By Trevise <JTRugga@aol.com>
Submitted May 1999
Summary: Metropolis is still reeling from the return of its hero, but right now Jon Kent has other things on his mind: like the beautiful new research assistant at the Planet! A sequel to the author's fanfic "Awakenings" and part two in the 'Jon Kent: The Adventures of a New Superman' series.
Hi everyone, and welcome to my Metropolis. In many ways, it's the same one you know: Lexcorp still runs half the city, you can always count on The Daily Planet for your news, and Superman patrols the skies. There the similarities end. Lex Luthor has been dead for years, the Planet is under the watchful eye of James Olsen, and Superman, well, if you haven't read my first story Awakenings, I suggest you do so. This will make a lot more sense.
As always, all characters, with the exceptions of the ones I have invented, are the property of DC comics, and the world they inhabit is based on the one from Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. I make no profit from these stories. They may be reprinted or re-used however you like, but you need to get my permission first. So there. And now, on with the show!
Rumors had begun to trickle in. Three men woke up on a beach after their boat sunk half a mile off shore in Hob's bay. A man swears his car avoided a collision at the last moment by "flying" over the local traffic after his brakes failed. A sudden gust of wind had put out a fire in a downtown warehouse before it got out of control while the surrounding air was perfectly still. And as the rumors gained momentum, one word was repeated, over and over, almost in a whisper, as if saying it out loud would jinx Metropolis' good fortune. Was it possible? After all these years? It seemed as if the entire city was holding its breath. And then, when on national TV, a plane that was surely doomed to crash literally floated onto a landing pad, and a blue-and-red clad figure with a very distinctive symbol on his chest emerged from underneath, a cry went up from the city that shook its very foundations.
Those too young to remember when he had first graced Metropolis' skies literally ran out into the streets to try and catch a glimpse of what they had only read about or seen in old news footage. Those old enough to remember began to give each other high fives and hugs as they told anyone who would listen about the time Superman had performed one fantastic feat or another. There were reports of grown men literally breaking down in tears of joy, of mothers refusing to send their kids to school because, as one mother stated, "What is happening at this moment on the news is far more important", and of complete work stoppages in just about every business in the city, because all of the employees were rooted in front of a TV screen.
Faster than the Man of Steel could have done it himself, T-shirts, sweatshirts, caps, action figures, calendars, lunch boxes, and all other types of memorabilia bearing the famous S-shield came out of boxes or closets to be proudly played with or worn again. Newspapers bearing banner-headlines like "HE'S ALIVE" and "SUPERMAN RETURNS" were selling out as fast as they could be printed. Everyone had a theory as to the fantastic return. Some said he had been in a coma for 20 years, others that the explosion had thrown him into another reality from which he was only now able to return. Claims that he had been cloned, that he had a twin brother, and that he had returned to New Krypton to heal all seemed reasonable as well. But in the end, no one knew the real truth, and to be honest, no one cared.
As camera crews and reporters from virtually every city, state, and country in the world were pouring into Metropolis Airport with every flight, it was to the Daily Planet they went to first to get the information they needed. After all, Superman's connection to the Planet was well established, and they had been able to scoop the world on his return. But what all those reporters didn't know was that when they badgered James Olsen for the story, they were asking the wrong person. For not 20 feet from his door, in the middle of the busiest place in the city on that day, sorting out the mail and quietly going about his business, stood the source of all the commotion. The spitting image of a father who twenty years ago had worked in that same newsroom, he was a quiet young man with dark features and gentle eyes. And, like his father, he was very careful to do nothing to betray his secret. His name was Jon Kent, but at the moment, the world was calling him Superman. They just didn't know it. He knew that no one had seen him in the suit up close yet, so no one knew that he was about 40 years too young to be the Superman everyone assumed he was. And that's how he wanted it until he thought up a good cover story.
Jon's day was ending, finally. At least his official workday was. He still had to patrol tonight, and he wanted to make sure that in all of the madness surrounding the return, things didn't get out of hand. Jon didn't know how his Dad did it. He knew his powers were a result of stored solar energy, maybe his dad could store more at a time than he could. Just as Jon was wondering how he could install a series of solar lamps in this apartment without being obvious, a bellow form the Chief's office interrupted his thoughts.
"Kent!" * Uh-oh * thought Jon. * That's the Chief's I-want-you-in-here-in-5-seconds-or-else voice. * And sure enough, as if time had stopped, the entire newsroom swerved to look at Jon, wondering what he could have done to receive such a summons so early in his newsroom career. Careful not to display any worry, Jon quickly walked into the Chief's office. Once he was inside and the door was closed, Chief Olsen's carefully crafted give-em-hell face fell away, and he sank into a comfortable-looking leather chair.
"Look, Kent, I know Superman's re-appearance is old news to you, but if you want to maintain the charade, you really should at least pretend to be excited by it."
Being invulnerable, Jon Kent didn't really know how most people would react to being hit with a ton of bricks. He guessed it felt something like this.
"Now, before you start protesting or asking me how I know, I'll tell you this. I suspected CK, your dad, for a long time, but never had any proof. And, well, the way he died made it seem very plausible that both Clark Kent and Superman would go to their rewards at the same time. Again, no proof, just plenty of memories." The Chief's eyes glistened with unshed tears as he allowed himself to briefly remember his friends. "But now, you showing up looking like a carbon copy of your father and having Superman triumphantly return within a few days of each other, well, it caused all of the pieces to fall into place. Your reaction was the final nail."
Jon just sat there in his chair in shock. Finally, in a quiet voice, he asked, "Do you think anyone else knows, Mr. Olsen?"
"I doubt it," he replied with a smile. "I'm the only one here who know both CK and the original Superman, and has met you. I'm sure no on else has figured it out. But if you want to keep people in the dark, you're going to need some help. Even your dad had to turn to Lois sometimes, and he had been doing this for a lot longer than you have. Oh, and in private, you can call me Jim."
It took Jon a second to assimilate what he had been told. "You mean you want to help me? What about the story? I'd have thought that with all this craziness you'd jump at the chance to—"
"Whoa, whoa, hold it! First of all, having been there when your dad was going through this, I understand the need for secrecy. I mean, if you had to be Superman 24 hours a day, you'd go nuts! No one ever thinks of that, but it's true. I can remember several times that CK came back from one of his famous disappearances, and just collapsed in his chair while Lois comforted him. At the time, I thought he had just exhausted himself chasing after a new story, but I know better now, don't I?" he said with a wink.
"Look, Chie—er, Jim, I really would appreciate the help. Do you think I could pick your brain for a few hours sometime? I would love to hear how Dad handles some of the more … interesting aspects of this job."
"Sure, kid. Love to. The first thing we can talk about is your cover story. Have you thought about how to explain your arrival? Or should I say reappearance? But for now, I think you had better get back out to the newsroom. We can talk later. Oh, and do me a favor. Look suitably chastised, will ya? I'm trying to maintain a rep here." This last was said with a quick wink.
"Right, Chief." Jon tried to contain the smile that was plastered across his face, and did his best to make his complexion go pale. Just as he was about to enter the newsroom and bemoan his fate as Chief Olsen's newest whipping boy, a whirlwind with light brown hair blasted through the door. "Chief, here's the copy on the latest Superman sighting the memos on that Presidential dinner your phone messages they're out of cream do you still want coffee and can I help with the story on the mayoral speech this time please?"
Jon stood there in shock, not just because she had said all of that in one breath, but because she was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. If she were older than his 18 years, it was only by a year or so, and when his eyes caught hers, he felt like he would drown. They were so green! He finally gathered enough of his composure to catch Chief Olsen looking at him with a twinkle in his eye. "Kent, this is Lynn Kingsley, my new office assistant. She seems to think that just because she finished a college degree before she turned 20, I should make her my star reporter overnight." Lynn looked slightly abashed at that. "Lynn, this is Jon Kent, our office boy and an old family friend." Jon winced slightly, and wished that the Chief hadn't said that. She had graduated college two years early, and now he looked like he had gotten a job out of favoritism. The fact that it was more than a little true hurt some too. She seemed to be thinking the same thing, for just then Jon noticed her shoot a disapproving look at him, mumble a "Hi, nice to meet you", and then refocus her efforts on the Chief. This time, Jon could see her strain to make her words come out slower.
"Oh, please Chief, I wrote my term paper on Mayor Grant's administration, I know it better than anybody, I know I can do this!" Just then she noticed Jon staring at her. "What? Look, you may be close personal friends with the boss, but I had to fight for this job, and one way or another, I will be a reporter." Then, as if suddenly remembering that 'the boss' was sitting 3 feet from her, she turned to him and began to quantify her statement. "When you think I'm ready, of course. I mean, I'm ready now, but I wouldn't want you to think that—"
Olsen quickly cut her off. "Look, I'll let you help Oldman with some of the background on this one, and we'll see how it goes, okay?"
Lynn at first looked like she was about to argue, but then decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and gratefully took the assignment. As she moved to the door, Chief Olsen threw out what seemed like an off-hand comment that was too well timed to be anything but deliberate. "Oh, and Lynn, get Kent here to help you. He's the fastest researcher I've ever seen." As she whirled around in protest, she found that the seemingly random comment had been delivered with a do-it-or-else gaze. "Whatever you may think, Lynn, I never hire someone who can't do the job. Got that?" Her mouth clamped shut before any sound could come out, and she nodded. "Good. Now get going, you two. I want that background by noon tomorrow."
Lynn nodded, and turned to her she hoped very temporary partner. "Come on, Jack, let's go."
"Uh, it's Jon, not Jack."
As they left the office, Chief Olsen could barely make out Lynn muttering "Jon, Jack, whatever, let's get this over with." As soon as the two were out of even Jon's earshot, he let out a low chuckle. "Well, I'll be. Here we go again." He leaned back in the chair, and his eyes scanned over the framed editions of The Daily Planet that were hanging from the wall. A fair number of them bore the byline of Lane and Kent. He remembered the days when a young Jimmy Olsen was wondering why Perry White was pairing the great Lois Lane with a completely unknown Clark Kent: sure, he had talent and initiative, but he was still a cub reporter, waiting for his first big story. He realized now that somehow, Perry had known that the two were meant to be together, both professionally and personally. As he pondered this, he looked out his window into the newsroom, and saw Jon leaning over Lynn's chair as she typed. It was a scene so familiar to him from twenty years ago that he nearly burst out laughing.
Olsen then fell back into his chair. "Well, Kent," he said to no one, "I've done my share. Go to it." As he stared at the rather gaudy velvet Elvis hanging on the wall, he again let his mind wander back to all those years ago, and smiled. Perry would have been pleased.