Title: Cat and Mouse
Disclaimer: I do not own DC Comics, Batman, or Superman, and I do not make any money from these fictions.
Summary: AU. Slash. Lex finally pushes Clark too hard, and he runs away to Bludhaven – and his best friend, Dick Grayson. Bruce just happens to be there…
Manipulation of ages. Clark and Dick are both 24 in this. Lex is 30 and Bruce is 38 (he's been Batman for 8 years).

*****

The first time it happened, he let it go. Ignored it. Forgave it. Tried to forget it.

The second time it happened, it stopped him in his tracks. Opening their bedroom door to the sight of Lex tangled up on their bed with some woman whose name Clark did not know.

Whose name he did not want to know.

Clark tortured himself for a few minutes, watching them together. Lex must have felt his eyes on them.

And as their eyes met, and Lex's scarred lips twisted into a smirk as he continued thrusting…thrusting…thrusting into that nameless body, Clark's heart broke.

Because he forgave the first time. But he did not forget.

He did not forget the pain, the sadness, the anger. The feelings of inadequacy, of not being good enough.

And Clark could not forgive Lex this time.

Because as much as he loved him and wanted to be with him, Clark could not hold onto a relationship single-handedly. Lex just kept pushing, seeing what it would take for Clark to finally leave him.

Illegal experiments. Harsh words. Surveillance. Expensive gifts that made him feel like a whore - that degraded his sense of self worth.

And the cheating…

Maybe Lex did it just for the thrill of Clark forgiving him. The thought that he hurt Clark, betrayed him, but his lover stayed anyway.

But Lex did not realize that eventually it would add up, and even Clark could not forgive forever. Clark could not stay in a relationship where Lex always expected him to leave.

So Clark finally did what Lex always thought he would…

He left.

Not mindlessly, no. He left with the full intention of returning to the penthouse later. He would need to collect his things and tell Lex that it really was over for good. Because Clark could not just give and give and give when all he got back in return was pain.

So he left the penthouse and headed for Bludhaven.

Dick would know what to do.

He always did.

"Dick?" Clark called out softly as he landed on his best friend's balcony.

"Clark?" a low voice responded.

Clark flushed with embarrassment.

"Mr. Wayne, I didn't realize…I'm sorry. I'll go. Will you tell Dick…? Never mind, I'm sure I'll see him. I'll just…," Clark was babbling, trying to stay in the shadows of the balcony so Dick's adoptive father wouldn't see the tear tracks on his face.

His eyes would not be red and his face would not be blotchy – invulnerability prevented that – but the tears were all too real.

"Nonsense," Gotham's prince and protector responded. "You're obviously here for a reason. Come in."

And Clark could not resist a command from the Batman any more than he could stop the tears from falling. He never quite knew how to react around this man - this man who protected his city fiercely and ran a multinational business behind the scenes and still had time to raise a man as strong as his best friend.

"I…I just need to talk to Dick," Clark whispered softly, ducking his head and trying to hide his face from Wayne's too-perceptive detective eyes.

"He's out," the man replied. "Something about Thai food."

"Oh," Clark replied. "Can I…can I wait?"

"Well, the way you landed on that balcony, pretty-as-you-please, leads me to believe that Dick leaves that door unlocked just for you. He obviously would not have done that if you weren't welcome," Wayne stated wryly, as if to imply that his own welcome was in doubt.

Clark knew that they were having some difficulties in their father-son relationship. Dick was heading out on his own, creating the superhero persona of Nightwing to fight criminals in Bludhaven. Bruce wouldn't let Dick be the Robin to his Batman anymore, but Clark imagined it must be tough to let your child strike out alone like that.

God knows how his mother was going to feel when he finally donned the cape and tights. He knew it was inevitable. He was meant to help people.

And there was nothing to stop him anymore, now that he was leaving Lex. No sharp blue eyes to remind him of how a superhero alter ego invariably led to the impossibility of a steady partner.

Lex had already taken care of that with his cheating and his betrayals and his lies.

"I…I come to visit a lot. It…it doesn't take me very long to get here," Clark answered.

"Approximately 3 seconds at top flight speed," Wayne replied matter-of-factly.

Clark just blinked. How did he…?

Oh, right – World's Greatest Detective.

Clark nodded to confirm Wayne's statement, even though he knew that the man didn't need it.

Clark always got a rush when he didn't have to lie, when someone already knew his secret and he could be honest about his abilities. The lies always hurt, bitter on his tongue.

Lex always tasted bitter.

"So, how have you been, Clark?" the billionaire asked, genuine curiousity in his voice. "I haven't seen you in a while."

Clark remained in the shadows – no need for his tears to be revealed – and started talking about his job and his mother and anything else he could think of.

Anything else – but his relationship with Lex.

*****

An hour later…

The door to the penthouse opened loudly, and Dick came storming in, his arms loaded with a paper bag filled with food.

"Clark!" he exclaimed brightly, happy to see his best friend. But then he deflated slightly, "I thought you and Lex…"

Oh, that's right – Clark had told Dick about his plans to take Lex to the Fortress tonight - a romantic meal in the symbol of Clark's greatest truth. He had wanted to talk to Lex about where their relationship was going, what they both wanted out of it.

"There is no me and Lex anymore," Clark replied dully. "I came home from the Planet early to surprise him…he surprised me instead."

"Oh, Clark…" Dick murmured sympathetically. He knew exactly what Clark meant. He had been there the last time, too.

"He doesn't deserve you," Dick reassured him as he placed the food down on the counter and embraced his best friend.

Dick's eyes locked with his mentor's over Clark's back.

'Don't you dare!' he silently communicated to Bruce. Dick knew exactly how infatuated his father-figure was with his beautiful best friend, and the last thing he wanted was for Clark to be hurt any more.

Lex had been hurting him for years.

Dick felt Clark's warm tears seep onto his neck and felt the shudders wracking that strong frame.

"I just…I love him so much. Why does he do this to me? I've stayed! I've stayed no matter what he's done. But…I just can't do it anymore. I love him so much, and he says he loves me, but I don't know if I can survive his kind of love much longer…" Clark babbled, breath hitching to prevent sobs.

Dick went utterly still. There was something about that wording…

"Clark?" he questioned softly. "What did he do?"

"He…the woman! I don't…" Clark wasn't making much sense.

"What did he do to you? Did he hurt you?" Dick knew that the look in his eyes was probably murderous - if that lying, cheating bastard had laid one hand on Clark…

"I…he wanted to use Kryptonite," Clark admitted quietly. "I…he said he wanted me to feel it. I refused. I think…I think that's why he cheated on me."

Dick was going to rip Luthor apart with his bare hands.

If Bruce didn't get there first.

"He wanted to use Kryptonite in the bedroom?" Bruce asked Clark softly, dangerously.

"I…he had it in the nightstand. I told him I wouldn't…not unless he put it away. I didn't think…I didn't think he was going to listen," Clark explained quietly, devastated.

"He's dead," and for a second Dick wasn't sure whether he or Bruce had said it.

But of course it was him – Bruce would not be so obvious…

"Clark," Bruce came forward, laying an arm on Clark's waist. Dick knew he wanted it to seem comforting.

Really, he knew was just an excuse for Bruce to touch the Kryptonian.

"Clark, look at me," Bruce ordered softly, his breath catching when the boy complied and he was looking at that beautiful, tear-stained face. "Dick's right. He didn't deserve you. If you need anything, anything at all, know that you can always come to me, ok? I know that Dick will be here for you, but I'm here, too."

As Clark nodded, Dick came to a startling revelation.

Bruce was in love with him!

"Thanks," Clark mumbled, and Bruce gently wiped the tears away from those stunning emerald eyes.

"Do you want to stay here for a while?" the former Robin asked, trying to take his mind off the fact that his 38-year-old mentor was in love with a boy a few months younger than Dick.

"I…I need to get my stuff from the penthouse. I'm leaving the clothes and the baubles and all the expensive, meaningless gifts he gave in an attempt to pay me to stay. But I…there are some things that I want. From home, and from friends. I just…I was wondering if you would go with me?" Clark asked softly, avoiding the question of where he would be staying.

"Where are you staying, Clark?" Dick asked again.

"I…I can't stay here," Clark admitted. "He'll hurt you."

Dick thought his heart stopped for a second.

"Has he threatened you? What the fuck has he been doing, Clark?" Dick shouted.

One glare from Bruce reminded him that wasn't what his friend needed.

"I'm sorry," Dick apologized immediately when he saw tears brimming again. "Please, please don't cry."

"He just said…he said 'Just try to leave. See how far you get before you hurt someone else'." Clark confessed.

And Dick could imagine Luthor saying just that, in his sensually silky voice that did nothing to hide his menace.

"Dick and I will go with you to get your things, and you are moving into the manor," Bruce stated matter-of-factly, like he expected Clark to just obey. "Luthor won't expect for you to go there. And there's not much he can do against me."

And Clark just looked at Bruce with gratefulness and a touch of the stars in his eyes he sometimes got when looking at established superheroes.

Oh fuck.

Dick knew just how easy it would be for Clark to focus his attentions and affections on Bruce - his mentor could be charming when he wanted to be.

"I…but what about my job at the Daily Planet?" Clark asked.

"Clark…Luthor owns Metropolis. I think it's best if you make a permanent move out of that city. I'm sure you can get a job at the Gotham Herald, if that's what you want. I'll help you get back onto your feet, but you don't need to get a job right away if you don't want to. I have plenty of money, and what is it worth if I can't help out a friend in need?" Bruce explained softly.

Man, he was laying it on thick!

Dick mentally scowled. He could tell that Bruce was already planning how to keep Clark forever.

"Thank you, but I need a job. I…it's hard to explain. But I enjoy being a journalist. You're right though – I have to get out of Metropolis and away from Lex. And maybe I can just do freelance for a while until I sort out everything else," Clark replied.

Dick got the feeling that Clark was going to make a very willing mouse to Bruce's cat.