Disclaimer: The rights of Superman belong to DC comics and Warner Bros. I am making no financial gain from this story whatsoever.

A/N: Warm thanks for the reviews. As always feedback, whether positive or negative, is very appreciated.


Chapter 10
Trust

The Daily Planet was buzzing that day. It took a few moments for Perry White to get the staff to shut up for a bit so he could talk.

"Hold it," he said loudly. "Thank you. Now, obviously the number one news issue at the moment is this second flying person who was seen with Superman. Lois?"

"Yes, Perry?" she said.

"Find out why Superman said he was the only one around," said Perry. "Was he lying? Was he ignorant?"

"I can't just wave my hand and he'll give me an interview," she said.

"Well, he spoke to you once, I'm just using the most likely person," said Perry. "Charles?"

"Yeah?"

"Talk to the military and the civilian branches," said Perry. "Find out if they're taking precautions regarding the presence or arrival of some other alien."

"Oh come on chief," said Jimmy. "We're jumping down the panic tunnel already?"

"We're covering all the angles, Jimmy. I need pictures from you on this one Jimmy, find me that alien," said Perry. "And don't call me chief. Clark?"

"Yes, Perry?" said Clark.

"I need you to take the LexCorp story from Lois," he said.

"No prob sir," said Clark, pleased that he didn't have to cover... himself. When the rest of the room looked at him in confusion at his smile at being bumped from the major story to do what was now a minor side-piece, he quickly faked a frown.

Clark was standing in the entrance hallway of the headquarters of LexCorp. A young woman with brown hair that went down to her... stop it Clark!... walked up to him with her arm outstretched.

"Which news outlet are you from?" she asked, with a polite smile.

"Clark Kent, miss," he said. "Daily Planet."

"Ah, I'm Alice Martin," she said. "I regret to mention that the press announcement was cancelled. Too many reporters called in to cancel it. I guess everyone's interested in that other alien like Superman. I'm really sorry for not sending word, it was decided only recently."

"No worries, Miss Martin," he said, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose.

"Please, Alice," she said. "Miss Martin makes me feel like I'm my mother."

"Trust me, that was certainly not what I thought when I saw you," he said, smiling softly.

She grinned at him. Her face then turned quizzical as she continued to look at him for a few seconds. Clark had no idea what she was thinking, thought admittedly hoping it was something he'd like, so he kept silent. She seemed to decide on something.

"Clark, can I talk to you off the record?" she said. "I must be able to trust your discretion."

"Sure," he said. "To your office?"

"No," she said, shaking her head. "There's a small cafe across the street. Wait for me in there about twenty minutes."

She left without saying another word. Clark obeyed and waited at the location. Precisely on twenty minutes, she appeared through the doors. She made her way to him quickly enough. Clark waited as she ordered her coffee and it arrived.

"Now, what is it you want to talk about?" he said.

"I'm no whistle-blower, Clark," she began.

"I protect my sources," he said.

"I mean, I'm a loyal sort of person," she said. "I think. I've looked the other side for the sake of the company I worked for a number of times. But this time, I just feel is too much."

"What's happened?" he said.

"This cannot be traced back to me," she said, her eyes fearful.

"Alice, listen," he said. "I will not report a word unless I have another avenue of sourcing that you can't be legally found out."

"It's not the law I'm afraid of," she said. "This thing is illegal."

"What is?" asked Clark.

"The whole thing. It's not my department, but you know with a huge organisation, sometimes some paperwork gets misplaced," she said, leaning forward. "So I saw something that indicated some resources were being shifted, but even that information was vague as to where, exactly. I kept an eye out, out of curiosity, and I found a significant amount of funds were moved to the weapons division, and other unnamed "miscellaneous" projects."

"Why does that concern you?" he asked. "LexCorp's defence department is large."

"No, this was all on weapons, not research," she said. "We haven't had any new orders from any government lately, not of that magnitude. I would know as I tend to work in the announcements of such news."

"Ok, you have my attention," he said. "What else did you find out?"

"Not much more," she said. "I got frightened that they'd find me snooping about. I've always heard rumors of people... disappearing. Clark, I'm not foolish enough not to know that the company has gotten into some shady issues, but weaponry of such cost or amount is not explainable by simple business."

"Listen, don't look for any more information, there's no need risking your life," he said. "I'll look into it. Someone somewhere would have to notice such shipments moving about. Is there anything else you heard?"

"I think they mentioned something about distribution," she said. "But to whom, I do not know."

He scribbled down something on a piece of paper, and then passed it to her.

"As I said, stay away from it, and do not contact me unless it's an emergency. We don't know if you workers are monitored," he said. "However, if you ever feel you are in danger, do not hesitate to call me."

"What will you do?" she said, confused. "Shouldn't I call the authorities?"

"Feel free," he said. "But call me too. I have a few connections I can use."

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The next week or so were particularly unexpected from his perspective. The news media went into hyperdrive with regards to this new being with Superman-like powers. LexCorp's flagship television news channel spent an inordinate amount of time question Superman's motives with regards to keeping this secret. The other news groups were not different, to be fair. The questions seemed to be forcing an either-or scenario: Either Superman didn't know that there were fellow members of his species floating about, which made one doubt what exactly he did know, or Superman lied about it, which forces one to doubt everything he said. The second scenario didn't need to be spelled out, if Superman was lying, then he'd have a reason to lie, and no reason would be positive for humanity; indeed, perhaps he was a scout for the upcoming invading Kryptonians the conspiracy theorists were saying. Even the first scenario wasn't exactly perfect; if Superman's intentions were good, it still didn't disregard the fact that this other Kryptonian may have other motives for the planet, and even have allies of his own to attack with.

Superman was being questioned about it wherever he went to do his duties in trying to save people. No longer was he receiving 'thank you' or 'can I have your picture', instead he got cautious looks at the very least. When a narrative starts going in people's minds, the spread of it being believed by others can continue relentlessly with nothing capable of stopping it.

A curtain of tension seemed to descend upon the whole city, a doubtful mistrust. And inexplicably, criminals seemed to feed off it because crimes began to rise unexpectedly. Robberies suddenly became more brazen that week, gangs more violent, and the police force more stretched out. All the fear of committing crimes since a super-powered alien came in to fight against them seemed to dissipate, in fact there was almost the impression that they were trying to make up for lost time.

He tried to keep up with all of it. He was spending more time trying to stop crimes, Clark was missing more and more of work. To compensate, and not be fired, Clark was writing a few stories on Superman's activities - something he expressly wanted to avoid.

Superman continued to refuse to comment to any questions, hoping his ongoing determination to act in assistance would somehow help lessen the tension. But that was not fruitful, as you might've already guessed. Somehow not answering a question is taken to mean one had something to hide.

Superman was frustrated. Very frustrated.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Lois Lane was going to her car in the morning, when she saw someone standing beside it.

"We really need to meet in less creepy locations," she said.

"Sorry, Lois," said Superman. "Can we talk?"

"As in an interview?" she asked.

"Yes," he said.

"Okay," she said. When he approached her, she raised her hand. "Meet me on Charles and 105th. It's secluded enough that people won't see us."

"Very well, Miss Lane," he said, raising an arm and flying off.

When she reached the location, she saw him leaning on a tree, waiting for her. The one lane roads passed the outskirts of the city, where the grass was all around them. She got out of her car, locked it, and walked over to him.

"Are you displeased with me, Miss Lane?" he asked.

"Should I be?" she said.

"Ah..." he said, looking down. "You too?"

"Why not?" she said, still looking at him in the eye when looked back up. "You said something that was proven clearly false."

"So you assume I was lying?" he said.

"What can I assume otherwise?" she said. "That you didn't know that someone from your own planet was here?"

"Perhaps," he said.

"Preposterous," she said, loudly. "Of all the damn planets this universe has, billions if not trillions of them, the second confirmed alien is from yours? And you didn't know? Colour me sceptical."

"I have shown nothing that would cause one to doubt my intentions, nothing," he said. "I have attempted to do only good and accept nothing in return. I don't deserve this."

"You are an alien, Superman," she said. "An alien! And now there is two? What on earth do you expect us to think? You alone have powers beyond our imaginations. And now there's a second one like that? Who is he? Where did he come from?"

"He is from Krypton," he said. "I did not know he was here, I have never met him before that day."

"You didn't?" she asked.

"Never, I swear on it," he said. "My planet is destroyed, I thought I was the last of it."

"What are his intentions?" she said.

"I do not know," said Superman.

"So they could be different to yours?" she said.

"If they were, perhaps he would've shown it already," said Superman. "I cannot answer for another person."

"People think I was used as a patsy to soften you up in that interview," she said, angrily. "My whole interview is now in doubt by everyone."

"I did not know," he said. "I have no reason to mislead you, Miss Lane."

"You don't know me personally. If that was what you wanted, you would've had no reason not to mislead me," she said, dismissing his comment.

"Miss Lane, you do not trust me even though I did not lie to you," he said.

"Facts have arisen that have shown a statement of yours to be false," she said. "An important statement, that is. One logically wonders what else will be proven to be false."

"I came here hoping to get a chance to state my side of the story," he said. "I thought I could do it. But I don't think I can. I'm sorry to have wasted your time. Feel free to use anything we've discussed in an article, but I have to end this here. Good day, Miss Lane."

And without another word, he levitated slowly into the air, and flew off.