By IAmNotAWriter (aka David) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted June 2005
Summary: A superhero faces tragedy most every day — and deals with the consequences. But, sometimes, the choices he has to make go beyond what the world, and fate, should ask of one man.
'Choices' or, '(I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts) Didilly, Didilly.' 1/1.
The title is still in the works. ;)
Fair warning, this isn't a nice story.
It's not set during any particular season during the series, and it's from what I consider to be, an interesting POV.
Thanks to Jenni, Sara and Kaethel, for the spelling and grammar pointers and a special thanks to Kae for the first, and better title. A big thanks also goes out to Larissa for being a lightning GE :)
The story can also be found here complete with italics for anybody interested in the original effect: http://www.lcficmbs.com/cgi- bin/boards/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=003811
Disclaimer: I don't even own the shirt on my back.
The sound of someone sobbing cut through the dark fog clouding my mind. I knew those cries. They were a sound I'd recognize anywhere. They were my call to arms, something was wrong and daddy had to come to the rescue.
Awareness of my surroundings gradually filtered through, and with it came a rising sense of panic.
The acrid smell of smoke was burning the inside of my nostrils and I remembered.
The building was on fire.
"It's all right, Squirt," I heard Eric, my eldest, try to reassure his sister.
<Wake up,> I commanded myself. <You have to get up.>
I grunted, surprised by the effort it took to open my eyes, to fight off the darkness I could feel gnawing at the edge of my consciousness.
I cracked open an eye and a wave of nausea swept over me.
Something was wrong.
Pain shot through me as I tried to move, and I inhaled sharply, choking on a lungful of smoky air.
"Daddy!" my daughter cried. "Please get up!"
I could hear the fear in her voice. Something was very wrong.
"It's all right, Jessie," I managed after catching my breath. "Its ok, baby." It wasn't. I could feel the weight of something pinning me down.
My free hand moved to my forehead, encountering a sticky wetness. <Blood?>
What had happened?
<The ceiling,> my memory provided.
The ceiling had collapsed. We were running through the hall when the ceiling, morphed and distorted by the heat, had given out and collapsed on top of us.
My eyes flicked back to the kids, noticing for the first time how Eric was cradling his left arm. The building wasn't stable. <It's not safe.>
I bit my lip against the pain and tried once more to pull myself free from the debris. Black spots swam before my eyes and I slumped back to the floor, painfully unsuccessful.
"Eric," I called out, my voice raspy. "Go over and feel the door at the end of the hall."
My children will live.
"Is it hot?" I asked, once he'd disappeared from my line of sight.
"It's not hot, Dad," he called back, and I released my breath on a sigh. <My children will live.>
"Take your sister," I said, throwing as much authority into my voice as I could, my Dad-knows-best voice at its croaky finest. "Check every door before you open it, don't open it if it feels hot."
"Dad, no!" he cried, by my side suddenly.
"Stay low," I directed, trying to remember my fire safety training. Smoke rises. <Right?>
He started to shake. "Eric?" I called, raising my voice to grab his attention. "There's a fire esca-"
"I'm scared, Dad, I can't do it." He was still shaking, tears streaming down his cheeks.
"I know, Buddy," I reached out and brushed his hair off his forehead. My eyes were drawn to the dark smudge my fingers left. <My blood.> "It's going to be all right. You can do this."
A thunderous crack echoed through the hallway. There was no time.
"Please," I begged. "Take your sister." Please, live.
I could feel the temperature in the room rising as I brought my daughter's chubby hand to my lips. <No time.>
"The fire escape." I repeated, squeezing my son's arm. "Go."
Jessie's sobs got louder as her brother grabbed her hand and dragged her towards the door.
I closed my eyes against her screams and rested my head against the hot floor. Please, let them live.
My eyes struggled open as I felt the weight above me begin to shift, the world tilting dangerously. The smoke was so thick I could barely breathe. <How long had I been out?>
The darkness receded enough for the image before me to resolve.
I frowned in confusion. <Red boots?>
My eyes shot upwards as it clicked. <Red Boots.>
"S-superman?" I choked out.
"It's all right, sir, I'm going to get you out of here." His voice was confident.
My hand fumbled, latching onto the material of his cape as he stepped around me.
"It's all right, sir," he repeated. "I have to move the debri-"
"My kids?" I asked, feebly.
He looked confused for a second before his face cleared. "I'm sure your kids are fine."
I shook my head and the spots reappeared.
"In the building," I clarified. "Please, my kids."
Something passed over his face. <Shock? Surprise?>
I tugged on his cape weakly. He didn't look down, didn't acknowledge me.
"Superman?" His face was blank, distant, and then suddenly it wasn't. Suddenly it was conflicted. *Horrified.*
They were still in the building.
He stepped forward again, his movements quicker. Rougher. Almost panicked.
"Please, save my kids." I could feel the darkness creeping forward, the smoke burning my lungs. The time running out.
He nodded and I let go of his cape, dropping my forehead to floor.
He was gone in a gust of smoky wind and I closed my eyes, releasing a final breath and relaxing into the approaching nothingness.
<It's all right.>