Ah do not own any of the characters in this story:):) DC Comics does! No money is being made from this enterprise (*sob* *sob*) and no infringement of copyright is intended.
Rated PG just because!
Tarnation if'n Ah know what to call this:):) An AU of an Elseworlds?? Mercy that sounds deep, don't it? Truth is Ah just read the last part of "JLA: Created Equal" and this story started bugging moi so here it is! Hopefully it's pretty self-explainitory!
So, when I was about ten I asked my mother; I said, "Mom, what's a 'cuckoo's egg' and why did Aunt Babs just call me that?" She frowned, smashed out her cigarette in the nearest ashtray and lifted one eyebrow like she does when she's hacked.
"Little kittens have big ears, kiddo," she accused, but I could tell she wasn't mad at me. "And your 'Aunt Babs' had better watch her tail or I'll take that Power Ring of hers and stuff it up her left nostril. She may be Green Lantern these days but I knew her when!" I used to wonder if all mothers hissed like that when they got really pissed. I gulped and didn't say anything.
When she looked at me again she looked so sad. She's a good mom, really she is. But she's not usually so open, you know? For a moment I wondered if she'd maybe been drinking again, you know, just a little? She does that sometimes when she thinks no one's paying attention. Usually while I'm around. She just gets so very, very sad. It used to make me sad, too. It still does.
But when she pulled me close and ran her fingers through my hair, I could tell she hadn't been drinking. She was just sad.
"You look more like him every day," she whispered. And then she bit her lip. "Every day."
Finally, as if it were a really hard thing to do, she let me go and smiled at me. "You'd better get ready, BeeTee," she told me, "it's almost time for you go back to the Dormitory, kiddo. Don't want to be late, now do we?"
That last came out a little sarcastic, I guess. Mom doesn't get along with most of the Amazon authorities here on Thymiscira. Nobody has forgotten her past, that's for sure. But she's been a good girl for a long time, now. She says that was the only way she could convince Diana and the rest of the Amazons to let her have me.
I'm one of the Children of the Spring.
BeeTee Kyle, that's me! And before some wiseacre says, "What kinda name is *that*?" or maybe, "What does the B. T. stand for, anyway?", the answer is: I don't know. Mom won't tell me.
"When it's time," she says whenever I ask. "When it's time, BeeTee. Not now."
My father is gone. "Well, duh!" you snort. "Everybody's father is gone. All the men are dead. What's the big deal? I mean, that's what the Children of the Spring are all about, right?"
Sure, sure, sure. I mean he was a carrier of "the Fall" so he had to leave, but he was also the primary source of DNA to continue the human race. Even if he was an alien. He might not have been precisely human but he *was* Superman, okay? When that cloud of radiation covered the Earth no one was all that worried. "Harmless," scientists assured everyone. Right. Perfectly harmless.
Unless you were a human male. Then you were dead.
So before he left to poke around the galaxy for a cure for "the Fall", Superman left behind some insurance that guaranteed the survival of humanity. All the Children of the Spring have different mothers but he's our father. It was the only way, they said. So ... BOOM! There we were.
Only, I think there's something wrong with me.
I'm not much like the others.
I mean, okay, all we Children are half breeds. Half human-half Kryptonian. And I guess I look more like Superman than a lot of the others do. Geez, Alexander Maxima doesn't look anything like Superman. He looks exactly like his mother. Acts like her, too, from what I've heard. But let's face it, tall dark haired men with blue eyes weren't exactly scarce, now, were they? Before, I mean.
The Children of the Spring may have the same father but we all have different mothers, just the same. "Different people mature at different rates, young BeeTee," General Philipus assured me. "In time you'll be just as powerful as your play fellows, never fear. Patience, little one." I thought I was just a late bloomer or something. Hey, it made sense.
I mean look what happened with Adam Kent. What a mess *that* was. Gods of Olympus, they didn't expect him to develop his powers that soon. No way! Talk about a nightmare ... there you go. A toddler sized Superman. It took the whole of what was left of the JLA to calm him down. Paula was very careful to explain it to everyone. I've read all the debate. Adam was *supposed* to develop his powers just like Kal-El did. When he was in in late teens or so. After a lot of years of energizing exposure to yellow sunlight and plenty of time to cope with his emerging abilities. He was NOT supposed to develop them almost overnight, unannounced, at the age of *five* and then kill someone with them. I've even seen the video footage although I'm not supposed to.
I'm good at that kind of thing.
"I hugged mommy," Adam kept sobbing. "I hugged mommy and she stopped movin' ... "
What could be more natural than a five year old hugging his mother, huh? Mom, apple pie, and the American Way all in a nutshell, right there.
Unless that five year old is strong enough to crush coal into diamonds with his bare hands. *Then* he's going to snap mommy's spine like a burnt out matchstick. Which is exactly what happened to poor Lois Kent. I never meet Lois Lane Kent. She died about five years before I was born. But I grew up with Adam.
I guess my friendship with Adam started out because we were both sort of outcasts. After what happened with his Mom, Lois, Adam wasn't exactly the most popular of The Children. Even the Amazons were leary of him, I guess. And none of the others were precisely fighting to take him home to meet their Mom's, either, you can bet on that. So he was alone a lot. When the rest of us had "family time" Adam didn't have a family to spend time with. So he stayed in the Dormitory. He was lonely, I think.
Somehow ... I understood that.
Me? I didn't have too many friends, either, to be honest. It was, "Aw geez, BeeTee! I didn't mean to hurt you! Are you sure you're all right?" Or, even worse, "Damnit, BeeTee! You mean you *still* haven't developed your powers? What the heck's wrong with you, anyway? Rao!" And off they'd fly to play with someone who wasn't quite so breakable. And it didn't matter how many times I insisted that everything was all right. That I didn't mind playing rough. They never listened. I could never decide which was worse, the pity or the anger. The pity, I guess. The anger I could deal with. I broke my hand at least three times hitting Alexander Maxima before I wised up.
About the second time I showed up for "family time" sporting bandages Mom took matters into her own feline paws. No, she didn't complain to General Philipus or Diana. Screw that. She didn't coddle or embarrass me. No way. She *taught* me. Before I knew it, thanks to her, I was one hell of a fighter. Still not a superpower to my name, but I could hold my own with the majority of the other Children. Mostly because they were still learning how to use what they had and I discovered quickly *exactly* how to use that against them.
"You've got good genes, BeeTee," she assured to me and smiled that mysterious cat-smile of hers, as if she knew a secret no one else was privy to, yet.
Well, Duh! I guess Kryptonian genes are about the best you can find in the Universe. Mom is weird sometimes.
Alexander Maxima turned out to be a total putz. All I had to do was make him mad (trust me, *not* that difficult to do) and there he'd be: on the ground before he could blink twice. Angry people don't fight very well. It got kinda boring after a while. I mean, he was pitiful as a fighter. All bluster and show ... no go. I couldn't much hurt his body ... but I could damn sure injure him in the only place he was vulnerable: his pride.
AM *hated* it when the others laughed at him for losing another fight to "the weakling". They stopped calling me that after a while, though. They grew to respect me, I think, but they never liked me very much. I'll settle for that.
So Adam and I were sort of drawn together right from the beginning. When I was a real little kid, maybe five or six, he used to kinda protect me from the Children who came into their powers early the same way he did. Made them play nice. Kinda like training a kitten or a puppy to soft paw, I guess. Whatever. All I know is it worked.
'Course, when I was that young no one really thought very much about the fact that I didn't have my powers just yet. It wasn't until I hit my mid-teens that I decided it was just going to be my rotten luck that I'd have to wait the full damned eighteen years or something before Earth's yellow sun worked her magic on me.
In the meantime, there was Adam. We'd whisper together late at night in the Dormitory after "lights out" and it just seemed sort of natural that we ate together, too, since no one else was really crying for the privilege, you know what I mean? Relationships among The Children were strange. I mean, technically, we were all half brothers and sisters, right? And nobody much talked about the fact that someday it was likely that the boys among us and the girls were going to have children together. Hey! That was the whole purpose, after all. So, you can imagine that we weren't precisely raised as siblings.
The night it happened, I woke up in the middle of the sleepcycle, instantly alert. Some sound? Some ... feeling? A...lack. A void ... I didn't need my not-yet-developed supersenses to tell me that something was way wrong. My ears are pretty sharp even without super-hearing. And they were screaming at me that I was alone. I sat up and slid off the bed noiselessly. Mom would've been proud. It seemed as though I could feel it through the pores of my skin. Sense it with something primal lurking coiled inside me.
They were gone.
All of them.
Adam, Alex, Darius, Hidalgo ...
I was the only one left in the Dormitory.
I made my own through search and found not a single sign of any of them. Except for me ...all the rest of the Children were gone. At least, the boys were gone. When I peeked into the Girls Dorm, I was kind of surprised to see them all still there, Kara and the others. I crept away without waking anyone, trying to think. Every instinct I had was yelling at me that something bad, something really, really *bad* was going on here. So what did I do? Why, I did the first thing that came to my mind, of course.
I ran home to Mom.
It was pretty late, so I thought it was kind of odd to find her still awake and watching some old JLA case films. Okay. Maybe the awake part wasn't that odd, I'll admit Mom takes after her name sake about that. She catnaps during the day. Prowls the night. Figures, right?
But the JLA case files? That was definitely weird. Aunt Babs has asked her several times if she wants to join the League. She always sneers and says no. So why - ?
Watching her curled up comfortably on the sofa with her legs tucked under her, enrapted in the images on the screen, I decided I didn't have time to really think about it.
I didn't even have to tap on the window. Almost from the moment my feet hit the ledge, she knew that I was there. In silence, she rose, glided to the window, and opened it.
"Kitten, I'm glad to see you, but what in the Hell are you doing here?" she hissed, pulling me inside.
It took me a few minutes to explain. She didn't interrupt me once. Just listened, absorbed what I had to say, then made a bee line for the comm unit sitting in the corner.
"I haven't used this channel since ... before you were born," said my mother.
I made no reply.
I watched her carefully. Zues' Beard. Whoever she meant to talk to, she sure wanted it to be *private*. She bounced the signal around the planet about six times by way of various transmitters. Some of which I didn't even recognize. I mean, who knew there was a station in the middle of the Lanhgostani desert, for God's sake? Rao, she even bounced the blasted signal off the old JLA Watch Tower on the Moon before she was satisfied with the security. Just *try* tracing that!
The whole thing took nearly five minutes. But, in the end, her private comm screen lit up like a Christmas tree and I found myself staring at one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen. And, raised among the Amazons as I was, that's saying quite a lot. Not, I guess, that I've seen a great many women. They keep us Children pretty isolated.
Jet dark eyes stared back from the screen. Long waist length hair the color of deepest midnight framed a heart-shaped face that made me catch my fifteen year old breath. Mom smiled, then turned her attention back to the screen just in time for the figure on the screen to speak.
"Many years have passed, Selina Kyle, since last we spoke." That low, throaty contralto voice insinuated itself into my nerve endings and began hammering. I swallowed hard.
'Get a grip here, BeeTee,' I chastised myself. I began taking regular, even, calming breaths and that helped some.
When Mom ignored her, the lovely woman creased her dusky brow with an unpleasant frown. "What need have you," she demanded, "of The Daughter of the Demon and the League of Assassins, Catwoman?"
My eyes widened until they nearly popped right out of my skull. Holy spit. Talia Al Ghul. I was gawking at Talia Al Ghul. What in the name of Hera did my Mom have to talk about with the most wanted woman on the planet, I wondered? I decided to keep my mouth shut and maybe find out.
"Cut the bull, Talia!" Mom advised with her patented hiss. "You know damned well why I'm calling. Now, where are they? What have you done with the Children?"
The Demon's Daughter looked bored. "Why should I do anything with them, Daughter of Bast? I have no need of them. I have all that I desire."
Mom's eyes narrowed and she studied her opponent for long seconds before she spoke. Her voice dripped scorn. "I'm not stupid, Talia. Don't treat me as if I were. You *know* better than that. Are you trying to tell me that The League of Assassins has no use for almost a hundred young Kryptonian half-breeds? With all their powers?"
Talia laughed, a sound like tinkling bells. "And would I be fool enough to believe that they would ever follow me? No, Selina Kyle. I've enough Assassins, in any case."
The former Catwoman lifted one elegant eyebrow skyward in disbelief. "Is that a fact?" she purred. Her feline green eyes probed the background where Talia Al Ghul stood. I followed her gaze, but she saw the shadow first and she must have recognized it, because she smiled.
"Well, you always did hire the best, Talia. No amateurs for you." Lifting one supple, talented hand she waved merrily at the screen. "Hi, Vic," she called. "You may as well come on out and join the party, babe."
Chuckling, a tall, well muscled blond woman stepped from the shadows, smirking. "How are you, Selina?" she inquired loftily. "Long time no see."
"Not long enough, Vic," came the grim return. "So how did you end up working for The League?"
Lady Vic stretched. "Oh, you know," she temporized. "A little mayhem, a little action. A girls got to eat, after all. And killing's what I do. It just seemed like a natural, you know?"
Mom snorted. "Yeah. And I hear that the price of crow and the warm piss to wash it down with has gone *way* up, recently."
Lady Vic snarled under her breath, but quelled with a cold look form Talia, stepping back into the shadows to disappear once more. The Daughter of The Demon waited for Mom to speak again. Mom didn't oblige her. Looks like I was the only one getting nervous here. When Talia Al Ghul's onyx black eyes fell on me, I shifted uncomfortably from one foot to the other. I couldn't help it. She studied my face for long endless moments. The hard edge in her eyes seemed to soften then. Not sure why. Then she turned to Mom.
"Is that *him*?"
Mom only nodded. But I could tell she didn't like the way Talia was watching me.
When Talia turned her piercing gaze back on me once more, I forced myself to stand fast, to face her squarely. But it wasn't easy. Again that curious softening. Finally, she spoke to me and I only just managed not to gulp.
"What is your name, child?" she inquired softly.
"BeeTee," I answered quickly, trying to sound much more together than I felt.
The peal of rich laughter that escaped her full lips was low and melodious. It went straight to my belly and set all the butterflies there loose. Mom's eyes flashed green fire and I knew that trouble was on the way.
"Ah , Selina," Talia marveled. "Hiding in plain sight! How very, very like you."
She regarded me again, even more closely this time. Her smile was quite genuine. "There's someone you should meet, young BeeTee," she said. With a small gesture she summoned someone into camera range.
He was taller than she, over six feet, I guessed, about my age maybe two, three years older. Long dark hair, but his eyes were dark as night and that threw me for a second. I paled. Jesus Christ. He *had* to be one of the Children. Had to be. But where had Talia Al Ghul gotten hold of The Seed? I decided almost immediately that I didn't really want to know. This was crazy. Insane. My head spun with sickening dizziness.
"This is my son," The Demon's Daughter said, "Ib'n Al Xu'ffasch, your - "
"SHUT UP, Talia!"
Now that really shook me. I'd never heard my Mom yell like that. Never. She was so angry she was white faced. One of the first things Mom ever taught me about fighting was how to recognize and use an opponents rage. Red faced and sweating means they're so pissed they're about to do something really, really stupid. Take advantage of it. But white faced ... white faced and pasty pale means that you'd damn well better pay attention. Because, then, they *will* hurt you if they can. If Talia'd been in the same room with my Mom, she'd have been a corpse.
Talia sighed. "Very well, Selina Kyle. Play your games. It matters not to me." Her eyes narrowed. "But beware of whom you play them with, Catwoman. Beware."
Mom sneered. "Or what, Talia? Are you going to kill me the way you did poor Pammy?"
Talia's lips skinned back from her teeth in a feral twitch of dusky flesh. "Poison Ivy was not worthy of my gift!" she cried. "She perverted it, fouled it with her - "
"You never gave her your 'gift', Talia," Mom observed calmly. "You refused her. And when she sought what she wanted in the only other way left to her ... you killed her."
The Daughter of The Demon's eyes blazed hot fire. "Yes! I killed her. She and those abominations of hers ... those ... those *things* she created! She was not worthy of him."
Have you ever felt lost and almost totally confused? Like you came in right in the middle of a conversation and hadn't the least idea what was being said? Welcome to the club. This was all news to me. Okay, I knew Pamela Isley, Poison Ivy, was dead. That's in the JLA records. But ... according to those same JLA records Isley died in a laboratory accident. Some sort of inadvertent release of toxic fumes or something. No one was really all that certain. I mean, it was at least a month after she died that they found her, surrounded by piles of rotting plant fibers. It was pretty messy. No one asked a lot of questions as far as I know.
See, after "the Fall", Poison Ivy moved lock, stock, and plant flora onto an island just off the coast of Costa Rica, the Isle d'Nublar, the Island of the Clouds. Nobody objected. Geez, with more than half's the worlds population dead, the survivors had a lot more to worry about than Pamela Isley. And it wasn't like there wasn't room to spread out, you know? Since she had what she wanted, now, a home for she and her precious plants, Poison Ivy soon settled down to become a good little girl; just like Mom. She was even doing research for the JLA into "the Fall".
At least that's what the records *say*.
"If you have no further need of me .. " Talia said and, suddenly, the screen was blank. She was gone as quickly, as unexpectedly, as she arrived. I had the feeling that was pretty natural for her. Mom smiled, though, and that worried me for a minute or two. Why?
Time for not-so-little-Kittens to keep their ears open and their mouths shut. Be surprised how much you can learn that way. And I've gotten real damned good at it over the past few years. I was always a quick study. I'm almost certain that Mom hasn't realized just *how* good at it I am, now. And that suits yours truly very well.
"Got her!" the Catwoman hissed in triumph. "Ohhhh, Talia, you're as predictable as your old man in so many ways. Now that I've put the bug in your ear, you're going to have to *know* what happened to the Children, aren't you? Uh huh. You'll have to know who's got them. And what they plan to do with them. For your own protection. I know you. And when you find out .... you'll call me. You always did like for someone else to do your dirty work, didn't you?"
End, Part One