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【翻译】【Superbat】Here and Now 此时此地


Clio Edelstein:

作者: @伯爵茶 



This story was inspired by Superman: Red Son, in which baby Kal-El lands in the loving arms of Joseph Stalin back in the USSR and grows up to become a symbol of the power of the Soviet Union while Batman leads the remaining dissidents to rebel against him.

No offense is intended to actual persons(living or deceased), organizations, countries, etc. 


Numerous changes have been made to theplot and timeline, for example, Superman arrives in Moscow earlier. Other background details have been omitted and personal alterations have been made in this story.

Rating: R


Not now, not here. Yet he knew there would be a world where they could pledge their souls.


"Tell the Leader what your talent is,"they said to Kal, who listened to whispers from all corners of the hall abou this parents' place of origin, the location of his family's small farm, and the medical examination report submitted by the other researchers. Kal looked up at the Leader, who was smiling, and racked his brain for an answer.

"In the spring," he said."The headmaster published my composition." 

"This boy seemed kind of dumb,"remarked one voice in the crowd. "He was only ten years old," another tried to explain to the Leader.

"His neighbors claimed he was able to jump incredibly high, and hang in the air for an unnatural length oftime," said a man with long legs. "His foster parents reported that the child could see into the kitchen through the walls and could hear voices from miles away."

Kal was not listening particularly attentively; he had a habit of becoming easily distracted. In recent days, the more details he was able to pick up, the more frequently his mind tended to wander. He looked through legs in the crowded hall, all dressed alike in similar long pants, and across the walls of the inner room, to a large square table on which a plate of grapes had been placed. He turned his head away. His mother had told him it was impolite to stare.

But he cast his eyes immediately back to the table and noticed a boy several years older standing next to the plate with a handful of grapes. Kal was not envious – he too had grapes to eat now. But he had not seen a child of the similar age for some months. 

This was the first time Kal had seen Pyotr.


"I hate you," Pyotr said, shooting at the dummies in the gloomily lit range. He was skilful. Not a single bullet failed to find its target. In their younger years, Pyotr used to use Kal as a target, until the Leader dropped, saw what was happening and reacted with fury. Kal hadn't been angry. He couldn't get hurt, so he didn't mind being used as a target. Besides, Pyotr was the only one who ever played with him. Kal remembered Pyotr exclaiming in a mixture of surprise and stubbornness every time he saw bullets ricocheting off his body.

Later, jealousy crept into Pyotr's tones.

"You are the Man of Steel, the Man of Tomorrow, living proof that all men aren't created equal," he said. "And I am the bastard son of the Leader, the one who snaps the necks of enemies in the dark for you." 

"You are the Head of NKVD, the People'sCommissar of Interior," said Kal. "You don't have to snap anyone's neck."

"On the contrary," said Pyotr,"I formally started my career on the day you enjoyed your first Super Ceremony. I shot the first bullet in the chest of your opponent. Then I shot the second one, the third one. Blood was running under my feet, and a newly orphaned child glared at me with intense hatred. My mother was murdered, and I celebrated my coming of age by committing murders of my own. Even back then, I knew I was destined to live in your shadow. Nevertheless, when I was eight years old I prepared myself to be the Man of Tomorrow, which is the title you now hold because by the time you had reached the same age, you were goddamned impregnable. You were born to fly.”

"We all work for the people,"said Kal. "And I wasn't born to fly." He explained once again. He had tried to explain it many times, but Pyotr never listened. "When I couldn't fly, I like to play with balls. I thought I'd be a writer..."

As usual, Pyotr was not listening. He threw down his smoking gun and walked out of the range. At the same time, Kal heard cries for help from the outskirts of Moscow.

The crisis there proved to be a trap. Kal often felt sorry for the hitmen, executioners and murderers who targeted him, men who had been manipulated by false ideas to kill a warrior who devoted his power to serve humanity. They had failed a hundred times before, but on this occasion, their trick worked. A blast covering Kal in some sort of green dust sent him crashing into the river.

He lay dazed and powerless as water washed over his body and carried him away like a mother, flowed him into the unknown wilderness.

He was washed ashore in a dark cave, naked as a newborn and with blood on his hands and feet. He had not bled since he was ten years old. Pain coursed throughout his body, making him feel so weak that when he touched the wet mud, he found he was no longer able to defygravity.

Suddenly, a group of armed soldiers sprang from the shadows, their guns trained on him. After he had been forced down to his knees with surprising ease, the soldiers judged Kal to be a man who did not match his impressive physique. He was given clothes and medicine by the group, who each wore a bat emblem on their mismatched uniforms. Kal recognizedthat logo – Pyotr had been trying to eradicate this group of rebels for a long time, but Superman probably shouldn't bite the hand that feeds.

Too absorbed in the fate of insurgents, Kal forgot that his future was now at the mercy of others. He was soon asked his name and background, to which Kal replied with his father's identity in his memory. When he explained that he had been blown into the river by an explosion, the rebels asked Kal if he would join them.

"We fight against the tyranny of Superman," they said by way of an introduction.

Kal had heard about their slogan, but found it difficult to process even when hearing it from the insurgents themselves. He saw their ragged uniform and sincere expressions, feeling sad.

"But have you ever met Superman?" Kal asked, in spite of himself. "Everything he does is to protect the country and the humanity."

His words were greeted with incredulous looks and a chuckle resonated around the dark walls of the cave. Kal gazed across the group, noticing that his vision had been significantly weakened. A heavy, dark shadow met his gaze with sharp eyes that loomed closer toward him, like a prowling beast.

"You have beautiful blue eyes," said the strange man, who remained hidden under his frightening cowl. Bending down, he scratched Kal's cheek teasingly with his claws. "Use them to witness the greatness of the mankind, not the atrocity of a monster."


Kal stayed with the group, partly for Pyotr, partly because he had nowhere else to go. The assault had worked as intended, incapacitating him for the first time in his life, reducing the Man of Steel to a level approaching mortality. The rebels even found Kal a pair of spectacles, as his greatly narrowed field of vision was hampering him significantly. He was not born with powers, but it had been frightening to lose them all the same.

During another long night he sat at his post alone by the fire, wondering why he was so reluctant to return home, when the dark silhouette of the Bat appeared at his feet.

"You look scared," said the Bat. Kal was used to his quiet, deliberate voice.

"I'm not," Kal replied.

"If you're afraid, you can leave," said the Bat, his cape swaying like a ghost before the flames."All men yearn for a better world, but not everyone has to risk their life for it."

"What about you?" Kal asked. "What made you decide to martyr yourself?"

The Bat did not answer. He had emerged like a shadow and, like a shadow, he disappeared.


The group was raided the next week, and Kal was caught off guard. The rebels were slaughtered in front of him, revealing a sinister side of the great fatherland that he had never seen before. The Bat had been bringing up the rear of the group when a sharp knife was thrust toward his chest from the front before the light faded.

Afterwards, when Kal tried to recall what had happened, he had to admit that he had forgotten he was no longer the Man of Steel. 

He awoke to cheers and voices offering thanks for his heroic deed. Later that night he awoke again, desperate for a drink to soothe his parched throat. Seconds later, he felt ice water dripping into his lips, being poured by a man wearing black armor.

"It's you," said Kal,recognizing the armored man's sharp eyes. 

"Bruce," said the Bat, which Kal interpreted as a thank you.


It was later realized that there had been traitors in the team. Bruce looked unconcerned when the subject was broached.

"It seems to be an endless crusade,"he said, "it's no surprise that some people had changed their minds."

"Would you?" asked Kal.

"My parents were killed at the beginning," said Bruce. "They were the first and the second."

"You'll never give up, will you?" Kal said, his voice tinged by sympathy and sorrow. "You want revenge."

"If someone has to die for this cause," said Bruce, brushing his hair back from his forehead and throwing his cowl back over himself, "I hope that I am the last."


Kal healed quickly and felt his strength returning to his limbs. Sometimes, he blinked his eyes and, for a fleeting second, was able to see through solid objects. Bruce introduced him to Lex Luthor, who had a pen in his pocket that bore the national emblem of the States from the other side of the ocean.

"He doesn't look like a good man,"Kal said cautiously. 

"There're more than good and evil in the world," replied Bruce, his deep, thoughtful gaze falling on Kal's cheek. Kal felt uneasy.

"The same to you," said Bruce, "more than one path can be taken in this world, and you shouldn't be here." 

Kal wanted to argue, but he knew Bruce was right.

"If I'm not here," he tried to joke, "where am I going to find you?" 

"Call the name of the Bat in the dark," Bruce replied. "I always come for those who are in despair."


Kal found his strength recovering rapidly in the numerous battles he fought, but chose to disguise himself as a talented warrior rather than revealing his otherworldly talents. He was careful never to take anyone's life, a habit which Bruce expressed his appreciation for. Kal smiled and was surprised to find his feet had almost left the ground. 

Days passed by until he and Bruce had a quarrel.

"Superman takes advantage of fear as openly as I do," said Bruce wearily, tossing his sweat-soaked cowl to the ground. "The only difference between us is that I need a monstrous mask to bring it out, and his existence is fear itself."


Kal wanted to say more, but the tragedies he'd witnessed were burning a hole in his conscience. He'd considered his journey into the underground cavern to be just another mission, yet it clung to him like an everlasting dream. They played chess while taking breaks from their long night shifts. Bruce always won because he was more familiar with the rules. But Kal was more than happy to be on the losing side. At last, he had finished the story of his composition, and someone was willing to listen. One night, Bruce had cleaned his weapon and dozed off, leaning against the rock wall. Kal woke him with a light touch of his arm. Bruce opened his blue eyes and looked at Kal like an alerted animal, his face illuminated by the dancing flame of the fire. Realizing it was only Kal, he smiled and dropped his eyelids half-closed in the dim light.

It ought to feel so incredibly wrong, butfor some reason it did not. Kal could do nothing about it. The next morning, he came out of the cavern, looked up at the burning sun, and felt full of life. The time had come. He kicked off against the wind. Bruce would simply label him another coward who changed his mind. And he was right: Kal would not be coming back.


Kal returned to Moscow and found everyone going about their business in a calm and peaceful way. The secret of his disappearance had been strictly withheld from the public, and the red shadow had been making frequent appearances in the city on a daily basis. The Leader was satisfied, and Pyotr came by to pay a reassuring visit. Kal was tested and finally understood why he had been afraid to return before fully recovering. He worked as usual, acknowledging the cries of gratitude and support from the people every time he came to their rescue. However, he could not help but wondered every night whether he was loved at all.

On National Day, the capital held a grand ceremony at which Kal wore a proper suit and was introduced to the various dignitaries. "This is Mr. Luthor," said the Leader, with a sneer on his face. "He came to negotiate on behalf of what's left of the world."

"It is an honor," said Luthor, his eyes burning as if he could see through the steel. Kal nodded politely yet hesitantly, and decided to reveal his identity after the meeting. However, he didn't get the chance: The Leader suddenly collapsed in the middle of the celebration.

The Moscow citizens were hit by a wave of panic; to them, the Leader deserved the Man of Steel title even more than Superman. As for Kal, he saw the Leader as another father. He searched the crowd for Luthor, and as his penetrating eyes searched through the crowds, he spotted wings of the bat emblem on a pile of shattered glass. Full of resentment, Kal took off into the night, his suit burning against the friction of the air resistance. Landing with the force of a cannonball in the dark estuary, he went into the familiar tunnel in search of his beloved nemesis.


He shouted for Bruce, but was met only by the fluttering wings of countless bats. He walked through the horrified neighborhood, crying out the syllable of vengeance like a wounded child. Finally, the apparition of the Bat was successfully summoned from the shadows by the magical word. Bruce came up to him, his cape billowing, his eyes full of rage. He raised his right hand and dragged Kal into a stormy embrace. Bruce's hands touched his cheek, sending a burning sensation across his skin. Kal tried to speak, but Bruce silenced him with a kiss.

That's all. Kal was unable to say another word. They made love in thedark, silent as rocks under a flowing river, waves of joy and fear washing around them. Kal fumbled over Bruce's skin and felt a bat-shaped scar on his shoulder. He remembered when he was waving to the crowd for the first time, and Pyotr opened fire on a hut, sending a bullet piercing through the shoulder of a teenager, who from then on glared back at the world with hatred. That was fair, Kal thought, his tears rolling down Bruce's chest. 

"I'm sorry," said Kal quietly, choking as though he was swallowing knives. 

"Don't be afraid. Live the life you want," Bruce said softly, kissing his eyelids. "I don't need you here. I'll make a better world for you."

He didn't know what he was talking about. And Kal felt himself unable to reply. 


Kal fled again in the early hours of the morning with all the worries of the world weighing him down. 

"What could I do?" He asked Pyotr, "could we make the world a better place? Could the world be free of hate?"

"As long as we cooperate," Pyotr replied. "As long as Superman followed my commands."

It was the wrong path after all, and Pyotr was unable to handle it. Kal caught sight of starving children on the road and blighted crops on the farmland, while Pyotr remained busy expanding his territory and asking him to stop the warships and the missiles. When Kal tried to help, Pyotr shunned his advice with suspicious and hateful glances.

One winter night Kal received word that Lex Luthor had revealed himself in the countryside of Ukraine. Minutes later, Kal landed in the fields. Luthor's exhales left white mists in the cold air.

"How dare you show yourself," said Kal. A smug smile flashed over Luthor's face.

"This place is familiar to you," he said. "Do you recognize it?"

It was Kal's childhood home. The farm lay in ruins, the hut collapsed, his parents were nowhere to find. Numerous long-forgotten questions, like sharp arrows sticking out his heart, ached for answers; the feeling overwhelmed Kal and left him speechless. Luthor bared his teeth.

"After years of hard work," he said, "I've finally found out the truth about Superman. Your Achilles heel turns out to be the one you love. Your Sword of Damocles hangs in your place of origin."

"Are you going to bring me down using my childhood rocking horse?" asked Kal. Luthor waved his hand dismissively. 

"How did the green cake feel?" he asked. 

The pieces fell together in Kal's head. "That's you." 

"People say you are the product of a special experiment," said Luthor. "I am the only one who has been able to find out that you are an alien. The two meteorites that came with you can be fatal to you. However, too small a dose cannot bring you down. Thus, only by using up the rest at once can we achieve the desired result."

Kal glanced warily around. The fields were empty. He looked back at Luthor, who smiled once again.

"A one-shot deal like this must be carried out with expert precision," said Luthor. "Like I said, I have discovered two parts of the truth."

"It won't play out as you have foreseen," said Kal.

"Pyotr sent me a message to help me get a seat in the stands tomorrow morning," Luthor replied. "I'm telling you because I want to make a bet with you: Your mere existence is sin itself. No one on this planet wants an alien."


Kal took flight in the night, cloaked in the glistening starlight. In the early hours of the morning, he saw soldiers lining up in the camp, and people watching the parade gathering in the street. He quickly spotted Bruce's shadow when he made up his mind. He fell to the ground and looked for an ordinary suit to wear.

"Bruce," he called as the pale light of dawn rose over the horizon. Dressed in a guard's suit, Bruce was graceful as the morning light, his eyes glittering in surprise. Kal stared into his chest and saw a bomb buried between flesh and blood.

"Not today," said Bruce. "Wait for me at the usual place."

"What's your plan?" asked Kal. Bruce offered no answer.

"There are other ways." said Kal. "Talk to them, you can change anyone's mind." 

Bruce smiled, and his eyes reminded Kal of the shadow of the beast in the cave where he first met him.

"Tell me you love me," said Kal, his own trembling voice echoing through his ears. "You'll recognizeme no matter where you are." 

The sun rose over the square. The noisy crowd gradually poured into the venue, lit up by the golden rays.

"I love you," Bruce replied in a low voice. "I'll never forget you."


When the chariot of the sun reached its zenith, Pyotr took his seat in the reviewing stand and Kal, in his suit, sat down beside him. Pyotr told Kal to award him a new medal as the music played by the guard of honor resonated from below. Kal looked at Pyotr's smiling face and was reminded of the boy behind the wall years ago. He rose to his feet and strode towards the war flag. The Commissars stepped down from the stands in an unnecessary gesture of respect. A guard in a brand-new uniform was approaching with a box in his hand. Kal recognized his steady steps from a distance, but Bruce's heartbeat remained steady until they were facing each other under the red flag. Luthor had won, and Kal had lost to Bruce.


"You said you would recognize me," whispered Kal. Bruce's pupils contracted, his eyes taking every detail of Kal's face. At that moment, Kal realized that it was not that no one could recognize him, but that no human had ever looked into Superman's eyes.


"Do you love me?" asked Kal, who saw Bruce's shaking body contradicting the coldness of his gaze.

"I love humans more," replied Bruce. Kal only smiled. He reached out faster than anyone else could, closing his fingers around Bruce's fingertips in a steel-like grip. He saw pride and determination in Bruce's eyes. Kal gave him a brotherly hug and felt Bruce's trembling lips brushing against his own. Not now, not here. Yet he knew there would be a world where they could pledge their souls.

Not now, not here. He longed for the chance to be a mere mortal.


"I love you as much as I love humans," said Kal, pulling the fuse and remembering their entwined body in the darkness.

The kryptonite bomb exploded magnificently above the stands, incinerating Bruce's body in Kal's arms. He felt death penetrate through his own chest a moment later, covering his vision with black and red. The crowd screamed and cried. Kal felt lonely, cold and relieved.

As it all came to an end, his mind wandered to one fine winter's day when he had been standing in the middle of a warm hall, surrounded by Moscow dignitaries. The Leader of the Communist Bloc smiled at him.

"What's your talent?"


Death had failed him in the end. Kal awoke once again in a river, and once again the river carried him away like his mother. In this world, there are countless miracles and wonders, but never again in the darkness would he meet his lover. He was washed ashore on a wetland, in territory that had proclaimed itself part of another nation. The Union was falling apart and the human race was anxious about the future. He watched in silence, knowing that he had no right to intervene. Despite initially getting much worse, the situation gradually improved. At the end of the chaos, Kal found a peaceful job as a reporter and then looked for another as his colleagues grew older. Time flowed like a river, and he remained silent like a rock in the river. He treated the world with indifference and the world mirrored his outlook. One day, with gray hair on his temples, he sat in the square on Liberation Day waiting for the President to deliver a speech. An intern journalist, regarding him as a kind gentleman, asked him some personal questions.

"Why did you decide to be a journalist?" she asked, trying to break the ice and trade his story by talking about her own history. "I had an article published in the school newspaper in grade nine."

"Someone told me once that I should use my eyes to witness the greatness of mankind."

There seemed to be a solemn backstory behind this sentence, and the intern straightened up her back, waiting for Kal to elaborate. But Mr. Kent's face cracked into a smile.

"He said I had beautiful blue eyes."


The End






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