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Reaching For Horizons: Snapshots

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The Proposal

Once Lois knew about Clark’s big red-and-blue secret, she fit even more naturally into his life. Now that she wasn’t constantly wondering where Clark was getting to all the time, she actually started to help cover for him when he had to go to his ‘other’ job. As a result of her knowing, they became closer, shared with and trusted one another even more. They even managed to go on actual dates from time to time, and Clark found himself falling for her even harder. Lois was smart, funny, and courageous, never backing down and sticking to her principles.

She was also amazing with Conner.

If Clark had ever been worried about how having Conner in his life might affect his relationship to Lois, he shouldn’t have. Lois was patient and loving with Conner, taking time to bond with him both with Clark and with just the two of them. She made sure to include Conner in her life and keep up to date on what was going on with him. Wherever Clark felt like he was falling short as a father, Lois was there to pick up his slack. They made a great team.

It was little wonder that Clark asked to marry her so quickly after ‘officially’ getting together.

“It’s barely been a year Clark, are you sure?” Lois asked, her words at odds with the way she admired the new ring on her finger.

“Of course,” Clark said, pulling her close. “I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life.” He leaned down to kiss her forehead. “I love you, my family loves you, Conner loves you. I couldn't imagine my life without you Lois.”

Lois hummed and leaned into him, wrapping her arms around him and breathing deeply. “I love you too,” she said. They were quiet for a moment. “Does Conner know you were planning to ask me?”

“No,” Clark said. At Lois’s look, he tried to defend himself. “I didn't want to get his hopes up just in case.”

“As if I would have said no, you doofus,” Lois said, rolling her eyes. “We should probably tell him together.”

They waited until the next day, after Conner came home from school. He was doing alright in his classes, but he didn’t seem that interested in his studies, spending the majority of his time hanging out with the Team. Clark tried not to worry too much about it, though he wished Conner tried harder to make some normal friends.

“Hi Lois,” Conner greeted, kicking off his shoes by the door. “Are you staying for dinner again?”

“Hi kiddo,” Lois said, smiling and ruffling Conner’s riot of curls. Clark’s hair curled a little when it got long, but it had nothing on Conner’s floppy mop. “Yeah, I’m staying for dinner again. I’ll probably spend the night too.”

“Cool, can you help me with my English homework?” Conner asked, “The teacher was being dumb again.”

“Conner,” Clark admonished, “Your teachers aren’t dumb.”

“But Mrs. Finkelstein really is dumb!” Conner insisted. He dug through his backpack and pulled out his assignment. “Look!”

Clark took the sheet of paper from Conner’s outstretched hand and started to skim it. After a second he had to go back and re-read it, just to make sure he’d read it correctly. “What is—? What? This makes no sense,” he mumbled to himself, trying to comprehend what was being asked.

Lois stole a glance at the page and hissed through her teeth. “Yeah okay, we can work on that together,” she said. She looked down at Conner again and smiled. “But right now, your father and I have something we’d like to talk to you about.”

Conner looked up at her curiously, but obediently followed her and Clark to the couch. Conner sat in the middle of the two of them, looking up at them both and waiting for whatever they had to tell him. He’d come to expect adults to be a little weird about big news, thinking little kids like him couldn’t handle it, though they seemed more excited this time.

Clark started by clearing his throat and putting an arm around Conner’s shoulders. “Conner,” he said softly, “Do you like having Lois around?”

Conner looked up at him. “Yeah, why?” he asked. He looked a little nervous. “Is she going away?”

“No, of course not,” Lois said, “I’m not going anywhere. Quite the opposite in fact.”

Conner only looked more confused now. “What do you mean the opposite?”

Lois and Clark exchanged glances and smiled. “Conner, Lois and I want to get married,” he said, “Is that something you’d be okay with?”

Conner’s eyes went wide and he looked to Lois, who smiled and nodded. Conner quickled ducked his head, staring down at his knees; for a moment, Clark thought he might cry.

“Conner?” he asked, leaning down to try and figure out what was going on. “Are you okay?”

Lois put her hand in Conner’s soft black curls, stroking them gently. “It’s okay sweetie,” she soothed, “It okay.”

Clark felt his stomach twist; he hadn’t considered that Conner might not want them to get married. He seemed to like Lois so much, he thought Conner would be happy.

Just as Clark was about to try and talk to Conner, to tell him it was alright if he wasn't happy about this, Conner spoke up. “Do I—” he started in a small voice, “Do I get to call you Mom now?”

Lois looked up at Clark in surprise. She smiled brightly, and Clark could see her eyes get wet. “Yes baby, of course you can call me Mom if you want to.”

Conner sniffled and Clark saw the tears begin to drop, but he wasn’t worried now. Conner leaned into Lois’s side, who shushed him gently and pulled him closer, almost into her lap. Clark smiled and scooted over, wrapping one arm around Lois and rubbing Conner’s back with his other hand. Lois leaned her head on his shoulder, and Clark could feel her tears on his shirt. The three of them stayed that way for a while, a new family shedding happy tears together.

The Flight

“Come on Kon, you’ve almost got it,” Zatanna encouraged, keeping a tight grip on Kon’s hands.

“I don’t,” Kon said, glancing down at the ground, which was several feet below them. “I’m never going to learn to fly.”

“Aw, don't say that Kon, of course you will,” M’Gann said, floating next to them. “It just might take you a little longer.”

Kon huffed. “We don’t actually know if I’ll ever be able to fly,” he said, “I’m only half Kryptonian.”

Zatanna smiled at him and squeezed his hands. “Even if you don't fly, that doesn’t make you any less of our little hero,” she said.

Kon groaned; ‘little hero’ was a moniker he’d picked up in the two years of hanging around the team. As a ten year old he’d loved it, but now that he was twelve, almost old enough to join the team (at least he felt ready to join the team), it was starting to feel a little too condescending. He was going to be Superman one day, and he wanted people to start recognizing that. He wasn’t going to be a ‘little hero’ forever.

Aftera few more minutes of gentle floating, trying to get Kon used to the sensation of flying, Zatanna put him back on the ground. Kon sighed and looked up into the wide expanse of the training area, wondering if someday he’d be able to reach the ceiling under his own power.

The PA system clicked to life, calling the team to the main room. Zatanna gave Kon one last smile. “Sorry kiddo, duty calls,” she said, before zipping off, M’Gann on her heels.

Kon sighed and wandered off to find Krypto. With the team on a mission, there wouldn’t be much for him to do besides wander around and try to entertain himself. There was no telling how long the others would be gone, so there was no point in trying to plan anything. Hopefully only part of the team would be deployed and there would be someone around to keep him company.

Krypto was playing in the hangar, near the water. He barked happily when Kon approached him and bounded over to lick his face. Kon laughed and pushed him half heartedly. “Down boy,” he giggled. Krypto barked once more before falling into step next to Kon, who sat on the edge of the platform and stared out at the water. Krypto sat down and rested his head on Kon’s lap, letting Kon scratch at his ears.

“Sometimes I wonder if I was ever meant to fly,” Kon sighed, looking up at the high vaulted ceiling. It would be perfect to fly around in, and the water would provide a decent landing (thanks to Kaldur, Kon had long ago lost any fear of the water). With a sigh, Kon leaned back and tried to imagine it.

His dad could fly well past the speed of sound, almost to the speed of light if he really pushed himself. Kon closed his eyes and imagined himself high above the ground, the wind in his hair and the sun in his eyes. It would probably be similar to when Clark carried him through the air, only without the carrying part. Kon breathed deeply and tried to picture it, wishing that he didn’t have to.

Krypto’s barks brought Kon out of his reverie. When he opened his eyes, Kon noticed that the angle of the room had changed somehow. It took him a moment to realize that it was because he was hovering several feet off the ground from where he’d been sitting. Krypto flew around him excitedly, barking his approval.

“Whoa!” Kon yelped, suddenly dropping and landing on his butt on the ledge. He bounced slightly and slid off, careening towards the water. Kon sucked in a breath and reacted instantly, stopping his fall just as he nearly face planted, hovering inches above the water. Blinking a few times, Kon realized what exactly he was doing.

He was flying.

Grinning wide, Kon took a few minutes to parse out what exactly he was doing, how he was flying. Krypto barked and flew around him, wagging his tail and ready to catch his boy should he drop into the water. After a few minutes, Kon figured out what he was doing and tried to drift upwards. Wobbling and nearly flipping over, Kon started to float upwards. A few more false starts later, Kon was slowly flying around the room, Krypto at his side the entire time to help stabilize him. Turns were a little difficult, but Kon couldn't contain his glee at the sensation of finally, finally flying.

The PA system clicked on, startling Kon a little and sending him down a few feet. “Superboy, Superman is here to pick you up,” Red Tornado said, the PA system making his voice even more tinny and mechanical.

Kon carefully landed on the platform, landing a little too hard and tripping over his feet. He couldn't help but giggle though, which turned into full blown laughter as Krypto landed next to him and licked his face in excitement. He threw his arms around Krypto’s neck and hugged him tightly.

“Let’s go show Dad!” Kon said excitedly, jumping up and running towards the main entrance. Krypto bounded along at his heels, barking and wagging his tail, happy that his boy was so happy.

Kon barreled into the main room, heading straight for Superman. Clark looked up just as Kon came skidding to a stop in front of him.

“Whoa there,” Superman laughed, putting his hands out to catch Kon in case he fell over. “What’s got you in such a hurry?”

Kon bounced in his heels. “ Dad! I gotta show you something!” he cried, “Turn around!”

Superman smiled and raised an eyebrow. “Something to show me? What?” he asked, amused by Kon’s elation.

Kon groaned and rolled his eyes. “Daaaad, turn around!” he whined.

“Okay okay,” Superman said, putting up his hands and turning. “Like this?”

“Don’t look until I say, okay?” Kon said, already trying to get airborne again. It was taking some concentration.

“I won’t,” Superman promised, still sounding more amused than anything, but with an edge of curiosity.

Kon finally got stable enough as he hovered in the air. “Okay, you can look now!”

Superman turned and looked, initially at the same level where he expected Kon to be, then raising his eyes up to where he actually was. Kon grinned as Superman’s eyes went wide.

“You’re flying,” Superman said in wonder. He broke into a wide smile. “You’re flying!”

Kon laughed and then yelped as he unbalanced and nearly went flipping end over end. Superman jumped up and caught him before he could smack his head against anything, pulling him upright. He laughed and pulled Kon into his arms.

“Look at you!” he exclaimed. He pulled back and put his hands on Kon’s shoulders, smiling down at him as they both floated in the air. The pride in Clark’s eyes threatened to spill out. “My boy, flying ,” he said.

Kon felt his chest swell. He surged forward and hugged his dad, pressing his cheek into the big red S on his chest. Clark tangled his fingers into Kon’s hair, bending to kiss his head.

“Come on,” Clark said after an extended moment, pulling away to look down at Kon again. “Let’s go show your mom.”

The Brother

Lois has worried initially when they first found out. She’d been happy of course, ecstatic really, but that hadn’t drowned out the worry, the concern for Conner. Conner was twelve physically, but only two chronologically, and his maturity could be a little mixed here and there. Becoming an older brother was a big change, and it was hard to tell how Conner would feel about it.

Clark had tried to assure her that everything would be fine, that they’d make sure to let Conner know that he was still their son and they still loved him and the baby wasn’t going to replace him, but Lois knew better than to think it would all be okay just like that. Conner wasn’t stupid, for all he was a little impulsive, and Lois worried that Conner might feel like he was being pushed out. After all, he wasn’t her child, and he wasn’t even technically Clark’s son, but a clone. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to think he might get jealous of the new baby.

Throughout the pregnancy, Lois’ worry for Conner stayed, even as other worries piled on top. Kryptonian pregnancies were apparently a little more intense than human ones, and complication after complication seemed to add into the mix as Lois got closer and closer to term. Clark fretted almost non-stop, but Conner seemed to be acting normal, if keeping out of the way.

Lois attempted a few times throughout the pregnancy to try and speak to Conner, but she couldn't be sure that he fully understood. He nodded and smiled, saying what he probably thought Lois wanted to hear, but Lois wasn't convinced. It wasn’t until little Jonathan arrived, overdue and after an incredibly long and rough labour, that she was finally able to fully relax.

She’d been sleeping lightly despite her exhaustion. They’d decided it was safest to have the delivery at the Fortress of Solitude, with all of it’s Kryptonian technology to help if things went wrong, but Lois had never slept well in the Fortress. Maybe it was the size, cavernous and maze-like, or the draft—which was more of her mind playing tricks on her since the Fortress was very adept at keeping out the Arctic winds—or all the alien technology she didn’t understand, but she could never get completely fall asleep there.

Apparently she wasn’t the only one having troubles. The sound of shuffling feet brought her out of her doze to notice Conner standing at the foot of her bed. Clark was completely passed out in the chair next to the bed, dead to the world after all the excitement of the day.

“Hey,” Lois croaked, shifting up onto her elbows, “You okay kiddo?”

Conner shuffled his feet again, not quite meeting her eyes. A gurgle from the bassinet drew Lois’s attention momentarily, but she noticed Conner frown ever so slightly. Thinking quickly, Lois sat up with a groan.

“Can you bring him here for me kiddo?” Lois asked, sitting back against the mountain of pillows Clark had gotten her.

Conner frowned a little more, but he obediently went to the bassinet and looked down into it at tiny little Jonathan, who was starting to fuss slightly. Conner gently reached down and scooped up the tiny bundle (Clark had used his cape as a blanket), carefully floating up onto the bed to kneel next to Lois so he could hand her the baby.

Before Conner could pull away, Lois looped an arm around his shoulders and pulled him close. After a minute or two of maneuvering, Lois got the three of them comfortable together on the bed, Jonathan cradled to her chest and Conner snuggled into her side.

“There we go,” she sighed, “I needed both my boys.”

Conner remained tense for a moment, but Lois calmly stroked his hair until he relaxed, settling more fully into her side. He stretched one arm out to curl around her stomach, something he’d stopped doing while she was pregnant. Lois leaned down to kiss the top of his head, pressing her nose to his curly black hair and inhaling deeply.

Jonathan huffed and squirmed, and Lois had to take a moment to adjust him a little. Conner looked down at him, his face morphing into one of intense concentration. The hand on Lois’s belly clenched slightly.

“You want to hold him?” Lois asked. She and Clark had both tried to have the conversation about how they would still love Conner no matter what happened, but it didn't seem to have sunk in all that well. Time for a different tactic.

Conner looked up at her, uncertainty plainly on his face. Lois smiled and moved to help Conner cradle Jonathan in his arms, supporting his head and body properly. He sat stiffly for a moment, unsure of what to do, but as Jonathan settled in his arms, Conner started to relax.

Lois couldn’t help but smile fondly at the sight. Conner wasn’t hers by blood, but she’d raised him like he was all the same. He was hers, no matter what anyone had to say about it. Her father had questioned her a little on the wisdom of marrying a man who already had a child, but Lois had brushed him off. Conner knew no other mother than her, and she loved him as if he had come from her the same way Jonathan had.

With a deep sigh, Lois pulled Conner back to rest against her side again. “You’re going to be a wonderful older brother Conner,” she said, “Jonathan is going to love you so much, just like we do.”

Conner looked up at her. “You think so?” he asked in a small voice.

Lois smiled and kissed his forehead. “Of course baby. We’re a whole family, all four of us.”

Conner stared up at her for another moment, something close to realization flickering in his eyes. He looked back down at Jonathan and finally smiled at the baby. He flopped back against Lois’ side more completely and relaxed. Jonathan finally settled down and went back to sleep. Conner quickly followed suit, falling asleep slumped against his mother’s side.

Lois was starting to drift off herself when Clark groaned from the corner. He stretched sorely and nearly slid out of his chair, catching himself at the last second. He looked around blearily until he caught Lois watching him. Clark sat up a little straighter in the chair.

“Everything okay?” he asked, keeping his voice low so he didn’t disturb the sleeping children.

“Fine,” Lois said, settling back into bed as best she could. Clark got up to try and help her; when he attempted to life Conner away from her, she held onto him tighter.

“No,” she insisted, “I need my boys.”

Clark raised an eyebrow, then smiled down at her. She smiled back at him and scooted over on the bed, a clear invitation. Clark carefully laid down next to her, careful not to jostle her or the slumbering children between them.

The Day

Conner was so excited he felt like he was about to float right out of his seat.

Today was the day!

Five years of waiting patiently, and he was this close to finally become a part of the Team.

The Team had gone through some changes, some hardships over the years. Red Arrow leaving, Artemis and Zatanna joining, Robin becoming Nightwing, and so many other changes to the Team, including a new, younger Robin joining (which had annoyed the hell out of Nightwing at first). Superman had stuck by his original plan though, and told Kon he could join when he was fifteen.

Well, today was Conner’s fifth birthday, making him physically fifteen. He was so excited he couldn’t even pretend to pay attention in class. Once school was out he and his dad were going to head to HQ to finally initiate him into the team. Everyone had promised to be there; Dick, Wally, Artemis, M’Gann, Zatanna, and Kaldur, the first friends he’d really had. Conner was going so ready to be on the Team for real. He knew he wasn’t going to work with the older kids much, since many of them had taken on more administrative roles since the conception of the Team, and they tended to group together, but there were a bunch of new kids on the team that he was eager to know more. Conner has never really got the hang of making friends at regular school, so he was hyped to meet people he had more common ground with.

The bell had barely rung before Conner was out of his seat and bolting for the door, being very careful not to use his super speed. Normally he took the subway home, but the excitement was too much for him, he had to move. He ran through the streets towards home, knowing better than to take off flying (he’d been on his best behaviour for weeks, not wanting to get grounded before the big day). Conner got to his apartment building in record time, nearly slamming into the glass front door. Quickly keying the code, Conner darted up the stairs to the tenth floor and burst into his apartment.

“Hi Mom!” Conner called as he passed her in the kitchen, rushing past to his room.

“Hey, how was school?” Lois asked, not looking up from where she was trying to get two year old Jon to eat his banana mash. He didn’t seem to be amenable today.

“Boring!” Conner answered from his bedroom, shuffling off his regular clothes and pulling on his new uniform. He’d worked so hard on the design and now he was finally going to get to wear it.

If Lois was exasperated by his unenthusiastic attitude for school, she didn’t show it. She looked up as Conner, Superboy, emerged from his room in his new uniform.

“Looks good,” she said, smiling. “The leather jacket is a nice touch.”

“Thanks,” Superboy said, smoothing out the slick leather. It had been something last minute that he’d added, but it had really pulled the whole thing together.

“Won’t it get destroyed in fights?” Lois asked, raising an eyebrow.

“I’ll be careful,” Conner promised, stepping over to blow a raspberry into his little brother’s cheek. “Hey Jonno.”

Jon squeaked and reached for Conner, who obliged him and picked him up. Lois smiled as she watched Conner ‘dance’ Jon around the kitchen, his excitement contagious.

“Where’s Dad?” Conner finally asked, “He said he was going to meet me here so we could go together.”

“Called away for an emergency meeting,” Lois said, plucking Jon from his arms. “He should be back soon. He wouldn’t miss this.”

Conner nodded, but there was a curl of anxiety in his stomach. An emergency meeting could mean a lot of different things, and they could last for a long time depending on what they were. Surely Clark wouldn’t miss this, not on purpose, but who could say if ‘something came up’ and he had to take care of that?

Lois seemed to sense his nervousness and put a comforting hand on his shoulder. “Your father will be here, don't worry,” she said, leaning over to kiss his cheek.

“Yeah, I know,” Conner said, though he didn’t seem that convinced.

Five agonizing minutes later, there was the familiar sound of someone landing on the balcony. Lois sighed in relief as Conner shot up from his chair and ran to greet Clark in the living room. Lois followed at a more sedate pace, carrying Jon on her hip.

“Dad! You’re back, finally ,” Conner said, trying not to bounce up and down in excitement. “Come on, let’s go . We’re going to be late!”

Lois smiled indulgently and looked to Clark. Her smile faded as she saw Clark’s face, immediately knowing that something was wrong. Clark’s eyes were haunted, his mouth pressed into a thin line and his face pale. He caught Lois’s eye and creased his brow. Lois braced herself.

“Conner,” Clark said softly, gently, reaching out to him. He laid a hand on Conner’s shoulder, grip a little too tight.

Conner stopped, his smile fading just a little. “What? What is it? We’re gonna be late if we don’t leave soon.”

Clark’s frown deepened, “Conner,” he repeated, “I just came from the Watchtower, and I was thinking… maybe we should wait a little while, before you join the team?”

A stillness settled over the room. “What?” Conner asked with a nervous half-laugh, “You can’t be real, dad. Today is the day.” Conner got more agitated as he spoke. “We’ve been planning this for ages, you can’t back out now .”

Clark moved to put both of his hands on Conner’s shoulders, but the teen threw him off, looking accusingly up at him and backing away a few steps. Clark’s hands clenched around air and he put them back down at his sides.

“Conner, I know you’re very excited to join the team,” Clark said, speaking softly, trying not to agitate Conner any further but knowing it was futile. “But we have to think about how dangerous it is. You could get hurt, you could—“

“I know all that already!” Conner snapped, “You’ve only drilled it into my head for last five years !” he shouted, starting to get upset. “What the hell dad, I thought we were all settled on this? I did the training, I waited patiently, I even did that stupid assessment thing you made me do. Today was supposed to be the day.”

“Conner, it’s not about that,” Clark said, taking a step forward.

Conner stepped back, lifting off the ground. “No, I’m going to be a part of the team,” he said, “With or without you.” He zipped around Clark and was out the window before anyone could stop him. He heard his dad calling out to him, and then his mom’s voice softly telling him to let him go.

Superboy flew through the air, fast enough to make his eyes water (he usually didn’t feel the wind in his eyes like that, but it must have been particularly strong today because there was moisture at the corner of his eyes), arriving at the Zeta beam in record time. The original plan had been to fly all the way to Happy Harbor, just him and his dad, but the thought of that seemed a little sour now. Superboy gave his identification and stepped through the beam of light.

When he arrived at HQ, Superboy immediately reached out with his hearing to find everyone. He heard voices coming from one of the briefing rooms and headed in that direction. As he got closer, he noticed something odd about the voices; they were talking lowly, subdued, like something was wrong. They should have been excited, the whole Team knew that today was the day Kon was finally going to join them, they’d been planning a whole birthday/welcome party for him.

When Kon finally arrived at the briefing room, he cautiously poked his head in. The Team was standing around, talking in low voices amounts one another. In one corner, Nightwing sat with his head in his hands, his shoulders shaking, little sobs escaping. Kid Flash sat next to him, his arms wrapped around his friend, trying to soothe him. Kon stepped further inside the room, about to ask what was going on when Kaldur spotted him and walked over.

“Kon,” he greeted, “What are you doing here?”

Kon tried not to be put out by Kaldur’s forgetfulness. “It’s supposed to be the day I joined the Team,” he said weakly.

Kaldur’s brow furrowed, but then realization crossed his face. He quickly schooled his expression into something more serious. “Kon, Superboy, now is not a good time,” he said gently.

“What happened?” Kon asked, trying not to feel upset.

Kaldur pressed his lips together and glanced back at Nightwing, who was now clinging desperately to Kid Flash. Wally was gently rocking his friend back and forth, looking like he was fighting back his own tears. Kaldur turned back to Superboy and grabbed his shoulder to lead him out of the room.

“What happened?” Kon repeated once they were outside. “Today was supposed to be the day, my day, and everyone is acting weird.” The annoyance and frustration bubbled up as he spoke. “What’s going on?”

Kaldur let out a long tired sigh. Kon had always liked Kaldur, ‘his favourite babysitter’ he’d called him, and he’d always trusted him to tell him the truth. Kon waited impatiently for him to speak.

Finally Kaldur looked back down at Kon, a deep sadness in his eyes. “Kon, something’s happened to Robin.”

“Robin?” Kon asked, “What happened to him?”

The new Robin had been a little closer to Kon in age, but still older, and with a very different attitude than his predecessor. He was violent and had rough, sharp edges. He’d never given the impression that he was particularly pleased to be on the Team, always talking about how much he preferred to be working in Gotham alongside Batman. He was argumentative and foul-mouthed to go with it, always back-talking whoever was in charge. He’d clashed with Nightwing a lot and they’d gotten into more than one explosive fight. Honestly, Kon hadn’t made much of an effort to get to know him.

“He—“ Kaldur frowned deeply, unsure of what to say. “There was an incident, on a mission with Batman.”

Something cold began to settle into Kon’s stomach. “What kind of incident?” he asked, his own voice sounding a little choked.

Now Kaldur just seemed sad. “The kind he cannot return from,” he said, “I do not know the whole story, but… somehow Robin crossed the Joker and… he didn’t make it out.”

The cold feeling in his stomach solidified into ice in his veins. Suddenly all of Kon’s issues seemed lame and petty in the face of this tragedy. Sure, he hadn’t really liked Robin that much, but that didn’t mean he deserved to die .

“Is… is Batman okay?” Kon asked, thinking of the man he almost considered an uncle. He’d been there for Kon’s whole life, had helped him through some rough times. What would something like this do to him?

“We haven’t heard much from Batman,” Kaldur said, “I imagine he’s grieving.”

Kon nodded. “And… Nightwing?” he asked, remembering Nightwing slumped in the chair, openly weeping.

Kaldur glanced back at the closed brief room door. “He is… we only just found out. It will take time for everyone to come to terms with this.”

Kon nodded, not trusting his voice, not trusting himself to not say something stupid. His stomach rolled and for one second he thought he might puke. Kaldur stepped forward and put an arm around him, like he was a little kid again and needed comfort.

“It’s alright,” Kaldur said, but he didn’t sound like he was talking to Kon. “It will be alright. Everything will be fine.”

Kon leaned into the embrace, not caring that he was getting a little too big to be clinging to his old babysitter. They stayed that way for a while, and Kon wasn’t actually sure who was comforting who.

After a while, Kaldur let him go. “I know you were excited about joining the Team today Kon, but now is perhaps not the best time,” he said.

Kon nodded. “Yeah,” he agreed, disappointment and guilt mixing into his already confused emotions.

Kaldur ran his hand through Kon’s hair, trying to soothe him. “There will be other days, Superboy. You will be a part of this Team, and we will celebrate your joining soon.”

Kon nodded again but didn’t say anything, not even looking up at Kaldur or meeting his eye. “I think I’m gonna go for a walk,” he said.

“Alright,” Kaldur said, stepping away to let Kon have some space. “You can come and see us any time. I’m sure Nightwing will be very comforted to see you.”

“Yeah, sure,” Kon said, “Tell him I said hi.”

Kaldur smiled a little, but it didn’t reach his eyes. “I will let him know,” he said, then turned and went back into the briefing room.

Kon stared at the door for a minute, wondering if he shouldn’t just go in and see Nightwing now. He and Robin had fought a lot, especially in the beginning, but they had formed a kind of bond over the two years Robin was around. Jon was only a baby, but Kon couldn't imagine losing a brother like that. And if the Joker had been involved… Kon decided that he’d rather not know the details.

With a sigh, Kon turned from the door and went to find Krypto. The dog probably needed a walk, or something.

A few hours later, Kon went back to Metropolis. He wasn’t quite ready to go home, so he decided to fly around the city for a bit. It was getting close to sunset, and the city was cast in an orange and pink glow. The pollution in the air (Metropolis wasn’t as bad as say, Gotham, but it was still a city) made the sun glow red, reminding Kon of the stories his dad told him about Krypton and it’s red sun.

Superboy flew high above the city for a while, not having much of a goal in mind. Eventually he ended up at the Daily Planet, it’s giant golden globe glimmering in the fading sunlight. Kon sat on top of it and looked out over the city, his mind filled with thoughts of the Team, the perished Robin, and what it meant for his own place in the Hero community.

Just as the sun was starting to touch the horizon, Kon heard the swish of a cape and boots landing next to him on the globe. “Sorry,” he said preemptively, knowing he’d acted like a brat earlier.

Clark sat next to Kon, not reaching for him just yet. “It’s not your fault,” he said, “I should have explained what happened. I handled it badly and I’m sorry,” he said.

They sat in silence for a few minutes, watching the sunset over the city. Eventually Kon sighed deeply and leaned into his father’s side, wanting the comfort. Clark wrapped an arm around him and rubbed his shoulder, pulling him close.

“I know you were really excited to join today,” Clark said, “I can’t imagine how disappointed you must feel.”

“It’s fine,” Kon said, thinking of how broken Nightwing had looked.

Clark hummed, but didn’t call Kon out. “I’m not going to keep you from joining the Team,” he said, “I know how important it is to you. But… why don’t we wait a bit, okay? Just a month or two, for things to settle a little?” His hand tightened on Kon’s shoulder slightly.

He was worried, Kon realized. Heroes had died before, but only adults, never anyone on the Team, never anyone as young as Robin. Clark was probably worried something might happen to Conner, despite the fact that Robin had been an ordinary boy (albeit a very well trained one) and Superboy was, well, Super. Everyone was shaken by what had happened, and Kon would bet money that all of the adults were questioning the merits of sending children like them into danger.

Kon looked up at Clark, seeing the concern in his eyes, the fear. Kon smiled a little and nodded. “Okay,” he said, “I can wait a little.”

The naked relief on Clark’s face was a sight to behold in the rapidly fading light. Clark pulled Conner into his arms and hugged him tightly, Conner returning the embrace.

“It’ll only be for a little while,” Clark promised, “A couple of months or so, just to go over some things and update the safety protocols, stuff like that.”

Conner nodded; disappointment still simmered in his chest, but he could deal with it. He could be patient for a little while longer.

They stayed on the globe for a little while longer, hugging tightly. Clark noticed a camera flash from down below and spotted Jimmy trying to take some pictures. He made a mental note to do some low flying tomorrow when the weather was supposed to be good so Jimmy could get some better shots. Clark disentangled himself from Conner, placing a kiss to his forehead before pulling away and standing.

“Come on, we should be getting home,” he said, “Your mother will be wondering where we are.”

Conner nodded and got to his feet, dusting off his jacket. Clark appraised the new suit.

“It looks nice,” he said, “Very snazzy.”

Kon physically restrained himself from rolling his eyes at Clark’s attempt to sound ‘hip’. “Thanks Dad,” he said instead.

“You sure about the leather jacket though?” Clark asked, “It’s not too late to add a cape.”

“Ugh, Dad !”

The Meeting

They ended up waiting only a handful of weeks before allowing Kon to join the Team; Kon was too impatient to settle for anything else. The Team threw a party for him, both to celebrate him joining and for his birthday that they missed, which Kon enjoyed thoroughly. If there was any lingering resentment over having his ‘real’ birthday ruined, Kon stomped down on it. He did however, voice his opinion over Wally and Artemis leaving the Team shortly thereafter. When Kaldur turned traitor not long after that, Kon nearly threw a fit. It seemed like everything was crumbling around him and nothing was okay anymore.

Still, Kon couldn’t bring himself to hate being on the Team. He was finally doing what he was always meant to do, and despite all of the changes, he actually did like most of the new team. Wonder Girl in particular seemed really cool, though he was warming up to Blue Beetle as well. Gar was always a hoot to be around.

It was around eight months after his birthday when another addition to the Team was being made. Kon was excited to meet them, though he hadn’t heard about any new young supers. He hoped the new guy was someone cool, someone he could get along with. He liked the Team, the older members had been around him his whole life, but they weren’t exactly ‘peers’. Kon was slowly forging new friendships with the others, but more friends were certainly better than less.

Kon tried to keep his expectations low, not wanting to hype himself up too much, but he couldn’t help but feel excited as he made his way to HQ on the day they were set to meet the new Team member. Nightwing knew the most about it, but he was just as paranoid as The Batman sometimes, so Kon didn’t really think much of it.

As the Zeta beam light faded, Kon noticed the Team standing around a new person off to the side of the main entryway. Wonder Girl noticed him and waved him over.

“Hey Superboy! Come meet the new Team member!” she called.

Kon smiled and flew over; he couldn't see the new person very well, they were blocked by everyone standing around them, but he could catch a glimpse of a red and black uniform. As Kon landed near the gaggle of people, they parted slightly to let him through.

“Superboy, this is the new Robin,” Nightwing said, smiling cheerfully.

‘Robin’ stood awkwardly in the middle of the group, looking for all the world like he wanted to make like his mentor and disappear into the shadows. His uniform was sharper than the other Robin’s had been, darker as well as slightly denser. Batman must have gone a little crazy over making sure this Robin was a little more protected. He was a lot smaller than his two predecessors, but he had the same black hair (was that some kind of requirement for Robins?), which was spiked up. He was also paler than Kon thought anyone had the right to be, bordering on anemic, but he didn’t seem unhealthy (maybe he spent too much time indoors, or otherwise only went out at night?). His ears were a little big for his head, but other than that, he seemed almost… pretty. Of course Kon couldn’t really tell with the mask, but the shape of his face gave off the impression of that kind of delicate prettiness that was rare in boys.

“Nice to meet you,” Robin said, holding out his hand stiffly.

Kon looked down at the hand and then back up at Robin. He took the offered hand and shook it. “Nice to meet you too, Robin. Welcome to the Team.”