By Anne Spear <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: August 2004
Summary: Perry finds more than he bargained for in this extra scene from "The Rival."
This is a *very* quick piece of fluff that I wrote a while ago, then forgot all about. I want to thank everyone who voted for the title of this story. And a huge thanks to LabRat for editing.
"Hey, Chief. C'mon in." Clark Kent held the front door of his apartment to allow Perry White entrance. Both men were still dressed for work; Clark in dark blue pants, medium blue shirt with the sleeves rolled up and one of his famous patterned ties and Perry in a brown suit, white shirt and tan tie. "I just made a pot of coffee. Would you like a cup?"
"Well…since it's already made."
Perry wandered through the living room to the table as Clark walked directly to the kitchen. The younger man returned shortly with a tray containing a mug, spoon, small pitcher, sugar bowl and box of cookies.
"Nilla wafers?" Perry commented, lifting the box from the tray. "I haven't had these since I was a kid."
"Help yourself," Clark offered.
"So, what have you got so far?" Perry asked, reaching into the box.
"No proof yet…just more speculation," Clark admitted. "There was a robbery attempt at the Omir Embassy. I have nothing to definitely tie Carpenter to the thieves, but he always calls Linda *right* before something newsworthy happens to make sure she's nearby."
"Okay, the way I see it, our next step…" Perry was interrupted by an aggressive banging on the front door. Both men looked at each other, somehow knowing just who was out there.
"Clark Kent!" Lois yelled through the door. "I know you're in there! You'd better open this door!"
"Great Shades of Elvis! If she finds me here, the jig is up."
"You hide in the closet and I'll get rid of her," Clark suggested, heading for the door.
"It'd be easier to get rid of a pit bull," Perry muttered, grabbing a few more cookies. As he was closing the closet door, he saw Clark waiting to open the front door.
Once the closet door was completely shut, Perry could hear muffled voices from the direction of the front door. He took a step backwards and nearly tripped over a pair of sneakers on the floor. To regain his balance, he reached for the wall with his left hand and inadvertently pushed one of the hooks up. He gasped, thinking he'd broken it, until he heard a slight scraping noise behind him. He turned in time to see a panel sliding open. Holding Clark's business suits and dress shirts aside, he found three Superman suits and three capes on separate hangers.
<Hmm,> Perry thought. <I always figured the cape was attached…> Suddenly it hit him what he'd really found. <Clark is Superman?!? How could that be? He's so…so…*normal*!!>
One by one, scenes started flashing through his thoughts, like the time he found Clark in the closet leaning out the window. Could he have been using the closet to leave secretly? Or the hole that they'd found in the men's room stall door. Frank from Accounting swore he saw some guy put his elbow through the metal…until Human Resources sent him for drug testing.
All the times Clark had come in late, or left early, or made some flimsy excuse to take off in the middle of the day. They all made sense now.
Then there was that time during the Toaster's story…what was it he'd said exactly? "Ya' know Kent, it's always been my policy to back my reporters one thousand percent. I mean, if you went up there and opened those windows and told me that you could fly, I'd back you up. I'd miss you, but I'd back you up."
At the time, he'd tried to imagine the most outrageous suggestion possible. Little did he realize then, that he'd hit the nail *right* on the head. He could only *imagine* what Clark had thought at the time.
<What should I do next?> Perry wondered. <Do I let Clark know I know? Does Lois know? Should I just ignore this and let Clark tell me on his own? What if he never tells me? Would that be so bad? This secret must be a *huge* responsibility. Knowing without him knowing I know could be so much better. I don't have to worry about him or Lois getting hurt and I probably never even have to let on that I know.> He heard the muffled voices getting louder and realized they were coming toward the closet. With one motion he let go of the clothes he'd been holding, pulled the hook down to close the panel with his other hand and turned to face the door, just as Lois threw it open.
"Perry?" Lois asked, obviously not expecting to see the editor. "Either this is a lot sicker than I thought, or it's not what I thought. What is it?"
Perry sighed. <I guess I have a lot to think about,> he decided before giving Lois an answer.