Clark makes a noise that sounds like unfffhaaa and Bruce can’t help but snuffle in soft laughter against his chest, his lover pressed beneath him, sweaty and ready, precum slick between their bodies. And then Clark’s hand is on his cock, and suddenly all the laughter is gone from his throat, and it’s his turn to make noises like unfffhaaa and aaaaaagggggggnnnaaaa and CLARK, YES, CLARK.
He thrusts his hips against Clark’s erection, his cock throbbing against Clark’s palm, and his mouth sucking on Clark’s neck, and everything is Clark, his whole world has become this one man, and—
He bites Clark’s collarbone, as he always does when he’s about to come. It’s his favorite spot on his lover’s body, just the right curve, just the right angle, and he bites down hard because Clark can take it, because Clark is—
The metallic tang of blood in his mouth startles him, and he hears Clark hiss slightly into his ear.
Bruce sits up immediately, Clark groaning in protest, trying to pull him back down, but his eyes are fixed on Clark’s collarbone, watching horrified as a line of red blood streaks down from a bruising bite mark.
“I hurt you,” he says, his voice dull with shock.
“What?” Clark says distractedly, his erection insistent against Bruce’s lower belly.
“You’re bleeding, I hurt you.”
“I’m not—oh. I am. Look at that, you left a bite mark! That’s actually really amaz—where are you going?”
Bruce slides of the bed, feeling stunned, and stares down at the red and swollen mark he’s left on Clark’s body.
“Oh come on, Bruce, it’s not that bad.”
“You should probably clean it. Don’t want it to get infected.”
“Are you…are you kidding me?” Clark glares up at him, and his face is angry with the ghost of arousal still lingering in his eyes. Bruce turns away abruptly, his own unsatisfied needs twitching stubbornly against his inner thigh. “You’re stopping because of this? This is barely a cut, Bruce, it’s nothing.”
“This was a bad idea,” Bruce answers, still looking away because the sight of Clark laid out naked on a bed is too tempting. And he’ll lose control again; he’ll hurt him again…
“You know what?” Clark snaps. “Nevermind. I’ll just go jack-off in the bathroom—oh! Unless you think there’s a danger that I might slip on a wet tile and crack my head open on the toilet bowl.”
Gathering himself up to his full height, which is impressive, Clark stalks toward the bathroom and slams the door shut behind him. Bruce stares at it in disbelief for a long time, before putting his costume back on and heading out of the apartment.
“So how’s your batty roommate?” Flash asks, sitting down next to Clark at breakfast. Something must have shown on his face because Flash suddenly turns sympathetic. “That bad, huh? Sorry, big guy.”
Clark shrugs, poking at the food on his plate. He’s not hungry, but he can almost hear Bruce’s voice in the back of his brain, scolding: You need to eat in order to keep up your strength on a planet with a red sun. Otherwise you’ll either pass out from exhaustion or die from starvation.
Clark forces himself to chew on some sort of green vegetable. It looks like an artichoke and tastes like grape. He swallows automatically, and then repeats, thinking that it would be pretty embarrassing to pass out in front of everyone during the peace treaty talks.
He doesn’t really want to die of starvation either.
He feels someone sit down next to him on his other side and looks up sharply, hoping—but no. It’s only Ambassador Tam Fu.
“Good morning, Lord Kal-El,” the woman intones.
“Good morning, Ambassador Fu,” Clark replies, squirming uncomfortably under her intent and direct gaze, while trying to ignore Flash’s snickering at being referred to as “Lord” again. “And please, call me Kal-El. I am not a lord in any respect.”
“I beg to differ,” the Ambassador says, smirking at him over the rim of a glass of water. “You are a man of Krypton, and quite a man to behold, if I do say so myself.”
“Er…thank you, Ambassador,” Clark says, feeling more uncomfortable than ever, his neck itching beneath his shirt collar. He isn’t wearing his Superman uniform, just some old clothes he’s brought from home. And though he plans on changing later for the peace treaty talks, he had hoped that his unassuming blue t-shirt and jeans would have deterred Ambassador Fu from staring openly at him during breakfast as she did the night before. He wants to tell her that he’s just a country boy from Kansas, that the very idea of him being a lord is ridiculous when his apartment in Metropolis is smaller than the dining table they are currently seated at. “You’re interest in my homeworld is flattering and I am humbled that so many from your planet still keep Krypton’s memory alive. However, I’d much prefer it if you’d simply call me Kal-El.”
“As you wish,” Ambassador Fu replies with a gracious nod of her elegant head. “Then in return, I insist you call me Tam.”
“Tam it is then,” he says, trying not to sound too enthusiastic, too Kansan, at having achieved his first real victory in these negotiations.
“May I sit here?” says a soft voice, and Clark looks up in time to see Bruce take a seat on Ambassador Fu’s other side. Flash is suddenly on his best behavior. Clark is itching worse than ever.
“Of course,” Ambassador Fu says, and then smiles. “Ah, Earth’s mysterious Batman. It is an honor to be in your presence, sir.”
“And yours, madam,” he replies. He picks up one of the grape-tasting artichoke thingies from his plate and examines it closely, before popping it in his mouth. Clark can’t help himself but watch the process. “Interesting,” Bruce says, turning to the Ambassador. “May I ask what these are?”
“A Rynan delicacy,” Fu replies. “They are the Deshirah-marzga: the riches of Deshirah, goddess of love. I was told, before arriving here on Altraieth, that we delegates of Rynan were to bring food from our homeworld that would help to celebrate the Earth’s Festival of Love, in honor of the Justice League’s presence here.”
“Deshirah-marzga,” Bruce repeats. Clark can practically hear his mind working. He pops another one in his mouth and meets Clark’s eyes briefly, before looking away quickly.
Clark suddenly feels hot, too hot, and the itching sensation has grown to an almost unbearable level. “Excuse me,” he says, getting up from the table, pulling at his collar, and all but running from the room.
“You okay, Blue?” Flash calls after him.
“Fine!” Clark answers and races to the bathroom.
Once safely alone in the small bathroom—an alien toilet to his right, an alien sink to his left, and a rather intrusive, he thinks, skylight above him, pouring red, morning sunshine down upon the confined space—he pulls off his shirt and sees that his neck, chest, and back are covered in little red pinpricks. I must be allergic to the fabric, he thinks, and then marvels at the very idea of having an allergy. “I’m allergic to something,” he says out loud to the empty bathroom. “Incredible.”
A few moments later, Clark hears footsteps outside the bathroom door open and Bruce’s voice call: “Superman? Are you all right?”
“I’m fine, Batman,” Clark replies from the sheltering safety of the tiny bathroom. He keeps his voice cold and standoffish, making sure Bruce knows he’s still angry with him. “A little privacy, please?”
There’s a pause and then: “Fine. If that’s what you want.”
“Yes, that’s what I want.”
He hears Bruce sigh and then there is silence again for a few moments. Clark shuts his eyes and leans against one of the cool, metal walls, letting it sooth the hives along his back. He nearly jumps out of his skin when he hears Bruce’s voice on the other side of the door again.
“I’m sorry about last night, Clark,” he says. “I didn’t mean to make it sound like I think you’re some sort of weakling. I just...”
“No, let me finish,” Bruce says.
Clark waits, but Bruce doesn’t say anything. “Bruce? Are you—?”
“I hate that it was me that did it,” he says abruptly, angrily. “After all the warnings I gave you, after nagging you about taking care of yourself, after pleading with you not to come, it was me that ended up hurting you.”
“Bruce, you didn’t hurt me—”
“I just…don’t like seeing you that way. I never do. I hate it. You’re not supposed to be that way.”
Clark pulls his shirt back on—he doesn’t want to remind Bruce about the bite mark at his collarbone or have him see that his back is covered in hives—and then pushes the bathroom door open, Bruce’s repentant face staring back at him.
“Sorry I got mad,” Clark says, reaching out, almost shyly, for one of Bruce’s gauntleted hands. “I knew why you were upset, I just…I don’t like it when you think you have to be gentle with me. I’m tougher than I look,” he adds, flexing his biceps and grinning cheekily at Bruce.
Bruce smiles reluctantly.
“Do you want to finish what we started?” Clark asks, pulling Bruce all the way into the bathroom and shutting the door behind them before Bruce even has a chance to answer.
His answer is “yes” anyway.
And Clark will have to remember to check “get Bruce to give me a blowjob in an alien bathroom” off his bucket list when he gets home.
The rest of the day passes in an almost boring rhythm of treaty agreements and peace speeches, every member from the Altraieth and Rynan parties wishing to place a demand or propose an amendment before talking at great length about why their particular demand is so pressingly important. However, the proceedings are almost impossibly civil and polite, no one interrupting another delegate or trying to speak over them. There is applause at the end of every speech, and smiles, and soft sounds of agreement.
Bruce almost wishes someone would try and punch someone else. But he can hardly make the effort to complain as he is now back in Clark’s good graces, and the makeup sex in the bathroom has made him a good deal happier than he would have been otherwise. He should probably remember this the next time he has to sit through a three hour long stockholders meeting at Wayne Enterprises.
In the middle of yet another speech about the glorious elder days of Rynan and Altraieth and how their partnership in peace revolutionized alliances throughout this sector of the galaxy, Bruce notices that Clark has begun squirming in his seat.
“Bored?” Bruce whispers, his voice muted by the thundering cheers that follow this newest declaration of love for the Altraieth-Rynan partnership.
“No,” Clark says, stilling himself. “Just sort of…itchy. Don’t freak out, but I think I might be allergic to something.”
“I’m not freaking out. When have I ever freaked out?” Bruce hisses, mentally go through a list of all the potential allergens that Clark could have been exposed to since arriving on this planet. “You haven’t been touching weird plants, have you?”
“Bruce. Let it go. I’m fine.”
And Bruce does, grudgingly, though he can’t help but notice that Clark seems to be growing more and more uncomfortable as the day goes on. The only thing keeping him from questioning Clark about it further is the fear that it will lead to yet another argument.
Though, again, the makeup sex is always worth it.
There is another feast that night. There seems to be feasts every night. And Clark normally wouldn’t mind so much if it wasn’t for the fact that he is feeling awfully tired all of a sudden. The itching along his back seems to have spread and gotten even worse, and he can feel a headache beginning behind his eyes. He even felt nauseous during the peace talks, but he isn’t about to mention any of this to Bruce. He’s sure all he needs is a good night sleep, but that’s going to be hard to come by with all the partying he’s expected to participate in.
And then, in the middle of the feast, he feels it happen.
Clark blinks into the suddenly too bright lights, his throat burning. He raises his glass of water to his lips, but it slips from his hand before he can drink from it. Dimly, as though from a great distance, he hears it smash upon the rocky beach.
“Oh! Careful, Kal,” Diana says smiling, but then she looks at him and her smile vanishes. As Clark stares at her, she seems to multiply before his eyes, becoming two identical Wonder Women before reemerging again as one.
“Kal? What’s wrong?”
The ground shifts beneath Clark’s feet and he overbalances, tripping against Ambassador Fu.
“Kal-El!” Ambassador Fu says, her ageless face alarmed. “My dear, are you all right?”
Clark means to tell her that he’s fine, that he’s not about to pass out or die or anything, but his throat is closing fast and his lungs aren’t filling with air and…
Someone grabs his arm. Bruce, Clark thinks desperately, and holds on tight, his world growing dim at the edges.
“What’s wrong? Is he sick?”
“Someone get a doctor!”
“He’s not breathing!”
“Kal, hold on—”
But I made sure that I ate and everything, Clark thinks wildly as the ground rises up to meet him. Oh Rao, this is so embarrassing…
“An allergy,” the Altraieth physician says, shutting his case of instruments and moving away from Clark’s bed.
The Justice League is standing together in a small yet homey hospital room, the red glow of Altraieth’s sunset lighting the walls with brilliant, happy color. Bruce glares at it, the mocking beauty of it, that wicked, crimson light.
“An allergy?” Hal asks, scratching at his head. “Like, a peanut allergy?”
“I’m not familiar with peanuts, Sir Green Lantern,” the physician says. “But do any of you know whether or not Sir Superman consumed any of the Deshirah-marzga?”
“Yes,” Bruce says immediately. “At breakfast.”
“Ah, that is a shame,” the physician says, shaking his head. “Powerfully poisonous to Kryptonians they are. The Rynan delegation should have known better than to bring them here, knowing there was a chance Sir Superman could eat them.”
At once, suspicion plants itself into Bruce’s brain. “Indeed,” he says, his eyes straying towards the sunset again. If only that damned sun was yellow…
“Will he be all right?” Diana asks, her hand on Clark’s forehead.
“He’ll need rest and quiet, until the poison is out of his system. I’ve given him some daigalin, so he should be fine,” he says, as though they are supposed to know what daigalin is. “Tell me if anything appears to be amiss.”
With that, he leaves the room, the Justice League standing awkwardly together in the silence of his wake.
“I’ll stay with him,” Bruce says suddenly, breaking the heavy quiet.
The others look from him to Clark and back again. He can practically hear their dubious thoughts, and he can’t really blame them. Batman doesn’t really come off as being a patient nursemaid with a delicate bedside manner, but Bruce isn’t about to leave Clark side, not while he’s bathed in red sunlight on an increasingly suspicious planet.
“I’ll keep you company,” Diana says as the others leave, preparing to sit down on the bed beside Clark, but Bruce shakes his head slightly.
“No, you go on. You’re needed out there. You have more skill in these diplomatic situations than I do. Besides,” he adds, “I have some thinking to do.”
She frowns at him, her eyes reflecting the same apprehensive spark that his own surely have. “You’re thinking that whatever happened to Kal was deliberate.”
“Yes,” Bruce says.
Diana frowns even deeper, her hands smoothing back Clark’s hair absently as her mind works. “The Rynans were insistent upon Superman’s presence in these proceedings. They know his powers will not work under a red sun. Then they bring food toxic to one of his race…”
“I don’t believe in coincidences,” Bruce growls.
“Nor do I.”
She stands, her full height greater than his own, her hard and determined features washed in scarlet light. “I’ll see what I can find out. And you,” she says, leveling Bruce with her sharp, grey-eyed gaze, “you take care of our Kal.”
“Always,” he whispers, but she’s already gone by the time he says it.
It’s only a few hours before sunrise when Clark finally stirs. Bruce, having sat alone in the darkness of the room, deep in thought, almost doesn’t notice at first, until Clark says: “Bruce?”
“Hey, Clark,” Bruce answers, setting his tone lighter than he normally would have, and lays a reassuring hand on his lover’s shoulder. He sees Clark flailing slightly in the dark, so he turns on the lamp besides the bed, Clark blinking against the suddenness of the light. “How do you feel?”
“Uhg, not so good. What happened? Am I sick?”
“You were, but you’re going to be fine.”
Clark seems to be having a hard time processing Bruce’s words. “But,” he insists, staring up at him in confusion, “but I made sure I ate dinner.” His eyes are bloodshot and glassy, and it seems to be taking a lot of effort for him to keep them open.
“Clark,” Bruce says, “go back to sleep.”
Clark ignores him—what else is new?—and tries to escape the comfortable nest Bruce has made for him. “Did I…pass out?” His voice, weak and hoarse as it may be, still carries a distinct note of panic to it. “Please tell me I didn’t pass out in front of everyone.”
“You…” Bruce decides that he’ll avoid answering that question for the time being. “You were poisoned.” He sees Clark’s eyes widen and he adds: “You ate something inherently harmful to Kryptonians. The Deshirah-marzga. It was an allergic reaction.” He decides to leave out his suspicious for the time being; Clark’s in no condition to start worrying over Bruce’s half-formed musings on interstellar conspiracies.
“I don’t remember,” Clark says, rubbing at his eyes.
“What do you remember?”
“Hmm…I remember…being itchy and…then the bathroom… Hey, wait a…did you give me a blowjob earlier? Yeah, you did. I remember that.” He smiles dopily up at Bruce, his eyes half-lidded and unfocused.
“Well, you’d better,” Bruce huffs in mock annoyance.
“And then I remember…everything got blurry and dark and…oh my God. Did I pass out in front of everyone?”
“Calm down, it wasn’t that bad—” Bruce says, but suddenly Clark is throwing himself out of bed and staggering towards the door. He stops halfway there, standing unsteadily in the middle of the room.
“Clark, come on, you shouldn’t be up,” Bruce says, tugging on his arm and steering him back towards the bed.
“I have to,” Clark mutters, leaning heavily against Bruce. “I have to go back.”
“Go back where?” Bruce asks, sitting Clark back down on the bed.
“To the party,” he says. “That woman was…she was weird, Bruce. She kept looking at me. Really closely.”
“Who?” Bruce asks.
“And she said to be careful. To me she said that. It was weird. I have to go back to the party and ask her what she meant.”
“Clark, the party’s over. You’re not thinking straight. It’s time to sleep.”
Clark rubs his eyes again, squints at the room, and tries to stand up again. Bruce pulls him back down.
“Where are we anyway?” Clark asks.
“It’s a hospital room.”
“Uhg. My eyes hurt. I don’t know where I am and my eyes really hurt.”
“Shut your eyes and they won’t hurt anymore. And you don’t have to know where you are; you’re with me.”
“But I have to ask her what she meant,” Clark protests, even as he closes his eyes and lays his head against Bruce’s shoulder.
“Ambassador Tam Fu?”
Bruce waits a few moments, until Clark’s soft breath against his neck has slowed into sleep. Then he lowers him back down on the bed. He groans slightly and Bruce can see his eyes moving behind his eyelids.
“I told you something always happens to you. Why don’t you ever listen?”
Clark doesn’t answer, of course, and Bruce, still dressed in his Batman outfit, removes his cowl and settles down on the bed beside Clark, and tries to sleep.
END PART TWO
Part Three is HERE