Thursday, May 21, 2009
Kiss the Girl
Sully/Barri, Chloe futurefic
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics. Well, except for the ones I made up. Which is most of them. Still, totally not mine!
...There’s something about her
And you don’t know why
But you’re dying to try
You want to kiss the girl
-"Kiss the Girl," The Little Mermaid
"Oh, my God. Sully."
Sullivan Kent wrapped his arms around his mom. The minute he'd walked into the house, dressed in ratty jeans and a rattier t-shirt, she'd flung herself against him. He could feel her shaking, and he knew that despite Jor-El's reassurances that he was fine, she'd been scared to death he was gone for good. The thought made guilt slice through him, but he pushed it away.
He'd needed to do what he'd done.
"It's okay, Mom," he said gently. It was weird to be the one reassuring his mother, as if things had suddenly flipped themselves, and he'd temporarily become the adult in the relationship. "I'm okay. I was just trying to get things straight in my head."
That was true, to a certain degree. His mom really didn't need to know he'd spent the week in a trance in his dad's Fortress of Solitude, studying the history of a planet that no longer existed, looking over his dad's memories and learning from them, gaining a better understanding of his own abilities. Some cans of worms didn't need to be opened, and that was definitely one of them.
His mom clung to him, and Sully patted her back, knowing that this was the calm before the storm. She was upset now, but as soon as she got a grip on herself... he was totally going to get it.
Sure enough, a moment later she pulled back and looked up at him, her eyes flaring dangerously bright. "Where the hell have you been?"
A week ago, he would have cringed, intimidated by her anger, and likely would have attempted to cover the reaction by lashing out verbally. But he was more confident now, more comfortable in his own skin, and he wasn't going to let her throw him off balance.
He was sorry she'd been so worried ... but he'd done what he had to do, and he wouldn't second guess himself any more.
"I told you," he said steadily. "I was trying to get some stuff worked out."
"Without telling me where you were? Without calling? Do you know how much time I've spent this week looking for you? The JLA's been looking for you too-- don't you think they've got better things to do? How could you be so... so immature, Sully?"
Years of conditioning made it difficult for him not to cringe in the face of her lecture, but he managed to keep his cool.
"I had things to do," he repeated, keeping his voice pitched low, refusing to let her irritate him into anger. She had a right to be pissed, but he didn't need to make things worse by yelling at her.
"Oh, I'm sure." She let go of him and turned away in angry disgust. "A new girlfriend. Jor-El told me. So you let college go for the sake of a girl?"
"No." He sighed. "It's a lot more complicated than that, Mom. I was just trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. And... well, it's not college."
In his head, he heard a soft feminine voice: It's been a while since I worked as a superhero. I pretty much packed away my suit when I left the Key, so I could focus on my schoolwork.
He'd begun to realize that he couldn't make the same choice his friend Barri Allen had. He wasn't judging her, but for him, focusing on college instead of hero work wasn't the right path to take. Metropolis needed help now, not two or three years from now, and he couldn't let his duties slide all that time, just for the sake of a diploma. He couldn't.
And the truth was he'd never been that dedicated to the idea of college anyway. He was pretty sure he'd known all along it wasn't the right path for him. He just hadn't been able to figure out what the right path was until recently.
But he couldn't explain any of that to his mom, so naturally she was going to flip out.
Sure enough, she spun around, anger lighting her eyes to molten gold. "So you're just going to give up any chance for bettering yourself? You're going to flip burgers for the rest of your life?"
This was Standard Parental Lecture #402, and he didn't like it any better than he usually did. Maybe less, because he knew what he wanted to do now, what his purpose in life was, and it sure as hell wasn't flipping burgers. The idea that his mom still thought he was a loser, a slacker, a bum...
Well, it irritated him, but he reminded himself firmly that it wasn't her fault. After all, he could just take the bull by the horns and tell her what he was doing. He probably ought to.
But as scared as she'd been the past week, he knew she'd be a hell of a lot more frightened if he was going out there and risking his life every day, wearing his dad's old costume. They'd lost his dad a few months ago, and he didn't think Mom would be really happy about the possibility of losing him. In her eyes, he might be a lazy slacker... but he was the only son she had.
"I have a plan," he said steadily.
"Yes, mooching off me for the rest of your life." She started making stabbing motions at his chest with her finger-- never a good sign. "Let me tell you, young man, I'm not going to function as your ATM, maid, cook and hotel manager. If you're not going to college--"
"Then I'm getting a job," he interrupted. "I know, Mom."
She frowned at him, but he could tell she didn't really want to go on quarreling. She was just too relieved to see him. "Fine," she said stiffly. "As long as you understand that you need to be hitting the pavement first thing tomorrow morning. You can stay here if you want, but you'll be paying me rent."
"Okay. That's fair." He nodded, and looked at her. "And Mom... I'm sorry I scared you."
He saw her lower lip quiver, but she rolled her eyes.
"I was never really worried," she told him. They both knew it was a lie, but he let it pass. "I knew you were just relaxing and enjoying yourself somewhere. It's what you always do, Sully."
"Yeah," he said softly. "I guess it is."
Metropolis had managed to get by without him.
Sully sat at the old oak table in the kitchen, devouring his sixth bowl of cereal. Like his dad, he could subsist for a long time without food, but that didn't mean he enjoyed going hungry. He'd walked into the kitchen and suddenly realized he hadn't eaten for a week, whereupon he'd made a beeline for the pantry.
Frosted Flakes, he thought blissfully. Food of the gods.
His mom had a week's worth of newspapers stacked on a chair-- because she still insisted on getting the paper edition of the Daily Planet, unlike getting it off the internet like everyone else in the known universe-- and he looked through the last few days' news.
Several incidents had been attributed to Superman 2-- a family rescued from a house that was about to blow up, a massive fire in the warehouse district somehow put out, a car caught in midair just as it began to plummet into the bay. Of course, none of the witnesses had actually seen Superman 2, but he had enough of a reputation now that people just assumed it was him, particularly if they happened to see a hint of blue and red before their rescuer disappeared.
Thanks to Batman, his secret identity was safe. No one would notice that Superman 2 and Sully had been gone from Metropolis for the same length of time.
And his mom had helped, too, with her stupid articles berating Superman 2 as a criminal. She hadn't meant to help, but she definitely had. She'd done her best to tie him into a convenience store robbery downtown, as well as a mugging in Suicide Slum.
Nice, he thought grumpily. Thanks so much, Mom.
But of course it wasn't her fault. Until he told her the truth, she'd remain convinced that Superman 2 was just some freak trying to ride Dad's coattails to fame and glory.
And maybe in a way, she was right.
He pushed that glum thought away. He knew his own motives weren't a hundred percent pure, but then, whose were? Everyone wanted a little glory every now and again. Maybe he'd been trying to redeem himself a little when he started, but, well, he'd needed some redemption. Anyway, all he wanted now was to help people, same as his dad had done.
And now... now he was better equipped to do the work he wanted to do.
"So I hear you've been engaged in a torrid affair for the past week."
Sully's head jerked up. He saw Barri Allen standing next to the table, her long red hair tumbling around her shoulders, and to his dismay he felt his cheeks flush. "Uh..." he said. He didn't want Barri to think that of him, but he was mindful of his mom's presence somewhere in the house. He couldn't say too much, lest Mom overhear. "It didn't happen quite that way."
She smiled and took a step toward him. Her burgundy hair was windblown, and he guessed she'd supersped from campus. Like him, Barri was superpowered, and sometimes did hero work under the code name Impulse.
"I figured," she said. "Your mom came around the campus, asking a lot of questions. Apparently someone gave her the idea you were with a girl."
To his relief, Barri didn't sound ticked. It wasn't like the two of them were dating or anything, anyway. Still, he didn't want her to think he was a total dog.
The truth was that a few months ago, he had been a dog, and everyone knew it, including Barri. But lately... he'd changed. He didn't want her to think he was the same old Sully.
"I wasn't," he answered.
"I guessed that. But I was a little worried, and I couldn't find you anywhere, so I asked your mom to give me a call when you got back."
He nodded, because that explained why she'd dropped by. His mom must have called and let Barri know he was back. He stood up and looked at her, drinking in the sight of her. God, she was pretty. "I... well, I can't talk about what I've been doing right now, Barri. You want to get together? Maybe for lunch?"
She looked at him, very carefully. "You're different," she said softly. "Something's changed."
A shiver ran down his spine. He knew he didn't look like a hero right now, not wearing tattered jeans and an old holey Met U shirt, and he was startled to realize she knew him so well. They'd been friends for a year now, but only in a casual sort of way. But recently he'd discovered she was superpowered, same as he was, and somehow that had put a whole different spin on things, especially after she'd helped him slow down and put things into perspective a little.
Still, it wasn't like they were BFFs or anything, the way his parents had been. So her ability to read his soul so readily scared him a little, and made him feel a little more vulnerable than he wanted to feel.
"We can talk about it at lunch," he said, hearing a touch of coolness in his voice.
She nodded, apparently undisturbed by his tone. "Okay. The Campus Deli, at one?"
She turned around and started away, and suddenly he realized how much he'd missed her. He'd missed the sight of her wry smile, the sound of her voice. Not that he was in love with her or anything. He couldn't afford to fall in love right now.
But if he were going to let himself fall in love, Barri Allen would definitely be the woman he'd pick.
Spurred by a sudden impulse, he took two long steps, caught her by the elbow, and spun her around.
And then he lowered his head and kissed her.
Her arms wrapped around his shoulders in submission, and he sighed, letting the cool caution fade away, letting the kiss grow a little more intense. He'd missed this. He didn't know how that could be possible, how he could miss something he'd never done with her before, but somehow he had.
Or maybe he'd just missed her.
Regardless, he thought, he was damned happy to be back.
And even happier to have Barri Allen in his arms.
Posted by Meg at 6:33 AM