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Chapter One - Death

Clark Kent was fond of her. She even liked to think that maybe, just maybe, he might love her - but that didn't really matter for she knew, deep down inside, that he would always love Lana Lang more. That was why Lana Lang had to die. It seemed obvious to her now, and, in retrospect, she wondered why the idea hadn't occurred to her before, but, then again, lots of ideas had been occurring to her recently, ever since she'd come across those green rocks.

Of course, with her vast intellect, she could have come up with an elaborate plan to dispose of Lana, but sometimes simple plans are just more satisfying. And so it was that she found herself walking down the streets of Smallville, to The Talon, ignoring the stares of those around her. Just as she planned, it was closing time when she reached The Talon, and, through the glass in the doors, she could see her victim Lana, all alone, helpless, and she knew that now was the time to strike.

The doors were locked but, running up to them, she smashed through them. Lana's face was a mixture of incredulity and fear as she saw her.

"Hello, Lana," she cried in an inhuman drawl. "Bet you didn't expect to see me here. Now I'm afraid you'll have to die."

And then Lana disappeared, or so it seemed to her, but she didn't know Lana Lang's secret. For unbeknownst to her, and the rest of Smallville's non-insect population, Lana Lang was also the mistress of the microcosmos known as Insect Queen. Even now a shrunken Lana Lang was calling for reinforcements.

Seconds later, her confusion over Lana's disappearance turned to fear, as she saw ants crawling up her legs. The next thing she knew they were on her face, and she couldn't see for the ants crawling over her eyes, and, more importantly, couldn't breathe for the ants clogging her air passages. She fell to the ground, her legs flailing. It wasn't supposed to be like this, and suddenly her mind thought back to the times in the barn with Clark, his warm hands on her ...

And then her mind stopped thinking.

Lana resumed normal size and looked down at the dead body as the ants vacated it. She'd encountered all sorts of freaks in her one-woman crusade as Insect Queen, freaks of all shapes and sizes, but this one she knew. She looked at the broken doors, but figured they could wait until morning - first she had to take care of the corpse.

Twenty minutes later Lana Lang stood in a field of the Kent's Farm. She took the shrunken corpse from her pocket and dropped her on the grass below. Within the hour she'd be full size again, and sometime early tomorrow Clark would be discovering her cold, lifeless body. Lana felt guilty about killing her, but it was the only way.

"Sorry, Buttercup," she sighed, a tear running down her cheek, and then walked away.

It was the next night and a crowd stood around a grave as dirt was poured into it.

"This was supposed to cheer him up?" asked Pete.

"It seemed a good idea at the time," replied Chloe. "A magic show - you saw the poster - You'll believe a man can fly - I thought it would take his mind off things. Besides, Clark liked the flying, and that trick where Zatara turned a piece of coal into a diamond, it's just the finale that's set him off crying."

Clark wasn't the only unhappy person there that night. Standing at the foot of the grave was the magician Zatara's daughter, who was pretending to cry as part of the act, but was having all the audience's attention distracted from her and, more importantly, the trick, by Clark's constant wailing. Zatara would be clawing his way to the surface any minute now and everyone would be looking at Clark. She whispered a few words - ecneidua erongi eht yug gniliaw pucrettub - and everyone's attention returned to the magic act - well nearly everyone's. Zatanna found that she was still looking at Clark. She couldn't take her eyes off him. She whispered a few more words.

Clark stopped crying and an idiotic grin took over his face.

"Hey, Clark, are you okay?" asked Pete, suddenly noticing Clark, and his inane grin, now that he'd stopped wailing.

"I'm in love, Pete."

"Let me guess - Lana," Chloe said, also suddenly noticing Clark.

"No, that girl over there," replied Clark, before adding, in all seriousness, "Who's Lana?"

Once Zatara had dug his way out of his grave, the show was complete. As the audience applauded, the girl at the foot of the grave made her way towards Clark Kent.

"Hi there, I hope the show didn't upset you too much," she said, facing a blushing Clark.

"No, that's okay. Dead cow," explained Clark.

"Interesting," replied the girl. "Let me introduce myself. The name's Zatanna Zatara, but you can call me Zee, nearly all my friends do."

"I'm Clark .. Clark Kent. Charmed I'm sure."