A/N: Whoops haven't written anything for awhile... but I was doing my Batman Begins-Dark Knight rewatch (in preparation for The Dark Knight Rises) and finally got some motivation.
This was supposed to be for a fluff table prompt, "heal," but it quickly turned kinda angsty. Oh well.
Why did this always happen to us? Bruce wondered, with just a bit of annoyance. Crashlanded on a red sun planet that just happened to be a barren wasteland, with not a speck of water in sight, nor a cloud in the sky. The ship utterly destroyed. In fact, Bruce mused idly, they'd been lucky to get out with just a few minor burns and bruises. Or, he'd been lucky that Superman had been there. By now though, the red sun had sapped Superman's powers away, forcing them to decide whether to go searching for water or stay in the questionable shelter of their ruined ship. Batman had suggested moving out-they'd seen some flying animals earlier, which made the possibility of water somewhere nearby pretty likely. In addition, Batman had argued to an uncharacteristically silent Superman, their tracking devices were on themselves as well as the ship, so it was simply a race to whether their teammates would find them or death by thirst. Superman had considered that for a moment and then stood up, ready to leave. He'd grinned at Batman's face.
"I know we haven't exactly gotten along," Superman said. Batman snorted; that was an understatement. "However," Superman continued doggedly, "that doesn't mean that I don't trust you, or that I wouldn't like for someday to have you call me your friend, Bruce."
That had been the last thing they'd said before setting off. Now Bruce rubbed a hand over his face; he'd long since abandoned his cowl under the glare of the hot sun. He saw Superman, who's breathing was rather labored, cast him a worried glance. He was about to say something when he abruptly noticed that one of the rock formations nearby was moving. "Get down!" Batman barked, suddenly painfully aware of Superman's lack of invulnerability at the moment, as the largest lion Bruce had ever seen detached itself from the side of the rock and leapt at him, claws outstretched. He dodged the leap and the swipe the lion took afterwards, but barely. Damn, but the things were fast.
The lion crouched in front of him, growling soundlessly, utterly unmoving except for a twitch of its tail. No wonder he hadn't noticed it before; it looked exactly like a large rock like that, other than the tail. It was obviously a top predator here. Batman watched it carefully, wondering what it was waiting for.
He whirls just in time to dodge a pounce as another lion appeared from a rock and attacked, with yet another one, larger than the other two moving toward Superman. Batman thought quickly: dehydrated and tired as they were, their only chance of surviving would be to convince them that there were better prey to pursue. And then the huge one staring down Superman took a leap, which apparently was a signal to the other two, as they immediately attacked Batman.
These lions, Batman realized as he kicked and punched and dodged, were smart as well as fast. Slowly, they were moving Superman and Batman away from each other, their attacks not only brutal, but coordinated. Unacceptable, Batman thought. He braced himself for a pounce, when the lion abruptly twisted in the air, and he realized that it was going for Superman, not him.
The sound of Superman's cry of pain was audible even amidst the snarls.
Batman kicked his remaining lion viciously in the jaw so that it howled in pain, and threw a batarang at one of the lions circling Superman, causing it to whirl with a snarl. Superman's body was taut with pain, his mouth set in a grim line. His movement was already hampered, and Batman really needed to take a look at the wound. This had to end, and quickly.
Now fighting only one lion, and an injured one at that, Batman had no trouble chasing it off, especially with Superman struggling against two opponents while blood stained the front of his costume.
The one he'd thrown a batarang at moved toward him, much more cautiously than before. With its attacks hampered by its newfound uncertainty, Batman managed to land a strong kick on one of its legs. The lion howled with pain and backed away from him unsteadily, whimpering.
The lion still left standing, the giant one, the leader, growled in frustration. "Sorry to disappoint," Batman said, "but we're not on the menu today." He took a step forward, readying himself for an attack. Huh, he thought when the lion didn't move, seeming to flattened itself against the landscape a little, ears flicking with unease.
Batman shifted to an obviously aggressive stance, locked eyes with the lion, and bared his teeth. It shouldn't have worked. But Bruce threw all the menace he could summon into his stare, and more than that, he put his desperation. The lion backed up a step when he took one forward, glanced back at its limping pack member, and retreated with a final snarl. Batman remained in position for a moment longer to make sure they were really gone, until a wheezing laugh made him swing around.
"You just scared off a giant lion by glaring at it," Superman said, much too cheerily for their situation. Bruce ignored him in favor of falling to his knees and gently prying Superman's fingers away from where they were pressing the cloth of his costume tightly against the wound. He sucked in a sharp breath at the sight.
"How bad is it?" Superman asked, eyes meeting his.
"Bad enough," Bruce said shortly. "Lie down."
Superman made a face at the movement, but shifted so that he was no longer leaning against a rock, but flat on the ground. "At least we have some medical supplies," he said. Bruce made a noise of agreement, forcing his fear and worry off his face; the last thing Superman needed right now was someone fawning and distressed over him. He didn't want to cause Superman to feel the need to comfort him. The blood welled up between his fingers where they were splayed against Superman's bare chest, trying to hold the wound closed as he ripped some bandages.
Too little, Bruce thought, with something that would have been despair if Batman would allow it. Not enough. He brushed sweaty hair off Superman's forehead, continuing the motion to stroke his pale cheek. Bruce looked around to check that they were still clear, and he should really move his hand so that Superman didn't wake up and wonder why Batman was caressing him. But Superman was leaning into his touch as if it were sunlight and Bruce couldn't find it within himself to move away, wishing that his touch really was sunlight, that he had more to give. But there was no yellow sun here, only Batman, and in its absence, Batman would have to be enough.
"What happened to 'Bats are nocturnal?'" Clark teases when he wakes to find Bruce standing by the window early one morning, watching the sunrise. Bruce shrugs a little, gazing out at his city dusted with gold. "You know the boys had Gotham covered last night," Clark says softly.
"Yeah," Bruce says, just as quietly, wondering if Clark ever suspected the truth.
"Come back to bed then."
Bruce can see Clark's smile reflected in the window. He turns so that he can see the real one. Clark puts an arm around his waist and tangles their legs together when he slides under the covers again, and then promptly falls back asleep. Bruce listens as his breathing evens out and watches the suns rays split the sky in gold. He's never told Clark, but dawn is his favorite time of the day. Night belongs to Batman, but sunrise means that the man Bruce loves will be safe. He hasn't forgotten that day, all those years ago, when there had been no sunlight and he'd been left to hold Superman's chest together as he'd bled on the ground of an alien desert. He'd almost learned the hard way that day that Batman couldn't always protect Superman, but the sun could. Does. He yawns and pulls the covers from where Clark's managed to gather them during the night over himself and falls asleep to the sight of Clark's face lit up in the gentle glow of the morning sun, healing them both.