by Talya Firedancer

Jason props his chin on his hand as he leans on the sill of one of the wide, high windows near the top of the Daily Planet building, watching the unending blue of the sky deepen, gathering twilight around the far edges of the city before splaying out a bombshell of orange and scarlet sunset that licks across all the tall buildings. Behind him, he can hear Mr. Clark -- now, he realizes, closer to him than that, so there's a sense of rightness to calling him Uncle Clark -- typing away at his keyboard, and closer, the sound of his daddy on the phone in a steady drone of 'uh-huh, yes, that's right, sounds good, oh really?'

The world is taking care of itself, he thinks, and he watches the first broad strokes of sepia and burgundy spread over the sky, colors he has held in his hands after pulling them from the box, but across the broad blue canvas this is bigger, more beautiful than any scribblings he can fix on paper. Jason watches for the first moment that the clarity of the blue sky shifts beyond sunset into dusk. It seems like a gradual transition, but before he can blink, it's not day anymore - it's almost night.

Behind him, Jason hears Uncle Clark murmuring, "I have to go," to his daddy. By the time Jason turns around, Clark is gone. Jason frowns a little, but he's got nothing to compare it to -- wondering if a person is everything they show to the world all at once.

He turns back to the window, because if he doesn't watch it will be night time before he knows it. Jason traces over the glass with one finger, predicting where the first night's star will burn through the twilight sky. He finds it, and mouths the words but doesn't say them aloud.

"Hey, little guy," says a familiar voice, tired but gruff with cheer. "You ready to go home?"

Jason scrambles to his feet, nodding vigorously. All of a sudden hearing that note in his father's voice he's tired, too. His daddy's sharp blue-green eyes move over him and he must see this like he always does, because he scoops Jason off his feet without even asking. "I wish I might," he mumbles against Richard's shoulder, as they move toward the elevators.

"What was that?" his daddy prompts.


Jason tries to find the star again as his daddy maneuvers the car through the twisty-full streets of Metropolis on the way home, but he dozes off instead. He dreams of rising up through thin air, reaching up for that star he wished on and soaring through a space that stretches forever. He dreams of shooting up toward that star faster than any roller coaster or slip-and-slide only to fall with a jolt when the star bursts into a million pieces, forever beyond his reach.

He wakes with a shiver and realizes he's being carried against his daddy's shoulder again, and there's another car in the driveway.

"Mommy!" he cries, wriggling to get free. Here is part of the wish, he thinks, and bounces impatiently until Richard sets him down with a laugh. He dashes for the door.

Lois is inside, and she greets them both with a smile that seems at first too wide but not cheerful, but she drops to one knee and wraps Jason up in her arms and fills him overflowing with love and kisses. "I got you something, sweetie," she is saying before she even pulls away.

Jason looks up at his daddy, giggling. "Your name isn't Ed," he tells Richard with a laugh.

"What?" Lois asks, a frown pulling at her brows.

"It's just something I told him," Richard says, waving a hand. "That you'd get him something before you came back, or my name isn't Ed."

"Your name isn't Ed," Lois says, frowning harder.

"Exactly!" Jason says happily, craning his head to look past his mom. He wonders what she could have brought from Los Angeles, which is where daddy said she was staying, but doesn't quite dare ask if it has anything to do with Superman.

"It's just a joke," Richard is explaining to Lois.

"Forget it," Lois says, her mouth twitching like someone trying to smile but not quite making it there. "It's been a long week."

Jason pulls back, sensing something different in the currents passing back and forth between his parents, not wrong exactly but nothing he's dealt with before.

"Right," Richard says. "You want me to take him?"

"Take him, what? No, I... Are you leaving?"

"Mommy," Jason says, tugging on Lois's hand. He should tell her about the star, he thinks, and that will put everything in order.

"Right...sorry, Jason, here it is," Lois says, depositing a clothes-shaped box in his hands. Jason takes it, looking back and forth between Lois, who forces another smile, and Richard, who is looking at Lois with his eyebrows lifted, not a happy look but not exactly unhappy either. They don't have their listening faces on, so he takes his box to the sofa.

"I don't live here anymore," his daddy says directly to his mommy, in a very quiet voice as if Jason won't hear if he's soft enough.

"I know," his mommy says, even more quiet. She lifts her shoulders, then steps close to Richard, kissing him on the cheek. "Thanks for taking care of him."

"Always," Richard says, and now the smile is back, the genuine smile that twinkles from his very self. "Whenever you need me." He opens his mouth as if to add something, then closes it, shaking his head.

Then he's gone, the door closing shut behind him, and Lois is bustling for the kitchen with her skirts swishing and heels clacking as she crosses over hardwood floors.

"I wished on a star," Jason says in a small, doleful voice, looking at the door that has shut behind his daddy.

"What was that, Jason?" Lois calls from the kitchen. "Did you eat dinner?"

Jason heaves a small, frustrated sigh. "Yes, we already ate!"

Even first starlight can't put everything to rights.