Now We See The Real You

September 14th 2012. 07:25 AM UTC-6. In the streets of Gotham City, New York, USA.

Clark Kent watched the Wayne Enterprises headquarters towering over him. The rain Gotham City was famous for didn't bother him as he remained rooted on the sidewalk, gazing towards the highest floor which housed the most important functions of the three-hundred billion dollar-worth corporation.

After a moment, he crossed the street and escaped the clouded skies that gave the city its infamous dull and depressing atmosphere by refuging himself inside the tower's lobby. The secretary didn't address him as he came in. Clark looked around for a moment until he noticed the waiting area where only a handful of people were seating. He decided to join them.

Nobody spared him a glance as he sighed when he hit the chair. It seemed to him that everyone in Gotham wanted to mind their own business, or were they simply afraid? Nevermind the reason, the people of Gotham seemed to be part of the general dreariness of the city.

Clark pursed his lips and adjusted the glasses on his nose before looking at his watch. Nine-thirty. It was going to be a long morning.

The years he spent in the fortress of solitude would have gotten him used to being alone or bored, after all, he had spent this time as a recluse, not even Jor-El A.I. could be considered a real person. Yet, the kryptonian training reserved to him had been so intense he hadn't had a moment to sit and breathe. Let alone reflect.

In a way, his return to civilization had been worse. Despite the numerous events he had to take part in, none of them had been challenging enough to occupy his mind wholly and completely. He had had time. Time to watch, to think. He could see the world around him through new eyes, his teenage innocence now replaced by his alien culture.

Earthling societies were so inefficient, so fragile. They put themselves in constant danger, repeating time and time again the same mistakes. They needed someone to watch over them and guide them towards the next steps of their evolution. The fact that they had survived so far on their own was baffling to someone like Clark.

He was thankful to Jor-El for having given him the possibility to take his training after waiting for so long. Now, the humans of Earth wouldn't need to rely on luck, he was here to protect them.

As it was, Clark's humanity had taken a step back in his mind and yet, it remained an important part of his identity and his culture. He knew for a fact he would never be able to get rid of it and his yearn for the relationships he once had was proof of that.

Since his return, his friends had been distant. Even Martha, despite her warm welcome, had been unsettled by Clark's new persona. They didn't seem to recognize him and his lack of heartfelt interactions was starting to take its toll on him. Sermoning Oliver on his troubled moral code hadn't helped him getting more affection. Every one of his friends had backed Oliver, even J'onn had taken his side.

Clark needed someone who would understand him, someone he could trust and there was only one person whom he had been comfortable enough to try such a relationship with. And he wanted her back.

He looked at his watch again and grimaced at the time that had gone by while he was lost in his own mind. Around him, the seats were empty and he was alone with the secretary in the lobby. Clark frowned.

"Excuse me."

The secretary looked startled for an instant before a professional smile took over her face. "May I help you, sir?"

Clark nodded. "I'm looking for someone I know. I thought she would be here, her name is Lois Lane."

"Miss Lane doesn't work here, sir." the secretary replied, confused.

"Yes, I know. I was just thinking she might be visiting Mr. Wayne today."

"Oh but Mr. Wayne is rarely here." she explained. "You might have more luck finding Miss Lane at the Gotham Times, although I don't know if she works the week-ends. In fact, she might be at the Wayne Mansion, do you want me to make a call?"

"No it's okay." Clark frowned. "I will do it myself, thank you."

"As you wish, sir." she smiled, watching him leave. "Have a nice day!"


The Wayne Mansion wasn't as hard to get into as he had imagined. Clark had simply stated his identity before Wayne's handy man opened the gates. The old butler was standing by the door, waiting for him.

Clark waved at him. "Hello!"

"Welcome Mr. Kent," the man greeted him, an air of joviality seeping through his stoic fa├žade. "To what do we owe the pleasure of your visit, sir?"

Clark paused as he reached his level on the stone-carved stairs. "I'm actually looking for a friend of mine. Lois Lane?"

The butler bent over slightly as if to acknowledge his words. "If you will wait as I fetch Miss Lane and see if she is disposed to meet you."

He started to retire back inside the Mansion when Clark went to follow him. "She's here?" he asked as he went past the old man.

"Why, these are not suitable manners, young man!" The butler protested and gripped Clark's arm as they wrestled for a moment.

The battle didn't last long, Clark gritted his teeth and pushed him out of the way. The butler groaned as his back hit the door. "Mr. Kent!"

Too late, Clark was already rushing up the stairs, using his x-ray vision to guide himself through the large house. Sensing that he was being pursued, Clark supersped towards the western aisle of the Mansion, materializing himself in a decent-sized room.

"Lois!"

She jumped at his voice, turning around to meet him. Clark took an instant to watch her and noticed the casual clothes she was wearing as well as the fact that her hair was still wet from a shower she had taken just minutes earlier.

"Clark? What are you doing here?" she questioned, her eyes wide.

"I was looking for you," he extended a hand in her direction. "Come with me."

"What? Why?"

He started pacing towards her. "We've barely seen each other since I came back." he said. "Shouldn't we talk, after all this time?"

Lois took a few steps back but he was faster and wrapped his hands around her shoulders, bringing her closer to him. "What the hell are you doing?" Her voice started to rise.

"We had something before, don't you miss that?"

"Miss that?" she repeated. "You left! Remember? You didn't say why, you didn't even say when you'd be back and you expect me to accept that so we can pick things up where we left off?"

"Lois..."

"Let me go!"

"We have to talk, Lois!"

She wiggled against him, trying to get out of his grasp. "Let me go you delusional idiot!" she yelled.

He tightened his grasp and started to shake her. "Listen to me!" An arm wrapped around his neck and propelled him backwards. Under his surprise, Clark let go of Lois as he was sent sprawling on the floor.

"What's going on here?"

He looked up to the new voice, seeing Bruce standing between him and Lois. He was looking ready to fight him and certainly was prepared. The light sheen of sweat on his skin revealed Bruce had been training elsewhere in the mansion.

"This doesn't concern you." Clark rose to his feet, frowning when he saw the butler arriving into the room, a brushing stick into his hands.

"Master Bruce!"

Bruce held up a hand. "Stay back, Alfred."

"You have to get out of here, Clark!" Lois warned.

He ignored her tone and closed the distance between him and Bruce. The other man tried to take him on as Clark pushed him aside, sending him flying into the wall. He took a few shelves with him.

"Bruce!" Lois cried out and try to go after him until Clark's hand tightened around her arm. She turned around and gave him the strongest slap he had ever received. The blow had him freeze, he gazed at her in shock.

"Get out!" she said through gritted teeth. "I'm not going to repeat myself".

Clark hesitated.

"You heard her, Mr. Kent," Alfred approached him, holding the brushing stick in his hands like a weapon. "You aren't welcome here."

Clark watched each of their faces, realizing he had made a mistake. He shook his head and supersped away, leaving behind him the consequences of his actions. He watched from afar, through the walls as Bruce and Lois embraced and that was when he knew he had lost her.


September 14th 2012. 11:16 AM UTC-6. Watchtower, Metropolis, Kansas, USA.

Chloe had lied down in Watchtower's bedroom after spending a couple of hours working on the computers and fell asleep before she woke up at the feel of a hand on her arm.

"Ollie?" she shifted on the bed and turned over.

"Clark?" she frowned. "What are you doing?"

He stared at her with unblinking eyes. "Have you ever wondered in your life if you had walked past something valuable without ever seeing it?" he asked.

Her mind still caught in the fog of her sleep combined with Clark's words had her confused. "What?"

He began to stroke her cheek. "Don't you think we missed out on something great?"

"Clark, I don't know w-"

"It's not too late, Chloe." he continued. "It never is."

Clark started to get closer to her, Chloe sensed an uneasiness rising in her. "Are you sure you're okay?"

He nodded. "I think I'm better than ever, I finally see my mistakes and I'm willing to fix them." He looked at her lips. "But it has to be your choice."

"My choice?" Chloe blinked.

"One kiss." he said. "That's all you have to do..."

Clark started to lean towards her, she gasped and rolled away. "What do you think you're doing, Clark?"

"Oh come on, Chloe," he chuckled. "You can't tell me you don't feel anything anymore."

She glared at him as she got to her feet. "I don't know what got you in this mood and I don't want to know." she said. "You should leave."

"Chloe..." he got out of the bed and faced her. "Don't lie now, I know how you feel."

"How I feel? I got over you years ago when I realized how selfish you were!" she shouted. "You manipulated my feelings for years for your benefit and I only saw the real you after I took off my rose-tinted glasses."

"And so you chose Oliver."

Chloe's face twisted in anger. "He's got nothing to do with this."

"He's a murderer, Chloe." Clark narrowed his eyes. "How can you overlook that?"

She threw her hands up. "That's it, I've got enough of this." She crossed the room, hoping he wouldn't try to stop her as she went past him to shove the door open. Fortunately, he remained immobile as he watched her motion outside.

"I want you to leave," she said, feeling now braver knowing that Victor who was working downstairs was now in earshot. The faint sentiment of fear that had seeped through her when she noticed she and Clark were alone in the room was now dissipating.

Had there ever been a moment in her life where she looked at someone she knew and saw a stranger, it was this one. As Victor, intrigued was climbing up the stairs and Clark rushed out of the Watchtower, she couldn't help wondering aloud:

"What happened to you, Clark?"


September 14th 2012. 10:38 PM UTC-6. In a hotel in downtown Metropolis, Kansas, USA.

The tall blonde figure of a woman rose from the bed and began heading towards the bathroom under Clark's eyes as he stared at her nude form. He dozed off when the pipes squeaked and slept dreamlessly until she came back in the room, wrapped in a towel.

"Aren't you getting cozy here?" she remarked with a wry smile.

He raised an eyebrow. "Is that forbidden?"

"No but I thought you would be gone once you got what you wanted." she mimicked his look.

"I'm not heartless, Dinah."

She rolled her eyes. "Let's be real, Clark, neither of us is here for anything serious."

"What tells you I'm not?"

Dinah laughed. "Oh come on! If you were you wouldn't be here, you'd be chasing Lois or Chloe but since they're both taken you came to me. Why? Maybe because I remind you a bit of both of them and of course because I'm willing."

He looked almost shocked by her words, prompting a smirk from her. "I heard about your recent adventures, Clark. Where has the boy scout in you gone?"

He glared at her and rose to his feet. "I don't think it's any of your business, Dinah."

"Well, see?" she asked as she started to approach him. "You are starting to get it. If you were looking for a confidant you wouldn't have come to me because all I want from you is the sex."

He took a deep breath as her hands touched his skin. "And I think it's reciprocal." she finished before he turned around and untied her towel.


September 15th 2012. 08:30 AM UTC-6. Clocktower penthouse, Metropolis, Kansas, USA.

Oliver looked up when someone knocked at the door of his office.

"Come on in, J'onn!"

The martian walked inside, looking rather uncertain of the next course of action. Oliver's grim face didn't help lighten the mood either.

"He's here, Bruce." the other man said to the phone on his desk.

"Hi J'onn, I'm sorry if we pulled you out of your bed." another voice said on speaker.

"It's okay, I understand how problematic the situation is." J'onn replied as he joined Oliver who hovered above the phone on his desk.

"Problematic almost seems like an euphemism, to be honest." Oliver muttered.

J'onn glanced at him in surprise. "I'm not sure Clark would have gone so far as to-"

"He certainly looked prepared to do so," Bruce interrupted him. "You didn't face him when he was trying to grab Lois, the man almost looked possessed."

"And I keep beating myself up for not being with Chloe yesterday." Oliver added to the conversation. "She won't admit it of course, but I know she's a bit apprehensive about being on her own now. You don't realize how spooked she was. He could have done whatever he wanted and she wouldn't have been able to stop him!"

J'onn looked down. "I never imagined his training would have turned him into that kind of person."

"You have to admit he's been off since his return." Oliver said.

"I have to agree with you." J'onn admitted with great reluctance. "During our recent conversations, I noticed he's been more and more referring to humanity as a 'them' rather than an 'us', speaking about how humans need someone to guide them, how 'inefficient' justice was."

"That sounds a lot like the sort of arguments fascists would make." Bruce noted. "Though it seems difficult to reconcile with the person you told me he was. Didn't he use to have a strong moral code?"

"I don't think his morals have changed that much, actually." Oliver replied. "To me, it seems more like the world is not adapted to his views and he wants to change that. In other words, he wants to replace our current justice with his."

"What about Chloe and Lois in all of this?" J'onn asked.

"I don't know what kind of sick ideas popped into his head but Clark or no Clark, I'm not letting him in my home anymore." Oliver's face darkened. "And tomorrow I'll propose we kick him out of the Watchtower. I don't trust him to be around Chloe or any sensitive information anymore."

Oliver's words were followed by a long pause. "Despite the differences I had with him in the past, this decision does not make me happy. Believe me, J'onn."

The other man nodded. "I know the kind of person that you are, Oliver, and I understand that you wouldn't be so vindicative without a legitimate reason." he wet his throat. "The worst is, I understand your reasons and I agree with them. Even if I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that Clark has changed so much."

"You looked after him for so long," Oliver said, in a quieter tone. "You must feel like you failed him somewhere down the line."

He sighed. "I'm trying to see if there was something I could have done-"

"Take it from someone who's been there countless times, J'onn." Bruce spoke up. "There's nothing you could have done."

"I see that now."

"So, what do we do?" Oliver asked.

"Well..." Bruce cleared his throat. "Even after yesterday, Clark hasn't seemingly been a threat to anyone we don't know but given what J'onn said, it's possible that he becomes a danger if he follows that path in the future."

"We'll have to keep an eye out for him," Oliver voiced his opinion. "Just in case."

"Yes," Bruce said. "I second that."

"J'onn?"

The martian looked up and nodded slowly. "I see no other way."