The First and Greatest of Them All
by L.T. Hayes
Hypertime. It converges and overlaps histories upon histories. Sometimes we can feel no effects from it and at others we have a strange case of Déjà vu. But for there to have been this emergence of hypertime, there had to have had a beginning. After all, nothing could begin if there was no place to begin from.
The trip had been uneventful as he had expected. This traveling through dimensions was not new stuff, however he was now here under different circumstances. He was dressed wearing jeans, a flannel shirt, and his glasses. He even had a smile which considering the circumstances spoke volumes of the man's inner strength. The portal had opened in an alley beside a certain apartment complex in Metropolis. He was beginning to wonder if it was a mistake coming here. Not because of the effect he would have on hypertime but because he didn't want to cause any more pain. He would cause some pain.
"It is still not too late to go back", answered the white ghostly form of a man in a green cape and hood.
" I have to do this Spectre. I have no choice", then chuckling, "okay, I have a choice but I feel I need to get this done. I'm only going to talk to Clark. No Alan, Jay, or even. Kara. I didn't realize how much I have missed her. Anyway, Clark is the only one to know. I would like a few extra minutes to . look around before I talk with him. Would that be okay?"
"It is done", and the Spectre turned to leave.
"Wait!", the older man grabbed the Spectre by the arm, "Wait. I know Jim Corrigan is no longer your human host. I also know who you are and that no one else on this planet knows who you are or were. I just want you to know that despite all that has happened to you, Hal Jordan proved who he was when he gave his life for earth. Thank you".
The Spectre looked at this man with, well, with awe. He didn't know who this person was until he picked him up out of one of the pockets of hypertime. The host had sent him on a mission to locate this man. As soon as Hal laid eyes on him the rush of memories from an earlier, gentler time came back to him. And once again the old man proved he was the greatest of them all.
All Hal could say was, "Thank you", and he disappeared into the night. The old man found himself alone in the alley. He needed to have that talk with Clark but he wanted to look around. In a heartbeat he was on top of the Daily Star, the main newspaper in Star City. He had wonderful memories here. He met his wife here and many long time friends. He bowed his head as a tear ran down his face remembering the memories that had been made here. He then looked up to turn his vision to the newly formed JSA. There were still some of the old ones around like Jay, Alan, and Ted. However he noticed a new Star Spangled Kid, Nuklon in a new costume it looked like, and Dinah taking her mother's place as the Black Canary of the team. He was glad that they haven't retired and put themselves out to pasture.
He then began searching the skies looking for any sign of. her. And he found her, Kara AKA Power Girl. She looked beautiful. He began to cry again as he looked at the only one on this planet that was his blood relative. But even that was changed. She was supposedly related to Atlantis in some form or fashion now. He wanted to go to her and tell her he understood why she was so angry but he had to stay put. It was almost time for him to leave. He had one final destination to look at, Gotham City.
He was watching a man in a purple suit with a wide grin on his face running away from a teenage boy. Of course it wasn't just any teenager boy, this was the newest Robin. And then a shadow fell across the face of the Joker, a bat shaped shadow. A smile crossed his face and he remembered another Batman in another time, another place.
"No matter what dimension you are from, Bruce, you always make an entrance. My God, how I miss you. Well, let's get this over with".
And he flew back to the alley he had originally arrived at in Metropolis. He looked up at a certain apartment and saw Clark and Lois debating another issue of life. He very quietly whispered Clark's name and saw Clark stare him right in the face. Without even a word to Lois, he was out the window in his brightly colored costume and landing right in front of him.
"Who are you and what are you doing here?"
Adjusting his glasses the old man began to speak, "Why, Kal-El, has it been that long?"
And then the pain and knowledge of what has transpired came back to Kal-El. He remembered his cousin, Kara AKA Supergirl, perishing in the crisis. He remembered flying through time and space as if it was sand running between his fingers. But most of all he remembered this man. The older man was never as powerful as him but carried a sense of respect that no one else could ever live up to. he remembered him now, staring at him through the portal in the hypertime dimension. No, not staring but giving him a . wink? Yes, a wink letting him know all would be all right. He has fought with this man, he has confided in this man, but most of all he cherished this man.
And Kal-El began, "Kal-L?"
"We have a lot of catching up to do, old friend"
Rocketed as a baby from the planet Krypton, "no", growing up with powers far greater than mortal man, "no", donning a costume Ma had made, "No", flying over the skies as a boy, "No", Luthor a villain wearing a purple costume, "NO, no", Kara coming to earth as a Supergirl, "NO, No", and in the Crisis Kara gave her life so that he might live, "NOOOOOOOO!!!!".
"Kal-El, get a hold of your self. It's okay, my friend, everything is going to be okay".
Kal-El snatched his arm away from the older gentleman, "Why are you doing this? Haven't I paid enough for. everything?"
The older Clark smiled slightly, "Yes you have, Clark, yes you have. Is there somewhere we can talk? I don't know if explaining it to you will hurt us or help us but you were the only one I could turn to. You are the only one who could understand"
Kal-El viewed Kal-L skeptically. All Kal-El could see was Kara giving her life to save him. A bright, vibrant young woman gave her life so he could survive and fight again another day. he had watched her grow from a teenager to a gorgeous young lady. She had so much to live for and so much more to give. And then the younger Clark looked straight into the eyes of the older Clark. The hint of sadness from his eyes spoke volumes to the young Clark. The memories and the pain caused by the crisis were fresh in his mind but he put them on hold long enough to feel sorry for the older Clark. This man, who was far less powerful than him, knocked both Captain Marvel and himself out to allow them to survive on the "new" earth. He stayed behind to close the vortex to the anti-matter universe. He lost his planet, his cousin, and his Lois. But there was something in his eyes.
"You didn't lose Lois did you, Kal-L?"
"But you have lost her now haven't you?"
Through a smile with one tear running down his cheek, "Yes, Kal-El, I have lost her now".
Silence was in the air for several minutes while they both continued to digest what has transpired. Kal-El continuing to think of Supergirl and the other Lois Lane while Kal-L thought of nothing but his wife and the life that was left behind. Kal-El looked up and put his hand on Kal-L's shoulder. Nothing needed to be said between these two men. They both are after all Superman and though they led two different lives they were more similar in traits than any of the other hero's who shared the same name.
"I have someone I want you to meet, Kal"
"If it is your wife I would love to. I told you a long time ago to marry her and I'm glad to see you finally did".
Kal-L was refering to the time that the Luthor's of both earth-1 and earth-2 teamed up to try to destroy them. Their battle even went to earth-3 where the villains teamed up with that earth's Superman, who was known as Ultraman and just as evil as the Luthor's were. The Supermen even saw the birth of earth-3's first super hero, Alex Luthor. During some down time is when Kal-L told Kal-El that the best thing he ever did was marrying his Lois. Now, earth-2 and Lois were gone forever.
"I don't quite know how to do this. are you sure you are still 'faster than a speeding bullet', Kal-L?"
And with a hearty laugh and a slap to the younger Kal, "I think I can manage, thank you very much".
With the sudden rush of wind, Lois knew her husband had returned from who knows where. Which was strange to her since he always said something before he left. She knew how it went though. He was Superman and he wouldn't just leave like that if it wasn't important. She walked into the bedroom and heard a gust of wind coming from the living room. Her first thought was how strange it was that he was back so quickly. She didn't even have time to worry.
"Lois", Clark said softly.
"Clark, is everything okay? I didn't even have time to start worrying what was going on this time".
"There is someone here I want you to meet. I wish I had time to soften the blow but there isn't".
Cautiously she went to Clark and he took her hand. He led her to the kitchen where before her stood a man that could have posed for Clark if he wasn't a few years older than her husband.
"Lois, meet Clark Kent. Clark, this is my wife Lois".
"ummmm. okay, could someone tell me what the hell is going on here?"
Smiling, the older Clark went up to Lois, "It is a pleasure to meet you all over again. Kal-El, do you still make coffee the way Ma used to?"
"You mean the way she still does, Kal-L, and I'll get us some"
"Your mother is still alive, Clark?"
Kal-El, still being bombarded with painful memories, forgot for a second that before the crisis he had lost his mother and father as did the older Clark. It was as if he traded Kara for his parents. He preferred neither one but it seemed he was destined to lose a few relatives along the way.
"Ma and Pa both are still alive. I'm sorry, I should have realized."
Waving Clark off, "Nonsense, Kal-El, I've just put you through the ringer. If you don't mind I'll wait in the living room", and walked out.
Lois immediately turned to Clark, "Do you mind explaining just what the HELL is going on here?"
"Like I said, I knew of no way to soften the blow. His story begins back in the early 1900's ."
Clark gave Lois a brief version of the events of this man but their coffee was still through a good 20 minutes before they remembered the time. The more Clark told the tale of the older Superman the more he remembered. When he started talking, he just couldn't quit.
"So what is he doing here, Clark, and probably more important is how he got here?"
"I don't know and it seems there is only one way to find out"
Picking up the three cups of coffee, Lois and Clark headed into the living room to talk to the Older Clark. They found him looking through picture albums. He smiled that same sad smile that he gave Clark out in the alley. The picture he was fixated on was of Ma and Pa Kent.
"It seems so unreal that they are still alive. I remember when Pa died telling me to use my gifts for good. He believed in me but never got to see the result of his confidence in me"
"Why don't you go with me to meet them, Kal? I know they would love to meet you. Ma and Pa are real good at getting involved with weird things".
"No thanks, Kal. Truth to tell, I would love to but there isn't enough time:
"What do you mean?"
"It's not important. I guess what is though is why I am here now and probably more important is how I got here?"
Lois rolled her eyes, "Super-hearing. You would think I would remember this super-power by now".
The three laughed for a few seconds and when it quieted down Kal-L began his tale.
"Kal-El, you'll remember the last fight with the Anti-Monitor. Captain Marvel and yourself had decided to stay behind and close the window to the anti-matter universe. How much do you remember after that?"
"I remember waking up with a sore jaw and the window closing. My last glimpse into that universe was a blanket of white space getting larger by the second. In the middle of that I caught your eye and saw you fade from sight".
"Sorry about the jaw but it had to be done. You and the Captain had lives to live while mine was no more. The woman I had loved since the day I laid eyes on her was gone. Taken from me forever. When the window closed I made some comment to Alex Luthor and the Superboy of earth-prime about how I welcomed the end since I had no life left to live. Alex said something to the effect that since I was the first he couldn't allow me to suffer. Then he opened up a rift in space and out walked my Lois. She was as beautiful as the day I met her. The wall of anti-matter was approaching and Alex took us into another rift and as far as we knew we disappeared from our friends forever".
Lois asked, "But that wasn't the end was it? It seems like Alex gave you another chance, am I right?"
"As far as we were concerned it was a fresh start. Alex explained to us how the crisis destroyed our multiple earth's but that there were still multiple earth's still in existence. He called it hypertime".
Kal-El picked up, "That's what we just found out recently. In fact it was the time when you winked at me when we were discovering the existence of hypertime. But Kal-L, what happened when you went to your new earth?"
"It started out great. There were no superheroes on this world. So once again I was the first one to come about. The only difference this time was that I had a 'side kick' in Clark, Jr. Other hero's like Batman and Wonder Woman eventually started showing up. Very little differences in the ones you know now. Richard Wayne, the Batman on this world, helped set Lois and I up 'lifelines' for the all of us. Up until the Batman showed up we basically just hid our lives. He set it up to where I actually became editor of the Daily Star again. He amazes me on any world. Anyway, the usual things started here just like they did on every earth you can think of. Hero's and villain's began to show up. One is trying to take over the world and the other trying to save the world. It was a good life. The three of us adjusted to our new surroundings and enjoyed the friendships of these new hero's as well as we did our old friendships. But I guess all good things must come to an end".
Kal-L then walked over to the window and stared out of it. Kal-El knew what was coming and Lois had a pretty good idea. She had often thought of the same thing. Clark has also wondered the same thing. He was, for all intents and purposes, a living solar battery. Batman even believed that if Clark lived long enough he would even be immune to Kryptonite. If that was the case there was no telling how old Clark could become or even if he could eventually never die. Young Clark went to the older Clark and put his arm around him. And leave it to Lois to start the conversation back.
"She isn't with you anymore is she?"
Slowly the older man turned around, "No she isn't. My Lois died two years ago and since then I have been looking for a way to break the hypertime barrier".
"What happened, Kal, and why did you start trying to break the barrier?"
"Lois being Lois, present company included", as smiles crossed their faces, "was breaking a story from one of the nuclear power plants. Lois found out Luthor was planning to blow the plant to the heavens. Of course she could never wait on anyone who might be able to help her out of these situations. I was 5 minutes behind her, just 5 minutes. I changed into uniform took off and got at the plant as the explosion started. I don't think I could've stopped it but lucky for me Superboy was right behind me. His powers are very similar to yours, Kal, and in fact given time I would say he will be your equal. He contained the explosion as well as you could ever hope to. But it wasn't enough. Lois was right by the explosion when it happened. She lived but telescopic vision showed us she had taken in a ton of radiation. She died in my arms 1 month later. With all my powers there was nothing I could do. nothing."
The tears came more freely now and uncontrollable. Young Clark was stunned and so Lois was the first to reach the older Clark. They sat in silence, except for the sobbing, with Lois's arms around Clark. What must have been an hour had passed and Clark got himself under control. It was hard for the young married couple to look at this older, mirror image of Clark who in turn lost the mirror image of his Lois. Hopefully the future would not take this path but it could very well run true to course. The older Clark excused himself which left Clark and Lois alone.
"Clark, I don't know what to say. This is all. well, it's to damn much to take in".
"I know. I love you, Lois, but truth to tell that's the least of my concern right now"
"What, our future isn't enough to worry about?"
"Of course it is but I'm worried about Clark. He isn't telling us something"
"He probably wants to know why I tried to leave that world for well over two years".
Lois jumped at The older Clark's arrival. The young Clark knew to expect him but still wanted his answer. Kal-L sighed and decided to go on with his tale.
"I tried to forget everything and go on with my life but something wouldn't allow me to. This might be a new world for a new beginning but it wasn't the world I grew up on. It wasn't the world where my rocket crashed. It wasn't the world where John and Mary Kent raised me as their son. It wasn't the world where I met and fell in love with the most stubborn, beautiful woman in the world. It wasn't the earth that my friends since my young adult hood were from. It wasn't my world. I wanted out of that place. Alex said Lois would be mine forever but she isn't. I can't cheat death. I wanted to die. I slowly came to the understanding of my madness and excepted it but I still wanted a way to get off that planet. Then I saw you through that fabric of time and space. I winked not only at you but I also winked for me. I took a couple of weeks to say good bye the people I needed to and then left".
"What about your son?"
"Oh, he was well old enough to carry on the duties of Superman. He didn't want me to go but in the same breath he understood. On his original earth he was the only hero there. Here on this one there were plenty. He has no desire to leave. He didn't like me leaving but he understood why I had to. I couldn't stay any longer. And then with a little help I wound up here. And speaking of winding up here, I'm afraid I have to go".
Lois went over the elder man of steel and placed her arms around him, "Are you sure we can't persuade you to stay? It seems like you just arrived?"
"I'm afraid so. I have other. appointments I must attend to. Clark can tell you all about the dangers of staying in one place to long. Hypertime is a lot funnier to deal with than traveling between dimensions".
"He's right, honey, if he stays there is a danger of our reality mixing with several other realities. Can I see you off, Clark?"
"I would like that".
And after all good bye's were said, the two Clark's flew off. Kal-El let Kal-L take the lead. He didn't know where he was going but just followed him until they wound up back on the Daily Star's building top. Kal-L stood there with Kal-El in silence. Neither one knew what to say. Kal-L looked at this younger man with admiration. He knew the hardships he had and would endure. The remembrance of his cousin Kara and the loss of his parents in the other reality were bearing on him and yet he has allowed the older Clark his grief. And even though the younger Clark did have these thoughts on his mind, he knew something was going on with the older Superman.
"You're ready to die, aren't you?"
With very little shock, Kal-L answered, "Yes, but don't worry, my old friend, you will not remember much longer".
And before Kal-El could protest he heard a problem that only Superman could deal with and flew off. True to his word, the younger Clark remembered nothing of the elder Clark. In fact, his only thought was why he was in Star City to begin with. The Elder Clark continued to look in the direction Clark flew in until he felt another presence land behind him.
"Thank you, Spectre, I know he won't remember me but I was glad to see that he was happy".
"Thanks, but the Spectre left a while ago, Clark".
This wasn't part of his plan. The Spectre wasn't supposed to let any one else know who he was. He didn't even have to turn around to see who this person was. He fought along side him in WWII with the All-Star Squadron. He turned around to see a tall, blonde haired man who used to wear a ring of power. And now he looked as if he wielded the power internally.
"Alan, it's been a long time, old friend".
Grasping Clark's arm, "That it has but we still need you for one more adventure. Train your eyes towards New York, Clark".
Looking towards the city, "Alexi? But he should be dead! Not only physically but his universe doesn't exist anymore. and if that is him, there looks to be big trouble", Alexi Luthor was dressed in a purple and gold armored suit. His head seemed to be protected by a force field since there was no protection over it. Clark pushed his microscopic vision to see that the power cells were somehow run by nuclear energy. He could already see that Clark had fallen since Luthor was able to bathe him in red sun energy, "But I can't go out there as Superman. It would cause to many questions and I won't allow a mind swipe of the entire world".
"Don't worry, Clark, I've got you covered"
And Alan produced another costume for Clark, "I think Carter would approve".
And after slipping on the wings and helmet associated with the original Hawkman, the two flew off to battle.
Clark Kent, Kal-L, Superman, the first Superman had come home, so to speak. He was flying into battle beside the original Green Lantern, now the Sentinel, just like old times. But these were not old times. Clark lost his existence in this universe during the crisis. His wife, Lois, was saved by Alexander Luthor to live the rest of their lives together. And even though Clark might not be as fast or strong as the Kal-El Superman, he still did not get sick and so watched his wife die of radiation poison. He came to look at this world one last time. He has already spoken to the young Clark but did not give him time to figure out why he came one last time to see old friends. But leave it to an old comrade to lay it to you straight.
"Don't do it, Clark", Sentinel said, "Lois wouldn't want it this way", then flew off to battle.
Clark hung back and watched from a short distance. He could not be Superman here so Alan had brought him a spare suit of Carter Hall, the original Hawkman. He never did like masks but his x-ray vision allowed him to simply act as if it wasn't there. But that wasn't his main concern at this moment. Standing before him, causing all the hero's to fall left and right, was one of his greatest enemies. A man that should have been dead. A man whose universe was the same as Clark's, non existent. Alexi Luthor was back and he seemed to be wanting. who knows what. Which was strange for him. Alexi loved to hear himself talk.
And as Clark began to join the battle a girl. no, a woman in a blue and white costume with a red cape sped past Clark yelling, "Move out of the way!"
And a whisper went past Clark's lips, "Kara", which proved to be almost lethal. Kara slowed down in surprise and Alexi nailed her with a blast of power which dropped her to her knees. And before Clark could react, Alexi nailed her with a punch.
"KARA!!!!!!!!!", screamed Clark as he put on a burst of speed towards Alexi before he to was hit by a ray. It hurt and actually knocked Clark down. Instead of getting back up he waited. Among all the fallen hero's Alexi had been gradually moving towards the younger Superman and heard him ask, "I bet you spell your name with an 'El' don't you 'Superman' ". So instead of rising back up for battle, Clark listened.
"Kal-El. Do you know how many worlds I have gone to looking for Superman? Oh, there has been too many to count. Do you know 'El' that I am actually dead? Why yes, 'El', I am. My universe doesn't exist anymore. That's right it's gone. Nowhere to be found. I actually was almost dead before it was destroyed. Braniac had some imbecile try to destroy my mind. it almost worked. You know, if I hadn't of had some contact with the other Luthor I might have died. He had defenses for all known villains. I actually thought it quite funny that he had more files on them than on you or any other hero. As I was waking up, I found a spare battle suit of Luthor's and hopped right in it. At least I thought it was a duplicate suit. It seems that Luthor had built a trans-dimensional device that could travel the different universes. There only seemed to be one problem. When I turned on the device I was thrown through time. I saw you defeat the anti-monitor and then I saw blackness. There was n! o telling how long I had been there but then I saw him. My old arch foe on another world that had no heroes. I thought I could finally destroy him. But something went wrong and I skipped over that universe. I found another one, though I didn't know it at the time. At first I thought I had traveled in time until that damned Batman shouted 'Kal-El'. It's hard to tell but there is a slight distinction. I found out you were Kal-El and killed you just like I was getting ready to do now"
The younger Superman asked, "Who are you looking for?"
"It doesn't matter. You aren't him"
And then Clark stood up tore his wings off and walked towards Alexi. Alexi had a smirk on his face and shot out a burst of fire. But Clark continued to walk through the flames and before Alexi could get a grip on what was happening, knocked Alexi for a huge wallop. Then Clark began his own speech.
"Truth, Justice, and the American way. You know even when I started out that sounded corny. The Man of Steel. That wasn't a bad name to be associated with. You know what one name I didn't really like, the Man of Tomorrow. It was probably one of the first names associated with me but I felt it separated me from a regular Joe sitting around drinking a cup of coffee. I absolutely despise it now . My wife is gone, Gone! All the traps people sprung on her and she died of Radiation", and then removing Hawkman's helmet, "I don't know what you are up to or why you are here messing my life up again, but it ends now. And for the record, my name is Kal-L, Superman if you will".
Alexi stood up, walked towards Clark, and put a force field around the two of them as the other hero's began to awaken. And as the Hero's look upon the two of them, knowledge pours forth into their brain. The younger Superman recalls this elderly gentleman and his visit a short while ago. From the shadows, Batman remembers another Huntress who was the daughter of another Batman. He then remembers hers and that earth's Robin's death during the crisis. One by one, memories come and understanding passes between all. Except for one who rushes to the field and tries to break down the barrier. Trying and trying until the younger Superman holds her and Kara breaks down and cries. Kal-L simply puts a hand to the force field and smiles at her. She in turns reaches up and does the same.
"This is touching", began Alexi, "a family reunion. Superman, my old foe, I am here simply to kill you and then I will be done. I hate you for surviving. I hate you for always messing up my plans. So it comes down to the final battle. I promise you this, old foe, the only way to defeat me is to take the suit off of me. I have had it modified so if I come out of it I die. the power source is unknown to me but seems to have a special red sun effect in it. I know you can't kill so it's truly up to me. prepare to die".
"No, Alexi, you don't get it. After Lois died, I could care less about your life. I didn't come here to visit old friends, I came here to pay respects. I have no will left to survive with out her. I came here to die".
And so the battle was joined. Luthor hit Kal-L with all the force he could muster and Kal-L would come back with the same. The hero's gathered around and were forced to only watch. They witnessed Luthor gaining an edge over the man of steel. He wasn't as young as he used to be plus he was never as strong as Kal-El. His uniform was in shreds, no cape left that you could tell, and bleeding from his lips and brow. Kara and Kal-El kept trying to penetrate the shield but to no avail. And then when it seemed as if Alexi was giving the death blow, Kal-L caught the energized fist of Alexi and crushed his hand. Alexi's screams might have been heard throughout the whole city. Kal-L then began to pummel Alexi into submission. And then when Kal-L was ready to rip the suit straight off of Luthor, he stopped and retreated towards the back of the field.
Alexi laughed, "You don't have it in you, old man. Oh God, this is to funny. You came here to die but couldn't even kill me to do it. Well, here is a parting present before I go, you damned old goat".
From the non-crushed hand, Alexi found a device and pressed the button. The two Supermen knew right away what it was for only their super hearing could pick it up. With trained telescopic eyes, two missiles were sighted headed for different parts of the world. Both the Supermen went after them, with the elder receiving help from Power Girl. And when they came back, Alexi was gone. According to the Batman, as soon as the Supermen were gone a vortex opened up which Alexi escaped through. If Batman was right, and when wasn't he, Alexi slipped through a vortex of hypertime. In the meanwhile, little by little, the hero's soon forgot that Kal-L was even there. He had already replaced the Hawkman helmet and flew back gradually until he was far from sight. All the hero's remembered were Superman and Power Girl defeating a man in powerful armor.
Kal-L looked from a top of the Daily Star building once again. He had changed back to his flannel shirt and jeans with glasses. The Spectre standing beside him.
Clark began, "So this is it, Hal? No more saving the world from destruction. I guess it had to end sometime".
"Not necessarily, Clark", a new voice said from the other side of the building.
"This is the one who had me help you arrive her, Clark", the Spectre said.
"How do you know me? I'm dead here".
"Not to me, Clark, because I use hypertime on a regular basis. My name is Jonathon, Jonathon Kent".
Surprised Clark replied, "Well. that's interesting".
Laughing Jonathon continued, "It's a story for another time. Alexi did have a good point though, you are the only Kal-L known to hypertime. Maybe the merging of the universe's caused you to be the different. Maybe with Alexander Luthor saving you and your Lois caused some kind of rift. Who really knows? There are so many different possibilities. Come with me. Join my team to battle the menaces of hypertime", and extended his hand to Clark.
Clark turned away, "No. Lois isn't here anymore. She helped me become who I was. Even if I found someone else they would die before me to. I will not go through that again. I have watched friends and family die. Even the friends here like Alan or Jay will eventually die and I will be alone again. I can't deal with that again. I made a deal with the Spectre. He'll take me to the after life and I can be with Lois again".
Then finally the Spectre spoke up, "Clark, a deal has been made with you. The Host has deemed you worthy. He will send you what you need. Take this, Clark, and be the Superman you need to be".
"What do you mean he will send me what I need?"
"He means, you have to put up with us for a very long time, old friend".
Turning around with his jaw seeming to hit the ground, Clark saw three figures walking towards him. One was his former best friend, Bruce Wayne. On Bruce's arm was his wife, Selina. And in the distance, the most beautiful women he had ever laid eyes on.
"I must be dreaming", Clark said as tears went down his cheeks.
"No, it's not a dream, Clark, it's really me", Lois stated as tears were also running down her face as Kal-L picked her up in his arms.
"It seems we have been giving a second chance at life", began Bruce, "even Dick and Helena are waiting for us".
"It will be a purrfectly, wonderful time", exclaimed the former Catwoman.
"Join us, Clark", began Jonathon, "Help save the many worlds to come"
Suddenly Clark, Bruce, and Selina were in costume. A Vortex had opened and Clark saw the others waiting for them to come through. He looked at his wife and her smile said she wouldn't miss it for the world.
"I guess 'the never ending battle' takes on a whole new meaning now, huh?"
Jonathon stated, "It will not be easy. In some places you might fight your regular enemies, in other places your enemies might be controlling the world, and still in other places you might be fighting different versions of yourselves".
"Are these world's in danger of collapsing in some sort of manner?"
Clark took his wife and planted a kiss upon her lips. He Rose into the air and flew towards the vortex. As the others watched he turned around with a smile, "Are you coming? We haven't got all day you know." And into the vortex they flew.
And as the vortex closed one being still standing there whispered this quiet prayer, "Be with them, Lord" and then the Spectre himself went to where he was needed the most. wherever that may be.
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This piece is © 2002 by L.T. Hayes.
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