A New Friend

By Ranica (Ranica@aol.com)

Summary: Lois wants to say yes to Clark's proposal, but she knows she needs to figure out what he's hiding from her first. Meanwhile, a woman calling herself "Supergirl" requests Superman's help in the Underworld, a city below the streets of Metropolis. A continuation of the episode "And the Answer Is …" that also includes some DC Comics' post-Crisis elements.

Here is my very first L&C fanfic. Hope everyone likes it!

Author's Note: This is my first time doing anything like this, so I would greatly appreciate comments, constructive criticism, complaints, etc. It's just an idea that I've been fooling around for a while now. This takes place right after the frustrating 'to be continued' of "And the Answer Is…"

A special thank you to Jeff Brogden and Yung Nguyen for helping me fill the gaps in the story.


Clark Kent looked at the only woman that he would ever love, with expectancy. She couldn't stand it anymore.

"Clark," Lois started. "I don't know what to say. I mean, it was only a year ago that Lex proposed to me…"

"I know that, Lois," Clark's heart shattered a little … again. "It's just that, I can't picture my life without you, and I know that you … " He trailed off. Maybe he was wrong. Maybe he shouldn't have asked her to make the biggest commitment of her life to him.

"It's not that I don't want to be with you, Clark. I do love you, but it's just that you never seemed to want to commit, always running off, and then now … THIS." She couldn't even look at him. She wanted so much to say yes, but there was something that was nagging her. Her reporter's instincts said that there was something that she needed to investigate before she accepted his proposal. Yes, she WOULD accept.

"So then … " Clark looked at her with such hope that it almost broke her heart.

"I'll think about it. Okay, Kent?" She took the ring, box and all, and quickly diverting his attention, she quickly said, "Now let's get dry, okay?"

Clark, knowing that with Lois, things would be better off unanswered for the time being, reluctantly got up and led her back out of the rain.


Lex Luthor paced around his jail cell impatiently. "Where is that fool?" he muttered to himself, repeatedly. "You'd think that after all that I'd done for him, that he would at least have the decency to be prompt?" His voice rose a little more than he would have wanted it to, and he quickly realized this. He sat down on his bed, picked up a little brown journal for the umpteenth time and started thumbing through it. "Brilliant, just brilliant. I'm SO glad that I invested in this," he chuckled. He was startled by the sound of footsteps coming down the hall and quickly thrust the book out of sight underneath his pillow.

A Metropolis prison guard unlocked Luthor's cell while saying, "There's someone here to see you, Luthor." He wanted to make a wise crack about how Luthor looked like a kid whose hand had just been caught inside the cookie jar, but thought better of it. The last time he had needled Luthor, he had found a laxative in his sandwich. Even behind bars, Luthor was still a dangerous man to cross. He simply let the prisoner out, handcuffed him and led him into the waiting room.

"That man over at table four wants to speak with you." The guard pointed to the guy in the corner and let Luthor go over there without any supervision. There were guards stationed all around the room. Let his colleagues deal with him.

Luthor nodded and headed over to the man in a trench coat, wearing a brown fedora and sunglasses. Luthor sat down across from the mystery man and they started to talk.

"I don't even WANT to think about what they're talking about," muttered the guard to no one in particular.


"It's about time you showed," Luthor was obviously more than jumpy as he looked at the figure across from him.

"Relax. I just had a little more trouble slipping out, than I had expected. But don't worry. I did a good job of being inconspicuous."

"Yes, but people are looking at you now, what with your trench coat and sunglasses indoors. It's nearly eighty degrees out, you realize!" It took all of Luthor's restraint not to slug him.

The mystery man saw his anger but only chuckled. "Now, now. You wouldn't want anybody to talk about my remarkable resemblance to —"

"Yes, yes," Luthor interrupted. "So when is the switch planned?"

"Oh, but there's been a change of plans, I'm sorry to say. I'm afraid I won't be needing you after all."

"WHAT?! But what about — how did you — how DARE you —" Luthor's rage was apparent now. One of the guards looked at him menacingly. He lowered his voice. "What do you mean you won't be needing me anymore?"

"Exactly that. I've figured out the protomatter, and what's more, I've carried out your little plan to the letter, only it doesn't involve you. You see. You left a lot more behind than you may have wanted to, but, survival of the fittest, you always say."

This time, Luthor could no longer hold back. He dove across the table at the mystery man but was instantly restrained by the guard who had noticed his previous outburst.

"Time to go, Mr. Luthor," the guard had him by the collar and was dragging him back to his cell. He called out back to the man in the trench coat just before he had gotten the prisoner out the door. "And I would suggest, sir, that you don't come back to visit our little friend again."

The mystery man, still seated at the table in the corner, chuckled to himself. Luthor was no longer a thorn in his side. Everything had gone according to plan.


"So, Clark. What do you think Perry has planned for his ace reporters today?" Lois and Clark had just gotten off the elevator. She knew that things were strained between them, but was determined to keep things light until she had the upper hand.

"I don't know, Lois," said Clark with a tight-lipped smile. He knew that he wasn't being fair. Lois had a right to think about such an important step, but why did he have a feeling that that wasn't all that she was doing? Just then, his super-hearing picked up on something in the distance. "Um, Lois. I have to go … " he trailed off, hoping that she wouldn't be mad.

"Okay, Clark. Go." She waved her hand at him as she picked up her mail on her desk.

He hesitated and looked at her with a puzzled look, but more pressing matters were at hand, and he dashed off.

Lois waited until he rounded the corner, dropped her mail back onto her desk and hurried to follow him. She ran towards the hall that he had disappeared to, but could find that he was nowhere in sight. "Great," she muttered, trudging back to her desk. "I had to be following the fastest guy I know besides Superman." She wasn't watching where she was heading and bumped into Jimmy, who was busy studying a roll of film that had just come out of the dryer. "Hey, Lois. Why so glum?"

"Oh, nothing." She plopped down into her chair and turned on her computer. "So, develop any prize winning photos lately?"

"Not even close. I —"

Jimmy stopped and nearly dropped his film, open- mouthed. Lois followed his gaze and smirked as she saw what had distracted her young friend. A stunning petite girl dressed in a black body suit had just gotten off the elevator. Her black hair hung just past her shoulders. She remained standing next to the elevator, looking very lost.

"I think that I have spotted someone I need to introduce myself to. Excuse me, Lois." He dashed off towards the girl who was still standing near the elevator door, unmoving.

Lois just shook her head and turned to her computer to start up the story about that man kidnapping Clark's parents and then threatening their life if Clark didn't rob for him. She had typed a few sentences when her curiosity got the best of her and she glanced back at the elevator. To her surprise, the girl in black was still standing in the same place she had been. Jimmy was obviously trying to talk to her, but she didn't seem to notice him. She got up from her desk and walked over to the couple by the elevator.

"Having troubles with your usual pick up lines, Jimmy?" Lois was about to introduce herself to the girl when Jimmy pulled her a little bit away from the girl who seemed to be rooted in the same spot.

"Uh, Lois. She's in pretty bad shape. She looks like she's in shock or something. I tried to talk to her but —"

"Oh, she probably just doesn't want to deal with a guy picking up on her." Turning to the girl, she said, "Is this guy bothering you? Because I know him, and he's completely harmless."

The sound of her voice did nothing. The girl didn't move.

"Hey, I think that she IS in shock, Jimmy. Miss? Excuse me, miss? MISS!"

That did it. "Hmm? Oh, I'm so very sorry. It's just that —" Her voice broke off and her knees started to crumble.

"Ooo, Jimmy. Catch her." Jimmy caught her neatly and led her to the nearest chair. Lois followed them and carefully took the girl's hand in her own. It was freezing. "Are you alright, miss? What happened? Did you —"

The girl in black had obviously recovered a bit and interceded by saying, "I'm sorry, I'm fine, really. I'm just a little in shock. I came to find a Lois Lane, or a Clark Kent?" She finally turned to Lois and saw her for the first time. "Oh, hello, Ms. Lane. I didn't realize — I'm sorry."

"It's alright. You don't have to keep on apologizing. Now, what is it that you needed, miss?"

"Oh, please, call me Su —"

"CK!" Jimmy called out. He had been crouching down besides the girl in black, comforting her, but when he heard that she wanted to speak to Lois and Clark, he had stood up, and spotted Clark. "There's somebody here to see you."

Clark came over to where the trio was. He saw the girl and smiled. "So, what can I do for you?"

Before she could answer, Lois grabbed Clark by the arm and led him a few feet away. "I think that we've got a major story here. That girl is obviously in shock. I think something major happened to her."

Clark glanced over at the girl who was smiling at what Jimmy was saying to her. "Well, why don't just we go over there and see?"

Lois opened her mouth to say something, but thought better of it. "You're right. Let's go see what happened."

They went back to the girl, who had stood up by now.

"I'm so happy that you are willing to meet with me, Ms. Lane, Mr. Kent." Clark smiled while Lois just nodded impatiently. The girl hesitated a bit before blurting out, "I need you to contact Superman for me. I really need him to help me —" Her voice faltered and it looked like she was going to burst into tears.

Lois softened a bit. "Well, of course we will, or Clark will, but why —"

"I just need you to contact him." She looked at Clark. "As soon as you can, tell him to meet me at the subway station of Main Street." She backed up and headed toward the elevator, smiling briefly at Jimmy just before the doors closed.

"Whoa. What was THAT all about?" Jimmy was puzzled.

"Yes, what WAS that about?" Clark looked grimly at Lois. "I don't know why, but I have a hunch that girl was in trouble."

"Right. So, let's contact Superman."

"OK, but I think that I should go alone."

"Oh, no you don't, Kent. I let you off the hook once today. Don't think that it's gonna happen again!" She defiantly gripped his arm before he took off. Clark just nodded and they grabbed the next available elevator.

"Jimmy," Clark called out. "Tell Perry we —"

"Went to save a damsel in distress. Gotcha."


The girl in black exited the Daily Planet building looking around in all directions. She couldn't risk anyone following her. It would be too dangerous. She headed toward the subway to wait for Superman, but ducked down several alleys, to make sure she would lose anyone who might be following her. She reached the Main Street subway entry fifteen minutes later.


"So, how exactly do you contact Superman, Clark?" Lois demanded.

Clark was fumbling around with his pockets. "You know what, Lois? I forgot my wallet. I'll contact Superman, somehow and —"

"Meet me there," sighed Lois. "Alright, but after this whole thing is settled, we're gonna have a little talk, okay?"

Clark nodded and rushed back into the Daily Planet. Lois started towards the Main Street subway entrance, unwary of the pair of eyes following her.


Back in the Daily Planet building, Clark scanned the lobby, made sure that no one was watching, quickly changed into that familiar blue and red suit, and took off towards the subway.


He landed at the stairs of the Main Street subway entrance and started descending the steps. He found the girl dressed in all black right away. She was sitting, appearing to the typical bystander to be waiting for the next subway.

He approached her and was about to speak, but she turned to him before he said anything.

"Superman! I'm so glad that you're here. I need to talk to you," she glanced around quickly, "in private."

He nodded. She led him to the wall just opposite to the approaching train. To his amazement, she pushed one of the tiles aside, revealing a handle, and led him into a hidden room.

Amazed by his new surroundings, Superman didn't even notice a voice calling out to him.

"Superman!" Lois called. She saw Superman and the girl in black by the train tracks and was running down the stairs to meet them, but almost tripped. She took a moment to recover from her stumble, and when she looked up again, neither of them were to be seen. "Wonderful. First Clark, now Superman. They just seem to be disappearing left and right today!" She sat down dejectedly on the nearest bench. "Well, at least now, I have some time to talk to Clark. Whenever HE shows up."


Clark looked around him in awe. The girl had led him through the door behind the subway wall. It led to a couple of flights of stairs downwards and to the wonder that stretched out before him. It was like a whole different world. The girl looked at him, and smiled despite the situation.

"We call it the Underworld, for obvious reasons."

"Yes," was all Clark could utter. What he saw before him was amazing. There were trees to his left, and not just a couple of trees, but a whole forest. His super sense of smell could detect that they were the real thing. Right beside the forest was a clear, blue lake, which was free from any form of pollution. The most amazing thing of all, was the waterfall that was rumbling softly in the backdrop of the whole scene of nature. He forced himself to snap back into reality and look at the girl, who was still shaken from whatever it was had happened. "Who's we?"

"Me and my creator."

"Did he create this Underworld also?"

"No, HIS creator did. It's a long story… but the reason why I called you here was because some people have captured Le — I mean, my creator. They've also threatened to destroy the Underworld if I don't oblige to their wishes."

Clark knew this situation all too well. "What wishes are those?" he asked grimly.

"To allow them out of the Underworld. They want to destroy the Earth and rule it on their own, Superman. I tried to fight them on my own, but I'm just not strong enough. I need your help."

"Wait. YOU tried to fight them on your own? No offense, Miss, but you don't look like you're capable of hurting a flea."

"Please, don't call me 'Miss'. My creator has named me Supergirl."


Lois had gotten tired of waiting for Clark at the subway station and had headed back to the Daily Planet building. As she had expected, Clark was nowhere to be seen.

"Where did he leave his wallet anyway? Back in KANSAS?" Lois knew that it was ridiculous, what with his proposal and everything, but she couldn't help but feel that he was avoiding her. But it wasn't like Clark to miss out on a story, and this WAS a story. Sighing, she went to Perry's office, hoping to get some answers.

"Perry?" she knocked on his door.

"Oh, come on in, Lois." Perry was at his desk, looking more relaxed than usual. "Slow news day, huh?"

"Huh? Didn't Jimmy tell you?"

"Oh, yes. The 'damsel in distress'. Wait a minute. Where's Clark?"

"That's what I hoped you would know."

"Wait … This 'damsel' isn't someone that Clark … " Perry trailed off, afraid to continue.

"Oh, no, Chief." But she wasn't so sure herself right now. "You know," she said off-handedly, "Clark proposed to me last night."

Perry's face lit up. "Oh! Well, uh … " Seeing Lois' face, "I take it that you two haven't planned a wedding date yet."

"I told him that I'd think about it."


"I mean, it IS a big step, right?"

"Well, of course it is, honey."

"I have a RIGHT to think about it."

"Uh huh."

"Perry, I can't help but … oh, never mind. I gotta finish that story about Clark's parents being kidnapped."

"But —" Perry was cut off by Lois slamming the door shut.


"Supergirl? But — " Clark sputtered. He just couldn't believe it. How could this little thing, be — SUPER?

"My creator created me out of a substance called protomatter. He created me, with you in mind. He means no harm. He just wanted a being to protect the Underworld, just like you protect Metropolis."

"Yes, but how —"

"If you don't mind, I'll explain it later. Right now, I'm afraid my creator and the Underworld is in terrible danger. You'll need to help me. General Zod and his terrorists have given me only a limited amount of time before they start to destroy everything in sight. They're trapped here and they want to get out, but I'm the only one who can take them out of the Underworld. This is my home, Superman. I don't know what I would do if it was destroyed, or if my creator was hurt." She trailed off and then continued. "I'm still a little a dazed from going out into Metropolis. It takes a lot of effort to leave the Underworld and —"

"So THAT'S why you looked as if you were in shock at the Daily Planet."

"Yes, but how did you know?" Supergirl was puzzled.

"Oh, uh. Clark told me."

Supergirl only nodded.

"So, where is General Zod hiding your creator?"

"Follow me."

Supergirl led him through the forest. Clark could see now that it wasn't just a forest, a lake and a waterfall that made up the Underworld. Just beyond the edges of the forest, there stood several tall buildings. It looked almost exactly like Metropolis in the distance. Hard to believe that all this was just underneath the subway.

"You know, this is amazing," Clark was still in awe. Supergirl didn't say a word, and Clark quickly realized that this amazing world could soon be destroyed, along with Supergirl's so-called creator. He kept quiet as they wove through a series of alleyways that remarkably resembled Metropolis' alleyways near the Daily Planet. It took all of Clark's effort to keep from forgetting that he wasn't in Metropolis, but in a new world now.

Supergirl finally came to a stop in front of what appeared to be an exact replica of the Daily Planet. Clark just looked at her, astonished. "THIS is where your creator is being held captive?"

"Yes, it is eerie, isn't it?" Supergirl DID seem a little shaken. "Now, I know all about your powers, Superman, but I realize that you don't have a clue as to what I can do." She said this without arrogance, only with the knowledge that she needed to inform her helper what she was capable of doing. "I'm not as strong as you, but I have powerful psychokinetic energies and if needed, I can create an energy shield to surround me and make me, well, invisible." She glanced over at her new ally to see his reaction.

Clark was having a difficult time believing it, but he just nodded.

"I can also —" but she was cut off by a terrible beast of a man coming down the stairs.

"Well, well, well, Supergirl. It looks like you've brought a little visitor with you. Now don't you know that Mr. Luthor would be jealous of your new friend?" General Zod knew all about the man standing at the foot at the stairs.

"Luthor?" Clark was confused. "But Luthor's in jail … "

"Oh," laughed General Zod, still descending slowly down the stairs. "So you didn't tell him about your little boyfriend. Tsk, tsk, tsk." Seeing Superman's confusion as a good diversion, General Zod whistled, and instantly, they were surrounded by a dozen or so of his terrorists. They were all carrying weapons of some sort.

"I promise I'll explain later, Superman. Just please, help me." Supergirl was practically begging him now, and he couldn't refuse. After all, he had come this far. Before he could reassure her that he was there to help, she was gone. She had leapt into the air, obviously in an attempt to take down General Zod himself, but was stopped by a beam of light coming from the upper corner of the building. One of the terrorists had caught her quick maneuver and had managed to stop her. Supergirl, who was still distraught from her trip into Metropolis, could hardly fight the blow before toppling down the stairs. Clark bent down to help her, but was caught from a blast from behind that threw him off balance. He saw that Supergirl was getting up on her own, only a little shaken from the blow and she suddenly disappeared into thin air.

Clark could only trust that she could handle herself at the moment and went after the man who had attacked him from behind. He managed to capture him, and three of his friends. He incapacitated their weapons and tied them up with their own clothing. He then went after the other dozen or so men, easily capturing them, and their weapons.

He was almost sure that everyone of Zod's men had been immobilized, but he was wrong. Just then, a small, but brave man jumped him from behind while his pal started firing his machine gun in the air, to distract him. Clark easily picked the little man off his back. He held him at arm's length a few feet off the ground.

"That was very brave. Why did you do it?" Anyone who saw this man knew that he was no match for a man his own size, let alone Superman.

The man was completely disabled and couldn't move, yet he still showed no fear. "I'm doing this for Zod. We all are."

From the look in his eyes, Clark could see with horror that this man was willing to sacrifice anything, including his own life, for Zod. He was about to ask what was so important that one could risk everything for, but was interrupted by the man who had been shooting off his machine gun before. He had somehow gotten hold of an old rusted pipe and hit Clark with such force that he dropped the little man and landed on his side. Unharmed, he tried to get up, but was forced down again by the two men. They both had frighteningly menacing looks.

"This is for Zod!" they both screamed at once and hit Clark with every weapon they could fire. After a few moments, they could see that it hadn't affected him one bit. Clark set his mouth in a fine line as he got up and grabbed each man by the collar, lifting them in the air and placing them with their colleagues who were still tied up in the corner. Surprisingly, none had tried to escape.

When this was all done, he looked for Supergirl, but she was nowhere in sight. Seeing that everything in the Daily Planet building replica's lobby was quiet, he ascended the flight of stairs that would lead to the newsroom.

But before he could reach the newsroom, there was a commotion downstairs. Rushing back to see if any of the men had miraculously escaped, Clark found something that he would have never expected.

Instead of trying to free themselves, Zod's men had seen the power of Clark and knew they had no chance against him. Instead of allowing themselves to accept defeat, they had destroyed themselves with the one weapon that had been left beside them: a small pistol. Shaken by the horror in front of him, and the state of minds of Zod's men, Clark climbed the stairs with a heavy heart, preparing himself for more of the terror of Zod.


General Zod had seen the power of Superman and was also afraid. "He is a lot stronger than that menace of a girl," he muttered to himself. "I must —" but he stopped. He suddenly felt an all too familiar presence in the room. "Supergirl?" He started laughing, knowing that he had the upper hand. "I know you're here, Supergirl, and I suggest you show yourself, before I tell some of my other men to kill that precious Lex of yours." Zod held up a small communicator that had been in his pocket. He was about to speak into it when he heard a whoosh behind him. He turned, expecting to see Supergirl, but looked up, into Superman's face.

"I think that your time's up here, Zod." Clark took the communicator from him and crushed it into dust. He then grabbed Zod by the collar and shook him until all of his weapons and communicators were on the floor. He then flew him back to his men downstairs, who were all tied up in a bundle. "I'll deal with you later, Zod," he promised.

He was just thinking of how he'd find Supergirl, when she appeared before him. "Superman. There's more of them out in the Underworld. We must stop them, but we need to find Lex first. He's upstairs."

Clark followed Supergirl into the newsroom and into what would have been Perry's office. There, bound and gagged in a chair, sat Lex Luthor. He was obviously haggard and tired from struggling against Zod and his men. Clark almost felt sorry for him. Almost.

"Well, Luthor. Looks like we meet again."

"I'm afraid you're mistaken, Superman." Luthor said breathlessly. "The Luthor you know is still safely tucked away at the Metropolis prison. I know, because I just visited him. Right before my plan was ruined by these goons."

"Well, whoever you are, we need to get you —"

General Zod interrupted him from behind. He had somehow escaped, no doubt with the help of the three new men pointing their guns at Luthor. "Nobody's going anywhere, I'm afraid. Some of my men were hiding outside in the Underworld and I've gotten word to them. I've already destroyed most of the Underworld. I'm a fair man though." He turned to Supergirl. "All I asked for was for a way back into Metropolis. You grant us the passage, and we'll set your darling Lex free."

Supergirl was again close to tears. She just stood there. She looked at Superman, trying to decide between her creator, and saving Metropolis, and a world that she never knew. Superman was afraid that she would just turn over the power to Zod and let Luthor live, but was pleasantly surprised when she only shook her head.

"No, Zod. I can't let you out into Metropolis. It would be —"

Zod just nodded sadly. "Then I'm afraid, Mr. Luthor's life is in his final stages." He motioned his men to fire. Superman realized this and stopped them, melting the three weapons together with his heat vision. But that wasn't all that Zod had planned for Luthor. He reached into his jacket for the one weapon that Superman had missed. Remembering the image of Zod's men's self-sacrifice, Clark panicked. He quickly glanced around to see what he could do to avoid a catastrophe, but it was too late. With one push of a button, there was an explosion, right behind Luthor.

"NO!" screamed Supergirl. She reacted by throwing herself across Lex, as a shield, but it was too late. The blast had caught all of them: Zod, his surviving men, Lex and even the Super duo.

When the explosion had subsided, Clark brushed himself off and looked around. The Daily Planet building replica was no longer standing. The Underworld, from a quick super-scan, was completely destroyed. Zod was right. There seemed to be no living being left in the Underworld, him included. The blast had killed off him and his whole army. Clark began to wonder whether Supergirl had survived the blast, when he heard noises about 500 feet to his right.

Under some of the wreckage, he found them. Supergirl was cradling Lex in her arms, rocking him back and forth. Clark could also see that she was in pretty bad shape herself. She had taken much of the blast that had been the ultimate demise of the Underworld. A wave of guilt rushed over him as he remembered the hidden weapon he had missed when disarming Zod.

"Supergirl, I think that we need to get you to someone who can help."

Supergirl only nodded. They could both see that there was nothing else that they could do. Luthor was dead. General Zod and his men were destroyed. And the Underworld was no longer inhabitable. She started to get up, but fell down again. She tried again, but this time she couldn't even get off the ground. She was just exhausted, hurt and drained from the day's events. She sat there, trying to regain some of her strength, but finally lost consciousness. Clark bent down, picked her up, and flew her back towards the subway station.


"Where IS Clark?" Lois was starting to worry. The news day was almost over and she had already finished up the two stories that she had been working on. Perry was right. It was a slow news day, but it wasn't like Clark to disappear even on the slowest of news days. Besides. He was supposed to help her wrap up the story about his parents. The last time that he had been away this long was when he suddenly developed amnesia and didn't have a clue as to who he was, or where he was supposed to be. She quickly sent the two completed stories to Perry, gathered up her coat and purse, and left the newsroom to get some answers.


Clark flew Supergirl back to the Main Street station and laid her there. She wasn't kidding. Crossing from the Underworld back into Metropolis does leave you dazed and disoriented. He set Supergirl on the nearest bench as he sat down to think of what to do next. A little boy approached him as he was pondering over the situation.

"Superman?" the little boy was so happy to see his hero. "Are you and your friend lost?" His wide eyes looked at Clark with such wonder and excitement. "Because if you are, maybe I can help you."

Clark, still unbalanced from the switch, and racked with guilt about the hidden weapon Zod carried, barely heard the boy.

"And if I can't help you, my mom sure can. She's lived in Metropolis all her life, and … Superman?" He was scared when his mentor in blue didn't answer him, but now, he saw that the Superman that he knew and loved was back.

"Thank you. I won't need your mom's help. You've helped me more than you know." Clark smiled at the little boy, who couldn't be more ecstatic that he helped.

Clark knew exactly what to do. He gathered the limp and unconscious figure of Supergirl, and flew off towards Kansas.


Back at the Kent farm in Smallville, Martha and Jonathan Kent were sitting down to dinner when they heard Clark enter through the back door. At first, they thought that it was just one of his typical visits, and that he just missed Martha's home cooking, but the instant they saw him come through the kitchen door holding Supergirl in his arms, they knew something was wrong.

"Clark!" exclaimed Martha. "What on earth — who is this?" She looked at the girl who Clark was laying down gently on the couch. Her black clothes were now all tattered and she was covered in dirt.

"Mom, I know that this is going to be hard to believe, but I really do believe that this could be Supergirl." Still in his uniform, Clark paced back and forth, looking at his father for support.

"Son," Jonathan finally said. "How can this be? Your father said that you were the last of the Kryptonian race."

"I know, Dad," Clark still couldn't believe what was happening. "But she claims that her creator, Luthor, made her out of a substance called — protomatter? And then there was Zod, and his army. They wanted Supergirl to let them out so they could destroy the world. But she wouldn't, and he blew up the whole place because I missed that one — and now she's — and the Underworld is — I just don't know WHAT to think anymore!" He looked at his parents who were quietly staring at him and listening to every word that he said. "You should have seen it, Mom, Dad. It was amazing. It was almost as if somebody had built another Metropolis, right underneath the subway station."

"So, what happened, Clark?" Martha looked at her husband with concern. She had never seen her son so distraught.

"Well, this girl came to the Planet, asking me and Lois to contact Superman — Omigod! LOIS! I forgot all about her. I told her that I'd meet her at the subway station, but when Supergirl asked me to fight Zod and his men, I totally forgot!" Clark looked at his parents wide-eyed with fear. With super- speed, he changed back into his street clothes.

"Don't worry, son," Jonathan had no idea what his son was babbling on about, but figured that for his sake, he just had to comfort him. "I'm sure that Lois will understand."

"Well, I guess she'll just have to," Clark wasn't so sure himself. He knew that there was going to have to be a lot of explanation on his part. Well, maybe not explanations exactly, more like a revelation.


Lois approached Clark's apartment, half furious with him for disappearing, and half worried to death about what might have happened to him. She knocked, but when no one answered, she just tried the door knob, which turned easily.

"Sheesh, Clark," Lois muttered. "You've got to be more careful when living in this neighborhood." But then a terrible thought crossed her mind.

She stepped into his apartment, expecting to see the whole apartment in disarray, and Clark lying in the middle of the room, unconscious, but what she saw was the usual neat and tidy room, with Clark nowhere to be seen.

"Now where could he be?" she wondered. She stepped further into the apartment, and looked anxiously around. "Clark?" She stuck her head into the kitchen. "Clark?" No luck. She tried the bedroom. "Clark, if you're in here —" But he wasn't. "Well, you're bound to turn up sometime."

She plopped herself down on the couch, found the remote and switched the television on. She did her usual channel surfing until she found a rerun of "Three's Company". Talking herself into the need for a laugh, she set the remote control down on the coffee table and watched. After about five minutes of John Ritter's hilarity as Jack Tripper, she sighed and took out the small black velvet box that she had in her purse. She opened the box and stared at the ring for a good thirty seconds. She then glanced at her watch, saw that it was almost 6:30, 9 hours after Clark had said he'd meet her at the Main Street subway station, and reached for the phone. She punched in Clark's pager number, and left his phone number, followed by as many '911's she could fit on his pager, all the while feeling like a mother trying to contact a wayward son who had stayed out way past his curfew.


Clark had finally calmed down a bit and was able to tell his parents about the whole episode in the Underworld. He told them about how Supergirl recruited him for his help, about how he tried to help but couldn't, about Supergirl's amazing talents that he did not possess, about the few exchanged words between him and Luthor, and about how Supergirl risked the destruction of her own world for all the people of Metropolis.

"She didn't tell me much before General Zod and his goons showed up, but I just knew that I had to help her. Everything that she did, it just reminded me of how I feel when I'm protecting Metropolis from some danger. I know this sounds crazy, but somehow I feel like we're — connected."

Martha and Jonathan just looked at each other, bewildered by the story their only son had just told them.

"But, Clark, even so, what do you expect us to do for her?" Martha looked at the small and fragile figure still lying motionless on the couch. "I mean, we're not exactly doctors."

"I know, Mom, but I didn't think that if I took her to Metropolis' General Hospital that they could exactly take care of her. You're the one that took care of me after my first exposure to kryptonite, the first time I ever got sick, and — if she is somehow connected, then —" He didn't know what else to say. He just felt that this girl, who had risked her own life to save so many others, should be taken care of somehow.

"Well, of course we'll help her, Clark." Martha looked at Jonathan who nodded. "Besides," she added quietly, "I've always wanted a daughter."

Clark looked at her in surprise, but then smiled. He went over to hug her, and his father. "Thanks. I knew that I could count on you."

Just then, they all heard a small noise from behind them. Supergirl was slowly stirring and coming back to consciousness. They hurried to her side.

"Supergirl?" Clark brushed back a stray hair from her eyes. "Are you in any pain?"

Supergirl's eyelids slowly fluttered, but remained closed.

Clark turned to his parents. "Now remember, this is her second trip from the Underworld today and she's sustained some grave injuries. She'll be pretty confused about her surroundings," he warned them. Turning back to the stirring figure, "Supergirl? It's Clark Kent. You're safe. General Zod destroyed himself. Superman has brought you back to my parents' home in Kansas. They're going to take good care of you." He stroked her hair as he softly whispered these reassurances in his ear.

Supergirl's eyelids fluttered again, and this time they started to open. "Zod's dead?" She opened her eyes fully and saw Clark. "Clark? But where's Superm —" She broke off, suddenly unable to control the tears that had built up inside of her.

Martha was immediately by her side. "Shh. It's okay. You're safe now. Shh."

Without hesitation, Supergirl started sobbing into Martha's shoulder. Martha held the girl in her arms and comforted her. Clark stepped back and watched. He looked grimly at his father, who just patted his shoulder.

"Lex is dead. Lex is dead," Supergirl kept repeating.

"Shh, it's okay. You're safe."


Lois slammed down the phone after paging Clark. Full of nervous energy, she grabbed the remote control and started to channel surf again. Finding nothing on, she turned the television off and sat back, waiting for Clark to call. It was then that she heard it.

At first, she couldn't tell what it was. It sounded like a bird chirping. Getting off the couch to investigate, her ears guided her to Clark's bedroom. She entered it slowly, and saw a flashing light on the dresser by his bed. Fumbling for the light switch, she stared in astonishment at the flashing and beeping object lying in front of her.

"Why the heck do you have a pager, Clark Kent, if you don't have it WITH you when somebody pages?!"

Lois threw down the pager in disgust onto Clark's bed. Her anger was apparent now and she could hardly control it. She stormed out of the bedroom, took her purse from off the couch and headed for the door, determined never to come back. But then the sight of the small black velvet box lying on the coffee table made her stop. That nagging feeling that she had about Clark was still there. What was it that had made her feel uneasy at the park? She went back to the couch, sat down and picked up the box. Trying to remember all that she could about last night when Clark proposed to her. She closed her eyes. It was raining. She remembered looking deep into Clark's eyes when he opened that box. The rain had been rolling down his glasses, but instead of shading his eyes, the way the light shone onto those raindrops had given her an even clearer view of his hopeful brown eyes. She remembered that she longed for him to touch her but stopped that very notion that he may have had when she grabbed the box. All the pieces were there. She longed for him to touch her, like Superman did right before he froze her. She had wanted him to hold her like Superman did when he coaxed her back from near death. Like Superman did…

Lois' eyes flew open as she heard someone at the front door. Maybe it was Clark.

The street light was shining in Lois' eyes and she squinted to see who had just opened the front door. She shielded her eyes with her hands, and realized too late that she had been spotted.

It wasn't Clark.


Supergirl was feeling better. But she was still quiet as she sipped the hot tea that Martha had given her to calm her down. The room was filled with an uncomfortable silence as they all waited for somebody else to speak.

Clark broke the silence. "So, are you feeling any better?"

"Yes, thank you so much. I'm just still kind of woozy and I — can't remember anything after the blast. Except that Lex is dead." There were no more tears. She was determined to be strong, for Lex's sake. She set the empty mug down beside her and suddenly realized something. "Wait, if Superman flew me back here, then how did you get h —" She broke off suddenly, realizing what nobody else who had been close to Clark had realized in the past two years. "You're Superman, aren't you?"

Maybe they were somehow connected. Martha and Jonathan exchanged worried glances. Their son's true identity had been discovered by the stranger in their living room. But Clark didn't flinch. He sat down beside Supergirl on the couch.

"Yes. Are you sure that you're alright?"

She had noticed the concerned looks on the Kents' faces. "Oh, don't worry. I'll keep your identity a secret, Clark. Don't worry about me. I'm a little tired, but I'm sure that I'll be fine. I just need to rest in my own bed and —" She stopped and looked at Clark with wide eyes. "I don't have my own bed anymore, do I?" Clark slowly shook his head. "It's all gone." She looked away, as if she was going to slip into a stupor again.

"But you can stay here." Martha's heart went out to the young girl. She had been through so much.

"Thank you, but I feel as if I owe you something in return."

"You don't have to worry about that right now. From what Clark told us, you did plenty for us, and the rest of the world today. You need your rest now." Jonathan was adamant in this. His voice was firm.

"OK, Mr. Kent. I'll explain everything to you later — Thank you so much." She looked at Clark with a shaky smile and then to his parents. "I don't know what to say …"

"Just get better. That's all you need to concentrate on right now." Jonathan smiled. He turned to Clark. "Let's go fix up your old room. Supergirl can stay there for a while."

Clark nodded and the two left to prepare Supergirl's living arrangements.

Supergirl turned to Martha. "You know, I feel kind of silly. I mean, now that I know, I can't call Clark 'Superman'. It sounds so — informal."

"Well," said Martha thoughtfully, "is there something that you had in mind for your name?" She could just see it now. Two kids, both with super powers and secret identities.

"I really don't know. Do I really need one? I mean, I have no intention of living the way Clark does. I have no need for that. I've always led a life out in the open in the Underworld. I've always done it for—" she broke off, unable to continue.


Supergirl nodded.

"You really did love him, didn't you?"

"He created me, Mrs. Kent."

"Please, call me Martha."

"Martha. He took care of me and gave me everything that I needed. We lived there alone in the whole Underworld. He was all that I —"

"— lived for," finished Clark.

Martha looked at her son, and she knew that he was no longer speaking about Supergirl and Lex. He was thinking about Lois.

"Well, you needn't rush into anything," Martha looked at the girl with sympathy.

"Callie," Supergirl whispered. "I've always liked the name Callie."


"Lights out!" called the guard from down the hall. Luthor didn't budge, even as footsteps made their way towards his cell.

"I SAID 'lights out', Luthor." The guard looked at the slumped figure on the prison cot. He didn't seem to be hearing him at all. "Do I need to HELP you?" He motioned threateningly at his baton.

Luthor sighed, and without glancing up, he turned off the small lamp besides the cot. He went back to the same position, sulking and waiting for the guard to leave. When satisfied that he was gone, he fished under the thin cover for a flashlight. When he found it, he flipped the switch and searched for the little brown journal.

Inside, he reread all the plans that had failed him. He read all about the protomatter and the detailed procedures that he had performed and outlined for future reference. He had put all of his effort into creating a replica of himself out of the protomatter. Little did he know that this replica would also possess the intelligence to figure out the protomatter for himself. Luthor shook his head sadly, as he saw the plans of creating a Superbeing out of the protomatter. He had wanted it to be a woman, so that she could possibly use her womanly powers to woo Superman into a trap.

He sighed as he saw the photo that he had taken of the Underworld. "That was MY creation," thundered Luthor. "I should be the one that is living it up with a Supergirl and free from this — this injustice! Damn that clone of mine!" He threw the flashlight at the wall, shattering it into pieces.

"I SAID lights out, gentlemen."

Luthor stashed the journal back into its hiding place and laid back to get some sleep.

"This isn't over yet," said Luthor. "I still have my ways, and when I figure it out, boy will THEY be in for it." With this thought nestled in his head, Luthor drifted off to sleep.


Lois held her breath as the outline of a figure made its way into Clark's apartment. She quickly looked around for a weapon and spotted an empty vase. Grabbing it, she got up off the couch and started backing away, towards the nearest phone.

As the figure closed the front door, Lois could see his face clearly, without the glare of the street light.

"Jimmy! What are you doing here? You nearly scared me to death!" Lois lowered the vase, and placed it back on the end table.

"Sorry, Lois. I came to talk to CK. He usually leaves his door open. But if I'm interrupting —"

"No, Jimmy. Come on in. Clark's not even here."

"Oh, then maybe I should just leave."

Lois didn't say anything.

"You know, Lois, since you're here, maybe you can help me."

"With what, Jimmy?" Lois was hardly hearing what the young boy was saying to him.

"You know that girl that came into the Planet today asking you and CK to contact Superman for her?" Seeing that Lois wasn't going to say anything, he continued. "Well, I was wondering if you could tell me her story."

Lois looked at him in disbelief. "I have a wedding proposal to consider, millions of thoughts on my mind, my PARTNER has vanished into thin air, and you ask ME about a new prospective GIRLFRIEND?!"

"Okay, okay. I'll back off. Sorry, Lois. I saw you going to the subway today, and I thought of following, you, but —"

Lois seemed to have calmed down a bit. "I'm sorry Jimmy. It's just the whole situation —"

"Wait. Did you say that you had a WEDDING proposal to consider?"

"Yes, but —"

"Well, why didn't you say so?" Jimmy's smile couldn't get any bigger. He leaned closer to Lois and whispered, "So, what are you gonna do?"

Lois looked at him and smiled in spite of herself. "I don't know. I haven't been able to talk to him all day. He disappeared right after that girl came in today looking for Superman."

"Wait. You don't think that they —"

They both looked at each other.

"NAH," they spoke at the same time.

With that, an uncomfortable silence developed.

"Well, I really should be going, what with CK not even being here and you with thoughts to sort out."

But Lois didn't seem to hear what he had said. "Sure Jim. Whatever." Something that she had said had triggered another thought in her. Clark had disappeared after the girl had come looking for Superman, and only HE could contact Superman right away. She was supposedly as close as he was to the man in blue, but she always had to wait until he appeared. She had no means of immediate contact.

"I'll let myself out, Lois. You don't have to see me to the door." Jimmy started to walk to the door. Lois didn't move. She had slumped back down on the couch and looked as if she were a million miles away.

"Really, Lois. I insist. You stay there." When he saw that he was going to get no reaction from her, he turned the knob. He watched her, staring at the wall with a look of concentration on her face. "BYE, Lois. LOIS!"

"Huh? Oh, bye, Jimmy."

Jimmy just shook his head and closed the door behind him leaving Lois to think.


"So you'll be okay, here, Supe — Callie?" Clark looked at her with concern.

"Yes, I'll be fine. You should really get back to Lois."

Clark looked questioningly at his parents who nodded in agreement.

"And you, Mr. and Mrs. Kent, should get back to your dinner that I so rudely interrupted."

"Just rest, Callie. We'll be fine."

As Callie settled back into Clark's bed, the Kents exited, leaving her to sleep.

"I hate to leave her like this, but Lois —" Clark was at a loss for words.

"GO, Clark. We'll be fine. She's really a sweet kid. And if she's anything like you, she'll be up and running around the farm tomorrow morning."

"Lois is waiting, son." Jonathan didn't need to repeat his words. In a flash, Clark hugged his parents good-bye, said that he'd be back tomorrow, changed into his uniform, and took off back to Metropolis.


Lois didn't even hear the door close behind Jimmy. It all made sense now. Why Clark was always running off, why she never saw the two in the same place at the same time, and why she had confused the two in her dreams. Clark was Superman.

No, it couldn't be. He would've told her, wouldn't he? She was his partner, and he had asked her to marry him. Wouldn't he share that kind of a secret with his future wife? He would. He HAD to.

But all the pieces of the puzzle were there. Lois suddenly realized where she was.

"Proof! That's what I need. Proof." She looked around the living room. Nothing here. She got up and went into the bathroom. Nothing here either.

"Wait a minute. What am I expecting to find?" Lois muttered to herself. "Some sort of note that Clark wrote to himself about not revealing to his trusted partner and best friend that he's the most powerful being in Metropolis and possibly the world? That he stuck it on his bathroom mirror to remind him every day as he shaved? Oh great. Now I'm talking to myself."

She went back into Clark's bedroom. The pager still laid there on the bed where she had thrown it. Suddenly, she realized that she had been overlooking the obvious.

The only thing that she knew about Superman, besides the fact that he could possibly be Clark, was that he wore a uniform. Lois stepped towards his closet and slowly opened it. She saw, in an orderly fashion, all of his shirts, pants and jackets hung neatly. She was about to give up, and decide that it would be best just to confront Clark with no proof at all and just her reporter's gut instinct, but something stopped her.

"Like a guy with something to hide is REALLY going to leave it out in the open. Especially if he keeps his doors unlocked for ANYONE to just walk in and discover it." She separated his neatly hung clothes, hoping to find something behind them, but nothing. Something was still nagging her though. She reached out with her right hand, touching the panel behind all of his clothes. It seemed pretty sturdy. She tapped it a few times. Hollow! She slowly slid the panel to the left and found her proof.


Clark was about to land in his bedroom where he usually kept the window unlocked for just such occasions. He quickly scanned the streets to make sure that no one was watching. Satisfied that the streets were quiet, he swooped down and was about to land, when his super hearing picked up on a faint tapping within. He hovered just outside and watched as Lois slid the panel away to reveal his spare Superman uniforms. He waited to see her reaction to this, but after several moments and Lois didn't move at all, he took a deep breath and stepped into his bedroom to face the music.


Lois couldn't believe it. He had kept it a secret from her. But why?

She heard a swoosh, and turned around. Clark stood there with a scared look on his face.

How is she going to react? "Lois?"

He could tell that there were tears streaming down her face. "How could you keep something like that from ME? I'm your partner! I'm your best friend! I trusted you. I thought that you —" She broke off, barely able to control the sobs that threatened to erupt, and then said softly. "I thought that you loved me." Her moment of vulnerability had passed. "And to think that I was going to ACCEPT your proposal!" she screamed. She knew that she was hurting him. She could see it in his face, and she could feel it, too.

"I was going to tell you, Lois. I was going to —" He stopped. He knew that nothing that he could say would stop either of their pain. "I do love you," he almost whispered it.

"Love?! You just disappeared today, without any kind of explanation! For all I know, Clar — Superm — WHOEVER you are — you were off with that — that GIRL!" She shuddered at the thought. "So, where were you today? Off saving another person's life, while ruining mine?" The anger that she was feeling was giving her strength. She needed this strength now more than ever. She fished around in her purse, found what she was looking for, and threw it on his bed where it landed next to his previously abandoned pager. She gave him one more final look through her tears before storming out of the bedroom and the apartment.

"Lois — Let me explain." He started after her, but stopped, nearly choking on his own tears when he saw what she had left behind.

A small black velvet box.


Lois stumbled back into her own apartment with difficulty. The tears were still blinding her. She closed the door, locked and bolted it and just leaned back against the door. Yesterday, when Clark had proposed to her, had been the happiest day of her life, but now, just 24 hours after that happy moment, she was miserable.

How could he not have told her? She dropped her purse on the floor and made her way into the bedroom. Not even bothering to change, she lay on her bed, and clutching her pillow, she began to cry like she never had. She cried for losing her best friend, her partner, her lover and her God in a cape, all at the same time. Her sobs didn't subside as the phone rang, or as the answering machine picked it up.

"'Hi, it's Lois. Do your thing after the beep.'"

"Lois? It's me, Clark." There was a long pause. "I'm really sorry." Another pause. "I hope —" A sigh. "I'll see you tomorrow."

Lois' sobs didn't stop until fifteen minutes later, when she exhausted herself into sleep.


The first thing that Clark did as he stepped off the Planet elevator the next morning was look for Lois. She was nowhere in sight. He headed towards Perry's office.

"Hey, CK!" Jimmy called out. He noticed that Clark hadn't shaved that morning and his shirt was still untucked. "Rough night?" He smirked as he remembered that he had left Lois alone in his apartment late last night.

"Hey, Jimmy," returned Clark, ignoring his question. He continued toward Perry's office, knocked slightly and opened the door when he heard a faint 'come in' from within.

"Clark! There you are." Perry looked up as Clark came in.

"Perry, has Lois come in yet?"

"No, she hasn't, son. You know, she came in here yesterday, looking for you, too." Perry looked worriedly at him. He did not look his usual chipper self. "Is something wrong?" Knowing better, he didn't mention the proposal, he just motioned Clark to sit in the chair opposite him.

Clark did sit. "That's the understatement of the year." He stared at picture of a smiling young Elvis on Perry's wall.

"Uh, Clark, you don't look so good. Why don't you take the day off. You really —" He was interrupted by the phone which he picked up immediately.

"White, here." After a slight pause, he covered the mouthpiece and whispered to Clark, "It's Lois." Clark straightened himself in the chair and leaned forward anxiously. Perry turned back to the phone. "Uh, yeah, honey. You can take the day off. Uh huh. I know you'll make it up tomorrow. Yeah, take care." He hung up the phone. "She didn't sound so good, Clark." Perry looked at him warily. He didn't want to pry anything out of Clark that he didn't want to reveal. From what he could see, he sensed that his formerly happy couple had had a major argument over something very personal.

Clark finally said something. "You know what? I think that I will take the day off. I don't think that I'd be very productive anyway." He looked at Perry, waiting for him to respond.

"OK, Clark." He watched Clark get up to leave. "But remember," he stopped him just before he exited, "I'm here to help."


Lois had woken up that morning wearing the same clothes that she had had on the day before. Needless to say, they were completely crumpled. She got up and looked at herself in the mirror.

"I'm a mess!" She had started to do her usual morning routine to get ready to go to work, but had given up after brushing her teeth. She thought of how Clark would be there. She didn't want to face him yet. Maybe not ever. All the previous day's events came flooding back to her and she cringed.

Changing into a pair of her favorite pajamas, she called up the Daily Planet and called in sick. Perry had been understanding, but needless to say, he was surprised. She couldn't blame him. In all the years that she had worked at the Planet, this was the first sick day that she ever had.

She went into the kitchen to find something to drink. Finding a glass in the cupboard and the carton of orange juice in the refrigerator, she poured herself a glass. After replacing the carton in the fridge, she took a sip while heading to the couch. Flipping the television on, she turned to the news.

Just as the anchorperson was coming back from a commercial, she heard a noise behind her. She didn't even have to turn around to know that it was Clark.


Supergirl woke up to find herself in strange surroundings. It took her a moment to realize that she was in Kansas. She remembered all that had happened the day before. She got out of bed and looked down at herself. The tattered black body suit was now covered by a large flannel shirt. She didn't remember how she had gotten that, but she figured that Martha had given it to her last night to keep her warm. She also noticed a clean pair of jeans and another flannel shirt, neatly folded on the chair by the desk. Feeling a lot better, she changed into the clean clothes and opened the door.

Martha was fixing breakfast in the kitchen, but she heard Clark's bedroom door open and turned to find Supergirl emerging with uncertainty. "Come on out, Callie. Breakfast is almost ready."

Callie gladly stepped into the kitchen and said, "Smells great, Mrs. K —Martha. What can I do to help?"

"Oh, nothing. You just take a seat, and eat!" she said as she set a plate on the table.

"No, no. I want to help." Quickly roaming around the kitchen, she found the silverware and was helping by setting the table. Just as she put the last fork down, Jonathan entered the kitchen.

"Just like Clark. Never staying still for one moment," he chuckled. "You're feeling better this morning, I suppose."

"Yes, much better, Mr. Kent." She motioned to the chair beside her and waited until he and Martha were seated before pulling out a chair for herself.

The trio ate in silence for a while. "I know that you're probably wondering what my whole story is," Callie looked from Jonathan to Martha.

"Well, I can't lie to you," Martha said truthfully, "I AM curious, but you don't have to tell us anything you don't want to." She looked at Callie to make sure that she understood this.

"Well, I do want to tell you everything. You've been so kind to me. And this breakfast is just delicious! It's just that I'd rather wait until Clark gets here and explain it to you all at once." She hoped that they wouldn't be angry with her. If they shunned her, she wouldn't have anywhere else to go.

Jonathan assured her with an easy smile. "Of course, dear. Don't you worry about that. Now hurry and finish your eggs before they get cold."

Relieved, Callie happily took another bite of her scrambled eggs.


"Clark, what are you doing here," asked Lois without turning around. She just couldn't face him.

Clark walked around to face her. "I really think that we need to talk this through, Lois. It's not something that we can ignore, and if you tell any —"

"You think that I would blab it to the whole world, Clark? I thought that you knew me better than that!" Lois was truly hurt.

"It's not that I think that you would reveal this to anyone, it's just that—" He watched her as she got up to return her empty glass to the kitchen. She didn't even look at him as she brushed by. "Lois —"

"What, Clark?" She deposited the glass in the sink and finally looked at him. It still hurt her to see him in that uniform and know that it wasn't who it appeared to be. "What do you want me to say? You kept your deepest secret from me and were going to marry me hoping that I wouldn't find out."

"I was going to tell you. Why won't you believe me? I TRIED to tell you, but we were interrupted."

That's right. He had. She remembered now. She slowly walked towards him. "OK. I believe you." She tentatively took his hand. "How did you expect me to act?" There were tears in her eyes.

He reached to gently brush those tears away. "Lois, I do love you. I want to be with you for the rest of my life, more than anything else in the world. You have to believe that —" He trailed off, waiting for her reaction.

She hesitated and then said, "Do you still have that ring, somewhere — in there?" She motioned to his Superman uniform.

Suddenly realizing that he hadn't changed, he spun back into his street clothes. He then reached into his pocket and drew out the box. He opened it and took the ring, ready to slip it onto her finger, but she stopped him.

"Not yet, okay?" she smiled weakly at him and just took the ring. She placed it back into the box and closed it. Seeing his confusion, she stood on her toes and kissed him gently on the nose. "I still need some time."

They just stood there, smiling at each other until Lois heard something that the anchorperson on the news had said.

"Strange things have been happening here in Metropolis. Yesterday morning, some citizens waiting for the subway at the Main Street station noticed an explosion of some sort underground." Clark looked alarmed as they rolled some footage of interviews with some of the bystanders.

"I was just standin' there, waitin' for my ride home," drawled a man in a cowboy hat, "when I just heard this loud — KABOOM! I looked around but nothin' had been knocked over or anythin' so I just thought that maybe I had imagined it."

"What was that about?" Lois looked at Clark. "You were at the Main Street subway, weren't you?" She remembered seeing Superman there with the girl in black. "Wait, when did this happen? I waited there for —"

But Clark quickly quieted her as a small boy appeared on the screen. He recognized him as the little boy who had asked him if he was lost.

"Yeah, I heard a loud noise. It felt like somebody had hit the floor from underneath and I was really scared. But then, I saw Superman and he was okay, so I knew that I didn't have to worry about anything anymore." The little boy smiled a toothy grin before the anchorperson reappeared on the screen.

Lois turned to Clark. "You DO know something about this."

"Yes, that was what I came here to tell you about. Well, that and — well, you know." A glance at Lois, and he knew that she was back to her usual self. She looked at him expectantly.


"Lois, I —" He just couldn't begin to explain. "Maybe it would just be easier if I just showed you."

She looked at him warily. "What do you mean?"

"Are you up for a visit to Smallville?"

"Smallville? What does that have to do with the explosion underneath the subway station?" She looked at him as if he was losing his mind. "Are you sure that you're okay? Did the explosion cause you to —"

He interrupted her by saying, "Just trust me, Lois. Go get some clothes on."

There was something in the way that he said it. She immediately shut her mouth and went to change.


Callie had offered to do the dishes. Sensing the urgency in her voice, Martha allowed it, but made her promise that she would rest after she had finished. She was just finishing drying the last cup when Clark and Lois came through the back door.

"You know," said Lois, who was in much better spirits after the flight to Smallville in Clark's arms, "I could get used to that."

Clark grinned broadly and then noticed Callie. "Hey, are you feeling any better?"

"Almost back to normal!" Callie smiled at them, happy that she hadn't ruined anything between them.

It took Lois a while to recover from the shock of seeing the petite girl that Jimmy had tried to pick up in the Kents' kitchen. "Hi. Nice to see you again." She tried to smile, but both Clark and Callie could see that it faltered a bit.

"Lois, I'd like you to meet —"

"Sue, was it?" Lois quickly extended a hand for a handshake.

Clark and Callie looked at each other in surprise. "Sue?" She shook Lois' hand. "Where did you —"

"Isn't that what you told me to call you back at the Planet?" Now she was REALLY confused.

But Callie remembered now. It was when she was about to tell her that she was Supergirl. "Actually, it's Callie Sue." She smiled at Clark.

Martha and Jonathan had walked into the kitchen, surprised at the entourage that had gathered in the kitchen. Callie saw her opportunity.

"I think that now's the time to tell you everything." She looked at Lois. "I want you to hear this, too, Lois. That is, if you want —"

"Oh, yes." She nodded quickly. "I want to hear everything so I can understand what this is all about."

"All right," said Callie. "Let's go get comfortable. This may take a while."


Luthor sat before the parole board anxiously. They just had to let him out.

"Mr. Luthor," said the chair of the parole board sternly, "What's this I hear about an outburst in the visitor's room yesterday?"

Luthor fidgeted in his chair a bit. "Oh, um, well, I just kind of lost my temper for a moment there. Nothing serious. You can ask anybody there that it was my visitor who had provoked me."

"Is this true?" He turned to the guard who had led him to his visitor the previous day.

He looked anxiously at Luthor. He would have said anything to insure his safety, but he also had certain values that he wanted to follow. By the look on Luthor's face, his fear won over his morals. Besides, it would free him from some uncomfortable times during his job. "Uh, I believe that Mr. Luthor had no control over the situation." Which was partly true.

The chairman looked over at his colleagues. "We will discuss this privately." The three heads leaned closer together.

"I think that we should let him go. He has no more money. What could he possibly do? Besides, he'll be kept on a close watch." The slightly overweight woman spoke quickly. She was as afraid of Luthor as the guard was.

"But how can we be so sure of that?" The chairman looked at Francis in disbelief. He had never seen her act this way before.

"I think," said Michael, the calm and ever reasonable board member, "that Luthor has learned his lesson. Let's just give him a trial period, with very restrictive orders, and watch closely." He was getting tired of this. This was the third time that Luthor had come up for parole and the previous two sessions had been as unpleasant.

The chairperson thought about this, and finally nodded.

"Parole granted." And with the slam of the gavel, Luthor was free to go.


Callie looked at the four people that she had just shared her life story with. They were all absorbing it, as if it she had spoken in a language that they didn't understand. She didn't blame them one bit. Even she knew it was an outrageous story, and she had lived through it.

She had told them about how her Lex, wasn't the Lex Luthor that they all knew. She remembered the reassurance that her Lex had given Superman in the Underworld and that indeed the real Lex Luthor was still safely tucked away in prison. She explained how her Lex, she kept referring to him as Luthor II, had only the best intentions for her. She had known all about Lois Lane, Clark Kent, Superman and the Daily Planet from all that Luthor II had told her. He had wanted for them both, someday, to go out into the real world and live there in harmony with all the others, instead of living in the dusky Underworld by themselves. Yet he had known that this was impossible because he resembled the real Luthor too much. The real Luthor who had created the whole Underworld and the notion of a Supergirl.

That was why he had gone to visit Luthor in prison the day that he was captured by Zod and his men. He had wanted to inform him that he was no longer following his evil plot. He had wanted to sever all the ties with him.

"He was even going to alter his own appearance, explained Callie, "just so he could give me what I wanted: to live in a real world that I had only dreamed of." She choked back on these words a bit, realizing that he had fulfilled her dream, but he was no longer here to share it with her.

The Kents and Lois sat in silence as Callie outlined her amazing story. Finally, Lois spoke up. "But who is this Zod, and why did he destroy the Underworld?"

Callie explained that Zod had been a corrupt General working on the real Luthor's payroll. When Luthor cut him off because he went bankrupt, he didn't know what to do. He broke into Luthor's private safe, and found his plans for the Underworld. Wanting to get revenge on his boss, he decided to destroy it. He knew everything about Supergirl and Luthor II, all their plans and their daily routines. He had waited until the day that Luthor II visited the real Luthor at the Metropolis prison, and had some of his men grab him after the visit and take him to the Underworld as his prisoner. Since Luthor II was dazed from his transfer from the Underworld, he put up little struggle at first. Zod decided that with his new prisoner, he could now take out his anger on the rest of the world.

Zod found out too late that Luthor II and Supergirl was the only ones who could grant them passage back into Metropolis. Not wanting to risk taking Luthor II back into the open, he threatened to kill him if Supergirl didn't do what he wanted. Supergirl had no intention of letting Zod destroy the outside world. She held off Zod and his army for as long as she could, but realized that she would need help. Remembering all the stories that Luthor II had told her about the Superman in the outside world, she went for help. She stopped, knowing that they knew the rest of the story from that point.

"I still feel guilty for not having found the hidden weapon that Zod had. "Clark couldn't shake the feeling that he had.

Callie looked at Clark in surprise. "It wasn't your fault. Zod was the one that pushed the button. You helped me so much —"

"So you're saying that Luthor II, your Lex," Lois still cringed at the thought of another Lex Luthor, "was the good side of Luthor?"

"Hey," interjected Clark. "He did create Callie Sue here." He smiled gently at her. "And I'm so glad that he did."

Callie smiled. She suddenly got up when she remembered. "But what am I going to do now? I mean, I have no where to go, no reason to live —" She stopped, realizing how horrible that must have sounded, but knowing that every word of it was true.

"Don't say that," Lois wanted to help this girl. She reminded her so much of Clark, and she never could stand to see him hurt. "You have so much to live for. You could come back to Metropolis, after you're all better, you see, and keep an eye out for the people. I mean, you saved them all yesterday by defeating Zod." She gritted her teeth and hoping that this was the right thing to say, she continued softly, "Don't you WANT to help?"

Nobody knew what to say. "Of course I do," Callie finally said. "I do want to help."

Clark looked concerned. "You need to rest, Callie. Why don't you just go lie down and we'll talk about all of this later, okay?"

She didn't argue. She just thanked them all for listening and went into Clark's old bedroom, closing the door behind her.


"I don't know what to think, Clark," Martha looked at him worriedly. "That girl's life has turned topsy-turvy in one day, and how am I supposed to react to that?"

"Mom, it —" He looked at her comfortingly. "It will all work out. I just know it." He took a deep breath and turned to Lois. "I have something to tell you, Mom, Dad."

Lois could feel it coming.

"I proposed to Lois last night."

Martha and Jonathan were ecstatic. "That's wonderful! I've always known that you two were meant to be together."

"But —"

But he was cut off by Lois. "Did you really?" She was shocked. "Think that we were meant to be together, that is."

"Well, of course I meant it, otherwise I wouldn't have said it," said Jonathan defiantly.

Then in a small voice, Lois said, "But I haven't accepted Clark's proposal yet."

"'Yet?'," Clark's eyebrows raised a bit.

Instead of answering, Lois spoke to his parents. "It's just a shock, finding out that Clark is — well, you know. Superman."

"Yes, it is shocking, isn't it?" Martha was so happy that her son had finally let Lois in on his secret. She also knew that it was something that couldn't have been prevented.

"Just give me some time…" She stopped. "Do you want to go for a walk, Clark?"

"Sure, if you —" he looked at his parents, "don't mind?"

"NO!" they both shouted at once.

Then a little quieter, "Go, and have fun, you two." She gave Clark a wink as they left.


"So, where do you want to go?" Clark was still trying to find out why she had wanted to go on this impromptu walk all of a sudden.

"I don't know," she smiled at him shyly. "Maybe just somewhere quiet where we can — be alone?"

"OK, I know just the place." He took her hand, "I know a quicker way of getting there."

As much as Lois wanted to fly in his arms again, she shook her head. "I want to take our time, if you don't mind."

"Sure." As they continued to walk past the seemingly never-ending fields of wheat, a lapse of silence came over them. As much as he wanted to, Clark couldn't tear his eyes off of the road.

"You know, Clark," Lois was the one who broke the silence. "I really only said 'yet' in there for your parents' sake. I don't want you to get the wrong idea."

"Oh, no. No. I wouldn't expect you to — to hurry into anything like this." He said this quickly to hide some of his disappointment.

"I mean, they seemed so happy that you had proposed, and I just didn't want to —" She realized that what she was saying made no sense. She had wanted to keep Martha and Jonathan happy by telling them that she may very well accept his proposal at any moment, yet she was telling Clark that she really didn't mean it. The whole thing was another one of her contradictions that didn't make any sense. It was another contradiction that Lois made up to protect herself. She didn't want to do this anymore. She stopped, turned to Clark and just wrapped her arms around him.

A bit taken aback by her move, Clark stood still at first, but it didn't take him long to recover. He returned her hug. Since neither of them wanted this moment to end, they just stayed there for a good five minutes, with their arms wrapped around each other, standing in the middle of the Kents' wheat field.

They would have stayed there forever, but they suddenly heard something, or rather someone land nearby.

Callie cleared her throat. "I'm sorry if I'm interrupting anything, but I couldn't help but overhear about Clark's proposal back at the farmhouse." She was wearing that black body suit again. Martha had mended all of the rips and tatters. "Lois? I was wondering if I could speak with you." She looked at Clark. "Alone?"

"Huh? Oh, uh, sure. I guess. If Clark doesn't —"

"No, go right ahead. I'll go back and see if my parents need anything." He took off leaving the two women standing there.

Lois looked at the near stranger with interest. She had only met her the day before, but she felt really close to her. She suddenly remembered how the real Luthor and Luthor II had the same characteristics because Luthor II had been made with the real Luthor in mind. She knew that the same good characteristics that lay within Clark had passed onto Callie because she had been made with him in mind.

"I know that you must think I am the rudest person in the world by butting into your personal life like this." Callie knew that this had to be said, for Clark's sake. "I just felt that since Clark did so much for me, that I should do something in return."

"But you did that already, by defeating Zod." No matter how many times this was repeated to Callie, she still didn't seem to realize the significance of this.

"Well, I would still feel better if I could get this off my chest." She took a deep breath before she continued for the strength that she knew she would need. "You love Clark, don't you?"

"Yes," said Lois, without hesitation. "And I would marry him in a second, except for —"

"The fact that he is also Superman, is that right?" Not even waiting for Lois to answer, Callie said the words that Lois had needed to hear from the moment that she realized that Clark was Superman. "He kept it from you for your sake."

"What? How can you even say —"

"He loves you, Lois. I can see it in his eyes. He created the secret identity for your sake."

"Why? So he could be close to me while still flying around in that cape? That's not love, the way I see it. He was just using me to get the information that he needed. To help — SAVE THE WORLD!" Lois waved her arms helplessly. The more she thought about it, the worse the situation seemed.

"No, Lois. He created the secret identity of SUPERMAN. He IS Clark. The guy in the cape, well, is someone who can help the world, but it isn't someone who can fall in love." She looked at Lois, hopeful that she was starting to understand.

She was. "But you said that he did this for me? Well, then why didn't he just tell me?"

"If you knew, Lois, you would have become a target for his enemies. He only wanted to protect you. Because he loved you. I think that he has always loved you, right from the start. Would you want to hurt the one person that you loved by telling her that you were the most powerful being in the world?"

"No, but he knew that I was in love with Superman. He knew that I thought the world of him! I wouldn't have —"

"Well, Lois. That is the one selfish thing that I think Clark did." Lois looked surprised. "He wanted to keep his identity as Superman a secret because he wanted you to fall in love with the real him, not because he could fly around, saving hundreds of lives."

Lois finally started to understand. "I bet that he probably saved thousands of lives," she smiled.

Callie smiled, too. "I'm sure that he will save millions of lives before he retires as a hero."

"How do you know all this? I mean, I'm sure that you and Clark share a bond because you were meant to be just like him, but you barely know us."

"I barely know you, but I know that the love between you two, is real." She lowered her voice. "It was the love that Lex and I shared."

Lois couldn't find any appropriate words to say. She put a comforting arm around Callie. "You never had this problem about keeping a secret identity though."

Callie looked at Lois through watery eyes. "But I didn't need a secret identity… until now."

"So you're going to develop one now?" Lois looked at her worriedly. She had been through so much already. "Are you sure that you want to rush into something like that?"

"No, I'm not," said Callie, "But what other choice do I have?"


By the time Callie and Lois returned to the farmhouse, the table was already set for lunch. Thanks to Clark, there was also a vase of fresh flowers sitting in the middle of the table.

"Ready for lunch, girls?" Martha set down a plate of sandwiches and went to the refrigerator to get the lemonade.

Everyone took a sandwich appreciatively and sat down to enjoy it as Martha poured lemonade for everyone.

Jonathan turned to Callie. "Martha and I had a little talk while you were gone and we've decided that we don't want you to rush into anything. We want you to stay here until you're fully recovered, and then some, if you want." He gently took Martha's hand, "And we would be proud to call you … our daughter."

Clark smiled. They had told him this while the girls were gone and he loved the idea. Finally, he would have a sibling.

Callie, on the other hand, was hesitant. "I really appreciate your offer, Mr. Kent, Martha, but wouldn't that put a great strain on you? I mean, first of all, what will you tell the neighbors?"

"We'll just tell them that your parents, who are good friends of ours, have passed away before their time, and we've decided to take you in."

That sounded reasonable, but Callie still didn't think that it was right. "But that's asking so much of you. I don't know if I can —"

"Now, that's nonsense!" Martha so desperately wanted to help the girl, but she was as kind hearted as Clark, and even as stubborn as Lois. No wonder she fit in so well! "You must stay, at least until you're all better, and then — who knows what will happen? I insist." She was firm on this.

Callie smiled weakly. "OK, Martha. I'll stay."

There were smiles all around the table, as they clinked their glasses of lemonade for a toast, to the new friendship.


"Well, this is all great and wonderful," Clark really meant this, "but I think that Lois and I ought to get back to Metropolis soon. We still have to work tomorrow and it's getting late, SO!" He had had the greatest time of his life that night. The five of them had went out to dinner downtown and came back and played an animated game of Pictionary. He had always pictured it this way, spending time with his parents and Lois, and now, his new special friend.

"Oh, yes. I didn't realize what time it was." Lois looked at her watch in disbelief. Had ten hours really gone by?

"Okay Clark, but you have to promise to bring Lois by more often," Martha had had a wonderful time also.

"I promise, Mom." He proceeded with a kiss on her cheek, and a hug for his father. All there was left was the goodbye to Callie.

"Callie," she had stopped insisting everyone call her Callie and Clark had practically forgotten about it himself. "I don't know what you and Lois talked about," there was a sly exchange of looks between Lois and Callie, "but it better have been about me and it better have been good!" He smiled at her gently and gave her a hug.

Callie squeezed her eyes tightly shut as she hugged Clark back. "Don't worry, it was all about you. I can't guarantee the 'good' part, but you know. Girl talk." She pulled back from his arms and looked up at him. "I love you," she whispered, "brother."

Clark was so overcome with emotions and he swooped her up in another big bear hug. To the Kents' and Lois' amusement, Callie laughed and they both started to levitate about a foot off the ground. "Put me down, you oaf!" She hit him on the chest playfully as she struggled to pull away.

After they had both come down to earth, Callie got serious again and turned to Lois. She simply hugged her and whispered into her ear, "Remember what I said."

Lois patted her on the back. "I will, and you take care of yourself."

Callie nodded and went to stand with the Kents who were already on the porch, ready to wave Lois and Clark off.

Lois and Clark looked at each other, suddenly more aware about their upcoming time alone together. "Are you ready to go?" Clark took her hand and led her to the porch where his new family was waiting.

"Yes, Clark. I am ready."

Lois said her last good-byes to the Kents on the porch before their flight back to Metropolis. As she and Clark were flying away, the threesome waved to them.

"Don't stay away too long!" Shouted Callie to the disappearing pair. "And, Clark, be careful out there. You don't want to worry —" she looked over at Martha and Jonathan Kent, "— Mom and Dad here."

And Mom, Dad and new daughter watched and waved until they were gone.


"Well," yawned Jonathan. "I think that I'm going to turn in for tonight."

Martha smiled at her husband and turned to Callie. "Is there anything that you'll need for tonight or tomorrow? More clean clothes, or a towel for a shower —"

"No, Mar — Mom." She smiled at the kind lady that had taken her in, no questions asked. "I'll be fine. You and Dad just rest up for tomorrow and I'll slip under the covers and do the same."

"Okay, hon."

Callie watched as Martha and Jonathan retired to their bedroom, hand in hand. She hated to do this to such a nice couple, and especially to Lois and Clark, but she had to.

Walking to her own room, Clark's old room, she found a pad of paper and a pen. Clicking the pen top, she poised the tip over the paper, paused a bit, thinking of what to write, and started her letter of good-bye.


"Clark?" Lois tightened her grip around Clark's neck as she saw Metropolis nearing in the distance. "Do you think that we could stop by your place before you take me home?"

He looked at her puzzlingly. "Sure, but why, Lois?"

She smiled up at him. "It's a secret." She looked up at him nervously. "Trust me. You'll like it."

They landed just a few moments later in Clark's bedroom. He had again left his window open just for this occasion.

"Why don't you, go change — slowly? I have to — uh, do something." Lois was now more nervous than ever.

Clark looked over her carefully. He was anticipating some kind of surprise brewed up by her, but he couldn't imagine what it was. "Slowly, you say? Well, 'slowly' for me is ten seconds."

"Okay, then, Kent," she laughed. She could get used to a man who could dress and undress in under ten seconds. "Give me five minutes then. I'll be in the living room." With that, she walked out of his bedroom.

She hoped that she remembered what she had found when she explored his apartment the night before, waiting for his return. She walked over to the cupboard over his microwave in the kitchen. Sure enough, they were still there. Gathering up what she needed, she went back into the living room and set everything up. *** Clark had changed in his usual record speed and then sat on his bed, waiting for the five minutes to run out. After waiting the first minute and a half, the suspense started to get to him. It was late, but he didn't mind having Lois there. The seconds ticked by slowly as he started to pace. He glanced at his watch often, and agonized as the allotted time seemed to get longer, and longer. Finally, the five minutes ran out and he eagerly opened his bedroom door.

Lois was waiting for him. All the lights were turned off and she was standing behind the couch. Set up in front of her on the coffee table were half a dozen candles arranged in a circle. All of them were lit. Right in the center of the circle of candles, was the opened velvet box with the ring shining brightly in the shimmering light of the candles. Clark looked at Lois in confusion.

"What is all of this?"

She smiled and walked slowly towards him. "I just wanted to make this kind of special."

"Make what special?" His throat was dry and he waited for her to speak again, which seemed like an eternity.

"My answer to your proposal." She had stopped a few inches in front of him. She looked up at him expectantly and he caught his breath. Could it be? He started to lean his head towards hers, but she suddenly took his hand and led him to the couch.

"Come here, Clark. I want to show you something." He reluctantly followed her to the couch. He looked at the candles and their flames as they danced around excitedly.

"Lois — I know that I should have told you sooner, but —" he started, but she stopped him. She motioned towards the candles.

Clark looked over and saw that there was a piece of paper slipped beneath the jewelry box. He bent over and picked up the box. Holding the ring in his left hand, he read the note in his right hand. "I forgive you," it read. "And yes, I will marry you."

When Clark saw these words, he immediately glanced up at Lois for some kind of clarification. He saw it in her smile. Without a word, he took the ring and slipped it onto her finger, not able to contain his smile. He leaned towards her again and this time, she didn't stop him.

He kissed her softly and gently. He couldn't believe it. He was kissing his future wife to be! Though he didn't want it to end, there was something that he had to ask her. As they pulled away, Clark looked deeply into her eyes. "What made you change your mind?"

"I had a wonderful talk with Callie. She really helped me understand why you didn't tell me sooner."

I'll have to thank her later. Something else was bothering Clark though. "Why did we have to come here, Lois?"

"Because I wanted to tell you in our new home — together, that is if —"she stopped suddenly realizing that perhaps he didn't want her to move in.

"No," he quickly silenced her, putting a finger gently upon her lips. "I would love it if you moved in with me here."

Her smile returned and this time, she pulled him closer and kissed him whispering, "I love you, Clark."


Callie waited until she was sure that the Kents had gone to bed and were asleep. She was feeling a lot better now, having rested and been treated kindly. She hated to do this to the Kents, but she knew that if she stayed, she'd be bringing on so much more pain to them. She knew that once people heard about her super powers, they'd wonder about her and if they found out that the Kents were in any way related, that might bring into the big picture Clark's true identity. She didn't want to hurt them at all. They had done so much for her, but she knew that she couldn't just assume a new identity. That just wasn't for her. She sighed as she reread the note that she had written for the Kents. She knew that leaving them would also hurt them, but for the time being, it would be much better off for everyone.

Satisfied that she had worded everything as perfect as possible, she floated to the Kents' bedroom door not making a sound. She slipped the note beneath the door and returned to her room. She looked around, making sure that she had put everything back into order. Looking around the room for one last time, she quietly flew out the window.


When the phone rang early in Clark's apartment, Clark was already in the kitchen cooking them breakfast. Having missed the past two days at the Planet, he wanted to make sure that he showed up. Last night, he and Lois had both agreed to wait until their wedding night to get any closer so they had ended up falling asleep on the couch watching television. She was just stirring from her deep sleep as Clark picked up the phone.



He knew right away that something was wrong. "Mom? What is it? Has something happened? Is Dad all right?"

Lois also heard the panic in his voice and was immediately by his side holding his hand.

"No, Clark, your father and I are fine. It's —"

"What? Has something happened to Callie?" Lois looked at him in alarm.

"She's gone, Clark," Jonathan's voice was grim. "We found a note this morning. She was afraid that she would endanger us and your identity."

"She's left my parents' house," he said to Lois. He spoke to his parents, "Did you hear her leave?"

"No, Clark. I guess she must have slipped out some time last night. "Martha's voice was shaky. "Do you think that she'll be all right?"

"I don't know, Mom. I'm sure that she can handle herself though and she'll be careful. I can't come over now. I have to go to work today, but I'll come as soon as I'm done."

Lois nodded. "I'll come too, Clark."

He looked at her. "Lois says that she'll come, too."

"OK, Clark," Martha sounded a bit better.

"Wait, Clark," Jonathan finally realized the significance of those words. "Lois is there, too? This early in the morning?"

In spite of the situation, Clark smiled. "Yes, Dad. And she's here to stay."


Callie had flown for a good four hours last night. After thinking it over and tiring, she had landed somewhere in the Sahara desert. She couldn't help but think about her Lex and how much she missed him. She felt so lost without him.

But then she also remembered how welcome she had been at the Kents'. That wouldn't have worked, though she kept reminding herself. She couldn't risk endangering the people who had been so kind to her.

By the time the sun had risen and the heat started to get more intense, Callie had come to a conclusion. She had to get on with her life, but how? She didn't want to endanger the Kents in any way, but they were the only ones that had made her loneliness for Lex subside. She remembered Lois' face as she explained how much Clark had cared for her. She also remembered what she said about how she had helped save the world by destroying Zod and his men. She realized that she had to help the world somehow now that she no longer had the Underworld to protect.

Determined to set her life back on track, she flew towards Metropolis.


Lois and Clark entered the Daily Planet newsroom together. They also entered Perry's office together.

"You two kids! I missed you yesterday!" he boomed with a smile. He was happy to see them happy together.

"Uh, Perry, I just wanted to apologize for taking off like that the past two days." Clark didn't know if he should tell him about the engagement. He didn't know how Lois felt about it, and he was pretty sure that she didn't want everyone in on it just yet. But she surprised him.

"Yeah. We're engaged!" She flashed her ring happily and took Clark's hand.

Perry's whole face lit up. "That's great you kids! This calls for a celebration!" He opened his office door and shouted out into the newsroom. "Stop the presses!" He paused as everyone stopped what they were doing and turned to see what was so important. "There's been a recent engagement in the Daily Planet family!"

Lois and Clark came out shyly holding hands and the whole newsroom exploded into laughter and applause. Jimmy immediately got up to congratulate his two friends.

"Congrats, Lois, CK. I'm so glad that you two worked everything out."

"Thanks, Jimmy." Lois smiled at him genuinely. "But I think that it's time to get to work!" She let go of Clark's hand and started towards her desk.

Clark watched her go and smiled, shaking her head. "Same old Lois," he laughed as Jimmy just nodded.


It was a typical day at the Planet. After the good news about their engagement had subsided, Perry had gotten them right to work. They had attended a press conference in front of city hall, and were heading back to the Planet building to write it up when they saw the crowd of people surrounding the Metropolis Gas Company.

Lois rushed into it without even waiting for Clark. "What happened here?" she asked the people who were just standing around staring at the Gas Company.

One of the men who were looking up turned to Lois. He recognized who she was and since he was an admirer of her work he responded. "There's a fire in the building, but they can't evacuate anyone because the flames are too much. My wife is in there!" He looked at Lois with fear in his eyes.

Clark heard this and immediately disappeared, grateful for not having to make up an excuse for Lois. She would understand this time. Lois saw him leave and just hoped that he would be careful. Just then a familiar face appeared in front of the crowd. Inspector Henderson waved his arms wildly to catch the attention of the crowd. "I know that you're all concerned, but right now, it would be best if you all left this area. We have everything under control for now and we don't want any more casualties than necessary."

The people reluctantly filed away from the building, but Lois pushed forward.

"Inspector Henderson!" Lois called out.

He turned to see the Daily Planet reporter and knew that he would have a more difficult time getting her to leave. "Hello Ms. Lane. I know that you want an exclusive for this, but for right now, we just need this area cleared out."

"But —" Lois protested. The man that she loved was going to be in danger. She knew that he could take care of himself, but she wanted to be close by just in case.

"No 'buts', Lois," Henderson looked at her disapprovingly. "You know how these situations can get ugly. Just stay at a safe distance and I promise you that I'll talk to you after everything is under control, okay?"

Lois sighed and agreed. She walked across the street and joined the rest of the crowd that had migrated there after Henderson's warning. She watched anxiously as she saw Clark swoop down and try to help the desperate firefighters.

Clark had summed up the fire from the air and tried to calm most of it down with his superbreath, but this hardly covered half of it. The gas company provided all of Metropolis with gas service and right now, the pipelines were making it difficult for the fire to be put out. With his x-ray vision, he saw that there were a good number of people trapped within the building that the fire fighters could never get to. Quickly, he made his decision. He trusted the firefighters to be able to contain the rest of the fire and to keep it from spreading. It was now his job to help rescue the people that no one else could get to.

He took a deep breath and went into the depth of the fire. He saw at least thirty people all trapped in a small corner that the fire hadn't spread to yet. There were about five of them who were in really bad shape and Clark decided to evacuate these first so they could be seen by the paramedics that were already waiting outside the building. He picked up three of them in his arms and using his cape to shield them from the flames, he deposited them on the ground and on the stretchers that were outside waiting for them. He explained to the head paramedic that there were going to be at least twenty more. Knowing that he would provide the necessary calls, Clark went back into the building to rescue more people.

On his fourth trip coming out, he saw a black blur in the sky coming rapidly towards the fire. Another glance in that direction, he realized that it was Callie. She approached him, perfectly aware of all the murmurs and stares from the crowd.

"Can I help?" She offered no explanations to Clark. At first, he didn't know if he should let her help, knowing that she still wasn't fully recovered from her battles with Zod, but then remembered the dozen or so more people who were trapped in the fire. Time was running out for them and he did need help. He nodded and returned to the burning building with her in tow.

The Super duo rescued the remaining victims in silence.

Lois also saw Callie come from the sky and proceed to help Clark rescuing the people from the fire. She was happy to see her friend, but also worried that she wouldn't be strong enough for the task at hand. After she was certain that they had rescued everyone in the building, Lois hurried across the street to Clark and Callie.

There was already a mob of reporters from other newspapers, curious about Callie's unexplained appearance and her obvious powers, but Lois reached her first and pulled Clark and Callie into an alley where she knew that they would be safe for a while.

"Callie! I'm so happy to see you, but you've got to get out of here. Those reporters are like vultures." Lois looked at her seriously. "Trust me. I know. I'm one of them." She looked at Clark who didn't seem as concerned, but then she realized why.

Callie had known that she would be hunted after by reporters, but she was also prepared. She put her hands to her temples and squeezed her eyes shut in concentration. Lois and Clark watched as she disappeared in front of their eyes.

Just then the herd of reporters found Lois and Clark in the alley.

"Superman!" one of them shouted. Who was that girl who helped you in the fire?"

"Do you know her?" another shouted.

"Is she also from your planet?"

The questions rained down on him. Hardly any of them noticed Lois slip away, and none of them felt the presence that went with her. Clark answered the questions as discretely as he could before he could slip away from them.


Lois and the invisible Callie entered the Daily Planet building unnoticed. Lois wasn't sure if she was still there, but she was aware of a presence that she had known before. Trusting her instincts, she whispered under her breath, "Follow me. We'll go into the ladies room."

Hoping that no one but Callie heard her, she went into the rest room. Lois checked to make sure that nobody else was in it before speaking. "Whew! That was close!" Nothing happened. "Callie? Are you here?"

Suddenly, Callie showed up, right beside Lois, who nearly jumped a mile.

"Callie! You scared me!"

"Sorry," she said sheepishly. "Thanks for taking me away from all those reporters though. I don't know what I would have said."

Lois didn't really want to talk about that. She wanted some answers. "Where did you disappear to? Why did you do it?" She looked at the girl in front of her with such confusion. "I mean, you were happy at the Kents', weren't you? You seemed happy. And then you helped me and Clark."

"I know that the Kents are good people. And I didn't want to hurt them, but I was just so lost." She stopped not sure of how to explain the situation to Lois. "I just didn't know what to do and I needed to think things over." She looked at her friend, hoping that she would understand.

Lois knew the importance of thinking things over. She smiled kindly at Callie and said, "I think it's safe to go out now. Clark'll be looking for us."

"Oh, that's right!" Callie had completely forgotten about Clark. "But how am I going to explain my existence to the world? I mean, you did get rid of the reporters this time, but what about the next time? And the next? I have to do something."

Lois was suddenly struck with one of her ideas. "Come on. Let's go find Clark. I know what you can do." She smiled so confidently, that Callie knew that she had to go along with it.

"Let's go then!"


They saw Clark just as he was entering the Daily Planet.

"Those guys are beasts! I tell you —" He stopped when he saw the look on Lois' face. "What are you up to now, Lois?" He knew that look all too well. It meant that she had a plan brewing, and that usually meant that danger was close behind.

"What makes you think that I'm up to something?" Lois smiled demurely at Callie and Clark.

Callie, in turn, looked at Clark. "I don't know her that well, but even I know that she's up to something." She smiled quickly as she saw Lois give her a dirty look.

"Oh, come on, you guys!" Lois was starting to wonder about her plan. Was it really worth it? But then again, it did involve helping Callie. "You just have to trust me on this."

"OK," said Clark finally. "What's your plan?"

Reassured with their trust, Lois quickly filled them in.


After talking to Perry in his office, Lois and Clark came out with a smile. Callie watched with interest. Part of the plan was to talk Perry into giving Callie a job at the Planet, and from the looks of things, all was going according to plan.

She followed them to a quiet corner where they started to talk about the rest of Lois' clever plan.

Lois was the first to talk. "Perry was reluctant at first, but when we told him that you were eager to learn from the best —" Lois beamed. "Let's just say that he took the bait. He just wants to meet with you first."

"He wants to meet me?" Callie was scared. She had never been out in the real world, let alone been in a job interview. "Will you be there with me?"

"We can't, Callie." Clark saw the look of fear on her face and assured her. "But you can do it. I know you can. Perry may seem — well, strict at first, but deep down, he's a really nice guy who loves Elvis."

That brought a smile to Callie. "OK. I'll do it. When does he want to meet with me?"

"Right now."


Callie walked into Perry's office after knocking. Lois had been able to lend her a simple, gray suit for her interview. Clark had been kind enough to fly back to Lois' apartment to retrieve the suit for her, and after a few moments of fussing over her, Lois had sent her to Perry.

"Mr. White?" Her voice was shaky. Taking a deep breath, she continued. "I'm Callie Sue. I believe that Lois and Clark told you about me?"

Perry looked up at the little figure standing in front of his desk. Wanting to remain professional, he nodded and motioned for her to sit down. "Yes. I understand that you're interested in interning with the Planet?"

Callie nodded. "Yes, sir." She smiled briefly. "But I have to be honest with you. I have had no formal education. Mostly what I know is from reading books of all subjects." She remembered what Lois had said about 'fibbing' about her experience, but just couldn't bring herself to do it.

Perry's eyebrows raised a bit when he heard this. He had been expecting a highly educated college student when Lois had mentioned her. "OK." He leaned back and laced his fingers across his chest. "What have you read about journalism?"

Taking a deep breath, Callie explained everything that she knew about writing the news.


While Callie was being interviewed by Perry, Lois and Clark had been working out the rest of the details of Lois' plan.

"Hi, Mom?" Clark knew that his parents would go along with it, but he had to call and make sure.

"Clark!" Her voice over the phone still sounded strained, no doubt from worrying about Callie's disappearance. But she fought to stay happy for her son. "How are you and Lois doing? Have you set a date yet?"

"Uh, no, Mom. Actually, I'm not calling to talk about me and Lois. It's about Callie."

"What is it, Clark? Have you found her? Is she hurt?" Jonathan was alarmed.

"Actually, she found us." Clark filled his parents in on the details of Callie helping him save the victims of the Gas Company's fire. He also started to fill them in on their part of Lois' plan, but she cut him off to explain it to them herself.

"So, do you think you can do it, Martha?" Lois was out of breath from her quick explanation.

"I don't think that it'll be a problem, Lois." Martha smiled at her end of the phone line. "I'll start it now, and then we'll finalize everything when you three come for dinner."


The dinner itself at the Kents' was uneventful. They had green salad, homemade chicken noodle soup, roast beef, mashed potatoes and chocolate cake for dessert. It was after dinner that everything was done.

Martha had already started on Callie's suit. It was to be similar to Clark's suits, only smaller and adjusted in the right parts. Martha made the adjustments with Lois' help while Clark and his father sat out in the living room, talking about everything that had happened in the past couple of days.

"I still can't believe that you met Callie just two days ago, Clark. It seems like we've known her for ages."

"I know, Dad," he shook his head in disbelief. He couldn't believe it himself. "But I'm glad that she decided to come back, and live in Metropolis, too." He looked at his father sincerely. "I really didn't know if Perry was going to give her the job at the Planet, but it looks like he's taken an instant liking to her."

Jonathan chuckled. "It seems like everyone has taken an instant liking to Callie. Even Lois." He looked back toward the bedroom where the three girls were putting the finishing touches on Callie's uniform. "Are you girls ready yet?"

Martha's mouth was full of pins. She called back, "Urr awrosh derr!"


Lois helped her out by responding, "We're almost done! Be patient for Pete's sake!"

They both laughed at this. Jonathan turned back to his son, "So, have you decided upon a wedding date yet?"

"You know we haven't, Dad." He couldn't keep the smile off of his face. "I'm just glad that everything is starting to fall into place. I don't want to rush into things."

Jonathan nodded knowingly while Martha finally emerged from the bedroom. "We're done, gentlemen!" She motioned for Callie to come out.

She emerged slowly out of the bedroom. She looked so timid that she probably wouldn't have come out at all, if it hadn't been for Lois who was guiding her from behind. She was dressed in a blue suit and a red cape, just like Clark's, only there wasn't the famous "S" emblem on her chest.

"Wow, Callie. That really suits you." Clark smiled appreciatively. "But why don't you have the "S"?"

"I didn't want to take advantage of the situation. Martha, I mean Mom, told me that the "S" was part of your world, and —"

"Callie," Clark came closer to her. "I don't know anyone else in the whole universe who is more fit to wear that "S" than you." He smiled slyly. "And maybe Lois someday."

With that, it was settled. Supergirl's uniform was complete.


Three weeks later, Callie's life was settled. She was happy with her new life.

She had gotten over the loss of Luthor and the Underworld after spending a week in Smallville with the Kents. When the Kents, especially Martha, were absolutely certain that Callie was well and strong enough, she went back to Metropolis. She had moved into Lois' apartment although you wouldn't know it. Lois was hardly there anymore because she spent most of her time at Clark's apartment. But this didn't bother Callie.

Supergirl was accepted by the citizens of Metropolis. Her presence was explained in the exclusive story that the newly engaged reporting team of the Daily Planet.

Her job at the Planet was progressing nicely. The plan was that she be an intern, working closely under Perry's supervision. She had already written her first story, a joint story with Jimmy about the Metropolis dog show, from which she received high praises. These praises were sincere, from Lois, Clark and Perry. They all saw potential in her as a reporter.

Jimmy was surprised when Perry hired her. He had been hurt that she was going to get a chance to write a story before him, but was reassured when she wanted him to write it with him. Anyone could see that he was happy that Callie was going to be working so closely with him from now on.


Jimmy was studying a roll of film . After several minutes of analyzing it, he finally chose the two pictures that would run with Mike's story on the construction of a new playground near the Planet. He glanced up at Callie who was working intently at her new desk. She felt him looking at her and looked up. After briefly smiling at him through her wire rimmed "reading" glasses, she went back to work. Lois had first suggested the glasses as a part of her "disguise", but Callie quickly pointed out that people had already seen her without them. She did wear them though, because it made her feel "more intellectual."

"Penny for your thoughts, Jimmy." Clark wasn't psychic, but he was pretty sure what the young boy was thinking and smiled.

Jimmy sighed. "She would never be interested in me, would she? I mean, look at her. She's beautiful, and smart, and — she's perfect." He looked at his friend seriously. "But not for me."

Clark just laughed. "You know, Jimmy. That's exactly the way I felt when I first met Lois, and now, look at us. I don't mean to put Callie down, but she's not perfect. Nobody is." He looked at his friend seriously, "But you be careful with her, okay? Or I will personally have to hunt you down." Clark smiled when Jimmy nodded quickly.

Just then he heard a cry for help. Almost simultaneously, he saw Callie lookup from her work at him. They exchanged a knowing glance and Callie pretended to go to the bathroom, while Clark quickly excused himself from Jimmy.

"Okay, Clark." Jimmy watched as his friend sped away from him. "I'll talk to you later." But it was doubtful that he heard him. He was gone.


The Super duo sped out of the Daily Planet building, making sure that no one would notice them. There had been a five car collision on Main Street and the cries of help that they had heard came from a young pregnant woman trapped in one of the cars.

Still levitating in the air to sum up the situation, Clark looked at Callie. Her long black hair was now swept up in a high ponytail and she no longer wore her black wire-rimmed glasses. "Do you know anything about childbirth?" He smiled at her shocked expression.

"No, Clark!" She was horrified at the thought. "You don't think that we'll have to deliver the baby, do you?"

"No," laughed Clark. "I'll just fly her to the hospital while you clean up this mess, okay?"

"Sounds good to me!" With that, she was off. She swooped down and moved three cars so they would no longer block traffic and then made sure that the drivers and passengers of all the other cars were unharmed. She stayed there while Clark took the pregnant lady to Metropolis General and waited until the paramedics arrived. Certain that everything was under control, she flew back to the Planet, hoping that nobody had missed her.


After a brief pep talk from Lois, Jimmy had gotten up the nerve to ask Callie out. But when he finally decided this, she was nowhere in sight.

"Where did that girl go?" Jimmy wondered out loud. He looked around some more, hoping to catch a glimpse of her somewhere, but only noticed someone else was missing. "And CK's gone, too." He looked at Lois who didn't seem concerned at all. "Lois, how can you take it? With Clark disappearing all the time?"

Lois just flashed a knowing smile. "Get used to it Jimmy. Just get used to it."

Jimmy was just about to say something else, when he spotted Callie. She seemed a little less refreshed than she had been before she went to the bathroom.

"Hey, Callie!" He jogged over to her. "Are you all right?" He looked at her with concern. "You're not sick or anything, are you?"

"Oh, no, Jimmy. I'm fine. Just a little tired from all this work." She reached up to smooth her hair down into place. She then started to walk back to her desk as Jimmy followed her. "So, what's up Jim?"

He grinned. He loved it when she called him 'Jim". "Oh, not much." He took a deep breath. "Hey, I've got two tickets to the Metropolis Jazz Festival this weekend. I don't suppose that —" He looked at her nervously. "You would want to go with me?"

"James Olsen, are you asking me out on a date?" Callie laughed at him. He was so cute, and scared.

"Well, uh —" Jimmy wasn't sure if she was laughing at him because she didn't want to go or … He decided to cover his tracks a bit. "Well, Perry gave me the tickets, and I figure that we could write a nice feature story on it."

Callie raised her eyebrows a bit. "Well, I guess we could, but just between you and me," she leaned a bit closer to him, "I would have gone even if it weren't for a story."

About thirty feet away, Lois watched Jimmy and Callie. She heard Clark come up to her from behind.

"What's going on?" he whispered in her ear.

She looked up at him with a smile. "Another match made in heaven at the Daily Planet," she said and then pecked him lightly on the cheek.


"I really enjoyed the jazz festival, Jimmy." Callie looked up at him with a smile.

"I'm glad," Jimmy couldn't believe his luck. He decided to push it a bit further. "Do you want to go in here?" They had stopped in front of the Lexor Hotel.

Callie looked at him suspiciously. "Why, Jimmy?"

Jimmy blushed as he realized what his suggestion must have sounded like. "They have a band, and I thought that we could dance or something."

Callie smiled. "Sure." She took his hand in hers and led him into the building.

They danced for what seemed an eternity to Jimmy. He had really enjoyed himself with Callie. Sure, he had been nervous at first, and he didn't really know how to act, but she had quickly put him at ease. He had never felt this way about a girl before.

Callie looked over at Jimmy thinking what a great guy he was. He had shown her a great time, and shown her things that she had only dreamed about before. "Jimmy?" They had stopped in the lobby of the Lexor Hotel. "Before I forget, I just wanted to thank you. I really had a good time tonight."

"Yeah, me too." He hesitated, and then leaned closer. She didn't pull away, so he cupped her chin in his hand and gently tilted her head up towards him. As their lips met, he closed his eyes, never wanting to forget this moment.

Callie also closed her eyes. As they pulled away, she just smiled. "Okay, let's go back to my place!"

"Back to your place?" Jimmy was more confident now. "Why, whatever for?" He grinned slyly at her.

"To write our story, silly!" She slapped his arm playfully as they exited the hotel.

"After you, Madam," He held the door open for her and gestured widely with his arm.

"Why thank you kind sir." She giggled as she exited and waited for him to join her outside. She looked up at the clear sky and commented, "It really is a nice night tonight, isn't it?" She looked back at Jimmy. "You know, if we finish early, with our story, we could grab a dessert somewh —"

She stopped suddenly as she saw something, or rather someone in the distance. Jimmy turned and immediately saw what had caught Callie's attention. Not knowing her rocky past, he didn't think anything of it.

"Callie? What's wrong? Did you —" Jimmy was concerned.

"Lex," she whispered as he came closer. He had heard her and looked at her puzzingly.

"Yes?" His eyebrows furrowed in concentration. "Do I know you miss?"


{unless there's a demand for more :)}