title: Idle Speculation
fandom: DC comics, Superman Returns
characters/pairings: Clark, Jason, Lois/Richard, Perry, Batman
rating: G
warnings: Jersey girl, dating action figures
summary: Perry's plot to get Lois back to covering Superman leads to some interesting speculation.
notes: i don't know why, but this idea came to me while reading rithy's latest two fics, which are both far better than this so if you haven't already, go read! ^_~

Perry White knew he was an exceptional editor. It wasn't because he was some sort of genius. It was because he knew his people. He knew what he could expect of them, which was actually more than they knew about themselves, because sometimes, they didn't think they could work eighteen hours in a row, or get past a police barricade during an emergency, or get a quote from the indicted CEO that has cut off all contact with the media before the trial.

Perry White knew how to get the people to get the story.

He knew that Lois Lane was an exceptional reporter. And if he left her entirely to her own devices, she would come up with fantastic stories. But, while her stories would topple kings, they wouldn't sell. For Lois personally, too. After all, her first Pulitzer was for a Superman article.

No one could cover Superman like Lois.

However, for whatever reason, and Perry didn't want to think about it, Lois was resisting. She covered the Luthor thing, but she didn't want to become Superman's reporter again. She wanted to stick to the hard stories.

Perry White was an exceptional editor, however. He knew how to get the best from his people, and he knew how to sell papers.

Persuasion was an art form.

Clark was just sitting at his desk, working away at his article. It was good, too. Corruption in the mayor's office wasn't exactly innovative, but it was always sexy and splashy. Throw in a few hookers bought with city money, and he might even get a bit of the front page.

If he could finish before deadline.

When no one was looking, he typed as fast as the computer could handle, but it was a busy newsroom. On top of all the usual chaos, Jimmy was having emotional issues about the cute girl at the bus stop, and Lois and Perry had been trying to decapitate each other with yelling all day. It was interesting, but then, Richard showed up with Jason, and Lois split her time between slinging obscenities at Perry and asking Jason about his day.

Then, the blonde showed up.

She was wearing ten-inch stilettos, a leopard print dress, and a black fur coat. And she called Perry "Uncie." At the mere sight of her, Richard remembered an interview he had with the Algerian ambassador that, even after Lois reminded him wasn't for five hours, he needed to leave for right then. Of course, he didn't slip away before she plastered her thickly painted lips on his cheek and called him "Richie Wichie."

This was going to be interesting, so Clark dipped his head down, and concentrated on writing.

"Uncie, do I really get to cover Superman for your paper?" she asked in a squeaky New Jersey accent.

A chill ran down Clark's spine, and he tried desperately to think of how to spell obfuscate.

"Perry?" Lois cornered Perry. "What the hell is the bimbo talking about?"

"Hey!" the bimbo objected.

"The bimbo is my niece," Perry unnecessarily informed her.

"Uncie," the bimbo whined.

"You refuse to cover Superman. Someone has to." Perry narrowed his eyes meaningfully at her. "And my niece, whose name is Buffy..."

"Of course it is," Lois rolled her eyes.

"Hey, there was a show with my name on it, like, recently," 'Buffy' informed Lois, to even greater eye rolling.

"You're going to have to brief her, Lois. Since you refuse to cover Superman..." Perry archly informed.

"If you think this is going to make me buckle, Perry, you haven't worked with me long enough," Lois growled.

"Wait, she's gonna give me a briefcase?" Buffy asked. "But, well, I already have this cute backpack..." She pulled her backpack around to reveal a furry, poodle face shaped bag.

Clark bit his lip to keep from laughing.

"Mommy yells a lot at work," Jason sighed.

Clark blinked. He hadn't realized... He flushed. Jason looked especially cute today. He was wearing a blue shirt with a red stripe across the middle. Clark beamed a little. "Well. Yes, she does. Hopefully, that leaves her all yelled out so when she gets home, she can't yell anymore."

"Oh, no, she can still yell," Jason informed him. "Especially if I forget to put away my trucks and she trips on them."

"Well, anyone would yell if they just tripped." Clark patted Jason on the head, pulling his hand away before he enjoyed it too much.

This was not his son, after all.

"What are you working on?" Jason asked, leaning up to look at the screen.

"It's an article for the paper. On the mayor."

"Is it about something good he did?" Jason asked, hopeful.

"Er, well..." Clark tilted his head to the side, speed-reading to be sure the word 'hooker' wasn't visible. Quickly, he hid the window. "Not exactly."

"Mommy never writes about nice stuff, either. I wish I could read one of mommy's articles," Jason sighed.

"Someday," Clark promised Jason, indulging in a quick pat on the back.

Perry slammed the door to his office, Lois swore rapidly, and Buffy pulled out a tiny little notebook covered in pink zebra stripped plush. "Ok, so, Lo-Lo... can I call you Lo-Lo? About Superman... so, who's he dating?"

Lois stared at Buffy in horror.

"Mommy doesn't like that lady," Jason confided in Clark. "Neither does daddy."

Clark winked at him. "Well, I'm not sure they have a lot of reason to."

"I've never met her before," Jason stated simply.

"Then you have no reason to dislike her," Clark assured him.

"How would I know if he's sleeping with anyone?" Lois roared. "How is that news, why would anyone need to know that?"

Buffy tittered. "Oh, honey, come on! Who doesn't want to know about who Superman is sleeping with? Just imagine, if we could get an interview with Superman's girlfriend..."

"What do they mean, sleeping with? Why would people be interested in who Superman has sleepovers with?" Jason asked.

Clark laughed nervously. "Well, you know... a lot of people don't really know how to mind their own business," he shrugged.

Jason nodded slowly. "Yeah. Like that Manny Clonitch show."

"Uh, yeah. You don't watch that, do you?" Clark asked, looking up at Lois nervously.

She was too busy with Buffy. Clark couldn't tell if she was trying to lynch Buffy or trying to keep from lynching her. "As far as I know, no one is involved with Superman. Do you get that he's Superman? Are you picturing him going to the Four Seasons in the tights and cape and ordering Merlot? He's Superman!"

"Exactly!" Buffy bounced. "He's Superman! He could be doing any girl he wants! There's gotta be some... supermodel or actress or someone... I mean, for Chriss' sake, he's like, Metropolis' Bruce Wayne!"

"What did she mean, doing..." Jason started, but Clark because very interested in checking his email. Unfortunately, he had no new email.

"He's not dating anyone! He's not doing anyone! He's a superhero, not a playboy!" Lois screamed.

"Who's Bruce Wayne?" Jason asked.

"No one," Clark responded, perhaps too emphatically.

"Maybe he's gay," Buffy considered. "That would explain a lot."

"HE'S NOT GAY!" Lois fumed. "Why would you... What would that explain, exactly?"

"The goofy costume," Buffy nodded cheerfully. "I mean, underwear outside his pants? What gives with that? If he's got some gay lover, it would make sense for him to keep it quiet."

"HE'S NOT GAY! STOP SAYING HE'S GAY! HE'S DEFINITELY NOT GAY!" Lois was practically tearing her hair out.

"Ooooh!" Buffy jumped to her feet, jiggling with excitement. "You mean you know for sure? Lois, you skank! Don't worry, I won't tell Richie Wichie. Now, c'mon!" She pulled out a pen with a feathery end, and pressed the tip to her notebook. "Tell me all, Lo-Lo."

Jason tugged on Clark's sleeve, and he felt his heart sink all the way down his feet. "Hey, Clark. What does gay mean?"

Well. That was moderately better. "Ah. You know how your mommy and your daddy love each other?" Jason nodded enthusiastically. For some reason, that made Clark smile. "Well, sometimes, some boys fall in love with another boy, instead of a girl. And sometimes, some girls fall in love with another girl, instead of a boy."

"Oh. Ok." Jason nodded, as if he had carefully considered the explanation, and determined it to be rational.

"Well, well, Farmboy, not bad," Lois nodded. She was even smiling at him. "Handling the tough questions like that... you might become a decent reporter someday. Maybe."

"Did the lady go away, mommy?" Jason asked, reaching up for Lois.

She picked him up, and kissed his cheek. "She went to see her 'uncie.' Now it's our chance to escape like daddy did. I'm taking you to art class, and then we're going to pick up burgers for dinner. How's that sound?"

"Great! Is Clark coming to dinner?" Jason looked at Clark, looking hopeful.

"Unfortunately, I have to work," Clark shrugged, frowning exaggeratedly.

"Yup, Jason. If the Farmboy works his tail off, he might get a shot at the front page. But only if he gets it done before seven." She nodded to the clock and winked at him.

The door to Perry's office opened, and Lois beat a quick retreat, before Buffy could bounce out.

Clark turned back to his article. At least the newsroom was never boring.

Clark moved the mouse with his elbow as he shoved his taco salad into his mouth. The mayor's office was facing sixteen different indictments for eight different people. Word was, a Federal team was moving in to investigate the mayor himself. Also, Clark had recently figured out eBay, and he was close to winning his first auction.

Lois stormed into the newsroom, and, instead of going to her desk, which was right across from his, she came and dumped her bag on his desk, sending his taco salad to the floor, and his mouse skidding the other way. He was just about to up his bid, too. There was two minutes and forty-eight seconds in the auction.

"Clark, you have to fix this. It's all your fault!" She threw her arms up in the air.

He looked up at Lois, his mouth still full of food, utterly dazed.

"My son has decided, for god alone knows what reason, that Superman and Batman are dating. He plays with his little Superman and Batman figures, has them holding hands, sets up tea parties for them, and best of all, tucks them into little sleeping bags next to each other every night because they're having sleepovers since they're dating!"

He bent over, covering his mouth with his napkin, to keep from spewing as he laughed.

Lois thwacked him on the back of his head. "Richard is bringing him here after school. I've talked to him, Richard has tried to talk to him. For some godforsaken reason, he listens to you. So, fix this!"

He finally swallowed, and was able to look up at Lois. He adjusted his glasses. "How is this my fault, again? I think I missed that part."

"You were probably on vacation," Lois said sarcastically. "Figure out what you're going to say to him, Farmboy, because you need to fix this."

"What am I supposed to say, Lois?" Clark asked, getting nervous. "I mean... I hardly know Jason..."

"Well, no one asked you to go on a five year vacation," she groused. "Anyway, I've got to buckle down, so don't bother me, but make sure you get this right."

"Is it really that bad of a thing?" Clark speculated. "He's sure to grow out of it."

Lois glowered. "Farmboy, don't start with me..."

Clark smirked a little. "You could probably distract him from this by taking back the position of Superman's reporter. Get enough truth about him out there, and Jason won't need to fixate on weird details."

"Batman, Farmboy. He's paired Superman with Batman," she growled, and turned on her heel to go to her desk.

He chuckled to himself, and then set about cleaning up the remains of his taco salad. The auction was over and rghtmss89 won. Damn it.

By the time he had cleaned off all the sour cream off the floor under his desk, Richard was ushering Jason into the newsroom. Lois was screaming at a sanitation official on the phone, but she glared at him as Jason got closer. He wondered what he could say. After all, his action figures would get lonely if they were separated.

Richard shepherded Jason to Clark's desk, patted him on the shoulder, told him to be good, and wished Clark luck.

Clark looked at Jason and Jason looked at Clark. And then Lois cleared her voice loudly.

"So, how was school today, Jason?" Clark wimped out.

"Daddy said you knew whether Superman and Batman were dating," Jason helpfully said.

Clark really could not laugh. Lois would try to kill him. "Yeah, your mom mentioned that... Jason, why do you think they're dating?"

"Well, they're both superheroes," Jason said. "And they live kinda close."

"What about Wonder Woman?" Clark suggested.

"She's an Amazon," Jason said slowly, like Clark was being stupid. "She's too busy to date a guy."

Clark wondered what Jason thought an Amazon was, but he figured it might be better not to ask. Maybe he thought she had to deliver all the stuff people ordered on Amazon.com... "Well, ok, that's a good point. But I don't think they're dating."

"Why not?" Jason asked.

"Batman doesn't like to travel out of Gotham. And he doesn't like other superheroes to be in Gotham. So, see, it's really hard for them to get together," Clark explained in what he hoped was a logical manner.

Jason considered it. "Well, who does Batman date, then?"

He opened his mouth, but he definitely shouldn't say the first thing that came to mind. Or the second. Or, really, the third. "I don't know. We don't know a lot about Batman. But Superman was gone for five years, so he probably isn't dating anyone yet."

"Do you think Batman and Superman are friends?" Jason asked critically, watching Clark in a measuring way.

There was a lot riding on this answer. "Of course they are. They're both superheroes, right?"

Jason beamed.

Lois was still glaring at him, though.

Superman landed softly on the roof, right next to Batman, who was crouched down behind a gargoyle, scanning the building across the street with infrared binoculars. "I suppose you don't want me to tell you that there's no one there yet."

"Did you want something?" he growled.

Superman grinned. "I've been back for a while, and I realized I hadn't stopped by to say hi."

"You shouldn't have put yourself out. I'm sure there's a hut in Zimbabwe that's collapsed. You could be helping there." He looked over his shoulder to glare at Superman.

"Glad to see you haven't changed," he dryly noted.

"You think you have?" Batman asked archly.

"I have," Superman said, narrowing his eyes.

Batman grunted, and lowered the binoculars. "No, you haven't. Maybe you've grown up some. Maybe you've woken up a bit to some of the hard truths of life. Maybe you've realized some things that you've let slip through your fingers." He looked up at Superman, smirking. "But you're still the same boy scout you were back on the farm. People don't change."

"If people can't change, you're damned," Superman retorted sharply.

"If you came here to tell me that, you really did waste your time," Batman snorted.

"Lois has a son," Superman said abruptly.

"Again, wasting your time. He's yours, right?" Batman turned back to watch the building.

"You... knew?" Clark blinked.

"You didn't?" the bastard chuckled.

He took a deep breath. "He thinks Batman and Superman are dating."

Batman looked over his shoulder. "Really. That's wishful thinking, on your part."

"That sound you hear is my heart breaking into a million pieces," Clark deadpanned, rolling his eyes.

At least that got a chuckle. "I would have taken Lois myself, but I don't think she would have moved to Gotham."

"Also, she hates Batman. Also, she's in love with Richard," Clark added.

"You're all right with that?" Bruce asked.

"It's what happened," he responded, a bit deadly.

"Maybe you have grown up a bit," Batman grunted.

"Speaking of growing up, how's Dick doing?" he asked, trying to sound innocent.

Batman stood up and glared at him. "Your welcome has run out. Get out of my city."

"Sure, sure," Superman laughed, hovering slightly above the building. "I understand everyone has cell phones now. I'm sure I can get in touch with him. Don't get sloppy, now. Someone just entered on the east side."

He took off in a flash, out of Gotham in a blink of an eye. He felt like he really had grown up some. That was one of his best conversations with Batman. It still amused him that his son... his biological son... thought that was his ideal boyfriend.

Perhaps it was stupid, but he felt proud of Jason for it.