Tactile

Prana Flow

"Oh, god! You look like hell!" Those were Tim's first words upon arriving at the farm and taking one look at the Superboy. "What happened to you?"

"What?" Kon blinked at the Robin in confusion. "Nothing happened to me."

Tim scrutinized his friend's appearance. The demi-kryptonian's usually clear crystal eyes were red and blood-shot and there were dark circles under them, his complexion was paler than usual and there was just something about his general posture that screamed of tension and anxiety –more so then at breakfast the other day. What was going on? This sabbatical Dick placed him on was supposed to help the Superboy relax and recover from their last mission where they all got mind-bent, instead he seemed to be getting worse.

Under the severity of the Boy Wonder's gaze, the Boy of Steel added, "But I did help Lois and the Metro-SCU make a weapons smuggling bust last night. I fought a mobile suit. Maybe that's it."

He did not mention the odd occurrence of the suit's pincer arm rupturing for no apparent reason only milliseconds after he had wished it would break. The over-analytical boy would focus on it and not give him a moment's peace until the phenomenon was explained.

"O… kay…" Tim said slowly, not believing that explanation one bit. He stared at the Superboy a moment longer. On any other person he'd have diagnosed what he was seeing as either drug abuse or sleep depravation. But Kon was kryptonian and so Earth-born drugs didn't really work on him (at least, not the way they worked on normal humans), and he didn't need as much rest as the average Earthling, so that couldn't be it either… "Did this mobile suit happen to have kryptonite? Are you recovering from green-K poisoning? Or maybe purple-spotted kryptonite?"

He'd heard that the purple-spotted-K produced effects similar to the terran drug methamphetamine, or 'speed'.

"No." Kon assured him. "Just the normal giant robot accessories."

Tim felt himself going into 'interrogation mode'. Even without all the rigorous training Bruce had given him in how to read people, it was obvious to the young Boy Wonder that, while the Superboy might be telling him the truth, it was not the whole truth. Kon was hiding something and the Robin wanted to know what. But he had not come here to grill his friend. Chances were it was a personal issue and not anything having to do with an evil plot of Earth-shattering proportions, and so Tim made a conscious effort to pull himself out of 'interrogation mode' before another question could escape his lips. If Kon wanted to talk about it, then Tim would listen. If Kon preferred to speak to Black Canary instead, then Tim would grit his teeth and accept that the Superboy just didn't trust him all that much, after all. They had only been friends for a few weeks anyway.

"Alright then. Maybe its nothing." He conceded. "Let's get started."

When he arrived, Tim had carried two rolled-up mats under his arm and what looked suspiciously like an over-night bag over his shoulder. These he had not 'dropped' but rather 'deposited' on the porch upon seeing Kon's uncharacteristic appearance. He picked up the mats and passed one to the demi-kryptonian. "I'm guessing doing this outside would be better for you, since its such a sunny day."

"Uh, please." Kon agreed.

They found a level spot a bit of a ways away from the back porch, set almost perfectly between the house, the barn, and the near-field, and in total sunlight. The mats were unrolled side-by-side and spaced a double arm span's away from one another.

"So, this is, like, just stretching and stuff, right?" Asked the demi-kryptonian awkwardly.

"Yoga's way more than stretching." Tim replied. "Its really more like meditation. It boosts self-awareness and help's you connect your atman –that would be your individual 'self'- to the brahman –which is kinda like the whole universe."

Kon just shook his head. "Ya know, Tim, I imagined you being many things, but 'hippy' was never one of them until this moment."

"Well, you'll never reach self-awareness with that attitude." The Boy Wonder scoffed.

The Boy of Steel just rolled his eyes.

Tim decided to ignore the derisive gesture and pressed on anyway. "Okay, so I thought I'd start you off on the Surya Namaskar set. Roughly translated it means 'Sun Salutation' –kinda fitting for a kryptonian, right- and it's a set of postures that's supposed to warm and strengthen you, while aligning your entire body. I'm talking spiritual, by the way. Not physical alignment."

"I don't care." Kon told him honestly.

The younger boy sighed with exasperation. "Let's just get started." He stood with his feel parallel to each other and slightly apart, arms loosely stretched down his sides with palms facing forward. "This is called tadasana, or the 'mountain pose."

Obediently, but with reluctance, the Superboy tired to mimic Tim's stance.

"Don't be so rigid." The little Robin chided him. "This isn't the military, you're not standing at attention. Relax. Keep it loose."

The demi-kryptonian glared at him skeptically but adjusted his posture as Tim advised. "How long am I supposed to stand like this? Cause, I gotta tell ya, I don't feel like I'm gonna reach Enlightenment any time soon."

"I didn't say 'Enlightenment'. I said 'self-awareness'." Tim corrected him. "And I think I'll start you off on ten. Hold the pose for ten breaths."

Kon groaned with irritation but turned his focus inward all the same. Counting breaths wasn't all that different from the calming exercises Black Canary had insisted on teaching him back when he was still angry and frustrated over Clark's lack of attention. He had only used them a handful of times over the past five years.

"Then switch to urdhva hastasana." Tim inhaled deeply and raised his arms over his head in a wide sweep, bringing his palms together.

The demi-kryptonian mimicked the motion and held the pose for another ten breaths. This wasn't really all that bad. "Alright, what's next?"

Together they worked through the poses of Surya Namaskar with Tim offering corrections and advice where needed and Kon reluctantly coming to admit that this stretching and breathing crap wasn't really all that bad. In fact, it was rather like learning a new martial art. He had not expected that. Tim was right; he did kinda feel better after the set was over. Not exactly 'in touch with his inner light' as the Boy Wonder had advertised at breakfast the other day, but he did feel calmer, more relaxed and at ease. In fact, he felt better than he'd felt in some time –ever since returning for that last mission.

After finishing the set the first time, Tim suggested he cut his number of breaths. Shortening the length of time he held each pose from ten breaths to only five. Kon followed the suggestion and repeated the set. When that one was done, the Robin suggested he cut it down to two breaths between each pose, and finally, the last round of the set had the demi-kryptonian going from pose to pose with almost no pause in between them, almost like a modern interpretive dance, or a set of martial arts katas.

Tim made him lay in something called savasana, or 'corpse position' at the end of their practice. They both rested flat on their mats, completely relaxed and loose like fresh-dead corpses. Kon felt whatever nervousness and anxiety that was left in him drain out as he rested on his back, arms splayed to the sides, gazing up at the clear blue Kansas sky.

'More than just stretching', Tim had said.

'Okay', the demi-kryptonian agreed.

'Its really more like meditation.'

Kon laid on his back, starring up at the seemingly infinite blue sky stretched out above him like the convex shell of a robin's egg. That was an interesting comparison given his current company. The Superboy breathed deeply, taking in the fresh and clean Kansas air. He held it to the count of ten before exhaling.

His hands were splayed to the sides, palms up facing the sky, the backs of his hands resting casually on the dusty ground. The ground was still bare from the past winter, but just beneath the surface was a wide and random assortment of hayseed, jonhsongrass, ragweed and kudzu. All were weeds, not actually planted there; their seeds having been carried here by the wind last fall. They lay dormant through the winter chill and now with spring warming the soil they were growing.

It was the oddest thought ever, completely irrational, but Kon could swear that he was feeling them trying to grow. Pushing up from the soil, reaching and stretching upwards towards the light. Groping around in the dark for the life-giving warmth and energy of the sun.

'Brahman.' He thought.


M'gann and La'gaan were out for a romantic tryst in the sea. Mal and Nightwing were holed-up in the main computer room going over data. The girls were off doing whatever it was they did when they weren't at the Cave. Jaime's spring break from school didn't start for another week. And Conner was still on sabbatical. In short, there was no one to entertain the young Beast Boy.

'Bored.' That's what Garfield Logan was. Bored, bored, bored. Suffering from boring boredom. Bored!

So, it was a welcome distraction when the Cave's computer announced the arrival of Black Canary.

The little changeling hopped over the back of the couch to intercept her before she could disappear down the corridor to meet with Nightwing –or whatever it was she had come to do. Gar morphed into a monkey and leapt up onto her shoulders, tangling dexterous hands in her golden hair and wrapping his green fuzzy tail gently around her neck. A subtle but no less clear way of say, 'I want some attention gosh darned it!'

"Hello, Garfield." Said Canary.

"Hi. Hi." Chirped the monkey boy. "Nightwing's in the computer room with Mal."

"Is he? Oh, well that's not surprising." She smiled, trying to tilt her head in a way that would allow her to look at the little changeling without accidentally knocking him off. "I actually came here to speak to you."

"To me?" The monkey slid down her side and morphed into a puppy, his tail wagging happily, his big puppy-dog eyes gazing up at her expectantly. Then his look turned to more thoughtful and he once again morphed back into a boy. "Did I do something wrong?"

Honestly, was that how the Team viewed her? As the one saddled with the burden of reprimanding them when they did wrong? How did that impression even get started? Dinah had only ever tried to offer the Team comfort and support after emotionally taxing missions. Of course… she was also very hard on them in the training ring, but that was for their benefit in the long-run.

"No, Gar, you did nothing wrong." She assured the boy. "I just wanted to ask you a few questions about Conner and M'gann."

"Oh!" Now he perked up more than the Black Canary thought was applicable. "Are they finally getting back together? Please tell me they're getting back together! Its not that I don't like La'gaan. He tries to be nice to me and all, but he's rude, self-centered, and immature! I like Conner way better! He's so much better for my big sis. I remember this one time-"

Canary held up a hand for silence. "Maybe I should start over." She said. "No, to the best of my knowledge, Conner and M'gann are not getting back together. Something was recently hinted to me about M'gann and I'm trying to figure out what exactly happened last year when they did break-up."

"Oh. That." The Beast Boy suddenly turned sober and sullen. "No… neither of them ever told me why they broke-up. Conner said I was better off not knowing."

Canary pursed her lips. Truth be told, she had expected an answer somewhere along those lines. But that didn't mean that it still didn't disappoint her. The fact that Kon would add M'ganns name to a list of people whom had manipulated his mind was disturbing enough in and of itself, but the fact that they both seemed to be actively covering it up only added to this troubling mental picture. Of course, neither of them would really have confided in Garfield, he was to young and lacked the maturity necessary to be a confidant. But the fact that he had no idea –not even an inkling- was worry some.

He had spent so much time with the pair after his mother passed away. The Team liked to joke that he had become his surrogate parents. Garfield becoming their son rather than M'gann's 'little brother'. The fact that he knew nothing bothered her.

The fact that La'gaan also seemed to know nothing bothered her too. One would think that M'gann would confide in her current romantic partner, the boy she professed to love and trust. After all, any relationship where the partners couldn't trust each other with their secrets and insecurities, or go to one another for comfort in times of emotional distress were doomed to fail. But La'gaan was just as clueless as Dinah herself was.

Then there was M'gann herself, the girl around all of this seemed to turn. When Dinah had asked her about it directly she had been promptly stonewalled and asked to leave.

Even Kon had changed the subject when she had asked about why he would mention her when listing psychic abusers.

An idea was forming in the Black Canary's mind, a theory about what might have happened between the pair, and she did not like it.

"Um… Black Canay?" Beast Boy ventured hesitantly. "I was just wondering, do you think… is it possible that Conner and M'gann broke-up because of me? Is it my fault?"

"Gar, of course not!" She was suddenly aghast. "Why would you think that?"

"Its just… they started to have problems after my mom died, and… I was spending a lot of time with them and Conner said it would be better if I didn't know, so…"

Dinah wrapped her arms around him tightly, offering what comfort she could. "Oh, honey, no! Conner and M'gann both love you very much. You had nothing to do with their break-up. Nothing at all."

Of that fact, at least, the Black Canary could be sure.


"Have you ever eaten a peach the same day it was picked?"

Tim had retreated into the over-air-conditioned farmhouse to escape the creeping humidity. Kon, channeling his inner Ma Kent, likewise retired to the indoors to offer refreshments and just generally fulfill his duties as host.

"Donno." Answered the Boy Wonder truthfully. "My mom used to take me to a farmers' market that was held every week in the shopping district and the stuff there was pretty fresh. And now my step-mom is all into organic stuff and that's mostly fresh…"

Kon passed Tim a peach. "Try this."

The Robin accepted the offered fruit and took a large bite, chewed and swallowed. "It taste like a peach."

"You don't think its way better than the store-bought stuff?"

"It's a peach."

The Superboy sighed in disappointment. "I brought these from Clark's orchard in the Fortress 'cause they're, like, the best peaches I've ever tasted. I guess I've got super-sensitive kryptonian taste-buds or something."

"About that," Tim leaned against the kitchen counter and took another bite out of the peach. "You've got super-sensitive kryptonian hearing, and super-kryptonian vision –or, at least most kinds of kryptonian vision- are all of your five senses super, or just those two?"

"What do you mean?" The demi-kryptonian blinked in confusion.

"Well, you just mentioned taste, but can you smell more than a normal human can too? Or, what about touch? Is your tactile sense also super?"

"Donno." Kon had to admit. "Never thought about it."

An odd grin of excitement suddenly spread over Tim's face. "Would you mind if I designed an experiment to find out?"

The Superboy took a moment's pause. For a thirteen-year-old, the newest Boy Wonder sure did have his moments of creeyness. "I'd prefer it if you didn't." He said. "I don't much like being experimented on, because… well, you know."

"I read your file." Tim nodded, his demeanor turning sober.

They lapsed into an awkward silence after that. Tim continued to lean against the counter and munch on his peach –almost mechanically- as if at a loss as to what to say. Kon, meanwhile, busied himself making iced tea for his guest and generally fulfilling the requirements of a good host that Martha had drilled into him prior to her passing.

Finally, after the silence had dragged on long enough, Kon asked, "So… I see you brought an over-night bag."

"Oh, yeah. Sorry, I didn't mean to imply-" Tim explained awkwardly. "Its mostly filled with my computer supplies; lap-top, charger, portable wi-fi hot spot, signal jammer, tablet, portable scanner and detachable privacy screen. I did bring a pair of PJ-pants and clean underwear just in case. But its mostly my computer stuff."

The Superboy just gaped at him. "Signal jammer?"

"So no one can piggy-back on the wi-fi." Tim explained.

"What about the portable scanner? What could you possibly need that for here in the middle of Smallville, Kansas?"

The Boy Wonder only shrugged. "I donno. But I'd rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it."

"My god." The demi-kryptonian just shook his head. "You're like a mini-Batman. Nightwing and the other Robin were never this bad."

Tim made a face. "I'm choosing not to take offence to that. Just so you know…"


As it happened, Tim did end-up spending the night.

Kon had to admit, it was nice having another person in the house. For the first time since Ma had passed away, the place was starting to feel 'alive' again. The Superboy considered having the Boy Wonder over more often.

He liked Tim's company very much.


The first thing Tim became aware of upon waking was the scent of bacon frying. It worked its way into his dreams, tantalizing and seducing him out of sleep's embrace and back to the waking world. The sound soon followed.

The Boy Wonder rolled out of bed. Made a quick run to the restroom to relive himself. Stepped on something sharp. "Ouh! Son of a…"

Pulled a sliver or porcelain out of his foot. He paused at that for a moment. It looked like it might have once been part of a large porcelain bowl, or maybe a tub. Come to think of it, Tim did notice a decisive lack of a bathtub in the upstairs bathroom just now. But he shrugged it off as nothing and made his way downstairs.

Kon stood in the kitchen, turning long thick strips of bacon on a cast-iron frying pan. Real country bacon. Not that low fat, low calorie, low cholesterol, organic turkey bacon Dana liked to buy. Tim felt himself begin to salivate and he swallowed quickly before he could make an ass of himself.

"Morning." Kon said without turning around.

"Morning." Tim responded.

"What was all that cussing about upstairs?"

"Oh, I just stepped on something. Do you have any anti-septic?"

"Downstairs bathroom, medicine cabinet, middle shelf."

The table was already set when Tim re-emerged from the downstairs bathroom with a band-aid covering the soft-pallet of his foot. He sat down in front of one plate of bacon and eggs. Real eggs, with the yokes and everything, not pure egg whites. Oh, country cooking… so much better than the city.

Tim broke off a piece of bacon and impaled the eggs with his fork. He placed the food in his mouth, ready to savor the flavor of the artery clogging goodness that was eggs and bacon… and then instantly regretted every happy thought he'd just had. Kon's cooking was terrible. The eggs were bland and flavorless. The bacon, over-salted and under-cooked. Tim forced himself to swallow the bite he'd already taken then chugged the glass of sweet tea that was next to his plate.

"Sorry." The Superboy flushed apologetically. "I can never seem to make it like Ma used to."

"That's… that's alright." Tim said, trying his best to put on a reassuring smile. "Everybody cooks differently. My step-mom doesn't cook anything like my real mom did. Why don't we do a bit more yoga, help us wake up a bit, and then maybe get breakfast in town? I've never actually been to Smallville and I've heard so much about it."

"Uh, sure."


Kon was once again led through the Surya Namaskar set. After they finished that, however, Tim began teaching him another yoga set that was supposed to help with prana flow. 'Prana', being a Sanskrit word meaning 'vital life', the idea of prana was comparable to the Mandarin idea of chi.

It was on the fourth sana of the third set that Kon once again experienced the odd sensation from yesterday. Standing in a variation of virabhadrasana, with his arms raised above his head, palms together, reaching for the sky. His feet were bare, legs spread at if lunging, the toes of his forefoot handing off the edge of his mat –touching the ground. He could once again feel the hayseed and johnsongrass pushing up from the soil, reaching and stretching upwards towards the light.

It was odd, but Kon wanted to know if he could feel more. He exhaled slowly and, still holding virabhadrasana, spread his arms in a wide ark. 'Groping around in the dark', that was what he compared it to. Like someone reaching their hands out in front of them when crossing a darkened room, Kon spread his awareness around him. It was like blowing a bubble, except instead of a stick with a loop at the end, he was using his own body, and instead of soapy water to make the bubble it was… something else. His awareness maybe? His 'sense'? Tim had been mentioning just yesterday that his other senses might also be super…

With his little bubble of senses spread out around him, rather like a field, Kon felt a bee buzz by him. It contacted the field and bobbed in the air in confusion before flying off in another direction when the demi-kryptonian could no longer detect him. Earthworms wriggled through the soil beneath him, softening the earth for the planting season –already begun.

He extended the field a bit more and –much like our proverbial person groping around in the dark- accidentally smacked his friend in the face.

"Ack! What the-!"

Kon's eyes snapped open instantly and he broke the pose, his little bubble of extra tactile perception deflating and drawing itself back into him. "Tim, sorry! Are you okay?"

The Boy Wonder sat on his mat, flat on his ass, and blinking around in confusion. "Something hit me."

The Superboy froze, an insane and yet a perfectly believable idea occurring to him. He thought about the dancing fork from the other night, and later the mobile suit's pincer-arm rupturing only seconds after he wished it would, and them just now accidentally smacking Tim without even laying a hand on him. The other stuff he couldn't really be sure of one way or another. If he had caused them, he was not aware of it, but just now… Just now, he most definitely felt a piece of himself collide with the young Robin, just not his hand or any other piece of his physical body.

"I think…" Began the demi-kryptonian slowly. "I think I hit you. Sorry."

The Boy Wonder flashed him a look like, 'C'mon, get real.' "Kon, we spaced the mat's a double arm's span apart. I know you're big, but you're arms don't reach that far."

Kon pursed his lips. He usually accepted the logic of bats. But in this one case, he felt that he was right and Tim was wrong. The question now became… should he insist that it had been him, explain to the Boy Wonder what he'd experienced and trust the youngest member of the bat-clan not to exploit this new power he seemed to be developing… Or, keep it to himself and try to explore it on his own?

He did like Tim. But, there were times when the little Robin did remind him more of the Batman than the Supeboy liked. He could see Tim going very dark given the right incentives, and if that did ever happen, having an extra power not logged in his files might be an advantage… Of course, the exact same thing could be justifiably said about him, having Luthor blood and all. Tim might hold a similar opinion of him. Given the right push, he could start calling Lex 'Pa' and become quite the evil fascist Superman.

Trust was a two-way street, as Clark so often reminded him (usually as part of a sanctimonious speech about moral high-ground). And his history with the Team only ever showed that hiding things was really never a good idea. So, it was with these thoughts in mind that Kon began.

"Tim, can we go inside and talk?"


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