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Five years later...
"Tag, you're it," eight-year-old Clark Queen said as he tagged his brother, eight-year-old Oliver Queen, on the arm before super-speeding away.
"Clark, that's not fair!" Oliver yelled, as his brother disappeared in a gust of wind.
"Since when has he ever played fair?" asked eight-year-old Chloe Sullivan, who was a frequent playmate of the Queen brothers, despite the fact that her father was the Queen family's butler and her mother was the cook.
"True," Oliver said. "Oh well, I may not be able catch Clark, but..." reaching out and touching Chloe's arm, Oliver said, "Tag, you're it," before he took off running. Maybe not as fast as Clark, but still fast enough that Chloe would have a hard time catching him.
Chloe just shook her head and muttered, "Boys," under her breath before she started running, hoping to catch Oliver because she wasn't stupid enough to think that she could catch Clark.
Laura Queen smiled from her place on the verandah, as she watched the three kids playing in the yard. Laura and her husband, Robert, had never regretted adopting Clark because he made it easy to love him. True, the special abilities that he possessed have been hard to deal with at times, but Robert and Laura wouldn't trade Clark for anything. Robert once said he'd gladly give up his company and his entire fortune if necessary to keep Clark in their lives and Laura couldn't have agreed more.
Still, harboring a child like Clark wasn't easy. Being rich and powerful, nobody really questioned Clark's adoption, but, his abilities made keeping the fact that he wasn't human that much harder. When they first surfaced, Laura and Robert weren't sure what to make of it. It had happened on a spring day in 1985, when Clark and Oliver were five years old. Robert had specifically ordered the boys to stay out of the garage unless there was an adult with them, but, children being children, they of course did the exact opposite.
Playing hide and seek in the garage amongst the throngs of cars, both modern-day sports cars and classic cars, Clark and Oliver weren't being very careful and eventually Oliver ended up tripping and falling beneath an old 1927 Rolls Royce Phantom I that was up on blocks while it was being restored. By this point, Robert had come into the garage and was yelling at Clark for being in the garage alone. Oliver's panicked yell for help, caused both Clark and Robert to turn in the direction it had come from and Robert paled when he saw his son's legs sticking out from underneath the left front of the car – and that the left front block looked like it was about to tip over, thus sending the car down on top of Oliver.
Before Robert could even move an inch, he felt a gust of wind at his side and saw that Clark wasn't standing next to him anymore. When he next looked up, he saw Clark standing next to the car, thirty feet away, holding it up. Quickly closing the distance, Robert got Oliver out from under the car and replaced the block, at which point Clark gently lowered the vehicle onto it as effortlessly as if he had been lifting his teddy bear.
To say that Robert and Laura weren't shocked to find out that their adopted son could run thirty feet in the blink of an eye and hold up a very heavy classic car would be the understatement of the century. In fact, Laura refused to believe it until she saw it with her own eyes. Of course, instead of lifting the car, Laura got to see Clark lifting the music room's grand piano, which a five-year-old boy should definitely not have been able to do.
Robert and Laura knew that they would eventually have to tell Clark the truth about his origins, but decided that that moment was not the right time. It was hard enough trying to explain to Oliver why Clark was so fast and strong, and he wasn't, let alone trying to explain to Clark that he was an alien from another planet.
Laura was roused from her thoughts when she heard someone ask, "Mrs. Queen?"
Looking up, Laura smiled at Moira Sullivan, the cook. "Yes, Moira?"
"Dinner is ready, ma'am," Moira replied.
"Okay, I'll get the kids inside," Laura said. Moira nodded and headed back into the house. Picking up a small bullhorn from the ground next to her chair, Laura stood up and said into it, "Oliver, Clark, Chloe! Dinner!"
Some might find it strange that Laura Queen would use a bullhorn to call the kids, but, the backyard of the Queen Estate was simply too large for the kids to hear her, even if she'd yelled. Seconds after lowering the bullhorn, she felt a gust of wind to her right and saw Clark standing there, along with Oliver and Chloe, who he had obviously grabbed and brought with him when he ran to the verandah.
"Dinner is ready, so go wash up," Laura said. The three children nodded and headed into the house to wash up, before Oliver and Clark joined their parents in the dining room and Chloe joined her parents in the kitchen.
Two days later, Clark and Oliver found themselves at the mansion of one of their parents' friends, billionaire Dr. Virgil Swann. All Robert and Laura said was that they had to meet with Dr. Swann, but they didn't explain to Clark and Oliver what it was about – just calling it adult business. To be perfectly honest, Clark and Oliver didn't really care what their parents were discussing because in their experience adult business tended to be very boring anyway.
"Clark, remember, don't use your abilities," Laura said.
"I know, mom," Clark said. "It's a secret."
Laura nodded her approval. "Ollie, keep a close..."
"I will, mom, don't worry," Oliver interrupted, as he knew that his mom was going to ask him to keep an eye on Clark – just in case he slipped up and did something he wasn't supposed to do.
At that point, the door to the room opened and Lionel Luthor walked in with his eight-year-old son, Lex, and seven-year-old son, Lucas.
"Lionel," Robert said in greeting. The distaste that Robert felt for Lionel could be heard quite clearly in the tone he used when saying the man's name.
"Robert," Lionel said with an equal distaste evident in his voice.
"Is Rachel not feeling well?" Laura asked, referring to Lionel's second wife and Lucas' mother, Rachel Dunleavy Luthor, whom he married less than two months after Lillian's death. Several people had suspected that Lionel wasn't a faithful husband to Lillian. Which proved true after Lionel and Rachel's wedding, when the existence of their son Lucas became public knowledge. Both Robert and Laura were appalled because they had both considered Lillian to be a friend, so their already low opinions of Lionel got even lower that day.
"I do not involve my wife in business matters," Lionel said. "She really doesn't have a head for it anyway."
Before anyone could say anything, Edward and Genevieve Teague entered the room, with their eight-year-old son, Jason.
"Edward, Genevieve," Laura said. "It's a pleasure as always."
"Laura," Genevieve nodded, with a tight smile. "Robert, Lionel."
"Any sign of our host?" Edward asked.
"No, Virgil hasn't shown yet," Robert answered. "I'm sure it's only a matter of time."
"Time is money," Lionel said, "and I'd prefer not to have mine wasted."
"You're not the only one whose time is valuable, Lionel," Robert said. "I'm sure we all consider our time to be just as valuable as you consider yours."
Proving Robert's point, both Edward and Genevieve nodded in agreement. Lionel looked like he wanted to retort, but it was at that point that Dr. Swann's associate, Bridgette Crosby, entered the room, along with his eight-year-old daughter, Patricia.
"Hello all," Bridgette said. "Dr. Swann is waiting in the library, so, we can get the meeting underway now."
"It's about time," Lionel said as he turned on his heel and headed for the library, without so much as a second glance to Lex and Lucas.
Edward patted Jason on the head and Genevieve knelt down and kissed him on the cheek, before they also headed for the library. Robert and Laura each gave Clark and Oliver a hug, before accompanying Bridgette Crosby out of the room.
Within moments of the adults leaving the room, Lex Luthor soon found a pair of toy arrows, with suction cups on the ends rather than arrowheads, flying towards him. He tried to dodge them, but he wasn't fast enough as Oliver's arrow knocked Lex's hat off and Clark's hit him between the eyes. Patricia and Jason both started laughing, as did Lucas, although he was trying his best to hide it behind his hand.
"Nice shot, bro," Oliver said with a grin.
"Thanks," Clark said.
Pulling the arrow off his face and picking up his hat, Lex quickly put it back on, prompting Jason to remark, "What's the matter, cue-ball? Don't want us to see how much your head shines?"
"Shut up," Lex retorted, as he turned to face Jason, his back to Clark and Oliver.
"Make me," Jason said.
Sneaking up behind Lex, Clark grabbed the hat off his head and threw it to Oliver.
"Give it back!" Lex exclaimed as he turned to Oliver and moved towards the blond.
"Jason, catch," Oliver said as he threw Lex's hat through the air to Jason, who caught it.
"I mean it guys, give it back," Lex said, as he tried to catch it as Jason threw it towards Clark.
"Or ya'll what?" Clark said, as he caught it. "Use the glare off your head to blind us?"
This brought another round of laughter from everyone except Lex, and Lucas wasn't even bothering to try hiding his laughter this time. Clark soon threw the hat into the air again, but this time, before anyone could catch it, Oliver took aim and fired one of his toy arrows at it, sending the hat flying into the fireplace, where it was quickly consumed by the flames. Walking over to Oliver, Clark gave him a high five, as Lex dropped to his knees in front of the fireplace and watched his hat burn.
Two hours later, the meeting of the Veritas Society had come to an end and Lionel Luthor quickly collected his kids and left – not caring one iota when Lex tried to tell him what had happened to his hat. The Teagues soon came in and collected Jason, but there was no sign of Robert and Laura Queen.
The reason for this is because they were still in the library with Dr. Swann and Bridgette Crosby.
"Thank you for agreeing to talk with us privately," Robert said.
"Of course, Robert," Virgil said. "You said you had a concern?"
"To be honest," Laura said, "we don't trust Lionel, or Genevieve and Edward for that matter. We think they're all more concerned with using the Traveler for their own ends."
"Yes," Virgil said, "I've gotten that impression, as well, but why bring it up now?"
"I know you're cautious about the Traveler," Robert said and Virgil nodded. "But, I believe you also are trying to keep an open mind and not necessarily see it as a threat."
Virgil remained silent for a moment, before he said, "Truth be told, I no longer view the Traveler as a threat."
"You don't?" Laura asked.
"No, I don't," Virgil said. "A few years ago, one of my satellites intercepted a message which I believe is from the Traveler's home world. I've spent the last few years trying to decipher that message and it has led me to believe that the Traveler is not a threat."
"I hope I don't regret this," Robert said, "but, Laura and I believe that we know who the Traveler is."
"You do?" Bridgette asked, clearly shocked. "Who?"
Robert and Laura looked at one another for a moment, before Robert nodded and Laura said, "We believe that the Traveler is our adopted son, Clark."
"Why would you think that?" Virgil asked.
"We found him in a field the day of the meteor shower in Smallville, Kansas," Robert revealed. "His ship is hidden in a secret room off my study at Queen Manor."
"Clark does have abilities that humans certainly don't have," Laura said. "He's very fast and very strong – in fact, when he was five, he saved Oliver's life when Robert's 1927 Rolls-Royce Phantom I, which was up on blocks, while being restored almost fell on top of him and crushed him to death."
"Why haven't you said anything before now?" Bridgette asked. "You've been members of Veritas since it's formation in 1981 – two years before the meteor shower in Smallville."
"I know," Robert said. "The simple truth is that we don't trust Lionel, Genevieve, or Edward to do what Veritas was created for – or at least what I've always seen it as being created for – protecting the Traveler. Laura and I have come to love Clark like he was our own flesh and blood, as evidenced by the fact that we recently changed our wills – leaving our entire estate to both Clark and Oliver in equal shares. I'm sure I needn't tell you that most people in Laura's and my position would tend to favor their biological heir over the adopted one."
"True," Virgil said. "Why are you revealing this now?"
"Something just told us that we should," Laura said. "I can't explain it, but we just had a feeling. Robert and I aren't the only ones who know – our household staff at Queen Manor knows about it, as well, but they're all fiercely loyal to us and have sworn on their lives not to reveal the truth to anyone. However, we felt that you should know, Virgil, because we hoped that as founder of the Veritas Society, you'd be able to act as a guide for Clark in the future."
"I'm honored by the trust you've placed in me," Virgil said. "Does the boy know the truth of his origins?"
"No, he doesn't," Robert answered. "He was only three when we found him and if he remembers anything about his life before that, he hasn't told us. Laura and I decided not to tell Clark the truth until he was older, as we felt that it would be too hard for an eight-year-old boy to understand. It was hard enough explaining to Oliver why Clark is so much faster and stronger than he is, let alone trying to explain to Clark that he's not from this planet."
"Yes, I can see how that would be hard for a boy his age to comprehend," Virgil said.
"There was one other thing," Laura said. "We were wondering if you might be able to shed some light on it."
"What's that?" Virgil asked.
"Clark's first word," Laura said. "It's always baffled us. We could never understand what it was in reference to."
"What was his first word?" Virgil asked.
"Lara," Robert answered.
Virgil remained silent for a moment and then said, "If your son truly is the Traveler, and from what you've told me, I believe that he is, then Lara is a name – more precisely the name of his biological mother."
"His biological mother?" Laura asked. "How do you know that?"
"The message I mentioned," Virgil answered. "I only recently managed to translate it in its entirety, as the language is not something seen on this Earth."
"What did it say?" Robert asked.
Clearing his throat, Virgil recited, "This is Kal-El of Krypton, our infant son, our last hope. Please protect him and deliver him from evil. We will be with you, Kal-El, all the days of your life. With much love your mother and father, Lara-El and Jor-El."
After a moment of silence, Virgil said, "I've triangulated where the message was sent from and have determined that there's nothing there but empty space. However, looking at a star chart from 1979, that wasn't the case – there was a star there, which ceased to exist in 1980. It is my belief that Kal-El's parents sent their son here to spare him from the destruction of their planet – essentially making Kal-El the last son of Krypton."
"Kal-El," Laura said. "Well, it's nice to know what his real name is. I'm sure he'll want to know when we tell him the truth about his origins. However, I think that will have to wait for a few more years, until he's older and will be able understand it better."
"I agree," Virgil said. "Children as young as Clark tend to be unpredictable and with the speed you say he possesses, if he chose to run, none of us would stand a chance of catching him, and at such a young age, he could more easily be manipulated by those who would not have his best interests at heart."
Bridgette nodded in agreement and said, "Yes, I agree, as well. It's probably best for you to stay the course that you've been following and wait for him to get older. Allow him to become more level-headed and less likely to be manipulated."
"So, we have both of your words that you won't tell anyone else what we've discussed today?" Robert asked.
Bridgette nodded solemnly and said, "Yes."
Virgil said, "Of course, Robert. Nobody will hear it from me. I've long suspected what you have in terms of Lionel and the Teagues and I swear upon everything I hold dear that I will not betray the confidence that you've placed in me today."
Robert and Laura thanked Virgil and Bridgette, before standing and leaving the room to collect Clark and Oliver, and take them back home to Star City.
|Prev||To be continued . . .||Next|
As you probably noticed, I added a line to the message that Dr. Swann translated. This is a total Alternate Universe; so, while I will be drawing heavily upon the canon for storylines, don't expect everything to happen exactly as it did on the show, as there will certainly be plenty of differences.