Ugh, just what I need! Jimmy thought, rubbing his head. Not being able to talk to Lois or Clark anymore…
Yeah, I know! It feels like we were finally getting somewhere, too…
Jimmy jolted. L…Lois? Is that you?
Wh…? Uh…yeah, I guess it is.
Well, that's convenient! Jimmy thought at her.
I guess it shouldn't be a surprise that this is possible, he thought – more to himself this time. After all, I did hear Clark's voice in my head earlier, before I even knew what was going on.
Lois "took a breath". Well, now that I realize what's happening…this…this is different. Jimmy, I…I think I can see through your eyes.
Y-yeah. Me too, Clark said.
Whoa. Wild, Jimmy thought. I guess this makes it easier for you to help me get to the bottom of what's happening! Jimmy jumped out of bed with a sense of enthusiasm he hadn't felt since Lois and Clark had become victims of the machine.
His happiness was suddenly interrupted by a cutting, throbbing pain in his head.
"OW! Ow-w…" Jimmy staggered to the ground.
Jimmy! Clark shouted out. For a second, the word seemed to make the headache sting even more.
Jimmy simply lay on the floor for a minute. "Ooh…ugh…" He pushed himself up and rubbed his head; the pain was beginning to let up.
…Jimmy? Clark's voice was incredibly quiet and mousy, like he wasn't really sure if he wanted to be heard.
"I-I'm fine, Clark, really," Jimmy said, thoughtlessly saying the words out loud despite not needing to. He got to his feet. "I get these pains a lot lately, but uh…I'm dealing with it, I guess. All the more reason to get you guys back in your own heads, right?" He tried to seem cheerful.
Jimmy could feel Clark's continued concern and guilt in his own head. It was kind of a strange sensation – it was sort of like being able to look at Clark's face and see the emotion on his face, except, well, the feeling was just there, inside his own mind, almost as though it was his own emotion, except somehow just barely removed enough that he could tell it wasn't.
"Let's, uh…let's just worry about trying to find out the answers, alright?" Jimmy continued. He felt bad that Clark felt so guilty and worried about him.
Er…Jimmy? Have you tried contacting Superman yet? Lois asked. I mean, I'm not sure what exactly he'd do, but it seems like he'd be able to help somehow.
Jimmy suddenly felt a burst of intense, fearful anxiety, so much that he felt a small rush of heat go through his body – but he could tell that the emotion didn't belong to him, but to Clark.
Apparently, Lois noticed it too. Uhh…something wrong, Clark? she said, her concern mixed with confusion and bemusement.
No! Clark blurted, but Jimmy could almost feel he was lying – not that he needed to, since Clark's continuing nervousness was still very evident.
"Uh, Clark?" Jimmy said. "What's the deal? Uh…do you…know something about Superman we don't, or something?"
No! I…I… Suddenly, Clark seemed to be…disappearing. Almost as though he was…running away.
Clark! Where are you going?! Lois shouted. But it was too late; by the time the words left her mouth (well, so to speak), he was already gone.
"C-Clark? Where…where are you?" Jimmy said, a bit stunned by what had just happened.
Lois was quiet for a second. He's…he's gone, she said, as if the fact had just sunk in.
"Wh…but that makes no sense! He's in my brain! Where could he have gone? And…and why?" Jimmy said, so flustered and confused he was almost indignant – though he could feel worry creeping in too.
I…I don't know, Jimmy, Lois said. He's just…not here.
Jimmy was quiet for a moment, not sure how to react or how to respond. He almost felt like how he did when looking at Clark's unconscious body. He felt a sigh deep within him.
L-listen, Jimmy, he couldn't have gone far! Lois said. I mean – like you said – he's trapped in your brain.
"Y-yeah, but why?" Jimmy said. "You just mention contacting Superman and suddenly he gets so scared he 'runs away', however that' s even possible. Why?"
Well, it's not like Clark Kent getting scared and running away is something surprising, Lois said gruffly.
"Lois…" Jimmy groaned in a decidedly annoyed way.
Sorry, Jimmy. Lois sighed. I just…I just don't know what to say. That Clark…argh! I just don't understand him sometimes.
What? Lois said.
"Nothing…it's just, uh…it feels like you're being a bit more critical of Clark than normal."
Not really. I just dial it down a bit when I'm around you, Lois said.
Jimmy blinked again. This time, Lois did too…or at least it felt like she did.
"You're just being kind of…uh, candid," Jimmy said.
Y-yeah, I guess I am, Lois said, seeming to see what Jimmy was referring to. I'm not really…trying to.
"Well, maybe it's because it's you're in my brain – it's harder to hide your thoughts, and all that," Jimmy suggested.
I guess that would make sense, Lois said. Hmmm…do you think that might be able to explain why Clark "ran away" too? Like, maybe he had some sort of secret…that had something to do with Superman, I guess? I mean, it doesn't make a lot of sense, but…well, what else could it be?
"Maybe. I don't know, Lois. I really don't know," Jimmy said with a sigh.
There was a pause.
Um…come to think of it, you never did say if you managed to contact Superman, Lois said.
Jimmy sighed again. "I used my signal watch, but…he just didn't show up. Come to think of it, I don't think Superman has shown up anywhere in the past few days."
Really? Not at all? Lois said.
"I don't think so," Jimmy said.
That's…kinda weird, Lois said. Well, maybe you should double-check that, Jimmy. Heck, maybe you can even convince the chief to give you that as an assignment or something.
"Yeah…oh, snap! I'd better get ready for work, and stat!" Jimmy said. He jumped up and started removing his pajamas.
Lois began to feel uncomfortable.
Jimmy stopped in the middle of pulling off his pants. "Oh, uh…yeah, I guess this is kinda…awkward…"
D-don't worry about me, Jimmy. Seriously, Lois said. You have to get ready and…do what you have to do. I mean, there's no way around it. So just don't…worry about me, or anything.
"Um, alright," Jimmy said. I'll already be worrying enough about Clark, anyway…