Summary: The Day after the Meteor Shower, another one of Clark's long-lost relatives show up. Problem: It's an older version of the same girl he met last night.
Location: The Kent Farm, Smallville, Kansas
Rating: PG (For Shirtless Farmboys from Outer Space and Kryptonians with Chest Windows)
"Clark? Supper's in ten minutes!"
"Okay, Ma! I've only got an acre left to put down!"
It's Kansas, near the end of the day. The sun is perhaps a hand's height over the flat horizon. It's in the country, too, so yelling is nothing new here. It's Friday night, which means it's Clark's night for helping his adoptive parents on the farm in return for a free meal... and Ma Kent was making chicken-friend steak tonight.
A slight grin spreads over Clark's face as the faint scent of home cooking hits his nostrils, before he returns to work. His outfit is simple enough: A pair of jeans, and heavy work boots. No glasses or shirt for this sort of work. After all, who would see him out here?
A heavy post is held in one hand, and is suddenly struck by a bare fist, driven down nearly half its height. A second later, the sound is repeated. And again. And again.
Karen figured it was about time to get around to this, as awkward as she's expecting it to be. Having spotted the meteor storm last night, she's decided that it's about time to introduce herself to the closest thing she has to family in this reality. She'd checked back in the city, an having not found him there, headed out to a very familiar Smallville farm. It looks so much like the one from "home" it's almost a little spooky. She doesn't make any attempt to sneak up on Clark, and instead simply sets down a few yards from him. She tries not to compare him too much to the Kal she knew, but can't help notice all the not-so-subtle differences that an approximately sixty year age difference makes, even for a Kryptonian.
"Right. So. Hi." The social stuff was never her strong point, okay?
Clark heard the approach, although the only actual reaction was a slight blurring of his form, adding a pair of glasses and a hammer in his hand. He doesn't even break stride, although the sudden slowing of the act to normal human standards does him quite a bit of credit. It's almost seamless. At the voice, he looks up at the unfamiliar costumed form, a gentle smile on his face, "Well... welcome." The post goes down, and he leans on it casually. "Can I help you find something? Don't see many costumed folks out in these parts."
Inside, his mind is running a mile a minute. What enemy would track him all the way here, much less know to look here for Clark? The awkwardness of the girl notwithstanding, his heartbeat is enough to give away that he's a bit on-edge.
"Well, nice to see some things are constant. You're just as polite as always," says the woman in white, then gives him an apologetic look. "Sorry, that was probably really vague. I'm trying to think of the best way to approach this..." her blue glove finds her face for a moment. "I'm guessing from last night's pretty lights that you might have met someone last night who was... kinda... like me. But... different." Yeah, this is going /so/ well. She switches to Kryptonian, if only to provide /some/ sort of proof. ~"It's complicated. And sounds like something from a bad science fiction. But then, that goes without saying, doesn't it?."~
Two? In as many nights? This stinks too much of coincidence for Clark to immediately believe it. Instead, Clark shakes his head. His poker-face is a bit disturbed by the Kryptonian speech, but he chooses to feign ignorance. "I saw a little bit of the meteor shower last night, sure... but I'm not sure what you mean..." Then, tilting his head, "What was that? Sounded vaguely Pakistani..." Too soon to just jump at this. J'onn would suggest caution here, too.
"Clark..." she says, with a bit of a sigh, and decides to just spit it out. "Okay, here goes. I go by Power Girl, and by Karen Starr, but my birth name is Kara Zor-L. Like my cousin, I was sent away from Krypton as an infant just before it was destroyed. Unlike that someone, my ship was designed to provide me with a virtual life simulating one on my home world, while slowing my aging considerably. It was also slower. Sixty years slower. After crashing on earth, my cousin and his wife took me in and helped me get used to life that wasn't designed by a computer. I adjusted... more or less. I had a nice happy life, and then reality went all wonky and I wound up here. Which, as far as I can tell... is some parallel Earth where my cousin is a hell of a lot younger and still a really bad liar." She looks at him.
Long pause. "I'm not insane, I swear. Despite what one supposedly 'fair and balanced' cable news network claims. That wasn't my fault."
Clark pauses, thinking for a moment before the glasses come off. "Okay... so you seem to know who I am. Too much similarities here, and I know no one was in listening distance last night." The post goes down, impaled into the ground, and the glasses are placed atop it. He then calls out over his shoulder, "Ma? Could you make another place at the table. We have a visitor!" It takes only a moment for a response in the positive to come back. "You need to realize how suspect this sounds. I've met a Kara Zor-El already, although you pronounce it strangely differently than she does. That, and you're quite bit. The parallel earth thing is new, though. So... tell me, if you're not insane, who exactly am I?"
"I'd be suspicious too, honestly. I can't blame you. My cousin's name was... is Kal-L. Or Clark Kent. Or Superman. As far as I can tell, you're a younger, unmarried version of him," she says. "I've... been here for a while." Stories about her do tend to get buried under all the other pretty blonde super-powered women, though. "I just haven't gotten the nerve to talk to you until now. It's..." she frowns. "Weird. When you know someone so well, and they have no clue who you are. And not really easy."
Clark thinks for a moment, "It is suspicious, really. But... if you know me, you also know that I'll usually give everyone a chance." He steps closer, offering a hand, "Anyhow, here, it's Kal-El, not L, but that's close enough." He smiles, "If you're somehow family... then I really need to catch up. Interested in some chicken? Ma makes the best gravy... thick enough to give a weak man a heart attack on the spot, and she's used to Kryptonian appetites."
"I'd like that. I really would. But I don't think I'm ready for family dinners just yet," she says, after a long moment's hesitation. "It's just..." she tries to think of the best way to put it. "Being here, cut off from home... I've lost a lot of people I loved. And seeing people who are /so close/ to them, but not quite..." she trails off, and bites her lip for a moment. "I think I need to ease in to this kind of thing. The girl you met yesterday, she's the one who belongs here. I'm sorry. I know family means a lot to you, and that you really /do/ want to give me that. I just... thought you had a right to know who I was."
Clark is silent for a moment as he mulls over what she says, pulling back the ignored hand. "Well... she'll be disappointed, but I think I can understand. I can't claim to comprehend what you claim to have been through... but I can imagine the hurt it has caused." He pauses, holds up a hand, and speeds away, back toward the house. Less than a minute later he is back, a package in hand. Steam escapes from the edges. "If I can't tempt you with family, I'll tempt you with a taste of it. Plus... taking this means at some point you'll have to give it back to me. It's reusable, after all. Keeps the heat in." Now the familiar grin returns, "Thank you, at least, for reaching out. You wouldn't have come here if you didn't know the truth about me."
Karen actually laughs a little. "I'm starting to think you just might be the same in any universe," she tells him, taking the offered package. "Thank you. I'll get this back to you soon." When she takes the food, she clasps his hand for a moment, at the wrist. It seems to be about as much physical contact as she's willing to make just yet. "If there's anything you ever need help with, the League knows how to get in touch. And I'm in the book, under Starr. Two R's." The corner of her mouth quirks into a bit of a smile. "I should get back to my apartment, feed the cat before he destroys anything. Again."
Clark smiles along with that, "Any world where I was raised by Ma and Pa, I'll bet you're right." He then looks back at the girl from the look at her clasping of his arm, and nods, "I'll have to look you up on our database, then. But yes... if you have a cat at home, best not to leave it waiting. I've heard horror stories. Scratch Fury, the Destroyer of Worlds, I think the name was. Almost destroyed Christmas. Twice." This he offers with a bit of a wink.
"He has authority issues. I guess that's why we get along," she jokes. "I'll see you soon," she promises. And then she's off, before the orange terror costs her the security deposit on her new place.
Clark Kent watches this new tangle in his life fly away, sighing. Indeed, he watches far longer than any normal human could. Finally, with a shake of the head, he goes back to work. The posts won't put themselves up.