Before the series
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
"I love it here."
Clark Kent looked down at the small girl who stood next to him, then up at the enormous buildings all around him. At eight, he'd lived on a farm pretty much all his life, and he was used to the wide-open spaces of the Kansas prairie, fields of windblown corn punctuated with creeks and woods. He'd never seen anything like these enormous steel-and-glass buildings before.
And yet, somewhere in his mind stirred a distant memory, the memory of great crystal buildings that reached to a red sky, gleaming beneath a crimson sun.
He shook his head, shaking away the memory-- or was it just his imagination? It must be. He'd never seen anything like that. There weren't any giant crystal buildings on the Kent Farm, just ramshackle wooden ones.
He realized the small blonde girl next to him was waiting expectantly for an answer. "It's really big," he said at last, hoping he didn't sound stupid. But that was the only word he could come up with to describe Metropolis and its impossibly huge buildings and frantically bustling streets. It was just plain big.
"I like it. We live in an apartment building over there." She pointed. "I can see the Daily Planet from my bedroom window."
"The Daily Planet, silly. The newspaper. There's a globe on top of the building."
He frowned in confusion. He knew what a newspaper was-- his parents got one every morning. But theirs was called the Smallville Ledger. Naively, he hadn't realized there were other newspapers in the world.
"A globe?" he said, cautiously. "That sounds cool."
"If you walk down this street just a little way, you can see it. Come look."
Clark cast a quick glance at his dad, who was deeply engrossed in conversation with some guy he'd met. Someone he'd known in college, apparently. "My dad told me to wait..."
"So did mine. He's over there, at the magazine stand." She pointed, then flashed a quick, bright grin. "Do you always do everything your parents tell you to do?"
He looked down at her, and his stomach did the peculiar twisting thing it did around girls sometimes. She was really pretty, he thought, with long golden hair and big hazel eyes, and he felt really big and awkward next to her petite frame. He was kind of tall and gangling, with dark brown hair that wouldn't lay flat no matter what his mom did to it, and weirdly colored green eyes that were too big for his face.
She was pretty, and he was sort of, well, odd looking. Besides, she was wearing a nice outfit, a sweater and skirt that looked like it had just come off the rack at a department store, and he was wearing jeans and a plaid flannel shirt that had seen better days.
He had the sudden, uncomfortable feeling he looked like a hick farmer. But she didn't seem to mind. She was still looking at him expectantly, waiting for an answer, and he smiled sheepishly.
She grinned more brightly than before. "You really need to work on that."
She grabbed his arm and steered him down the sidewalk, and he let her pull him along. Taxis roared by, going about a hundred miles an hour, and horns blared, and more people than Clark had ever seen in his lifetime milled all over the sidewalk and streets. Clark had the nervous feeling that he was getting way too far away from his dad, and that his father wasn't going to like it.
But he couldn't seem to stop himself from following this small blonde girl.
A moment later, she stopped. "There," she said, pointing upward. "See it?"
He looked where she indicated, and saw it-- a golden globe, rotating slowly, gleaming in the midday sun. It wasn't the tallest building in the city-- a much bigger one rose behind it, with the word LuthorCorp on its roofline-- but it was beautiful.
He stood and gaped at the cityscape, so different from anything he'd ever known. And once again, a memory rose into his mind, a quick flash of graceful crystal spires that almost seemed to scrape the sky.
He shook his head again, because he was being stupid. He'd never seen anything like this before. He'd never been in a city before. He'd never seen anything besides wide-open spaces and corn and pastures.
But this... this was seriously cool.
He wanted to see this again.
"Wow," he said, very softly. "That's amazing. I wish I lived here."
"I'm always going to live here," she told him. "Metropolis is the greatest city on Earth. And when I grow up, I'm going to work right there."
She pointed to the golden globe, and he nodded, staring at the globe as if transfixed. Words suddenly took shape in his brain and jumped right out of his mouth.
"Me too," he said.
"Cool," she said, and flashed her bright smile. "We'll work there together, okay?"
He looked down at her tousled blonde hair and her brilliant smile, wondering why he'd said that, why he'd thought even for a minute he might work for a newspaper, when all he'd ever wanted to do was be a farmer like his dad. He noticed her hair gleamed gold in the sunlight, just like the globe, and suddenly something weird happened in his brain.
For just a moment, it was like he was looking into the future. He could envision this small blonde girl next to him, working with him, laughing with him, hanging out with him, for the rest of their lives.
Which was really stupid, because he didn't even know her name, and he'd probably never see her again after today.
He opened his mouth, to ask her name and to tell her his, but suddenly he heard his father calling.
Oh, boy, he was in trouble. When Dad put that many a's in his name, he was about to be grounded. Suddenly he remembered that Dad had told him to stay nearby, and for the first time in his life, he'd willfully disobeyed.
Dad was gonna be so mad.
"I gotta go," he mumbled. "Bye."
"Bye," she said softly. He looked down at her, seeing one last bright grin, a smile as bright as the sunshine. A smile he didn't think he'd ever forget.
And then he spun toward his dad, and ran.
When he looked back over his shoulder, she'd disappeared into the crowd.
He frowned, strangely disappointed. He'd liked the blonde girl an awful lot, liked her happy smile and her bright eyes and her long golden hair. But Dad didn't come to Metropolis often, and there were an awful lot of people here.
And he didn't even know the small blonde's name.
He sighed with regret, remembering how he'd imagined working with her, spending time with her, thinking about the way he'd imagined the two of them standing shoulder to shoulder for the rest of their lives.
But that had been a silly thought. Because he didn't even know her name, or where she lived, or what her parents did for a living. He didn't know anything about her. And he had no way of finding her.
He sighed again, feeling a strange sense of loss.
The fact of the matter was, he'd probably never see her again.