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February: Wish You Were Here

Title: February: Wish You Were Here
Disclaimer: They don't belong to me, they belong to DC, if they don't belong to each other.
Pairing: Clark/Bruce
Rating: PG
Summary: Back in canon, Bruce writes some postcards as he travels during his year off. This follows "December: Hero" (not surprisingly). Bruce remembers an AU version of their life when they were lovers, but Clark does not.

This story may have been a bit technically beyond me, since it involves lots of voice-shifting and internal monologue, and is from Bruce's POV (which I'm not very good at). I almost gave up until I did some research into Monte Carlo hotels and found the name of one of the better resorts there. Then I knew it was destiny... :-)


Bruce Wayne sits at a writing desk in the luxury suite of one of the best hotels in Monte Carlo, writing a postcard. He stares at the blank rectangle of paper for about an hour before touching pen to paper.

Feb 1. Hotel le Metropole, Monte Carlo. The front of the postcard is of a glittering casino. ”Dearest Clark”—Oh good Lord, no. “Dear Clark”—not that, either. Keep it light. I shouldn’t even be writing you at all. Why am I writing you? Hey pal, how’s life in the big city?

I miss you. God, I miss you. Monaco is great fun. I keep thinking of your face as the ship pulled away and left you on the dock. You looked like a puppy someone had kicked. I hate when you look at me like that. I always did. Like that time at your eleventh birthday party...no. Stop it, Bruce. Don’t think about that world. Don’t think about it or you’ll be back in Metropolis next week.

Tim’s a little bored, but Dick’s already managed to lose quite a bit at the baccarat table...and with the ladies. I guess boys will be boys. The boys are currently sprawled out on the rug, their dark heads almost touching. Dick is teaching Tim how to cheat at baccarat.

I can’t come back to Metropolis, Clark. I can’t even go back to Gotham yet. It’s too close, too easy. Hope that shoulder’s healing well. When that crazy drifter stabbed you last month, I wanted to kill him. I wanted to kill him in a way I haven’t wanted to kill anyone but the Joker for a long, long time. Just a crazy old homeless guy. I can’t afford to have that inside me. I have to get past that. And I can’t do that around you.

But God, I miss you.
The weather’s great, wish you were here. Bruce.

: : :

Another fancy hotel room. Bruce sits at a desk in a white bathrobe, rubbing his forehead and frowning with concentration. Feb. 12. Baur au Lac Hotel, Zurich, Switzerland. The front of the postcard shows a city ringed with beautiful snow-capped mountains. I can do this. This isn’t so hard. I’m the goddamn Batman, I can write a cheery, empty postcard to a friend. Of course, “the goddamn Batman” doesn’t write cheery letters to friends.

Or have friends, for that matter.


Hiya, chum! How’s my favorite reporter? (I mean Lois of course, ha ha.) Good God. That’s lame even for good ol’ Bruce.

Zurich is gorgeous but DULL DULL DULL after Monaco. Which means more time to think about you. You with your stupid wrinkled suit and that little cut on your cheekbone that you got because you don’t know how to shave anymore. Could you possibly know how sick it made me to see that little cut on your cheek? All I could think about was how your hand had trembled for just a second and how the razor had cut into your skin...how horribly vulnerable you were now and how infinitely precious. I wanted so much to wrap you up in my arms and take you to the Batcave and keep you safe there forever and ever, like the hero in some ridiculous Gothic romance. Yet another thing that I can’t do. Who knew there were so many things I couldn’t do?

I couldn’t keep you safe and I couldn’t stand knowing you weren’t safe. And I couldn’t bear to burden you with the details of that world, all the pain and suffering we caused. It’s better to forget, isn’t it? Even when I’m trying to remember, I can only recall scattered fragments, the images from dreams left after the dream is gone. Some details are more vivid than others. Your hands. How you touched me. Lots of mountains here but no nightlife to speak of, everything’s focused on the stock market. I hire accountants to watch my money so I don’t need to, right? The wind all around us. The taste of you, like salt and sunlit grass. Stop it, Bruce.

The boys say hi. Dick and Tim are reading up on counterfeiting, Tim drawing a diagram for Dick of some important detail. They look up as Bruce leans back in his chair and sighs. Tim asks for his help on figuring out this latest plate. Bruce looks at his two boys and smiles—really smiles. As usual, they look slightly taken aback before returning the smile. But they do. There have been some plus sides to this trip as well.

Wish you were here. Bruce

: : :

Sunlight pours onto a wide balcony outside the royal suite of a Greek resort. Bruce wears a Hawaiian shirt, shorts, and sunglasses as he sits at a white wrought-iron table and touches pen to paper. Feb. 25. Hotel Grande Bretagne, Athens, Greece. Hey bro, wassup? OK, now you’re just being silly, Bruce. Imagine Clark’s face when he reads that...no, upon reflection, don’t.

Athens is more like it! Lots of history and lots of excitement. And I miss you. I thought I would miss you less and instead I miss you more. I wonder if you dream about me, about us, about those two boys, so stupid and cruel and happy. Last night I dreamed that I opened a window and held out my hand to you and smiled, and you looked at me like you had never seen anything more beautiful. I don’t remember what comes before or after that. Just the look on your face and the feel of the wind at my back.

Dick says they’ve got a temple to Nike here. I’m not sure I approve of corporate sponsorship going that far, but it’s kind of cool. Bruce looks over the balcony railing to where the boys are sitting by the pool. Dick has decided that Tim needs to work on his flirtation skills. The older boy is surrounded by enthusiastic women; Tim looks like he wishes he were anywhere but there. Dick likes the Greek ouzo, Tim likes the spanakopita. Me, I’ve been hitting the libraries. Seriously—don’t laugh! OK, OK, there’s this cute librarian...ha ha, you know me! The librarian had indeed been very cute, and Bruce Wayne had been quite charming, charming enough that she had given him access to areas of the library closed to the public. They had flirted and Bruce had murmured meaningless sweet things to her and kissed the top of her head and tried not to hate himself too much when she smiled at him. The look on your face. The way you said my name when you wanted me to talk dirty to you. How your bright, bright eyes fluttered closed when I touched you.

Damnit. Damnit.
Off to Dubai next week. Your tongue in my mouth. Your tongue....

Wish you were here. Bruce

: : :

At the Daily Planet offices in Metropolis, Clark turns over the postcard to look at the picture on the front. The Acropolis, of course. Nothing but the most banal and cliché for Bruce Wayne. He smooths the picture with a thumb, flips it over to look at the bold, looping handwriting again. He looks at it for a long time, then stands up and heads to the editor’s office.

“Mr. White? I’ve got some fascinating leads developing on that ports security firm based in the United Arab Emirates. If I could just get to Dubai I think the results could be quite interesting...”

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
tmelange
Jun. 1st, 2006 04:16 pm (UTC)
Magnificent! I loved two things the most about this story: first, I loved the format. I'm a sucker for interesting presentation and reading something where the author tries different narrative structures. The internal voice as compared to the actual writing was accomplished to great effect. Second, I loved the whole tone of the piece. Bruce's internal dialogue was wonderfully wistful and lonely. Every time he wrote "I wish you were here," I kept expecting Superman to wisk in -- but of course he can't. :sob: Absolutely perfect. This series keeps getting better and better.

Kudos.
jij
Jun. 1st, 2006 10:47 pm (UTC)
Yay! *does happy dance* Well, I mean, yay that the voice changing worked to some extent, not yay that Bruce is having a bad February. I'm so relieved!
kungfunurse
Jun. 1st, 2006 04:35 pm (UTC)
I agree with the comments above, you did this perfectly. I got shivers when I was reading Bruce's longing, and my heart just ached for his confusion and loss. You write this h/c so well, that I almost can't stand for it to end! But OTOH, I NEED it to end! The hallmark of a truly accomplished writer.
arch_schatten
Jun. 2nd, 2006 01:20 am (UTC)
Poooooor Brucie!! Also, he's such a fop. He fopped the entire post cards, I can see Clark reading them with a growing sense of 'wtf??'. He's got to wisk over if just to check that Bruce doesn't has a satto-dealie stuck to his brain :P The format was awesome, if you worried it might be confusing, it wasn't at all! I loved all the little bits about Tim and Dick, thanks a lot for those. Bruce loves his kids so much, the silly ass should acknowledge it more often.

I couldn't stop chuckling at his opening lines. Pal? Chum? Bro? Lol, he's such a lovely fop. I think it's very in character that 'Bruce Wayne' always stays the playboy airhead, even if it's just a postcard for his alternate universe lover/brother. All in all, I'm dying to see March. I can see why he's going to have some trouble with the UST :P the:

Your tongue in my mouth. Your tongue....

Wish you were here. Bruce

Rowr. Seriously. Rooooowr. I love this Jen! Go you!
jij
Jun. 4th, 2006 12:05 am (UTC)
Thanks! I'm also really relieved the little bits with the boys worked--I wanted to show them in there, working and having a good time and all.

I love foppy Bruce Wayne all to death, I do. He's so good at it and my Bruce gets a wicked delight from playing it up just enough that it's silly, but not so much that it's unbelievable.
paxwolf
Jun. 4th, 2006 05:57 am (UTC)
And you say this style of storytelling is "technically beyond you." Pshaw.

This was excellent! (and really you should have some more confidence in your enviable skill!) I think you did a superlative job in mastering the present tense form, and to great effect! The postcard-writing as a device worked tremendously well here, I do think. :-)

I loved the use of Bruce's salutations, especially when he called Clark "chum". That just hearkens back to the old days of pre-Crisis buddy-buddy stories in my mind!

And oh yeah, that 'wish you were here' was just heartbreaking. And Bruce's dream image was very lovely.

Good stuff and looking forward to more. (now I'm getting caught up - think I still have a teenaged Clark/Bruce AU fic to read still though? But ack - my time is almost up at this library. Next time!!!)

PostCard Paxwolf :-)
jij
Jun. 5th, 2006 01:41 pm (UTC)
think I still have a teenaged Clark/Bruce AU fic to read still though?

Yes, you do! And since you liked Bruce's dream image I'll say you definitely need to read it. :)
batfan_sarah
Jun. 11th, 2006 07:07 am (UTC)
Oh I love this. Great Bruce and Batman voices, and I adore the way you put the little references in there.

"Off to Dubai next week. Your tongue in my mouth. Your tongue...."

GUH.

*needs more*
jij
Jun. 12th, 2006 12:16 am (UTC)
Hee! Poor Bruce, he's falling apart.

More on the way, I promise. I couldn't leave them like that, the poor dears!
cmer
Jun. 26th, 2006 02:22 am (UTC)
OMG!! Jen! Jen! JenJenJenJenJenJenJen! YOU TORTURE ME. I loved your GENIUS sense of humor and the way Bruce goes from hopeless romantic to this indifferent and slightly distant Bruce when he writes those awful, "friendly" words on paper! What the hell! No! How is Clark supposed to fall for him if he writes stuff like YOUR PAL?!! JEN!!! *dies*

*comes back to life and composes self*

Sorry. >_<

...LMAO!!! "Hey bro, wassup?" LOL!!!! Best line in the entire fic, hands down!

I really, really hope you'll go further with these letter writings... I mean, when Bruce gets back, Clark might behave differently around him because of the way he writes his letters, and this could break apart their relationship even further... giving us more angst! But that's just me wishful thinking... please ignore me. ;)

...oh wait, never mind, I just read the last two pargaraphs. LOL. Ignore me! XD
jij
Jun. 27th, 2006 12:06 am (UTC)
Don't worry (as you know by now, lol), Clark knows Bruce well enough to know that Bruce would feel like he had to stay "in persona" for something as publically readable as a postcard. It's actually the constant "Wish you were here" that starts to get to him... :) OK, and Bruce is being over-the-top weird as well...
carolandtom
Apr. 29th, 2007 11:22 pm (UTC)
I loved this! I was looking forward to read about what Bruce felt being away from Clark for so long. That image of Clark alone while the ship disappeared in the distance was so sad! I'm glad Bruce misses Clark, really misses him!

This is an incredible work!
jij
May. 2nd, 2007 01:44 pm (UTC)
I'm glad Bruce misses Clark, really misses him!

He does, although--as you've started to see later--that missing him unhinges him for a while in this series. Though you're commenting on Flamebird & Nightwing (very kindly!) as well, so you know that he mellows out quite a bit (Kandor is very, very good for him in the long run).
ladybugkay
Jul. 1st, 2007 10:33 pm (UTC)
I think your use of form here is very effective and successful. I love inner voice, and your use of Bruce's here is hilarious.
jij
Jul. 3rd, 2007 11:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Bruce really cracked me up here, playing around with the Bruciness and wishing he didn't have to...
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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