Spoilers: No Man’s Land, Crisis
Characters: Bruce/Batman, Various.
Author Notes: Batman’s “got” everyone he cares about. But who’s “got” Bruce? R for language.
[EDIT] Oops. Yeah...wordcount...:lol: I kinda forgot this was a 100 community...my bad...
“I’ve got you.”
It’s all he can think of to say. It always feels inept, inadequate. But it’s all he can promise.
Sarah Essen lies dead in the basement of G.C.P.D. Central, along with fifty kidnapped babies. Jim’s just shot the Joker in the knee – with any luck, the sick bastard will never walk again, but even then, it will be no consolation.
Bruce knows that there is no consolation for this kind of loss.
Jim had asked him once, “Are we friends?”
Batman has seen much since he began his crusade. He’s lost those he’s cared for more than once. But tonight, the wound feels fresh. Yes, they are friends. He wishes he was a better one. But all he can do is keep Jim Gordon from falling to his knees at the steps of G.C.P.D. Central.
He’s practically weightless, hanging there on Batman’s arm…
No one should ever see Jim Gordon on his knees – he’s too damn good for that.
After Jim’s in better, more capable hands, he makes a mental note to visit Huntress tomorrow…as Batman, of course.
“Rest. Good work, Huntress.”
He’d been practically demonstrative. He’d have to play it a bit cooler, or she wouldn’t appreciate it as much. It would cheapen the praise, cheapen her commitment, and sacrifice.
He should have been there…when she’d taken three bullets, defending those kids…defending her name…defending the moral code he’d been questioning for a full year…
Defending his respect. Respect that he’d made her pay dearly for…maybe too dearly.
And he hadn’t been there…
“I’ve got you.”
It’s all he can say, as Tim’s father bleeds out on the floor, Tim clawing at him desperately, without reason – he can hardly tell whether he’s trying to hang on or fighting to get free. His eyes are wild – it’s a look Bruce first saw on a hunting trip, the only one he ever went on. Once caught in a trap, all pretenses of logic or planning escape the prey’s eyes – there isn’t even the knowledge of a trap – only pain. Pain so complete, the only possible thought can be, “How do I make this stop?”
It’s the look Jim Gordon was concealing behind his signature square sunglasses. It’s the look Huntress was fighting to control, fighting to impress him…the look on Tim Drake’s face right now.
It’s the look on countless victims’ faces over the years…
And Bruce knows now, that that is how he looked when they found him, standing in the snow next to his parents.
Well, he’d come this far.
Clark's opened the door, but he hasn't taken the chain off.
“Shout it, why don’t you,” he grits quietly through his teeth.
The door closes.
You have X-ray vision, Clark. You could hear me from a mile off. You can probably smell me, for fuck's sake. I’m wearing the suit - don't call me Bruce!
He knows better, of course - and they both know that. But he's not asking, "Who is it?" He's asking "Who am I speaking to now?"
Like I'm no better than Two-face. Or Dent.
Maybe I'm not.
The chain stops rattling, and the door opens wider. Batman comes the closest he's been to a laugh in a long time.
Superman has a chain on his door.
“Trouble?” Clark asks calmly, “What is it?” There isn’t a trace of annoyance in his voice or his expression, but Bruce can smell it, underneath. He hears the rustle of sheets, Lois mumbling something a few rooms away. Maybe he picked a bad time. The whole thing is a bad idea.
“It can wait,” Batman says coldly, and turns to go.
Clark’s hand is on his arm. Bruce looks up and meets his eyes.
He hates him. He hates his stupid face, and his stupid spit curl and his stupid boy-scout blue eyes, and his ridiculous denial of his god-like prowess, this desperate need for the humble, Kansas shmuck.
Who even wears pajamas anymore? Blue flannel with stripes and buttons, the cuffs neatly pressed – this man has never masturbated in his life. He doesn’t go to the bathroom…He wasn’t even born – he sprang, fully formed, from the head of almighty Zeus. He shoots fucking lasers out of his blue eyes. He can fly for fuck’s sake – What does Clark possibly understand about Gotham, about Batman, about this kind of pain?
What does Clark know about being human?
The concern in Clark’s eyes is maddening – even moreso because it’s exactly what he needs.
Clark says the wrong words:
Suddenly Bruce is ten again, spattered in his parents blood, looking into the concerned blue eyes of an underpaid beat cop.
There’s snow seeping through the soles of his shoes…No…not snow…it’s warm…
His legs give out underneath him. He can’t breathe. Something’s wrong with him – eyes burning – can’t breathe…Gas attack? Can’t be – Clark would have done something by now…Vision blurring…
“It’s alright,” Clark says. His arms are strong as…whatever.
“It’s alright,” Clark says, firmly, with no soppy excess, “I’ve got you.”
To his credit, he doesn’t make a sound. He’s determined to maintain at least that much control.
When enough pain has been siphoned off, and he’s aware of himself again, he pushes himself off of Clark’s arm, and turns his back swiftly.
Clark doesn’t say anything.
If he offers me a cup of coffee, I’m leaving.
Clark still doesn’t say anything.
They’re more like an old married couple than even he and Lois. Somewhere in the place he stashes things he doesn’t want to think about, Bruce knows that if he were a cop, Clark would be his partner – not Dick, not Tim – Clark. The knowledge of that is both comforting and irksome.
“Get some sleep.”
Bruce nods curtly, knowing that he won’t, and Batman disappears into the shadows, leaving behind the unholy mess that is Bruce.
At least for one night.