By Maria TB Mendoza <Gedri@hotmail.com>
Submitted June 1999
Summary: Jimmy overhears a certain conversation and learns a secret. What should he do with this newfound piece of information?
Author's Note: I didn't intend to write a series but that seems to be where this is headed. You should read my last two stories for this one to make full sense. Andrea, thanks for helping me come up with this!
<> Denote thoughts
"You never needed to compare us. We act differently; Superman is confident while I'm more mild mannered. We definitely dress differently. We even talk differently. There was no reason for you to think of us as the same person, so you just never noticed the things we did have in common."
<I hadn't meant to eavesdrop. > Returning from getting a last picture of the Mayor, Jimmy Olsen had over heard Lois Lane and Clark Kent talking. As everyone knew they were in love—every one but the two of them, that is—he stopped to make sure he wasn't interrupting anything important. What he had heard was definitely important, but it was not in the way he had expected.
<CLARK was SUPERMAN! > Soon the couple headed back to the Planet. Caught up in talking, they had apparently forgotten he was there. He stood frozen in the hallway. He couldn't believe it.
Mechanically, he ran the pictures back to the Planet. Calling Perry, he said he wasn't feeling too well and was heading home. When he got there, still in a slight daze, he took a shower and fell into the bed to try and make sense of the information that had just thrown his reality into chaos.
<Oh, yeah, this has definitely been productive. > Lying on his back, Jimmy Olsen stared at the ceiling, wondering about his sanity. <Maybe I misunderstood. They could have been talking about something else and I just came in at the wrong time. > Even as he thought it, though, he knew he hadn't misunderstood anything. He had heard them; he had understood just fine. <Clark is Superman. My best friend is the strongest man on earth. My best friend is from another planet. My *best friend* has lied to me from the moment we met. > Getting up restlessly, he got a soda and walked over to the window. <I wonder if you're out there saving someone's life. Or are you at your apartment working on a new story? Maybe your having dinner; didn't Lois say something about your having dinner with her tonight? > Staring at the sky, the young man thought about his two closest friends.
Lois and Clark: the best investigative reporting team in Metropolis. Lois and Clark: renown for having a love obvious to all but each other. Lois and Clark: personal friends of Superman and magnets for danger and disaster. Lois: supposed girlfriend to Superman. Clark: Superman? Stilling staring at the sky, Jimmy saw a shape begin to slowly descend to earth a few blocks away. <Guess you're having dinner with Lois after all. That's where her apartment is. >
Realizing it was indeed dinner time, he went into the kitchen and threw together a quick meal of defrosted pizza and stale pretzels. <Ah, a bachelors feast. > Smiling, he set his meal on the small table beside the couch.
Reaching out to dump the stack of papers currently covering the table's surface, he caught sight of a picture he had nearly forgotten about. Moving the papers, he picked up the picture. <You guys sure looked happy. > Smiling at the picture he had taken a week or so before, Jimmy sat down and forgot all about his meal. <Wonder if that was why you two never got together. >
The picture, taken as Clark was offering Lois a cup of coffee, showed the couple smiling at each other happily with their hands touching around the clasped mug. <Maybe now you can finally put us out of our misery and decide a winner. > There had been a running pool on when the two of them would finally admit that they were in love since a week after they had been assigned to work together. <So far you two have cost me twenty bucks. If you could declare your love, say, next Wednesday, I would really appreciate it. >
Quietly he lifted the picture and tacked it on the bulletin board along side several other pictures he had taken and did not want to lose.
Finally turning back to his dinner, he began to munch pretzels while thinking. <Clark shows up and gets a job at the planet. We get tied up in a warehouse and, according to Lois, Clark's ropes break enough that we can get out of the building. Wait a minute, maybe that explosion didn't throw us at all. >
Thinking back to his first assignment with Lois and Clark, he tried to remember what happened. <Clark's ropes "break"; I bet you broke them yourself. And, instead of being thrown, you picked us up and flew us out of there. > Grabbing his pizza and taking a big bite, Jimmy tried to think of other times when Clark could have given himself away. <There was the time he heard … and when he saw those people … and then there was the day that he "found" … > Mentally reviewing all the stories he had researched with them, he realized something else. <That's why you're always running off! > Dropping his pizza as inspiration struck, Jimmy started laughing. <You run off because you have to go be Superman. >
Wiping suddenly tear-streaked cheeks, Jimmy tried not to hyperventilate with laughter. <Of all the theories about why you are constantly leaving—and there are some real doozies out there—I don't think anyone would ever have guessed it was because you were really Superman. > Getting his breathing under control, Jimmy attacked his pizza with newfound fervor.
Finishing his meal, he dumped the paper plate in the trash and carried the pretzels with him to the couch. Dropping onto it absently, he continued to think. <I wonder what made Lois realize the truth? It must have been something recent since Clark's still trying to explain how come she didn't notice earlier. Did he do something that gave himself away? > Still pondering what could have led to Lois' realizing who Clark really was, he drifted off to sleep.
Awakened by the feeling of something crumbling beneath his cheek, Jimmy lazily reached up and brushed pretzel pieces from his face. <Man, remind me not to fall asleep on the couch until I clean it. >
Lifting a stiff leg, he tried to kick the magazine that was digging into it. <I was looking for that. > With a smile of achievement, he threw the previously missing copy of Photo Weekly onto a pile of other magazines he intended to read when he had the time. <I have really got to clean up in here. >
Rising slowly, he caught site of the newest picture on his bulletin board. <Clark is Superman. > Suddenly remembering how he came to spend the night on the couch, he abruptly sat back down. <How could I forget that? >
Staring at the wall for several seconds, he shook himself into action and, grabbing the bag of pretzels, headed for the kitchen. Tossing the now crushed pretzel bag into the trash, he switched on the coffee maker and headed toward his bedroom room without ever making a complete stop. Throwing his clothes on the bed, he quickly dressed for work and was, after ducking into the restroom, soon drinking a cup of coffee and nearly ready for work. He had just rinsed his cup out when he suddenly realized something. <How am I supposed to act? They don't know that I heard them. I can't just go up to them and 'Hi. How ya doing? By the way, I heard you talking and I know Clark is Superman.'>
Leaning heavily on the counter behind him, he wondered what he should do. <I'm gonna have to tell them. I can't let them think I don't know when I do. But if I do tell them, and they don't want me to know, they might get angry or go defense or something on me. >
Slowly, he poured another cup of coffee into his just rinsed glass. <No, I have to tell them. If I don't I'm sure to let it slip and then they'll want to know how long I've known, and why didn't I tell them, and didn't I trust them, and it'll be worse than if I just tell them now. >
Pouring out the rest of his coffee and rinsing his cup a second time, he headed for the door. <I have to tell them, and I have to tell them today before I lose my nerve or convince myself I made it all up. > With his intentions fully decided, he headed for work wondering how he was going to break the news to his friends.
<Maybe I should write them a note? If I use a note, they'll have time to decide how they want to react to it. If they are going to get mad or scared it'll be better if they do it where they have a chance to decide on a strategy before they have to see me. I definitely don't want Superman to think I'm gonna blow the whistle on him or something. Darn, this is really confusing! I can tell Clark anything and I don't have to worry about him doing anything but talking a little sense into me. With Superman, well, it's not like talking to my best friend. >
Parking in the garage, he entered the building without registering his actions. <I think I'll write them a note. That way I can make a run for it if they don't take it well. > Grinning at the idea of the Planets top reporting team chasing him around the room, he apprehensively exited the elevator. <There they are. >
The two of them were together as usual. Lois was sitting in her chair and Clark perched on the corner of her desk. As he watched, Lois said something that caused Clark to laugh. <It seems so strange. They still look the same but I feel so different. >
Leaning against the railing above the room's main floor, he looked for any differences in his friends. <They seem to be acting the same. > As Clark wandered back to his desk and began typing, Jimmy noticed that Lois' eyes had monitored him until he was fully seated. <I wonder what tipped you off, > he mentally asked her. <How come you finally noticed? >
"OLSEN! What are you doing up there? Get to work! Go help Sullivan. He needs some shots of that carnival downtown."
"I'm on it, Chief." Turning to follow Sullivan into the elevator, he cast a last look at his friends. <I'll write a note to you when I get back and tell you everything. >
"So, Olsen, you ready to take some award worthy pictures?"
Turning back to the man beside him, Jimmy firmly blocked Lois and Clark from his mind and focused on getting some shots the Chief could—and would—use.
Sitting at the conference room table, Jimmy stared at the letter he had written. <Looks like it's as good as I'm gonna get it. > Folding the paper carefully, he wiped suddenly damp palms on his pants. <RELAX! They're your friends. > Trying desperately to convince himself that he wasn't making a huge mistake, he headed toward his friends' desks. Glancing around the room, mostly empty now that the day was almost over, he felt a sudden kinship with the knights headed for the dragon's cavern. <Great. Now you've gone from them chasing you around the room to them as a two-headed dragon and you a knight. Jimmy, you have got to work on controlling your imagination. >
"Hey, Jimmy. You OK? You don't look so good."
"Huh? Oh, Clark. Umm, I've just got something on my mind. Here…uh…this is for you. But…would you mind waiting to read it until I leave? And…well…you might want to read it with Lois."
"Sure, Jimmy. You sure you're OK, though? If you're in any trouble or—"
"No. No. I'm fine. Like I said, I've just got something on my mind. Well, I'll see you later. I have got to get home. If I don't clean up soon I am going to forget where the furniture is." Backing away quickly, he threw a quick wave at his two very confused friends and ducked into the elevator before they could say anything.
Leaning against the back wall of the elevator, he let out a breath he hadn't even known he was holding. <I've done my part. I told them what I heard, how I heard it, and how I felt about it. Now it's up to them. >
Leaving the building, he took a deep breath before releasing it slowly. <OK, guys. Now it's up to you. What do you plan to do now that I know? > Standing under the lamppost in front of the Planet, he heard a weird "whoosh" sound. Looking around, he was startled when he was suddenly addressed from a few feet above his head.
"Hey, Jimmy. Guess we need to talk, huh?"
Looking into Superman's eyes, Jimmy was stuck by how obviously they were the same eyes he saw every day when he talked to his best friend. <Maybe I need glasses? How could I not have noticed? It is so obvious. And the way he called my name. It is exactly the way he said it inside. >
"Huh? Oh, sorry. I was just wondering how come I never noticed before?" Grinning as he realized what he had said, he looked at the man who had landed and now stood beside him. "I'm really sorry I eavesdropped. I didn't mean to anything. It just that"
"It's OK, Jimmy. I trust you. And it's my own fault. If I'd thought about it, I would have checked to make sure no one was nearby rather than just looking to make sure no one was in the room."
"You really don't mind? If you guys don't want to talk about it, it's OK. We can just pretend it never happened. Never talk about it. Never think about it. It was all a bad dream. I can keep a secret."
"Relax, Jimmy. I really don't mind. I'll admit your note sort of shocked me but I don't mind your knowing. And, since you definitely have questions, how about we get together and I'll try and answer them?"
As the two men smiled at each other, content that neither was angry or uncomfortable, Jimmy finally relaxed. "Guess you'll have to give me the same speech you gave Lois."
"Then I guess I'd better be there to make sure he doesn't forget anything."
"Hey, Lois." Looking at Lois, he searched for any sign of anger that he was in on the secret. <No clenched jaw. Her eyes aren't doing their laser imitation. In fact…> Looking into his friend's eyes, he was rewarded with a grin. <It looks like things are OK.>
"OK, guys. Here's the plan. Jimmy, you are coming home with me. *Superman*." The three friends shared a smile. "You think you can remember your part?"
"Yeah, Lois. I think I can remember what I'm supposed to do. See you in a little while."
"Sure, Superman." Watching him rise into the air, Jimmy wondered again if they really minded his knowing their secret.
"Jimmy, I am so glad you found out."
"What?" <You're glad?!>
"Yes, I am definitely glad you found out. It's going to be hard enough time trying to cover for him as it is. And I refuse to use his 'I forgot I have a library book to return' type excuses. Now, since you're in the on the secret too, you can help me come up with things that aren't so obvious."
Walking toward her car, as she had a firm hand on his elbow, he noticed that she suddenly looked a little nervous.
"You know I won't tell anyone." Hearing the soft exhalation from the woman beside him, he stopped and looked directly into her eyes. "You guys are my friends, Lois. No way would I rat on you."
"I know, Jimmy. I guess, well, this is the story of the century. If anyone ever found out, it would kill Clark. I don't just mean he wouldn't be able to *be* Clark anymore. Being Clark is *who* he is; being Superman is *what* he can do. I know it's a little confusing; I didn't even understand it all myself until I had a talk with Martha this morning. But, if he ever had to stop being Clark, I don't know if he could continue being Superman either."
Noticing the tears in her eyes, Jimmy gave Lois a quick hug. "Don't worry. I'm not telling anyone. It'll just be our secret. OK?" Smiling as the head on his shoulder nodded slightly, he found himself suddenly pushed toward the car.
"Enough mushy stuff. We've got to get home. Superman should be there in a few minutes with a nice dinner and, if he knows what's good for him, he'll remember to bring me some more eclairs."
"Yeah. I made him come over yesterday night—with dinner—to tell me his real life story. Well, he decided to try and bribe me with some chocolate eclairs."
"I guess the bribe didn't work, huh?"
"No," Flashing him an evil grin, she turned back toward the road. "But they were definitely good."
"You've already heard this, you don't have to hear him tell it again. He can tell me later or…."
"No. I want to hear it. I'm sure I missed a few things yesterday and, since I already know the basics, I've had time to think up a few questions."
As the two friends rode toward Lois' house, they smiled and wondered what new secrets the morning would find them possessing.
High over the Atlantic Ocean, a man in blue tights and a red cape smiled. He had started the week living alone with his secret and eating fast food. Now he had two friends who not only knew all about him, but didn't treat him any differently than they had before they knew. He was on his way to get dinner from the other side of the world and would again be spending the evening telling his life story without having to edit anything.
Stopping to grab a quick bag of eclairs, he laughed and turned toward China. Waiting quietly for his order to be wrapped up, Superman drew a folded paper from where he had tucked it into his sleeve. Looking at the note again, he smiled. Reading it again, he wondered what other surprises he could expect to receive.
"Well," he said to himself, "if the last two days are any clue, they should be pretty good ones."
Dear Lois and Clark,
I'm not sure how to start, so I'll just be quick. I overheard you two talking at the conference yesterday. I didn't mean to. I was heading back from getting a few last shots of the Mayor and didn't want to interrupt. Well, I heard what you were saying. I know Clark is Superman. I'm not going to tell anyone or anything; I just thought I should let you know in case you ever needed any help or anything. You don't have to say anything about this if you don't want to. If I'm wrong, and Clark isn't Superman, please pretend this letter never existed. Like I said, you don't have to say anything about this, and I promise I won't ever mention it. I just thought you should know that I know. If you ever need any help or anything feel free to let me know.
Your Friend, Jimmy Olsen