Hold Your Tongue
Chapter 1: Confidentiality Comes Complete With a Bow Tie
- Jimmy Olsen is a lot smarter than he looks.
Disclaimer: I neither own any of these characters nor am I making any money off of my borrowing of them.
Author's Notes: This is my attempt to both reinforce the comprehensive, Mencian philosophy presented in the Superman universe, and to push, perhaps a little too hard, on what is generally agreed to be the story's weakest plot point.
As a photographer, Jimmy saw things. He looked at things. He used his eyes to capture the light reflected off all the objects in his world and his brain to interpret those signals into things he understood. It wasn't something he had ever truly prided himself on. Though, perhaps he should have allowed himself to start, because it was quickly coming to his attention that he was seeing things other people did not.
For instance, it didn't escape his notice that Superman and Clark Kent had returned on the very same day, within a few hours of each other, after having been gone for the same amount of time. Nor did he fail to realize that Superman and Clark had never, not once, been in the same place at the same time. When live reports were aired on the bullpen television screens featuring some spectacular story about Superman holding up a collapsing bridge or putting out a car fire, Clark was never anywhere in sight. And while Clark had always had a thing for Lois, since his very first days at the Planet, Superman took her up hundreds of feet into the air for 'exclusive interviews'.
Not to mention the fact that they had the same face.
He did have to grant Clark a great deal of credit that he had managed in some intangible way to keep such a secret for so many years. It was an impressive, if not slightly saddening statistic, one that certainly did not reflect well on the basic intelligence of the human race. So yes, Clark Kent was Superman. Who woulda thunk it.
Even while he drew his own conclusions, Jimmy scoured his mind for the reasons (or excuses, really) why nobody else seemed to have discovered what he had. It wasn't such a terrible long shot, if he thought about it properly. Clark seemed to go to great lengths to ensure that he was the one staff member at the Planet who could always be ignored, blown off, invisible, even with his face plastered on the front pages of every newspaper in the city. And, as much as he felt like a stupid adolescent just admitting it to himself, Jimmy knew exactly what that felt like (at least, the part about being disregarded.) They were, in some oddly manifested way, the two most notorious Planet outsiders. What other friends did they have, even if you counted Richard and Lois?
Lois. That one was so pathetic, so ridiculous, that it was almost funny. In fact, it was funny. What Jimmy wouldn't give to see her face when she figured that one out. One thing was certain, when it happened, someone would be in for an earful.
But of course, the fact that Superman and Clark Kent were in fact a single, horribly eccentric being was not the only thing that he had come up with on his own. Not in the least. Ever since Clark had returned from that long-winded, soul searching journey of his (which Jimmy knew to be absolute crap), Jason's appearance and mannerisms had suddenly become much more interesting.
Though his mathematical abilities hadn't been enough to get him through Algebra in one piece, he wasn't so dim that he couldn't put together the dates of Jason's birth and Superman's disappearance, just shy of nine months apart. They had all been told that Jason had been born "premature", which could have accounted for the boy's delicacy, but Jimmy distinctly remembered seeing the kid for the first time, and thinking that he looked just like every other normal baby. He had never truly doubted the fact that Richard and Lois were the boy's parents, but nor had he fully cast off his nagging suspicions that some things weren't adding up.
And then, of course, once Clark was back in the picture, things changed dramatically. Watching the two of them talking together, the comparison was positively striking. The basic lines of their faces held some telling similarities, and though Jimmy knew there was a lot more to the genetics of it that he didn't understand, they both had eyes of an almost… unnatural blue. He had even snapped a picture of the two of them once, wearing identical deer-in-the-headlights expressions. The plan had been to frame it and give it to Lois for her birthday, but now that he had taken the time to mull the situation over, he doubted he would.
Ever present was the matter of what exactly Jimmy would do with this information. He knew he had a scoop on his hands, the biggest, most sensational news story to hit the press since the very invention of Superman himself. Even if he didn't give it to the Planet, there were hundreds of big papers all over the country that would trade an arm and a leg for this stuff. He could make a mint, quit his job, move to Rio…
But then, it wasn't like he was so unhappy where he was. He liked his job, he liked his apartment, he liked his life. For now, he would relish the idea of being Superman's best friend, keep his mouth shut, and stick to his daily grind as the Daily Planet's doormat photographer and coffee boy.
Though, whatever Perry said, Jimmy knew he would have made a damn good reporter.
Author's Notes: I have always seen Jimmy as being ideally placed both to know Clark's secret and keep it to himself. Though the general impression that we get from him is of someone slightly naïve, spirited but underfoot, he does show himself to be relatively perceptive, especially on such occasions as when he speculates that even after five years and a son with another guy, Lois Lane is still hung up on Superman, an idea that most people seem to have let go of.
He is also one of the first to comment on the possibility that Lex Luthor might have been up to something, that it might be a good idea to get an idea of his whereabouts and current projects before he could do any real damage, as he certainly had a track record for causing trouble when Superman was around. While the voicings of his suspicions were really just exploited for expository purposes in the movie, the effect that it has on his character should not be overlooked. His insights more accurate than he is given credit for. And though Jimmy is not the only person that Clark spends any great amount of his time with, he is the only person who really considers himself to be Clark's equal, on a social level, a circumstance that really helps to clear his judgement and help him draw informed conclusions.
The assertion that Jimmy would not share Clark's secret is solely based on my own personal opinions, that as the sort of human being that is consistently being exemplified in the Superman universe, he would make the right decision.