By Maria TB Mendoza <Gedri@hotmail.com>
Submitted July 1999
Summary: The latest (#4) in the author's "Knowledge" series, this story gives us Perry's viewpoint on the actions of his "children," Lois, Clark and Jimmy.
Author's Notes: I guess my Muse is going to make this into a series whether I want her to or not. This story follows "Maybe I need Glasses", "A Fear of Communication", and "I Heard You Talking" and, since I am currently working on two other stories that will fall into this line, I decided it might be wise to start numbering them so you would know what order they went in. I am calling this the "Knowledge" series as it is mainly concerned with how others receive, and react, to the knowledge of Clark's secret identity. And, please, remember: Writers thrive on feedback. <G>
Thanks again to Andrea and Ms. Klingler for doing such a great job of beta reading.
<There they are. My best and, though no one admits to noticing, favorite team.>
Watching the young couple working contentedly at their desks, Perry White, Editor of the Daily Planet, had to smile. <Best move I ever made sticking you two together. >
Getting up for a donut break, Clark Kent stopped to say something to his partner. Seeing the smile they shared, Perry chuckled and looked back at the article they had given him only minutes before. <Your usual great work. >
It wasn't the article that made him chuckle, though. Turning his chair toward his framed photo of the King (AKA Elvis Presley), he propped his feet on a stack of files lying on the floor and relaxed. "You know, King, those two are a real piece of work."
Lifting his mug, he silently toasted the King and took a long sip. "After today, something tells me they are only going to get better. And poor Jimmy, I'm not sure how he got mixed up in all this but it'll sure help the boy to spend more time with those two."
Thinking back to earlier that day, he took another long sip from his mug. Leaning back more comfortably, he thought about everything that had happened. "Yea, King. After today, things are sure to get more interesting."
__NINE O'CLOCK THAT MORNING__
"Lois, it won't work." Perched on the edge of her desk, Clark looked pleadingly at his partner and best friend.
"Sure it will, Clark. We go in, get the interview, and are out in no time. Relax, nothing is going to happen."
"Haven't you noticed? When you're involved something always happens."
"Then it's just a good thing you and Superman are always there to save me."
Pushing her chair back from her desk, Lois headed straight for Perry's office, leaving Clark to trail behind.
"Lois, Honey, why do I have the feeling I am not going to like whatever you are about to ask me?" Standing in his doorway, and having heard their entire conversation, Perry tried to hide a smile. <Looks like "Mad Dog" Lane's about to pay me a visit and her visits always bring a front-page story. >
"Perry, not you too! What is the big deal? It's just a little risk that could mean a big story. Anyway, the guard will be there if anything goes wrong."
Preceding Perry into his office, Lois took a seat and made herself comfortable. Looking up, she waited for them to come in and close the door. "OK, Lois. Let's hear this little risk that means a big story."
Listening to Lois explain the supposed black market ties to the Mayor, the blackmail used to control city council decisions, and basically a story that really would ensure a front-page placement, Perry couldn't help but notice Clark. <Sorry, Son. It looks like there's no way out of it. Once she's gotten herself this deep in a story, there is *no* way to get her to let it go. And you wouldn't have it any other way. >
Although he had seen them fight, and once or twice feared one of them (Lois) would actually take a punch or two at the other (Clark), he knew that they were meant for each other. <You two are certainly opposites that attract. >
Thinking back to the day he had first introduced them, he remembered how shocked Lois had looked. <Clark, my boy, you didn't stand a chance once you got a look at her. And Lois, darling, you were a gonner just as fast. You just fought it a little better. And you can definitely fight. It took forever just to get you to stop arguing with me when I said Clark had to work with you on a story. Now look at you. You two might as well be joined at the hip for all the stories you do on your own. >
As Lois continued talking about the big scoop Bobby Bigmouth had given her that morning, Perry noticed Clark quietly slip out of the door. Watching him, Perry saw him stop by his and Lois' desk to pick up their coffee cups. Filling them from the pot in the corner, he headed back toward the office. Entering the room, he reseated himself and held out Lois' mug. Without a noticeable pause, she reached out, grabbed the cup, took a sip, and continued talking. <You two are definitely something special. > As his younger friends, and children of heart if not of blood, stared at him; Perry couldn't stop himself from laughing.
"I am *so* glad you find our corrupt Mayor something to laugh about," Lois said sweetly.
Having known her long enough to realize that a *sweet* Lois was a *dangerous* Lois, he quickly held up his hands in a sign of surrender. "Sorry, Kids." With a deep breath, he fought to stop the chuckles that refused to stop. Quickly, the two reporters shared a glance that meant nothing to him but apparently communicated something to each other. "Sorry, Lois. Just give me a minute." Taking another deep breath and counting to ten as the stress coaches were also telling him to do, he managed to calm down a little.
"I'm sorry, Lois, but you two are just too much for an old man like me to take."
Sharing another private glance, they both turned confused faces toward him and waited expectantly. Taking another sip of her coffee, Lois raised a questioning eyebrow and, motioning Clark to sit down from his standing position beside the desk, made it quite clear that no one was going anywhere until that statement had been explained to her satisfaction.
"Do you remember the first time you two met?" he asked after he took a sip from his own mug.
"Sure," Lois said. "I came in here with a big story and you told me this 'Boy Scout' was supposed to be my partner." Chuckling with a glance at her partner, she gave him a smile to take the sting from her words. "I remember thinking he must be someone's son or something. I was also half convinced you wanted me to get rid of him. After all, why else would you partner him with *me*?" With another smile at her partner, she reached out and patted his shoulder. "Luckily, I took pity on him and wasn't too rough."
"Not too rough, huh?" Grinning, Clark focused incredulous eyes on Lois. "You nearly got me *killed* before I'd even been here a week. If that was how you acted when you were being generous, I am definitely glad you didn't take offense toward working with me. I probably wouldn't have survived very long."
"Oh, I don't know, Clark. You seem to be a rather *strong* person. Something tells me you'd have survived with *flying* colors." Watching another of their conspiratorial glances, Perry grinned. <Wonder what you are "saying".>
Watching them stare at each other, Perry noticed something else. <The confusion/tension you two usually carry is gone. > From the moment he had paired them, he had noticed that there seemed to be something stopping them from getting as close as they both obviously wanted to get. That was gone now. <I don't know what you've done, but I'm glad it finally cleared the air between you.>
Turning to the suddenly wide flung door, the three looked at a rushed and red-faced Jimmy Olsen. "Fire at 10th and Joteal. Fire trucks are on the way. The whole block is supposed to be in danger and a bunch of buildings are already completely gone."
"We're on it." Grabbing Clark by the arm, the two left the room. As she passed him, Lois grabbed Jimmy with her free hand and, without stopping, pulled him with her. "Jimmy, you're with us."
Pushing the two men ahead of her, Lois stopped only long enough to grab her coat, purse, and note pad from the top of her desk. The three were quickly standing before the elevator but, just as it opened and they began to enter, Lois pushed Clark back out.
"Clark, I forgot my notes on the Fizsas article in the archive room. Go get them before someone accidentally throws them away. We'll meet you there." As she and Jimmy disappeared behind the closing elevator doors, Clark quickly ran down the side hall. Watching him, Perry noticed him duck into one of the storage rooms. <So you finally told her; guess that explains some of your glances. It's about time she knew. >
__ELEVEN O'CLOCK THAT MORNING__
As the three young people came into the room, Perry rose and moved toward his door. Listening to them talking, he smiled.
"—and you could have just ducked with her under the car."
"Lois, I was trying to keep a little girl from being turned into a charcoal briquette. I wasn't thinking about whether or not I might get hurt. I mean—man, Lois—she is a little kid. Anyway, it would be easier for the fireman to find me than to find her."
Watching the couple walking toward him from the elevators, Perry chuckled. "Something happen?" he said with a raised brow. <As if I really needed to ask. >
"Yea, Perry. Something happened. Jimmy here decided to be a hero. With the entire road filled with firemen, he spots this little girl trying to run into the fire. Seems she forgot her doll in it or something. Well, she decides to sneak in. Jimmy sees her, manages to grab here and roll her under a car just before a beam comes loose in the building and starts falling right where she was standing."
"Jimmy, Son, are you all right?" <You don't look hurt, a little dirty but not hurt. >
"I'm fine, Chief. Superman saw us and grabbed me before I got more that a little ash in my hair. It was no big deal."
Seeing how the younger man ducked his head, Perry knew it *was* a big deal. <I won't push, but I'm definitely gonna hear more about this. >
About to ask another question, Perry noticed something new. Lois was standing with her hand resting gently on the younger man's arm. <There's something else—> Looking closer, Perry figured out what it was. They were more connected.
Though they had always been cordial and had even managed to become friends since Clark arrived, they had never been especially close. Looking at them now, he realized that could no longer be said. <You look like little kids who have just joined a secret club. That is not just what you look like—it's what you are. > Noticing the looks on their faces as Clark exited the elevator, he figured it out. <Judas Priest! You *both* know. > Waving a quick hand at Clark and admonishing them all that he expected their work in his office by deadline, he quickly returned to his office.
<How did you *both* figure it out?! >
Grabbing his cup of coffee, he took a big swig and tried to figure out how it could have happened. <I was surprised that Lois knew, but I've been expecting it. Lois is a very bright girl and she couldn't have missed it for long, though I did think she would have caught on before now. > Sitting down behind his desk, he continued speculating. <Did you find out together? Did Clark decide to tell you or did you each figure it out on your own? Did one of you get the idea, tell the other about it, and then both prove it true? Did you figure it out together and confront him? Did he admit it once you knew or did he try and hide it? Maybe tell you that you were wrong and whatever proof you had was just coincidence? > Glancing up when he heard someone walk by his door, he waved at Clark to enter.
"Yes, Sir?" asked the dark haired head that popped into the room.
"Close the door and come here a minute." As Clark did as he was asked, Perry turned his chair to look directly at the younger man. "I was wondering what happened to Jimmy." <I was also wondering how he and Lois learned about who you are. > He fought to hide his grin at what Clark would do if he actually asked what he was thinking.
"A little girl tried to sneak back into the burning building to save a doll she had dropped. Jimmy managed to see her before she could get in. Unfortunately, there was a loose beam just over where they were crouched. He pushed her under a nearby car so she could try and crawl out the other side and avoid the fire in front of them. He did keep her from getting hurt but he nearly got himself trapped under the beam. Luckily, Superman was there and was able to grab it before it reached him. Jimmy's a little shaken up, but he's doing OK. I just came by to tell you that Lois and I are going to take him to lunch unless you needed us to do anything else before we left."
"No, Son. You three just go and have a good lunch. Make sure the boy's OK. If you need to stay out a while, do it. I'll call if anything important come up."
"Thanks, Chief. You want us to bring you anything?"
"No. I'm fine. You get going."
Turning to look out the door, Perry watched Clark head back for his desk. Grabbing his coat and motioning to Lois and Jimmy that it was clear for them to go, the three headed for the elevator. As they waited for the doors to open, Perry studied them. <Lois looks more relaxed; like she just solved some puzzle that's been bothering her for a while. Jimmy looks older; he's been given a secret that few share and the knowledge has given him more confidence in himself and his friends. Clark looks fit to burst; I don't know if I have ever seen him so contented looking. They all look better. A shared secret is a great bond strengthener. >
Shaking himself from his introspection, he reached for his lunch and began to eat while quietly reading the stories he had already been given that morning.
__ONE O'CLOCK THAT AFTERNOON__
Watching them, Perry smiled. <I don't know what you two did, but Jimmy is definitely back to his old self. > Laughing as yet another girl smiled at his youngest "child" and gave him her phone number; Perry got up and called his "children" into his office.
"What's up, Perry? I'm almost done with that fire piece and I think it'll really work with some of the shots Jimmy got." Seating herself comfortably in one of the office chairs, Lois looked at Perry impatiently. "Yea, Chief. I was just about to set up a date with Amber. I've been trying to talk to her for a week." Glancing through the window, the young man watched his latest love get into the elevator with another of the gophers. "On the other hand, take your time. Looks like she and Kevin are going to be busy." Slumping into a chair, he looked dejectedly at the room's other occupants.
Hiding a grin at his friend's exasperated expression, Clark just looked at Perry with a raised eyebrow.
"OK, folks, here's the problem. I just got word that there is going to be a big journalism conference next month. I have been ordered to send my best team to represent the Planet. That means you two. And since I'm going to need some photos, I thought I'd send Jimmy with you. Think he can handle it?"
Watching them, Perry could almost see the silent messages flashing between them.
"Yea, Perry. I think he can handle it."
Nodding, he handed them each a copy of the conference information he had just received a few minutes before. "Here is what I've been given so far. I'm expecting a copy of the guest list as soon as it is made. In the meantime, you can look forward to it."
"Yea. Just the way I love to spend my days: surrounded by people I don't know or don't like and listening to them talk about how great they are. Yea, I am definitely looking forward to this." Standing impatiently, Lois stalked back to her desk with the paper crushed in her hand. Stuffing it angrily into her desk, she got back to her typing with only a token glance in their direction.
"Well, I'm looking forward to it. I've never been to one. What's it like?"
Winking at his boss, Clark grabbed Jimmy's arm and, while talking about the first conference he had attended, guided him out of the office. As they reached his desk, they soon had Lois talking as well.
<I don't know how you three got together, but I'm sure glad you did. >
Chuckling at the sudden laughter that came from Clark's desk and the embarrassed silence from Lois', he finished filling in their names for the conference's RSVP and quickly faxed it out.
<You are definitely going to make us look good. > Watching them continue to talk and type, he relaxed and went back to editing some of the other stories he had waiting for him.
Turning when he heard a soft knock on his door, Perry motioned Lois to come in.
"We're heading out. See you tomorrow."
"See you then, honey."
Turning silently, Lois waved at Clark and Jimmy and the three slowly headed for the elevator.
<I don't know how it all happened, but I am sure happy for you. >
Putting their story into the Outbox, he slowly got up and started getting ready to go home as well.
<Maybe one of these days you'll decide to let your old boss in on the secret. > Chuckling as he pictured their faces realizing that he had known all along, he slowly picked up the last of his stuff and closed the door to his office. Waving to the night staff, he headed home. Stopping in the garage, he silently watched Lois, Clark, and Jimmy.
Saying their good-byes, the three were apparently agreeing to some plans for the next day's dinner. Seeing them get into their vehicles, Jimmy onto his motorcycle and Lois and Clark into Lois' car, he felt a warmth fill him. <They have finally realized what a family is all about. >
Slipping into his own car, he turned on his new Elvis tape and began to joyously sing along. <My kids are getting along. My 'son', Clark, has finally let his friends know his secret and has been strengthened by it. My other 'son', Jimmy, has been given another reason to grow up. And my 'daughter', Lois, has learned that her idol is also her best friend and has someone to share that gift/burden with. Yep, this has definitely been a good day.>