hazelrah: (job for superman)
[personal profile] hazelrah
Wendy Richards wrote My Friend and I wrote this sequel with her permission in the summer of 2001. My first present-tense ficlet, and my only fic from Jimmy Olsen's perspective. Heavy spoilers for That Old Gang of Mine.

Author's Note: Wendy claims that the first part of this fic was inspired by me. Well, I always knew that nagging helped. ;) But when I expressed an interest in continuing her story, I was a bit nonplussed to find that she had essentially added a promise to the archive readers that I would continue it! I suppose that what goes around comes around. :) So here is my continuation, and I thank Wendy for allowing me to collaborate with her on this.

This will not make any sense unless you read the first section, linked above.

My Friend, part 2

Events are moving too quickly for me. CK is gone. Lois is out there somewhere, grieving. And me? I have to be here, at a party.

For Perry, I suppose. And somehow, for Clark.

I don't belong here. Sometimes I think I never belong.

Perry is speaking about Clark now, but I can barely hear the words. The glass of champagne in my hand seems too heavy. A final toast is just that -- too final. I don't want to think about it.

"To Clark Kent," Perry says.

I raise the glass in salute with everyone else. There isn't anything else to do. I wish there was. I want to smash something. I want to scream. I want to hit someone. But all I can do is drink a toast to CK.

Some people are applauding, but I can't. I can't do anything.

Why isn't there anything I can do?

There's a sudden voice. Loud, braying. Arrogant.

Capone. He's got his henchmen lined up with tommy guns. He's going to shoot us down.

And there --

Clyde. The last time I saw him was in Perry's garage, when he left Perry and me to die; but the only thing I can think about is...

"You're the one who killed CK."

his is the slime who murdered one of the best people I've even known. He tried to kill me too, but that isn't important now. The only thing that matters is that he killed CK.

I walk towards him, but he shoves me back.

"Hey, everyone!" I shout. I can hear the tremble in my voice, but I can't stop now. "This is the guy who killed Clark!"

"Shut up," he hisses. His hands twitch. I don't think he would hesitate to kill again.

Perry's talking, trying to reason with Capone. I have eyes only for the creep who gunned down a man for trying to protect the woman he loves.

There is a shout, and a sudden blur. Superman.

He saves our lives, but I feel a sudden fury as he crushes those bullets to dust. Why is he here now? Where was he when CK was killed?

He'd wanted to tell Lois something, I remember. Maybe he'd wanted to apologize. Didn't it occur to him that I was hurting too?

No one ever notices me. Not even Superman.

The gangsters drop their guns when they turn red-hot from Superman's heat vision, and it's suddenly a free-for-all. I think Capone tries to run, and Superman chases after him; but I'm only after one guy.

Clyde isn't much without a weapon. He tries to make a break for it up the ramp, but I grab him by his jacket. One solid punch to the stomach is all it takes to leave him groaning on the floor.

Man, it felt good to do that.

I step back a pace to glare at his face while he coughs and gasps. "That's for CK," I tell him. The tremor is still in my voice, but I think it has more to do with satisfaction now.

It's over in moments. I can hear the sirens in the distance; Superman must have gotten Capone. It looks like everything is all wrapped up... except that Clark is still dead.

I still can't believe he's gone.

Perry comes up to me, but before he can say anything, Lois interrupts. I didn't even see her come inside; she must have arrived at the same time as Superman. She looks even worse than she had that morning. What happened to her clothes, and why is she wiping frosting off her face? I probably don't want to know.

"Have you guys seen Clark?" she asks.

I freeze. I look at Perry, and he's as helpless as I am. Please, Lois, please don't do this to us. You know he's dead. You know it better than any of us; you saw it happen. Please don't snap like this, Lois.

I don't think I could bear it if I lose Lois on top of Clark.

"Now, Lois," Perry tries, "you've been through a horrible ordeal..."

Her face looks blank. Puzzled. Oh, man.

"Clark is gone, honey," he says gently.

"I don't know about that, Chief."

My head snaps up. That sounded like --

It couldn't be --

Well, who else would say something so banal about jogging at a time like this?

"CK!" I burst out. I have to blink hard as I throw my arms around him. He's alive! I laugh out loud as I embrace him tightly, just to make sure he's really there.

Perry asks him how he can still be alive, and Clark tries to explain. I let the details wash over me as I keep glancing from Clark to Lois. He's real. He's there. He's alive -- and that means that Lois is alive again, too.

It seems that Superman saved him with Hamilton's DNA cloning process. I make a mental note to punch Superman in the mouth the next time I see him. He could have let me know that CK was still alive. I guess I don't count for much. Even Superman didn't think it was worth telling me that one of my best friends is still alive. But I'd rather be lost in Clark's shadow than have to stand in the spotlight because he's gone.

"Wow," I finally say. "That's an incredible story."

To be honest, I don't believe him. Even by our standards, the story is too bizarre, and his explanation is just a little too smooth. He's hiding something from us, something that really explains his miraculous return.

But I don't care. The important thing is that he's alive. That lost look on Lois' face is gone now, and I never want to see it again.

And I -- I have my friend back.

"I'll see you tomorrow," I tell him. I wonder if my voice carries the overwhelming relief I feel that tomorrow exists; that there *will* be a tomorrow for CK.

It seems that he does, for he smiles and slaps my arm. "Tomorrow," he says simply.

And that's enough for now.
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