House of Kent

By PaBurke

Spoilers: Smallville episode 'Relic.'

Rating: G

Summary: Jor El returns home after the episode and has a heart to heart with his father.

Word Count: 650

"How was Hiram Kent?"

Jor El stopped and stared at his father. He had expected many things when he returned to Krypton from Earth, but that was not one of them.

Haz El stood against the balcony, his face lit by the sunset sky. He seemed so much more relaxed than when he had ordered Jor El to Smallville for his 'lesson.'

"Hiram's still alive, isn't he?" Haz El asked.

"Yes."

His father murmured, "Good. Humans are so fragile."

Jor El couldn't agree more. The memory of Louise dying in his arms was one that he'd never forget. "Is that why you sent me to Smallville?"

"I knew that you'd get into trouble. I wanted you to be someplace where you'd have at least one person on your side."

Jor El leaned against the railing and stared out at the sunset. So many colors reflecting off the ice, he had missed this. He had gotten into trouble just as his father had predicted.

"You grew up." Haz El sounded both proud and sad.

"Yes." Finally Jor El asked, "How did you know?"

"Albert Kent taught me. It seemed that he knew more of me than I did in just one glance. He told me that I was 'book-learned,' but wanted to understand the real world. He was right. I wanted to learn how to do that, so I hired on with him. I never regretted going no further than Smallville."

Jor El wasn't surprised. His father had always known more about everyone, especially him. Nothing was secret around Haz El and he had learned the art of observation from a human. Jor El took a deep breath and then confessed, "I left the memory chip there."

Haz El nodded. "I noticed. I suppose it served its purpose."

"So you met Hiram?"

"He was just a child, but he was as wise as his father."

Haz El stood in the barn, watching the sunset.

"Mr. Maple?" the boy called. "Dinner is ready."

"I'll be right in." Haz El packed up the tools he was working with and Hiram helped put them in their proper spots.

"Pa says that you're leaving soon."

Haz El hadn't mentioned it yet, but he wasn't surprised that Albert knew. "Your Pa's right."

"Oh." Hiram sighed a little. "He said that he thought that you learned what you wanted from him."

"No one's as smart as your Pa," Haz El teased. "What do you think of me?"

The gangly Hiram scrunched up his face. "I think you're not from around these parts. And, I don't know, you always seem surprised when the sunset's over."

Haz El blinked. Sunsets here on Earth were so short and fleeting compared to those on Krypton. Somehow that made them as special as the ones back home.

"He hasn't changed. He knew that I was innocent even when all the evidence was against it. He helped me get away without revealing anything."

Haz El smiled. "They paid me with silver dollars that they couldn't afford. I left all but one on the kitchen table when I left."

Jor El was smart enough to connect the dots. Silver was needed to create and program the circuitry in the memory devices. "You used it to draw a Kent to me, and me to a Kent when I needed one."

"Yes."

Jor El was silent for another hour. The entire time, he stood next to his father watching the sun set. Finally, he said, "Thank you."

Haz El nodded. "It seemed like the best solution, depending on the House of the Kent. They have always treated the House of El better than any other. If there was a way I could reward them, or join our two Houses, I would. But…"

Haz El's voice trailed off.

Jor El and Haz El never again spoke of Jor's Rite of Passage on Earth.

They didn't need to.

*