A knock on Bruce’s bedroom door woke him up. He cracked an eye open, saw the sunlight streaming in through his window. There should be no sunlight streaming into his window in the afternoon.
He groaned into his pillow as the knock came again. “It’s only seven AM, Alfred!”
Alfred cleared his throat on the other side of the door. “There is someone at the front door for you, Master Bruce.”
Bruce ignored him for a moment before throwing off his covers and pulling on a silk bathrobe and wrenching the door open.
“Tell them go fuck off,” he grumbled as he walked past Alfred.
“They were rather insistent, I’m afraid,” Alfred said. That gave Bruce no preparation for who was at the door.
Bruce stopped at the door, glaring at his early morning guest. “Superman.”
A sheepish grin. “Sorry, did I wake you up?”
“Why are you on my front step?”
Clark turned and looked behind him. He was carrying a large cardboard box in his arms, and the strangest peeping noises from coming from them. “More like a hundred steps.” Bruce’s deepening frown made him quickly clear his throat. “Sorry, I wanted to ask a favor.”
“And it couldn’t wait until a more reasonable time of the day?” Bruce snapped. He had only had three hours of sleep, and he had been up for thirty six hours before.
Clark gave him another sheepish smile. “Sorry. But um, I came from a mission in Eastern China, and on the way back, I found, er, I found a group of baby chicks. There was a cat chasing them, and they were so scared and alone, and so I saved them and put them in this box, but I don’t know what to do with them now. I have work in an hour and I can’t have pets in my apartment other than dogs, cats, or goldfish, and Perry would kill me if I brought them to work, so can you please take them for a while?”
“Please don’t tell me they’re in that box,” Bruce said flatly.
Clark looked at the peeping box, then at Bruce. “Okay.” He then smiled at Bruce, who glared at him.
“I’m not having furry birds running around my house. Take them to the vet or something.”
Clark’s face fell. “But… I named them. Bruce, please? Just until I find somewhere else for them? I just…” He opened the box, tilting the box forwards towards Bruce. “They’re so cute! Look at them!”
About a dozen, a bit dirty, yellow chicks stood in the box, scrambling over each other and peeping over and over again at Bruce’s scowling face.
“And they’re hungry,” Clark said. “I don’t know what chicks eat.”
“You grew up on a farm.”
“We grew corn. The only animals on the farm was Bessie the cow, a couple horses and my dogs! Please, Bruce.”
Bruce sighed heavily. He rubbed his temples. “I fucking swear if they shit anywhere in the house, I will dump them in an alleyway for you to find.” He turned and walked into the house. Clark beamed and floated in after him, gently shutting the door behind him.
“Great!” Clark said. “So where can I put them?”
Bruce ignored him, going to the kitchen for a cup of strong coffee first. He snatched the coffee pot from Tim and poured the last of it into his own mug. Tim just glared at him before sulking off.
“Morning, Tim,” Clark said with a bright grin.
Tim mumbled a greeting in response.
“What are you doing here?” Damian asked, sitting at the island in his school uniform. “And what is in that raucous box?”
Clark set the box down and showed Damian the contents.
“Chicks,” Damian said flatly. “Give them to me. It’s inhumane to put them in such a tiny box,” he said with a vicious glare at Clark. He snatched them from Clark’s grip and gently tipped the chicks onto the countertop.
“Damian, I don’t want the chicks in the kitchen,” Bruce said tiredly, sipping on his scalding coffee, though the heat did not seem to bother him, or he was just too tired to care.
“Thank you so much, Bruce,” Clark gushed. “I really need to go now, but I’ll be back soon to check on them.” With that, Clark flew through the hallways of Wayne Manor and shot off towards Metropolis.
There were fourteen chicks in total, and after little argument (Bruce was too tired) with Damian, they were allowed to roam free in the manor. Of course, the chicks had taken an immediate liking to Damian, despite his cold exterior. He carefully cleaned and washed each and every chick and fed them bits of bread and some torn up scraps of lettuce. He also notified Bruce he would go shopping for special chicken feed after school.
The chicks seemed content in exploring the manor on their own. Most doors were closed anyways, so they mostly just walked through the hallways, and they weren’t big enough to jump up the stairs, so it was rather easy to find them. Not to mention, they made loud peeping and chirping noises.
Bruce woke up in the late afternoon, going downstairs for some food to find Damian talking sternly with the chicks, who listened with amazing attentiveness. They followed him around like he was a mother hen. When he did his homework, he let the chicks climb all over him. It was all rather cute, but Bruce would never say that. He made a half-threatening comment about the chicks destroying his expensive furniture.
Apparently the chicks got along really well with Batcow as well. Why that was, Bruce had no idea.
When dinnertime rolled around, Clark stopped by to check on the chicks, as promised.
“Hey, Bruce,” Clark said. His hair was blown in all directions by the wind and his glasses were a bit crooked on his nose. Bruce wanted to reach up and fix them for some reason, but he just stepped aside and let Clark in. “Where are the chicks?”
“They’ve claimed the dining room for themselves,” Bruce grumbled. “So we’re eating in the kitchen tonight. Did you have dinner yet?”
“No, not yet,” Clark said. “Wanted to stop by and check on little Moe first.”
“You’re welcome to stay,” Bruce said. “And Moe? Who’s Moe?”
“She was limping a bit when I found her, behind the rest of the little chicks. I was a bit worried. Think she twisted her foot.”
Bruce grunted. “Damian bandaged her up then. He also criticized your lack of skill in caring for small animals.”
“Damian likes animals then?” Clark asked. He already knew that Damian loved animals, but they were still a while from the dining room, and he wanted to fill the silence.
Bruce gave another grunt of agreement.
“You aren’t still mad at me for waking you up this morning, are you?” Clark asked, with a tinge of whine in his voice.
“Furious,” Bruce said flatly. He was not.
“Then why are you still mad?!” Clark exclaimed.
The corner of Bruce’s mouth quirked up. “You feel guilty about the littlest things.”
“Well, you actually did look rather angry this morning,” Clark pointed out. “I felt bad all day.”
“I went back to sleep. Tried to at least. Damn chicks were so loud,” Bruce grumbled. He pulled open the door of the dining room and as if to prove his point, the chicks started peeping louder and they all ran over to them. They gathered in a little furry yellow crowd at Bruce’s feet, looking up at him, demanding food or love.
Clark bend down to pick up little Moe. “Oh, I’m sorry, Bruce.”
“…You realize my bedroom is soundproof, right?” Bruce said, his voice tinged with amusement.
Clark gave him a glare over his shoulder. “Why is it that you find you need to take every opportunity to tease me?”
“Because it’s easy, Clark,” Bruce said. He had the sudden urge to bend down as well and pick up a couple chicks.
Clark snorted, but he went back to petting Moe. The little chick sat in his large palm patiently, letting Clark run a finger over her back. She made small peeping noises at him.
“She seems alright,” Clark said. “I was worried.”
“Of course you were,” Bruce said. “Bet you were chewing your nails all day at work today.”
“My pens, actually,” Clark said. “Lois ended up taking my mug of writing utensils.”
“I meant you, not her,” Bruce said.
Clark made an affronted sound. He put little Moe back on the floor. “I thought you were my friend!”
“You haven’t even bought me dinner yet,” Bruce said dryly, watching as Clark pet a few more chicks, cooing at them.
“I said friend, not boyfriend,” Clark shot back.
“Well, I like knowing my friends are willing to buy me dinner. What better way to interview someone, right? You would know.”
“I’m a reporter, Bruce. No wonder you have no actual friends.” He set the last two chicks down.
Bruce was silent for a moment. “Do the rest of them have names? You mentioned naming them.”
Clark went a little red. “Maybe.”
“And you can actually tell them apart?”
“Yeah,” Clark said. He motioned for Bruce to come down. Bruce hesitated a moment before squatting down next to Clark. He felt utterly ridiculous to be squatting and no doubt wrinkling a perfectly good suit.
Clark pointed to Moe. “You’ve already met Moe.” He stroked her head. “This is Bill, here’s Ann, Frank, Dean, that’s May and her sister Lynn, Rose – oops, come back here – Sue, Pam, here’s Tom ‘n Will, Dot, and Prim.” Clark beamed. He let out a happy huff.
Bruce could not contain his surprise. “How do you know Lynn is May’s sister? Or what gender the chicks are at all?”
Clark blushed a little. “I don’t. But I don’t think they’ll mind too much,” Clark said. “They’re all one big family anyway. It’s like you and your kids.”
Bruce let one of the chicks, Pam, he thinks, nudge his fingers in search of food. He gently stroked his hand over the little furry head, surprised by the actual softness of the thin hair.
“They’re so small,” he marveled. “And delicate.” He pulled his hand away.
“’Course they are,” Clark said with a laugh. “They’re babies.”
Bruce stood and dusted himself off. “C’mon, let’s go to eat dinner first. There’ll just be six of us tonight, so you can stay later tonight.”
“Don’t you have patrol later?” Clark asked, following him out of the door. “Sorry, guys,” he said to the chicks, who started following them. He carefully shut the doors.
They walked to the kitchen side by side. “No, Alfred’s making me stay back tonight. Said I shouldn’t have pushed myself so much last time.”
“So you’re grounded.”
“Yes,” Clark said, with a growing smile. “Don’t worry. It’s just one night, right? You’ll be fine. I’m sure you can do with a bit of rest. You do push yourself too much sometimes.”
Bruce gave him a glare. They walked into the busy kitchen, filled with loud chatter. Alfred cooked on one side of the room while making conversation with two other boys in the room.
“Hey, Dad!” Jon Kent called out when he saw Clark walk in.
“Jon?” Clark frowned. “What are you doing here? I thought you were at home!”
Bruce raised an eyebrow. “You didn’t know? He’s been here since the boys got back from school.”
Jon smiled sheepishly. “Sorry. I called Mom, but my phone died before I called you. Dami and I were just finishing our homework.”
“Don’t call me that,” Damian grumbled, turning the page of his book.
“I thought I told you boys to clear the table a while ago,” Alfred said calmly.
Damian slid a bookmark into his place. “Sorry.” He and Jon grabbed their stuff, clearing it from the large kitchen island. Jon shouldered his backpack, still half open and raced out of the kitchen, calling something back to Damian, who frowned and started racing out after him.
“No running,” Clark barked, and both of them slowed to a walk. But once they were out of sight, heavy thundering footsteps could be heard.
Bruce rolled his eyes. “Why do you even bother trying with boys?” he asked.
“They should learn their manners,” Clark said. He sat down and Bruce slid into the seat next to him. A moment later, the door opened and Tim walked in. He was wearing a large t-shirt, one that probably belonged to one his older brothers or maybe Conner.
“Hey, Mr. Kent,” Tim said. “Something smells good, Alfred. Morning, Bruce.”
“Good morning, Tim,” Bruce said. “What have you been up to?”
“I alphabetized some files on the computer. It’s all cross referenced now. There’s also a new search feature I managed to install. Wait, what time is it?”
“Nearly eight,” Bruce answered.
Tim blinked, looking out the window, as if just realizing the entire day had passed. “Oh.”
Clark laughed and Bruce rolled his eyes.
Alfred starting bringing over the plates of food, setting them around the kitchen island, which could seat all six of them (Alfred included) comfortably. As they sat down, Damian and Jon came walking back in, Jon laughing and Damian with a smile he looked like he was biting back.
He straightened and wiped the remnants of that smile off his face when he entered the room. “Father,” he said. “I wish to build a chicken coop for the chicks. A large one, next to Batcow’s pen.” Then he paused and looked at Clark as he sat down. “If… that’s okay with you, Mr. Kent.”
Clark smiled. He always found it slightly amusing that Damian saw everyone strictly with two different personalities. As if Superman and Clark Kent were completely separate entities. Damian had no trouble complaining about Superman, usually not to his face, but maybe in his general vicinity, but the minute Clark was in the same room as his civilian identity, Damian suddenly has a whole new attitude. Probably because Clark was his best friend’s dad, but Clark was less offended and more amused. He had to assure Bruce of that several times.
“Wait, really?” Clark asked. “You’ll take the chicks?”
“The chicks are not staying,” Bruce said, taking a bite of the stir fry broccoli. “You have enough pets as is, Damian. I even let you keep Goliath.”
“Goliath isn’t kept at the manor, Father. Only Titus and Batcow are here.”
“Alfred is not a pet,” Damian argued. “He’s a member of this family as much as you and I.”
Clark and Jon laughed. Rarely was Clark graced with the chance to eat dinner with both Bruce and a couple of his children. He has yet to be at a full family gathering, but he had a feeling those were usually completely messes, so they were avoided.
“…that’s only three,” Damian pointed out.
“Three is more than I have,” Jon added helpfully. Damian glared at him. He jabbed his friend in the ribs. “Ow!”
“Shut up, that didn’t even hurt,” Damian said. “And you’re supposed to be helping me convince him.”
Bruce’s eyebrows raised. “Oh? Teaming up against me now?”
Jon gave Bruce a sheepish smile. “Sorry, Bruce. But apparently friendship means I’m obliged to back him up no matter what. So… can he keep the chicks?”
Bruce rolled his eyes up the ceiling and stared up at the lights for a long time, sighing. He pretended to mull it over, but Clark already knew his answer. “I suppose so.”
Before the boys could cheer, he raised a finger. “But,” he said. “You are to take full responsibility for them,” he said. “Both of you. That includes feeding, grooming, cleaning the coop, building the coop, and they’re not allowed inside the manor anymore.”
“Aw, c’mon!” Clark and Damian protested.
Bruce gave Clark a half-hearted glare. But it looked more like Bruce was trying to bite back a smile. “And you’re supposed to back me up!”
“Thought we weren’t friends. And what if it rains, Bruce?” Clark asked. “Gotham rains all the time, and it snows seven out of twelve months of the year.”
“It does not,” Bruce said. “And I’m sure I can afford special heaters for the damn animals.” He then turned on the boys again. “Also, those chick s are all getting neutered. I’m not having them repopulating. They’ll end up eating all the grass, I swear.”
Damian gave a rare smile. “Of course.” From his pocket, he pulled a square of paper out. He unfolded it and lay it in the middle of the island. It was a giant blueprint. “We spent all afternoon on it.”
“I thought you were doing homework?” Clark asked, looking up momentarily from the blueprint.
They all peered at the blueprints, covered in drawings, Damian’s neat cursive and Jon’s messier scrawl, doodles in the corners and on the sides, and tic tac toe games.
Tim, who had mostly been tuned out of the conversation up until that point, pointed the back of his fork at a part of the blueprint. “It might be better to have this part more indoor-style, and this part can be as it is. Then, during the winter, at most of the coop is indoors, and no transferring would have to be done. And it would be safe from potential chicken snatchers.”
“Chicken snatchers?” Clark asked. “Who steals chickens?”
Tim just shrugged and ate more of his stir fry.
The rest of dinner, they made comments on the blueprints. Clark mostly praising, Bruce mostly criticizing. Damian pulled a pencil out and made amendments as they saw fit. They talked through dinner, then dessert, then moved into the living room.
By the time they had finished, it was closer to midnight than it was dinnertime, and usually around the time Batman and his brood went out for patrol. And since Bruce was “grounded”, it was just Damian and Tim going on patrol. Jon begged to go, but Clark sent him home instead, saying he had already stayed up too late.
As Robin and Red Robin sped off into the night, Bruce turned to Clark. “You don’t have work tomorrow, right?”
“No… how’d you know?” Clark asked.
Bruce chuckled lightly. “I know your boss makes you take at least one day off a month, and you always choose the last Friday of the month.”
“My boss meaning Perry or you?” Clark teased.
Bruce did not answer, but he smiled. “Then you’re welcome to stay the night.”
Clark raised an eyebrow. “Oh? Do you make this offer to all of your not-friends?”
Bruce rolled his eyes good naturally. “Only the pretty ones.” He headed back inside.
Clark sputtered for a moment before following. “Pretty? Please, Bruce, that’s offending.”
Bruce shook his head, laughing. “You don’t expect for me to call you handsome, do you? Because I’m handsome, and you’re not like me.”
Clark scoffed. “I’m not pretty. Pretty… pretty is what you call someone like Dick. Dick’s pretty. I’m not pretty.”
Bruce choked-laughed. “Please don’t hit on my kids.”
Clark’s face went red. “I wasn’t- I didn’t mean it like that!”
“No, I know,” Bruce assured. “I’m just teasing.”
Clark grumbled something under his breath, but it did not sound angry.
“So how’s Lois been?” Bruce asked.
Clark shrugged. “Well enough, I guess. Seeing that she took the whole divorce thing rather well. And the whole deal with what to do in regards to Jon.”
“And Jon seems fine,” Bruce commented.
“Yeah, he’s fine. Was a bit upset at the beginning, but he’s fine now,” Clark said. Upset was a bit of an understatement. He hid in his HQ for nearly three days straight, skipping school and refusing entrance to anyone but Damian, who brought him his homework, food, and general news of the outside world. No one but those two knows what happened in the HQ during those three days, but the boys’ relationship seemed to have strengthened, whatever happened.
“Hm, and your coworkers?”
“They still don’t know. Perry does, but we didn’t tell anyone else,” Clark laughed easily. “It’s easier than explaining ten thousand times and still have people get the wrong facts.”
“So now that you’re single again, what have you done?” Bruce asked.
“I’ve been officially single for only, like, three weeks, Bruce,” Clark said. “I haven’t even finished unpacking, yet!”
“You’re literally next door to Lois, how much could you have to move?” Bruce asked.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Bruce said. He pushed open the door to a guest room, the one Clark usually stays in when he was over, which was not very often. “Here. Everything’s as you left it. And there are probably a few sets of your clothes in the closet. I told Alfred to leave them in there for you.”
Clark stepped in. Before he closed the door, he smirked at Bruce. “Aw, are you sure we aren’t friends? I mean, only really, really good friends leave clothes at each other’s houses and don’t bother returning them.”
Bruce shoved him. “Don’t be an asshole, Clark.”
“Can’t be in denial forever, Bruce,” Clark sang. The door was slammed in his face. Clark laughed.
A couple months later, Bruce had just gotten back from patrol, taken a shower, and was only wearing pajama bottoms, toweling his hair dry as he walked into the kitchen for a snack when he noticed the light was already on. And people were talking in the kitchen.
He walked in, stopping in the doorway and blinked several times.
Alfred was pouring hot water into a teacup, one for himself, one for Clark, and another one.
Bruce walked in slowly. “What’s this?” His eyebrows rose as he eyed Clark, dressed in his red and blue. “As much as I am not averse to your company, I want to know what you’re doing in my kitchen at three in the morning.”
Clark just smiled and took a sip of his tea. “Oh, I brought friends.”
“Friends,” Bruce said flatly.
Clark nodded, looking at Bruce from over the rim of the teacup. “Cats.”
Bruce sat down in a seat and took the cup of tea Alfred pushed towards him. A plate of cookies sat in the middle as well. His eyes followed Clark’s finger to the corner of the kitchen where two cats where huddled in the corner, eating out of a pair of bowls, both of which were emblazoned with Alfred.
“Found them in an alley in Metropolis,” Clark said. “Chased by a gang of teenagers.”
“And you couldn’t take them to your apartment, which was much closer than my house?” Bruce asked with an exasperated sigh. He took a cookie. “I know you’re allowed to keep cats in your apartment.”
“I don’t have cat food,” Clark said patiently. “And I knew you did. Expensive kinds at that.”
“You’re taking them to a vet,” Bruce said.
“No,” Bruce said firmly.
“If I may,” Alfred cut in. “I doubt there are any vets open at this ungodly hour.”
Bruce sighed heavily. “Fine. Until tomorrow morning, but then, they’re out of here, got it?”
Clark nodded sullenly. “Okay… but I named them.” He bit his lip and looked at Bruce.
Bruce met his gaze for a solid five seconds. Then, he deflated. “Okay, what did you name them?”
Clark grinned and sprung up. He walked over to the cats, and he gently picked them up. They meowed in protest, but Clark brought them over to the island.
Clark hefted the one in his right arm. It was a dark grey fur, a small patch of white under by one eye, blue eyes and pitch black ears. “This is Bruce.”
Bruce blinked at the cat. “You- You named the cat… after me?” he finally managed.
Bruce looked from the yawning cat to Clark’s bright smile. He could not help but crack a tiny smile. “I can’t believe you. And let me guess. That’s-”
The other cat was white cat, a little dirty, but with bright blue eyes as well and a small pink nose. It batted at the S on Clark’s chest.
“The cat doesn’t even look like you,” Bruce said, biting back a wider smile.
“No,” Clark agreed. “But it’s symbolic, Bruce. I found them together, and they do everything together, and- they’re just cute, okay?”
Bruce looked from cat to cat, then to Clark. Then, Bruce burst out laughing. The sound was loud and pure. Bruce had to set down his tea and buried his face in his arms as he tried to muffle his laughter.
Clark went red, not understanding why Bruce was laughing so hard. Alfred ended up rubbing Bruce’s back, and Bruce waved a hand, but was no able to stop laughing.
“Why’re you laughing?” Clark asked, a bit embarrassed.
Bruce could not answer. He could barely breathe.
Alfred answered for him. “It appears, Master Clark,” Alfred said with a smile of his own. “One of your cats, Bruce, it appears, is actually female. And pregnant.”
Clark went red, and he hugged both cats closer to him.
Bruce lifted his head from his arms. “’It’s- It’s symbolic’, he said,” he managed between gasps. “You didn’t- You didn’t think to- to check their genders before naming them?”
Clark huffed. “I got excited, okay?”
“Yeah,” Bruce said, finally calming down a bit. “And that’s probably how Bruce over there ended up pregnant.”
Clark made an embarrassed noise. He kind of wanted to die of embarrassment, it was that bad.
Finally, Bruce managed to gather himself. He wiped at imaginary tears. “Fuck, I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time,” he said. “I’m sorry, Clark. Don’t take it personally,” he said, still grinning.
Clark huffed at him.
“We’ll take them to the vet’s tomorrow, make sure Bruce’s babies are still okay, get a scan, see how many kittens there are.” Bruce extended the suggestion as a peace offering.
“I’m changing her name.”
“You can’t do that!” Bruce said. “I’m offended.”
“Okay, I’ll mend it. Brucie.”
“No, no,” Bruce said, with the same teasing smile. “Bruce is a unisex name now.”
Clark gave him a glare. He set the cats back down on the ground. They walked off into the corner again. “Bruce” circled a spot a couple times before lying down and curling up. Then, “Clark” curled up around “Bruce” and wrapped his tail around her.
Bruce stood up and stretched. He pulled his pajama pants up a bit, as they started slipping a little lower. “Thanks for the tea, Alfred. You’re welcome to stay the night, Clark,” Bruce offered.
Clark narrowed his eyes at him, as if waiting for a joke to follow. Whoever said Batman had no sense of humor had never been in the same room as Bruce as he started teasing Clark. Bruce did not do this with anyone else. Clark did not know if this made him a little worried or feel special. “Nah,” he finally said. “I’ve got work tomorrow, and it’s my turn to take Jon to school.”
“Alright,” Bruce said. “But make sure to stop by sometime tomorrow and pick up your cats.”
Clark nodded. “Okay. G’night, Bruce.”
“Night, Clark,” Bruce said with a yawn and a wave. As he walked off, Clark heard him chuckle, “It’s symbolic.”
Clark’s face was still red when he touched down in Metropolis later.
The cats never left. Damian had taken a liking to them, and Bruce had to admit, they were pretty cute.
And to avoid confusion, they had been nicknamed B and C. Though when Dick came for a visit, he was miserable when they told him he was not allowed to call Bruce “B” anymore.
B had three kittens. One was given to Barbara, Dick kept one (surprising everyone), and Jason gave one to his friend Bizarro.
But B and C stayed in the manor. They had taken a liking to Bruce’s favorite reading chair in the library and to his bed, though they were not allowed in Bruce’s room anymore (long story). B and C were on good terms with the other cat in the house, Alfred, though they respectfully gave each other space.
B and C got their own bowls, their own beds, and their own toys, though they still shared everything. It was a bit sickeningly cute. Bruce was kind of glad they were not symbolic of Clark and him.
But only three weeks after the cats, Clark showed up with the hedgehog.
It was a lovely Saturday, one of the rare days where the manor was crowded (compared to the usual measly four). It was also unusually hot outside, and the air conditioning had sputtered and died last night. So, everyone was gathered outside, by the pool.
Several pool toys were in the water or on the side. A few lounge chairs were occupied, and a few more opting to sit in the shade of the manor instead, sipping cold drinks and talking.
There were twelve of them in total, and Bruce had a feeling there were probably more coming. Damian had mentioned inviting some of his friends and since Jon was already there, Bruce could only assume he meant the rest of the Teen Titans.
Bruce himself, he had been in one of the lounge chairs in the shade. Next to him, Dick snored loudly, and Tim sat working on a tablet.
“Tim, you should put that down and enjoy yourself,” Bruce said. “We have a rare day to relax and you’re working?”
“Someone has to,” Tim grumbled.
“No, you’ll be fine if you go swim for a couple hours.”
Tim sighed and set the tablet aside, without much argument. They watched as a full blown water war started in the pool. The girls, Steph and Kori scooted their lounge chairs farther away from the water, intent of getting the most out of Gotham’s sun.
Bruce was reading a book, a glass of lemonade in his hand. And everything was fine, everything was nice, until Superman crash landed in the middle of the water fight. Jason smacked his pool noodle straight into Clark’s face.
Everyone froze. Clark shook his hair out, muttering his apologies as he floated out of the water, his hands clasped around something. He floated his way over to Bruce, dripping wet but smiling.
Bruce lifted his sunglasses and raised an eyebrow at Clark. Everyone else had gone back to their water war, though most of them were still half paying attention to the conversation. Dick had woken up as well, and Bruce knew he was watching from behind his sunglasses.
“What was that?” Bruce asked calmly.
“Sorry, I wasn’t paying attention,” Clark said sheepishly.
“You better hope you didn’t break my pool,” Bruce commented. He poked Clark’s thigh. “What’s in your hands?”
Grinning wider, Clark opened his hands to let Bruce see.
“Why the fuck do you have a hedgehog?”
“Shh…” Clark said with a conspiratory whisper. “There are kids around.”
“You didn’t answer my question.”
“Saved him. From a burning house. House was abandoned, save for a family of hedgehogs. Didn’t find the rest of his family,” Clark winced. “They may have burned. But I couldn’t just leave him. Ozzy’s a baby, Bruce.”
“Ozzy? You-” Bruce sucked in a deep breath and exhaled heavily. Then, he muttered to himself. “If I end up with a parrot named Joker, I swear-” then, louder, “I can’t tell if you’re doing this on purpose.”
Clark looked thoroughly confused. He obviously heard Bruce’s previous comment, but did not understand. “Doing what on purpose? I don’t mean to keep finding these animals, Bruce. And Damian loves them, so can’t you have a little pity on them? You love adopting parentless kids, don’t you? Ozzy doesn’t have a family anymore, so can’t you…?”
Bruce stared at him for a long time. “Clark, I-”
“Thanks,” Clark gushed. He shoved the little hedgehog, Ozzy, fucking Ozzy, into Bruce’s hands. The book Bruce had been reading landed in a puddle of water. “I’ve gotta go meet Diana now, but I’ll be back to check on him. Have fun, Jon!” He called before flying off again.
Bruce stared at the puddle of water where his book lay soaking, then the hedgehog. “If you were a penguin,” he said sternly. “I wouldn’t hesitate refusing you.” The hedgehog nudged his thumb. “I don’t care what pleading puppy face Clark makes. You’d go straight back to wherever he dug you out from.”
Then, everyone crowded around Bruce’s lounge chair, dripping water everywhere, all cooing and trying to see Ozzy. The little hedgehog started getting nervous. Damian yelled at everyone to go away, to which everyone listened to, with a bit of grumbling, but no one really wanted to have a katana in their face on such a beautiful day.
Damian took Ozzy from Bruce’s hands and fixed him a temporary home. Later, he told Bruce Ozzy would need a “permanent housing situation”.
And later, as the sun was setting and the barbeque and a snack table had been set up, and the rest of the Teen Titans arrived, Clark came back. He was in just a t-shirt and shorts, and had Diana in tow behind him.
Diana kissed both of Bruce’s cheeks and was immediately drawn into conversation by Jason and Tim.
Clark shoved his hands into his pockets. “So, how’s your day been?”
Bruce gave him a withering look. “Fine, until a hedgehog was stuck into my hands.”
“You love Ozzy.”
“I don’t love Ozzy,” Bruce muttered. “But you’re more of a nuisance than the hedgehog. Why do you keep bringing me these- these animals?”
“You have the means to take care of them Bruce. Y’know, give them a second chance at life.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“No, you’ve got that… savior complex about you.”
“Me?” Bruce asked incredulously. “Says the man that actually does the saving.”
“Okay, well, at least you have an adoption addiction.”
“I do not.”
“I’m pretty sure everyone one here is somehow a part of your wacky family.”
Bruce opened his mouth to argue with it, but it was kind of true. He felt like a proud parent when he watched a rare scene like today. Instead, he said, “Your chicks are all chickens now. Eight female, six male.”
“Oh, that’s great!” Clark sounded truthfully excited. “I knew they’d grow on you.”
“They do not.”
“They do. You love them. And the cats. You love the cats too. And Ozzy. And any pet I bring you. But it’s okay. I love them too.”
Bruce was jolted by Clark’s words. He realized that he was rather fond of the pets. And he was pretty sure he was growing weaker and weaker to Clark’s insistence of keeping the animals at his house.
“We’re like perfect parents,” Clark said, probably not realizing the meaning behind those words. “I save the animals and you take care of them.”
“Burger?” Cass shoved the paper plate into Clark’s hand and handed one to Bruce, who accepted it quickly. Cass walked off without another word.
“Thanks!” Clark called. “See? I like your actual children as much as I like our pets.”
Bruce decided not to argue. He just turned and walked away, having no doubt Clark will follow.
They went around the manor to the front steps. They sat down and watched the sun set.
Bruce took a bite of his burger, silently praising Alfred’s cooking skills for the umpteenth time. They sat silently in each other’s company comfortably.
“Bruce,” Clark finally said.
“I really hope I’m not overstepping here, but-”
“Let me finish.”
Clark took a deep breath and tried again. “I don’t know if it’s just me, but… have you ever thought about how perfect we are? Like, we literally complement each other’s every aspect, and-”
“-maybe it’s- wait, really?”
“Yes, I do.”
Clark huffed, frustrated. “Bruce, you can’t just say yes and not explain anything.”
Bruce turned to him, the fading sunlight making his blue eyes look darker than usual. “Why do I have to do the explaining? I think you did quite well. Took the words right out of my mouth.”
Clark blinked at him a couple times. “I can’t tell if you’re being serious.”
“Of course you can,” Bruce scoffed. He reached over and poked Clark’s shoulder. “And you don’t even need to listen to my heartbeat to know if I’m lying. Because you just know.” Then, quieter, “Like I know sometimes.”
“Do you think it’s because we spend too much time together or something? I know there’s that thing where people adopt each other’s habits and mannerisms when they’re really in tune with someone and something, but… that’s not us, is it?”
“Then… what are we?”
Bruce was silent for a moment. The sun had disappeared now, but the sky was still flushed brilliant reds, oranges and pinks. “We are Bruce and Clark, Batman and Superman, greatest team there ever was, best friends-”
“You were going to say something else,” Clark said quietly.
“Maybe, but if you already know what I’m going to say, why bother?” Bruce looked over at Clark again, this time, giving him a soft smile.
Clark’s stomach did a little flip flop. He smiled back. He leaned a little closer to Bruce, putting his arms back and leaning backwards on them. A second later, Bruce matched his position. Their pinkies barely touched, but neither moved them away.
Bruce and Clark were in South America with a couple other Leaguers, when they had gotten separated. It was hot, sticky, and Bruce was a bit irritated. They were kind of lost and Clark refused to fly up above the treetops to try to search out the others.
He argued that he could be harming delicate ecosystems and that the rainforests needed all the support they could get to thrive. They were not in any particular danger anyway. They had completed their mission but got lost on the way back to the ship.
So now, they were trampling in the direction of the other two Leaguers, who were already waiting at the plane.
“Have you ever had an interest in botany?” Clark asked, examining the plants around them.
“That’s not an answer, Batman. You grunting could be an affirmative or a negative.”
“It meant shut up.”
“You’re not fun, Batman. I mean, we’re not in a hurry anymore. You can at least try to-” he stopped. Then, Clark rushed over to a fern-like plant and lifted a large leaf.
Curled up under the leaf, was a boa constrictor.
Clark looked back at Bruce. “It’s hurt,” he said. “The last… three inches of its body is nearly half-amputated from its body. It’s dying.”
Bruce was silent for a second. “It’ll die. You can’t save it, Superman. Three inches of its body would have done some spinal damage. It’s also lost a lot of blood,” Bruce said, nodding at the blood stained leaves and the blood that stained Clark’s hands.
“But- what if I cauterize the wound?” Clark asked.
Bruce pulled a face. “Still probably won’t survive. But if it’ll make you feel better.”
Clark worked quickly, using his heat vision to close up the wound and stop the bleeding. The snake just twitched a couple times. Clark ran a thumb over the top of the snake’s flat head. “Sorry, sorry, sorry,” he murmured. Then, Clark cuddled the snake to his chest. “C’mon, let’s get back to the ship quickly.”
“You’re taking it with you?” Bruce asked.
“It’s wild, Clark.”
“So was Ozzy,” Clark pointed out. “And it’s just until she heals.”
The second Clark mentioned Ozzy and started calling the snake “she”, Bruce knew what would follow. “Oh, no, you don’t,” Bruce said, stomping after Clark.
“Please, Bruce. It’s just for a little while.”
“That’s what you said about the chicks, and the cats, and Ozzy. And we’ll be celebrating the chickens’ one year anniversary in a couple months. And no names out in the field!”
“There’s literally no one around. We’re in the Amazon rainforest. And Basil should know her daddy’s name.”
Bruce could not help but throw his hands up. “Basil?!” he all but screeched.
“I named her, so you can’t say no now,” Clark argued. “Right, Bay-Bay?”
“The names get more and more ridiculous. It’s a snake. A boa constrictor, Superman. She’s- It’s a predator. You can’t name a predator Basil.”
“It’s short for Basilisk.”
“She’s a baby. Even Basil’s a little grown-up for her. And Basilisk certainly is.”
“I can’t- I don’t even know anymore. You can’t keep giving me more and more pets,” Bruce argued weakly.
“Our pets. They’re our pets.”
Bruce snorted. They had reached the ship, found the door open and waiting for them. The other two were already in their seats. Bruce slipped into the driver’s seat and closed the door. Clark found a plastic box to put Basil in, put a little bit of water in a small dish for her.
When Bruce and Clark returned to the Batcave, Clark asked for a heat lamp for Basil. Bruce silently provided one and watched as Clark got Basil settled into a larger container.
“She’ll need a bigger tank of sorts,” Clark said. “Did some research on the flight back. Basil’s a red-tailed boa. They end up somewhere between six and twelve feet, so expect for her to grow fast. She’s only two and a half feet right now,” he said fondly.
Finally, Bruce said, “You know, if you’re planning on raising these animals with me, you can’t just be a weekend parent.”
Clark let out a surprised laugh. “Oh? Then, what do you propose I should do to amend my wrongs?”
Bruce stopped, halfway through taking off his gauntlets. He looked at Clark, his face blank, but his eyes a bit amused. Bruce stared at Clark for so long Clark stopped petting Basil and went a little red under his intense gaze.
But then, Bruce smiled. “You could always move in,” he said casually, looking away again. He tossed the gauntlets onto a table and started taking off other parts of his armor.
It took Clark a moment to gather himself and get back into the lighthearted mood. “I don’t- I don’t know if I’m ready to commit to that quite yet,” he managed. “Gotham’s a bit dark for my tastes.” The slight hesitance in his voice made Bruce look up again.
He seemed to sense Clark’s small change in manner. So he changed the subject. “Are you planning on staying for dinner tonight?” he asked. “Always welcome to.”
Clark let out a breath before answering. “I don’t know. I was kind of hoping to edit an article before bed today.”
“When’s it due?”
“Day after tomorrow,” Clark said, a bit sheepishly. “I uh, I worked on it a lot yesterday.”
“A three day assignment? Wow, Perry must be getting soft.”
Clark shrugged. “I was a bit surprised as well, but I’m not complaining.”
“Then stay,” Bruce said. “You can edit your article tomorrow. Or maybe you will get to do a bit of editing tonight.” He finished buttoning up his shirt and pulled up a pair of slacks. Then, he turned and started out of the cave. At the top, he turned back around, aware Clark had been watching him the entire time. He threw him a wink. “I won’t keep you long.”
The few days later, at work, Clark walked into his office in the morning only to find his little cubicle surrounded by his coworkers, whispering and talking to each other.
“What’s wrong guys?” he asked.
They made way for him. He saw that his entire desk had been taken up by a large vase of flowers. A huge fucking vase of flowers. The kind you see at over the top weddings and shit. There was a stick with a note in the middle.
In familiar handwriting, it said, She’s a cuddler. I blame her father. Settled in fine though. Why don’t you come by for dinner tonight? We’ll be waiting. -B
Clark went red as he coworkers teased him. A couple sprigs of basil were wound around the stick, so Clark had no problem knowing who sent the flowers and invited him to dinner. And it said we’ll be waiting, not she’ll be waiting. Clark’s heartbeat sped up a little, and he went even redder.
“So, who’s this secret admirer,” Lois asked, swiping the card from him. “And who’s this she?”
“No one, Lo.”
Lois gasped, clutching her chest. “You don’t happen to have a daughter , do you?”
“Wait.” Her eyes narrowed. “B? As in-”
“No,” he moaned, slumping into his seat.
“Yes.” She smiled wickedly, leaning in now that the rest of their coworkers had disappeared. “Is he asking you out on a date?”
“I don’t- I don’t know!” Then he lowered his voice to a whisper. “And in case you forgot, I’m not exactly supposed to have secret admirers since I’m supposed to be married?”
Lois shrugged. “I’m being a cool ‘wife’. Ever pegged me for the jealous type, Smallville? So you’re going?”
Clark was silent for a moment. “I don’t know.”
“Oh, yes, you do,” Lois poked in the chest, hard. Clark said ‘ow’ to make her feel better. It was a habit, honestly. Bruce liked to poke him a lot too. “You’re going on this date.”
“It’s not- It’s not a date, Lo,” Clark said.
“Uh huh. You’re going on this date, and you’re going to enjoy it, and you’re going to kiss his stupid billionaire lips, and I’ll expect a wedding invitation in half a year, yeah?”
“Lois!” Clark squeaked. He was really having this conversation with his ex-wife. He cannot believe her sometimes.
Then, Lois stopped. “Wait, scratch that. Don’t get married. No, I’m waiting for the invitation for Jon and Damian first.”
“Lois!” Clark practically screeched. A few passing people gave him odd looks. He buried his face in his hands.
Lois laughed. “I’m kidding. Not really, but I suspect there’s something going on there. Damian’s a good kid, but with all the time they’ve been spending together…” she trailed off.
“Lois, stop,” Clark whined. It was bad enough that she was teasing him about Bruce, but Jon was their son. She was supposed to be saying, ‘No dating until marriage’ or something stupid like that instead!
She raised her hands in surrender. She stood back up, patting his shoulder. “I’m joking, Clark,” she said. “You’re too easy to tease.” Like he did not know that. Then, she leaned in and whispered, “Here comes Lucy. If Bruce didn’t send the flowers, I would’ve pegged her as the culprit.” She pressed a long kiss to his temple. Then, loudly. “See you during lunch, honey!” She ruffled his hair and winked before walking out of cubicle.
Only to poke her head over a couple seconds later from her own cubicle next door. “Hey, when you get back from your dinner date,” she said. “Pick up Jon, too, will you? He’s going to the penthouse with Damian after school.”
Clark took a deep breath, regaining his composure. “Yeah, okay.”
“Thanks, babe,” she said before ducking away again.
Clark was left alone with his giant vase of flowers. What the fuck were you thinking, Bruce? Where could he possibly expect Clark to store that while he worked?
Turns out, Lois’ assumptions were correct. And the hour she spent making Clark dress up was not wasted.
Bruce had been wearing his own expensive ensemble when he opened the door, adjusting his cuffs. He smiled at Clark.
“Hey,” he said. “You can come in or wait here,” he said. “We’re going out tonight.”
Clark swallowed hard. So fuck, it was a date.
“We’re leaving, Alfred!” Bruce called.
“Enjoy yourselves,” Alfred called back.
Clark had a feeling there was a reason Bruce parked one of his cars in the driveway instead of the garage. He got into the passenger’s side as Bruce slid into the driver’s. Clark could almost feel his own nervous energy and hoped Bruce could not.
And if Bruce could, he was not showing it.
“So I had been planning on taking us to The Louvre, not the one in Paris, that one restaurant in Gotham,” Bruce said. “But it’s one of those really fancy, expensive places, not that I mind, but I thought you might not be too comfortable. You seemed rather bothered the last couple times we did interviews in those kinds of places. So we can go to a less high-end place, if you want.”
Clark almost laughed. Because Bruce was nervous too. He was rambling. Never has Clark heard Bruce say so much in one breath. “I don’t mind,” he blurted out and winced internally. Clark really did not mind fine dining. But he also did not want to sound like he was overeager.
“Great,” Bruce said with a chuckle. “I’d hate to have to cancel that reservation. And I got us a private room, too. Away from prying eyes.”
Clark nodded tightly. “Okay.”
They drove in silence for another five minutes. Then, Bruce broke it. “Okay, I can’t be the only one feeling the tension. Can we just-”
“Yes, please,” Clark said before he felt like all the nervous energy deflate out of him. He took a deep breath. “That was awkward,” he groaned.
Bruce laughed, actually laughed, this time. “Yeah. Just because this is our first date does not mean we can’t be friends first.”
It was so different hearing it being said out loud. Their first date. With his best friend, the man he’s known for… it feels like his whole life. Clark’s breath caught in his throat at this revelation. It really did feel like he had known Bruce for his entire life.
Not just known him, but it felt like they have been stuck at the hips for their entire lives. Clark felt like he was in Crime Alley, standing next to Bruce the night his parents were murdered. It felt like he had been there every night Bruce lay awake, staring at the ceiling, resolving to do something to change Gotham. But it also felt like Bruce was with him when Clark started getting his powers. All those time Clark had felt so alone because he was different, it felt like Bruce had felt the same desolation, the same anguish.
“Sorry, was thinking,” Clark said.
“What about?” Bruce asked, his tone light, but a bit of worry tinted his voice.
Clark flashed him a small smile. “Us.”
“Hey, when did it go from you and I to us, we, our?” Bruce asked. “I don’t remember it happening.”
“Certainly makes it easier though,” Bruce said with a slight snort. He pulled up in front of the restaurant, giving his car to the valet. They went into the hotel lobby and took the elevator up to the top, where the restaurant was located.
True to his word, Bruce had reserved a private room. The room was obviously meant for large parties, so it felt very spacious with the table for two. There were ceiling to floor windows that showed Gotham at her best, at night, lit up and shining despite the darkness, both figuratively and literally.
Bruce ordered wine, and they each got different appetizers. Bruce had ordered first, and Clark had to hide a smile when he heard the order. That was what he had been planning to get. So Clark got something else. He would take some from Bruce when their food came.
And while they talked, it was comfortable and familiar. The same teasing, joking, flirty comments, but there were a bit more seriousness to them now.
But Clark should have known. The night was only beginning. When their entrées came, things got a bit more serious.
“Clark, if we’re going to do this… and do this right, it’s not going to be easy. You know that, right?” Bruce asked, looking up from his lamb chops.
Clark nodded slowly. He took a small sip of wine. “I do,” he said finally. “But I’m willing to try.”
Bruce nodded, understanding. He relaxed a little. “We’re both so busy sometimes, so we can’t be getting mad over stupid things like not answering to texts on time or other trivial stuff normal couples get mad at.” Bruce took a deep breath. “And I’m not saying I’m perfect or anything. I have my problems, usually with expressing myself emotionally, so it’s not smooth sailing from here. We can always still go back to being friends, if it gets to be too much.”
Clark laughed a little breathlessly, “I know, Bruce. We’re going to get in so many more fights now, but I think we can figure it out. We’ll try at least, right? I know we’re both stubborn enough to do that.”
Bruce gave him a pained smile. “Yeah. Thanks, Clark. That- All that wasn’t easy for me to say,” he said, looking down again. He cleared his throat. “But I just wanted you to know what you’re getting into… if we decide to do this.”
“Date? Be my boyfriend? Don’t be afraid to put a label on it, Bruce. I know you love labeling things, Mr. Crazy Organized.”
“I’m trying, Clark.”
“Oh, you can tease me, but I can’t tease you?” Clark asked. “That’s a bit unfair, don’t you think?”
“And I don’t get embarrassed?” Clark asked. “Though you don’t seem to blush as easily.”
Bruce gave him a cool, blank expression for a few seconds. Then, he stood up and walked over to Clark. Clark thought he was about to walk out of the room for a moment. Clark scooted back in his seat, about to follow, but then, Bruce straddled him and sat down on his lap. Bruce’s arms rested on Clark’s shoulders, and Clark nearly forgot to breathe.
“What- Bruce, what are you doing?” He squeaked.
Bruce grinned at him. “Why, I don’t know, Clark? I was just sitting here, and fancy meeting you, handsome.”
“Bruce. Someone’s going to come in here and-”
“And what?” Bruce ask quietly, a smug smile still on his face. He leaned forward, his fingers tangling in the curls at the back of Clark’s head. “What’ll they do? It’s Bruce Wayne you’re on a date with, Clark.”
“Bruce, I-” Clark choked out. But Bruce leaned in even more, their foreheads and noses touching. Clark could hear and feel Bruce breathing now.
“You what, Clark?” Bruce asked. Clark did not answer. But Bruce could see his pupils were blown wide, and he kept swallowing. Fuck, it was even better up close. Bruce smiled a tiny bit wider, then started closing the couple centimeters between them.
But suddenly, outside their private room, in the main part of the restaurant, gunshots and screams rang out, making both men freeze. Following the gunshots, loud, high-pitched laughter.
A voice said, “Oh darling, leaving before dessert?”
Bruce let his eyes slide shut and he sighed. “That damn clown,” he muttered. “I swear he has a tracker on me or something. Fucking third time in the past year. Clark, I’m going to need you to distract while I get to my car. Five minutes, I swear.”
“Okay,” Clark said, slowly brought out of his stupor but still very aware of their closeness.
Bruce smiled, reaching down towards his tie and pulling on it. He also unbuttoned the top of Clark’s shirt, revealing a bit of blue.
“See you in five,” Bruce whispered, pressing a quick kiss to Clark’s lips before he disappeared, running through a small door, painted to match the wallpaper that Clark had not even noticed.
It took Clark a couple of seconds to realize what had happened, but he had no chance to freak out because more gunshots rang out. Clark sprang up, shedding his clothes and stashing them behind a fake plant before flying into the main part of the restaurant, grabbing a man with a gun, throwing him against one of his team mates and crushing the gun.
Everyone’s attention was immediately on him.
“Superman?!” Joker screeched. “What the fuck are you doing here? Where’s Bats?”
He did not answer Joker. He had to get the people out of here. So instead, he went for the other guns, going too fast for them to react. He also punched through the glass doors.
“Everyone out!” He called. “And should anyone stop them, you’ll answer to me.”
Joker glowered at his men. “Get them! Bats ain’t showing up if I don’t have hostages, idiots!”
The men moved, charging at Clark. He had no problems sending them flying into walls and flipping them onto their backs. He tried to keep from breaking anything, but sometimes it could not be avoided.
Joker grew more and more outraged as his men started forming a pile at Clark’s feet.
Finally, once Clark had taken care of the last man, he whirled on Joker. Surprisingly, he did not back down, growling and gritting his teeth at him.
“Come and get me,” Joker spat.
Clark started stomping forward, but then, he felt a tug on his cape. He turned around only to find Bruce standing there. He eyed the damage and the unconscious men around the room.
“Bats!” Joker gasped. He started grinning. “Oh, I knew you’d show up! Now tell your little friend here to skedaddle and let the adults talk. I don’t appreciate you brining other people to our dances, darling.”
Bruce sighed. “If you don’t mind waiting outside,” he said to Clark.
“But-” Clark was about to mention that he could easily take out Joker and get it over with.
Bruce glared at him. “Outside,” he snarled.
Clark backed away like a wounded puppy. He gave Joker one last look. “But if you need anything, I’ll just be…”
Bruce did not say anything else, so Clark floated through the broken doors and decided to go down, where the police were gathering and check to see if everyone was alright. As he drifted away, he heard a punch and a sickening crack of bone followed by giggling and a sultry, “Nice to see you too, Batsy.”
Clark made sure no one was hurt, gave a few statements to the police and then went onto the roof to wait for Bruce. A couple minutes later, Bruce dropped down next to him.
“Sorry about that,” he grunted.
“No, no, I get it. Your city and all.”
“No, I meant… the date.”
“Oh.” Clark had totally forgotten why they had been there in the first place. “It’s okay, really. But, if you wanna make it up to me…?”
Bruce snorted. “Some other day,” he said. “I also got your clothes before I left,” he held out a bag with Clark’s clothes in them.
“Oh, thanks,” Clark said. He took them from Bruce. But neither of them made any move to go. So they just sat on the roof while police worked in the building beneath them.
A couple months later, there was a party at Wayne Manor. It was a very small party, a get together. It consisted just of the boys (sans Jason), Cass, Bruce, Alfred, and Jon.
Funny thing was, Clark was not there, and Bruce was mildly annoyed. It had been his idea for this stupid thing after all. It was a one year anniversary party for the group of chicks he had brought a year ago.
The chickens were allowed into the manor, but they had to wear special little gloves for their feet so they would not scratch the wood floors or any of the furniture.
Eventually, Clark did show up, however. He breezed through the door, an apologetic smile on his face. He went straight to Bruce.
“So sorry, Bruce,” he said. “Had an emergency in India. Took a few hard hits, had to wait a little to heal before I could get back here. But I brought you a present,” he said, smiling.
Clark’s eyebrows furrowed. “No… but now, in retrospect, that may have been a better present. I left it on the front step,” Clark said. “Didn’t know… if you’d appreciate it brought inside.”
Bruce gave him an odd look and started towards the front door. He pulled the door open and sitting in front of him, in an enormous cage, was a peacock.
It squawked indignantly at him.
“What is that?”
“A peacock,” Clark said happily, as if it made total sense. “From India.”
“There’s nothing wrong with it, Clark,” Bruce said. “Send it back.”
Clark looked hurt. “But… its owner was about it kill it, saying it was too angry and kept eating his grain, so I saved it. Bruce, it just needs some love.”
Bruce narrowed his eyes at Clark. “And you didn’t name it yet?”
Clark shook his head. “Though, I have a name in mind, but I wanted for you to name it.”
“And its gender?”
“Because I’m thinking between Little Bitch and Little Bastard.”
Bruce sighed. “Fine.” He eyed the peacock for a long time. It looked back at him, tilting its head to the side and squawked again. Then Bruce shook his head. “I can’t name it.”
“I was thinking… Beau.”
Bruce wrinkled his nose. “It’s French.”
“So? French is an amazing language, Bruce,” Clark said, a bit offended. “It means beautiful or handsome.”
“You don’t speak French, and I’m not saying French is bad. I’ve just heard enough of French nicknames. Especially that one.”
“Why?” Clark asked.
Bruce gave him a Do you really want to know? look.
Clark sighed. “Okay, what about Hyacinth.”
“You name a bird after a flower?”
“Sure,” Clark said. “A rather pretty flower.”
“I hope you know Hyacinth died a very gruesome death, killed by his own lover, the god Apollo?” Bruce said.
Bruce smiled wickedly. “As long as your peacock isn’t supposed to be symbolic.”
“You’re horrible, Bruce.”
Bruce laughed and grabbed Clark’s shoulders, pulling him into a kiss, a proper kiss. Clark melted into the kiss, like he did every other time.
Bruce pulled back a tiny bit. “Just so you know, if it were symbolic, you wouldn’t stand a chance against me.” Then he crushed his lips against Clark’s before he could get another word in.
And in truth, Clark wholeheartedly agreed.