A/N: I know, this has probably been done a lot, but I had to do it. It's just gonna be a series of one-shots that go thru Lois and Clark's lives, each chapter revolving around three words that define the situation. Wanted to do something that took little effort and wasn't a huge long epic. :)

Disclaimer: I don't own superman, nor any of the characters, scenery, conflict, or words in the english language found in this story... but then again, who does?

Three Terrifying Words

Lois held it together. It was just what she did. She attacked problems head-on. She stalked her leads voraciously, went after the next big scoop and no one could ever get in her way. She wasn't the type to get herself worked up over something trivial- even things that were a lot more important- life and death, even.

And especially not over a man.

Then why was she now?

She had moved on. She'd lived without him all these years- didn't need him to save her on a daily basis, didn't need him to sweep her off her feet. Didn't even need him to help raise their son.

And yet now, all in a moment, everything had changed.

She found it nearly impossible to hold herself together as she stared into the depths of her computer monitor at her desk, her son's earlier statement ringing in the back of her mind. Briefly the image of Jason standing shell-shocked where a piano had once been passed across her mind. How could this have happened? How? What was she supposed to say about the matter? Jason was the son of Superman; and now the man may never know he had fathered a child.

"Is he okay?"

Those three, simple words had shook Lois to her core. God, they were so simple, yet absolute in the measure of terror they held for her. Something she might have asked Jason after skinning his knee, or a friend who looked upset. But this situation was far graver.

This time, Superman had fallen from the sky.

She knew on the plane he was in bad shape. She had been the one to pull out the kryptonite dagger- and she wasn't sure she'd even got it all. But good ol' Superman- selfless, good-hearted Superman- had leapt out of the seaplane anyways, despite her protestations. She knew what kryptonite could do to him, she knew he would die if he did what he had done. All she could manage to tell him at the time was "you're hurt." He seemed to understand what she meant anyways though, but in the end, it had made no difference in swaying his opinion.

"Goodbye Lois."

Such finality, such seriousness and emotion behind his words, that she couldn't help but feel it would be the last time she spoke to him. Part of her wanted to tell him everything in that moment: that he didn't have to sacrifice himself for the world, that Jason was really his son, that she still loved him- Loved him? Had she really just acknowledged that? Did she love him?

She sighed and discreetly brushed a tear from her eye. But she knew he had to do it. He had to save the world. It was what he did. He couldn't sacrifice the entire planet for himself. Besides, if he didn't try, chances were nobody would live, himself included.

"Is he okay?"

"Goodbye Lois."

Jason suddenly approached her, handing her a drawing of their family being rescued by Superman. Or rather, Superman saving his family, with Richard thrown in the mix. She was mystified by how obvious it was now, how easy she could separate them all. She muttered some words of thanks to her son, her amazing, miracle of a son, and once again found herself on the brink of tears.

"Goodbye Lois."

Every news station was reporting on the story, footage of her son's father lifting a poisonous island into space, then falling from the sky. People swarmed Metropolis General, hoping against hope that he would suddenly reappear in his suit with a smile and a nod, popping out as if to say "just kidding!" and then fly off to rescue a kitten from a tree. She longed for it as much as the next person- more even, considering the circumstances. But she had seen his wounds, heard the resolution in his voice as he flew off, and had little reason for hope.

"Is he okay?"

She had no answer for her son. Nothing was okay. She was not okay. Her family was not okay. He was not okay.

She could only pray that he would be.

A/N: Review please!