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Kansas Kitchens

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“Hello Clark.”

There comes a time in every boy's life when he learns that, as a grown man, his mother actually can't do anything to him. He learns to overcome the spine-tingling fear that races down his spine whenever certain tones are used, learns to not shrink into a ball and plead forgiveness for whatever she's found out about. He learns that he is a man, and his mother is just a woman, not a god that could crush him at a moment's notice with just a look.

Clark Kent has yet to have had that day.

It's probably for the best, over all. A healthy fear of one's mother is good for a man strong enough to crush the moon into bite-sized pieces.

“Hi Mom?” He says, and it's a question because though that tone said the words 'Hello Clark', what it was actually saying was first, middle and last name, and everyone knew what a middle name was actually for, really. Even him. “Um, what's going on?”

“Oh, nothing much, you know,” She replies, in that voice, the one that's telling him he has five seconds to confess to what he's done to displease her, or she's going to tell him, and he really doesn't want that, now does he? “Making a pie, watching the news. Funny thing, they were showing footage of some explosion in Star City,”

He's not sure what Star City has to do with him or his mother, but he's pretty positive by this point that it's not good.

“Oh?” He asks, because that's polite, and he was raised to be polite.

“Oh yes. Some kind of robbery. And well, it was just the darndest thing, they showed this boy, for just a moment, and you know?”

He's in costume. He's in the Hall of Justice. And he's cowering from his phone like a five-year-old boy, because he knows what this is about now, and his mom is not happy with him, and oh, he had not planned for this, what was he going to do?

“He looked just. Like. You. Did. At that age.” Every last word is emphasized with a sound that he knows is her rolling pin hitting the table, rolling out the crust for the pie. “Now, how about that?”

“Um.”

He's saved by the alarm, and he's never been so thankful for an emergency in his entire life.

“Sorry Mom, situation, have to go, bye,”

“Clark Joseph Kent, do not think we are done with this conversation!”

“Love you too, Mom!” He hangs up and prays to god something puts him in a coma this time, for a good long week. She can't be mad at him if he's injured, right?

Right?

-

Wrong.

His arm is in a sling, and it really hurts, but she doesn't care.

He's sitting at the kitchen table of the house, his dad across from him, his mom standing behind him, both with crossed arms, and very disapproving glares.

Not only that, they've gotten Kara in on it. She's standing behind Clark. He's pretty sure he's not allowed to leave this room.

“Um.”

“I have a grandson,” His mother accuses, “A grandson, Clark, and you hid him from me!”

“He's not my son! Look, you don't understand, he's a clone!” Clark protests, and Kara's 'a-hem' from behind makes him cringe. Because she's not really his cousin, and maybe she's a little offended right now. Or just generally pissed off at him.

“Oh, so he's not your son,” His dad says, nodding, “He's you. And you hid him from us.”

“He's not me either!”

“No, he just shares DNA with you, making him family. That doesn't mean anything.” That's Kara, and he scowls up at her, because she's Not Helping. “Oh, don't look at me for help, buddy. This is all you.” She puts a hand down on the table, and smiles at him, showing an awful lot of teeth. “And trust me, I'm just dying to hear this explanation.”

“This isn't that simple!” He says, trying to hold on to his own righteous anger. “He was cloned from me, without my knowledge! For the express purpose of killing me!”

“Doesn't look like he's gotten there.” Kara says, and Clark groans, rubbing his temple.

“Some of the proteges got him out of the facility before the programming was complete. He has no purpose whatsoever now, so Batman put him on a team.”

“No purpose whatsoever, huh?” His dad says. “Isn't that an interesting way to sum up a young man's life.” He's mad at Clark, and Clark feels every inch of the disappointment.

“He's not even an individual!” Clark says, angry. “He's me, down to the last protein. He's not a person at all, he's just a clone. And he's certainly not my son.”

“I don't care where he came from, or what you think he is.” His mother says. “He's related to you. He's my grandson. And you, Clark Joseph Kent,” Middle name, god, he was in so much trouble, “You never even bothered to mention him to me, never thought maybe your father and me,”

“Or me,” Kara interjects.

“Would want to know about him.” His mother finishes. “Clark, I can't even tell you how disappointed I am in you for this decision, for the selfishness of it,”

“Selfishness?” He exclaims.

“Boy, don't you take that tone with your mother.” His father warns, and Clark cringes again. “This ain't been anything but your own selfishness. The boy makes you uncomfortable, I can see that. Maybe you feel a bit violated, and I'm not saying you're wrong to feel that way. Wasn't right, what they did.” Finally, Clark thinks, someone understands, but his dad isn't done. “You're taking an awful lot out on him though, and I especially don't like how you assumed that just because you felt one way about the boy, we were going to feel the same.”

“He's just a boy.” His mom says, the reprimand spelled out in neon colors over her head. “And you are holding him responsible for actions he had no part in. I thought we raised you better than that, Clark.”

“Mom, that's not fair, I can't be expected,”

“Clark, I am not telling you to welcome him into your home and declare him your son. I know that's what you think I'm saying, but it's not. What I am saying is that you should have told us straightaway and let us decide what relationship we wanted with the boy.”

“And while we're at it,” Kara says, “Let's talk about how you didn't even tell me, Clark. I'm a member of the League too, last time I checked, and you decided to keep it among the big kids, like I'm still some stupid kid.”

“Kara, that's not,” He falters when she glares, daring him to keep talking when it was in fact exactly what he had done. “I'm sorry.” He apologizes. “All of you. I am. I'm just not,” He sighs. “I'm not comfortable with him. I can't be.”

“That doesn't mean we can't get to know him.” His dad says. “Lord knows boy, I accepted a long time ago you probably weren't going to be able to give us any grandchildren. Now I find out I do have one, and worse, I find out my boy was lying to me.” He takes his John Deere hat off and rubs his head before replacing it. “Clark, I can't even tell you how that makes me feel.”

“I'm leaning towards anger, myself.” Kara says.

“Kara, now, no fighting in my kitchen.” His mother warns, and Kara withdraws, crossing her arms and leaning back against the wall.

“We're meeting this boy.” His dad says, and Clark already knows it's a done deal. That tone leaves no room for argument. “If Kara has to bring him here, so be it. But we are meeting him. Whether you like it or not, he's family to us.”

“That can be done, no problem.” Kara says.

There comes a time in every boy's life when he realizes his mother is not really a god, true, but that doesn't make her any less the boss of him.

Clark had that moment sometime around sixteen.

So he just nods.

And eats the pie his mother made him.

Cherry is his favorite, after all.

-

Three days later, he gets a text from his mother.

-He likes blueberry pie best. It says, and that's it. Nothing else.

And that, well, that makes him put the phone down.

And think.