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Topic: School Days (short Superman fanfic) (Read 53 times) previous topic - next topic
School Days (short Superman fanfic)
Finished Sept. 11, 2016

The following story, which I wrote a few years ago, is kinda...uh...weird. I used to be obsessed with non-traditional ways of giving Superman a child, and this is one of them. The actual plotline isn't much, it's just to convey this weird idea of mine. I just wanted to put all my stories here so here goes. The name is silly and comes from the fact that this story was created as part of a challenge on another forum. I guess this story is a bit embarrassing in some ways, but it's still kind of fun.

I'm not that smart about DC in general tbh, so this story contains some weird "placeholders" which I hope are not too distracting lol.

To be honest, even though it's strange, I still might go back to this story's concept someday, I had some interesting ideas in my mind for what Eben Kent.



"Where's Eben?" I asked the minor Justice League member manning the satellite control panel, a sense of urgency and irritation in my voice – and perhaps even a twinge of desperation, even though I hadn't been looking for him for more than a minute.

 "Huh? Oh, yeah, he got moved to like…another one of the testing rooms," the superhero replied, peering up at me with his young eyes through his bright yellow mask. "Laboratory D, I think…"

 I heaved out a sigh filled with exasperation and annoyance. "Thank you!" I shouted back to the hero as I walked off.

 He had to be in one of the rooms of the satellite that happened to have lead walls, didn't he? Well…I guess it didn't matter. I guess there's nothing wrong with him being moved to a different room, they're probably just trying to find ways to take better care of him, and there was no real reason for me to get upset.

 It's just, well…he's my kid. I hadn't seen him all day, and I was worried about him.

 I finally made it to Laboratory D. I guess that wasn't a particularly surprising place to put him, they deal with volatile energies in there a lot. I just, well, really hoped he was okay, and that he hadn't gotten hard to contain or anything. I opened the thick metal door and walked in.

 Several science-y DC Comics characters were huddled around a man-sized cylindrical container hooked up to all sorts of machinery and full of blazing white energy. As soon as I entered the room, the energy flared even more brightly, to the point it might be painful to look at for most beings, and I heard a voice nearly identical to my own, other than possessing a bizarre echoing quality as though it was run through some kind of audio filter, emanating from the container. "Dad!"

 "Ben!" I shouted. The scientists wasted no time getting out of the way as I ran up to the container and hugged it, an action I did totally without thinking.

 I heard one of them grunt. "Excuse me, we were in the middle of a very precise procedure –"

 "It's alright. It's nothing that we can't pick up again later," another scientist said gently, abruptly intercepting. "We're just continuing to study Eben, trying to learn more about him, but there's nothing especially urgent going on."

 "Alright." I set the container with my son in it down. "No issues of any kind? He's staying contained and everything?"

 The scientist nodded. "Yes, everything seems fine. Though, I suppose he is a bit…restless."

 "Have you just been working on testing him all day?" I asked.

 "More or less."

 "Then, I guess that's not surprising," I said. "…I mean, yeah, it's understandable that doing your testing is very important, but, you know…"

 The scientist sighed. "Yes. It's regrettable. We'll leave you be to spend some time with him, if you like."

 "Yes, yes please." I smiled. "Thank you."

 In short order, that scientist had rounded up all his fellows, left the premises, and shut that sturdy metal door. I turned to my son again.

 I saw the white energy forming itself roughly into the shape of a man. It was too rough to really make out facial features or anything, but I could still tell that he was trying to emulate my own appearance, in his own blazing, blobby way – just as he did when he first emerged from my body. Almost as though it were an instinctual thing. It was hardly surprising that, among all the other things he had "inherited" from my mind and being, a desire to take my form would be among them.

 I smiled at his attempt. "How are you doing?"

 "Um, I'm okay," his eerily resonating voice came in reply. "I mean, I missed you a lot and I haven't been able to do anything except be checked on by those scientists, and um…I guess I did get kind of tired of that. But they were nice and…everything's fine. I just…I just get really tired of it, and I feel lonely and…um…yeah." I saw his form shift into the back corner of the container, and imagined he was trying to lean against the back of it dejectedly as a person with a solid body would, but in the process he lost much of his shape, as though his emotions were causing him to fail to maintain it.

 My heart went out to him. "I'm sorry, Ben. I know it can't be easy." I knelt down and touched the container with one hand, stroking it slightly. "It has to be tough right now, like…being in a hospital. But just like being in the hospital, it won't last. I promise."

 There was a pause. I noticed Ben began to get a bit of his humanoid shape back. "But even then, what do I do?"

 I felt a small sigh deep within me, but tried not to express it. "We don't really know that, yet. But that's OK. Not many people know their place in life when they just start out, you know. You're not even a week old, you know! You have plenty of time."

 Ben let out a light chuckle.

 "Trust me, kid: You have a purpose in life, and it's going to be a good one. You might be different, but sometimes it's the ways in which we're different that turn out to be the most helpful to others. We may not know exactly why you exist or what to do with you right now, and you might not either, but that's okay, really. We'll figure out an answer. You'll figure out an answer. I promise." I smiled at him and gave his container a stroke. "That's how it happened for me, and it'll happen for you too."

 Somehow, I could tell he smiled back.

 "So, where's Mom?" Ben asked after a moment's pause.

 I sighed. "She's not feeling too well, I'm afraid. They actually sent her home from work. Just a little cold, I guess…she'll get better soon, and be able to see you, I'm sure." I gave a half-hearted smile.

 "Oh…I'm sorry about that…" Ben said in a downcast way. "I wish I could do something…for her."

 "Aw, Ben. Not even I can cure people's sicknesses," I said.

 "No, no, I mean…you know. Make her a get-well card or breakfast in bed or something," Ben clarified. "But…I can't. Because, you know. I have to stay in this tube or…something bad might happen." I saw his form crumpling into random heaps of energy again.

 My heart began to hurt for him. (Well, not literally because I don't generally feel pain, but it was certainly a strong emotion.) "I'm sorry, Ben. But you know, those scientists working on you, learning more about you…they're going to find a better way. I'm sure they will."

 Ben seemed to sigh – his sigh kind of sounded like a static fizzle, but it still registered as a sigh to me, somehow. "OK, Dad. I understand."

 "I'll make sure to give Mom your well-wishes," I said. "I know they'll mean a lot to her. And I know she wants to be here, too – and I'm sure she will be, soon."

 "Thanks," Ben said, a slight amount of cheer emerging.

 After a momentary pause, Ben asked, "So, how was your day, Dad?"

 "I had a pretty good day," I said. "Things were pretty uneventful in Metropolis…and around the world, honestly. Still keeping an eye on things, of course, and there's certainly stuff going on in the world, just…not much that really screams 'This is a job for Superman'. I can't just charge in and force people to fix everything, no matter how much I might want to." I gave a semi-chuckle. "Work wasn't too exciting either, but things went well. It's never the same without Lois around, but at least I got to write a nice piece for my new column."

 "Hey, can I see it?" Ben said.

 "Sure!" I said, feeling a swell of pride and pleasure at his interest. I pulled today's newspaper out of a pouch on my cape and flipped to the section containing what I had written. Then, I pressed it against Ben's container.

 "I use this column to reflect on some of the interesting people and places in Metropolis, their histories, and their stories," I said. "Sort of a community-building thing. Today, I talked about Nature's Blessing, a store focused on alternative medicine and natural remedies that's been in Metropolis since the homeopathy boom of the 1970s. They also happen to be home of some of the best organic tea in town – they're my go-to place for tea, really, so being able to write about them was a great opportunity," I said. "The owners had some really interesting stories to share…well, I'll let you read them for yourself."

 I thought that I could perceive Ben scanning the page somehow, his eyes darting back and forth, even though he didn't really have distinct, visible facial features. Come to think of it, I didn't exactly know how he was even capable of sight or hearing. But then again, I also didn't know how he able to think, feel, speak, or just exist in general. All I knew is that my body absorbed a ton of cosmic radiation and later expelled it, and when it did…he was there. A sentient being of pure energy, possessing traces of my thoughts, memories, and personality, not knowing anything more about himself than I did. All he seemed to know was who I was and that he came from me. I didn't know what he was or how to react or even really what to do with him. All I had was the knowledge that he was…mine. I had brought him into the world, somehow. And he was alive, thinking, feeling.

 He needed a name, so I named him Eben, after my father's middle name. Eben Kent…or Ben as we had taken to calling him, since Lois thought Eben was kinda a weird name. Lois is kinda his adoptive mother now, since she's my wife and all. She didn't exactly know what to make of him at first, but she was very supportive of my efforts to... "raise" him, if that was even the right word.

 It was kind of crazy. Suddenly I was a father in a way I could have never even imagined. And emotionally, it's just…I could have never even imagined this feeling. This intense connection I felt to him and desire to pour myself into his life, this sense of love and kinship and protectiveness. All towards a being like nothing I had ever seen before…that I couldn't even comprehend, really.

 And then there was the heartache. I wanted to give him the world, I wanted to make him happy, I wanted to give him a life as least as good as my own, if not even better. But as of yet, he couldn't live anything close to a normal life, and not only that, but he had to be carefully contained lest he, well, go wild.

 Living one's life in a container just big enough to hold you, not being able to go out and nothing and no one able to ever come in with you, stuck on a lab on a satellite. It wasn't exactly a life I would want for anyone. And it was the life my own son had been given. And, currently, I couldn't do anything about it.

 That was hard to deal with.

 "All done, Dad!" Ben said in a chipper voice.

 "What did you think?" I asked, his voice yanking me out of the moroseness of my thoughts and back to the importance of making the most of the time I had with him right now.

 "Um, it was good. I…don't know. Doesn't seem like a very exciting assignment to me."

 "Well, it wasn't, exactly. But hey, excitement isn't everything," I said, my own cheer returning.

 "Yeah, I guess not," Ben said. There was a short pause. "Uh…I don't really think I understood everything in that article."

 "Oh? What didn't you?" I asked.

 "I…don't know. It's hard to place. I just…feel like I don't have enough background knowledge, I guess. Like, I only half-understood everything."

 "Hmm," I said. I had always been able to tell that Ben seemed to share a lot of my knowledge from the moment he was "born", but it seemed like only a general understanding or vague recollection. Just a little more confirmation that what I was about to do next was a good choice.

 I finally removed my hand and the newspaper from their position pressed up against Ben's housing. "Say, Ben…that reminds me. How would you like to…learn a little more about the world?"

 "Huh?" Ben said, "blinking" (though perhaps that was just my imagination). "What do you mean?"

 I took a deep breath and began wearing a slightly awkward smile. "School."

 Ben reeled back in shock. "School?!"

 "Erm…not going to school," I clarified. "I mean…just me teaching you, right here and now."

 "Umm…okay?" Ben said. "Like, uh…homeschooling?"

 "Sorta, yeah," I said.

 Ben paused. "Alright, I guess. Though…why, exactly?"

 I shrugged. "Well, I want you to be well-educated. It's just something that's probably going to be helpful, no matter where life takes you. You know?"

 "Yeah…I guess," Ben said. "I mean, I feel like I already know a bunch of general stuff, that I must've just gotten from you. But I guess I don't really…understand it that well. It's just kinda there."

 "And, would you like to understand it better?" I asked.

 "…Yeah. Yeah, I do, actually," Ben said.

 I smiled. "Good."

 Ben sighed. "It's just that…well, I don't really see what the point is. I'm just a blob of energy. I mean…why do I need to know anything?"

 "Why does anyone else need to know anything? They're all just blobs of matter," I said, giving Ben's container a playful rub as though I was ruffling his hair.

 "Da-ad!" my son said in a laughing way at my cheesy style of phrase-turning.

 I took a breath. "Well, seriously, Ben. You don't really know what your future holds. And you're more than just a bunch of energy, you have a mind, somehow. So…as long as you have it, why not use it?" I gave him a slight smile and cocked my head to one side, gesturing with my eyes to let him know the ball was in his court now.

 Ben looked down for a moment. Then he looked at me. "Yeah. You're right, Dad," he said with a smile. "I guess I do kinda want to know more, even if I don't have a clear idea of what I'll do with it."

 "Great," I said. I reached into my cape and pulled out some papers. "Before we start, I feel like we should do a little assessment. Find out how much you already know. Hmmm, let's start with…" I moved my finger along the page in my hand facetiously, even though it didn't actually contain any information I needed. "The ABC's!" I said, looking up and grinning.

 "The ABC's?!" Ben scoffed lightly. "Oh, come on, Dad!"

 "No, I'm serious," I said. "Let's hear them."

 "Wh…why?" Ben said. "Don't you have faith that I at least know that?"

 I shrugged. "You never know."

 Ben sighed and "rolled his eyes". "A, B, C, D, E, F, G…H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O…" He paused. "L, M, N, O…P?"

 "Right," I said encouragingly.

 Ben seemed dumbfounded in disbelief. "I…I don't…I don't know them perfectly?" he said after a moment.

 "Well, just keep going. Just do the best you can," I said.

 "But…but…how do I not know them all by heart?!" Ben said.

 "The real question is, how do you know any of them? How were you born having as much knowledge as you do?" I pointed out.

 "Y-yeah, but…I can read! You would think that level of literacy would subsume knowing the ABC's!" Ben said, exasperated. "And I even know the word 'subsume'! What's going on?!"

 I sighed. "Well, in honesty, Ben, I don't know. There's a lot we don't know about you – a lot more than we do know, to be quite frank. But, if I had to venture a guess…maybe how well you 'inherited' information from me has to do with how important it is to me, or something. I mean, the ability to read and write is obviously very important to me – I mean, I write for a living, after all! The specific order of letters…that's a pretty minor detail. And I guess you can remember the end result of a skill without remembering every step it took to get there, you know?"

 "Yeah…I guess that makes sense…" Ben said.

 "So, anyway, how about those letters? P…what comes next? Do you know?" I said, grinning at him.

 Ben "smirked" at me. "If knowing the alphabet is just a step along the way to literacy, do I really need to know it if I already know how to read?"

 I gave him a sideways smirk in return. "Pretty clever for someone who doesn't even know his ABC's."

 "Da-ad!" Ben "groaned", though I could tell he was really a bit amused. "What makes you so sure I don't know them, anyway? I mean, just because I had a little memory lapse…"

 "Well, if you know them, go ahead right ahead and prove me wrong, why don't you?" I said, winking.

 "Ughh....fine!" Ben said smilingly. "A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O…P…" He paused for a moment. I could almost "feel" his sense of drawing a blank, of mild panic. "I…I…I really don't know them!" he said, distress evident in his voice.

 "Oh, Ben." I laid a hand on his container. "Come on. You just said yourself that it doesn't really matter."

 "Yeah…b-but…" He looked down and gave an exasperated sigh. "I just don't get it, Dad! I just don't understand myself! How can I be so smart and so dumb at the same time?"

 I gave a softer sigh. "Oh, Ben…" I looked down myself, then I looked at my son. "Who you are, what you are, how you think…I guess…none of us really understand it. But I guess…you have to accept it, too. Even if you aren't like other people. Even if you don't exactly make sense by normal standards. It doesn't mean you're bad or dumb. You're just…you. Just try to be the best you that you can be, I guess."

 I gave a weak smile. But deep down, I was beginning to doubt myself.

 Maybe this was a dumb idea. This whole "school" thing…it was kinda treating Ben like something remotely approximating a "normal kid" when he obviously wasn't. Maybe nothing good would come out of it. Maybe I needed to try to focus Ben on things that were actually relevant to what he was…

 The thing is, I didn't know what Ben was, so that was going to be hard. I was just trying to do what I knew to do, but…maybe I was just conditioning Ben to try to be something he couldn't be. Or maybe I was just wasting my time. Maybe I was just coming up with random, pointless busywork. I didn't know.

 Ben sighed. "No point in being melodramatic, I guess…" He took a deep breath. "Maybe…you could just teach me the whole ABC's. Just because."

 I was quiet for just a moment. "Alright, Ben." I took a deep breath. Then I began singing.

 "A, B, C, D, E, F, G…H, I, J, K, L-M-N-O-P. Q, R, S…T, U, V…W, X. Y and Z."

 Suddenly I heard a soft voice coming from Ben's container. "Now I know my ABC's…next time won't you sing with me."

 I blinked.

 "I guess I remembered that part," Ben said. "Not technically a part of the ABC's, but…it's something."

 I smiled and rubbed Ben's container again. "Yeah, it's something."