mithen: (Blossom Bird)
mithen ([personal profile] mithen) wrote2016-09-12 08:32 pm
Entry tags:

A Week of Rain (Chapter 6)

A Week of Rain by mithen
Chapters: 6/8
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 Six(2100 words):

Clark stopped short in the doorway, wishing he had kept away, unable to move any further.

The woman was sitting on Bruce’s bed with her bare feet curled underneath her, leaning on one hand. She was wearing black slacks and a loose white shirt that shimmered with silvery designs; her long black hair tumbled down her back. A black leather purse rested next to her. Her free hand was lifted in the air, gesturing angrily at Bruce, who stood facing her, his shoulders lowered and his face guarded. When he saw Clark in the doorway beyond the woman his expression shifted suddenly into alarm, and the woman whirled to stare at Clark.

She was beautiful, of course. But even more than that, she was self-possessed and self-contained, with power in every move she made. There was a regal confidence in the way she carried herself--anyone who Bruce would trust enough to allow into his bedroom, onto his bed, would have to have that kind of comfort and control, Clark thought with involuntary bitterness. Would have to be whole and complete and--

The woman’s face lit up with joy. ”Clark,” she breathed, and launched herself across the wide bed to throw her arms around him.

Clark blinked down at her--she had lifted him up in the air with her hug as if he were a child. She put him down again and cleared her throat. “You...don’t remember me either,” she said, half question and half statement.

“No,” he said, and felt fresh regret tear at his heart. Everything about her was unforgettable, just like Bruce. He looked from her face to Bruce’s and blurted out with abrupt, relieved certainty: “You’re not lovers.”

She laughed, throwing her head back. “Did you think-- Ah, Clark, I’m so sorry,” she said, and kissed his forehead.

“Are you related to Bruce? Is that why I don’t remember you?”

“Not by blood,” she said, throwing a quick smile Bruce’s way. “But he and I are kin of a sort. As are we all.”

Bruce had been smiling fondly at her, but at her last words the smile disappeared. “Diana,” he said warningly, and the air between them seemed suddenly to crackle again, full of tension.

“He should know. You must tell him. You cannot leave him half of himself.”

“Hey,” Clark said, anger seizing him out of nowhere. “I’m not half of anything, I’m myself. Just because I don’t remember some things--”

“--You would turn your back on your heritage, on your power, on your responsibility,” Diana snapped. “Bruce may allow this travesty, but I do not!” Grabbing her purse, she opened it and pulled out--


No, Clark realized, blinking, it was a cord of some sort, braided of golden rope that seemed to shine like the sun.

“Diana!” Bruce started to move forward, but Diana held up one hand and he stopped, looking frustrated and furious. “This isn’t right, this isn’t natural,” he snarled.

“Nothing is more natural than the truth,” Diana said, and reached out--Clark flinched slightly--to coil the rope around his wrist.

They looked at each other. Clark waited for something dramatic to happen, but nothing did. The rope was just shiny rope, it didn’t burn. He took a careful, relieved breath.

“Who are you?” Diana asked.

Clark almost laughed. “I thought I was the one with amnesia. Clark Joseph Kent.”

Who are you?” Diana said again, and there was a fierceness in her face that made Clark want to take a step away from her. But that would mean taking a step away from Bruce as well, standing behind her with anguish in his eyes, and Clark wouldn’t do that.

“I told you who I am. I don’t know what you’re trying to make me say, but I don’t remember being anyone else, and tying me up with a piece of pretty sparkly rope isn’t going to change that.”

“A piece of pretty sparkly rope,” Bruce said, and there was a sudden sputter of laughter under the growl of his voice.

Diana didn’t smile, but warmth touched the corners of her eyes as if she couldn’t help it. “Well, it is both pretty and sparkly,” she said.

“And it’s true that he doesn’t remember,” Bruce said. “If he doesn’t remember, he has no other truth to give you.”

Clark tried to shake his hand free, but couldn’t. “Diana, let me give you some truth. I woke up in a ditch, exhausted beyond belief, and all I could remember was that I had to get to Gotham, and that someone called Bruce was important to me. These last few days--” He felt his breath catch. “I needed them. I needed this time for myself, to have a time that was just me, that wasn’t work or--or whatever else I can’t remember.” He stopped, feeling his heart pounding as if at the sound of a thousand distant screams. “I don’t remember Bruce, or you--obviously I didn’t want to remember that part of my life. I don’t know why, but I needed this time without those memories. And I needed this time to find Bruce--the real Bruce, not the one that goes out to parties or makes stupid statements to newspapers. I came here to find him, and I did. And he says I didn’t love him before, and maybe that’s even true, but I love him now.”

Bruce made a small sound and put his hand up as though Clark had tried to hit him.

Clark charged on without taking a breath: “He’s passionate and stubborn and full of secrets and he has extremely sketchy opinions about strawberry shortcake and I love him, Diana, and that is the truth.”

There was a silence in which the only sound was Bruce’s breathing, fast and hard. Diana nodded slowly and released the rope from around his wrist. “It is,” she said, and turned away.

Bruce stepped forward, bristling, glaring at her. “That wasn’t right,” he said.

His fists were clenched, his eyes furious, but Diana responded like a Great Dane facing a kitten: she smiled and shrugged with a fluid nonchalance, uncaring that it looked like this man might take a swing at her. “It was true,” she said. She shook her head at him, almost affectionately. “We’ve talked about this, Bruce. I’m not here to follow your ideas of what’s right. They overlap with mine most of the time. But don’t delude yourself that they always will.”

Bruce continued to glower, his jaw clenched.

“Look,” Clark said after a moment, “I think it’s pretty obvious that there’s a lot going on here I don’t understand.” He rubbed at his wrist where Diana’s rope had been. “And I think it’s pretty obvious you’re not going to tell me what it is.”

Both Diana and Bruce looked at him, and their expressions slowly shifted from “amused” and “belligerent” to matching sheepish looks. It was not an expression that sat easy on their strong faces, and Clark fought an incongruous desire to laugh.

“If you truly wish not to remember,” Diana said, “It is not my place to force knowledge on you. The gods know that I--” She stopped, and something like sympathy touched the corners of her eyes, and a pain that seemed older than her lovely face. “But I believe you will find that your sense of responsibility to the world will outweigh your need for solitude, even if you wish it would not.” She laid a hand along his face, smiling at him. “I look forward to working with you again,” she said. Then she nodded at Bruce. “You’re very lucky,” she said.

Bruce stepped forward and touched his fingers to that golden rope, his eyes bleak and challenging. Then he pulled his hand away. “I can’t,” he said.

“I know,” said Diana.

Bruce lifted his chin. “But I do love him,” he said. “And I don’t need anything to make me say so.”

She kissed his forehead and Bruce browed his head beneath her touch as if receiving a benediction. “I doubt he did either, Bruce.”

When she was gone--there was no car Clark could see, she simply walked out and vanished into the curtains of rain as if they couldn’t touch her--Clark grimaced at Bruce. “Can you stop talking about me as if I weren’t here now?”

“I’m sorry,” said Bruce. He sat down heavily on the couch, looking at his hands. “I’m sorry.”

“And I do love you, and nothing made me say that.”

Bruce was still looking at his hands. “Take a walk with me?” he said.

“I’ll go anywhere with you,” Clark said, and Bruce’s mouth crooked into something close to smile, but with sadness in its lines.

They walked through a grove of trees, the rain drumming on their umbrellas, the air full of the scent of bracken and decaying leaves, rich and loamy. At the edge of the grove a huge oak tree loomed before them, and Clark could see beyond it the marble walls of the mausoleum, overgrown with ivy and shadows.

Bruce stopped and put his hand on the trunk of the tree, his long fingers caressing the wet and lichen-crusted bark. “I used to climb this tree all the time,” he said.

He dropped his umbrella and jumped up to catch the lowest branch, swinging up with an agility that made Clark’s eyebrows rise. He clambered up until he was well above the ground, sitting down on a wide branch. Looking down, he beckoned to Clark.

Clark followed more slowly, his movements clumsy and unsure on the rain-slippery bark, but eventually he ended up sitting next to Bruce. The rain beat down on them, plastering Bruce’s hair to his head, though he didn’t seem to notice. Clark had a thousand questions he wanted to ask about the relationship between Bruce, and Diana, and himself, but he didn’t know where to start (some kind of secret society? Like the Illuminati? Craziness). So he sat in the tree, surrounded by the pattering of rain on leaves, and simply waited. The mausoleum was behind them, brooding in its silence. The burned and desolate Manor was to their right hand. And in front of them at the foot of the hill, the lake quivered in the rain, the lake house a glass box on the shore.

“This is what I am,” Bruce said. “Look at that lake house, Clark. There’s nothing in it. It’s all a show and a sham, a diorama of an empty life. I hurt you, before. I love you, too. But maybe that’s not enough.” His hair was dripping, his eyes far away.

“That lake house isn’t all you are,” Clark retorted. “Just like that mausoleum behind us isn’t all you are. There’s something beneath it, I know. There’s something real beneath it.” Surprise touched with amusement flickered across Bruce’s face as Clark went on: “And it’s possible love isn’t enough. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.”

He kissed the side of Bruce’s face, feeling cold rain on his lips. Bruce didn’t turn to kiss him back, but he didn’t pull away, either. After a long moment, he sighed.

“Alfred always used to make me hot chocolate when I went wandering off in the cold. Shall we go back and I’ll see if I can figure out how to do it on my own?”

As it turned out, Clark remembered how to make hot chocolate better than Bruce did.

Clark woke up on the couch from a confused dream of green and gold light, his wrist oddly warm where Diana’s rope had encircled it. Had there been voices calling him in the dream?

Responsibility. Duty. Solitude. Love. He looked out at the lake, still and quiet in the dark, its surface barely touched by the misty rain. Something beneath.

Shrugging on his jeans and a sweater, he went out into the night, climbing the long hill to the waiting Manor once more.

The silence felt...different, this time. Not brooding, but waiting. Anticipating. A breathless quiet.

He touched the blackened marble mantel above the fireplace, feeling soot gritty beneath his fingers. There were two scorched chess pieces there as well: a black knight on its side and a white pawn. Clark went to touch them, then drew his fingers back.

Beside the fireplace was a grandfather clock, its hands melted and bent, pointing to no time and every time. Clark reached out and rested his hand on its case.

And at his touch the clock swung open, revealing stairs leading down into darkness.