by Talya Firedancer

In Los Angeles Lois spends four days covering the race riots and has ten close calls, one nail-biting, hair-raising near miss, and a severe fender bender before realizing Superman is not coming to save her this time. She doesn't call out for him, but then, she doesn't usually have to.

It's then that she realizes every time she thought she was going to die, he was there. Even when the 777 failed to detach from the space shuttle when that sonic boom sent them hurtling toward the end of atmosphere, when for all anyone knew Superman was gone forever, he'd come for her.

It takes her a few days to figure it, while she covers beats the way she hasn't since her cub reporter days.

During her close calls, there's always someone -- a hand to jerk her back onto the curb, a quick-footed person pushing her out of the way when a hail of bullets whiz past, even, once, a foot to trip her and cause her to stumble and fall when a punch was thrown at someone else and she would've gotten in the middle of a bone-crusher. The more scrapes she avoids through someone else's all too timely and sometimes downright miraculous interventions, the more she begins to notice there's superhero action all over Los Angeles - but none of it is the suited kind.

They're all incognito. She pieces it together into a story behind the breaking news stories. This is the true heroism, the unaffiliated call to answer help wherever it's needed, regardless of who's shooting or looting. It's about rising above the circumstances and making the world a little better than it was before they took action.

She thinks of Richard, and the things he never told her until it was over. This brings to mind, inevitably, the litany of her own undisclosed items, and she doesn't blame him for leaving.

Lois picks up the phone, time and again, but she can't quite make herself call, even to hear Jason. It's too late, she tells herself, he'd be asleep, or he's at school, and she blames the time zone, her crazy schedule, or not wanting to bother Richard at times when cell phone would be the only means of reaching them. She's not sure she wants to know how well her little family is doing without her. After it's been a week and the story has burned itself out like the bright, white-hot fires of the riots themselves she hits a wall and admits she'll have to go home and find out, after all.

At the airport on the flight out she finds a Jason-sized tee shirt at a shop on the way to her terminal, agonizes briefly that there isn't something better, and boards a plane bound for home.