Pairings/Characters: Bruce/Dick, Zatanna, Clark, Alfred
Warnings: Aftermath of violence
Spoilers: For Superman/Batman #55 & 56
Summary: Bruce’s guilt and shame nearly crush him.
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Date Of Completion: March 15, 2009
Date Of Posting: March 23, 2009
Word Count: 465
Author’s Note: Due to a magical amulet, Clark’s powers are given to Bruce, who promptly goes on an obsessive crusade to stop crime all over the Earth. He slowly loses his mind, slamming Selina into a wall during a robbery and severely injuring her, and Dick shows up as Nightwing, battling Batman (who hasn’t had a sun dose in awhile and is weaker than normal) but is severely beaten. Clark and Zatanna trick Bruce and the powers are switched back, Bruce regaining his sanity…but now he has to face what he’s done.
Bruce was still dazed, kneeling in Crime Alley, Zatanna resting a hand on his shoulder and Clark floating above them with his powers back.
All was as it should be.
Memory flooded back and with it…horror.
“Selina! Dick!” Bruce’s heart pounded, nausea rising in his throat. “Clark, please take me to them!”
Clark spun, his civilian clothes gone and Superman’s suit in their place.
“I’ll go stay with Selina until you come,” Zatanna said, disappearing in a flash of light.
Clark leaned down and took Bruce up, afraid of how fast his friend’s heart was beating.
Shame and guilt were weighing heavily on Bruce as he and Clark descended into the Cave.
I dared to think, deep in my magic-induced psychosis, of how he was the toughest of all of us because he spoke through a broken jaw...that I had caused!
Bruce felt ill, remembering the sickening crunch of broken bones, remembering every blow laid on Dick…by his hand.
No, no, not Dick. Not my beautiful boy.
Alfred met them at the entrance to the Cave.
Bruce nearly cringed at the disapproval in his old mentor’s eyes. Had he finally crossed a line even Alfred couldn’t forgive?
He would never forgive himself.
Bruce moved away from Clark and Alfred toward the infirmary.
Every step was pain as he walked to the bed, machines beeping and hissing, just like a hospital.
He could see the broken bones that were set (ah, God, not those beautiful legs!), the swollen face (his heart hurt), and how bruised and battered the body he knew so well was as Dick lay motionless in bed.
His beautiful bird…motionless. He should never be motionless.
In a bed you put him in.
Sick at heart, Bruce drew closer, slowly pulling back his cowl. He had put Dick in this bed as Batman, but he would face him as Bruce.
My beautiful boy. Loyal and loving and courageous…
…and I keep hurting him.
He came close to the bed, Dick’s eyes closed. Asleep? Or was his pain too great?
Bruce peeled off his gloves, lightly touching Dick’s hair. His hand trembled as he gazed upon Dick’s battered face.
He leaned down and kissed his brow, a tear falling into silken hair.
Bruce fell to his knees, his head resting against his lover’s tightly-wrapped ribs.
Guilt and shame washed over him, pain in every bone, every muscle, every particle of his soul…
He felt the hand on his hair and lifted his head slowly.
Compassion and forgiveness shone from blue eyes clouded with pain.
Bruce grabbed the gentle hand and kissed the bandaged fingers.
He didn’t deserve forgiveness, but he’d take it, so freely and generously offered.
Dick loved him.
And, God help Dick, Bruce loved him, too.
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