Clark watched the small boy half hidden behind rocks, the boy's actions lit by the crackling fire, his shirt turned orange by the light. His son had turned six last week, but they'd waited a bit past Christmas to have a party for him. Most of the League was here, although not in costume. The children of the Kawatchee Reservation, chilled by the winter cold, were already inside Joseph's cabin.
The pinata was about to be burst.
But Kon was sitting out.
That bothered Clark. His son had friends. They'd worked very hard for him to have friends from both the reservation and from kindergarten. Kon had been out for a month before Christmas because he'd had trouble adjusting his new speed, but he had two friends whom he liked very much, a boy named Gerald and a girl named Cassie.
They weren't here today.
Kon was still glitching at best with his speed, sometimes moving too fast for human eyes to see, and they couldn't risk that even his friends would notice.
The Kawatchee, of course, were different. They knew . The children of the tribe had always known that Kon was special and they'd accepted that. They were all related, albeit distantly, after all. Besides, there were several Kawatchee youth with unusual powers of their own. There was a seven year old with a literal Midas touch (when he concentrated hard enough), a boy about Kon's age who could turn himself invisible, and two of Chief Joseph's grandsons were just like Khyla had been.
Kon's abilities were not so unusual here.
Which was why his son's aloofness bothered him.
Clark slid next to his son silently, waiting and watching as Kon practiced. It was quite a sight and, despite his abilities, despite watching Maddie and Kon practice his control for years, Clark was still amazed when Kon used his telekinesis. Perhaps that wonder was what Chloe felt every time she saw either of them use their gifts.
It would explain a lot.
Hovering in the air, about two feet above his head, were three small stones. Seamlessly they slipped in between each other, as if being juggled and, in a way, they were.
"Buddy, are you okay?"
His son startled and the pebbles rained to the ground. "Kangaroo! You scared me."
Clark rolled his eyes. Some things Kara encouraged. "Kon, why are you by yourself. You know we're doing the pinata and then pie."
"I like pie."
He chuckled. "I know. And grandma made apple."
His son nodded and climbed into Clark's lap. "I know. I wanted to think."
Kon didn't say anything at first but instead placed his hands on top of one of his. They traced patterns over his thumb. "What's a Nulec?"
Clark just barely kept from cursing. He and Chloe had also worked very hard to keep anything about Kon's real heritage. They told him "fairy tales" about Krypton, but Kon didn't know about the legends of the Numan and his son. It was something they'd argued with over the years with the tribe elders, who were tempted to worship them like the Second Coming instead of like a struggling cub reporter and a five year old.
"Kon, where did you hear that word?"
More playing with his thumb. "Graham. He told me. He said his grandma said that I was gonna save the Kawatchee."
Clark's grip on Kon tightened. Graham Ravenfeather's grandmother had a penchant for wearing cartoon characters on her shirts-today was Woody Woodpecker-as well as for honoring him and Chloe with gifts they didn't want. It wasn't surprising she'd said something to Graham.
"That's not really true, buddy."
"He said it was. He said his grandma said that we were me-ahs."
"Messiah. That's the word."
"It means she thinks we're supposed to save the tribe. It's not true just because some men painted it on a wall five hundred years ago. We don't have to do anything. You don't have to do anything you don't want to do."
Clark patrolled the streets of the Metropolis, slipping from scene to scene. He tried to stay inconspicuous, unseen. It was how the rumor of The Ghost had started. Kara's actions just compounded the legend. He worked with Oliver and the Justice Brothers, and he liked it. But Kon didn't have to have that life if he didn't want to. Clark wasn't going to force any destinies on his son that he didn't want, especially when he was barely six.
"We have special things."
"Yeah, we do."
"Like Martian Manhunter and he's cool and helps people."
Kon didn't know yet how much his Uncle J'onn had helped their little family.
"I can't save stuff."
"Well, you're six and they really shouldn't have said anything to you. It wasn't nice."
Kon burrowed into his side. "I break things."
"I know, but you're much better than you used to be. You're getting so things hardly break at all."
"I can't, kangaroo."
"You don't have to," he replied, stroking Kon's hair. "You have a choice. You get to be whoever you want. You can grow up and be an artist like Maddie or write like mommy. You can take photos like Uncle Jimmy or-"
"Be like you?"
"I think you're a lot like me already. Too much thinking."
"I like it," he defended. "So I don't have to save stuff?"
"No, but you have a very important choice some day. One day, when you're big like me, you do have to choose what you're going to do with your powers. You can use them like the Manhunter if you really want to. You can pretend you don't have them at all, or-"
"You know about Gotham, that they have scary people."
Kon shuddered. "Like the Penguin!"
"Right. Some people do bad things with their powers. They hurt people. I know you're a good boy. The one thing you can't do when you get big is hurt people. We have to be good."
"I know, daddy. I'd wouldn't be like the Penguin or the mean clown. I promise."
"I know, buddy, but you asked. So we have to be good."
Kon looked up at him and his eyes were Lana's eyes and Clark flashed back to Scion's labs and to having her hand around his neck. "What happens if I don't? I don't wanna be bad, but I stole things once and I made Gerald sad."
"You're not that bad, Kon. You won't be bad, cause mommy and me and Aunt Kara and grandma and Aunt Lois won't let you be."
"Good! Now pie!" he squealed hopping up and blurring into the cabin.
Clark sighed as he stood up. Lana wasn't here anymore and Kon was his and Chloe's. He'd be good.
Clark would make sure of it.