Did you all have a good weekend? Mine was quiet--but productive. I'm ALMOST through an edit that may end my life--but the point is, I'm almost through it.
Anyway-- the edit is non-fiction and I'm dying to write fiction and my solution? Fanfic on the blog. Are we ready for the finale of Batman's Hot Cousin? I don't know--it's been unexpectedly heartbreaking.
* * *
"Tim!" Bruce sat up in bed shouting, his face and body contorting as he fought to transition from female to male as the original DNA-altering toxins sweated out of his body. "Jason! Clark, where's Jason! Dammit, Clark, we can't lose him!"
Clark sat by his bed, where he'd been for most of the transition, and stroked his hand. "Baby, Jason's dead. Tim's in another city--"
"No..." Bruce's voice broke, and for the thousandth time, so did Clark Kent's heart. "No. He was ours. Where's our baby? Where'd he go?"
"He's a dream, Bruce," Clark said patiently, hating himself. "Honey, you've got to let him go."
"I could see him," Bruce whimpered, falling back in bed and curling on his side. "He looked like you. He was so kind--" Another cramp of muscle and mass and bone assimilation hit him, and he didn't finish the thought, howling with pain.
"Here," Diana said, sounding cool and calm and collected. "Alfred, hand me the syringe."
"Yes ma'am." Clark looked sharply at Alfred and gasped. So impervious, so practical, pragmatic, and efficient. Alfred's face was streaked with tears.
Diana injected something into Bruce's arm quickly and then backed away. Clark didn't. Bruce had been thrashing for hours--he'd clocked Clark in the jaw, the stomach, and once, uncomfortably, in the gonads. The fact remained Bruce Wayne was a man, albeit a powerful one, and Superman was an alien, and it just didn't hurt that much.
Unlike, say, watching Bruce in pain, calling for the children that had died or been scattered to the four winds.
"Damien?" Bruce begged, voice falling pitifully.
"In the desert with Talia," Clark said, hating Talia Al'Ghul all over again. Stealing his DNA and presenting him with a son fait accompli was bad enough--but taking him back just as Bruce had made some peace with the boy... well, it had been five years before Clark and Bruce had gotten together or Clark might have killed her and just not told anyone. Two years after that, Jason had died. Clark had watched his heart break again and again--why was the fact that it was still in pieces such a surprise?
"Everybody leaves," Bruce murmured. "Everybody leaves."
"I won't." Two years of promises. Two years by Bruce Wayne's side. Prickly, argumentative, bullheaded, beloved man.
"You'll leave," Bruce sighed, eyes closing. "Why would you want to stay? I let our son slip away."
He fell asleep then, the sedative apparently working. Great. Fucking finally. For a moment there was silence in the infirmary and they all watched as Bruce's body trembled and contorted. He was asleep, but pain was going to be his ever-present companion for the next few hours.
"If you'll excuse me," Alfred said, his voice barely under control. Then Diana set the syringe down and wrapped her arms around the old man's neck and sobbed.
Clark watched them, glad they had each other. It was his job to sit by this fucking bed and hold Bruce Wayne's fucking hand until this was over.
He'd promised. He'd stay until their atoms reformed to quantum dust. He still remembered the vow. It wasn't just poetry to him. He was the only one who knew what he'd planned when Bruce Wayne died, and right now the idea gave him comfort.
* * *
Bruce groaned, feeling as though every atom of his being had been pounded by a sledgehammer. "Clark?" he mumbled, wondering why he thought Clark would be there.
Oh God. Bruce felt weak tears trickle onto the sheets under his cheek. The bedsheets felt clean, and so did his body, although he could clearly remember sweating until everything around him had been sopping and salt-stinging.
"Thank you," he whispered. "I'm sure you've got someplace to go."
"No place but here. Diana is taking care of another lava monster. We'll have to put a capper on whatever's doing that, you know."
Bruce grunted. "On my to-do list for tomorrow."
Clark let out a weak laugh and Bruce felt trembling fingertips running through his hair.
"What happened?" he asked weakly.
"You sweated out the last of whatever made you a girl. You didn't notice dangly bits?"
Bruce closed his eyes, literally too weak to move. He tried to take inventory but couldn't. Something, though. Something felt lighter. As though the universe had clicked into place and he was who he was supposed to be.
"I have no idea. I lived?"
"Mostly. You don't remember any of it?" Something in Clark's voice throbbed, like this would hurt him.
"I had... a dream," he murmured. "A child. Our child. And every time you touched me, it felt like he was getting further away."
Clark let out a shuddering breath. "You never told me you wanted children."
Bruce managed to look at him, saw he was unshaven, his eyes red-rimmed and shiny, his hair unkempt. Bruce may have been freshly washed on clean sheets, but Clark hadn't showered in days. "I have already shown myself to be a shitty fucking parent," he rasped. But then, because he was apparently too tired not to tell the truth. "But your son would be beautiful."
"You're not a bad parent," Clark protested, surprising him. They'd always been honest with each other. "You made mistakes. But you took in orphans like yourself, and raised them the only way you knew how. The way you'd raised yourself. You did the best all parents can do, Bruce."
"Jason..." So weak. The thought of Jason Todd gutted him on the best of occasions.
"Even good parents suffer loss." Clark threaded his fingers through Bruce's hair. "Or have their kids grow up to be dicks like... well, Dick. I didn't mention children because... well, because we're..."
"A little busy," Bruce rasped. He was falling asleep. "I didn't even know it was a dream until..."
"Until you got a built-in womb. I get it."
"You sound awful," Bruce said. "Crawl into bed and hold me."
"I smell worse."
"Good. Because..." And Clark broke a little. "I really do need to hold you."
It wasn't until Clark wrapped his arms around Bruce's chest that he realized his muscle mass hadn't come back, that his frame was still heavy but his chest, his arms, his stomach were soft and thin.
"Cup my balls, will you?" he asked, not even being facetious. "I need to know that hasn't shrunk too."
Clark's hand was big and all-encompassing and familiar. Oh yes. Yes. All his parts were back. It wasn't just the euphoria of being himself again. There were dangly bits where dangly bits should be.
"My pleasure. I hope to do that when you're feeling better, yeah?"
"Whatever made you stay here, that whole time. Thank you."
"Love, jackass. You're welcome."
"I love you too. Not having children with you--that could be the only thing I'll ever regret about the two of us."
"Nothing," Clark said, voice breaking. "I regret nothing. Not a goddamned thing." His arms tightened to the point of pain, and he was weeping softly into Bruce's hair.