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Fic: Go Fish; Bruce/Clark; PG

Title: Go Fish
Pairings/Characters: Bruce/Clark
Rating: PGish
Warnings: fluff, slash, baby Dickie
Spoilers: None. Mostly I’ve just mashed Dick into DCAU.
Disclaimer: Not mine
Word Count: 2,200 or so
Author’s Notes: Entry in the World’s Finest Summer Games. Won Gold Medal for best fluff, Gold Medal for best Short Story and Bronze Medal for best over all story.




Go Fish

“I’m going to be out of touch for the next week or so,” Batman said over the large monitor in the meeting room of the Watchtower. His voice sounded gruffer than it usually did and he looked a little grey around the mouth. “Take me off of the duty roster. I’ll message you if something comes up.” The transmission cut out abrputly and the screen went black.

“Translation: Don’t call me, I’ll call you,” Flash said, cutting a wry look to the empty view screen. “I get the whole Dark Loner bit, but can’t he at least give us a little more than that?”

“It’s unprofessional,” Green Lantern glowered disapprovingly at the sole empty chair at their table.

“I’m sure he has his reasons,” Hawkgirl said dismissively. “More to the point, what do we do about this thing Ultrahumanite’s going to be pulling?”

While the other’s discussed the most efficient way to take out a super intelligent gorilla with mind control capabilities, J’onn and Clark exchanged worried looks.

“He looks to be in poor health…” J’onn ventured telepathically.

“I thought so, too. Maybe I should stop by tomorrow, see how he’s really doing. Maybe have a talk with Alfred,” Superman thought back to him.

“That would be wise,” J’onn agreed.

Flash ended their conversation with an abrupt interruption. “Hey Supes, where do you think he’d go to get a sling shot that size?” he asked.

Clark shrugged his shoulders and sent a small apologetic smile J’onn’s way. J’onn returned it, reassuringly.

“Perhaps Toy Man could be persuaded to give us that information,” J’onn ventured.

And that was that.

*^*^*^*^*^*^

It wasn’t until after seven o’clock in the evening, two days later that Clark found time to slip into Gotham. He had been trying to get a hold of Bruce all day, but his phone went right to voicemail every time. Between trying to get in touch with Bruce, tracking down Toy Man and meeting his deadline for Perry this afternoon, Clark was feeling a bit harried and more than a little stressed.

Both those feelings increased ten fold when he slipped into the Cave through one of the back tunnels, only to find it entirely empty. It was twenty after seven, Batman’s evening should be just beginning but the place was like a ghost town.

No Batman working at his computer. No Alfred puttering around with a tray of tea and sandwiches. No Robin using the railings as balance beams. Even the bats seemed quieter and more subdued than usual.

Clark snooped in one of the lockers until he found a pair of Bruce’s sweats. He quickly threw them on reasoning that Bruce’s sense of caution would win out over his need for privacy. With no small degree of trepidation, Clark made his way up the stairs that led to Wayne Manor proper.

He slipped out from behind the clock and into the study, but it was just as empty as the Cave had been.

Clark ventured out into the hallway and briefly considered calling for Bruce but quickly dismissed the idea. It would be Alfred who came if he called, not Bruce and Clark wasn’t sure he could take one of Alfred’s disapproving looks at this point. It took great fortitude to endure them on a good day, and on a bad one?

It didn’t bare thinking of.

Clark slipped down to the kitchen to see if he could find Alfred the usual way, but the kitchen was just as empty as the rest of the house had been. Clark furrowed his brow in concern as he super speeded through living room, dining room, library and sitting room. All empty.

Clark was about use his super hearing and x-ray vision and damn the consequences of invading their privacy when he heard a small cough coming from upstairs. Clark raced up the steps and into the wing where Bruce and Dick slept. He came up short when Bruce slipped out Dick’s room.

Clark was pretty sure this was the first time he had ever surprised Batman.

Bruce had an empty bowl in his hand and there a great deal of tiredness underneath the surprised expression on his face.

“Clark, what are you doing here?” Bruce blurted.

“You looked sick,” Clark ventured lamely. In point of fact, Bruce still looked sick, but Clark felt it was best not to point this out just yet.

Bruce sighed and walked past Clark down the hall. Clark fell into step beside him.

“It’s not me, it’s Dick. He has chicken pox,” Bruce explained tried.

Clark got the sudden urge to slap himself on the forehead.

“Why didn’t you say so?” he asked, trying to keep any note of criticism from his voice. “You just pop up looking like death warmed over and say you’re going to be out of touch for a few days.”

“’I’m sorry I can’t help you fight crime this week. My kid has chicken pox and I have to feed him ice cream and make sure he doesn’t get oatmeal in his ears,’” Bruce intoned mockingly. “Yes, that will win me the respect I deserve.”

Clark smiled despite himself. Bruce did have a point. He was pretty sure if Bruce had said any of that, Wally would have gone into cardiac arrest.

“Point taken,” Clark conceded. “You could have called me though.”

Bruce sighed again. “I meant to, I really did. It’s just every spare moment I had, there was either a bank robbery, a crisis at work or I fell asleep before I could dial the phone. Running a Marathon isn’t nearly as exhausting as taking care of a fussy eight year old and being Gotham’s Dark Knight, I’ll have you know.”

“Where’s Alfred?” Clark asked as walked into the kitchen.

“I sent him to get some sleep,” Bruce replied as he flicked on the lights and slid the bowl into the sink. He turned around to face Clark and leaned heavily against the counter. “Neither of us has been sleeping much. We usually get at least five solid hours after patrol, but it’s been four days and we’re lucky if we just get one.”

“Dick isn’t sleeping well?” Clark asked.

“He’s itchy and hot and wakes up every few minutes. He isn’t tired because he can’t really go out and do anything and he has more extra energy than you could possibly imagine. He’s bored and grumpy and if I have to watch Jungle Book one more time, I’m going to shoot myself.” Bruce rubbed a hand tiredly across his face. His skin was the same pale grey color it had been when he’d called two days ago, only now he had a serious five o’clock shadow and dark circles under his eyes.

“How about this? I’ll sit with Dick for a few hours while you get some rest and a shower,” Clark offered trying hard not to laugh.

“I’m not about to say no, but I feel that I have to warn you. You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into,” Bruce said ominously.

“Bruce, he’s eight. How bad could it possibly be?” Clark teased.

Bruce just gave him a significant look and led him back upstairs.

^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^

Three huge bowls of ice cream, six tedious hands of Go Fish, and found rounds of Battleship later, Clark was ready to admit that Bruce had a point about eight year olds. Sometimes they really were more exhausting than super villains. Clark was starting to understand a little better what made Dick such a good side kick.

They were in the middle of a fifth round a Battleship when Bruce came back into the room looking better than he had a few hours ago. He’d shaven, washed, eaten and gotten at least two hours of sleep from the look of him. He was wearing a pair of sweat pants and still looked a little wan, but he was much improved over all.

Bruce smiled the minute he saw the expression of what must have been relief on Clark’s face.

“See what I mean?” he asked and walked over to give Dick a quick kiss on the forehead. He sat down on the big bed next to Dick and looked down into the red spotted face and asked, “Did you have fun?”

Dick crinkled his nose. “To be honest, for a guy with x-ray vision, Clark isn’t very good at Go Fish.”

Bruce shot Clark an amused look.

“That’s what we call ‘cheating’ in my house,” Clark said haughtily.

“Here we call it a ‘tactical advantage’,” Dick countered, saying the last two words as if he’d memorized them specifically.

“I’m starting to suspect that you may be a bad influence on him,” Clark said with faux concern.

“That’s what I keep you around for. The moral fiber,” Bruce replied with a smug smile.

Dick finally fell asleep somewhere in the middle of the third round of Candy Land. Bruce wasn’t far behind him. Clark picked up the scattered pieces and packed the game away before slipping onto the bed on the other side of Dick to rest his eyes for a few minutes.

There was no way in hell he could fly home right now. He was pretty sure the color saturation from the board game had burned his retinas a little. Clark closed his eyes, fully intending to rest them for a few minutes before he headed back to Metropolis for what was left of the night.

^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^

Clark woke to the sound of a metal tray clattering softly as Alfred set it down gently on the night table next to Dick’s bed. Bruce was still there next to him, sleeping deeply. Clark sat up abruptly as he realized that Dick was notably absent.

“Dick-“ he began when Alfred cut him off with a quiet voice.

“Master Dick is about to take a bath. I’ll thank you to keep your voice down,” Alfred nodded towards Bruce’s still sleeping form. Clark nodded back and Alfred slipped back out the door, presumably to put Dick into the tub.

Clark reached for the coffee pot on the tray and poured himself a cup.

Bruce groaned next to him on the bed.

“Please tell me that we’re on a deserted island in Hawaii and that this past week has all been nothing more than a horrible dream,” Bruce begged plaintively.

“No, none of that is true. There is, however, a large pot of coffee and some toast.”

Bruce rubbed his eyes and sat up. “I suppose that will have to do. Alfred has Dick?”

Clark hummed affirmatively around a mouthful of toast.

Bruce glanced at the alarm clock on Dick’s shelf as he reached over Clark and poured himself a mug of coffee. It read eight o’clock.

“What time do you have to be at work?” he asked.

Clark shrugged. “There’s a meeting around ten, so sometime before that.”

They both sipped their coffee in appreciative silence for a few minutes before Bruce spoke again.

“Thank you, for helping with Dick yesterday,” Bruce said quietly. “Alfred and I both needed a rest.”

“Not a problem. I do have skills other than punching large comets out of the way of Earth’s orbit, you know.”

Bruce smiled smugly. “Go Fish, however, apparently isn’t one of them.”

“I’m not going to cheat against an eight year old,” Clark said indignantly.

Bruce laughed into his coffee cup.

“Besides, you’re not particularly good at Candy Land,” Clark pointed out.

Bruce put his mug back on the tray. “That game is pure chance, no skill at-- Oh God, we’re arguing about Candy Land,” he covered his face with his hands as Clark laughed. “I think I really do need that vacation in Hawaii,” he moaned plaintively.

“I think we both might,” Clark said, still laughing. “I know a good snorkeling spot.”

Bruce shot him a speculative look. “Think we could pawn Dick off on Alfred for a few days and play Justice League hooky?”

Clark grinned at him. “We could tell them that we’re working undercover,” Clark ventured.

“No one will ever suspect,” Bruce agreed.

^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^

Clark did manage to get into work before the meeting started, but just barely. He stopped by the Manor every day or so for the rest of the week to help Bruce out and try to prove he wasn’t nearly as bad at Go Fish as he had been the first night.

Three days after Dick’s pock marks had scabbed over Clark got a large yellow envelope in the mail. There were two brochures inside, one for a fancy hotel that over looked the beach. The other was for snorkeling tours. At the very bottom of the envelope were a note and a room key.

The note read simply:


Kilgore Trout and his good friend Billy Pilgrim have saved up for years to go on a snorkeling trip in Hawaii. Sounds like a good puff piece, don’t you think, Mr. Pilgrim?


Clark smiled as he read through the note a second time before his concentration was broken by the sound of Perry’s voice calling for him over the sounds in the office.

“Kent! Pack for Hawaii. You know a guy named Trout?”

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
aravistarkheena
Sep. 24th, 2008 11:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much. I'm glad you enjoyed it. :D
genclay
Sep. 24th, 2008 09:26 pm (UTC)
Sweet, warm and really feel good. A trully fine bit of fluff :D
aravistarkheena
Sep. 24th, 2008 11:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I'm glad you liked it. :D
cmer
Sep. 24th, 2008 09:30 pm (UTC)
LOL!! Aww, poor little Dicky has the chicken pox! And picturing Clark and Bruce playing Candy Land is so hysterical. I can definitely see why this won gold for best fluff and best short story, it was really sweet. *hugs* Congrats!
aravistarkheena
Sep. 24th, 2008 11:20 pm (UTC)
Hahaha, that icon is the cutest :D

I love the image of Bruce playing children's games. It makes me smile. :D

*hugs back* Thanks. The contest was fun.
darthbatgirl
Sep. 24th, 2008 10:50 pm (UTC)
The only thing cuter than Bruce and Clark playing Candyland is them arguing over playing Candyland. This was outstanding. Wonderful job.
aravistarkheena
Sep. 24th, 2008 11:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it. It was a lot of fun to write. :D
museofspeed
Sep. 25th, 2008 06:39 pm (UTC)
Hee. So cute! I bet Clark's problem is that Dick doesn't hesitate to use "tactical advantages."
aravistarkheena
Sep. 26th, 2008 12:10 am (UTC)
*sighs* That's ALWAYS Clark's problem with the Bats.
museofspeed
Sep. 26th, 2008 12:39 am (UTC)
Winning's important! I don't know why Clark doesn't get it!
tmelange
Sep. 25th, 2008 08:31 pm (UTC)
This was perfectly sweet. I had a smile on my face by the end that was ear to ear. Bravo!
aravistarkheena
Sep. 26th, 2008 12:11 am (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed it.
saavikam77
Sep. 29th, 2008 07:54 pm (UTC)
Awwwwww!!! XD This was absolutely adorable! I love wee!Dick and his insistence that X-Ray vision is a tactical advantage. :p And the trip to Hawaii!! :D The boys need that so much. :)

*applauds*
faile_neume
Feb. 11th, 2009 03:02 pm (UTC)
Aww! Really lovely. I like happy Bruce before Frank Miller ruined him *glares at miller* but your awesome!bruce is awesome. I also loved the exchange between Dick and Clark.

"Here we call it a ‘tactical advantage’"

Win!
aravistarkheena
Feb. 11th, 2009 09:36 pm (UTC)
Bruce is great. I love happy, well-adjusted Bruce. Especially when he's being a good daddy. <3
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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