Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Clark/Bruce, Alfred, Dick, Dorrie Davis, Alicia Davis
Continuity: Batman Begins, Superman Returns
Genres: Challenge, Drama, First Time, Holiday, Romance
Rating (this chapter): G
General Summary: Bruce invites Clark to the Manor for Christmas.
Chapter Summary: New traditions are born.
Date Of Completion: November 25, 2011
Date Of Posting: December 5, 2011
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC and WB do, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1360
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Note: Written for the 2011 World’s Finest Gift Exchange. Prompt: F2: The rest of the Justice League scattered to spend the holidays with friends and family. Everyone just assumed Clark would be doing the same. But Martha passed away a little while ago, and Lois married Richard, and Clark is all alone on Christmas Eve. Bruce finds out, of course, and decides that Something Must Be Done.
CONTINUITY: SUPERMAN RETURNS/BATMAN BEGINS, but expanding to bring in all the other heroes. One or more of the Robins is fine, too, if it suits the story. Also written for my 2011 DCU Fic/Art Silver-‘N’-Gold Winter Holidays Challenge. Prompt: Silver-‘N’-Gold, natch! ;) and saavikam77’s 2011 DCU_Freeforall Winter Holidays Challenge. Prompts: No. 3: Twinkling Lights/Star/Sparkle, No. 8: Family/Home/Shelter/Hearth and No. 9: Christmas Tree. :)
All chapters can be found here.
The sky is bold,
And the weary traveler
Sees the light
In the window
And knows he’s home.
Sarah Jean O’Reilly
Christmas Eve morning dawned bright and full of sunshine as the fresh snow gleamed on the Manor grounds. Alfred prepared a breakfast of eggs, bacon and blueberry muffins.
“We’re going to take gifts into the city for the shelters,” Bruce said. “Would you like to come with us?” Dick looked over at Clark expectantly.
“Absolutely.” Clark buttered his muffin. He was very interested in this expedition.
Clark felt happy as he handed out the presents to ragged children worn down by worry and abuse, victims of bad and broken homes and life on the streets. He wished that he could help these families and other broken souls better their lives, but for now presents could bring smiles to weary faces.
He watched Bruce distribute the gifts with a smile and kind word for everyone. There was very little of Brucie today, more of a quiet man being generous. Clark’s heart swelled with pride. Sometimes it was easy to forget that Bruce was not just a vigilante but a philanthropist as well. His family had a long tradition of largesse and Bruce was a genuine practitioner.
He was also grooming Dick to continue that tradition, easy to do as Dick was naturally generous. As the boy talked with a brother and sister, Clark realized that Dick might have known hunger or the precariousness of teetering on the edge of poverty. Bruce had told him that Haly’s Circus was a struggling small circus always one step away from disbanding. Clark doubted that there were many openings for out-of-work acrobats.
A tug on his cableknit sweater caused him to look down. A little girl looked up at him with big, blue eyes. “Mister?”
“Do you know Superman?”
Clark blinked. “Um, why do you ask?”
“Timmy said you were from Metropolis. I thought maybe you knew Superman.”
“Oh.” Relieved, Clark smiled. “I’ve met him and written stories about him.”
“That’s right. I’m a reporter for The Daily Planet.”
“Oh.” Her thin face was framed by golden curls. “Do you know Lois Lane?”
Clark squatted down to get to eye level with the girl. “I do. I work with her. We’re partners.”
Her eyes lit up. “Really? Mom says she’s the best reporter ever!”
Clark smiled. “I think your mom’s right.”
She giggled. “My name’s Dorrie Davis. What’s yours?”
Dorrie held out her hand. “Nice to meet ya, Clark Kent.”
“Same here, Dorrie Davis.”
She giggled again and a frazzled-looking woman hurried over. “Dorrie, don’t bother the nice man.”
“Oh, she’s not a bother, Mrs. Davis.”
The petite brunette frowned. “Still…”
“No, really.” Clark stood.
“All right.” Alicia Davis put a hand on her daughter’s head as Dorrie said, “See, Mom, I got a Barbie doll! Isn’t she beautiful?” Dorrie held up the doll, already out of the package and well-loved.
“She’s gorgeous, honey.” Alicia looked at Clark. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome, ma’am.” Clark refrained from saying it was really Bruce’s doing. Somehow it would sound self-serving if he did.
“Come on, Dorrie, there’s refreshments over here.”
Alicia ushered her daughter away and Clark reached for another present to give out. By the time all the presents were distributed, Bruce appeared and said, “One more shelter to go.”
Clark nodded and followed Bruce and Dick out of the shelter, turning back to wave at Dorrie.
Snow began to fall again as Alfred drove them home hours later. Lights twinkled in the homes they passed on the outskirts of the city. Clark was pleased at the sight. There was something comforting about the glow of light in homes as you passed by. All the farmhouses around Smallville had that warm glow. He tried not to think about one cold, dark farmhouse.
He stole a look at Bruce’s profile. He was grateful for his friendship but he wanted more, yet he dared not ask for it. He really had no indication that Bruce felt the same way.
Rao, he was so tired of feeling isolated. Was he doomed to always feel apart? Was that what had driven him to pick up and leave Earth for five long years so that he could find evidence of the people to whom he belonged?
Alfred drove the limousine through the front gateway and up the long, winding drive up to Wayne Manor.
“There will be a light repast, sir, as we will be dining extensively tomorrow.”
“Of course, Alfred,” Bruce said as he and Clark and Dick alighted.
The butler nodded and drove the limousine to the garage as Dick went into the house and Bruce and Clark stepped up onto the portico.
“A light repast?” Clark asked with a smile.
Bruce snorted. “That’ll mean a banquet.”
Clark laughed as he followed Bruce into the house.
As the fire crackled, Clark sipped mulled cider as he started into the flames. The tree glittered as the snow continued to fall outside the windows. He was sitting on the end of the couch with Bruce on the other end. The billionaire was also drinking cider and looking over some Wayne Enterprises paperwork. The firelight highlighted the cheekbones of his face and his hair. A sigh escaped from Clark.
The voice was soft. If Clark didn’t possess super-hearing he might not have heard it. He looked over at Bruce, whose face was shadowed.
“Are you all right?”
Clark smiled slightly. “I’ve been a little sad lately. I miss Ma.”
There was silence for a minute before Bruce spoke again. “Understandable. You just lost her.”
“Seven months ago.” Clark took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes. “I’m trying to adjust.”
“You can adapt, adjust, even get used to it, but you’ll never forget. And some days you’ll be fine, other days not so much.”
Clark took a deep breath. He knew that Bruce spoke with the voice of experience. He had that experience, too, with the death of his father years ago when he had been in high school. It still hurt.
“Ma was my connection to the world, and Pa before that. When I took that flight to Krypton, I left her behind. I left everyone behind.” Clark started down at his glasses, the firelight glinting off the lenses. “I’d been feeling apart back then and hoped to find something of my people, but in reality, my people are here.” He stroked the frame. “That spaceflight was long and lonely. I didn’t see or talk to another living being the whole time, unless you count space pirates firing on my ship.” Clark chuckled lightly. “They took off fast when they saw me fly out of the ship.”
Clark dared to meet Bruce’s eyes, except that they were still in shadow. Slightly nervous, he said, “I guess that’s why I’ve felt so detached lately. I’ve been trying to get back in the swing of things.”
“Are you now?”
“I…think that spending Christmas here…yes, I’m getting there.”
Bruce’s heart broke as he listened to Clark’s recitation of his journey. How could he stand it, being isolated for five years in the coldness of space? Little wonder he had seemed so distant upon his return.
And I thought that I was a loner! Oh, Clark. He watched the play of firelight on Clark’s face and hair. Two lonely people just trying to save the world.
Clark looked up and met Bruce’s eyes, unearthly blue causing Bruce’s heart to flutter. He slid down the couch and gently laid his hand on Clark’s face.
“You don’t have to be lonely anymore. Here you can be part of a family.”
Tears shimmered in Clark’s eyes as Bruce leaned forward to kiss him, the warmth from the fireplace enveloping them as the snow fell prettily outside the windows.
The next morning new ornaments appeared on the tree: a sphere-and-pylon encased in glass from the 1939 World’s Fair, a ceramic ear of corn, and a miniature of the Kent farmhouse, all of the glittering in the bright sunlight of the new day.