mithen: (Misty Batman)
[personal profile] mithen
A Week of Rain by mithen
Chapters: 2/?
Fandom: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Rating: Mature
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Clark Kent/Bruce Wayne
Characters: Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne
Additional Tags: Amnesia, Resurrection, Romance, Secret Identity, Guilt
Summary:Clark Kent seeks out Bruce Wayne when he is resurrected, but he has no memory of his time as Superman and no powers. Bruce has to deal with an unexpected visitor to his lake house–and his own grief, guilt, and attraction.

Chapter Two (2200 words):

Clark Kent stood in the lake house, the rain dripping off his hair onto the slate floor and making a quiet ticking sound into the silence. He was shivering as if he were cold (his skin had been cold as marble. Bruce had pressed a hasty kiss against his forehead before he could think better of it). He was still wearing the black suit they had buried him in.

Buried him in.

“But you’re--” Bruce started to say. Couldn’t finish.

Clark took a half-step forward, his eyes eager. “Yes?” he said. “Do you know me?”

Bruce couldn’t meet his eyes. He looked at the scar cutting across his cheek instead. The scar Bruce had given him.

“I don’t remember my name,” Clark whispered, and Bruce realized his teeth were chattering. “I’m sorry.”

”Don’t--” Bruce broke off and swallowed. “Sit down,” he said. “I’ll get a blanket.”

Clark took the blanket from him gratefully, then sat in silence as Bruce built up a fire in the fireplace, as if he knew Bruce needed time to collect himself. The tiny flames curled up around the kindling, consuming them. Bruce stared at them.

“Your name is Clark Kent,” he said to the flames. “Does that mean anything to you?”

A long, contemplative silence. Then, heavy with sorrow: “No.”

“Do you remember…” Me, my foot on your throat. Me, taunting your helplessness. Me, dragging you across the ground like a spoil of war. “...anything?”

“I don’t remember anything before waking up in a ditch,” Clark said.

“Then why did you come…” To me. “Here?”

“I… don’t know. I just knew that Gotham was important. That someone named Bruce was important. And when I saw your face on the tv, I knew--”

Bruce waited. The kindling was ash now. The logs were catching fire, burning up.

“I knew you were important. I didn’t know why. I just knew I had to find you. Are we--” Clark’s voice broke off. “Are we--” A long pause. “Do we know each other?”

Bruce turned around. How many times he’d imagined what he would say if he had even just a few more seconds. What would he have whispered into Superman’s ear, if there’d been time for just a few more words? A thousand scenarios, a thousand dreams, a thousand possibilities.

“We were friends,” he said instead of any of them. He hoped it had been true, at the end.

“Ah.” Something flickered across Clark’s face and was gone. “Why don’t I remember anything?”

It was a very good question, second only to how the hell are you alive? Maybe slightly above why do you have no powers? “There was a...disaster,” Bruce said. “Here in Gotham. You got caught in it.”

Clark touched the scar on his cheek. “Is that how I got--”

Bruce didn’t like that question at all. “You were trying to help people,” he said, letting it be an answer.

Clark tilted his head like a dog who has heard a distant sound. “Help people?” he said, and there was a mixture of hope and happiness and bone-deep weariness that seemed to rip at Bruce’s heart.

“You’re a reporter,” Bruce said. “You were trying to help and everything went to hell. We thought you were dead--” His voice cracked wildly on the word (Superman’s body heavy in his arms in the way that only dead bodies are; the casket lid shutting out the last glimpse of his face) and his knees hurt again and he realized he was on his knees on the stone floor, shaking. “We thought you were--”

Clark’s arms were around him, he was kneeling on the floor next to him, the blanket thrown around them both like a sheltering cape. His fingers were warm. His body was warm. He held Bruce and Bruce listened to his (living, living!) heartbeat and felt joy and guilt and longing batter at him.

After a while Clark said, very gently, “‘We’”?

“Your mother,” Bruce said. “Your co-workers and friends.”

“My mother,” said Clark.

Bruce threw off the blanket, staggering to his feet. “I have to call her,” he said, horrified that he hadn’t thought of it until now. “I have to tell her.”

“Bruce, I-- don’t remember her.”

“You will,” Bruce said, “I’m sure you will.” His hands were shaking as he dialed Martha’s number. Only when she picked up and her heard her “Hello?” did he suddenly realize he had no idea what to say: Hi, it’s Bruce. Your son isn’t dead? Insanity.

“Hi,” he said. “It’’s Bruce Wayne. Clark isn’t dead.”

Clark heard the person on the other end of the line gasp. Then there was silence.

“I’m sorry,” said Bruce. He looked utterly lost. He looked like a person who was very rarely utterly lost and had no idea how to go about being found again. “He’s alive, Martha. He doesn’t remember--he doesn’t remember anything. But he’s alive. Martha, are you there?”

The room was so silent. There was only the rain against the windows. It was so quiet Clark could hear the woman’s voice: “May I...see him?”

Bruce fumbled with the phone, putting it on video, and held it up toward Clark.

Clark heard her gasp again and he tried to smile. Then the screen flickered and a woman was there, her face framed by gray hair, her eyes accented with crow’s feet that spoke of a lifetime of worry and laughter. Clark waited, but none of the worries or the laughter came to him, just a wave of inchoate emotion.

“I don’t remember you,” he said as tears tracked down her cheeks. “But I know you. I know you,” he said. “Please believe me.”

“I believe you,” she said, and smiled through her tears. “Bruce, may I--”

“--There’ll be a plane for you at the Kansas City airport in the morning,” said Bruce. “I’ll arrange it. Just tell them who you are. Don’t worry about anything else, just come.”

“Please,” whispered Clark.

When the phone went dark again he closed his eyes and struggled to compose himself. The sound of the rain was loud all around him. When he opened his eyes again Bruce was staring at him, a keen look that quickly vanished into something more neutral.

“How do we know each other?” Clark asked. “My memory may be flawed, but I know enough to know that newspaper reporters rarely hobnob with this kind of…” He waved vaguely to include the lake, the fireplace, the stark modernist opulence of Wayne’s house.

“We met at a party,” Bruce said. “We didn’t get along.” A smile touched his mouth, very lightly.

“How did I win you over?”

The smile disappeared. “By being you,” Bruce said.

“How did you win me over?”

Such pain in those rain-dark eyes. “I don’t know,” whispered Bruce.

Clark swallowed. “We weren’t getting along, were we, when I went missing,” he said.

Bruce turned away from him. “We’d...had a fight, just before,” he said. “A bad one.”

Something about the way he said it, the tightness in his voice--

Clark bent and picked up the blanket from the floor where Bruce had dropped it, folding it carefully, focusing on getting all of the corners lined up correctly, his thoughts whirling. By the time he was done, he had his face back under control.

“Well, if you feel bad about it,” he said, “You can make it up to me by telling me more about myself.”

“Your bedroom was on the third floor. You had posters of Japanese anime and your favorite basketball players on the walls. You collected wheat pennies and had a piggy bank full of them.”

The fire was almost out, its dying flickers the only light in the dark room, and Bruce’s throat felt scratched and raw. All those months of research--of talking to Martha Kent, to Pete Ross, to Lana Lang, of interviewing anyone in Smallville who would care to talk about Clark Kent, as if understanding the man would atone somehow--pouring out of him in a few short hours. He told Clark about his childhood, about his friends, about his home.

He didn’t tell him about his powers.

Clark was sitting next to him on the couch. He’d showered and borrowed a set of Bruce’s pajamas, picking out the plainest Bruce had. He was smiling at Bruce, and Bruce wanted it to continue forever. But his rush of words finally ran down and he stopped, looking back at Clark.

“I don’t remember any of it,” Clark said. “But thank you. You obviously knew me well.”

Words on paper, pixels on a screen, facts in a file. But it was all Bruce had left. Until today. “I came to know you very well,” he said.

Clark looked away at the fire. “I’m...sorry I don’t remember you,” he said. “I’m sorry we quarreled at the end.”

The sound of Superman’s body thudding into stone. The look in his eyes as he’d inhaled lurid green gas. Choking on his attempts to get Bruce to understand, to help. Quarreled.

Bruce stood up. “It’s getting late and you must be tired. I’ll tell you about your life in Metropolis in the morning, if you’d like.”

“You know what I’d like more?” Bruce looked back at him, and Clark smiled. “I’d like to know more about you.”

“I--” Bruce looked at Clark. The scar on his cheek marred the classical symmetry of his features, somehow giving him a lopsided, woebegone charm. “I’m not a very interesting person,” he managed.

Clark chuckled and threw his hands out to indicate the lake house and all its austere luxuries. “I sincerely doubt that.”

“Being rich doesn’t make you interesting,” Bruce said.

Clark sobered, tilting his head to the side. “True,” he said. “But you’re interesting anyway. I can tell.” Then that smile lit his face again, a tentative sunrise in the rain. “I wouldn’t be your friend if you weren’t interesting.”

Bruce looked away. “You’re sure you’re okay sleeping on the couch? You can borrow my bed, you deserve a good night’s sleep.”

“I’m fine out here,” Clark said, fluffing the pillow Bruce had given him. “Thank you for letting me stay.”

Bruce shrugged. Then he tapped the panel on the wall that slid the blinds closed, blocking out the view of the rain-swept midnight lake.

”Stop,” Clark said, and his voice was full of a panic so raw that Bruce slammed the panel again without thinking.

“What’s wrong?”

“I just--” Clark seemed to take a moment to catch his breath. “I don’t like the dark,” he said. “I like to be able to see outside. I don’t like--being alone in the dark.” One hand was clenched and his jaw was set as though he expected Bruce to question or to mock him.

Bruce remembered the mud under the collar of his suit. The dirt and blood under his fingernails.

He touched the panel again and the blinds slid quietly open once more.

Clark relaxed as they did, the tension leaving his body. “Thank you,” he whispered.

Bruce looked around the dark room, lit only by the embers of the fire. Then he quietly turned on the overhead light to about thirty percent. “Is that okay?”

He saw Clark swallow hard. “A little more would be...good,” Clark said.

Bruce moved the light up to about fifty percent. Then he turned on one of the corner lamps and the track lighting on the deck, so that Clark could see outside more easily. “Turn anything on or off as you like,” he said.

“I might run up your electricity bill a bit,” Clark said with a wan chuckle.

“I don’t care,” Bruce said around a tightness in his throat. “I can afford it.”

“Thank you,” said Clark. “I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Yes,” said Bruce. How many nights of terrible nightmares and worse dreams had he woken from to find the world still had no Clark Kent in it? “I’ll see you in the morning.”

Clark lay on Bruce Wayne’s couch--it wasn’t comfortable, but then nothing about this place seemed designed to be comfortable--and closed his eyes, but sleep wouldn’t come. The darkness hovered nearby, waiting to pounce. The rain outside shivered the surface of the lake with a sound like silk tearing, like vast wings unfurling.

He remembered the look in Bruce’s eyes when he spoke of having fought before Clark went missing. The way he had trembled when Clark had put his arms around him. The sound of his voice as he told Clark about his own childhood in exquisite detail, trying to make him remember.

Clark wrapped the blanket more tightly around himself, remembering the care with which Bruce had turned on the lights, banishing the dark.

Eventually he fell into a sleep without dreams, a darkness shot through with golden light.
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October 2017

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