mithen: (Hand on Shoulder S/B)
mithen ([personal profile] mithen) wrote2016-08-14 12:12 pm

A Week of Rain (Chapter 4)

A Week of Rain by mithen
Chapters: 4/?
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 Three (2200 words):

Thunder rolled again as Clark reveled in the feel of Bruce’s mouth against his, the scrape of stubble against his jaw, the faint tastes of mint and whisky. It felt real, it felt right, it felt like what he’d been walking toward and yearning for since he woke up in the moonlight days ago.

And for a moment, for just a moment, Bruce’s hands clutched his collar and pulled him closer.

But then Bruce was rolling off the bed and to his feet. “What the hell are you doing?” he demanded.

“Why are you lying to me?” Clark yelled. “I know we weren’t friends.

Bruce went very still, and there was something stricken and pained in his eyes. “Clark,” he said.

“I came in because you were screaming, and I couldn’t-- And then I remembered-- for just a second, I remembered--” Clark broke off, feeling his hands groping in the air in front of him, as if he could grab the memory back out of the air. “Like a lightning-flash, I remembered. You holding me down, your hands on me, your face there in front of me, my heart pounding--”

Bruce was staring at him. Half of his face was hidden in shadows, the other half lit by the light from the hall. That was familiar too, somehow.

“We weren’t friends,” Clark repeated. “Do you think I’m an idiot? Did you think I wouldn’t be able to figure it out?” He took a breath and plunged on before he could think better of it: “We were lovers, weren’t we?”

Bruce’s eyes widened as if Clark had slapped him and he made a hoarse noise that was half laugh and all pain. “What?”

“You almost had a breakdown when I showed up, Bruce. You could hardly stand up, you were so overwhelmed. You know so much about me. For God’s sake, you’ve got my mother’s number!” Clark took a step forward and Bruce took one back in perfect mirror of him. “And Bruce. The way you look at me. It’s not-- You look at me like something beautiful and cherished and lost. a friend. Not at all.”

“Clark.” Bruce’s voice was ragged. “You’re wrong.”

Clark shook his head. “Not about the way you look at me. Not about the way you just kissed me.” He stepped forward again, and Bruce took another step away from him. “Not about the way I feel for you.”

“You don’t feel that way,” Bruce said. “You’re confused.”

“I am not confused,” Clark snapped. “My body remembers the feel of yours against it. It knows the touch of your hands.”

Bruce closed his eyes and turned his head away; Clark saw him swallow hard in the dim light. “Oh God,” he whispered, almost too low to hear.

“Let me learn you again,” Clark said. “I want to know you again. I don’t know you, but I know you. I know that you’re beautiful and brave and broken, and I want--I want--” His voice faltered and vanished into a quiet that was full of flickering lightning and the sound of distant thunder. “You’re mine, Bruce,” he whispered. “I can see it in your eyes. Let me be yours again.”

“You were never mine, Clark,” said Bruce, flat and harsh, and Clark knew he should take that as a rejection, and yet his heart leapt.

He hadn’t denied the other assertion.

“Just--” Clark sat down slowly on the bed, as if Bruce was a wild animal that he could scare away if he moved too suddenly. “You thought I was dead, and now I’m here. We had something together, before.”

“We had nothing.

“That’s a lie,” Clark snarled. “I don’t remember much, but I remember being with you in the dark, my heart pounding.” He couldn’t put it into words, exactly, but he remembered the intimacy of it, their bodies locked together. “I remember thinking how beautiful you were.”

A startled, hoarse laugh. “No.”

“Half of your face was in shadow, like it is now,” Clark said. “But I could see the other half clearly, and I knew it was beautiful.” He looked up at Bruce, who had closed his eyes. “Please, Bruce. I just want to get to know you again. I want to touch you again. I want--” Need rose up in him like a wave, dizzying, and he stammered, “I want you to touch me, Bruce.”

Bruce’s hands clenched at his sides and he took a step back.

“It’s not fair,” Clark said desperately. “It’s not fair that you remember and I don’t. You know the sounds I make under your hands, you know what my face looks like when I--”

“God,” Bruce said, his voice ragged with pain and a yearning that made Clark’s breath come faster.

“Teach me again, Bruce,” said Clark.

Bruce took a deep breath, then another. “If you won’t get off my bed, I’ll just sleep on the couch,” he said.

“You can’t deny how you feel forever,” Clark said. “You can’t deny yourself happiness forever, Bruce.”

Bruce laughed, and there was a sharp metallic edge to it. He leveled a finger at Clark. “You,” he said, “have no idea how long I can deny myself.”

And then he turned and left Clark alone in his bedroom.

Bruce woke up slowly, feeling leather against his face. Had he fallen asleep in the cave again? No, he was on the couch, one hand dangling off and--

Bruce froze as he felt his fingers brush against soft hair.

Slowly, carefully, he moved to peer over the edge of the couch. There on the floor, curled up on a blanket, was Clark Kent. His back was against the couch as if he were guarding Bruce from something, as if he just wanted to be close.

He was smiling.

Bruce watched his sleeping face for a long moment. Slowly he became aware that the dim rainy light of the last few days had given way to weak and cloudy sunlight. There was a square of pale light on the floor, brightening and dimming as the cloud cover thinned and thickened. It inched toward Clark Kent’s sleeping face as Bruce watched. Soon it would touch him, would bathe him in sunlight. Would the scar on his face fade away with its caress? When Clark’s eyes opened once more, would Bruce see memory in them?

What else would he see, he wondered as the square of sunlight crept closer.

When it was just a few feet from Clark’s face, Bruce quietly got up and closed the drapes, and the bright patch vanished.

He came back and lay down on the couch, still watching Clark’s sleeping face. Outside, the sunlight weakened and faltered, the clouds rolling in again. Soon Bruce could hear the first drops of rain pattering down, cutting them off from the world once more.

He closed his eyes and let the sound wash over him. One hand trailed off the sofa’s edge as he drowsed.

At some point, he felt Clark’s fingers intertwine with his, felt his breath almost stop. They lay there together, fingers touching, not speaking. As if, as long as they didn’t look at each other, this could continue.

And it did, until Alfred arrived with breakfast.

“I thought Mr. Kent might be getting a touch of cabin fever,” Alfred explained as Clark wolfed down his third English muffin. “Cooped up here in the gloom, after all, sir,” he said with a look at Bruce that seemed a touch reproachful.

“That was kind of you,” Clark said, picking up one of the books Alfred had brought. “But I’m not bored at all, honestly. Bruce is endlessly entertaining.”

“Oh is he,” Alfred said, looking at Bruce.

Bruce, however, showed no sign of taking the bait. He was staring at his tablet, frowning.

“Is the news bad, sir?” said Alfred, all traces of mockery gone in an instant.

“Falcone’s up to something,” Bruce muttered. “That’s three executions of major rival bosses in the last two weeks.” His face was grim and serious, and Clark felt a giddy wave of something that was part deja vu and all lust go over him. Bruce bit at a knuckle, looking concerned. “I’m going to have to go out tonight,” he muttered. Then he looked up and suddenly seemed to remember Clark was there; the sternness gave way to a bright smile, “--because there’s a big charity ball that I absolutely promised I would go to. I’m so sorry, Clark.”

“Do I get to spend the day with you?”

Bruce looked at him and for a moment naked hunger flickered in his eyes, as if his momentary seriousness had made it even harder to hide his desire. “Absolutely.”

“Then I guess I can spare you for one night. As long as it’s for charity.”

“Oh, it’s charitable, all right,” said Bruce, and his voice was somehow half bright and half dark and absolutely the most intoxicating thing Clark had ever heard.

They spent the day together, and Clark never mentioned that he had come awake with his fingers interlaced with Bruce’s, unsure which of them had reached out in his sleep. They argued about politics in a good-natured fashion; they compared Gotham and Metropolis architecture and argued about that too; they argued about what exactly proper strawberry shortcake was (Bruce considered sponge cake an abomination and swore by only hand-made biscuits as a base). Clark revelled in poking at the barely-banked embers of Bruce’s intellect and passion, causing it to flare up and immolate the bored facade he donned much of the time. He learned a lot about Bruce Wayne: about his love for Gotham, his view of the world, his patent affection for Alfred, the glints of pain when the Manor was ever mentioned.

He didn’t learn anything about his relationship with Bruce.

The rain had faded out and the day had shifted into quiet fog shrouding the lake as the pearly light dimmed into dusk. Clark looked up from one of the books Alfred had brought--a history of Gotham--and caught Bruce looking at him with a strange mix of affection and trepidation. The look was quickly wiped clean and Bruce stood, stretching. “Well, off to do my charity work,” he said lightly.

Clark rose too, coming toward him. “Do I get a goodbye kiss?” he asked.

Bruce’s face went wary. “No,” he said.

A flash of hurt pinged in Clark’s heart; he laughed it off, trying to keep the mood light. “But the world is dangerous, Bruce,” he said. “The last time we parted it was on bad terms and then I vanished and you thought I was dead. Who knows what horrible thing could befall you at your charity ball?”

Bruce said nothing; Clark came closer, resting his hands lightly on Bruce’s shoulders.

“I don’t want us to have regrets like that again,” Clark said, leaning in. His mouth was so close to Bruce’s that he could feel his breaths. “I want you to always go out into the world with my kiss on your mouth. I want--”

His words stopped short as Bruce closed the tiny gap between him and brought his lips to Clark’s in the gentlest brush of a kiss. Bruce’s fingers touched his jaw, a whisper-light caress, and Clark went very still.

“There,” said Bruce. “No regrets.”

“No--” Clark stopped and swallowed as Bruce stepped away, his heart pounding ridiculously fast. “No regrets.”

Bruce turned at the door, umbrella in hand. “But we weren’t lovers,” he said, very low. “I swear.”

“I know,” Clark lied in turn.

The quiet of the lake house was different with Bruce gone: more still, more hesitant. With Bruce there the silence felt right. Without him, it felt… empty.

Clark turned on the news, just to see what was going on the world. Two days surrounded by nothing but glass and rain had left him restless. And yet unwilling to go out into the world again. Not yet, something seemed to whisper. Not until you find what you’ve lost. His history with Bruce? That felt right...and yet not enough.

The news was covering the rebuilding of the areas of Gotham recently destroyed--Clark assumed in the disaster that had left him presumed dead. “Since Doomsday,” intoned the announcer, and Clark felt a chill crawl up his spine at the inflection in her voice. What kind of disaster would it take to refer to it as Doomsday?

Footage rolled, and the chill settled into something closer to a shudder as Clark saw the footage of some monster rampaging. The cameras couldn’t get close, juttering back and forth as shock waves hit them from the--battle? Were those tiny figures fighting whatever this thing was? There was a gleam of virulent green and Clark felt nausea grip him as memory pressed in like a migraine: pain and rubble and ruin and hopelessness; he couldn’t let more people die, he had to--

He pushed at the memories, struggling to turn them from a chaotic jumble to something meaningful, but it was no use, they were fading away again, leaving him shaking and out of breath, the scar on his cheek burning like fresh acid. He snapped off the screen, feeling sick and uncertain, knowing only that he couldn’t handle much more of whatever that was. Had he been trying to help people in that maelstrom of violence? How was that even possible?

The moon was rising, making a path of light across the dark water of the lake. Bruce still wasn’t back. Clark riffled through the stack of books Alfred had brought, enjoying the feel of the paper and the designs of the covers: a scattered collection of Robert Parker hardboiled detective stories; Ursula LeGuin and Temple Grandin mixed in together; The Turn of the Screw; a book about theories of time. They were all dogeared and worn, the editions mostly from twenty or thirty years ago. Here and there were enthusiastic underlinings in ink or notes in the margins in a looping, precise handwriting: Doubtful or check later or sometimes just a few exclamation points. Clark picked up a couple of slim volumes of Mary Oliver’s poetry, turning them over in his hands. One fell open to a poem called “When Death Comes,” the one that starts

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut

Clark’s eyes ran down the page to the end, where someone had underlined the last words:

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
If I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened, or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

Clark sat for a long time, imagining a younger version of Bruce reading those lines, nodding to himself as the moonlight touched his face through the glass walls--no, that wasn’t right. He wouldn’t have been here, he would have been at the Manor. In his childhood home. Restless as Clark was now, wanting something more, unsure how much pain he would have to endure to get it. Who was that Bruce? Where had he poured all that restive energy?

The moonlight was beckoning-bright, the clouds clear for a moment. Clark was outside the lake house almost before he realized it, sodden grass under his feet, following the tug of his heart toward the ruins of the Manor, brooding and broken in the night.