Falling was new. He was pretty sure he wasn't going to like new.

He had a moment to hope the Kryptonite continent would continue to float away and a moment to let go of the fear before his eyes closed and he wouldn't be sorry if they stayed that way.

He wasn't conscious for crater-creating, but he would remember Earth, eventually, catching him again and he certainly felt it. The trip to the hospital and then through it to the E.R. was the same way. The sounds bounced around in his ears days later for the first time.

But the hands he knew immediately. So many hands he didn't recognize touching him. Exposing his chest and touching it. Poking and pushing and grazing and touching. He'd gone five years with no human contact at all, no sound at all, no anything at all. Then he was back and his mom spoke and it hurt his ears, and she touched him and, while comforting, it scared him in its intimacy. He welcomed it but, for lack of a more medically correct term, it freaked him out. Lois' touch had been better, more comfort and longing than pain and fear. Even Jimmy's clasp on the shoulder had healed him somewhat, more than he would have thought. Shaking Richard's hand hadn't been too bad, with Lois right there and no way to get out of it anyway without tearing the Clark Kent persona to bits. But numerous hands of people he didn't know playing all over his body and him defenseless in a hospital no less…he couldn't take it, but he couldn't do anything about it. And there was still Kryptonite in his back and that would have scared him if his mind hadn't been so preoccupied with the hands everywhere. He was having a horrible day.

Then everything stopped. Including the horror.

And then everything was back again, but the hands were gone and he was grateful and he was asleep, or something.

New hands, small hands, female hands, known hands, Lois' hands. Lois' heartbeat. Jason's heartbeat? Good sounds, not frightening sounds, not emergency room sounds—home sounds. More importantly, good touches. Touches he needed perhaps more than the sun, more than the removal of Kryptonite a…while ago. She breathed on him and she smelled good. She spoke and the words were better sounds even if they didn't make any sense at the moment. Jason is your son. He needs you. He truly did not understand, English was meaningless, Kryptonese jangled through his head.

The hands left and if he could have woken then he would have to make her hands come back.

Pressure on the bed, just a little. A small set of lips on his forehead, a small heartbeat in his ears. Jason. No more pressure, no lips, no hands, and no heartbeats.

But no panic, no dread, no absolute terror. A little apprehension and a little fatigue. And then, a lot of sleep.

And then wake. Jason is your son. Jason is my son. My son and Lois' son. Lois and I have a son. I'm a father. Joy. Lots and lots of joy.

And a quick hand brushing messy hair from a tiny pale forehead.