Starry Night

Nefertiri's Handmaiden

Disclaimer: I don't own Superman, but I like to sing the theme song in the shower. … Was that too much information?

Rated: G

Summary: "Soon, they were above the smog and the light pollution, and the sky opened up for Jason, and Clark watched his son's eyes as they took in the stars." Clark gets closer to Jason.

Author's Note: This sort of follows in the line of "Zen and Reconciliation," though you'll notice some time has elapsed. To set up the story: Clark has come clean to Lois, and the two of them have told Jason the truth.

Clark's confession, etc, will be written a follow-up to "Zen and Reconciliation" that I'm in the process of writing.

-S-

Clark soared. High above Metropolis, he flew, cold air rushing through his hair. The night was vast, the sky spotted with bright stars in constellations that Clark had seen from the other side. Tonight was clear - no clouds. No rain. Just miles and miles of black sky and white stars, stretching as far as the horizon. From below, standing on the streets, the stars would have been obscured by the lights of the city and smog. But here, where Clark cruised, it was just Clark and the night, wide and beautiful.

It made him think of Kansas at night in the fall, when the air was crisp and the sky was broad above him where he stood in the middle of a cornfield and he, like billions of other beings on the planet, felt so small in comparison to the Universe. Then, it had made him feel human.

Tonight, the world felt calm. Clark's soul felt calm. He'd saved a little girl from drowning today. The girl's trusting arms clutching at his neck had reminded him of the purity this planet had to offer. Tonight, the stretching sky reminded him that this vantage point, from this planet, was where he should stand, looking up into a Universe that was bigger than him.

He descended, directing his flight path toward his apartment, intending to put in a few hours sleep before morning patrols and work at the Planet. He alighted on his fire escape, which opened into the alley where he could enter and exit without being observed. He slid up the window and ducked through. The cool night air made the curtains Ma had provided him with flutter inward. When he straightened again, now inside, there was Lois, reclining on his second-hand couch, Jason's head in her lap, stroking the boy's hair slowly. He stilled instantly.

Things hadn't been easy between Lois and Clark since he'd told her the truth. But her initial anger - fury - had cooled with time, and now they were caught in this awkward in-between place of semi-acceptance and lingering resentment.

Jason was different. They'd told him everything - they'd had to, after the incident with the piano on Luthor's yacht - but he wasn't sure how to react. He was trying to figure out if Clark was his dad or his friend or some sort of mix of the two. Clark wished Jason would call him 'Dad,' but Jason was sticking with 'Mr. Clark' for now. Clark didn't want to push it, especially after he'd messed up so badly by leaving them in the first place.

Lois turned her head to him and smiled. "Your doorman let us in," she said softly so as to not wake Jason. "By the way, I think he knows who you are. Gave me a conspiratorial smile when I told him who I was."

He moved closer, knelt in front of her and touched a hand to Jason's forehead. His son let out a little sigh. "What are you doing here?" he murmured to Lois, his eyes flicking back up to meet hers. "It's one in the morning."

She smiled again, content. "Your son wanted to see the stars like you see them."

Clark smiled, too. How could he not? "Can I wake him? I'll take him up now." Lois nodded. Clark directed his attention back to his son. "Jason," he murmured to the boy. He rubbed a hand across his son's shoulder to wake him gently. "Jason, wake up."

Jason's eyes fluttered and opened slowly. He gave a sleepy grin. "Hi, Mr. Clark."

"Your mom says you want to see the stars."

Jason nodded more enthusiastically, awake now. He sat up and reached out to Clark. Clark lifted him easily, settling him against his hip. He walked to the window and maneuvered them through, Lois trailing behind.

"Can Mommy come to?" asked Jason.

Clark blinked. "If she wants to." They both looked expectantly at Lois, leaning against the window from the inside. "Well, Lois?" asked Clark. "Do you want to come?"

She looked surprised, and then smiled. "I'd love to." Clark offered her a hand to help her though the window. She wrapped one arm around his neck and the other around Jason as Clark slipped an arm around her waist.

"Ready?" he asked. Jason nodded excitedly. They lifted off. Lois, as she always did, wrapped her arm a little tighter around his neck and squeezed at her son. Jason didn't seem as nervous, looking around to see everything as they gained altitude. The breeze was cool - it was September - so Clark held Jason and Lois close to keep them warm enough. He listened attentively to Jason's breathing, ready to descend if the high altitude prompted an asthma attack. But Jason's breathing remained normal, and he seemed comfortable enough, holding on to Clark's neck and staring up at the sky.

Soon, they were above the smog and the light pollution, and the sky opened up for Jason, and Clark watched his son's eyes as they took in the stars. Jason stared in wonder for a few moments, and then asked, "How far away are they?"

Clark smiled. "Far. Trillions of miles. It takes millions of years for their light to reach us. In a way, when we look at the stars, we're looking into the past."

"Wow."

Lois and Clark smiled, their eyes meeting for a second and then turning back to consider their son, who gazed agape at the stars.

"And you went there?" asked Jason.

Clark was silent a moment before he answered. "Yeah. But you know what I learned while I was gone? That there's nothing up there more important than what's right here."

Jason met his father's eyes. Shrewdly, he asked, "Do you mean me?"

"Yes. You and your mom."

Jason nodded in satisfaction. He snuggled into his father's side a little closer and turned his attention back to the stars. "Okay, Dad."

Clark choked and looked at Lois. Her eyes were filled with unshed tears. He smiled brilliantly, and she pulled the hand from around his neck to wipe at the tear that escaped his eye.

There were days when it was hard. Hard to be Superman, to be Clark Kent, to be a part of his son's life, to try to find his way with Lois around the anger and the betrayal and the connection that wouldn't go away.

But there were also days when it was good. And right now, holding the woman he loved and their son in his arms, looking at the stars reflected in his little boy's eyes, floating above the city that he called home, it was good.

-end-