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Mr. Beeto
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Location: Warren, Michigan, USA
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Family Reunion - 6/?
Aug 15th, 2008 at 12:49am
 
Title: Family Reunion
Author: Mr. Beeto
Rating: PG-13
Beta: htbthomas and Shado Librarian
Summary: AU Twist on Donner/Singer Movieverse: Tie the three films together into a cohesive whole, and provide a more credible and interesting reason for Superman to have returned to Krypton.

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Author's Notes:

Once again, Kryptonian speech is italicized and enclosed in double chevrons (« and »). Thanks again to the beta team of Shado Librarian and htbthomas.

Chapter 6 - Strange New World

Thursday, September 14, 2006 7:45AM CDT

Clark stretched and faced the sun to recharge after burying his ship a hundred feet below the Kansas corn. It had taken a lot more out of him than it should have, but at least he had his powers back, if not his stamina. He only allowed himself a moment for the indulgence, before peeking inside the house with his X-ray vision to check on Kara. She was still in the kitchen, but sitting on the floor, fascinated with his mother's golden retriever, Shelby. Martha was calling her back to table to finish her breakfast, gesturing to her half-finished pancakes. Satisfied with the tableau he observed inside the house, he turned and walked into the barn.

He directed his attention to the loose straw that covered the floor and concealed the trap door to the cellar. A whoosh of superbreath cleared the floor, and a moment later he was slowly descending the stairs. The small space was even more crowded than he remembered with stacks of newspapers from the past six years now also cluttering the space. Clark squeezed by the rows of bundled papers, opened a cabinet door, and set the crystals he'd retrieved from the ship inside a plastic storage container that also held the blue and red uniforms of his alter-ego.

He surveyed the bundled newspapers around him and discovered that along side old issues of The Daily Planet, his mother had also bundled old issues of The Torch, the community's weekly local paper. Well, I guess The Torch is the best way to keep up to date on Smallville, he concluded. I might as well start there. Clark scanned the bundles with his X-Ray vision, mentally reassembling them in date order, and began perusing the headlines.

"Smallville Says Goodbye to Mildred Hubbard, 1938-2000" - Ben's wife passed away? Oh, a heart attack, just like Dad, and only a couple weeks after I left. Poor Ben. Mildred was a nice lady.

"Smallville Hosts Pot-Luck for Congressman-Elect Ross" - Glad Pete won that election...

"Crows Competitive in Quarter-Final Heartbreaker" - That's farther than the basketball team ever made it when I went to school there. Maybe if Dad had let me play...

"County-wide Wi-Max Rolled Out" - Whoa! Wireless broadband for the whole county? When did that become a priority? Oh, Pete sponsored the bill in Congress for that...

"Blood Drive Held for 9/11 Victims" - What on Earth? I guess I'll find out the details when I get to the Planet bundles.

Clark made quick work of the Torch's back issues, reflecting on the community's high and lows and its population's ebbs and flows. He then turned his attention to The Daily Planet bundles and repeated the process. He immediately noticed a stark contrast in the tone between the Torch and the Planet's reporting - there didn't seem to be much hope reflected in his former colleagues' writing. Lois' writing in particular had taken on a pessimistic tone. Of course, the stories covered were also more discouraging: Lives lost in a rough year for natural disasters; The September 11 Attacks; War in the Middle East; Crime on the rise in areas that could least tolerate it...

Clark quickly and steadfastly continued scanning each issue, memorizing the articles, occasionally pausing over a particularly troubling story. He imagined the missing years as he read, moving through the remainder of 2000, then on to 2001... 2002... 2003... 2004. Finally, an article from September 8, 2005 stopped him cold, and he fished the issue out from the middle of stack, spreading it open on top of the bundles as he slowly read it.

"Why the World Doesn't Need Superman" - Lois wrote that? I should have talked to her before I left. ...Oh, boy... "We realize it was better if he had never come at all..." I really should have talked to her. After re-reading the editorial for a third time, he realized how tired he was and he abandoned the cellar and headed back to the house.

-o-o-o-


Clark entered the kitchen just as Kara was finishing her pancakes. Martha had apparently coaxed her charge away from Shelby long enough to finish her breakfast. His mother detected his disheartened demeanor and gently probed, "Did everything go all right?"

Clark masked his expression and answered simply, "The ship's taken care of. Any problems with Kara?"

"She's been a little angel," Martha beamed. "We're getting to know each other in spite of the language barrier, though Shelby seems to be managing even better at that than me. Oh, I think it may be a good idea for you to explain that she's getting a bath after breakfast. I remember how you use to fight us at bath time, and I'm too old to go into combat."

«What are you two talking about?» Kara ask curiously.

«I'm sorry, Kara,» Clark apologized. «I keep forgetting that we haven't taught you 'English' yet

«What's 'English'

«It's the human language that my mother and I have been speaking,» he explained, gesturing to Martha.

Kara narrowed her eyes and cross her arms across her chest. «I though you said you were Kal-El!» she complained defiantly. «His mother is Aunt Lara

"I take it she doesn't like baths," Martha commented mirthfully.

"I didn't get to that part yet," Clark muttered. He returned his attention to his cousin and kindly explained, «It's not that simple, Kara. Jor-El and Lara died when I was just a baby, and I was too little to take care of myself when I got to Earth. But I was found by two of the most wonderful human beings you could ever hope to meet. They brought me into their home and their hearts. They adopted me and became my parents, and it's because of their love and guidance that I became the man that I am. It doesn't make Jor-El and Lara any less my father and mother, but the humans who raised me are my father and mother, too. Do you understand that

Kara's rage dissipated slightly at that. She glanced briefly over at Martha before locking eyes with her cousin and sadly asking, «Aunt Lara's still your mother

«Yes

«And this lady is your mother, too, because she adopted you when you were little, after... after Aunt Lara and Uncle Jor-El died?» she continued.

«Yes. Her name is 'Martha'

«Are your human mother and father going to adopt me, too?» Kara asked anxiously, looking back at Martha.

Clark smiled sadly, and informed her, «Well, my human father died when I was seventeen years old. It's just my mother, now, and she'd rather be your grandmother

Kara was silent for a moment, and looked down in contemplation. When she finally looked up, she asked quietly, «Does that mean that you're going to adopt me

Clark sighed deeply, and scrutinized his cousin for a moment. «Possibly,» he answered after a moment. «There wasn't a lot of time to plan things out before I left to get you, so we're still trying to figure things out. And I don't have a wife who could be a mother for you.» He started cutting into his pancakes before chancing a glance back at Kara. Her tear-glistened eyes and the quivering lower lip sent him quickly around the table, and he pulled her into his embrace. He told her sincerely, «Kara, no matter what happens, remember this: We'll always be family, and as long as there's life in me, I will always be there for you. I promise.» Kara wrapped her arms around him and began quietly crying in his arms.

-o-o-o-


Martha's thoughts were of her houseguests during the drive back from town with her groceries. The poor little girl seemed be having a tough first day on Earth, with the nightmare last night and her breakdown after breakfast. Clark had managed those episodes remarkably well, and she had no doubt he'd make a wonderful father, despite his apprehension. They still had some work to do to get everything in place for that, though they had some time before that had to be done.

She was also relieved that the pair had overcome their incapacitation from the previous night, when they'd both been so weak that they could hardly stand. She'd been worried about that, and Clark had clearly lost some weight. Kara was terribly thin as well, and Martha assumed that must have been a side effect of being frozen in stasis for so long. However, Clark had recovered enough to bury their spaceship, and Kara's heritage was starting to assert itself as well. When they'd been outside after her bath, tossing a tennis ball around for Shelby, it had gotten away from Kara, disappearing into the sky over the horizon. The child didn't know her own strength. Well, Clark should be able to help her with that, Martha thought. He knows better than anybody what she's going through.

Martha turned into the drive of the Kent farm, and immediately spotted the pair sitting in the sun on the steps, with Shelby lying on the porch behind them. They walked out to greet her as she parked her truck beside the house. Clark opened the passenger door and informed his mother, "We'll carry the groceries in for you." He handed some of the bags off to Kara and took the remainder himself.

"So, what have you two been up to while I was gone," she asked pleasantly as she followed them into the house.

Clark whispered something to Kara, provoking a smile from her and she excitedly answered in English, "We do flash cards!"

"Oh, you're learning English!" Martha responded in delight. "How wonderful!"

"She has a rather limited vocabulary right now," Clark explained. "Our focus this morning was on the alphabet and phonetics - the flash cards you bought came in handy for that. I've also been teaching her a few English words here and there while we were at it."

"It'll be a lot for her to remember," Martha commented.

"Well, she has an eidetic memory like me, so I don't think that'll be too much of a problem," Clark suggested. "After lunch she'll get reading lessons and work on controlling her strength - I wanted to give her a little more time in the sun to recover before getting into the powers."

"Are you still feeling the effects from the kryptonite?" Martha asked, the concern apparent in her voice.

"My powers are back, but earlier this morning, I was tiring a bit quicker than usual," he admitted. "Give us enough time in the sun, though, and we'll both be back to a hundred percent before too long."

"Good," Martha answered simply. She began putting away the groceries, and casually added, "It's got to be difficult for her but she's incredibly lucky to have you here to help her. You're doing a remarkable job, you know."

"Thanks, Mom," Clark answered sincerely. "Though I still don't quite feel that I know what I'm doing."

"That gets better with time," Martha assured him. "Just don't work her too hard. Remember that she's a little girl, and she'll need play time, too."

Clark nodded his agreement, and helped his mother put away the rest of the groceries.

-o-o-o-


Thursday, September 14, 2006 3:15PM CDT

Kara still couldn't believe all of the incredible things that she and Kal-El could do on this strange world. She never imagined that anyone could possibly throw a ball as far as she had thrown Shelby's ball that morning, or run as fast as she now knew she could run. Even now, running through the fields at two hundred miles an hour with her cousin, she could hardly comprehend that she was able to do such incredible things, so easily. Kal-El had demonstrated all the things that he could do and explained how he was able to do them, and Kara found that she was also able to do those things. She could hear conversations from miles away, see through walls, blow out her breath with hurricane force, and burn things by concentrating her vision upon it. She'd even been able to float up into the air. Kal-El had been surprised that she'd been able to do that.

«Turn to your left here,» Kal-El commanded, pointing in the indicated direction. She obeyed, and made a wide turn to her left, nearly stumbling. Kal-El caught her arm, and kept her on her feet, and she continued at speed through the rows of plants. Corn, Kara reminded herself. He said the English word for these plants is 'corn.' Kal-El had explained that Earth didn't have the technology for replicators, and people actually had to grow their food instead. These plants would eventually be harvested and served as food. This was a weird planet. Father said it would be different here, Kara remembered. Father... As thoughts of her lost parents overtook her again, she slowed her pace and came to a stop.

Clark noticed the tears glistening in his cousin's eyes, and squatted down in front of her. «Kara, are you okay?» he asked compassionately.

«I miss them,» she said softly.

«I know, and I wish I could make things easier for you,» he told her. »I know it doesn't help much now, but it will get better with time

«It's my fault,» she confessed.

«Kara, you mustn't blame yourself,» Kal-El insisted. «It's natural to feel guilty when you survive and others don't, but

«No, you don't understand,» Kara contended, «It's my fault that they're dead

«You can't mean that,» Kal-El consoled her.

Kara looked back at her cousin with tears now dripping down her face. «I wasn't where I was supposed to be,» she admitted. «They told me to stay close by, but I got bored...»

Clark listened intently as Kara described her last moments on Krypton, when her mother finally tracked her down at the playground with her friends near their home. «We've been looking all over for you!» Allura had scolded her. She activated her wrist comm, muttering the words, «Found her. We'll meet you there

Their home was falling down around them when they finally got there and boarded the ship, and they just barely made it clear before the south wall of Kandor fell into the Chasm, taking millions of homes carved into the crystal with it, including theirs. They'd just escaped Krypton's gravity when their red sun began to shrink behind the planet.

«Translate to hyperspace!» Allura had screamed hysterically.

«We're still too close to the sun,» Zor-El insisted. Allura knew as well as he did that attempting translation too close to a stellar mass would disintegrate the ship, and she nodded her understanding. «Five more minutes... it's going to be close,» he informed her.

Kara had been glued to the window and witnessed the sun disappear behind Krypton, and then light up in a fireball brighter than anything she'd ever seen. Only the automatic filters on the viewport had prevented her from being blinded by the intensity. «Ten seconds,» she heard her father call out.

Two seconds before they would have been clear, the ship's safety systems automatically transferred all power to shields to protect them from the shock wave it detected, preventing their translation to hyperspace. The wave hit them five seconds later, and even with the shielding fully powered, they'd been violently thrown about the cabin and knocked unconscious. When Kara woke, her parents had very worried expressions on their faces, and her father's brow was wrinkled in concentration over the console. «There has to be someone, somewhere...» he had muttered.

«We made it this far,» Allura had consoled her husband and daughter. «We'll figure something out.» Kara had been bored out of her mind while her parents reviewed the information on the console, and it seemed like hours before they finally pulled themselves from their analysis and tucked her into the stasis chamber cot. They'd both been extremely attentive, telling her how much they loved her, that she'd be at her new home on Earth before she knew it, and how wonderful a place it would be. When they activated the stasis unit, Kara had quickly succumbed to the darkness.

Thousands of years later, in a Kansas cornfield on a strange distant planet called Earth, Kara looked at her cousin with a distraught expression on her face. «If I had listened -», she began.

«Shhh...» Kal-El commanded, pulling her into a hug, holding her tight for a moment as her shoulders began to shake with sobs. When her crying subsided, he gently told her, «I know it's difficult, but you must not blame yourself for their deaths. You didn't mean for anything bad to happen, and nobody knew how much time we really had left. I was probably only a few seconds ahead of you, and my mother never let me out of her arms until it was time to go. There's no way to know how things would have gone if you'd been home with your parents

«But -» she protested.

«No 'buts,'» Kal-El interrupted authoritatively. «I don't blame you, and I don't think that your parents did, either. They wanted you to live, and the best way to honor their memory is to look forward, instead of to the past, and live the life that they wanted for you, one that would make them proud.» Kara clung tightly to her cousin, wishing for a way to believe those words as her cousin apparently did.

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« Last Edit: Sep 10th, 2008 at 1:26am by Mr. Beeto »  
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