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Without reason or caveat

by Te

Without reason or caveat
by Te
July 13, 2003

Disclaimers: They may not be mine, but my love is pure.

Summary: It's not about being complete.

Ratings Note: R.

Author's Note: Clark wanted his say. Third part of the You Tonight series, available in full here:

Acknowledgments: To Jenn and Erica for audiencing, to Cass just because, and, well, to me. So there.

Feedback is always welcome.


Clark has always worried about Bruce.

Well, to be fair, when they'd first met he'd worried more about what Bruce might do, but... but.

Times change. Alliances change, and relationships change, and suddenly he couldn't even imagine going into battle alone, much less without some sign or word from Bruce. When they'd wound up in Savage's universe...

The whole world loved Superman, when they weren't trying to pound him into the dirt. But Clark didn't have all that much, really.

His parents (and how long would his father's heart last? How many more breathless news reports could it take?), the people back at the Planet. He'd always be "Smallville" there, and that could be refreshing.

But so could a jump into a frozen lake.

Clark had...

Clark had a lot of bad suits and a lot of absent affection.

But Clark also had Bruce.

And even if he hadn't really thought about it, or only thought about it those times when his mind got away from him and he found himself wondering about the character of cities that they could each produce such distinctive heroes and supervillains, it felt right.

The way Bruce would never hesitate, even for a moment, to stop him in his tracks. Or try to.

Clark knew about the Kryptonite. Had known almost from the beginning. He wouldn't expect any different from the man, and there was a time he would've resented it, taken it as more proof of the man's basic unreliability, but now...

Now it was almost soothing to think about. Bruce, with his brain segmented so neatly, so perfectly, into what he wanted, what he needed, and what had to be done. Clark had had quite a bit of time to watch that in action from the Justice League's inception, and it really was a marvel of logic. Cold and clean as space and seemingly just as limitless.

It was... okay, it was definitely a little scary, but there wasn't anyone he'd rather have at his back in battle -- Kryptonite or not.

Because Bruce -- Batman would never lose sight of the ultimate goal, never break, never waver, never stop until the job was done and as many innocents were safe as humanly possible.

Batman could decide what was humanly possible -- for everyone but himself, at least -- in a way he didn't think any of the rest of them ever could.

He'd seen Batman leave people behind and in danger to be rescued by the rest of them, and it was horrible, it was awful, but in the cold, clear light of day it was always, always necessary.

And Batman was available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. He never got buried under Bruce, and Bruce never needed anything more than Batman did.

Part of him... part of him hated that, and hated the fact that Batman wanted and needed to believe that he was the one fucking Clark. Making love to Clark.

Most of the time, though... most of the time it was exactly what brought him back for more. What made something inside him clench and ache and strip and spread.

Batman. Bruce.

Clark had only needed one look behind the mask and a few free hours to think before he came to the only conclusion that mattered: Either Batman and Bruce weren't all that different, or Bruce was the only real mask.

And if he couldn't have Bruce... then Batman was more than worth the sacrifice.

Batman, sitting at the computers he'd designed from the ground up, typing at speed and pretending he couldn't feel Clark watching.

Batman who did everything short of ripping out his own vocal cords to avoid making noise when he came.

Sometimes he thought about... teasing. Nothing cruel just a little bit of push. Batman liked it when he pushed, whenever he did anything that made it seem like he was 'learning,' or just losing a little bit of the shine everyone could see on him -- everyone but Clark himself, that was.

When he got angry, when he hit harder, when he snarked as much as Batman did himself. Batman seemed to think that there was something soft in him. No, not soft, weak.

As if no one could ever just choose not to behave badly, that it had to be something in Clark that liked to be hurt and maybe even just that slightest bit abused. That would make him, well, come back for more.

Batman really should've known better than that.

And he was neither a fool, nor lacking in self-awareness. He knew where he'd gotten a taste for this, and yeah, he did like it that Batman pushed like that.

It made him think of better days, or at least less complicated days. Back when the world was Smallville and everything else was academic. When Metropolis looked like a fairy tale, spread out jagged and shining over the far horizon.

When Lex was... Lex. Not Luthor, not the man with more money than morality, and certainly not the prisoner at Stryker's.

When Lex was his, crying out under him like he'd never had a thing in the world to be ashamed of, and wasn't about to start now.

And Clark knew that Batman knew about that -- hell, he'd told the man himself -- and he knew that Batman probably (thought he) knew even more than that. He knew that it made Batman trust him less.

And he knew that it made him want Clark more.

Every city got the hero it deserved, and Gotham had an insane asylum for its most important landmark.

So who was the weak one, Bruce...?

He smiled to himself and made himself comfortable in the doorway, a casual lean that Batman probably thought it was impatience. Thought he was getting away with something by continuing to ignore him, or maybe just sending a message.

But, see, you didn't date a man like Lex Luthor without learning a thing or two about unspoken communication. You didn't fight when the man in your life decided to give you the cold shoulder -- you either sat back and waited for him to get the holy hell over it, or you acted like there was nothing wrong with the picture at all.

And, for him, there really wasn't.

Out here, they were about as safe as they would ever be.

In his bedroom, Batman let Clark peel the mask off and watch the man carefully, cautiously not lose control.

Inside, they were... in agreement, even if Batman thought they never really would be, or even could be.

So, yes, sometimes he spent a lot of time thinking about teasing. About zipping his way into Batman's quarters just ahead of him and laying out naked on that big, ridiculously hard bed.

Smiling his best smirk and jerking himself off as lazily as he could manage.

Batman... Batman would definitely think that was going too far.

Batman would probably be impossibly turned on, just the same.

And Batman would reject him out of hand, in the most cutting words he could come up with -- and the man had prodigious ability there.

And Clark would smile, and leave, and think about cracks beneath the surface. Treasure the image of Batman's hard cock kept safely and firmly -- and painfully, he'd bet --tucked behind an athletic cup football players would kill for. Think about the next move.

It was tempting -- insanely so, sometimes, but he thought he knew how it would all turn out. Clark would wind up being forced to up the ante to ridiculous levels and Batman would get a lot of savage joy out of that and... they'd wind up hating each other.

Or... he thought he knew himself well enough to know when he was too far gone to hate, but he didn't think Batman ever could get that far.

It was more sad than frightening, really.

And he didn't need X-ray vision to know that Batman hated it when he thought like that.

He'd done his homework. He knew about Batman's -- Bruce's -- parents, and he was smart enough to know that he'd never really understand just how much that had affected the man, even if he did see him more days -- nights -- than he didn't. But there was something almost painfully obvious about what he could see. That desperate need to be anything but vulnerable.

Anything but what whatever sad little kid inside the man saw as a victim.

The way Batman stiffened when he touched him, and the way he didn't when he made the kisses hard enough, the touches... obvious enough.

So he worried, yes, but... he had a fantasy of gentling the man to his touch, all of his touch, one half-vicious session of sex at a time. One extended period of watching and waiting at a time. In the fantasy, the truth was that, under everything, Batman had been burned too many times by life in the Big, Bad City. That some part of him was still waiting and hoping for someone who could take him, every last bit of his surly, mean-spirited, pessimistic self and make it their own.

Who would want it.

And in the fantasy, there would come a day when Batman leaned into a hug instead of waiting, grimly, for Clark to let go.

When there'd be a smile waiting behind those timberwolf blue eyes, if Clark would just look for it.

He'd had fantasies like that before.

He thought it was what made him... human, if not wise.

Wisdom came from the fact that he knew it was just a fantasy, and that even though fantasies had their place, that place was nowhere near the real world.

The world where, sooner or later Batman would break a little more, or get just that slightest bit better at cutting himself off from body and heart and Bruce, and Clark would be left on his own, again.

Waiting for the next terrible, beautiful man or woman he could love for just a little while, under that wonderful yellow sun or far away. He knew he was going to live for a long, long time.

This thing with Batman was so good it made him light. This thing was better than he ever thought he would get again, now that Lex was just someone to be sad about. But this thing with Batman was small, and flawed, and degrading even as it got bigger and more powerful. More needful.

Clark had studied quite a bit of nuclear physics before disarming the world's weapons of mass destruction. And sometimes, just sometimes, he wondered if maybe everything didn't have a half-life that could be measured, understood and planned for.

Bruce would know, or believe he did, which in terms of metaphysics might as well be the same thing.

He would know the half-life of love, and could predict to the day the time when there would be nothing between them but whatever Superman and Batman could make.

Clark laughed a little. He would never ask. Because... because after Batman was done with his calculations, the stubborn sonofabitch would do everything in his power to make them come true.

"Something funny, Superman?" Thrown over his shoulder like an invitation to battle.

He smiled a little wider. "Nothing at all, Batman. Carry on."

A grunt, and the sound of more typing.

He wouldn't have it any other way.


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