Characters (this chapter): Dick, Clark/Bruce, The Joker
Rating: (this chapter): PG-13
Spoilers: For Superman/Batman Annual #2
General Summary: The mysterious Socrates will test the mettle of the World’s Finest while Dick observes the possibility of a Clark/Bruce romance. This story takes place during the events of the Superman/Batman Annual #2 and begins after Clark has lost his powers during the first confrontation with Socrates. He has come to Bruce to ask for help in being trained as a human crimefighter.
Chapter Summary: On his first night out as new hero Supernova, Clark meets disaster.
Date Of Completion: May 27, 2008
Dates Of Posting: June 7, 2008/July 10, 2008
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 739
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: Written for the S/B Big Ass Contest over on wfslash hosted by tmelange . The story won for Best Use Of Dick (LOL!), Best Use Of Source Material, and Best Overall Story!
All chapters can be found here.
Also, check out the fantastic story illo by labuenaventura ! :)
SUPERNOVA FLAMES OUT
“You think he’s ready?”
Bruce adjusted his cowl in the gloom of the Cave. “What do you think?”
“Honestly? It’s only been a month. No freakin’ way is he ready.”
“Then why are we taking him out?”
“The most important lessons can’t be learned in the Cave, Robin. You should know that.”
I was worried about Clark. He was going out there all alone on his first non-powered mission. He’d been battered by Bruce when they boxed, Clark still pulling his punches, and was exhausted at the end of the roadwork. He’d always been able to keep up his stamina and endurance by sun regeneration before.
It’s a different story when all you have is human reserves.
“Don’t worry, we’ll be right there for him.”
I didn’t need to see Bruce’s eyes to know that he was concerned, too.
I’m tellin’ ya, layers.
& & & & & &
Clark did well at first in the first few minutes of his new superhero self, Supernova. Bruce had raised an eyebrow at his choice of costume, all purple-yellow-and-green with a sunburst symbol, but I liked it. Bruce says I have no fashion sense, and he’s right if he means regular people fashion. Now, circus folk and superheroes are a different story.
Batman and I crouched high up on the roof of the buildings hemming in the alley, watching as Clark swooshed in to stop a mugging of an old lady. He dispatched the scum really fast with moves taught by us, then reached out to check on the victim.
“You’re all right now…Miss…?”
“Oh, my.” The old lady sounded delighted. “A new cape. Aren’t you delicious?”
My danger sense began to tingle and Batman was already grabbing his decel line.
“Welcome to Gotham, playboy.”
The Joker always turns up like our giant bad penny. He exploded from the ‘old lady’ disguise and came close to shooting Superman in the head.
And that’s when Superman panicked.
Energy flowed from his glove wildly, barely missing the Joker, who disappeared so fast while screaming that Batman and I had no chance to catch him.
But I didn’t care about the Joker.
I was afraid for Clark.
Bruce reached Clark first. He saw the panic in Clark’s eyes the moment I did. As my gut knotted, Bruce put a hand on Clark’s shoulder.
Clark flinched. “I panicked,” he said, shame lacing his voice.
“I know.” Bruce squeezed. “Part of being human.”
Clark looked up and smiled a little. I made sure to smile back.
The first time a bad guy almost kills you, it’s not a nice feeling.
& & & & & &
Clark was too shaken up to continue patrol so we went home early. I was surprised that Bruce didn’t stay on the job or order me to stay out.
Back in the Cave, Bruce went all Bat.
“Hate me if you want, but you had to feel it. You’re a hell of a student, Clark, but truth and justice are just words when some maniac sticks a knife between your ribs. I needed you to know what it feels like to fight for you life. Vulnerable, helpless…”
Clark was still ashamed. “I was terrified, terrified. I lashed out blindly.” He frowned. “I would have killed him if you weren’t there.”
“It’s because you were scared, Clark. Scared of death.”
“So how do you do it? How do you get past it?”
Bruce was going up the stairs with a swirl of cape. “There’s only one way…but I can’t teach it to you.” He paused for just a second. “Socrates called a meet. One hour. Your call how you play it.”
“What? I don’t get it…Bruce? I don’t think I can do this.”
I could see that slight hesitation in Bruce again, but then he was gone up the stairs.
I looked at Clark.
Fear can tie you up in knots. Bruce calls me fearless because of my love of flying, but he knows that I can get scared, too.
Clark’s had no experience with fear, at least not for himself.
“Ahem.” Clark looked at me. “I don’t know about Supernova, but…” I curled the hands on my hips into fists. “…Superman never quits.”
I made my own theatrical exit, hoping against hope that Clark would be okay.
This was going to test his mettle.
I just hoped I wasn’t going to be disappointed.