He'd promised her he'd never let her be locked away, a long, long time ago.
Years ago, he'd saved her from a place much like this one. She'd slashed her wrists in an apparent attempt to kill herself, and they'd been about to put her into Belle Reve Sanitarium. He'd broken her shackles, caught her up in his arms, and sped her to safety.
She hadn't been suicidal or crazy, of course. The truth had been far stranger and more complex-- as the truth all too often was.
He didn't believe she was crazy now, either. It was true that the meteor afflicted developed psychoses at a rate far greater than the norm for the general population. But her meteor power had manifested a long time ago. It made no sense that she'd suddenly gone insane now.
He worked at the desk next to hers, and he had to admit that her behavior lately had been... erratic. But that didn't mean she was crazy.
He wasn't sure what was going on here, but he simply couldn't accept the idea that he'd lost her to meteor psychosis.
The smells of disinfectant and vomit and human waste assaulted his nostrils as he whooshed through the halls. The door to her cell was locked, but he broke the lock as if it were made of tissue paper, and stalked into the cell.
She lay in the narrow bed, staring at the ceiling. There was a vacant look in her eyes that suggested she'd been drugged. But as he entered the room, her eyes shifted toward him, and he saw a slight smile on her face.
"Superman," she said, very softly. "I knew you'd come for me."
"Chlo." He moved across the floor, his cape rippling behind him, and took her hand in his. The bones felt very fragile in his grasp. "What happened?"
"I'm not sure. But they told me..." He saw a glint of horror in her eyes. "They told me I killed Lex Luthor."
Lex had been found burned to death yesterday, to the collective shock of Metropolis. "With your power?"
She nodded, a faint jerk of her head. "I don't... I honestly don't know what happened. I can use my power offensively, but I've never... I mean, I wouldn't..."
"But you don't remember."
"No," she whispered, her eyes filling with anxiety. "I don't."
He wasn't sure what was going on, but he did know that no matter what might be happening inside her mind, she wasn't a cold-blooded killer. Intellectually, he knew that meteor psychosis could change people drastically for the worse. But emotionally, he couldn't accept the idea that his best friend had changed that way.
No, he thought firmly. Chloe wasn't a killer.
"I'll figure out what's going on," he promised her. "In the meantime..." He broke her shackles and lifted her, cradling her against his chest. The hospital gown she wore didn't cover her adequately, so he wrapped her in the crimson folds of his cape.
"In the meantime," he finished, "let's get you out of here."
Last time he'd made the mistake of leaving her alone, and she'd disappeared on him. This time, he wasn't going to screw up. Something was wrong, and until he figured out what it was, she was going to remain under twenty-four-hour surveillance.
He put her into bed at his apartment, switched back to his Clark Kent clothing, complete with big, dark-framed glasses, and called Jimmy to come over. Jimmy was on his doorstep ten minutes later, eager to help, as always.