Disclaimer: If you can guess what I don't own you get all the cookies M'gann can make you. :)
Summary: It was hard to talk to someone that knew that you didn't want them around. A Superman and Superboy bonding fic.
A/N: For the Roll a Die or Pick a Pair. Parental/Mentor Fic challenge over on the YJ challenge forums. This contains some speculation of mine that has to do with future episodes and it may or may not happen, so if you're not into that sort of thing I'd suggest that you don't read this. My very first time to write both Superman and Superboy so I hope I did them justice! (Also, when Bruce and Clark talk didn't Clark order apple pie? I swear he did, even though I couldn't find evidence of this anywhere!) Reviews are appreciated. :)
Superboy looked about as comfortable as Clark felt, even though Clark was better at hiding his emotions than Superboy was. Evidently that wasn't a trait that the boy inherited, even though he seemed to have gotten almost everything else.
"So..." Clark trailed off, not sure of how to get the ball rolling. "Do you want to go get a piece of pie?"
That got the boy's attention. He took his gaze from the crowd and set it onto Clark but still not meeting him in the eye.
"Pie?" Superboy looked as though he thought that someone was going to pull one over on him. His gaze was suspicious and Clark wondered what exactly he had thought when Clark had asked him to come to Metropolis for a talk.
"Yes." Clark gestured behind him. "This place has the best pie in town." Superboy gave a short nod and they began walking into the pie shop. This wasn't easy, but God help him he was trying to follow Bruce's advice. Even though he didn't want to admit it Bruce was right. But then again Bruce was right most of the time.
Closing his eyes and taking a nice, deep breath Clark almost forgot that he was with his broody, mentally sixteen year old clone. Almost. They slid into a booth, each across from each other, and Clark set his hands on the table. Superboy immediately glanced out the window.
Clark knew who he was looking for. M'gann. He hadn't been trying to eavesdrop, but sometimes with superhuman hearing that was just unavoidable. Superboy had told M'gann to stay close, just in case, and M'gann had shifted into a short blonde girl and walked away, but Clark knew that she was around.
Just in case.
Clark could tell in the way that the boy held himself that he was still uncomfortable, that at any moment he was worried that he would snap again. He had not been there when it had happened, unlike the rest of the boy's team, but the Justice League had seen to the aftermath, which had not been pretty.
Cadmus had implanted a controllable substance in Superboy's blood that no one had realized was there until it was far too late. Using that substance Cadmus, along with the League of Shadows, had gained control of Superboy and had used his own power against his team, forcing his powers to quadruple in intensity and him to almost annhilate his team and all of Mount Justice. His team had been able to stop him, but barely.
Once they had managed to subdue Superboy they had taken him to one of the S.T.A.R. Labs and had the substance removed, but Clark knew that Superboy still had his doubts. They all did, but you could see Superboy's in his eyes. Eyes that were a mirror image of Clark's when he was the boy's age.
As soon as Superboy had recovered Bruce had pulled Clark aside and told him that he had to talk to the boy and Clark knew that it was about time and so he did. Except, for the fact that neither of them were talking.
The waitress soon came to their table. She was a pretty thing with pulled back brown hair and she was about Superboy's age. He didn't even seem to notice her, still looking out the window. "Do you need a menu?"
This was the most human interaction that Clark had gotten in his entire time with Superboy. "We want pie, please." Clark looked at Superboy, to see if he was going to object, but he didn't say anything.
"Okay, what kind?"
"Apple." The word came from more than one mouth. For the first time since Superboy had come to Metropolis the two of them looked at each other in the eye.
"Great." The girl smiled, acting blissfully unaware of the sudden change in the air between the two people whose order she was taking. "It'll be right out."
Clark cleared his throat, knowing that it was now or never. He couldn't make excuses forever. "I know that you're probably wondering why I asked you to come here." Doubts in his eyes, Superboy nodded, probably not trusting himself to speak. Clark had to admit that he didn't want to talk either. "Well I want to talk about what happened last month."
That got Superboy's attention. "I don't want to talk about that," he said, voice flat.
Bruce had said this would happen. Wasn't Clark ever going to learn that Bruce was never wrong? "I know you don't. And I understand that. But I also want you to know that it wasn't your fault." He wondered when exactly he started sounding like an after school special. Heroing, that had to be the reason why.
"Wasn't my fault? Wasn't my fault?" For the first time Clark heard Superboy use a hint of emotion in his voice. He looked like he wanted to hit something and he was already half-way out of his seat before he sat back down and took a deep breath. No doubt something that he had picked up from Kaldur. "Yes, it was."
Clark knew that there was no point in arguing, if the boy was anything like him he was stubborn. "No it wasn't," he said, unable to help himself. When he saw Superboy open his mouth he hurried on, not wanting to get in the middle of an argument. "But it won't happen again."
"Because the Justice League fixed me."
"If you want to put it that way... yes."
They regarded each other again, really it seemed to be the cornerstone of their relationship, and Clark saw the doubts in his eyes before the waitress came back, placing the steaming slices of pie in front of them. The smell made his stomach grumble but he was scared to make any sudden movements because he didn't want to frighten the boy.
He suddenly wondered what Lois would do, if she were here. If she was Superboy would probably be more comfortable and relaxed instead of being on edge the entire time. Not that Clark was surprised, because he wasn't. This had to be the first time that they had ever been alone together, not counting the people in the diner, as well as M'gann who was down the street watching to make sure that nothing went wrong.
The awkwardness in the air was unbearable and Clark knew that he needed to do something, but he had no idea what. He could empathize with the boy, but he couldn't exactly relate. He knew what it was like to find out that you weren't what you thought you were. It was hard to talk to someone that knew that you never wanted them around.
Clark decided to pick up his fork when a vibration started in his pocket. The League needed help. He couldn't deny that he was relieved to leave. He was only regretful of the fact that his piece of apple pie, his favorite, would remain untouched.
"Take this to-go," he told Superboy, who nodded. The boy had already taken a bite of his pie and his mouth was busy with other things. "And here." Clark reached into his coat pocket and took out a black case with slightly rounded ends.
Superboy looked at the case, eyebrows meeting in the middle, and when he looked up Clark was already on his way out.
Clark could only hope that Superboy took the lensless glass for what they were.