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I Never Realized What You Mean to Me

Chapter Text

When Superman showed up at the cave, after his impromptu meeting with Power Girl, Captain Atom, and Major Force, Batman wasn’t surprised. He had been showing up here a lot recently, knowing Batman was the only one he could count on right now. As he continued looking through his microscope, Superman greeted him, and then turned on Luthor’s announcement. Bruce continued what he was doing, but was secretly watching his friend. He looked pretty keyed up. Not surprising, considering that’s almost always how he looked since Luthor came into office.

Then Luthor caught them both off guard with his announcement about meeting with Superman. As Luthor continued to talk about ‘burying the rivalry’, Bruce looked at Superman again. He looked surprisingly thoughtful, yet also doubtful, especially when Luthor said “for the good of mankind”.

The idiot’s actually going to go meet with him. Bruce thought. “This is one time he’s not lying”, he said instead, as he looked through his microscope once more.

“About burying the rivalry? I don’t think so.” Superman said. Bruce inwardly rolled his eyes. That was obvious, yet why does he just know that Clark was going to meet with Luthor anyways?

“No, about the meteor. I’ve been following it these past few nights with my own instruments.”

“I can go up there in a lead suit and smash the thing.” Of course, he would think that. Always tries to do everything himself. Such a boy scout.

“There’s no amount of lead that can keep out so much radiation, and it wouldn’t stand up to all that smashing either”, Bruce lightly condescends. Sometimes Batman doesn’t know why he bothers. It’s not like he ever really listens.

“You got something better?”

“I’m working on something with one of my contacts.” Batman walked away to go look at the microscope again, but looks at Superman one more time before turning away. Bruce could see the conviction on his face before he decided to address the man’s stupid decision. “You’re going to go ahead and meet with him anyways, aren’t you?” Bruce tried to put all his disapproval in his voice, hoping this one time, Superman would listen to him.

“You know me too well.” Of course, he still doesn’t. Stubborn fool. “I can’t just stand back and do nothing.” Always the boy scout.

“Well when it all goes south, don’t count on me to save you.”

“I won’t. I know you pretty well too.” Superman flew off and Bruce paused what he was doing. Damn man. Obviously, he would end up going to save him from this idiotic move, and Clark knew it.

“Dammit”, Bruce whispered to himself as he got up to get ready to go after the infuriatingly stubborn boy scout of a man.

Why do I do this every time? Batman thought. Oh yeah, because I love the stubborn fool.

Chapter Text

Superman was losing the fight to Metallo when Batman showed up. God, he hated fighting Metallo. Luckily, he knew Bruce well enough that despite what he said earlier, he came to save him. He should have listened to the man when he warned Clark. I hate it when he’s right. Clark thought. Smug bastard is probably going to say I told you so, too. Batman helped him up, and he could barely stand due to the kryptonite. At least he wasn’t bleeding.

“That’s not going to hold him for long”, Clark told him.

“I know, that’s why you need to get out of here.” Superman looked at him, ready to argue that they needed to get out of here. As if he would leave the man to fend for himself. Isn’t his favorite nickname for him ‘boy scout’ for a reason? Metallo then wrapped a hand around Batman’s neck and pulled him away from Superman. No!! Clark thought as he tried to go help him, but couldn’t get up. Dammit, Clark fight it! Bruce needs you!

Clark zapped Metallo’s arm just as he started to squeeze Bruce’s neck. Then, before he could react, Metallo said, “Hey Superman. From me to you”, and shot him with a sliver of kryptonite. After falling into a small pit he heard an explosion and Bruce appeared in front of him, taking out tweezers so he could attempt to get the kryptonite out.

“What was that explosion? Plastique?”

“Something like that.”

“That won’t stop him. He’s going to reconfigure.”

“Don’t worry about that now.” Clark could hear the worry staining Bruce’s voice as he moved to work on him. “The kryptonite’s near your heart. I don’t know if I’ll be fast enough to get it before the wound closes.” I need to distract him from the worry. God knows if he could, the man would worry himself to death. Clark thought fondly.

“Where’s the Flash when you need him?” Clark joked.

“Do me a favor and loose the sense of humor.” Clark could tell it was what Bruce needed though, as he couldn’t hear the worry in his voice as much.

“Do us both a favor, and buy one,” Clark smirked. Bruce just narrowed his eyes and continued to try and get the kryptonite out. Then Clark saw Metallo over Bruce’s shoulder. Just as he was about to warn the man, Bruce turned around and Metallo dropped dirt on them, trying to bury them alive. Clark reached up to block the dirt with a plank of wood, and held it above their heads with a grunt.

With the kryptonite in my system I won’t last long down here, and Bruce will need air soon. Clark thought frantically, trying to think of a way to save his friend. He wasn’t about to let the man die because of his mistake.

Then, Bruce cracked a glow stick. “We can’t go back up. He might still be there, and neither of us is in any shape to take him on.”

Seeing and hearing Bruce in his usual calm and collected state, Clark calmed down some. He was sure Bruce would be able to think of something. “Then what are we supposed to do?”

“The whole cemetery was built over the whole sewer system.”

“But how could we-”

Bruce interrupted him and pulled out and explosive. “Are you up to it?” Bruce asked, slight worry tinging his voice once again.

“We’ll find out, won’t we?” Clark smirked. He knew damn well that if he wasn’t, he would make sure Bruce would get out alive. No matter what, he was not about to let his friend die because of him.

Chapter Text

He couldn’t breathe. Everything was black and his body hurt. The tendrils of sleep pulled at his barely conscious state. He heard his name called and knew he needed to wake up but couldn’t remember why. He felt his body flipped over and he heard, “It’s not ending here. I won’t let it”, and he remembered. Clark. He was dying with the kryptonite in him still. That was not allowed; Clark needed to live. He pulled away from the darkness and coughed out water. He saw Clark worriedly looking at him, and he pulled away to wipe the sewer water from his mouth.

“I thought… I was supposed to rescue you.”

A grimace of pain washed over Clark’s features as he told him, “There might still be time for that.”

Bruce got up, needing to look around, and not think about just how much pain Clark was in. If he thought about that, he’d never have a clear enough head to save the man.

“Can we get to your cave from here?” Clark asked him, strain evident in his voice.

“Eventually.” He lifted Clark up, one arm over his shoulder. “Time for you to see my side of the world.” As much as I wish you of all people didn’t have to. Bruce thought. He started leading them toward the Batcave, ignoring the pain in his body in favor of listening to Clark’s breathing.

“Some company you keep”, Clark joked just as Bruce felt his body wrack with pain. He walked a few steps and fell to his knees. Clark kneeled down next to him and said, “Come on, Bruce. Stay with me.” Clark. Bruce thought. Push through it so you can save him. Bruce stood up and leaned on Clark slightly, just as Clark leaned on him.

“You know who I was thinking about the other day?” Bruce knew Clark was talking to distract him from the pain.

“Who?” So, he played along, appreciating the distraction.

“Magpie.”

“The villain?”

“Do we know another Magpie? Whatever happened to her?” Bruce was highly aware of Clark’s body pressed against his as they continued their trek.

“She died.”

“No. Are you sure?” Bruce inwardly smirked. When did he ever tell Clark things if he wasn’t sure?

“Reasonably.”

“Why is it the good villains never die?”

“Clark. What the hell are good villains?” Bruce asked fondly. Bruce inwardly smiled. Only Clark could distract him so. They walked up to the gate that blocked the entrance when he asked, “Can you do it?”

“Sure. Bend steel and all that.” Clark smirked as he walked over, grimacing in pain. Bruce watched the man, itching to go over and help him. He restrained himself, knowing he would just get in the way.

After Clark pulled the gate off, Bruce rushed over to him, calling him.

“It… tickles.” Bruce could tell the man was in agony as he couldn’t stand up. Bruce would give anything to take that pain away from him right now. It was killing him to see this usually invulnerable man in so much pain.

Then he heard a familiar voice call out, “Halt”, cocking a shotgun, “Identify yourselves.” Relief washed over Bruce.

“Alfred. It’s me.”

“Master Bruce!” Bruce could hear the worry in the man’s voice, but all Bruce could think about was Clark. Alfred would be able to remove the kryptonite and the pain along with it. Clark would be okay.

Chapter Text

After the two had been patched up and heard Luthor’s newest speech that put a bounty on Superman’s head, Clark had headed back to check in with Lois, and then they met up at S.T.A.R. labs. Bruce was already messing with the lock on the roof, when Superman finally arrived.
Superman landed behind him, and Bruce said, “You’re late. What took you?”
“I honestly don’t think you’d understand.” Bruce could hear the frustration in his voice and he paused, half turning to look at the man.
“Lois?”
“Mmhm.”
Bruce turned back around and couldn’t help a little bitterness sweep into his voice when he said, “You’re right.”
He couldn’t help the slight bitterness he had, for she was the reason he never told Clark about his feelings. Or at least that was what he told himself. He would never admit this out loud, but the real reason was because he was afraid of being rejected by Clark. Instead of focusing on that, he entered into the building once he got the lock open, Superman following close behind him.
***(Time skip. This next scene happens after they escape S.T.A.R. Labs only to be ambushed by some villains and beat them, but more villains show up.)***
“We’re surrounded. I can hear them coming.” Clark positioned himself in front of Bruce as he watched a group of villains emerge from the trees. As if this will protect him. Clark scoffed at himself. But he couldn’t help it. He didn’t want Bruce to get injured, even though he knew Bruce could protect himself.
“I suppose it’s useless to tell you to leave.”
But perhaps the man feels the same for him. “I wouldn’t miss this for anything.”
“Your funeral.”
“Already had one.” Clark smiled to himself.

Chapter Text

After their fights with the villains and heroes, after retrieving the data they needed and giving it to Toyman, Luthor showed up at Toyman’s place. He had zapped Superman a couple times with the Kryptonite lasers and had thrown Batman into a wall, burying him in some things laying around. As Batman came to, he saw Luthor destroying the controls to guide the rocket to the asteroid, and Clark struggling to get back up. After a brief moment of indecision, Bruce headed towards the rocket thinking, no way in hell am I going to let it end like this.

Bruce ziplined up to the head of the rocket where the manual controls are when he heard Clark call out to him.

“Wait! What are you doing?” Bruce could see pain flicker over the man’s features as he looked over at him in concern.

“I’m going to fly this thing myself.”

“Are you crazy?!” Just as Superman headed to stop him, the floor beneath his feet exploded. Bruce watched as his friend looked at him in horror. Knowing Clark couldn’t stop him, as much as he had wanted to, Bruce stared at his friend. This is the last time he would see him.

“Goodbye.” He whispered and he raced into the rocket in order to begin take off. Bruce knew he was doing the right thing but he couldn’t help a pang of regret as he thought about Clark never knowing exactly how he felt about him. He had good reasons for not telling the man, the main one being Lois Lane, but he wished he could have told him anyways. Bruce began lift off as he watched his friend fight with Luthor, making sure Bruce could get away.

Bruce finally made it into the air, heading towards space. The entire time, Bruce thought of Clark. Of his smile, his idiotic but selfless actions; the banter he had with him, along with the amusement he had felt because of Clark. The man was his light in the darkness.

Bruce traveled through the wormhole and the screen flashed ‘Impact Imminent’ at him. The rocket crashed into the asteroid and jolted him in his seat, causing him to black out from the impact as he thought, I love you, Clark. Always have.

Chapter Text

Superman tried to get back up but his arms couldn’t hold his weight. As he tried again, he saw Batman ziplining up to the rocket. Having heard Luthor destroy the controls to the rocket, Clark watched Bruce in horror. Damn fool better not be doing what I think he’s doing, thought Clark as he followed Bruce up to the top of the rocket.

“Wait! What are you doing?” he called out to his friend.

“I’m going to fly this thing myself.”

Clark saw the pure determination in Bruce’s face when he asked, “Are you crazy?!”

Just as he started to head towards the selfless fool, the rail under Clark’s feet blew up. As he fell, not having enough strength to fly right then, Superman stared at Bruce in horror. No! Don’t do it, you stubborn fool! Don’t leave me!

Just as he hit the floor, he heard Bruce whisper, “Goodbye.” Quickly, he started to fly back up to pull his friend out of the rocket, when Luthor zapped him with the kryptonite energy beam again and started to fight him once more. He heard Luthor rambling like a mad man, but he wasn’t listening. If it wasn’t for this arrogant man, Bruce would not be risking his life! Clark thought, anger rising as he glared at Luthor. As the rocket began lift off, Clark grabbed the man’s boot in frustration. No! He won’t make Bruce’s death mean nothing! Luthor slapped him away and flew up to the top, preparing to zap the rocket. Clark flew and tackled him, then threw him to the floor, just as the rocket lifted up into the air. He watched the rocket for a second, before turning to Luthor in pure rage. He crumpled the metal around Luthor’s wrist and said, “That was my best friend. And you just killed him!”

Luthor looked at him, terrified, before Clark punched him. He coughed up blood and flew away, and Clark followed him thinking, He will pay for this. This is all his fault!

Superman followed Luthor all the way back to Metropolis where he finally took out the last hand laser and the rocket boosters on his feet.

“When does it end Luthor?” How many more do you plan to kill?!

Superman punched him in rage, and sped around him before he hit the floor.

“I’ll answer for you. It ends tonight!” You will not kill anybody else the way you just killed Bruce!

Superman punched him again, and the man crashed down to the floor. He followed after him and zapped the battery power in Luthor’s chest with his heat vision as he had begun to rise. He lifted the man up by the broken chest piece of his suit, anger written all over his face. Just as he was about to punch Luthor again, full force, the asteroid exploded.

Clark lowered his fist and looked at the sky in grief. Bruce. Clark felt like he was going to cry. His best friend in the whole world was gone. No. He was more than that. Clark didn’t see it before, but Bruce meant the world to him. And now he was gone. All because of a mad man’s arrogance. People began to cheer, for their lives were saved, but all Clark felt was grief. He looked down and then turned to Luthor, still angry, but more consumed by grief at that moment.

“You, you can’t touch me. We’re on American soil now!” Clark glared at him. “And I am the president!” Luthor continued. Clark lifted the man up, close to his face.

“Consider yourself”, Clark paused to punch him, “impeached.”

Clark turned around, shaking the metal of Luthor’s suit off his hand, and he started to walk away in anguish. Clark turned to Captain Atom and Power Girl in sorrow.

“Superman! Looks like I recovered a little too late”, Captain Atom told him in anguished regret.

Then Power Girl frantically turned to him and said, “Forget about that. I got a message from Toyman.” Clark looked at her with a glimmer of hope kindling in his chest. “He says that there’s still a chance–”

Clark interrupted her by quickly taking off towards where the explosion occurred, hope blossoming. You better still be alive, you stubborn bastard. I can’t do this without you. Clark thought as he sped towards the remains of the rocket. As he neared the wreck he heard Bruce’s heartbeat steadily beating and he sped to him even faster, joy in his heart at the sound of the most wonderful heartbeat in the world.

Chapter Text

Bruce slowly started to gain consciousness as the sun started to shine light into the pilot seat he was in. As he opened his eyes, Bruce saw Clark approaching quickly, smile blooming on his face when he saw Bruce. His heart stuttered a minute when he saw that smile. Clark. He thought with joy. He thought he’d never see that smile or those blue eyes again as he stared at the man. Clark lifted the chest piece of the destroyed rocket and flew them back down to Metropolis. Then Clark set the seat down on a roof and the top lifted to let Batman out.

Superman took his hand to help him out of what was left of the rocket. Clark looked at him with the smile still on his face, and Bruce drank the smile in. After thinking he was going to die, it was the best thing Bruce could ask to see. They heard people down below, and the two walked to the edge of the roof to see people cheering them on. Bruce gave a small smile and glanced at Clark out of the corner of his eye to see him doing the same. They watched Luthor get put into the police car and Clark suddenly told him, “I have a feeling I’m not going to have to worry about that murder charge anymore.”

Bruce smiled and said, “It would have been an interesting trial though”, looking at the man once more. Clark smiled back at him until they both turned to see Lois heading their way in a helicopter. Smile gone from his face, Bruce watched as Clark closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Bruce knew Clark was in love with Lois, but for a moment, he had let himself hope that this experience would change his perspective. Are you really surprised it didn’t, Bruce? He thought as Clark turned back to him to ask, “Want to stick around for a while? Lois and I can–”

Bruce cut him off, “I can’t. It’s late.” I can’t watch you be with her right now.

“Late?” Clark asked in confusion as he turned to the sunrise. Bruce took the opportunity to grapple away, but he watched, hidden from view as Clark turned back around. “Come on, it’s… early.” Bruce saw the little smile on Clark’s face as he realized Bruce had done another one of his disappearing acts. Bruce then left as he saw Lois’s helicopter land next to Clark, unable to watch her and Clark, knowing Clark still loved her, and didn’t love him the way he wanted.

Chapter Text

After talking with Lois, Clark headed back to the Batcave, knowing that was the most likely spot to find Bruce. Clark knew that even though they had been up all night stopping the meteor, he probably wouldn’t go to bed right away, preferring to work on his computer first.

“What are you doing here, Clark? Shouldn’t you be with Lois?” Bruce said as Clark landed behind the man.

 Clark frowned at the slight bitterness he could hear in his friend’s voice. Maybe he should have waited until morning. Too late to back out now, Clark. Clark told himself. He then moved closer to Bruce, who was still facing away from him, to stand next to him. When Clark had flown in, he had expected Bruce to be in full bat regalia still, but he was surprised. The man sat at his chair in sweats, bare chested save some bandages on his torso.

Clark looked him up and down quickly before he said, “I was with Lois. We had dinner together. I needed to come back to talk to you though.”

Bruce glanced at Clark then and sighed. He shut the computer down and then turned to look at him. He asked in what sounded like exasperation, “What is it, Clark?”

“Well, umm… that is…” Clark closed his eyes and took a deep breath. This was a lot harder than he thought it would be. When he opened his eyes, he saw Bruce had his neutral mask on, and Clark blurted out, “I broke up with Lois.”

He watched Bruce’s face for a reaction. He saw the man’s eyes flicker, but with what he wasn’t sure.

“After you left the rooftop, I told Lois everything that happened. Luthor basically going mad, Toyman’s rocket, and you risking your life. When I told her just how much it hurt when I thought you were dead, she realized what I was trying to tell her.” Clark paused, hoping Bruce would catch on. However, Bruce just continued to stare at him, so Clark continued. “When you took off in that rocket, heading towards your death, I realized just how much you mean to me. Then Luthor tried to destroy the rocket before it could take off, and I was filled with so much anger. That man had effectively sentenced you to die by pulling the controls. If it wasn’t for him, you wouldn’t have to go on a suicide mission. I chased him all the way back to Metropolis and beat him. Then I lifted him up as the anger continued to course through me. I was ready to kill him”, Clark admitted. He looked down, and he heard Bruce’s breathing hitch.

“Then the asteroid exploded, and grief hit me. You were gone. I would no longer have a partner to watch my back that I could trust completely. I would never get to see your blue eyes filled with determination, or the smirk on your face when I say something stupid. I would never get to be with you again.” Clark looked back up at Bruce and saw shock on his face.

“Bruce, I love you. I have for a long time, I just never realized it.”

Clark watched Bruce as the man stared at him in shock. His eyes were wide and his mouth slightly open. Clark could practically see the gears turning in his head as he processed everything Clark just told him. As Clark waited patiently, he shuffled his feet a little. That movement seemed to snap Bruce out of his trance. The man quickly stood up and crossed the distance between them, leaving hardly any space between them. Clark fiddled with his fingers nervously as Bruce stared at him for a moment.

Then all at once, Bruce’s lips were on his as the man wrapped his arms around Clark, bringing the two of them as close as possible. Clark held on to Bruce for dear life as he kissed back enthusiastically. Bruce’s tongue lightly grazed Clark’s bottom lip, silently asking for entrance, and Clark gladly opened his mouth to him. Bruce licked into Clark’s mouth as he passionately continued to kiss Clark.

Eventually needing to breathe, Bruce pulled back and rested his forehead against Clark’s with his eyes closed and breathing a little heavy.

“I have wanted to do that for so long”, Bruce whispered. He then pulled back to look at Clark. “I love you too, Clark. I always have.”

Clark leaned in to kiss Bruce again, smile on his lips. “I’m sorry for not realizing my feelings sooner”, Clark murmured into the kiss.

Bruce smirked then, “Me too, boy scout.” Bruce then took Clark’s hand and led him towards the manor as he told him, “Come on. We have a lot of lost time to make up for.”