Pairings/Characters: Clark/Bruce*, Joe O’Reilly, Alma Henderson, Dan Pierowski, Leona Appulis
Continuity: Man Of Steel/Batman Begins
Genres: Angst, Drama, Slice-Of-Life
Summary: Clark searches for answers off the coast of Maine during his odyssey.
Date Of Completion: February 2, 2014
Date Of Posting: May 12, 2014
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC and Warner Brothers do, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1380
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: *Clark/Bruce is more pre-slash but the foreshadowing is so strong I consider it emotional slash at least. :) Bruce doesn’t appear until the end of this story.
I figure that Clark worked on a lobster boat during his travels. Most likely the scene we saw in the movie was down in the Gulf because of the oil rig so any boat work down there would have been shrimp. :)
My first posted Clark/Bruce story of the year! :) .
Ha, ha, couldn’t resist the title! ;)
In the air
As the sea sparkles.
Cool mist lightly caressed Clark’s face as he used the line to lower the lobster trap. A flock of seagulls followed the boat, eager to catch any falling bait. Sometimes they came right on board and Clark would shoo them away. The other lobstermen were annoyed by the birds, calling them scavenging pests, but he found them amusing.
The pitch and roll of the boat had made him feel queasy at first, but he quickly adjusted to it. As a Midwestern boy, the ocean was a mystery to him. He found that he liked the tang of salt air and the spray of mist on his face. The sea itself was fascinating with its ebb and flow and the many creatures he could see with his telescopic vision.
Being a lobsterman was interesting work. The small Maine fishing village that the Eleanor J. sailed out of reminded him of Smallville with its working-class people who worked hard from sunup to sundown. He understood them, even if they had Eastern ways and fish instead of beef was the main diet.
His strength made the hard work of hauling up lobster traps an easy task. He could climb the rigging with no fear of falling and with a little more speed than anyone else.
Captain Joe O’Reilly was pleased with him. The middle-aged man with the cheerful ruddy face and bright blue eyes had taken him under his wing and taught him his craft. With Joe’s nephew laid up with broken ribs, he had needed someone to help him on his boat. Clark had volunteered, liking the village for his latest stop on his wanderings.
Clark went into the small wheelhouse. “Traps set, Captain.”
Clark smiled. Joe was a good man, a bit overprotective but he genuinely cared about the young men he hired. He and his wife had photographs of past crew in their home.
“Now that we’ve got the last of them on the new line set, let’s go empty the old line.”
Joe steered the boat to his line of traps, his yellow-and-red buoys bobbing on the sparkling blue waves. Clark left the wheelhouse and hauled up the traps, careful to take out the squirming lobsters the way Joe had shown him by avoiding the giant claws. They would not hurt him, of course, but had to pretend they could.
He placed the lobsters in the holding tanks. It was a good catch today. There would be fresh lobster for dinner tonight as Joe would set aside three lobsters before selling the catch on the dock.
Clark felt the rays of the rising sun touch his skin. Power surged through his body and he smiled. Despite his awareness of how different he was from everyone else he was accustomed to the healthy feeling he experienced with the sunlight. It was a feeling he liked.
“Time to go in, Jim.”
The lobster boat chugged into Rockville Harbor. Clark jumped onto the dock to tie the boat to it and he and Joe began unloading their stock.
Restaurant owners flocked to the docks as the village began to wake up. Joe’s catch went quickly, along with other boat owners’ catches. The lobsterman clapped Clark on the back.
“Up for some breakfast, Jim?”
Joe guffawed. “Let’s go, then.”
They left the docks and leisurely walked toward The Shore Diner. They entered the diner and were greeted by the two morning shift waitresses and the cook, who was also the owner.
“Good catch today, Joe?” asked Alma, her teased taffy-colored hair matching her uniform.
“Real good, Alma. I’ll have No. 2.”
“Bacon and two scrambled eggs it is. How ‘bout you, Jim?”
Clark scratched his beard. “Make mine No. 1.”
“Two scrambled eggs and sausages comin’ up.”
“I heard that.” Dan broke the eggs into a skillet. He was a husky, middle-aged man with jet-black hair and large, brown eyes. His smile always brought an answering smile, even at this early hour. “Two orders comin’ up.”
Alma poured coffee into sturdy white mugs as other customers entered the diner. The greetings flew around, and Leona, a mousy little brunette woman, took new orders.
The diner was chrome-accented and filled with booths and the long counter with stools. A colorful jukebox was set at the end of the room. Conversation flowed freely and laughter rang out with good cheer.
It all reminded Clark of Smallville: the small town setting, this diner, the hard-working people who worked on the sea instead of the land. He felt a measure of comfort in the familiarity.
His unending odyssey was not any closer to completion than it had been at the beginning. Sometimes he wondered if he would ever find any answers.
The thought was a sobering one as he smiled absently at Alma when she set the plate of steaming food in front of him. He appreciated the taste of his eggs and sausages but his mind worried over his eternal problem. The people around him were oblivious to his turmoil, but he was used to worrying about a problem that no one else on Earth had.
Clark listened to the conversations around him. Joe and Dan bantered back-and-forth with Alma joining in.
“You bet too much on the Patriots game,” Joe chided gleefully.
"Ha, and you didn’t? Our Tommy-boy lit up the Jets defense.” Dan flipped a pancake over the grill.
“Give that boy another Randy Moss and they’d be 16-0 again.”
“Darned tootin’, Joe! We sure got lucky with that one,” Alma agreed.
Amused by the banter, Clark ate his last sausage and finished his coffee. “I’m going to take a walk, Joe.”
“Okay, see ya later.”
Clark left the diner and walked along the boardwalk. A heavy mist was rolling in from the ocean. The cool droplets caressed his skin as the wind ruffled his hair. It was a relaxing scenario. He enjoyed sunny days for obvious reasons but days like this suited him, too. He liked living by the sea.
Clark wandered around the village, hands in jacket pockets, nodding pleasantly to people as he passed them. Small town folk could be harried and careworn, but most of them would always make sure to be courteous, unlike big city people.
Clark walked past gift shops and the fudge shop and the town library. He passed a church and walked down a quiet side street filled with restaurants closed until the lunch hour. The bustle of the docks and fish district was left behind as he walked down a paved street that turned into a dirt path at the end. He ambled past thickets of pink and red beach roses, their perfume sweetly aromatic.
Clark reached the dunes of Salter’s Beach and traversed a narrow path through the thickets. He took a deep breath of sea air as he meandered down the beach.
I’ve been searching for answers for so long. Have I been looking in all the wrong places?
The mist clung to him as he lifted his face toward the hidden sun. He closed his eyes, droplets quivering on his long lashes as loneliness welled up in him.
Will I ever find my answers?
Half a world away, another young man was wandering by a stream as darkness descended, stars twinkling in the sky. A light breeze blew as Bruce Wayne ambled along the banks of the clear mountain stream. He wore the simple black clothing of the ninjas he was training with right now.
He gazed out toward the snow-capped mountains. He had left Gotham nearly seven years ago to seek…what? Revenge? Justice? A little of both?
Had he finally found what he was looking for after all those years of wandering? Or did he need something else? Something (someone?) to fill the emptiness that he lived with every day?
Bruce took a deep breath of the perfumed blue flowers that grew profusely on the hillside. He turned to go back to the House of Ra’s Al-Ghul.
Back on the Maine coast, Clark wondered sadly if he would ever find someone who could understand him and share his life?
He turned and headed back toward the village.