Okay--I'll be honest. A lot of you saw my post on Twitter/FB that said I wasn't feeling great--and I'm not. Nothing dire-- just a fever, sore throat--mild, but, well, draining. As in, I woke up, head hurt, everything hurt, and I could find no reason whatsoever to get out of bed.
Story of my day.
So, for tonight's episode of Fanfic Friday (technically on Sunday) we're going to talk about the flu. More specifically, we're going to talk about the one thing that Bruce Wayne can get that Clark Kent... can't.
* * *
"Oh my God!" Clark actually landed on top of the Batmobile because it was squirreling all over the road. "Get out of the car."
"Get off of the car!" Bruce pounded on the ceiling with his fist, forgetting that the armor reinforcements could crack glass.
The wraparound window on the driver's side exploded upwards, and the car fishtailed on it's ginormous wheels before coasting to a halt a hair's breadth away from the guard rail.
Inside, Clark could hear Bruce coughing so hard he was gagging on his own phlegm.
Oh fuck this.
Clark hopped off the car and ripped the door off, chucking it over the guardrail and into the crashing ocean below. Then he stood by the car and waited until the coughing fit stopped.
"You fucked up my car!" Bruce wheezed when he could actually breathed.
"You fucked up my property! Now hit the seatbelt release and let's go home!"
"My car!" Bruce complained, and Clark squat down so they were eye to eye.
"If you don't hit the fucking release, I will rip the seat out and the car will be in for repair longer than you will. Now hit the release."
"Asshole," Bruce grumbled, but the automatic safety netting that cocooned Batman in a complete cushion of poly-kevlar retracted, and Superman reached into the car and scooped Bruce out.
"My car!" Bruce snapped.
Clark pushed the mic in his ear. "Alfred?"
"Sir? Have you retrieved the item?"
"The item is inbound. If you could activate the remote control?"
Below them, the Batmobile began it's remotely driven trip the last ten miles toward the BatCave. "Done, sir. There is a hot bath and appropriate beverages waiting."
"Traitor," Bruce muttered. "You're fired."
"Sure I am." Alfred's voice was uncharacteristically sarcastic.
"Alfred, what's his temp."
"104, sir. He shouldn't be out of bed."
"It was 101 this morning," Clark hissed. "I will sit on you to make sure you get better this time."
"You have things in Metropolis to do," Bruce said, sounding petulant. "No time to sit on me. Have to go sit on somebody else's face." He broke into giggles, and Clark and Alfred both groaned.
"Please don't drop him, sir," Alfred begged. "We need his signature on the checks, or we'll lose the house."
Clark laughed grimly. "That would be a shame." He tightened his hold on Bruce, who was beginning to shiver uncontrollably with the chill of flying on his fever-hot skin.
"Everybody's a smartass," Bruce muttered. "The Joker. Has everybody forgotten I put him back in Arkham tonight?"
"The Joker never escaped," Clark muttered. "I don't know who you put in Arkham, but I'm sure they're very confused."
"Commissioner Gordon called while you were chasing him down," Alfred said dryly over the intercom. "He wanted me to know that the poor man who was behind the counter at the drugstore was in hysterics and needed to be sedated. I told him a charity foundation would be paying all his hospital bills and taking care of his family until he felt better."
"You terrified a sales clerk?" Clark demanded, and Bruce's reply was a dry chuckle.
"Asshole kept telling me not to use the green cough medicine while driving heavy machinery. See how he likes being imprisoned with the Joker! That'll teach him what green cough medicine is for!"
"Oh dear God!" Clark said, at the same time Alfred said, "Sweet mother in heaven."
"All this, because you didn't want to take a sick day?"
Batman broke into a coughing fit, and that occupied him until Clark got him safely into the cave.
It took all three days, all told, for the antibiotics, cold baths, and fever meds to finally get Bruce to come down from the delirium, and in that time, Clark sent his blood up to the Justice League three times, trying to make sure there was no biologically engineered superbug running through his system.
"For fuck's sake no!" Diana finally exploded. "He was just an asshole who thought he could power through it. He forgets that he goes to Arkham and exhausts himself and anything running through that population is going to be ready to kill him on general principle."
"But he's so weird!" Clark burst back. "Today, he asked me if I had a teddy bear, so he could spar with it!"
Diana cocked her head, and a totally alien expression crossed her face. "Aw," she said, sounding like any other girl Clark had ever known. "Bruce Wayne? Wants a teddy bear? Isn't that the cutest fucking thing on the planet?"
Clark--who hadn't slept in nearly three days--suddenly realized what he'd done.
"No," he said, horrified.
She just looked at him with googly eyes.
"No, please tell me that--"
"The flu?" Barry said, sounding enraptured. "Teddy bears?"
"Yessssssssss!" Hal whooped, pumping his fist. "Oh my God. You have no idea!"
Even Hawk Man and Hawk Girl looked devious as Clark was burying his face in his arms and wishing for death.
"Please don't," he croaked. God. Maybe he'd get the flu, and he wouldn't have to live through--
But it was too late.
* * *
Bruce's fever eventually broke, and he was left to sleep in peace for the next four days, with occasional breaks for baths in Clark's arms, and soup, spooned into him by Alfred, who seemed to enjoy reminiscing about the times he'd gotten sick as a child. It was nice that he did that, actually, because one of Bruce's few weaknesses was that he remembered very little about being sick. Wounded, yes, he could recall wounded in excruciating detail, but not so much sick.
So he didn't notice the damage until about a week after Superman had landed on top of the Batmobile on the cliffside highway.
"Clark?" he called, suddenly panicked in the middle of the day.
Clark's voice sounded on the intercom near his bed. "You're supposed to be sleeping."
"Tell me this isn't--"
"Oh. Yeah. Sorry."
"I got nothin'," Clark said wearily. "See you at home."
He looked around his room--his billionaire's room with the great canopy bed and the mahogany furniture with the hand embroidered cushions-- and hid his head under his pillow.
When he came out again, it was all still there.
The biggest teddy bear was in bed with him-- it was dressed in a Superman outfit, complete with leotards, cape, and a little hole for the puffy teddy bear tail. It stayed there as he got better, until Clark could actually get into his bed and touch him like he meant it--that was the best punishment Bruce could think of, and Clark felt so guilty that he seemed to agree.
But that was only the biggest.
They were everywhere, all shapes, all sizes, from Ty beanie baby teddy bears to a big trio of Gundt Teddy Bears dressed like the Justice League, to--thank you Barry and Hal-- four fully operational robotic sparring teddy bears, made for the practice room, to be used with everything from batarangs to nunchucks.
For weeks, Bruce or Clark couldn't walk across the fucking room without uncovering a new fuzzy, furry, saccharine little horror either under the bed, or in the corner of the canopy, or strung up from the light fixture. Those last ones were all wearing Superman outfits too, and Bruce had known he wasn't ready for active duty yet when he'd tried to throw them through the window and they'd only splatted there like wet ravioli.
And the worst part was that they seemed to be some sort of... of wellness test.
Because just like Clark couldn't get back into bed until he was ready to fuck Bruce blind, Bruce wasn't allowed out of the Batcave until every last bear, ninja bear, superbear, beanie baby, and robot bear, had been found in his room and put away.
Three years later, Bruce was coming in from a long, hard week of crime fighting and saving the world as a wealthy industrialist, and he sneezed. Superman heard him from ten miles away and swooped into the Batcave at warp speed--but not before Alfred cornered him with a thermometer and aspirin and NyQuil.
By the time the man of steel got to Bruce's bed, he was safely ensconced in bed, arms crossed, pout fully evident, and a steaming mug of tea at his elbow.
Clark hovered over the end of his bed and crossed his arms back.
"So?" he said sternly.
"So, I've got a fever, sue me."
"And...?" He pushed.
Bruce sighed. "And I will stay in bed until the fever breaks and I can walk across the floor without tripping over my feet or thinking everybody not Superman and Alfred is the Joker."
Clark dropped lightly to the floor and walked close enough to stroke his hair back from his brow, feeling with sympathy how very hot his forehead was. "I," he said deliberately, "Am beary glad to hear that."
Bruce glared. "Bring me the big bear. I want to sleep with it."
"Not on your life. Scoot over. I want tea."
"Stupid aliens and their germ resistance. Outta be a law."
"There is." Clark kissed his cheek. "It's the all superheroes get sick days law."
Bruce sighed and scooted over, and allowed Clark to snuggled.
Well, better him than the damned bears.