by Talya Firedancer

He drops off his son, picks up coffee for three in the morning, hits the building just before peak arrival times as always and the only difference from the usual is the sheer wattage of the smile that greets him from across Mr. Kent's desk on his way to his office. Richard answers it with a lift of his chin and a heart-stopping grin and keeps going, because if he doesn't keep up the momentum he won't get any work done today unless Clark's discipline is so very much greater than his own.

After a night like that if it were, Richard would be tempted to pull rank and claim a sick day for the both of them, prescribing bed rest.

Richard takes an early break and it's a disappointment to find that Clark has gone out for the day on a field assignment. He does his work, then, wishing the day to get on faster. There's enough news on the international scene to keep two assistant editors busy for more than the forty-hour week he puts in at the office, though, so by the time he lifts his head from breaking news in the hot zones, it's time to hit the road to pick Jason up from the sitter.

When he gets back to the Planet, Perry shoots past him like a comet, uttering orders in his wake, "Richard, there's breaking news that needs to make the evening edition and there's copy filed by three foreign correspondents that I want up on the website by close of business; now Gil, I need you to follow up--" Richard absorbs the directives meant for him, sighs, and reaches down for Jason, who already has his arms up as if reading his papa's mind.

"You mind staying late at the Planet tonight, little guy?" Richard asks, nose to nose with his son, who blinks solemnly back.

"No. I like playing with Jimmy and Mr. Clark," he responds.

"'Course you do," Richard says, angling an appraising eye Kent-ward, pleased to see that desk is occupied once more. He carries his little sanity-anchor clasped firmly before him as he bears in that direction. "They both spoil you like crazy."

"No they don't!" Jason giggles, a happy glint in his eyes.

Richard leans a hip against Clark's desk and the man looks up, mouth dropping open in that way that implies to all and sundry he's been pulled from a deep state of concentration. In actuality, Richard is sure that Clark possesses more attention tracks than any twelve geniuses could dream of, but for the sake of surface appearances, brings him "up to date." "I need to stay late tonight to get some work done," he begins.

"Chinese sound okay?" Clark supplies, plastering on that goofy grin that makes Richard either want to tug on his tie or, hell, take him right home.

"Yay!" Jason cheers, wriggling to get down. He dashes toward Jimmy's cubby. "I'm gonna make paper airplanes!"

Richard watches in fascination as Clark's expression shifts infinitesimally to one more determined, focused, and since it's turned in his direction, it brings to mind the better kind of intimacy.

"And later?" Clark asks softly.

"Come back to the house with us," Richard invites, catching his breath. He wonders if Clark will be willing to breach the 'not in the house' policy, but he doesn't much care. The closeness is the most important thing.

"Sure," Clark says casually, eyes flicking back to his screen. "I've got enough work to keep me until you're done."

"As always," Richard says, and grins, and he can't stop, so he figures now is the time for tactical withdrawal.

Later he pushes back from his desk and Clark is there, opening and closing the door with a soft snikt, and he's halfway around the desk before Richard knows it but Richard is all too eager to surge up from his chair and meet him, taking on the urgent press of warm, sensitive lips and closing his eyes and opening for the slant and play of Clark's agile tongue. Thank god, goes through his head, while there's still thought left before the glut of sensation, I thought it was just me. They kiss and Clark presses him back against the unyielding line of his desk and Richard's hands grip there, because if he touches the rock-solid body against him he really will come undone. The heat of Clark's mouth is all of the world he needs for now.

The door rattles a bit as it opens and they spring apart, Clark wiping at his mouth, Richard hazily thinking back to a stupid 'vertical CPR practice session' excuse he used in high school. If the coach didn't buy it then, Perry sure as hell won't buy it now...

Their interloper, however, is considerably more diminutive. Richard blinks as Jason looks up at him, then Clark, his small features inscrutable.

Clark opens his mouth, no doubt to stammer something, anything, in a fumble for explanation, but Jason approaches close, then closest while looking up at Clark all the while until he's right at Clark's knee. Jason tugs at Clark's pant-leg and Richard holds his breath, leaning back against his desk. Lois is going to kill me, hammers through his skull.

"Yes?" Clark says, hunkering down to Jason's level. Amazingly enough, he has managed to not look as guilty as Richard feels.

"Can I call you Uncle Clark?" Jason asks solemnly.

Clark's eyes round. "Uh...sure, Jason." His mouth twitches as if he's unsure whether to grin or pull a frown of confusion.

"Okay." He looks up at Richard now, who is valiantly striving to repress a grin over sheer incredulity. "Daddy, can we have dinner now? I'm hungry."

"Sure thing, champ," Richard responds automatically, and his eyes meet Clark's. They don't smile, but Richard can read the wonder there. Then Jason is banging his way out of the office and that simply, they move past it, opting tonight to have dinner out instead of staying at the Planet.

They've got plenty to celebrate, after all. +end+