Title: Bright Laughter I: A Mutual Friend (1/1)
Pairings/Characters: Clark/Dick, mention of Bruce/Dick and Clark/Bruce
Summary: Dick finds happiness with an old friend.
Date Of Completion: December 21, 2006
Date Of Posting: January 15, 2007
Word Count: 1338
Dick’s face lit up as Clark flew into the Batcave. Dick was sitting on the hood of the
Batmobile in full costume, and Clark stood before him, his own smile just as bright. He
leaned down and kissed Dick, who returned the kiss with youthful enthusiasm. When they
broke apart, Clark used his X-ray vision and saw sparkling eyes behind the mask. Dick
assumed a cross-legged position, keeping hold of Clark’s hand.
“To what do I owe this pleasure?”
“Now since when do I need a reason to see my beautiful Robin?”
Dick’s smile was dazzling as he leaned back. “C’mon, ‘fess up. You’re a lousy liar,
Kal-El of Krypton.”
Clark smiled again. “Okay, Bruce asked me here.”
“Yes, he wants me to patrol with you two tonight. He thinks the Toyman might be teaming
up with the Joker and they’ve got something planned.”
“Ah.” Dick nodded. The pairing made sense. “So I was right. This is a business call.”
“Not completely.” Clark reached out and traced his finger along the cheek and jaw of his
smiling partner, who purred in satisfaction.
“I’m so lucky,” Clark said.”
“You’re lucky?” Dick laughed. “That should be my line.” A shadow crossed his face.
“Ironic, I suppose, that Bruce is the reason we…”
Clark felt his own heartache. “I’m sorry.”
Dick squeezed his hand. “It’s not your fault.” He sighed. “Consider it a dumb kid
falling for his mentor.”
“You loved him.”
Dick nodded. At sixteen, he’d been head-over-heels. By eighteen, he’d snagged the
Bat. On the very night of his birthday. Pride tinged his memories. Clark rubbed his
finger along Dick’s bare arm. “I was happy, deliriously so. I thought Bruce was, too.”
Sympathy suffused Clark’s face. He focused on Dick with all his senses. He knew the
story very well, how his two friends had been happy for a few years, but then they began
to fight, and not just the fights between a college age young man and guardian. Dick
had complained that Bruce kept pushing him away until the older man finally succeeded.
The younger man had transferred from Gotham U. to Hudson University, but Dick had hated
it. “I worried myself sick over him out every night alone in Gotham’s madhouse,” he
once confided to Clark.
Before Dick’s return home for good, he had realized that Bruce had turned to Clark, but
the Kryptonian was hesitant to start anything with Dick still hurting. Dick had
insisted that Clark allow himself a romance with Bruce. “Maybe you’re what Bruce needs.”
Clark took the advice, he and Bruce coming together like a supernova. The two of them
had enjoyed a passionate, fiery relationship, though by the time Bruce had begun his
pattern of pushing someone close to him away, Clark feared that he had been a rebound
relationship for the Dark Knight. He had tried just as much as Dick had to keep
everything going, but…
“It got too difficult.”
“What?” Dick cocked his head.
“Bruce and me. It got to be exhausting, the walls Bruce kept building, always…”
“…pushing you away.”
Clark nodded. “I needed more than Bruce could give me.” He said it with sadness, though
he had finally accepted that his former lover’s limitations were not his fault. It was
simply the way Bruce was built, as if he was destined to sabotage his own happiness at
“Because when you love…” Dick’s long legs wrapped around Clark’s thighs “…you give your
Clark brushed a lock of hair off Dick’s brow. “Sounds like someone else I know.”
Dick’s smile was pure joy. “We’re a lot alike.”
Clark liked the feel of Dick’s legs entwined around him.
Dick loved laughter and joy, expressing his emotions openly, and affectionate touching.
Bruce had never liked any of that, or at least could not bring himself to laugh or say,
“I love you”, and he certainly never touched casually or allowed a casual touch as Clark
was doing now with his gentle stroking of Dick’s arm. Dick was still grasping his hand
in warm affection. Bruce was more likely to hurl a verbal epee and use a rubber tip
only if he was having a good day. The relationship had been exciting and Clark would
have been willing to keep working at it, but the continual wall he kept hitting his
head against could give even a Superman a headache.
“I could see how much you were hurting.” Dick’s voice was soft. “You were…and are…my
friend, Clark. I wanted to be there for you.” Dick’s free hand traced the ‘S’ on Clark’s
chest. “I guess I got a little carried away with my hero worship.”
Warmth flooded through Clark. His first attraction had been to Bruce, the younger man
not in his romantic thoughts until Dick had grown up, and even then only after his
romance with Bruce had ended. To him, Dick had always been the ebullient boy who
cartwheeled in delight at his appearances, and a fellow conspirator in laughter. To his
delighted surprise, the boy-turned-man’s company changed from close friend to
passionate lover, a soothing balm to his battered heart. At first it had been two souls
reaching out to each other, understanding each other’s pain. They wore the shared
badge of ‘I Survived Bruce Wayne’ and found their talks and lunches and adventures spent
together becoming more frequent. Amazingly, their friendship and working relationship
with Bruce had settled back into pre-romance mode, and now their waking thoughts were
of each other.
Clark lifted Dick off the car hood, kissing him with joy. When they broke apart, Dick
asked breathlessly, “Is it supposed to be this easy?”
Clark laughed, the sound echoing in the Cave. “Only someone raised by the Bat could ask
something like that.” He gently chucked a blushing Dick under the chin. “Of course it is!
Love requires work, but when it gets more exhausting than exhilarating, it’s time for a
Dick’s smile faltered, and he ducked his head. “I still love him,” he said in a low
Super-hearing picked it up easily. Clark tilted his head back up. “I know.” His eyes
reflected a mixture of happiness and sadness. “I do, too.”
He could hear Dick’s heartbeat racing. The younger man removed his mask. No relying on
X-ray vision or Clark’s years of practice at reading his face with the mask on. His blue
eyes were so intense they nearly took Clark’s breath away. The green glove holding his
hand gripped tighter.
“A part of me will always love him, Clark, but if Bruce said he would take me back today,
I wouldn’t leave you. I couldn’t. You’re in my blood now.”
Clark’s own heart raced. “He’ll always be a part of me, too.” His hand squeezed Dick’s
hand. “But I agree with you. I couldn’t give you up, either.”
Dick’s smile lit up his whole face. Clark’s heart sang. He would always be grateful to
Bruce for bringing Dick Grayson into his life. The hurt would be there, but gradually
fade, and he still had Bruce’s friendship. He now also had this amazing young man who
loved so much and so freely, and whose laughter always made his blood sing.
“Do we have time for a quick flight?” Clark asked.
Dick glanced at a clock on the console. “Yes, Bruce isn’t expected home for fifteen
“Just enough time.”
Clark laughed at the eagerness Dick displayed. Of all the powers he had, Dick envied
his ability to fly the most. He supposed it was an acrobat’s love of the air. He
swooped Dick into his arms and they shared a kiss, laughing like two lovesick boys.
Clark flew them out of the Cave.
Quiet settled down in the Cave, an occasional rustle of bats the only sound.
A figure emerged from the shadows, unbearable sadness on his handsome face, his right
fist clenching and unclenching. He stared at the entrance to the tunnel for several
minutes, then turned and disappeared back into the darkness.
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