Clark, Bart, Chloe
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.Sequel to Men in Black and Ghostbusters.
Don't bet your future on one roll of the dice
Better remember, lightning never strikes twice
...So take me away, I don't mind
But you better promise me I'll be back in time
-"Back in Time," Huey Lewis and the News
"You get slower every day, old man."
Clark Kent put on a burst of speed that brought him nearly up to Bart Allen's heels. "I'm just taking it easy on you," he answered. "You being just a kid and everything."
"Ha. You are such a liar. You're gonna run out of gas any minute now."
"No," Clark answered. "I'm gonna kick your ass any minute now."
"You have to catch it to kick it, Supes." Bart started drawing away from him, without any apparent effort whatsoever. He grinned back over his shoulder. "See ya."
He hit the accelerator, metaphorically speaking, and started to draw away. Clark ground his teeth and ran faster, faster than he'd ever run in his lifetime.
But it wasn't enough. Bart was still drawing away from him.
The truth was that Bart could run circles around him, and they both knew it. But Clark was a guy, and his ego didn't really like being bested at something he'd once figured he was the best at. He strained even harder, and started to gain ground again.
Bart looked over his shoulder again. This time there was surprise in his eyes. "Easy there, old man. You're gonna strain something."
"No." Clark found he was breathing hard, something that had never happened before. "I'm... going... to... catch... you."
He moved up on Bart, until he was running just behind him. Bart turned his head, looking startled, and then he grinned.
"In your dreams, man."
He strained, too, and suddenly he was nothing more than a red blur, even to Clark's eyes.
And then suddenly the world shifted, in a weird, stomach-twisting way that Clark couldn't define, but definitely didn't like.
The two of them fell out of superspeed with shocking suddenness, and hit the ground hard.
When Clark opened his eyes, it was to brilliant fall sunshine and the chatter of hundreds of young voices. He got to his feet, a little unsteadily, seeing that they were at Smallville High School, of all places.
Beside him, Bart was blinking in confusion, too. "Weren't we in California?" he said.
"Thought so. I guess we got going pretty fast."
That still didn't explain how they'd wound up in Smallville, of all places. But at least he didn't have to go far to get home to Metropolis-- which considering the way he felt right now, was a good thing. He felt oddly burnt out. He'd obviously strained way too hard trying to catch Bart.
The kid was right. He was getting old.
He looked over the crowd of kids, smiling a little at the memories they evoked... and then froze.
"What's wrong, man?"
Clark didn't say anything. He couldn't. He was caught in the icy grip of horror and disbelief. Bart followed his gaze, and his mouth dropped open, too.
"Holy shit, Supes. That guy looks just like you."
Clark watched as the younger version of him-- tall, gangling, and awkward, with a skateboard over one shoulder-- walked toward Lana, and then tripped over his own feet and fell to the ground in a tangle of arms and legs.
"Jesus," Bart said. "The guy's a total dweeb. He's like a weird Twilight Zone geek version of you."
Clark finally found words. "That is me, Bart."
"Say what? Are you going senile on me or something?"
"No. This was..." Clark could barely force the words out. "This was six years ago, Bart. Back in my freshman year of high school."
Bart's head jerked around in shock. "Are you telling me we traveled in time?"
"I guess..." Clark swallowed. "I guess we went a lot faster than we thought."
"No." Bart started to shake his head emphatically. "No freakin' way, man. No, no, no. We could not possibly have... I mean, it's just not possible that..." He trailed off and stared into the crowd of students. "Holy crap, there's the hottie."
Clark knew who he'd see even before he followed Bart's pointing finger. In the crowd, not far from his younger doppelganger, there stood Pete and Chloe, laughing together.
Chloe, he thought, looking at her sweet, young face with a wave of nostalgia. She'd been so pretty, so open, such a good friend, and yet he'd hardly noticed her back then, because he'd been so damn focused on Lana Lang. It had taken a long, long time for him to realize he was crazy about Chloe.
"Wow," Bart said. "She looks so young..." He trailed off and thought about it, then heaved a long sigh. "Holy shit," he said again. "We really did travel in time, didn't we?"
"Looks that way," Clark said.
"Dude, we better get the hell out of here before we screw something up. You know, like in Back to the Future, where he stops his parents from meeting? We don't want something like that to happen to us."
"We didn't go that far back in time, Impulse. Only six years."
"Still, we're bound to do something wrong. We gotta go home."
"I'd love to get back, Bart. But how exactly are we going to do that? I don't even know how we got here."
"Superspeed, dude. Something about us going so fast made us time travel."
"So how are we going to reverse it? If we do it again, we might just go back further in time. I don't want to wind up hanging out with dinosaurs, you know?"
"Maybe if we ran in the other direction..."
Clark rolled his eyes. "You're going to be a T Rex's dinner, Bart. I'm warning you."
"Well, Supes, just standing around here isn't going to do us any good. It's only a matter of time before you do something stupidly heroic, like save someone who should have died or something, and totally alter the timeline."
Clark nodded slowly, realizing that Bart was right. He wasn't sure how to reverse the effect that had gotten them here, to this point in time, but just standing here wasn't going to get them back. They had to try something.
"Okay," he said. "Let's go."
The two of them burst into a run, but within a few feet, they slowed and came to a halt, looking at each other with horror.
"Crap," Bart said. "Our superspeed's gone."
More to come...