The Red Truck Affair:
A Disturbing Smallville/DC Mish-Mash (1/?)
by Meredith Bronwen Mallory
CHAPTER ONE: In Which Kon's Day Takes A Decidedly Odd Turn
It started with a truck.
Later, Kon-El would discover that this statement was actually applicable in more ways than one, at the moment, he remained blissfully unaware that the morning's surprise eerily echoed a day some twenty-odd years earlier. His world made sense-- it was filled with crime-fighting superheroes, mutants, aliens, clones, and the occasional dinosaur, but it operated on parameters he could generally accept as understandable, if not logical. The truck changed all that.
It was a red truck-- a bright, beautiful red in the early Kansas morning, chrome shinning in spotless invitation to crows for miles around. Kon-El, having just clattered sleepily down the steps of the Kent's front porch for his morning chores, stopped cold and stared. A beautiful truck, at that. Top of the line, with custom hubcaps and a brilliant silver-black stripe along it's side. The bed was wide, coated in a professional-grade seal. The seats were leather, which coaxed a surprised bark of laughter from Kon's mouth. With just a dozen scrambled eggs and a ream of bacon in his system, he was only half awake, but he usually did chores to give Aunt Martha time to work up Breakfast Round #2. Almost mesmerized, Kon circled the truck, noting how innocently it sat in the Kent's dusty drive way, as if it were in no way out of place. There was a big silver bow perched atop the hood.
He wasn't entirely sure he wasn't dreaming.
"Conner?" Uncle Jonathan's voice carried through the screen door, accompanied by the heavy tread of his boots. "Conner, don't forget that the tractor is--" The door opened, then slammed heavily shut, but Kon couldn't bring himself to turn around. Instead, he waited until he saw Uncle Jon's shadow before him, still staring in wonder at the truck.
"Dudes, what's with the truck?" he asked. It was the choked noise Uncle Jon made that finally tore Kon's gaze away, and he quickly found himself riveted by a new surprise. Jonathan Kent's face was turning an alarming shade of red.
"Mister K--" Kon smacked his head. "Uncle Jon?" he stressed. He got no response from the older man, save a few inarticulate clickings of the throat. He tapped the farmer's shoulder, becoming concerned in a way that had nothing to do with Evil Supervillians, and everything to do with Adults Being Weird. "Hey, are you alright?"
Uncle Jon took in a deep breath, as if preparing for a long winded but ultimately comforting explanation. Instead, he bellowed, "MARTHA!"
Martha Kent, graying auburn hair pulled back in a loose braid, opened the screen door with one hand, a pitcher of milk in the other.
"Honestly, Jonathan--" she began. Kon turned around just in time to watch her catch her first glimpse of the truck. She blinked several times, as if she'd woken from a dream and wasn't certain if it was morning or evening, before her hand flew to her mouth. At the same time, the screen door began to shut and her other hand, clearly shaking, lost its grip on the pitcher. The door banged into her foot as milk cascaded around her ankles, but she didn't seem to notice.
"Aunt Martha?" Kon asked, speeding right past 'concerned' and deep into 'alarmed'. His eyes widened comically as his normally fastidious aunt simply stepped over the pitcher's remains and came down into the dooryard, leaving solitary milky footprints behind her. Her eyes-- a comforting blue shade Kon often pretended he'd inherited from her-- flickered between her husband and the truck, then between the truck and her erstwhile 'nephew'. Kon eyed both adults warily, struggling to keep his body on the ground. "Um?" he waved his hand, "could we stop with the staring and the weirdness and make with the explanations and the annoying Kansas 'normalness'?"
Neither his aunt nor his uncle seemed to have heard him.
"There's a card," Aunt Martha said, pointing to a small cardboard square tucked under the bow.
"I see it," Uncle Jon said, in the same tone one normally reserves for saying things like 'yes, I see the disgusting sheep-guts sprayed all over my overalls.'
"Did you check the card?" she asked hopefully, worrying the tip of her thumb with her teeth.
Uncle Jon's voice was like a deadly crack of thunder-- "I know who its from."
"It could be a coincidence," Martha said, using her 'oh-please-clark-don't-fight-with-your-father' voice. "It could be--"
"I know who its from." Louder this time. Martha nodded like she agreed, but was being optimistic out of sheer force of will. Both adults eyed the truck nervously.
"Okay," Kon said, coming to stand infront of them and block their view of The Truck. He already had it capitalized in his mind. "You guys are seriously freaking me out here. What the hell is going on!?" They both looked at him, the way they sometimes did when he pushed at his glasses or shuffled his feet. The way they did when he exhibited Clark's mannerisms. Only... there was something else there, too. Neither one of them chastised him for his language.
"I'm calling Clark," Uncle Jon declared, spinning on his heel. Aunt Martha stopped him before he could actually take a step towards the house.
"He just finished with that business in Peru, dear," she reminded him. "He looked so tired on the news last night-- it's early, and we haven't even checked the card..."
"Martha," Jonathan said, in that disturbing way that long-married couples had. It communicated whole paragraphs of meaning, indecipherable to anyone outside the pair.
Kon, feeling extremely out of the loop, pinched the bridge of his nose and wished fervently for Tim. Tim could handle weirdness-- he was good at it. He was practically the weirdness police. He could win awards for being totally unmoved by the most bizarre situations. Kon shook his head, waving his arm, again trying to capture his guardians' attention. Finally, they broke eye contact with one another to look at him, both with an odd expression that was more than a little unnerving. As always, Kon's brain responded to discomfort the only way it knew how-- it opened his mouth, and dropped out the first words on his tongue.
Lamely, he offered, "It's a nice truck."
"I'll call Clark," Martha said quickly, while Jonathan's face reached a part of the color spectrum Kon wasn't even sure there were words for. His aunt was halfway to the door when Uncle Jon started shouting.
"Again!" he said, waving his arms, "it's happening again! They never goaway! All damned over again!"
"I'm calling Clark," his aunt replied, having moved into her 'we-will-deal-with-this-crisis-calmly' tone of voice. Jonathan grunted in a way that was probably affirmative, and stalked off towards the barn, leaving Kon alone with The Truck.
Kon stared at The Truck.
The Truck sat there, inert and inanimate. It wasn't a crazed scientist, or an evil alien overlord, or a failed genetic experiment, or a hideous monster, so Kon really didn't know what to do. His aunt and uncle had raised one distressingly humanoid superpowered alien and were working on their second. They'd dealt with Heat Vision, X-Ray Vision, Super-Speed, Kryptonite poisoning, meteor showers, and Krytpo the Super Dog with amazing grace under fire.
They were unnerved by a truck.
With deliberate casualness, Kon hooked his thumbs in his belt loops and strolled over to The Truck. When it didn't attack him or attempt to eat him, he carefully plucked the note up and unfolded the surprisingly nice paper. The script was neat and elegant, if angular.
It read simply:
I'm going to assume he likes red, too. Let me know if your parents need anything. I remember your appetite; it's going to get expensive.
"Okay," Kon said, blinking in the full morning sunlight. "Now I'm really confused."