A/N: Ok so I found another fic I never crossposted. Whoops. Anyways this probably counts as crack.
Yes, I did write this very, very late at night (as in, morning). Yes, I do find the image of Clark and Bruce as penguins incredibly adorable.
Inspired by the fact that penguins will go off to find a perfect pebble to impress their future mates with. (aww)
swaiil has translated this story into Chinese! Here's the link if you'd like to check it out: archiveofourown org /works/367143 (Take out the spaces and put a period in front of org)
There it was, lying almost incongruously on the ground. After searching for days, giving up precious fishing time to search, Bruce had finally found it. It was perfect. Round but not too round, shiny but not too shiny. Seemingly solid colored, but actually a swirl of grays and blues. Perfect for Clark.
Bruce picked it up very carefully and waddled off to find him. It shouldn't be that difficult, he thought: the other penguin was always bothering him when he wanted to be alone.
That assumption turned out to be false, which Bruce found out after he had scoured the length and breadth of the beach, and even asking some other penguins if they knew where Clark was. Which they didn't. This was what happened when you made assumptions, Bruce thought sourly, wanting to clack his beak together in annoyance but shoving the urge away because he would drop the pebble.
Why did Clark always have to be so damned difficult?
After hours of fruitless searching, Bruce finally hunkered down on his favorite ledge and glared sullenly at any penguin who tried to come near.
His beak was starting to ache from holding the pebble for so long, but he stubbornly refused to let it go.
The sky was darkening by the time Clark came into view. Bruce had caved by then and had put the pebble down at his feet. He'd been hungry, but he hadn't dared go fish. He'd spent so long looking for that perfect, beautiful pebble that he wasn't going to give it any chance to slip out of his talons.
"Bruce!" Clark hopped onto the ledge—Bruce's ledge—without fear. At least, he tried to say. It was muffled by the large silver fish he had in his beak. He dropped it onto the ground at Bruce's feet and tilted his head in a penguin smile, head framed against the last brushes of color in the sky. It almost took Bruce's breath away.
"I told you I don't need your help Clark," Bruce grumbled out of habit, but regretting the words when his stomach complained. Luckily Clark didn't seem to notice, as he simply began to groom his feathers.
Bruce swallowed the fish in one gulp, feeling it take the edge of his hunger and watched Clark struggle to reach the matted feathers on the back of his neck for a second before leaning over. Clark closed his eyes and leaned against him as he ran his beak through the feathers until they were neatly groomed again, falling into place the way they were supposed to.
Clark seemed in no hurry to move away. Now's your chance, Bruce told himself. It was like the moment of indecisiveness before a dive into the ocean. You just had to take the plunge, never mind the hungry teeth in the water. "I have something for you too," Bruce said.
Clark opened his eyes and peered brightly at him, tilting his head again.
Bruce dropped the pebble at his feet and had the satisfaction of watching Clark's eyes widen.
But then it was his turn to be surprised when Clark magically produced a pebble of his own, because apparently he had superpowers and could carry a fish and a pebble at the same time.
A terrible thought struck him then. What if another penguin had given Clark the pebble? The idea was almost unbearable. Here it is, Bruce thought, the ocean wide and inviting spread out in front of him, and he would jump but for the fear of unknown, the shark fins that were possibly circling just beneath the surface. "It's a very nice pebble," he managed and Clark bobbed his head up and down in excitement.
"Where'd you get it?" Bruce asked, heart pounding so loudly he was sure Clark could hear him.
"Oh that cliff over near the fishing grounds," Clark said blithely, utterly unaware of Bruce's internal turmoil. Ah, Bruce distantly noted amidst the dizzying sense of relief, So that's where he'd been all day.
He nudged his blue gray—sky and sea—pebble closer to Clark with his beak and Clark nudged his midnight black one towards Bruce. At the last moment though, Clark leaned forward even more, until he was hesitantly nuzzling Bruce's head.
"So that's a yes?" Clark asked when Bruce didn't bite him.
"I could ask you the same question," Bruce returned.
"Yes," Clark said simply and Bruce may have flapped his wings a little in joy, though he'd never admit it. "And you?"
"Oh Clark," Bruce said affectionately. For all his grand dreams and big ideas—penguins could not fly, no matter what Clark insisted—sometimes Clark was a very foolish penguin, Bruce thought, conveniently forgetting how worried he'd been before himself. He touched the two pebbles with one talon briefly. "I've always been yours."
The two pebbles sat on the ledge that night and every night after, smooth and round and perfect under the stars and crash of the waves against the shore next to the huddled shapes of two soundly sleeping penguins.