Chapter One

Lana and Clark

Lana took in a deep breath, staring at the huge doors before her. This would be her first day since the adoption away from her Aunt Nell. Pre-kindergarten. It was a scary place. Not that it looked scary, but Lana was terrified. It had only been seven months since her parents had died right in front of her, and she was still pretty sensitive. She had not been sure she even wanted to go, but Nell had said she would get behind if she did not. So here she was, Smallville Elementary. She walked in and took a seat next to a little boy with curly, brown hair and freckles. He looked at her, and his eyes widened.

"Aren't you that girl whose parents died?" he asked. That girl whose parents died. Quite a nickname. Not that he had meant anything by it. If anything, he looked sad. As did all the other girls and boys who were staring at her. She knew they were all trying to imagine how it would feel to lose their mommies and daddies. Before she could answer, the teacher came in. She greeted them all with a cheery voice, but when she looked at Lana, Lana saw that look again. That unmistakable look. Pity. That girl whose parents died. That was who she was. She wanted to cry. But she didn't. She couldn't. If she did, she would be that girl whose parents died forever, and she did not think she could live with that. She needed to be something else, anything else. She needed to prove that she was okay, so that they would all stop looking at her look that.

"Snack time. Who wants to pass out the cookies?" Lana's hand went up in a flash. That girl who passed out the cookies. It was certainly preferable. Somehow, she would become something, anything, and everything else, until something stuck and she stopped being that girl whose parents died. So, for the first week, she was that girl who cleaned the blackboard, that girl who brought a book in for the class to hear, and that girl who volunteered to look after the class pet. Her hand never stopped shooting up, she would volunteer for anything and everything, and she would do it with the biggest smile she could possibly fake.

Her Aunt Nell was not exactly thrilled that Lana had brought home an amphibian, but it was for school, so she let it be. The drive home Friday was quiet. That was, until they reached the house. There were crashing noises coming from the yellow house next door. Lana had been hearing them since she had moved into Nell's over six months ago. She knew that the Kents lived there, a nice lady and her husband who she used to see when she would come to Smallville with her Mommy and Daddy to visit her Aunt. She had met them several times before. It was weird to think that they were her neighbors now.

Nell stopped the car and got out. Lana could tell she was mad, and she felt bad for the Kents. She loved Nell, but she knew how scary she could get when she was mad.

Nell rang the Kents doorbell and waited. Mrs. Kent came to the door, a little boy hiding behind her. Lana heard Nell yelling, but she could not hear what it was about. She thought it might be better that way; when Nell got scary, Lana liked to keep her distance. She looked at the boy. She did not know the Kents had a son.

Nell and Mrs. Kent went into the house, and the boy stood in the doorway briefly. Lana waved and smiled, trying to be friendly. It looked like he had smiled back, but she could not tell. And then he was just looking at her, staring at her. He must know as well, just as everybody did. He must have seen the article and known about her parents. That was why he was staring. Then, he started to walk towards her.

When the doorbell rang, Martha Kent. It was the woman from next door who kept coming and telling the Kents that their new son was disturbing the peace, in need of discipline, and should be in pre-k right now. Martha tried to be polite, but really, what gave Nell Potter the right? They had only found Clark seven months ago, he was still adjusting. He did not know his own strength yet. Oh, of course they intended to enroll him in school, in kindergarten maybe, if he was ready, but if not, definitely by first grade. But they had to make sure he could control himself first. It was a very complicated situation, not one Nell Potter could understand, nor was it any of her business. But still, she kept coming.

Martha saw Lana get out of the car. Poor girl. It was terrible what had happened to her parents. She wished there was some way she could help. Clark hid behind her, clinging to her leg. He was a little scared of the woman who kept coming over. Martha and Nell went in the house to talk, and Clark lingered, not wanted to be around the scary neighbor lady. He saw a girl standing outside holding a glass box with a frog. He was dumbfounded. For one, he had never seen anybody his own age before. He knew they were out there, of course, but he had never actually seen one, and a girl too. He knew about girl, his mother had told him stories and some had girls in them. He had thought girls were supposed to think frogs were gross, except when you kiss them and they become a prince. Maybe that was why she had the frog. He looked at her. She looked nice. Maybe they could be friends. His first friend.

Then, she smiled at him, and something inside him hitched. Her eyes were so full of sorrow, and pain, they had seen so much, but at the same time, she was smiling, and bravely holding her frog and waving to a stranger. She was strong, she had lost something, but she was smiling. He had seen that look before, in the mirror. That look in her eyes. He could not quite remember, but he knew it meant she had lost something. It meant she was lonely, like him. But she could still smile. And she was smiling at him. It made him feel all weird inside. He did not know what this feeling was, it was completely unfamiliar, but her felt that he sort of liked it, this strange new sensation. He looked at her. She was… he did not know a word to describe it yet. He was still so young. The best he could come up with was pretty, but that just did not seem special enough. He wanted to be her friend. He wanted to be something else too, but he did not really know what. He looked at the frog in her hands again. The frog she was carrying because he might be a prince, and he felt a possessive anger boil inside of him. He wanted to be her prince. That was it. That must be what he wanted to be to her, her prince. He wanted to know her, protect her, dry her tears, and make her safe.

He started towards her to introduce himself. As he got closer, he started to feel, well, he did not know, it was another new sensation, but this one he knew he did not like. His chest became tight, and his head was woozy. He collapsed. He was having trouble breathing, and he felt like his whole body was failing him. All he could think was that he wanted his mommy. Are you all right? He thought he heard a voice say. It was beautiful, like a melody. I'll get help. The voice said. Then he heard tiny footsteps running towards the house. Slowly, he started to feel better. And then he started to feel something else…embarrassed. He had tried to talk to that beautiful girl and he had collapsed. For the first time in his life, he had felt weak and helpless and she had seen it. And it was all she had ever seen of him. He wanted to crawl in a hole and die. He ran around to the back of the house and hid in the bushes until she left, which took quite awhile because they had been looking for him after he disappeared.

He ran to his mother's arms.

"Sweetie what happened? Are you all right? Where were you?" he looked at her.

"I hid."

She looked at him, concern in her voice, "Why?" she asked.

"Because." He said, quietly looking down at his shoes, "Because, I'm a freak."

Martha had been worried about this. Him feeling like an outcast. Him never making a friend. Him always being alone. What could she say? How could she fix it? How could she comfort him? But then he said, "And because she was pretty." Martha stared at him. She sighed in relief, and hugged him close to her. A crush. It was not about being different, being from somewhere else. He just had a crush. He was going to be just fine. She had feared he might not be able to feel in the same way humans could. But he can. He could have a crush on a girl just like other boys his age, and, when he got older, he could even fall in love. He did not have to be alone.