Perry and full cast, from "Perry"
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Read Chapter 1 here.
The next afternoon, after school, the sun blazed brightly overhead as Clark pounded fence posts into the ground barehanded. The first post went in just fine, and so did the second. But on the third, he seemed to overdo it a little bit, because the post nearly disappeared into the ground.
"Whoa, son." He heard Jonathan's voice behind him. "Take it easy."
"Sorry." Clark turned around and flashed a wry smile. "I just kind of misjudged my strength, I guess."
It wasn't something he did often. But his strength and speed were still developing, so every now and then he screwed up. He looked wryly at the mostly buried fence post, and figured maybe he was going through another growth spurt where his strength was concerned.
His dad didn't seem too worried about it. He was obviously more bothered by another topic. "Listen," he said, his forehead wrinkled, "I just got off the phone with the hospital. Seems your Mr. Perry White checked himself out late last night."
"The paramedics said his breathalyzer was off the charts," Clark said, yanking the fencepost out of the ground and then redoing it, more gently. "Why'd they let him out?"
Jonathan gave a who-knows? shrug. "What exactly do you think he saw, son?"
Clark remembered the odd events of yesterday afternoon. He'd been running down the road, and suddenly... he'd stopped. He'd just dropped right out of superspeed, finding himself standing in the path of an oncoming vehicle. He still didn't have a clue why it had happened. His superspeed had never just conked out on him before.
Fortunately, his abilities hadn't been on the fritz for long. He'd managed to get Mr. White out before the guy had been seriously injured by the power lines. But he'd let the man get more of a glimpse of his abilities than he was comfortable with.
Still, he didn't want to worry his father. Jonathan didn't need to know his abilities had gone haywire for a minute, and he definitely didn't need to know that the guy had seen him yank the door off the car and walk through live wires. Besides, the guy had been so drunk that there was no possible way he'd remember it today.
"Not much," he said with a shrug. "Anyway, Dad, he probably doesn't even remember my name."
Jonathan smiled, looking relieved, and nodded. But as a pickup truck drove slowly up the dirt driveway, he turned his head, and the wrinkles slowly reappeared on his forehead again.
Because Perry White was sitting in the open bed of the pickup.
Mr. White waved. "Clark! Clark Kent!" He thanked the driver, then bounced off the back of the truck and headed for Clark. There was a broad, amiable smile on his face, but beneath it Clark could see the exact same expression his best friend Chloe wore most of the time, a look of stubborn determination.
He was beginning to suspect that Perry White was going to be trouble.
"Hey there." Perry stuck his hand out and pumped Clark's hand with excessive friendliness. "Last time I saw you, you were frisbeeing the door off my car and ignoring the high voltage lines."
Clark courteously shook the guy's hand, because he'd been brought up to be polite to his elders, even when they were morons who got behind the wheel of a car after they'd consumed copious amounts of alcohol. "Mr. White," he said, cautiously.
"And I was still trying to figure out which of the four Clarks I should be thanking when they hauled me off in the ambulance," Perry said, chuckling a little.
Clark found the whole thing less than amusing, but he decided not to say so. But he didn't crack a smile, either. Perry might think that driving while smashed was funny, but Clark was aware he could have run someone over, and that aggravated him.
Perry turned toward Jonathan. "You must be Mr. Kent."
Jonathan shook Perry's outstretched hand, too. "Yes, I am. I'm certainly glad you're feeling better."
"Well," Perry answered, "that's relative." The good humor in his voice faded a bit, and suddenly he sounded rather peevish. "My car is crunched, this hillbilly cartoon you have as a sheriff has suspended my driver's license on a DUI, and my assignment editor is screaming for my head."
Alarm bells went off in Clark's head. Loud, shrill, clanging alarm bells. "You're a reporter?"
"In a past life," Perry responded, shrugging. Xomething in his voice said clearly that he didn't care to discuss that past life any further. "At the moment, I'm the advance man for X-Styles, cable TV's one stop for the paranormally inclined."
"And what brings you here to Smallville?" Jonathan's voice was very even and polite, but there was still a look of wary caution in his eyes.
"Oh." Perry laughed, and the look of bland good humor reappeared on his face. He suddenly looked amiable and harmless. "I'm researching a piece about the meteor shower and the bizarre phenomena that it spawned."
Jonathan grinned a very fake smile. "Don't tell me you believe any of that nonsense."
Perry grinned, and Clark thought his smile was every bit as artificial as Jonathan's was. "It's right up there with the tooth fairy."
The two of them laughed together, while Clark tried not to fidget. He wasn't sure what Mr. White was up to, but this whole situation made him nervous, and he could tell his dad was nervous too, even though he was trying to hide it. He wished White would just cut to the chase and tell them why he'd made the trek out to the Kent farm.
White glanced away from them, and noticed the pile of fence posts stacked against hay bales. He frowned slightly.
"Don't you need tools for a job like that?"
Clark cleared his throat awkwardly and decided to give the guy a little push. He had chores to do, and didn't want to stand around all day while White got to the point. "Uh, Mr. White, you really didn't come all this way just to thank me, did you?"
"No, I didn't." White's voice suddenly went very brisk and businesslike. The guy had more moods than a farm had chores. "I thought we should discuss a settlement."
"Settlement?" Jonathan repeated blankly.
White frowned at him, looking stern. "I didn't off-road my car for laughs, Mr. Kent. I swerved to miss your son."
Jonathan opened his mouth like he was going to argue, and White sighed, holding out a hand in a peace gesture.
"Look," he said, "I'll make this easy on you. I need a local who knows the territory to ferry me around. You loan me Clark for a day or two... and we'll call it even."
Oh, yeah, Clark thought. Me hanging out with a reporter for a couple of days is a fabulous idea. Not.
He glanced at Jonathan, and saw the resignation there. Jonathan clearly didn't think it was a good idea, either.
But just as clearly, he didn't see a way to get out of it.
Read Chapter 3 here.