In, around, through
by Te
December 1, 2003

Disclaimers: Not even close to mine.

Spoilers: Major ones for "Hereafter." References to "A
Better World," and the New Adventures of Batman and
Superman episode "Knight Time."

Ratings Note: NC-17.

Summary: Eventually, they were going to have to
talk. One way or another.

Author's Note: Man, I'm in love. And with all my friends
*encouraging* behavior like this... well.

Acknowledgments: To Jack, the Spike, Bas, Livia, and
Molly for audiencing. Livia also came equipped with
helpful suggestions.

Feedback: Always.


Even with days to prepare, protecting Palmer's lab from
Savage took days, and none of them had been in the best
of shape to begin with.

It was heartening to think about, that he really was
missed as much as he missed them, all of them.

And then it was just one more thing to keep in mind so
that they all didn't wind up messily killed.

Clark has taken to sleeping on the roof, when he's on
earth. Here, on the Tower, he tries to stay within sight of
the sun.

He will never, ever let himself forget what it was like to
be nothing but human, and what it was like to get the
power back. A rush through every millimeter, every cell of
his body. The difference between seeing a picture of
yourself and being *alive*.

And Savage... had been himself.

Perhaps a function of the man's immortality.

There was no way to be sure how long he'd been alive,
and chances are that after several hundred years or so, a
man's basic personality was pretty much set in stone. And

There was something disturbing about the way a part of
him had warmed inside to see the man, even though the
only recognition in Savage's eyes was of an enemy.

Clark suspects that things might have been... infinitely
more difficult if he'd spent any more time in the future.

When he sleeps, his dreams suggest that he didn't make
a difference at all.

He wants to talk to the man about it ("Damn you, how
did you *know*?"), visit him in whatever hole the
American legal system has buried him in. This, in his
experience, never actually helps anything at all.

But there's a huge temptation in it just the same, the idea
that he *knows* this man, and who he will be. Who he
*could* be.

Would it have been so hard for the Savage of the future
to give him some sort of code word, some way to reach his
past self?

Had he honestly expected Clark to *kill* him?

"Probably just hope."

Clark blinks. Batman. "Was I thinking out loud?"

"You brood in entirely predictable ways." The barest hint
of a smile.

Right. "So you've given it some time and effort."


Clark pastes on his best smirk. "The study of my thought

"No more than anyone else's."

Clark would lay money on that pose being a technically
perfect defense position for some obscure martial art. "Uh,
hunh." Looks around to be sure they're alone. "You know,
Bruce --"

"It wouldn't do any good." The first direct look. "Trying to
turn Savage."

"I know. Tell me why, anyway."

Another smile. Clark wonders when he's going to get over
thinking of every one as a personal victory. "Even if he
believes you -- and I grant that a man who's spent that
much time fiddling with the space-time continuum probably
has a lower threshold for disbelief suspension than most --"

Clark doesn't bother to hide a snort.

"The Savage *you* knew was the result of many years of
solitude, self-study, and... repentance?"

Clark nods.

A grunt. "He'll use whatever you say to try to plan his next
little global takeover scheme. And this time we might not be
lucky enough to get you sent into the future."


"Think about it."

"I'd rather not."

"... all right."

And for a moment it's so quiet that he's sure Batman has
gone back to whatever it is he was doing, but when he looks
to his left, Bruce is still there.

Staring out the observation window, arms crossed over his
chest. Mostly hidden by the cape.


"How much time did you spend up here before you told us
all about it?"

"Bruce Wayne had a two-week rest in New Guinea a few
years ago."

Clark nods. "Tim asked me to visit. I think he just wanted
to watch me try and fail to be you in front of an audience

Definite smirk. "Probably. Robin's sense of humor is...

"You had nothing to do with that, I'm sure."

"Nothing." Bruce's voice is surprisingly serious, and the
old, familiar battle between wanting to push and wanting
to give the man whatever room he needed to have
genuine human feelings -- if that was, in fact, what he
was doing -- is... itself. Old, familiar, and impossible to

"Just two weeks?"

"The launch didn't damage any of the important internal
systems. All of the sensors are set to send whatever
information they gather to the Cave."

"They still are."

"Trying to get rid of me, Clark?"

His own laugh surprises him, though he isn't sure why.
"You're a difficult, contrary, mean-spirited, misanthropic,
and all around *painful* sonofabitch, Bruce."

"True." And Bruce's smile is as brief as an hallucination,
and sharp to the point of ferociousness. Real.

"I missed you."

And he doesn't really expect anything from that, or
anything remotely *good*, but Bruce... slumps. Just a
little. "How long was it. For you."

"Sixty-four and a half days."

"You counted."

"Like you wouldn't have known down to the second."

Non-committal grunt.

Clark runs a hand through his hair. He'll cut it when the
length stops surprising him, he thinks. "It was. It was
easier, at first. My communicator worked. I could connect
to the Tower. Good job on that, by the way. It'll
apparently stay in orbit for another several thousand

"You reported in."

"Every day. I thought... I thought we'd been transported
to another planet, separated. I thought I'd find you all at
the other end of things."

A twitch of movement, again nearly hidden by the cape.

"I think I would've started counting the seconds soon,
after that."

Bruce nods.

"It's... it's better when we're here. When we all are." And
that's about as close as he can get to anything like what
he wants to say, so he stops. Goes back to staring out the

Wonders why Batman *put* windows in.

There's probably a vastly important tactical reason. It just
seems like a vulnerability now. One the Lords would have
corrected, if they'd been given the time to do so.

Another prison visit he won't be making.

"Want some coffee?"

"I'm not tired."

Clark shakes his head, sighs to himself. "Of course."

"I'm not. I didn't think you were dead."

"I know --"

"No, you don't. I didn't *let* myself think it."

He lets himself chew on that for a while, watching Bruce
not-squirm out of the corner of his eye. "I'm tempted to
hug you, you know."

Another threat in the guise of a smile. "Are you, now."

"Mm-hmm. But I figure I only get one or two of those a
year. I should save them. Make them count."


Like leaving the ground for the sky. The first time. "What
are *you* tempted to do, Bruce?"

"Would you like a list?"

"You can leave out the ones that involve *that* pocket of
your belt."

"Mm. Are you sure about that?"

"You're never going to stop surprising --"

Especially not when he moves like that. With that fluidity
that has, of course, nothing to do with superpowers and
everything to do with all the things Bruce has done to his
body over the years.

When he kisses like it isn't the first time, or that they've
already been kissing for long enough today, right now,
that there's no reason to be gentle or hesitant or

Clark breaks the kiss with a moan. "What do you tell your
lovers about the scars?"

"Bruce Wayne should never, ever ski."

On him again, gauntleted hand in Clark's hair holding him
still, teeth in his lip, digging in *hard* on his tongue, and
there's no question about kissing back.

Clark gives as good as he can, pushing Bruce back against
the wall and sliding his hands under the cape, over the
armor, down.

Bruce's turn to break the kiss, and hiss between his teeth.

Clark wants to see his eyes, and uses his powers to do so.
Wild and blue for a heartbeat, another, and then steady.


"You always know when I'm looking."

"You're not subtle."

"Maybe you're just focused."

"Maybe one of us should point out what a bad idea this

"You *did* kiss me first."

"Hence the difficulty."

Clark kisses that knife-blade smile and deliberately closes
his eyes. He's not going to give Bruce any excuse for

After a moment that couldn't be called hesitation for anyone
*but* Bruce -- he never stops kissing Clark -- the hands in
his hair start moving.

Stroking, yes, but also... carding and tugging and *pulling*.
No pause, no warning. Just the vastly important difference
between Bruce kissing him and Bruce having *sex* with
him, and Clark wants to be naked right now.

Wants that cowl off and the armor elsewhere, and he
doesn't care that the only reason Bruce *would* is because
Clark already knows.

Teeth on the edge of his ear. "We should --"

"Shut up."

"I was going to say, 'go elsewhere,' but go ahead, Clark,
bitch a little more."

Tongue *in* his ear, and something like the fully-physical
incarnation of that smile: hands on his ass and hard body
moving against his own. "I -- fuck. Does it make a
difference? The Tower's full. *Someone* will notice --
Christ -- us moving together."

"*I* can be subtle."

"I don't want you to be."

Growl in his ear and hand *in* his tights, gloved-smooth
and nothing like gentle and one finger *in* --

"God, I want to fuck you right *here*, Bruce --"

"Settle for taking the edge off."

Not a question, not a request, and Bruce's other hand
slides more of the suit fastenings apart. Hand around his
cock and pumping and Clark braces his hands on the
wall and bites Bruce's jaw as lightly as he can, trying not
to leave a mark and nearly failing when Bruce starts
*fucking* him with his finger.

Clark nudges his head back into position, spreads his
legs, and yells into Bruce's mouth, reveling in the way it
makes the man jump before he starts fucking faster,
stroking harder.

And then Bruce crooks his finger and it's just one
continuous shout into the kiss, rising every time Clark
inhales through his nose, and he can't stop working his
hips into it. It doesn't feel like begging, not here. Not with

He wouldn't care if it did.

Breaks the kiss. "I want to make you scream."

"I'm sure you'll try." *Hard* squeeze.

Clark's laugh just falls into another groan. "Now you're
just -- fuck, *harder* -- daring me --"

"I knew you'd be a talker."

"Yeah? Been listening in?"

Two fingers and another smile. "What do you think?"

And Bruce doesn't give him any time to respond to that,
just licks his way back into Clark's mouth and --

Jesus, he must be using all his strength, and it's enough,
it's *enough* and it's so fucking good.

Thumb-tip pressing hard against the head of his cock and
he can't decide if it would be better without the glove.

Tickling stroke of Bruce's tongue over the roof of his

Fingers into the second knuckle.

And when he opens his eyes and *focuses*, Bruce is
watching him, hungry and alert and just a little cruel.

More when he can tell Clark is looking.

He comes with a shout all over Bruce's fist and probably
his own suit, knees shaking and hips working him through
it, pushing him higher and higher until it's nearly pain.

Bruce releases his cock and catches him by the hip before
he can drop.


"My rooms. Now."

Bruce licks the edges of his own teeth. Slowly.

Pulls his fingers out.

Leaves in what Clark would think was the entirely wrong
direction, if he hadn't had all that horrific free time to
explore the ruins of the Tower.

Of *course* Bruce knows the place backwards and

There's no doubt in his mind that *he* still doesn't.

Flash catches him in the hall before he's gone more
than a hundred yards, clearly on the way to the
observation deck.

"Hey, Supes, join me for some chocolate?" He waggles
a large bottle of Hershey's syrup in his face.

"Maybe later," his mouth says without checking on his
brain, but Flash, thank God, just grins at him and zips

He's not going to deal with those images at any point
in his future, if he can possibly help it.

Bruce is already in the bedroom when he gets there,
stepping out of convenient shadow, fully-clothed and
utterly blank.

It *almost* gives Clark pause.

But he's known the man long enough to know that
'blank' rarely meant anything you thought it would, and,
given tonight, could mean exactly what he wants it to.

He pushes at the edges of the cowl and gets a smirk,
but Bruce pulls it off without a word, hair mussed and
damp with sweat.

And Clark... he knows what they all look like, without
their masks. There was no telling when it would be
important, though he respected their boundaries. But it's
still always a surprise to see Bruce's face, the clean,
simple lines of it.

Always a moment to search for Batman behind the bland
handsomeness, to find him in the cut of his eyes.

He should be worried by that; it's too much like buying
into the man's issues, but it's not important right now.

Or maybe it should be important, more important than
*ever*, but Clark can't bring himself to care.

"I always thought we would," he says, brushing his
thumb over the red welt the cowl has left behind.

Bruce catches his wrist. "The thought had occurred to
me." And then he sucks Clark's thumb into his mouth
and it doesn't matter at all that he came five minutes

You make me want to dive into the sun, he doesn't say,
and pushes Bruce back to the bed, onto the bed.

Crawls over him and hunts for the catches on the armor,
and Bruce isn't so much passive as... watchful.

"You're trying to figure out how much thought I've given
this, aren't you?"

"Maybe I just feel like giving you your head."

"Yeah, and maybe you'll paint the Javelin pink."

Slow, sly *grin*, and that's definitely not a look he's
used to, and he doesn't know if he's jealous of Bruce's
lovers or terrified. He settles for kissing it off his face
and... continuing to hunt. Five, six, seven catches for the
chest. It's not off.

"Are you really this fucked up or do the criminals in
Gotham have a habit of trying to get into your pants?"

"You haven't met Selina yet, have you?"

"No, but I *have* met the Joker, and don't even think
about finishing that thought."

Low chuckle and Bruce takes pity, or maybe just the
initiative, stripping down in a handful of practiced, easy
movements and dragging Clark's hands back to his skin.
"What are you going to do, Clark?"

Scars and muscle and skin and *scars*. "Why don't I
show you?"

Kissing the scars doesn't get a reaction, but he didn't
really expect it would. He bites them instead, using just
enough of his strength to hold Bruce down while he
does it. It's a slow build of motion, slow enough to be
easy to miss if Clark wasn't looking for it:

A shift when he attacks the ominous pucker beneath
Bruce's ribs, brief tension when he goes for the obvious
knife wound over his right nipple, open *availability*
when he claws at whatever happened to Bruce's left
thigh, and it still feels sudden when Bruce starts...

It's not a writhe so much as a roll, muscle control
something almost frightening in the man, maybe more
than almost if, right now, it hadn't all been for him.

Clark slips his hands between Bruce's legs, cups his
balls and just enjoys the feel of them, heavy and hot
in his palm.

And takes Bruce in his mouth, teasing and tasting the
head until Bruce lets out a small sigh and spreads wider.
Until those hands are back in his hair and urging him on
with firm, precise motions.

Clark smiles, careful of his teeth, and swallows.

*That* forces a groan out of the man, sharp and cut-off
as a scream, and oh, yes, he'd thought about this. Almost
exactly this: Bruce in his mouth, carefully failing to fuck
his throat.

Bruce holding on.

And one day he's going to do just this, just hold on and
lick and tease and suck nothing like hard enough until
Bruce *does* lets go.

But he wants more than that now.

Licks his way up and off and... remembers that he hasn't,
actually, stocked his rooms in the Tower with anything as
useful as lubricant.


The smirk is nowhere near as sharp as it could be, not
with Bruce hard and flushed and panting, just a little. He
pulls a tube out of his belt and tosses it to Clark.

Clark refrains from commenting with something like the
vast majority of his *will*. Slicks his fingers and slides
in two, because he knows Bruce wouldn't expect it, and
because it just feels *good*.

Tight and hot and *tight*, and every thrust forces out a
wordless gasp.

Bruce's eyes are closed, and *that* hits him, maybe more
than anything else. Whatever else the man is thinking
about, his body is here, *right* here.

And all his own, for now.

Clark's tights feel as binding as a straitjacket.

He slips out just long enough to get them *off* and looks
down to find Bruce eyeing him with something like lazy
challenge, stroking his own cock and waiting.

Clark has an entirely new appreciation for pornography.

"Bruce. Do you need... should I?"

"Fuck me, Clark --"

And it feels like there's something unsaid there, he *knows*
there's something unsaid, but right now the frustration of
it just adds to everything else. He wants to crawl out of his
skin. He wants to hold Bruce down and just *use* him,
rub himself against all those scars until the itch is gone.

He kneels between Bruce's thighs and touches him again,
traces circles around the slick little hole and dreams of the
kind of control he'd need to just *play*, because he

Fuck, he wants Bruce on him, surrounding his fingers and
fighting against every noise Clark fucks out of him.

"God, I want you..."

Slicks his cock, and the first push makes him shiver, but
when Bruce effortlessly, casually throws one leg over his
shoulder he knows he'd only *thought* he was losing

One hand around Bruce's hard, bony and muscular ankle
and the other around his own cock. And the first slow
push makes parts of his mind burn away, makes him cry
out, let go, and just *thrust*.

One slow, tight slide and he's balls-deep and Bruce's eyes
are squeezed shut.

"Does it -- should --"

"Do it." Gritted out and nothing but an order.

"God , Bruce, you feel..."

And the words are gone. There's nothing but the hot slide
and *friction*, the way his hips need to move and his spine
to arch.

And he can manage slow, but he can't manage easy.

Not when a half-accidental shift in angle makes Bruce wrap
his other leg around his waist.

Not when he starts fisting his own cock with brutal, efficient
strokes that Clark thinks he can *feel*.

He *knows* what that's like on his own cock, and he wants
more, more of exactly *this*. Buried deep and drowning in
it, like the air has gone liquid and oxygen is something to

And then he can't manage slow at all, because Bruce is all
tension and *fight*, and it looks like resistance, but Clark
knows it isn't.

Knows sex is always a battle for this man, and he doesn't
know whose side he wants to be on.

Slides his free hand over Bruce's abdomen and *pushes*
for the gasp, for the feel of muscle jumping and flexing
because of what he's doing, because he's *fucking* Bruce,
fast and hard and grinding, and now the man's teeth are
gritted into a snarl and Clark is...

Melted everywhere but his cock, lost and breathless and
moving with no help from his mind, because yes, he always
thought they *would*, but he never thought...


A groan somewhere between pain and lust.

"Bruce, open your eyes, I want... God, I have to *see*
this --"

And he does, and it's... lust and hunger and *anger*, and
something wide and wet and open as a kiss.

"Bruce, I --"

"Don't say it."

And the laugh is just another ripple of feeling, something
to ride. "I don't have to, Bruce, you --"

And when Bruce comes all over both of them, it's like the
ground falling out from under him. It's like being fifteen,
and leaping into the sky.

It's --

No words, no thoughts. He tightens his hand on Bruce's
ankle and gives in, gives *up*, slamming and grinding
his way in. He has to *show* Bruce, he has to make
him --

And he's groaning so loud he almost misses it, almost
can't believe the *look* of it: Bruce grabbing at the
headboard and arching and bucking into every thrust,
coughing out a moan for every *grind*.

Messy with sweat and his own come and *watching*

Eyes open and steady and hungry as anything Clark had
ever thought he wanted.

And Clark thinks: this is what it means to make love to

And comes yelling.



Eases Bruce's ankle off his shoulder and half-collapses
forward, bracing himself on his hands and slipping out as
gently as he can.

He feels.

He didn't think there was a good way to feel shattered.

He lets himself fall to the side and wraps an arm around
Bruce, not at all surprised by the immediate stiffening.
He squeezes against it.

Struggles for language. "I don't expect you to stay the
night. I just..."

He closes his eyes, reaching out with those nameless
parts of his self for the direction of the sun. Relaxing when
he finds it.

More when *Bruce* relaxes.

And sleeps to the feel of fingers curling in his hair, light as
a breeze.

He *does* wake up when Bruce eventually slips out of
bed, but not for long.

He'll know where to find the man when he needs him.

And Bruce won't ever let him get far.