First of all, this:
If you haven't seen the movie, do.
Next of all, this.
SuperBat. I'm in a mood:
It all started so innocently.
"Oh, hey." Clark ruffled his fingers along the hair at Bruce's nape as they lay in bed, about to fall asleep. "You're getting gray."
"Shut up," Bruce mumbled.
"No--seriously. The whole bottom layer here is gray. It's fantastic!"
Bruce rolled over and Clark recoiled. He didn't often show his Batman face when they were together alone. Right now his eyes were like rebar bullets--to anybody but Clark, they'd be deadly.
"What?" Clark asked, honestly hurt. "What did I say?"
"Nothing of consequence," Bruce said, voice stiff. "Good night."
It was hard to sleep when the warm man in his bed suddenly morphed into a human ice berg, but Clark tried.
The next morning, Clark woke up and Bruce was gone. Not a kiss on the cheek, not a word, and Clark started to worry. Seriously. What did he say?
Alfred brought him breakfast--two giant omelets with cheese and steak and peppers--and asked him the same question.
"I don't mean to be forward, sir, but what. Did. You. Say?"
Clark shrugged and took a bite of omelet. Flawless as usual. "I have no idea," he said through a bite of eggs, cheese, and steak. "I said his hair was getting gray and the world came to an end."
Alfred winced and brought a thin, liver spotted hand to the back of his neck. "Are all your people this stupid, sir? Or just you?"
Clark regarded him with an open mouth and a blank mind. "Uh..."
"Because seriously--this could be the reason your people went extinct. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go update my will. You can clear your own tray, I am sure."
Clark gaped after him, and took another bite of omelet. Very faintly, in the back of his lizard brain, a thought began to percolate.
He gazed at the teddy bear that he kept on the chair by the bedstand to remind Bruce to take care of himself. "BatMan Bear," he said as he chewed, "I have the feeling this is going to get very, very, very bad before it gets better."
BatMan Bear regarded him impassively, but it didn't matter. Clark was beginning to see how bad he'd fucked up.
Bruce Wayne went from work to a business engagement to haunting the streets of Gotham without a single text or even voice in the hidden com that day. Clark ran around Metropolis and pretended to be interested in stopping purse snatchers and bank robbers, but the whole time he was waiting for it.
He wasn't sure what it was, but he'd know it when he saw it.
"Oh Clark..." Diana sang sweetly into the com. "Are you paying attention?"
"To what?" Clark asked, playing for time.
"To what your boy is doing here in Gotham. Cause it ain't standard Justice League shit."
Clark's stomach dropped. "Dear Lord. What--?"
"Well, he apparently walked into Cillian's disguised as a dock worker," she told him, and his stomach knotted even further. He remembered that morning's omelets with a little bit of panic. They were coming right up if he wasn't careful.
"He does that," Clark said, hoping this wasn't what he though. "He gets a lot of information that way."
"Yes," Diana said slowly. "Yes he does. But tonight, he walked into the biggest villain bar in Gotham and snarled, 'I'm Superman's bitch, who wants to take me out!'"
Clark covered his eyes with his hand, like that would make the rest of this sentence just not possible. "And..."
"And he proceeded to wipe out the entire bar. There are a lot of very confused bad guys in the Arkham infirmary tonight, and I'm not sure why it was necessary!"
"Is he all right?" Clark asked, already flying at light speed from Metropolis toward the Bat Cave.
"I don't know. He had to summon the BatMobile to pick him up at Cillian's, and the place is toast. I didn't think I'd ever say this, but I think the Justice League needs to make a private donation to a dive bar for repairs."
"I'm so sorry," Clark said numbly. "This is entirely my fault. I'll help rebuild tomorrow night, I swear."
"But Clark!" Diana laughed. "What did you say?"
Clark didn't want to tell her, but she was his best friend. "I said he's getting gray."
"You fucker," she snapped. "Fix it. Fix it!"
And then she signed off, which was just as well because he'd arrived at the Bat Cave by then.
He slowed down so he didn't roar in hot and as he floated near the infirmary he got a glimpse of Bruce Wayne and Alfred as they might have been without him.
Alfred, for all his usual competence, elegance, and dry wit, was starting to hunch. His bones were getting brittle, and while he'd still be as tough as a gnarled tree root in battle, he was seventy this year, and not getting any younger. His back hunched, his fingers were thin, and so were his bony wrists.
For the first time, he looked frail.
And Bruce--powerful, nude but for a towel, stomach, chest, thighs thick with muscles, and with scars.
So many scars.
His head drooped on his neck, and Clark could see the gray in his hair, but more than that. He had gray in the hair on his chest. He ate one omelet in the morning, no cheese, extra veggies, because he was worried about how his body was aging.
And his body was aging.
In his late forties now, he was a little slower than he had been when he and Clark had first gotten together. A little heavier.
Clark wouldn't have noticed--every moment Bruce Wayne, millionaire, let Clark Kent, country boy, near his guarded, twisted heart, seemed like a miracle.
But BatMan was growing older, and Superman was not.
And if Bruce and Clark had never touched, these two men would be alone here, in this lonely, sterile place, one doctoring the other's hurts, both of them locked in the dance of Bruce fighting on the streets and Alfred picking up the pieces, until one night, there weren't enough pieces to stitch up and Alfred simply withered away, his life broken, like his heart.
But Bruce and Clark had touched, and they had breakfast in the morning, and dinner together when they could. They had banter and humor and a certain grim competitiveness that often led to highly destructive and highly enjoyable lovemaking.
But Bruce was getting older.
And Clark was not.
Clark would leave his lover behind.
We will be quantum dust together.
Clark remembered those words, uttered the first night they'd made love. He still meant them. His hair would never go gray, and he would never have love handles, and he'd never have liver spots--but he would never live without Bruce Wayne.
He knew that in his heart.
He floated into the infirmary silently and tapped Alfred on the shoulder. "Get some sleep, my friend," he said softly. Alfred inclined his head and pulled off his gloves.
"He should have some morphine, and you need to stitch his shoulders. Beer bottle, sir. Nasty things."
Wasn't the first time Clark had stitched him up. Wouldn't be the last.
Alfred faded into the night and Clark took over the doctoring in silence.
After he'd finished the last stitch and the last wrap of gauze, he stripped off his gloves and crouched before his lover, the last one he'd have on this earthly plain.
"Proud of yourself?" he asked.
"I beat every goddamned one of them," Bruce snarled, the hurt in his eyes obvious, now that Clark knew where to look.
"Of course you did," Clark said humbly. "You're goddamned BatMan. You'll always beat the fuckers. It's who you are."
"I am not old!" He glared at Clark, daring him to say otherwise.
"You will never be old," Clark said, his heart breaking. "And I will never leave you. Our bodies will fade into dust together, and we'll mingle together with the stars. I promised you that, Bruce. I wasn't full of shit."
"You can't keep that promise," Bruce said, looking away.
"The hell I can't!" Clark snarled. "You look at me, Bruce Wayne. Look at me!"
Bruce met his glare defiantly. "I'm almost fifty!"
"I don't care! You will always be the same, exasperating irritating son of a bitch I fell in love with! I didn't care how old you were then, I didn't care how old you were when you came to your senses, and I don't give a damn how old you are now!"
Bruce's hand on his cheek was tender, even if his words were not. "You haven't aged a day, motherfucker. You will be this young--thirty-something--for the rest of my goddamned life! And I"m going to have to leave you and you won't follow me--"
"Yes I will," Clark said, feeling weak.
"No, Clark. I'm going to grow old--"
"I'll follow you!" Clark yelled, rising to his feet. "You're not getting away that easy!"
Bruce was hurt--but he was often hurt. He was bloody--but then he was often that way. And Clark didn't care--didn't give a good goddamn, if he didn't feel up to passion--passion was the one language they spoke that they both understood.
His mouth crashed down on Bruce's and he ravished it, demanding a full response, taking everything Bruce Goddamned BatMan Wayne had to give and more.
There was no age here. There was no finish line. Clark stripped off his suit right there in the infirmary and took Bruce on the infirmary table, Bruce's legs around his ears, his ass offered up without reservation. The quantum vibrations of Clark's body enveloped them both, made their sex possible, made, for the moment of their joining, Bruce Wayne just as invincible, just as proof against the vagaries of time and physics as Superman himself.
Clark drove himself inside his lover--the one human he would ever love with all his being--and prayed for them to be one forever.
"Don't leave me!" he screamed, as orgasm shook them both.
"Never," Bruce whispered, broken. "Never."
Clark buried his face against Bruce's throat. "Never. That's a promise."
"Okay," Bruce panted, probably in pain, but Clark couldn't make himself not thrust, not shudder, not come one final, agonizing time.
"A promise!" Clark breathed, so he'd know.
"Okay," Bruce conceded, as submissive as Clark would ever see him.
"Okay," Clark finished on a sob. "I'm not leaving you."
"Okay," Bruce said again, pushing Clark's sweaty hair back from his brow. "Okay. You're not leaving me."
He was humoring Clark in a way, but he wasn't desperate or hurt anymore. Clark would show him. Clark would prove to him that there was no Clark Kent without Bruce Wayne.
"And you are not getting old," Clark finished on a hiccup.
Bruce managed a laugh. "And you are not getting soft."
Clark pushed up on his elbows and started to thrust his hips again. "Prepare yourself, old man," he warned. "This is not over. Not even close."
Bruce didn't answer. He tilted his head back and closed his eyes, letting this next round wash through him.
Clark Kent would keep his promise if Superman had to die in a ball of flame.
Their dust would mingle under the stars. That was the only way it could be.