Never Ending Battles
Disclaimer: All characters used in the story below belong to their respective copyright and/or trademark holders. No infringement nor profit is intended by their use.
Fandoms: Too many to count, honestly, but major ones for this outing include the Buffyverse, Smallville, Superman Returns, Supergirl the Movie, Stargate, Hercules the Legendary Journeys, and The Craft. Yet I'd like to think it all fits together, somehow.
What Has Gone Before: Honestly - read the series. However, in short, the worlds of Smallville and Superman Returns have merged. After encountering each other during an alien invasion, Clark and Superman took a trip back in time to Krypton to discover their origins, in company with Buffy and the mysterious Doctor. They returned just in time to gather up the rest of the Scoobies and stop the emergence of Zod from the Phantom Zone. Oh, and Illyria secretly hitched a ride with them, and has now returned to Earth in disguise as Kal-El's cousin Kara, the new Supergirl. Too bad the real Supergirl is on her way as well...
Clark finished fusing the last section of earthen wall with his heat vision. There! His secret tunnel from the barn floor to the outskirts of Smallville was finished. That much less chance of anyone finding out about his dual identity if Superboy habitually appeared from some place not
in the vicinity of the Kent farm.
Of course, he was still working on other aspects of his disguise. He had to remind himself to put on his glasses as he 'changed back' to Clark Kent before emerging from the trap door. His Superboy costume being maskless, he was still a little worried about being recognized by anyone that knew the 'old' Clark. Till everybody got used to his new civilian look, he would have to make most of his superheroic appearances at super speed, or in areas where nobody knew Clark well, like the campus of Central Kansas University or way over in Metropolis. Although in Metropolis there was the danger of being recognized as Kal instead.... secret identities were hard.
Chloe wasn't fooled, of course, knowing about his powers already as she did. In fact, when he first introduced his older cousin Clark to her at the Planet, he almost saw the wheels turning in her head. Then, when Superboy first showed up in costume... and Clark showed up again with his new bespectacled look... she had immediately called him on it.
"Okay, Clark, this is getting entirely too Nick at Night for my tastes," said Chloe. At Clark's blank look, she said, "You know, the Patty Duke Show? Still, they're cousins, Identical cousins and you'll find, They laugh alike, they walk alike, At times they even talk alike --
"You can lose your mind, When cousins are two of a kind...," continued Clark. "Yeah, I kind of see your point, at least on the name and my new look. All I can tell you is it's for a good reason."
"Well, it's pretty obvious that you couldn't stick with your old look if you were going to be running around in a...," Chloe lowered her voice to a whisper, "costume with no mask. Who's idea was that, anyway? You want everybody to know who you are?"
"Um, well, can't you guess? Remember, I told you about the whole time mess and being twinned and wanting to help but have a normal life too, and well, Cl - I mean Kal-El, Superman said..." Clark ground to a stop, realizing he'd said too much.
He could practically see the light bulb going on above Chloe's head, mixed metaphors or no. "You mean... oh my gaaawd. That makes too much sense. Superboy appears and Superman announces that they're cousins... at the same time that you start aping your long lost cousin's look... your cousin who came back to work here the same day that Superman returned..."
Chloe stopped in mid ramble. "You know, I think I just lost a lot of respect for Lois Lane's skills as an investigative reporter." She put her hand up to stop Clark's protest. "No, I know what you're going to say - it's not your secret to tell. So I won't ask you to confirm or deny the only theory that makes sense." She sighed. "Only it kind of sucks to have possibly the biggest scoop in creation land in my lap, and not be able to use it because it's about my best friend."
So, Chloe knew. She'd apparently even taken to dropping items from the news wire or the Internet about what she considered the worst trouble spots around the world on reporter Clark Kent's desk. And been gratified that Superman had ended up showing up those exact same places more than once in the last couple weeks.
Meanwhile, both Lex and Lana appeared to have fully recovered. They seemed to have next to no memory of what had transpired with Zod and Isobel, although Lana at least must have noticed the reappearance of her tattoo. Clark didn't even want to think about the possibility that Lex had noticed it for her... he just didn't want to go there at all. And there was no evidence that Lex still had any powers.
Of course, Clark couldn't be sure, since neither of them seemed inclined to talk to him either. With them locking him out, Mom and Lois always traveling on state senator business, and Chloe in Metropolis, he was starting to feel very isolated in Smallville and even on campus. The 'new' Clark wasn't making very many new friends at college, either. His new duties as Superboy were a welcome distraction from it all, even when they had confronted that Bizarro creature in Metropolis last week. At least between the three of them, they'd been able to drive it off before it caused any more property damage...
"Xander, we're sending you to Metropolis," said Giles.
"Okay, I'll bite," replied the dark-haired man from the top of his ladder. He was putting in new molding to replace that damaged in the Cyberman attack - well, really, Giles' methods of dealing with said attack. "No, not literally - can't you guys get over that hyena paranoia? I mean, why would you want me in Metropolis?"
"Buffy and I have discussed it, and we agree somebody needs to be keeping an eye on that whole 'super' situation," replied Giles. "Both in order to evaluate any potential threat our new friends in tights may present, and to make sure that if they are indeed the Powers' newest Champions, that they're kept safe from harm until our hour of need."
"Kept safe from harm.... right." Xander looked down at Giles skeptically. "Never mind that I only have
one eye to keep on anyone, how am I supposed to protect people who are not only faster than a speeding bullet, but able to bounce said bullet with their eyelids?"
"Well," continued the Watcher, finally resorting to his favorite nervous habit and polishing away at his glasses. "Their extreme vulnerability to magical attacks is somewhat... worrying. What happens the first time Superman and his new family face a serious threat from the supernatural world? After all, some demons, and a goodly number of less than benevolent magicians, shamans, and warlocks, do read the papers and watch the TV news. I wouldn't be surprised if some of them decided that three superheroes looked like an interesting challenge, or given the general increase in paranormal events, that they just wanted to be the world's next super villains."
"Wow, you've been thinking a lot about this, haven't you?" said Xander. "Okay, so what's my cover going to be? If our friendly trio spot me watching them, why am I in Metropolis?"
"Simple," replied the head Watcher. "Metropolis is undergoing quite a bit of reconstruction lately, considering a recent earthquake and multiple large scale battles. Even with the help of our costumed friends, there's quite a bit of work to be had, and I've secured you a well-paying job as foreman of one of the largest construction contracts. I trust you haven't lost your skills in that area?"
"Nope, still like to keep my hand in, and Clayton's leadership experience should allow me to do an even better job at management. In fact, I've been meaning to talk to you about our Slayer allocation strategy." Xander descended the ladder. "But I guess we can teleconference if we need to. Any supernatural activity there right now
that I should know about?"
"Just the usual, I think. Oh, yes, and two Slayers you can Watch, if Willow's tracking spell is not mistaken. One whose reading seems to fade in and out - perhaps some sort of shielding spell - and one who seems to have just settled down in Metropolis after a lot of traveling that made it difficult to contact her." Giles put his hand on Xander's shoulder. "So, you see, it's not just about Superman and the others. You'll be helping us out a great deal, holding down one of the major cities of the world."
"Come on, G-Man, you know my ego doesn't need that
much stroking. At least not from older men in tweed, you know? Guess I better go pack..." Xander turned to look back at Giles before heading up the stairs. "You do realize that I'm not going to be a traditional Watcher, right? That I'm not just going to sit back and let the new girls go on patrol alone? I'll be out there with them, every night."
"My dear boy, that's exactly what I was counting on."
General Landry was not pleased.
"So, let me summarize for you, Colonel Mitchell. Not only do we have the Ori and the Priors to contend with. Not only has Ba'al demonstrated that he is still active and very capable. Not only can we not be certain that the Cybermen will never return. But now we have reports of Superman fighting some 'evil duplicate' of himself not once but twice, and he's been joined by two cousins with the same incredible powers he has. Is that about the size of it?"
"Yes, sir," replied Mitchell.
"Do we have any idea how we could deal with them if they ever became a threat, or how we could use them against the Ori or Go'uald if that proved necessary?"
"Well, not much, sir, but...," Mitchell started.
"Sir, we do have some ideas, they're just not fully developed yet," interrupted Major Carter. "As far as defending against Kryptonians, we're reasonably sure we've identified rocks from a Kansas meteor shower as being identical to this Kryptonite that Superman is supposed to be vulnerable to. Not to mention that our ships are perfectly capable of reaching the new asteroid he lifted into solar orbit last month and chipping off as many green mineral samples as we need, which might be the better option considering that LuthorCorp seems to have a lock on the Kansas site."
"We think the NID is really holding the purse strings on LuthorCorp's contract, but we're not sure," said Mitchell.
"Makes sense," grunted Landry. "I can't imagine they'd be too happy with the prospect of aliens running around without having some countermeasures either."
"There's also no proof that they'd be as invulnerable to energy weapons as to firearms, sir," said Carter. "Which leads me to question how useful they'd be to us against the Ori or Go'uald even if we did recruit them."
"I still say we should just send somebody to Metropolis to look them up," said Daniel Jackson. "I mean, it's not as though the idea that there are aliens visiting Earth is going to come as much of a shock to them."
"Or to anybody else," said Mitchell. "Heck, with the public reminded about Kryptonians, plus the Sycorax and Cyberman invasions, even that incident in London last year if it wasn't really a hoax, the secret that extraterrestrials exist is pretty much blown. It's just the details of what we've been doing that nobody knows."
"I agree," said Vala. "If all these other human worlds manage to handle knowing about the Stargates and the Go'uald, I really fail to see why you don't trust your own population with the same knowledge. I know I like to tease you about Earth culture, but this planet is really quite sophisticated compared to most... and I think we need every ally we can get. It's still strange that neither Qetesh nor any of the other Go'uald seem to have ever heard of this Krypton, though."
"I'm been thinking about that," said Carter. "I'm forced to conclude that Lois Lane's original interview with Superman was correct when it referred to Krypton as being in another galaxy entirely. Of course, that implies that their technology must have been very advanced, in order for a young Superman's ship to get him all that distance without any kind of gate or wormhole device. We need to consider if their inherited technology might not be more useful than their actual intervention as combatants."
"There's something else you need to consider as well," said Vala. "If Ba'al still has a presence on this planet, that means the Go'uald that remain are fully aware of the existence of these super people. Some of them have always been obsessed with creating hok'taur, evolutionarily advanced humans. Even if they didn't think about it before, it's going to occur to somebody
that Superman or one of his cousins would make the ideal host for a rise back to power."
Vala Mal Doran looked around at her shocked Tau'ri friends. "You mean this really didn't occur to you? What I'm saying is, the way word gets around in this galaxy, Superman and his family are bound to get involved in our conflicts, whether we bring them in or not. Those big red S's might as well be bullseyes painted on their chests, as far as I'm concerned."
Angel looked around his new flat with discontent.
Here he was, back in LA after his tour of Eastern Europe went bust, and he was pretty much back where he started when he had first come to LA. No friends to speak of, with Wesley and Cordy dead and the others scattered about the globe. Even Gunn had declined to stay, citing bad memories and a job offer in Boston based on his apparently still valid legal credentials.
He wasn't sure he could call Herc... Kevin a friend, really, although perhaps an ally. At least when he wasn't off shooting on location somewhere. It wasn't as though they could really go out drinking together... except maybe in demon bars that served pig's blood. Still, he had been generous enough to let him crash during daylight hours for a while, and even helped him out with the deposit on this place till he could get Angel Investigations up and running again.
Angel supposed there was probably a Slayer or two in town, otherwise LA would have been far more overrun with vamps when he got back. He could pick up the phone and find out, but he really didn't feel up to talking to Giles or Buffy just now. Especially Buffy. Hopefully they'd at least circulated his description and no-staking order... if Xander hadn't intercepted said information before it could be sent out.
He forced his dead lungs to inhale the stale air, just so he could let out a long sigh. The sun had finally completely set. There was nothing for it; it was time to go out and try to help the helpless.
Even if there was no one to help him.