The Adventures of Batman and Superman
Disclaimer: Same as always.
Italics are Bruce's thoughts.
A/N: Yeah, this is what happens when I injure myself. I turn into a fic.
Chapter Five: The Stubbornness of a Bat
"Bruce, I swear," the British man said exasperatedly as he leaned over his employer's—and practically his son's—propped up left leg. He didn't even bother to add the "Master" in front of the younger man's name; he had taken care of him since childhood, he had the right to call him 'Bruce' when he was annoyed. He gently picked up his left leg and gently felt around the ankle.
Bruce, in despite of himself, hiss and was instantly annoyed that he showed his pain.
Alfred, ever the expert when it came to Master Bruce, noticed. "It is okay to show emotion sometimes, you know."
The only indication Bruce gave that he heard him was a roll of his eyes.
He attempted to roll the ankle around a bit, but Bruce instantly broke into another sharp hiss, this one more painful than the previous. Alfred sighed. "You've done a right good job at banging yourself up this time."
"I tripped," Bruce instantly rose to a defense tone. "It's an honest mistake."
"Yes, and now you've damaged your ankle again."
Bruce rolled his eyes again, but he knew Alfred was right. About a month ago, Bruce had a similar encounter with his ankle. He had been distracted and his landing was completely off. As soon as his foot hit the ground, his ankle gave out and thus he had twisted it. He had stood up like a man and continued fighting, but Alfred had chewed him out once he was home with a swollen ankle.
He took it good naturedly, though he really didn't think Alfred had cause to fault him. It wasn't like he hurt himself intentionally.
Recently, though, the ankle had been proving to be a problem again. If hit in the right spot, the injury would reignite and sharp shards of pain would shoot from his ankle all the way up his leg. It was painful, to say the least, but he never said anything about it. He wouldn't complain about pain; no, not Bruce. He took pain like a man, silently and stoically. It's how he worked best. Alfred found it extremely aggravating, he'd been told on numerous occasions, and didn't like to see the man he considered a son in pain.
Tonight, though, he had made an amateur mistake. He almost wanted to kick himself for it, but that would mean he'd cause more unnecessary pain he didn't need right now.
The Batman tripped and twisted his damned ankle.
And he wasn't ashamed to admit (to his innermost self, anyway) that it indeed hurt like a damn bitch. He didn't have any other way to describe it; it just plain hurt.
But would he let it show? No, of course not. This was the stoic and stubborn Bruce Wayne. Why would he ever show he was in pain? His pride wouldn't allow it.
Sometimes he cursed his pride. Perhaps if he had less of it, he'd allow others to help him. Alfred often said his "bloody pride will be the death of you, Master Bruce". Sometimes, Bruce can't help but wonder if he's right. Then he remembers this is Alfred he's thinking about, and he's often right much to Bruce's annoyance.
He whimpered a bit as Alfred gently felt the swollen limb. It hurt more than he remembered a twisted ankle did. Perhaps it was sprained? God, he hoped not. Batman couldn't stop over a sprained ankle, after all.
Alfred's eyebrows rose at the whimper. He knew Bruce well, and he had to been in real pain to allow himself the "luxury" of a whimper, as he would put it. Deciding to choose a method he used when Bruce was a child and had hurt himself, he asked, "Bruce, on a scale from one to ten, how much do you hurt?"
Bruce glared. He remembered very clearly that that particular question was something he used to ask when he was younger. He was not a child anymore; therefore he shouldn't be treated like one.
"Zero," he answered confidently; more confidently than he felt. If he was being honest with himself, he'd probably give the aching in his ankle a nine-point-eight, possibly a nine-point-nine. It was definitely not a ten, though, because there's always room for improvement—even when it comes to pain.
Alfred chuckled humorlessly. "I know you better than that. Be honest with me."
"I'm fine, Alfred," he insisted. "Thanks for patching me up, but I'm absolutely fine." He hadn't even been patched up yet, only inspected.
"You are not bloody fine!" Alfred shouted. "You know I hate it when you're stubborn."
"I'm not stubborn," he said indignantly.
Alfred rolled his eyes. "You most certainly are and you know it."
Bruce copied his gesture and rolled his own eyes. "Yes, Alfred," he replied dully, though he really didn't mean it. Anything to stop him from nitpicking in my business.
Suddenly, a soft rustling came from the other end of the Batcave. Both men heard it and turned to look in that direction. There stood—more like hovered, the show-off—Superman donned in his regular blue and red uniform. Bruce himself was in his Batsuit, though without the cowl or his left boot.
"Clark," Alfred greeted, relief evident in his voice. "Perhaps you can talk some sense into him."
"Me?" Clark asked incredulously. "Talk sense into Bruce? Have you met me? Or Bruce for that matter? No one can convince him of anything."
Bruce rolled his eyes. "I'm right here, you know."
"Good, then I hope you were listening. You have to be the most stubborn person on the planet. On any planet."
"Flattery will get you nowhere, Boy Scout."
Now it was Clark's turn to roll his eyes. "What's he being stubborn about this time, Alfred?"
"He's bloody hurt himself again," Alfred informed. "Twisted his ankle pretty badly."
Clark clucked his tongue. "Maybe if you weren't human…"
"Oh, bite me, alien." Bruce scowled.
"You're an orphan, too."
"But I've got Ma and Pa."
"And I have Alfred, but they're just substitutes."
Clark looked thoughtful for a moment, but then he relented. "Touché."
Alfred, having left the room during the argument, returned back with a bottle of aspirin and a glass of water in his hands. He walked over to Bruce and shoved it into his face. "Take two," he ordered.
"I keep telling you I'm fine, Alfred."
"Take two and then go lie down. I don't want you on that ankle."
"But I'm fine—"
"Bruce Wayne," the butler said sternly, getting into his employer's personal space. "Don't make me ground you."
"You do know I'm a grown man, right?"
"That's not going to stop me."
Bruce sighed, and took the bottle and glass reluctantly. "As long as it shuts you up." He quickly swallowed the pills and washed it down with the cold water.
"Thank you," Alfred said cheerily, taking the bottle and glass back. "Clark, you make sure he stays off his ankle. I have a house to clean." With that, the butler was gone.
"Bossy, isn't he?" Bruce asked rhetorically. He limped his way towards the monitoring system.
"What are you doing?" Clark asked.
"What does it look like I'm doing? Walking."
"Alfred just said—"
"Alfred can go to hell," the irritable man replied. He didn't actually mean his harsh words, but he was annoyed with both himself and his injury. It's not like Alfred had heard him, anyway.
"Bruce," Clark started. "I really think you should get off your ankle."
"And I will," he agreed. "Once I'm sitting in front of my monitors."
"No, I think you should rest."
Bruce snorted. "Rest? Are you joking?"
"So, you should stay off your injury before you make it worse."
Bruce ignored him. After all, what did he know? He was just an alien. He didn't know anything about human injuries, the lucky bastard.
He sat down in front the monitor screens and began typing away. He was looking for any suspicious activity in Gotham. Though his ankle hurt like hell, he didn't want the criminals of his city to take advantage of his injury. If anything was going on he'd have to take care of it, simple as day. This was his city, and he was its protector.
As he scanned the screens, it suddenly went black. Bruce's eyes narrowed and he turned his fiercest glare towards Superman. Just as he expected, he was standing by the monitoring system's power outlet. "Did you just unplug my system?"
"You're injured and you need to get some rest so you can heal," Clark insisted. "Take the night off."
"There is no night off," Bruce snarled, getting really annoyed now. "Plug it back in before I kick your ass!"
Clark sighed, and then crossed his arms over his chest, a challenging look on his face. "Go for it. See how it works out for you."
Forgetting his injury, Bruce jumped up from his seat and started to make his way towards Clark. The moment his foot touched the ground and his body weight rested on the bad ankle, he hissed and quickly grabbed onto his chair for support, getting pressure off his injured limb.
"See what I mean? You can barely stand on that thing, let alone fight."
"Sorry I'm not indestructible," Bruce spat, rubbing circles around his swollen limb. "We're not all aliens."
"You always hold it against me that I'm an alien."
"You always hold it against me that I'm human," he returned.
"Well you are! You're fragile, and you really need to stop and take care of yourself before you get hurt!" Bruce could almost see worry etched in Clark's features, but he quickly nipped that thought in the bud. Clark wouldn't be worried over him of all people, they were colleagues.
"I don't care if I get hurt, Clark."
"Well, I do," he said, looking into Bruce's eyes, his own blue orbs full with sincerity. "You're my friend, Bruce, and I really don't want to see you run yourself into the dirt."
"I won't," he insisted. "I'm far too stubborn for that."
"So you admit you're stubborn!" came a voice from the entrance of the Batcave. They turned to see Alfred standing there, a duster in his hand.
"No, just determined," he quickly denied.
"You just said stubborn though," Clark pointed out.
"You two are imagining things. I said determined."
"No, I'm pretty sure you said—"
"I know what I said." Bruce glared Clark into silence.
"I know what I heard," Alfred piped up.
Bruce ignored him. If anyone was stubborn, it had to be Alfred. He never let anything go.
"Anyway, I'm going to go back to monitoring." He shot Clark a glance. "Well? Aren't you going to plug it in?"
Clark looked down at the cord in his hand. "No," he decided. "You're going to rest."
"Now you sound like Alfred. Or a mother hen. Which, essentially, is the same thing."
"I resent that!" came the reply from across the cave.
Both men ignored him. Clark raised an eyebrow. "Do I have to call Diana?"
That got Bruce's attention, though he didn't show it. No way did he want to have a run-in with Diana; she was probably more stubborn than him. However, he wasn't about to let Clark know he was slightly wary of Diana.
Instead, he snorted. "What for?"
"I figure she's the only one who'll convince you to get some rest, even if she has to knock you unconscious first," Clark explained. He pulled out his cell phone and scrolled through his contacts till he reached Diana's name. His finger hovered over the 'send' button. "Well? Should I call her?"
Bruce growled. "Fine! I'll go rest! If it'll get you off my case, fine!" He proceeded to hobble his way towards the Batcave entrance. Clark flew over to him and began to take his arm to help support his weight, but Bruce snarled.
"No! I'll do it!"
"I'm just helping—"
Clark relented. He followed Bruce up the stairs and made sure he made it to the couch okay in the family room.
Bruce scowled at the thought of a helper. He could make it to his own couch just fine, thank you very much.
"See? I'm sitting and I'm resting. You can leave."
A thoughtful expression crossed Clark's face. "No, I don't think I'll be leaving yet. I want to make sure you stay here."
"That's what Alfred's for."
"He's cleaning and can't watch you all the time. I have nothing better to do, so," he smiled a friendly grin.
Bruce groaned. Great, just what he needed—a boy scout for a babysitter.
Honestly. Did anyone realize he was an adult?
"Fine," Bruce snapped. "Fine, if we're going to sit here, than I have a question for you."
"What?" Clark asked happily. He seemed relieved Bruce wasn't fighting him on being his 'babysitter' as Bruce dubbed it in his mind.
Bruce gave him a feral grin, promising slow torture in Clark's near future if he answered the question incorrectly.
"What happened to my custom-made chair made from the African Blackwood tree?"
He watched with delight when Clark's face lost a little color, showing he did in fact know what happened to it.
This should be interesting.
A/N: The chair comment at the end was from chapter one of "The Adventures of Superman and Batman" by SexyAscot, which is a companion fic to this story.
P.S. To any of those who are waiting for an update on my other story, Memories: it'll happen. Sometime. I've lost my muse, but it'll come back. I hope.