Chapter 1: Jonathan I
"What makes a hero? You'd think that would be an easy question to answer, a hero is supposed to be someone who stands for everything that is good and right about the world. A hero is someone who looks injustice in the face and refuses to be bowed by it, a hero is someone who will stand before a government and tell them they were wrong. That's what I think a hero is. What's a hero to you?"
Jonathan Kent fidgeted slightly, his suit was nice and fitting, but it was an incredibly hot summer's day, and wearing a suit in this weather felt like fighting Firestorm. "Jonathan Kent Junior, will you stop messing around with your tie please? You're going to ruin it." His mother, Lois Lane said.
Jonathan sighed. "Yes, Mum. It's just, I don't get why I have to wear a tie. It's not even compulsory! Roy's not wearing a tie, nor is Jaime. So, why do I have to wear one?"
"Because your grandmother gave you that tie, and it would be rude not to. And besides, it doesn't matter what Roy and Jaime are wearing, you're you, and you said you wanted to wear the tie." His mother replied.
"I regret saying that now." Jonathan grumbled.
His father, Clark Kent, otherwise known as Superman winked at him in the mirror, causing Jonathan to grin. After thirteen years at Gotham Metropolitan School, he was finally graduating. He wasn't quite sure how to feel about that, after all, whilst school had been a bit of a drag to begin with-he'd not liked having to board initially- it had picked up in his final two years. He'd made a lot of amazing friends, and he'd done well at school in his classes, so he supposed that was cool. It was just everything else that was going to happen after today that had him worried.
As the school came into sight, his mother turned around and asked. "So, the ceremony starts at ten, and finishes at twelve, you're sure about that?"
"Yes Mum, we've been over this." Jonathan replied feigning exasperation.
His mum stuck her tongue out at him and said. "I just wanted to make sure. Didn't want to clap at the wrong time."
"Yes, because it's not like you've ever done that before." Dad said. Mum hit him on the arm and Jonathan laughed.
They pulled up into the car park, and Dad stopped the car. Jonathan took a breath, looked out the window and saw that the car park was almost completely full. That wasn't surprising, or at least it shouldn't have been, after all there were something like one hundred students in his year alone. He opened the car door and stepped outside. He took another breath, and sighed. "God, it's going to be so incredibly hot in the marquee."
"Well, you could always ask Caitlin to keep you cool, if you wanted to." His Mum said.
Jonathan looked at his mum and tried to figure out if she was joking or not. When his Mum grinned and laughed. "Mum, I told you, it's not like that between us. We're just friends. Besides, she's not quite used to her powers yet."
His Mum said nothing, but Dad spoke then. "I think we've got to get moving, there's some sort of service in a few moments isn't there?"
Jonathan looked at his watch and cursed. "Shit, you're right Dad, I'm going to be late." He leaned down to kiss his mum on the cheek and hugged his dad. "I'll see you later." With that he turned and walked as quickly as he could without giving away any hint of his powers, he walked up the hill, down the pathway and made it into the church with a few moments to spare. Mr Graham, the head of his year group winked at him, and Jonathan smiled. He sat down next to Jaime and whispered. "Have I missed anything?"
Jaime shook his head. "Nothing important, Mia came in with Connor but that's about it."
Jonathan nodded, and kept his expression vacant. He and Mia Dearden had been going out for a year and a half before they'd broken up after he'd found her in bed with Connor Hawke, a long time ago. He'd been hurt at first and then amused, his mum had raged when he'd told her about it, but Jonathan did feel kind of sorry for Mia. She didn't know what she was getting herself into by going out with Connor, that boy was trouble. The first chords from the organ quietened his thoughts, and with the rest of the school he stood up. The Headmaster, Mr Daniel West made his way over to the podium to speak. "Another school year has finished. It has been a year of great progress. The school received favourable reports from the Government educational survey. The school won the football, soccer, rugby and netball championships, and we are expecting some of the best exam results we've ever had."
"No thanks to you eh, Kent?" Jaime whispered.
Jonathan stifled a laugh. They both knew that out of the two of them Jaime was the slacker and Jonathan the hard worker, and with someone like Lois Lane for a mother, how could he not be? The Headmaster continued. "This year draws to a close, and so I ask that you join me in singing the hymns as they are outlined in the programme."
The music started and Jaime leaned over to quip. "Five bucks says Morgan falls asleep."
"Ten bucks says he falls asleep and continues playing." Jonathan replied.
"You're on." Jaime replied, and as the music started playing, they started to sing. The ceremony lasted for about half an hour, there was a lot of singing, and a lot of speeches. Truth be told, Jonathan hadn't really paid attention, he found those sorts of things boring, but he had sat up when the Headmaster had said that Bruce Wayne was going to be their special guest. He wondered why Bruce was here, and if his dad would need to leave on League business, he really hoped not. Dad had said he'd try and stay for the whole thing.
The service ended with the traditional hymn, then they were walking out of the church and toward the marquee. Jonathan felt his stomach grumble and quickly reached into his pocket and took out an energy bar that Uncle Lex had made for him. He took a few bites out of it and then threw the wrapper into the bin. As they walked, Jaime said nothing, but Roy joined them and started talking at a rapid pace. "You know that Bruce Wayne's going to be giving the main speech, today right? You know what that means."
Jonathan looked at his friend and raised an eyebrow and asked. "No, what does it mean?"
"It means that there's something dangerous happening in Gotham. Tim always says that Bruce never shows up for these sorts of things unless something seriously dangerous is about to happen." Roy replied.
"Yeah, but Tim always talks more than he should." Jaime said. His friend looked at him then and said. "I'm sure it's nothing. Bruce probably just decided to come because so many of the Titans are graduating this year."
"Yeah that's probably it." Jonathan agreed, though secretly he doubted that. Bruce Wayne would rather be dead than attend one of these things, and truth be told, as he tugged at his collar, Jonathan couldn't blame him.
They entered the Marquee, grabbed their robes and hat, and took their assigned places. Jonathan waved to his mum and dad and smiled as they waved back. The marquee fell silent as the Headmaster stood up to speak once more. This time he looked reasonably sharp in a black suit, and brown shoes, his gown fixed to his shoulders and his hat on straight. "Students, parents, members of the faculty, it always surprises me how quickly the year can go by. It seems like just the other day that I was here giving a speech for the start of the year. Every year, our students that graduate have their special moment, and today is no exception, but I feel a fondness for this year's graduates. You see, thirteen years ago, when this year's graduates joined the school, I joined the school as headmaster. We have grown together and all that comes with that. It has been a pleasure seeing these students grow and mature into fine young men and women."
Jonathan shared a look with Jaime and stifled another laugh, it was just like West to be cheesy. The man continued. "And now, one of our special patrons and a former student of the school, himself, Mister Bruce Wayne will say a few words."
There was applause and more than a few murmurs, which stopped the moment Bruce started speaking. "Students, parents and staff, the year is over, and summer is quite firmly here." There were a few laughs as Bruce tugged at his collar, Jonathan scanned the room and flashed a grin at his mum. "To the teachers, you have done a fine job, teaching the future, to ensuring that our future leaders are well educated and knowledgeable and filled with the skills necessary to survive in the world outside. To the parents, be proud. Your children have achieved something perfect and brilliant. They have shown they can commit, and they have shown that they know how to persevere. And finally, to the students, congratulations. You have achieved something worth celebrating, something worth shouting from the roof tops. In a year, two years, five years or a decade from now, you will look back on these days with fondness. There are lessons here that you will never forget." There was a pause, and then Bruce sat down.
There was applause, then Mister West stood up and said. "And now, we begin the handing out of diplomas."
The names were read out and Jonathan clapped alongside the others, when Tim's name was read out he clapped loudly, alongside Jaime and Roy, and he could have sworn Bruce grinned. When Roy went up, both he and Jaime clapped and cheered. Then, Mister West said. "Jonathan Kent Junior."
He got a pat on the back from Jaime, and stood up, he made his way down the hall, and walked up the steps, all the time whispering to himself. "Don't trip, don't trip." When he got up onto the stage without tripping he smiled, and walked toward Bruce who smiled and handed him his degree. He heard his mum and dad cheering the loudest and blushed slightly, before waving at them as he walked down. There was another speech and then the prizes were handed out. Mia won a prize for drama, which seemed appropriate. Connor Hawke won a prize for sport, which also made sense. And then there was a surprise.
"Now, this next prize goes to someone who has shown excellent behaviour both academically and socially. Someone who truly demonstrates the school spirit. Someone who knows what it means to be an honest citizen. This year's winner of the Thomas Wayne prize for outstanding achievement, goes to Jonathan Kent Junior." The headmaster said.
Jonathan was stunned. He honestly wasn't sure how to act, this was an honour, and a surprise. Eventually he stood up, and he heard everyone applauding, in the midst of all of that, he turned and found his mum and dad, both of them smiling, he could have sworn his mum was crying. Jonathan fought down tears himself as he made his way up the stage, the headmaster shook his hand and then Bruce presented him with the trophy, as he did so he said. "Congratulations Jonathan, I couldn't think of anyone more deserving of this award."
There was a lump in his throat as he walked down the steps and as the headmaster called an end to the ceremony, Jonathan could have sworn he was in a dream. He held the trophy, and walked out of the marquee, to be mobbed by his friends. He heard them say congratulations, and he smiled and accepted their thanks, but it didn't sink in. It was only when he found himself standing before his mum and dad, trophy in hand that it sunk in. "Wow." He whispered.
His mum smiled. "Wow indeed." She pulled him in for a hug, and whispered. "I'm so proud of you, Jonathan."
His dad put a hand on his back and said. "Me too, you're growing up squirt."
As Jonathan pulled back from his parents and went to congratulate his friends, he thought that if ever a day was as perfect as this one, well then perhaps it would be great to be an adult.