After the Lane-Kent marriage ended, Clark Kent took a job at the Gotham Gazette. This raised a lot of eyebrows among his close friends and most of them reached the foregone conclusion before the main parties figured it out for themselves.
Bruce Wayne had to have a public wedding. The society pages wouldn’t allow anything else. Bruce refused to risk his secret identity by allowing the Justice League to attend Bruce Wayne’s wedding and Clark refused to consider a wedding where they weren’t permitted, so they compromised and decided to hold two weddings. Superman and Batman would be married in a private ceremony on the Watchtower and Bruce Wayne would wed Clark Kent in Gotham Cathedral with friends, family and press. Vicki Vale got the exclusive for People, but she would be accompanied by several young photojournalists in order to get full coverage of the wedding party and attendees.
The private ceremony went off quietly and without incident. Clark even convinced Bruce to lower his cowl for the kiss. Diana officiated the ceremony.
The gossip shows went wild when Clark and Bruce’s engagement was announced. Several women went on TV to tell how they had known Bruce was gay all along, and told stories of playboy encounters and a pattern of timely interruptions. A couple of women also appeared on talk shows to say that Bruce couldn’t be gay, because they’d slept with him, and told tales of lurid romance. No one seemed to know the word “bisexual.” Speculation ran wild as to the parentage of Bruce’s illegitimate 10-year-son. One talk show produced a scientist who said a procedure had been developed which would allow two men to blend their DNA and clone a child, but this was dismissed by most as nonsense.
Clark invited Kon to live with them and Kon accepted. Bruce offered Martha a Gotham penthouse of her own (he wasn’t quite domesticated enough to live with his mother-in-law) but she refused gently and chose to remain on the farm in Smallville.
Kon moved into Wayne Manor two weeks before the wedding. Tim showed him his new room – suite – and Kon just sort of boggled at the space. “Dude. This is mine?”
“You’ve stayed over here before,” Tim pointed out.
“Yeah, camping out on your couch when Bat-daddy was out of town. This is mine!” Kon flopped down on the bed.
Damian stood in the doorway, arms crossed. “It’s not yours. You’re being permitted to live here until my father’s infatuation with the alien ends. Don’t damage any furniture.” Damian’s mother had officially disowned him, but she sent him a kryptonite ring when she heard about the engagement. Bruce locked up the ring in a lead-lined vault over Damian’s very vocal objections and promised the boy he could have it when he was sixteen.
Kon refused to let Damian’s crankiness ruin this. “Aw, don’t be jealous, little buddy. You’re not losing a dad, you’re gaining a dad and a brother.”
Tim twitched at this. Kon figured he was getting ready to pull Damian off him if knives got involved, but Kon wasn’t worried. The kryptonian ring was safely locked up, after all.
“I do not need any additional siblings,” Damian said stiffly.
“Sure you do!” Kon said. “You think Tim’s going to teach you how to pick up girls?” He considered this. “Okay, Nightwing’s probably got that one covered, but –“
“Any woman who is not impressed with my heritage and fighting prowess is not worth ‘picking up,’” Damian declared.
“Oh, little Bat, you have so much to learn,” Kon grinned.
“You will refrain from tagging me with any nicknames, clone,” Damian growled.
“Okay, I think Bruce is calling you,” Tim said. He closed the door in Damian’s face, locked it, and flopped down on the bed next to Kon.
“Boy, having a little brother is sure going to be fun,” Kon deadpanned.
“Welcome to my world,” Tim sighed.
Kon flipped over on his side and propped up his head on one hand. “It’s going to be awesome living with you, though. You start going into a Bat-brood and bam! I’ll be right there.”
“I can’t wait,” Tim said dryly. “You’re not going to miss Smallville?”
“Nah,” Kon said. “Well, Ma and the farm, and some of the guys, and I wouldn’t mind getting to know Lori better, though maybe I should tell her I’m her cousin, first. Which could be hard to explain. But Smallville High? Hell, no.”
Tim smiled. “You think Gotham Heights High is going to be any better?”
“Well, yeah,” Kon said. “You’ll be there.”
Tim’s cheeks turned slightly pink at this. He said, “And Clark’s going to be here.”
“Yeah,” Kon admitted. “That part doesn’t suck.” He was quiet for a moment, then added, “Though Bruce as a stepdad is going to be… interesting.”
“The rules about metas operating within the bounds of Gotham have not changed,” Bruce had informed Kon after Kon’s decision to to move to Gotham had been made. “If you want to patrol, you will do it in a mask and identity of my choice and you must pass a training regime which I will design. I do not want Superboy suddenly appearing in Gotham; that would risk too many secret identities. If you uncover a situation which needs immediate attention, you will alert one of my approved operatives”
Kon grinned as Tim squirmed, trying to defend Bruce without actually lying to Kon.
Tim finally settled on, “He’ll warm up to you.”
“He’s known me for years,” Kon pointed out.
“Yeah, but now you’re…”
“Family,” Kon finished for him.
Tim nodded. “Family’s important to him.”
* * *
Tim woke up the next morning at 6 am to the sound of video game gunfire and Kon swearing at the TV. Tim stumbled out of bed and into the living area of his suite. “Do you have any idea what time it is?”
Kon looked up at the atomic clock on the wall. “Six oh five a.m.,” he said sheepishly. “Sorry, dude, I didn’t think it was that loud.”
“What are you doing up?” Tim asked, stifling a yawn.
“Uh, well, on the farm, I’m up pretty early to get the chores done before school. I was gonna sleep in, but I woke up at five and couldn’t go back to sleep.”
Tim dropped down on the couch next to Kon. “We should get you your own TV and gamesystem,” he said.
“No,” Kon said, looking uncomfortable. “I don’t need one.”
“If you’re going to be using mine at six in the morning-“
“I don’t have to,” Kon said quickly. “I thought I could keep the volume down and not wake you.”
“As usual, you suck at stealth,” Tim said. “It’s no big deal. Bruce has an account for household stuff. This counts.”
Kon shook his head. “I don’t want stuff from Bruce’s money.”
Tim spread his hands in front of them, indicating the house.
“That’s just it, dude,” Kon said. “Living here is amazing. It’s too much already. I’ve got to earn my place here before I can ask for more.”
Tim gave him a long look. “This is some kind of farmboy work ethic, isn’t it?”
“Not really,” Kon said. He thought about it, ‘cause yeah, back in Hawaii, he would’ve take a free gamestation, no questions asked. Wouldn’t he? “Bruce has high expectations of everyone. I don’t want to start off my life here as a freeloader.”
“He doesn’t care about money,” Tim said.
“Well, I do,” Kon replied. “I know it’s dumb, but I wouldn’t feel right about it.”
Tim smiled. “I can respect that. But no more sunrise gaming sessions. I didn’t get back from patrol until after four.”
“Oh, man, I’m sorry,” Kon said. “But you’re up now, so wanna play co-op?”
Tim smacked him with a couch pillow. And then picked up a controller and proceeded to kick his ass.
* * *
And yet Tim was wide-awake at the gala - soirée - thingy - that night, while Kon had to make an effort to keep from yawning. This was Clark and Conner Kent’s introduction to society, and society? Not all that interesting.
“Aren’t you darling?” one lady said. She was about Ma Kent’s age, but wearing a slinky, dark red dress that Ma never would have left the house wearing. To be fair, this lady wore it well. Kon thought she was going to pinch his cheeks, but she just laid a hand on his chest. “How fabulous. Who are you wearing, dear?”
“Uh…” It took Kon a moment to realize that she was asking about the suit designer. “I’m not sure.” He unbuttoned his jacket and started to slide it off to check the label. A hand landed on his shoulder, stopping him.
“It’s a Giselle Giordano,” Tim said. “Conner, this is Ms. Grace Lauren. Ms. Lauren, Conner Kent.”
Kon held out his hand and Ms. Lauren shook it with an air of amusement that made Kon think he’d done something wrong. She and Tim chatted a bit about her children (Julia and Christopher; the former had just been accepted to Brown and Yale, the latter had just taken his GREs and was applying to business schools) while Kon fiddled with the stem of his glass and tried to look interested in the conversation.
When Ms. Lauren moved off to greet a couple who had just arrived, Kon whispered to Tim, “Was I supposed to kiss her hand or something?”
“You were supposed to keep your clothes on,” Tim whispered back. He kept a straight face, but the edges of his mouth were twitching.
“Hmph,” Kon said. He straightened his jacket and buttoned it up with one hand. “Well, she didn’t seem to mind.” He gave Tim a defiant smirk.
Tim rolled his eyes. “Come on, let’s get some canapés,” he said, and then walked away from the nearest table of food.
“Uh, Tim? Going the wrong way,” Kon said, but he followed anyway.
“The batch over here is much better,” Tim said, leading Kon to a small, round table with one elegant silver tray piled with fancy appetizers. It was stationed in an alcove with elegant wooden carvings in a pattern that reminded Kon of seashells. “Did you know we’ve got more guests from Metropolis? Lex Luthor has graced us with his presence.”
What the hell was Luthor doing here? Would Kon’s Conner Kent disguise hold up? Kon adjusted his glasses and tried to slouch, but it didn’t feel right in the suit. That’s probably why Tim had dragged him out of Luthor’s sight.
Tim picked up one of the snacks and popped it in his mouth, as if he’d just shared a bit of casual gossip.
“… glad you could make it, Mr. Luthor,” Clark said. Kon blinked. It sounded like Clark was right next to him, but Kon wasn’t even focusing his superhearing. He looked over at Tim, who gave a meaningful glance at the carvings in the alcove. Whoa, was this whole party suite acoustically designed so the Waynes could eavesdrop on their guests? Freaking Bats, man.
“I had business in Gotham,” Luthor said. “Thought I’d drop in and offer my congratulations to you. Bit of a surprise when I heard about your engagement, Kent. Can’t say I ever saw you as the gold-digging type.”
“Now, don’t be jealous, Luthor.” It took Kon a moment to recognize Bruce’s voice. It had a smooth, jovial tone that Kon would never have imagined coming from Bruce Wayne. “You had your chance all those years in Metropolis. He’s off the market now.”
Kon caught Tim’s eye and they exchanged grimaces. Bruce was flirting - or something - with Lex. That was just all kinds of wrong.
“Oh, Mr. Luthor, I should introduce you to my cousin. He’s a very bright young man,” Clark said.
Kon’s eyes widened in alarm. He really wasn’t sure his Conner Kent act was good enough to fool Lex face-to-face. Suppose Lex recognized him?
“No; can’t stay,” Lex said. “Wayne, tell your boy Tim that the internship offer is still open.”
“And have him spill company secrets? No chance, Lex,” Bruce said, still in that smooth, not-at-all-Batman voice. “Besides I think he’s planning to stay in Gotham.”
“Pass it along anyway,” Lex ordered. “Kid’s got a good mind. No point in wasting it on some WayneTech environmentally-safe doodads when he could be doing real work.” Lex’s phone buzzed. “Right, got to go. Make sure you get a pre-nuptial agreement, Wayne. I never get married without one.”
Kon eyed Tim. “Internship?”
Tim shrugged. “I did pretty well on some tests. Luthor’s trying to recruit me. He offered to let me do my senior year as a work/study program through LuthorCorp. I think it’s mostly to annoy Bruce.”
“But you’re not going to do it, right?” Kon asked.
Tim shook his head. “It’d be a good intelligence opportunity, but I want to stay in Gotham. Plus Bruce doesn’t think the info I’d gain is worth the risk.”
“Good,” Kon said. Tim in Luthor’s hands scared him. He wasn’t sure if he was worried about Luthor hurting him or corrupting him, but either way, it was bad news. Worse news if Luthor pinged to Tim’s real motives for working for LuthorCorp. “Hey, you think we can get that cute waitress to serve us champagne?”
* * *