mithen: (Misty Batman)
[personal profile] mithen
Title: Interlude in Front of a Furnace
Characters: Clark Kent/Bruce Wayne
Fandom: DC Comics
Warnings/Spoilers: None
Rating: G
Word Count: 500
Summary: Bruce contemplates destroying one of the many ways of killing Superman he's developed. A canon tag to "Superman Unchained" #2, based on these scans.
Notes: A little birthday present for [personal profile] ilovetobefree! May the coming year be full of happiness, health, and friendship!



The furnace room is sweltering, turning the damp of the cave into a clinging steam. Bruce Wayne feels sweat trickling down the small of his bare back as he stands in front of the furnace, looking down at the cloth in his hands.

It’s light. Eerily so after the solid armor of his own suit. But there’s no need for armor when one is an assassin, unseen, unheard. With this suit on, he could infiltrate even the Fortress of Solitude, slip undetected into its crystalline heart.

With this suit, he could walk up to Superman, look him in his blind and unsuspecting eyes, and slide a Kryptonite stiletto between his ribs.

The furnace roars hungrily as Bruce opens it with heavy metal tongs and gazes into its blazing heart. In seconds, it could reduce this suit (this weapon) to ash. Add the schematics and years of work would be gone, incinerated, this gossamer weight in his hands and on his soul lifted.

He would no longer have to wake in the night from dreams of killing one of the few people who truly knows him.

Sweat prickles his collarbones, drips from his brow. He feels his hands tighten in the treacherous cloth.

And then a hand is on his shoulder, cool against the burning skin: “Hey,” says Clark, and his voice is worried, gentle. “What are you doing?” He touches Bruce’s cheekbone with one finger, drawing a line across it, then touches his finger to his lips, tasting. He looks uncertain, off-balance.

“Sweating,” says Bruce.

Clark smiles then, and between it and the furnace-blast behind him Bruce isn’t sure which is more radiant. “Thank you,” he says. “For keeping the Kryptonite. For developing the suit.”

Bruce barks a humorless laugh. “You’re welcome,” he manages to rasp.

“Thank you for trusting me,” says Clark.

“Oh yes,” says Bruce, “You can tell how much I trust you.” He lifts the suit between them like an accusation.

“Yes,” says Clark, “I can.”

He reaches out and, with his bare hand, closes the furnace door. The roar of flame cuts off, and the heat immediately becomes less oppressive.

“You look like you could use a cool drink,” Clark says. “So how about you put that away and we can get a nice tall glass of lemonade somewhere?”

“Are you asking me on a date?” Bruce asks. He means it as a joke (doesn’t he?), but the question falls with a strange seriousness between them.

Clark blinks. “Maybe,” he says. “Would you...be interested?”

His eyes are suddenly shy, and now there’s color in his cheeks, though the sweltering heat had left him untouched. He looks at Bruce as if he’s holding his breath, as if braced for some terrible blow. There are more ways to stab someone to the heart than with a stealth suit and a Kryptonite dagger, Bruce thinks, And so many different kinds of trust.

He folds the suit briskly, as if putting away laundry. “I would,” he says, and for a moment the delighted relief in Clark’s eyes outshines every flame he has ever known.
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