Pairings/Characters: Steve/Diana, Clark/Bruce
Summary: After a close call, Diana and Clark commiserate about the fragility of mortal lovers.
Date Of Completion: June 3, 2008
Date Of Posting: June 3, 2008
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1018
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: Happy Birthday, jen_in_japan ! :) I thought of writing Clark/Bruce for you right away, and then also thought how much you loved Steve/Diana, so decided to try and come up with something that would feature both couples equally, and this is what the Muses brought! :)
These precious mortals,
So brave yet fleeting,
Like a rose’s petals,
Beautiful, yet fragile.
Diana watched in amusement as several yards away, Steve and Bruce were animatedly discussing repairs to the blond’s jet.
Apparently even rich boys don’t have all the toys. The U.S. Government still has some surprises.
Bruce was eager to see the workings of the silver plane with its white stars on the fuselage and wings. Steve was happy to show him, thrilled to talk airplanes with someone so knowledgeable.
Diana’s smile faded as she saw the bloodied bandage on her Beloved’s arm, another one around his hand, and several wrapped tightly around his ribs, his shirt open and loose.
Bandages swathed Bruce’s thigh and ankle, his usually graceful gait a painful limp as he walked under the plane’s nose, his right tights leg nearly in shreds.
A flash of scarlet caught her eye and she turned to see Clark approaching.
Neither Clark nor she had a mark on them.
“Are you all right, Diana?”
“I’m fine.” She gestured at the jet. “They’re the ones I’m worried about.”
Clark’s eyes reflected her worry as he looked at his lover and Steve. “It was a close one.”
“Too close.” Diana watched as Steve leaned against the plane strut with an insouciant grin on his face. “These fragile mortals…”
“I know,” Clark said softly.
Diana crossed her arms. “Do you know that Steve ends up with bruises after we have sex?” She smiled slightly at Clark’s blush. Ah, the modesty of this so-called ‘sophisticated’ society! “I have to be so careful even in the throes of passion.”
“Yes.” Clark’s eyes were on Bruce, who was starting a good-natured argument. “Bruce’s body is crisscrossed with scars from his nightly work. That doesn’t even count the occasional bruises he gets…well, I’ve had to restrain myself among humans my whole life.” He added a trifle shyly, “That includes in the bedroom.”
Diana considered that. She had grown up in a society with people of equal strength. What must it have been like for Clark to always have to fear and restrain his strength?
“Their spirit is willing but the flesh can be weak.” She saw Bruce smirk triumphantly as he succeeded in making a point. “And yet they’ll never stop risking themselves at our sides.”
“No, but then, would they be the men we love?”
Diana smiled ruefully. “Point taken.” She frowned. “Still, it cannot be easy. Steve must always stand in my shadow.”
“Bruce prefers to stand in mine.”
Diana chuckled. “I believe you are right.” She smiled. “They are both stubborn.”
“Very.” Clark watched as Bruce limped to one of the wheels. “Does Steve prefer to be in the shadows?”
“I’m not sure. He never complains, but then, he rarely complains about anything.” Even when my mother snubs him or he is mocked for hiding behind ‘Wonder skirts’.
“Ah, now, Bruce always lets me know when he’s less-than-happy.”
Affection laced Diana’s voice. “True. Bruce may not use many words, but he never truly hides his displeasure.”
“He has perfected the art of glowering to its nth degree.” Clark’s hand clenched. “A bold spirit, one I want to protect…”
“…yet you can’t coddle him.”
“Bruce does not do ‘coddling’ well.”
“Neither does Steve,” Diana said softly. “And they have saved us as well.” She sighed, then said softly, “ ‘These precious mortals/So brave yet fleeting/Like a rose’s petals/Beautiful, yet fragile.’”
“That’s lovely,” Clark murmured.
“One of our Amazon poets from before the Bondage Times.” Diana took a step forward as Steve lost his balance, Bruce grasping hold of his arm to steady him. “She wrote it from one of the Gods’ point-of-view. The Gods have always been fond of mating with mortals.”
She looked at Clark’s profile. He certainly could be a God if he chose.
Conventional wisdom said that she and Clark were the perfect couple: equals in strength; both premier heroes, garbed in the same primary colors; both born outside of usual human society; both symbols of the best that humanity had to offer, and benevolently amused by mortal foibles, loving the humans they protected.
But the love she felt for Clark was of a soldier for a comrade-in-arms, a friend for a friend, a sister for a brother.
He was not the other half of her soul.
As I am not his.
Love was not necessarily logical, it simply was.
“ ‘So brave yet fleeting’ ?”
Diana looked at Clark. “Ephemeral, like roses. They are beautiful, the royalty of flowers, but so very short-lived.”
Clark nearly flinched. Lifespans were a delicate topic with him.
Diana could reclaim her immortality once she returned to the Island to live. She knew that her mother expected her to come back and become immortal once again.
She had no intention of doing so.
She would age slower than Steve, but if he died before she did, she would not have endless eons to mourn, only mere decades.
Diana sincerely hoped that he would not have eons to mourn, either.
Pain flickered in Clark’s eyes. “Yes, ephemeral.”
“How can we protect them, Clark?”
They are like precious jewels, sparkling with wit and a joy for life, and yet, if struck just right, can shatter.
Bruce and Steve were laughing, and Diana felt a surge of love for both men.
Both mortals, who dare to love Gods and Amazons.
“Do as we’ve always done, Diana. Love them, and welcome them by our side.
“Treasure the time we have with them, because it’s very precious.”
“Yes, precious, indeed,” she murmured.
Steve glanced over at her and smiled, blond hair glinting in the sun reflecting off the silver jet. “Angel! Clark! Come see what Bruce has cooked up.”
Bruce looked very satisfied, his blue eyes sparkling.
As Diana and Clark started walking toward their mates, Clark murmured, “ ‘Cooked up’ as in engineering, because Bruce couldn’t boil water with heat vision.”
Diana laughed. “Ah, now, my Beloved possesses some rather talented culinary skills, among others…”
Clark grinned as they approached their smiling lovers.
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