By Heather K. Ward <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted August 1998
Summary: Working late one night, Perry begins to piece together a puzzle.
Disclaimer: OK, we all know how it goes. Lois, Clark, Perry, etc, all remain the property of December 3rd Productions, Warner Brothers, and ABC. No infringement is intended in any part by the author — who is not making any money and is also skint. So you can't sue me, you really can't. Please, sir — oh damn, help — Superman! Some suits from the TV companies are chasing me! Arrrgh! ;)
Author's Note: This is not only my first post but it is also my first L&C fanfic! I thought there were plenty of stories based upon Lois' discovery of Clark's alter-ego, but not many about other peoples'. So here's my attempt, although I'm not *too* sure as to where in the series this takes place. Just think of it as around there, somewhere. I'm planning on making this the first piece in the "Jigsaw" series, though I don't know how many pieces there will be overall, as yet. Please remember that the story is mine, mine, mine, so no copying! Direct all praise to — <email@example.com> and please be gentle. I'm only a sensitive soul, honest. But I LOVE receiving mail (hint, hint!). Thanks and enjoy ;)
The Chief looked up from the story he was reading over and saw its author, ace reporter Lois Lane, standing wearily in the doorway. He offered her his best fatherly smile in recognition of the late hour. "Night, hon. You get on home and into bed now."
She nodded, and, tan coat swirling around her, vanished.
Perry White, editor of the Daily Planet, watched the newsroom for a moment. Lois had been the last to leave tonight; only he remained, checking over her latest piece. Normally Clark stayed too, the ever-loyal partner, but he had left hours ago complaining of a bad headache. The poor guy was probably dead to the world, and didn't know about Lois' latest Superman scoop. Probably didn't know about the near-disaster at the airport, either.
It had been approaching six when the news came that a plane was in trouble over Metropolis Airport. Clark had left an hour or so beforehand, and was almost-certainly tucked up in bed by the time the news reached them at the newsroom. Lois had been off like a shot — as soon as the report arrived she'd started from her chair, then dived into the elevator when she heard Superman was already in action. For the next hours she'd been at the airport, taking notes, interviewing, watching from the ground the aerial battle of man-versus-plane.
Superman had only just landed the plane safely when a power cut at the control tower meant all communication between aircraft and control was lost; and all outgoing flights were cancelled immediately. With no one to alert the approaching planes of the problem except for Superman, it fell to him to do so. He flew from plane to plane, relaying commands, but when it became apparent that fuel was low, he had to 'land' the other waiting planes as well. And Lois had been there to see it all.
And had brought back a helluva story to boot.
Perry nodded in satisfaction as he finished reading. She'd get another Kerth award for this, there was no doubt about that. Unless Clark brought in a bigger one, that is.
Thinking of Clark made Perry reach into his desk and bring out his leather-coated journal. He always kept a note of what happened in the newsroom, and he wanted to note down Clark's early departure. A wry grin passed over his features as he remembered Clark's constant comings and goings — so hurried, so often, yet still his ace male reporter kept the stories coming. Sometimes the Chief thought the boy was running on solar power.
He found the date and wrote up the day's events. Then, with nothing better to do, he decided to read through his past entries — hell, they'd been getting better and better since Superman came to town. Always something happening; Lois and Clark always dashing here, there and everywhere; Clark vanishing with some insane excuse.
As he browsed through his careful notes, Perry was amazed to see how many times Clark had actually disappeared, leaving behind some strange reason — the dentist, the video store, the groceries. For fun he began to count them, then realised something.
For the past few days, Clark had run off before Superman had shown up to an emergency. Coincidence, it had to be.
Perry leaned closer to the book, flicking the pages quickly as he began to notice a pattern. For every time Clark vanished, Superman appeared. It was uncanny. Did Clark know when things were going to happen in advance? Was he — unlike those frauds on television — some sort of real psychic? Did he alert Superman, in an effort to help his friend prevent the disasters that threatened? Or -
There was only one way to deal with this now, and the 'old news-hound' felt that he had noticed something significant. He raced for the file they kept on Superman — all the Daily Planet's notes, articles and research — most of it by Lois Lane or Clark Kent. Why did he feel like that boy was hiding something?
Perry began to make notes on a nearby pad. Clark arrived at the Daily Planet. Not long after, Superman streaked the sky for the first time. Clark vanished, Superman appeared, did his business and then shot off into the blue. Clark re-appeared. Each time was the same — and Perry suddenly realised that he'd never seen the two in the same room. For all that they were friends, they never seemed close — yet they had some sort of relationship that he couldn't make out.
He found the notes Lois had made about the effects of kryptonite. The same day, according to his journal, Clark took sick. Very sick. Pasty-looking. He looked for more references to kryptonite, and each time, Clark had become ill.
He continued to work, making notes, researching, reading, suddenly fascinated at the way his star reporter's existence was inexplicably linked with the superhero's. He read everything at least twice, made speculations on his pad, produced a graph charting dates and Clark's disappearances. Then he marked Superman's actions. For an hour, Perry worked, then leaned back to survey the results.
"Judas Priest!" he yelped, mind suddenly too clear and throat too dry at what he saw. The results were stunning — but they were accurate, and all the evidence pointed to the same thing — the inevitable truth. Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter with a thing about mysterious exits — was Superman!
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