A/N: Having been a fan of the Superman Returns film, I've had this story floating around my head for some time now, though I only found the guts (as well as the time) to post it today--yeah, two years after the film premiered, haha. I've enjoyed playing around with this story, and I hope those of you who read this find it enjoyable as well. Reviews are very well-appreciated.
Yes, yes. I'll shut up now. Like, right now. Just about...now. Yeah, NOW now. ;)
P.S. Disclaimer: I do not own Superman nor any Superman-related...er, stuff. I'm just another fan.
Chapter 1: Looking From The Outside
There's my son, Kal-El thought to himself as he watched Jason sleep. The little boy shivered slightly as he lay on the bed, bringing his blanket higher up to his chin. Kal-El carefully and quietly closed the window from which he had been looking at his son from. The night breeze must have been too cold for Jason. Kal-El hovered by Jason's window for a few more minutes, enjoying watching his son's peaceful slumber. I could stay like this forever, just watching him. The thought brought a smile to his face. Suddenly, he heard a faraway cry for help. But then again, I guess I can't. Feeling a tiny bit reluctant, Kal-El flew off into the night sky, heading in the direction of the cry. He knew in his heart that he had a responsibility to the people as Superman.
As he flew, he did not look back at the house by the river. Had he done so, he would have seen someone watching him from the balcony of the master's bedroom.
He was watching Jason again, Richard White thought to himself as he stood at the balcony of the bedroom he and Lois shared. Richard knew many things about Superman, but he could not figure out why the superhero had been flying around his house for the past two weeks since he woke up from his coma, always in the dead of the night, always outside Jason's bedroom. Why? After several minutes lost in thought, Richard decided to just go back to sleep. As he lay back in bed, he came to the resolution to ask Superman about it the next time he comes for a visit. Most likely, that would be tomorrow night. With that thought, Richard fell into a deep slumber.
As the night sky grew darker, Kal-El found himself flying down to 312 Riverside Drive and hovering just outside Jason's bedroom. He decided not to open the window anymore. It was a cold night, and the last thing he wanted was for his son to get ill due to the weather.
Kal-El closed his eyes and focused his hearing on his son's heartbeat. For once, he tuned out all other sounds to hear only his little boy's heart beating loudly. The world can go on for a little while without me, he reasoned to himself. He smiled at the sound of the now-familiar thump thump of Jason's heart while imagining what life with Lois and their son would have been like had he not left for Krypton five years ago.
"You can watch him better if you're not looking from the outside of his room," a man's voice roused Kal-El from his reverie. He opened his eyes with a startled expression and saw Richard White standing by Jason's window.
Richard had been waiting for this moment since he woke up that morning. He looked at Superman floating outside Jason's room. He smiled and proceeded to open the large window in Jason's room. He beckoned Superman to come inside. Hesitantly, the Man of Steel flew into the room.
For a moment, the two men just stood in silence, both looking at Jason. Then Richard turned to leave. He stopped when he reached the door.
"Superman?" he asked quietly, not wanting to wake up his son.
Kal-El turned to look at him, but said nothing.
"Before you leave, I'd like a word with you. I'll be down in the living room," said Richard.
Kal-El simply nodded, signaling that he understood.
He heard Richard's footsteps grow faint as the man went downstairs, leaving him alone in the room with his son. His son. Kal-El still couldn't believe it. It had been two weeks since he learned of this fact, when Lois and Jason visited him at the hospital. He was tired, weakened by the kryptonite after lifting New Krypton into space. It was Lois' revelation that gave him strength. "I wanted to tell you that...Jason is your son. Please don't die. We need you. I need you." That was what she had said, and though he was partly unconscious at the time, he understood every word out of Lois' lips.
Now, as he looked at his son, he was filled with a renewed energy. He wasn't alone anymore. He had Jason, and that was good enough for him.
Kal-El realized he'd been standing in the room for a good half hour already, and remembered he still had to talk to Richard downstairs. He had no idea what Richard wanted, but he felt he owed it to the man who let him enter his son's room. He knelt down beside Jason's bed, and planted a soft kiss on his son's forehead. Then he made his way silently down to the living room.
Richard was starting to grow impatient. Superman had been in Jason's room for thirty minutes already. He had questions to ask the superhero, and he wasn't going back to sleep without answers to all of his questions. As he waited for Superman, he remembered his thoughts that afternoon as he picked up Jason from school. He had been coming up with reasons as to why the Man of Steel kept visiting the boy. Hundreds of ideas popped up in his head, but one thought kept bugging him, and it was something he wanted answered by simply either yes or no.
"Mr. White," Superman said, his deep baritone voice resounding off the walls of the quiet house.
"Call me Richard," the other man said, turning to Superman. "Take a seat. Would you like something to drink?"
"No drink, thank you," came Superman's polite reply. He walked towards the living room and sat across Richard.
Superman looked him in the eyes. "You said you wanted to talk to me."
"Yes, well...I, uh..." Richard began, but suddenly found himself too nervous to utter a word in front of the superhero. He gathered his composure and cleared his throat. "I wanted to talk to you about Jason."
"What about Jason?"
Richard furrowed his brow, trying to formulate his next question in his mind. He decided the best way to ask is just to say the question directly. "Why do you keep visiting my son?"
Superman was a bit taken aback by the question. "You know I've been visiting Jason?"
"I've seen you hovering outside his window for the past two weeks. Why?"
So that's why he didn't look surprised to see me tonight, Superman thought to himself. He tried to think of a believable excuse. "It's just, after his ordeal with Lex Luthor in the boat, I thought I'd check up on him. It's a lot to deal with for a five-year-old."
Richard looked straight into Superman's eyes, evidently trying to see through the given reason. "Uh huh. Really? Do you do that to all the kids you've saved? Because then, you would have a lot of kids to visit every night."
Uh oh, Superman thought. He didn't know how to answer.
Richard continued, "Lois said you never lied. I can see that now—you obviously don't know how to come up with a good excuse. So tell me, why are you really here every night?"
"Richard," Superman began, "I can't tell you that."
Richard cut him short. "He's your son. Jason—Jason is your son."
Superman's blue eyes widened. How did Richard know? Did Lois tell him?
As if Richard can read what was on his mind, he explained, "I'd been wondering all day why you would visit my son—of all the kids in the world, you picked my son to visit every night. I wondered if it was because of Lois, but that would mean you should be floating outside our window. But no, you're outside Jason's window. The only explanation I could think of was that: he's your son." Richard paused for a while, blinking back the tears that were beginning to form in his eyes.
For a second, no sound could be heard in the room. Finally, Richard broke the silence. "It's true, isn't it? You're his..." he choked before he let the rest of his sentence out. "...father. Not me."
Superman looked at the man sitting in front of him. Richard looked as if his whole world came crashing down. He looked helpless, and his eyes seemed to plead to Superman to tell him that his idea was not true. That he, Richard, was Jason's real father.
"I'm sorry." That was all the Man of Steel could say.
Richard buried his head in his hands and breathed in deeply. He couldn't break down, not here, not yet. He still needed answers. He looked up and asked the man across him, "Lois told you that?"
"Yes, when I was at the hospital."
"Oh." Richard didn't think he could feel any worse, but apparently, he did. Lois told Superman, but she didn't bother to tell him about Jason's true paternity.
"Richard," said Superman, "you're as much Jason's father as I am. You were there for the first five years that I wasn't with him. I know this is difficult for you to take in, and I'm sorry. I really am."
"Your apology doesn't really make the realization any less painful." Richard's tone was cold. He had one last question, and proceeded to ask Superman, "Why did you leave her just when she needed you most?"
Superman bowed his head. Almost inaudibly, he replied, "I didn't know. I never would have left if I had known."
Richard looked at him in surprise. He had never seen the Man of Steel so forlorn. It showed a side of him very different from what the world had seen in the newspapers and on TV. Superman no longer looked like the god the world regarded him to be—he was simply a man who made a bad choice and wanted to make up for that.
After what seemed like an eternity of silence, Richard spoke up, "You can come into Jason's room anytime you want to. I'll keep his window open. Just make sure you close it after your visit to keep the cold out. He gets cold easily."
"Thank you, Richard. Lois was right about you."
"She said you're a good man, and you are."
Richard was touched that Lois said that about him. Feeling like a weight has been lifted after having his questions answered, Richard realized it was best to lighten up the situation a bit. "Yeah, well. If Jason gets a cold or develops chills because of the night breeze, I'm pointing a finger at you. I had nothing to do with Jason's open window." He put both hands up in the air and grinned at Superman.
The Man of Steel let out a laugh. He had a feeling that he just made a new friend in Richard White.
"Good night, Richard. Once again, thank you." He went back upstairs and made his way to the window in Jason's room. He took one last look at his son before flying off into the night.
Richard let out a sigh as soon as he saw Superman fly away. And as he sat at the living room couch, the tears came running down as he cried for the sleeping little boy that he wanted so much to be his.
A/N: Just a few points I'd like to remind you of --
1. This story has more Clark Kent, less Superman. That means, there is more drama and less action.
2. This story focuses a lot on Clark's humanity and his emotions. It also deals with the thoughts and feelings of Richard and Lois.
3. At one point of the story or another, there will be fluff. Sometimes it gets cheesy, too. (shrugs)
4. Lex Luthor is now safely off the face of the Earth--thanks to me. ;) Don't expect him to appear anywhere in the story.
Well, I hope these points have not driven you away from reading this story. Also, just like any other author (especially new ones), I am hoping for reviews--you know, that thing where you say 'I think this is crap,' and 'Stop--this is a fine piece of nauseating work.' Haha. :P