World's Finest IV: Finer Friends
A Tale of Robin and Superboy
Archive: Ask first, please.
Warnings: M/M themes with underage doodles.
Fandom: Modern comicsverse. Robin/Superboy. Fourth in the "World's Finest" series, which can be found at http://www.offpanel.net/kerithwyn/. (Set within the first few issues of Young Justice.)
Disclaimer: All characters property of DC Comics, no money made or infringement intended by use. What I have done with them is mine.
We'd been exploring the old cave at Happy Harbor, the old JLA headquarters. Impulse speed-scouted the place and then spent an unprecedented three minutes standing still, staring at the picture of the original JLA and his grandfather, Barry Allen. Then he left, and Kon and I were alone.
No problem, right? Just two teenaged superheroes, talking about what a cool hangout--headquarters?--this place might make, if we cleaned it up a little. Except there was this weird tension. Like both of us were thinking about what might happen next.
I was looking at some of the JLA trophies when he came up behind me--silently, he must have flown--and kissed the back of my neck. Hello, hormones!
But I'd been thinking a lot about it, and this time, I couldn't just...let it happen. I had to know. I took a deep breath, and turned around.
"What are we doing?"
"If you can't figure it out...." he smirked at me.
"No, seriously. Are we...is this...."
He stared at me impatiently. "What?"
"Don't you think about it? I mean, I appreciate the spur-of-the-moment thing, but...."
Now he looked ticked. "Just because I don't talk about it doesn't make me stupid. I *think* about it all the time."
"I mean, more than the, the, uh. Sex." Finally saying it brought home how *alien* it sounded. I'd been having sex. With Superboy. Good grief!
"I *know* what you meant. Jeez, you really do think I'm a moron, don't you?"
"No! No, I don't. I'm sorry. I'm just trying to understand."
He let out an exasperated breath. "Why?"
"We have to--"
"We don't *have* to do anything!" he exploded. "Figure out the bad guys, you're good at that. But why do you have to--analyze everything? Look. I *like* you. I like being with you. Is that wrong?"
"No--" he must have sensed the "but" coming, because he cut me off.
"No, and you like it too, I know. So what's the problem?"
I stopped for a moment to clear my head. What *was* the problem, anyway?
The problem was...it didn't feel right. Dick warned me, after all. We'd gotten caught up in that excitement, and I'd realized that but ignored it. Sure, it felt good. Physically. After the battles we'd had, Ivy and Metallo and Bedlam, I felt so wired all he had to do was put a hand on my shoulder.
But I kept remembering what Dick said. "It's a lot more about what you're *feeling,* than what your body does." Mostly I was feeling confused. And a little...wrong. Not wrong *bad,* exactly, but....
He was still waiting--surprisingly patiently--for an answer. I didn't have one yet. Okay, let's try this question: "But you, uh, like girls, right?"
He looked at me like I'd suddenly started speaking Kryptonese. "'Course. What's that got to do with anything?"
Nothing, I guess. As far as he was concerned. I was pretty sure--or getting there--that it made all the difference to me.
I just didn't *feel* that way about him. Despite everything. I didn't have that same sense of attraction I'd had to Ariana or Steph. Or on a totally different level, a fantasy-level, Ivy or Catwoman.
Maybe his perspective would help. "Tell me, please? What you think about."
He rolled his eyes, but told me. Just let it all fall out. "I think about...how you don't treat me like a joke or an experiment, like you actually respect me. You get bossy sometimes but I still always feel like I can say something and you'll take it seriously. An' I know you can't tell me who you are, not really, but I wanna know more about you than the fact you swing a mean batarang. And kiss really good." He stopped for a second, looking uncertain. "And you like me...right? Not just 'cause I'm Superboy and can do all that stuff. Just me, you know, Kon."
I stood there, hearing him say all those things, and I never felt worse in my life. Because he obviously *had* been thinking about what we'd been doing, and--
And that's when the real reason behind the "wrong" hit me, more important than just the "he's a guy" thing.
I didn't think about him when he wasn't there.
I didn't--*think* about him. Not like that. Like when I'd lie awake and worry about Steph and how she might get hurt playing Spoiler, or how I was gonna make things up to Ari for ditching her *again* when we were supposed to have a date.
When I thought about Kon it was pretty much, this other teenaged hero I worked with sometimes, and, uh, did we really do *that?* I didn't...dwell on it.
So if it really just was a spur-of-the-moment thing, wasn't that kind of sleazy on my part? Like I--used him. Yeah, maybe he "used" me too, but HE'D been thinking about it. After. And I--
--couldn't let that happen again. Oh, boy.
"I...do like you. As a person, as Kon-El, not just as Superboy. I'm glad we're friends." I took a deep breath. "But I don't think we should do this anymore."
He held himself so still. "Why?"
"I don't...feel that way. Emotionally. Yeah, it feels great physically, I can't deny that--" this was coming out all wrong! "...but it's not--I'm not...."
"Whatever." He looked away. "You don't have to spell it out. Over, done, fine."
Shit. "Kon-- Conal, I'm--"
He turned back with a tight expression I couldn't quite read. "Don't call me that, okay?"
Wha-- oh. I'd called him "Conal" when I'd misheard his real name, and he'd liked it; made him feel normal, he said. The subtext was: "like a real boy." Pinocchio come to life in a tank rather than a wood-worker's shop.
"O-okay." I tried again cautiously. "Kon-El--"
He didn't react, so I went on. "I'm really sorry. It's not you, it's me." I winced at the cliché even as his face twitched in--anger? Disbelief? "It's true."
"Sure." Before I could say anything else he was in the air. "Catch you 'round, *Boy Wonder.*"
"Kon-!" I yelled after him, but he was gone.
Yeah. Just perfect.
Go figure, right? Spill my guts to the guy, and give him credit, he falls over himself tryin' to be all nice about it. Wham, bam, thanks Superboy and SEE-ya, it's been fun.
'Cause he doesn't "feel the same."
What the hell does he know about what I'm feeling, anyway? No one does.
Aw, what crap. I never did that "poor little me" thing and I ain't gonna do it now.
I just thought that he might, y'know, want to keep hanging around. With me.
I *knew* it was gonna happen, I could just tell. Bat-boy went and thought himself out of the whole thing. As if I'd been, like, asking him to marry me or something. It was just *fun,* why'd he have to go and spoil it?
Most of the people I hang with on Hawaii just don't get what I do, not really. Y'know, the whole "leaping into danger" thing. I dunno, maybe it takes another superhero to really understand that. Rob does, we talked about that before, and I just liked...being with someone who gets it....
Hell with him, anyway. Plenty of babes out there ready to admire The Kid. Guys too, if I felt like it. Who needs one shrimpy little snob from Gotham?
Not me, man.
I'm just *fine.*
Notes: Some of you have no doubt wondered why this series was on hold for more than a year. This segment--written quite a long while ago--was the reason.
I didn't want to do it.
But this is the way it happened, Tim tells me; and I know better than to argue with him.
Epilogue to follow.