Continuity: DCAU (roughly)
Disclaimer: This work is not for profit and purely for my own enjoyment. Batman/Bruce Wayne and Superman/Clark Kent are the sole properties of DC Comics and their creators.
Summary: An awkward hug between Bruce and Clark, or Bruce and Superman, and they are not lovers-it's just an awkward, warm moment. WFGE prompt F45
This was originally written for the livejournal World's Finest community 2010 annual gift exchange.
Wood, Metal, Glass
"Superman? What are you doing here?"
"Hmmm?" The big country bumpkin barely acknowledged him at first, but after a moment his brain finally caught up to reality and he swiveled his chair halfway round. "Oh, it's you."
Batman glared at him. Of course if was him. He now noticed the object Superman had previously been so enthralled with, sitting innocuously on the computer bank. The little snowglobe was still and silent. Batman walked further into the room, eyes flashing over the monitor screens – apparently this year things might actually be quiet.
"What are you doing here? You're not scheduled for monitor duty." He stood next to the main chair, drawing himself up and frowning down at the man currently occupying it. Superman shook his head, giving a weak roll of his eyes.
"Yeah, I know, Batscrooge. You assign yourself Christmas eve every year. I convinced J'onn to switch the schedules." Superman leaned sideways, resting his face on the knuckles of one hand. He used the other to feign shooing movements. "Go spend some time with the kids." The infuriating man then swiveled back to face the monitors.
Batman glowered. Alright, time to pull out the big guns.
"Shouldn't you be in Kansas with your mother?" A half turn back.
"She was invited to the Hubbard family Christmas in Nebraska. Ben invited me too, but," the Kryptonian shrugged half-heartedly, "I wasn't sure I was ready for that." Then Superman heaved a sigh of intense melancholy, and picked up the snowglobe – but he didn't shake it, just gazed at the picturesque little farmhouse. Well, now he'd done it. Batman officially could not leave until he knew what was eating the other man up. He had some suspicions.
"Does it upset you that your mother's becoming close to another man?" This snapped Superman out of his funk, and he looked up at Batman with a grimace.
"What? No, that-" he cut himself off with a sigh, shaking his head. "It's just, the farmhouse…It seems so quiet these days, I guess. First Kara left, and now Pa…" His gaze returned to the little snowglobe. "I'm sure you understand." Of course Batman did understand, but the comprehension only reminded him of his own reasons for retreating to the Watchtower.
"Clark…" he sighed, but not at his companion. Why couldn't he be good at these kinds of things? He leaned against the computer bank, eyes again scanning the monitors over his shoulder. When he returned his focus to Superman, the other man was morosely gazing into his hands. Bruce reached out and plucked the snowglobe away. Clark didn't resist.
"It's nice," Bruce said, giving it a shake to stir up the little flakes inside.
"Ma gave it to me before she flew out. Kara loved those things. Even in only a few years her room was starting to fill up with 'em." The big man gave a shaky laugh, wiping the corner of an eye. Bruce contemplated that for moment, and they sat together in quiet. Then he turned the knob on the bottom, and the tinkle of "Oh Tanenbaum" filled the monitoring room. He cranked it a few more times, shook it again, and placed it on counter.
"My mother loved Christmas ornaments. Wood, metal, blown glass, crystal...Even cardboard and glitter. Alfred brings out a few of her huge collection every year. The kids help him decorate the tree." Out of the corner of his eye, he caught the twitch of a smile on Kent's face.
"You know, you really should go back to Gotham," Clark said, but with less jibe than the first time.
"I'm not going to Gotham," Batman growled definitively. Clark began to give him a very recognizable long-suffering look, but he cut him off. "Unless you come with me." The big farmboy sat back in surprise, then saw the smirk on the smirk gracing the Dark Knight's expression, and let out a hearty laugh.
"I guess it is pretty quiet today, huh? Okay, sure. I think I'd like that."
"We can bring a remote pager." Batman replied, Superman shaking his head at the man's usual paranoia. Superman stood up, stretching, as Batman began transferring alert functions.
"Hmm?" Batman finished, slipped the pager into a belt bag, and turned to face him. He was abruptly enwrapped with two very robust arms. He stiffened, then tentatively reached a gloved hand around the cape, delicately placing it on his friend's back. He felt one final, shuddering sigh work it's way out of a pair of powerful lungs, and then he was released. Kent, stepping back, let out another little laugh.
"Thanks a lot. I really needed that." Batman's keen detective eye searched Superman for any more signs of distress.
"You're welcome. Let's go," he finally replied. "Oh, and don't forget that," pointing to the snowglobe.