Superman: New Beginnings
Summary: The world has a Justice League. The world has a Clark Kent. The world has no Superman. Not yet anyway. A different beginning for our Man of Steel.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
Author's Note: The basic premise of this idea is that for reasons to be explained Clark doesn't become Superman when he was suppose to. He carried on his life simply as Clark Kent until now he has finally reached Metropolis after the Justice League has already formed. Do they inspire him to become a hero or does the JL and the world still need a Superman to inspire them to be better?
A bus stops at the terminal. People of all shapes, sizes, colours and creeds disembark. It is nothing unusual especially in Metropolis. The City of Tomorrow. Thousands come every year trying to make a new life for themselves. Trying to make their dream come true.
For the last person off the bus it is not so much about realising a dream as trying to start his life over again. A man who tries not to be noticed but can't help but be. After all he is a tall well built man, with wavy black hair and deep cerulean blue eyes. He had already been noticed by a couple of women on the bus. He had tried to be as polite as possible in indicating he wasn't interested.
Not that girls aren't his type because they are. He just isn't use to them being so aggressive. Back home, for most of his life, he had barely been noticed by the female sex. Apart for Lana Lang that is but that ran its course years ago. There was someone at college but considering who she turned out to be that was fairly well doomed to failure from the start which in the end is what happened. Since then he had been very much alone. In fact for some very good reasons he hadn't really been interested in a relationship. It tied into the whole reasoning why he has come to this city.
He takes a deep breath and then coughs as the polluted air of the city hits his lungs. He takes in the skyline of the city that is going to be his home from now on. As he does so a thought enters his head; 'Clark Kent you are definitely not in Kansas anymore'.
Clark soon exits the terminal and starts upon his next task. Getting a taxi cab. As he does so his attention is caught by two people arguing near-by. A young man with red hair and a brunette woman roughly his age, maybe a little older.
"Lois!" the young man complains at the woman. "You said you were going to stop."
"Oh give it a rest Olsen. I am doing this and you can't stop me," she says somewhat snidely as she reaches into her bag.
For a moment Clark worries what it is she is about to do until she pulls out a pack of cigarettes. In motion almost faster than humanly possible she has it lit and placed between her lips. She lets out an audible sigh of pleasure as the nicotine hits her bloodstream. The young man on the other hand now has his hand to his head, shaking it in what Clark reckons is exasperation. Clark's conclusion must be is that the woman promised to try and quit smoking which she is clearly failing to do.
Clark thinks the woman looks familiar somehow but oddly for him he can't quite place her. Usually he can just place people instantly if he knows them. He has a photographic memory after all. Well he speculates perhaps even an eidetic memory but he never undertook any sort of test so he doesn't know for certain.
Clark is sure it is not really anything to work himself up over. Back to his original task of getting a taxi which is not a task that takes him too long. He opens the door to get in when that brunette woman suddenly dives in before him. Now where Clark comes from that is just...rude.
"Lois!" the young man shouts even more exasperated than before before looking at Clark with a tired apologetic expression as if he has had to do this many times before. "I'm sorry," he says to Clark.
The woman's head pops out of the cab. "Olsen. Come on. We have a schedule to keep."
The young man looks at her sternly, like he has finally had enough. "Lois."
"What?" she asks looking completely oblivious to what she has done wrong.
"Lois you just stole this man's cab."
Lois looks at Clark as if she just noticed him for the first time. "Well I'm sure he'll understand that we're in a hurry," she says not sounding the least bit contrite for her actions.
The young man pinches the bridge of his nose and shuts his eyes for a moment before looking at Clark again. "I'm really sorry about this," he says again. "Look how about we share a cab. Where are you going?"
Clark takes a moment to assess the young man before deciding to go with his gut instinct that he seems like a good person and answer by giving him the address of the friend he is planning to stay with while in Metropolis.
The young man cocks his head to the side as he visualises where that is. "That is on our way actually," he announces. "So how about we spilt the fare?"
"Sure," Clark decides. "If it is not too much bother," he adds, "Mr..."
"Oh Olsen. Jimmy Olsen but please just call me Jimmy," he says introducing himself and holding out his hand.
Clark shifts his suitcase to his other hand and takes the hand. "Clark Kent," Clark says introducing himself.
Whoa. This guy has a hell of a grip Jimmy thinks to himself at the strength he feels his hand squeezed with.
"What are you doing now?" Lois asks, with her the one now sounding exasperated and impatient to boot at still waiting for Jimmy.
Jimmy explains to her what they are doing. Lois opens her mouth to protest but Jimmy cuts her off. "Lois you already stole the man's cab. The least you can do is share it with him when his destination is on the way," he tells her quite firmly.
For a brief second Clark swears he sees admiration in the woman's eyes at Jimmy for standing up to her but it vanishes as quickly as it appeared. "Fine," she says somewhat petulantly. "But if we're late you are explaining it to Perry."
"Big change there then," Jimmy mutters somewhat sarcastically under his breath. In fact a normal person wouldn't have heard it but Clark did.
Clark puts his suitcase in the trunk of the cab and gets in next to Jimmy who sits in the middle with Lois on the far side. Jimmy makes a brief introduction. "Clark Kent, Lois Lane. Lois, Clark Kent."
Oh now Clark knows why he recognised her. Now he has heard her full name it all clicks into place. He knows of the world famous reporter Lois Lane although he felt she tended towards scandal too much in her writing but of course what she was most famous for was all her pieces on the Justice League. "Pleasure to meet you," he says to her politely in the way he was raised to.
"I'm sure it is," she says with some hostility, clearly not happy about this situation.
Jimmy rolls his eyes and leans over to whisper in her ear. "Lois. Be nice."
Lois frowns for a second as the cab drives off before making an effort to be nice. "So where do you hail from?" she asks Clark.
"Smallville," he tells her.
"Never heard of it," she admits.
"It's in Kansas."
That would be why Lois thinks to herself. Great. Here she is in a rush stuck in a cab with a country bumpkin. Can her day get any worse?
"So what brings you to Metropolis?" Jimmy asks curious.
"It probably sounds clichéd but a fresh start."
"You're right," Lois says but before she can say 'That does sound clichéd' Jimmy gives her a glare stopping her. When she thinks on it later she will realise that if she had said it that would have made her sound rude. Because of that she secretly admires the way Jimmy stands up to her. He helps to put a kibosh on her flawed manners. "So uh any reason in particular you are wanting a fresh start?" Lois asks instead.
"My parents died," Clark says sadly.
If Clark was going to go back to the beginning his life ended up in the place it is now during college. He was in his final year studying for a degree in journalism, along with a couple of other subjects. He could have done more but he felt that would have raised too many suspicions so he deliberately limited himself. Anyway he was in his final year, he had just gotten over the end of his relationship with Lori Lemaris, when the phone rang. It was his mother in tears. His father had had a heart attack.
In about as much time as it took his mother to replace the receiver Clark was standing there in the hallway of the farm house. It only took him a second to see by how his mother looked what had happened. His father was dead. Later when he was slightly more in control of his emotions Clark would learn that the heart attack had been massive and sudden and that even he for all his powers couldn't have done anything. Yet Clark can't help but feel that there should have been something he could have done. After all he has all these powers and yet he couldn't save one of the people who meant most to him.
Of course in telling this story to his cab-mates Clark is obviously skirting around the whole 'he has super-powers angle'. That is something he is not going to share.
His father's funeral came and went but Clark did not return to college. He felt obligated to take over the running of the farm. It took about a year for his mother to persuade him not to stay out of any feeling of obligation. That it was his father's wish that Clark choose to do whatever he wanted with his life. That if he wished to stay and work the farm that it was because that is what Clark truly wanted.
So Clark decided to look into the possibility of finishing college because, as much as he enjoyed farming, he did feel a pull to be elsewhere, to do something else with his life. His mother said that she would support him whatever decision he made.
Clark spent about yet another year debating internally with himself about what to do before he finally decided that he would finish college. Then, as with his father, Clark's decision was taken out of his hands. His mother was diagnosed with cancer. Leukemia to be precise. The doctors gave her six months. She managed to fight it for two years because Clark chose to give up his own personal dreams and look after her.
A few days from the end, when they both knew that the end was close, his mother had made him promise that after she was gone that he would pursue his own dreams. Clark promised her which was why after her funeral, after he had sorted out the farm, he packed a few belongings in a suitcase and at the age of 26 got on a bus with the intention of starting over again. He could have flown here in seconds but felt like taking the slow way to give him time to try and get his head together.
So far he has to say that idea hasn't worked because he is still as clueless as what to do with his life now as when he stepped on the bus.
Back to the present in the cab and Jimmy is giving Clark a sympathetic pat on the arm. Poor guy. He seemed so nice as well. Doesn't seem right to Jimmy somehow that Clark lost his parents that way. "I'm sorry about your parents."
"Thank you," Clark says back as the expected thing to say. "So what about you. Why were you at the bus terminal?" he asks wishing to change the subject.
Jimmy turns to look at Lois who in turn is staring out the window brooding. "We were following a lead."
"Sounds exciting," Clark remarks.
"Well this one didn't turn out." Which is why Lois is brooding. "But, hey, it happens from time to time," Jimmy says with a shrug of his shoulders.
Lois lets out a soft snort at hearing Jimmy's words. Maybe it did happen occasionally to other reporters but not to her. When she gets her hands on her source who gave her the busted tip she is going to make him wish he was never born.
"Maybe if things had turned out differently you would be experiencing the same type of scenario," Jimmy points out after Clark mentioned studying in journalism.
Clark purses his lips. "Maybe," he concedes. At the time he really did want to be a journalist but now, with so much having happened to him, that drive just wasn't there anymore.
Just then an explosion up ahead causes the cab to screech to a halt. In the blink of an eye almost Lois is out the door and running right towards it. Maybe this can make up for her busted tip. Jimmy is soon in pursuit shouting after her leaving Clark in the cab.
He thinks on what to do for a moment before against his better judgement he pays the driver the fare, grabs his suitcase and heads off in the same direction as Jimmy and Lois. By the time he pushes his way through the crowd to spot them he finds himself near a bank which is surrounded by police.
The glass front of the bank has already been shattered by the looks of it by something quite large. Soon he sees what it is as a giant mechanical spider steps out of the bank with what looks like a puppet at the controls in the cockpit on top.
"Surrender Toyman!" the police order.
"I don't think so," Toyman sing-songs in a creepy Mr Rodgers type of voice. He presses a button and two hatches on either side open up. What look like mini-guns slide out and they fire...sucker arrows?
The arrows stick to the police cars and for several seconds nothing seems to happen but it seems the police know better as they dive out of the way just before the cars explode.
Seeing this makes Clark feel...well angry for a start. How can anyone have such a callous disregard for life?
Toyman just laughs. "Oh this is so much fun but I have to go now."
"You are not going anywhere!" an imposing voice from above pronounces.
Everyone looks up as the figure of Wonder Woman, leader of the Justice League, floats down like some sort of angel until she is level with Toyman. She is dressed in a red tunic with its straps and neckline in silver. The neckline is in the shape of a W with an eagle's head on the point of the letter. Her legs are covered by a form fitting pair of midnight blue trousers. Securing them is a large belt of silver with the image of an eagle and stars engraved into it and attached to the belt is a golden lasso. On her feet are a pair of dark red boots with a white trim around the top which continues into a white stripe that goes down the front of the boot. Upon her wrists are two silver bracelets. Upon her left arm over her bicep is a silver armlet shaped with a W facing forward. Around her neck she wears a similar looking silver necklace again shaped with a W on her throat. Upon her head is a silver tiara with a red star in its centre.
"You! Again! Why are you always spoiling my fun?" Toyman whines.
"Make this easy on yourself Toyman and surrender," Wonder Woman orders.
"You know you seem tense. What is up with that? Is it your time of the month or something?"
Wonder Woman's eyes flash in rage. "What did you say?"
"No. I know what it is. It is growing up on an island full of woman. What you need is to find a guy and get laid and well you should know that I am available."
Clark can see Wonder Woman's fists clench in what he guesses is anger. In fact one of her eyes is twitching ever so slightly.
"So is that a yes?" Toyman asks with a lecherous overtone.
Wonder Woman says nothing but her fists clench tighter still. "Last warning Toyman," she says with barely controlled anger in her voice. "Surrender!"
"Not going to happen Wonder Babe!" The front two legs of the spider then swing at Wonder Woman but she catches them easily and rips them clean off.
"Hey! Do you have any idea how long I spent building this?" Toyman complains as he tries to fire those sucker arrows at Wonder Woman who with skill and grace twists and dodges through the air all of them missing her as she unhitches her lasso from her belt, loops one of the guns and rips it off followed by the other.
At this point Toyman tries to make a run for it but Wonder Woman manages to lasso the back legs of the spider. She then pulls hard, the spider falls flat before Wonder Woman ties the legs up like a cowboy does to a bull at a rodeo. She then pulls Toyman from the cockpit and delivers him to the police.
This allows Clark to see her on the ground relatively close up. He had never seen any of the Justice League this close up before. Sure he had read the papers, seen the photos, saw them on the news like everyone else had but never in the flesh and in the flesh Clark would not hesitate to say that Wonder Woman must be the most beautiful and magnificent woman he had ever seen. Clark did not know it was possible for someone so flawlessly perfect to exist yet there she is not more than a couple of dozen feet away from him.
His gawking is picked up on by Jimmy who has noticed Clark standing there. "Yeah she is really something isn't she," Jimmy says in agreement, essentially gawking in the same manner. No matter how many times he sees Wonder Woman the effect is the same. His words gets Jimmy a swift, hard elbow in the ribs from Lois who is shooting Jimmy her patented death glare. "However she is nothing next to you Lois," he quickly amends not wishing to incur Lois' wrath. In response to that Lois seem to physically fill and hold her head just a little bit higher than before.
"I'm going to get a statement," Lois announces before she bursts her way through the police lines shouting "Wonder Woman! Lois Lane! Daily Planet!"
Jimmy shakes his head and chuckles a little as the police desperately try and stop her. That's Lois for you and you just have to accept her as is or walk away and since he wasn't walking away from the job he loved he accepted as is.
Clark just watches on in bemusement for awhile before deciding he should go. From the map of Metropolis he memorised he actually isn't that far from his destination. He can just walk the rest of the way. He says farewell to Jimmy.
Jimmy shakes Clark's hand. "Well it was nice meeting you. If you are ever near the Planet after work hours there is this bar across the street we go to. You'd be more than welcome."
"Um thanks. Maybe," Clark says not wanting to say no and seem rude or impolite before he starts to walk off.
"Hope to see ya around CK!" Jimmy shouts after him.
'CK? What kind of nickname is that?' Clark asks himself. It takes him about 20 minutes after that before he arrives outside the block of apartments that is his destination. He presses the buzzer and waits a few seconds.
"Who is it?" the voice asks.
Clark can't help but be slightly mischievous here. "The Easter Bunny," he replies.
There is an unladylike snort in response to that. "Don't give up your day job Clark." That makes him smile. "Come on up," the voice permits.
The door is opened and Clark makes his way to the top floor penthouse apartment and knocks on the door which opens to reveal a woman with auburn red hair dressed in clothes Clark reckons would probably cost a fortune if she didn't design and make them herself. Lana Lang, born of Smallville, Kansas, was now one of the most sought after fashion designers in the world. "Hey Lana," he says a little shyly.
Lana smiles warmly at seeing him, steps forward and gives him a great big hug. "Come here you."
Clark gently wraps his arms around her. It was nothing more than a friendly hug but it was still nice all the same.
Lana pulls back and looks him over. "So how are you?" she asks him having not seen him since Mrs Kent's funeral and there he had been grief stricken and pretty much devastated.
"Alright. Coping," is his bland answer because physically he is always in perfect health so her query has to do with his mental state.
Lana takes that as to mean he isn't really doing that great but she lets it go. He'll talk when he is ready. Lana steps to the side and waves him in. "Come on inside and we'll get you settled."
Clark steps inside, taking a breath as he does so. Lana was putting him up so he guesses this is where he starts his life over again. He just hopes he is up to the challenge.
Author's Note: Sad I know to kill both Ma and Pa off before the events of this story even begins but it was required to be the answer to the question. What would stop Clark becoming a hero? Answer: That he needed to look after his mother. Anyway that leaves Lana to fill in a void as someone Clark can talk to so she'll be in this story quite a bit. Since DC are rebooting and redesigning Wonder Woman's costume I thought I might as well use it in my story. Reviews are always appreciated.