So– Chicken gave me this notions carrier for an EARLY birthday present and I love it SO MUCH! It’s small, so basically some scissors, a tape measure, and some yarn needles–or I could use it in my purse for small items– either or.
And it also put me in the mind for–you guessed it!
Now I just showed a friend my collection and I’ve promised to pull this all together and give it an edit, so know that’s happening, right? But in the meantime, I’ve got some Super-Angst to share with y’all– enjoy!
* * *
The building came down.
Well, not all the way down–Superman was holding most of the thing on his back and waiting for Batman to get up after he’d been knocked against the wall by the blast.
Not this again.
Three years. Batman had recovered from the Mad Bomber three years ago, and they’d had three years together and they’d been great. Fucking blissful. Best years Clark Kent had ever lived, including an idyllic childhood in fucking Kansas.
And another bomb–this one made to look like a terrorist threat by a monster corporation–and Bruce got there in time to clear the building, but he’d refused to leave–had, in fact, been about to go find the bomb and diffuse it when Superman had stopped that shit and flew him out of the fucking building because he had some sense.
And the bomb had gone off and the building had tumbled, knocking them both to the ground. Clark landed at Bruce’s still form and caught the fucking tilting building on his back.
And now Bruce wasn’t moving. And Clark was stuck.
“Uh… Clark?” Diana sounded in his coms. “We’re all out here waiting and you are?”
“On the ground on the west side,” Clark told her. “Bruce is down.”
“Explain down?” Diana said, sounding panicked. “I’m coming over–“
“Tell her no,” Bruce said groggily. He rolled over onto his back and squinted, and Clark saw the blood gushing through his nose. Fuck.
“Concussion?” Clark asked. He’d tried to hold on–but Bruce had struggled to get out of his arms and Clark had run into a tumbling pillar and–fuck.
“Yes,” Bruce mumbled, heaving to a sitting position. “YOu’re going to kill yourself holding that thing. We gotta figure out how to get you unstuck.”
“Lay. Down.” Clark was going to kill him. “Barry will come get you–“
“Barry’s in another dimension tracking the business owner,” Diana said tersely. “Hal’s with him. The Hawks are on the other side of the world, Teen Titans are in California–it’s us. Here. What do you need?”
“I”m trapped,” Bruce said, looking around. Parts of the building had collapsed around them–he wasn’t far wrong. “He lets go, the whole thing comes down. He tries to carry me, we both get crushed–except I don’t have a crush proof container. We need a way to keep me safe while he lets the building go down, and then he can come get me.”
“That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,” Clark said calmly, but inside he was panicking. He couldn’t hold the building much longer. He couldn’t. Oh fuck–he couldn’t. Even if he threw himself on top of Bruce, Bruce would still be crushed.
“Can’t you guys do that… that quantum resonance thing that Clark does during se–“
“NO!” they both burst out, and Bruce put a palm to a probably aching head under his helmet.
“It only works during that specific moment,” Bruce said. “And I don’t think either of us can do that right now.”
He turned off his com and winked at Clark because he was an asshole. “For one thing, you’d probably rattle my head like an egg in a jar. Kersplat.” He turned his com on before Clark could tell him he was an asshole. “There’s a concrete pillar here,” he said, checking out the debris around them. Big, square, it ran behind Clark’s legs because it had been near the blast and toppled sideways.
“So?” Clark asked, sweat popping out on his brow.
“So there’s space behind it. I’ve got an oxygen tank and armor plates in my cloak. I get down there, cover myself up, and you let the wall topple. Then just get to me before my oxygen runs out.”
“I don’t believe this,” Diana muttered.
Clark’s thigh muscles were beginning to buckle. “We can’t possibly–“
Bruce crawled to right under him and raised up on his knees for an awkward, bloody kiss. “I trust you,” he said calmly. “I’ll be okay.”
And Clark almost cried. “You can’t do this.” Oh God no.
“I can and you can.” Underneath the blood and the mask, Bruce’s attempt to smile looked ghastly. “Come on, Metropolis–don’t let Team Gotham beat you in the home stretch.”
He couldn’t. He couldn’t leave and just let the wall fall and then hope? Hope for the best? But Bruce had disappeared from his line of sight and every sinew of Clark’s body was screaming in pain.
“Go!” Bruce shouted, his voice muffled by what had better be an oxygen mask.
“Fucking go! Diana, lasso him out of here if you have to but make him fucking go!”
“Fucking live!” Clark shouted and then he heaved upright and zoomed out of there.
The sound of the building crashing to the ground behind him was like the crack of the world.
It wasn’t until he turned around and started to heave blocks of rubble out of the way that he realized he didn’t have any idea how much oxygen Bruce had.
“Diana!” he cried. “Do you have X-ray in the fucking jet?”
“Alfred!” The old man carried a monitor on him for times like these. “Alfred, are you there?”
“Do you have any idea how long Batman’s oxygen tank lasts?”
“Ten minutes,” Alfred said promptly. Then, “Sir?”
“We’ve got seven to go.”
The found him after twelve, body still and huddled, bat cloak spread from his head to his toes as he curled under it. His pulse was faint and thready, his respiration shallow. Diana had a spare oxygen tank in the jet and she slid the mask over his face as Clark got ready to take him.
“Batcave?” she asked tersely.
A part of him kept trying to tell him that this wasn’t as bad as the last time had been.
A part of him kept insisting it was worse. This time they had labored. They had fought. They had forged a working and personal relationship out of the strongest, brittlest materials in the world or outer space–Bruce Wayne’s damaged heart and Clark Kent’s adamant soul.
This time he had so much more to lose.
Triage went quickly–he needed fluids and oxygen and a splint for a stress fracture to his exposed leg. No bones popping through skin, thank God, and his concussion didn’t need a hole in his skull either.
But not Mad Bomber bad.
Six weeks in recovery–not four months.
He could deal he could deal he could deal
Clark and Diana were sitting side by side next to his infirmary bed this time when his eyes fluttered open.
“Told you it would work,” he said, trying for a cocky grin. He must have failed because Clark flew away.
Diana rolled her eyes, but she looked haggard and anxious. “I could slap you for that alone.”
Bruce took a deep breath. “I hate that he worries about me.”
“You’re incapacitated, asshole. Of course he worries about you. I worry about you and you irritate me like no man I’ve ever loved.”
Bruce smiled slightly. It was like being a superhero was an invitation to an incest club. Everybody slept with everybody else until you found a configuration that stuck, because sleeping outside the superhero club was an invitation for pain. At least you knew you still had to work with you ex in the club so you tried not to fuck them over too badly.
“Please go get him,” he asked, feeling sad and needy. “I… I heal better with him here.”
Her expression softened and she smoothed back his hair before kissing him on the forehead. “If that doesn’t work for a line I don’t know what will.”
A few moments later Clark came back, wearing Bruce Wayne’s sweats and carrying one of those cursed teddy bears that had been left in their room when Bruce had been sick two years ago.
Bruce allowed himself to smile. “He’s not a good substitute,” he said, since the bear was wearing tights and a cape.
“Yeah, but he’s softer and more comfortable to sleep with.” Clark’s voice sounded fragile somehow. Broken.
“Come here,” Bruce ordered.
Oh, wonderful. “Are we here again?”
“We’re worse than here,” Clark told him. “We’re… we’re beyond here. I could have lost you again and again and again and again and I don’t think my heart can take it. I think I”ll die if I see you lying still again. If I have to hold my breath to see if you’re still breathing. I can’t function. I’m just… I can’t breathe–“
“Sh… sh… c’mere…”
Clark came unglued. Bruce had done it a time or two–the time Clark had fallen from the sky had been the worst, but this… this felt familiar and alien at the same time. He fell forward, onto Bruce’s chest, and Bruce just held him as he shook.
“What’s the matter?” he asked tenderly. “I did all the good things this time, right? I told you where I was, I waited for backup. I trusted that you’d get me. All those things I wouldn’t have done three years ago, they saved my life this time. Right?”
“But what if… what if… what if… I failed!”
He sobbed, and Bruce just kept soothing him until he was done.
“Impossible,” he whispered, kissing his temple. “Not because you’re Superman. But because you love me.”
Clark nodded weakly and Bruce closed his eyes. Sleep. Needed sleep. Needed healing. It would all be better when they healed.
A month later, Clark zoomed in right before dawn and Bruce was waiting for him, pissed off.
He’d been out patrolling–late and later and later– anything so he didn’t have to be there when Bruce was awake and wanting to talk.
It was rude was what it was.
So as Clark touched down in the bedroom and started to undress, Bruce sat upright in bed, obviously scaring the shit out f him.
“Boxer shorts,” Clark said shortly.
“We’re not doing that until–“
“Crutches, Clark. I’ll lie back and you can ride me like a show pony if you want. Or, if you’re feeling charitable, I’ll take a pity blowjob. But you and I are going to make contact tonight if I have to hit you over the head with a crutch!”
Clark sighed and sank onto the bed next to him, hands dangling between his knees. Bruce forcibly grabbed the one nearest and sucked on his finger hard enough to make Clark Kent shake with need, and he didn’t let up until Clark whimpered.
“So you do want me?” he muttered.
“Every minute of every day,” Clark snapped. “Do you want to grope my crotch to see?”
“Sure, if you’re offering! What’s with the disappearing act, Clark. If I didn’t know you were being an emotionally avoidant baby, I’d be hurt! But I trust you, see? Because you’re not full of bullshit, so somehow, this whole ‘Let’s wait until Bruce is asleep before I come in’ shitshow is related to the whole ‘Bruce got hurt and I’m weird about it’ fuckery. What is it? Why are we not sixty-nining like it’s a sport and whining that my ankle isn’t ready yet because you want sex on a trapeze?”
A smile tugged at the corner of Clark’s full mouth. “Sex on a trapeze was your schtick,” he said fondly. “Before me, remember?”
Bruce leaned forward–awkwardly because his leg was still in a cast–and stroked Clark’s cheek. “Talk to me! All of my emotional growth and you can’t be the repressed one here–we need you to talk–“
“Quit. Go up to the Eye-in-the-Sky. Be our commander. Just… just don’t work the field anymore–“
“Get out of my bed and move out,” Bruce growled, smacking him on the back of the head.
“I will not,” Clark snapped, and Bruce would have been reassured if he hadn’t been so pissed.
“Then what in the fuck is that bullshit? Retire? I’m fifty! Nobody retires at fifty! I’ve got fifteen more years–“
“Thirty years on the job,” Clark mocked. “Isn’t that retirement? Near as I can tell, you were running mini-batman jobs when you were a teenager. What’s so wrong with retirement?”
“What’s so wrong with fighting crime?” Bruce was seething. “I like my night job! I like moonlighting as BatMan– don’t you like being Superman? Doesn’t it flip a switch somewhere inside you? What’s wrong with you?”
“Are you going to make me say it?”
“Please–I feel like an asshole when you make me say it!”
“You are an asshole! Fear of losing me is not a good enough reason to ask me to stop being who I am! Who I’m good at being! Jesus, Clark–I wouldn’t ask you to stop being Superman! Or stop working at the Daily Planet! And don’t say that you’re less vulnerable than I am, because we’ve both seen you bleed and we’ve both washed the other’s blood off our skin and we know it’s bullshit!”
“How do I do this?” Clark demanded. “I… a month later, I’m still seeing you, under that wall, and you were so still. And I was almost too late. And I just keep seeing you, not breathing–“
“Then remember when I breathed,” Bruce ordered, voice softening. “Baby… your parents put you in a space ship and sent you into the big black void. How do you think they did that?”
“Their planet was disintegrating–you know th–“
“But how did they do it? Tell you goodbye? They didn’t clutch you to their chest and hope the afterlife was sweet–they had some faith and put you in a little traveling crib and imagined you alive, and grown. And happy. Sometimes, that’s all you can do. Just put your faith in your beloved’s next breath. Come on… Clark. You seem to have so much faith in me, so many other times in our lives. Can’t you have a little faith in this?”
Clark closed his eyes and Bruce too his hand again.
And sucked on his thumb, teasing a little with his teeth.
And tugged. And massaged Clark’s thigh. He released his thumb with a pop. “Now c’mere. I can’t do the trapeze yet, but I’d really like that apology blow job.”
Clark leaned in and kissed him, and oh! His hands on Bruce’s shoulders, making him feel small. Bruce loved that.
“Giving or receiving?” Clark growled into his mouth.
“Reciprocating,” Bruce urged, and Clark chuckled. Then he took off his boxers and got in on his side of the bed, scooting so they were equipment to equipment, exploring softly, licking, stroking, nibbling.
Bruce needed this–so bad. Clark’s cock, his nakedness, his gentle play. Sixty-nine was such a vulnerable position. You did your best, you treated your partner with your best tricks, your gentlest touches, and at the same time you opened yourself up and hoped for the same from them.
Bruce–buzzing from painkillers–hit his crest first, and as he climaxed gently in Clark’s mouth, he gave a sigh of relief.
He’d wondered, these last three years. What was going to break first? Their relationship? His body? Clark’s eternal worry?
He stroked hard and fast, knowing Clark Kent, boy scout, loved a little bit of roughness when he was emotionally wrecked, and Clark responded with a groan and came, hot and bitter.
Bruce swallowed happily.
His body had broken first. Clark’s worry, second.
But their relationship?
That appeared to be stronger than both.
He’d always thought “I love you forever” was hyperbole. But as Clark rearranged himself and Bruce got comfortable on his chest, he thought that maybe it could happen. Maybe death was the breaking point, but maybe, just maybe, it was beyond.