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The Way It Didn’t Happen

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The dark haired young boy shouldn’t have remembered his parents’ deaths, or the senseless destruction of what had been his whole world up until now. He did, though. Sometimes it felt like the loss had happened light years away. Other times the loss felt immediate, like he could reach up and grasp the fine long strands of his lost mother’s hair, or the beads on her necklace, as she leaned over him and kissed his small forehead. Maybe he could grip his father’s strong finger one last time, as they tried to protect their beloved last son.

His new life was different, and the journey to reach it had been long, bringing darkness and death as an unfortunate side effect. Even so, he found his true home,, and a family who accepted him, and loved him no matter his differences. He grew up stronger, and stranger, than anyone he knew. The great burden of his earliest experiences colored his personality. His alienation was complete.

He knew better than to ask about it. His adoptive family set the rules. They were for his own safety, they said. Mostly, he thought, it was for theirs. Nobody knew the limits of his gifts, or how they would develop. “You can’t talk about it. Nobody can know you aren’t what you look like. You have to fit in. Always fly under the radar, son,” was his father’s advice. It wasn’t until Clark was an adult that he learned to take that literally.

Clark grew into his powers. He knew if he was going to use them, for good or ill, he had to to create a disguise, a new persona. Taking his cue from the strange, winged mammals that hung from the rafters of his Fortress of Solitude, Martha and Jonathan’s son, became Batman.