Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Clark/Bruce
Genres: AU, Challenge, Holiday
Rating (this chapter): G
General Summary: In a world where Bruce’s parents lived, he has carved out a accomplished life for himself and meets an equally-accomplished Clark for the first time.
Chapter Summary: Clark wants to know all he can find out about Bruce Wayne.
Date Of Completion: December 1, 2009
Date Of Posting: December 19, 2009
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1264
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: Written for Fic Prompt No. F 21: Write a story where Bruce Wayne's parents lived, where he never became Batman, and where he funnels all that passion and intelligence into something *else*. Clark can be Superman or not, as you wish for the 2009 World’s Finest Gift Exchange and for my 2009 DCU Fic/Art Glitter Winter Holidays Challenge. Prompts: Glitter, Sparkling, Garlands, Christmas Tree, Ornaments, Shining. Also written for saavikam77’s 2009 DCU Free_For_All Winter Holidays Challenge. Prompts: No. 10: Santa Claus/Sleigh/Reindeer and No. 14: Snow/Ice. :)
The entire series can be found here.
LUNCHEON WITH THE PRINCE
The banquet hall
Was of glittering gold
And cold-smooth marble,
While the banquet table
With the finest meats
To water the palate.
Bid the Scribe
"Tales Of Spun Sugar
And Glittery Jewels"
The restaurant was at the top of the Wayne Enterprises building. Actually, it was the executive dining room, because it wasn’t open to the public, just to the employees of the company, who could bring guests.
Clark was Bruce’s guest, and of course Bruce had the best table, located right in front of a large picture window with a magnificent view of the city.
The room itself was decorated in cream wallpaper with tiny gold threads, and sapphire-blue drapes framing the windows with gold sashes. Each table had a light-blue cloth and the finest glassware and china, all engraved with the company logo. Conversation was hushed, the clink of silverware on china a backdrop.
The waitresses were dressed in modest black silk uniforms trimmed in white lace, and were cheerful and professional, the woman taking Clark and Bruce’s order middle-aged and familiar with Bruce, who charmed her. Clark hid his smile at watching the Prince at work, though he wished that Bruce would work that charm on him.
After the waitress left, Bruce shook out his linen napkin and placed it on his lap. “So, what is your impression of our little project?”
“Impressive. The data you’re gathering now must be invaluable.”
“It is.” Bruce sipped his icewater. “We have released some of the scientific data on meteors and comets and the like. Considering your town’s history, the meteor data must have interested you.”
Again Clark felt pain but hoped that he’d covered it. “It was. Hopefully if a meteor shower threatens Earth again, we can take of it.”
Bruce nodded, eyeing Clark thoughtfully. He ate a wheat roll, curiosity in his eyes.
“Have you always wanted to be a reporter?”
“I’ve always wanted to be a writer, yes. I used to write stories when I was a kid.” Clark blushed slightly. “I wouldn’t show them to anyone now, of course.”
Bruce chuckled. “I wouldn’t show anyone my model rocketships, either. Or at least the ones that were badly put together. Still, the effort counts.”
“And did you name it the Enterprise Project due to…?”
Bruce’s eyes sparkled. “I’ll admit to it. Yes, because of Star Trek.”
Both men laughed. “A good choice,” Clark said.
“Well, how could I not? ‘To boldly go where no man has gone before…’”
Clark almost choked on his icewater but quickly recovered. “Um, yes. An inspiring show.”
“With an inspiring message. When if originally aired in the 1960s, it was a very big deal to have an integrated cast, including a Vulcan!”
Clark saw the mischief in Bruce’s eyes and grinned. Buttering his roll, he asked, “I know that you’re in charge of R&D here at the company, Bruce, but what about the charities? You’re on the board of several, as are your parents. You have a good record of involvement with them.”
“I try. My work takes up most of my time, but I attend some of the meetings of the charities and the special events. I’m on the board of the Wayne Foundation, and that’s almost a second job.”
“No time for partying?” Clark asked with a smile. The wheat roll was delicious.
Bruce’s eyes sparkled. “Not as much as people expect, but I get my time in.” His expression sobered. “Gotham is in such dire need of so much. I feel that I’m making a difference with the Foundation, and hopefully I can make people's lives better with my research, too."
“That’s an admirable sentiment.” The appetizer arrived: crisp salads with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, and shredded carrots. The dressing was a light Italian.
“The Foundation has many projects going, one of which is upgrading the quality of the shelters in the city. There’s nothing more depressing to come from an abusive home or find yourself out on the street and wind up in a shelter that’s dirty and dangerous.”
Clark appreciated Bruce’s earnestness. Curious, he asked, “What about your life on the debutante circuit?”
Bruce laughed. “That’s a quaint way of putting it.”
“Some would say I’m a quaint kind of guy.”
Bruce’s smile was really attractive. Clark didn’t know if alluding to being old-fashioned had been the smart thing to do, but he was nervous and trying to cover it up with whatever popped into his head.
Bruce sipped his icewater. “Some would say that quaint is a good thing in our slapdash modern world.”
Maybe he hadn’t botched it after all. “Well, you can’t get more quaint than Smallville.”
Bruce smiled again. “My social life is well-documented by the tabloids. I believe a Ms. Cat Grant is the gossip maven at your paper?”
“I’m afraid I’m not as hot a commodity as she and others of her ilk would like. I don’t party that much and I don’t squire around a bevy of pretty ladies, just a few. Someday I’m sure I’ll find someone, but right now I’m satisfied with the way my social life is going.”
Well, of course Bruce would say ‘ladies’. Most people didn’t mention their own gender when talking about dating, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t at least bisexual.
Dream on, Kent.
They chatted about some of the signature balls and parties Bruce usually attended, their entrees arriving, and Clark enjoyed the roast chicken with rosemary potatoes and chives and the fresh snow peas and carrots while Bruce savored steak hollandaise, baked Yukon Gold potato, and the snow peas and carrots. Bruce had chosen an excellent wine, and Clark decided to indulge. He rarely drank, but he doubted he’d get another chance to sample such an excellent vintage.
“You recently adopted a young boy from the circus?”
“Yes.” Bruce’s face lit up. “He’s a wonderful child. Bright, inquisitive, and sunny.” His expression sobered. “He still has moments when he’s sad, of course, considering what happened to his parents.”
“An accident with their trapeze?”
Bruce nodded. “The ropes broke and they fell. They did a specialty act without a net.” Sadness filled his expressive eyes.
Clark winced. He had read about the accident in the paper, and then followed the story of the grieving young boy whom the Prince of Gotham had taken in.
“He’s been a wonderful addition to the household.” Bruce took a bite of his steak. “In fact, are you heading back to Metropolis tonight or tomorrow?”
“Then come to dinner tonight at the Manor. I’d like you to meet Dick and Mom, too. And Alfred would be thrilled to cook for someone who appreciates good food.”
“Oh.” Clark blushed. He wondered if he’d ordered too much.
Bruce laughed. “I just meant that you come from a farm. You must appreciate fresh food and feel sorry for us city folk who get our food from supermarkets.”
“Oh! Yes, I do.” Clark grinned.
“Well, Alfred and Mom keep a kitchen garden, and we get all kinds of fresh goodies. Now that it’s winter there are preserves from that harvest to enjoy. I think you’ll find dinner to your liking. Come by at six and we can talk more over dinner.”
Clark nodded. Perry would be ecstatic, and he was happy to spend more time with Bruce. He was also curious about his home, and would like to meet the rest of the family.
So far, this assignment was working out well.