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Fic: Bruises; Bruce/Clark; Rish

Title: Bruises
Author: Aravis Tarkheena
Pairing: Bruce/Clark; aka Superman/Batman
Rating: Rish
Warnings: Violence, blood, angst
Disclaimer: Not mine, everyone's legal
Word Count: 1,000 or so
Author's Notes: Um, I got nothing.


Bruce was sitting on the edge of his elaborate tub when Clark slipped through his ornate bathroom door. A single bloody handprint stood out in stark contrast to the pure white enamel. Bruce’s body was slightly contorted as he stretched backwards in an effort to place a butterfly stitch on his lower back.

Clark glared worriedly at Bruce’s clumsy hands before he reached forward and took small piece of fabric away from.

“Let me do that,” he snipped and the annoyance and anger he felt were both clear in his voice. “Where’s Alfred?”

“Bed,” was the terse reply.

Clark peeled the plastic covering from the adhesive side of the stitch and looked at the cut on the small of Bruce’s back.

“You need to hold the two sides of the skin together before you put it on,” Bruce supplied helpfully.

Clark shuddered inwardly and bit his lip, glad that Bruce was turned away from him and couldn’t see the expression on his face.

Bruce’s back was visibly knotted with pain, tightly corded muscle made visible lumps across his shoulders. There was a plethora of brush burns and shallow cuts criss-crossing the white bumps of old scar tissue. Blood and dirt were smeared across the skin of Bruce’s back and tissue fluid oozed clear as sap from the harshly abraded skin.

The worst part of the whole mess, the part that Clark could never seem cope with, were dark purpling bruises scattered across Bruce’s back. Some were partially hidden by the dirt and the blood, but they were still clearly visible. Clark could see the blood seeping from broken blood vessels and raising to Bruce’s pale skin.

Bruce bruised like no one Clark had ever known. His skin was so light that the slightest bruise was visible for what seemed like weeks. Clark could only watch as virulent purple faded to a painful blue, then a horrid green and last a sickly yellow.

The bruises faded, unlike the scars, but they had a more terrifying effect on Clark. Scars were old, they happened in the past. Old pain was easier to process. Clark could argue that Bruce didn’t feel that pain any more. That it all faded and disappeared as the cut scabbed over and the new skin grew around the gashes.

Bruises on the other hand lasted only several days. They were evidence that Bruce wasn’t just hurt in the past, but in the present as well. The pain had been there only days ago, hours ago, minutes ago, right now.

Bruises took away any and all plausible deniability that Bruce wasn’t always in immediate danger.

“What is it?” Bruce’s low voice cut into Clark’s thoughts.

Clark lifted his face to meet Bruce’s eyes and the clear blue color that always made Clark think of clear water and summer skies was clouded by pain and exhaustion.

Taking a deep breath, Clark shook his head and stepped forward. He applied the bandage as he had been instructed. He could feel Bruce wince under his fingers as he pressed the two edges of the cut together. Clark tried not to think about it.

Between the two of them, they got Bruce relatively cleaned up. He was so exhausted when Clark led him out of the bathroom and towards the bed that he stumbled twice. Bruce mumbled something about coming down off of the adrenaline and Clark pretended to believe him as he pulled down Bruce’s expensive sheets. He tried not to hover as Bruce climbed into bed.

When Bruce gave him a sleepily inquiring look, Clark slipped out of his uniform and slid into bed next to Bruce.

“I have a meeting tomorrow at eight,” Clark warned. “I can’t oversleep.”

Bruce just hummed in acknowledgment and rolled over to rest his head against Clark’s shoulder. He was asleep in a matter of minutes, the pained hitch in his breathing smoothing out as sleep overtook him.

Clark had left the window and the curtains open when he slipped inside Bruce’s room this evening and the moon had set far enough that Clark could see it framed in the widow from where he lay.

The light shone in through the parted curtains making everything seem like a silvery grey color. Bruce’s carpet, his drapes, his nightstand, his sheets were all a silvery monochrome in the weak light, only marred by the dark smudges of the shadows cast by the furniture.

They reminded Clark eerily of the bruises littered across Bruce’s back.

It was easy, most of the time, to kid himself that the people he loved most were safe. Clark was lucky in that he never really had to worry about his own safety, but he was pretty sure he made up for it in worrying double about the safety of the people he cared about. His parents lived on a remote farm and all he had to worry about where they were concerned was his father’s habit of working a little too hard. Lois’ father had a tracking device in her cell phone from day one and while she often went looking for trouble, she had the good sense to run away when it found her.

But with Bruce it was all much harder. Bruce called his bluff. When Bruce found trouble, he dived right in.

Admittedly, it was one of the things that Clark loved about Bruce. He had courage and inner strength that other people could only dream of.

That didn’t make the reality of what he was doing any less terrifying.

His courage didn’t heal over his scars. His integrity didn’t set broken bones. His passion didn’t help the bruises fade any quicker.

Clark took a deep breath and closed his eyes. He could smell Bruce all around him. The scent of Bruce and blood and antiseptic assailed his nostrils and Clark shifted, pulling Bruce more tightly into his arms.

Clark tried not to think about the blood, the bandages and antiseptic. Clark tried hard to focus on anything else and Bruce's strong heart beat echoed loudly in Clark’s ears.

Clark reached a hand down and ran it lightly across Bruce’s broad, muscular back.

Clark could almost swear he could feel the bruises hot and purple underneath his fingers.

He swallowed hard and pulled Bruce in close.

“You need to be more careful, Bruce,” Clark whispered, his voice echoing in the empty room.

Bruce just murmured slightly in his sleep and pressed his face into Clark’s neck.

Clark sighed and willed the dull panicky ache in the middle of his chest to fade.

He wasn’t sure he would be able to sleep tonight.

A/N: Way to be emo, Clark. >:O


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 25th, 2008 02:10 am (UTC)
oh, wow! this is *excellent*!! the images are so strong, and the emotions so powerful throughout. Well done!!
Sep. 25th, 2008 02:51 am (UTC)
Thank you. I'm glad you liked it.
Sep. 25th, 2008 02:13 am (UTC)
Aww! I could see Clark worrying this much over his loved ones, and especially Bruce with his constant danger. :(

I like the way you had Clark thinking about the bruises versus scars. Very insightful!
Sep. 25th, 2008 02:51 am (UTC)
Poor emo Clark. :(
Sep. 25th, 2008 02:30 am (UTC)
Oh, oh poor Brucie with all those bruises and scars! (My favorite kind of Brucie... XD) And I'm so happy to be getting a wonderful hurt/comfort fic before bedtime too, so thanks for posting this. *hugs*
Sep. 25th, 2008 02:51 am (UTC)
*hugs back* I feel so bad for both of them. :(

I'm glad you liked it. Sleep well. :DD
Sep. 25th, 2008 03:03 am (UTC)
Awwwww, Emo!Clark is so adorably maudlin. Way to go, Clark. ^^

Can't say I've ever thought of bruises as more terrifying than scars, but I can see Clark's point here. Poor Bruce. As someone who bruises ridiculously easily myself, I can understand the aggravation that might cause.
Sep. 25th, 2008 03:45 am (UTC)
I actually started this story almost exactly one year ago. It was Bruce's POV originally and it was in the Cave and not in Bruce's bathroom.

I have no S/B icons. :(
Sep. 25th, 2008 09:32 am (UTC)
Beautiful, strong images :) Lovely bit of Clark POV

I bruise like that :/ when they fade they go through every colour of the rainbow.
Sep. 26th, 2008 12:09 am (UTC)
Thank you. I'm glad you liked it :D
Sep. 25th, 2008 08:36 pm (UTC)
There's such a sense of strength and frailty about this vignette. It's very well-crafted. Bravo.
Sep. 26th, 2008 12:09 am (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Sep. 25th, 2008 09:46 pm (UTC)
Nicely done. Loved the way you combine all the elements here - love, hurt, angst, strength into this. Kudos!
Sep. 26th, 2008 12:10 am (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it. :D
Sep. 27th, 2008 12:17 am (UTC)
I loved this so, so much. You write the most wonderful fluff ("Go Fish" totally blew me away!) and then this!

The image of the bloody handprint on the white enamel made me gasp out loud right at the beginning. Wow. And the difference in emotional impact between the scars and the fresh bruises on Clark was totally heartbreaking.

His courage didn’t heal over his scars. His integrity didn’t set broken bones. His passion didn’t help the bruises fade any quicker.

That's such a beautiful, stark line...it captures everything that makes Bruce awesome and terrifying at the same time.

I really, really love that none of this seems to faze Bruce in the least, but it shakes Clark to his core. That seems so true to their personalities.

This was gorgeous, I loved it.
Oct. 5th, 2008 05:07 am (UTC)
Oh, Clark!! Such a woobie here. I love how concrened, nay, *terrified* he is of what those bruises represent.

Mar. 1st, 2009 07:15 am (UTC)
Oh man. This is wonderful - the theme resonated, and your Clark voice is fantastic.
Apr. 26th, 2009 08:43 pm (UTC)
Want to hug both tightly. Very good story.
Apr. 28th, 2009 03:18 am (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it. <3
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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