By JJ <email@example.com>
Submitted December 23, 1997
Summary: Clark experiences a crisis of confidence just before Christmas, but a new "friend" gives him a different outlook.
It was Christmas in Metropolis. Actually, it was two days before Christmas. The Daily Planet was bustling about with excitement. Some people were handing in their stories. Lois and Clark walked in, hand in hand. Everything was right with them. They were happily married and had been for two years. Perry greeted them with a hug.
"Hello. How are my two star reporters?" Perry asked.
"You sure are in a good mood," Clark said.
"It's almost Christmas, and the Daily Planet is the number one read newspaper in the state. Life is good," Perry said. "Heck, it's a wonderful life!" He walked off to greet other employees. Lois and Clark walked off to their desks, laughing.
"I think it's safe to say that Perry is in a good mood," Clark said.
"Yes, that's true," Lois agreed. All of a sudden, Clark got that far away look in his eyes.
"There's a fire in someone's home. They're all trapped," Clark said.
"Go," Lois said. "I'll cover for you." Clark ran off and returned an hour later with tears in eyes.
"Honey, what's wrong?"
"I couldn't save them," Clark said. "I got there right as the building blew up. I went inside, and the whole family plus their tree and presents were burned. They were all dead."
Lois wrapped her arms around Clark.
"Honey, you did the best you could," Lois comforted. "It's not your fault. You save so many people, don't blame yourself."
"I just can't believe I let them down. They probably had that hope that Superman will be there and save them, and I wasn't," Clark said.
At the end of the day, Clark was still upset about not being able to save the family. Lois drove home, still trying to comfort Clark.
"Clark, honey, it really isn't your fault. You've helped the world in so many ways, and I know it's upsetting when you can't save that one family. Believe me, I know. I've been there before, remember?" She squeezed his hand. "No one blames you, honey."
When they got home, they put their stuff down.
"I'm going to take a walk," Clark said.
He went walking down the alley, and sat on a park bench. He put his face in his hands. "I can't believe I couldn't save them. I wish I had never been sent to Earth," he announced. "I wish my parents had kept me on Krypton. The Earth would have been a much better place without me."
"Are you sure you want me to do that?" a man who appeared out of nowhere asked. Clark looked up.
"Who are you?" Clark asked.
"I'm your guardian angel, Charlie," the man answered. "Do you really think that the world would be better off without you?"
"It couldn't get any worse," Clark answered.
"OK, we'll see about that," Charlie said. With a snap of his fingers, Clark and Charlie were inside of Clark's house in Smallville.
"What are we doing here?" Clark asked.
"We're seeing what would have happened to your loved ones if you had never been born," Charlie said. "After all, that is what you wished for. Watch and see exactly how important you are."
Martha and Jonathan came walking through the door, looking twenty years younger.
"I know, Jonathan, it's horrible!" Martha cried. "Our dream is broken. We can never have children!"
"What day is it?" Clark asked Charlie.
"I think it's July 28, 1966," Charlie answered.
"But that's the day that Mom and Dad found me," Clark said. "In fact, they found that out when they were out driving."
"No, no no," Charlie answered. "Lara and Jor-El never got you off of Krypton in time to save you. You never made it to Earth. You're not here."
"I feel I have no reason to live," Martha sobbed.
"I know how you feel," Jonathan answered. "I can't go on."
"No," Clark said, watching and listening outside the window. "They're going to kill themselves."
"Their dream ever since they got married was to have children to love. Without you, they had no children to love, therefore, they had no reason to go on," Charlie said.
Clark watched them walk out to the lake by their house. Clark ran out in front of them. "No! You can't go in the lake right there! It's 20 feet deep, and there's quicksand at the bottom!" Clark said.
"They can't hear you, Clark," Charlie said. "You died on Krypton, and you don't exist."
"I can't stop them from drowning themselves?" Clark asked.
"The only way you stopped them is when they found you in Schuster's Field," Charlie said.
Clark and Charlie watched Martha and Jonathan take each other's hands and jump in the lake for the last time.
"NOOOO!" Clark yelled.
"You didn't come to Earth, they had no reason to live," Charlie said. "OK, now it's time to go to Metropolis and see what happened to your friends and Lois."
Charlie snapped his fingers and this time they appeared in Metropolis in the Daily Planet. Lex Luthor stepped out of the editor-in-chief's office.
"How's my wife and mother-to-be?" Lex asked, bringing Lois close and kissing her.
"I'm perfect, honey," Lois said. "Kiss me again."
"Where's Perry White? Why is Lex editor-in-chief? And why in the heck is Lex married to my wife?! Lois said she loved me even more than Lex and didn't know why she said yes to his proposal," Clark screamed.
"OK, take it one at a time. Lex Luthor bought the paper, and Perry couldn't get along with him, and you weren't there to talk him out of it, so he quit and Lex also took the job as editor-in-chief. You weren't around for Lois to decide there were better men than Lex so she married him, and she's pregnant with his child."
"But Lex jumped off the side of his building to his death at their wedding," Clark said. "How is he still alive?"
"You were the one that made everyone suspicious of Lex blowing up the building. It was because of you that you, Perry, and Jimmy went after Lex to figure out that he was a criminal. So he and Lois went on to get married, and more."
"OK, I don't like what happened to Lois. What happened to Jimmy?" Clark asked.
"He's not around anymore. He left Metropolis and went upstate," Charlie said.
"What happened to him?" Clark asked.
"He's in prison. He didn't know what to do because you weren't there to guide him and tell him to be patient with Perry about getting to write a column eventually, so he started stealing from people," Charlie answered. "Do you understand how important you were to people's lives? You may not can save every stranger that's in need of some help, but remember how important you were to everyone else, everyone that you love."
"Charlie, why did you come down here? Just to show me how important I am to my loved ones?" Clark asked.
"Not only that, and you might help me get my wings," Charlie said. "Ever since you were a kid, I was waiting for that one time that you needed some help, and I could get my wings. Keep your ears peeled, because every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings."
"Well, no one deserves wings as much as you, Charlie," Clark said. "You've helped me a lot, and I appreciate it."
Charlie snapped his fingers and he was gone. Clark went to his house. "Help me get back. I want to get back to where I exist."
Lois stepped outside. "Clark, you're back! You had me worried, are you OK?" Lois wrapped her arms around him.
"Honey, life couldn't be better. Like Perry told us earlier, it is a wonderful life," Clark said.
"So you're feeling better about what happened earlier?" Lois asked.
"Yes. I found a friend while I was walking and he made me realize how lucky I am to have friends like Jimmy and Perry, parents like mine, and a wonderful wife like you," Clark said, bringing his face down to hers and kissing her.
"So who is this friend?" Lois asked.
"Actually, I had never met him before until tonight, but I felt like I had known him, and had a part of him with me all my life," Clark said. "Lets go inside, it's freezing out here!"
They went inside right as the bell hanging on the tree started ringing. Clark smiled. "Congratulations Charlie," he whispered looking up at the ceiling.
"Look Clark, we're standing right underneath the mistletoe," Lois said.
"We sure are," Clark answered. He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her.