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Jilly Milly – Chapter 03

Written by marknew742 :: [Monday, 07 March 2005 13:40] Last updated by :: [Friday, 21 June 2013 14:55]

21

 

Superboy sat behind a cloud, five thousand feet in the air. He didn't dare go much higher. Even at this modest height he shivered slightly and struggled to hold his position. The day had started out all right. He zipped through his math and history tests as usual, taking care to make a couple of mistakes on each. But then came French class and he drew a complete blank – he couldn't remember a single word. Then, on patrol, he had trouble flying in a straight line, and when he instead chased a burglar on foot using his super-speed he actually became winded and had to slow down to rest for a few seconds. He'd caught the guy and brought him into the police station, but he had worried about what might happen if the crook had shot at him. Officer Smith must have thought he was being very rude when he left so quickly, but Superboy was sure that if he talked to him he would start to suspect something. He just needed to get Jill alone so that they could talk more and come up with a way to keep his powers! His mind just didn't seem smart today. He wasn't going to go to the Mayo Clinic. What Jill said had put enough doubt in his mind that he didn't want to try. Besides, with the problems he was having flying he'd never get there and back in time.

 

It was strange that the only person he wanted to see, or talk to, was Jill – the person who was responsible for the whole problem! He was being such an idiot! She was his enemy, not his friend. Why didn't he just talk to his parents? They'd support him, whatever he did. But somehow that didn't matter to him. He turned and headed for Chester, increasing his speed. He didn't know what he'd do when he found her, but he couldn't think of anything else he wanted to do. The cold wind got worse. He could feel it in his bones, and then his eyes started to tear from the wind. He couldn't actually see Chester. Although his super-vision had seemed to return last night and this morning, now it was gone again, and from inside the clouds he could only guess on the direction. He'd have to go lower, where he could see the landscape. Besides, it would be warmer there. He sped up as he descended until he was just one thousand feet in the air. He adjusted his course to level out, but he still found himself dropping. No! He concentrated and still he fell, until at one hundred feet he stabilized. He increased his speed. He was just a few miles away. He tried again to spot her but it was hopeless, and with the tears in his eyes he could barely see ahead anyway, so he slowed down and then reversed his position so that he flew backward. That was better. He looked below and saw some kids pointing at him and laughing. He realized he must look funny, flying that way. He guessed he was moving pretty slowly too. He was embarrassed, but decided to wave anyway. It was expected of him. And more important, it's what he expected of himself. To act the hero, to be the hero.

 

He went to Jill's house first but she wasn't there and her brother – he thought he remembered Jill telling him his name was Allen – didn't know where she was but told him to try Claire's. He looked surprised when Superboy asked him where it was. What did he think: that he was omniscient or something, that he'd memorized the Chester phone book? Claire lived five blocks away. Superboy would have preferred to jog over but it would have looked funny, so he leapt into the air and stayed high enough until he was out of Allen's sight, then he headed down, faster and faster. He was falling rapidly now and tried desperately to slow himself down. Was his flying power gone? No, he was slowing down his descent, but quickly running out of space.

 

A short distance away, in Claire's room, Jill interrupted her story about her kidnapping to turn her head. “Claire! Superboy's nearby. I can hear him rushing through the air. He must be looking for me. Omygod, he's practically falling out of the sky!” There was a crash, which Jill could hear although Claire couldn't. “C'mon, let's go see what happened!” She jumped up and ran down the stairs.

 

Claire followed behind as quickly as she could. “Wait! Wait up!” Jill stopped, sighed, and then the two girls ran out the door and toward the park, a block away from Claire's house. Superboy was getting up slowly, having ploughed a ten foot track in the grass. At first he was limping, but then his walking became normal, especially after he saw Jill and Claire running up.

 

“Cl – Superboy! Are you all right?” Jill asked, putting her hand on his shoulder. She was wearing her thick glasses, as she had in school.

 

“Of course I'm all right. Jeez. What do you think?” He scowled, but didn't take her hand off him and checked her reaction to his gruff words.

 

“It's just, I heard you falling and –

 

“I wasn't falling. I was flying. I just misjudged the distance. You know, without, uh, my –

 

“Super-vision?” suggested Claire, trying to be helpful.

 

Jill shot a look at Claire, who looked down at the ground.

 

Superboy looked at Claire. “Does she –

 

Jill shrugged. “Well, yeah. She's my best friend, Superboy. You know.”

 

“Uh, yeah. It's just a little embarrassing.”

 

“Don't be embarrassed, Superboy.” She reached up and kissed him on the cheek and put her hand gently on the back of his neck and brushed his lips with a kiss. He responded by holding the back of her hand and pressing her closer for a deeper kiss. She leaned against his body. Claire watched, her mouth wide open in disbelief.

 

After a minute, Superboy broke off the kiss and sighed. “I don't know why, but kissing you makes everything feel so much better.”

 

“Me too,” she said softly, caressing his chest. She remembered Claire standing nearby and pulled away a little. “Why don't we go over to Claire's house? She makes great hot chocolate. We can hang out a little and talk.”

 

“Well, I uh, OK,” he agreed

 

The three of them walked over, Jill and Superboy talking, while Claire just stared at him again and again. They settled in the kitchen and watched Claire heat the milk and melt in some chocolate baking squares. “She's really a great cook, Superboy,” Jill said. “You would not believe how good her apple pie is.”

 

Superboy nodded. Talking about Claire's cooking was about the last thing he wanted to do. He needed to get Jill alone.

 

“Claire! That smells so very good! Would you make one for me too?” Claire's mother called as she came into the house. She put her things down and came into the kitchen and stopped short when she saw Superboy. “Superboy! In my house! Y-y-ou just sit right there. Superboy's here, Claire! Superboy!”

 

He stood up gallantly and offered his seat to her, and she thanked him, took it, looked around the kitchen and immediately stood up again and began pacing around, cleaning counters and straightening up. “You kids just go right on talking. Don't mind me, please. I'm not one to interfere. Oh my! You're so very polite, Superboy, standing up for a woman. They don't teach that to young boys these days. I'm sure I have your mother to thank – oh but I don't know who she is, do I?”

 

“Mom!” Claire said, dying of shame.

 

“Quiet Claire! You'll learn that every boy enjoys a compliment, even from an old woman like myself.” She chuckled. “Where was I? Oh I must call Enid! She wouldn't believe this. And in my little kitchen. Oh! But before I do. Superboy, could I ask you just a tiny favor? Last week when I was washing the dishes after supper – Claire should have been helping but she was on the phone with Jill here – I had taken my ring off and it dropped between the counter here and the fridge. I asked Claire's father, Bob, to get it for me, but with his bad back he doesn't want to move the fridge. So I called my nephew, but he says he's much too busy, what with his paper route and his little band he plays after school. His mother, my sister, she just won't talk to him, no matter what I say. So to make a long story short, I just can't get it and it is absolutely my favorite ring. You see Bob gave it to me when we first met, when he was ever so much more romantic than he is now, and he – oh thank you so much Superboy. I'm sure it will only take you a moment, and then you can get back to your little chat. I won't bother you further. I know kids have a lot of things to talk about that are much more important than my little stories and problems.”

 

Superboy stood up and looked at the tight space in the kitchen. He wouldn't be able to lift it up, because it would go through a shelf. He'd have to push the kitchen table to the corner of the room and then slowly ease the fridge out and then get the ring. Of course, it would help if he had his X-ray vision, so that he could see exactly where it was.

 

Jill seemed to read his mind, because she called out, “I bet it's wedged right between the counter and the refrigerator, Superboy. Why don't you check it to make sure?”

 

Superboy smiled at her and then pretended to look for himself. “Why you're right, Jill. Good guess.” He slowly pulled the refrigerator out and looked for the ring in the empty space, but it wasn't there.

 

“Awww. It must have slipped underneath and gotten caught in the coils and dragged along when you pulled it out,” suggested Jill.

 

Superboy shrugged. He'd have to pick it up. He unplugged the taut electrical wire and slipped one hand beneath the refrigerator and lifted it, the refrigerator rising slowly to the ceiling. He looked down and saw the grimy ring and bent over to pick it up, but as he did so, the refrigerator started wobbling in his hands. He rushed his other hand quickly to steady it, then pulled the ring free, then using both hands again, lowered it to the ground, his heart pounding, whether from the fear of almost dropping it or the exertion of carrying it he didn't know.

 

He could feel Jill and Claire staring at him as he slowly pushed it back into place and plugged it in again, while Claire's mother chirped about having it again, then complained that it would have to be cleaned and straightened. “You know, you really can't see how nice it is now. Wilson's Jewelry will overcharge me, I know, but what can I do? Where else in this town can I go? Mallory's is much too expensive and Stern's, well, you know what they're like.” She put her hand on his shoulder. “Is there any way that you –

 

“Mom!” Claire almost screamed. Her mother turned around slowly, not removing her hand from Superboy, and was about to reprimand her daughter when Superboy cleared his throat.

 

“I think I'll have to take a raincheck on that hot chocolate, Claire. I should be starting my patrol.”

 

“Oh what a shame! Well, you're welcome to come back Superboy. I'm so glad you and Claire have become friends. She really is a delightful girl, most of the time, even though she's very quiet.”

 

“Thank you, Mrs. –

 

“Oh, call me Sally. All my friends do! And you're so mature for a young man, you should too!”

 

Superboy thanked her, excused himself and left, downcast. He'd accomplished nothing other than seeing more evidence of his fading powers. He was about to leap into the air to go home when he heard Jill calling his name and running after him, bidding him to wait. She reached him quickly and took his hand.

 

“Isn't Claire's mother a trip? But she really can be nice sometimes.” It was getting darker, and Jill took her glasses off and put her arm around Superboy.

 

“Can we at least take a walk or something?” He nodded and they headed back to the park. Jill guided him to a dark corner and they sat on a bench, holding hands. Superboy was feeling chilled in the autumn air, and he noticed that Jill's arms were bare and smooth. He put his mouth on her warm lips and then put his arms around her. Her warmth seemed to infuse him and he began to relax in one way – and stiffen in another. He held her more tightly, his left arm pushing against the delightful softness of her breasts. He felt very aroused, almost painfully so. He wanted more from her and turned his body against hers, but when his rigid cock started pushing against her leg he could feel her pull slightly away from him and withdraw from the kiss. He still held her, but he knew he'd reached her limit – at least for now. He held on, still kissing, hoping to spark the same interest in her, but soon realized he'd have to stop. He took his arm away from her front and settled back onto the bench.

 

“You're a good kisser,” he offered.

 

“So are you,” she replied. “I just –

 

“That's ok. You don't have to –

 

“Thanks.” She touched his hand softly and ran her fingers up his arm. He seemed firmer somehow than he was before they'd kissed. “Was the refrigerator … too heavy?” she asked.

 

“No! It … I …” He looked down. “Not at first, but … my arm got tired.” He turned on her, feeling stronger, more alert. He suddenly became angry.

“It's all your fault!” She didn't say anything. “Doesn't that mean anything to you?”

 

“I do feel bad for you,” she said slowly. “I like you – you're a good person and you try to be as good as you can be. That's really … admirable. I really do admire you. But you treated me like such a nobody before!”

 

“Jill, I said I was sorry about the party. But, as Superboy, I have responsibilities!”

 

“You DON'T understand at all!” she said, staring straight ahead as tears ran down her cheek. “Saying sorry doesn't help. I was totally humiliated, and the stupid creeps at my school just LOVED it. And I ALMOST forgave you the next day when you came by and you kissed me but then you just ran away AGAIN. You made me feel like I had bad breath or something, and then I decided I HATED you and I wanted to get you BACK.”

 

“But I couldn't go out with you anyway, Jill. If anyone knew I was seeing you, they could take you hostage or something, try to get at me by hurting you. I couldn't allow that.”

 

“Hah! That is such BULLSHIT. What about Lana, huh? Everybody knew SHE used to be your girlfriend. You always have some HIGH SOUNDING REASON for EVERYTHING you do!”

 

Superboy looked down. He hated been caught out in an inconsistency.

 

Claire knew she'd won and switched the subject. She wasn't sure how she felt about him, but she did know she didn't want to have a fight. “Please, let's not do this,” she said softly. “Are you really going to go on patrol?” she said even more softly.

 

He looked at her sharply. “Of course. I do it every day.”

 

“Yeah I know, but … you could get hurt.” He stared stonily ahead. “You almost fell out of the sky before. I'd worry about you.”

 

He couldn't believe she of all people was saying that. “I can still fly!” he protested.

 

She caressed his hand tenderly. “And what if you're not invulnerable anymore? You were shivering before. What if somebody shoots at you?”

 

“I feel fine now. It comes and goes. Look, I have to go.” He couldn't stand to hear any more of this.

 

She looked up at him, and then stood up too, right next to him. She put her hand on his shoulder. “OK. But please don't be mad at me. I'm really glad you came to see me. I'm just not … ready … to do more.”

 

“You were ready before,” he said cuttingly, “before you stole my powers!”

 

Jill's mouth dropped open. She couldn't believe he would say that. She was trying to be so nice to him. “That's not FAIR! How do you know what I was feeling? Or do you just assume EVERY girl wants you.” She looked at his steady eyes and set jaw and suddenly felt very exposed and defensive. “Oh, don't tell me – you used your super-smell to check me out.”

 

“I did not!”

 

“How do I know what you did? I do know one thing – until you started losing your powers I wasn't important enough to even get a mention in your diary!”

 

His lips were trembling with anger. “You had no right!”

 

She pulled away from him and glared. “Well, maybe I didn't, but I did it and it's done. Why can't you just forget about it?”

 

“No! I won't accept it. Not ever!” He said, clenching his fists. He stood stiffly, frustrated, still hurt by her rejection and more importantly angry at her for talking about his fading powers. “Fine. Maybe I can't change your mind. But there's still one thing we have to do, and that is to transfer my blood back to me, as we agreed last night.”

 

“I'm not ready – not yet.”

 

“Yes, now!” he insisted. “I can't let this go on.”

 

“It's not just up to you. I have to agree, and the way you're acting is not making me want to agree.”

 

“Jill!” He raised his hand to her, then stopped. “Jill,” he said, trying to control his voice, “this can't wait.”

 

“Oh yes it can! It'll wait as long as I want it to.”

 

He stamped his foot in exasperation and grabbed her wrists. She struggled to get free, but he was far stronger than she was. She kept pulling and then in frustration she kicked his leg.

 

“Ouch!” he said. And he froze. So did she. “No!” he cried. “NO!” He looked at her, feeling crushed. He rolled up his pants leg and saw a bruise form and then quickly heal. “Jill!” he pleaded, while she stared back at him, her face hard. “Jill, please!” She stood there stonily. He left her go and reached down to rub his shin once more and then turned, his shoulders hunched, and jumped in the air.

 

She watched him fly off. He circled the park and slowly gained altitude until he found the road to Smallville, then kept a steady pace above the road. She kept sight of him until he left town. He was flying more slowly than before but he just kept on, determined. Jill sighed. She had to admire that about him, but she sure wasn't going to help him if it meant giving up the chance to be super herself.

 

Jill turned her eyes to Claire's house and looked for her and found her in her room, doing her homework. She jogged over and knocked on the door. Her mother answered. “Jill! You must be freezing, going outside without a jacket! What would your mother say!”

 

“Exactly what you're saying, Mrs. Simmons,” she called, running up the stairs.

“If you talk to her, would you tell her I'm here?”

 

“All right dear. Yes, I have to tell her about Superboy!”

 

“Hi Claire!” she said brightly as she entered the room.

 

“Oh God! That was so horrible. I wanted to kill her!”

 

Jill waved her hand. “Don't worry about it. Believe me, your Mom is the last thing on his mind. All he can think about is losing his superpowers – and maybe a little of me, I think.”

 

Claire shook her head. “I can't believe this is happening. It's so great for you.”

 

“For us!” She went over and hugged her friend. “Can I help you with your math?”

 

22

 

Meanwhile, Superboy was steadily nearing Smallville. His super-vision was back, but only weakly, and everything was too fuzzy. He flew over the police station. Normally he would have been listening to the reports coming over the police radio, but that was beyond the range of his hearing now, so he had to stop in. He landed on the sidewalk and took only three steps to slow down, a big improvement from earlier in the afternoon, and went inside.

 

“Superboy! We've been trying to reach you.”

 

“I know. I've, uh, been having some trouble, uh, with my super-hearing.”

 

Officer Smith looked at him, concerned. “Is that right? Is it Lex Luthor, Superboy? Can we help?”

 

“No. I'm … sure it will get better. But that's why I came in to see you. What can I do?”

 

“Oh, it's the Morgan kids again. Old Man Olsen's car is missing and I bet they're out joyriding again. Can you bring them back in?”

 

“Of course. Any idea where they went?”

 

Officer Smith looked at him strangely, wondering why he didn't just use his telescopic vision to find them. “We think they're on the road to Hope.”

 

“OK. I'll get them.”

 

He ran out and leapt into the air. This was more like it. This is what he was good at. He sped along the Hope road and soon saw the car ahead, a ten year old Oldsmobile, doing about fifty on the rutted road and looking like it was about to fall apart. He accelerated and caught up to it, then went ahead. The Morgan kids saw him and pointed and started laughing and yelling and speeding up even more. Superboy sighed and slowed down to position himself in front of the car and started using his flying power to slow it down. Their speed quickly dropped to about ten miles an hour, but the kids kept gunning the engine and Superboy couldn't bring them to a complete stop, so he switched tactics and dropped his hands under the bumper to lift the car off the road and fly them back. But instead of lifting it clear off the ground, he was only able to raise it a few feet in the air. Fortunately it was a front wheel drive and without the front wheels on the ground it quickly came to a stop, but how was he going to stop the car for good without wrecking it? Worse, his arms were tiring and he'd soon have to drop it and start all over. Even worse, if he did the Morgan kids would know about his weakness and they would tell everyone! He forced open the hood and saw the fan belt spinning. That was it! He reached in and yanked it off. The engine roared – and so did Superboy from the pain. He looked down and saw blood spurting from his hand where the quick-moving fabric had ripped off a piece of his skin! He dropped the car, which rolled to a stop while he concentrated on his hand. Thankfully his skin healed almost before his eyes. He turned around to face the kids – but they had already fled the car, in opposite directions – and were running through the cornfields. Well, let them run. He knew where they lived and so did the police. He'd do a report and they'd bring them in.

 

He looked at the car, now sitting dead in the road. He tried to lift it, but although he could get it off the ground – just barely – he couldn't get it into the air. He'd just have to go back to the police station and tell them to send a tow truck. But how would he explain it without telling Officer Smith he was losing his powers? No! He just couldn't do that. What would he tell them? His mind drew a complete blank. He know only that he couldn't stay on the road like that. He jumped into the air, but this time he rose only slowly, and could fly no faster than thirty miles per hour. A car was heading down the Hope road, towards Smallville, and was passing him! He saw a hand point at him out the window. He wanted to fly higher to get out of sight, but he couldn't, so he veered off to the right, heading back to town from the east in big semi-circle. Even his hideaway didn't appeal to him. She had been there. All he wanted now was to go home.

 

He was slowing down even more now, probably going no faster than ten miles per hour, and losing height. He flew slowly over the school and saw a group of boys playing baseball. He wished now he was with them. He was fed up with being a superhero. He'd just disappear, be Clark Kent for the rest of his life. If that's the hand fate was playing him, then that's what he'd be. Then he saw a crowd at the edge of the field. What was going on there? He flew closer and landed. It was a fight. He'd have to break it up. He waded through the crowd, closer.

 

“C'mon, let me through. What's going on here?”

 

“It's Gudrun again Superboy. She's really giving it to Timmy this time. She's gonna kill him!”

 

“Why aren't any of you helping him?” Superboy said. They let him pass. Timmy was nearly unconscious, his face bloody, his shirt torn. Gudrun had him by the belt and was beating him unmercifully, her thick arm powering her hammer-like fist into his gut again and again. Her own shirt was ripped too, down the middle from her neck, and he could see one, large naked breast through the hole. He'd no idea she was so big. She looked at him and met his eyes and Superboy stepped forward and grabbed her arm. She dropped Timmy and turned toward him.

 

“You again. Why you always … take … other side!” she grunted, grimacing as she looked down at Superboy and tried futilely to pull away and get at Timmy.

 

“I take the side of anyone who is hurt or victimized,” he replied, putting his other hand on his hip. “I've warned you often enough. This time we'll let the police talk to you too.”

 

“They hurt me.... You never … help me,” she said.

 

The crowd laughed, confident now with Superboy there. “Poor Gudrun. Poor little Gudrun!”

 

She roared and, looking for a target, charged one boy. Superboy leapt forward to protect him and put his arms around her firm waist, pulling her back. Her breasts pushed outside her torn shirt and bounced against his arm and he felt himself getting aroused. No! Not now! He looked down to see if his erection was showing and she swung her arm wildly at him, knocking his head. He was stunned, staggered and saw stars. She pulled at his arms to free herself and Superboy struggled to clear his head and hold on. He succeeded and wrestled her to the ground, falling on top of her chest, his head resting right on her firm breast. She kept trying to free herself but couldn't break his grip. Still, her arms were free and she started punching him on his back and on the back of his head. He was feeling pain with every blow and embarrassment that he was lying with his check on her bosom. But first, he had to stop her from hitting him. He released his grip on her waist and grabbed her arms again, pinning her. He turned his head to talk to her, but looming between his head and hers was still her large breasts.

 

“What you DOING to me?!” she cried out. “You … rapist?”

 

“No! He cried out in reply, but his words were just muffled into her breast.

He realized she must think he was mouthing her. He had to do something, so she would understand it was all a mistake! He leaned upwards to get off her chest, but her bosom was so big that he had to use his hands to push himself off her to get high enough. She immediately started beating him again. “Don't!” he said. “Please. I only wanted to …”

 

“You just like others!” she shouted, her face contorted with anger and looked at him with total fury, then suddenly raised her leg and pushed her knee hard into Superboy's crotch. He'd never known such hurt. His field of vision went red and he collapsed back onto her, completely limp, as wave after wave of pain exploded through the middle of his body, nearly paralyzing him. He felt her rise and pull him up with her. He tried to stand and put his arms up, holding his palms open, motioning her to stop, but she took the opportunity to redouble her assault, hitting him again and again with her powerful fists, knocking him to the left with one blow and then to the right with another. The crowd was dead silent. She was beating him at will now, measuring her blows, each punch pushing him back several feet. He recovered enough to raise his arms in defense to block the blows, but each punch bruised his muscles and sent a new wave of pain through them. Soon he found his arms were moving too slowly to block more than a small fraction of her punches. She pounded on his shoulders and arms, until he could barely lift them, and then she went back to his head and torso, driving him backwards again. He swayed on his feet, looking up at his grinning tormentress. He couldn't take too much more of this. He had to fight back, take the offensive – and try to explain himself later. No more pulling his punches. He curled his fingers into a fist, summoned his strength and hit at the nearest target, her unprotected stomach.

 

She saw too late what he was doing and tensed in anticipation of a super-blow, but when he made contact she didn't utter a sound or move an inch, other than a modest shaking of her unbound breasts. She looked down at him and slowly smiled. Superboy stared back up at her, unable to believe that she had taken a punch with his full strength without any reaction! He must have unintentionally gone easy on her for fear of hurting her. But he COULDN'T do that! Not this time, not with his powers weakening. No! He needed to knock her out, quickly, and then he'd deal with his own problems – alone. He determinedly hurled a roundhouse blow to her chin, putting all of his weight into it and springing upwards with his legs and flying power. This time, she saw it coming and moved back a step, and as his arm extended she reached out and grabbed his forearm. He struggled to pull his arm away to hit her again but she held him fast, then spun his arm, forcing him to turn around as she twisted it behind his back.

 

“Ya! You … not strong …” she said triumphantly. “You … weak.” She pushed his arm upward and he cried out in pain, then she spun him back around and held him firmly by his upper arms. “You are phony Superboy … bad Superboy … with puny muscle! Cannot fool Gudrun … No!” She grabbed his upper arms and squeezed hard, closing her fingers around them and making him moan and then cry out in pain as her thumbs probed his biceps, pushing through them all the way to the bone. “Ya! Just puny … soft muscle.” She dropped his arms and grabbed his shirt by the “S” instead and lifted him up in the air with one hand. He hung limply from her hand, and even though she had left herself unprotected his arms felt too weak and sore to hit her again. His strength seemed to have deserted him entirely. What was the use? He looked down at her powerful chest, her breasts thrust out proudly from her shirt proclaiming her victory over him. And then there were her mountainous biceps.

 

He marveled at their size, feeling his own muscles to be inadequate by comparison. What strength she must have! What power! He stared at them with a desire that shocked him, not even noticing the big fist that was rocketing through the air into his cheek. She let go of his shirt as she made contact and he flew several feet through the air and landed roughly onto the ground on his back, dazed. She put her foot on his chest. Superboy pushed against her calf, unable to fully grasp her rock-hard thigh muscle with both hands, or to move it even an inch. He struggled to breathe.

 

“Maybe I the real super. Mine hard … much bigger than you.” She stood over him, raising her arms and flexing both biceps. “Ya. Strong is good.” The crowd looked up at her in awe and fear, her powerful arms and huge chest dwarfing them. “Feel better. Ya! Go home now.” She stepped off him, leaving him in the dirt, and pushed her way through the crowd, flattening a few boys on the way until they parted for her. Then they turned to Superboy, still groaning as he lay on the ground.

 

“Did you see that?” one said. “It's like she drained the power right out of him.”

 

“Yeah. She must be super! We're really in trouble now!”

 

“She must be at least twice as strong as Superboy, and millions of times stronger than us! She'll kill us!”

 

“Uh Superboy? Are you all right?” Johnny Nash asked.

 

Superboy stood up slowly, his face bloody and bruised. The crowd watched in wonder as the bruises slowly healed, leaving his face only a little puffy. He turned to them and started to speak, then just cleared his throat. He jumped in the air to fly off, but got just ten feet off the ground before falling back. He tried again and hovered five feet off the ground, moving through the air back and with the wind, fluttering like a leaf, and then floated back down. “'Scuse me,” he mumbled, and walked off toward the woods and the tunnel to his house.

 

Shivering, blue with cold, he reached it after a twenty minute walk and pulled the door open. He looked through the long, black passageway. How would he ever fly through it to get home? He crawled into the tunnel and splashed through a puddle of water on the bottom. He tried to fly and rose a few inches off the bottom, then propelled himself further with his arms through the tunnel. He ached all over, but at least he was making progress. In ten minutes he was under the house. He could hear his mother walking around above him. But how would he manage the curve up into the cellar? He crawled higher and higher, slipping backwards and then advancing again. It took almost half and hour but he finally reached the top, pushed the door open and hoisted himself upwards.

 

“Clark! Is that you?” She rushed downstairs. “I haven't seen you for – Clark! What's HAPPENED to you?”

 

“Oh Ma!” he sobbed, and stood up to be comforted in her arms.

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