You Won't Be Fooled By This
It's not like Jimmy is stupid.
When he met Clark Kent, the first thing he noticed was that the guy was over six feet tall and built like a pro quarterback. That's the kind of thing you tend to take in about your new girlfriend's best friend, especially when you yourself are short and scrawny and not quite so handsome. He had asked himself a dozen times why Chloe was with him when she could be with Clark, who had to have been the big man on campus at Smallville High. And even though Clark had been nothing but kind and generous and even a little shy to Jimmy, Jimmy never forgot that if he ever did Chloe wrong, it could be huge, broad CK on his doorstep, delivering him his knuckle sandwich.
So when the Red and Blue Blur showed up, it wasn't like Jimmy didn't realize that there was already a superhero-shaped guy hanging around the Daily Planet bullpen. He saw him over there, hovering over Chloe's desk – how could he not? But by the time he finds out that the Blur was probably a '05 graduate of Smallville High, he's a little ashamed that it took him so long after to realize that his best bet was Tall, Dark, and Burly.
Standing there in Clark's kitchen, looking up into CK's nervous face, Jimmy finally feels what Chloe always calls the Journalistic Moment of Epiphany. It's like all of his doubts and all of his other dubious leads melt away, and what's left is Clark, clad in red and blue as he always seems to be.
"It's you, isn't it?" he breathes.
Clark crosses his arms over his chest and his tight t-shirt stretches. He stands up straighter and Jimmy can see it even more now: the vigilante crusader, standing in evil's way in the name of justice. The Warrior Angel nerd inside Jimmy titters in excitement.
"Jimmy," Clark says, his voice pitched a bit lower, "I have no idea what you're talking about."
Jimmy isn't actually in the mood for Clark's game of lies and evasion, not when he's so sure. He rushes forward, around the kitchen island, holding his hands up.
"No, no, CK, don't move," he says as Clark frowns. "This is good stuff. This is perfect."
Clark's arms quickly fall to his sides. He knows he's in trouble. "Jimmy," he says, using the warning tone that Jimmy often hears when he's about to do something stupid.
"Seriously, the crossed arms, the deep voice – you're a natural." Jimmy allows himself to smile as Clark sits, hunched over, at the island.
"You've lost me, Jimmy."
"CK," he says, "you're a superhero."
There's a pause as Jimmy watches a hundred emotions pass through Clark's eyes. They dart down to the family picture, now discarded on the counter, and then back up to Jimmy.
"I'm a farmer," he says.
"A superhero farmer."
Jimmy sits down across from Clark at the island. "Jeez, CK, I don't know why you and Chloe can't trust me with this. I'm your pal, and I'm her fiancé."
Clark's shoulders go slack. He hoists his big body onto the stool and lays his hands flat on the island. Quietly, he says, "Okay."
Jimmy's curiosity is piqued. "Okay what?"
Clark's eyes met his and, for the first time, he was intimidated not by Clark's size but by the fear in his eyes. "Okay, I'll tell you. But it's definitely off the record." He picks up a piece of fruit from the bowl and toys with it in his enormous hands. "And you have to understand, Jimmy, that this is a big responsibility. It's dangerous to know. Trust me."
Jimmy gulps. He trusts CK more than he trusts most people. Whatever this is, it's big. But he's a journalist, so he keeps his mouth shut and lets Clark go on.
"You're right. I'm the Red and Blue Blur."
Jimmy takes a shaky breath. Being sure of his hunch was one thing, but the admission that his fiancé's best friend is a super-fast hero is quite another. He exhales again, trying to keep it nonchalant.
"Um, okay," he says. "Cool."
Clark cocks his head to this side, disbelieving Jimmy's calmness.
"No, really, man," Jimmy says levelly. "You're meteor-affected. And you're fast. I can handle that."
He doesn't mean it. The power thing isn't too weird, considering – Chloe has one, after all – but Clark is using his power to be a superhero. He has the secret identity and the costume and the name and everything. This is a realm no other meteor freak has entered. This is freaking comic book territory.
Jimmy watches a deep breath pass through Clark's barrel chest. His lips form a straight line. He turns the fruit over and over in his hands, avoiding Jimmy's artificially composed gaze. "Well," he says, "no."
This throws Jimmy for a loop. He was so sure, too. "'No,' what?"
Clark reaches out to put the fruit back in the bowl as a corner of his mouth quirks up. His voice falls back into its lower pitch as he says, "First of all, I can do other things besides run fast."
Jimmy had been geeking out before, but now he could barely contain himself. His mind goes to the same place it did when he had had this talk with Chloe. He can feel the smile splitting his face as he jumps up. "Dude!" he exclaims. "Can you fly?"
Clark lets out a short, barking laugh. "No, not really. But funny you should ask." Jimmy opens his mouth – he has to know what that means – but Clark cuts him off by hold up one big hand. "Long story," he says.
Jimmy stills himself abruptly when he realizes that he's been bouncing on the balls of his feet like a teenage girl. "So?" he asks excitedly.
Clearly, Clark had never encountered Jimmy's Warrior Angel-inspired brand of enthusiasm before. Jimmy resists the urge to laugh as the six-foot-infinity superhero takes a tentative step backward. In an instant, he's back to the shy CK that Jimmy's always known. "Um, I can blast fire out of my eyes?"
Jimmy smirks. "Is that a question?"
Clark frowns at the joke. "No, it's not," he says. "I'm also strong."
Inside, Jimmy jumps for joy. He knew it. With some of the things the Blur has done… His mind is racing. "How strong?" he asks.
Clark runs a hand through his hair. "I've never tested myself, to be honest," he says. "But I guess I've picked up my fair share of cars."
All of the breath leaves Jimmy's body. When he finds his voice, it's filled only with pure awe. "Clark, that's amazing."
Clark shrugs. "I guess. It's just how my life is." He reaches a hand forward to toy with the corner of the photo, then the cover of the Smallville High yearbook. "In high school, I began to develop some weirder abilities. Heat vision, for one. X-ray vision was first."
Jimmy's eyes nearly bug out of his head. "Whoa! Like seeing through walls?"
Clark's face screws into a boyish wince. "Kind of. It's actually like in an x-ray. Skeletons and stuff." Jimmy's shock keeps him silent, so Clark goes on. "Eventually, I also got…well, super breath, I guess. And my hearing got better."
Jimmy was almost afraid to ask, lest this conversation get any more mind-blowing. "How much better?"
"I could hear Chloe muttering to herself at ISIS if I concentrated hard enough."
Another piece of the puzzle falls into place. "That's how you always know where there's trouble," he says with a smile.
Another short laugh. "Not always," Clark says. "Usually, I just use the police scanner."
Jimmy's grin expands again. "So, anything else?" he asks wryly.
Clark, of course, misses his sarcasm. "I'm also hard to hurt," he says earnestly. He cuts off Jimmy's question before he asks it. "My skin is bulletproof." He scratches the back of his neck self-consciously. "And I guess that's it."
"That's it?" Jimmy exclaimed, bounding up again. "That's it? CK, that's incredible!" He leans across the island on his elbows. "This is what I was saying. You don't have to just be a Blur. You can be more than that."
"Wait, Jimmy." Clark was slouching again. "You don't know everything."
Jimmy's still smiling like a loon. "What else could there be, man?"
When he registers it, the seriousness on Clark's face hits him like a ton of bricks. Slowly, Clark says, "I'm not a meteor freak."
Jimmy's heart sinks, but he tries to be optimistic anyway. "Gamma rays?" he asks. "Cosmic rays? Radioactive insect?"
Clark folds his hands and says with all seriousness, "I'm from a planet called Krypton."
Jimmy crashes back onto his stool. He looks Clark over with new eyes: broad shoulders, long arms, wide eyes. Not average, maybe, but definitely human – or so he appears.
He's never known CK to lie – except, of course, about this – so he takes him at his word. "You're an alien?"
Clark blinks twice in quick succession. Clinically, he says, "Yes."
Jimmy's mind flashes to the old sci-fi pulps his grandfather had given him when he was a kid. "Are you the only one?" he asks, almost afraid of the answer.
Clark's mouth opens and closes before he says, "Yes," his voice still detached.
The hesitation gives Jimmy time to remember a long-gone face – Kara – but he keeps his mouth shut, for CK's sake. Instead, he tries to put the multitude of feelings flowing through him into words. "Clark, that's…I can't even…you're…"
As he stammers, Clark wipes both hands over his face with a sigh. "Yeah," he breathes, "I know."
Jimmy picks up the photo of the Kents. They look so normal and unassuming. Cautiously, he asks, "Is that why you're so under wraps?"
Clark, too, stares at the picture, a faraway look in his eyes. "Yeah."
Jimmy lifts his head up, watching a million emotions pass through Clark's eyes. Suddenly, he can see how it all weighs on Clark's formidable shoulders, how it eats him through from the inside out. Jimmy's kicks himself for not noticing it before.
Clark's eyes shimmer. "Jimmy, do you know that question that man has asked for thousands of years? 'Is there life on other planets?'" He places a flat hand on his chest. "It's me. I'm the answer."
"Well, yeah," Jimmy says. "So?"
Before Clark can rebut, he reaches into his briefcase and pulls out the photo he had taken the night before. For the millionth time, he takes in the details. Lois' feet seem to hover in the air, inches above the car that could have killed her. Swirling around her, Jimmy knows now, is the red of Clark's ubiquitous red jacket, lifting her up and carrying her to safety faster than Jimmy's expensive camera could capture.
"Who could fear a guy who does this?" he continues. "I'm not saying that you have to come completely out of the closet and tell the world that a certain unassuming farmboy hails from a far-off galaxy, but a little transparency couldn't hurt." He holds up the photo with a lopsided grin. Without a doubt, Clark lives up to his moniker. "Well, you know what I mean."
Clark frowns. "I don't follow."
"A mysterious Good Samaritan isn't enough for this city," he says. "I think it would be comforting for people to know exactly who's looking out for them."
"Jimmy…" It's the warning tone again.
Jimmy digs around in his pocket and pulls out his cell phone. "Let me call Chloe and we'll have a pow-wow," he says. His mind is going a mile a minute, sifting through every comic he's ever read and everything he's learned about Metropolis in his lifetime there. "You need to be more than the Red and Blue Blur, CK. You need to be…" He puts down the phone. "Do you have, like, an alien name?"
"Um," Clark says, squirming a bit, "Kal-El."
"Perfect!" Jimmy brightens up. He hits Chloe's speed dial number as he continues to talk. "We need to introduce the public to Kal-El, the last son of Krypton. They need to know that there's a reason to hope again."
Clark picks up Jimmy's Blur photo and analyzes it for the first time. Jimmy's willing to bet that Clark's never seen himself all powered up before, and it gives him a little thrill to be witnessing a true superhero in the making. Clark's vaguely nauseous expression starts to fade, giving way to a mixture of pride and anticipation. He traces his hand over the red shape. Quietly, almost to himself, he says, "We'll have to be careful, but maybe…"
Meanwhile, Chloe finally answers her phone. "Jimmy, what is it?"
"Sweetheart, I need you to get over to the Kent Farm as soon as you can," he says, barely able to contain his excitement. "We have work to do."