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"I'm going to let go now."
"Only if you think that. You already know how to do this, all that's left is actually do it."
"Okay... okay, I'm ready."
"Alright then, three, two... one," Clark counted down, on the last number letting go of his son's arms and floating back a few inches, his toes skimming the clouds above Metropolis that hid them from anyone who might look up.
Jason's eyes remained tightly closed, his whole body tense in anticipation. Clark couldn't help the grin that threatened to split his face as he watched his son hovering unassisted in the air. "Jason," he called gently, "I let go."
The teenager's eyes snapped open. "Oh my god!" he yelped as soon as he realised he was in fact, flying by himself. The instant the thought entered his head, he proceeded to drop like a stone.
Clark caught him before he could fall more than half an inch, still grinning madly. "You did it!" he laughed, unable to contain the pride in his voice.
"I fell," Jason replied shakily, clinging to his father with a force that would have crushed a normal human being.
"Yes," Clark conceded, "but before that you were flying."
"Then I was falling."
Clark sighed, Jason's heartbeat was pounding in his ears and his grip hadn't loosened. "Do you really think I would let you fall?" he asked, taking them a bit higher as the clouds thinned somewhat bellow them. Just in case someone looked up and wondered why there was a sixteen year old flying with the Man of Steel.
"Let's try again," he suggested.
"I can't," Jason told him stubbornly, even though his heartbeat indicated he was calming down. "I know I did it when I was asleep but-"
"-but you also did it just now," Clark interrupted, "while you were awake."
"And then I fell," Jason repeated.
Clark could help laughing. "Do you think I never fell when I was practicing?" he asked, "Next time you visit your Grandmother, ask her why the roof of the barn has that big patch on it."
"Gee, that gives me confidence," Jason muttered sarcastically.
"Jason," Clark said firmly, "you can do this. You just did."
"Can we try again tomorrow?"
"No, you know you can do it now- if you put it off you'll never try again."
"I will," Jason insisted, "I want to fly, I just don't think I'm ready right now."
"Jason, you just flew half a minute ago, you can do it again. But this time, just... keep flying."
"I fell," the boy repeated stubbornly.
"Only because you wanted to," Clark informed him. Jason gave him a confused look. "You only fell because you thought you should," Clark continued, "and your body complied. Close your eyes."
Jason looked unsure but obeyed anyway, even relaxing his grip on his father somewhat. Clark started grinning again even before he tried to let go, he could already feel his son starting to take flight under his own power.
Slowly, so as to not startle him into falling again, Clark began to work his way out of the teenager's grip until all Jason was holding onto was his father's wrist. "Jason, open your eyes," Clark ordered him calmly, trying to avoid another fall and another loss of self-confidence.
Feeling safer with some contact remaining, Jason opened his eyes. He looked down at his feet, floating above the city of their own accord and then smiled shakily at his Dad.
"Now let go," Clark told him.
Slowly, finger by finger, Jason started to release his grip on his father's arm. Clark didn't rush him, knowing how important it was that he feel safe and confident with his own abilities.
"Oh my god," Jason gasped as he pulled his hand away from Clark's arm. He immediately flung his arms out sideways, as if he was trying to keep his balance. "I'm doing it," he laughed, relaxing as he realised he really wasn't going to fall if he didn't want to. "I'm doing it! I'm flying!"
"You want to try moving around a bit?" Clark asked, already knowing the answer. Jason didn't waste any time, his confidence increasing every second as he speed away from Clark and even started attempting twists and dives around the pillars of clouds.
"Be careful to stay out of sight," Clark called, grinning with unrestrained pride as Jason zoomed past him, whooping in delight.
"This is awesome!"
Clark watched him practice for almost an hour before he glanced at his watch and sighed, because now came the really hard part: convincing him to come down.
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