Hello readers, I started this story now for 2 reasons, one because inspiration is quite high for it at the moment, not letting me concentrate on much else and two because its relatively short.
This story should be no more than fifteen chapters long, if everything goes well I should be able to finish it within two to three months time dividing my time between this and Lost Soul.
Speaking of Lost Soul for my other readers out there, the next update is already being written, you can blame this piece for the delay since, as I said, it wasnt letting me concentrate.
Anyway, this is my second Justice League fic, the first of which was very successful (thank you all for that) and I hope I can do just as good this time.
Important Notice: This fic is slightly AU from the Justice League cartoon, combining elements from both it and the recent movie Superman Batman Apocalypse. It is still essentially the same Justice League of the series however, so it should be easy to follow.
Also, as a side note, this story has influences and elements of Warhammer 40,000; particularly on the Eldar faction. Its not a crossover and knowledge of Warhammer is not needed to read this fic, just stating it for those of you out there who will infact notice the glaring similarities.
Ma and Pa-Kent had long ago, resigned themselves to the fact that being the adoptive parents to a beloved, superhuman son would mean that their relatively tranquil lives would be jostled every now and again.
So far they felt they'd mannaged fairly well all things considered, sure there was that one time Clark had broken down his old bedroom wall with a punch he'd thrown in his sleep, and that one comical moment when he thought Pa was trapped in the basement and he tore the doors off their hinges in his rush to get to them.
Small hiccups in the path of their lives really that they could all look back on and smile these days.
Still, nothing could really prepare anyone for the experience of arriving at their two story home in Smallville Kansas, thanksgiving-eve, only to find it demolished more thoroughly than a building that had an appointment with a wrecking ball and a case of dynamite.
And though they forgave their son and newly introduced niece the moment they laid eyes on the wreck, in need of neither explanation nor apologies, it was still with despondent sadness that they milled through the wreckage of their home, picking up half crushed pictures, fingering broken pieces of china and family heirlooms.
"I'm sorry." Clark said to them for the fifth time in as many minutes. "Give me two days and I'll have it completely rebuilt. Basement to attic I promise. Don't be sad." He pleaded, starting to get desperate at the heart wrenching looks on his parents faces cursing Darkseid for what must have been the hundredth time this week.
Why couldn't he have picked somewhere else to show up and fight? Like Metropolis, City hall, The white house, An old Folks home, A day care center? Anywhere was better than his parents living room.
"Oh sweet heart." Ma' said turning around with a bittersweet smile, the same one she always used when she comforted him when he was young. "Its not the house. These are just things. We can always replace them. Its just that..." She trailed off looking around the shattered house.
"Its thanksgiving tomorrow kiddo." Pa' interjected. Wrapping an arm around Ma's shoulders. "It wont be the same having to eat at a restaurant or a hotel for it."
Clark couldn't hide his wince and behind him, Kara shifted, fidgeting with guilt.
To the Kents', Thanksgiving was their favorite, most important holiday. To not be able to celebrate it properly was a much bigger hit than the house was, which, as Clark said, he could rebuild almost completely in a matter of days. And all things within the house were simply material objects they could replace given time.
Soon enough, Pa' Kent shrugged a smile on his face. "Ahh well, when life give's you lemons eh my boy." He said, giving Ma' a kiss atop her head before he pulled away, peeling off his jacket, and beginning to roll up his sleeves.
"Dad!" the man of steel yelled, shocked as his father kneeled down to pull out a piece of shattered wood that lay on the floor.
"Mr. Kent, what are you doing?" Kara said, speaking up for the first time as the man hauled the wood over his shoulder, worried the aging human would hurt himself given his wizened and frail appearance.
But Papa Kent was a farmer, through and through, and though he may not be as strong as he was in his youth, he could still pull his own weight.
With surprising ease he pulled the wood from its place. It must have weighed seventy or eighty pounds of dead weight as he hauled it over his shoulder.
"Dad, come on, let me!" Clark said, picking up the wood as one would pick up a twig, and tossed it clear out of sight. "Let me work on this. Here." Vanishing a moment before returning he held out his credit card, having pulled it from the wallet in his half burnt civilian pants a few yards away. "Take Kara, head to town, book a hotel, get yourself some food, and I'll be done before you know it."
"Now Clark" his mother chastised "You know we're not about to leave you here to do all of this by yourself."
"Besides." Pa cut in again. "Even if we were to get a hotel now its too late to get the turkey for tomorrow son. All the stores are closed. We may as well get started on the work now."
Clark really didn't have much to say to that, it was already five o'clock on a Sunday, thanksgiving eve. He could try to fly to some other city where they might still be open, but he didn't really want to just leave his parents here, since he knew that, for one, they wouldn't have any place to cook the turkey and two, they'd keep on working and could get hurt.
"Why cant you just go to a different house." Kara put in, trying to help the situation as she kneeled down to pick up some debris like Pa' Kent was doing. "Do you have one? Cousin Clark has the fortress, and his home in metropolis, and the Justice League watchtower.
"Oh no my dear, unlike our son we were happy with just one house." Ma said, sitting down on a log with all the grace and poise one would have sitting in an antique chair.
"What about a friend's house?" Clark asked trying to find something to make up for such a major disappointment his adopted parents must be feeling right now.
"Olivia and Mark went to her sister's earlier today." Ma said. "We could go to aunt Jannet's but we'd be arriving short notice and we'd arrive at seven if we left now son. Most people don't like late night visitors."
Like a light bulb, an idea suddenly shot into Superman's head. It was an insane idea. Ludicrous to even think it.
The rational part of his mind screamed at him to stop what he was constructing in his minds eye. To smother it quickly and grant it an early death.
But it was too late, the farm boy Clark Kent felt guilty for the circumstances that led to the destruction of his parents home the eve before thanksgiving. And the farm boy Clark Kent, was going to make it up to his parents by ensuring that they would have a good place to stay and the best chance of enjoying a family meal by tomorrow evening.
"I'll be right back." He said before shooting up into the sky like the dogs of Hades were nipping at his heels.
He was so quick, Kara and the Kent's could only stare in open mouthed bewilderment as he became little more than a red and blue dot up in the distance.
When Ma' Kent's hand gripped her wrist in a gentle tug, Kara looked down into the elderly woman's eyes with a new found nervousness, realizing that she was completely alone with two complete strangers.
"What did you say your name was again dear?"
The woman's warm smile and open eyes were disarming, and Kara felt some of her nervousness dissipate. "M-My name's uh-Kara, Ms. Kent."
"Well." She said scooting over a bit on her favorite log. "Why don't you join me here and tell me about yourself. I'd like to get to know my new niece."
Slowly, but with a growing confidence, she sat. Thinking that, maybe Clark had been right to say his parents would accept her with open arms.
Even if she helped demolish their house...
Forty minutes later in Gotham:
The answer is simple. Resolute. Finite. Unquestionable. Immovable. It came with the conviction of a man who knew he would not be swayed come hell, shit or high waters.
"But Bruce-" The man of steel ventured again, just the barest hint of a whine in his voice. "It means the world to my parents to have a proper thanksgiving dinner."
"Next time ask Darkseid to politely leave and wait for the day after thanksgiving to bash you and your cousins skulls in." The Dark Knight answered, typing some commands on one of the consoles before he began marching towards the main computer. "This is your problem, not mine."
"Come on!" Clark tried again. "They already know who you are, its not like I'll be risking your secret."
"They know who I am?" Bruce asked, his tone edgy and dangerous. Clark ignored it.
"It didn't take em long to figure it out after the third interview me and Lois did with you and the fact that it was the third time I'd worked together with Batman. We're from Kansas Bruce, not from La-La land.
Bruce shook his head and began typing even harder than before. "Leave Kent."
Normally, the conversation would be over at this point. But Clark was too desperate, and the farm boy in him that loved his parents to death would stand here and beckon the dark Knight's hospitality all night this time.
"Come on Bruce! You've got three dining rooms and lord knows how many bedrooms. The only thing we'd have to share would be the kitchen! And you never go in there anyway! You'd never even know we're here."
There was silence only for a moment before...
"I'll throw the batmobile over that ravine." He said, pointing to the deep, dark pit that was crested the side of said vehicle's parking platform.
For the first time since the Man of steel's arrival the clicking on computer keys stops abruptly, pausing as the Dark knight turned very slowly to deliver a rather incredulous look over his shoulder.
Superman answered the expression with a challenging one of his own.
Then, again with deliberate slowness, The Wayne Patriarch turns right back around and continues where he left off.
Resolutely, Clark turns and begins marching towards the batmobile.
"I still have the little green rock, Kent. It'd be wise for you to stop right there."
Clark does stop but only to turn and look with his X ray vision onto the utility belt, wondering which was the right spot to throw his heat vision through and melt his green nemesis.
Unfortunately, the compartments in that belt were properly shielded against such measures. Clark nearly choked on his spit. The man was more paranoid than he gave him proper credit for.
Luckily however, at that point, Alfred, who had heard the entirety of the conversation from his place at the stairwell, cup of coffee in hand began to descend the stairs again with both males being none the wiser to his eavesdropping. A true feat considering one's pride at being aware of his surroundings at all times and the other having super human hearing.
"Ahem." He said, announcing his arrival out of courtesy. "Good evening master-" He paused for half a heartbeat, the half burned and torn state of Superman's suit catching him off guard for the span of two nano-seconds. "Kent." He continued, barely missing a beat. "Is extra crispy in fashion this thanksgiving sir? I was not aware."
"Ehe." Clark laughed, somewhat nervously, realizing just now what a sight he must look. "It was just a fight. Darkseid attacked me in my parents home in smallville."
"I trust your parents are well sir?"
"Yea." Clark answered, clearly relieved at that fact. "But the house isn't I came here hoping my old buddy Bruce here." He shot over his shoulder at the stoic dark knight. "Would be nice enough to give my parents a place to stay and the chance to not miss out on thanksgiving by having to spend it in some kitchen-less hotel.
"Shouldn't keep your hopes up." Bruce retorted simply, never looking away from whatever forensic analysis graced his screen.
"And at what time should we be expecting Mr. and Mrs. Kent Master Clark? Alfred interjected. Looking for all intents and purposes as though Bruce had given his thorough, unquestionable blessings to their coming here.
For the second time, the typing stopped, and Bruce turned again, narrowing a glare onto his mentor, father figure and life long friend.
He opened his mouth to speak.
"Master Bruce. Certainly I have taught you better than to callously turn your back upon people in need. A friend no less."
Alfred's tone never shifted from that polite little droll he spoke to virtually everyone with. But still, Bruce felt the pang of guilt his words brought on like a spear through his ribs.
The guilt wasn't because he turned Clark away in the first place but rather because Alfred used those little magic words.
-Certainly I have taught you better-
The use of those words was like a defibrillator to his conscience, the guilt that came from disappointing Alfred would always rear its ugly head, though the man would hardly ever express such a sentiment, it always seemed too apparent to Bruce, and like any child with a disappointed parent (such as Clark himself) He wanted to make things right.
He was a man firm in his convictions come hell, shit or high water. But Alfred could top all those things and then some.
Lowering his head, just slightly in his seat the Dark Knight sighed through his nostrils. "They can come."
"Great!" Clark's yell could shake the foundations of the manor, and his smile was blinding. "Thank's Bruce."
"I shall prepare the guest room's for yourself and your parents then sir." Alfred said.
Then he noticed Clarks expression. "Is there anything else sir?"
Bruce, who was just about to turn around back to his computer paused, and eyed the wary Kent again.
"Uhh yea, my cousin, Kara is coming too...may have forgotten to mention that."
Seeing an opening a mile wide here, Alfred took it, with all the precision and poise of a skilled assassin delivering the killing blow, or of a chess master arranging the final pieces to end his opponent in a flourish of moves he would never see coming. "Will anyone else be coming sir? I imagine that the Princess Diana, or Sir J'hon would find themselves lonely at this time of year. From my understanding they no longer have or cannot return to their homes or family. Perhaps they should be invited as well."
From the very corner of his peripheral vision. He saw Bruce's expression, a startled mixture of shock and disbelief.
The young man opened his mouth to speak but, as predicted, at the last moment, he choked down the words. Alfred knew it was wrong to manipulate him like this. But he was the only one who could, and did it so rarely that he consoled himself with the knowledge that -he'll live-. Besides. If all worked out, it would ultimately be for his own good.
"Hmmm." Kent said scratching his chin. "Yea you're right, Alfred, I should do that! J'hon and Diana do deserve a thanksgiving with friends" And, predictably floated off as the chess master wished.
For his own part, Bruce didn't know how he'd gotten from 'No' to 'We have five guests tomorrow for thanksgiving. Wear something nice.'
Where did it all go wrong?
Neither male noticed the positively evil smile that spread across the Butler's face before vanishing entirely as though it were never there.
For all his blessings of the mind. Master Wayne still could not see the checkmates his loyal butler delivered until it was far too late.