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What Could Have Been

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Jon paused to catch his breath as he touched down gently on the dry grass that spread in front of the Kent farmhouse. Figuratively of course, but just because he wasn’t breaking a sweat didn’t mean he didn’t feel the exhaustion deep in his bones.

The massive alien monster that decided to grace earth with it’s presence just outside the atmosphere today was more stubborn than anything else. He’d sent it on its way past Jupiter with a nice big swing, but not until he managed to win a fist fight with it’s octopus arms that emitted blinding, nauseating, flashes of bright light. The flashes seemed to be harmless, but those damn arms, he kept getting tangled and escaping again, over and over for a good two hours.

It was supposed to be a simple exercise, while his father was busy with a Justice League assignment. Basic space defense and pest control, but Rao was it annoying.

Now, all he could think about was flopping on the grass and laying in the sun for a little bit, while he waited for his dad to get home for dinner. Mom was…

He paused as he honed in on a sound in the upper story. Mom was supposed to be gone for a press conference in Metropolis, but she was…here?

Jon got the strangest feeling. That was her heartbeat, but as he looked around the farm, he couldn’t help the sense of wrong that came over him. The house looked…older, like it never got that coat of paint it did when he was seven. The mailbox is in a different spot, and his grandpa’s old truck is there but his mom’s car isn’t.

Oh god, not again.

The stray thought comes to him, and his heart sinks. Please don’t let it be time travel. He doesn’t know what he’ll do if he time skipped again, lost any more of his life with his family. He was only gone for a few hours this time!

Jon is broken out of his little internal crisis as he hears his Mom’s heartbeat head down the stairs. He glances through the walls, and yes, it’s her. She doesn’t look too much older, or younger for that matter, and for a moment he’s hoping he’s just going a little crazy. But when she steps out the door with a smile its not his own name he hears.

“Hey Small-“ His dad’s nickname dies on her tongue and as her smile drops so does Jon’s heart. She’s frozen for what seems like eternity, until her gaze moves up from the crest on his chest to his face and her heart rate skyrockets.

Something is very, very wrong, and Jon’s pretty sure it’s him.

“Mom?” He says as he steps towards the porch, trying for a disarming smile. Maybe if he pretends everything is okay he’ll get rid of this awful sinking feeling. Surely he’s imagining things. “I thought you were supposed to be in Metropolis?”

That was apparently the wrong move, as she steps back. Jon watches in confusion as a hand whips into her pocket until an ear piercing screech penetrates his brain.

“Ow, Mom, what the hell?” He clutches his ears in pain. Jon looks up, and the betrayal he feels must show on his face, because a glimmer of recognition is mixed in with the shock on hers. She flicks off the alarm, and Jon takes a breath as the screech turns to blissful silence.

She gasps. “Jordan?”

There is another pause…that was not what Jon was expecting. But before he can answer he feels the familiar disturbance in the near atmosphere and within a milisecond his father’s large form is landing with a thud between them. Jon is used to his father’s blustery comings and goings, but this time he actually has to brace himself a little in the dirt.

Superman’s eyes are glowing red, his fists clenched as he blocks Lois from Jon’s view. It’s…mildly terrifying, and Jon has to keep his heart rate steady as memories of an evil alternate Superman flash through his mind. He keeps his hands up and his posture as non-threatening as possible, while Superman drags his eyes down to the red crest and blue suit, the blazing red fading all the while. The El crest seems to help thankfully, as Clark shifts from defensive to curious, if not a bit confused. Jon can feel the tension as Superman examines his face, looking for something…Jon doesn’t know what. He doesn’t know what he’s hoping for either.

“Jordan?”

There’s that name again. Jon’s shoulders slump in defeat, as he re-evaluates the situation. He tries to imagine how Damian would handle a situation like this, and immediately dismisses the chiding voice in his head. He huffs, rubbing a frustrated hand over his face and looking back sheepishly at his probably not-parent’s faces. “I…think I might be a little lost.”

That only gets a look from both Mo-Lois and Clark because he’s definitely sure he’s in another dimension. It’s the little details, like how his mom’s hair is parted down the middle rather than the side, and the kitchen is on the left side of the house instead of the right. He is definitely not panicking about because he can’t, he can’t do this again, not again-

“Who are you?” Superman furrows his brows.

“Um…” He offers a small wave. “Hi, uh, my name is Jon…” and that gets him a response, a slight widening of the eyes, “Jon Lane-Kent?” He doesn’t mean for it to come out like a question, but it does. If they know a version of him here, things might go along a lot smoother. He debates how much info he should give, Damians voice once again whispering in the back of his mind, but then he realizes he already called Lois Mom, and there’s not much else he can really ruin at this point.

He can practically hear the ‘TT.’ Probably an ‘imbecile’ thrown in for good measure.

Lois and Clark share a wide eyed look, a million questions bouncing between them in the meanwhile, it’s nice to see some things remain constant between universes, he thinks.

“I’m betting you’ve probably encountered this before…at least I really hope you have because this is going to be really awkward-“

“You’re from an alternate universe.” Superman says.

Jon lets out a gentle breath of relief. “Yeah.” He watches as Superman’s eyes linger on Jon’s face. Jon wonders what he sees there. “See, I was fighting this space kraken thing, and, um, I’m just now realizing those flare things it kept setting off may or may not have been some type of portal-“

“Whoa whoa, let’s back up a second.” Clark stepped forward. “Space kraken?”

“Oh, it’s gone don’t worry. I launched it somewhere past Jupiter-“

“Boys.” Both of them turned towards Lois’ voice. She was smiling, but Jon could still sense her unease and see the tension in her shoulders. “How about we talk more about this inside? I’m also pretty sure we’re missing two certain someones who would be really bummed they missed any space kraken stories.”

“Oh, right.” Clark said, and it was weird seeing his dad’s awkwardness directed towards him. It was like he didn’t know whether to be Clark or Superman at the moment, in front of this stranger who didn’t really feel like a stranger. At least that’s how Jon felt. (E watched as he checked with Lois once more, then came to a decision. “Do you want to come inside?”

“Sure.” This is going to be so weird. He’d never been to an alternate universe that felt so close to his own before. Halfway up the porch however, he caught on to what his not-mom had said.

“Wait. Who are we missing?”