By Catherine Semerjian <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted February 5, 1998
Summary: Clark feels guilty after a devastating car accident leaves Jimmy in a coma. While Lois tries to console him, she and Perry remember their first meetings with Jimmy.
Disclaimer: I don't have anything to do with Lois and Clark, I'm just a fan. Although I wish I were, I'm not making any money off of this fanfic.
"Hey, Jimmy," Clark called out. "Have you got those pictures from the Delani trial last week?"
Jimmy nodded, handing him a manilla envelope. "Thanks," Clark said. Jimmy gave him a funny look. "Just doing my job. Is something wrong?"
The Man of Steel was surprised at how perceptive Jimmy had become. "No, I just didn't get much sleep last night," he replied. A hostage situation had kept him up most of the night. Jimmy looked at him curiously again before walking off. Jeff Lucas, a friend of Jimmy's, suggested he take the day off. Jimmy wouldn't have minded so much if he could've shaken this feeling he had. The feeling that something was about to go horribly wrong. He was right.
Clark was just about to comment on how beautiful his wife Lois looked when he heard fire engines roaring down the street. "What's wrong?" the reporter asked urgently, knowing the look in Clark's eyes.
"There's a fire at the high school. Sounds like they'll need my help."
"I'll cover for you," Lois said. Clark grinned. She could read his mind sometimes. "Thanks. Back in a flash."
Jimmy's motorcycle weaved in and out of traffic easily. Wednesdays weren't usually that bad in Metropolis so he figured he'd be home in about five minutes. He jumped as he heard the sounds of car horns blaring. It was then that he noticed the black sedan on a collision course with him. There was no time to get out of the way. He was going to hit, and that didn't even scare him. Jimmy heard a loud thud. It sounded like something he heard on TV.
He didn't feel any pain and that scared him. Jimmy would have panicked if he had seen the way he hit the ground. He wondered why this felt familiar. He could hear shrieks of terror and people screaming for help. Then he heard a strange voice frightningly close to him. "Easy, young man. I'm a doctor. My name is Kenneth Rollins. I want you to lie still. You're hurt pretty badly and I don't want you going into shock. Now I'm going to take off your helmet-"
Jimmy hissed as the straps were removed. Now he could feel pain. Oh, God. He remembered this. This was just like the night when Mom died. He heard someone familiar say his name before everything faded to black.
"Jimmy!" Superman gasped at the extent of Jimmy's injuries. His head was bleeding. There were bruises forming on his arms and face and his right knee was wrenched at a sickening angle. Superman moved towards him, but the grey haired doctor who was kneeling in front of Jimmy stopped him; "No, Superman! We can't move him until the ambulance gets here. If there are any spinal injuries, they may worsen." The helplessness that radiated from Superman was palpable.
As usual the activity in the Daily Planet's newsroom quieted down for a moment as the hourly news came up. Anchorwoman Terry Smith's voice sounded, "A fire At Metropolis' Lincoln High school was easily put out thanks to the local fire department and Superman's quick actions. No one was hurt."
She paused for a moment as she listened to her earpiece, "I've just gotten word that there was a motorcycle/car collsion at twelfth and Bensonhurst. The driver of the car was intoxicated when he ran a red light and hit a young man on a motorcycle, injuring its passenger severly. The driver remains unidenfied at this time." Lois got a sick feeling in her stomach as the report continued, "The motorcyclist, who has been identified as James Olsen, a photographer for the Daily Planet has just been loaded into the ambulance-"
Lois didn't hear the rest of it. There was dead silence in the newsroom. It was so quiet that the Editor, Perry White, came out to see what the problem was. The drone of the T.V answered him, "It appears that Mr. Olsen collided head first with the intoxicated driver, who is being arrested. The condition of The Daily Planet photographer is unknown at this time. Metropolis News promises to stay on top of this story."
Lois surveyed the newsroom. Everyone looked badly shaken. Some of the photography department looked slightly sick. Perry was pale as death and looked like he was in shock. Abruptly, he snapped out of it. "Lois you're with me. Everyone else, try to get some work done. He'll be fine. Jimmy's a fighter." The confidence in his voice startled Lois. She didn't feel confident, she felt downright scared. "We'll take my car," Perry said as they walked out of the newsroom silently.
A coma. Clark couldn't comprehend it. Less than three hours ago, Jimmy had been going about his work in the Planet. Happy, light-hearted … and healthy. Now he was in a coma. If he could have gotten there sooner this whole thing could have been avoided. Jimmy's life was on the line and it was all his fault … And that damn driver's. Superman had never lost it like that before. Quicker than he realized, Superman had the guy by the throat, three feet off the ground. The police looked at him in shock. It was then that he understood. Hurting this loser wouldn't help Jimmy. The only thing he could do for Jimmy was stay with him. He leaned his head against the waiting room's white wall and closed his eyes. He was so tired from it all …
Before he knew it, a small hand was on his shoulder. "Lois?" He said in surprise, "How did you get here?"
"We drove," Perry replied for her. Lois sat down beside Clark, taking his hand in hers. Clark was grateful for the support. Perry finally asked the question that had been plaguing them, "How is he?" Clark told them. They wished he hadn't. Lois squeezed his hand, hard. Clark stood abruptly. "Here's the doctor," he explained.
Doctor Rollins didn't have very good news. "I'll be blunt with you. It dosen't look good. We've successfully operated on Jimmy's knee and stutured the laceration. The bruises on his face, arms and ribs will heal with time. We're trying to contact his family, but-"
"Jimmy's mother's dead and his father is never around when he need him." The bitter way Perry said this startled the doctor, who merely nodded. "He is still in a coma, but you can visit him. It's important that you keep talking to him. He's in room two oh seven."
The trio nodded and walked towards the room. They were afraid of what they might find.
Jimmy was incredibly pale and he was hooked up to a respirator. Lois gasped soundlessly. Perry closed his eyes, looking older than his years. Clark tried to keep the guilt off of his features. As they took chairs from around the room and brought them to the bed, Perry smiled sadly. "You have a knack for getting yourself into these things. Don't you, Jimmy?"
Lois looked at him inquisitively. "What do you mean, Chief?" She asked. Perry closed his eyes again. "It was about eight years ago…"
*Eight years ago*
A aging man named Perry White took a seat urgently beside a young man. "What are you in for?" the kid asked suddenly, referring to the hospital.
"My friend had a heart attack. You?" It was then that Perry took a good look at the kid. He had a bruise on his face and his left foot was in a cast. "Car accident. I'm waiting to see how my mom is." The boy's voice was tired and flat.
"Oh," Perry replied. They sat in silence for a few minutes before a doctor came to them. "James Olsen?" The kid looked up. "How's my mother?" he asked urgently.
The doctor shook his head. "I'm sorry. We did everything we could-" "I'm sure you did. Sometimes that's not enough." The kid could have been more than seventeen, but already he sounded like he had lived several lifetimes. His voice wasn't tired anymore, just flat.
"Do you have anyone we can contact? Your father-?"
"My father's never here when I need him! Why the hell would he be here now?"
The brief explosion had been unexpected, and it took Perry off guard. He didn't know what it was about the kid - the kind of long light brown hair or the big blue eyes- that sparked protectiveness in Perry. But it did.
"Do you have any family?" The doctor's voice softened. "Yeah. In Metropolis. They'll let me stay with them."
"Do you need transportation?"
"I'll take him." James turned to look at Perry in surprise.
"It's on my way," Perry explained. In Perry's car, the two of them talked for a long time. "See you later, James," Perry said.
The kid made a face as he fumbled with his crutches. "I hate it when people call me that. I prefer Jimmy."
Jimmy never talked about his family, so his story took the reporters by surprise. "I have to get back to the Planet," Perry said quietly, "call me if anything happens."
Lois nodded. The second the editor was out of the room, Clark sighed. "It's all my fault, Lois! If I had gotten there sooner, none of this would have happened."
"You couldn't have known this would happen," Lois said, "and that fire was all the way across town. Besides, not even Superman can be in two places at once." The kind words helped, but Lois could still see he was upset. She was too, but that wouldn't help anybody right now. "And if I know Jimmy, he'll come through." She smiled fondly. "He always has before." Clark looked at her. "It wasn't too long before I met you."
*Seven years ago*
"Hold that elevator!" Jimmy Olsen stuck his arm between the doors just as a short dark haired woman barrelled in, holding a huge box. "Thanks," she gasped, red faced. "I'd hate to climb up the stairs with this thing."
The kid smiled. "Oh! I'm Jimmy. Jimmy Olsen." It took a few minutes of moving the box for her to be able to hold out her hand. He shook it. "Hi, I'm Lois La-"
"Lois Lane, the new reporter, you're in from New York."
Lois raised her eyebrows. "Yeah. How did you-?"
"This place has a long grapevine," he explained, "In a week, you'lll know everything about everybody. Do you need a hand?"
Lois shook her head. "That would be great," she replied, handing the box to him. The doors opened. "My desk is this way." Jimmy smiled. She really was pretty.
"That's typical Jimmy behaviour," Clark grinned. Guilt still knawed at him, but it was fainter, now that he was talking about Jimmy. Now he was able to keep it at bay. A faint groan came from the figure in the bed.
"Jimmy?" Lois whispered, taking his hand. The kid started coughing against the respirator.
"Easy, Jimmy," Clark cautioned, grinning. "Just try to sleep now." Jimmy nodded and closed his eyes.
*One week later*
Jimmy Olsen had never been so glad to get out of a room as he had that hospital room. Even if it was on crutches. The doctors told him he'd be as good as new in a month. It didn't seem that long. His physiotherapist was gorgeous … The first person he saw at his 'Welcome back' party was Clark. He summed up everyone's feeling with seven words. "It's good to have you back, Jimmy."