Perry and full cast, from "Perry"
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Read the story from the beginning here.
Read Chapter 8 here.
"You've thrown some Hail Marys in the past," Jonathan said the next morning as he thumbed through Clark's astronomy books in the loft. "But the idea that your problems have anything to do with a solar flare is a bit of a stretch, don't you think?"
Seated on the floor next to the bookcase, Clark shrugged. "I know, Dad, but my powers started to glitch when the comet impacted. Maybe there's a connection."
"Make that 'probably.'"
At the sound of the new voice, Clark turned his head. One of his best friends, Pete Ross, was bounding up the stairs, a newspaper in his hands.
"Did you find something?" Clark asked, getting to his feet.
"Yeah." Pete handed them the newspaper. The front page showed a large picture of a solar flare. "Yesterday's cosmic fender bender produced the largest solar flare ever recorded. I'm talking communication glitches, power surges--"
Clark nodded eagerly. "That's exactly what's been happening to me. One second I'm helpless, and the next I'm in overdrive."
"Well," Jonathan said, studying the paper, "we have always wondered about the source of your abilities."
Clark got up and walked to the loft window, looking up into the blue sky. "Maybe my strength and my speed, all the things I can do... they come from the sun."
"Like you're some sort of walking solar battery," Pete suggested.
"According to this," Jonathan said, still reading the paper, "the effects of the solar flare ought to by done by tomorrow night. Now, if that's true, maybe your accidents will stop at that point."
Clark felt a weight lift from his shoulders. Having his powers go wild for no apparent reason had been upsetting, and a little scary. But if there was a logical explanation for his problems, and a set time he could expect things to go back to normal, then he figured he could deal with it.
"So as long as I don't use my abilities till then," he said, "we should be okay."
Jonathan opened his mouth to respond, then shut it again as more footsteps sounded on the stairs. Chloe's bright golden head popped over the railing, and she flashed her customary smile, but it looked more serious than usual.
"Hey, Clark," she said. "I thought I'd give you a heads-up. Our resident ghostbuster is still on the job."
Clark frowned. "Perry White? I thought he went back to Metropolis."
"Evidently he had a change of heart." She lifted her eyebrows. "And he seems to be especially interested in you, Clark."
Great, Clark thought. That's all I need.
But on the up side, he figured Perry couldn't possibly find any information on him.
Because there really wasn't anything for him to find.
Later that morning, Perry was seated on a hay bale outside the Kent barn. He took a deep breath, inhaling the odors of the country. Fresh air, plants, flowers... and a whole lot of manure.
His sense of smell seemed unusually acute, and he wrinkled his nose in disgust. Hell of a time to give up drinking.
Clark Kent wandered out of the barn, dressed in his usual high style of jeans, a red flannel shirt, and a tan jacket. He stopped short as he saw Perry sitting there.
"What are you doing here?" he demanded, with less than his customary courtesy.
Perry filed the lack of manners away as yet another item of interest. Clark was ordinarily so painstakingly polite that Perry figured he might be trying to cover something up with rudeness. Then again, Clark might just be not be a morning person.
God knew he could relate to that. He so needed a drink.
He pushed his craving for alcohol away, and grinned amiably. "You inspired me. If you've got a gift, you should use it, remember?"
Clark studied him for a long moment. "You're drunk," he said at last, dismissively, and turned his back on Perry.
I wish. Perry hopped off the hay bale and followed him. "Maybe," he answered. "Nonetheless, I finally found my story."
"Yeah," Clark answered, still sounding cranky, "and for some insane reason, it's me. Chloe told me. I don't think it's funny."
"Oh, it's not a joke, Clark. I've got the facts to back it up."
Clark's broad shoulders tensed, and he turned around and glared at Perry. "What kind of facts are those?"
The kid's attitude was definitely very different than it had been yesterday. His voice was dripping anger and contempt. He's scared, Perry thought. That's good. It means I'm on the right track here.
Aloud, he said, "The accident, the power lines, your magical appearance as your family tractor drops out of the sky..."
"I explained that!"
"It fell off a truck." Perry rolled his eyes. "That's not an explanation... it's a punch line. Look, I'm not stupid, kid. I spent yesterday afternoon and this morning combing through police records and newspaper stories. You're Johnny on the spot, Clark. You're Smallville's own hero on deck."
Clark looked like he might be about to bare his teeth. But he only said, "Trust me, Mr. White. There's nothing special about me."
"That's where you're wrong, kid. So far, I got you pegged as really strong and shock-resistant. The question is..." He paused and looked Clark right in the eye. "What other tricks have you got up your sleeve?"
It sounded crazy, even to him. Clark was an ordinary-looking kid, wearing Levis, a slightly tattered flannel shirt, and worn workboots. He lived on a farm that by all accounts was barely scraping by, so much so that the Kents had nearly lost it last summer. If Clark had any sort of weird powers, one would expect him to use them to help his parents out, not just rescue strangers.
But then again, maybe he did help his parents. In asking questions of the locals, Perry had come across the interesting fact that the Kents didn't employ any extra hands nowadays, which puzzled some of the other farmers in the area. And yet the farm had seemed to get along okay till Clark had run away last summer. At that point, the Kents had been unable to keep the farm profitable, and they'd nearly lost it. In fact, they would have lost it, but for the intervention of one Lex Luthor.
Strangely enough, now that Clark was back, the farm seemed to be doing fine. The Kents weren't rich by any means, but they no longer seemed to be struggling to make ends meet, either.
All of which suggested Clark was capable of doing more work than one sixteen-year-old boy ought to be able to do.
"Clark?" From a distance, Perry could hear a woman's voice calling. "Clark, could you give me a hand?"
Clark gave Perry one last glare, then turned away. "I have to go."
Perry watched the kid as he trotted away, toward the house. "Go ahead," he called. "I've been stonewalled by the best of 'em! You can run, but you--"
The boy's outlines seemed to blur, and suddenly he was much further away. Perry stared blankly as the boy kept running. Clark's outlines blurred again, and then he suddenly disappeared.
"Can't... hide," Perry finished, gaping. What the hell? He looked around for a long moment, trying to figure out what had just happened, but he couldn't.
Clark was simply... gone.
Read Chapter 10 here.