By Trevise <email@example.com>
Submitted March 1999
Summary: Being different can be very lonely indeed, especially when you're the only one with super powers and there's nobody you can talk to about it. Lois and Clark's son learns the family secret. Will it mean a life of sadness for him?
Hello, everyone, and welcome to my Metropolis. Unfortunately, it's not a very happy place. To see why, you'll have to read my story. The usual disclaimers apply: This world is the one abandoned by ABC when they cancelled Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and the idea of Superman, the Daily Planet, Metropolis, and so on and so forth, are the property of DC comics. I make no profit or money from these stories. You may use them wherever you like, just get my permission first. Comments and critiques always accepted, but this is my first real attempt, so be kind. So There. And now, may I present…
You ever heard the expression "alone in a room full of people?" Well, that's me. Only in my case, it's a very big room. It's like this. Everyone knows the story of the last days of Superman. How 17 years ago he tried to smother the explosion of a new type of bomb with his body, only to discover that the bomb used kryptonite as its power source. The explosion was at least contained, though, so his sacrifice wasn't completely in vain. Only 29 dead counting Superman, mostly the scientists and military personnel who were developing the thing in the first place. Oh yeah, and two reporters who had learned about this little military stunt and were trying to expose it to the world. Lois Lane and Clark Kent. My parents. I was just a baby then, barely a year old. I was at that moment under the care of the Daily Planet daycare center, and blissfully unaware of the fate of my parents. I'm told that the funeral for Superman was stupendous, with world leaders from virtually every nation in attendance. Overshadowed by all the hoopla and hype was the funeral of Lane and Kent. That was a much smaller but more heartfelt affair. After all, while almost everyone was indebted to Superman in one way or another, nobody really knew him. After that, I went to live with my grandparents, Jon and Martha Kent. End of story.
Except it's not. Everybody knows the story, but not everybody knows that there is one small error in the report. There weren't 29 dead, there were 28. Clark Kent, my father, was Superman. There just wasn't enough left of anyone to reveal this, so the secret died with the man. Grandma and Grandpa were the last beings alive with the knowledge, and Grandpa died from a heart attack when I was 4. So then it was just me and Grandma, and she really wasn't the same. I have vague memories of the spirited, never-say-die, much, well, younger woman she was before Grandpa died. After that, she just seemed to give up. She buried the past as much as she could, and lived out a very quiet life taking care of me on the farm. She was forced to tell me who I really was last summer.
I think she had hoped that she wouldn't have to. That somehow, my human half would bury the powers and abilities that she called my "birthright," and I would be able to go through life without having to endure what Dad did. The alienation. The loneliness. The fear that no one would ever understand. But, it became obvious that that wasn't going to be the case. I was doing more, seeing more, and just, well, being more than anyone else my age, and it wasn't lost on me. I'm not dumb. So she told me. It took several hours to get through everything, and with every answered question, with every revelation, I could see nearly two decades of pain and loss in her eyes. I think part of her would have rather left the whole thing buried, so that the secret could die with her. If she had waited 3 more months, it would have. I just buried her body this morning.
This brings me back to my opening statement. I honestly don't think I can do this alone. From what Grandma told me, when Dad had problems, at least he could come home from anywhere in the world and talk. I don't even have that anymore. But I have money! Lots and lots of money. You see, Mom and Dad died on the job, so their accidental death insurance through the Planet paid the maximum amount. Grandpa and Grandma placed it in a trust fund which I could access when I turned eighteen. That's next week. With seventeen years of interest, there's close to $18 million in there now. And that's not counting the stocks and personal portfolios my dad had started, the acreage on the farm, and Grandma and Grandpa's personal savings. My net worth must be about $20 million by now. Whoopti-do. I'd live as a pauper if I had someone to talk to who understood.
I've got almost all of Dad's powers now. I can't fly quite as fast, or lift quite as much, but they're there. The world has a Superman again. He just doesn't want the job. I mean, who in their right mind would? Flying all over the world, saving people who you'll never see again, never letting anyone get close to you for fear of them getting hurt, what kind of life is that? No thank you. I'll pass.
Besides, I wouldn't know where to begin. It's not as if Dad left a diary on his career, or wrote a book entitled "How to be a Superhero in Five Easy Steps." All I have is a faded yellow scrapbook of "Superman saves the day again" newspaper clippings and a ball of metal that Grandma said would light up like Krypton when Dad held it. All it does for me is act like a paperweight. Big help. I mean, I can pick it up, and nothing happens. I can stare at it, and nothing happens. I can yell at it, order it to do something, anything, and nothing…
What the hell… Dad?
Hello Jon. The fact that you're seeing this recording means that I've died sometime before your first birthday, since I plan on recording one of these messages every year. It also means that you're finally old enough to figure out how to activate this sphere. I'm sorry I haven't been there to see what a wonderful young man I'm sure you've become. I had planned so many things for us, and now they'll never happen. I only wish things had been different.
By now, your powers have probably started to manifest themselves. I hope that there is someone there to help you through this difficult time: your mom, Grandma, and Grandpa will all understand. After this recording, all of the knowledge I have about who we are and what we can do will be broadcast into your mind in a sort of burst. It will probably knock you out, so be ready for it. God, I so wanted to be able to explain all of this to you in person. I even had the speech all planned out. But for now, know this. Your mother and I love you very much, and even though I can't be there in person, I will always be with you. I know how hard it can be to get along in this world considering who you are. You may feel that you will never belong. But you do. This is your world as much as anyone else's, and you should be proud of that fact. You may be part alien, but you're also part human, and that is your strength. I have to go now. You can replay this message as often as you want, and in time, the globe will have other information for you. I hope you find as much joy in your life as I have. I love you.
Oh, God! Dad? I understand! Everything Grandma tried to tell me. I understand. And I have a lot of work to do.
6 months later
"Mr. Olsen? There's a Jon Kent here to see you."
"Hmm? Oh, thanks. Send him in."
"Thank you for seeing me, Mr. Olsen."
"Humph. You don't work for me yet, and until you do, Lois and CK's kid can call me Jimmy. I've kinda missed hearing it, and you're the spitting image of your father."
I smiled. "Sorry, Mr. Olsen. I don't think I can bring myself to do that yet. But would you mind answering a question? Why is there a huge velvet Elvis behind your desk? Frankly, it doesn't match the décor."
He smiled. "You may have CK's looks, but you have Lois's temperament. It is awful, isn't it? But the truth is, I don't have the heart to get rid of it. But enough of that. You want a job, is that it?"
"Geez, Mr. Olsen is bad enough. Never call me sir!" He smiled again. "You do realize that if I do hire you as an office boy, it will be half due to your impressive resume and half to just remind me of Lois and CK."
I smiled again. "Well, Mr. Olsen, I was kinda counting on that."
He laughed. "You are Lois's kid, aren't you? Any angle to get what you want. Alright kid, you win. Welcome to the Planet."
"Thank you, Mr. Olsen."
He smiled yet again. "You can make it up to me by letting me tell you all my old Lois and Clark stories. Everyone here has heard them all already, and never let me get started. For example, there was one time that…"
'Excuse me, Chief. LNN just reported that an airliner is radioing a mayday at Met. Airport!"
"Well, then, what are you standing there telling me for? Go, go! Kent, go make yourself useful. Here's your first newsroom crisis."
"Whatever you say, Mr. Olsen. I'll go run down to the, uh, supply room to make sure we have enough, uh, supplies."
"Yeah, good, you do that. McKinzie! Why are you still here? Get down to the airport!"
Okay, Dad. Time to try and live up to your legacy. This looks like a job for Superman.