And here we have it! The end of the story! Thank you for reading and now, love the end of it.
Epilogue - Always In Motion Is the Future
Four Years Later
Recognized - Nightwing B01
Recognized - Robin B20
"And this is Mount Justice!" Nightwing strode forward without a care in the world, eagerly showing off their home base to the third boy to bear the Robin name. Batman finally cleared the new bird to join the team, despite his young age. Considering they were already housing a thirteen year old shapeshifter, bringing someone even younger wasn't too bad. "Home of the brave, land of the- are you alright?"
Robin raised a hand slowly, clutching his stomach and bent over a bit while swallowing something down. "Fine... Fine..."
"No you're not." The original bird came over to his side and checked his forehead. "You're looking a little peckish."
"No, I'm good." The younger bird tried to wave him off. "Keep going."
"Not in your life. You're sitting down, right now. Come on." Carefully he took a hold of the boy's arm and half dragged him into the common room to rest on the couch. M'gann was out doing some shopping while Connor and Gar stayed behind. Only the clone was in the room though, reading a book for his literature class and seemingly not caring what was going on beyond it. The TV was still blaring the static channel, like always. "It takes a few trips through the tubes for some people to get used to it. Bats still gets a little queasy."
"How long did it take you?" The boy gladly sat down after hearing their mentor had problems. It sparked some interest from Superboy as well, looking up at last. Though the new Robin was expected to come today, he wasn't too enthused with the idea of another boy wonder. The last one was a bit of a brat, and that got him into a lot of trouble. It was that quality which probably got him killed. Who knew how the new kid would turn out.
"Oh I never had a problem." The young man grinned impishly at his successor, getting an eye roll from his teammate and a glare from the lad.
"Sometimes I hate you."
"No you don't. You love me to bits. Oh! And this is a reunion long overdue!" Nightwing grinned impishly at the two of them, confusing them both. Reunion? "Robin, meet Superboy. Superboy, Robin the third. The newest member of our team."
"Nice to meet you." Robin reflexively stood up to shake the clone's hand, only to tip back over and fall back onto the couch. "Whoa..."
Both of the heroes jerked up and over to him, a little worried. "You okay?" "Okay! Sit right back down kiddo."
"Seriously, I'm fine." The kid pouted up to the two. "Stop babying me Di- Nightwing."
"You'll always be a cute little baby to me kiddo." His comrade grinned impishly. "I knew you in diapers."
"I was well out of diapers when we first met!" Robin's face turned bright red, whether out of anger or embarrassment it was hard to tell. Still the kid stayed where he was, obeying their instruction. Getting teased by his longtime friend and reacting like this, Conner was starting to like this kid. Or pity him. Same thing when it came to their favorite bird.
"Suuuure you were."
The kid must have rolled his eyes behind his mask, forcing himself to let it go. "Whatever. What did you mean by reunion?"
Superboy looked over to Nightwing curiously, remembering what he said again. It really was a weird statement. "Yeah Wing. What were you talking about? I don't remember meeting this Robin before. No offense."
"None taken. I can't remember meeting you either."
"Yes you do, and yes you did." Nightwing was grinning so much from some inside joke, it annoyed them both greatly. What on earth was he talking about? "It was about four years ago, only for a few minutes, and it was that little meeting that gave us the answers we were looking for. It'll come back to you soon. Lionel."
While the acrobat strode over to the kitchen to fetch some drinks, the two of them racked their brains for answers. The name struck a chord with the clone in an instant. Other than one time while in Lex Luthor's custody four years ago, Conner never went by that name. It brought back too many confusing thoughts and memories, reminding him of his inevitable future.
It turned out Luthor was telling the truth. The League and other doctors verified the man's findings, all coming to the same conclusion. His insides were aging quickly while his outsides stayed the same, and forever would. League and Martian medicines were given to the best S.T.A.R. Labs doctors to find some kind of cure, but thus far they had nothing. Well they were still trying to cure cancer without killing the immune system or cutting parts out of people. Things like this just took time.
Thankfully it didn't take as much time getting over his attachment to Lex Luthor. Batman kept him out of the team's missions for about two months, but Canary recommended a little longer. Connor was still unsure about whether Luthor was a decent human being until the November of that year. They didn't realize the man had organized a country town's genocide until they unearthed all the details on one mission. Seeing whole families' mangled corpses courtesy LexCorp operatives made him sick to his stomach, burning away the image of a family man for good.
In fact, coupled with his imprisonment induced attachment, he hated the guy more now than before. He felt betrayed. He never thought of that man as his father again, just as a genetic donor.
Being forced to remember that timeframe, he glared at his friend. "That's a low blow Wing."
"It wasn't a blow." Nightwing took two soda's out of the fridge, thought twice about it, and took out a third, the last one being Connor's favorite. "Just... a less than friendly reminder to jog your memory. Sorry for turbing you."
They could hear Robin snort, getting both of their attention. The kid shook his head, smirking at the play on words. Well at least he liked it. The last Robin didn't. "Right. Turbing. Four years ago?"
"You sure?" The newest bird cocked his head to the side, clearly trying to remember. "I mean, I was... like eight."
"Just turning eight actually." The man grinned at him as he came back with their drinks, passing one to each of them. "I remember doing flips at your party."
"You two've known each other that long?" The thought blared at Conner as he popped his can open.
"Longer." Nightwing grinned as he explained. "This guy was there the night I started on this path. We met only hours before. How old were you?"
"Three." The kid shook his head ruefully, just holding his can. "And that night haunted me for years after."
"Yeah, this kid was a pretty scrawny guy since the beginning." He winked over to his friend, trying to edge him on. "Sharp as a tack and always asking for me to do tricks. Sometimes I wondered if I was your dog."
"No, just the funny babysitter." The impish smirk on the kid's face reminded Conner of how Nightwing was back in his Robin days. Well if they grew up together, it was no wonder they acted a bit the same.
"Not cool Bro." He sighed, shaking his head as he swallowed a sip. "Seriously, you two have met before. I wasn't there, but you told me all about it. At that party. You were looking at my phone and-"
"That guy at the hospital?!" Robin looked over to Superboy, donning coming to his eyes just as an idea came to him. That guy at the hospital? Could this kid be... Pointing, the boy's jaw dropped. "You were that guy I ran into when I was lost at that hospital? The one living in intensive care?!"
"Wait..." Gaping at the bird, Conner put the pieces in place. "You were that kid? The one who wandered in looking for the bathroom?"
"And you held open the green glowing door in order for me to leave." Finally they recognized each other. They had met, but Robin was a little kid then and his memory of the incident wasn't that good. He grew a lot since then. "I thought..."
"No way..." The clone looked over the kid for a moment more before smirking and breaking into a real smile. "You've really grown."
"Course he has." Nightwing looked like he was on the verge of laughing at the two of them. "It's been four years. He's a tween now. Still got some growing to do, but he's much bigger than before. Way too old for me to babysit him anymore. Le sigh..."
His audience rolled their eyes, still smiling slightly at each other. Both of them knew how much of a drama queen this guy could be and just let him be. Still the older bird continued, filling them in on the missing bit they didn't know. "After your chance meeting, Robin here saw your picture on my phone. It was a wonderful stroke of luck really, but if it never happened, it'd be forever before we got you out of that place."
"I thought that was a hospital for seriously sick people." Robin looked over Conner curiously, almost like a bird looking at someone and expecting food. "What were you doing there?"
Smiling sadly, the clone started the long explanation with a deflecting statement. "It's complicated, but I was being held captive there by Lex Luthor who owned the building. I'm not sick."
"Clearly. You look pretty healthy to me." That gained a rueful chuckle from the Kryptonian, which only confused the lad. Whether or not to tell him all the gruesome details was up for debate. Maybe he'd read all about it in one of Batman's files.
Something on Nightwing beeped, pulling the guy's attention away. Quickly he brought up his holo-computer screen and checked whatever popped up. Glaring at the screen, he groaned. "Great."
"What is it?"
"Bats sent me an email reminding me to finish my latest report."
Robin snorted softly again, stopping himself from laughing. Strange kid. "Well he has complained about them being missing lately."
"And he wants it now." Rolling his eyes, the young man shook his head. This clearly was not the way he wanted that day to go. "Great. His timing's perfect with everything but personal business." For a moment he looked between the two of them, then shrugged. "Mind showing Robin around the cave while I write this up? You can exchange stories and compare notes, but please don't get too personal. He's twelve."
"Bit protective aren't you?" Superboy smirked at his friend playfully. Sure he'd show the kid around. They might even talk about the old days. Mostly though, he just wanted to move on from what happened all those years ago.
"Can you blame me?" He looked over to the little bird to make sure he was fine. "Stomach happy again?"
"Pretty much. I'll be fine." Robin inclined his head towards the door. "Go get that report done."
"10-4." Nightwing gave a mock salute and headed out. "Remember, beee gooood."
"Naturally." Finally alone, the boy stretched and got to his feet, smiling at his impromptu tour guide. "So... I guess we really do meet again."
"Guess so." It was kind of funny. Back when he was imprisoned, Conner worried about what would happen to that mysterious boy who wandered into his apartment and walked right back out of it. Now he knew. He became a hero like the rest of them. More than that, he became the third surrogate son of the Bat, Nightwing's (not really) new little brother. He seemed much calmer and more stable than the previous one too. Maybe things would go much better with this guy. "Glad to see you're doing alright."
"Glad you are too."
Waving a hand towards the rest of the cave, the strange son of two worlds started giving a tour to the new child of the League. "Shall we?"
A/N: And there you have it. The end. Yes it's been fun but that's all folks. I brought the question to a close too. Conner does have that aging problem (in this world, not necessarily cannon) but if he, say... gets age swapped with someone else, the problem will fix itself. Does that happen here? No. But since it was done in the 'Sins of youth' arch in the original YJ series, you know it can be fixed. Will I be fixing it? nope! That's someone else's job. I also brought Timmy back into the light here, making it so Conner and he could start a friendship, something that was so royally missing from the TV series. *sigh* how sad. anywho, it happens here! YAY!
All that aside, thank you one and all for reading 'A Son For A Son' and enjoying it. Could I have dragged it out longer, sure, but it's fine as it is. I wanted to do something more focused on Superboy for once and I thought this would help. I also wanted to improve on my villains since I keep having trouble with them so doing Lex and making him more human and make you question whether he was really evil or not for a while was a real challenge. So glad I pulled him off. Now if only I can do the same with Slade... Villains are hard for me, so this was great practice. I really do prefer writing a fluff scene to a combat scene, so this was some nice middle ground. Also wanted to make a likeable character I could kill off. If you take a look at my other stories, I have a very low body count. The whole novelet was a growing experience for me. Hopefully I'll be able to apply what I've learned in other works, both here and for future publication.
Again, thank you all for reading, and keep an eye open for my other fics that will be coming eventually. I have a poll up for future stories and brief summaries of ideas on my profile. Other works can be found there and on my deviantart page under the same pen name. Keep an eye out for me, because I'm not done by a long shot. And don't forget to stop watching and fave this fic on your lists. ^^V