Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Clark/Bruce
Categories: Angst, Hurt/Comfort
Rating: (this chapter): PG-13
General Summary: The JLA battles an invading army on a distant planet. All chapters can be found here.
Summary (this chapter): Bruce and Clark learn first-hand how the enemy treats prisoners-of-war.
Date Of Completion: May 18, 2007
Date Of Posting: May 20, 2007
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1175
Author’s Note: This story was inspired by an illustration done by rai_daydreamer entitled “Protective” and can be viewed here. :)
Bruce’s head whirled as he was thrown back several feet. He grunted as he hit the ground, his ribs protesting. Desperately he tried to clear his vision, multiple spots swimming in front of his eyes. He searched for red-yellow-and-blue and spotted the primary colors like a bright beacon in the dull surroundings.
Clark was on his back, struggling to rise as he turned onto his side, fresh tears in his costume as he looked slightly green at the gills, the height of irony, Bruce thought as he pushed himself to his feet.
The soldier was standing about twenty feet away, towering over them on the hillside. Bruce quickly took out an explosive but the silverplate spoke.
“Not this time, alien.”
The voice was metallic, a built-in translator rendering the words as English. Bruce cocked his arm to throw anyway when a white light beamed out from the soldier’s breastplate and enveloped him.
Fire burned along his nerves, pain roasting him from the inside out as he felt his blood pressure skyrocket and his heart pound wildly. He twisted, agony in every part of his body as he clawed at his head, trying to stop the needles of fire.
He heard his name called and he could only fight for air, pain his only existence…
He fell to his knees as the light disappeared, the scarlet of Clark’s cape shimmering like blood down his legs. Chest heaving, he feared a stroke as his heart was still pounding like a sledgehammer and the veins in his head pulsated. He suddenly realized his cowl was off.
I must have done it while…screw it, leave it off! I’m half a galaxy away. Secret identities mean nothing right in this moment. I’ve got other things to worry about. Like Clark.
He looked over at his lover, trying to clear his vision while his limbs shook.
Clark was crawling toward him, anguish on his beautiful face. Bruce tried to get up to go to him.
The white light beamed out again, this time with striations of green, and hit Clark, whose face contorted. The light grew brighter and a scream was torn out of his throat as his body went rigid.
Bruce’s first instinct was to go to Clark, but he could barely move. He yanked out an explosive and hoped to get in a shot, but the metallic head moved to face him.
“Put down the device, alien, or my weapon goes up a level.”
Bruce hesitated. If he surrendered, this creature could torture them at will…
The light intensified and he heard Clark whimper, cutting into Bruce worse than the scream.
Bruce dropped the explosive, the light shutting off. Clark’s body collapsed, sprawling bonelessly on the grass. Bruce tried to get up but was still numbed. He crawled as fast as he could, stones tearing the fabric of his costume, his knees bleeding as he reached Clark.
Slight twitches and tremors were running through Clark’s body. His eyes were closed and Bruce wasn’t sure if he was conscious. His hand touched his lover’s face and Clark’s eyes opened. Bruce winced at the suffering he saw there.
“Pick him up. We have a journey to make.”
Bruce looked back at the soldier, once again hesitating. He quickly obeyed as he saw a wink of light at the breastplate.
“C’mon, Clark,” he whispered, trying to get his lover up on his feet. Clark clutched at his chest, his fingers grabbing at the fabric.
“I…I’m sorry, Bruce…I can’t…”
“It’s okay.” Bruce wanted to kiss his hair but refrained. Bad enough they had shown their concern for each other. He would not let this alien know just how deeply their feelings ran. “Just lean on me.”
Clark’s smile was rueful. “Don’t I always?”
Bruce smiled and then concentrated on getting his companion on his feet. He had to lift nearly dead weight, Clark drained from his battle injury and now this pain attack. Clark was not a light man. Muscle that could tear apart worlds was in his hands now.
The silverplate gestured in the direction from which they had come. Bruce guided Clark, helping him up as his lover stumbled more than once, his eyes on the soldier. The L’Olean was easily able to keep up with their slow pace.
Hot, scorching wind gusted up suddenly, Bruce’s cape whipping out behind them, the remnants of Clark’s red cape mingling with Bruce’s black. Bruce felt a measure of comfort from the bright silk attached to his belt, a token as in days of old as knights used to wear on their helmets, given to them by a cherished lady as they rode into tournaments or battle.
This battle had only just begun.
They reached the clearing in which Bruce had found Clark. Bruce turned to face the soldier, keeping an exhausted Clark upright.
The soldier raised his arm, Bruce tensing, but he merely said, “Supreme Commander, I have the aliens.”
“Excellent, Soldier T’Rorr. Begin. »
Bruce didn’t like the sound of that. His misgivings were right when once again he and Clark were separated by a blast of light. He fell to the ground with a hard thud.
Grimacing, he sat up and looked around for Clark, who was six feet away and gasping for breath, knocked down as well.
Before Bruce could get to him, the light hit.
Bruce had been tortured by the best of the worst on Earth, but this light tore screams out of him in the first seconds. It was more intense than the last time, and he thought that this time he truly was dying as the fire seemed to burst every blood vessel and molecule in his body. White light seared his eyes despite him closing them tight, and he grasped his head with his gloved hands, a whimper tearing from him as his body twisted in the hellacious brightness.
His muddled brain tried to remember to use the name ‘Superman’, but he wasn’t even sure if he was screaming out the name or just thinking it in his scrambled head. He moaned as the pain ate at him, raw and burning, and his flesh began to crackle…
The light stopped and he collapsed, the world spinning crazily and his stomach rebelling. He saw the concerned face of his lover come into view, blue eyes suffering as Clark staggered to get to him.
Of course he didn’t.
The light laced with green tore into Earth’s Greatest Hero, Clark spinning around and screaming English laced with Kryptonian as brain waves were scrambled. Fear blazed through Bruce as he struggled to his knees, trying to keep conscious as his brain throbbed. He felt blood trickle from his nose and vaguely wondered if he had suffered some kind of stroke. Trembling hands tried to reach his belt but the L’Olean said, “Alien, do you remember what happens when you disobey?” The light’s intensity increased and Clark’s cry was so agonized that Bruce froze, his body shaking.
Dear God, how can I help him?