Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Still from Andreas@LJ.
He wasn't really surprised, of course, since he could hear a flake of snow hit the ground a mile away, and since he could see straight through walls. But most of the people gathered in the Planet's newsroom, beaming, didn't know that.
After all these years, they still didn't realize he was Superman. They thought he was plain old Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter.
He grinned sheepishly, ducking his head, and flashed a quick private smile at the one person who did know who he was-- his wife, Chloe, who wrote under the name Lois Lane. She smiled back, giving him a wry little shrug that said, I know you weren't really surprised, but thanks for playing along.
He didn't mind playing along. These people were all important to him, and if it made them happy to "surprise" him, he was more than willing to act stunned.
The bullpen was festooned with black balloons, and the cake had the big 4-0 emblazoned across it in ebony icing. So everyone knew it was his fortieth birthday, more or less.
Of course no one really knew his real birthdate, and anyway, he had no idea if forty was really the start of middle age for him. A Kryptonian who was powered up by the Earth's sun might be pretty much immortal, which would explain the conspicuous lack of silver in his dark hair.
He accepted a slice of cake from Perry White, his editor. Perry slapped him on the shoulder, and Clark made sure to pull back a bit, in order to save Perry from breaking his hand, and winced theatrically.
"Easy there, Chief," he said. "I can't type if you break my arm."
Perry roared with laughter. "Congratulations, Kent," he said, sitting down on Clark's desk. "You managed to survive till forty working for the Planet. A lesser man would have gone insane."
Clark grinned and took a big bite of cake. "Well," he answered, "I've got Chloe to keep me straight."
"And to kick your ass when you get out of line," Jimmy Olsen interjected.
"Yeah." Clark grinned more widely. "That too."
"Hey." Chloe walked toward them, trying to scowl dangerously and not succeeding too well. "My ears are burning. Why are you guys talking about me behind my back?"
"We weren't talking about you," Clark said quickly. "We were talking about the cake."
"Yeah," Jimmy agreed. "The cake is great."
"Excellent cake," Perry concurred.
Chloe looked unconvinced, but sat down next to Clark, putting a familiar hand on his arm. He took a bite of his cake-- which was in fact great-- and smiled down at her.
He was lucky, he thought. He had a highly rewarding job-- two highly rewarding jobs, really-- and he got to save people on a regular basis. He got to work side by side with the woman he loved, and go home with her at night. He had coworkers he really liked, and who after all this time hadn't quite figured out his secret... although there were times he suspected Perry and Jimmy knew, and just didn't want to say anything.
But if they knew his secret, they were covering for him, and that was enough for him. He'd trust Perry and Jimmy with his life, anyway.
Filled with happiness and cake, he put his arm around Chloe in a rare display of public affection. Ordinarily they didn't do a lot of touching in the office, but this was a special occasion, after all.
She turned her head, pressing her face into his shoulder for a moment, and he smiled, and squeezed her a little more tightly. He might be forty, but despite the black balloons on the cake, his life was far from over. In fact, his life was only beginning, and yet he already had everything he'd ever wanted-- a wife he loved, good friends, and two awesome jobs.
And to top it all off... he even had cake.
A man couldn't ask for anything more.