you in an hour, Kent," she says, and disappears behind the closing doors. Once the elevator is moving, Clark sighs.
The door to his room looks like every other door, and his room is just like all the others; a single bed in the middle of the room, a mirror and drawers, and a window. The attached bath is as small as he expects it to be. He lies back on his bed, glasses dropping onto the nightstand. He rubs his face with both hands and then runs them through his hair. Too many late nights, he thinks, and lets his body relax enough to drift off. A half-hour's nap will help, he tells himself, and closes his eyes.
He awakes to the sound of impatient knocking, and Lois's voice less calling through the door. He swears under his breath and straightens. Moving quickly, he dresses in a blink, opening the door as he ties his tie. "Sorry, Lois," he says sheepishly. "I was in the bathroom."
She rolls her eyes and pivots on her heel, moving to catch the elevator. He shuts the door behind him as quietly as he can and takes a moment to study her. It's a short purple dress and a white sweater. Her white heels click against the tiles in front of the elevators, and he has to make himself move. The panel chimes just as he reaches the doors, and Lois quirks an eyebrow at him.
"Kent, you have got to be the luckiest guy around."
"You've said that before."
The bell dings again and the doors shut with a loud clunking noise.
"So, when did you get contacts?"
"Come again?" He looks over at her in confusion.
She points to her face. "No glasses. You didn't notice?"
He moves to touch the lenses for confirmation, but almost pokes himself in the eye for his trouble. "I guess they're up in my room."
She sighs and crosses her arms across her chest. "We're late as it is. Sorry, but you're just going to have to do without glasses for a night." She casts him a sidelong look. "Think you can manage?"
Given that the glasses are just for show? "I think I'll be all right. A little clumsy, maybe."
"More than normal, you mean?" She flashes him a small smile before they come to a stop and the door open into the lobby.
The rehearsal wedding takes place right at sunset, and they work out the angles and the timing of things in the ceremony. Lois and Clark walk in before the bridal party, but after her parents are seated, and they politely watch as Lucy and Alan mime placing rings on one another's hands. The parties (and them) obnoxiously sing Mendelssohn's Wedding March as they run through the recessional once more, and then it's dinner time.
The restaurant is packed to the brim with friends, family, and other members of the wedding party. Lucy tells him (a flute of champagne held delicately in her hand) that one of Alan's brothers is the owner, and that the dinner is his gift to them. He smiles politely and asks her how they met. Lucy smiles in that goofy way Chloe did at her wedding and tells him that they met at, of all things, a wedding, and one thing just led to another. Alan sneaks up behind her and takes her attention off of Clark, who is left standing awkwardly alone.
"I see you've met Lucy," Lois comments mildly, sauntering up to him.
"It's how she built her wedding planner business."
There's an awkward pause there for a second. "You hold your champagne glasses the same way," he blurts out, and then has to resist the urge to slap his palm against his forehead.
She blinks up at him blankly for a moment. "I'm actually curious as to how you know this."
He points at Lucy's engagement ring-adorned hand curled around the thin stem of crystalware. "It's just something I noticed," he adds sheepishly.
She, however, grins. "I assume you noticed we have the same hair color and cheekbones, as well?"
"I, uh, that is--" She shoots him that look and he realizes that she's teasing him. It makes smiling back a lot easier, and he opens his mouth to say something when the sound of ringing glass breaks through the chatter. Alan's brother, looking very chef-like in a white coat with buttons down the front, tells them to take a seat and that dinner will be served shortly. Clark and Lois find their names, side-by-side, at the table with the rest of the Lane family, and introductions are made. Clark finds himself very suddenly acquainted with Sam and Ella Lane, and he's a little relieved when the speeches start.
He awakes the next morning to the sun streaming in through the curtains the hotel room window, the light yellow even against the white of the walls. He blinks blearily and sits up, running a hand through already tousled hair. He feels fuzzy, mostly tired and not entirely together. Slowly, he gets up out of the bed and stretches, dimly wondering how he used to wake so early on the farm. A couple of joints pop and he winces; he's getting old. (Bruce would laugh.)
There's a gentle knock at his door. Rubbing one eye, he opens the door carefully so as to not pull it off its hinges.
It's Lois, hair tied up in a ponytail and sporting a red t-shirt. Her mouth drops open in a little 'o' and she turns a little pink. "Uh. Brunch?"
He blinks the one eye blearily at her and nods, then closes the door. He shuffles to the attached bath, rubbing the sleep from both eyes, and looks in the mirror. Tousled hair (it's kind of everywhere today, isn't it?), slightly scruffy look, his usual pajamas--
It makes him laugh as he brushes his teeth quickly and changes into a soft shirt and old jeans, remembering to put on his glasses before opening the door once more. Lois is standing outside tapping her foot impatiently.
"Finally. Geez, I thought you farm boys woke up early. Crack of dawn and all that."
He rolls his eyes. "You're the one whose dad is a military man. Shouldn't you be the one awake obnoxiously early?"
"For your information, it's almost lunchtime. You slept in like a teenager."
His stomach rumbles then, and in the quiet elevator it's all too obvious. "Fine, fine. I'm sorry. And next time," he adds, watching the lighted numbers count down, "I'll remember to grab a shirt before answering the door." He hears the catch in her breath and has to fight a smile.
But this is Lois. "And next time I'll remember to call before showing up unannounced." Ouch, he thinks, and the elevator comes to a stop and opens.
"So where are we going?"
She shrugs. "I figured we'd ask the concierge."
He shakes his head. "I heard of a few good places around here. I know a guy." Thank God Flash has an unstoppable metabolism, he adds silently.
Lunch is pleasant, and he's forgotten a lot of things about her. Like how she always orders spicy food, or that she uses silverware the way Europeans do, or how he can see all her teeth when she laughs. He has missed her.
"Smallville? What is it? Do I have something on my face?" She points at herself rather adorably, he thinks.
He shakes his head. "No, I'm just...seeing you for the first time in a while."
She gives him that puzzled look. The one he also calls her "you're crazy and should I be going now" look.
"That came out wrong. I mean, I haven't...We haven't done this in a while. I've missed it."
Her expression softens, something similar to what happened last night, and he's stunned by how very different she appears. "Yeah. I have, too." She looks out the window, that soft look turning wistful. "What happened to us?"
He touches his glasses gently, then lays his hand back down on the counter. "I don't know. I started traveling, things just came up."
There's a long pause broken by the sound of her phone ringing shrilly. It shatters the moment and she has the grace to look sheepish as she answers it. "Hello?" There's high-pitched chatter on the other end and Lois winces. "Okay, okay! I'll be right there." She hangs up and gives him an apologetic look. "I know we were supposed to have another hour, but Mom wants my help because Lucy's freaking out. Do you mind?"
He shakes his head. "It's fine."
"Now you see what I meant by the whole fam damily?" She puts down some bills and slides out of the booth, Clark following suit.
"I think I get the picture. How many have asked why you're not married?"
She sighs. "Eight."
He laughs. "It's okay - Ma and Pa have started to ask, too."
"At least I'm not alone," she says, smirking. Out in the sunshine, they make their way back to the hotel. Impulsively, he takes her hand and laces his fingers with hers. She squeezes back gently but doesn't let go until they reach her floor. She gives him a small wave as the doors close before him. He watches her through the walls as she turns around, glancing back once at the elevator doors.
An hour and some passes quickly, spent dressing and getting ready. He takes his time, showering for longer than usual and taking greater care than he would otherwise. It's a wedding, he tells himself, and dresses deliberately. When he's done, he stands in front of the mirror and looks at himself. He sees his reflection, that of unassuming Clark Kent. He reaches up and gently tugs out the stray curl that has come to characterize the image of Superman. He lifts off the glasses and suddenly he sees his alter ego, the disguise he wears to protect those around him. He grins and shakes his head - he's starting to sound like Bruce.
There's a knock at his door, and he quickly combs his hair back and puts on his glasses, opening the door gently to not rip it off its hinges.
Naturally, it's Lois, and she looks stunning in dark purple, the dress tight through the bodice to tie behind the neck. She's definitely wearing heels and her hair is pulled back (rare for her) and secured in place with two sticks.
"Wow. Lois, you look fantastic."
"Thanks, Kent," she replies, sauntering in. "You clean up pretty good yourself." He shakes his head and shuts the door behind her. She falls into a chair and crosses one leg over the other, revealing a slit in the dress. It's neither risque nor showy but he's still certain he's gaping. "We've got about a half hour until we can even be early, and I'm already done." She sighs.
"What was Lucy's emergency?"
"Hmm? Oh, that. She was starting to leave happy and hit neurotic."
He laughs softly, sitting down on the bed across from where she is. "I'm surprised you survived."
"I never told you? I'm Super Lois." She strikes a pose while seated before ruining the effect by cracking a grin at him, and the mirth is shared.
Later, they head down to the lobby and join everyone as they head to the church. The inside has been transformed, with candles on every possible surface. The room is lit entirely by flame, and the guests murmur in appreciation of the ambiance the touch gives the old church. Clark and Lois find themselves ushered into the back and placed into position.
"This looks really good," he tells her quietly.
"It better," she whispers back. "It's why we had to come back early."
After a few moments, the music swells and they take their cue, walking down the aisle to their seats as Alan's mother and father follow. They make it to their seats without incident and watch the ceremony proceed. It's beautiful, and Lucy, when she appears, looks absolutely radiant in her gown. Everything goes off without a hitch, through to the kiss. Lois grabs Clark's hand when Alan and Lucy begin the recessional, and Clark remembers that they are involved in the party.
Afterwards, the guests and parties retreat to the reception, Lucy and Alan seated on a raised platform at the front of the hall. Lois and Clark are seated not too far away, side-by-side. There's a dancefloor in the back of the room, but for now the focus is dinner. The food is good and the champagne flows freely, and when dessert is cleared away the best man stands and begins the round of speeches. A few roasts and some truly touching speeches later, the bride and groom finally cut the cake.
Eventually, though, the guests meander towards the dance floor. The little jazz ensemble plays upbeat, rhythmic music. Lucy comes by and talks to the guests at their table for some time, congratulating her and assuring her it was all lovely.
"Dance with me?" Clark asks, because it's a wedding and they don't get to do this much. Lois nods with a smile and they make their way to the floor. The first moment is awkward, with him trying to position his hands and her trying to negotiate the height difference until it all clicks into place and they're revolving slowly in place. It's comfortable and familiar, and he's missed the feeling of her with him and near him.
"Lucy seems happy," he starts quietly.
"Yeah," she replies. "I can't help but be a little jealous."
She shrugs. "I don't know. I guess some part of me saw myself married by now."
"Oh." And he can't hide the color of his voice.
She picks up on it. "Hey, now. I'm not unhappy. I've won Pulitzers and dated billionaires and a superhero or two. I'm living a full life. I'm doing what I want to do. That's more important to me. But I still think I wouldn't mind the husband and the kids and all of that."
He mouth quirks up a little. "Somehow, I can't see you having kids. I can't even see you pregnant."
She grins at that, eyes starry from champagne and laughter. "My mom said the same thing."
"So did mine," he replies, and twirls her gently. He hears her muffle a bark of laughter. "I always did like making you smile."
"I always did wonder how you could be so clumsy and yet dance so well."
"What can I say? Country bumpkin that I am, I had to learn something right," he replied, affecting a rural drawl.
"Damn straight," she says, and spins again. She returns to position and places her hand back on his shoulder, grinning.
Impulsively, he kisses her, and it's like the music has stopped. Everything gets trained on the feeling of her mouth against his and her hands on his shoulders. It lasts no time. It lasts an infinity.
When they do break apart, it's slowly and tentatively.
"Lois, I--" He breathes, but is cut off by the press of her lips on his, hands clutching the lapels of his jacket in an iron grip.
There's a quiet cough from nearby and they break apart abruptly, both blushing and both with hands covering their mouths. The cougher - a bridesmaid with a conspiratorial look in her eye - pivots and walks away without a word. Which leaves them with each other.
"Clark," she says, and it's his name the way he's never heard it said before, at turns breathy and husky and tentative. It makes him shiver. "We should talk," she adds quietly.
He nods, licking his lips. (He can taste her lipstick.)
"We should talk...in my room?" And she gives him that look, one of promise and possibility. It makes his mouth go dry.
"If...if you want," he manages, straightening his jacket absently. They walk out of the ballroom side by side, nearly touching.
The door shuts behind them in silence.
it's a plane!
She swears, five hours into their flight to Tokyo, that it's the flight that would not end.
Clark fidgets beside her, and she has to smile a bit at that; it seems they're both as uncomfortable in the small row as sardines in tin cans. (She swears she'll never make crowded elevator jokes again and tries to shift without bumping into her tray table. She is unsuccessful.)
"Perry couldn't upgrade us?"
Clark adjusts his glasses, which were slightly askew. "After Darkseid destroyed the old Planet building--" and there's that touch of guilt in his voice she always hears when he talks about that day, even though he was out of town--"Money's been a little tight, I guess."
She sighs heavily and tries not to rub her leg where the metal splints are from when her leg had been crushed by a beam. She doesn't remember much as the building had crashed down around her, only the sight of Diana as the Amazon had hauled wreckage off of them with her god-given strength. "We should switch seats later. Take turns having the aisle."
"Nah, it's okay." Clark looks distractedly - is that longing? - out the window. "I guess I'm just not used to flying."
She laughs sharply. "Smallville, you're the one jetsetting around the globe, chasing stories. Heck, I bet this is the first time I've seen you for five straight hours without you disappearing on me." Lois isn't stupid; she's noticed his absences, especially on that day, and she's been content with not asking. But, they're in an airplane and she's got him trapped for another nine hours.
He's got no escape.
He shrugs. "Still. It doesn't mean I like air travel."
She rolls her shoulders and squirms. "I just figured you wouldn't be as uncomfortable as you are." She casts a sidelong look at him. Admittedly, he's a little too broad-shouldered and a good six inches too tall for the amount of leg room he's been given. Maybe I'm being too obvious, she tells herself, and unbuckles herself from the seat. Standing with as much grace as she can muster, she reaches up and carefully opens the overhead compartment. A little rummaging later, and she sits back down with a soft, u-shaped neck pillow Lucy gave her for Christmas.
"You know, I don't think I've ever seen you dressed like that before," he notes mildly, flipping through a news magazine he picked up in the airport.
She looks down at herself. Jeans, loose hoodie, camisole underneath, hair pulled back into a low, neat ponytail, and flat, comfortable shoes. "Smallville, if you thought I was going to wear a short skirt when planes are always freezing cold, you definitely had another think coming."
He smiles that slow smile she likes so much. "Nah, I just...it's different." He pauses, then adds a little quieter: "I like it."
She beams. "Thanks," she replies, then tucks the pillow around her neck gently.
Later, she finds herself curled against something very warm and very solid. Blearily, she straightens and takes stock of her bearings. And hmphs quietly at the sight that greets her.
It seems Clark, in general interest, has not only stolen her neck pillow - it was a gift, too - but he's pushed up the armrest between them. She was, essentially, cuddling up against his arm, though he looked dead to the world in his current state. She also noticed that their two "complementary" blankets were shared between them. If he hadn't done it while she had been asleep, Lois felt she would not only have approved, but been impressed.
She takes the opportunity to study his face. Strong jawline, high cheekbones, small-framed glasses. His face was relaxed in sleep, and he barely looked as though he were breathing. His hands were folded in his lap under the blanket, if she was reading the folds right, and his head lolled to the side gently, as if leaning on something that wasn't there. In fact, his torso was also angled toward--
She smiles at this thought, eyes raking over the sight once more before settling back in. They still had thee hours to go.
Besides, her mind fuzzily supplies as she falls asleep, he's your partner, right?
Right, she tells herself, and closes her eyes.
They remember her first flight.
She remembers how the Earth looked from such a height, far enough in the sky that lights were but pinpricks against the darkness. She remembers expanses of dark water, so smooth and clear as they soared over it, close enough that she could see her reflection in it, the sight of waves and ripples rushing past underneath her. She remembers the absolute quiet, the way the populace and the bustle of the city - of her city - melted away into the sheer sound of air rushing in her ears and the feeling of it against her skin. She remembers the strength she felt in him, then, as the arms encircling her waist never wavered from their firm-but-gentle grip. But, mostly, she remembers the head-spinning, dizzying joy of flying.
He remembers the way her face lit up when she saw the sights of the city laid (quite literally) at her feet. He remembers the way her hands had covered his, and the way she had tucked her head into his chest as they flew through a cloud. He remembers the sound of her light gasp as she studied her reflection in water whizzing by, and the way her stockinged feet tapped against his own, booted ones. He remembers the way her arms tightened around him as they touched down gently, so gently, on the balcony. He remembers missing the warmth of her, who he barely knew then, beside him. He remembers relishing the sight of joy on her face before it faded into her usual half-smirk.
They have more flights to remember now. Flights where he showed her places and things of great beauty, flights where he showed her humanity at its best, flights where he showed her nothing at all save for the stars. She remembers all of them; he does, too. She remembers the night sky spread out above her as she had never seen it before, away from the lights: the night a dense, black cover over her speckled with pinpoints of light. She remembers him telling her quietly about this constellation or that, about myths and stories for each one. She remembers the glow in his face when he saw the best in mankind, and the way his heartbeat is slow and steady and nestled into her skin when she leans against him.
He remembers all of the flights; every takeoff and landing and picnic under the moon on rooftops. He shows her wonders from his travels and she asks all the right questions and nods in all the right places. He remembers telling her anything and everything, to keep that look on her face - the one where her eyes are wide and her mouth is a little open and wonder is scrawled across her features in that way that makes her look Kara's age. He remembers the feeling of her tucked against him hundreds of feet in the air, and the sound of every gasp and sigh. He remembers everything and treasures all of it.
(She doesn't remember the way he looked at her when she wasn't looking. He doesn't remember the way she looked at him when he wasn't looking.)
They remember hovering over the clouds in pale moonlight, the world below them turning slowly.
1. When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return. --Author Unknown
2. Wordcount: 5500. I can't seem to break the 6000 threshold with STAS fic. Oh well. The middle part is the meat of the story.
3. In case you didn't notice, the sections are parts of the Superman call: "Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! No, it's a plane! IT'S SUPERMAN!" Of course, I took a few liberties, but what can you do?
4. The original theme was going to be five flights, and, in many ways, it still is. It's about physical flights as much as emotional ones. It's about flights of every, er, feather. "Volar" means "to fly" in Spanish, and it also is an anagram of "valor" in both languages. It seemed apropos. The entire fic was inspired by the flight from Superman Returns. I'm rather ambivalent about the movie itself, but that scene took my breath away.
5. Originally published 14 February 2008. Happy Valentine's Day! (Or, alternatively, Singles Awareness Day!)