I wrote this a few years ago.
Rated: PG at most for some violence
Author's Note: This takes place in an alternate reality. In the past of this story, what happened with the ship and Jor-El at the end of season 2 did not occur, and Clark’s crime spree in Metropolis during the summer between seasons 2 and 3 never happened.
Thank you to mpcuniverse for beta reading.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything related to Smallville, The WB, Superman, DC Comics, Spiderman, or Marvel Comics. I will not profit in any way from this story, aside from a feeling of personal accomplishment.
As the alarm clock displayed 6:00 a.m., the radio turned on. “Good morning, Manhattan and what a beautiful summer day it will be!” The radio host continued, “and here’s the forecast for today, July 25. Clear skies with a high of 75 degrees. The low for today is 70 degrees. As for the news, yesterday evening, th-”
Peter Parker reached over to his nightstand and turned the radio off. He looked at the clock as he got out of his bed. “Okay, I gotta be at the airport in two hours,” he quietly said to himself. “If nothing comes up, I’ll be on schedule for once,” he added with a smile.
He took a shower and ate a small breakfast. Peter returned to his bedroom to check his luggage. Looks like I got everything. Oh, except for my suit. I might need it, but things could get messy if anyone recognizes it.
He decided and said to himself, “I’ll just leave it here. Better safe than sorry.” Peter folded the red and blue suit, placed it in its small box, and then pushed it back under his bed.
He locked his apartment, carrying his suitcase in one hand and his large camera case in the other. Walking out onto the sidewalk, Peter said to himself, “Metropolis, here I come.”
The bell rang on the café door as the two entered The Metropolis Mug. They sat at a small table next to the window. The waitress walked over to their table and smiled.
“Hey, Chloe. Hi, Clark. Your usual today?”
“Yeah, thanks,” Chloe responded.
“Okay. Coming right up,” the waitress said as she walked back towards the kitchen.
“Nothing really big has happened yet,” Chloe said as she flipped through the morning edition of the Daily Planet. “I don’t want disaster to strike or anything, but I’d like to see the Planet in action.” She looked at Clark for a response. “Clark? Earth to Clark…”
“Oh, uh, you’re right. Metropolis has been pretty quiet this summer,” Clark said, shifting his gaze from the window to Chloe. He seemed to have something else on his mind.
“Yeah, just when we finally get an internship at the Planet together, the city quiets down. It’s the last week of July, and the Planet hasn’t had a huge story since spring.”
Clark couldn’t help but smile. Chloe was really looking forward to an exciting summer in the city. I’m glad nothing much has happened. I haven’t had to worry about keeping my abilities a secret so far,
“You’re right, Chloe. We’ll be seniors soon and haven’t even witnessed an incredible newsroom at its best,” he said sarcastically.
She looked at him as if to say, “Okay, okay. I might
After finishing their donuts and coffee, Chloe checked her watch. “Oh, Clark! We’d better move. We’re almost late.”
Inside the Planet’s lobby, Clark and Chloe waited for the elevator. Clark noticed a young man walk through the revolving doors. He walked to the person at the front desk. After talking to her for about 30 seconds, he thanked her and walked towards Clark and Chloe. Seeing that the elevator was on its way, he quietly stood opposite them.
Chloe didn’t notice him until he stopped in front of them. Now she saw a press ID on his camera case.
“Oh, um, do you work here?” Chloe asked the man, after waving to get his attention. “If you do, you must be new.”
Realizing she must have seen his press pass, the man said, “Oh, not here. I’m a photographer for the Daily Bugle in Manhattan.”
Chloe put out her hand. “Oh, well, welcome to the Daily Planet. I’m Chloe Sullivan.”
He put his camera case on the floor, and shook her hand. Clark shook his hand as well and introduced himself.
“Hi, I’m Peter Parker,” The man said, looking at the two of them. “I’m here for a photography conference. You seem too young to work at a paper…” he said, wondering if two teens would simply hang out at a newspaper.
“You’re right. We’re interns here,” Clark said. “Been here all summer.”
The elevator door opened and the three stepped in, continuing their small talk. As Peter got off on the second floor, Chloe smiled and said, “So, maybe we’ll see you around.”
“Yeah, maybe,” Peter responded, as the elevator door closed behind him.
Chloe and Clark both got off the elevator at the next floor. The newsroom looked as it did on any other day that summer. People settled at their desks to begin their articles. Telephones rang around the room, and printers constantly spat out pages. Before Chloe and Clark walked in different directions to the reporters they interned with, Chloe asked, “Uh, Clark, are you still coming over for dinner tonight?”
“Yeah, I’ll be there,” Clark replied as he turned to walk across the room.
Chloe walked to the corner cubicle and saw the reporter sitting behind the larger desk, reading something on his computer.
“Hi, Matt,” she greeted with a smile.
The man looked up, “Oh, hey, Chloe.”
Chloe took her seat at the smaller desk, which also had a computer on it. “We’re supposed to get a new story today, right?”
“Yeah, I was just in with the editor,” Matt replied.
“Great! So, what is it?” Chloe asked. Maybe I’ll finally get to work on something interesting,
“The Metropolis Sharks,” Matt plainly said. “What they’re doing now and how they’re preparing for the upcoming season.”
Chloe sighed. “Please tell me you’re kidding…” After Matt shook his head, Chloe continued, “There’s really nothing going on! I can’t believe we have to do this story, and it just HAS to be sports.”
“Hey, you’re not the only one disappointed,” Matt replied. “But this is our assignment, so we’d better get to work on it. I’ll try to contact the team’s manager to set up an interview. You wanna try the coach?”
“Yeah, sure…” Chloe said, accessing an online directory to find his phone number. That’s one really cool thing about working with Pete at the Torch. He’s always willing to do the sports stories. It’s one thing I never have to write,
Peter Parker ate dinner alone that night, after the first day of the conference. He did not return to his hotel room, but headed for a restaurant directly from the Planet. On his way back to his hotel, Peter suddenly heard a woman scream w. He could tell it was from a distance. But how far?
Peter dodged into the nearest alley and hid his camera behind some torn boxes. In only a few seconds, he climbed up a dark wall and stood on the rooftop. He listened again, trying to figure out which direction the woman was in.
“Someone, help! That jerk stole my purse!”
Peter abruptly turned his head. The woman was somewhere on the streets behind him. He started web slinging, constantly looking down, and searching for the woman or the thief. Peter spotted the thief first.
Peter landed on the sidewalk, half a block ahead of the criminal. Peter quickly stepped into the building’s shadows, hoping no one would see him. He kneeled on the sidewalk and shot webbing from his wrists to the nearest streetlight as the mugger ran by, instantly tripping him. Peter stepped out from the shadows and took the woman’s purse from the thief’s hands. Peter then shoved the man against the streetlight, keeping the thief’s back to him. Another entangled rope of webbing flew from his wrist, binding the criminal to the post.
Stepping back from the criminal, Peter was sure the man didn’t see his face. Peter picked up the purse, climbed up the nearest building, and then web slung back towards the woman. Peter swooped lower and dropped the purse off about five feet in front of the running woman. She looked straight up to see where her purse fell from, but Peter already stopped on a rooftop above her, out of sight.
He went back to get his camera case, then jogged back towards the thief. Peter stopped when he saw the woman, frozen in place and staring at her mugger. Walking up to her, Peter asked, “Ma’am, are you alright?”
She turned to him, still in shock. “Um, yes. I’m fine, thank you. That man over there,” she pointed to the mugger tied to the streetlight, “he stole my purse.”
Peter tried to look as if he didn’t already know this. “Oh, well I see you got it back.”
“Yes, I did. Um, this might sound crazy, but I was running after him when my purse just dropped in front of me.”
“Really?” asked Peter. “That is
“Yeah, and I guess the same person that returned my purse also tied him up.” She nodded over to the mugger.
“Well, is there anything I can do for you, ma’am?” Peter asked.
“No, I’m okay. Thank you,” the woman said as she took a cell phone out of her purse. “I’ll call 911. When they come, they’ll have to settle for whatever I can tell them, no matter how weird this is. Thank you for stopping anyway.”
Peter smiled, “You’re welcome. Good night then.”
Peter walked in the direction of his hotel as he heard sirens a few blocks away. I hope this doesn’t get too much attention…
“Wow! It’s about time something happened here,” Chloe said as she was skimming the Planet’s front page.
“C’mon, Chloe. Can’t you wait until we at least have a seat?” Clark asked, laughing.
They were in the Planet’s cafeteria for lunch. The newsroom was busy with last night’s mugging story and Chloe had not had a chance to read the morning edition yet. After grabbing small lunches, Clark and Chloe sat next to each other at a table in the cafeteria.
“Clark, this story is really weird. The headline’s Anonymous Hero Stops Mugger
. Listen to this: ‘Approximately 8:30 p.m. last night, police arrived at the 200th block of Lincoln Avenue, responding to a reported mugging. The victim was a woman who said she was not harmed, but her purse was stolen. When the police reached the scene, they found the mugger tied to a streetlight with an opaque, sticky substance. When the woman was asked how she retrieved her purse, she responded, “I was running after the mugger and the purse just fell in front of my feet. I looked up but didn’t see who or what dropped it.” The mugger’s questioning is yet to be released…’” Chloe read the rest of the story aloud to Clark. “Isn’t this strange, Clark? Maybe not for us, but Metropolis isn’t used to stuff like this.”
“Yeah.” Clark leaned over to look at the picture. It must have been taken after the police arrested the mugger, but white strands still attached to the streetlight were visible in the photo. “Sticky substance?”
“Yeah, I guess they don’t know exactly what it is…” As Chloe answered Clark, she looked up to see Peter walk into the dining area. She smiled and waved to him. “Mr. Parker, you can sit with us if you want.”
He walked over to their table and set his tray at the seat opposite them. He gave them a small smile as he pulled out his chair and said, “You can call me Peter.”
As Peter sat down, Chloe continued talking about the article. “So, I wonder what that stuff is made of,” she said as she pointed to the photo. She paused, thinking she saw a reaction cross Peter’s face but then continued. “If there were any of our favorite green-glowing rocks around here, I’d say we have another Wall of Weird story,” she said with a smile, “but there aren’t, so that eliminates my theory.”
“Yeah, for the first time, there’s one thing we can’t explain with the meteor rocks,” Clark replied. Although Clark knew there was not any Kryptonite in Metropolis, hearing Chloe say it was a relief. This hero probably has nothing to do with the meteor rocks. Hopefully, that’s a good sign. This summer’s been great. No Kryptonite means no horrible pain, and that’s definitely a plus,
Now Peter had a puzzled look on his face. “Meteor rocks? Wall of Weird? What are you talking about?”
Clark looked at Chloe, knowing she’d be more than happy to explain her theory.
“Peter, here’s the background story,” she started with a grin. “About 15 years ago, there was a huge meteor shower in Smallville, a town not far from here. That’s where we live and there were these green pieces of rock embedded in the meteors. I’ve investigated lots of weird things that have happened in Smallville, and I think the majority of them are caused by exposure to the meteor rocks. Things like mutated plants and animals, people with superhuman abilities…I have a whole wall in our high school newspaper office filled with strange articles. I call it my ‘Wall of Weird.’”I remember hearing about the meteor shower, but I was just a kid,
“But the thing is,” Chloe continued, “those green meteor rocks are only in Smallville. I thought this article,” she pointed to the newspaper, “might have something to do with them.”
Peter looked at the article, noticing it was the major front-page story. Great, I wonder how detailed the story is…
“So, Peter,” Clark asked, “what do you think of it?”
“Well, I haven’t had a chance to read the article yet.” Gosh, I hate acting like I don’t know what’s going on.
“From what other people have said, I think this ‘anonymous hero’ is just a person who wanted to do the right thing and had a chance to help someone. That’s it. If an ordinary police officer stopped the mugger, I doubt he would have gotten this much attention.” Believe me, I didn’t want any attention.
“Yeah, but what if there’s an unknown substance involved?” Chloe commented. “That would certainly make the story.”
“So there’s something unexpected in this story. Someone stopped the mugger, and the woman is safe. That’s all that should matter,” Peter concluded. He remained calm but was uncomfortable indirectly defending himself. He hoped Clark and Chloe didn’t sense his nervousness. Just one normal week. Is that too much to ask for?
Chloe didn’t have anything else to argue, so she continued reading the edition. Clark tried to break the awkward silence that followed. “Um, Peter, yesterday you said you worked at the Daily Bugle. How long have you been working there?”A subject change is perfect right now,
Peter thought as he replied. “I worked as a freelance photographer during college. I’ve been on the staff for almost two years.”
“Is this the first conference you’ve been to?” Clark continued.
“The first one out of New York, yeah. I’m guessing the two of you are interning as reporters?”
“Yeah. This is my first year actually. Chloe’s done other internships here before.”
Peter made eye contact with Chloe, hoping to bring her back into the conversation and ease the tension between them. He then asked, “So how involved are you in your high school newspaper?”
Chloe responded now. “I’m the editor,” she smiled. “The Torch is practically my life.”
Peter also smiled.
“And I write articles here and there,” Clark said. “Can’t say I’m as dedicated as Chloe, though,” he finished and teasingly nudged Chloe.
Noticing the time, Peter picked up his now empty tray. “Well, I have to get back to the conference. I’ll see you later.”
“Bye,” Clark and Chloe said simultaneously.
Later that day, Martha and Jonathan watched the 6 o’clock news before dinner. The current story was about the ‘anonymous hero’ in Metropolis. After hearing a mugger was stopped last night by an unknown person, Jonathan picked up the phone and dialed Clark’s cell phone number. Clark picked up on the first ring.
“Clark, son, is everything okay?”
“Hi, Dad. Yeah, everything’s fine. Why?”
Martha stood next to Jonathan, trying to listen to their conversation. Jonathan asked, “Where are you now?”
“I’m walking to Lex’s apartment. Oh, by the way, is he accepting rent from us yet? I have
been staying there all summer.”
“We’ll talk about that later, son. Your mother and I just saw the news about the mugging last night. We thought it was- “
Realizing why his father sounded so worried, Clark couldn’t help but smile. “Oh! That wasn’t me, Dad. I wasn’t out last night.”
“It wasn’t you? You mean you didn’t stop that mugger?”
“No, I was on the other side of town. Chloe invited me over for dinner at her cousin’s house. Didn’t you hear about the ‘sticky substance’?”
“No, what was it?”
“The police found the mugger tied up in it. They don’t know exactly what it is.”
“Yeah. Definitely not me.”
“Well that’s good to hear, son.” Jonathan cupped his hand over the phone and told Martha, “It wasn’t Clark. He was nowhere near there.” Martha sighed in relief.
“Chloe and I were looking at the story earlier today. They don’t know who it was, or at least the police aren’t reporting it to the papers.”
“We’re glad to hear you’re safe, Clark. I guess your mother and I should watch the whole story before we worry and jump to conclusions.”
Clark laughed. “It’s okay. You’d worry anyway.”
Now Jonathan laughed. “You’re probably right.”
“So, since that’s cleared up, what about Lex?”
“Oh, right. He’s still not accepting any money. He just says, ‘That’s what friends are for.’”
“Well, that’s Lex for you.”
“Yeah, it is.” Now Jonathan took a more serious tone. “Clark, remember what we talked about before you left.”
“Son, I know you’re friends with Lex, but I still don’t completely trust him. I want you to be careful in his apartment.”
“I know, Dad. I know.”
“Seriously. He could have the place bugged. He investigated our family before. I don’t want you doing anything that would make Lex suspicious again. Try not to use your abilities in that apartment and if you do, be very careful.”
“Dad, you don’t have to worry about that. I haven’t had to actually use them since Chloe and I have been here. It’s been really nice. Nothing big has happened until last night, and I’m not even involved in that.” Clark looked around himself. There wasn’t anyone within hearing distance on the street, but he lowered his voice anyway. “There isn’t any Kryptonite here, and my summer has actually been normal.”
“Clark, your mother and I are happy that everything’s running so smoothly there. But, please, stay cautious.”
“Don’t worry, Dad. I will.”
“Alright. Good night.”
“Good night, and tell Mom I love her.”
Jonathan smiled and hung up the phone. He told Martha what he talked about with Clark. When he finished, she hugged him and said, “Oh, Jonathan. We really do have a wonderful son.”
The same night, Peter was in his hotel room, finishing Chinese takeout for dinner. He tuned the television to the local news station, in case a story came up about last night’s mugging. Several editions of today’s newspapers were scattered across the kitchenette table. Most of them displayed the mugging story as the main front-page article. Peter already read them, checking for the amount of detail they contained. Now he was rereading the Planet’s articles because they were the most thorough. After finishing his reading, Peter refolded the newspapers and neatly stacked them. Not one article included sufficient detail to identify the ‘hero’. Peter picked up the television remote control just as a reporter started talking about the mugging. Peter listened intently. After the broadcast ended, he thankfully turned off the TV. The report told as much as the newspapers and nothing more.
The mugging story was finished within a few days, but the Planet newsroom was just as busy. Numerous banks were robbed the previous two nights. The various television sets in the newsroom were tuned to different local news stations reporting the latest crime. It was unbelievable how fast these robberies cropped up.
“This has got to be organized crime. There’s no way one
guy could rob all those banks,” Chloe said. “If it is just one guy, he must have been extremely busy.” They walked into a quiet hallway.
“Don’t you think it’s weird that they haven’t found anything on security cameras? Every bank has surveillance,” Clark wondered aloud.
“Yeah, and somehow he didn’t set off any alarms either. Maybe the police just haven’t reported finding anything yet…” Chloe added as she took out her cell phone to call one of her contacts. She knew he was in charge of security at one of the banks that were robbed.
“Hey, Tom. It’s Chloe Sullivan.”
“Hi, Chloe,” the contact answered. “I thought you might call.”
“Yeah, just a quick question. Did anything show up on the security cameras there?”
“Nah, just empty rooms. No one knows how the money was taken.”
“You mean there isn’t a shot of anyone breaking in, or something weird going on?”
“No,” Tom responded, “The robber must have put out the cameras somehow. There’s nothing on them.”
“Okay, well thanks anyway.”
“Anytime, Chloe,” Tom said and hung up.
Chloe put her cell phone back in her bag and said to Clark, “Maybe we can ask around here, to see if anyone’s found anything.”
Peter sat at a side table in the cafeteria by himself at lunch. He was looking into the bank robberies and didn’t want anyone to notice his interest. I wanna see if I can help out in anyway, but I have to do it anonymously. I’d rather not raise anymore suspicions…
He had a map of Metropolis across the table and a list of the bank robberies in the order they occurred. He was marking them on the map in order and drawing lines between the locations to see if they formed any kind of pattern. They did. The bank robber (or robbers, no one knew if this was a one-man job or not yet) robbed the city’s innermost bank first, and then spiraled out from the very center of Metropolis. The thief was making his way outward, and, if it was just one man, he sure covered a lot of the city by himself. When Peter reached the end of the list, he looked at the map. There were still a few banks the thief didn’t get to last night. If he’s going after these last few tonight, maybe I can follow him and find out more. If I can help it, I’ll call the police and let them handle it.
Chloe and Clark found some things out in the morning, but nothing that helped solve the mystery. One reporter at the Planet got his hands on some photographs from the security cameras at Metropolis Savings and Loan, the first bank that was robbed. The time the photos were taken was displayed in the bottom corner of each. There were three photos of a safe in the bank. They were all taken within moments of each other. There was no difference among the first two, but in the third photo, several bags of money were missing. Clark and Chloe had no idea what to make of this, except that these robberies were indeed stranger than they thought.
“Hey, there’s Peter,” Chloe said with a lunch tray in one hand and the morning edition of the Planet in the other. “Mind if we join you?” she asked as she and Clark reached Peter’s table.
Peter had just started eating his lunch after putting the map away. “Not at all. Have a seat,” he said with a smile.
“You’ve probably heard about the robberies,” Clark said to Peter as Chloe dove into the newspaper. “Kinda weird, huh?”
“Yeah,” Peter replied. “I’ve read some of the articles about them. I can’t believe the police haven’t placed a suspect yet. It’d be hard to avoid all those security cameras in every bank.”
“Unless there’s something else going on…” Chloe said from behind the paper.
“What do you mean?” Peter asked. “Have you two heard anything?”
“Show him the photos, Clark.”
Clark pulled out the pictures from Chloe’s bag. He laid them side-by-side on the table, facing Peter. “These are from Metropolis Savings and Loan-”
“The first band that was hit,” Peter said.
“Right. See these two pictures? They’re the same. But look at the third one. Some bags of money are missing.”
“Not much time passed between these photos,” Peter said, pointing to the times printed in the corner. “The bags couldn’t just disappear, but there wasn’t enough time for someone to get in and out and
avoid the camera.”
“Exactly. We think this thief has something else up his sleeve.”
That evening, Peter stood on the roof of a general corner store, across the street from The Bank of Metropolis. This was the last bank on the map, following the spiral pattern he discovered that afternoon. He checked the small camera in a case attached to his belt. Just in case there’s anything I can catch on film…
Peter had been there for a few minutes and already noted a small car parked across the street from the bank. That car’s hood was still warm when I checked it. If it does belong to the thief, he should be out soon.
Chloe was driving to the Bank of Metropolis, with Clark in the passenger seat. It was one of the few banks that the robber did not hit the previous night, so they thought they might catch him there. Clark looked over at Chloe.
“Hey, it looks like you’ve got something on your mind. Wanna talk about it?”
“Yeah,” she responded, still in thought. “It’s Peter. I don’t know what to think of him.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, think about it. He comes to Metropolis and more exciting things happen in a few days than happened all summer. He was definitely uncomfortable when we talked about the ‘anonymous hero’ at lunch that day. And earlier, he seemed kind of awkward when we talked about the robberies. Sort of like he knew more than he was saying.”
“So you think he has something to do with them?” Clark asked. “I don’t think he’s the type of person to commit a crime like that. He’s in a new city, and he doesn’t really know anyone here. I think it’s understandable if he feels a little out of place.”
“You’re probably right. I just can’t help but think he’s hiding something,” Chloe replied as she turned the next corner.
As Peter was watching the street below, another car quietly approached from the next street over and parked farther down the road from Peter. He looked down the road as he heard the engine shut off. It was a Volkswagen Bug, and he could tell there was someone in the passenger seat beside the driver. The front doors opened and both of the car’s occupants stepped out. Peter couldn’t believe what he was seeing. That’s Clark and Chloe! I have to go down and ask them what they’re doing here. Hopefully, I can get them to go back home. I’d rather not get them involved in this if anything happens.
Peter climbed down the far wall and stepped into the alley between the store and the building next to it. He walked out onto the sidewalk and towards Clark and Chloe. He could tell they recognized him as he approached and whispered, “What are you two doing here?”
Chloe whispered back, “We should ask you the same thing.”
As the three stood together, Clark quietly said, “We thought the robber might get to this bank tonight. We were going to see if we could find anything new.”
Peter looked at the two teens. They were going about this as if it was nothing new. I wonder if they realize how dangerous this could be,
he thought and said, “I thought the thief might be here, too.” He pointed to the camera case on his waist. “Also looking for something new.”
Chloe nudged Clark and quickly glanced at him as if to say, “A little strange, don’t you think?” He got the message and slightly nodded. Chloe might be right. Maybe Peter is hiding something. Then again, we’re here, too,
Clark thought as he looked down the street. “Where’s your car?”Sharp mind,
Peter thought. “Um, I took a taxi to a store a few blocks away and walked from there.”
The night was quiet enough to carry any sound. They heard a car engine start. Chloe walked to the street corner and looked down towards the bank. There was someone in the car that was parked across the street. Peter quietly walked up and also saw the car. Great, now he’s leaving and I can’t just go follow him while Clark and Chloe are still here,
“That could be him,” Chloe said, turning back to Clark. “Come on, we’ll follow him.”
“Wait, this could be dangerous,” Peter said to them. “We shouldn’t get mixed up in it.” And because you’re here, I’m losing time to catch up with that thief!
“Come with us, if you want,” Chloe said over her shoulder as she walked to her car with Clark. Or maybe you’d rather help the robber…Looks like they’re not going to budge on this, Peter thought. At least if I go, I can help if any trouble comes up.
“Okay, hold on. I’m coming.”
Chloe started the engine, and Clark was already in the passenger seat. Peter opened the back door and got in. He took the camera case off his belt and placed it on the seat next to him. This is just great,
Clark thought. If anything comes up, I have to look out for Chloe and now Peter, too. And if I have to use my abilities, I have to be careful that neither of them sees anything.
Chloe quickly drove around the corner and caught up to the thief’s car.
The thief stopped at an abandoned warehouse on the outskirts of Metropolis. Chloe drove her car further down the street before parking. The three looked out the back window and saw the robber walk into the warehouse. He was carrying a few bags in his hands.
“Okay, I’ll go in and you two stay in here,” Peter said as he opened the door.
Clark also got out of the car. “No, Peter, stay here. I’ll go in.”Does he want to get killed? At least I have experience fighting guys like this.
Peter thought as he tried to think of a reason why it would be better if he went in alone. If the robber has a gun, I know I won’t get hurt,
Clark thought as he turned towards the warehouse. Peter stepped next to him. “We’ll both go in. That way, at least we have him outnumbered.”
“Fine,” Clark responded. He’s not going to budge on this.
Chloe was out of the car by now and caught up to them. “Guys, you’re not leaving me alone out here.”
Clark and Peter both turned around and, at the same time, said, “No, you’re staying in the car.” The young men looked at each other, surprised that they had said the exact same thing.
“Chloe, just stay,” Clark said. “It’s safer.”
Glancing at both men and seeing that she was not going to win, she agreed. “Fine, I’ll be here. I’ll call the police and tell them we think we’ve found the robber. Just be careful, you two.”
Chloe caught Clark’s grin in the moonlight as he said, “Don’t worry, we will be.” Then he and Peter turned and briskly walked to the front of the warehouse. As they walked inside, they saw that the warehouse was unevenly lit, and it was difficult to see along the walls. Clark switched into X-ray mode and saw the robber in the far corner, sitting at a desk in front of a computer. The bags, which Clark now saw were filled with money, were just behind the desk.
“Maybe we should split up,” Peter whispered. “I’ll go down one side and you can take the other. Just stay out of sight.” He didn’t want to leave the teenager alone, but he didn’t know of another way to get to the thief and use his abilities to trap him without Clark seeing.
“Yeah, okay,” Clark said. I just have to make sure I get to the robber first.
The two walked down opposite walls of the warehouse, working their way towards the back. When Peter was sure he was out of Clark’s sight, he shot a string of webbing to the ceiling, climbed up, and then crawled along the ceiling to reach the back of the warehouse.What was that?
? Clark thought. It was a high pitched zipping noise. He was sure he only heard it because of his extraordinary senses. It seemed like it came from the other side, where Peter is.
Clark looked across the warehouse. Even in the darkness, he could see the area as though it were lit. Nobody was over there. Just to be sure, he X-rayed the area. Still no one. Hmm, that’s weird…
Peter looked down from the ceiling and saw Clark on the other side. He stood still and looked across the warehouse. Then he started walking towards the back again. I wonder what that was about.
Clark reached the back of the warehouse first. The robber was still at the computer. It looked like he was taking something off his wrist, though Clark couldn’t make out what it was.
Peter was on the other side of the warehouse, just opposite Clark, though he couldn’t see him. There was a stack of old paint cans nearby. Peter purposely tipped a few over, wanting the noise to lure the thief towards him. Of course, Clark also heard the crash and saw some paint cans rolling on the floor on the opposite side of the warehouse. Oh no! That must be Peter!
The thief got up from his chair and walked towards the noise. Clark couldn’t help but watch what was happening next. He focused his eyes into X-ray mode to make sure the darkness wasn’t playing games with his vision.
From the sound, he could tell they were fighting, but he didn’t exactly expect the robber to be pushed out into the open space with Peter stepping after him, unharmed. Peter’s size didn’t represent his fighting ability. He expertly punched and dodged the thief with hardly any effort. Well, seems like I’m not the only one with a secret,
Clark thought. He had no idea how true that was. Just then, the man backed away from Peter, pulled a handgun from his waist, and shot at Peter. Clark wasn’t taking any chances. Before Peter had time to react, Clark ran at superspeed between the two, caught the bullet in midair, and only stopped when he was across the warehouse and hidden by shadows again.
In a millisecond after the shot, Peter’s spider sense alerted him of the danger, and he dodged out of the way of the bullet, knowing he would probably avoid the shot. As he slid to his left and dove towards the ground, he saw a quick blur between him and the thief. He tried to follow it with his eyes, but it moved too fast.
Clark saw Peter’s dodge, and knew the movement was too fast for ordinary humans. Not as fast as Clark, but definitely faster than normal. Peter stood back up and kicked the gun out of the thief’s hand. He placed a few more painful punches before the thief reached to his own waist, pushed a button on his belt, and faded from sight. Peter looked around, not knowing where the thief went. Thinking he would have a better view from the ceiling, he shot another string of webbing to the ceiling. If Clark sees me this time, I’ll just have to explain my abilities to him. I just hope he doesn’t freak out or anything.
The moment the thief disappeared, Clark X-rayed the room once more and saw the robber was still there. He’s not gone. He’s somehow invisible!
He saw that the robber retrieved his gun. Oh, n
o- his thought was broken by that zipping sound again. He looked for Peter but saw that he was gone. Where is he?
He looked up, following the sound. Well, that’s new! How’d he get up there?!?
He was sure Peter couldn’t see him, but he didn’t want the thief to discover where Peter was. Clark walked out from the shadows, supersped to the thief, and took the gun from his hands in less than a second. Quickly switching to his X-ray vision again, Clark saw the man dart towards the desk. Clark quickly grasped the thief by his shoulder and stopped him. He firmly tapped the thief’s forehead, rendering him unconscious, and caught him before he fell to the floor. He pushed the button on the man’s belt, thinking that’s how he faded from sight. The man became visible again, and Clark laid him on the floor.
Peter had lowered himself to the floor. Wow! Talk about speed,
Peter thought as he watched Clark run over to the thief at superspeed. And how’d he know where the guy was when he couldn’t see him?
He thought as he walked up to Clark. They both looked at each other and each had an expression on his face that seemed to say, “Umm, I can explain this,” but they both knew they had to deal with the thief first.
Clark took the belt off of the man so he could look at it more closely. He stood up and took a few steps back from the thief, X-raying the belt to see the inside of it. The wiring was very complicated and it seemed to have a few microchips in it as well- Clark’s thought was again interrupted, but by a different sound this time. Again, he could tell a normal human couldn’t hear this. He looked directly at Peter and saw his wrists release white strings which wrapped around the thief’s hands, binding them behind his back, much like a set of handcuffs. Peter was concentrating on the webbing and didn’t realize Clark was watching him.
Clark was absolutely astounded and stuttered. “You-you’re the ‘anonymous hero.’ Wow…I would’ve never guessed…”
Peter looked up, not believing Clark remained so composed even after his realization. But then again,
he thought, it seems Clark has his own secret to keep
. Peter tried to keep his voice calm. “I can explain all this, but let’s make sure this guy ends up behind bars.”
Clark agreed and added, “and I have some explaining to do, too.”
Peter nodded. “But later.”
“Right, but before the police come, I want to find out exactly what this is.” Clark held up the belt. “And he was trying to get over to the desk, but why?”
Peter walked ahead Clark and saw a smaller device on the desk that was similar to the belt. He saw a wire with a plug already attached to the laptop computer and found where it connected to the smaller device. It’s like a wristband,
he thought. A window popped up on screen, with “OsCorp” in the center. A document opened, with the title “Experimental Teleportation Device” along the top. OsCorp would be the type of company to be involved in something like this. This guy was trying to make a run for it.
Clark walked up to the desk. “What’d you find?”
Peter let Clark see the document for himself. “Wow…” Clark said quietly and then in a normal speaking voice, “What’s OsCorp?”
“It’s a company based in Manhattan. They work on new technology and projects for the military along with a ton of other stuff. I’ve never really trusted the founder. He was the father of my best friend, but I always felt there was something he was hiding that wasn’t so legal.” Like being the Green Goblin,
Peter thought, but now’s not the time to talk about that.
Peter unplugged the wristband and asked Clark for the belt. He saw that the belt could also connect to the laptop and another window popped up, this time with a purple and black logo with “LuthorCorp” above it.
“That’s not really a surprise…” Clark quietly said.
A document opened, with diagrams of the belt, titled “Invisibility Belt”.
“Is LuthorCorp somewhere around here?” Peter asked.
“Yeah, in Metropolis,” Clark replied. “Lionel Luthor owns it, and he’s not exactly the most honest businessman. I’m friends with”-- Clark paused, realizing how similar this was to what Peter had said-- “his son.”
“So this thief must have had connections in both companies,” Peter concluded.
“Yeah…” Clark looked back towards the door of the warehouse. With his superhearing, he heard sirens in the distance, and they were quickly approaching. “Peter, the police are coming.”
Peter didn’t hear anything and asked, “How do you know?”
“Well, I…can hear the sirens.”Wow, this kid’s amazing,
Peter thought. Peter closed the documents on the computer and surely, after a few moments, he also heard the sirens with his keen, but not super, sense of hearing. “We need to figure out what we’re going to tell the police and fast.”
After a few minutes, Chloe came rushing in, with two police officers right behind her. She stopped when she saw the robber on the floor and the gun a few feet away. “Uh guys, what happened? Are you okay?”
Clark responded, trying hard and succeeding in keeping a straight face. “We’re fine. Peter and I walked in, trying not to make a lot of noise. We stuck to the darker areas, hoping we wouldn’t be seen. Then Peter saw him”-- Clark pointed to the robber-- “on the floor.”
Peter continued, “Yeah, then we both walked over carefully and realized he was tied up and unconscious.”
One of the policemen walked over to the desk, where he saw the laptop’s screen glowing. He went back to the shady corner and carried back several bags of money, labeled with the names of banks that had been robbed the previous nights. When he opened them, they were filled with hundred dollar bills.
The second police officer bent down next to the criminal, just as he was waking up. He noticed the webbing and spoke to the first officer, “Hey, John, looks like that ‘anonymous hero’ was here.” He started cuffing the robber’s hands, even over the webbing, because he didn’t know how well it would hold. “You are under arrest for the robbery of several banks. You have the right to remain silent…”
After the police finished their questioning, Chloe, Clark, and Peter returned to Chloe’s car and headed for Peter’s hotel. “Thanks for the ride,” he said as he stepped out of the car when they arrived.
“You’re welcome,” Chloe replied.
Clark looked to the back seat and noticed that Peter left his camera behind. He reached back and picked it up. “Hey, Peter. Hold on,” he said as he got out of the car to return the camera. He met Peter on the walkway to the hotel’s entrance. “Here, you forgot your camera.”
“Yeah, thanks Clark. Actually, that was on purpose. I was hoping you’d be the one to see it.” Clark gave him a puzzled look. “We need to talk,” Peter continued.
“Yeah, I know.” Clark nodded. “I’ll come back here after Chloe drops me off at my apartment. That way, she won’t be suspicious of anything.”
“Okay. I’m on the second floor, room 205. See you later.”
Clark returned to Chloe’s car. As they drove off, she began questioning Clark about what happened at the warehouse.
“So the criminal was already tied up when you got there?” She asked Clark.I should have known she wouldn’t let this easily drop.
“Yeah, Chloe. Like the police officer said, that ‘anonymous hero’ must have found the thief first.”
Chloe still wasn’t sure she believed his explanation. “You and Peter didn’t have to do anything? The guy was already on the floor, unconscious?”It’s not like this is going to be a Torch exclusive or anything,
Clark thought as he replied. “The guy was out, Chloe. Peter and I didn’t need to do anything. And really, what could we have done? If the guy would have been awake, his gun would have been pointing right at us. It’s not like I know karate or anything.” He had to hide a smile. Seems like Peter does, but I don’t.
Chloe stopped the car in front of Clark’s borrowed apartment. “Well, it’s getting late, Chloe. I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”
“Yeah, see you,” she said, with a thoughtful expression lingering on her face. What more could she be wondering about?
Clark thought, as he exited her car and walked up to his apartment.
Peter turned on the television to the local news station to see the story about the robber. He paced his hotel room, wondering what he would tell Clark. Well, up until now, no one else knows my secret. I think I can trust Clark, but how am I supposed to explain this? “Hey, Clark, the reason I can stick to ceilings and shoot webbing is because I was bitten by a spider in high school.” Yeah right, I wouldn’t expect anyone to take that well. He didn’t freak out too much in the warehouse, so maybe he’ll understand. But maybe he covered his reaction really well…
Someone knocked on the door. “Hey, Peter, it’s Clark.” Clark’s muffled voice came through the door.
Peter opened the door and motioned Clark to come inside. They sat on the couch, in front of the television. Clark glanced at the screen, noticing the news was on. There was no mention of catching the thief yet. This is definitely an uncomfortable situation,
Clark thought. I think I’ll only explain what Peter saw tonight. He doesn’t need to know all of my secret, and I have no idea how he’ll react to my abilities, let alone the fact that I’m an alien.
“Umm, Clark, can I get you anything to drink?” Peter asked, getting up and walking towards the refrigerator. I don’t want to avoid explaining, but I have no clue how to start!
“No thanks, I’m fine,” Clark replied. I guess I’ll start. I’ve already been through this once before.
“So, with what happened tonight—” He saw Peter tense a little as he sat back down. “Um, I’ve had my…abilities…since I was a kid, but hardly anyone else knows. I try my best to use them secretly.” This is so awkward…
, Clark thought.
“What happened that gave you your abilities?” Peter asked, glad that he didn’t have to explain himself first. Here I go. A little modified truth…
“Well, you remember when Chloe talked about the meteor rocks in Smallville and how she thinks exposure to them is the cause behind a lot of weird stuff there?”
Peter nodded. He understood where Clark was going with his explanation. “So, your abilities are because of the meteor rocks?”
“Well, I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but they’re related.” That IS partly true.
“What about you? What happened?”Brace yourself, Clark,
Peter thought as he began. “Well, when I was in high school, we took this field trip to a genetic research center. This might sound a little strange.” Actually, I know it will.
“Stranger than meteor rocks from outer space?” Clark asked with a smile.
Peter smiled, too. “Good point. While we were there, a genetically modified spider bit me. Not too long after that, I had abilities like a spider.”
“Like sticking to walls and making webbing,” Clark replied. “When we were in the warehouse, I heard a high-pitched zipping noise. Was that you?”
“Yeah, probably when I shot webbing to the ceiling so I could get up there.” Wow, he’s taking this really well.
“And my senses are heightened, especially hearing and sight. My reflexes are faster and I’m stronger than the average human.”
“And now you can fight incredibly well,” Clark said with another smile.
Peter laughed; now more comfortable talking to Clark. “Yeah, that came with practice. So I saw some of the stuff you can do. You’re obviously stronger and faster than the average person, and I’m guessing your hearing’s better than mine, since you heard the police sirens before I did. But how did you know where the thief was when he was invisible?”
Clark hesitated and looked to the floor as he answered. “Well…I can focus my eyes to see through things, like an X-ray.” Clark looked up and saw Peter’s expression change to amazement. “So when the guy disappeared, I could still see where he was when I X-rayed the room.”
“Wow, that’s incredible!” Peter replied. He’s taking this better than I expected,
“Oh, and earlier, when the thief pulled the gun out the first time and shot, I ducked out of the way, but I saw something pass by…” Peter continued.
Clark nodded. “Yeah, that was me. I didn’t know you could move out of the way fast enough, so I ran in between you and the thief and caught the bullet as I passed. I didn’t know you noticed.”
“You were moving so fast and I wasn’t even sure of what I saw.”
Clark nodded with a small smile. “So, do you usually do this? Fight crime, I mean.”
“Um, yeah, back in Manhattan. Have you ever heard of Spiderman?” Peter asked with a small smile.
Clark nodded. “Yeah, a little. So you’ve had plenty of experience.”
“Definitely, and I thought since it seemed no one else could catch this thief, I’d go after him and see what I could do. I was really surprised when I saw you and Chloe at the bank. But then I guess you could’ve handled him alone, too.”
“Probably, but I would’ve had to be really careful. Chloe doesn’t know about me.”
“Yeah, you said you helped out secretly. Does anyone else know your secret?”
“My parents know and then I had to tell my best friend, Pete, a few years ago.”Another Peter…that’s interesting,
Clark thought and then said, “Does anyone else know about you?”
“No, actually you’re the first person I’ve told. I lived with my aunt when I was bitten, but I never told her. Now I live by myself in New York, so I keep my secret to myself. It’s sort of a relief, though, to finally tell someone.”
“Wow, it must be really hard for you at times, without anyone to talk to about your abilities,” Clark said. He hasn’t mentioned his parents at all. I wonder why.
“Well, sometimes it is. There’s never anyone to relate to when you’re so different.”
“I know exactly what you mean.” And not just with abilities but being from a whole different planet, too,
“But things do get better,” Peter replied. “And sometimes you get lucky and find that there’s someone similar to you in the world.”
“Yeah…” Clark replied as he looked at his watch. “Well, it’s getting late. I’m glad we had a chance to talk, but I should go.” He stood up and turned to face Peter. “Um, I’m not sure how to say this. I’ve kept my abilities a secret for a long time, and I want to keep it that way-”
“I know, and you don’t have to worry,” Peter said standing up next to Clark. “I feel the same way. Your secret’s safe with me if I can trust mine with you.”
Clark nodded in relief. “I thought you’d understand. It’s a promise then.” They shook hands and smiled. “I’ll see you tomorrow at the Planet.”
The photography conference finished the next afternoon. Clark and Chloe met Peter outside his hotel. He had his suitcase packed and was waiting for a taxi.
“Peter, it was definitely nice meeting you,” Chloe said with a smile. “I hope you liked staying in Metropolis.”
“Yeah, it was great,” Peter replied. “Thank you both for being friendly from the start.”
“No problem, and you came during the most exciting part of the summer so far,” Clark said with a smile.
“Really? And I even got in on some of the action,” Peter replied, chuckling.
Chloe laughed. “Yeah, that usually happens when we’re around.” She pointed to Clark and herself.
The taxi drove up and parked next to the sidewalk.
“Well, Peter, have a safe trip back. Goodbye,” Chloe said.
“Thanks, I will,” Peter replied.
“And take care of yourself,” Clark said.
Peter smiled and nodded. “You too.”
He got into the taxi and waved goodbye. Clark and Chloe waved back as the taxi turned the corner. Then Chloe and Clark continued walking on the sidewalk.
“He’s a really nice guy, but I can’t help feeling like there’s something more to him,” Chloe said.
“Like what?” Clark asked, hiding a smile. “He just seems like an ordinary guy to me.”
“Everyday ordinary, just like Clark Kent,” Chloe said with a smile as she opened the door of the Daily Planet.
“Hey, what’s that supposed to mean?” Clark said as he walked in behind her, also smiling and thought, Peter and I are more alike than you know.