Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Clark/Bruce
Rating (this chapter): PG-13
General Summary: Fresh-off-the-farm Clark discovers new experiences in the Big City.
Summary: Clark works up the courage to go to a gay bar in Metropolis.
Date Of Completion: August 17, 2007
Date Of Posting: August 19, 2007
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1525
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Note: greeneyelove requested "Clark and Bruce meet and have a one-night stand (or so they think) and then they discover who the other really is" from my DCU GSB Fic Request Meme. All chapters can be found here.
ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT
Clark nervously adjusted his tie. He took a deep breath and pushed open the door.
Inside, it was dark and smoky, at first glance a typical club located in a brownstone cellar in Metropolis. Tables and booths were scattered around, and there was room for dancing in the center. A Wurlitzer jukebox glowed in the corner, the brightest thing in the room.
A bar curved around one side, a few patrons sitting on the barstools. One occupant was a woman in red silk, her curvy legs crossed as she smoked a cigarette; long, platinum hair cascaded down her back.
Clark was unsure what to do. He was certain that he looked fresh off the farm, but he had carefully researched what to wear. As a prospective college student this fall, he thought he could get away with the look: dark-blue pants, a crisp, white shirt, and a wine-red vest. He had arranged his hair in the latest style, and had bought a new pair of tortoiseshell glasses instead of his usual horn rims. Shiny new pennies gleamed in his loafers.
Hopefully his semi-disguise didn’t scream ‘Hick from the sticks!’ but maybe ‘naïve college student’.
“Hey, kid, what’ll you have?”
Startled, Clark looked at the bartender. A burly man with a cigar sticking out of his mouth, his brown eyes held a touch of sympathy for Clark’s obvious greenness.
The gruff voice suggested, “Beer?”
Clark nodded and the bartender drew him a mug from the tap. Clark fumbled for money, dropping a few quarters on the floor, and the bartender said, “There’s an empty table in the corner.”
Mortified, Clark took the mug and concentrated on walking to the table without a mishap. A quick glance around showed that most of the patrons were watching him. Well, he was new. For a second, he wanted to turn around and leave, but decided that would look even dumber than his entrance.
Settling in at the table, he kept his eyes on his beer, wishing that his blush would go away.
He wasn’t alone long.
A large, well-muscled man in a red-and-white striped shirt and dungarees was standing in front of his table. He crossed his massive arms and an earring glinted in his left ear. A sailor?
“So, Mr. College Man, want some company?”
Clark gulped. Even though he knew he could wipe the floor with this guy, he felt terribly vulnerable.
“Oh, c’mon now, Joey. Don’t you see the sweetie is new here?”
The new voice’s owner came into view. The older man was dressed in a light purple suit, a dark-purple scarf tossed over his shoulder. With gloved hands he pulled out a silk handkerchief and fanned himself, gray curls tight on his head.
“So, Precious, how do you like Metropolis?”
An elderly man from the next table cackled, “You old queen! You smell fresh meat and come runnin’! And Popeye is just as bad.”
Clark wished that he hadn’t come to this place. What had he been thinking?
“Hey, boys, let’s give the new guy a break, hmm?”
A third man, around Clark’s age, put his hands on the shoulders of the other two. Blond hair was combed neatly, dark-blue eyes sparkling as he smiled. He was dressed like a college man, too, in a dark-blue vest and pants and pale yellow shirt. Clark immediately felt comfortable with him.
“You tell ‘em, Blondie,” said the platinum-haired woman, swinging her leg as she rested an elbow on the bar.
“Shut up, Max,” growled the sailor. “So the college guy thinks he’s got an in?”
“Oh, c’mon, Bruno, let’s go get a drink. My treat, dear,” said the lavender-suited man.
Both men left to go to the bar, Clark relieved to see them go.
“Mind if I sit?”
The blond slid into the booth, signaling the bartender. “You go to Met U.?”
“Uh, no. I mean, yes.” Clark blushed. “Not yet. This fall…”
A hand rested on his as he tingled at the touch.
“Kansas, don’t admit anything here. No real names, no real details.”
“Oh.” Clark wasn’t good at this secret stuff. Well, anything beyond his Secret, anyway. “Thank you.”
The other man looked a little surprised. “Uh, you’re welcome.” He held out his hand. “Jim.”
“Hey, Cal.” Jim smiled blindingly at the bartender, who shook his head in amusement as he set the drink down. “So, as long as you’ve spilled the beans about Met U., what will you be studying?”
Somebody put a nickel in the jukebox and Cole Porter’s “Blue Moon” started playing.
“Journalism,” he said.
“Hmm, good profession.”
“Umm, I suppose you don’t want to talk about your studies.”
“I can talk a little about them.” Jim smiled. “I’ve taken some criminology courses.”
“Criminology?” Clark’s eyes lit up. “Are you studying to be a policeman?”
Jim smiled again. “Something like that.”
“So, what have you learned?”
“That criminals can be clever, but they can be caught if you’re more clever than they are.”
The light tone was laced with steel conviction. Clark was impressed. A bright young guy like this would be an asset to any police department.
“Ma and Pa said that I should figure out where my talent is, and go from there.”
“Your parents sound like wise people.”
Clark wasn’t sure, though, how they would feel about the place in which he was currently nursing a beer. He had never told them about his inclinations and wasn’t sure if they suspected.
It hurt a little to think that talking with them about being an alien was easier than discussing his attraction to men.
“Cal, you okay?”
Clark looked at Jim, who was concerned as he laid a hand on his arm. A shiver went through Clark.
“I am, I just…”
“They don’t know?”
Miserably, Clark shook his head.
“It’s okay. I doubt many people in this bar are out.”
Clark glanced around. Jim withdrew his hand, which Clark regretted.
Clark leaned over and whispered, “Is that woman in red…not a woman?”
Jim chuckled. “That’s right, dear.” He drank his beer. “So, how do you think the New Deal thing is going?”
Momentarily confused, Clark realized that his companion wanted to do some talking first. Maybe find out if Clark wasn’t as dumb as he was acting? Geez Louise, he had to get his act together!
“I like it a lot. Too many people still out of work, but his Administration’s saved a lot of farmers from foreclosure.” Clark thought of the many sleepless nights his family had suffered before measures had been taken to save hard-hit farmers. “At least FDR is trying to help people.”
“His wife, too. I heard that she’s his eyes and ears, out on the road more than she’s home at the White House.”
“Oh, because of his polio?”
Jim nodded and took a swig of beer. “He seems to do remarkably well, polio or not. Still, you notice we never see him in a wheelchair in stills or on Movietone news, or when he walks in the newsreels, either. He’s just shown standing and holding on to the arm of one of his sons or aides.”
Clark frowned. “You’re right.” He took a sip of beer, his eyes lighting up. “But they’re doing good work. That’s what I want to do, help people.”
“Crusading journalist or muckracker?” Jim chuckled.
“Aren’t they one and the same?” Clark grinned.
A new song started playing, “All Through The Night”. Someone really liked Cole Porter.
“Want to dance?”
Surprised, Clark looked at the dance floor with two couples already swaying, then back at Jim. He hesitated for a second, then said firmly, “Sure.”
They were out on the dance floor, figuring out positioning, then Clark rested his head on Jim’s shoulder as they slow-danced.
It felt strange at first, then gradually very, very good. Clark was losing himself in the scent of his companion: faint sandalwood, strawberry-scented shampoo, and Ivory soap. Clark smiled into Jim’s shoulder. Sometimes super-senses were a blessing, all right.
He certainly hoped that he smelled as appealing. He’d used apple-scented shampoo and Ivory soap, too.
The song ended and they returned to their table, Jim ordering fresh drinks.
Jim’s blue eyes sparkled. A lock of blond hair fell over his forehead, and Clark’s breathing quickened. He had been driven here to find those who shared his inclinations. He wanted…he knew a man was supposed to wait for marriage and romance and all that, but his attractions were to people for which marriage was just a dream.
He wanted to make love to another man.
Jim was incredibly handsome with pretty blond hair that smelled clean and like strawberries on a warm summer day, blue eyes that looked as clear as Miller’s Pond, and a great body that promised so much. This would be nothing but a one-night stand, but Clark wanted this.
His eyes met Jim’s.
Jim licked his lips. “I’ve got a room.”
“I…” Clark wasn’t sure what to say.
Jim was more knowledgeable. He left a generous tip on the table and they exited the bar, disappointed sighs in their wake.
“Better luck next time, Sugar,” the lavender-suited man said to Joey, who snorted and drank his beer.
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