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Title: It May Well Be…
Author: Aravis Tarkheena omg I’m not dead :O
Pairing: Bruce/Clark
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Slash, AU, boy-kissing, violence, angsty-Bruce
Disclaimer: Not mine, bitches. Everyone is of age. Honestly.
Word Count: 2,600ish
Author’s Notes: For WFGE prompt F37: AU fic where Clark didn’t get his powers after the whole 52/OYL thing (and somehow divorces Lois amicably). Clark’s work of exposing crime lords gets him into trouble with Intergang and when Bruce comes back from his trip he’s already missing.

It well may be that in a difficult hour,
pinned down by need and moaning for release
or nagged by want past resolution's power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It may well be. I do not think I would.

-St. Vincent Mallay

It May Well Be…

Between raising three boys, leading several superhero teams and the normal everyday dangers that come part and parcel with living in Gotham City, Bruce had grown terrifyingly accustomed to panicked phone calls. He got one at least three times a month. Either Nightwing had been shot, Robin had been kidnapped or aliens were invading somewhere for no discernable reason. Alfred rarely even bothered to lift a sardonic brow in response to the recordings, anymore.

Therefore, when Bruce slumped through his bedroom door, cell phone pressed to one ear, he didn’t even bat an eye at the frantic breathing he heard for several seconds on the other end.

He was shrugging out of his winkled business suit when he realized whose voice was on the recording.

“Bruce, it’s Lois. Clark went out to look into some leads on Intergang for a column and he hasn’t gotten back yet. He said he would call me three hours ago and he’s not picking up his cell and not at his apartment. I can’t find him anywhere. Do you know where he is? Did he get to Fortress somehow?” Lois’ voice was shrill with panic and worry.

Bruce checked the time stamp on the voice mail and saw that Lois had called about an hour and a half ago. He pulled on a pair of sweatpants and dialed Lois as he made his way downstairs to the Batcave.

Lois rarely called him. It wasn’t that they were on bad terms, it was just that they both seemed to feel like they should be.

Lois and Clark had agreed, shortly after he’d lost his powers and nearly his life during the last Crisis, that Clark wasn’t the same person he was when they married. Both of them had trouble coping with the changes in Clark’s life and subsequently, via their marriage, the changes in Lois’ life as well.

They had finally agreed, after several months of dancing around the subject, that it would be best for them to go their separate ways and try to sort out their lives as individuals, rather than as a couple. When Bruce and his boys had returned from their trip, Clark and Lois had already quietly divorced.

Clark, who had lost the main source of emotional support he had – not including his parents – had turned to Bruce.

Bruce, who had been forcibly made accustomed to people changing and growing in different directions by his three boys, didn’t have as much trouble coming to terms with Clark’s shift in demeanor and priorities. In fact, he was the one who suggested that Clark use his investigative reporting as a more aggressive outlet for keen sense of justice and Clark had certainly taken that suggestion to heart.

It was about six months after the divorce that Bruce and Clark had ended up in bed together. Bruce had picked Clark up from Metropolis and brought him back to the Cave one weekend for some help with an investigation he was doing into Intergang.

They had a few beers over the paper work Tim had collected for Bruce before he left for the Titans Tower and one thing led to another. They were woken up the next morning by a silent Tim who raised a pointed eyebrow before lightly kissing Bruce ‘hello’ on the forehead and slipping blithely out of Bruce’s bedroom and across the hall into his own.

Clark had been slightly mortified.

Bruce had been slightly amused.

Things between them had taken off, almost without a hitch, from there.

Lois, after some initial shock, had accepted their relationship pretty readily. She was currently casually dating a professional baseball player from the Metropolis Monarchs. There was almost no animosity between the three of them.

Still, there was a certain strangeness inherent in the whole thing that made his contact with Lois infrequent and rather strained.

Despite it all, she picked up on the first ring when he called.

“Bruce?” her voice was much higher than usual.

“He call you yet?” Bruce asked brusquely.

“No, not yet. I’ve called the cops, but they said they can’t do anything until he’s been gone for more than a day. They promised to look out for him though,” she was babbling and the worry was clear in her voice.

Bruce walked up to the computer banks and flipped on the screens.

“I’m calling up his tracking device right now?”

“His what?” she asked shrilly.

“He agreed to let me put a GPS in his cell phone,” Bruce answered shortly as he opened the GPS program on his desktop and called up the Metropolis map. As it loaded, he crossed the room and grabbed a clean uniform. He beeped his cell onto speaker phone and began to suit up.

“Did you find him, yet?” she asked, impatiently.

Bruce looked up from a set of clasps as Clark’s icon flashed to life on the computer screen.

“Got him. I’ll be in Metropolis in forty five minutes-“ he said, but she interrupted him before he could finish.

“Forty-five minutes is-“ she started in.

“No,” he shot back firmly. “Do not go look for him. Do not leave your house. Call me if the cops get a hold of you.”

She was reluctantly agreeing as he beeped the remote on his belt to slide the top off of the Batwing

“I’ve got to go. I’ll call you the minute I find him,” he hung up.

He flew too fast and made it there in thirty-five minutes. He had called up the GPS program on the screen in the Batwing. As he rounded several buildings as he neared the spot where Clark’s flickering icon indicated he’d be Bruce caught sight of flashing red and white lights reflecting off the sides of the buildings.

His stomach dropped out and his skin went cold and he knew with a chilling certainty it was Clark.

Bruce landed the jet on top of a building about a block away from the concentration of cops. He came up in an alley behind the mess. There were three police cruisers and an ambulance on the street the alley fed into. He caught sight of Clark sitting in the back doorway of the ambulance.

Relief crashed through him and Bruce allowed himself to slump briefly against the alley wall. He took several deep breaths and watched Clark from where he stood.

He seemed fine. He held his left shoulder stiffly and there was a dark smudge on his right cheek bone. No blood, no casts, no frantic looking medics.

Bruce pushed off the wall and wended his way through several back alleys before climbing into a fire escape just above where the ambulance was parked. Clark was alone.

“Clark,” he called softly.

Clark started and twisted his head sharply in Bruce’s direction, he smiled when he caught sight of Bruce and there was relief in his eyes. That smile made something twist in Bruce’s chest and his breathing felt tight.

“Hey,” he whispered back up.

“What happened?” Bruce asked and looked up to find the medics speaking seriously to two of the police officers.

“Followed a planted lead, and a couple of Intergang goons nabbed me. I managed to get away and a cop Lois and I know saw me trying to get away and picked me up,” he explained shortly.

Bruce nodded. “Did they hurt you?”

“Roughed me up a little,” Clark said in a wry voice. “Remind me to thank Tim later for those escape pointers.”

Bruce allowed himself a slight smile. “He’s frighteningly good at them. Now, what did they look like?”

Clark gave him a quick description of the men that had grabbed him as Bruce made mental notes. Just ask Clark finished the two medics turned from the cops they were speaking to and walked back over to Clark.

“If you’re not feeling any residual dizziness, Officer Morgan has offered to drive you back to the station so you can make a statement,” one of the medics said, distractedly.

“Thanks so much for all your help,” Clark gushed and hopped down from the back of the truck. He shook the hands of both the medics and thanked them again.

He threw a quick smile back to Bruce as he walked over one of the officers.

Bruce watched him talking with a man who he assumed was Officer Morgan as he dialed Lois and assured her that he had found Clark and everything was just fine. She told him to tell Clark to call her when he was done with the police.

Bruce waited until Clark slipped into the police cruiser with Officer Morgan before dialing his number.

“Hey,” Clark answered.

Bruce told Clark to call Lois and suggested he let a cop escort him home and check out his house. Clark agreed and Bruce promised to drop by after he spent some time looking around for the men who grabbed Clark.

He searched the area for almost two hours before calling it quits and making his way across town to Clark’s apartment.

Clark was asleep when Bruce slipped through his bedroom window around two in the morning. Exhaustion was dogging his heels and he was almost certain that he had enough lactic acid in his muscles to take out the entire United States’ Olympic Track Team. It had been a long night of fear, fury and futility and Bruce felt almost numb with it all.

Clark was lying in bed, his chest bare. His skin was painted a silvery white by the moonlight streaming in through the window, a marked contrast to the sheets that draped loosely over him. They were navy blue but they looked almost black in the darkly shadowed room and his skin fairly glowed in the faint light. One hand was pressed against his tilted forehead while the other trailed enticingly below the bed sheets.

Bruce took several moments to just watch Clark sleeping from across the room. The cold chill of panic that hadn’t quite left his chest from the moment Lois called was finally being dispelled by Clark’s physical presence in the room. Bruce took a deep breath and started removing his uniform.

He padded naked over to the bed when he was done, reveling in the feel of Clark’s slightly itchy carpeting underneath his feet as he made his way over to his side of Clark’s bed. Bruce slipped into the bed and Clark shifted sleepily and came partially awake.

He immediately rolled over and threw an arm across Bruce’s chest, laying a soft kiss on Bruce’s neck, he pressed a cheek into his shoulder and yawned.

“I didn’t hear you come in. I was going to wait up for you, but I fell right to sleep for some reason…” Clark murmured softly.

“It’s the adrenaline. I’m just coming down off of it too,” Bruce responded and lifted a hand to run his fingers soothingly through Clark’s hair.

“Did you find anything?”

Bruce sighed. “No, but I’m going to put some feelers out tomorrow, ask some questions.”

Clark ‘mmmed’ softly into the skin of Bruce’s shoulder and nuzzled him thankfully.

“I think I might spend some time here with you in Metropolis. I don’t think you should alone, at least for the next few days. Who knows what else they have planned?” Bruce said, hoping he could get Clark to agree with this now, so he had a leg to stand on tomorrow when Clark was more awake and more willing to argue the point.

Clark just ‘mmmmed’ again before asking, “What about Tim?”

“I called him earlier and told him what happened. He was the one who pointed out that you probably shouldn’t be alone for a few days. He suggested that you come to Wayne Manor, but I think we’d have a better chance of solving the problem altogether if we both stayed here and worked things out,” Bruce explained.

“Smart kid, you’ve got,” Clark teased.

“Don’t I know it,” he smiled back.

Clark yawned again and dropped a light kiss to Bruce’s jaw line.

“We’ll talk tomorrow,” he assured Bruce lifted a hand to pat Bruce reassuringly on the chest.

Unfortunately, Bruce didn’t feel reassured.

The hand pressed to his chest was scraped and rough from brush burns and the cheek that wasn’t pressed into his shoulder was darkly bruised. Bruce felt his throat tighten.

One of the reasons that Bruce had allowed his friendship with Clark to deepen so much over the past few years was the scientific reality that Clark was almost perfectly invulnerable. No one could kill the man without serious scheming. As Bruce had a handle on almost all the kryptonite on Earth in some capacity or another, he was fairly certain that if any one made a concerted effort to kill his friend, he would have known about it well in advance.

That nigh invulnerability had made Bruce over confidant emotionally. Sure, Clark occasionally got hurt in the past, but all it usually took was a quick trip to the sun and he would be good as new.

Tim, Dick and Jay were almost always covered in cuts and bruises. He had stitched his boys back together, set their broken bones, bandaged and bathed the blood from their bodies. He hated to see them hurt, but he had long since resigned himself to the reality that they would be.

However, with Clark, Bruce had a hard time even coming to terms with the reality that Clark could be hurt.

It was shocking to see his skin bruised, it gave Bruce pause to see him bleed or cough or sniffle.

Now they were both vulnerable and Bruce was already in too deep to save himself.

He loved Clark. Deeply and dearly.

He loved the man Clark used to be and the man that he had become. He loved Clark’s devotion, his perseverance, his stubborn adherence to his principles.

A few months after Bruce had adopted Dick he realized that he loved him. As Dick grew up, Bruce always thought that he could never love the boy more than he did and every day, every month, every year, he loved Dick more and more and more. The same thing happened with Tim and Jay. He watched them all grow into men he respected, admired and loved.

The same thing was true for Clark. Lois had been right. Clark wasn’t the same person he had been years ago, he was different. He had changed, but he had changed into a man that Bruce could admire just as much as he admired Superman.

Bruce pressed a kiss to the top of Clark’s head, burying his face in soft, dark, wavy locks.

While Clark could no longer stop a volcano or an earthquake, he still spent every day saving the world in his own indomitable way.

And Bruce loved him for it.

A/N: Wikipedia informs me that it is not, in fact, lactic acid that makes ones’ muscles sore. My eight grade health teacher is a dirty dirty liar. >:(

Also, I like this set up, it’s fun. I might write a sequel. Which will also include Bruce snuggles.

A girl has to have priorities.

On another note, I’d like to thank whoever it was who nominated me for the WFA. It was very kind of you and I’m glad that you enjoyed my story so much. <33


( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 18th, 2009 03:47 am (UTC)
awww! you did such a great job with this. :) It's nice to see the evolution in their relationship - and there's a good insight into Bruce's thoughts about that. Very interesting view, actually. :)

And...and..sequel, you said? yes? please! :)
Jan. 18th, 2009 10:27 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it.
Jan. 18th, 2009 04:40 am (UTC)
Sequel? Yes! ;)

Good progression of Bruce's thoughts about his boys and Clark's new vulnerability.

And I liked the way Lois and Bruce worked things out, too. Civilized! :)

LOL about Alfred not even commenting anymore about phone messages! ;)
Jan. 18th, 2009 10:28 pm (UTC)
Poor Bruce and Lois, they just don't know what to do with each other. :D

Jan. 18th, 2009 09:04 am (UTC)
I like this very much and would love to see it continued! Bruce's shock and anguish at Clark's vulnerability is coupled so sweetly with his respect and admiration for Clark's inner strength, it makes me glow to read it.

Also, I like your Lois a lot. I like how she's still possessive of Clark and a part of his life despite it all. They've shared far too much to ever become strangers to each other.
Jan. 18th, 2009 10:29 pm (UTC)
I agree. There's no way that, even if they divorce, they could be out of each other's lives. They would have to still be friends. And let's face it, they were 'just friends' for awhile before they were lovers, they can do it again.

I'm glad that you enjoyed the story.
Jan. 18th, 2009 10:02 am (UTC)
This is perfect! Like everyone said I like seeing Bruce's preoccupation with the new vulnerable Clark yet still respecting and admiring the fact that even without his powers he still tries to do good.

Also Clark being very nonchalant about the whole thing, it's so him to not want others to worry and I thought it was cool how you had him know some fighting moves (learned from Tim which is awesome).

And please do a sequel I would really like that a lot.
Jan. 18th, 2009 10:31 pm (UTC)
I usually write Tim and Clark as being rather antagonistic toward each other. I really liked writing them as friends in this. It was actually my favorite part.

I'm glad you liked it.
Jan. 18th, 2009 05:57 pm (UTC)
Aww, this was so sweet! I loved that Bruce can still love Clark without his powers, still love the man he's become now. His worry over Clark is contagious; we're all so used to his powers that it's easy to forget he can get hurt without them, poor Clark! I hope to see this continued someday. I can't wait! :)

*hugs* I'm so happy you're back! Sorry I left so many messages, I got pretty worried about you when you didn't "return" from the busy holiday season.
Jan. 18th, 2009 10:35 pm (UTC)
Ugh, it's terrible because I'm working on this hugely epic Tim/Bernard and I've been trying to focus on getting that out for the past few weeks. But this story is tempting me so much. It's such a great set up. I want to move Clark to Gotham and have him work at the paper there and I want him to move into Wayne Manor and get along well with Timmy and help Bruce with his cases and have him become this super awesome detective. I'm terrible.

Sorry I've been so hard to get a hold of. I've been preoccupied with things. RL has been shitty but I don't really want to get into it here. I'm thinking of making this my fandom journal only and starting a private journal. Everything's getting too mixed up.
Jan. 21st, 2009 05:20 am (UTC)
Aww, that sounds so sweet! Take your time with your Tim/Bernard fic, I can wait patiently. :)

I can understand that life's been hectic for you to update, I'm just thankful you updated and that you're okay. I hope everything's going okay for you at home right now. How is your brother doing?
Jan. 18th, 2009 11:00 pm (UTC)
I like the idea that you don't spend too much time with the boring, "Here's why he doesn't have his powers" stuff. Nobody really cares WHY his powers are gone: We care about how Bruce reacts to the sight of him all beat up. :)

It is such a nice idea! Thanks for sharing this!
Jan. 21st, 2009 10:44 pm (UTC)
I'm glad that you liked it! :D
Jan. 19th, 2009 02:43 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed this story very much. I love just how protective Bruce is of Clark, yet allows him to do his job and not hamper him. I hope you'll continue with a sequel.
Jan. 21st, 2009 10:45 pm (UTC)
I'm glad that you enjoyed the story.

I took some notes for a sequel this afternoon. We'll see how it comes together.
Feb. 3rd, 2009 12:22 am (UTC)
Late feedback is late! but.. here!

Which will also include Bruce snuggles.

A girl has to have priorities.

Hell yeah. That's my kind of priorities :P

I really liked this story! I love the opening paragraph, how Bruce has learned to deal with panicked phone calls and takes it in a stride. That, and how he's used to -if pained by- the pain of his boys speaks volumes about the life they lead, full of danger but also of very close relationships and trust. I love how you depict the Batfamily :)

Bruce, who had been forcibly made accustomed to people changing and growing in different directions by his three boys, didn’t have as much trouble coming to terms with Clark’s shift in demeanor and priorities.

I love that line. It's Bruce-the-father and Bruce-the-detective in all it's glorious sweet badassery. Adaptable! that's what the bat has to be. Sure, he's bull headed, but he's not rigid 'there will be no change here'. Such approach would never work with a life like his. He bends with the wind and keeps course. I love him for it, and you make it patent with beautiful and warm details like this. I love the way he kind of.. wraps around Clark's new status and their new relationship and takes it from there, without too much hassle. I really enjoyed their dynamics :3
Feb. 3rd, 2009 08:48 pm (UTC)
Late reply to feedback is late, so no worries. I had a crazy weekend and all my comments piled up. D:

Bruce snuggles should always be a priority. Always.

I'm glad you enjoyed the story. Was this your request? I hate the secret santa thing because I never know who I'm writing for.

I think Bruce has learned that he can't be rigid. He tried it with Dick and it didn't work. He tried it with Jay and it didn't work. Tim didn't even give the guy a chance to try it.

I think at this point he must have realized that he needs to be adaptable, not just in combat, but in life as well.

I'm glad you enjoyed the story. Thanks for the awesome feedback.
Feb. 16th, 2009 02:40 am (UTC)
It was sadly not my request, though with such an awesome story, I wish it had been! I hate it when the recipient of the story doesn't make itself known too. I don't like being in a limbo.. you can always ask damos who it was!
Feb. 13th, 2009 02:00 am (UTC)
Awwwww... This was so sweet. I love Bruce's ever-growing love and devotion to Clark, vulnerability and dogged determination and all. ^_^
Feb. 13th, 2009 06:30 am (UTC)
When Bruce loves someone, it's forever. I suspect it's a common trait among poor little orphan boys. :(
May. 31st, 2009 09:55 pm (UTC)
awww love Bruce's devotion to Clark this was sooooooo sweet and it nice to see how protective Bruce thanx for sharing
May. 31st, 2009 10:17 pm (UTC)
I'm glad that you liked it. :D
Feb. 19th, 2010 01:47 am (UTC)
Great story! The idea of Clark loosing his powers is very enticing. Bruce's handling of it was perfect.
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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