Without reason or caveat
by Te
July 13, 2003

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

Summary: It's not about being complete.

Ratings Note: R.

Author's Note: Clark wanted his say.

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

Feedback is always welcome. teland793@sbcglobal.net


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 his 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

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

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*

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

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

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 Clark 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
*meta*physics 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

A grunt, and the sound of more typing.

He wouldn't have it any other way.