Hey all--thanks so much for your words of encouragement. I actually have to deep dive an edit tomorrow, but tonight? It's all about fiction.
And just for fiction, I'm jumping on the SuperBat train. Are you ready boys? Cause I'm home.
Halloween approached again--what was it now, three years? And Bruce slept less and less and Clark worried more and more.
He'd asked Alfred about the kidnapping when Bruce had been very young, and Alfred had paled, and then asked Master Clark if he'd be having steak that evening per usual.
Three years, Clark had been asking that question. Three years, and he'd been eating steak while Batman went out and tried to kill himself with exhaustion.
Wasn't he supposed to be a reporter?
This year, the first nightmare rocked Bruce a good week early. The week before had been bloody. The Joker had escaped, and had let loose the Scarecrow as well. Together their monstrous masks had been on television nearly every hour--and Bruce had faced them down alone, and people had died.
Clark had been off planet with Diana, intercepting an invasion attempt with most of the rest of the Justice League. He'd returned to find his lover in the infirmary, taciturn and distant, too much gauze on his wounds for Clark to even think of taking him to bed to make him talk.
The wounds had been healing--and, thanks to Alfred, who had snuck some of Superman's platelets into his antibiotic injections, they'd been healing well--but Bruce was not all right.
That first dream happened two nights after Clark's return, and Clark had been lying awake, studying him. Bruce's brow wrinkled in sleep, as though he were approaching dream land with the same intensity he approached everything else. He hadn't even spoken, hadn't twitched, hadn't even murmured. One moment he was studying sleep from the inside, and the next Bruce Wayne was sitting up in bed screaming.
"Bruce! Stop! it's me! You're fine! You're fine! Stop!"
And like a light switch, that's how fast Bruce Wayne went from screaming and lost to wide awake and irritated.
"The hell you are! Jesus, Bruce--Halloween's not for another week! I know you hate the holiday but--"
"I'll deal," Bruce said, and had rolled over and gone to sleep.
"I'll deal?" Clark murmured to himself. "You scream like that in my ear and all I get for my pains is 'I'll deal'?"
Bruce was lying, eyes closed, chest--with the deeper wounds still bandaged--exposed, as though very sexily asleep. "You know who you're sleeping with."
"A complete and total asshole," Clark muttered. "Yeah, I've figured that out." But that didn't stop him from spooning along Bruce's back and murmur against the nape of his neck.
"You know it makes it worse," Bruce said, surprising him when it shouldn't have. "That comfort. Comfort never stays."
Oh. Clark sucked in a breath. "I'm sorry--"
"You were doing your job. Not your fault. Don't worry about it."
"Then let me comfort you!" Clark begged, almost peevishly.
"Fine. Whatever makes you happy."
Clark held him so tight, he was afraid he'd break something, and for his part, Bruce feigned sleep--right up until he wasn't pretending anymore, and he woke up screaming.
After the second night--the one where Alfred had dished him up two prime rib slices instead of one, presumably to buy his silence, Clark put on his reporter cap because he was done with this shit.
"Yo, Clark," Diana murmured in his com. "What are you doing? You don't work for the Gotham Post!"
"Yeah, but I'm trying to find a thing... something that happened around forty-five years ago."
"Something to do with Bruce Wayne's parents?" Diana asked dryly. "That shouldn't be hard to figure out. They used to make all the--oh!"
"Oh," Clark said, hitting microfiche probably at the same time she hit super-computer recorded microfiche.
"He was kidnapped?" she asked, but there it was, in lurid color, splashed on the front page.
"It's forty-nine years ago," Clark said, his voice thick. "He would have been four."
For a moment, both of them were quiet, Diana in the Eye-in-the-Sky on space age equipment, Clark down on earth looking at an ancient microfiche scanner.
Both of them appalled. "They almost killed him," she said, her voice a little broken too. "Shoved him in the back of a car with... a clown outfit?"
"It's how they lured him away from his parents," Clark said. "And when the police were closing in they drove the car into the river."
"He picked the lock," Diana muttered. "Jesus, Clark, he was four years old and he picked the goddamned lock."
"God," Clark muttered. "He must have been so scared." No wonder he felt like comfort was a lie.
"Clark," Diana said ominously. "Clark, did you see the name of the kidnapper who died in the car?"
"No--wait. Cordell Chopper--why is that fam--oh." Fuck.
"He was charged posthumously with over thirty counts."
Clark couldn't say it--the bile rose in his throat. Inappropriate touching seemed so... so tame, for the violation, the indignity, of what the man was charged with.
"But wait," he muttered. Then, both of them, "Oh dear God."
It was buried in the article--nobody wanted to talk about it, perhaps? Nobody wanted to suppose that a child could defend themself with such absoluteness.
"Two sharp puncture wounds in the groin," Clark murmured. "Go Bruce."
"Look at him," Diana said, and she'd apparently come to the same picture Clark had. Long before child rights were respected, long before the victim had rights, there stood Bruce Wayne, aged four years and three millennia old, staring directly into the camera.
He had his Batman face on.
"He must be so angry," Clark said.
"For which part?"
"Look what he did as a baby to defend himself," Clark told her. "And all he could do when his parents died was hide."
"Aw, Clark. Fuck you." She was crying. Well, join the fucking club.
* * *
Bruce Wayne scanned the chaos below him and tried hard to sort the good from the bad. Drug dealers in that house over there--but dumb drug dealers, so Bruce sent a text to Barbara Gordon, who sent a couple of cop cars that way.
A bunch of teenagers, squealing in excitement as one of them stood on his housetop in a Superman costume and sang Ave Maria to the stars. At first he thought they were high--but nope, local glee club. Go kid go, he had to remember to make a donation.
And children wandering too close to the lake--that required a dart--sans anaesthetic--blown at their father who was mostly just trying to stay awake during Trick-or-Treating after a long day's work. Dad popped up and looked at the youngsters and practically lost his shit. Tragedy averted.
And again and again and again. Small stuff, mostly. No terrorists in masks this year. He'd put away Scarecrow and Joker, even though they haunted him in his dreams.
Or someone in a clown mask did.
He didn't want to think about that.
But he was tired, to his bones, his recovering injuries aching even as they healed. It was almost like he was floating with--
"Hey! Put me down!"
"Are you kidding?" Clark muttered. "You're so tired you didn't feel me lifting you by your ass? No. You're a danger to yourself, you're a danger to others. Come home and go to bed."
"But it's Halloween!" Oh dear God--that really was Clark's hand right under his ass. Bruce had nothing to hold on to--he had to literally clench his asscheeks and his stomach tight enough to keep his balance as Clark spatula'd him across the sky.
"I know. Cool your jets. We've got reinforcements. I was gone for a couple of days, not forever you know."
"Oh right--you come back and hover over me like the ghost of Christmas future and I"m supposed to be all excited you're home!" Augh! What he'd really wanted was sex, but Clark had been all "You're hurt! I can't touch you then!" which was stupid because if he really loved Bruce, he'd figure out that's when Bruce needed him most!
"Yes," Clark said shortly. "And you need to tell Alfred to stop feeding me steak whenever I'm worried about you. I'm getting older you know. It could constipate me."
"Oh like you'd need fiber if you ate a whole fucking building," Batman growled from clenched teeth. "Where the hell are we--oh. Is that all?"
"Yes, idiot, I'm taking you home," Clark told him, and in a fluid movement, he hefted Batman up in the air and stopped, going vertical, so he could catch him and hold him, hovering in front of the waterfall that protected the BatCave.
Okay, so, fine. Bruce had to admit he did like the view from here.
"What are we doing?" he grumbled, trying hard to resist the appeal of Clark's heat and the kindness in his eyes and the strength in his broad chest.
"I know you know this," Clark said, looking at him so intensely, Bruce felt a rare compulsion to remove his cowl outside of the cave. "But my name is Clark Kent. I'm not circumcised. I'm a total mama's boy and I miss my father so badly that I want to cry sometimes."
"We bring flowers," Bruce said gruffly. "On his birthday. With your mother."
"We do," Clark said, kissing his forehead. "She thinks you're a nice boy but she wishes I'd find somebody serious."
"I'm sorry." He really was. He loved Martha--he knew Clark tried again and again to explain that Bruce was merely putting on an act, but she believed the newspapers, because Clark was a newspaperman. Yet another reason to come out of the closet and stop being a playboy, Bruce supposed, but dammit, how did he keep being Batman?
"I know," Clark said softly. "But I wanted to make a point. You know who I am, and you love me."
"Yes." That was undisputed. Adamant. Penned in iron. Bruce Wayne loved Clark Kent. Taking it back would be ripping back his own flesh.
"I know who you are, Bruce Alexander Wayne," Clark whispered in his ear. "I know why you hate Halloween so badly--no, don't say anything."
Bruce's chest froze, the air in his lungs, his windpipe, everything a layer of ice. "Bu--"
"You can tell me or you can keep it secret," Clark whispered, the two of them hovering in the mist like souls deciding whether to ascend to heaven. "Halloween won't get better--but you'll know I'll know why it sucks so bad."
"But..." He tried again, but it didn't work any better than the first time.
"You'll know I know the worst, and I still love you."
Bruce whimpered, and pulled Clark into a kiss. Clark went willingly, zooming them through the waterfall and to their bedroom, both of them wrestling out of their work clothes alone, because they were so carefully constructed one man's help might be another's lycra/kevlar prison.
Finally they were naked, bare skin to bare skin, Clark on his back taking all of Bruce's weight because Bruce knew he could.
Taking all of Bruce's cock, hard, brutally hard, because Bruce knew he could.
Taking Bruce's guttural scream of completion, swallowing it down, taking his trembling and his gasps of anger, of fear, of pain, and giving back love, because Bruce knew he could.
Finally, the two of them were spent, skin sticky on the other, naked and rank with come.
"Do you want to talk?" Clark asked softly.
But he did anyway, the story tumbling out of him with a four-year-old's diction, his anger, his joy at defending himself, his glee as the car sank and he struggled to swim, fully clothed through the icy water.
His absolute trust when a young Alfred had pulled him out by the scruff of the neck, far from where the police had been searching, because Alfred knew what he was capable of, and hadn't despaired for a moment.
Finally, finally, it was done, and dawn was creeping in through he special drapes, and his alarm went off, calling Bruce Wayne to go be productive in the November morning.
Clark melted the alarm clock into slag.
"That's the third one this year," Bruce mumbled, falling asleep on his chest.
"So you've had a whole three full nights of sleep in a year. Fucking sue me," Clark said, his voice thick as he ran his big hands from Bruce's neck, down along his spine, to his hips.
"You're sounding more and more like me," Bruce mumbled. "No wonder your mother thinks you can do better."
He could, Bruce knew, but his eyes were so heavy, and his heart so much lighter, he just didn't have the strength to argue.
* * *
"She's wrong," Clark whispered, feeling Bruce's breathing even out. "There is no man better than you, Bruce Wayne. No man better for me."
Bruce didn't answer, his chest rising and falling evenly, and Clark rolled slightly so he rolled to his side on the bed.
Clark stayed there, half-dozing, as Bruce slept until the next evening, awaking groggy and disoriented and needing to pee.
"You didn't go anywhere?" Bruce asked, yawning and squinting into falling twilight. "Why not?"
"Because I know what scares you," Clark said simply. "And nothing's going to hurt you on my watch."
They both knew it might be a lie. They both kn ew there were times when the world would need one of them and the other couldn't be there. But this wasn't about Superman and Batman, this was about Bruce and Clark.
Bruce surprised him then with his first smile in weeks. "Like anything could get through you."
Clark smiled back. "Your dick can."
Bruce's outraged grin was as close to joy as the two of them could ever get.
Close enough to warm their fingers in its glow.