Conner and Tim
Issue #1 – The Bat-Playdate
Conner Kent learned a long time ago to always expect the unexpected because nothing in his life is 'normal.' It wasn't surprising that his life differed from average people; he was the clone of the Superman, after all. All of the super battles, the zipping around to save the world, even the blue tights he used to wear…none of that really surprised him. He expected that. It came with being the costumed adventurer known as Superboy.
No, the things that infuriated him were the little ones. For instance, even though he was the clone of the Superman, he still had to sleep. He was fifty percent human, after all. So even though he was 'The Boy of Steel,' he was just as vulnerable to grumpiness as any other sixteen-year-old when woken early during summer vacation.
This morning, Conner groaned and slammed his pillow over his head. "Conner," Martha Kent repeated, "the phone is for you." Conner raised his head, peered from the darkness of the pillow, and he looked at the clock. It was four AM. Four o'clock. In the morning. He grumbled. The sky was still dark. The chickens weren't even awake. And Conner felt like he had been asleep for just three minutes. He pulled the pillow back over his head, and he held out his hand waiting for Martha to hand him the phone.
"Come on, sleepy head," Martha said, pulling the covers back on his bed. "You know we don't have a cordless phone. You're going to have to come to the kitchen."
Conner swore under his breath, and he rolled out of bed. He stumbled into the kitchen, walked right into a wall because his eyes were still shut, and he tried to ignore Jonathan Kent laughing at him from behind a cup of coffee. Conner groped the wall, finally found the phone, and he pressed it to his ear and mumbled, "Hello."
"For someone with super hearing, your 'ma' had to call you for a long time."
Conner sighed and leaned his head against the wall. The voice on the other end was firm, calculated, and it sounded like someone who did not need sleep. Conner would recognize it anywhere. "Tim, do you know what time it is?"
"Yes. I would be thirty minutes from waking up to go train at the Batcave right now."
Conner bit his lip. Tim was better known to the world as Robin, the costumed sidekick of an urban legend called the Batman. The only thing was, Batman wasn't an urban legend. He was quite real. And so was Robin. Robin was one of the odd things in Conner's life that he had expected. Being friends with a kid who jumps around in green tights? That comes with the territory when you're Superboy. It didn't seem strange to him.
Conner would have rolled his eyes, but he still hadn't opened them, and Tim would not have seen it anyway. "What do you want?"
"I'm going to be there soon."
"What?" Suddenly Conner's eyes shot open. "Why?" His voice cracked.
Tim paused, and Conner bit his lip. He could tell Tim was about to talk down to him, to say something that implied he was stupid. "Because it's summer. And Supes, Batman, the Kents, and even we thought it'd be a good idea if we spent a week together."
Now Conner paused, the way he always did when Tim talked down to him. "I know that, you idiot! I meant why are you coming at four in the morning?"
"Actually, it's six to me."
"I don't care! In Smallville, Kansas, it's still 'Conner gets to sleep in because it's summer vacation' time!"
"Batman is bringing me in the jet. We don't want it sighted over the Kents' farm. It might blow the whole secret identity thing."
Conner bit his lip. Somehow, Tim's being able to anger him while staying completely calm and void of emotion made Conner even angrier. "My secret identity is a pair of glasses," he said slowly. "I don't think the good ol' folks of Smallville are going to figure out that you're Rob—"
Tim cut him off. "Don't use the code name."
"Don't use the codename. Batman and I don't want the Kents to know who I am."
This time Conner did roll his eyes. "Oh, for the love of…. I think they are going to figure it out! Hmm, let's see…who would Superman get with to set up a play date between their kids? And, Tim, you're obviously not Wonder Girl. And you're not impulsive enough to be Kid Flash. And I think they will rule out Cyborg, Beast Boy, and Starfire since you're not a cyborg, you're not green, and you don't have alien cleavage!"
"This is exactly why we need the cover of darkness. I'm putting my identity in jeopardy just by being there."
"How is this…you need…" Conner was at a loss for words. "Fine! Whatever! Just come over. I'll see you when you get here." Conner slammed the phone back on the receiver. Of course, he couldn't slam it hard; that would have broken the phone because of the super strength. So even though he did what we would call 'slamming it,' to him it was more like setting the phone down as gently as a kitten. That was another one of those things that annoyed him about being Superboy—he couldn't even hang up on his friend by slamming the phone down.
Conner muttered swear words all the way back to his room.
"Was that your friend Timothy?" Martha called.
Conner didn't even answer her. He just let himself fall face first onto the bed. But his head couldn't have been on the pillow for more than a minute before he heard a knock on the front door. His eyes snapped wide open. "Oh, there is no way he is already here…" he grumbled. He rolled over onto his back and pulled the pillow over his face.
"Conner," Martha called, "your friend is here!"
"Tell him to go away!" Conner shouted, and pulled the pillow tighter over his head. Martha scolded him, but he heard Tim say something like 'just let him sleep.' However, Conner discovered something else annoying about being Superboy—even though he needed sleep, and even though noises make it harder to get to sleep, he couldn't turn off his super hearing. So no matter how tightly he pulled the pillow over his head, he couldn't get the sounds of Tim, Martha, and Jonathan chattering and laughing in the kitchen out of his head. Still, he stayed in bed for another hour even though he had given up on sleep. Rather, his goal in staying in bed was to calm down enough so that he could see Tim without killing him.
Conner was pretty sure that killing his guest would get him a scolding from Martha.
Eventually, though, Conner rolled out of bed and he found his way to the kitchen. Tim, Martha, and Jonathan were all sitting around the table, eating breakfast. Tim even looked like he was on his second stack of pancakes, and they all smiled and greeted him warmly. For some reason, that just made Conner even more irritated.
"Morning, Conner," Tim said. He tried not to stare at Conner's messy bed head.
"Yeah yeah, whatever." Conner pulled a chair from the table, threw himself into it, and started chucking pancakes onto his plate. He spilled some orange juice when he poured it, and he heard Tim snickering under his breath. Conner ignored it, and he started shoving food into his mouth. He looked down the whole time, not at anyone, not at anything, and he didn't talk. He just kept eating, like a cow chewing on grass, and stared at his plate as if that would make the three of them go away.
The Kents and Tim watched him eat, and they tried not to chuckle at his grumpiness. After a while, Conner realized they had stopped talking and felt their eyes on him. He looked up, and he saw their grinning faces. "What!?" he snapped, pancake spraying out of his mouth.
Tim almost fell out of his chair at that. "Grumpy Superboy with bed head and eating wheat cakes in his underwear is possibly the funniest thing I've ever seen."
"Shut up, Tim. Just shut up."
Conner decided he had finished his pancakes, even though he still had half the stack left, and his fork clattered as he tossed it onto his plate. The three of them were giving him a headache. He rubbed his temple and swallowed his last bite as he stood up. "I'm going to take a shower."
"Good," Jonathan said. "And guess what Timothy agreed to help you do after that?"
Conner just glared so intensely that Tim was surprised when the heat vision didn't shoot out.
Jonathan smiled like he had given Conner the best news he would get all day, and that made Conner's eyes roll as he walked out of the room.
When Conner was gone, Tim turned to the Kents and asked, "He's not really a morning person, is he?"
Martha laughed. "Oh my, no. No he isn't."
"I feel bad I got him up, but I'm a complete night person. I didn't think it'd be such a big deal for him to get up this early."
"Oh, it's not," Jonathan said. "He's a farm boy. He should be used to getting up this early by now. He's just a bit stupid when it comes to going to bed."