He writes down the last item under ‘Logistics’ with a flourish. “Alright, I think we’ve got it.”
Dick claps him on the shoulder, practically glowing with happiness. He’s happy simply because the people around him are happy.
Clark feels grateful for him. His... er, son? Nephew? Little brother?
Ah well, no use thinking too hard about it. Dick is just his Dick - even as he thinks it, he hears a snicker in his head that sounds suspiciously like the young man- and he’s going to be able to call him with something more definitive soon, anyway.
“Its gonna go great Clark!”
They beam at each other, his infectious joy scrubbing away the tiny bit of apprehension Clark is feeling. God, he hopes it goes great. He’s 99% sure it will, hell, the brightest minds in Gotham are helping out every step of the way, so how could it not? With this much brain power it would be easy.
But then, when has anything related to Bruce ever been easy?
Need to do:
The first thing on the list is ask Alfred for his permission.
Not in a medieval way, like Bruce is Alfred’s property to be given, but more of a — you’re the closest thing he has to a father, and I’d like for you to approve of me because it means you think I’m worthy of your son, and I want the validation of you agreeing to this marriage because it means you think Bruce is worthy of me too, and you’ll never agree to something that won’t make the both of us happy - way, he thinks.
He finds Alfred laying out food for breakfast in the kitchen. It’s the perfect time to have secret conversations because at this hour everyone can be sure that Bruce is still sleeping like the dead, three floors up.
“Alfred, can I have a word?” Clark asks, nervous despite himself.
The butler looks concerned and puts down a jug of orange juice on the table. “Is something the matter, Master Clark?”
A deep breath, then, “I’m finally going to do it, I’m going to ask Bruce to marry me. But I’d like your permission, because your opinion of us is very important to me.”
Alfred looks stunned, as much as Alfred can look surprised. “This is a very unexpected question. Pray tell, what will you do if I say no?”
“Then I’ll postpone my proposal, and we’ll work on our relationship until you think we’re ready. I don’t ask for formality’s sake, Alfred. If you think we’re not ready, then I believe you.”
Alfred just stands there, swallowing, and in that calm but loaded way only the British can pull off, he replies with a shaky “Of course you may. You two will be very happy together.”
And Clark grins at him, relieved.
Setup - schedule
The second thing to do is recruit him to the plan.
“Can you drive him straight to me on Friday? I’ll message you a location.”
“Oh wait I’ll add you to the group chat.” Clark adds excitedly. Alfred looks amused, but obediently opens his phone to read through the group chat.
He can tell that Alfred is also bemused by the effort he’s putting into making a big show out of the proposal. There are so many things Clark is fighting against with this plan, after all: the unpredictably in the schedules of superheroes, reporters, and billionaires, plus the difficulty of actually surprising Batman of all people, World’s Greatest Detective and all that.
But.. they’re surrounded by crazy and the magical and the fantastic on all sides of their life, and he knows it’s irrational, borderline superstitious even, but Clark wants their marriage to start in the same way it does for regular people: with a romantic, suprise proposal that was planned with the people they loved.
In his mind he wants to propose normally so that his marriage will also proceed as normally as possible. There may be bouts of the insane in between the normal, what with him being an invulnerable, flying alien, and Bruce a billionaire industrialist who puts on a leather cowl with pointy ears at night, but he wants the quiet part of their lives to be their marriage, the place they can come home to as a respite from the crazy.
It’s going to go according to plan, he swears to himself.
Setup - invitation
He breezes into Bruce’s study on a Wednesday afternoon.
To spectators from the outside, Batman’s life may seem to be about Vengeance and Justice all the time, but Wednesday is actually always set aside as a Wayne Industries day. Gotta keep the lights on, after all.
“Hey, have dinner with me this Friday.” Clark asks cheerfully, after a kiss on the cheek.
Bruce looks apologetic. As expected. “I have a fundraiser to go to that night.”
“That’s okay, I’ll wait for you. I finally mastered how to cook carbonara the Italian way and I want to gloat about it.”
Bruce quirks a small smile. “We’re not having Chinese takeout at your apartment for once? Alright, I’ll head over to your place after.”
Clarks leaves the study with barely contained glee.
What he plans to do is send him texts throughout the night, hinting at how much he wants to see him, how the pasta is ready, and a movie is waiting to be played while they make out. How Bruce should hurry because carbonara the italian way needs to be eaten hot, or else the egg will congeal.
Then, Dick will show up at the fundraiser after his shift, and he’ll expertly hobnob with the Gotham elite alongside Bruce, subtly providing him with an excuse so that he can give in to the urge to slip away early.
Clark is having fun, messing with Bruce like this. In a loving way, of course.
Logistics - location
It was a peaceful scenery if not for the incessant crunch of potato chips being devoured by the handful.
“This spot is perfect, it looks exactly like that hill behind your farm house in Kansas, Clark.” Tim says through a mouthful of junk food. “Plus Alfred can drive the car here from the gate, and it’s far enough away from the manor that you can see stars, like in Kansas.”
Clark looks at him disapprovingly. “Tim, I’m trying to stay in Alfred’s good side, so please stop eating junk when you’re with me. I’ll be guilty by association.”
“He won’t catch me this far from the house.”
“Sometimes I think Alfred has superpowers, and that’s seeing through Waynes when they’re lying.” Clark replies while looking around this quiet spot within the expansive Wayne estate. “But you’re right, this spot is perfect, I was having trouble thinking where to do it and you did it. Thanks Tim.”
The boy looks shy all of sudden. “Glad I can help.” He then ruins the moment by cramming another handful of potato chips in his mouth, spraying crumbs everywhere. Ugh, puberty.
5. Logistics - rings
Clark stumbles into his kitchen to find a pair of silver rings inside a zip-locked bag, with worrying stains that look suspiciously like blood on the plastic cover, lying on his table.
The silver - no, platinum?- pair of rings are beautiful; from what Clark can see, they look to be incredibly pure, the metal shined to perfection and the shape exactly circular. They are an identical pair that’s very slightly different from each other, a pair of rings that looks to be forged by hand by a master metalsmith.
He opts to deal with this after work; the mysterious rings don’t seem to be an immediate threat, unlike Perry White, who might actually stab him with a pen if he’s late again this week.
When he gets to work, a news chyron catches his eye on one of the inummerable TVs scattered across the office:
“Mysterious break-in at the Gotham Museum of History baffles authorities”
And Clark groans internally. Damn it Jason!
- Logistics - ambiance
It’s all set, the picnic basket, the venue, the mood - the electric lamps are a nice touch, if he does say so himself. All he needs to do is wait for Alfred to drive Bruce to this spot after the fundraiser.
He fixes his tie and smooths out his blazer. It’s a really nice suit too, not one of his office suits, because as much as Bruce loves him, he just might hesitate to say an enthusiastic yes if Clark is on one knee while wearing a yellow blazer on top of his tropical neck tie, the one with the coconut trees pattern.
He starts taking out the food acquired with effort and a lot of lecturing from Damian.
“Father would love moutabal with crispy bread and fattoush for starters, shish tawook for the main dish, and om ali for dessert.” He says, somehow able to look down at Clark when he comes up to just below his chest at best.
He blinks at him as a reply. “Er, sorry, can you list them down again?”
Damian heaves a sigh. “It’s a puree, salad, chicken kebab, and a creamy dish.”
“Of course! Make sure you get a real recipe made with actual care, not those stale, ready-to-eat ones at the grocery. It has to be fresh; you can try shopping at this deli on the corner of 5th and 26th. Look for Mr. Al-Fulan and tell him Damian sent you, he knows me and he’ll give you the first batch of the day, are you listening Superman? FINE, I’ll buy it for you.”
He smiles at the memory. He knows Bruce and Damian bond over introducing his father to the food he grew up with, which is why it was this specific Robin that he asked when it came to the menu.
His phone rings, and Clark picks it up without looking at the screen, knowing it was either Alfred or Dick.
It was neither. Instead, it was the sound of people screaming in the background and a deep voice filled with urgency.
“I NEED YOU, BASEMENT, NOW!”
Without a word Clark changes into his Superman suit in the blink of an eye, then he zooms away, the displaced air behind him turning over the picnic blanket and spilling the moutabal all over the grass.
uuh, this wasn’t on the list
He races to the basement of the hotel, past panicked people rushing towards the exits, and sees two bombs planted across opposite walls.
“SUPERMAN! COVER THE BOMB!”
And Clark speeds over to cover the bomb, while Bruce has at least disengaged the remote trigger on the first one and is working to dismantle the bomb altogether.
The shockwave from the blast, however, still cripples the pillar, and Clark is stuck holding up a whole side of the building. From afar the screaming intensifies and concrete rains down on his head while his boyfriend is in danger of being blown to bits on the other side.
This was not how he imagined the night will go.
Clark is so disappointed. They can’t have even one peaceful night, can they? He starts to think that any measure of normal is just too much to ask, for the both of them.
But then, he looks over at Bruce, calmly and steadily preventing catastrophe like he always does, and weirdly, upon seeing the familiar sight, Clark stops feeling sad altogether.
Ah well. It’s always going to be like this with them, won’t it? Nothing ever goes according to plan, one minute you’re planning a nice, romantic dinner under the stars, the stuff of normal romance for normal couples, and the next moment you’re holding up a 40 story building only on the strength of your alien biceps while your boyfriend - well, actually, the love of your life, to be apt - is diffusing a bomb in his Armani suit, the dark blue one that costs the Daily Planet’s operational expenses for one month, using a multipurpose tool he embedded in his limited edition Panerai watch, and you can’t move to get him away because if you leave now then the people inside the collapsing building won’t have enough time to evacuate, but if you stay there’s a chance that your boyfriend - actually, the center of gravity in your universe, to be more precise - will blow to unidentifiable pieces right in front you, and who knows what kind of trauma that would cause you, the most powerful man in the world.
It might even become his origin story as a villain; him, going off the rails because of the injustice of losing the single thing he wants to keep for himself.
But then he looks at that calm face, at the sure hand that continues to untangle wires and take apart trigger mechanisms, and feels trust seep into every single nerve of his body.
He’s never felt more full of life, more conscious of every breath, than when everything’s going crazy and Bruce is with him, a ballast, keeping him anchored when by all accounts he can float above and far away from the ground, from humanity.
His presence makes him feel that wherever they’ll end up or however they get there, it’s going to be okay. He’s going to be involved in the most outrageous situations, and he’s going to go home at the end of it, and his heart, the only vulnerable part of him, is going to be safe.
“Hey, Bruce, wanna marry me?”
Bruce’s eyebrows rises way up into his forehead. For the first time in this ridiculous situation he hears Bruce’s heartbeat speed up, but his hands, always steady, never stop from their task.
“Really? You ask now?”
“Yeah.” Clark replies with a giant grin, “I’m asking now. Feels like if I wait for a quiet moment I’ll never be able to.”
Finally, the bomb is fully dismantled. Bruce dusts off his hands on his very expensive and irredeemably ruined slacks, and pinches his brow. Clark would be slightly worried about his answer if not for the way Bruce is pressing his lips together, holding in laughter.
And if the last of the people evacuating the building scream in horror as the building wobbles, possibly due to Superman being kissed in celebration, well. He’ll just pretend they’re screaming in happiness for the both of them.