sean_montgomery (sean_montgomery) wrote,

Underground - Chapter Fifteen - Resolve

Clark pulled the receiver back from his ear and slowly, thoughtfully, set it on the cradle. The little green light indicating an open line blinked off. Compared to how quiet the rest of the bullpen was, the click of the light was oddly loud. Glancing around the room to make sure he was still alone, Clark leaned back against his chair and took off his glasses, rubbing his hands over his eyes. Her heartbeat was still steady and even in his ears, assuring him that if she had fallen asleep, no nightmares or late night sobbing had taken over. But there was still his ever-present worry over how she really was taking things. Lois would never admit anything to anyone unless life was at stake. Even then she might still stand firm.

That’s not true, he thought firmly. Were Jason’s life on the line, she would do anything, anytime, anywhere.

The thought of his son warmed him, settling the dizzying haze that had been clouding his mind as of late. He could easily picture him wandering through the Planet bullpen, an office trash can over his head while he growled and roared around the room, Godzilla terrorizing the city. For a moment he wondered curiously if Jason could actually see through the plastic covering… then figured it was better to deal with one super power at a time. No need to speed things up. Certainly not with things as they were now.

What would you think about asking Superman to help with the investigation?

Keeping a hand over his eyes, he slipped his glasses back on and sat a little straighter in his chair. Bringing Superman into the investigation was the last thing she had wanted to do, and it had been obvious in her voice when she said it. She was incredulous, disbelieving that Doug would actually ask her instead of finding a way to do it himself. “It’s not like it’s hard,” she had muttered. “Just look to the sky and cry ‘help’…”

That one had hurt. He could understand why she wouldn’t want to deal with Superman in this situation – being immobile with your fiancée missing would break anyone with less of a backbone than Lois Lane – but actually hearing it from her, knowing that she was willing to share it with Clark Kent…

Taking a deep breath, he stood from his chair and made his way to the bullpen windows, allowing himself a moment to stare at the peaceful glow of the city, the lights below him twinkling like the stars above. Staring off near the docks, the buildings before him dissolved and eventually faded away, revealing the Riverside home he had just called. Focusing a little harder, he found Jason sleeping peacefully in his bedroom, the window open and caressing the drapes with a gentle breeze. Just across the hall was Lucy turning off the lamp, and to the right of her room…

Lois was curled in bed, the leg cast the only thing not close to her body. In her hands she had gathered a large portion of the blankets, and just peeping out from under them was Richard’s pillow. She was resting her head on it more than she was her own. Seeing her face, once tight with anxiety and now open and peaceful, should have been relaxing. Instead he found himself confused.

What would you think about asking Superman to help with the investigation?

The mother of his child was asking him what he thought about asking the father to help. The father was going to be asked to find the man who had stood in his place for five years. How could he not feel confused? Part of him wanted to find Richard right away so that Lois would stop hurting so deeply, but another part seemed almost… relieved he was gone. It was a horrible thing to admit, and he knew it. He hated that jealousy brewed so deeply within him, but another persistent voice in his head reminded him that all of this was, in fact, his fault. Lois had every reason to find comfort in the arms of another man. He had no reason to be upset about it. It was rational.

It hurt. But he couldn’t hate Richard because of it. When had he seen him treat Lois any differently than he would himself? The man was nothing but a pure gentleman to her, even when her own thoughts and emotions were so jumbled. The brutal truth was that Richard didn’t deserve to be in whatever mess he had gotten himself into. He was – is – a good man. Really, Clark should be thanking him for taking good care of his family while he was away.

Not that the action would look very appropriate. Lois wouldn’t be engaged to a fool. He’d figure out who I was in a heartbeat if I said anything with ‘Lois’ and ‘family’ in the same sentence.

Giving her one last glance, he sighed. If only she knew how difficult this is going to be. It’s such an innocent question. And here I am holding the answer. And it’s one she isn’t going to like.

It was one that could alter their relationship. Dramatically. Superman was never one to not give in to anything Lois Lane would ask, but this…

At some point he was unaware of, his hand had touched the glass in front of him. When he removed it, he saw his handprint left behind, a little larger than most human hands would be due to his body temperature. Staring at it thoughtfully, he lost himself in the unique design of his handprint, oddly reminded of the crystal towers in the Fortress. It was the one place above all else he desired to go, aching to hear his father’s voice and ask his advice on this sudden situation. He had no idea what Jor-El would have said about his situation with Lois and Richard, but as for asking Superman to find Richard for them… that was an answer he knew all too well. It was something that had been burned into his memory as a child, the comforting voice of his father giving him wisdom that, unknown to him at the time, had the potential to make the relationship with the woman he loved irreparable.

There are tasks which humans must solve themselves…

She was going to hate him for that one. And he knew it. It seemed so… cowardly. Why would Superman hide behind the words of his father, a man who had been dead for thousands of years? It was time for him to be out on his own, right? For him to be making his own choices?

The questions seemed simple enough. But the truth of the matter was that he had already lost a chance at their relationship once. Giving up his abilities for the option of a mortal life had been wonderful before he knew about General Zod and his invasion on earth. It was his fault Lois didn’t remember that, yes, but he wasn’t willing to lose another chance at their relationship, even if the final result was going to be reconciliation of some kind. It was better than losing her altogether.

She needs to understand that, then. She needs to understand that everything Superman does here is because he isn’t willing to lose her again. She might not know what it means completely, but it’s better than her hating me forever.

It was final, then. As Clark Kent he would continue the investigation and discover where Richard was based on the evidence found by Officer Petty. As Superman he would take the information and search deeper, leaving clues and hints for the police force to use to their benefit. If Superman couldn’t tell them outright where Richard was, he would at least do everything he could to find him and make sure he was safe.

The final result might be that he would lose Lois forever. But more than anything, Clark knew that he would rather see her happy than miserable and in despair. If she was happier with Richard and the life they had built together over the last five years, then so be it. He would find Richard and bring them back together, and allow them to build on the foundation they had been working on.

He loved her too much to see her stay the way she was.
Tags: underground
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