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Birthday fic: Hide-And-Seek, 1/1

Title: Hide-And-Seek
Author: htbthomas
Fandom: Superman Returns
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1, 770 words
Summary: Jason is really good at hide-and-seek. Set in a pre-Clois timeline.
Author’s Note: A birthday fic for taro_twist. Her prompt: "something in the Superman Returns-verse with Clark and Perry babysitting Jason?" Special thanks to van_el, foxtwin and mark_clark for alpha and beta help.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Jimmy Olsen's tenor voice filtered into Perry White's office. "I can't find him anywhere! Do you have any idea where he went?"

"Um..." Clark Kent's unsteady baritone came next. "I... no. I don't know where he is..." He said with a tone of disbelieving surprise.

Perry looked up from his paperwork to see Olsen, hands on hips, scanning the bullpen. Kent slouched beside him, one hand combing through his hair in agitation. What the hell kinda mess have the Bobbsey Twins gotten into this time?

"Wow, he's good at this game. Jace! Jace! Olly olly oxen free!" Jimmy called out over the newsroom.  Staffers popped up their heads, only to shake them in annoyance.  Perry huffed and stood up from his chair.

"Do you..." Clark looked at his feet, almost beyond them as if he thought he would find the answers in the floor.  "Do you think he might have hid somewhere else?  Not on this floor?"

Perry couldn't keep silent any longer.  He moved to the doorway and called out to Kent and Olsen.  "Don't tell me that you've lost track of a six-year-old."  By the looks on their faces – Olsen embarrassed, Kent perplexed – they certainly had.

Lois had called Perry up a couple of hours ago to ask if someone could get Jason from school – she'd be back late from the story she was chasing, and she promised Perry it would be worth it.  With Richard away at an overseas press conference, she had no one else to ask... Kent, who somehow was hanging about in the hallway at that exact moment, overheard the conversation and piped up that he would pick up Jason and keep an eye on him.  Which was fortunate, because even if Lane was his Pulitzer-winning star reporter, and the boy was his great-nephew, he almost might have refused.  Really, was he an editor or a babysitter?

Watching his two employees stand there totally at a loss, it seemed like the answer was obvious.  "So tell me what happened."

Olsen blushed. "Well, we decided to play hide-and-seek..."

"...and he was off to hide before anyone could set the boundaries," Kent finished.

"So, in other words," Perry stated, piercing each of them in turn with a flat stare, "he could be hiding anywhere on all sixty-five floors of this building."

Olsen shrugged, chagrined.

"Don't forget the two basement levels," Kent offered helpfully.

Perry covered his face with his palm.  The two men waited in front of him, probably afraid to speak. 

He removed his hand and took quick stock of the newsroom, the time, and the minutes left until deadline...

Then Perry suddenly spoke up.  "All right, people!" His voice carried across the busy room, and all business came to a halt.  "We've got a situation here!  Somewhere in this building Jason White is hiding."  He gestured across the room to include everyone, adding, "All of you have twenty minutes to help find him and then get your articles turned in on time!"  A low murmuring spread across the room.

"Now let's spread out.  You–" He pointed toward a cluster of desks to his left.  "Cover the first 10 floors. You, you and you.  Take ten each."  He pointed around the entire room, assigning areas. "Let reception hold all calls for now."

People stood there in shock for a moment, and a lone voice called from the back, "All this for one little boy?  Do we all have to be involved?"

"You'll do it because I asked you."  With a gleam in his eye, he lowered his voice to add, "Or you can all explain what happened to Lois Lane."

Like a dam bursting, employees rushed in all directions. 

"You two," he cocked his head sharply at Kent and Olsen, "hit the floors above, and the roof.  I'm heading to the archives – join me there if you don't find him."  They both scurried off toward the stairs. 

Perry only took a moment to grab a flashlight before stalking in the same direction.  Only the child of Lois Lane could get the Planet into this sort of mess.

- - - - -


By the time Perry reached the ground floor of the Planet, he had already notified security and the front desk staff to be watching out for Jason White – everyone in the building knew his great-nephew on sight, he was around so much. Perry strode for the stairwell to the subterranean levels of the building, surmising that Jason would be less likely to use the elevators if he really didn’t want to be found. Perry desperately hoped that if Jason had come all the way down here that the boy was hiding in the archives… and hadn’t somehow sneaked into the printing press area. The advertising circulars were usually printed at this time of day – he pushed down a fresh surge of worry.

“Jason!” he called brusquely into the stairwell before entering it. “Come out, son – the game’s over!” Perry’s voice echoed up several levels, and he could hear no answering shout. He huffed, stepping down the flight of stairs to Basement Level 1. He opened the heavy door, and just as he reached over to switch on the hall lights, a sudden draft shut the door behind him with a slam. He bit back a startled curse – who knew where the kid could be hiding?

An almost ghostly giggle came out of the shadows. “Jason?” he asked, turning on the lights for real. The hallway was completely empty, with not even a box to hide behind. However, the door to the archive room stood slightly ajar…

“Jason!” he called again through the doorway, annoyance threading through his voice. “Come out of there! The game’s over!” He stalked around one of the stacks, startling one of the interns, a petite blonde he wasn’t sure he’d ever actually met before. There were so many that came and went.

“Oh, Mr. White!” she exclaimed, clutching a stack of old newspapers to her chest.

“Have you seen a little boy playing around in here?” he asked her, feeling like a fool.

Her brows knitted together in a puzzled frown. “I don’t think so…”

He frowned in return. “Well. Make sure to call the front desk if you do, all right?” Nodding, he began a tour of the stacks, just in case.

Another yelp of astonishment caused him to turn back toward the intern. “What happened?”

“Oh, nothing…” she called back with a touch of embarrassment. “The papers I was holding just seemed to jump out of my hands. I’m such a klutz, sometimes.”

He chuckled, and went to help her out. “I’ve done that more than once.” He squatted down to pick up one of the sections she’d been holding – something from the era when Superman first appeared. “And not just since these old hands got a touch of rheumatism.”

“Thanks, Mr. White,” she answered with a slight blush.

“No problem, Miss…”

She held out her hand. “Oh, I’m sorry. I’m Ch—”

At that moment the stairwell door slammed out in the hallway, and they both jumped. “Excuse me…” He stood quickly and rushed in the direction of the sound. That kid might be able to get one over on Abbott and Costello, but he’d be damned if he’d let a six-year-old best Perry White.

He pelted down the stairs, pushing through the door into Basement Level 2. I hope to God he’s not really down here. Perry wanted to trust that Jason was cautious enough not to go near the heavy machinery, but who knew the mind of a child? Better to be safe than sorry.

To his relief, the presses weren’t actually running. He could see the foreman conferring with one of his underlings, next to the control panel. “Hey, Roscoe!” he called out, walking as quickly as he could to the machine area.

The man didn’t hear him, so he called out again. “Roscoe! Have you seen a kid down here?”

Roscoe tapped a couple of buttons on the touch screen, and then turned toward him. “What did you say, Perry?” he shouted, just as the printing press behind him started up with a loud whine…

Holy sh—! “Stop the presses!” He broke into a run, waving his arms in a ‘stop’ gesture. “Shut it off! Shut! It! Off!

The foreman punched the control panel again, and the machine slowly came to a halt. “What’s the problem?”

Perry put a hand over his heart, breathing heavily. “Jason White is hiding somewhere in the building and we’re all looking for him.”

“You don’t think he’d be all the way down here, do you?”

Perry ran a hand over his face tiredly. “I sure hope not, but this is Lois Lane’s kid we’re talking about here…” He gestured for Roscoe to follow him.

Suddenly, from behind them a shout of “Gotcha!” followed by squealing laughter made them turn. Clark held the giggling boy awkwardly in his arms. Jimmy scrambled out of the stairwell behind them, calling out “There you are!”

A rush of relief filled him, followed by a twin rush of anger. “Jason!” Pointing sternly, he bore down on his great-nephew. “I don’t care what kind of game you’re playing, boy, don’t ever set foot in this room without permission!”

Jason’s giggling smile quickly fell, and he opened his mouth to speak, then stopped, looking at Clark, of all people.

“Yes, Jason, it’s very important,” Clark agreed, setting Jason down on the floor. “There’s a lot of heavy equipment and a lot of old machinery in storage down here… which makes it really difficult to see you if you get into trouble.” They shared a significant look.

Jason thought for a moment – and then his face, instead of twisting into a rebellious scowl, changed to an expression of somber remorse. “I’m sorry, Uncle Perry, Mister Clark, Mister Olsen,” he apologized to all of them in a small voice. “I won’t do it again.”

“You’d better not,” Perry warned – but it seemed pretty unnecessary. He’d never seen that look on his mother’s face, not even after the most disastrous events. He must take more strongly after his father in this regard.

Perry swiped a hand through Jason’s hair. “It’s like you can hide in the shadows, kid – you sure you don’t have superpowers or something…?” he began to joke.

And then at the sudden silence around him, he realized just what he had implied. Jimmy’s gaze was pointedly fixated on the ground. Clark’s eyes were overly wide. Jason looked between them all and laughed innocently. “Don’t be silly, Uncle Perry, I’m not Batman!”

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


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Comments

( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
ancarett
Dec. 31st, 2007 08:57 pm (UTC)
Oh, that closing line was absolutely wonderful! I loved how you worked in Perry and Jimmy. Clark looking at his feet (and secretly scanning down several floors) was well-done and ending up at the printing floors was great. Overall, a perfect little ficlet!
htbthomas
Dec. 31st, 2007 09:04 pm (UTC)
Hee hee. Thanks! I'm so glad I managed to get this done in time, too -- the bunny kept nibbling at my heels amidst family time! :)
chickadilly
Dec. 31st, 2007 10:48 pm (UTC)
Oh that was a fun read - loved Jason saying he wasn't Batman. HEE!! I could totally see him growing up to be sort of a combination of Batman and Superman type hero. (Or maybe I've read too many fics lately ... ;) HEE!)

And Chloe in the basement was a great touch - I'm going to pretend that a few minutes later she runs into Jimmy and they notice each other ... ;)

:D
htbthomas
Jan. 1st, 2008 02:22 am (UTC)
I think it's very likely that he won't be exactly like his dad... he's not fully Kryptonian, but I imagine he'll have enough tricks to be pretty cool. :)

And glad you liked Chloe! I was going to use a random intern, and then Chloe whispered in my ear: "I'm going to be in the comics, soon... I'll be canon, use me!" -- so I obliged her.

Yeah, I hope she and Jimmy do meet up! That would be awesomer than awesome.
saavikam77
Jan. 1st, 2008 12:41 am (UTC)
HOMG!! XD That was too perfect. Jason with super speed and hiding *somewhere* in the DP building is a frightening scenario, indeed! Loved Perry's joke hitting a little too close to home. :p ROFL. ^_^
htbthomas
Jan. 1st, 2008 02:24 am (UTC)
Hee hee, thanks! I thought -- hide-and-seek and superpowers could be a very interesting combination! :D
moira__c
Jan. 1st, 2008 02:50 am (UTC)
ooh this is nice :-)
a beautiful ficlet to start 2008 :-)
htbthomas
Jan. 1st, 2008 02:52 am (UTC)
Thanks! Jason is always a fun one to write about. ♥ Hope you have a lovely 2008 yourself!
seacrystal
Jan. 1st, 2008 11:27 am (UTC)
Only the child of Lois Lane could get the Planet into this sort of mess.

lol So true.

And then at the sudden silence around him, he realized just what he had implied.

Perry, you have NO idea.

“Don’t be silly, Uncle Perry, I’m not Batman!”

And a Batman mention as the icing on the cake!

Just the perfect fic to start off the new year. :D
htbthomas
Jan. 1st, 2008 01:03 pm (UTC)
Oh, this was a fun one to do... I'm glad you liked those little lines - I really enjoy writing humorous tales. :)
lilyoftheval5
Jan. 1st, 2008 08:10 pm (UTC)
Nice
I must say that the most fun part was Perry's POV of Jason. I really like looking through his eyes. And I love Jason.
There should be more stories about him, much more....
htbthomas
Jan. 1st, 2008 08:11 pm (UTC)
Re: Nice
I hadn't written Perry's POV before, so thanks! There should be more about Perry, or Jason? I'm going to assume Perry, since there are very few I'm aware of. :)
ljs_lj
Jan. 1st, 2008 11:01 pm (UTC)
Hee! This was great! (And of course the Chloe mention and that last line totally makes it.) I'm so going to bookmark this one!
htbthomas
Jan. 1st, 2008 11:20 pm (UTC)
Hee! I do really enjoy these guys! I'm really glad you got a kick out of it. :)
babettew54
Jan. 2nd, 2008 01:35 am (UTC)
Babysitting duty! I can definitely relate to that…especially with a six-year old whose Kiara’s age! So inquisitive, so playful! Oh, boy, a six-year old is loose in a 10-story office building? Lois will be just a little upset…oh boy! That was enough to get everybody hopping! *LOL* He does take after his Dad, doesn’t he?!

I really liked it. Thanks, Barb!
htbthomas
Jan. 2nd, 2008 02:14 am (UTC)
Heh, yes, I think he takes strongly after both sides of his family. :D

Thanks for the review!
taro_twist
Jan. 5th, 2008 01:41 am (UTC)
Thank youuu!
OMG OMG OMG! This was absolutely adorable and was exactly what I was looking for! Thank you so much, and I am so sorry for the late reply. You had me literally squealing out loud with a few of the lines, like this one:

he opened his mouth to speak, then stopped, looking at Clark, of all people.

And this one:

“There’s a lot of heavy equipment and a lot of old machinery in storage down here… which makes it really difficult to see you if you get into trouble.” They shared a significant look.

For some reason I wasn't expecting Jason to know who Clark is here, so I was bouncing around with glee after I realized he did! And the silent communication between them was perfect. Also, this part:

“It’s like you can hide in the shadows, kid – you sure you don’t have superpowers or something…?” he began to joke.

And then at the sudden silence around him, he realized just what he had implied.


Uh oh! Loved the awkward moment there, but Jason's reply tickled me to death:

Jason looked between them all and laughed innocently. “Don’t be silly, Uncle Perry, I’m not Batman!”

LOL! I don't know if that was coincidence or on purpose because of my S/B fixation =P but it was awesome either way. XD

And the rest of it was fantastic, too! Chloe's cameo (woo!), Jimmy and Clark getting in over their heads playing hide-and-seek, Perry rallying the entire bullpen to go search for Jason (*dies laughing* oh, those poor employees!) ... and then Perry running around being all worried while he's searching for Jason and freaking out that he'd get hurt in the printing presses was great, as was his lecturing Jason afterwards. I've always been intrigued by the Perry+Jason relationship since (as far as anyone knows) they're related, and have always wanted to see more of Perry getting dragged into Lane-White-Kent (lol) family business. This hit the spot!

Thank you again! And Happy New Year! *hugs*

htbthomas
Jan. 5th, 2008 02:03 am (UTC)
Re: Thank youuu!
Oh, I'm so pleased you enjoyed it! It was one of those ideas that I came to me and I knew I had to use it. :)

Yes, the Batman ref was just for you. *hugs*

I hope your birthday rocked! And that 2008 will be a most amazing year. ♥
thrace_adams
Jan. 6th, 2008 08:02 pm (UTC)
oh I loved this one!!! Ah but what of yours haven't I loved LOL. Loved the last line and the bit about Clark telling him it was hard to see him down there...
htbthomas
Jan. 6th, 2008 09:44 pm (UTC)
I really enjoy stories from an alternate character's POV. So much fun. Glad you enjoyed it (and all of them, *hugs*)
jij
Mar. 9th, 2008 10:43 am (UTC)
*cracks up in delight at the unexpected ironies of the last line*

Oh, Clark's befuddlement--and the subtlety with which you explained what happened--are just delicious. And I really love the idea that Jason is kind of...the mascot of the Planet, sort of.

(I even got the Chloe reference, and I don't watch Smallville! Go me!)

"You'll do it because I asked you." With a gleam in his eye, he lowered his voice to add, "Or you can all explain what happened to Lois Lane."

OMG, I love this line, and the immediately-following image of everyone scrambling in all directions like the Keystone Kops. :) This was adorable...
htbthomas
Mar. 9th, 2008 12:59 pm (UTC)
Well, I wish that Chloe was actually going to be in the comics... I really liked her character, and it's fun when the Super-verse can share the wealth.

I really love to write the crazy, silly stories. Who knew?
laramoon
Jun. 24th, 2008 05:38 pm (UTC)
hehehe :) Jason is so very cute! Nicely done! :)
htbthomas
Jun. 24th, 2008 08:13 pm (UTC)
Thanks! It was also fun to write that from Perry's unaware POV, too. :)
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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