LJ, you suck.
Kal-El began the flight by taking the twins straight up, rather slowly. Kala quickly made herself comfortable, cradled in his left arm, and peered down at the city. “Cool,” she murmured, fascinated. “Look at the lights, Jason!”
“Uh-huh,” her brother said. He was holding on tightly to his father’s neck, his blue eyes wide.
“Don’t worry, I’ve got you,” Kal-El said. “You’re perfectly safe, Jason.” At the same time, he was half-listening to Lois and Richard. Not precisely eavesdropping, just … making sure they weren’t going to argue. The couple had had enough spectacular fights; he didn’t want them to have another.
At the moment, everything seemed okay. The pain in Richard's voice was all too clear. Kal-El felt terrible; Richard was too good a man to deserve something like this. And then to be so gracious as to give Lois up rather than embroil them all in the constant struggle of a love triangle… It spoke of a kind of nobility that humbled even the hero. I’d like to think I would have done the same, he thought. I even thought about it, very seriously. Lois shouldn’t have to be torn between us. The difference is, I don’t know if I could really ever let her go. Not if I had to see her constantly … and with the twins, I’d have to be a part of her life. I doubt I could stand to see her and Richard together. It would break my heart every time… Richard’s braver than I am.
Kala had stared raptly at the city below them, entranced by the lights. They were hovering two miles up, the twins still breathing easily in spite of the thin air. But then the little girl frowned and cocked her head. “Daddy?” she asked, looking worriedly downward. “How come Mommy and Daddy … Daddy Richard, I mean … are talking ‘bout fighting? And keepin’ me and Jason? What’s going on?”
Her father looked at her, startled. “You can hear them, way up here?”
“Uh-huh,” she nodded, still looking at him very seriously. “I hear lots of things. Who’s keepin’ us? You’re not giving us away, are you?” Oh, the look in those eyes. So like her mother’s. Don’t let me go. Don’t go away again.
“No, sweetheart, no,” he reassured her immediately, hugging Jason too as the boy started to look frightened. “No one’s giving you up. Ever. All three of us love you both way too much for that.”
“What’d they say about fightin’?” Jason said urgently. “Are Mommy and Daddy yelling?”
“No,” Kala replied quietly, shaking her head. “They keep sayin’ they don’t wanna fight and they still love each other an’ all mushy stuff. Grownups are weird.” Despite her carefully-nonchalant tone, it was clear that what she had heard bothered her.
“Kala, you shouldn’t listen to other people’s conversations,” her father said, just the hint of a scold in his tone.
“I can’t help it!” she whined. That frustrated pout that was becoming so familiar. “Besides, they’re talking ‘bout us. Daddy, why would they fight? How come they sound like they’re sayin’ goodbye?”
“Is Daddy leaving us ‘cuz you’re here?” Jason asked in a tiny voice. “That’s what happened to a girl in my class. Her parents didn’t love each other anymore an’ she got a new daddy. Her old daddy went away an’ she never saw him again.”
The innocent questions were like a blow to Kal-El’s gut. His daughter glared across his chest at her brother and hissed, “Shut up, Jason.” But the hero couldn’t even feel comforted by her protectiveness.
“Listen, you two,” Kal-El said sternly. “No one is leaving anyone for good, all right? All three of us love you both. And we all care about each other, too. They’re talking about not fighting because, lots of times, mommies and daddies fight about stuff like this. And the kids get upset because the grownups are fighting. But we’re not going to fight with each other. All three of us have said that. We love you two so much, we just want you to be happy. It’s going be a little bit weird for a while, trying to figure out how everything is going to work out, okay?”
Both twins nodded somberly. Kal-El continued, “None of this is your fault, and nobody will stop loving you, ever. You’re the most amazing, brilliant, fabulous children any parent could ever want, you know that?”
Jason giggled at that, his earlier worries forgotten. Those blue eyes so like his darted over to Kala’s, the girl’s frown already having slipped away. Jason’s twin smiled back at him and nodded. “Promise?” he asked for the both of them.
Kal-El knew from having watched the family over the past several months that the twins set a great deal of store by promises. Lois had on several occasions gone to extraordinary lengths to avoid breaking a promise once made, and he knew that Jason and Kala would treat his promise like a sacred oath. Fortunately, he never went back on his word. “I promise. Everything’s going to be all right, you two. Now, would you like to hear about the first person I ever rescued as Superman?”
“It was Mommy!” Kala said excitedly.
Her father chuckled delightedly. “Yes, it was. But to tell it properly, I have to take you to where we first met. Ready to go fast?”
The twins excitedly chorused, “Yeah!” and Kal-El dove toward the city, making them both gasp with surprise. At night, most people stayed off the streets of Metropolis. The few who were out tended not to look up; there was little to see above them. Except on this night, when Superman flew by at an incredible pace with a child clinging to each arm. By the time people below heard the squeals of delight and looked up, Kal-El and the twins were gone.
He swooped low and came up alongside the Daily Planet building swiftly. No one would be inside now, except possibly the maintenance crew, and all Kal-El had to do to avoid being seen was keep away from any lighted windows. He slowed to hover beside the darkened windows of the twenty-sixth floor. “Right here,” Kal-El whispered to Kala and Jason. “Your mommy was in a helicopter up on the roof. It got into an accident and Mommy fell out.” It hurt his mind to call Lois that, a feeling of utter disbelief coming even now. There was still so much to get used to.
“Whoa,” Jason said quietly, his arms tightening around his father’s neck again. “She fell all the way to here?”
Screaming like a fire siren the whole way, Kal-El thought. He’d consciously left out the part where Lois had clung to her safety belt, dangling above the pavement. “Yes, she fell, and I caught her right about here. Nobody had ever seen a flying man before, and she was so surprised she gave me a look like this.” Kal-El widened his eyes as much as possible, provoking giggles from the twins.
“You look silly,” Kala said.
“Well, so did she,” he replied. “But she couldn’t believe what was happening. Lots of people would’ve had their mouth open in shock, looking like a fish.” He mimed that for them too, unleashing a storm of snickering. “Your mommy just looked at me, really surprised, and she hung onto my neck, trying to figure out how come I wasn’t falling. I flew with her up to here…”
They spiraled up past the darkened floors, most of the windows covered in plastic. At least the shattered glass had been swept up, and knowing Perry he’d have all of the interior partitions in their offices replaced as soon as possible. Kal-El stopped again a few floors below the roof, and continued his story. “Then the helicopter fell right toward us. I caught it, and I took it and your mommy up here to the roof. It looked almost exactly like this, because the globe hadn’t been built yet.”
“Where’s the globe?” Jason said, craning his head around.
“It fell in the earthquake. I’ll put it back later,” Kal-El told him, then returned to the story. “Nobody could believe what just happened. A flying man just caught a falling woman and a helicopter? Everybody was shocked. But your mommy is such a good reporter, she managed to ask who I was.” Kal-El smiled at the memory. “I couldn’t tell her, ‘I’m
“That was a hint!” Jason said excitedly. “When did Mommy find out you were Superman and Mr. Clark?”
“Not for a while,” Kal-El demurred. “I was trying to keep from letting anyone know. Your mommy’s so smart, though, I had a hard time keeping her from guessing.”
“Mommy’s the smartest person ever,” Kala said with quiet satisfaction. Then her brow furrowed, so much like Lois’, and she asked, “How’d you come up with the name Superman, then?”
“I didn’t,” he told them, drifting upward. “Your mommy named me that. I didn’t tell her my other name because it sounds a little strange to most people.”
“Not me,” Kala said, and grinned as she pronounced it carefully. “Kal-El. Right? Like mine?”
“Where’d you hear that, Kala?” he asked with a chuckle.
“Eavesdroppin’,” Jason muttered, getting a glare from his sister. “How come Superman?”
“I guess she thought it was pretty super that I rescued her,” Kal-El said teasingly, and the twins laughed, their momentary rivalry forgotten. “You’d have to ask Mommy, though.”
“I will,” Kala said, starting to yawn.
“All right, you two,” Kal-El said. “Time for you to go home.”
“Not yet!” both twins protested, looking at him pleadingly.
Hovering above the roof, Kal-El found it hard to deny the heartfelt plea in both sets of eyes, one pair blue as his own, the other Lois’ hazel. “All right,” he relented. “Once around the city, then we’re going home and you’re both going to bed. We can always go flying again.”
Kala pouted, but Jason sighed and accepted the bargain. As Kal-El soared upward over the city lights, the little boy looked up at his father and asked shyly, “Do you love Mommy?”
The question didn’t precisely surprise him, but the hero had to gather his wits to decide how to answer it. The simple truth, of course, was yes. But things were more complicated than that. In spite of the way Lois and Richard had been talking, Kal-El wasn’t completely sure that he had a future with Lois. They had to think of the twins first, and it might not be in their best interest to have a dad who was always off saving the world. Lois herself had said that she didn’t want to share him with all the people out there crying ‘Help, come quick!’
No was still an absolute lie, and maybe felt like a silly answer. So Kal-El sighed and replied, “Yes, I love Mommy. Everything’s complicated because I have to be two people, but I’ve always loved her.”
Both twins’ eyelids were fluttering, and Kala snuggled her head against her father’s shoulder with another yawn. “Thought so,” she muttered.
Richard had coaxed Lois into eating something. That sense of distance was still between them, but it didn’t seem quite so cold after their conversation. When Lois sat down on the sofa to watch for the twins’ return, Richard sat in the chair across from her instead of beside her as he would’ve done a week ago. They could both see out of the large windows overlooking the river, and waited in a far more comfortable silence than they’d grown accustomed to.
Lois had managed a few hours of sleep, but Richard had been awake almost constantly for two days. He kept nodding off, suddenly jerking back to wakefulness after a moment. Lois was almost ready to tell him just to go on to bed when a brightly-colored shape landed silently in the back yard.
“By the way, have I mentioned how weird it is to have Superman using my yard for an airstrip?” Richard muttered, rubbing his eyes.
Lois snorted as she got up. “Try wandering around your twentieth-story apartment in an old bathrobe and seeing him standing on your balcony, waving at you. That man is the reason I always brush my teeth and hair the moment I wake up.”
Richard chuckled as they headed outside. Both twins were drowsing, and the hero handed them over gently. “I have a lot to do,” he murmured. “I’ll be seeing you both. We have a lot to discuss.”
Stifling a yawn, Richard nodded as he cradled Kala. “You bet. It’ll all turn out for the best, I think.”
“I hope so,” Kal-El said quietly. “Good night, Richard, Lois.”
“Good night, and go see your mom,” Lois replied softly, and in a moment he was gone. She tried not to feel wistful as she carried Jason toward the house, luxuriating in the warm weight of him as he nuzzled his sleeping face into her neck. It was amazing how hugging her son tight meant to her, now more than ever. If she loves you nearly as much as I do, as much as I love these two, it will be the only thing that will calm her fears. “We love you. We’ll be here,” she whispered against Jason’s hair as the foursome disappeared into the safety of the house.
“I’m fine,” he said, returning the hug.
Lana stepped back slightly, still grinning with pure delight. “How’s Lois? How’re the twins?”
She blushed and looked away, giving Martha a chance to see her son.
But none of that seemed to be on Martha’s mind. She simply folded her much taller son into a hug, whispering, “Oh,
Feeling safe and at home at last,