|The Princess and the Cowboy
Author: SuperCharles PM
Clark Kent with no idea of his unique heritage marries Lana & takes over the family farm, until tragedy strikes. Clark travels to Metropolis looking for a new start, an encounter with an Agent from Meta-Human Affairs changes the course of his life foreverRated: Fiction K+ - English - Sci-Fi/Fantasy - Clark K./Kal-El/Superman & Diana of Themyscira/Wonder Woman - Chapters: 36 - Words: 121,220 - Reviews: 261 - Favs: 99 - Follows: 100 - Updated: 06-22-12 - Published: 05-30-10 - id: 6010047
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A Superman-n-Wonder Woman Yahoo Group Challenge.
"Instead of leaving Smallville Clark married Lana and stayed there and so never became Superman. Now recently divorced/widowed Clark Kent arrives in Metropolis to start his life over. He meets a certain Diana Prince. Does he finds out who she really is? Will she inspire him to finally use his powers for the greater good and become the hero we know he is meant to be?"
- "S" -
Clark Kent rubbed his hand, the scar in the middle of his palm itched from time to time, and it really plagued him today of all days, Lana's funeral was a solemn affair, how could it fail to be, he held back his tears. Clark had loved her dearly and now Lana Kent was dead.
He played with his collar and the black neck tie. His mother took his right hand.
The Methodist Minister Reverend Campbell spoke at length about Lana's wonderful qualities. Clark still felt numb, he was haunted by the metallic smell of her blood, the image of Lana lying in the stall beside the calf and it's mother, a Long Horn Cow that had so recently given birth.
Later Clark stood outside the Kent farmhouse thinking. Mom and Pa Kent had moved back in the days since Lana's death, and Clark was glad for their company, but he had waited most of his young life for them to grow up and move out, and they had when he married Lana Lang, he'd brought her home to the empty house that had been the focus of so much of their childhood. Together they had painted and decorated, making the house their own.
"She shouldn't have gone in there." Clark said angrily to Jonathan Kent. The younger man struck the railing that ran around the porch, a wooden splinter stuck in the meat of his hand, and he bled little drops of red blood onto the floor.
"No she shouldn't son." His Pa agreed.
Clark reflected that really there was no telling Lana she had red head's temper and stubbornness, but Clark had told her. "A cow with a calf is far more fearsome than any bull." Also that "Long Horn cattle are dangerous when they are confined, simply because of their distinctive horns."
Now they could only guess as to what had happened, perhaps the newborn calf had been in distress, perhaps unable to take it's first breath, so Lana had gone against good practise and entered the stall with a cow and calf alone, perhaps the mother had been spooked by something.
What Clark did know was that the cows left horn had done the damage, entering through Lana's eye, death would have been instantaneous. The cow had probably just shook it's head suddenly, and it was done.
"I'm going to get away for a bit." Clark told his Pa.
"Sure son. I can get help when I need it here, I know a young guy who needs some work, you take as long as you need."
Clark nodded. He took off his glasses, the world suddenly went blurry, he rubbed his eyes, he couldn't wear contacts, something in his eyes kept drying them out, so he gave up.
"Where are you thinking of heading." Pa Kent asked. "Just because your mother will want to know." He added.
"I figured you would."
- "S" -
Clark opened the barn door, he shuddered as he looked to the far end to stalls where he'd found Lana. The sooner he put distance between himself and those memories the better. He pulled the dust cover off the car self evidently hidden beneath the cotton. Folding the material he hung it over the nearest stall.
The Dodge Charger had belonged to his father back in the early 70's it was loud politically incorrect, and before the disc brake conversation that would have purists howling, it didn't stop too great, but Clark liked to tinker, he liked to make things better, improve adapt and change. He had restored the old car back and beyond it's former glory. For Clark it seemed there was always something just out of reach, a fuzziness to his senses that he couldn't put his finger on, like he was missing something.
His hand itched as he slipped her into drive, and eased the pale blue car out of barn, the throbbing v8 rumble was music to his ears.
He pulled out Fleetwood Mac Rumours and stuck the album into the 8 track, the mods were only there if you looked for them, visually the car was as it should be.
- "S" -
The apartment was cheap, the garage wasn't, Clark wondered whether he shouldn't have left the Charger at home, he didn't care for city traffic anyway, and the city gas mileage, he didn't like to think about it. Somehow knowing the car was there helped, it made him feel he could find solitude if he had too, just hit the road drive north, get away from it all.
That said Money for once wasn't a great problem. It was tragic but the truth was Lana and Clark had taken out a joint policy when they had married, this insurance saw the mortgage on the farm paid off if either of the died, and the pay out came with lump sum on top. Clark had cleared all the debt's, and had been left a cushion in his savings account.
It meant looking for work wasn't a priority, this was like a holiday for him, but by the second week he had felt stir crazy, it was late, but Metropolis never slept, and Clark had taken to walking down town when he couldn't get any shut eye, he decided it was lack of hard work, that his body was rebelling.
He rubbed his itchy palm.
The bar was open, and music was playing, old rock, his kind of thing, he bought a beer. The trouble started later on. The guy on the door was set upon by a couple of big guys, they looked like football players. Clark had played football, and he'd been good, good enough for people to talk about a college scholarship, but Pa Kent's triple by pass surgery meant Clark had put aside such thoughts and concentrated on the farm. Kent grabbed one of them by shoulder, the bouncer was already down, Clark pulled his attacker to the floor before he could aim a cowardly kick at the doorman on the ground, his foul mouthed buddy threw a punch. Pa had taught Clark to box, and he blocked and jabbed.
"Hit a man in glasses would ya?" He said. The other thug went down.
After the fracas was over Jerome's Bar's Manager poured Clark a beer, and generously picking up his tab for the night. "Say your pretty useful to have around, do you want a job?" The offer was genuine but surprising.
"Sure." Clark replied saying yes even before he'd really thought about it. Shaking on the deal.
- "S" -
Clark hadn't planned any of it , he'd just fallen into working behind the bar, and he found he was good at it, some city types poked fun at his accent, but his quiet charm and good humour won favour with the regulars. His few weeks sabbatical turned in a few months. Pa was happy back on the farm, the new guy he had working full time was doing the heavy lifting, and it was working out well enough.
Clark couldn't see himself staying here at Jerome's Bar, Metropolis, forever, but he was happy for now, no question this place was antithesis of Smallville - and of farming. Here he could forget Lana – almost. Subconsciously he rubbed his wedding ring with his thumb, the the palm of his hand, his scar with his fingers.
The only crowd that didn't gel with Clark were a surly bunch that seemed to meet regularly on a Friday, they'd drink and talk and keep themselves to themselves. Clark didn't think too much about it, they were a mixed crowd, a couple of Arabs, a white dude, and a black guy, and a swarthy looking man with a beard of indiscriminate origin. He came and went more than the others, sometime he stayed, sometimes he just had the one drink and left them to it. Clark didn't talk to them, and they didn't tip, he just served them their pitcher and left them to it.
- "S" -
Diana Prince found the bar without too much problem, it was nondescript, one of many in this part of Metropolis – Jeromes seemed okay to her, but if the tip was right then she better keep her wits about her. Her partner Tresser had failed to turn up, and that didn't surprise her, she reckoned a girl would be involved somewhere, Tom was a ladies man.
Still she was here, it seemed a waste not to check the bar out, even if going in alone wasn't strictly protocol. Then again neither was she. Diana had gone for a pair of jeans, and a light jacket just to hide the gun in the shoulder holster. It was too hot for a coat, so she hoped it looked okay, that said Diana was impervious to temperature either way.
Prince settled at the bar, and caught the bartenders eye, he looked at her through a pair of glasses, not unlike her own frames. He was kind of cute she decided, and tall. Most guys weren't taller than her, he was. Very much an all American Beef Cake, with dark hair, blue eyes, but she decided beside being handsome he was probably otherwise unremarkable, and while the glasses made him look smarter, chances are he was at best nice but dim.
She ordered a drink. The Martini wasn't bad, alcohol didn't effect her, but she could appreciate a good cocktail, it was an art, and Diana could appreciate art of any kind. The Bartender earned a point.
"What do you know about those guys?" She asked him about the four men in the corner booth.
"I don't." He said adjusting his spectacles with his middle finger.
"Oh I thought I'd seen them here before." Diana replied.
He looked at her, kind of puzzled. Diana thought, Okay he's thinking he doesn't recognise me, and the look he's giving me is saying "I would recognise you if I'd seen you before." Diana felt his animal attraction to her, another of her talents, she could read men like a book. How pedestrian they were, predictable.
"I've only been here about 3 months." He said. "I guess you came in before?"
"Yeah I've been away." Diana replied off the cuff. He had been good enough to give her an out. She had been away that was honest truth.
"Those guys just come in an drink a beer most Friday's." He told her adding. "I've never seen any of them with a girl." He let that hang there.
"What do they talk about?" Diana asked, stirring her olive around the distinctive glass. She gave him her best flashing blue demure eyes. She had noticed the wedding band, typical Diana thought as the Bartender flushed, his heart beat changed a little.
He played with the ring before answering her. Guilty conscience Diana decided. "They talk among themselves – and they clam up when anyone else is around." He looked at her with a questioning eye. "So what kind of cop are you?"
Diana raised her eyebrow, and took her own glasses off, they were fake any way. "Rumbled she said. How did you guess?"
"I saw the bulge under your jacket. You were asking questions." He also stared at her bracelets that glinted under the cuffs of her jacket, but he didn't mention them.
Not so dumb Diana decided, she smiled, warmth leaked from her lips and she knew it, it was natural to her, like breathing. He smiled back a genuine eye crinkling expression.
"Meta-Human Affairs." She answered quietly. "Mister?"
"Kent, Clark Kent."
"Which way round does that work?" She teased.
"Clark comes first, you can use it."
"Diana Prince." She said. "You're not from round here yourself are you Clark?"
"My accent I guess." He said. She nodded. "I thought so." He laughed at himself. "I just moved here, kind of a sabbatical I guess."
"You and the wife?" Diana asked.
Clark glanced at his ring. "No." He said. Diana felt the truth in his voice and the tragedy. "She died earlier this year. An accident."
He left her to serve another patron, and Diana watched him break out into a smile, despite the pain she had made him feel, there he was - an actor on a stage before her, he was pretending to be happy, and yet she sensed despite the grief there was something wholesome about Clark Kent.
Diana turned her attention back to the group of young men in the corner of the bar.
- "S" -
Clark glanced back at Diana, she was stunning, long ebony hair, perfect complexion, deep blue eyes. Lana was gone now, but even feeling the warmth of desire, made him feel guilty, but there was no denying it Prince was stunning and smart, he guessed that much, she had to be, to be a Federal agent. Meta-Human Affairs no less, he knew about the agency, it was dedicated to managing the relationship between the Nation and it's gifted citizens. It had all happened shortly after Clark had been born, people with strange abilities had begun to appear, at first they had been cases of the classic ESP type powers, pyrokinetics who could start fires, telekentics who could move objects, then others with physical abilities had appeared, strength and speed.
It was a shady world in the most part, the ones who were well known had gone into entertainment, there was a Magician called Zatana who had been outed as a magic user by the tabloids, and a singer from a band called the Black Canary too. There was talk about a monster in Gotham, and an invisible vigilante over in Central City. Of course organised crime had take advantage of the new opportunities these abilities presented. Meta-Human affairs for the main part hunted down the bad guys. It made Clark wonder what possible threat – powers the unsociable Friday regulars had?
Suddenly a gun appeared, Clark could hardly believe it, one of the four quiet guys had pulled a pistol and was aiming it at Diana.
"I tell you I read her damn mind – she's a cop I tell you."
Diana held her hands up. "Now calm down, I'm not here to cause any trouble."
The guy with the gun didn't look convinced. "She's trouble I tell you!"
"Then she's found it." A second gun appeared both Arabs were now pointing weapons.
"You've done it now." A voice hidden behind them announced. "Waste her."
Clark couldn't believe it, Diana moved with grace and speed beyond his comprehension, her arms blurred and the bullets bounced from the bracelets she was wearing, and not randomly either, the bullets ricocheted back over the heads of the shooters. Kent belatedly dived under the bar for cover, but through the open hatch door he could see their corner booth, and the black guy had a dark metal, box in his hand, which he opened and within was a green rock that immediately glowed with an eerie light. Something in Clark's head hurt.
The rock seemed to affect its owner, who began to shake, as did the whole building. The gunmen dived for cover under the table. Things came loose, pictures, light fittings, the bars patron's screamed.
"It's the rock Diana!" Clark shouted. He was sure it was something to do with the mini earthquake that was tearing Jerome's apart, even if that made little rational sense, little about Meta-Humans seemed to.
Diana dived to the floor, something golden appeared from her purse then shot from her hand, the lasso wrapped round the rock and Diana snatched it clear out of the man's hands with such speed the foursome just looked blankly into space. Diana flipped the green rock over the bar, rolling as she did so. Clark guessed her intentions and he caught the glowing irregular stone like a baseball.
Pain hit him, and he felt faint. Kent collapsed to his knees. Beyond Diana rolled over to her feet and in a fluid motion aimed her gun. The building had stopped shaking, but Clark had started.
"Okay drop the weapons, or I'll drop you." She kicked the table and it went clear up into the air torn of it's support, smashing against the wall. The four men were impressed, and the two with guns dropped them. At this point Clark passed out.
The next thing he could remember was Diana prying the green rock from his fingers, his hand still hurt, all of him ached. He heard her shout. "Medic!" Then there was only blackness.
- "S" -
Sarge Steel looked at the unconscious Clark Kent. "He looks nothing special." He told Diana Prince.
Clark lay in a room at the nearest hospital, Charlton Street General. Steel checked the Kent's details on his PDA. It was cradled in his metallic left hand. Grey cropped hair topped a serious face. An older man in his fifties Steel headed up the Metahuman Affairs Agency.
"Hmm, Smallville, a Farmer until his wife died, tragic accident, nothing to suggest he's anything special."
"He reacted to the meteorite, which means he must carry the Meta-gene."
"His reaction was to pass out right?"
Diana Prince nodded. "But look at this, his hand has been glowing ever since he was in contact with substance K."
Steel looked at the farmers hand, it was calloused, showed signs of hard work, but a scar ran down the centre of the palm, beneath the skin a pale green glow could be seen.
"We've got him scheduled for theatre shortly." Diana explained. "It should be a very minor operation."
"What are thinking Prince?"
"Something caused that scar, something that's glowing green, I say it's must be substance K."
Steel nodded. "I reckon you are right." He pocketed the hand held computer, and turned to leave. "Let me know how he gets on."
"Sure thing Boss." Prince told him.
He smiled he knew she'd stay with Kent. She was that kind of girl, the kind that rescued kittens and helped lame dogs.
- "S" -
Clark was dreaming he was feeling sick and he didn't know why, the last time he'd felt like this, he'd been really small, three maybe four. He'd cut his hand, the doc had stitched it up, he had the scar, the scar that itched.
Clark remembered feeling really bad, they'd told his mother that it must be bood poisoning, and the doctor had given him a course of antibiotics, at least that's what his mom had told him. Clark knew that his childhood fever hadn't broken for days, and he was so weak for a long time after that, he remembered being a sickly boy and he was seven or eight before Clark seemed to catch up with his peers. Suddenly he was awake, someone was with him. He couldn't see well without his glasses, she lent over him.
"Hush Clark, you're okay, it's Diana Prince, you're in Hospital, you are doing fine."
Clark suddenly screamed. His hand burned, the pain was terrible. He brought his palm to his eyes, and he saw it glowing – burning under his skin.
"Nurse!" Diana called.
Clark jerked in pain, and then he took hold of his left hand with his right, and squeezed, he knew it was there, he could feel it, he had to get it out, pushing he forced the green burning light out of his skin, the scar ruptured and a thin sliver of green glowing glass like material emerged from the open wound.
"Stop that!" Diana cried out.
"I have.. to... get.. it out of me..."
Diana reached and grabbed hold the shard and pulled it, the fragment came away from the wound, it was tiny, warm, and bloody, she reached into her pocket and brought out a grey plastic bag, slipping the shard into it. Clark immediately relaxed, passing out back onto the bed.
- "S" -
Diana wasn't looking forward to this meeting. Sarge Steel bellowed at her. "What do you mean he has gone?" Her boss smacked his metal fist into his desk. "How did he do that?"
"I posted an agent at his door, and returned here to Metropolis HQ - to put the sample of substance K that Kent had embedded in his hand, into safe storage as protocol demands."
"Of course." Sarge grumbled.
"When I returned to Charlton Street General the guard was at the door, and he'd noticed nothing untoward, but I found Kent's room to be empty, the window was open, however."
"And he what jumped from a fourth story window, or perhaps he flew away?"
Diana swallowed and stiffened in her seat. "With Substance K's effect on the meta-gene perhaps he did."
Sarge snorted. "Dammit Prince – don't you think I realise that."
"Well you lost him so it's down to you to find him, and Prince make that sooner than later."