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Fanfic / Multiversal Constants

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Multiversal Constants is a crossover fic between Super Sons and Young Justice (2010), written by Echoes 01 and hosted on Archive of Our Own.

Right after defeating the living planet Yggardis, Damian Wayne and Jon Kent would really like to go home before their parents learn of their impromptu escapade and ground them for life. Unfortunately, the wizard Kraklow made a mistake when he tried to send them back and instead stranded the boys in a universe in which Robin is still Dick Grayson and Superboy an angry clone with parental issues galore.

Oh, and the Light is growing interested in them. As if they didn't have enough on their plate.

Multiversal Constants contains the following tropes:

  • Abled in the Adaptation: Because of Talia's tutelage, Cass can grasp language much earlier than her teens. She still struggles a lot, but the League's resident medic is confident in his prognostic about her recovery.
  • Abusive Parents: Even Lighter and Softer, Talia won't be awarded the distinction for "Mother of the Year". Word of God said she was this way because she was raised according the same methods, which is a sad Truth in Television.
    • David Cain, full stop. Talia herself considers him as a horrid father to Cass. His former fling Lady Shiva is also this in another way, caring not a whit for her daughter whom she considers a payment to Cain.
    • It's heavily implied that Batman thinks his Prime version is this due to all the instances of neglect Damian casually mentions.
  • The Ageless: Conner's genetic makeup, though similar to Jon's, is definitely different. Due to being released from the pod before his development was complete, his aging has been permanently arrested.
  • Atrocious Alias: When Damian briefly picks the codename "Red Robin", Dick (and later a preteen Tim Drake) tease him for calling himself after a burger joint.
    • Cornered by Robin and Kid Flash, young Tim Drake blurts he's named Alvin Draper. Kid immediately calls him out for picking such a lame cover identity.
  • Bewildering Punishment:
    • Talia is extremely confused by her teenaged son's mistrust and hate towards her. It takes a peek into his memories for her to understand how justified he is in his feelings.
    • The whole League of Shadows was floored when Damian started beating seven shades of crap out of David Cain. Cassandra was the most surprised of all, since her Combat Clairvoyance let her see he was doing that out of love for her.
  • Big Brother Instinct:
    • Interestingly played with Damian. He's supposed to be the Baby of the Bat-Bunch, but interdimensional hopping shenanigans means he's the same age or older than his siblings. Still, he shows himself hellishly protective of them, letting Talia kidnap him as long as she lets a young Tim Drake go free, almost killing David Cain for being an abusive fuck towards Cassandra and setting himself to be retraumatized by his worst memory to stop Dick from reliving his.
    • Jon was so livid to learn his best friend's mother actually betrayed him to his death, he triggered a Solar Flare.
    • Conner, when hearing that Jon will be undergoing a long, boring procedure, offers to do it with Jon so that the kid won't be bored for however long the test takes. He's less than amused when Jon reveals that "A long time," means "five minutes."
  • Big Brother Worship: Jon's reaction to Conner, whom the boy outright calls awesome. The teen starts a bit flat-footed over it but quickly grows to enjoy being a Cool Big Bro.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: As the meeting with the Kent family makes clear, Superman shouldn't have neglected Connor, and it was wrong to treat him the way he did. However, Superman also has a point that Connor was created as a weapon by unknown parties and that he doesn't want his parents hurt, not to mention that he feels violated that someone took his genetics and made Connor without his knowledge. He does promise to try to make things up to Conner.
  • Brain Bleach: Damian's reaction when he learns Dick crushes on Zatanna. In his world, Zatanna is from his dad's generation, so he finds the idea of his brother dating one of his father's exes very squicky.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Invoked with Jon criticising the alternate Superman for his attitude towards Conner/Superboy, thus encouraging Superman to open up more to his clone to the extent that he introduces Conner and Jon to his parents.
  • Cheerful Child: Oh, Jon. His unrelenting peppiness actually manages to make Conner and Superman closer.
    • Conner admits that he should be jealous that Jon is the way he is- has all of Superman's powers, Superman goes out of his way to talk to him, and not a clone- but Jon is just so happy to meet Conner that it gets past his defenses easily.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique:
    • The Memory Bomb needs for a telepath to pluck your worst memory from your head and beam it to everyone in range. Not surprinsingly, the Martians outlawed its use because it was quite the ethics nightmare.
    • A Kryptonian's Solar Flare could be extremely lethal if unleashed in a populated area. And it's really exhausting for the wielder.
  • Dating Catwoman: Roy and Cheshire are still dancing around each other, but Everyone Can See It.
  • Doppelgänger Gets Same Sentiment: While Jon and Damian obviously form swift if awkward bonds with their fathers' counterparts, Damian in particular is swiftly protective of not only the alternate Tim Drake, but also the alternate versions of Cassandra Cain and Ravi (an old teacher of Damian's in his original world, Ravi sacrificed his sight to save Damian from a punishment due to a childhood mistake). As they continue to spend time in this world, not only does Jon help Superman open up to Conner/Superboy, but Damian is able to help Cassandra, Ravi and his infant counterpart leave the League of Shadows to live in Wayne Manor, and also introduces the 'local' Tim Drake to the rest of the Bat-Family.
  • The Dreaded: Mr Oz confesses he didn't create the prison in which Tim is currently imprisoned, but refuses to name his jailer. With the strong possibility he's talking about Doctor Manhattan, he has every right to be scared.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: After Damian's confession of his counterpart having struggled with alcohol and drugs abuse, Roy jokingly thanks the kid for giving him ideas about the way to deal with his problems. Damian is appalled by his attempt to humor.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: For all her screwed-up ideas about education, Talia finds the way David Cain raised Cassandra utterly repugnant.
    • Mr Oz finds that Tim constantly sacrified himself and his dreams for Batman when he had his own life to lead appalling. When you know his past, his reaction makes sense.
  • Evil is Petty: Lex Luthor whooped when he saw Superman knocked out from the sky by an explosion.
  • Evil Me Scares Me/Future Me Scares Me: Because Damian and Jon's timeline avanced more quickly...
    • Batman actually isn't a bonafide villain, but his Parental Neglect and unability to protect his kids horrifies Earth-16!Bruce, who's rather less jaded and centered on his crusade against the criminals.
    • When Talia gets to look within Damian's memory, she really doesn't take it well when she sees the potential for her to grow so callous she would willingly murder her own child.
    • The Batman Who Laughs horrifies all of the Batclan when they finally get to see what's happening on Prime Earth.
  • Failure Knight: How Dick comes to see Nightwing after learning more about Damian's universe, since big brothers are supposed to protect their siblings and Nightwing was unable to do so.
  • Foil:
    • Jon and Conner, both Half-Human Hybrid owing their conception to Superman, have very distinctive relationships with the Man of Steel. While Clark struggles to accept Conner whom he basically sees as a Child by Rape, he favors much more Jon, the living embodiment of a future in which he got to marry the love of his life and settle with her.
    • Alfred and Ravi are older caretakers to Damian and serve as his Morality Pet. However, Ravi is affiliated to the League of Shadows and not as snarky.
  • Foreshadowing: Damian has a brief moment of pain when he thinks of his world's Tim Drake, who was killed so horribly he didn't even leave a body behind. Some chapters later, it turns out that, per DC Rebirth canon, he's actually kept hostage by Mr. Oz.
  • Green-Eyed Monster:
    • When confronted to the fact that his adoptive dad may have a biological child somewhere, Dick immediately suffers a bout of insecurity, feeling that Bruce won't love him as much with his "true" son at home, and behaves as a jerk towards Damian as a consequence. Artemis don't waste time calling him out.
    • Conner recognizes that he should feel this way towards Jon (given that Jon has Superman's attention and his full powers), but at the same time Jon is just so unrelentingly cheerful with a side of Big Brother Worship that it barely gets off the ground.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Jon and Conner. If the younger boy was already aware of this, the teen was very much taken aback by the results of his medical exam. Though they are different in some regards, since Jon has all his Kryptonian abilities due to being a natural born hybrid while Conner has fewer abilities and is more limited.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Being a ten year old boy, Jon naturally thinks the world about his dad, so much that he cannot wrap his head around him neglecting Conner because Superman always does the right thing. It also leads him to dismiss the Injustice world as a mean-spirited prank from Damian, because Superman would never kill someone.
  • I Want My Mommy!: A pained Jon about to release a Solar Flare desperately cries for his dad to help him. Superman hears him from the North Pole and immediately comes, only to be knocked out by the deflagration.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: For all his abrasiveness and ill temper, Damian has a very deep ability to love and is fearless when it comes about protecting those he cares for — very much his father's son, when thinking about it.
  • Kid from the Future: And from another universe... downplayed for Damian whose counterpart from Earth-16 is already one year old.
  • Knight Templar Parent: Or rather, Grandparent. Jor-El outright stranded Jon in Earth-16 to protect him from a multiversal apocalypse and his conversation with Rebirth!Tim strongly hints he would have hurt Damian if given enough reason to believe the other boy a threat to his grandson. For the same reason, he dispatched Tim to Earth-16 to warn them of the threat of the Dark Multiverse invasion, which may or may not be the same apocalypse he was trying to save Jon from.
  • Loose Lips: One of the tags for the story actually is "Jon has no filters". You are warned, people!
  • Luke, You Are My Father: Double whammy for Superman and Batman.
  • Missing Mom: Lady Shiva for Cass. Talia tells Bruce not to worry, though - she's pretty much uninterested in her daughter.
  • Morality Pet: When he meets Earth-16!Alfred, Damian has to remind himself this is not his world and as such, he cannot hug the butler. He's also unusually courteous towards Ravi, mainly because of their common past in his world.
    • Cassandra Cain was taken under Talia's wing while she still was with the League. Poor girl kinda needed it.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Rebirth!Tim happily forgives Damian a stabbing attempt when the kid brings him two cups of coffee.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Damian sympathizes with Conner due to his world's Batman having a similar reaction to him in the same way Earth!16 Superman reacted to his clone.
  • Oh, Crap!: David Cain briefly gets this in the moment he realizes that Damian is attacking him and not Cassandra. It fades quickly, but Damian finds it very cathartic.
  • One-Steve Limit: As well as the more obvious issues of Damian and Tim being present along with their local counterparts, at one point Jon and Damian agree that it's difficult to deal with two versions of Wally West who are both speedsters back in their own reality (Damian clarifies that they were both named after the same grandfather).
  • Parental Favoritism: Superman finds easier and more enjoyable to interact with Jon, something that Conner is painfully aware of, because Jon's circumstances are extremely different.
  • Parental Neglect:
    • Rebirth!Batman, so much. His Earth-16 counterpart is pretty disgusted by his attitude.
    • Tim Drake's parents are completely absent from his life. Bruce calls their parenting style "a kidnapping in waiting".
  • Pet the Dog:
    • When Alfred declines to eat with the family because he's only the butler, a stunned Damian immediately protests he's so much more than a servant. The whole batfam was touched by the outburst.
    • Damian also couldn't bring himself to tell Jon that one version of Superman went bad after his Accidental Murder of Lois Lane while she was pregnant with Jon's counterpart.
  • The Power of Friendship: Rebirth!Tim feels weirdly panicked when he visions Superman fighting Match. That's because Match closely looks like Conner, Tim's best friend who's currently erased from the Rebirth timeline.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Talia feels David Cain's Training from Hell is good as long as you only need a bludgeon to make your problem disappear, and helps Cass to learn how to speak to broaden her potential. Added bonus, it will piss David as hell.
  • Relative Error: Invoked; when Robin mentions that Damian wants to save someone from the League of Shadows' base, M'gann jokingly asks if he just got a girlfriend before Damian clarifies that he's actually trying to save his sister (albeit his adopted sister, and only her counterpart at that).
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: When Clark finally confesses his Secret Identity to Lois, she already knew because he was always running away when there was wrongs to correct. She just decided to wait until he was ready to tell her the truth.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Damian's arrival made Batman aware of the potential for a child of his being raised by the League of Shadows, and it led to baby Damian and young Cassandra being entrusted to Bruce Wayne's care much earlier than canon, so they get a shot to some kind of childhood.
  • Shipper on Deck: To Jon, the One True Pairing ever is Lois Lane and Superman. Well, they are his parents...
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: When Jon confronts Luthor about the mental programming he implanted in Superboy;
    Luthor: “Here’s what you don’t seem to understand: Superman is capable of destroying the world on a whim. He could sneeze the wrong way and take out half of Metropolis. Hell, you had a temper tantrum last night and almost wiped Infinity Island off the map and you’re only half-Kryptonian. I can’t have that kind of power out there. Not unless it works for me. I commissioned Project Kr so there would be a controllable Superman deterrent. Now I find out that the greatest living weapon on the planet can make his own little nuclear bomb that’s even more powerful than he is. So yes, I do have to do this. I have to get rid of you and I have to get rid of him. When that’s done, I can be the good guy. I’ll cure cancer, end hunger, do everything needed to fix this world, but I can’t do that until Superman has been dealt with.”
    Jon Kent: “Sorry to say this, sir, but that is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. And I’ve grown up in a world where people run around blindfolded through traffic and eat Tide Pods for fun. You don’t have to kill Superman to cure cancer and fix the world’s food shortages. The fact that you could do all that and you won’t until you murder my dad just makes you a selfish, sociopathic asshole.”
  • Strong Family Resemblance:
    • When Batman asks to know who Damian's mother is, the kid merely removes his domino mask to show him the green eyes and dark skin from Talia. On the other hand, Alfred thinks the boy is very much his father's younger carbon copy.
    • When they find a preteen and teen copies of their son on their doorstep, the Kents are befuddled because grandchildren normally start as babies, you know?
  • Token Good Teammate: Ravi is a very affable, polite middle-aged gentleman who happens to work for the League of Shadows.
  • Tomato in the Mirror:
    • Roy doesn't take well the reveal that he was brainwashed to serve as a mole for the Light, and he takes even worse the reveal that he's a clone.
    • Conner never thought his medical exam would show his genetic makeup is the same as Jon's - fifty percent kryptonian, fifty percent human.
  • Too Dumb to Live: David Cain. Sure, his methods created a virtually superhuman fighter... who's completely useless as an assassin because she can't understand the first thing about social customs, making her extremely noticeable. Talia calls her a blunt instrument when she needs a surgeon's scalpel.
  • Truth Serum: Cheshire interrogates Artemis with one about Damian and Jon on orders from Ra's.
  • Trust Password: How Damian establishes Rebirth!Tim is the real deal, and vice-versa. Tim asks Damian about the best Father's Day gift he gave to Bruce, and Damian asks Tim about the video he left in his things.
  • Unfazed Everyman: The Kents have shades of this. It takes a special kind of mindframe to adopt the alien baby who just landed into your cornfield.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: To force Damian to come with her, Talia grabbed preteen Tim Drake (who wanted to take pictures from the "Robin copycat") and threatened to kill or abduct him to train him as a child assassin. Damian surrenders his freedom because he doesn't think Tim would be strong enough to endure the League's training.
  • Villain Takes an Interest: Ra's al Ghul and Lex Luthor immediately decide to learn more about the extradimensional travellers with the reveal of their identities (the Dark Knight's offspring and a naturally born half-kryptonian).
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Damian and Jon are constantly squabbling.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Mr Oz was responsible for the dimensional portal sending Jon and Damian to Earth-16 instead of bringing them home, since he's aware of the threat of the Dark Multiverse invasion and really wanted to keep his grandchild away from the danger.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:Mr Oz is thoroughly infuriated at Batman for triggering the events of Dark Nights: Metal.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: After seeing Damian's memory of his mother betraying him to his death, Ra's admires how ruthless his daughter was. Talia is stunned by his heartlessness and calls him a monster, which prompts him to retort: "Oh, that's NOW you realized this?".