Basically, there are two scenarios for Superman Returns in regard to Jason's parentage. Either Lois remembers sleeping with Superman--whether it was during the night in the fortress in Superman II and/or that she and Superman hooked up between the end of that movie and his leaving to look for Krypton--

--or she doesn't.

Superman Returns ficlet 2

by 'rith

untitled because I am lazy and also stressed.

Summary: Lois doesn't remember.

Thanks to trixie_chick for fast and helpful beta!

Lois believed in logic.

She was a reporter, and she believed in the facts. Things made *sense.* And when they didn't, it was her job--her obsession--to ask "why" until all uncertainties became clear. Every effect followed from a discernable cause. Every supposed miracle had a logical basis, or was simply a lie. Even madmen had rationales that seemed sensible to them, no matter how insane they appeared to the rest of the world.

Even Superman made sense, once all the facts became known. Not a homegrown anomaly, but an alien. He flew, powered by the yellow sun. The scientists might still be arguing over the precise mechanics of his flight and super-strength and all the rest, but those were just *details.* She'd flown with him and they hadn't fallen from the sky; Lois didn't need to understand the physics to accept that basic truth.

Things were rational in her world, and more "ordinary" than she'd ever anticipated. Ordinary was good, though. Ordinary was sane. Ordinary was *not* fearing for her life every moment, but instead going home every night to Richard and their son. Once upon a time she might have mocked herself for "settling" for ordinary, but Lois finally understood that her younger self had, in fact, been full of impossible dreams and ridiculous fantasies. She had a life now, a real life, and she relished it.

And then Jason threw the piano and proved that everything she knew was wrong.

Lois watched her son help Richard clear away the dinner plates, exaggeratedly careful with the water glasses ever since the time he'd knocked one off the table and ended up with a huge cut on the bottom of his foot. The wound had bled like the dickens and it had just been another in a string of ordinary childhood accidents, nothing to get excited about. There certainly hadn't been any reason to think twice about it at the time.

She wondered if he'd be cut the same way, bleed the same way now, and hated herself for the thought. Because the thing was, jokes about super-sperm were all hilarious until you were the one-- until your son turned out to be--

But that was frankly impossible. The fact stood that she'd simply never had sex with Superman, no matter how often she might have fantasized about exactly that. They'd kissed a couple of times and that was all, before he left in search of his home planet. While he might be an alien who could fly, Lois knew for certain his physiology wasn't as inhuman as *that.*

But Jason had thrown the piano, and nothing was logical any more at all.

Lois had been over and over her memories of the last couple years with a fine-tooth mental comb. Superman had thwarted Luthor's latest plan for world domination, and shortly after that he'd gone off on his quest to find Krypton. She'd been distraught over his leaving, and when Richard White showed up in the Planet newsroom, she gladly seized on him as a distraction.

She'd seized on him for another reason as well. Years of celibate pining after an untouchable man of steel had left her more than a little frustrated, and Richard had gladly and enthusiastically helped her make up for lost time.

And when she'd caught pregnant almost immediately, well, the label outright *stated* that the Pill wasn't 100% effective, even if no woman ever thought she'd be the one to beat the odds. First she'd been furious, and then she'd been terrified, and finally she'd decided that if this kind of thing was going to happen there was no better time than the present.

She'd emphatically declared to Richard that she didn't expect anything out of him or intend to trap him, to which he replied in that calm way of his that he didn't feel trapped and that if she still wanted him around, he'd be happy to stay.

She did, and he did, and when Jason made his appearance into the world seven months later there hadn't been anything to suggest--because, God, why *would* there be!--that he wasn't anything but a bit premature. He'd had all the usual difficulties that preemies suffered, and since getting past that he'd been a normal kid. A normal kid with a really annoying bunch of allergies and asthma that the doctor swore he'd grow out of, but still, just a kid.

Until he'd thrown the damn piano and everything Lois knew was a lie, a goddamn lie, and she still didn't know *how.*

Despite the title of that stupid article, she'd never spent a night with Superman. It didn't escape her that other women had found themselves in similar situations following events they didn't remember...but he was *Superman,* and she knew him, and it simply wasn't a possibility that deserved the least consideration.

She'd tried to convince herself that the piano had been a fluke or simply a trick--a surge of adrenaline, the ship had tilted and shifted the piano, *anything*--but none of her attempted explanations held. Jason hadn't needed his inhaler since the ship, that was one thing. While there hadn't been any further exhibitions of unusual strength, she thought that he held himself differently these days, especially in the sunlight. And the other day he'd found her earring, the one she thought she'd lost months ago, pointing it out deep under the couch. Without moving it.

Lois had still been too shaken to confront Superman the first time she saw him after the hospital, looking pensive outside of Jason's bedroom. "I'm always around," he'd said.

Time to put that to the test.

Richard gave her a sidelong look when she headed toward the back door, the one that said "You were quitting again, any time now," but he didn't say anything. The cigarettes might be a pathetic crutch but there were times she wanted fortification, and this was definitely one of them. She grabbed the pack and lighter out of her jacket and went outside, moving a few feet away from the house. It was already dark enough that she could only see the shadow of the fence that framed the property, dark enough that even a flying visitor probably wouldn't be noticed.

She smoked the first cigarette quickly, needing the buzz of the nicotine, and reached for a second. Lois brought the lighter up and wasn't surprised when the little flame flickered out in a gust of air.

It hadn't been the breeze.

"So," she said, before she even saw his face, "I have some questions about Jason."

She hadn't realized until that moment that she was desperately hoping for some kind of explanation she could understand. Jason was a mutant, like out of those ridiculous comics he loved. Jason's chromosomes had somehow been affected by her exposure to some bizarre Kryptonian artifact. Anything, no matter how impossible, that would make some kind of *sense.*

Superman hung motionless in the air, as perfect as any picture. "Lois, you have to believe that I didn't know you were pregnant when I left," he said softly, blue eyes honest and sorrowful, and every truth she knew shattered into dust.

She couldn't speak. It wasn't just confusion now, it was rage, towering and righteous. Something had happened, something she didn't know about, and he was *admitting* that he was-- that he'd--

"Wait, I'll be, I'll be right back," he said all in a rush, nearly stammering, and without waiting for a reply he was gone in a blast of wind. She stood and waited because there wasn't anything else she could do, still paralyzed with fury and disbelief, still trying to process it. Jason was Superman's son. How the *hell* was that possible?

"Here," Superman said, startling her with his reappearance. He was hovering in front of her holding out a crystal, like the ones she'd seen on the island except small and squat and dark, rather than tall and slender. "Let me just--"

He murmured a word, too low to hear, and touched the crystal against her forehead.

It wasn't a flash or a sudden burst of insight, but between one second and the next Lois remembered everything. Superman--*Clark,* God, he was *Clark*--giving up his powers for her, the night at the fortress, that final searing kiss. She'd remembered all the surrounding events with perfect clarity, Zod and his Kryptonian thugs and being held hostage and everything else, but *this*--

"You took my memories," she muttered, dazed, not even aware of what she was saying until she heard her own voice. "You made me *forget.*"

He was standing full on the ground now, hands outstretched in a plea for understanding. "I thought you'd be safer. When Zod kidnapped you--"

"And then you left," she went on, barely hearing him, not caring to. "You stole-- you stole *us,* you took away all that love and joy and kept it for yourself and I didn't even know who my son's *father* was, you son of a bitch!" She was hissing by the end of it, not yelling because she didn't want to alarm Jason (oh, Christ, don't let him have developed super-hearing) or bring Richard out of the house.

"I never would have left if I'd known," he protested, and he was missing the entire *point.*

"What gave you the *right?*" she snarled, finally understanding what Luthor had been saying, all these years. The insane world-domination schemes were still the product of a diseased mind but his view of Superman, of an *alien* with thought processes no human could comprehend, who ever could have imagined he'd been perfectly on target about that all along?

"I thought it was for the best," Superman said, looking miserable, but there wasn't any satisfaction even in that.

"You'd better go now."


"Now." She turned her back on him, expecting some final justification or apology, and felt the gust of wind that meant he was gone. Let him watch from a distance, if he wanted. He'd liked watching her, she remembered now. That night she'd stood naked before him and felt like a queen, like a goddess, like a woman loved by a god. And she'd loved him with all her soul.

Lois fell to her knees and vomited into the grass until there was nothing left.

For a long time afterward she just sat, looking anywhere but up at the stars and trying to breathe in her new reality. She'd knowingly slept with Superman and unknowingly borne his son. Once upon a time she'd loved him, but that was gone now, wiped away as cleanly as her memories had been. She still had a son who she loved and who loved her. She had Richard, who was Jason's father in every way that mattered and who'd stuck with her despite all of her extremely obvious faults. She had her career and a Pulitzer and she was still Lois goddamn Lane, and she had a life to get back to. A good one, without Superman.

Behind her, she heard the door to the house open. "Coming in soon, hon?" Richard called softly, not bothering to ask why she was sitting on the lawn because he knew better than to ask obvious questions.

"Now," she called back, getting up and brushing at her skirt. She had to tell Richard the truth, tell him everything. He'd be shocked and angry and ultimately they'd cope with it, because they were adults and that was what they did. She already knew it wouldn't change how he felt about Jason, because that was the kind of man he was.

Five years ago, she'd fallen in love with him *despite* the fact that he wasn't Superman. The irony, she knew, would haunt her forever.

The rest of the world might very well need Superman. He'd returned in full glory as a hero, and the grateful masses were perfectly right to welcome him back as such. Only Lois knew that he'd forgotten--or maybe he'd never known--simply how to be a man.

The truth might even win her another Pulitzer. But Lois had her family, her *ordinary* family, and the world could keep their hero. She already had everything she needed.


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