Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Clark/Bruce, Alfred, Dick, Thomas/Martha
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 enjoys dinner at Wayne Manor as he meets Bruce’s family on a snowy Gotham night.
Date Of Completion: December 10, 2009
Date Of Posting: December 23, 2009
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1930
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, Garlands, Christmas Tree, Sparkling, 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.
HOME TO THE CASTLE
In winter’s light,
Its towers looming,
In coming night.
Was bid come in
And he saw,
The floors were marble
And the windows tall,
The drapes were silk,
And great was the Hall.
The Prince beamed.
With a kiss.
He was home
In joyful bliss.
"Tales Of Spun Sugar
And Glittery Jewels"
The Manor was impressive.
The cabbie drove up the long, winding driveway until he stopped at the front entrance of the mansion that was over two hundred years old. It loomed up tall and imposing with a brick façade, white pillars and an enormous wreath with glittering gold fruit and a giant red bow on the front door. The pillars were entwined with garlands of holly, the leaves dark-green and complementing the shiny red berries, dusted with lightly-falling snow.
Clark paid the cabdriver and walked up the short steps to the front door, tiny snowflakes melting on his fedora and coat as he rang the bell. A light, melodic chime rang through the house, and seconds later the door was opened by a distinguished gentleman in a butler’s uniform.
“Welcome, Mr. Kent.”
“Thank you, Alfred.”
The butler acknowledged Clark’s greeting with an incline of his head and said, “May I take your hat and coat?”
Alfred efficiently stored both in the foyer closet as Clark looked around at the grand staircase decorated with holly garland, and the huge chandelier glittered in the fading afternoon sunlight. The floor was polished and the walls hung with oil paintings of American landscapes, and there was a small marble Greek statue of a smiling young boy with a water urn in an alcove niche. He followed Alfred down the hall, passing a room with an enormous Christmas tree, and was ushered into the library.
“Master Bruce will be with you momentarily.”
“Would you like something to drink?”
Still feeling a little buzzed from the wine, Clark said, “Just ginger ale, please.”
Alfred nodded and left.
Clark took the opportunity to look around the library: books, of course, some quite old, and he eagerly read the spines. Bram Stoker’s Dracula! Could it be a first edition? And medical books, some from the Middle Ages! And was that an original Sherlock Holmes adventure?
He noticed a painting on the wall. Thomas and who Clark guessed was Martha were in the painting, Thomas standing by the ornate chair where Martha sat, and a young boy with dark hair stood on the other side of the chair, all three smiling at the artist. The father and son were dressed in dark-blue suits and Martha wore a wine-red dress and pearls. She had been a beautiful woman in her younger days.
A flash of color attracted his attention to the window. Astonished, he watched a young dark-haired boy perform a series of somersaults on the snow, his red coat and yellow scarf clashing, and he wore a green cap with a yellow pom-pom on top. He was smiling as his blue eyes sparkled, and he did a series of backflips next.
“Dick loves the fresh air.”
Clark turned and saw Bruce in his a different suit from the one he’d worn earlier in the day, his wine-red vest a good complement to his dark-blue suit.
“He likes to keep in training, I see.”
“Oh, yes. We have a gym here in the Manor and he’s using that to the utmost.” Bruce watched the boy with affection shining in his eyes. “Mom and Dad have already spoiled him.”
Clark suspected Bruce had done his share of spoiling, too.
Alfred brought in the ginger ale for Clark and sparkling cider for Bruce. “Dinner in a half hour, sir.”
“Very good, Alfred.”
“Yes, very good, indeed,” said a feminine voice.
Martha Wayne smiled at the departing Alfred as she entered the library. “You must be Clark Kent! A pleasure to meet you.”
She held out her hand and Clark shook it. Her silver charm bracelet jingled and she smiled. She was still a lovely woman, wearing a dark-blue sweater over a matching skirt, her blue eyes lively as she tossed back shoulder-length black hair.
“My boy loves to talk about the Enterprise Project.”
“Mom,” Bruce protested, cheeks pink as Martha laughed.
Clark grinned. “I’ve gotten some good copy already.”
“Excellent. Oh, Thomas, Mr. Kent is here.”
“Welcome, Clark,” said Thomas, shrugging on a suit jacket as he extended his hand.
“Hmm, looks like it’s coming down harder,” Martha observed of the snow. “Should we call Dick in?”
“Let him stay out, Mom. He loves weather like this. We’ll call him in fifteen minutes so he can get ready for dinner.” Bruce watched as his young charge caught snowflakes on his tongue.
“Was it snowing in Metropolis when you left?” Martha asked Clark.
“A little. We had a big storm just last week.”
“Would you like to see our Christmas tree?”
“Yes, very much,” Clark answered, tantalized by the glimpse he had already seen.
In the spacious living room, the tree towered, decorated with glittering garlands and ornaments of all types, topped by a silver-and-gold star.
“What a beautiful tree!” Clark exclaimed.
“Thank you. The ornaments are family heirlooms. There are ornaments from my family and Thomas’, and Alfred’s and Dick’s.”
“This glass ball was purchased in England during World War II by Grandfather Alan Wayne,” Thomas said with a smile.
“And this hand-knitted angel was made by Grandmother Elsinore Kane,” said Martha. “This whimsical chimney sweep is from Alfred’s family, and the glittery circus elephant is from Dick’s.”
“The star was purchased the year Bruce was born,” Thomas said with a smile.
Martha and Thomas pointed out several ornaments, Bruce occasionally chiming in, and Clark was enchanted. So much history!
“We have ornaments that stretch back several generations, too,” Clark said.
“Do you get your tree fresh off the farm?” Bruce asked.
Clark nodded. “Dad and I go out and chop one down and bring it back, and we help Mom decorate.” He grinned. “I put out milk and cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve.”
“Bruce gets to be Santa now,” Martha said, eyes sparkling. At Clark’s inquisitive look, she said, “Bruce plays Santa at the orphanage we sponsor.”
“Oh, that’s good of you, Bruce.”
Bruce blushed a little but pride shone in his eyes. “I can’t imagine what it would be like to be a child without parents on Christmas Eve,” he said softly.
A snowflake ornament brought more talk of the weather, then Bruce excused himself to go and call Dick in.
By the time dinner was ready, Dick had doffed coat, hat, gloves, and boots and washed up. He was bringing in the salad plates to the dining room when the adults entered.
“Hello! You must be Clark Kent! I’m Dick Grayson.”
Clark was immediately charmed by the boy’s sunny smile and took Dick’s proffered hand and shook it.
“Glad to meet you, Dick.”
Dick beamed, and everyone took their places after Alfred, Dick and Bruce finished bringing in the plates.
The food was delicious, a salad with walnuts, green peppers, and shredded carrots for the appetizer, then roast beef with tiny carrots, potatoes, and onions, butternut squash sprinkled with cinnamon, and fresh green beans almondine. Each bite was nirvana, Clark impressed by Alfred’s cooking skills.
Martha saw the appreciation in his eyes and laughed. “Alfred is truly a treasure.” She sipped her wine, another excellent vintage. Dick had ginger ale, his appetite healthy, and he appeared happy. Bruce and his parents and Alfred were doing a good job.
“You’ve done a great job at The Daily Planet,” Thomas observed as he cut his roast beef. “You’ve only been there a year and already you’re right up there with Lois Lane.”
“Don’t let Lois hear you say that.”
The Waynes laughed. “She’s ambitious?” Bruce asked with a sparkle in his eye.
“Very. And that’s what makes her an ace reporter. Once she gets her teeth into a story, she never gives up.”
“I’ve met Ms. Lane. Brash, opinionated, but extremely talented.”
Clark nodded. “Despite our competition, we’ve worked on several stories together, and we work well together. Our styles complement each other.”
“How so?” asked Martha.
“She tends to be the more aggressive reporter…” he smiled at Bruce’s smirk “…and my style is more low-key.”
“But successful,” Thomas said.
“I certainly hope so, sir.”
“How’s Lex?” Bruce asked.
“Lex Luthor?” Clark was suddenly uncomfortable. “Um, he seems fine.”
“Lex is a genius, but growing up with no mother after the age of eight and a father who is Machiavellian at best, it’s well to keep an eye on him,” Martha said firmly.
“He wasn’t always like that,” Clark protested, then realized he’d said too much.
“You know Lex?” Bruce asked, then suddenly his eyes widened. “He spent time in Smallville at the family’s fertilizer plant, didn’t he?”
“For a few years.”
“Smallville?” Martha asked.
“That’s where I’m from, Mrs. Wayne.”
“Oh! And it’s Martha, please. I can’t imagine Lex in a small farming community. He must have been banished there by Lionel.”
Clark took umbrage to the thought of Smallville being banishment but carefully kept his face from showing it. After all, what did wealthy city folk know of the joys of living in a place like Smallville?
“Well, a little fresh air and corn right off the cob wouldn’t have hurt him,” Bruce said with a smile, and Clark smiled back.
Dessert was served after the clean-up of the entrée dishes, and Clark luxuriated in the heavenly flavor of lemon meringue pie, another Alfred success.
“Alfred, you’re amazing!” Clark said as the tart taste of lemon tickled his taste buds.
“Thank you, Mr. Kent,” Alfred said serenely, obviously a man extremely confident in his baking skills.
Clark was in heaven. Pie was the best!
After dinner Bruce led Clark back to the library, the snow coming down faster now. It looked magical outside the windows before Bruce turned on any lights. He refrained from doing so when he saw the look of wonder on Clark’s face.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Bruce murmured.
“Very.” Clark suddenly felt homesick for the farm, surrounded by snow and the vast skies of Kansas.
“I’m glad you could come to dinner tonight.”
Clark looked at Bruce, barely able to see his face but the snow lent just enough light to make out the handsome features. He felt his stomach flutter as he answered, “I’m glad, too.”
Bruce smiled, and before Clark knew it, Bruce leaned in for a kiss.
It was warm and inviting and exhilarating.
When they broke apart, Clark strained to see Bruce’s eyes, and shadowed as they were, he was certain he saw…
The light abruptly came on. “Oh, there you are! Clark, the radio just said all the planes and trains have been grounded. A major blizzard is on its way to Gotham,” Martha said.
“Ah, well, then Clark must stay the night,” Bruce said smoothly, looking unruffled.
Clark doubted he looked the same, but he was naturally rumpled, so the state of his clothes wouldn’t matter.
“I appreciate the offer, thank you.”
Martha smiled. “It’s settled, then. I’ll have Alfred bring in some cake and we can chat for awhile. Bruce, dear, tend to the fire.”
“Certainly, Mom.” Clark grinned as Bruce’s eyes twinkled.
Well, it would be nice to spend the evening here at the Manor, as if he was part of the family.
And the future possibilities?
They looked very promising.
Like a gift just starting to be unwrapped.