"It should be a relatively simple matter for an experienced magician or telepath," Ambassador Ramahi assured Superman. They standing on the landing dock, with Batman already coaxed into their ship by Superman before the Ambassador had arrived to see them off. "Alas, we are not psychic and our last magic-user lived thousands of years ago. Your League's magic users or telepaths will be able to undo the effects though, I am certain. We will, of course, provide any assistance they may need on the history and nature of the chant."
"Thank you very much for your help," Superman said, relieved that Batman's situation wasn't permanent.
"No, thank you for coming," she said. "Your friend's situation was a poor way to repay you. Please convey our deepest apologies when he returns to normal."
"I will," Superman said. "And Ambassador, please don't blame yourself for this. Sometimes, things just happen." To us especially, he didn't add.
She smiled at him. "You are a good man, Superman," she said, "Have a safe and speedy return home." She bowed in the traditional way of her people, one arm behind her back and the other stiffly at her side. Superman returned the gesture. They really were a kind people, and their planet was certainly beautiful. It was a pity Batman would never want to return here again once he recovered enough of his mind to do anything other than attempt to have sex with Kal.
Assuming Bruce even wanted to speak to him after this was over.
Annoyed at his sudden gloominess, he quickly shook it off as entered the cockpit of the ship. "Alright, it's time to go. Do you remember how to fly?" Kal asked as he sat down in the pilot's chair, Bruce already sitting in the other.
"Of course," Bruce said, peeved. "Please don't patronize me."
"Sorry," Kal said. "Can you set our course and take off then? I need to make a call."
"Yes, Master," Bruce replied. Kal bit back the automatic "don't call me Master"—he was beginning to suspect Bruce did it more to annoy him than anything else—and grumbled to himself instead as he headed to the sleeping area to message the rest of the Justice League. He didn't want Bruce listening in on this conversation.
"Hello Kal," Diana greeted him. Her eyes narrowed as she took him in. "What's wrong? Why are you returning early?"
"We ran into a problem," Kal said.
"Do you need help?"
"Yes," Kal said. "First of all though…Diana, could you keep this between us?"
Her eyes narrowed suspiciously. "What happened?" she asked after a pause.
"I'll explain, but could you get J'onn as well? And make sure you're in a private place. I'd rather this not get around," Kal muttered. He waited while she did as he asked.
"Kal," J'onn greeted him with a nod. "Diana tells me you had a problem on the mission."
"Oh the mission's fine, just fine. The Drinians are pleased and the ceremony went well. Too well, in fact."
J'onn and Diana looked at each other. "What do you mean?" Diana asked.
"Batman was brainwashed into thinking he's my pleasure slave," Kal said, as clearly and quickly as he could manage. He'd rather not have to say it more than once. Predictably, he was met with shocked silence. Diana and J'onn shared another glance.
"Batman thinks he's your—" Diana trailed off, obviously finding it difficult to think of "Batman" and "pleasure slave" in the same sentence. Kal knew how she felt.
"It was the wedding chant. Apparently they used to be spells or something. She said that magic users or telepaths would be able to fix him." He related what Ambassador Ramahi had told him. "I am going to need some time to think on how to fix this," J'onn said. "It may take awhile. Call me when you arrive." He excused himself.
Diana was still watching him. "And what is wrong with you?"
He shook his head. "Nothing. I wasn't affected by the chant at all."
"Not that, Kal," Diana said patiently. "How are you holding up?"
"…Fine," Kal said. She lifted an eyebrow and he resisted the urge to bang his head against the wall. It wouldn't help and he didn't want to break a hole in the room. "He keeps trying to sleep with me," he complained.
Diana's mouth quirked up. "Many people would be dying to be you right now."
"I feel like I'm taking advantage of him," Kal said, looking down.
Diana sobered immediately. "Kal," she said gently. "It's not your fault. It's not his fault either. Bruce will understand when he returns to his normal state."
"What if he feels uncomfortable around me? Rao, it's practically rape, all those times I—"
"Kal El," Diana snapped. "Give Bruce some credit here. He will understand. Knowing him, he'd probably feel guilty for forcing himself on you, when it was nobody's fault. Men," she muttered.
Kal sighed. "I just hope we fix him soon."
"We will Kal," Diana said. "J'onn will solve this. Now stop worrying."
"Thanks Diana," Kal said, giving her a small smile before closing the connection.
When he returned to the cockpit, Bruce had already set their route and was tweaking the controls, barely even glancing at Kal when he dropped into the chair beside him.
"Relax," Bruce finally said, eyeing him sidelong. "I'm not going to jump you. I know you don't approve." He sounded like he was trying for a light tone, but just sounded morose instead.
Kal resisted the urge to apologize at Bruce sounding so sad. "It really isn't that I don't approve. It's more—" he said. How could he explain to Bruce that everything he believed about himself was a lie? That Bruce wasn't actually who he thought he was? "You're not well, Bruce," Kal finally settled on saying. "When we get back to the Watchtower, J'onn will help you get better, and then, if you still want to, you can jump me all you want."
Bruce was staring at him intently. "You promise?"
Of course I do; I love you. I love you so much, apparently, that I accidentally turned you into a pleasure slave through someone else's wedding chant. Of course I promise, Kal wanted to say, but he shoved all that aside and just said, "Yes."
It seemed to satisfy Bruce, at least.
"I will still want you, you know," Bruce said after a pause.
"How do you know?" Kal asked.
Bruce closed his eyes for a moment, tilting his chair back. "It's hard to explain. But you know, just because I'm sick or something, or have amnesia, or whatever, I'm still me. You can't change who I am. And I want you," he said.
"But I can't be sure," Kal said, not letting the desperation seep into his tone. "I can't be sure this isn't just a product of your…amnesia."
Bruce lifted a shoulder in a half-shrug. "I know nothing I say will convince you, but I know that this isn't just a side effect. I want you in a way that feels sometimes like my very bones are on fire. When you're near, I can't think; I can't concentrate on anything but you. It has to come from me. What kind of sickness could make me feel that way?"
The kind that brainwashes you into thinking you're my pleasure slave? Kal just sighed in response, and they passed the rest of the journey in silence.
When the Watchtower came in view, Kal turned to Bruce and said, "I want you to act like Batman when we land."
"Why?" Bruce asked.
"It's…roleplaying," Kal said, flushing slightly. "You know."
Bruce smirked. "I do know."
"Pretend we're having a secret affair and the rest of the League can't know about it," Kal said. "Emphasis on secret."
They ran into Green Lantern on the way to the healing ward. "Batman. Superman. You're back early. Successful mission?"
"Yes, the Drinians were very pleased," Kal said.
"…I have to ask. Why exactly are you wearing that?" Ah, Rao. In his haste and nervousness about getting Bruce off the ship unseen, and since he'd gotten used to the sight of it, Kal had completely forgotten about the robe.
"I am the Batman," Bruce said in an exaggerated growl. "As such, I can wear whatever the hell I want. So keep your nose out of my private affairs, Green Lantern."
Green Lantern blinked. Before he could say anything, Kal clapped Bruce on the shoulder. "Okay, well, time to go! Nice seeing you," he said cheerfully, quickly steering Bruce away. Thankfully they made it to the healing ward without further trouble.
"That is not how Batman acts," Superman muttered.
Bruce was unperturbed. "I thought I did pretty well," he said.
Diana was waiting for them. "How's he doing?" she asked Kal, eyes widening at the sight of Bruce but choosing not to comment.
Kal grimaced in response, then asked, "Where's J'onn?"
Diana sighed. "He's still meditating on the problem. He says to take him to familiar ground, as comfortable surroundings will make it easier for him to break the brainwashing."
Kal groaned. Familiar ground meant Gotham, and he was not relishing Alfred's reaction to Bruce's current state of mind.
"How are you feeling, Bruce?" Diana asked.
"Like Batman," Bruce replied.
Diana looked at Kal. "Does he—?"
"No," Kal said.
"We're roleplaying," Bruce said, watching smugly as Diana lifted an eyebrow and Kal sputtered a bit.
"That's it, we're leaving now," Kal said. He bid Diana goodbye and teleported them both to the Batcave. Bruce didn't seem to notice his surroundings, not commenting on any of the collection of seemingly random things, or the many computers, or the Batmobile, sitting sleek and powerful off to the side of the cave. He seemed to know where he was going though, as he headed directly for the stairs that led up to the Manor, looking neither left nor right.
"Uh, wait. Bruce!" Kal flew in front of Bruce, blocking the door. "Wait here a moment. Alfred and Dick don't know that you're sick yet."
"Oh," Bruce said. "They have seen worse though," he pointed out.
Kal doubted that, but— "You remember them?"
Bruce nodded. "Of course. They're my…" He frowned.
"Your what, Bruce?" Kal prompted gently.
"…I don't know," Bruce said, confused. "I just…"
"It's alright," Kal said. "But you see why I want you to stay here while I go explain the situation to them."
Bruce looked frustrated but sat down on the stairs to wait. Kal left him and stepped into the Manor, searching for Alfred or Dick.
"Clark!" a happy voice shouted. He looked up to see a young boy slide down the banisters. "You're back!"
The sound of Alfred's protests were not far behind.
"Sorry," the boy said, contrite for the moment.
"Ah, Mister Kent," Alfred greeted him, noticing Kal standing there. "May I presume that Master Bruce has also returned?"
"Yeah, we're back early," Kal said, noticing Alfred's sharp look. The butler knew too well why they would return early. Kal hastened to reassure them. "No one's injured, don't worry. Bruce got brainwashed. He remembers you, but doesn't know who you are to him."
"It is curable?" Alfred asked, and Kal could hear old pain straining his voice, though he seemed unflappable as always.
"J'onn's already working on it," Kal told him. "He said that being in familiar surroundings might ease Bruce's recovery."
"He should stay in the Cave then," Dick piped up. "What's he been brainwashed into thinking anyways?"
"He, uh—" wants to have sex with me all the time "—thinks he's in love with me," Kal said.
Dick grinned. "So, not much different than usual, then?" Alfred coughed pointedly. "Yeah, yeah, I know. Back to work, Robin." He scampered off with a cheerful wave to Kal.
Not much different than usual—?
After spending a long night in the Cave, Kal was more than relieved when J'onn called him the next morning to say that he had figured out how to undo the brainwashing. Bruce had spent the night not quite back to his old self but not the infuriating, sex obsessed slave he'd been for the past few days. Kal had had to watch him carefully to make sure that he didn't get a flash of memory and decide to drive off in the Batmobile.
They teleported up to the Watchtower and asked J'onn to meet them at the medical ward, Bruce staring at him all the while.
"What is it, Bruce?" Kal finally asked when it became apparent Bruce wasn't going to say anything. Bruce fidgeted a little.
"I love you," he said quietly. Kal sucked in a sharp breath.
"I love you too, Bruce," he said and Bruce's eyes filled with pain.
"But not me." He looked down.
There was a knock at the door. J'onn. Kal glanced at Bruce and opened the door to let J'onn in. "He's going to make me think I'm not your pleasure slave anymore, isn't he?" Bruce asked softly.
"How did you know?"
Bruce ducked his head. "I hacked into your message with him and Diana," he said. "Can you kiss me, Master, before he makes me forget?"
Kal nodded. He pulled the cowl off Bruce's face and gently moved his thumb over a cheek in a caress. Then he leaned in, brushing his lips with Bruce's ever so slightly.
"Tell him," Bruce said when Kal stepped outside and reached for the door. "Tell him what you told me."
"I will," Kal promised.
Kal peered into the viewing deck, where a black clad figure was standing, gazing out toward the Earth. He went to stand next to him.
"So, uh, not exactly your idea of the best way to spend your Valentine's Day, huh?" Kal joked weakly, thinking of poor Audrey Fontaine, who was one of the better ones, he had to admit. Still, he couldn't bring himself to feel that bad for her, as she had dated her way through half of Gotham's eligible bachelors before sinking her claws into Gotham's prince—all in one year. And now, after having been snubbed on Valentine's Day, had given a scathing interview with paparazzi who delighted in any kind of information regarding the notorious playboy.
Batman turned flat white lenses to stare at him, making Kal wish for a moment that he was still wearing those pleasure slave robes. Or, at least the mask; Kal had gotten used to seeing Bruce's eyes. The corner of Bruce's mouth twitched as if he could hear Kal's thoughts. "No, not exactly," he agreed. There was a moment of silence where Batman seemed to forget about Kal's presence altogether, his head moving back to survey the stars. Then, "You wanted me." A statement, not a question.
"Yes," Kal admitted. "Nothing happened," he hastened to reassure him, but Batman cut him off.
"Don't worry. I know."
Kal felt a flash of alarm. "What do you remember?"
Batman turned to face him completely this time, mouth curled into a familiar smirk. "Everything. And I can think of one thing you can do to make up for it."
Kal backed up as Batman advanced on him, feeling arousal pool in his stomach even as he felt the wall against his back. "Are you sure you're completely fine?" he asked doubtfully.
Batman pulled off the cowl with one smooth motion, blue eyes simmering with heat. "Not really. I'm uncomfortably hard and if memory serves, we have about a week's worth of debauchery to make up for. And I've been waiting much longer than that for this."
"Bruce—wait—" Kal managed between gasps as Bruce kissed him hard. Bruce pulled back, looking aggrieved.
"What?" he demanded. Kal had Bruce in his Watchtower room, stripped and in his bed, before Bruce could finish the word.
Bruce blinked up at him and then stretched sinuously on the sheets. Kal took a moment to look his fill as he had never dared before. Bruce wriggled a little and said in a passable imitation of his past week's self, "Fuck me, Master." His eyes sparked with mischief and something more.
And Kal pounced.
They lay tangled together on the sheets in a comfortable heap afterwards, neither willing to move just yet. Bruce shifted a little so that he could see Kal's face. "I believe you made me a promise," he said, smiling.
Kal propped himself up on an elbow and grinned back. "I did, didn't I?" he mused.
"Well go on then," Bruce said, lying back.
Kal rolled his eyes a little, but obeyed. "I love you Bruce Wayne," he said. Then he yelped as Bruce moved, lightning fast, and flipped them over so that Kal was looking up at Bruce. His Bruce. Finally.
"Love you too."