Title: Trepidation

Author: Me

Rating: NC-17, R

Spoilers: None

Summary:Clark's deepest fear compels him to do something that crumbles his relationship with Lois because when fear takes over love, then the latter falls apart.

A/N: Not the greatest piece of work, just an idea that I've had in my mind for a long time and finally I shaped it up into this. Reviews are highly appreciated.

Chapter 1

"The worst sorrows in life are not in its losses and misfortunes, but its fears" - Arthur Christopher Benson

It was a deep and distant sound.

He opened his eyes and blinked several times. There was nothing in front of his eyes but a complete darkness encompassed into a mind numbing silence that was occasionally permeated by that unfamiliar and horrifying sound that pierced through the curtains of a dreadful stillness and leaped into his ears, terrifying him to the core.

He inhaled and exhaled deeply, trying hard to be able to see, to be able to understand or make a modicum of sense out of his surrounding. He had little awareness of what was going around him except for the fact that he was standing in some really dark place and there was no one around him. He could not see or hear anything, except that one sound, that occasionally echoed into the silence.

And then he heard it again.

He quickly looked around, once again trying hard to see something, to find out where that sound was coming from. He still had no idea where he was or what was going on around him, except that the sound that he was hearing was a deep cry.

A cry of pain, sorrow and loss.

None of this was making any sense to him. Where was he? How did he get here? Was this even real?

"Hello," he said cautiously.

His voice echoed, crashed against the unseen walls around him and came back to his ears. He began to feel as if he was standing in a vacuum or a tunnel.

"Hello," he said again, more wary and uncertain than he was before, almost scared of what he might find out.

He hesitatingly took a step forward, fearing that if he would move even an inch; he'd probably fall into an abyss. However, he did not fall. Instead, his foot found a firm ground underneath him. It gave him a little courage as he took another step, and then another, in the same direction. With each step, he gained back a little more of his composure and self-control, until he finally started running, in hope of finding an end to this tunnel and finding some light.

However, the moment his heart wished to escape this inexplicable trap, the crying voice started echoing all around him, as if surrounding and chasing him.

"Who is this?" he yelled, gathering all his strength as he abruptly stopped and looked around, "Where am I?"

His voice echoed in the vacuum, mixed with the cry of pain.

He had never felt this helpless and confused in his whole life.

Suddenly, a ray of light filtered into the darkness, pouring itself into the vacuum as it gradually illuminated his bleak surroundings. He thanked God that his eyes were finally able to see something for he had now started to fear that he had turned blind. He looked at the light hoping to eventually find out where he was and who brought him here. However, as the light grew, he realized that his initial guess were right. He really was standing in some kind of an endless vacuum and there was nothing around him but an infinite darkness. The blinding white light slowly grew and enveloped his surrounding. He was now more perturbed and confused with the strange light than he was with the darkness few moments ago.

"Hello, who is this? Where am I?" he begged his questions again.

The light started to morph into a vision. His eyes widened with surprise at what he was seeing in front of him as the light converged on one point and formed a halo. Inside the halo, he could see a man. He cautiously took a step closer to him having o idea who or what he was.

"Hello," he uttered warily as he approached the man, "Who are you?"

The man didn't look up, instead he screamed in pain. It was the same cry that he had been hearing all this time. He was shaken with the agony in the man's voice.

"Why are you crying? What happened?" he asked as he knelt down in front of the man.

The light around the man illuminated a little more and he realized that he was holding a lifeless body in his arms. It was a body of a woman whom he held closer to his heart as he cried and cradled her.

He continued to look, not knowing what to say or do. Suddenly, the man looked up and stopped crying. His eyes held hatred, anger and contempt as he looked at him. He immediately recognized him. He had seen him when he was trying to save people from a derailed train. He was crying just like this, holding a woman's dead body in his arms. He realized that it was the same woman in his arms.

"She died, because you didn't save her," the man suddenly said.

"What?" he was taken aback with the sudden accusation.

"She died because of you," the man repeated angrily.

"Because of me," he couldn't believe it as he shook his head, "No, I didn't do anything; I was trying to save people,"

"You're lying," the man said.

Then something happened that baffled and horrified him. The woman who was apparently dead suddenly opened her eyes and looked at him. He took a step back, frightened and astonished as he witnessed her getting up. Her pale and lifeless skin was covered with blood that had now turned black. Her white lips moved as she said something. He could not decipher it at first, until her voice raised in anger and he could see hatred in her dark eyes.

"You killed me," she pointed a finger at him.

"No… I didn't," he took a step back traumatized by the dreadfulness of the sight before him.

"Why didn't you save me?" she asked.

"I… I…"

Suddenly, the halo of light disseminated and leaped towards him, he quickly turned around to run, and to save himself but the light encircled him before he could even move. He blinked his eyes disbelievingly as he noticed that countless faces had started to emerge from the darkness into the light. They were faces of lifeless corpses who suddenly opened their eyes and looked at him with the same hatred and contempt that he had seen in that man's eyes. He could not do anything but frantically witness this horrifying sight, not knowing what to do and where to go.

"I died because you didn't save me," one of them suddenly said.

"You didn't save me,"

As he heard a voice of a small child, he looked down. He was about six or seven years old. Blood was dripping from his forehead and he was looking up. He was frozen in his place as he noticed the hollow circles in place of his eyes.

"You can't save everyone Superman, you're useless," he heard another voice and turned around, his heart thumping uncontrollably inside his chest.

"No… I try… I try to save everyone…" he tried to defend himself, trying hard to keep his composure and to make some sense out of where he was and what was going on.

"You are lying," the man who sat on the floor with the dead body in his arms yelled in anger, "You don't save everyone… a lot of people die,"

"No… I… I…" he did not know what to say.

"But what would you know of that… you have never lost a loved one… how you would know the pain…" the man said as he looked at him, his eyes turning red in anger.

"You killed me," another voiced echoed behind him and then it multiplied into several different voices, the accusation, however, was the same.

"No… no," he took a step back, his hands rising up to cover his ears and stop those voices from reaching his ears, but as soon as he looked at his hands, he was rattled by the sight before him.

His hands were covered in blood.

He lowered his head and looked at himself.

His clothes were tattered and the symbol representing his family crest that he always wore on his chest with pride was soaked in blood.

He shook his head in despair as he looked up again. The corpses were now closing in from every direction, with so much abhorrence and disgust in their eyes that he felt that they would kill him.

Their voices had now turned into a chant that echoed around him.

"You killed us,"

"I did not, please listen to me," he screamed as their blood covered hands grabbed him and they threw him into a dark and endless abyss.

Suddenly his eyes opened and he jerked up. He looked around frantically, blinking several times. His heart was thumping hard inside his chest and he was panting breathlessly. He closed his eyes once again and then opened them slowly, as if trying hard to believe that he was not really falling into some horribly dark pit and his current surroundings were real and not an illusion. He inhaled and exhaled deeply running his hands in his hair. As his fingers touched his forehead; he felt the numerous beads of sweat resting on it.

He looked around once again and the soft light and the familiar surroundings of the bedroom in his Metropolis penthouse made him realize that he had been dreaming.

Calling it a nightmare was more appropriate.

Few minutes later, his breathing and his heartbeat were gradually returning to normal, falling into the usual steady routine. He sat motionless in his bed for a long time. The closed door of the large bedroom, the furniture, the clothes lying on the chair and the discarded undergarments on the expensive carpet that lay on the floor made him sigh in relief as he began to feel safe and alive again. He was in his home, inside his bedroom.

He shuddered, unnerved at the thought of how horrendous that dream was and still astonished at how real it felt. He hesitatingly lifted up his hands and sighed in relief when he realized that they were not covered in blood. Once again he looked at everything in the room to make sure that it really was a dream, and then his gaze traveled to a small frame that rested on the side table of the huge double bed. He picked it up and looked at the picture that rested inside that simple and beautiful silver frame. It was taken on the most memorable day of his life – on his wedding day.

He was standing on the porch of his parents' farmhouse in Smallville with his arms around her waist and her hands rested over his. The wedding ring was shining on her finger. Both of them were looking at the camera with huge smiles on their faces. He ran his fingers on the picture and a smile appeared on his lips at the memory of the day when she became his forever. It was her favorite picture among all the ones taken on their wedding day; hence she had decided to keep it next to their bed so she could look at it whenever she wanted to.

He put the picture back on the table and his head turned around to look at the woman who slept next to him. She was lying on her stomach. The blanket had covered her lower back and some part of her long and beautiful legs. He merely watched her as she slept peacefully. Her long and dark hair was scattered over the pillow and on her shoulders, covering some part of her bare back. Her one hand was resting on the pillow and the wedding ring was still shining on her finger. A small smile played on her lips. She was the loveliest sight in the world when she was asleep because she looked so innocent and childlike, a complete contrast to the hurricane she was when awake.

"But what would you know of that… you have never lost a loved one… how you would know the pain…"

Suddenly the words from the dream echoed in his ears and he shuddered in fear. He began to feel as if the corpses from his dream would suddenly re appear in front of him. He had never felt so scared in his life.

People called him Superman – he was their hero, the man who saved lives every day, who helped everyone and gave the world a new hope every single day. How could anyone ever relate the word 'fear' to him? How could he ever tell anyone that he was afraid too? He was afraid of loosing someone he loved.

Because even he could not save everyone.

The corpses in his dream had asked him a question – what if some day he would fail to save the person he loved most. How would he feel then?

He had no answer to this question. He saved lives everyday. To everyone in the world, he was a hero, a modern day miracle, a man who selflessly protected everyone but even he could not save everyone.

What if someday, the person he would fail to save would be the one he loved most?

He was shaken to the core with this horrifying thought. He lied down and put his arm around her, pulling her close to him, protectively in his arms so that her warmth and the steady rhythm of her breathing could give him assurance that she was well, and she was safe. As soon as he pulled her closer, she turned around and wrapped her arm around his neck. He pulled her even closer to his heart, holding her tightly.

"I love you Lois," he whispered in her ear.

Continued..