Richard wanders into the kitchen barefoot, wearing only pajama bottoms, and picks up the glass of wine that's been left waiting for him. Clark has unearthed a wok from somewhere and he's stir-frying. The delicious scent of garlic and scallion and crisp vegetables reaches his nose.
"Something sure smells great," Richard comments, wandering over and trying absent-mindedly to pluck the cooking chopsticks out of Clark's hand.
Clark holds them out of reach, raising a brow. "Good. You can wait fifteen minutes in order to not burn yourself."
"You forgot something," Richard comments, leaning a hip against the counter.
Richard reaches up and plucks the blocky black frames from the bridge of Clark's nose. "You don't have to wear these at home."
Every staff meeting, Clark casts a surreptitious glance around the table. When Perry speaks, almost the entire tightly-packed circle of reporters is hunched over a small device before them, Blackberries and Sidekicks clicking softly as they take notes and send messages and signals fly into the air like ribbons of light. He bends his head and puts pen to paper instead, taking his own notes.
"You know," Richard says afterward, dropping a hand to his shoulder. "You could get copy filed a lot faster some days if you used one of those." He gives a nod to one of the interns passing by with her eyes riveted to the sharp tiny display, thumbs moving ceaselessly.
"It's the buttons," Clark explains. "One wrong move and my thumb could go right through the whole thing." He shrugs his shoulders. He's just not used to these delicate electronics yet.
"It is comforting, somehow, to see someone still using pen and paper in this day and age," Richard says thoughtfully, then pulls a grin, turning the balance of it on Clark.
"The pen reminds me of the fragility of the paper."
Jason takes the binoculars everywhere, weighted around his neck with the nylon strap that keeps them safe, keeps them from falling and breaking, so Lois lets him play with them as he likes. Soon, though, it seems every time she turns around Jason has them, he's picking them up and playing with them, peering through them at places far distant.
It might be another phase, she thinks at first, like the obsessive playing of the keyboard which he's put behind him ever since Lex's ship and all that happened there.
She's about to ask him where he got them, insist for now that he put them away because a good pair of binoculars can run half as high as her monthly paycheck, then she remembers. The last place she saw those was Richard's desk.
Sometimes Jimmy thinks he's going to spend the rest of his life pushing coffee as he brings the mug of Kona Blue into Perry's office. The man favors him with a rare grin, full-on and teeth exposed white and glinting.
"Congratulations," Perry says.
"For what?"" Jimmy stammers, and silently Perry points to the sideboard for tomorrow's Lifestyle top page.
"The Planet's own Olsen wins Pulitzer." The headline runs over the pictures from his finest hour, the shots from the afternoon of the earthquake.
A grin splits his lips, and Perry's clapping his shoulder.
"Good work, Olsen."
For some reason, that warms him even more than the headline, or the fact of the award.
Lois gets up from her desk so fast she upsets the ink well given to her three Christmases ago by a well-meaning Richard whom she never did get around to telling she writes better with the cheapo Pilot fine lines. "Oh, no he doesn't!" she avows, her eyes still fixed on the headline item of Metropolis Starr's website. Superman Speaks: An Interview with Tammy Tonner.
She glances down at her desk and tsks at the quantity of black ink she's spilled on the thankfully-opaque plastic surface of a wirebound notebook. With a last withering glance for the computer screen and its bad-tidings headline, Lois snorts and sets off in search of paper towels.
If he thinks he can brush her off that easily he's got another thing coming.
"Good work on the city hall piece, Lane," Perry says, but he's frowning as he says it. He rolls up the paper in front of him and taps it against the desk, eyeing his star domestic-news reporter. "You know..."
"I know," Lois snaps, her eyes tracking the paper he is so-idly tapping against his desk. She rolls her eyes, makes to speak, then shakes her head.
"He hasn't been active in Metropolis for months, then he gives an interview to the Starr?" Perry says mildly.
"You want it, Perry? You've got it. I'll deliver your Superman exclusive," Lois says, her eyes snapping fire. "Okay? Even if I have to throw myself off a building to get it."
She gets up and leaves the room, heels denting an angry path the entire way.
Perry relaxes into his seat, kicking back and watching Lois depart with the slow hint of a smile. He's never been good at treating any of his reporters with kid gloves, and Lois is no set of fine china. He's glad to see her back on the beat, so to speak.
Gil staggers back from the street, colliding hard with a lamppost and clutching it for balance, all set to yell at the person who's just rammed so rudely into him, shoving him clear onto the curb. A bus rushes past in the next instant less than a foot from his nose and Gil's eyes bug out as he teeters on the edge of the curb. It slams through the space where Gil stood a mere second before.
He glances over at his erstwhile assailant, dazedly recognizing Clark Kent. "Kent?" he utters, and is mortified to realize his knees are weak.
"You all right, Gil?" Kent asks, and gives him a reassuring slap on the back. He's already moving for the front doors of the Planet.
"Yeah," Gil replies, squinting after the bus. If he didn't know better, he'd swear he saw a...a man-sized handprint on the front of the damned bus, right before it thundered past.