mithen: (Coffee S/B)
mithen ([personal profile] mithen) wrote2016-09-29 09:35 pm
Entry tags:

A Week of Rain (Chapter 7)

A Week of Rain by mithen
Chapters: 7/8
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 Seven (2100 words):

The clock stood open before him, as if time itself had granted him entry. Clark Kent stared into the darkness and took one tentative step onto the first stair.

At the pressure of his foot, lights flickered into existence: wan lights with gaps of darkness between them where bulbs had long ago given out, but enough to see by.

Step by careful step, Clark descended below the Manor.

The stairs were solid stone, carved into the bedrock as if to last millennia, but Clark’s footsteps were the only thing disturbing the dust and ash that coated them. The echoes of his steps disappeared into a vast darkness that Clark could sense opening up all around him, broken only by the faint dripping of water and a distant rustling of wings. He had no idea how far it stretched, but it felt like he were falling into it, a tiny raindrop in a dizzying void.

He had to sit down on the stairs and catch his breath for a long moment, feeling his heart pounding. Turn around, turn back, it’s not too late…

But it was too late, Clark knew. It was always too late to turn back. They always had to move forward.

So he moved forward.

The cave floor was uneven, but not natural. He bent down and touched it: old concrete that crumbled slightly under his fingers. He could see the smudges of dust and soot on his fingertips in the dim light.

Moving slowly forward, he almost tripped over the computer.

Dropping to his haunches, he squinted at the snarl of wires emerging from the back, torn off at the roots. The screen was a crazed whorl of glass. Someone had worked here, long ago.

(The smell of concrete dust and ash and sorrow hooked at his memories. He didn’t want to remember He had to remember He didn’t want to).

Groping forward, his hand collided with something that felt like plexiglass--and he recoiled as a light came on to reveal a dark bat-shaped figure right in front of him.

He fell backwards with a warding hand thrown in the air, hearing the echoes of his “No!” rattle through the cave, answered by the rustling squeaks of the bats. After a moment he lowered it and peered ahead to see that what had startled him was a suit, empty like a suit of armor, in a display case.

It was sleeker than the shape of the mysterious Batman he had met in the ruins earlier: more streamlined, less armored. A suit for dodging pain rather than absorbing it. Clark stared at it for a long time, the echo of golden warmth circling his wrist, insistent and demanding: responsibility. Duty.

He reached out with a shaking hand and touched the glass as if he yearned to touch the suit, to press his hand to its heart.

Bruce,” he whispered.

He turned around and Batman was there behind him, the real Batman, solid and armored and terrifying, and Clark flinched backwards into the case with an inarticulate noise of panic.

They stared at each other for a long moment, both of them locked in fight-or-flight, both of them frozen.

Clark put a hand out, saw it shaking in the air between them. Rested it on Batman’s chest. Batman--flinched, and almost took a step back, then stopped. Clark took a breath. “Bruce?” It was half question, half statement.

The visor slid open with eerie silence to reveal Bruce Wayne’s face, wry and uncertain, with fear at the corners of the eyes.

“Clark,” Bruce said: an answer and a new question.

“I shouldn’t be here,” was the first thing Clark said to him. He was shaking all over.

“Yes you should,” Bruce said. “Come here. I’ll show you--I’ll show you everything.”

They walked together, further into the darkness, walking away from the scene of Bruce’s greatest failure, the soot and the bloodstains on the floor. Walking away, but never leaving it behind. The passage to the bunker was narrow, long-disused; Bruce could hear Clark tripping over debris behind him as he followed.

He was an inverted Orpheus, leading love deeper into the underworld, Batman thought. Further into death and grief. He didn’t look behind him.

The lights came on automatically as they entered the bunker, illuminating the sterile steel and tile. Bruce heard Clark take a deep breath behind him, but he crossed over to the computer, turning it on, calling up Diana’s file. He flipped through the photographs quickly, trusting Clark to follow along. And indeed, after only a few minutes, Clark said, “That’s not possible. Diana is--you’re telling me she’s a hundred years old?

Bruce raised an eyebrow. “I suspect much older than that, actually. I haven’t asked her directly. It seemed...rude.”

“So wait.” Clark held up a hand, and Bruce watched him putting together this new information, watched that agile reporter’s mind leaping from conclusion to conclusion. “I saw on the news, footage of people fighting some kind of monster--you’re part of a secret group of...special people.”

“Gods,” said Bruce. “Legends. Aliens. Scientific wonders. And me.” He shrugged at Clark’s expression. “I’m just a man.”

“Yeah, right,” Clark whispered under his breath, his eyes flicking over the computers. “And I… I help you all,” he said. Still trying to put the puzzle together from the scattered pieces he had. “Do I work down here? Doing your research for you, helping you? Did I go to Gotham and into the battle, was that how I disappeared? Did you tell me not to go, and I went anyway? I think I remember the monster. I remember… I remember pain.” He touched his cheek, the pale scar that still traced across it.

Before he could think better of it, Bruce reached out and touched the unscarred side of Clark’s face with his gloved hand; Clark shuddered slightly. Bruce leaned forward and brought his mouth to the scar marring Clark’s perfect face. “There was a monster,” Bruce whispered.

Then he stepped back and touched the button that illuminated the floodlights on the far side of the bunker.

Clark turned, squinting into the pitiless light, his eyes widening as he took in the two cases. One of them held Robin’s soot-blackened uniform, and the other…

Bruce followed Clark as he stepped over to the case that held the red and blue uniform, still torn and battered. Clark stood before it for an ageless time. Bruce could see his shoulders trembling as he looked at it. When he finally spoke, it was a bare whisper, but Bruce could already hear the change in his voice, the weight of knowledge:

“My suit,” Clark said.

He put out his hand and rested it on the case, feeling cold glass beneath his hand. He could feel Bruce--Batman--Bruce behind him, utterly unmoving. Waiting. He stood for a long time, feeling the last days falling into place in new and different ways.

“Her name’s Diana?” he said once. And then:

“Ma must have told you not to tell me.” And finally:

“A fight. You said we had a fight. Telling the truth even when you lie.”

He could hear the tightness in his voice. There was a whisper of cloth (he remembered that sound now, the hiss of silk on concrete) and Bruce stepped away from him. Clark whirled to face him and Bruce--didn’t flinch, exactly.

“Don’t worry,” Clark snapped. “I don’t have my powers back, only my memories.” He stopped and swallowed, then managed to choke out: “Why? Why did you--”

“When I was a child, I had dreams of flying,” Bruce said abruptly, his voice flat. “We all do, of course. But in mine--it was after my parents died, and in my dreams I was lifted up out of the darkness into light and all my fear and doubt fell away and I soared.” His voice broke, yearning, on the last word. “But when I woke up I was still--just me.” He looked at Clark for a long moment. “In my mind you were everything I wanted to be, everything I couldn’t be--above it all, above fear, above responsibility. So I hated you and I wanted to end you.” He said it with blunt simplicity, as if he had crafted the words in his head a thousand times. “I was wrong, Clark. I was utterly wrong. But that is why.

Clark stared at him for a long, long moment. Then he threw his arms wide. “You idiot,” he said.

Bruce’s eyebrows went up.

“I knew all that within ten minutes of meeting you,” Clark said, feeling something like a laugh clawing at the back of his throat. “Not all the details, but--I knew, Bruce. Do you think I don’t know what people see in me? Do you think there’s anything I can do about it but keep going, keep trying to save people? Exactly the same way you do?”

He took a step forward and Bruce took a half-step back, but only a half-step. “No, Bruce,” Clark said, “What I want to know is why the...the shrine, the memorial, the damn crypt in my name here?” He pointed upward. “I was right there, alive in your living room! Just how long did you intend on keeping this place a mausoleum to the memory of someone who isn’t even dead?” Another step forward; this time Bruce didn’t move away. “I joked about looking for a hairshirt, and I here I find you’ve been using my memory as one all along.”

Bruce looked at him and shook his head, very slightly; not in negation so much as in disbelief. “I tried to kill you,” he said. “I helped Doomsday kill you.

Clark smiled, very slightly. “I was only mostly dead, apparently.”

Don’t joke--” Bruce started to say, and Clark kissed him, very lightly.

Bruce went still. “I couldn’t--” He took a deep breath, looking at Clark. “I couldn’t let you love me when you didn’t know what I’d done.”

“Here’s the interesting thing,” Clark said. “Which is that you don’t get to ‘let’ me love you or not. I just do.”

“I tried to kill you,” Bruce said again.

“Well, that was stupid of you and you didn’t do very well at it. And then you saved my mother, and fought by my side to save the world, and--apparently--did a ton of research about me and fell in love with me after I died, which was also kind of stupid of you, but you seem to have done pretty well at that.”

Bruce was staring at him and Clark wasn’t sure he was making much sense, but their lives didn’t make a whole lot of sense and he just needed to get through to him somehow, cut through that clear glass wall Bruce kept himself sealed inside, batter it down with nonsense and the force of his need, if necessary.

“Come on, Bruce!” Clark said, whirling to go back to the case where his suit was entombed. “Enough with the grief and regret between us, enough of that, we need to just--” Carried away by his own words, he leveled a punch at the case as if to shatter it, break it into a thousand pieces.

His fist slammed into the glass with a dull thud and the case didn’t budge.

“Ow,” said Clark, shaking out his hand. “Ow. Ow.”

“Still no powers, I see,” said Bruce. There was something under his words that wasn’t bitterness or remorse, and at the sound of it Clark’s heart rose.

“That looked much more dramatic in my head,” he said, wincing exaggeratedly and pulling a wry face.

Bruce crossed the room to stand in front of him and took Clark’s hand in his. “I believe if we get you into sunlight you’ll get your powers back. Until then, I think you’re going to have some impressively bruised knuckles.”

He lifted Clark’s aching hand to his lips and kissed the fingers, very gently.

“Let’s get your suit out of the case and then we’ll talk about what you’d like to do next.”

Clark smiled through the pain--he’d felt worse, after all; he remembered now. “I’ve got some ideas about that,” he said.