Thanks to vespa331 for the chapter title. *grin*
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The Red Truck Affair:
A Disturbing Smallville/DC Mish-Mash (3/?)
by Meredith Bronwen Mallory
CHAPTER THREE: In Which Kon Absconds With Batman's Sidekick
Bart Allen-- better known as Impulse, the very boy who'd once read the entire contents of both the San Francisco and Central City Public Libraries _in the same day_-- had once asked Kon if he had any memories of consciousness during the actual cloning process. Wally's next door neighbor was pregnant and had recently begun to show, which sparked Bart's interests in anything regarding human development and pregnancy, particularly unusual ones. There were few people on the planet who had birth-origins more unusual than Kon's. Bart had rushed into the common room at the Tower with a stack of textbooks almost as tall as his own willowy frame, and began plying Kon with questions so fast that the words began to run together. Kon still had nightmares in which Bart chased him around the planet, shouting about 'womb-memories', 'emotional versus intellectual maturity' and 'love deprivation experiments'. The hybrid teenager tried to be understanding about the whole thing-- after all, Bart *had* been raised in a virtual reality simulation for the majority of his life, and that was a very good excuse for not having the best people skills. Kon himself, while he tried to watch and take his cue from others, was aware he could socially be like a bull in a china shop at times. That sort of thing happened when you were poured out of a tube looking fifteen, and spent the first months of your life living off your fame and bumming around in Hawaii.
So Kon totally understood that Bart was just curious, and that a lot of his questions had less to do with Kon's origins and more to do with the fact his own parents had sent him through the time-space continuum to be raised by-- of all people-- Wally West. Still, he was more than a little relieved (and oddly flattered) when Tim stomped into the room, discovered Bart's chosen topic of conversation, and preceded to rip the speedy young man a new one. Tim had gone on about team solidarity and respecting other's boundaries-- not to mention minding one's own business-- until Bart had sped off for Mexico to pout and eat an inordinate amount of tacos. He reappeared at the Tower the next morning, looking sheepish and carrying a small, buxom doll whose hips wiggled like a metronome when you but her on your dashboard. He gave the doll to Kon, and the two played Final Super Death Tournament XXI on Cyborg's X-Box. Within an hour everything was okay again.
But Kon still thought about it, sometimes. He'd lay in bed, and Bart's questions would come back to him, piling on top of one another until they seemed to reach the ceiling. Wide awake under the quilt Aunt Martha made for him, Kon would close his eyes and try hard, really hard, to see what he could remember. He thought he remembered being small enough to be held in two large hands, and being lowered into a liquid that at first seemed cold but then became the whole world. Sometimes, he had dreams filled by a gray-blue color, and he thought he heard someone's voice off in the distance, talking to him. There was never anything concrete, only a feeling of being expected, anticipated. Mostly, however, Kon was unable to think of Cadmus Labs without thinking of the person who'd contributed the other half of his DNA, so he kept the whole thing locked firmly in the back of his mind. Otherwise, he'd think about it all the time, and he really didn't want Tim to have to come and visit him in Arkham. That would just be embarrassing, all around.
Now, Kon ran, so fast everything else slowed to a crawl-- the storm he passed through, the river he sped along. Though the upper part of his face was covered by the mask, Robin wisely kept his head buried against Kon's shoulder. Kon listened carefully for the sonic boom that would signify Clark coming after him-- when a few minutes passed without one, he simply stopped. He'd had no destination in mind, only a desire to flee. He found himself standing in a large field comprised of browning yellow grass. There was a road some ways away, and a sparse wood on the other edge of the field. He started to ask Robin where he thought they were, but quickly swallowed the words. It took him a few moments to realize that he was holding his friend the same way a child would a large blanket or overstuffed teddy bear. 'Coolness factor' completely dented, he quickly set Robin down.
"Sorry," he said, scratching the back of his head.
"Not a problem." Robin looked at him, cape and tunic perfectly unmussed, and didn't seem at all put out. "This way, I don't have to come looking for you. Also, if you'd dragged me here on the other end of a grapple, *then* I would have been pissed."
"You were going to grapple me?" Kon raised an eyebrow.
Robin shrugged, "If I had to." He wandered off towards the edge of the woods, Kon trailing behind him. Using a fallen tree as a bench, they sat together in companionable silence for several minutes.
"I really hate this," Kon said at last. "Like, everytime I think I've finally got a handle on all the utter *weirdness* that is my life, bam!" He smacked his fist against his hand, "Something comes right out of left field and it's all 'oh, no, Kon's an even bigger freak than before'."
"Kon," said Robin patiently, "you are not a freak."
"Oh yes I am!" Kon nodded vigorously. "I practically *lived* off that fact 'til Superman found me. I'm a big, unending freak, and my tongue is shaped funny."
With a sigh, Robin removed a small spray can from his utility belt and applied it to his mask-- the armored disguise came off easily, leaving Tim's face blinking up at Kon. "You tongue is shaped funny?" Tim asked, giving Kon the same look he had when the other boy had shown up in Gotham, flying around with a metal box on his head.
"It's kind of pointy," Kon stuck it out to illustrate, "I was looking in the mirror one day and I realized it didn't look right."
Tim paused. "I think you have too much free time in Smallville."
"You're not a freak, Kon," Tim said again, after a moment. He held up a hand to forestall his friend's next words. "You're also not a clone." The shorter boy frowned, almost talking to himself, "I really hate it when people call you that-- a clone is a genetic copy. You're no one's copy, your DNA is unique. It's just as if any two guys who weren't Lex Luthor and Clark Kent decided they wanted to have a baby and..." Tim looked up at Kon swiftly. "...and..."
"Oh, *shit*," Kon swore fervently. "This is so weird! It's like I'm in the Twilight Zone! Any minute now, Rod Serling and his creepy eyebrows are gonna pop out from behind one of those trees to start going on about how I'm going on a journey not only of sight and sound, but of mind!" He buried his head in his hands, "Luthor knows who Clark is. Has for a long time..." Kon looked at Tim pleadingly, "This sounds crazy, but what if... what if..."
"He did it on purpose?" Tim asked quietly. "Combined his DNA with Clark's, not going for a clone or a stabilized half-Kryptonian, but a... child... that was..."
"I can't handle this," Kon announced decisively, hysteria creeping into his voice. "It was weird enough to think of them as my donors, but if I have to think of them as my *parents*..." Both young men descended into a somewhat horrified silence.
"Batman and Nightwing are sleeping together," Tim announced suddenly.
Kon started, feeling as if he'd just walked off a cartoon cliff. "What?"
"I heard what you said, Tim!" Kon waved his arms. He seemed to be doing that a lot today. "What the hell!?"
"I was trying to make you feel better," Tim confessed. "You know, not so weird about parents, and stuff."
"How is thinking of Batman and Nightwing..." Kon grimaced, "doing *that* in any way comforting? How is that helpful in any way, shape, or form?"
"My mentor and surrogate brother have been doing it right under my nose for, like, ever. I was just trying to say, you know, that a weird family-life kind of comes with the superhero territory." Tim touched Kon's hand, "Sorry. I really didn't think that through."
"Tim," Kon scoffed, "you think *everything* through. Like, a million times."
Tim crossed his arms over his chest, "It sounded good in my head."
Though he considered Tim his best friend, Kon-El regarded the other boy's brain in the same ginger, half-awed manner he used with nuclear devices, ancient mystical artifacts, and alien technology. Tim's brain was-- as Bart once put it-- "a really freaky thing"; you didn't get to be Batman's partner by being just another pretty face, after all. Now, Kon squashed the involuntary urge to scoot away, just a little. Tim licked his lips, the tiniest flash of white showing as he bit his lower lip. To the hybrid teen, who spent more time watching Tim than he'd readily admit, this was a sure sign of Plotting. Unlike almost everyone else Kon knew, Robin didn't think-- he Pondered, he Calculated, and he occasionally Plotted, but the processes of his cool intellect seemed miles away from mere 'thinking'. The first Robin had been hailed as charming, empathetic, talented, and practically immune to gravity, but Tim was a different sort of Boy Wonder. No less talented, Kon was sure, even if the areas differed slightly. It was just that Kon had seen Tim work along side Batman for over twelve hours, with neither of them exchanging a word in any way unrelated to the Mission. How Tim managed to walk around as a passably normal civilian was a total mystery to Kon, though he'd seen the other boy do it. It occured to him that, in another life, Tim would have made a very good Evil Mad Scientist-- a thought he quickly locked away, for fear of damaging his own brain even further.
"I have an idea," Tim said, having apparently examined every angle, possible outcome, and variable involved in whatever plan he was formulating. "It's a little... less-than-kosher, though." Kon raised his eyebrows. Tim was a Good Guy, which did not necessarily preclude occasionally breaking the rules, or doing something their more adult mentors would call 'stupid'. Tim just usually refrained from doing these things unless he was reasonably sure he wouldn't get caught, or would at least emerge with his dignity intact.
"I'm game," Kon replied. "I want to know what's going on. I'm never gonna get a straight answer from Clark."
"At least he *responds* when you ask a question," the other boy joked. "If Batman doesn't want to tell you something, it's pretty much all--"
"Yeah." Tim chuckled, running a hand through his blue black hair. "Let's find a road sign or something. Once we know where we are, you can take me back to Gotham, and we can start a little investigation of our own."
The two boys walked along the simple, two-lane road for a few minutes, neither in enough of a hurry to use superpowers or gadgetry. For a while, Kon watched Tim's face, but could divine nothing from it. As this wasn't unusual, he didn't allow himself to worry-- he just appreciated being in the presence of someone who wouldn't get uncomfortable or totally freaked out at the oddest moments. He liked the Kents, and Clark was his... well, his *something*... but there were times when Kon still very much felt like an outsider.
"Kon," Tim said, tugging a little on the taller boy's sleeve. "Kon."
Tim pointed to the road sign they had walked up to while Kon was lost in his thoughts. Kon looked at the sign-- he looked a moment longer, and then turned his head to the side, as if that would make the foreign words on the sign suddenly fall together and make sense.
"It's French," Kon said. "Dudes, I did not run to France. There's an ocean-- I totally would have noticed an ocean." Tim's silence held an unusual note to it, and Kon turned, only to find that the boy was chuckling silently.
"Oh, Kon," Tim said, gasping for air, "you took us to *Quebec*!"
"Ah," said Kon.
"Why," Tim laughed a little harder, "Quebec? Of all places! There's San Francisco, and Florida, and New York, and the Tower.... Quebec, Kon?"
"Hey, leave me alone!" Kon said, crossing his arms, "I was distraught." Playfully annoyed, he picked his friend up easily. "You're never going to let me live this down, are you?"
"Well," Kon grinned mischievously, shifting Tim so that he was holding the other boy in what Cassie called the 'princess carry'. "Let go, *honey*."
As they were moving at terrific speeds, Tim merely leaned up a little and whispered, "I'll get you for that one, Superboy."
Spt. I'm a total feedback whore. Just don't tell my mom. ^_~
Disclaimer: I mean no disrepect or ill-will towards Quebec, or any other Canadian Province. I'm sure it's a lovely country. Kon's just a doof. ^_~;;