Summary: [Spoiler (click to open)]Lois' musings in the immediate aftermath of the showdown between Superman and General Zod.
Disclaimer: Superman/Man of Steel is the property of Warner Brothers and DC Comics, while Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster originally created the character. This is a work of fanfiction, and thus derives no profit or material benefit therefrom.
Lois knows what devastation looks like. She's seen what the Deepwater Horizon spill did to the Gulf Coast, been embedded with the 1st Division in Afghanistan, gone to Alabama in the wake of the April '11 tornado outbreak, and she still carries images in her mind of 9/11 and the Boxing Day tsunami, but she's never seen anything like this. She hopes she never will again.
Part of her is angry. Part of her wants to shout and scream, to demand he justify himself. This is his idea of saving Earth? Metropolis will need years to rebuild - years and billions of dollars, and that didn't take into account the human toll, the thousands of lives irrevocably altered if not outright ended. With a savior like this, who needs enemies?
She's being unfair, though. He had saved them, from something far worse, and at great cost to himself. For the brief span of a day, he was no longer the sole survivor of his kind; now he is once again alone in the universe.
She wonders if Clark is as shell-shocked as she is. She can't imagine how he couldn't be, given the evidence of his unimaginable strength smeared across a 10-block radius, but then stark realization kicks her in the ass. Alien, you know. Not human. He'd made it explicit himself. Maybe his kind didn't get PTSD.
No, Lois thinks as she picks her way through the rubble, alien or not, Clark will carry the scars of this day for as long as he lives. Maybe not physical scars, but it's the wounds beneath the surface, the damage inflicted on the spirit, that take longest to heal.
Even now he's trying to bring comfort to the family he's just saved from incineration, shielding Zod's body from their view with his own as he crouches to lower himself to the children's height, reassuring them in gentle tones, asking the mother if she needs assistance. Lois thinks of his mother then - his human mother, who sat by his crib all night as he fought for breath and hugged him when he was scared or angry or sad and never, ever let him feel any less than fully loved. Kal-El might be an alien, but Clark Kent was as human as any of them.