Title: We Meet Again
Author: Takebuo Ishimatsu
Summary: Young Justice is accidentally transported to another dimension in which their mentors have no idea who they are. Things get complicated. Fast.
Disclaimer: Ido not own Young Justice.
AN: I apologize in advance for the massive amounts of Bruce+Clark, with very little YJ or anyone else. (My inner Bat/Sup attacked while I was typing. -_-0) Next chapter should fix this.
P.S. This first section with YJ/JL is happening *during* the last scene of Chapter 4.
Superboy jumped up just as the door closed behind the two Bats. Diana and J'onn quickly moved to block the clone, both hoping that they wouldn't have to resort to violence. So far, the boy had proven rather volatile and the last thing they needed was an all-out brawl on their hands.
Superboy glared at the two heroes in front of him, "Where's he taking him?"
Flash held up his hands in what he hoped was a calming manner, "Relax, kid. He's probably just checking him back into medical. No matter how your buddy may look on Batman's narcotics, I assure you, he's not yet well enough to be wandering around for hours at a time."
Superboy looked uncertain at that before glancing away from the adults. "We should stick together, just in case we teleport," he murmured.
"True, but remember what your friend Robin said, even if you do get taken to another universe, the Watchtower's not big enough for you to not be able to find him again," Diana said.
"Indeed. I'm certain your Kid Flash could pinpoint his location in seconds, in the unlikely event that you weren't able to hear him yourself," J'onn responded logically.
"You do have super-hearing, right kid?" GL asked.
"That I have," Superboy snapped, before stomping over to the other side of the room to sulk.
GL gave his fellow heroes a confused look, "What'd I say?"
They shrugged in response while Wally gave his Martian friend a head-shake when she opened her mouth to explain.
"So..." Flash started, only to stop at the loud rumbling noise in the awkward silence the clone had created. He raised an eyebrow behind his cowl, more out of habit than the thought that the kid would actually see it.
Wally flushed, "I haven't eaten in like four hours." He added in a whisper, "Uncle B, I think I'm dying."
Flash chuckled at the dramatics, "You probably are, little speedster. Why didn't you say something?"
Wally shrugged, keeping his eyes down. A slight blush was starting to creep on to his face.
Barry gave the boy a gentle smile. Remembering when he was that age, surrounded by new people and wanting to look cool and tough. He briefly contemplated having a talk with the kid to reinforce the importance of keeping up his fuel, before pushing the boy's omittance aside as wanting to make a good impression. They were the Justice League, after all.
(And, really, it wasn't as if he wasn't going to be with the kid 24/7, trying to learn everything possible before he disappeared randomly again. He'd notice if Wally continued to not eat properly.)
"Hey, you've got a cabinet in that suit of yours, right?"
Wally popped it open, "I've run dry." He looked rather miserable at the declaration.
"Well then, we better get something in that stomach of yours before you disappear!"
Wally gave him a wide-eyed look and Barry made a mental note to explain to the boy that he wouldn't actually disappear if he didn't eat. He'd probably just pass out after about half a day and require an IV to stabilize him.
Flash disappeared and then reappeared a second later with a notepad.
"Ok, taking orders. What does everyone want?"
"What does this place have?" Wally asked.
"Oh, a little bit of everything. We have lots of different cultures we have to represent up here."
Wally scrunched his brow and made a big show of thinking about it before asking, "Do you have cheeseburgers?"
"You betcha, kid."
"Sweet! I'll have sixteen of them. And three cokes, if you guys have that. Please and thank you."
Flash gave a little "Mmmhmm" noise as he wrote that down, not looking the least bit bothered by the numbers.
GL, however, was somewhere between being amused at the likeness of the two and horrified that the Watchtower now had another person who could eat the entire buffet in one sitting. There was a reason they made Flash go last at lunch time.
"I'll have a cheeseburger too, please. And a tea. Thank you."
Flash nodded before looking towards the clone. The boy gave him an uncertain look, as if he wasn't entirely comfortable with someone else getting food for him. Barry resisted the urge to smile. The young hero was clearly Mr. Polite Farm Boy's.
"I'm fine," he grumbled, crossing his arms stubbornly.
"Right, one All-American coming right up," Barry said before he took off.
Superboy whipped around, a scowl firmly in place, "I didn't-"
"Don't bother, he's already gone," Hawkgirl interrupted.
The boy let out an annoyed sigh.
Why was everyone in this universe acting so...weird towards him?
He wished Black Canary was there.
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Bruce walked back into the Monitor Room just as Clark was flicking off one of the screens, the Boy Scout turning to give the Dark Knight an innocent smile.
So, it appeared the other had managed to beat him in regards to contacting Alfred.
No matter, Bruce would just shift into Plan B: calling Lois and asking her to drive the two over to the manor next week. That was sure to shake up the Boy Scout far more than Alfred's cookies were known to put the billionaire in a better mood. Thus putting the future meeting back under Bruce's control.
"I'm glad you're already here, Superman. We need to discuss what you're going to tell the rest of the League," Bruce said, sliding past the other to sit in one of the chairs.
Typing on the keyboard, he silently pulled up the file he'd recently made.
Moving his hand from left to right, he indicated the various lists on the screen, he said, "I've ordered our members in ascending order of possible aggression regarding the news."
Glancing at Clark when the other didn't respond right away, Bruce glared at the other man's amused look. The one that told him the other hero was silently making fun of his "Batman thing," as the Man of Steel liked to call it.
Bruce supposed it was fair, though he'd never admit it out loud. Every member of the League had at least once taken a jibe at Clark's "Superman thing," i.e., rescuing kittens from trees, telling everyone that his mother had made his costume, and those sort of ridiculous occurrences. (With many more added in for those heroes that knew the kind of stunts he pulled as Clark Kent.)
"Is there something you'd like to say?" Bruce growled at the other as he observed the Dark Knight's work.
"Just...when'd you have time to do this, Bruce?"
Bruce gave him a Look, "I've been working on this in my head since I was out-voted. All I had to do was type it up."
"Ah," Clark nodded, "You do type fast."
"I do," Bruce agreed blandly at the useless statement.
Clark was always one for small talk.
"I take it, you've got the samples set up for testing?"
Bruce gave him another Look.
"Right, of course you do," he gave Bruce a fond look before continuing, "So, why all the detail? I thought we'd just announce it and have that be that, whether they like it or not. Actually," Clark paused to give him a thoughtful look, "that seems far more your style. This," he made a motion towards the screen, "seems more like something I would do."
Bruce resisted the urge to roll his eyes, if only because Batman didn't do those sort of things, "This isn't to spare anyone's feelings. It's to ensure a general cooperation and to, hopefully, prevent an outbreak of violence. If these children are threats, the last thing we need is a League divided."
Clark gave him a knowing look, before muttering a single, "'If'?"
Bruce gave him a dark, dark Batglare, "I'm a detective, Kent. My theory changes with each new clue. It's something you might look into, being an investigative journalist."
Clark's amused look didn't go away as he responded, "And what exactly have these kids done to prove Batman's paranoia wrong?"
Bruce snorted, "Nothing. I've merely concluded, based upon their showing of individual skill, mentality and general teamwork, that, if they attack again, there is very little chance they will succeed."
"Ah," was all Clark responded with.
Bruce chose to ignore his smug undertone, knowing he'd get his revenge later, with the help of Lois the Demon Driver.
"As you can see, I've listed Orion as one as one of the possible volatiles, as well as The Question."
"Of course," Clark nodded, "Orion will see it as an insult to have children in his work space and Question, well..."
Clark shrugged as a finish, the two heroes sharing a knowing look.
Bruce figured they wouldn't be able to count on the other's presence in the Watchtower until the teens had left. At least, not after he was done bugging them and going through the children's stuff.
Bruce would have to make sure to keep a tight vigil on his quarters to insure no unwanted visitors got access and put devices in there that didn't belong.
He was hardly about to let go of his "paranoia" (he preferred to think of it as cautiousness) in order to appease another's (now Question's...that was paranoia).
"In general, I doubt many of them will be pleased with the arrangement, but I feel we can limit the damage to others' trust by enforcing a strict perimeter for the children and only allowing them outside of it with chaperones."
Clark nodded. Though he longed to give the kids a break after what they'd been through, he wasn't willing to jeopardize the group and make his fellow heroes feel uneasy in their own base. He could already imagine the shock that some of them were going to have, finding out strangers were in their private space.
After all, they didn't even let new heroes into the Watchtower until they'd known them (or their deeds) for a year or more.
"I assume you already have this 'perimeter' all picked out?" Clark asked, though he already knew the answer.
Bruce typed a few commands into the computer and a 3D display of the Watchtower appeared, with four rooms highlighted in the far west quarter.
"I thought we might take the opportunity to get my money's worth out of the new section," Bruce answered, causing Clark to smile at the barely-there joke.
Clearly, Bruce wasn't quite as ticked off about the intruders as he wanted to appear if he'd allow the Man of Steel a tiny bit of his Bathumor, rarer than the finest jewels.
"Hey now, I pitched in a little," Clark joked back.
Bruce Looked at him, to which he shrugged, "I bought the donuts."
Bruce snorted and muttered something about "reporter's salary."
With anyone else (who didn't own half of the United States), Clark might have felt insulted by the tone.
As it was, he chose to ignore the other, since he knew Bruce liked it when he brought him food (not to mention Alfred's approval) and instead pointed to the diagram.
"You only have four rooms?"
Bruce stilled for the briefest of moments and that was all it took to engage Clark's smirk.
"You want the youngest to stay in your quarters." It wasn't a question.
Ever Batman, Bruce explained plainly, "The only room more technologically guarded than my own is Question's. It's only logical to keep him there until we know more about their intentions."
" And it just happens to be a short trip away from medical, as well as right across from my quarters, which I assume we'll be sharing until they're approved?" Clark tried to keep the smugness out of his voice, really, he did, but...
Bruce gave him his best "I hate your existence and hope you get hit by a bus full of Kryptonite on your way to work tomorrow" glare.
...Sometimes it was just worth it to be on the giving end of the smirk, rather than the receiving.
"Actually, I've already adjusted the bedroom arrangements," Bruce replied in his best "I'm the Goddamn Batman" voice, pointing out the changes on the diagram.
Clark's eyes widened, "You stole my room!"
"Technically, it's my room. I paid for it."
Clark crossed his arms in perfect, "Annoyed Superman" pose, before raising an eyebrow.
Of course, as poses and eyebrows went, his didn't have much on Batman's, so Clark ended up switching to Plan B.
A moment of stone from Bruce.
...And then crumbling.
"You might be able share it with me," Bruce grumbled, refusing to look at him as he turned back to his computer.
"Why, that's rather kind of you, Bruce," Clark said, giving him his best polite smile.
"We should also be upfront about their abilities and the possible threat they pose," Bruce said, once again all business. Clark moved to dispute the statement, not liking the idea of putting a bad rap on the kids before anyone even met them, but Bruce continued quickly, "Not everyone likes their facts sugar-coated, Kent."
Kent. Right. Bruce was distancing himself from him after his defeat.
Nothing new there.
Clark sighed and crossed his arms, "Fine, but you can handle that part of the announcement. And, if you get to expound on how evil they all are, then I get to tell everyone how I feel about them."
Truthfully, Bruce wasn't impressed with the outcome of their conversation. (For more reasons than the obvious.) He already knew what was going to happen when they told the others. Half the heroes, those of logic, would follow him, and the other half, those of feeling, would follow the Boy Scout.
And thus the notorious Superman/Batman showdown would continue into its next round, with the most likely outcome being that of Clark winning the battle when the adults caught sight of the "adorable" little heroes, thus shifting their minds from logic to feeling.
He'd have to call Lois and Clark's mother, just in case. He was hardly one for small talk, but if telling Martha Kent a little about his week was enough to insure the minor defeat didn't cost him his edge for the upcoming interview-slash-social gathering (as Clark was sure to turn it into), he was willing to sacrifice some of his time.
If nothing else, it would be worth the look on Clark's face when he said, "So, I spoke to your mother today..." just when the Boy Scout was about to try and push him into answering a question Bruce Wayne, billionaire vigilante, didn't want answered. Most likely something about the boy currently sleeping in his Watchtower room.
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"...and that is really all there is to the story, my King," Kaldur finished, feeling a little winded after the intense interrogation.
"Please, call me Arthur. I think, after learning that you saved my life and that of your fellow Atlantians, you deserve the honor of using my given name."
Kaldur gave him a knowing smile before shaking his head, "Forgive me, my King, but your other-world counterpart has been urging me to do the same for years."
"Ah," King Arthur said, giving him an approving look, "So, you're saying, it's not going to happen."
Kaldur look down in apology, "Forgive me. I do not mean to be arrogant."
The king shook his head fondly, amused by the boy's polite stubbornness, "No, it's all right. I will not force you to use a name that makes you uncomfortable."
"Thank you, my King."
"So then, how did you come to be the leader of this group of yours? I would have thought Batman's protege would have taken that spot, or perhaps Superman's."
"I'm afraid Superboy is far too young to even contemplate such an action. However, Robin will be taking the lead when he gains maturity and teamwork experience."
"You mean he's not already a mini-Batman, perfect down to the last hair on his head?" the King snorted, "Your detective must be lacking."
Kaldur's smile had only the barest hint of exasperation. This was hardly the first time he'd had to explain the leadership reasoning to others, and he doubted it would be the last. (Robin had snickered at him last time he'd asked the younger boy if he'd wanted to do the talking, pointing out that explaining things was the leader's job, so Kaldur doubted the other was going to be taking over in that department any time soon.)
"Despite his mentor, and his many years of experience as a hero, Robin is still very much a child, making him a poor choice to maintain efficient work relations with heroes and civilians alike. He also hasn't quite gotten the feel of a team, rather than a partnership, down."
"I think this is something I'm going to have to see to believe. Batman and a kid," the King shook his head in disbelief, "Now Superman, that makes more sense. Even if the boy is a clone. Though we're not exactly close, I can tell the man wants a family. He must be enjoying having a son."
Kaldur looked away, not wishing to lie to his King, but not wanting to give away the truth of Superboy's home-life. Or, rather, base-life, considering he didn't quite have a home yet.
After a moment's pause, he settled for a diplomatic side-step, "I'm certain Superman enjoys having others around."
Aquaman snorted, "You can say that again. The only person more people-friendly than that guy is Flash."
Kaldur nodded, just as he was suddenly pulled to his feet.
"Come. Show me what you can do, in case I have need of your skills."
Kaldur's eyes widened, "My King, I am honored that you trust me so readily, but are you certain that is wise? What of Batman?"
The other gave him a Look, "What of Batman? Though he may be a trusted ally, I am born ruler of Atlantis. He has no authority over me or mine."
Kaldur made a mental note that this king was far more proud than his own, and, apparently, thought less of land-dwellers than King Orin did. He'd have to keep that in mind for future conversations.
He decided against pointing out that Batman was, well, Batman, and instead said, "I meant no disrespect, King Arthur. It's just...Batman is our group leader back home."
Aquaman's bristle softened at his explanation, "Ah. You show respect for your commander. An admirable trait, but not when with the highest in the chain. Come."
Kaldur resisted the urge to sigh, "Yes, my King."
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Clark paused on his way back to the young heroes, frowning as he focused in on the sound of fighting nearby.
And then of laughing. Aquaman.
Raising an eyebrow, he shifted his gaze to the nearby gym. Peering through with his X-Ray vision, he wasn't surprised to see the king picking up his other-world apprentice off of the floor. Both of them were soaking wet but didn't appear to be injured so Clark took it as a sign that the two were getting along rather well.
Tapping his ear, he started, "Bruce-"
"I know. And, yes, you can."
Clark rolled his eyes, "You don't even know what I was going to say."
Clark could almost feel the unspoken, "Don't I?" before Bruce responded.
"You were going to tell me that Aquaman has taken it upon himself to let Kaldur out of confinement in order to test his physical abilities. And then you were going to ask me if you could do something similar with Superboy."
Well, he didn't have to sound so smug about it. Clark had only been about to ask his "permission" out of respect for the other, knowing it was chafing his old friend to be so thoroughly out-voted in regards to the children. So much for wanting to ease the control-freak's pain, huh?
Clark shook his head at his own thoughts, his annoyance giving way to fond exasperation.
Give Bruce an inch and you'd find yourself a mile behind a minute later.
"I'm actually thinking of bringing Superboy something to eat. Did you want anything from Earth?"
"Flash just took them all a meal."
Nothing said in regards to his second question, so Clark took it as a "no."
"That's fine. There's always room for pie."
There was no reply from Bruce, not that he'd really been expecting any (Clark imagined he was probably all conversationed-out after their recent talk). Mentally shrugging at the lack of response, he made his way over to the transporter.
Typing a few commands, he was suddenly standing outside of his true home. Taking a deep breath, he exhaled slowly, enjoying his first whiff of clean air in over a week.
" You planning on coming in any time, or do you want me to throw your piece to you?" his father yelled through the kitchen window.
Clark smiled and sped up into the house, appearing in the kitchen with a, "No need for that," as a response.
It was a sign of how use to their "unique" son they were that neither even blinked at his sudden arrival. Ah, one of the reasons he loved visiting his parents.
"Clark, dear, you're looking thin. Here, take this and make yourself a seat at the table," his mother said, patting him on the cheek as she pushed a plate full of apple pie into his hands.
Clark resisted the urge to sigh and instead shared a knowing look with his father behind the woman's back. He almost wished Bruce had come with him, if only to have his mother's attention shifted to another for a few hours. Clark smiled at the thought.
Seeing Bruce squirm under a "mother's loving touch" was almost worth the nerve-wracking that came from what he worried the other might say to the woman. (Bruce was not above telling his parents horrible secrets, or outright dirty lies, about him to get revenge for previous wrong-doings on Clark's part.)
" Actually, Ma, I hate to be rude, but could I maybe have this to go?" Clark asked awkwardly, rubbing the back of his neck in shame. He hated taking advantage of his parents.
" Of course, dear. Is there a problem?" she asked, looking him over as if she'd be able to see everything wrong with his life in once glance. Then again, she was his Mother. Maybe she did see things that weren't visible to others. It wouldn't be the first time.
"No, well...no," he answered, blushing a little.
His father raised an eyebrow, "Something on your mind, Clark?"
"I'd actually like to share a piece with someone else," Clark said, shifting around the subject of his clone, not quite certain how to explain the boy.
"Ah," his mother gave him a knowing look, "Better take an extra large piece then. That boy is far too thin in my opinion. Poor Alfred must have a heck of time getting him to eat properly."
Clark chuckled, "No, it's not for Bruce."
"Problems with Lois again?" his father asked, glancing up from the paper he'd grabbed.
Clark sighed, "No, Lois is great. As usual."
Clark knew they loved the woman, but, frankly, he got the impression sometimes that his parents believed she abused him or something. Really, she'd only stolen his story that one time. And she'd only made him pretend to be her boyfriend those two times for a scoop. And she rarely used him as a pawn to get Bruce to agree to interviews.
...Ok, she probably did abuse him, in a certain light, but that was just Lois for you.
"Who's it for, Clark?" his mother asked.
Clark blushed, looking around the room uncertainly, not quite wanting to see his parents' reaction.
"I sort of...have a clone?" They stared at him. "From a different universe?"
It was a testament to them being the Parents of Superman that his mother just cut off a little bit more pie and his father asked when he was planning on introducing them to their grandchild.
AN: Ok! The stage is set for the Clark+Superboy you guys have been asking for! And some more Bat+Robin interaction as well! (I'll try to work in some of the others too, of course.)
A note to Flash Fans: Does anyone have any idea how long a speedster can actually go without food? I'm guessing it has to be more than 15 minutes (despite what Wally might have us believe in the show) since they've gone to battle for far longer than that, without stopping to munch. (At least, I didn't see any munching...)
A thanks to Aquaman Fans/General Aquaman note: Ok, so to top off my DC confusion, apparently there's King Arthur, who used to be Arthur Curry AND King Arthur, who is actually King Orin with a human name. (Why do you do this to me DC? WHY?) Soooooo, in this fic, I'm just going to keep going with the idea that I presented in Chapter 4 since it's already written into the story. (But I'll definitely remember it for future fics! Thanks!)
P.S. (OMG, why are there so many ANs?) I have an offer up in Help_Japan & FandomAid. Links in my profile.