Pairings/Characters: Clark/Bruce, Diana Prince, Hal Jordan, J’onn J’onzz
Genres: Hurt/Comfort, Drama
Warnings: Violence, blood
Summary: On an alien world, Clark and Bruce suffer serious injuries far from help.
Date Of Completion: January 5, 2008
Date Of Posting: January 9, 2008
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 2189
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: Happy Birthday, rai_daydreamer ! :)
This story was inspired by this illo by Rai from a prompt of mine in the World’s Finest Gift Exchange (A21: A seriously-injured Clark is being tended to by an also-injured Bruce. Both are in costume, and Bruce's cowl is off). Seems like we’re going around in circles, but it’s a fun merry-go-round! :)
Clark’s agonized moan sliced through Bruce as he staggered with the Kryptonian in his arms. He bit back his own pain as he doggedly headed for the bombed-out structure several yards away.
Grimly he listened for any pursuit. If the G’darrans found them, it was all over. Both of them were in no shape to put up much of a defense.
The orange sun sullenly beat down on the cracked ground. The breezes were hot but at least they were spared draining humidity, Bruce thought with a tiny flash of gratitude.
Bruce’s cape fluttered out behind him in the breeze. The whine of cricket-like insects punctuated the intermittent boom of distant gunfire, but Bruce detected no other sounds.
Relieved for now, he stumbled into the duracrete structure, grateful for the coolness of the interior.
Furniture was tipped over and broken, weak sunlight streaming in through a jagged hole in the roof. He could see one wall completely gone in the next room.
Bruce fell to his knees with a grunt, Clark gasping in pain as he hit the floor with a jolt.
“Sorry,” Bruce murmured, exhaustion numbing his arms. He pushed his cowl back and removed his gloves.
So much blood!
Clark was covered in it. His legs and arms were brutally lacerated, bandages on his thighs soaked through in red. A wound to his lower left arm had seeped blood down through his sleeve, staining his hand, which glistened with a deep cut on his palm. A head wound trickled blood down his face, his jaw bruised and lip battered.
The wound that worried Bruce most was the one in Clark’s left side.
The G’darrans’ trained flying m’kattras had vicious, razor-sharp claws that had torn chunks of flesh from Clark’s side, caving in his ribs. Bruce winced at his own deep cuts, especially one on his right bicep that was bandaged but bloodied. His right leg also hurt like hell.
Those stoved-in ribs worried Bruce as he listened to Clark’s shallow breathing. Had they damaged his lungs?
Clark’s eyes were closed as he fought to control his pain. It was difficult for him. Unaccustomed to experiencing much pain in his lifetime, his system was always shocked by severe pain.
Bruce’s heart ached as he looked down at his lover. Clark’s powers had been weakened by an orange sun, retaining just enough t o get him hurt, Bruce thought bitterly.
He felt nauseous as he remembered the horror of seeing two m’kattras attack on already-weakened Clark, the lack of yellow sunlight finally his undoing. Clark had fought with his usual courage, but Bruce could still hear his Beloved’s screams as the winged creatures sliced him with their talons.
Bruce fumbled for his canteen and held it to Clark’s lips. “Drink,” he rasped.
Clark gratefully drank, water dribbling through his torn lip. Bruce’s stomach clenched.
He had noticed blood trickling out, too.
“Did you…get…a signal…off?”
“I did.” Bruce drank. “I don’t know if it got through.”
Clark shivered, then grimaced. Bruce looked around to see if he could find anything to pillow Clark’s head. The concrete floor was extremely uncomfortable. Bruce could feel it on his knees.
He spied a cloth hanging off the table in the next room.
“Be right back.”
Bruce stifled a groan as he got to his feet. Holding his sore ribs, he limped to the other room, pain slicing through his leg.
This room resembled a kitchen. Bruce tested the faucet, glad to see water pour out. With the purification tablets in his utility belt, he and Clark could safely drink it if the canteens ran dry.
He snatched the cloth off the table, the broken table leg setting it to wobble. Shards of plates and cups were scattered on the floor, Bruce careful not to step on any. All he needed was a sliced foot in addition to everything else.
He rolled up the cloth, tearing off a piece, and lifted Clark’s head gently, pushing the makeshift pillow underneath. He lowered Clark’s head back down. He gently laid a hand on the exposed skin on Clark’s chest from the jagged tear of his costume.
Clark’s cape was jagged, too, torn to ragged strips that curled forlornly around his body.
Bruce hated it when Clark’s cape was torn. That beautiful, magnificent cape should always be as proud as its owner, shimmering and silken in the sunlight, scarlet with the proud yellow ‘S’ symbol fluttering in the wind.
A torn cape meant pain and wounds for Clark.
And speaking of wounds, Bruce didn’t like the look of that side injury. The bandage was already soaked.
“Clark, I’m going to put a fresh bandage on your ribs.”
Bruce carefully peeled the old bandage away, stifling a gasp.
The bleeding was heavier than before: bright and bubbling.
Quickly Bruce applied the torn piece of cloth to the ugly wound, pressing as hard as he dared. Clark groaned.
“I’m sorry, love.” He touched Clark’s cheek. “I have to apply pressure.”
“S’okay.” Clark’s body shook slightly as his breathing became more labored. “I love you.”
Bruce stared down at him, then smiled slightly. “I love you, too.”
Clark laughed, then groaned. “Stop making me laugh.”
Bruce’s grin widened. “What, I say it all the time now. Well, at least some of the time.”
Clark’s smile warmed Bruce’s heart. He was struck by how angelic his lover looked.
He just wished there wasn’t so much blood.
His own arm and leg were throbbing and his jaw hurt. Damn, sometimes he hated these interstellar missions.
He brushed the curl back off his lover’s brow, stopping as he felt a chill go through him.
Clark’s skin was ice-cold.
The angelic look was disturbing to him now. Beautiful, ethereal….pale from blood loss.
Stretched out on the floor of the ruined house, Clark looked ready for a coffin.
Bruce hated coffins.
Clark’s breathing was growing more labored. Bruce took out his JLA communicator and tried to contact the temporary command post set up for the battle.
Nothing but static.
He almost flung it across the room but retained it. Their only hope was if the first message had gotten through. With the two of them so badly injured and the G’darrans and m’kattras roaming around out there, Bruce didn’t dare attempt to carry Clark back behind the lines. They were stuck until help arrived.
A noise instantly put him on alert. He looked up at the ceiling but saw no one peering over the jagged hole.
No one in the kitchen, either.
He still better check.
“I’m going for more water, Clark.”
Clark nodded, concentrating on his ragged breathing.
Bruce stealthily made his way to the kitchen, pulling his cowl back on. He controlled his heartbeat, tamping down on his fear. His leg was tingling with numbness from the deep cut. He was not in great shape, and Clark…
Bruce just hoped the enemy had not found them.
He checked around the kitchen, cautiously slipping through the space left from the destroyed wall.
Bruce checked all around the house, but there were no signs of the G’darrans or their vicious winged pets. Grateful for that, Bruce hurried back into the house.
When he reached the living room, a shadow fell across Clark’s body.
Bruce looked up, blood freezing in his veins.
The m’kattra looked down through the hole in the roof, then let out an ear-splitting screech as it swooped down toward Clark.
Bruce yanked a long, serrated knife out of his belt and dodged the swipe of foot-long talons. He jerked his arm, crying out as a leathery wing knocked the knife out of his hand, jarring his arm all the way to the shoulder.
He ran for the kitchen, the beast following him. He smiled with grim satisfaction.
Away from Clark.
Bruce could hear the wings rustling behind him. He took out a smoke bomb. As soon as he was far enough away from the house, he would toss it. Maybe that would slow down the creature…
A terrible shriek of agony froze him. Turning, he was aghast to see Clark withdraw the knife from the soft underbelly of the m’kattra, staggering back as the creature swiped at him and barely missed. The creature shuddered as it flailed its claws and wings, toppling down in a dying rage.
Bruce pushed Clark out of the way, just escaping being crushed by the dead m’kattra.
He hauled Clark back inside, away from the stench of death.
Once back in the living area he gasped out, “What the hell were you doing?”
“S…Saving your butt.”
Bruce pushed the cowl back and Clark opened his eyes.
The unearthly blue of Clark’s eyes in his pale face frightened Bruce. He hid his fear and smiled ruefully.
“You are crazy.”
“Pr…Probably.” Clark seemed almost breathless now.
Damn, did he puncture a lung with those broken ribs?
Clark’s shaky right hand reached up to touch Bruce’s bruises. His other hand was covered in blood. “Do those hurt much?”
“I think I should be asking that, Clark.”
“You…worry too much.”
“Keeps me from getting lazy.”
Bruce was enthralled by Clark’s eyes glowing, set in pale skin: sapphires set in pearl. He glanced down at his lover’s body. His own ragged cape partially covered Clark’s legs, and he felt himself shake as he thought that the blood looked luminescent, eerie and slowly seeping the life out of his Beloved.
He listened for any noises. His leg was completely numb now.
A calmness seemed to settle over Clark, his ethereal eyes shining with love and a sense of peace.
That scared Bruce.
“Clark…” he said brokenly.
“No, it isn’t.” Bruce shook his head vehemently, ignoring his growing headache. “It’s not all right for you to die on me on some godforsaken planet fighting creatures out of a fuckin’ horror movie!”
Clark smiled the best he could. “Who says…I’m dying?”
Bruce sighed, once more rueful. “We’ve got to get you back under a yellow sun’s rays.”
Clark looked happy at the thought of Earth, and Bruce felt a little jolt of happiness that Clark considered Earth his home. Of course he would, having been raised there, but it still made him feel proud that Earth and her people were worth Clark’s loyalty and love.
Bruce brushed back the stubborn curl again (honestly, it could give James T. Kirk’s lock of hair a run for his money) and thought of lying out in the sun with Clark on a beautiful spring day, soaking up the rays of the yellow sun and watching how his Beloved became more beautiful than ever as the sun kissed him. He remembered the line from a poem he once read years ago…
“Until the yellow sun blesses you again…”
Aching, Bruce said, “Don’t leave me.”
“Never.” Clark’s smile was serene.
Bruce drowned in those bright-blue eyes and touched his forehead to Clark’s, praying hard that the signal on his JLA communicator had gotten through before the static had blocked everything out.
& & & & & &
Diana, Hal and J’onn carefully approached the bombed-out structure. The coordinates had led them here after they had finished the battle.
They wrinkled their noses as the wind blew the stench of decay their way.
Cautiously they approached the structure, going around the back. The dead m’kattra was the obvious source of the smell.
“Look, the wall’s bombed out,” Hal said, and Diana unsheathed her sword and grasped her lasso. J’onn nodded as she led her comrades inside.
Bruce was cradling Clark in his arms, blood everywhere. Bruce’s head lifted, his eyes haunted, then cleared with relief.
“Thank Hera for me when you see her,” he croaked.
J’onn was immediately checking Clark out. “Lantern, we need to transport him right away.”
“Check.” Hal’s glowing ring bathed Clark in a soothing green light as it began to lift him out of Bruce’s arms, the bereft look on his face touching Diana.
“You’re with me, Batman,” said J’onn, sweeping up a surprisingly-compliant Bruce, who was too busy anxiously watching Clark. Diana slipped the cowl over Bruce, who absently adjusted it.
& & & & & &
The hum of the equipment in the makeshift hospital was low. Shuffling could be heard out in the hall, then a grim Bat entered the room where Clark lay asleep, hooked up to machines.
Bruce slipped back his cowl as he touched Clark’s face. Clark’s eyes fluttered open.
Bruce’s heart jumped as he saw those glowing blue eyes.
Just like jewels.
“Hey,” Clark rasped.
“Hey,” Bruce replied. “You’ve got to take it easy. They used up all the Kryptonian blood we had stored on The Javelin.”
“Mmm.” Clark briefly closed his eyes but opened them again, drinking in the sight of Bruce. “How are you?”
Clark laughed, then groaned. “You would have to get a sense of humor when I’m busted up.”
“I’ll try and restrain that.”
“Don’t.” Clark smiled. “A happy Bat makes me happy.”
Bruce leaned down and kissed him, careful of his injured lip.
Diana quietly closed the door, happy herself as she turned back down the hall.
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