|Time After Time
Author: Roman1967 PM
A L&CSmallville Crossover. Tempus is back and is trying to change the future. HG Wells enlists the aid of Superman to set things right again. Story is set during the events of the Smallville episode CrusadeRated: Fiction K - English - Adventure - & Clark K. - Words: 3,657 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 4 - Published: 07-15-06 - id: 3046738
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The traveler stopped a minute to get his bearings. No matter how many times he did it, he was always a little disoriented after a trip. When the world stopped spinning he got out of his vehicle, removed the key and watched it disappear. He was glad of this new modification. A touch of a button on his key chain, and his vehicle would return to him - no matter where he was. He emerged from the alley and immediately saw what he was looking for: A tall building with a globe on top. Circling the globe were the words "Daily Planet".
He entered the building and took an elevator to the top floor. The doors opened and he looked around. The word "bustle" didn't even begin to describe what happened here. People were always on the move. Some were shouting across the room at each other, others were hurriedly moving along, their noses glued to sheets of paper. Trying not to be distracted, he walked quickly to a desk in the center of the room where a young man was deep in conversation with a beautiful brunette.
"Mr. Kent, I wonder if I might have a word?"
Clark looked up and was sure that he was unable to hide the surprise on his face. He spoke briefly to the young lady who nodded and walked away. Clark approached the traveler and whispered, "Mr. Wells! What are you doing here?"
"I'm afraid I need your help." HG Wells cleared his throat and continued, "Tempus has escaped, and I fear he's traveled back to Smallville again." He straightened and looked Clark in the eyes and said, "This is a job for Superman."
"I'm sorry Lo. I know how close you and Chloe were. But I can't get away right now to go to the funeral. We'll go visit the gravesite sometime soon."
"Lois, that's all," General Lane interrupted. "Now, I don't want you going off to Smallville by yourself. There's nothing you can do about it now. I'll call you later."
Lois hung up the phone. I half expected him to say "General Lane out." Still, I wonder what he meant by me not being able to do anything about it now. I mean, she's dead…right? Lois looked at the news story on her computer screen one more time. "Student and Father Killed in Massive Explosion."
Lois remembered Chloe's last email. "…I'm afraid Lois. A man like Lionel Luthor is not lightly crossed. I'll write back when things are a little more safe here." And that was it. That was the last time Lois heard from her cousin, and that was over a week ago. And now, this. I don't care what dad says. I'm going down there and find out what happened.
Lois felt her eyes sting and turned off her monitor, reaching for a tissue. Damn it.
"Well, well. If it isn't the galactically stupid Lois Lane. God, I love saying that."
Lois turned to the voice behind her. Usually she wasn't that easy to sneak up on. "Excuse me?" She replied. The man was tall with reddish-brown hair and beard - sort of handsome, really. He was also wearing a smug little smirk on his face and a more than slightly mean twinkle in his eye. "I don't know who you are, but if you…"
"Oh, not yet," the man replied. "But I know you. And we are going to have a lot of fun together."
The man approached Lois. She didn't even have time to scream.
"Do you remember the first time you and Lois met?" Asked HG Wells as he and Clark walked down the street.
Clark thought back to the night when he appeared naked in the cornfield after his time with Jor-El. "Yes. She came to Smallville to investigate her cousin's apparent death. I… wasn't quite myself at that time."
"And have you ever wondered why, when you first came to Metropolis looking for work at the Planet, she didn't seem to recognize you?"
"Now that you mention it, it was sort of strange. It's like she didn't know who I was. She acted like we met for the first time here in Metropolis a couple of years ago." Clark thought fondly back to the verbal wordplay that went on between them during their first meeting.
"You're low man on the totem-pole, I'm top dog. Got it farmboy?"
"You like to be on top. Got it."
Just like old times, Clark had thought. Funny that she didn't appreciate the humor then like she had when she was staying at their farm those years ago.
"Strange. Yes, quite." Mr. Wells turned to face Clark. "Tempus is trying to stop that first meeting in Smallville from ever happening. Without Lois, the Utopic society brought about by the two of you will obviously never happen. Since you never met her in Smallville, you remained in your Kal-El persona. You never came to Metropolis to become a reporter, and the world, as we know it, never comes to be. It is a rather dark place, actually. Especially after you allowed Tempus to become your right-hand man."
Clark was stunned. He was a partner with Tempus? He could only imagine the chaos that would have ensued had he remained Kal-El. And to have an egomaniac like Tempus working with him…it was almost too much to take in. "Mr. Wells. You are talking about this as if it already happened."
"To me, it has, Clark. And it must be stopped. The timeline must be repaired. I was quite surprised to find the information in my machines archives. Because it exists outside of any temporal anomaly, I was able to track what happened, and what should have happened. But there is one thing. To preserve the integrity of the timeline, no one, especially Lois, can see you as Superman in the past. And you can't show yourself as Clark Kent either. That could cause a few problems. It's a tricky bit of business we have here, but it must be done. Are you ready?" HG Wells clicked a button on his key chain and watched as his time machine faded into view. He heard a whooshing sound behind him and turned to the familiar red and yellow "S".
"Let's do this," replied Superman, as he climbed into the passenger seat of Wells's amazing machine.
Lois awoke to find herself in a small room with no windows. There was a cot in one corner, a sink and a smaller, walled-off area, which contained a toilet, in another corner. "Well, at least it's civilized, if not a little cliché," she muttered.
"Oh, Miss Lane. You'll find I'm quite civilized, and no one could ever accuse me of being 'cliché'."
Lois turned to find the man from her dorm room standing, with the same smirk on his face. "Look, mister. Who are you and what is this all about? My father will have you in front of a firing squad for this." That is, he will when he gets back from his conference…whenever that is.
"Lois, I know dear old daddy is gone for at least a week. By then, this should all be over and you can go back to your little school and study Flunking Out 101, or whatever it is you were doing. I don't even need to kill you - just keep you here for a little while. Now, I have a little errand to run. You just sit tight and make yourself comfortable. I shouldn't be gone long." Tempus turned to leave, and then as an afterthought, turned back to Lois, "As to who I am? You may call me Tempus."
Superman climbed out of the time machine, feeling more than a little disoriented. "Does it feel like this all the time," he asked as he fought to steady the world around him?
"Yes. Every time," answered Wells. "But you do get used to it after a while. Here we are then, Metropolis University. Lois should be up in her room now. We just have to watch for Tempus and see that he doesn't get her. You should probably change into something a little less conspicuous."
"Right." Superman spun around and stood there as Clark Kent again. "So, how are we going to stop him if Lois can't see me as Clark or Superman?"
"I had thought to keep watch and when Tempus arrives, you could catch him quickly before anyone could see. It should be rather easy."
"Maybe you don't recall our earlier run-ins with Tempus," Clark raised an eyebrow at HG Wells. "'Easy' doesn't usually describe how it goes with him."
"Yes, quite," agreed Wells as they walked towards the dorms.
The voice came from everywhere, and nowhere. "Are you ready, my son?"
"I am ready father. It is time to fulfill my destiny."
"Who are you?"
"I am Kal-El. The Last Son of Krypton."
"It is time. You will be reborn. Go forth and fulfill your destiny, my son."
Energy and bright light surrounded Kal-El, and then…
"It's been hours, Mr. Wells," Clark looked at his watch. "Where is Tempus?"
"I don't understand. This should be the right time. My calculations shouldn't have put us off by more than a couple of hours." Clark looked at him. "Right. I'll just go up to the dorm and check on Miss Lane."
As he walked in the building, Clark looked south. It looked like there was a storm brewing. A feeling of dread passed over Clark as he shouted back, "Mr. Wells! What is the date?"
HG Wells stopped and checked his watch, which was synched with his time machine so there would be no discrepancy in dates and times, "It's…. oh, dear me. It's September 9th."
"No. We're too late," exclaimed Clark as he sped south, toward Smallville.
"Mr. Kent! No, you can't!" but he was gone.
Clark sped down Route 31. Now what are we going to do? If we're too late, is the timeline forever tarnished? Will Superman ever come to be? What will happen to me here if Kal-El succeeds in taking over the world? No time to dwell on questions. I just have to get there and try to stop him. Clark saw a huge, triple bolt of lightning strike ahead of him. No! As he drew closer, he saw a black SUV parked along side of the road. Memories came back to him. Lois' car? Is everything all right after all?
Clark stopped and snuck into the cornfield. If Tempus missed Lois, then Clark couldn't interfere with this meeting. He heard a voice from the darkness ahead.
"Who are you?"
Clark expected to hear, "Lois. Lois Lane." And then everything would be OK. Instead he heard, "A friend, my dear boy. I'm here to help you."
NO! Clark ran forward as the voice continued. "I know who you are Kal-El. It is my job to help you come into your own. I only ask that you allow me to be by your side, as your 'second', if you will, when you rule here."
"I do not need the help of a human."
"Oh, but you do, my boy. You see, you can only focus on the stones when a human touches them. That is why they call to you, to prevent humans from opening the fortress. But I, I know where they all are."
Kal-El looked down at Tempus, "Very well. You will show me the location of the stones."
"That's enough, Tempus," said Clark as he stepped into view. "This stops right here."
Tempus turned in surprise as Kal-El looked on. "You? Oh, I suppose that meddlesome Wells went and got you in some insane hope to try and stop me. All I want is chaos," Tempus smirked. "Is that so much to ask?"
Tempus turned to Kal-El. "Pay no mind to the do-gooder. We must go now. Our first stop…Egypt."
Tempus smirked and waved down at Clark as Kal-El scooped him up and flew to the sky, and his destiny.
"It's too late," said Clark as he ran up to Wells. "Tempus met Kal in the corn field. If we don't do something, the timeline is going to be seriously messed up. As it is, Kal is going to get the stone before Lex does in Egypt. As far as the timeline goes, that doesn't affect too many things since the stone was in Lex's possession less than an hour before I… before Kal took it from him. But if we don't do something, there are going to be a lot more discrepancies that we'll have to fix."
"Indeed," agreed Wells. "You couldn't catch him?"
"I could have. But Kal would not have had any concern for Tempus. He would have dropped him in mid-flight to take care of me. No matter what Tempus has done, he doesn't deserve to die."
"Of course. That is what makes you Superman. And that is also what makes our society the Utopia it is. Your ideals." Wells thought a moment. "Have you decided what you are going to do?"
"I have an idea. But I'm going to need a little help. But before I get started, there is a stop I have to make."
"Clark. You know you can't be seen."
"Mr. Wells. I know about your concerns. But I can't do what I need to do hiding in the shadows. If my plan goes all right, the timeline will be fixed and no one need be the wiser. If it doesn't… well, Kal will have won anyhow, so it won't matter. You stay here and see if you can find out anything about Lois. I'll be back soon."
"Mrs. Kent. Have you considered…"
"No I haven't," interrupted Martha. "My whole life is lying in that bed. I will not stop life support as long as there is a chance."
"Mrs. Kent," the nurse began slowly. "There has been no brain activity for three months."
"I don't care. Thank you for your concern, but there is always hope – and I'm not giving up on it."
As the nurse left, Martha turned back to her husband lying on the bed, sat down in the chair and picked up the book to start reading.
"Huckleberry Finn. It always was his favorite," came the voice behind her.
Martha turned around and thought she was going crazy.
"Clark? But how…why are you…Clark?"
"I thought I'd never see you lost for words, mom," smiled Clark as he stepped closer to his mother. "Oh…the outfit? Well, that's a bit of a story. I thought it would be easier to explain than an older Clark Kent walking around town."
"But Clark," Martha began.
"Mom. I promise I'll explain everything. But I can't right now. I don't have the time," Clark chuckled to himself as if sharing a private joke. "I'll be back soon to tell you everything. I just wanted to stop here and tell you not to give up. Dad is going to be OK." He looked down at his father for a moment. He never saw him like this when he was young. He had been too worried about global conquest at the time.
Clark moved closer, bent down and kissed his mother on the forehead. "I love you mom," he said as he touched her face. "Everything is going to be OK."
And in a rush of red and blue, he was gone.
"That was no ordinary storm in Smallville, Bridgette. Something is happening."
"You're right, Dr. Swann. It wasn't," came the voice behind him. "And something is going on."
Dr. Swann turned around to see a man in blue with a red cape and a large "S" on his chest. "Kal-El? Clark? But you look older. I had no idea Kryptonians aged so rapidly."
"We don't," answered Superman with a quick glance to the woman at Swann's side.
"Don't mind her, Clark," said Swann noticing the look. "She is my assistant and my most trusted associate." He sized up the man in front of him for a moment and finally said, "Why are you here and why do you look so much older. I won't ask the more obvious question about your choice of fashion." Dr. Swann grinned a little at this.
Clark answered the grin with one of his own. "I am from the future, Dr. Swann. Something has gone wrong here and I have to fix it."
"You mentioned that it had something to do with the storm near Smallville?"
"Yes," answered Clark, taking a seat with a swish of red. "At this time in my life, I had been taken into the cave wall by the entity there I now know was a Kryptonian artificial intelligence called Eradicator. My mind was bombarded with its programming and it released me to try and take over the world and mold it to be a new Krypton. In the original timeline, I was stopped. But now, another time-traveler has come back and interfered with the timeline. Certain events were set into motion and this traveler, named Tempus, met me – met Kal-El – in the cornfield instead of someone else. Tempus is going to show Kal the location of the stones, activate library of knowledge with Eradicator in control of it and take over the world. Needless to say, that can't happen."
"Yes," mused Dr. Swann. "If that were the original timeline of events, you would not be here now. So what are you going to do, and why are you here visiting me?"
"I can't confront the younger Kal-El. There would be very grave consequences. In the original timeline, my mother split the corrupted Kal-El identity from my own with a piece of black kryptonite. I had never heard of it."
"Neither have I. I don't think there is such a thing," said Swann.
"You haven't," wondered Clark? "But my mother told me the story. She said someone named Dr. Crosby showed up on your behalf and gave it to her, along with telling her what exactly it was used for." This was getting more confusing by the minute.
"Dr. Crosby is right here," said Swann pointing to his assistant. "Bridgette, do you know anything about black kryptonite?"
"No Dr. Swann," she answered. Clark thought he could detect affection in her voice. "So far we have only found kryptonite with a green and a red shift in the radioactive wavelengths."
Clark thought a moment. Then he remembered.
"I know!" he exclaimed. "Black kryptonite is formed with the green variety is exposed to heat. Dr. Swann, do you have some kryptonite around here?"
"Of course I do. But how are you going to…"
"I'm not going to mess up the timeline anymore than it has been already. Dr. Crosby is still going to make the delivery. Besides, as you were about to say, me and kryptonite don't mix very well." He turned to Dr. Crosby, "could you please get the green kryptonite for me. And set it there on the desk. I'll just stay here."
As Crosby left, Dr. Swann turned to Superman. "I see you have accepted your destiny Clark."
"Yes, Dr. Swann. I have. My problem in my youth was figuring out what that destiny was. I guess we all were young and stupid once. Even us Kryptonians." He smiled at Dr. Swann. "I…no, the world owes you a lot Dr. Swann. It is because of you, there is a Superman. Your guidance in these two years of my life always stuck with me, even when I was being an idiot. You helped me to see what a Superman really was. And I thank you." Clark walked up to Swann and held out his hand.
Dr. Swann shook the hand warmly. "I have learned from you as well, Clark. I guess the old adage is true. 'The teacher becomes the student, and the student…the teacher'. It has been a pleasure knowing you and now knowing what you will become."
At this, Dr. Crosby came back in the room and set the kryptonite on the desk. Clark looked at it, focused and soon they all saw the kryptonite heating up. When it turned black, Clark blew on it to cool it off and gave it to Dr. Crosby.
"Take this to my farm and give it to my mother. Be sure to explain what it does. And don't tell her I was here. That would also cause problems in the timeline."
"I understand. Good night Dr. Swann…Clark."
"Good night Bridgette. Be careful."
"I will," she assured Swann. Crosby turned to Clark. "He speaks of you often. I sometimes think he is a little jealous. I think a part of him wishes he were you."
"No, Dr. Crosby. His life's work and encouragement made me who I am. He is the real Superman. I wish I was him." Clark turned back to Swann. "I have to go now," he said. "Thank you again." Clark could feel his eyes misting up because he knew that Swann would be dead in less than a year.
"You are welcome Kal-El. If you ever need to talk, I'll be here."