Disclaimer: I do not own either Young Justice or its related characters. Such are the property of DC Comics, Warner Bros. Entertainment and Cartoon Network. I'm just borrowing them for some non-profit entertainment.
Chapter Eight: Published
It was finally Saturday, glorious, wonderful Saturday! It was the best day of the week, it was the day they would finally get rid of Superman as their den mother and get a new one. Robin had brought the card game Munchkin with him again and the kids, having passionately refused to go on another hike with the Boy Scout, sat down to play a game.
"And now I have to discard to the lowest level player." Conner glared at the cards in his hand, deciding which to discard. He passed three cards to Robin.
He looked at them. "Really, Supey? Wow. Okay. I Join a Super-Team and go up a level and apparently wear Underwear on the Outside and go up another level." He discarded the two Go-Up a Level cards. "And I'm gonna replace my Cape Town with the Narrow S-Cape and then sell for another level. I'm now able to put down this Eye Beams power I've been hanging on to for the past two round and I've now got a Mild-Mannered Disguise."
He looked down at the cards he had in play. 'Wow, I'm totally Superman.'
Everyone else groaned. "Damn it! Now he's level nine and over-powered. This is exactly what happened last time. Why'd you do that, Supey?"
"And now its his turn too…" M'gann sighed.
"That's right." The Boy Wonder grinned. "And I'm kicking down a Door!" He reached to the pile of Door cards and flipped the top most card face-up. "Damn it!"
Level 17 Foot
"Okay, this is for the winning level, everyone." Wally turned to the cards in his hand to find some way to prevent the Goddamn Robin from reaching level ten and winning the game (for a second week in a row).
"Relax. I got this." Conner still had a full hand of five cards. "The Foot, apparently, has a Better Costume Than Yours, pulse ten to level of monster." Robin was now, no longer fighting a level seventeen monster, but a level twenty-seven one. "And now, I use the Duplo-Ray to make two level twenty-seven Feet," he threw down another card, "and then, just for shits and giggles, I'm gonna Wandering Monster in the Level 20 Big Ol' Planet Eater Guy."
And with that, Conner's hand was empty and Robin was now fighting a force with the collective power level of seventy-four.
"That was mean, Supey."
Conner shrugged. "What can I say? I'm the clone of one of the biggest super-dicks on planet Earth."
"Okay, seriously, what the hell happened this past week?" Asked Artemis. "Yeah, Superman's an obnoxious and annoying Boy Scout, but don't you think you're being a little harsh?"
"No, I don't."
"He had every right to tell you to back off." Bruce was saying, though he wasn't sure if his kryptonian comrade was even listening. As the Batman was more than well aware, kryptonians were very hard headed. Clark was probably to busy brooding to be bothered to listen. "You're not his mentor Clark, and by your own insistence, neither are you his father, or anyone else who has authority over him."
The Superman opened his mouth as if to say something but though better of it and closed it again.
"I will be speaking to the boy." The Dark Knight assured him. "But don't think you're completely in the right here. As far as I'm concerned, you both acted poorly."
"Can I go now?" Clark finally asked. "My term as den mother is up and I wanna go home. I never thought I'd miss Luthor this much, but compared to that… boy..."
"No, you can't go." Bruce placed one hand on his hip in irritation. "There's still one more thing I need to do before you can go. Wait here."
The Dark Knight exited the briefing room where he and the Superman had been talking and made his way to the common area where the kids were playing cards. The Team all looked up when he entered, expecting an announcement of who their new den mother would be. But instead, the Batman fixed his stare on the Superboy and said, "Conner, we need to talk."
The genomorph had long since resigned himself to some sort of disciplinary action from the Batman and so it was with a heavy head that he pushed his chair back from the table and followed the Dark Knight out of the common room. As they passed, Bruce couldn't help but notice three novels by author Clark Kent and one spiral bound notebook in the garbage. He had expected the books, the notebook was new. He made a mental note to ask about it later.
Conner followed Batman into a briefing room to find Superman waiting there, looking impatient and harassed.
"What's he doing here?" Both kryptonian's choired in eerily identical tones of loathing.
Without warning or a word of explanation, the Batman reached out, catching both men off guard and managed to knock their heads together.
"Ow!" Both men drew back with identical exclamations of pain. "What was that for."
Damn, it was creepy when they spoke at the same time.
"Someone needed to bang your heads together." Bruce crossed his arms over his chest. "Superman, now you may go."
And he was gone. His exit causing an air vacuum that tousled Conner's hair and sent the Batman's cape to swooshing.
"Why don't you just call him 'Clark'?" The boy snarled. "That is his name, isn't it? Clark Kent, Daily Planet reporter and novelist from Kansas. I didn't know there was a Kansas, Krypton too! Exactly how much of his biography is true? I bet he's never even been to Kansas. I bet he's not even a reporter."
To all of this the Batman said nothing. Let the boy think whatever he liked.
Instead, Bruce delivered a lecture on responsibility and how he couldn't afford to allow himself to get into petty fights with normal kids. That he could seriously hurt someone if he miscalculated a blow and that even if he didn't hurt anyone else, he risked exposing himself when people noticed that he was unharmed.
To that Conner was quick to say that he did think of that and gave himself a couple visible buises after the fight to allay suspicion.
It was after that statement that the Batman had offered a small half-smiled and rubbed a thumb over Conner's unblemished forehead, the bruise he'd given himself having already healed thanks to his kryptonian heritage. "I know. Superman was actually quite disturbed to see it. I think you might actually have scared him."
To that, Conner had said nothing.
Their conversation done, the boy was excused and rejoined his Team. Their new den mother for the week was Hawkman and, as with most of the other den mothers, he was already playing least-in-sight. Everything looked to be returning to some semblance of normal.
While th kids were distracted, Bruce reached into the trash and pulled out the mystery notebook. Upon opening it, a two-page hand written letter fell out from between the pages of what looked like a science fiction story written in short hand. Bruce read the letter then skimmed the story, then got an idea.
"What's this?" Clark pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose as Jimmy placed a thin FedEx package next to his keyboard.
"Donno." The photographer shrugged. "A courier just dropped it off for you. Is it for a story?"
"I'm not really working on anything at the moment." The mild-mannered reporter tore the seal on the envelope in confusion. He pulled out a simple spiral bound notebook and a note. Recognizing the notebook as one belonging to his clone, Clark shoved it and the note back into the FedEx envelope and stood. "Jimmy, I just remembered something. I gotta go."
He brushed past the photographer, the package under his arm. He was safely barricaded in his own apartment when he finally pulled it back out again. As it turned out, Clark needn't have worried. The note that went along with the notebook was in Bruce's hand writing and the Batman would never write anything incriminating or damaging to his colleague's identity. The note simply said: 'Read this.'
And so, Clark did.
It was a science fiction piece about a boy whom was a clone of a very powerful member of an organization that maintained general peace and moderate prosperity for a Balkanized future version of the world. The story itself was a relatively simple one and was devoid of any sub-plots, the boy was no Tolkien. But it was rather telling and Clark found himself gaining insights into the boy that he hadn't even suspected after living a week with him.
Months passed and Superman never came up in the den mother rotation again. Nobody could tell whether this was by extreme coincidence or if Batman were manipulating the lottery to prevent Clark from drawing the short straw. Either way, Conner did not give a passing though to the Man of Steel until he found a curious package wrapped in brown paper resting innocently on his well made and un-slept in bed.
Curiously, he ripped the paper to reveal a book. A book with his own name proclaiming him as the author. He pulled the story the rest of the was from its brown paper, the title wasn't familiar, but after leafing through the pages there was no mistaking it. The story was his. But the most shocking bit was not that he was suddenly become a published author without his knowledge, but rather the Forward that had been written for it and who it had been written by.
"What the hell is this?"
Clark looked up, his eyes widening to surprise to see his clone standing in front of his desk in the bullpin of the Daily Planet, arms crossed over his chest, a scowl on his face.
"How did you get in here?"
"Roof access door. Answer the question."
Clark looked down at the book Conner had slid towards him. "Well, kiddo, that is a collection of paper pages marked with toner and bound with cardboard and glue in what is commonly referred to as a book."
The boy was not amused.
Clark thought it was rather funny.
"It's a peace offering." He slid the book back to the boy.
"Did Batman put you up to this?"
"He made me read it." The Superman confessed. "But it was my idea to have it published."
The boy continued to glare.
"Did you read the forward?"
Clark waited for him to say something.
All around them the chaos of the bullpin raged.
Finally the boy said, "You can be very nice on paper."
The boy took his book, turned and left.
Clark sighed. He really wasn't good with that boy. But he had taken the book instead of leaving it with Clark. That meant something… right?
(A/N: Overall, I'd say this was not my best work. But I hope you enjoyed it.)