All the usual disclaimers apply here. I don't own 'em and please don't sue me-no copyright infringement is intended and I'm not making a dime from this. It's written out of love and respect for the characters contained within.

Again, this is partly based on Trinity, the Eric Luke story from WW 141-2, "Redemption", a story from Superman-80 Page Giant #2 and Legends of the DC Universe 29-31. In my continuity it takes place before Batman rejoins the JLA. This is Superman's view of things.

I rated this one "R" due to somewhat graphic adult descriptions of sexual fantasy and also adult situations alluded to here.

Deepest Secrets
by Tracey Claybon

A deep baritone spoke the words "Recorder off" in a language that had died explosively and abruptly about thirty-five Earth years before the speaker recorded the message...

"Replay message." As he voiced the command, a small holographic image of himself appeared and began repeating in Kryptonian the message he had just finished recording.

He stood quietly reviewing the message, alert for any emergency beacons, sirens, or any other klaxons or alarms that might call him back to duty at any moment.

He'd recorded the message here, in his native world's language, in order to have one private, personal diary where he could write, not for the eyes of others as he did on a daily basis for the deadlines and demands of the Daily Planet and its readers, or anyone else, friends or foes, but for his own eyes.

Unlike the protocols of Batman, which had been used to such nearly fatal effect a few weeks ago, these were both encrypted and written in a language that no one from Earth had ever spoken. In order to guard his secrets well, they were also designed with a particularly nasty combined worm and trojan horse program made to damage even highly advanced systems that attempted to phreak the information away. He, Hourman, J'onn, and Oracle-when she was still speaking to him-had designed it together, combining DC10K advances and the best of Martian and Kryptonian technology with the very best "modern" hacking and cracking detection and destruction techniques. Even Brainiac or Solaris probably would not have been able to crack the knowledge contained in this chronicle without significant damage to themselves and total destruction of the information contained in the files.

I was too late.

There was nothing I could do, nothing I could say to stop you from going to Alcmaeon, no way to stop you from making the only choice you could make, because of your mission.

All I could see during the battle was you. With *him*. All I could imagine was you touching him, your hands caressing his body, the taste of you on HIS lips.

And not MINE.

The... absolute, utter JEALOUSY-and *PAIN* that I felt about your decision- would have shown in my eyes had I looked at you tonight. I still feel it now.

I have NO right to feel this way, and I almost despise myself for that.

I love my wife, my Lois.

We've fought for each other, worked hard to keep our union strong and each other safe, been literally to and through hell and back and we made it because of our undying love for each other.

And yet, I share something with you that I can never share with her.

You and I-and also Bruce-share a bond that is eternal and unbreakable that I believe might endure throughout the ages and years. We share the secret of the dream Oblivion created that we shared. Even though right now, we are divided, Bruce and I by the Babel affair, and you and I by this, we are still bound by that bond even now, and I think we may yet resolve all of this if it's at all possible.

In that dream, I did all the things I can only imagine now and am not now free to do... most of all, I had the freedom to love you in the dream as a man loves his mate, closest friend, the other half of his soul...

But wait...

...That's what Lois is for me, also-but in such a different way. And, yet...

I did what I so rarely ever do.

I lied to you.

You, of all people.

When my deepest secret was laid bare for you and I to see that day in the Wonder Dome, I said that it wasn't you, that it was Lois. You turned away from me and "agreed" with me-but not before I saw the expression of absolute sadness on your beautiful face.

You agreed with me because you knew my honor would never let me say how I truly feel about you. That I cannot reconcile how I feel for you with how I feel about Lois because I believe marriage and commitment is FOREVER. I can't betray her because I love her SO much, and I can't betray that belief, that foundation of all I believe and am. I knew you were aware of this; I also know that the knowledge was yet another knife in your heart to match the one of knowledge that I loved you in the same way and can never express or acknowledge that love, which stands alongside that bond the three of us share.

I know in my heart that you love me as more than just my dearest, closest friend, more than family; I have always known. I've been tempted more than you know and realize by that knowledge. During our adventure together in Asgard, there were so many times that I wanted to reach out and pull you close and never let go, ever-but honor bound me then as it does now, and deep in my heart I knew that I never would.

Despite all this, I can't help wishing that if it had been anyone, it could have been ME.

And I can NEVER let you know this. Ever.

But I think you already do.

I've just lost Bruce due to this Tower of Babel affair, and now I'm losing you too.

You were right.

I should have trusted you more. I should have remembered the foundation you stand on-your mission.

But when all the dust settles, although I can hear atoms crashing together, although I am stronger than just about anyone else that has ever been on this planet, mortal or otherwise-in my heart, I'm just a man.

In my heart, I'm human, even though I am anything but in actuality.

And because I am human at heart, I have my failings.

One of my biggest regrets and failings is that I love someone I can never have and can never express love for, because I am not free to, and will never be. Even if she died tomorrow there will never, can never be another in my life like my Lois.

...Perhaps if I had met *you* first...

But I didn't.

And I will *never* in this reality know what Alcmaeon knew-what you tasted like, the scent of your hair, the silk of your skin beneath my hands, the little sounds and the screams of your pleasure, and the look of total ecstasy on your face as you learned anew just what the heaven lovers reach looks like...

...In every possible way, I was too late.

I don't know if I will ever forget-or get over that.

Not now, or in a billion years.

*That's* my deepest secret. That's one even your Wonder Dome couldn't even begin to show me, you or any other being, living, dead, mortal or immortal.

And it will remain my deepest secret, right here.

*End journal entry, October 15, 2000 AD, Antarctic time 10 pm*, his computer intoned in an emotionless tone.

"Encryption code Krypto-Van-El-Kara-twenty-three." Kal-El, also known to a few as Clark Kent and to the world at large as Superman, concluded his message and turned and walked toward the door of his Fortress of Solitude.

The look on his handsome face was heartbreakingly sad. He knew, however, that any tears that fell now or in the next few moments would either fall unnoticed and freeze here, or evaporate in the wake of his flight away from the Fortress, and once he arrived back in Metropolis-or in any location that happened to need him at that time-all traces of what he felt right now would not show, except deep in his heart, where all but one or two could not see.

Shortly, he would leave this piece of himself here, but in the meantime, this secret had a moment's light and buoyancy here in this place. And this place of absolute solitude was where it must remain.


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