Superboy gently turned the wrench in his hand to tighten the bolt on his motorcycle. It was an exercise Superman had given him. Fixing things required a control of strength and dexterity. He couldn't tighten the bolt too much or too little. Either scenario could cause a failure on his bike. Superboy had to control his strength.
He rather liked the exercise. It helped him with control but if he messed up, nothing and no one was hurt except for his pride. Superman had assured him that that can be mended too. He had been training with Superman for roughly a week and already Superboy was finding he had more control over his abilities. He also felt calmer. Since being rescued from Cadmus, Superboy had rarely been able to relax. So far the only people he truly relaxed around were his best friend, Kaldur, and his boyfriend, Robin. Even then, there was still something that kept him from relaxing; a lingering doubt about who he was, what his purpose was, and what he was meant to do.
Superman was helping him find the answers to those questions little by little.
Superboy was still unsure of what had changed Superman's mind about him. Until he had showed up in the cave to offer his services, Superboy was convinced the man hated him and wanted to be as far away from him as possible. Whatever had changed, Superboy was thankful for it.
Sphere rolled up beside him and Superboy smiled at the piece of technology. The little guy was just as lost as he had been. He patted its side and returned to his work. Sphere nudged him and Superboy chuckled. "Give me a minute, I'm almost done," he said with a smile.
He paused in his working when he heard footsteps approaching the hanger. Superboy stood up as Kaldur, Red Tornado, Superman, Batman and Robin entered the hanger and walked toward him. Superboy smiled as Robin came up and kissed his cheek before placing a brown bag in his hands. Kaldur had one as well. Superboy also noticed that the clothes Robin wore were different from his costume and civilian clothing. It looked like a uniform.
Superboy opened the brown bag in his hands and found food wrapped up inside. "What's this," he asked.
"Your lunch. It's your first day of school Supey," Robin said brightly.
Kaldur came to his side. Their leader was wearing civilian clothing with a high collar to cover his gills and long sleeves to cover his webbed hands. "I believe it is customary to bring a lunch on the first day of human school," Kaldur said, looking and sounding as awkward as Superboy was starting to feel.
"You'll both be attending Happy Harbor High School, to help you both acclimate to society here. Since Aqualad has decided to stay on the surface world it was important that he learn alongside you, Superboy," Batman spoke up, placing a hand on Robin's shoulder.
Superboy huffed, knowing that the unspoken point that Batman was making was that Superboy needed a babysitter. He knew it was probably a good idea, his temper was still fairly volatile, but he couldn't help feeling insulted. Batman had a way of making anyone feel like that, even Red Tornado.
"You'll both ride in on your motorcycles. You are to attend all of your classes, blend in and not cause a scene. After classes are over you will return to the cave to complete any homework you have," Batman continued.
"You make it sound like a mission," Superboy said, clutching his brown paper bag a little tighter.
Batman smiled slightly and raised an eyebrow beneath his cowl. "In many ways it is," he said.
The man gripped Robin's shoulder tighter for a moment before turning and leaving. "The same goes for you, Robin," Batman called over his shoulder as he left the hanger.
Robin grinned cheekily. He leaned up to kiss Superboy again, this time on the mouth. The kiss lingered for a few moments and Superboy savored it, brushing his fingers against Robin's throat. Robin sighed as he pulled away, stepping back and waving. "Have fun at school guys," he said brightly before he turned and followed his mentor out of the hanger.
That left Red Tornado and Superman. Red Tornado simply said, "I'll be here if you require my assistance," before he too left.
Superman smiled after his teammate before turning his smile on Superboy and Kaldur. "Have you picked a name, Aqualad," he asked.
"I've decided to use Kaldur for my first name. I've chosen Johnson for my last name," Kaldur said softly, looking into his brown bag with a frown.
"Why Johnson," Superboy asked, leaning over to look in Kaldur's bag.
"It is the second most common last name in this country. Smith is the most common but I didn't think it sounded right," Kaldur shook his bag a bit. "Did Robin pack our lunches?"
Superboy looked back into his bag and smiled. "I think so, he put all of my favorite foods in here," he said affectionately. He liked having a boyfriend.
Kaldur sighed and closed his bag. "I thought so. The fish he used in my sandwich was still alive."
Superboy laughed as Kaldur grumbled and walked towards the kitchen, mumbling something about acquiring a more "appropriate" lunch for their first day of school. Superman's chuckle joined with Superboy's and the two Kryptonians spent a moment enjoying Kaldur's plight.
"What about you Superboy," Superman spoke up after a moment. "Have you picked a name for yourself?"
Superboy shook his head. He had searched databases and written down ideas but nothing had stuck. He knew he needed a name, he couldn't just use "Superboy" or "Supey." Neither was very appealing or appropriate.
Superman clapped a hand on his shoulder while clearing his throat, looking uncomfortable. "If it's alright with you, I have a name that might work," his mentor said, not meeting Superboy's eyes.
Superboy perked up at the prospect and smiled up at the man. He had thought that if he couldn't come up with a name himself, then Robin would help him. To have the man he was created after, the man he idolized, name him, it was a dream come true. Superboy waited, knowing he would accept any name Superman gave him.
"I thought you could use the last name Kent. It's the name I use for my secret identity, and the family name of the people who raised me here on Earth," Superman said after a few moments, finally looking down at Superboy.
"It would be an honor," Superboy said, trying to keep the awe out of his voice.
"For a first name…well. I was named Clark, after my father's grandfather. My mother's grandfather was named Conner. I think it's a name that would suit you."
Superboy smiled, his cheeks aching from the size of it. The brown paper bag in his hands crunched under his fingers as he tried to contain himself from hugging the man in front of him. "Conner Kent," he murmured, testing the name on his tongue.
It was perfect.
"Thank you," he said to his mentor, knowing of no other way to express his gratitude.
Superman smiled; seemingly relived that Superboy liked the name he picked out. His mentor patted his shoulder and then pulled away. "I'm glad you like it. Now just remember to respond to the name Conner and you'll be fine. School is going to be much more different than anything you've experienced yet. Everyone there are just normal humans. So this will be an exercise in being normal. Stick with Kaldur, try and make friends, and stay in control. I have no doubt that you'll be fine."
Superboy nodded, smile still planted firmly in place as Superman turned away and left the hanger.
"Conner Kent," he whispered again.
"So how was your first day of school, Supey," Wally asked around a mouthful of popcorn. Wally also had a liter of soda and box of chocolate chip cookies. What? He was hungry. School always made him hungry.
"It was…fine. Nothing really happened," Superboy replied, the two of them watching his best buddy Robin play a video game in the cave's living room.
"Get used to it. Nothing ever happens in school," Wally said was a sigh as he plopped down beside his teammates on the couch.
Wally watched the game Robin was playing, a frown coming to his face as his friend finished a level. "Dude, you hacked the game didn't you. I can't even get pass this level."
Robin chuckled, eyes never leaving the screen. "I don't have to hack a video game to be better than you, Wally."
Wally grumbled and stuffed his mouth, pouting as Robin demolished the next level of the game right before his eyes. Stupid, smart tech geek.
He was ready to lay into his friend when Red Tornado walked in and called them for a team meeting. Wally perked up at the news and shared a smile with Robin. They were probably getting their new member today. He dumped his food in the kitchen and raced out into the cave, where Kaldur and Artemis were already waiting with Batman.
One of the zeta-beam tubes fired up, announcing Zatara's arrival and someone named Zatana. Wally's grin faded a bit when a young girl, no older than Robin, appeared beside the Justice League member. He sighed. There was no way he could hit on Zatana. She was obviously Zatara's daughter and pretty young. Cute…but young. He'd have to find his kicks elsewhere, there was no one really worth flirting with on the team.
Wally glanced over at Artemis, feeling his cheeks heat just a bit before he looked away with a scowl. Yeah, definitely no one to flirt with around here.
"Everyone, listen up," Batman called out once they were all in the main area of the cave. The man walked over and stood beside Zatana and her father. "This is Zatana. She is still in training with her powers, as are most of you, but I expect you all to help her when she needs it. Zatara has allowed her to join your team with the promise that she will not participate in any dangerous missions until she has more control over her powers. I expect you all to welcome her graciously."
Batman looked pointedly at Wally when he said that. What? Did the guy really think Wally would touch that? It was like cradle robbing or something. Not to mention there was the whole awkward relation to a Justice League member who could probably turn him into a toad or something equally gross.
Zatana smiled shyly at them. Artemis was the first to make a move. "Thank goodness you're a girl," Artemis said with a smirk. "Not that it would have been bad if you were a boy. But I'm already surrounded by enough testosterone here. It's nice to have someone who doesn't need to act all macho when they obviously aren't."
Was she looking at Wally as she said that? She was. That little…insert curse word his parents would skin him alive for using. Wally was all kinds of macho, there was no acting about it. He crossed his arms over his chest and scowled at her. But Artemis didn't even flinch, she just smirked and wrapped an arm around Zatana's shoulder. "Yeah, I'm so glad you're here," Artemis chuckled.
That seemed to break the ice as everyone else went up to greet Zatana. Wally did too of course, he was a team player, even if Artemis did have Zatana clutched in her evil claws of…evil girliness. Wally snorted internally as he shook Zatana's hand.
Yeah, nice to have someone new on the team. Even if he still didn't have anyone to look at.
Hey, just because his eyes strayed down Artemis' back right there doesn't mean a thing. He was just checking out how long her hair was. Yeah. So he can figure out how much hair dye he needs to turn her into a…something.
Wally huffed and headed back to the kitchen. He needed fattening food…stat.
Kaldur forehead furrowed as he read over his English Assignment. The assignment? Define what burden means to you. Use examples from your life of the kinds of things you consider to be burdens. Make sure to compare and contrast by exploring the differences between a burden and a responsibility.
Kaldur assumed it would be both unethical and unwise to write about his experiences on the team. While being the leader of a group of teenage superheroes could be considered both a burden and a responsibility and would likely provide him with an A+ quality essay… Kaldur decides to make something up. Faking his way through this essay won't sound nearly as unbelievable as the truth would. Maybe he should talk about growing up without a father.
A giggle traveling down the hallway of the cave to his room broke Kaldur's concentration and he sighed in frustration. They weren't going to interrupt him again, were they?
He stood up from the desk in his bedroom and walked to the door, peering out into the hallway. He shook his head with a fond smile as Conner and Robin walked down the hallway. Their hands were clasped and Robin was laughing at something Conner was saying. Conner was smiling loving down at Robin, enraptured in his boyfriend's reaction. They were so terribly sweet together it almost gave Kaldur a stomach ache.
They passed his room with an acknowledging wave before heading to Conner's room. They paused at the threshold to share a kiss and then disappeared inside.
Kaldur retreated back to his desk and stared exasperatingly down at his unfinished English homework. Maybe he would write about the burden of being single.
"My name is Conner Kent."
Robin blinked in confusion , his head fogged up from the heated kisses he and his boyfriend had been exchanging for the last few minutes. He shook his head and pulled back from Superboy's (Conner's?) delectable lips. "What?"
"I said, my name is Conner Kent," Superboy repeated , looking a little put off.
Superboy frowned and lifted Robin off of his lap, setting him down on his bed as his boyfriend stood up and crossed his arms. Now Robin felt a little put off. They were just having an excellent make-out/homework session. But Superboy was now more than an arm's length away and Robin was not happy. He only had a few more minutes before Batman break up their fun. He couldn't imagine what it will be like when he's ready to have sex. Batman will undoubtedly be the greatest cock-block in history.
Robin sighed and crossed his arms, mirroring his boyfriend's glare. "Okay, what's your problem. You're ruining some quality smooching time by being all moody," Robin huffed.
"My name is Conner Kent," Superboy forced out between gritting teeth.
Robin rolled his eyes. "You said that already."
"You said you would tell me your secret identity once I told you mine. I'm Conner Kent."
Robin blinked a couple more times before his head cleared enough that he remembered the promise he had made to Superboy. His boyfriend had become so adorably jealous when he learned that Wally knew Robin's secret identity, that Robin had promised to tell him his name when Superboy had one of his own. He apparently had one now.
"When did that happen?" Robin asked as he stood up from the bed, slowly approaching his volatile boyfriend. If he could diffuse the situation quickly enough they might have time for some more sweet kissed before he had to leave or face Batman's wrath. Or an embarrassing safe-sex talk. Robin shuddered at the thought.
"This morning." Superboy replied, his arms uncrossing and his shoulders dropping. "Superman gave it to me, for school."
Robin smiled, taking the in that was given to him to wrap his arms back around his boyfriend. "I think it's a great name. Conner." Robin leaned up to press kisses to Superboy's face, easing away frown line and tense muscles. "You look like a Conner. I like it."
"Superman said it was a family name of the Kent's, his human family."
Robin hid a giddy grin in Superboy's neck, deciding Superman deserved some very expensive gifts for his birthday and Christmas this year. He had had a feeling that given time Superman would warm up to Superboy, and they would become as close as Robin and Batman had. Offering up an interview about his parent's death and his life with Bruce Wayne was the best deal Robin could have made.
"I'm so happy for you…Conner," Robin said as he pulled back from Superboy's neck to smile brightly at his boyfriend.
Superboy smiled back, wrapping his arms tightly around his body. They held each other for a while, standing in the middle of Superboy's bedroom as the moments of their alone time ticked away. Robin didn't feel as desperate to get back to the kissing as he was before. He just wanted to hold his boyfriend and share in his happiness.
"So what's your name," Superboy asked, breaking the silence and pulling back just a bit from their embrace.
"Richard Grayson. But everyone calls me Dick," Robin replied.
Superboy cocked his head to one side, brows creasing in thought. "Dick Grayson…I saw that name on the news. Something about an interview…"
"My parents died almost five years ago. I was taken in by Bruce Wayne, millionaire orphan, who lost his parents when he was a kid too. I found out he's Batman and pretty soon I became Robin. It was a way to cope with losing everything I had known."
Superboy's eyes were wide as Robin told a very condensed version of his tale and he couldn't help but chuckle at his boyfriend's expression. Speechless Superboy was almost as adorable as Pouty Superboy. He leaned up and pressed a kiss to his boyfriend's lips, lingering for a moment before pulling away.
Robin was about to lean in again when his communicator beeped, indicating he needed to go before he got in trouble. He did lean in to place a chaste kiss on the corner of Superboy's lips before wiggling out of his grasp. He snatched up his communicator, sunglasses and backpack, starting for the door.
Superboy watched him silently, though he looked like he had a million things he wanted to be asking. Robin grinned. "I'll come over tomorrow and you can ask me anything you want. Okay, Conner." He was starting to like the taste of his boyfriend's name on his lips.
"So you should totally ask Bats out."
Superman did not often have people sneak up on him. His superhuman senses made it nearly impossible. The only man who could regularly startle Superman was Batman. But that was in the man's nature. So it made an ironic sense that his prodigy would be able to sneak up on the Man of Steel.
Superman will write off the sudden jerk of his body as shifting his weight to watch the training happening before him more comfortably. Or that he was moving to give Robin room to watch even though there was more than enough room around the ring. His near gasp of surprise was just him clearing his throat or about to say something in response to Robin's arrival before changing his mind.
Yet when Superman looked down at Robin, seeing his grin and raised eyebrow, he knew no excuse would fool this kid. He sighed and turned back to watching Superboy and Aqualad spar with Black Canary watching closely.
"Wait…What?!" Superman nearly shouted as he turned back to Robin. His outburst was covered up by the Cave's computer giving Aqualad a point but Robin heard him clearly.
"I said you should ask Batman to go out with you," Robin repeated, calm and collected.
"Robin…I appreciate your concern for my feelings but nothing is going to happen between us. He made that very clear," Superman said softly. He had noticed that Superboy was subtly listening to them, which had resulted in more points for Aqualad and critique from Black Canary. It seemed Robin hadn't told his boyfriend about the similar taste in men Superman and his clone shared.
Robin clucked his tongue and grabbed Superman's arm, dragging the Man of Steel with a surprising amount of strength away from the sparring and to the other side of the cave. "Look, you're being an idiot. Nothing's going to happen because you've never asked. He never outright told you no either. He has this stupid sense of righteousness where he denies you both the chance to be happy because he thinks you'll put each other in danger," Robin explains softly.
Superman shook his head, smiling sadly. "That still doesn't mean he feels the way I do," he replied, closing his eyes as familiar feelings boiled to the surface. He's been able to bury them for so long, not thinking or acting on them until he's alone in his room in the dark. Even then he can't look Batman in the eye the next day when they first see each other.
Superman frowned at those words, starting to shake his head but Robin interrupted him before he could say anything in response. "He does, Clark. Trust me. I know him, better than anyone except Alfred. He wants to do the right thing. But if you push him, and ask for a chance, he'll give in. He wants to, but he's too damn proud."
"Language," Superman responded automatically, puzzling over Robin's words. Was it worth taking the chance?
Robin started laughing, patting Superman on his shoulder. "Oh yeah, you'll be a great stepmom," the boy wonder said through his chuckles. He lightly punched Superman's shoulder. "Just think about it."
Superman watched Robin walk away. The boy joined Superboy on the edge of the arena, exchanging a smile and a kiss with his clone. Envy filled his chest a bit as he watched the two teenagers. His clone had had the courage to pursue what he wanted. What did that say about him?
He frowned and looked away. Superman looked over at the Zeta-beam teleporters. Batman was up at the Watchtower by himself at the moment, watching over Earth. What could it hurt…to just start a conversation with the man he loved.
Superboy shifted the large hammer in his grip from one hand to the other, looking around the cave in discomfort. He scratched at the wig on his head as he took in the sight of his friends. They were all dressed in costumes not their own and to be honest Superboy still wasn't sure why they did this. What a strange tradition, one day a year everyone dresses up like someone they're not and go around begging for sweets. Well…they weren't doing that, the kids were. They had all just volunteered to lead groups of kids from Happy Harbor Elementary School safely around the neighborhoods. Actually he and Kaldur had signed up at school but the rest of the team decided to join in, with the exception of one member.
Superboy glanced over his shoulder at the figure standing off to the side, watching them all with a small, sad smile. Copper eyes met his before quickly looking down. Superboy sighed, his heart clenching and muscles tensing before he forced himself to relax. She wasn't a threat anymore.
He turned when someone sided up to him and he smiled down at Robin…who wasn't looking very much like Robin to him right now. His eyes trailed up and down his boyfriend's body, taking in the blue spandex (yum) and star covered shield. He tilted his head and squinted as he tried to remember who his boyfriend was dressed up as.
Robin sighed and shook his head, no doubt knowing what Superboy was thinking. "I'm Captain America, remember?" Robin said with a fond smile up at him.
Superboy grinned ruefully and scratched at the back of his neck, frowning when his fingers tangled in dirty blond locks. He pulled his hand back and sighed, blowing at a strand of hair that fell in his eyes from the wig. "And I'm Thor," he said, waving his hammer a bit.
Robin grinned, leaning closer to trail a hand up his armor covered chest. "And a handsome one at that," his boyfriend whispered as he leaned up to kiss him. An outraged squawk had them breaking apart.
"Ah! Don't do that guys. That is so wrong. Thor and Captian America would never bump uglies," Wally said, wagging a finger at them.
"Who's bumping uglies? We were just kissing," Superboy said with a frown, looking down at Robin for verification. He still had trouble understanding certain phrases. Why couldn't people just mean what they say?
"Conner's right Wally. We were just kissing. Besides it's not too far of a stretch to see Thor and Captain A together. Would you rather he be dressed up as the Hulk," Robin said with a teasing grin.
Wally blanched, sputtered, then threw his hands up in the air. "Fine. But if some fanatic starts pelting you with caramel apples because you're shipping Thor/Captain America, don't come crying to me," Wally said as he walked back to the others.
Superboy looked at the others with amusement. When Kaldur had told the team he and Superboy had volunteered to help escort kids on their Trick-or-Treat runs, Wally had jumped at the chance to plan their costumes. Apparently there was a comic book series about a team of Superheroes, called The Avengers. Wally had insisted that they all dress up like characters from it. The rest of the team had agreed and Robin had procured the costumes (all of high quality, of course).
Wally had dressed up like Iron Man, personality and all. His armor was made from lightweight Kevlar. It wouldn't protect him in a gun fight but it looked great as a costume. Kaldur was Hawkeye, and had asked Artemis for lessons on how to hold his bow and arrows to look more authentic. Artemis was Black Widow, looking rather stunning in black spandex and black utility belt with a fake gun and holster. Zatana had decided to be The Wasp. Her insect wings were stunning and shined under the florescent lights of the cave.
"We need to get going, if we want to get there before the kids show up," Kaldur announced, ushering them all towards the main door to the cave.
As they were leaving he heard Zatana ask "Are you sure you won't come?"
Superboy looked back to see their magician talking to Ms. Martian. M'gann just shook her head, eyes not meeting her teammate's.
Ms. Martian had returned a little over a week ago. Martian Manhunter had tracked her down and they had had a long talk, most of which was apparently not out loud. His conclusion after a month on Mars was that she was harmless. There was no real ill intent in her actions. She wasn't a spy, nor a vigilante, or even a bad person. She was just young and didn't understand the ways of the world.
Martian Manhunter had suggested she be returned to the team, as he thought it was the best place for her to learn and grow. Batman had taken it under advisement but it had ultimately been up to Superboy and Robin. Superboy really wasn't that thrilled, nor was Robin. Robin had pointed out that she would have been helpful on some of their latest missions. They didn't know how good they had it till they didn't have a Martian on their team anymore. It was that reasoning that had made up Superboy's mind. While he would never forgive M'gann for violating him the way she did, the situation wasn't just about him anymore. One too many times his teammates, his friends, had been in very real danger that could have been avoided if M'gann had been around. Her telepathy and shape shifting abilities were invaluable.
Still, it didn't mean Superboy would ever talk to her again unless it was absolutely necessary. He said the bare minimum to her and kept Robin close whenever she was around.
He could tell she was sorry, genuinely so. M'gann had apologized the second she had arrived at the cave. Her tears and apology had been genuine. Even so, Superboy couldn't say he forgave her. He understood she was sorry. That was it.
Robin curled into his side and Superboy turned away from M'gann. He wrapped an arm around his boyfriend as they left the cave, walking down the road that would take them to Happy Harbor.
"You okay," Robin asked softly, his hand trailing up and down Superboy's spine.
Superboy nodded and smiled down at Robin. "I've got you. Everything's great," he said softly.
They stopped for a moment to kiss, their friends continuing on oblivious. That is, until Wally shouted in outrage. "Would you guys stop it! I told you, Thor and Captain America would never be together. Sheesh."
Robin chuckled against his lips, leaning up to deepen the kiss just to hear Wally sputter and whine. Superboy kept the kiss going even longer just to hear Robin sigh and quietly moan against him. They split with a smile before rejoining the group.
Superboy let his hand clasp his boyfriend's, their joined appendages swinging between them. Yeah, he was okay. More than okay. He felt whole.
AN: I won't bore you with excessive apologies and excuses for being extremely late with this update. It's here now, so yay!.
At this point in the game I'm done with this story. The show has been, less enjoyable for me lately, and my inspiration in the fandom is drying up. But...that doesn't mean I'm completely done.
I want to write an epilogue for this story in the form of drabbles. So this is where I try to make it up to you lovely readers for my delay. I'd like your help with what to write. What's the one scene you want to see? Bats and Super Sr. on a date. Done. Smexiness with an older Robin and Supey Jr. Awesome. Wally and his further denial of attraction to Artemis. Sweet.
So yeah, give me one or two scenes you'd love to see. I'll pick the ones that inspire me the most and whip up some scenes for an epilogue. If you guys really get going we might end up with multiple epilogues, who knows. All I want to know is what scenes in my story's universe would you like to see.