Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Clark/Bruce, Dinah Lance/Ollie Queen, Barry Allen, Diana Prince
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 comes up with a plan.
Date Of Completion: May 19, 2007
Date Of Posting: May 22, 2007
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 873
Author’s Note: This story was inspired by an illustration done by rai_daydreamer entitled “Protective” and can be viewed here. :)
Bruce felt his insides curdle at Clark’s suffering, appalled that Clark was using his body as a shield.
“Stop it! You’re killing him!”
The nimbus of light glanced off his body, numbing him, and he barely had the strength to squeeze Clark’s hand and cup his face.
“Intensity at Level 5. Increasing to Level 6,” rumbled the silverplate.
The light grew more blinding. Clark’s eyes were glazing over, conscious thought leaving him. He tried to speak. “B…Bruce,” he whispered.
Bruce nearly sobbed himself, watching as eyes the color of an autumn sky began to lose their light, showcasing the brightness of a soul that gloried in the sun, welcoming his shaded coolness with loving warmth.
Despair nibbled at his rattled mind, then an idea sparked. “Hold on, love, just a little longer.”
He allowed the silverplate to think he was totally absorbed by Clark’s suffering. While that wasn’t exactly a lie, he was busy formulating the only plan that he could try.
Gathering all his will, he moved away from the nimbus of light and used Clark’s rigid body as a complete shield this time to regain his mobility and to mask his movements. He yanked out an explosive, then threw his beloved away and behind him, pushing himself to rise.
For a split-second fear froze him as his body rebelled at the thought of exposing himself to the pain again, the light leaving Clark and beginning to shift toward him, but he shook it off and ran as fast as he could, stumbling on the thin soil, then aiming and throwing his weapon, mightily glad that the armor made the alien slow.
For the third time that day, the explosion rocked the glinting armor, splitting it in half as the L’Olean tried to keep his balance. He fell to the ground, Bruce on him instantly, one blow knocking him cold. Bruce then left him and lurched toward Clark, falling twice as his body started to run down.
He reached Clark with a sob, hoping against hope that his beloved was still alive.
Clark’s eyes were closed, his body twitching, then lapsed into a motionless state.
“Clark, Clark!” Bruce touched his cheek, tapping the cool skin lightly. “Please, it’s all over, no more pain.” His voice was raspy, the metallic taste in his mouth sickening him. He could understand why Clark had thrown up. “Please, Clark! Don’t leave me!” He knew he sounded nearly hysterical, like an eight-year-old boy crying out his shock and pain, but he was frazzled by pain that still licked at his nerves…
Clark’s eyes opened. For a moment, Bruce held his breath, then his beloved touched his cheek with shaking fingers, sapphire-blue meeting midnight-blue, and Bruce leaned down and kissed him, their tears mingling.
& & & & & &
The journey back to camp was long, Bruce having to half-carry Clark part of the way, his own vision blurring and colors pinwheeling in front of his face, but he persevered.
“B…Bruce,” Clark said softly, his voice rasping.
“What?” Bruce grunted, trying to concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other. His body suffered occasional tremors, his mind drifting toward confusion. He was terrified at the thought of some kind of brain damage.
Making matters worse, Clark looked worse than he felt.
“We can’t…we have to fight…win…we can’t let our friends…or this planet’s people…suffer…like that…”
Bruce didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Here Clark was near-dead on his feet, suffering the after-effects of hellacious torture, and he was thinking of everyone else! He stopped and gathered Clark to him, holding him tightly. Weak arms slid around his waist.
“What…why…?” Clark asked.
“Just because I love you.”
He could feel Clark’s happy smile and a tear slid down his cheek. God, was there anyone like this man in the entire Universe?
When Bruce released him, Clark’s blue eyes looked at him, still pain-hazed but the smile was still there on lush lips. Bruce was so tired he could barely stand upright but that beautiful face and smile kept his strength up.
“C’mon,” he said, an undercurrent of fear keeping him pushing ahead. If they were caught again…
Clark nodded and they kept moving, stopping only when the Kryptonian got sick again twice more, Bruce worrying over this physical reaction. His own stomach was unhappy with the after-affects but he hadn’t retched once yet.
As they reached the last leg of their journey Bruce put his cowl back on and lifted Clark into his arms, the Kryptonian close to passing out. Strength he didn’t know he had kept him going as fear drove him: fear for Clark, for himself, and fear of getting caught again.
They wouldn’t survive another torture session.
Finally, blessedly, Bruce staggered out from the forest undergrowth onto the battlefield, Dinah and Ollie providing cover as Barry sped to take Clark from him. As Barry raced off with his precious burden, Diana was there to catch Bruce as he fell, and she lifted him into her arms, hurrying behind the front lines as her fellow Justice Leaguers held off the last remnants of the invaders.
At least for this mission, there would be no need to inform loved ones of heroic sacrifices.