[identity profile] seagull2eagle.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] tallihensia

Changes Unfathomed

Link to Part One or AO3.

Part Three of Three

... ... ...

The days continued much like that. Conner was fast becoming attached to the routine, even if he did come away bruised from practice sessions. Not that he was telling either of his dads about that. He didn't know how Mercy and Hope had got a hold of the kryptonite against Lex's orders, and he wasn't going to ask. He certainly wasn't going to tell. His dads were happy and he wasn't going to be the one to throw a wrench in it. If all of them were around (an emergency took Superman and Superboy away once in the middle of the day and they didn't get done until late), they'd eat together, varying between the penthouse and restaurants. Once they even went to a pizza place. Admittedly, an upscale pizza place, but it was still pizza. When Kon had asked, Hope said that difficult wasn't impossible, given enough preparation time. Kon was pretty sure that meant that Lex had bought the place and Hope had put security cameras and scanners throughout the place, but good enough.

The newspapers were watching them, but cautiously. The only ones that had made anything of it yet were the sleazier ones. They all knew it was just a matter of time before somebody asked them officially. Clark made Conner practice answers, just as he did too.

When they weren't in the public view, they'd spend the evenings together in the penthouse, sometimes watching tv, sometimes playing games, sometimes talking. Clark would tell Lex about Hawkman's latest feeding of information about the terrorist network to the various national security heads, and Lex would be torn between approval and cynicism. Lex would tell about his latest efforts in research.

The Justice League hadn't done any better than Lex at tracking down Lionel's headquarters. Small operations were found and raided, but invariably were abandoned just before they got there. Lex complained that he'd been doing better than that on his own. Clark agreed glumly. Conner too had been hoping for more. It was disheartening.

The periodic fights between Clark and Lex continued, and they sounded fierce enough at the time, but Kon could tell their hearts weren't into it. It was reflex and fear and anger, but not nearly on the scale they had been. There were no longer steps back for each step forward... now it was just forward, if very cautiously forward and sometimes slower than other times. Conner let the fights roll off his back without worrying about them and waited for the moments of reconciliation and care. Though at those times, sometimes he got sent away for other reasons. Kon rolled his eyes at that, but let it happen, just glad that it was happening at all.

His training continued, and more intensely. He was starting to become two personalities upon reflex and automatic reaction, evaluating before letting one to the fore and keeping the realms of knowledge between the two separate. Instead of resisting anymore, he embraced the chance to be more completely in the different worlds. It helped to think of them as different clothing he wore for different occasions – he just had to remember which to put on.

"I've got it now."

Hope snorted with contempt. "You've finally got the basics and some little bit of understanding. Maybe now the next time Nightwing talks to you, you'll know what he's saying. Your real training happens with the real world. Do not make the mistake of thinking like you are now."

Kon frowned at her, and put his hands on his hips. He was wearing the uniform, it was the correct gesture, and the correct id. "We've been through a week of training, I've got bruises all over, and I know my name in uniform or out, in science or out. You've tossed everything at me. And you've said I've done good!"

"You've done well," Mercy rumbled in her deep rich voice. "You aren't done with training. We're simply out of time. Hope is correct – the rest of it takes place outside the classroom. We took a week we couldn't afford because there were more dangerous things yet. Be proud of what you've accomplished... but be ready for more. The combined scholarship meeting is tonight. Who will you be, when you see your friends there?"

"The scholarship meeting is for Conner Kent, and that is who will be there." Kon was confident of that. He'd been talking with Justice and was just as eager for that side of his life now as he was for the other.

Mercy nodded, her eyes unreadable. Then she got up and left the room without another word.

By this time, Kon was used to it. Mercy often disappeared during the day, presumably to go escort Lex somewhere or to help Concord... Mayik, rather. While Mercy and Hope were Lex's personal bodyguards, Mayik was the head of the rest of Lex Corp security and Mercy coordinated with him on Lex's schedule and other important stuff.

The name thing was almost as confusing as the superheroes and Kon wasn't entirely sure they weren't doing it to mock them. Sure, yeah, the Suicide Slums had a tradition of using descriptive names, and Mercy and Justice and Charity all came from there. But extending the names to the others was... well, it was their own little joke. Kon didn't quite get it, but he figured if the heroes had their own confusing nomenclature, the pseudo-villains could too. Lex and his friends mocking the Justice League and proving they were not to be lumped with the others. When it was just the inner circle together, they called Mayik by Concord. And he'd roll his eyes at them, but accept it since most of the time he would be the peacemaker among them – listening to their arguments, then coming out with something that worked for all. Well, as ironic as that could be, since mostly he came up with something that nobody liked or he would just tell them to shut up and threaten violence if they didn't. Suicide Slums also had a byword for irony.

Kon had also finally gotten used to calling Charity by her public name of Sue. It didn't help that Clark continuously called her Charity when talking about her – apparently he'd known her back before she was Lex's secretary. Kon wondered if Lex or anybody had even told Clark she had another name. The others sometimes also called her that in public. Lex was the only one who constantly remembered to call her Sue in either public or private. From everybody, she responded to either name equally. Probably a lot like Kon had before his training. Two identities in one.

Kon or Conner. Kon-El, Superboy, Conner Kent, Conner Wilson – who he was before he was adopted by Clark. He had to be trained to respond just as automatically to that name, since he'd supposedly had it longer. He forgot sometimes. But now he carried a picture of Sally/Jessie in his wallet along with a newer one of Clark. Or rather Conner did. Kon-El didn't carry anything. Well, not like that, at least. The uniform was too smooth. There were places for some things to be tucked inside the boots, but nothing as practical as Batman's utility belt.

"Have you thought of what you'll be presenting at the meeting?" Hope asked.

Conner dragged his mind back to the now. The combined meeting was the first time Metropolis and Gotham scholarships would be together. Tim had gotten in on Bruce's side and was as happy about his group as Kon was about his. Well, almost as happy – apparently Metropolis had more shady characters and the scholarship wasn't free of it entirely. A whole city as bad as the SS... Conner sometimes couldn't believe that they existed in the same worlds. A city as happy and pure as Metropolis, and one as nasty and corrupt as Gotham. Same world, different states, but close enough to meet once in awhile.

"I'm doing a dissertation on the work Brian Song is doing at STARlab. It's breaking-edge technology, and while it's not my work, it's fascinating stuff." Clark had even managed to get Conner in for an interview with Brian, though remotely through email rather than in person, what with Kon's training schedule this week and all.

"A lot of the other kids will be presenting their own works."

Conner shrugged. "That's fine. I'm... Conner Kent is interested in the science, not the politics or the maneuvering. I might notice it, sometimes, but it saddens me that people will be that way and not care so much for the science itself." He really was, too. He couldn't figure out why they needed the prestige – wasn't the discovery cool in and of itself?

He and Hope were in the middle of a discussion of the paper and how to present it when the door opened and Mercy and Prudence came in.

Prudence was Justice's daughter and also on the scholarship team. It didn't seem odd to see her here at all. "Hey, Pru. We were just talking about the presentations."

Child of a child, escapees from the Slums, Prudence didn't startle easy, and she rarely let her emotions show. At Conner's words, she drew back, her brown eyes wide and her eyebrows almost disappearing into the striped bandana she regularly wore.

"I... Superboy, I don't..." Her eyes narrowed and she studied him with a sudden sharp intensity.

Kon suddenly remember where they'd last been in his training and what he currently wore. He gulped and stood up from the table, his hands starting to spread out in what was probably hopeless reassurance.

"Conner," Prudence breathed. "Conner Kent. That's not a costume." Her eyes darted to one side suddenly, and her hand disappeared inside her skirt, clutching something hard.

Kon couldn't resist the quick x-ray and saw the sharp dagger she held. And noticed her attention was now more focused on Mercy than himself.

Mercy. Hope. Conner pulled in a breath, his mind catching up. "You... you bastards!"

"Bitches, I think," Hope unhurriedly also got up from the table. "I don't think you've learned as much as you think you've learned, Kon." The weight she gave on the nick-name was nicely ambiguous between his identities. Unlike how he'd been.

"I won't tell anybody," Prudence said, as she backed up against the wall. Her stance was that of somebody ready to fight. Her tone was that of despair.

She had probably seen as many people killed as he had. A real fourteen years old, and half of it spent in a place nobody should have to live. "Pru, they're not going to hurt you." Kon's voice was flat and definitive. He moved to her side.

"She knows your identity now," Hope pointed out easily.

Mercy nodded. "We can make her disappear. Justice won't question it."

Conner winced. "Why the hell would you do such a thing! She didn't know! You didn't have to get her involved!"

"You got her involved," Mercy said, utterly merciless. "All you had to do was remember who you were and you could have carried it off. The moment you spoke her name you destroyed her."

Beside him, Pru let out a very very slight sigh. "Object lesson," she muttered. "God Damn It, I hate object lessons."

Mercy showed her teeth and said in the silent language, They're very effective.

Kon wanted to cry. "She won't tell."

"How do you know that?"

It had to be true, because otherwise was unthinkable. Kon turned to her, pleading and worried. It wasn't himself he was worried for. It never had been. "Pru..."

"I thought you were like me," Prudence murmured, her voice barely above speaking level, as it most often was. "I thought you'd been in the slums, though your dad hasn't. Or someplace like that. They said your mom died of a disease, but I thought that was a cover, that her enemies had finally caught her and you were left alone. Now... now I don't know what you are."

Alone. Alone and cold and a life on his hands. His alone. Mercy and Hope would do whatever he told them. Justice would never know. Clark would be safe, Grandma would be safe, Tim would be safe.

Kon would have killed part of himself if he ever even came close to that sort of a choice. Realistically, he knew it was possible. Practically, he knew he'd never ever chose it. Even if it wasn't Pru, somebody who he enjoyed talking to, the daughter of somebody he respected. Even if it had been a criminal, Kon couldn't make that choice. It didn't really matter what Pru would do. Though he hoped...

Kon lifted his head, shifting to Superboy stance, his blue eyes glittering. "Let her go."

Mercy moved away from the door. As you wish. She tilted her upper body in the barest hint of a mocking bow.

"Just like that?" Prudence took a step away from him and looked at him, incredulous.

"Um..." Kon shrank a little under her gaze. "They won't hurt you."

"And neither will you, you big baby. But how the hell do you know I won't hurt you!?"

Conner didn't really remember this being part of her personality. She'd never once spoken so forcefully in his presence, or was so bitterly scathing. Maybe... he didn't really know her after all.

"You could at least ask me!"

Kon blinked. "Pru... please don't tell anybody. My family... my friends. They could be hurt."

"Of course they could, you big idiot." She marched up to him, standing a good two feet shorter, her head tilted up defiantly.

They stood like that for some time, with her focused intently on him, and Conner with nothing to say. He would beg if she wanted him to, but he wasn’t sure that was what was best. Finally, with a snort, she turned from him and walked to the table, pulling out a chair and swinging it around so she sat down with her arms crossing over the chair back. Her tall boots covered anything her skirts pulled up to show, sitting like that. "So... how can I help? Since he's obviously incapable of it on his own."

Hope grinned and sat down across from her. "The problem is obvious, isn't it?"

With a sigh, Kon sank into a chair to the side of his former seat. Pru currently being in the one he had previously. He was doomed. Utterly doomed. With a moan, he sank his head into his arms.

.... ... ...

At the scholarship meeting, Conner was on his very best behavior. He was Conner Kent, nee Wilson. He was a physics nerd. And he didn't know anybody from Metropolis. Nobody.

Tim's eyes were glinting with amusement and secret delight as he introduced himself. Conner glanced at him and then ignored him when he found out Tim's specialty was electronics, not physics. That stuff wasn't very interesting to Conner, though he knew it was something that made working on his own interests easier.

The light in Tim's eyes dimmed as Conner turned away, his outstretched hand dropping as Conner could see in his peripheral vision. He wasn't going to turn back. No, he wasn't.

He forced himself to go onto the other kids, perking up when he found a couple that were more like him. More like him in the sciences, that is. There were many, many children of Gotham who were like him in the hidden pain. Three of Metropolis, dozens of Gotham. Superman had been right, when he said that Batman was not being careless with children. It was other people who were, and the kids his supposed age were children no longer and ready to do their part in the world. Whatever that part was.

Conner was fairly sure he'd picked out the criminal elements in the Gotham contingent too. But... not his thing. Not Conner's. Later. Later he might slip to another self and tell Superman what Conner had seen, but not now. Or he might tell Tim. Yeah. Telling Robin was probably better. He'd have to talk to Tim anyhow. And he'd have to remember that Robin was different than Tim.

This was really the part of it that he had the hardest time with, and it was no easier for being in the realm of Conner. But he kept looking at Pru sliding her stealthy way through the room, unnoticed by most but perking the interest of those she stopped to talk to, and he remembered the price of forgetting.

Half-way through the night, Prudence came up to him, dragging Tim behind her, her small hand holding his tightly. "Conner! This is Tim. Tim has the greatest idea for improving the particle detection programs..."

He allowed himself to look at Tim this time, and he smiled. "Really? That would be so cool!"


"You did well tonight," Lex complimented him.

Conner stared out through the glass window at the lights of Metropolis. "Thanks, DT." It didn't warm him quite as much as it used to, getting a compliment from his dad. But this time, he actually knew how he'd done, and he was... he accepted it. He wasn't happy, but he accepted.

He rather thought he was maybe growing up. It wasn’t a happy thing, but it had to be.

Lex laid a hand on his shoulder, leaving it there for a few moments before removing it and turning away.

Conner forced a smile and tried it out in the ghost of a reflection he could see in the glass. It didn’t quite work. He put it away and turned around anyhow. “Hey, can I bring the cats here?”

That made Lex pause in the middle of picking up the tv remote, and Clark to put down the newspaper he’d been reading. “You want to…?” Lex repeated slowly, trailing off with a hint of disbelief at the end.

“Well, we’ve pretty much moved in, right? I’ve got my bedroom, we’re here every day, half the nights too… Sue and Cali are just kittens. They shouldn’t be left alone so much. So if I bring them here, we can play with them.”

Clark tried to put the newspaper back up, but Lex fixed him with a glare. “This is your fault.”

“I didn’t ask to move in,” Clark whined, “I didn’t say anything!”

Lex kept the glare on him for a bit more, then moved it to Conner, where it stopped being so menacing and just became a wearied look. “You’ve been over a lot because of the training. That’s finished now, and we don’t know what his happening next. Let it be for now.”

“You don’t want us to move in?” Kon was crushed.

Lex raised his hand to pinch the bridge of his nose. “I didn’t say that…”

The lights in the room flickered. Conner barely noticed – the apartment lights did that all the time. But Lex reacted, his hand dropping and his whole body going to alert.

“Audio 24. Report status,” Lex clipped out.

An automated modulated woman’s voice came on over some hidden speaker. “Unknown object on HeliPad 3. Security is mobilizing.”

Kon tensed and looked to Clark for instructions. Clark shook his head briefly, indicating that they should wait for Lex before doing anything.

“Visuals display,” Lex commanded.

A holographic screen appeared in front of Lex, showing the layout of the roof with a red light around one of the sections. A box split off to the top right showing the camera view of the helipad. There was nothing there.”

“Audio – Security.”

Mayik’s voice came through. “It’s what you see, Lex. We have a trigger on the ground sensors for weight on the pad, but the camera isn’t showing anything and none of the other sensors are picking anything up either. I have a team heading up to investigate now.”

Lex frowned, tapping his index finger along the side of the remote he hadn’t set down. “Tell them to hold at the top and don’t go out.”

There was the sound of Mayik relaying the command, then he came back on. “Okay, but why?”

“I think I know what that might be. Get Mercy up there first.”

“Mercy’s on down-time right now.”

“Probably not anymore,” Lex said wryly. “Audio, patch Mercy in.”

“I’m heading up,” Mercy said immediately before Lex or Mayik could say anything. “Hold security.”

“Holding,” Mayik replied patiently.

“Audio – mute,” Lex commanded, then flicked his hands over the holographic displays to zoom some displays and open others. They saw Mercy going up a set of stairs, and on another screen a team of 10 LexCorp guards stood by the main roof doors.

Lex snorted. “I don’t think much of the Justice League’s ability to keep a low profile.”

“Justice League?” Kon questioned.

“What do you know that’s big enough to land on my helio pad and be invisible to all sensors?” Lex responded with another question.

“That could be a lot of things,” Clark said with a grin. “But you’re probably right. Give her a break, she’s learning.”

On the screen showing the roof, there was a split in the air and a tall woman in a bright red shirt with a gold emblem over the upper chest stepped out to nothingness. Her long blonde hair hung in waves over her shoulders, with a gold diadem holding it from her face.

“Cassie!” Kon cried out happily. He hadn’t gotten to talk to her, really talk to her, for ages. With Wonder Woman being gone, Cassie had taken up most of her duties. The tiara was normally Wonder Woman’s, and it was a sign of the change that Cassie had it now.

Mercy went out to meet her and they appeared to talk for some time before they started heading back together.

“Situation Turquoise,” Mercy reported on the comlink. “Security Team can stand down. Mark Pad 3 as out of commission until I sign it back in.”

Lex reached out and touched a few controls on the display, studying the readouts there. “Audio on. Mayik – the object that arrived is normally concealed from all electronics. Find out the parameters on those weight sensors, commend the team that worked on it, and get them installed in more places. Duplicate effect to other sensors if possible.”

“Will do,” the security chief replied. “I wish your unexpected visitors would give us some warning next time.”

“So do I, but that’s the definition of unexpected,” Lex returned with amusement.

They signed off on the audio again, and Lex closed off the displays, returning the room to looking like a normal living room again.

“Speaking of neat technologies,” Clark started to say, but Lex cut him off.

“It’s built into the penthouse. Not something that can just be packed up and duplicated somewhere else.”

“Oh,” Clark sounded a bit disappointed.

“I don’t think we could have had that in the apartment anyhow, Dad,” Conner had to remark.

“Wistful thinking.”

The doorbell for the penthouse rang – a light chiming sound that still managed to be heard everywhere.

“Door, verify visitors,” Lex commanded as he headed towards the foyer.

“Scans show two persons. One identified definitively as Mercy Freeman. Other tentatively identified as Wonder Girl – Cassandra Sandsmark based on records. No other life forms detected. Second person has weaponry on her person, both physical and magical.”

Lex nodded. “Let them in.”

There was a click and the outer door opened. There was a pause while Mercy and Cassie walked through it to the second door, which was security glass where Lex could see them but they couldn’t get in until he’d given another command.

The first few times Conner had been in the penthouse, he’d thought it was excessive. Cool, yes, but still excessive. Part of his ‘training’, though, had included a long list of people who had tried to kill Lex, including details of several attempts that Mercy said had most likely been Lionel. Now, Conner thought that the precautions were the tip of what they could be.

Mercy saw Cassie in, and then she turned and left, the doors closing behind her.

“Wonder Girl,” Lex said in a tone that wasn’t exactly welcoming, but wasn’t his freezing ‘I hate you and wish you’d die’ voice that he sometimes used on Superman.

“Lex Luthor,” Cassie replied in a very similar tone. “Thank you for receiving me. I had word that Superman might be here, and it was expedient to see both of you at the same time.” Her gaze flickered over Clark and Conner, not directly acknowledging them but leaving it to them to see if they would reveal themselves in this grouping. Conner memorized how she did that for in case he had to in the future.

Clark nodded. “We are here,” he let the mixed identity be known and that it was okay in front of Lex.

Lex half-turned, gesturing out. “Let us go to the den.”

There was a brief pause as Cassie looked around, then Lex took the lead, letting the others follow.

“Hey,” Conner bumped shoulders with Cassie. “Good to see you.”

She smiled, the gesture lighting up her face and transforming her seriousness into radiant delight. “You too,” she whispered back. “We need a Titan Time Out, soon.”

“Definitely!” Kon agreed. He didn’t know when, but it would be nice to just be with his friends again with no goal but to hang out together.

The adults were politely ignoring the teens, but when they got to the den and everybody was settling into seats, Kon and Cassie reverted back to seriousness.

“There is news from Themyscira?” Settled behind his desk, Lex got directly to the point.

“Yes,” Cassie’s face was still and remote, a deep seriousness behind her that defied her young age. “Watchtower has confirmed her involvement with Lionel Luthor, and his actions against you.”

Clark made an involuntary pained sound.

Knowing and having that knowledge confirmed are two very different things. Kon inched over in his seat until he was almost touching arms with his dad. Clark gave him a brief smile of acknowledgement for the reassurance and touched his hand lightly before retreating inside himself again.

“Did she…” Clark trailed off. He closed his eyes and tried again. “Did she say why?”

Cassie nodded. “The reason for the Goddesses’ involvement is now clear. A transgression upon a woman, and one that still remains.”

All three of the men blinked.

Clark opened his mouth and Cassie hastily cut him off. “I didn’t mean it like that. Well, maybe but… I meant just that… Ah, never mind.” She sighed. “The Goddesses have been moving, involving themselves and pushing us to find out more. It started when Kon came among us, and has only been getting stronger.” Cassie paused, her eyes going to the door and the outer world. “Chloe told us that Lionel Luthor has her daughter.”

There was a stunned silence in the room.

“Chloe has a daughter?” Clark said, his voice amazed.

“So she has said, and we believe her. The Goddesses have confirmed their interest, and that would make the most sense. She is in the hands of a monster.”

“How old is she?” Lex’s voice was shuttered, not letting anything out but the question.

Cassie looked to Kon, then away. “She would be thirteen or fourteen. Chloe hasn’t seen her since Lionel took her.”

“Fourteen and your Goddesses are just getting involved now?” Lex picked up a letter opener on the desk and ran his finger lightly over the blade. “A little late.”

“Fourteen?” Clark also looked at Kon. “But… that would have been in High School! Chloe wasn’t pregnant in school. I would have known.”

“You regularly go around x-raying your friends to see if they’re carrying a child?” Cassie dryly asked.

“No!” Clark flushed. Then he considered. “Actually, I did a lot back then… we used to get in a lot of trouble and I was checking for injuries.”

“And you’d know what a fetus looks like inside a womb.”

“I had sex ed!” Clark protested. Then looked like he wished he hadn’t said that.

“Taught by Desiree, I’d be surprised if you learned anything,” Lex murmured. Then he shook his head. “The father was my father, wasn’t it?”

“Um,” Cassie blinked at the wording before shrugging. “Yes.”

Lex sighed. “I knew they were… involved. My father made very sure I knew of that. Mocked me about my own… interests. Smallville had very adult-seeming teenagers. But he never breathed a word of a child.” His eyes narrowed, “I wonder, if it had been a boy, if he would have.” With a shrug, he abandoned that line. “Regardless, a child in his hands, though a girl… it was his chance to make an heir anew.”

He ran his finger over the letter opener again. A thin line of red appeared on the edge, but Lex didn’t seem to notice. “This explains why Chloe was willing to work with me against him, briefly. She was trying to get away. She found, though, that his reach was longer than we could go.”

“But… baby…” Clark was still trying to process the idea.

“Not all woman show very obviously before they give birth,” Lex dismissed that. “All she would need was a couple of months break – and there is a very obvious time frame in there that would work.”

Cassie cleared her throat. “Actually, Chloe said he operated on her and took the child before she was born.”

The letter opener clattered to the table and Clark half stood before he sat again.

All Conner could think was ‘ugh’ but he had the sense to clamp down on the thought before it escaped into words.

There was another little silence in the room.

Lex finally broke it. “This changes nothing.”

The other three people looked at him.

He made a small sound of annoyance. “We already knew that Watchtower was working with him. To have it confirmed is nice, particularly if we can get any details out of her about his locations, but it changes nothing.”

“He has a child!” Conner cried.

“He had a hundred children!” Lex shouted back, clenching his hands tightly upon the desk. “We did nothing then! What makes this one so special!?”

Oh… Conner settled back, shaken. Lex meant him. Him and his brothers.

Lex loosened his hands. “We are already arrayed against him. I, with my resources, Hawkman with his his. Oracle is tracing connections. Unless Chloe has something substantial to add or suggestions of what to do, it makes no difference. Knowing what he holds against her, I don’t believe she will reveal anymore – and if she did, we would not be able to trust it.”

Clark sighed. “You’re right. But still… it’s a reason.” He glanced away. “I have been wondering… this makes sense.”

Conner glowered at both of them. “I don’t care what was the past. I mean I do, but that’s done. We know about what is happening now, and we need to rescue that girl!”

“We’re searching for Dad’s headquarters already,” Lex snapped. “What more do you suggest we do?”

“I just want you to acknowledge her! She’s your sister.”

Lex snorted. “She’s my Dad’s daughter, raised since a baby with him and him alone. Who knows what she is now?”

“Yeah, well, you were raised by him too!”

Both Clark and Cassie visibly winced at Kon’s retort, and Lex laughed, a bitter, mocking sound. “Yes, and look at how well that turned out.”

Kon stood his ground, actually getting up from his chair. “I think it turned out just fine,” he said, stubbornly. “You’re my dad and I’m proud of that. She should know her brother is on her side.”

Lex didn’t respond, staring back with not a sign that Kon’s speech had affected him at all.

“Fine,” Conner finally said. “If you don’t want her, I do! She’s my age – she can be my sister.”

“Aunt,” Lex murmured, still with no expression.

“Blood isn’t everything. I care more about you caring for me than for what the genes in my dna are. That you care is still weird considering you didn’t know me until I showed up.” Kon jerked his head at Clark. “That one too. I don’t understand it, and I don’t think I ever will. But I do know that I want this girl to have somebody and that somebody can be me if it won’t be you. She’s going to know that somebody cares, and no, nothing changes, but at least know we know. I’ll rescue her, I will. And somebody will care for her.”

“Not alone,” Cassie stood up and moved to Kon’s side. “You’re not alone, Conner, and we’ll stand by you too. Know that whatever is coming up, that we’re all with you too.”

She took his hand and Kon felt golden sparks go through him. It felt like the canopy of protection that Wonder Woman had raised, and he liked it, though he was also uneasy from it. He suddenly got why his dad didn’t really like the Goddesses being involved. There was a dangerous unpredictability to having the interest of something immortal and not quite human.

“Conner, if we find her… when we find her,” Clark corrected himself, “She’ll be treated well. We rescue people. We’re not going to abandon her.”

Kon knew that, but at the same time, they just weren’t getting it. They weren’t concerned. Well, they were, but not specifically. Well, Clark might be, but Lex wasn’t. Either that, or he just couldn’t tell with Lex. Which was honestly the more likely thing. He knew well how Lex retreated from caring. The cry about his brothers had been full of a raw pain that, honestly, Kon himself still felt as well.

He glanced again at Lex, but his other dad had raised his shields and they weren’t coming down. “Okay.” He tightened his grip on Cassie’s hand. “We’ll keep on the way we have, but when we come down, this is what it’s going to be, and I’ll be there to make sure my sister has what she needs.”

Again, there was a feeling of gold through the room, and then it faded, attention elsewhere. Conner bitterly wished that if they knew where she was they could help in a more obvious way. Then he shrugged it off. They would do what they could do, because that was who and what they were. All of them.


[Poll #1968303]

story notes:

- If you go by strict real life timelines, you might have noticed there's a bit of a problem with it. As explained in previous stories, because I'm working primarily with Silver Age backgrounds and the Smallville life as well, I'm mixing and matching the worlds, and this is not the real world. The world wars weren't so long ago here and the industrial revolution came hard and fast and we have corrupt governments and metahumans everywhere. The JL has a livable satellite in space, based at least partially upon alien tech... the regular world does not. Etc. This is a world where heroes are needed, and though the tech level, language styles, and standards of living are close to our own, this isn't our world. Don't try too hard to slot everybody into what the real world does as it won't fit. I try and keep the disruptions down to a minimum, though, so hopefully the story flows okay.

- Yes, I have a different last name for Mercy than the comics. I wanted a different symbolism.

- Apologies for the extra long delay on this one. Life got in the way. Things are moving forward, though, and be assured, there’s no stopping this one until it’s done. (About another 3-4 stories.)
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