title: free falling
fandom: DC comics, Superman Returns
characters/pairings: Richard/Kal-el/Lois, Jason
rating: G
warnings: threesomey
summary: Richard can't believe what he's gotten himself into.
notes: for rithy, for her request on fic on demand. at least one spin of it, darlin'.

"What do you like about flying?"

Richard turned the bottle of beer in his hand, and stared up at the clouds. Flying. It was a simple question, perhaps.


He looked across the deck. Lois was on the phone, furiously typing at her laptop. She was interviewing the ambassador to North Korea, chasing the story. She was willing to go pretty damned far for the story.

The thing was, he'd always looked to the sky. Sure, back then, he admired Superman, too. And he hadn't thought too much about it, because everyone did. He hadn't thought about it all, really, until he'd met Lois. Perry introduced them the first night he landed back in Metropolis, convinced that he could bring his wayward nephew into tow if he used the right bait, and Lois sure was the right bait.

The thing that none of them knew at the time was that Lois was pregnant. On their first date, she talked about Superman for three straight hours. On their second date, she talked about writing about Superman.

Three days later, she showed up at his hotel door, burst past him, talking a blue streak about PTA meetings and trade agreements and darning socks and then she burst into tears. To this day, he wasn't sure why she came to him, but they'd dated a few times, and Superman hadn't been seen or heard in longer than that, and her friend Clark had gone on some 'dumb trip,' so.

They never talked about the baby's father. From her tears, he gathered enough. She was alone. And he was willing to be a friend. He bought a house. He started to work for his uncle. It took him eleven and half months to convince Lois that she and Jason would be happier in his house than in her crowded apartment.

He bought a plane, but it took him two years to convince Lois to let him fly her somewhere. She told him she needed to see his 'flight skills' before she let her son on his plane. But even when she said it, she was laughing.

Jason was his son, too.

That was the sticky part of it. He could have just bowed out when Superman came back, but there was Jason to consider. He would not let go of Jason, not willingly, not ever.

And then, when Jason was in the bath, he asked his father about throwing pianos, and then... he didn't need to hear that to know, but he did need to hear it for another reason.

His son... his precious, beautiful son, he had a... genetic condition. There were going to be challenges in the future, and Richard couldn't imagine what those challenges were going to be.

Superman knew. Had lived it.

Lois wouldn't talk about it. She watched the skies, she interviewed the man, she clearly wanted him to be a part of her life... but she had her family, and it was like she needed them to be as normal as possible to keep going. Numerous times, he tried to mention it to her, but it was useless.

Jason was the one who figured it out.

Maybe it was something innate in him that just responded to his birth father. There was no way to tell for sure. But Jason, who was always shy, flocked to Clark any chance he could. And while, at first, Clark had seemed shy about it, after the thing with Luthor...

There was no mistaking that look on his face, but if he wanted to, Jason wouldn't have let him. They went home one day, the newsroom in a panic, televisions blaring about Superman's latest daring adventure. Lois and Jimmy had run off, complaining about how Clark had disappeared again... He held Jason's hand tightly as they walked through the chaos, and Jason was watching the televisions too closely to pay the slightest bit of attention to where he was going.

I hope Superman is going to be ok.

Of course he is. He's Superman.

He wasn't ok back then.


He looks better without his glasses, doesn't he, daddy?

Lois still wouldn't say a word to him about Superman, and when he made a veiled reference to Clark being more than he appeared, she laughed so hard, she fell out of bed. Literally.

Since it was for his son, he did what he had to.

Once he had made the decision, he could admit to himself, at least, that it was what he wanted to do, too.

It wasn't hard. He got Clark assigned to work on a piece with him. They were burning the midnight oil when reports came in about a ship in distress fifty miles off the coastline. He'd been waiting for something like this. It was bound to happen. He kept his eye on Clark, didn't give him even a second to run off. He even reached out and took Clark's wrist, just to be sure. He wasn't going to keep Clark from saving those people. But he wanted to force the issue.

You really want to go, don't you?

Well, you know, Richard...

When you gotta go...

Something like that.

When you're done saving those people, I want to talk to you about Jason.

That conversation didn't go as he planned, but as he didn't have a real plan, he didn't mind so much. They'd gone back to Clark's apartment, which made Lois' old apartment look palatial. Also, Clark may have been Superman, but Supermaid, he was not. Richard was surprised by the beer in the fridge, but not overly so. They drank until four in the morning, and talked about Jason.

Clark was desperate to hear anything, everything about him. Was he different than the other kids? Did he have friends? What did he like? When was his birthday, what did he want for Christmas, what were his favorite foods, what did he like to watch on television, what did he dream about being when he grew up, was he still afraid after everything he'd been through with Luthor?

By four am, Richard had learned a few things. He'd learned that Clark Kent was exactly like his roommate in college who he'd... experimented a little bit with his sophomore year. He'd learned that Superman couldn't hold his liquor. And he met someone no one else, save maybe Ma Kent, knew.

He met Kal-el.

Kal-el had thought he was the last person of his species in the universe, and it had taken him four years to find his way back to his adopted planet because of the crushingly unexpected loneliness that realization had birthed. Kal-el was still so starved for human contact after spending so long in space that he let Richard get close to him, let Richard kiss him.

Just one kiss, because Lois had to understand for it to work.

Though, they didn't really know what it was.

It hadn't been easy, though. Lois was determined not to believe that Clark was Superman, even going so far as to saying, right in front of Clark, that if Clark were Superman, then she'd marry Luthor. Jason, however, took to Clark well, and Richard sat him down and explained things to him. Jason thought it was perfectly obvious, though, and he looked his father in the eye and said, Well, of course, he's only Superman when he's wearing the cape, like it was the simplest thing in the world.

It hadn't been easy at all, and some days, it still wasn't, but they did it all for Jason, and he was happier than he had ever been. Two years after Kal-el returned from Krypton, he moved into their house.

And somewhere along the line, what was good for Jason and what Lois needed and what he wanted got all blurred together, and now, when he thought of flying, he didn't think about being in the cockpit of his own plane. He thought about being held by arms that were strong enough to catch airplanes and throw islands off into space.

Jason tugged on his sleeve. "Daddy. C'mon, this is for school. You have to answer my questions like I was a real reporter, like mommy. Why do you like to fly?"

Lois was still on the phone, still chasing the story from her deck on the harbor. Clark was doing the crossword puzzle, and he'd be gone soon, they all knew. The world would need him. But for now, Richard caught Clark's eye, and smiled. "You know, son, to tell you the truth... I don't think it's the flying as much as the falling that I like."

"Daddy, that doesn't make any sense. You don't fall when you fly," Jason said, in perfect seriousness.

Richard laughed, and Clark winked at him as he got up. "Well, I think I'm going to get some air. Now, Jason, don't let him dodge the question, keep at him until he gives you a straight answer."

Jason nodded vigorously, and then turned back to his father, and narrowed his eyes.

Richard watched Clark go, but as always, he didn't catch the moment when Clark blurred away, and became Superman again.