Okay, so here's my very first multi-chapter story! Woo! I actually had the idea a few months ago, but after seeing that one of my favorite writers on FF has a SupermanxBrainyxLyle story already, I got slightly discouraged from writing it, haha. However, the idea is quite different, so here it is!
Please note: The story is set as a sort of cross-over between the cartoon Legion and reboot Legion comic (the one written by Abnett and Lanning, aka DnA). So it will have characters and references to situations in both the cartoon and comic. I know most people have only seen the show and maybe read a little bit of the The Legion, so I'll explain all of my comic references before each chapter, if I use any at all. The story takes place two years after the end of the second season of the show, so Brainy is now fully organic, in other words, no longer a robot.
This chapter has Kid Quantum (the female version, Jazmin Cullen) from the comic, but I explain her powers and appearance in here anyway, and you don't really need to know anything about her.
Since this is the reboot version cross-over-type-alternate-universe-thing, Lyle is a former professional spy-turned-chemist, not the son of a Science Police officer like in the threeboot comic. His relationship with Brainy will at first be more rival-like than friendship, since that's how it is in the The Legion comic.
Obviously, since Brainy from the show and Brainy from the comic act differently, it will be a challenge keeping him in character... but I love challenges, so it's all good! I'll write Brainy as mostly what he is like in the show, to keep the confusion at bay.
I must warn you, this story will move rather slowly; Brainy naturally overthinks everything, and despite exploring his emotions and learning to control them for two years, he's still pretty new to the whole human experience thing, so he won't understand a lot of what he's feeling for quite a while. Plus, as with real relationships, he and Lyle (and Superman, for that matter) can't hook up and fall in love over the course of three chapters. The relationship has to develop, you know? And I have tworelationships to develop here, so it'll take a while. On the plus side, you'll get a glimpse into the migraine-inducing complexity that is Brainy's head!
Now enough of me ranting; on to chapter one!
disclaimer: I am a high school student and therefore clearly do not have the money to own Legion of Superheroes; the cartoon and comics belong to DC and I am unworthy. *bows in respect to DnA*
Gravel crunches under my feet as I make my way slowly up the side of the road. Most people who pass me do not make any sign indicating that they recognize me, though I am not surprised; I sometimes find myself staring at the stranger in the mirror, his robot counterparts gone, his eyes no longer two magenta computer screens... even now, it surprises me when I can't scan the counterparts of a machine or transform my index finger into a screw driver.
I twist the golden Legion flight ring around and around my right middle finger, a human habit I've developed. I wonder how they've all changed in two years; certainly, they could not have changed as much as I have. Aside from growing an astounding two and a half inches (I have long ago accepted that I will most likely remain short for the remainder of my life), my slightly longer hair has been parted down the middle, the bangs ending just below my eyebrows, and I suppose I have gained more muscle than I had before, though not tremendously so. The three light gray circles on my forehead, along with my ever-consistent avocado skin, are the only things that hint at my past. A lot can change in two years...
I find my thoughts drifting again to my teammates. Is Saturn Girl still the caring, mature, mother figure she was when I left? Is Lightning Lad still the same pig-headed, stubborn idiot who loves his friends and the Legion more than anything? Does Bouncing Boy still pilot the Legion ship and remain good-humored and optimistic in the bleakest of situations? Does Timber Wolf still hide behind a tough, ferocious mask that cannot fool his friends (for we all knew Brin was, in actuality, a truly kind soul)? Triplicate Girl, Phantom Girl, Cosmic Boy, Chameleon, Dream Girl, Star Boy, Shrinking Violet, Matter-Eater Lad... how has time changed them?
I shift my bag onto my other shoulder, suddenly anxious and somewhat hesitent about returning to my old home. What if everything is so drastically different that I no longer feel at home here? What if the years have molded the Legion into something unrecognizable; or worse, what if they no longer need me? Are my skills and unparalleled knowledge now useless to the team? I have been training physically and making improvements to my belt, but will it be enough to prove my worth to them? Intelligence, technically, is not a super power.
I cut my thoughts short, wishing to be rid of such burdensome emotions. I am still Brainiac 5, the most intelligent being alive in the universe; of course they'll take me back!
My mind, so ridden with human thoughts and feelings, wanders back to the Legionnaires- my friends, every single one of them- as I squint up at the sun. Unwillingly, I remember the most influential member of the Legion of Superheroes, the one who started it all, who was the inspiration for the team itself.
After several seconds, I must look away from the sun, and a black dot mars my vision. My eyes can no longer adjust automatically to any amount of light, which is rather annoying, but I have gotten used to that.
I wonder how the Man of Steel is, if he is here at all (which I somehow highly doubt). I know it is pointless to think such things; I know exactly how he is. He is in the past, where he belongs, helping to shape the world into what it is today. I remember those smiling blue eyes for a moment before shaking my head and focusing on the present.
Before I know it, I am standing before Legion Headquarters. The sleek, metallic building reflects the sun brilliantly as it towers above me, exactly the way it was when I left it. That gives me some small quotia of comfort, and it is easier to brush away any traces of nerves and make my way towards the front entrance.
The interior, just like the exterior, is unchanged, if a bit lacking in activity. My footsteps are unecessarily loud as I walk, curious as to the whereabouts of the Legionnaires. The halls, completely devoid of people, echo my footsteps back at me as if in greeting. Suspicion creeps over me as I walk, theories bouncing around in my head like Bouncing Boy himself. The doors to the main room shift open automatically and I enter into darkness.
I am less than surprised when I am greeted with a chorus of, "Welcome back, Brainy!" when the lights are switched on.
I blink and my eyes slowly adjust to the light before I am able to take everything in, though I already know what is going on (honestly, it is so very predictable). It seems every single member of the Legion is there, from Karate Kid to the Substitute Superheroes, smiling at me among green and purple balloons and streamers hanging from the high ceiling. A huge banner hangs above their heads, emblazed with the words, "WELCOME BACK, BRAINIAC 5". Despite the absurdity of it all, I find myself smiling back, a pleasant warmth seeping into my chest.
Immediately, I am tackled by Phantom Girl, Shrinking Violet, and all three Triplicate Girls, while Saturn Girl, bless her, restrains herself to smiling widely behind them.
"Brainy! Oh, we missed you somuch!" Orange Triplicate Girl cries egnamically. Her other two parts grin and nod in agreement, giggling and successfully cutting off the airways to my lungs.
"It's been a long time," Saturn Girl says warmly, gently embracing me after I am mercifully released from the other girls' death grips.
"Yeah, we have tons of stuff for you to fix," Phantom Girl informs me with a sly wink. Shrinking Violet giggle-snorts happily.
I am soon surrounded by familiar faces; Lightning Lad slaps me on the back heartily, and Cosmic Boy shakes my hand like the professional he has always been.
"Good to have you back, Brainiac 5," Cosmic Boy says, all smiles. "Dream Girl had a vision about you coming back without notice..."
Ah, Dream Girl, of course. By the tiny, satisfied smile she is sending me across the room, I can tell she knew how very much I wanted my return not to be so glorified.
"More like great!" Lightning Lad corrects, laughing in that loud, boisterous way of his I did not realize I missed. "The toaster has been giving me such a headache, you have to take a look at it!"
"Good to know my worth is limited to fixing kitchen appliances," I muse, but can't help but smile anyway.
"Someone has to," Timber Wolf comments in his low growl of a voice, shaking my hand as well. "I like my bread crisp and my waffles not frozen, thank you."
Many others come forth and greet me happily, including Bouncing Boy, who does not hold back with his bear hugs, as usual. The incredible, overwhelming feeling of being home after such a long time grips me, but I do not let my face betray me; I did not spend two years getting my fresh, human emotions under control for a sudden lapse now. I scan the crowd assembled, nodding and shaking hands and receiving laughs and smiles and hugs until I am exhausted from all the attention and just want to go to my lab and experiment in peace. Behind all the happiness, a small wave of relief laps at the corners of my mind. How silly of me to ever have thought I would not be needed here (and not just to fix the toaster).
I already knew it was unlikely that he'd be here, but I cannot help the tiniest feeling of disappointment when I do not see a red cape and black hair in the crowd. I push the ridiculous feeling to the back of my conscience, where it cannot bother me, and return to my previous feeling of euphoria.
"We have some new members," Saturn Girl tells me, capturing my interest.
"Oh?" I hum thoughtfully. "Who?"
I have exchanged pleasantries with every companion now, and most have begun talking amongst themselves and enjoying cake (which is the most unnerving shade of green) and punch. Now, a new face stands before me, one with dark, chocolate skin, perceptive, golden eyes, and black hair that is cropped close to her head. Her uniform is black, with a purple stripe running vertically down the front, white shoulder pads, and a white, eight-pointed star on her chest. Her golden hoop earrings reflect the light as she extends a hand toward me.
"Kid Quantum," she informs me, and I can instantly tell we will get along by the way she exudes a calm, mature aura.
"A pleasure to meet you," I say, as custom dictates, and I mean it. I am secretly glad we do not have another Chameleon on our hands. "What is your power?"
"I can freeze time," she explains. "Only within a limited amount of space, and for a limited amount of time, but it's still pretty useful."
I nod, pleased to know she has a useful power and the Legion has not laxed its expectations for new members since I've been gone. An uneasy feeling itches at the tips of my conscious, and my eyes automatically flicker to the left, above Kid Quantum's shoulder, but as there is nothing there, I shake it off and turn instead to Saturn Girl.
"I thought you said some new members," I say, twitching up an eyebrow.
Saturn Girl blinks once before sighing in an exasperated manner. "He's here," she assures me, pursing her lips expectantly as she scans the space around us. "If you don't come out already, I swear, In-"
"Sorry, sorry, just nervous!" a voice laughs, and a young man materializes in front of me, in the exact spot where I looked moments ago.
"You? Nervous?" Phantom Girl repeats somewhere behind me, snorting. "That's new."
I appraise the new member with mild amusement. He has lightly tanned skin and brown hair that falls over a black headband, partially covering mischievous, milk chocolate eyes. He is clad entirely in black save for a gold belt and a white, lower-case "i" running the length of his chest and torso. If anyone else were to wear something similar, I think to myself, they would look like an alphabet ninja out for a jog. Yet, somehow, this intriguing individual can pull it off.
"And you are?" I urge when he does not immediately give me his name.
"Oh! Invisible Kid," he says quickly, grinning as he shakes my hand with perhaps too much enthusiasm. "Uh, call me Lyle, though. Lyle Norg."
"Well, Lyle," I say. "I'm pleased to make your acquiantance."
"That's for sure!" he replies, still grinning from ear to ear as though we are old friends. "I mean, on my part, anyway. Of all the other Legionnaires, you're the one I was looking the most forward to meeting!" He pauses and looks sheepishly at my friends. "No offense, guys."
I want to ask why that is, but instead a more burning question arises. "I suppose your power is obvious, since you just demonstrated it to us," I say. "And which planet are you from, that causes you to be able to become invisible?" I do not recall ever having heard of a planet whose inhabitants have such abilities, which irks me to some degree, as I am quite positive I have every world in the Galaxy memorized.
"I'm from Earth, actually," he explains, looking away and rubbing the back of his neck bashfully. "I developed the invisibility serum myself."
My eyebrows shoot up at this information. Impressive.
"Lyle was a professional spy from a very young age," Saturn Girl tells me.
"Yeah, but I gave that up a long time ago," Lyle dismisses with a chuckle. "I turned to chemistry, mainly xenochemistry, and developed the serum, which I injected into myself."
I keep my gaze on the punch which White Triplicate Girl brought me moments ago before joining Bouncing Boy a bit farther away. For some reason, I am feeling unexplainably irritated with this newcomer, although he has given me no reason to resent him.
"Yeah, Lyle's pretty damn smart," Phantom Girl comments, to which Timber Wolf grunts in grudging agreement. "He improved the flight rings, too."
At this, my head snaps up. I discovered the metal used for the flight rings; no one knows how to utilise it, much less improve it, except me. My eyes narrow ever so slightly at Invisible Kid before dropping my gaze back to my innocent punch.
"Nah, not by much," Lyle waves off, a slight blush coating his cheeks. "I just added a force-field similar to the one on Brainy's belt."
Everyone turns to me as if I am expected to say something to this.
"...Huh," I grunt neutrally, sipping my drink absently. I am somewhat irritated, more with myself for actually being so impressed than with Invisible Kid. Creating a superpower and injecting it into his system; it certainly is... creative. And figuring out how to improve the flight rings... exactly how intelligent isthis "Lyle Norg"?
'He has a ten point five level intellect,' Saturn Girl mentally answers my gnawing question, giving me a concerned look which I cannot dissect due to my sudden choking on my punch.
"Woah, are you okay?" Lyle exclaims as I cough twice into my fist, eyes watering.
I glare up at him as I struggle to regain my composure. A ten point five? Him? Impossible! How absolutely absurd!
"Fine," I hiss icily, brushing past him and heading toward my long-missed lab, returning calls half-heartedly as I steam in my anger.
Before the gray double-doors close behind me, I catch Lyle muttering, "I don't think he likes me..." to Saturn Girl, who sighs again.
It is only when I am back in the comforting familiarity of my laboratory when I reflect on my actions with confusion and slight humility. What could possibly have possessed me to overreact so much? On that note, what was there to overreact to? Lyle seems to be a good, humble person; why do I suddenly regard him with such bitterness?
I sigh and run a hand through my hair. Is this what is called "envy", perhaps? I have not yet come across it as an organic... there are not many things I am envious about to begin with, being a twelfth level intellect, but I suppose Lyle Norg is the exception to that assumption. But no... why would I ever be jealous of Invisible Kid? It is as absurd as that ridiculous headband he wears.
I am in the process of convincing myself that there is nothing to be even remotely jealous about when a knock comes to my door. Taken aback, I shake my head to clear my thoughts before going to the doors. They whoosh open to reveal Saturn Girl.
Stepping out of my lab and allowing the doors to shut behind me, I face the blond-haired Legionnaire expectantly. She regards me for a moment with those penetrating pink eyes of hers before placing a hand on my shoulder- an action I understand is meant to be comforting, though I still do not understand how it is exactly.
"Brainy, is there something troubling you?" she asks patiently, something that, if said by anyone else, would irritate me to no end. But, being Saturn Girl, it is only natural for her to concern herself with her friends.
"...No," I answer, shifting my gaze to the side before I can stop myself. Robot or not, lying has never been my forte.
"Brainy," she repeats more earnestly. "Why don't you like Lyle?"
Am I that easy to read?
"I do not have a problem with Invisible Kid," I say honestly, for it is the truth.
Saturn Girl's lips twitch up into a knowing smile. "Ah, I see," she says to herself, closing her eyes and nodding sagely.
I yearn to demand what the sprock she is talking about, but my pride as a Coluan keeps my mouth stubbornly shut, and Saturn Girl turns away to leave.
"And thus, a rivalry is born..." I hear her murmur under her breath as she strides away, a smile in her voice.
Huffing in frustration, I spin on my heel and walk through the automatic doors back into my lab. The broken toaster is sitting on the table next to my tools, and I am halfway to it when I halt in my steps. My scalp prickles uncomfortably in a similar way as earlier today, that itching sense that pulls my attention to the side of the table. Instead of looking there, I continue to walk to the table as though nothing has happened and pick up a screw driver.
"So," I say coolly after several minutes of tinkering with the toaster, not bothering to look away from the contraption. "When were you planning on telling me you're here?"
As expected, Lyle materializes, sitting on the edge of the table and still having that stupid grin on his face; I am beginning to wonder if that is just the way his face permanently is, or if he is actually capable of a frown.
"How do you do that?" he wonders instead of answering my question.
"Do what?" I sigh, giving up on the toaster and setting it back onto the table.
Lyle observes the toaster for a moment before picking it up as he replies, "Know when I'm there."
Taking the screw driver in his hand, Lyle squints comically at the kitchen appliance before giving it a series of mild taps with the butt of the screw driver. The sheet of metal holding the bottom in place falls to the table with a clang, achieving what I had given up on moments ago. Glaring momentarily at the offending piece of metal, I snatch the toaster away from Lyle and set it aside. He simply twirls the screw driver in his hand as he waits for a response.
"I just sense you there," I say, crossing my arms over my chest and rolling my eyes up to the ceiling. "Instinct."
"Hm..." he hums, the twirling becoming faster as he stares off at nothing in particular. I cough once into my fist to get his attention.
"What are you doing in my lab?" I ask, aggravated. I do not like other people in my lab.
"Well, at first I wanted to ask if you hate me or something," he says off-handedly, placing the screw driver next to the toaster and ignoring my scoff. "But then I overheard you and Saturn Girl and got my answer. But you still seemed ticked off for some reason, so..." he looks up at me from under his bands, his brown eyes curious. "Why is that?"
"I..." I begin, and then am shocked that I do not have anything to say. "I... don't know."
Lyle lowers his eyes and looks away, actually looking morose, something I would think was impossible. For some reason or another, guilt clenches at my gut, and I find myself speaking before thinking what I am saying all the way through.
"I do not hate you," I say quickly, glaring at my reflection in the toaster. "I am merely... irritated."
In my peripheral vision, I see Lyle tilt his head to the side and give me an odd look. "Okay..." he says slowly. "Why?"
I keep my glare in place as I swivel my head and look directly at him. "I. Don't. Know." I pronounce each word clearly so there is no confusion and I do not have to confess such an atrocity again.
"Okay, okay," Lyle says, raising his hands as if in defence.
I continue to glare at him for several minutes, but he just sits there and swings his feet back and forth, humming an unfamiliar tune to himself. Finally, I huff out a puff of breath and continue to work on the toaster, doing my best to ignore him.
This proves to be impossible as he soon begins to talk about nothing in particular, a pathetic attempt at smalltalk in which I refuse to partake. Why is he still here? There is absolutely nothing of interest in this lab, at least for him, and I certainly am not partaking in the one-sided conversation he insists on making. I do not see what everyone else so apparently sees in this person. He is no genius as the others deem him to be; so he created an invisibility serum, so what? It was probably an accident, like most great inventions are, just like how figuring out how to use the flight ring metal was most likely an accident as well. And the toaster... that was probably just a fluke.
I blink twice and shake my head, wondering where all of these thoughts are coming from. Lyle takes no notice as he continues to prattle on about someone named Coco and I tune him out again. I thank the stars when he shuts up at last, contenting himself with observing me as I move on from the toaster to a bug in the Legion ship carborator. The silence, to my dismay, does not last as long as I would have liked it to.
"How long have you been in the Legion?" he inquires, his gaze travelling in awe around the lab as if it is the most interesting place in the galaxy.
"...A long time," I reply point-blank, not really wishing to speak to him when I am working.
He nods absently, and I wonder, despite myself, what in sprock he is thinking behind that pointless headband of his.
"What are you still doing here?" I ask, unable to bear it any longer.
"Legion HQ?" Lyle questions. "Well, I wanted to meet you before going on a mission, so I-"
"No, I mean in my..." I stop mid-clarification, blinking at him. "What...?"
"I told you, didn't I?" he says, smirking. "Out of all the Legionnaires, you're the one I was most looking forward to meeting."
Ah, yes, he did say that before, didn't he? A burning question settles in my throat, and I spit it out without thinking.
"Why?" I ask incredulously, instantly regretting it. I can already imagine the probable response.
'You're a Brainiac! You're a member of the Legion to prove you're not like your ancestor, which is really admirable!"
That is how they all react when they meet me. Why does everyone seem to think I am only a Legionnaire to make amends for Brainiac? Perhaps that was my original motive, but so much has changed over the years. I now have friends and a home to defend. Honestly, Brainiac does not even immediately come to mind anymore when I reflect upon my purpose on the team, especially now that I am more human than ever.
Lyle rolls his eyes playfully. "Isn't that obvious? You're the brains behind the brawns! Without you, this team, and probably this building, would fall apart. Not to mention, everyone would be walking to battle instead of flying."
My eyebrows twitch up in surprise, and I struggle to regain my composure, but I feel a small blush creep to my cheeks inspite of my effort to keep it at bay.
"Thank you," I mumble awkwardly.
He shrugs dismissively and continues smiling to himself as he hops off the table. Alright, so I must admit; he does have charisma. Perhaps he charmed his way into the hearts of the other Legionnaires. Watching him hum to himself as he heads for the exit, I would not put it past him. I think about what Saturn Girl muttered under her breath earlier and it suddenly has new meaning to me.
"And thus, a rivalry is born..."
Invisible Kid, my rival? Why, what a ridiculous notion! His intellect does not compare to mine even in the slightest. And yet... I regard the toaster thoughtfully. He certainly is imaginitive, something I, admittedly, have never been good at. I turn and watch the doors slide shut behind him and admit to myself that I am impressed.
So, how was it? Not too horrible, I hope? Reviews make me a happy camper!