Not much to say about this one, except that I hope it doesn't disappoint. As always, feedback will make me so very grateful. I'll even kiss your ring. ^_~
The Red Truck Affair:
A Disturbing Smallville/DC Mish-Mash (2/?)
by Meredith Bronwen Mallory
CHAPTER TWO: In Which The Truck is Frowned At Direly
The passing of an hour found Kon the kitchen, scraping the remains of the broken pitcher into the wastebasket. Aunt Martha was washing the dishes left in the wake of Breakfast: Round Two, unusually silent as she went about her work. She looked up briefly as Kon put the dust pan away.
"Thank you, dear," she said, "I forgot all about that."
"No prob," Kon waved his hand, "though I'd really like it if you could explain--"
"Clark will be here soon," Martha told him patiently. The dishes clinked and water splashed. After a moment, she added, "He's bringing Batman." Kon took off his glasses and wiped them on his shirt, just to give his hands something to do. His first thought was relief-- if Batman was coming, chances were good that Robin was also coming. Just having Tim around soothed Kon's nerves in ways he was in no hurry to examine. His second thought, however, swept away any relief what-so-ever.
Batman was coming.
To look at a _truck_.
Either things were really serious, or Batman was going to be extremely pissed.
"Okay," he said, simply because his aunt was looking at him expectantly. He shifted from foot to foot restlessly-- his chores were done, and everyone in the Kent household seemed determined to avoid the truck, and thus the front drive, altogether. "Do you need any help?" he asked, looking significantly at the dishes. He'd spent months on his own in Hawaii, taking care of himself, and it felt odd for him to let Martha do so much for him now. Although he'd be the first to admit her cooking was worlds better than his.
"You're a good boy, Kon," she replied, patting his cheek in a way that made the teenager feel simultaneously warm and utterly mortified. "You remind me so much of Clark." There seemed to be something else on her mind, but she turned back to the dishes with a small sigh. A loud crack echoed from out behind the barn, and she shook her head. Uncle Jon was outside chopping wood in a manner more suited to R-rated horror movies than to everyday farm chores. Kon flinched.
"Is he... gonna be okay?" he asked slowly, peering through the kitchen wall and the vague outlines of the barn with his X-Ray vision. Uncle Jon had amassed a large pile of finished wood in a short amount of time, and gave no indication of slowing down.
"He's just letting off some steam," Martha assured him in a bright, cheery tone that completely missed its mark. Kon was about to say something else, when a little prickle rose along the back of his neck. He looked through the roof and into the blue morning sky-- sure enough, there was a small red dot approaching.
"Clark's almost here," he told Martha, waiting for her nod before heading down the hall and out to the back porch.
Superman was on the ground when he got there, hair and cape looking as unruffled as ever. Robin was climbing down from his shoulders, and Batman stood off to the side in that stiff way that clearly telegraphed he resented being carried all this way. Superman made little to no sound when he landed, most of the time, but he never seemed surprised when Kon came out to meet him without being called. Kon always figured it was some Kryptonian thing-- either that, or he was just weird. Which, considering his origins, was a significant possibility. Robin hailed Kon with a wave, and they exchanged a high-five that turned into a somewhat prolonged handclasp.
"Hey, man," Kon greeted.
"Hey," said Robin, expertly dodging Kon's attempt at a noogie. The shorter boy then delivered an talented elbow maneuver that would have left a mortal doubled over in pain. To Kon, it merely tickled. They smiled sharply at each other. "So, what's going on? Superman was unusually close-mouthed on the way over."
Kon shrugged his shoulders, ushering Robin towards the front drive. Superman and Batman were already there, arms crossed, frowning direly at the truck. Looking up, Superman smiled a brief greeting to Kon, but quickly went right back to what the young man had always thought of as his 'now-stop-this-lawlessness-at-once' pose. Batman's face-- what could be seen of it-- was unreadable, but that was no different than any other day. There were times Kon was certain the Dark Knight had only three facial expressions, tops.
"It's a truck," Robin said flatly.
"Yup," Kon replied, trying to wrap his brain around the oddity of Batman and Superman standing in the Kent's dooryard in the middle of broad daylight. He quickly gave up.
Robin leaned a little closer, "Is it an alien truck?"
"A shape-shifting creature pretending to be a truck?"
"I don't think so."
"Secret government technology disguised as a truck?"
Kon shook his head, "Doesn't seem to be."
"Robin," Batman said, and Kon's friend shrugged, hurrying over to his mentor's side. Robin's red tunic and green armored leggings were very formfitting, and yet somehow he managed to produce a scanner seemingly from out of no where. Black and yellow cape rustling in the light breeze, Robin scanned the truck, while Batman popped the hood so he could frown disapprovingly at the truck's insides as well. Superman, meanwhile, was staring at the vehicle intently, with an expression that clearly told Kon he was X-Raying it. Briefly Kon frowned, hoping he didn't adopt a similar look when he used his own powers-- Superman looked a little constipated.
"No traces of explosives, Kryptonite dust, or any other suspicious elements," Robin reported dutifully. "She's clean."
"There's no obvious tampering here," Batman said, closing the hood.
"I don't see anything, either," Superman sighed, biting his lower lip. He looked very young when he did that.
"It's a truck," Robin said, echoing Kon's thoughts exactly. "What's the big deal?"
"That's what _I'd_ like the know!" Kon let out, more than a little agitation bleeding into his voice. "It's nine in the morning, there's a brand new, extremely cool truck in my driveway, and everyone's acting like it's Roswell, or something! And, dudes!" Kon looked disbelievingly at his watch for a second time, "No one expected me to go to school today! I got off *school* for this!" Which, of course, was perfectly fine with Kon, who loathed Smallville High in ways usually reserved for galactic murderers, but both Clark and the Kents were very insistent on his attendance. Kon had found that any arguments revolving around the fact he hadn't been *around* to attend grades K-8 didn't help his cause. It only made everyone uncomfortable.
"Did anything else come with the truck?" Superman asked, squeezing Kon's shoulder in a manner that was probably supposed to be reassuring. "Dad mentioned a note."
"Yeah," Kon said, fishing in the back pocket of his jeans. He handed the creamy, heavyweight paper over to Superman, who handled it as gingerly as one would a snapping, spitting Tree Devil from Rylos 5.
"I can't believe you were so careless," Batman told Kon. "That could well have been laced with Kryptonite dust." Kon rolled his eyes and looked at Robin in askance.
"You're not supposed to disturb the chain of evidence, Kon," Robin said apologetically. Behind Batman's back, however, he gave Kon a look that-- even through the mask-- clearly said he thought his own mentor was going a little overboard this time.
Carefully, Superman unfolded the paper. His eyes scanned across it once, then twice, and then again. He let out a small, quick bark of laughter that he muffled with his hand. Batman confiscated the note to read for himself.
"I think he's finally lost it," Superman said when the other hero finished.
"What do you mean, 'finally lost it'?" Batman asked. "He's never had it-- he's insane. He always has been insane, he always will be insane. He spent time in an institution, for god's sake." Kon watched in a sort of confused fascination as Superman's normally open expression shuttered, and the Kryptionian shot his fellow warrior a angry, warning look.
"That's not fair," Superman said quietly, "and you know it."
The muscle in Batman's jaw twitched. "This is your problem, you *still* stick up for him, even after..." He waved a black gauntlet in Kon's general direction.
"He does have a point, son," Jonathan Kent's voice rang quietly in the yard. Kon turned around-- he'd been so wrapped up in the odd exchange before him that he hadn't even heard his Aunt and Uncle approaching from behind.
"I don't want to talk about this, Dad," Superman said, briefly looking all of about fifteen years old. "I never should have listened to you in the first place-- if I'd just gone in and brought him out..."
"Out of Belle Reve?" Uncle Jon's voice hit an odd pitch. "And done what, son?"
"Ran," Superman said sadly. "When Edge came, I should have just picked him up and ran. It's all my fault."
Jonathan's expression darkened, "For God's sake, Clark--"
"Boys, please--" Martha said, shooting a worried look at Kon.
"You know you can't trust him," Uncle Jon went on seamlessly, "You never *could* trust him, and now he's fishing around for Kon--"
"Lex probably thinks its a joke, Dad," Superman's voice seemed very tired. "He's just twisting the knife a little. He's always had a weird sense of humor and..."
"WAIT," Kon fairly shouted, holding up both hands. For the first time, he found he had actually gained everyone's attention, and he didn't bother to hide his irritation. "Back up a second, here." He met Superman's gaze head-on. "The truck is from Lex Luthor?"
The was a long pause. "Yes."
"Lex Luthor!?" Kon cried in disbelief. "LEX FREAKIN' LUTHOR?"
"Shhhh!" his aunt and uncle said insistently, as if saying the name could summon the man.
"The note was addressed to 'C'," Robin said. His voice was close to Kon's ear, and soothing. The young man had no idea when exactly his friend had come to his side, but he was glad of it.
"It was sent to the Kent's house," Kon finished the thought. He looked at Superman with a growing sense of terror and plummeting unease. Quietly-- so quietly, "He knows who you are?"
"Yes," Superman did not look away, but nor did his gaze seem to actually focus on Kon.
The hero rolled his shoulders-- it was a Clark mannerism on Superman's body. "Since always."
"What do you mean, 'always'?" Kon couldn't even name the emotion in his own voice. "If he knows, why aren't your parents in, like, Timbuktu, or on the moon-- someplace _safe_? Why doesn't the whole world _know_?" Robin's hand was on Kon's arm, grip so tight as to be punishing on a human. As it was, Kon was just thankful he could feel it.
"Lex wouldn't do that," Superman replied, with the same assurance one uses when stating that the sky is blue.
"He's your enemy!" Kon exploded, aware that he himself sounded all of five. "You _said_ he was your enemy! You said! You fight all the time! He's tried to kill you! Why _wouldn't_ he take advantage, if he knew?"
Superman looked pained, "We are enemies."
"This is a mess," Batman said flatly.
"Thanks so much, Bruce," Superman said nastily. He took a step towards Kon, expression pleading. "There's a lot you don't understand, it's complicated--"
"How is it complicated?" Kon asked, eyes wild. "How is," he moved his hands to illustrate, "good guys here, bad guys there, complicated? What is going ON?"
"Kon," Superman's expression was wholly Clark, naked in a way Kon was not prepared to handle.
"No-- no." He shook his head. For a moment, he stood frozen in the middle of the front yard, muscles tensed and torn. Then, he went with his instincts.
He picked Robin up and ran.
Feed the muse, please, before she eats my brain. ^_~