Sullivan Kent/Barri Allen
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC, sort of. At least they're based on characters that do!
Picture from andreas@LJ.
Dancing through life..
If only because dust
Is what we come to
And the strange thing:
Your life could end up changing
While you're dancing through
-"Dancing Through Life," from "Wicked"
"I think the JLA is up to something."
Sully Kent leaned a hip on a stool in his mom's kitchen and looked down at the redheaded knockout in front of him, considering her words thoughtfully. She'd poured her spectacular body into a low-cut, form-fitting dress-- crimson, of course, because red was always her color-- and put her hair up in a sophisticated knot on top of her head.
She looked incredible.
Sully was dressed up too, and not enjoying it very much. But when his mom held these parties for her Daily Planet associates, he was expected to dress up-- in a regular suit, not a spandex one. He didn't much like the way the jacket fit across his shoulders, or the way the tie felt around his neck. He preferred jeans and a t-shirt, or his superhero uniform. Regular suits were just plain annoying.
Mom had been more insistent than ever before that he dress well. He guessed she wanted him to try to approach Perry White, the Planet's editor-in-chief, for a job in the mail room or something, but he was damned if he was going to trade on his mom's fame as a reporter to get a job. He'd find his own job his own way, thank you very much.
Anyway, what Mom didn't realize was that he already had a job. It just didn't happen to pay anything.
"I figured they were up to something, too," he admitted, taking a big bite of one of the myriad cookies on his plate. He kept his voice low, conscious of the crowd milling around them. "I mean, I know I don't deserve to be in the JLA. Not yet."
"Oh, Sully." She patted his arm. "Of course you do. But it's not like the JLA to induct someone so quickly, no matter how much good they've done. I've never known them to induct anyone who's been working as a hero for less than two years."
He nodded. "Yeah, that's pretty much what I figured. So they're up to something. But what?"
"I don't know." She frowned in thought, her burgundy eyebrows drawing down. "I could ask my dad. He's a lousy liar."
Sully sighed. "I don't want to get between you and your dad, Barri. I'll just go along with it for now and see what they're doing."
"But what if it's something... bad?"
"They're the freaking JLA, Barri. It's not like they're a gang of supervillains or anything. Whatever they're up to, I think we can assume they have good intentions."
"Yeah, well, you know what they say about the road to hell."
She muttered that under her breath, clearly not intending him to hear, but his superhearing had somehow grown sort of attuned to her voice now, and it was hard for him to avoid hearing even the faintest whisper she uttered if she was within a mile or so of him. He took a sip of his drink-- plain Coke, not the hard liquor he would have sneaked into the party a few months ago-- to hide his smile.
It was, he thought, actually kind of nice that she was so protective of him.
Thing was, he didn't need protecting. He'd figure out what was going on and cope with it himself, somehow or other.
She looked up at him and smiled, and he felt his heart clench. God, she was beautiful. He'd always had a thing for her, and now that the two of them had started dating, however hesitantly... well, it was becoming very difficult for him to stick to his resolutions.
He'd told himself over and over again that he needed to stay clear of her, to not get too involved. He'd told himself that he had responsibilities to Metropolis and the world now, and he couldn't allow his loyalties to be divided by falling for a woman, not even Barri Allen.
But looking at her now, he couldn't quite remember why he'd thought any of this.
Thing was, it was stupid to continue trying to keep her at arm's length. It really was. She wasn't just smart and beautiful and quick-witted. She was a hero, and every bit as devoted to saving the world as he was.
Barri Allen was the right woman for him. He might be only nineteen, but he knew that as surely as he knew anything.
He put his plate and cup down on the granite countertop, and looked at her seriously.
"Let's dance," he said.
She glanced around the crowded kitchen, frowning. "No one's dancing, Sully."
He knew why. Ordinarily the annual Kent New Year Eve's party was a pretty rowdy, cheerful affair, but this was the first one since Superman-- the first Superman, Sully's dad-- had died. It was also the first party since Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter, had been killed while trying to report on the battle between Superman and Doomsday.
No one but a few close friends knew that Superman and Clark Kent had been the same person. But everyone knew that Chloe Sullivan Kent was still grieving for the loss of her husband. And so this year, the annual Kent party was a subdued affair.
Sully, of course, was grieving for the loss of his dad too. But in the last few months, he'd found a purpose to his life, a purpose that gave his previously aimless life new direction. Barri was part of that new direction, and he felt like celebrating it with her. He felt like dancing.
He didn't think Dad would mind.
He lifted her into his arms and carried her outside.
Barri found herself laughing as Sully swept her around in a circle in the back yard. They could hardly hear the music from the house, but that didn't seem to matter. Above them glittered the stars, shining brightly despite the lights of Metropolis.
The nighttime, she thought, made its own music.
She wrapped her arms around his neck and clung to him. His body felt big and powerful and warm against hers. There was a certain solidity to him that hadn't been there a few months ago, a feeling of safety in his arms that she knew she wouldn't have felt earlier this year.
They swayed together for long moments beneath the vault of stars. And then, very slowly, he came to a halt, and his arms tightened around her too.
"Barri," he muttered.
His voice was low and rough. She knew what he was thinking, as clearly as if he'd said it.
He wanted to make love to her.
She discovered she liked the idea. She liked it a lot.
Inside the house, she could hear the countdown to the New Year begin: Ten... nine... eight...
He held her more closely than before, and together they counted down. "Seven... six... five..."
The chant from inside the house grew louder, drowning out their voices. Four... three.. two... one...
And then cheers rang out.
It was a new year. A new start.
She lifted her head. His lips found hers, gently but decisively, and they clung together in a long and ardent kiss.
It wasn't their first kiss, but it was the first one that felt like it was headed someplace serious. Their bodies melted together. Her leg lifted and wrapped around his thighs, pulling him closer, and his hands dug into her hips as he groaned her name.
And then he pulled away, cocking his head in an attitude she knew well.
"Sully?" she whispered. "What do you hear?"
"It sounds like..." His eyebrows drew down. "Sounds like someone's fireworks set off a big explosion downtown."
"Is anyone hurt?"
"Not sure. People are screaming, but they might just be scared. I think everyone's okay, but I'd like to check it out anyway." His lips pressed together. "Look, Barri, I know we were sort of... well, I know that this was going to be a big night for us, but..."
She stepped back from him. "What are you waiting for, Supes?"
She saw the flicker of surprise in his eyes as he looked at her and saw she'd already changed into her costume, so quickly that even he hadn't seen her move.
"Are you sure about this?" he asked.
She smiled, a little sadly. Doing what was right, she thought, wasn't always easy. "I'm sure, Sully. Neither of us is dancing through life any more. We have serious stuff to take care of now."
He shrugged a big shoulder, and then yanked open his shirt to reveal the crimson S beneath it.
"Still," he said, "we need a little time to dance, too."
"We danced," she said, sounding as cheerful as she could. "For at least thirty seconds, we danced."
In a blur, he did away with the suit, and stood before her in his Superman costume. "And it was great," he said, grinning. "Happy New Year, Barri."
"Happy New Year, Sully. Now get your slow ass moving, or you'll be eating my dust all the way there."
"Ha," he retorted. "Only if I let you win."
Behind the red cowl, she rolled her eyes at him, laughing at his masculine outrage at the notion that she might outrun him. "Come on, Supes. Let's dance."
Shoulder to shoulder, they disappeared in a blur, heading for downtown Metropolis.
Oh, my God.
Chloe Sullivan Kent stood on her back patio, staring into the darkness. She'd found herself missing her husband so badly she ached, so she'd left the crowded house for a few minutes and stepped outside to be alone with her memories. And for a moment... just for a moment... she'd seen...
It couldn't have been Sully. It couldn't have been.
Uncertainty and confusion pushed at her mind, but this time, she pushed back. She'd suspected before, many times, but every time she'd somehow let her suspicions fade away. But this time she knew what she'd seen, damn it. She knew.
Despite the darkness, she had very clearly seen Sully rip off his suit to reveal Superman's costume beneath it. She was confident in her own powers of observation, and this time, she couldn't doubt what she'd seen, no matter how much the little voice inside her head told her it couldn't be true.
It was true. She was absolutely certain of it.
Her son was Superman 2.