"How's the teaching going?"
Clark's hands froze over his sandwich before the familiar tone registered. He smiled. "Lois," he acknowledged as his partner sat down across from him in the café booth. "I thought you were meeting a source for lunch."
"He sang like a canary and I still got bupkis," she complained, stabbing at her salad. "And stop avoiding my question. How's the kid?"
He shook his head sheepishly. "He's doing great," Clark said in a low tone. "Learning fast. He's already got the heat vision down and can mostly control his strength."
"No flying?" Lois asked.
"Probably not for a while," Clark said, before taking a bite of his sandwich. He quickly chewed and swallowed. "Superman didn't get that until he was eighteen."
Lois rolled her eyes. "You're becoming more paranoid than Bruce," she snarked grudgingly. "When do I get to meet him?"
Clark grinned. "I'm bringing him by next Tuesday for new glasses." At Lois's mocking smirk, he scowled. "He needs a new prescription."
"Uh huh," she said, smothering a laugh. "Well, bring him by The Planet when you're done. I want to meet him."
"He's not a sideshow, Lois," defended Clark, before catching the look on her face. "Fine, but don't scare him, okay? He's still a little freaked out about all of this."
"You were never a scout."
It was Clark's turn to grin wryly. "Uh huh."
Getting Ron and Hermione to cover him in the dorm took some convincing, as his friends insisted on going with him — "What if he's a Death Eater in disguise, Harry?" — but was ultimately worth it. As Harry stepped out of the teleporter disguised as a disused phone booth, the bright sun of Metropolis blinked down at him.
Scotland was five hours ahead of the American city, so when his friends were returning from dinner and settling in to do their homework, it was still mid-afternoon in America.
"Welcome to Metropolis, Harry," Superman said, adjusting the tie on the three-piece suit he was suddenly wearing.
Harry turned and stared at the older man, marveling at how different he looked. The skin-tight suit had been replaced by a dull brown Muggle suit, complete with a ridiculous looking tie that Uncle Vernon would have frowned at. The man's hair had been swept back into a neat, but forgettable, style and large, thick, horn-rimmed glasses framed his face.
Superman smiled and winked before hunching his shoulders slightly. It was odd, but Harry saw the man practically transform into another person, right before his eyes.
"I figured it was time you knew my real name," Superman said, shrugging as he pushed up his glasses with a finger. "Clark Kent."
"Right," said Harry dazedly. "You grew up here. That... makes sense."
Supe— Mr. Kent smiled. "So, let's go get you those new glasses."
Harry followed at Mr. Kent's heels as they weaved through the thick throngs of people. Cars honked and zoomed past — on the wrong side of the road, mind you — and Harry did his best not to get lost as he snuck glances at his first glimpse of America.
The shop was a ten-minute walk from the phone booth, so it wasn't long before Mr. Kent was ushering him inside.
"Hello," the receptionist said cheerily, smiling at them. "What can I help you with today?"
"I'm just bringing in my nephew, Harry, for some new glasses today." Mr. Kent clapped Harry on the shoulder so earnestly, that Harry almost believed the lie. Mr. Kent was a talented actor.
"Oh, excellent. Do you have his prescription?" the woman asked as she moved around her desk to the wall of frames.
Clark smiled sheepishly. "He actually doesn't need prescription lenses per say," he said. "See, Harry's eyes are a bit sensitive to UV light, so his optometrist recommended that we get him some plain glasses with that new reflective lead coating that will protect them. He's not a big fan of the transition lenses, you see."
"Ah," the woman nodded sagely. "We get that on occasion. The transitions give you headaches, right?" Without even waiting for Harry's confirmation, she turned to the wall. "Well then, why don't you pick out some new frames while you are at it? I'll get to work on putting your specifications down for those lenses."
The woman wandered off to her desk, so Clark and Harry went to pick out a set of frames. Most were awful or didn't really suit him, but some of the round or oval frames weren't too bad. The square ones just made him look like Dumbledore.
"What do you think?" Harry asked, slipping on a pair of thin, round, gold frames.
"I like it," Mr. Kent said with an approving nod. "It works for you."
Harry grinned and took a second look at his face. For as long as he could remember, he'd worn those thick black frames. While he'd gotten used to them and their feel on his nose, there was something about the new frames that made him feel older, more mature.
Over the last few months, his vision had been improving steadily, sharpening and adjusting until the coke-bottle lenses that used to help him see, made his vision worse. Superman had taught him how to adjust his eyesight so he could sort of see through his old specs, but doing that for too long gave him a headache. Getting new glasses was just the ticket.
As Harry admired himself in the mirror, he noticed how, without those thick lenses, his green eyes seemed even brighter through the thin glass.
"Have you decided on a pair?" the saleswoman asked, coming back to them.
Harry nodded and took off the pair, holding them out to her. "These ones," he said.
"Great choice!" she exclaimed, taking them and going to her desk computer. "And I just love your accent! When did you move to Metropolis?"
"Er…" The teen blanched and shot a wide-eyed look at Sup—Mr. Kent.
"He's just visiting," Mr. Kent said, jumping in smoothly. "He goes to boarding school for most of the year, but decided to come for a short visit on his mid-semester break." Mr. Kent ruffled his hair fondly. "The sun here is much brighter than in the UK."
"Yeah," Harry chimed in, nodding innocently. "It rains loads. Like all the time."
The saleswoman smiled. "Well, it looks like you're all set. I'll have the frames ready to go in a couple of days. Is that okay?"
Mr. Kent smiled. "That's perfect. Just give me a call and I'll come pick them up."
Harry was steered out of the shop as Mr. Kent exchanged polite good-byes, and before he knew it, he was back on the street.
"So the glasses won't be ready today?" Harry probed.
"No, most optometrists send out their order to a supplier to make and put the glasses together. Don't worry, I'll pick them up when they call and bring them to our next lesson," Mr. Kent explained.
"Oh, right." Harry bit his lip nervously. "The lady didn't say… how much are the glasses? Glasses are expensive, right? I have some money with me, but it's all wizard money. If you could give me a few days, I could probably get it exchanged into pounds—"
"Harry," Mr. Kent said gently, putting a warm hand on his shoulder and squeezing. "Don't worry about it. I've got this one." At the teen's uneasy expression, he thought quickly. "Think of it as a training tool, okay?" he offered. "The leaded lenses will help you master your X-ray vision and since the League is bankrolling your training, getting you the glasses is just part of that."
Harry's shoulders fell. "I suppose that makes sense," he murmured. "But if we're not going to be getting the glasses today, what did we need the whole afternoon for?"
Mr. Kent grinned and guided Harry around the corner to see the giant golden globe that sat atop a giant skyscraper. The teen's jaw dropped at the beautiful shining beacon of one of the most famous newspapers in the whole world. "I thought it would be a cool idea to give you a personal tour of my workplace. Welcome, Harry, to the Daily Planet."
When Clark had told her that he was mentoring a half-Kryptonian magical boy, Lois half expected him to be a muscled, mini-Superman with a pointed hat and Gandalf's staff. She certainly wasn't expecting the thin, messy-haired teenager that shuffled behind Clark as they made their way through the bullpen.
His pale skin didn't look like it saw a lot of sun and the thick, black frames around his eyes were worse than Clark's. His bright green eyes were apparent through the thick lenses and were offset by the messy black hair that draped into them. He wore a formal suit shirt and black pants with shiny, black shoes – probably from his boarding school uniform.
"Clark, please tell me you aren't giving the kid styling tips," Lois quipped, raising a stern eyebrow at her fiancé before ignoring the protesting man completely. "Kid, Clark here is a fashion don't and I highly recommend you find your own look, or Smallville will have you in flannel before the day's out."
Harry's lips quirked in a grin. "Thanks for the warning," he said. "Mr. Kent was concerned that my uniform was a tad too formal and offered to loan me something." He sniggered at the offended look on Mr. Kent's face. "Sounds like I dodged a bullet."
Lois laughed outright at Clark's pout. "I like you, kid," she said, knocking his shoulder with a fist. "Mr. Fuddy-Duddy needs a quick mouth to keep him in his place."
"I thought that's why I have you, Ms. Lane," Clark quipped back, his pout melting into a smug grin, as he wrapped an arm around her waist. The smell of his cologne filled her nose, turning her knees to butter. His eyes were warm and sensual and her heart fluttered at the smoldering look he gave her.
"Flattery will get you everywhere, Mr. Kent," Lois returned in a low tone, her eyes fluttering to his lips.
"All right you two, break it up! This is a workplace, not the honeymoon suite at the Luxor Hotel," Perry barked, immediately destroying the mood and breaking the atmosphere. Clark took a step back, Mr. Fuddy-Duddy that he was, leaving her aching for the press of his lips against hers. "Who's this?!"
Lois blinked and her gaze fell on the kid, who was stammering and blushing awkwardly, looking at Clark and then at her and back to Perry. Clark was fumbling for words, in his adorable yet awkward way, and Harry didn't look like he was doing much better.
"Perry, this is Clark's nephew, Harry. Harry, this is our boss, Perry White, Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Planet," she said, rescuing them all.
Perry looked down at the kid with his keen reporter's eyes. "Nice to meet you." Then he turned to his reporters. "Kent, where are we with that article on Superman's mission to Qurac?"
"Almost done, Mr. White," Clark said dutifully. "I'm just waiting on confirmation on one last quote from the Secretary of State's office."
"Good, follow-up with them," Perry said gruffly. "I want that piece in for tomorrow's morning edition. Lane, what's the ETA on the illegitimate Luthor heir article?"
"I'm getting stonewalled by Luthor's lawyers, Perry," said Lois wearily. "I have one last source to question, but it's a long-shot."
Perry frowned. "Get on it and see what shakes out," he said. "Keep me posted."
"You got it Chief!"
Perry stomped off and Lois returned her attention to Clark and the kid.
"Well, then," Clark said, putting a hand on the kid's shoulder. "Lois, this is Harry Potter. Harry, I'd like to introduce you to Lois Lane, my partner and fiancé."
"It's very nice to meet you, Ms. Lane," Harry said politely, holding out a hand.
As Lois shook it, she smiled. "Nice to meet you too, kid."
"I should probably make that call," Clark said, pointing to his desk with a thumb, "but after I send my article down, what do you say about grabbing an early dinner?"
The kid smiled and nodded. "Yeah, that sounds brilliant!"
Lois's lips quirked. He was so British.
"Perfect. Hey, Jimmy!" Clark called, waving down the enthusiastic photographer.
"What's up CK?" Jimmy asked, bouncing over, his red curls even more wild today.
Clark patted Harry on the shoulder. "I've got to make a couple calls to finish up for the day and I was wondering if you could show my nephew around the bullpen? It shouldn't take me long."
"Yeah, no sweat!" he exclaimed. Jimmy eagerly wrapped an arm around Harry's shoulders and steered him away, chattering a mile a minute. Lois tried not to laugh at the helpless desperation in the younger kid's face as he glanced back at Clark.
She turned to her work, hoping to finish before the kid got back. Lois Lane had questions and there was no way she was going to miss her chance to wrangle an invitation to dinner.
"So, boys, where are we going?"
Harry nearly jumped as Ms. Lane approached, carrying her coat and purse. Without blinking, she passed her coat to Mr. Kent, who shook it out and held it open for her. The man glanced at Harry sheepishly and the teen had the sudden feeling that Lois would be joining them for dinner and there was no talking her out of it.
"I was planning on taking him to the diner," Mr. Kent said.
Ms. Lane rolled her eyes. "This is the kid's first trip to Metropolis," she said exasperatedly, "and you want to take him to the diner that's famous for its fish and chips?"
Mr. Kent grinned weakly and rubbed his neck. "When you put it that way…"
"We should go to the Senegalese restaurant that opened last month," Ms. Lane said, leading the way to the elevator. "Or the Thai place across from the hotel we staked out last year." Without waiting for Mr. Kent to respond, she turned to Harry. "How are you with spicy food? What's your favorite cuisine?"
"Er…" Harry looked nervously between the two adults. "Never had it? My relatives don't really like anything foreign."
Ms. Lane's eyebrows shot up, but she quickly smoothed them out and plastered on a smile. "Never too late to try new things, right? I know just the place."
Harry threw Mr. Kent a confused and desperate glance as they followed Ms. Lane to the street where she hailed a cab. The older man just gripped his shoulder reassuringly, nudging him forward. They all climbed into the backseat, Harry squished against the door next to Mr. Kent, trying to not stick his elbow in the other's ribs. Luckily the ride was short and soon they had piled out in front of a small Latin-themed restaurant.
"This is the best Salvadoran restaurant in the city," Ms. Lane promised as they were led to their table. "And they'll make everything mild if you ask, so your stomach shouldn't be too upset tonight."
Harry stared at her for a beat. "Thank you," he said, oddly touched. She smiled at him and Mr. Kent gave him a reassuring nod.
"Order anything you'd like," the man said, gesturing to the menu. "It's my treat."
His eyes felt hot and Harry directed his gaze to the menu, suddenly overwhelmed. There was something about sitting here, at this table with these two people who were practically strangers and yet they wanted to buy him dinner at a place that wouldn't upset his stomach and get him new glasses because he needed them and… Harry forced himself to swallow and concentrate on the menu in front of him.
When he had blinked the blurriness from his eyes, Harry quickly found himself overwhelmed at the odd sounding options.
"I think I'm going to get the pupusas," Mr. Kent said suddenly, setting his menu down. "Can't go wrong with a signature dish."
Ms. Lane nodded. "Good choice. I'll go for the same. Harry, what sounds good to you?"
The teen looked down at the menu and the price. It wasn't the cheapest item, but it also wasn't the most expensive. The picture looked nice too. "I think I'll have the same," said Harry, putting aside his menu.
"Excellent," Mr. Kent said, before turning to the waiter and ordering their meal in flawless Spanish. Harry's jaw dropped and Ms. Lane just rolled her eyes.
When the waiter left, Ms. Lane scoffed. "Show-off," she complained with a teasing grin. "Manuel has been living here for 25 years. He speaks better English than you do."
"Oh ha ha, Ms. Pulitzer Prize Winning Writer," Mr. Kent teased back. "At least I don't spell the word conniption with one 'n'."
Ms. Lane rolled her eyes again. "That's what copy editors are for, Clark," she intoned. "I told you to stop editing my copy."
Harry's eyes flicked back and forth between the two as they bickered, feeling very much like he was back at Hogwarts watching Ron and Hermione argue. Enjoying the lack of attention, he sipped on the ice water that had been delivered to the table.
"So Harry, Clark tells me that you go to a magical boarding school. What's that like?" Ms. Lane asked out of the blue.
Harry choked on his water and it took several strong thumps from Mr. Kent before his lungs cleared. He stared dumbfounded at the two of them before turning to Mr. Kent.
"You told her?!" Harry whispered furiously.
Mr. Kent raised his hands. "I only told her that you're learning magic, nothing else," he said quickly. "With everything that's happened the last couple of years, most people know magic exists." Then he turned to the woman. "And Lois, I told you not to interrogate him! The laws are really strict where he's from."
Ms. Lane threw up her hands. "Fine, fine!" she pouted. "Well, since we can't ask you questions, why don't you ask us?" she offered to Harry. "I'm sure you have a lot of them, with everything that's happened over the last few weeks."
"You… you want me to ask questions?" Harry repeated incredulously, looking between the two.
Mr. Kent smiled. "Ask me anything you want," he said kindly. "I'll do my best to answer."
"Okay, er… Where did you grow up?" Harry asked hesitantly.
"Smallville," Mr. Kent answered. "It's a small town in Kansas. My parents own a farm out there."
Ms. Lane smiled. "They are the nicest people you could ever meet. You should come for Thanksgiving! Mrs. Kent makes the best apple pie."
"Thanksgiving?" Harry repeated, confusedly.
"The fourth Thursday in November. It's a big holiday here," Mr. Kent clarified. "We usually do dinner at two in the afternoon, Kansas time, so it would be around eight your time. We would love to have you, if you can make it."
"I wouldn't want to impose…" the teen demurred.
"Nonsense," Mr. Kent said. "You're family now! I'm pretty sure my Ma would smack me silly if I didn't bring you by the farm."
Heat began to gather in Harry's eyes again and he ducked his head to hide the moisture. "Er…" he cleared his throat.
The arrival of the food saved him from trying to come up with a suitable answer. Harry ducked his head and shoveled the first few bites of his meal, hoping to avoid returning to the previous conversation.
"Clark's been telling me that training has been going well," Ms. Lane said as she cut into a pupusa.
Harry nodded. "Yeah," he said quietly, throwing a grateful smile Mr. Kent's way. "He's a good teacher."
The older Kryptonian flushed. "You're a good student," Mr. Kent said. "Superman's really impressed by your work."
"Super—" Harry started dumbly.
"Oh don't mind him," Ms. Lane cut him off, rolling her eyes. "He does that all the time," she added in a whisper. "Talking in third person, I mean. Drives his mother crazy."
Mr. Kent threw her a look and Harry grinned into his food. "One of my friends does that too," he commented around a spoonful of rice. "I think it's more of a species thing for him."
Ms. Lane laughed. "Oh my gosh, do you think?" She smirked at her fiancé. "Martha is going to love that."
"Don't you dare," Mr. Kent growled. Ms. Lane whipped out her phone and started texting, and his scowl turned into a pout. "I deeply regret introducing the two of you."
"That would have made it very difficult to get engaged, now wouldn't it, dear," Ms. Lane teased. "Your mother was the swing vote, after all."
Mr. Kent grumbled and Harry tried not to laugh at the disgruntled look on his face. Ms. Lane finished sending her text and then pecked him on the cheek, immediately perking up the Man of Steel.
"Anyway, your mother says to make sure to bring a coat next week when you go to help with the harvest," said Ms. Lane. Mr. Kent nodded. "Oh, and she insisted that you come to Thanksgiving dinner, Harry, if you can get the time off from school. Just let Clark here know and he can help you with the travel arrangements."
Harry flushed, his brain stuttering. "Oh, erm, right. Okay." He blinked, staring at his plate for a long moment. "Thank you."
Ms. Lane nodded and then got up from her seat. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I just need to run to the restroom."
With a wave, she hurried off deeper into the restaurant. Harry let out a breath of air he hadn't realized he was holding.
"Sorry," Mr. Kent said, a sheepish grin on his face. "Lois can be... a lot. She really means well."
Harry gave a weak grin. "It's okay," he muttered.
"If it's too much," Mr. Kent continued, "you don't have to come for Thanksgiving... we'd love to have you, but I don't want to push you into anything you aren't ready for." He smiled. "You wouldn't be the only kid there, you know. One of my friends is bringing his family, and he's got two boys." Mr. Kent shrugged. "Anyway, just let me know by November 15th if you think you can make it."
"Okay," said Harry. "Thanks."
A companionable silence fell on the table that was broken when Ms. Lane hurried back into the room.
"Okay," Ms. Lane said, clapping her hands. "Where were we?" She beamed at the two of them, eyeing their empty plates. "Dessert?"
A/N: I am so sorry for the delay in this chapter! I meant to have it finished this summer, but then the chapter was too short and Lois decided to butt in… 😊
Anyway, I'm working away on the next chapter, but I barely started it, so please don't expect #12 to come any time soon. Perhaps next year? I'm completely buried right now with a couple TV pilots that I'm working on and finishing a screenplay that Just. Won't. Happen. Urgh. I add to this story when I'm not focused on my originals, auditions/working on set or my day job, so it will take a little time. That's not to say I'm not excited for Chapter 12! It's going to be fun!
I hope you all are staying safe and healthy. Please wear a mask, socially distance and wash your hands. And if you live in the USA and are legally allowed to, please vote!