Season 4, "Gone"
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
They'd told him she was dead, that she'd been killed in a gas explosion three months ago. He'd felt terribly guilty, like there was something he could have done to prevent it. Unfortunately, he'd been held captive in some other dimension for three months, brainwashed by an alien artificial intelligence, and when he'd been returned to the world, he'd had total amnesia, unable to remember anything whatsoever about his life.
Not even Chloe Sullivan, his best friend since eighth grade.
His mother, bless her valiant heart, had somehow managed to banish Kal-El, his alien brainwashed self, and Clark Kent had been restored, with all his memories intact. He'd confirmed his parents were both all right, and then he'd immediately gone to visit Chloe's grave.
On impulse, he'd viewed it with x-ray vision... and discovered it was empty.
It had taken him a couple of days, but he'd finally figured out what had happened to Chloe. Her cousin, a tall, skinny, noisy brunette named Lois Lane, had come to town in search of Chloe, and kept getting in his way. Despite Lois' interference, he finally managed to track Chloe down. She wasn't dead at all, only being hidden until Lionel Luthor's trial. As a star witness, her life was in serious danger from Lionel, and Lionel's son Lex was trying very hard to keep her safe.
Desperate to see her again, Clark went to the house where she was being kept, only to discover that she'd been abducted by one of Lionel's henchmen minutes before. He supersped to the foundry where she was being held to rescue her.
He found her being choked to death by a meteor freak, a guy who had the ability to change into metal at will, and protective rage welled up inside him. Furious, he threw the guy a good forty feet across the room. The guy got up and tried to skewer him by turning his arm into a sword. But Clark's alien skin was impenetrable, so he casually knocked the guy's arm aside and tried to slug him in the stomach.
The guy shifted to molten metal, and Clark's momentum carried him right through the other man's body, so that he fell gracelessly to the floor.
When he rolled over, Lois Lane was standing there, zapping the guy with some kind of electric gizmo.
The guy turned around and lifted his arm, beginning to transform it into shining metal. Clark realized he was about to stab Lois, or slice her in two, so he activated his heat vision.
And the guy blew up.
Little spatters of molten metal fell all around Clark. He sat up, somewhat horrified by what he'd inadvertently done. He'd never killed before, and he hadn't intended to kill this time, either. Apparently the combination of the electric charge and his heat vision had had a weird effect on the guy's kryptonite-altered biology.
Lois was less horrified. "Chloe always told me this town was weird," she said, blinking at the spattered metal that had once been a human being. "I guess she was right." She shot him a condescending smile. "I don't know how you ever survived without me."
Clark hardly heard anything she said beyond the first word. "Chloe," he echoed. He remembered seeing her struggling while the guy choked her with a metal hand, remembered seeing her face turn blue and her eyes go wide with panic. He was sorry to have killed a man, even accidentally, yet he wasn't terribly inclined to waste tears on a guy who'd been in the process of strangling his best friend.
Scrambling to his feet, he brushed past Lois and headed toward Chloe's inert body at a jog. "Chloe!"
She was lying on the floor not too far away, her hands bound together, her eyes shut. "Chloe," he whispered. Falling to his knees beside her, he unbound her hands hastily.
Her eyelashes flickered, and she stared up at him. He looked into her hazel eyes, for the first time in far too long a time, and immense relief spilled through him. He pulled her to a sitting position and wrapped his arms around her, pressing his face into her hair.
"Are you okay?" he asked in a whisper.
"Mmm-hmmm," she mumbled against his shoulder. Her arms went tightly around him, and he could feel her tears wetting his flannel shirt. He hated that she'd been so scared, so distressed. He'd always been her guardian angel, saving her from dangerous situations with the powers she didn't know he possessed, but she'd probably figured he wasn't coming to save her this time. She didn't know where he'd been all summer-- no one had known-- and he guessed she'd been afraid he was dead.
He knew how much it hurt to believe your best friend was dead. He remembered standing at Chloe's grave yesterday, tears burning his eyes. He probably would have let them fall if the very annoying Lois hadn't been there.
Thank God Chloe was alive. Thank God.
He stood up and pulled her to her feet. She looked up at him, then put her hands on his arms, his shoulders, his cheeks, as if confirming he was real. He stared down into her eyes, and his arms tightened around her waist.
She was alive. Alive... and in his arms.
The impulse to kiss her hit him hard. He'd kissed her before, but rarely, because they were, after all, only friends. But friendship or no friendship, right now he wanted to yank her against him and plant a long, possessive kiss on her lips. A spark he'd never felt for her before lit somewhere deep inside him and rapidly grew into a flame.
And then she looked over his shoulder, and her eyes lit up. "Lois?" she said incredulously. "What are you doing here?"
Clark could barely restrain a growl. Lois again. What was it with this girl? She was totally getting in his way.
Unaware of his thoughts, Chloe had already let go of him and was moving toward her cousin.
"Putting the worst three months of my life behind me," Lois answered, and the two girls hugged, then separated. Chloe beamed up at her cousin, and Lois smiled back. "Thank God I found you."
Clark's eyebrows shot up, and he glared at her. "I?" What the hell? he thought resentfully. Not only did Lois get totally in his way, but then she tried to take credit for rescuing Chloe.
He was starting to seriously dislike this girl.
Lois glared right back at him. Chloe seemed to sense the anger simmering between them, because she gave them a placating smile. "Guys," she said. "Can we get out of here before Lionel throws another one of his goons at me?"
Clark down at her, seeing her bruised face, her tired eyes, and her rumpled hair. "Sure," he answered, wrapping his arm around her. Lois stepped to her other side and put an arm around her waist, too, and Chloe put her arms around both of them. "Let's get you out of here."
The three of them walked out of the foundry together. Lois let go of her cousin once they were outside, but Clark kept his arm around Chloe, holding her protectively against his chest. Now that he was back, he was going to make absolutely certain nothing hurt her. He would once again be her guardian angel, just as he'd always been.
She felt reassuringly warm against him, and relief and affection swirled together inside his chest. He was incredibly grateful to have found her alive and well. In another moment or two, she would have been dead.
The thought scared the hell out of him, and he held her a little more tightly. She fit nicely against him, and he discovered to his surprise that he really liked holding her.
Holding her against him wasn't quite as good as kissing her, but it would have to do.
For now, anyway.