Editing and Secrets

May 21, 2016:

Clark and Carol discuss work and secrets.

Daily Planet


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

In the break room… the "good" coffee machine has a terrifying sign indeed on it. "Out of Order", the sign proclaims. Truly a sign which strikes fear into many hearts. And has caused some other fallout, in the form of having to bring in coffee from elsewhere. Clark brought a tray of it at the moment, and hands it out to the appropriate owners, except one, that isn't in. Clark stops by the office of one of the editors, with a quiet little rap on the window, and lifting the coffee in a clear silent question through the window of 'would you like this?' by the gesture and lift of dark eyebrows.

Spotting the gesture, the blonde woman in the midnight blue skirtsuit lifts the hand not busy typing a note and intermittently tapping the slimline remote headset she's wearing connected to her phone, and gestures Kent to come on through said glass door, past Martin, her assistant, and bring in the nectar of caffeine. "Thank you, Clark. Nice of you to share around. How's that story on the dockworker and the accident coming?" Carol Danvers is a hard worker, and she expects the same of those she works with. But she is also a decent and reasonable, supportive sort.

Clark fiddles with the door, opening it a little awkwardly in that he bangs it against his shoe briefly, oops — he has always had a little bit of clumsiness — and enters, setting down the coffee in easy reach for her, with a brief smile to Martin: apologetic, maybe. He didn't bring some for Martin. "Finished; I've submitted it, just before this," Clark answers evenly, pushing his glasses up his nose with a finger. While sometimes erratic with hours, he does do the work, and rapidly. "I'm sorry about the previous almost-late submission… I wanted to get this one to you early."

Carol restrains her urge to smirk at Clark's antics, well aware that they are such an engrained force of habit that he almost quite literally cannot stop himself. "I'll survive, Clark. You've never given me cause to raise my voice, and your writing has always been top-notch. You had a new source, and it changed your whole story. I expect that to mean you had to rewrite." Danvers may not have started in journalism, but she's not bad at it, and she's downright excellent at managing people and leadership; it's the Air Force in her. She leads from the front. "I'll check it over as soon as I'm off this call and can concentrate." Carol promises Clark. She accepts the coffee, and pauses to inhale deeply; someone was feeling deprived.
"I don't mind re-writing. I'd rather the story be the best version it can be." Besides, he's generally … extremely fast. When it's important, anyway. "No problem. The ball's in your court now on that one; I'm moving back to my other stories," Clark answers with his adaptive, agreeable attitude. And still feeling bad about not bringing her assistant any, he gives a bit of a peace offering, "one of the new interns brought donuts," he lets him know, as if it were a bit of a conspiracy, and smiles.

Carol nods, and lets Clark make his way out.

Martin smiles, and thanks Clark. "Good to know. I wouldn't mind some, and I still have a half bottle of milk from breakfast." He's a friendly sort, and does his job as 'gatekeeper' largely by already knowing who should and should not be allowed to disturb Carol. Clearly, Clark is on the 'pass through' list.

Clark nods to Martin with a broad smile, and wanders back off to his own desk. There's a bit of muted conversation and grumpiness aimed at Clark from a particularly opinionated female reporter, before Clark settles back in at his desk, going through his notes, and making some phone calls.

Maybe two hours later, near the end of the workday, Clark returns to Carol's office despite the door not being closed, politely knocking, peeking in with his usual respectful way, patiently waiting for her to be able to give him a few moments, and not wishing to interrupt.

Carol glances up, holding one finger upraised towards Clark, and keeps her gaze on her holographic display. "Alright, Jerry. I trust you to take care of that. But if you need more input from me, let Martin know and we'll schedule a face to face tomorrow morning. I'm not video conferencing a decision like this from home." That said, she taps a control, ends the call, and then gestures Clark inside.

"Hi, Clark. I got through your story. My notes are in." A few keystrokes. "And, as usual, you've already made the edits. Thank you. I'll forward this one on. What else can I do for you?"

"Great. And yes, one thing." Clark has currently a few stories he's on — a double homicide in northern metropolis that is baffling police — and a story about some new space tech that is being launched. "I've some intel about a new 'monster' growing in a basement in Queens," Clark says, "A good source, legitimate." But he has his doubts, and they show. "I think it's connected to some missing persons, and would like to dig, but I have a meeting scheduled about the launch. Priority on the persons, or the space story?" Clark has been extremely focused on the reporting lately, and it's blatantly clear with this question line. Her door is open, still (he didn't shut it, he usually doesn't), but she may also pick up that he may have said exactly the same thing even if it were closed. There's an imbalance in attention, compared to a long time ago: a major focus in work at the Planet. And a distance.

Carol remains tightly focused on Clark once her call ends; she doesn't let other things distract her, like emails or other messages. He is her focus, until he is not. Which has not happened yet, by far. "Well. My priority would always be priority of life, Clark. I'd rather you look into the other. If you can delay the other meeting, do so. If not, send me your contact info. I may be able to get the delay." After all, Carol has huge contacts in the aerospace sector, from test pilot to NASA security chief.

Clark Kent looks relieved. He'd prefer to go after the other story, but deciding to chase a possible unknown lead over an important story, well. Not his call. "Right then. I'll request a reschedule," Clark agrees, efficiently, immediately referring to his smart device, and checking on the contact information, or for any new update. "….oh. /They/ need a reschedule. Well. …Sorry, I suppose that made that easy enough," Clark says, in his mild, apologetic way, for bothering her for, apparently, no reason.

Carol shakes her head. "Not a problem." Then she pauses, momentarily, and glances at the door. She inhales and exhales slowly, centering herself.

"Clark? Would you mind closing the door for a couple of minutes? I know you need to get cracking on the story, and I don't want to hold you up too badly. But I'd like to discuss something." It's just a request, not a work order. But it might come off the other way, depending on mood.

"Hm? Oh, sure," Clark answers, with brief surprise, but agreeable as always. He moves to close the door, and then returns, to come back to the chair in front of her desk, resting a hand on the back of it, but not sitting down quite yet. "Is something troubling you?" Clark asks, his tone smoothly shifting to a stronger yet supportive one, and blue, steady gaze evenly and directly meeting hers, if she's seeking it. A lot of Clark's secret identity has nothing to do with glasses or hair, it's presence and manner.
You paged Kara with 'Aw'

Carol watches Clark settle in, and appreciates the manner; ever since she learned the truth, it has always impressed her. It is also one of the reasons she doesn't - much - bother with a secret identity herself. She is who she is, and she can't see living with hiding that away. She honors and respects his choice to live as he does, and even understands it. But it wouldn't work for her. They are two different people.

"I don't want to overstep the bounds." Carol begins, gently enough. Her tone is one of someone being friendly, without being overly familiar. Respectful, but offering warmth and acceptance. "You were gone for a good while. I don't know the why, or the wherefore. I'm not saying I need to know. But I would listen, if you were ready to talk. More importantly … I wanted to say, as someone who pays attention, that I can see the changes from what was, to what is. And I mostly want to say that I hope you have found someone you can and are talking to. And if you haven't … I'm here. Or anywhere you want me to be."

Clark Kent observes the shift in her tone, and her careful way of moving around the issue. Clark's gaze slants over the room, and he lets out a slow breath, eyes closing for a moment as she asks about the situation. But he isn't offended, or even upset or annoyed. The response is that of a shame or guilt, really, but possibly hard to fully decipher: he's good at adapting himself. Even so, he's no liar, either, and wouldn't deliberately mislead her… unless he's also misleading himself.

"It's all right. I need to be questioned about these things. It's fine to do so, don't ever feel like you can't ask things of me," Clark says, opening his eyes, and moving around to the chair. He sits, but still commands a large presence in the room, as Superman always does; not the deflated, smaller, overlookable reporter. This is more natural, but that naturalness, that difference, is impossible to notice without such an immediate contrast. "I am making an effort to not burden others." Of course. Suffering alone is a well known issue with the man of steel. "But I know that isn't the best response. I think just a little longer. But … thank you." His smile is honest, and warm, his genuine charisma there, just… a bit sad.

The blonde woman regards him carefully, weighing as surely he knows she would and must. Carol digests the many subtle cues and clues, and waits for Clark to speak, not interrupting or even allowing her own thoughts or concerns to show anymore than they already have. She is being receptive and welcoming, without judgement and certainly without any condemnation.

"It's the job of a friend to ask. And to listen. And it is an honor to be one who can be trusted like that." Carol offers Clark. She has been careful about what has been said, and how. Even if others were to have heard everything said in here, it would not risk his secret identity at all. She respects his choice too much to dare risk that, unless they were in costume elsewhere, nowhere near this place so important to both of their lives.

"I understand you may need more time. But … please don't let it wait too much longer. I don't want it to fester. You're important to me." Carol offers. True, he's important to far more than her. But that isn't what he needs to hear, or think about, right now.
No, he'll think of it all on his own. She'll possibly even see that burden in his expression before he smiles some, and tips his head forward in a nod. He hears her offer, he accepts it for what it is. And is, naturally, well aware of what he says, or doesn't say, to keep safety a highest priority. Safety of who and what he protects. "My cousin has been a particularly sharp thorn about making sure I don't fester," Clark says, with a smile, which is only positive. He doesn't mind the 'thorn' at all, and is conveying that he has opened.. at least a crack, in that way. "Thank you for caring about my well-being," he adds. "Let me collect my thoughts a little more… and we can talk again very soon," he offers, patting his hand slowly on the arm of the chair he's seated in. It's a big step from him — he's say he will tell her, and he will follow through on it. Just not here and now. "All right?" he asks, tone a little tired, but resilient.

Carol nods, and she stands, flowing to her feet easily as she offers a hand over the desk. It is her way of sealing the agreement they've now made, choosing to bind herself to it, and accepting he will do the same. It is the nature of the woman as a former member of the military, that such a gesture holds such value, and such weight. "Alright, Clark. That sounds just fine. You know how to reach me, any time. And tell your cousin I said hello, the next time you see the thorn." She offers a little smirk of a smile at that. She likes Kara, and is glad that she is also reaching out to help ground Clark and help him heal. "I'll see you later. Good luck on the story."
Clark Kent stands and extends his hand with a smile over the desk to clasp hers. Some thing his handshake will be steel, but it isn't. It doesn't prove anything, or have any need to prove. It is exactly what it needs to be — an acceptance and warm human gesture. "Thank you for your support. You will indeed. And I suppose I can tell her," Clark chuckles softly in regard to Kara. "The story? Yes. I think I may need it with this one. But I hope for the best." He nods to her simply, and then shows himself out, sliding with practiced ease back to the persona he wore when he entered.
"Oops, sorry, I didn't mean to knock that over," Clark apologises to Martin, bending to grab the papers the door blew over by 'accident' when he left the office.

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