This takes place one week after Supergirl 1x10 "Childish Things" and a few months after the end of season two of Young Justice. Spoilers for both shows up to that point.

Sins of the Father

Kara opened an instant message box and typed "Hello," hoping her cousin was near his computer. She got a response a few moments later: Hi.

Kara: Glad you're there. I need some advice.

Clark: Sure. What's going on?

Kara: I have a friend whose father escaped from prison and tried to kill a bunch of people. I put him back in prison, but Winn's taking it pretty hard. He worries that he's going to become evil like his father. He needs to talk to someone, but I don't think I'm the one to do it.

Clark: Because you're the one who put his father in prison?

Kara considered the real reason- that Winn had kissed her and now things were awkward- but she wasn't ready to tell her cousin that. Telling herself that it wasn't a total lie, she typed "Yes" and hit send.

Clark: Actually, I have an idea on someone who can talk to him. A hero, whose father is a villain. He helped bring his father to justice.

Kara: Good! Can we arrange a meeting?

Clark: I'll talk to Kaldur, and if he agrees, I'll help him get to National.

Kara: Thanks!

Clark: Anytime.

A few days later, Winn and Kaldur had agreed to meet and the transportation details were made. Winn was pacing nervously in his apartment. Maybe this wasn't a good idea. Telling a stranger about his problems? This wasn't even a trained therapist, just a guy a few years younger than himself. Winn went to his phone to call Kara and tell her that he wasn't going through with it, but there was a knock on the door before he could touch the phone.

Winn took a steadying breath, then went to the door and opened it. Standing in the hallway was a young man with dark skin and very short blond hair. "Hello," the man said. "I am here to see... Winn?"

"Yeah, that's me. Come in." The man stepped in and Winn closed the door.

"I am Kaldur'ahm, but you can call me Kaldur." Kaldur extended his hand.

"Kaldur, hi. I've been expecting you. But you knew that." Winn belatedly shook hands, then looked at the other man's hand. "Oh, you've got webbed hands. Not that it's a problem. I mean, Kara said you were from Atlantis, so I guess that makes sense. Supergirl! Not Kara. Wait-"

Kaldur gently cut the other man's rambling short. "I know Superman and Supergirl, in both their superhero and civilian identities. I am also called Aqualad." Winn didn't know him very well, and Kaldur's face didn't betray much emotion, but Winn thought for a second that something about that last sentence made Kaldur sad.

"Um, okay. Do you want something to drink? Water, or beer, or- You don't drink salt water do you?"

A tiny smile appeared on Kaldur's face. "Regular water would be fine. You do not need to be nervous. I am not here to judge you. I am here as a new friend, to help you through a difficult time, and I hope you can do the same for me."

"Oh." Winn filled two glasses with water and went to sit on the couch. Kaldur took a seat in the chair across from him. They both drank from their glasses.

"If you would like, I could begin," Kaldur offered. Winn nodded. "I did not know the true identity of my father until a few years ago. I assumed that my mother's husband was my father." Kaldur took a breath and decided to back up on his story. "I was the protégé of King Orin. You know him as Aquaman. I was- am- loyal to him. His enemies are my enemies. I was in a fight with one of my king's adversaries, a man named Black Manta. Manta revealed to me that he was my true father. I did not believe it, but King Orin confirmed it. He had known since my birth, but had kept it from me. "

"That's gotta hurt," Winn said quietly.

Kaldur nodded once in acknowledgement. "It was hard. I had given all my trust and loyalty to him, and this secret felt like a betrayal. But then I thought about all my king had done for me over the years and realized that this was one mistake in two decades. I privately forgave him."


"Black Manta was part of a dangerous group called the Light. Manta wanted me to join them. I saw a unique opportunity to take them down from the inside. So I broke ties with Atlantis and the heroes I worked with and pledged my allegiance to Black Manta. "

"So your king didn't know of your plan?" Winn asked, finding himself being drawn into the story.

Kaldur shook his head. "Only three people knew, and King Orin was not one of them. " He paused again, and when the silence stretched, Winn decided it was his turn to share.

"I knew my dad as a kid. He was a good dad. Normal. He took me to Cub Scouts and watched my Little League games. He helped me with my homework. Tucked me in at night. Then one day when I was eleven, the anger that had been building inside of him boiled over. He sent a bomb to his boss in retaliation for the fact the man had stolen a design from him. The bomb killed six people." Winn looked up at Kaldur to see how the other man would react to this information.

"My father and his men have attacked Atlantis many times. Dozens have died at his hand."

Okay, Winn thought. We're bonding over the fact that both of our fathers are killers. The world gets weirder every week. "So you worked for him, undercover?"

"Yes. For about a year. It was not easy. There was the strain of keeping the secret. And the loneliness I felt since I was separated from my friends."

"Did you ever have to- you know- do something bad to keep your cover?" When Kaldur didn't answer immediately, Winn hurriedly said, "I'm sorry, you don't have to tell me."

"No, it is fine. Black Canary says it is healthy to talk about this." Kaldur looked down at his empty water glass. "I think it might be time to move on to something stronger."

"Beers, coming up," Winn announced and walked to the fridge.

Winn took that opportunity to take a steadying breath. It was going okay so far, but they were getting closer to the real reason Winn was upset. He knew he wasn't the only person in the world who had a criminal parent. He was worried that he was going to turn out just like his dad. They were too similar. Winn knew that he bottled up his emotions, especially his anger. What if he exploded one day and killed innocent people? When he asked Kaldur if the young man had ever done something evil in order to maintain his cover, part of Winn really hoped that he had. Then Winn wouldn't have to feel so bad about carrying that gun into the toy convention. His stomach hurt thinking about that.

He returned to the couch and handed the beer over. Then he paused before releasing the bottle. "You are 21, right?"

"Twenty two," Kaldur answered.

"Good to know. It would stink getting busted for giving a minor alcohol."

"You had asked me a question," Kaldur reminded him. "About if I had ever done something I wasn't proud of."

"Yeah. But like I said, you don't have to answer it."

"I want to." Kaldur paused. "I feel I need to. The purpose of this conversation is to find healing. I have to face what I have done if I want to move past it. Yes, I did have to do things to maintain my cover. Each time, I had to weigh my options. The members of the Light were dangerous adversaries. We were at a disadvantage fighting them. I told myself that I had sacrificed so much to get to where I was in my father's- in Manta's organization. I could not afford to waste the opportunity. It was a difficult balancing act, doing enough to maintain my position while not losing my soul in the process."

"Wow. That's deep," Winn said. He took a drink of the beer in contemplation.

"I captured my friends. Well, my former friends at that time. I handed them over to Manta and the Light. At least two of them were tortured." Kaldur bowed his head. "They were only teenagers."

"I'm sorry," Winn said sincerely. "How are they- I mean, are they speaking to you? Do they understand why you did it?"

"I have not really reached out to them," Kaldur admitted. "I worry that they blame me. I know that my actions, while reprehensible, ultimately led to the downfall of beings that were focused on world domination. And they would have succeeded, too."

"World domination, huh? I guess we're still working our way up to the big villains."

"Count yourself lucky. Defeating the bigger villains comes with greater sacrifices."

"So you don't talk to them? Just the friends that were captured, or all your old friends?"

"I mentioned before that three people knew of my undercover status. One of those friends died, and the other two still mourn him. I do not feel that I can add to their burden by complaining about my own troubles."

"Oh, I'm so sorry! That stinks to lose a friend like that. But, maybe your friends wouldn't see you as a burden?"

"Have you talked with your friends about the problems you have with your father?" Kaldur's question was genuine, not accusatory, but Winn looked away.

"That's different."


"He fought Supergirl. I don't feel like I can tell her that I'm upset. She has her own reasons to hate him."

"One thing I came to realize in all this- You can hate your father and love him at the same time."

Winn shook his head in amazement. "Did you take a philosophy class or something? You're just spouting words of wisdom like all you've been eating is fortune cookies."

Kaldur gave a small smile. "You think so?"

"Yeah, man. You are wise beyond your years."

"I feel that you asked about my experiences because you had some of your own you wanted to share." Kaldur said it as an open invitation, not a demand.

Winn fiddled with the label of his beer. "What if I become him? What if I turn out bad just like him?"

"Why do you think that is a possibility?"

"Genetics, man. His genes are running through me. And he raised me. Nature and nurture. I'm doubly screwed."

"So your own choices do not matter?"

Winn shrugged. "I guess so? But what about our similarities? Our tendency to hide our emotions instead of facing them?"

"Tendency doesn't mean certainty. If you know your personal flaws, it makes it easier to fight them. Have you made an effort to face your emotions?"

Winn blushed. "Uh, yeah. I don't know if it made it better or worse, though." The young man reassured himself that he didn't need to be embarrassed confiding in Kaldur. "I, um, I've had a crush on- someone- for the last few years. I finally told her. She didn't feel the same way. Now it's awkward."

"I can sympathize. Five years ago, I confessed my love to a childhood friend of mine. She was already dating my best friend. I had waited too long."

"Here's to unrequited love and the poor saps who have it," Winn said, extending his beer to clink. Kaldur paused, and Winn worried that the other man didn't know the custom, but Kaldur figured it out and extended his bottle as well.

"It is not a pleasant feeling."

"Are they still together?"

"She died," Kaldur said. "Shortly before I entered my fath- Manta's organization."

"Man, you can't catch a break. I am so sorry."

Kaldur shrugged. "Life is full of difficulties. And a hero's life is not safe. Some people are called upon to give their life to protect others."

Despite Kaldur's straightforward words, Winn could see that he was still troubled by the girl's death. He changed the subject. "I noticed that you call him 'Manta' instead of 'Father'." As soon as he said it, he worried that it was another difficult subject.

Kaldur smiled briefly. "Calvin, my stepfather, has always been a father to me. He treated me as his own. It does not matter whose DNA I have, I will always consider him my father. "

"I only have my dad. None of my foster parents were anyone to think back on fondly. So should I feel bad about caring about him?"

"As I said earlier, you can hate his actions while still loving him. He is your father, even though he is imperfect."

"Do you love your fath- Manta?"

"That is... complicated. I didn't have a relationship with him before he turned evil. I do not even know the real reasons why he turned evil. I do care for him in some respects. I found myself craving his attention, his approval. Then I would feel guilty for seeking it."

"You shouldn't feel guilty. I think it's natural for someone to want their parents' approval."

"I would find it hard to explain to my friends, however."

"Hey, you're free to call or visit me whenever. You know that I'm in the same boat as you. I'll get it, even if they don't. I don't feel comfortable explaining this to my friends either."

"Thank you. And I am extending the same invitation to you. Anytime you need a sympathetic ear. Or if you feel you are turning evil, call me instead," Kaldur said with a smile.

"Kind of like Alcoholics Anonymous? Evil Anonymous? Evil in training Anonymous?" Winn said, trying out different names.

"Something like that."

The two men finished their beers. Kaldur stood. "I have enjoyed speaking with you, Winn Schott. Thank you for agreeing to meet with me."

"Sure, yeah. It was great talking with someone who understands. And hey, reach out to your friends, okay? Even if you can't talk with them about... all this stuff, you need to have people around you who care about you. Your two friends who knew you were undercover especially."

"Thank you for the advice," Kaldur said seriously. "I know I have hesitated to make contact for too long. I will change that."

Winn walked him to the door. "Have a safe trip home, okay?"

"I will. Take care of yourself."

Winn shut the door behind his guest and returned to his chair. He sat and let out a breath that he felt carried all the weight of the last week. It was freeing to know that he was not alone. He pulled out a picture from a drawer in the end table next to him. Looking down at the picture of his dad, Winn said, "I still love you, Dad, but I'm not going to be you. I'm my own person and you can't change that." And for once, Winn actually believed that.