So. This is a Oneshot focusing on Kell-El. Assuming you didn't read the summary.
I actually like Kell-El, as much as one person can like him, after the way he treated Brainy. But he's got quite the interesting background, and anyone who knows me knows that I like to play the part of the crazy Freudian-Psychologist on my poor characters… Um, Anyway…
Note that I take a HUGE amount of liberty with the 41st century Background—and an even bigger liberty involving Imperiex. I tried to understand his character from Tv . com's explanation, and Wikipedia, but it just completely escaped me. So, if you're a whiny, fact-obsessed person, I need you to contact me and explain WHAT, exactly, Imperiex was supposed to be/do as a villain. I just don't get him.
Oh, also—I know that some people assume that any Clone would just be "born" at some age that they need to be… like, in their early twenties or something… but I see clones as little children, and growing up through the same stages… baby, toddler, child, teen, adult. So if it contradicts with anyone's preference, I'm Sorry.
7 pages long in WORD
That was his name. Or the name the Legion had given him, at least.
At first, he didn't know how to respond to it. A name is just a name, after all—they could call him "Karl" for all he cared. He hadn't been planning on staying, in the first place. He was now just "Kell-El" for practicality reasons, Period.
But it started getting a bit on his nerves after a little while… after he realized he wasn't just going to be there for a few days. Or a few weeks. Slowly, painfully, Superman X adopted his new name. He wasn't sure when it happened, but it did; he started referring to himself as Kell-El, or even responding when they talked to him.
You know that weird feeling you get when someone calls you by a nickname, and you don't respond right away because you don't think it's your name? Kell had that problem for the first few weeks. Whenever someone looked at him and said "Hey, Kell, I need your help," or "Kell-El? What's going on?" or "Come on, Kell, don't be such an idiot,", Superman X would stare at them for a moment before the comment registered. If it hadn't made him look like a total IDIOT, he would've said "Oh, right, sorry, I thought you were talking to someone else." Because that's what it felt like; he was Not Kell-El.
Then, one day, Brainiac 5 was working on some invention of his, and he called to Superman X without looking at him; "Kell-El, please hand me that tool by your left hand." And he'd responded immediately. The android didn't see anything shocking about it, but Kell had retreated to a far-off room in the spaceship afterwards, thinking. He was almost, almost, used to the name. And he wasn't sure how to take it.
The rest of the Legion didn't really understand. They'd all had their parents name them, been called their names their whole lives. And when they took their superhero identities? They'd chosen their own names—names that meant something to them.
But back in the future, just a few months ago, he'd barely even responded to "Superman", which was his one and only name back then. K3NT, his creators, were one of the few people who called him Superman, or Superman X. But now he was Kell-El. Did it mean anything? That's just what they called him, period.
Kell didn't care for names. He didn't need a name. He had a purpose, and that was all.
His purpose was his only reason for living; he was created to defend Earth, specifically from Imperiex, but also from other dangers. But namely Imperiex.
That's why K3NT had created him, after all—to be a weapon. Oh, they apologized later for any pressure they put on him, after seeing that he really didn't act like any human being they knew.
He was created. Not born—created. It made him different than anyone else. So, Kell, (then known as Superman X,) had acted differently than most people. But it didn't help that people treated him differently, either.
Maybe if you take a peek into the 41st century's mood, then it becomes clear.
It was a time of desperation, of fear. Civil wars raged everywhere, and Intergalactic confrontations were common. Even civilians sat on edge, never knowing when the next attack would come. And that was before Imperiex showed up.
Imperiex conquered half the known universe easily. He just showed up one day, defeated the most powerful army in the galaxy, and suddenly had become a major threat. Any planet that had somehow managed to escape war up till then suddenly became frantic, knowing that the chances of being attacked had increased tenfold. People started looking for new ways out, creative solutions, when all the old ones failed against Imperiex. The guy was just a madhouse; unstoppable. And when he'd turned his sights on Earth, the galaxy's melting pot, Superman X had been born. Er… created.
Imperiex's first attack had been staved off by superhumans, armies, and advanced technology, but at a price. Half the world's population was decimated, and the rest was thrown into upheaval or poverty. Research centers popped up overnight, and people moved underground to further protect themselves. Young men and women joined makeshift armies, mostly because it provided them a sense of security; it was sad, but a person was more likely to survive in a war-setting than in a city.
So, what was New Metropolis became the largest underground resistance camp in the world. It was headed by none other than K3NT, Kell's creator. As other resistance camps fell, New Metropolis—rechristened Neo Metropolis—grew. But K3NT became worried as Imperiex targeted Neo Metropolis even more, and threw out a drastic attempt. They managed to obtain Superman DNA, going through all the procedures to make sure the original Superman's weakness to Kryptonite wouldn't be a problem, and then they'd gone through with the plan and created Superman X.
Superman X aged twice as fast as a normal person, mostly because of the fact that he was a clone. His aging would slow down once he hit puberty, so that he would live the same life span as any other natural-born kryptonian would've. But, in his growing-up stage, his childhood was relatively short.
Superman X was seen as a weapon, and as a spark of hope. The only thing, probably, that could defeat Imperiex once and for all, and bring peace to their era. People awed him from the sidelines, and put their faith in him. Kell, as he was growing up, had a lot of responsibility placed on his shoulders.
Even as a child, (a young, stupid, headstrong child,) he sensed other people's unease. He could tell that people watched him when he was in public. Their dark, wavering eyes locked on his back when he stood with K3NT or one of the main officers. He could sense it, as children are always the most perceptive group of people. People relied on this strange superman clone, this offbeat light in the darkness, and their eyes searched for him whenever they had a chance. They looked for their light…
…that child that sat in the mess hall or at the top-secret meetings, the ever-present frown alit on his face…
Most people just called him "Superman X" or even "Sir", assuming they approached him at all. On the rare occasions that someone would come within a 20 foot radius of him, the soldier would just stare into his black-and-green eyes, at that frown on his face, and not say anything more than what needed to be said.
Superman X would follow K3NT around as a child, watching how things were done. Most soldiers only got close enough to sputter the report, or an excuse, to the commanding officer, and then leave with a quick glance his way. When Kell got older, and started fighting on the field or giving orders, people would nod and follow the commands, and would also rarely say anything in those times. They'd just give him the usual glance, the quick, awed glance he'd received ever since he was old enough to notice.
Maybe he considered THAT to be his name—that quick, worried glance his way was the only thing that people regularly gave. Not the rarely heard 'Superman', nor the never-heard "Kell-El", which was concocted later. He really, honestly, had no name that they would call him. They'd just glance to (and away from,) his face. And it was enough… That quick glance meant everything. The glimmer of hope… of fear. That pause that indicated trust, and simultaniously, represented doubt that everyone had in him. That glance stood for everything that Superman X was. Wasn't that the point of a name?
But, people in the 31st century never gave him that glance. If they ever looked at him, it was hardly ever a glance. No, it was never a glance.
Instead, these new superheroes—the Legion—they blinked at him, and stared him down, sometimes teasing or taunting with their eyes. They locked on his eerie-green and black orbs, not faltering or questioning. Whenever he saw fear or doubt in those eyes, it was rarely directed at him, but at the enemy. These strange eyes stared at him, watched him, considered him with their eyes. He wasn't a 'savior' to them, no light in the darkness, but an equal.
So, maybe that glance wasn't Superman X's name any more. Maybe that's why he was adjusting to "Kell-El". Now he wasn't Superman X, but Kell-El, in essence. But he was just still just the superman clone… Similar to the original "Kal-El", but also different.
He was Kell-El. Period.
With a change of name, however, came a change in purpose. But his purpose hadn't changed; he was still hunting Imperiex, protecting earth. That hadn't changed, even though it was a full 1000 years into the past. Or had it?
What was his purpose now?
His head snapped to the side as he heard someone scream down the hallway for him. Honestly, he had super hearing! Why did everyone feel the need to scream for him like he was a mile away? "What?" he asked, just realizing that he'd answered to the name without hesitation. Again.
An orange head popped around the corner, green eyes searching. "Ah. There you are." Chameleon Boy said, trotting over. Again, Kell-El found himself under a steady, joking, green-eyed gaze. "Dude, Supes has been looking for you. It's time to eat."
"Why don't you guys just have a mess hall?" Kell-El asked, raising an angular eyebrow. He'd always eaten in mess halls, so having a sit-down supper was odd for him. It seemed to be special to this time period, though, and the Legion did it often.
Chameleon Boy just gave a shrug, spreading his fingers in mock-helplessness. "Search me, buddy. I got nothin'."
Kell-El sighed. "I'm not even hungry," he informed the boy.
As though he thought it was a joke, Cham punched his arm playfully. "Dude, you're joking. After that fight today, I'm sure you must've lost, like, a billion calories. I'm starving, myself." When Kell-El's frown deepened, Cham rolled his eyes. "Come on," he said, grabbing the man's wrist and tugging. In surprise, Kell-El followed.
"What is the point of eating if I'm not hungry?" Kell-El snapped, snatching his arm back and stopping in his tracks.
Cham folded his arms, eyes skeptical. "If you collapse on the battle field from hunger, what good will you be to the team then?" he pointed out.
"The team?" Kell's eyes shifted to the side, thinking.
Chameleon Boy stuck out his purple-ish tongue. "Well, next time that we're attacked by flying robot monsters and you want to stuff your face, don't come crying to me," he said playfully, turning.
What good will you be to the team then?
"All right, fine, fine," the clone muttered, starting off after the changeling. It wasn't the fear of 'fainting on the battlefeild' that got him going though. He mulled it over in his mind as he caught up with the orange-skinned Durlan, who'd stopped and was waiting for him. Once Kell had caught up, they started off together, with Cham saying something and Kell-El not really listening.
So. That was his purpose—the team.
Working alone in the future, he'd rarely get help, and would ask for it even less. He had just considered the soldiers there to be useless, just in his way. But here, it wasn't like that. Here, he couldn't just go charging into Imperiex's base alone, and sometimes had to go off on missions he deemed stupid, because they were in the team's best interest.
That made it different. He was no longer the solo-man, Superman X. He was Kell-El, member of the 31st century team, "Legion of Superheroes." He was Kell-El, comrade to the greatest superheroes of this time era. He was Kell-El, their 41st century ally. So, he was Kell-El. Period.
A rare smile tugged on Kell-El's face, as the corners of his frown twitched upwards. He kind of liked being part of a team, even though it bothered him to no end to be sitting on his rump when he could go after Imperiex. It was just different, being part of a team. And Kell-El was part of a team… maybe "Kell-El" wasn't too bad after all.
The smile was cut short when Chameleon Boy—his teammate—broke into his thought process. "Dude, you're smiling!" he said, jumping up in excitement. The comment made the frown re-form, and the Durlan's joy was cut short. "Aww, c'mon! you looked good like that! Why don't you smile more, Kell-El?"
"I smile more here than I ever have back home," Kell replied, raising an eyebrow. The smile did not resurface.
"I sure hope you're lying," Cham muttered. "I swear, you only smile once every three months! Do you know how depressing it is, realizing that one of your friends is rarely happy?"
Kell was about to reply when he stopped short. "Friends?" he repeated.
Cham rolled his eyes. "Yes, silly. We're friends. Do they not have those in the future?"
"I didn't have any… 'friends'… back home. Didn't need 'em."
Cham huffed, rolling his eyes again. "Well, tough luck, because the Kell-El I know has about fifteen of them." he retorted, sticking out his tongue. "So Mr. Superman X is going to have to live with those useless people—'friends'—as his teammates, understand?"
"Of course," Kell-El said, keeping his face straight.
Chameleon Boy huffed, crossing his arms and pouting. "Geezus, with your attitude, it's a wonder that Duo Damsel hasn't tried to cheer you up by taking you shopping," he muttered lowly. Kell-El didn't like the sound of that, even though he didn't really know what 'shopping' was…
He was about to ask when they walked through the door. The two were greeted by about ten other people—a few Legionnaires had just come back from a mission and had chosen to sleep instead of eat, so the table wasn't completely full. Still, the bunch that were there smiled at him. "Good, you're here. Food's getting cold," Superman told the new arrivals.
"Guys! Guess what?" Cham jumped in, snatching up a nearby chair. "We were walking in the hallway and Kell actually smiled!"
A collective gasp went around the table, some mocking, others genuine. "What did you say to him?" Phantom Girl's eyes got wide in shock.
"I don't think he was listening to me," Cham admitted, grabbing up a spoon. Kell heaved a sigh, rolling his eyes and sitting. He reached for the food, just as Chameleon Boy had.
"What is with you and smiling?" Kell-El asked, looking away. "Timber Wolf rarely smiles, and I don't see you ganging up on him."
"We aren't ganging up on you," Duo Damsel insisted, taking a bite of her food. "We're just worried about a friend!" she paused, looking over to Timber Wolf. "Though he does have a point. Why don't you ever smile?"
The wolfman choked on the meat he'd been eating. "Wha—why did the conversation turn on me all of the sudden?!" he demanded.
Kell couldn't help it; another smile was trying to slide its way onto his face. He hid it quickly by shoving some food into his mouth, but Chameleon Boy caught it all the same.
He smiled to Kell-El, a strange glint in his mischievious green eyes, but he didn't alert the others to the mini-smile that Kell couldn't seem to suppress. "Welcome to the 31st century, Kell-El," he said quietly, teasing.
As the dinner progressed, the clone let the white noise fade out as he thought. It was all so different, so difficult to take in. Around him, people laughed and held conversations while eating their hearts out, not noticing that Kell-El was, in a way, reconnecting himself to earth. To his new self.
The Legion had given him the name "Kell-El". They knew this. What they didn't know is that, when they gave him a new name, they also gave him a new identity. New teammates. New purpose. New… friends.
Was there really a way to explain that? Was there really a way to explain the complex-situation that the once-Superman-X had evolved to? Kell blinked, knowing that there was only one way to describe it.
He was Kell-El.
Meh, abstract. Sorry. Still, there isn't much fanfiction focusing on Kell-El, so I took a shot at it. I missed terribly, but, you know… (sigh)
I actually did try another thing before this, outlining a story where Brainy has to go through his second alignment with the team (it's supposed to be humorous, if you can't tell,) and the main focus is on him and Kel-El, and the whole I-know-how-your-future-ends thing. But I didn't wanna post it, since the series finale just showed today, and probably shot down my theory that I based the story off of, (I haven't had a chance to see 'Dark Victory Pt 1 yet). Still, I wonder if I should post it anyway…?