More Than Friends
"He's breathing. Pulse is strong. He'll be all right."
And with that Conner and Diana (quietly) breathe a sigh of relief.
Conner watched Diana gently caress Kal's cheek as his head rested comfortably on Diana's lap. It was very natural for Conner to see Kal and Diana like this just as it was natural of him to turn Kal over to Diana when he carried him inside the ship.
Five years ago, Conner would've been confused to see a comforting gesture between the two but in the past five years he had gotten to know Kal and his world that included Diana.
Conner no longer hated Kal. The anger he felt towards Kal for rejecting him was replaced by strong admiration and brotherly love. After that night when the Young Justice freed the Justice League from Vandal Savage's control, Kal became more open towards him. He shared his civilian name and introduced Conner to the Earthlings who raised him. When Conner was invited to the Kent Farm, he was very nervous meeting Jonathan and Martha Kent. He worried he would be met with rejection and fear but the Kents welcomed Conner with open arms.
The Kents treated Conner like a second son, asking all kinds of questions about him so they could learn everything about Conner and sharing their farmers' life with him. Much to Kal's chagrin, the Kents shared photos and embarrassing stories of Kal to which Conner loved and later teased Kal about. Out of growing respect for Kal, he did so when the two were alone or in front of the Kents, who he had dinner with once a month.
With Kal growing more trusting of Conner, he shared more of his life outside Superman with him. When Conner visited him in Metropolis, Kal showed Conner his apartment, took him to baseball games, basketball games and the movies. Kal spent time with Conner, to learn his likes and dislikes, to learn about his life in school and how well Conner could fight. Each learned a thing or two from each other the more they spent time together. They even perfected the Triple Combo which became the Quadruple Combo tonight.
When Kal invited Conner to his Fortress in the Arctic, that's when Conner knew Kal trusted him completely. He knew very few members of the Justice League have been invited to the Fortress. It was something Kal kept very guarded and close to him.
When Conner stepped in the Fortress with Kal, he expected they were alone; or as much as they could be with the robots rumored to be operating the Fortress when Kal wasn't there. Conner didn't find it odd but he was surprised to find Wonder Woman there. Since he had little contact with Wonder Woman compared to his correspondence with other Justice League members, Conner didn't have an opinion of her other than being one of the founding members of the Justice League. From afar, Wonder Woman appeared serious and very businesslike. When Kal gave Conner the tour of the Fortress with Wonder Woman, it was very obvious she knew her way around the Fortress almost as well as Kal.
During dinner, Wonder Woman was very engaging with Conner. She laughed, which Conner rarely heard from her. She smiled, which Conner rarely saw from her.
The way Wonder Woman responded to Kal during dinner and he to her was also a mystery. They were relaxed with each other; sharing smiles, laughs and even occasional teasing. It was during dinner Wonder Woman addressed Superman as Kal, which was a shortened version of his birth name, Kal-El. It was the first time Conner heard that name and it was the first time Conner suspected there was more than friendship between Superman and Wonder Woman.
After dinner, Conner and Wonder Woman spent time alone in Kal's alien menagerie. She was showing him how to feed the alien animals when she confessed being pleased with Kal opening up to Conner, sharing his life and her joy to learn how well they were getting along.
Wonder Woman kept the attention on Conner and Kal that night but Conner couldn't help but ask Wonder Woman, "Are you and Kal more than friends?"
Wonder Woman smiled and only said, "What do you think?"
Conner never got an answer out of the Wonder Woman but then again, he didn't need to.
As Conner waited for Kal to awaken, he watched Kal's chest rise and fall evenly. Diana continued to caress Kal's cheek, watching and waiting for Kal to open his eyes. Diana looked to be in her own world. Her sole focus was Kal. It wasn't the first time, Conner knew, that Kal and Diana were in this position.
"So, were you worried?" Conner asked Diana.
"Superman is very strong. It will take more than an explosion to take him down."
"Yeah, but were you worried?" Conner asked again.
"What do you think?" Diana asked back.
Diana was a tough Amazon to the end. She was not one to become emotional in front of others. Like Kal, she guarded her emotions. Conner suspected Diana revealed her emotions alone or with someone she could trust.
Diana twirled a finger around the wet curl across Kal's forehead. A smile touched her lips. "He's coming around."
Kal opened his eyes to see Diana smiling down at him. "Diana."
Diana's blue eyes sparkled. "Hi. How do you feel?"
"Like I was in an explosion."
Diana chuckled. "That's because you were." Kal shifted lightly. "Don't move," her tone softened. "Conserve your strength. I have you."
Kal smiled briefly before somberly asking, "The Krolotaons. What happened to them?"
"They died," Conner informed Kal.
Kal turned his head to Conner. He wasn't aware his little brother was there. "I tried to save them. I tried to get them in their ship where I could take them away before the blast…."
"Hush," Diana told him. "It's all right. You did all you could do."
"But it wasn't enough." It hurt Kal he couldn't save them. They were not at fault. "They hated us for what we did to their world. They wouldn't believe me at the cost of their own lives." Kal gazed at Diana again. "We have to make this right, Diana."
"I know," she, Kal and everyone who lost sixteen hours knew what they had to do. "We will."