Superman trails after Batman, floating a scant three or four inches off the floor of the Watchtower corridor. “I just thought—”
“You weren’t thinking,” Batman sneers. “As usual. Any idiot would know that diving into the gaping mouth of a snake monster is a bad idea, even if their name is Superman.”
The Man of Steel shifts his weight from foot to foot. In mid-air. “It’s not like it would have killed me.”
Batman huffs in annoyance. “You didn’t know that. Despite what the media calls you, you are not a god. And we both know even gods have their limitations.”
Perfect cheekbones are tinged with pink, and blue eyes flash as Superman starts to lose his temper. “You’re being unreasonable. Nothing happened.”
“That’s not the point. The point is, you can’t keep hot dogging it and hoping nothing will happen either. Statistically, it’s inevitable that something will happen.”
“And on that day, I am sure you will say ‘I told you so’ very loudly. But until then, why fix it if it ain’t broke?”
“Uh oh,” the Flash whispers to Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern currently assigned to their sector. “Mommy and daddy are fighting again.”
“Dude, I think you’re forgetting something very important,” Hal replies, face and voice serious as a funeral.
“Oh? And what’s that, GL?”
“Super hearing,” Superman says smirking.
“Also,” the Green Lantern says, pausing for dramatic effect as he points at the Dark Knight, “Batman.”
The man in question appears expressionless, but that’s pretty much par for the course when it comes to Gotham’s caped crusader.
“Let’s get this briefing over and done with,” Aquaman suggests as they all walk into the founders’ conference room. “We’ve all got better things to do than hang around.”
“Indeed,” Wonder Woman agrees as she takes a seat. “Steve has promised we may partake of the ice cream! I did so enjoy it the last time I tried it, although my snack was interrupted by invading forces and I was forced to abandon it.”
Flash scratches his head. “Uh, Wondy, you know you can just buy the stuff off ice cream vendors, right? Or even at the supermarket.”
“There is ice cream in the cafeteria,” Batman intones, settling into his seat to Superman’s right.
The Flash yelps. “What? Since when?”
“Since the first time Diana expressed an interest in trying more ice cream following the defeat of the invading forces.”
Wonder Woman smiles warmly. “Thank you, Batman. You are a good friend.”
“He has also ensured that the pantry is well-stocked with Chocos, which I have developed a fondness for.” J’onn J’onzz speaks up for the first time.
“How come you never get me anything, Batman?” the Flash whines.
“The cafeteria is continually stocked with high-carbohydrate options, as you mentioned these were particularly suited to your metabolism,” the Martian Manhunter says. “Batman facilitates the restocking of Watchtower supplies, and the commissary is but one of the areas by which he ensures our continued wellbeing.”
“That was you, Bats? Hey, thanks!”
“All right, all right,” Superman says impatiently. “Can we get started with this mission debrief?”
Everyone looks at Batman, who then proceeds to do a rundown of the battle they’ve all just engaged in, along with an assessment of casualties (injuries, but no deaths) and property damage (significant), and a breakdown of each team member’s actions over the course of the battle.
The Dark Knight punctuates his narration with recommendations for improvement as well as reprimands for sloppy work. The Flash and the Green Lantern thank him for his recommendations and shrug off his scolding. (“Green Lantern, you continually fail to guard your flank when engaged, leaving yourself vulnerable to attack. Flash, you must remember to triage the injured you assist, the better to get them emergency aid.)
But Superman tenses at each criticism, his expression tightening and his mouth stretching into a tiny grimace each time Batman shoots off a recommendation—usually for more training. By the time Batman is done running down the errors committed by the Man of Steel, the frown is well and truly furrowed into the Kryptonian’s forehead.
The Founders can tell Kal-El is a volcano bubbling with molten fury, ready to explode. They resign themselves to the inevitability of another blow up, and it comes swiftly enough.
“Training, training, training! That’s all you think we should be doing when we’re not dealing with actual threats! Some of us have other jobs, you know! Not to mention lives outside the cape.”
“Don’t ‘hnn’ at me, Batman! Why can’t you give credit where credit’s due? I for one think the team did a fantastic job dealing with that snake monster.”
“Aww, thanks Supes,” Flash says, having pulled out a bag of potato chips from who knows where. He munches down happily, and loudly. “We think you’re aces too.”
“Obviously, not everybody thinks so,” Superman says darkly.
Batman merely waits him out, like Superman’s wrath is a dramatic production he has little time for. “Are you done.”
“You know what? Yes, I am! I’m going to head to my quarters to clean up. The insides of that snake monster were gross.”
So saying, Superman gets up and flies out of the room. There’s no sound to his flight, but the tension is such that if one could stomp while levitating, the rest of the founders are sure they’d still be hearing the Man of Steel all the way down the hall.
Wordlessly, Batman gets up and stalks out. His exit is silent and menacing.
The remaining founders watch their co-leaders leave. “Well, meeting adjourned, I guess,” Aquaman says, amusement in his tone.
“Called it,” Hal says, holding a fist out for the Flash to bump.
Five minutes after he walks out of the conference room, Bruce is up against the wall of his quarters, his cowl off, hot lips at his throat. As Clark tongues his pulse point, the Dark Knight grunts, pushing the Man of Steel off him far enough so he can start stripping his armor. Clark takes the hint and helps them get naked, with all the advantages of super speed.
Four seconds later, Bruce’s hand is on him, and Clark moans at the sensation of the calloused skin abrading oversensitized skin.
“Bruce,” he breathes, then crushes his lover’s lips beneath his own as his hips piston his cock into Bruce’s hand. “Let’s go to bed.”
“Do you think they’re onto us?”
Clark is sprawled half on top of Bruce, chin tucked into the other man’s shoulder, a hand stroking Bruce’s hair languidly.
When they had first gotten together, Clark’s cuddle monkey tendencies had disconcerted the Dark Knight to no end. But over time, he’s come to appreciate the way Clark demonstrates his satisfaction, and afterglow has come to mean a loose tangle of limbs and lazy, wandering fingers.
“What does that mean?” Clark stops petting Bruce’s hair, raises himself up far enough to frown into his lover’s face. “I mean, not that I think they’d have a problem with it, but you’re the one who thinks it’ll wreck the team dynamic if they knew about us.”
Clark rolls his eyes. “Use your words, Bruce.”
“Except for J’onn and possibly Diana, they don’t suspect anything,” Batman says finally, shifting a bit to get comfortable. Clark nudges him onto his side—the Kryptonian is a pathological spooner. Bruce grunts, but lets Clark arrange him as he likes.
Finally, they settle, and Bruce closes his eyes and feels himself start to drift.
“How do you know?”
Bruce groans, turns over, opens cloudy blue eyes to meet Clark’s brilliant azure ones. “How do I know what?”
“How do you know they don’t suspect anything?” Clark says patiently, a small smile playing at his mouth. Grumpy Bruce is his second favorite iteration of his lover, after Sleepy Bruce, and when the two collide, it’s completely adorable. Well, Clark thinks so, anyway.
Not that he would dare use the word “adorable” to describe his lover, if he wants to avoid having that lover hurl a kryptonite-edged batarang at his jugular.
“Hal bet Flash half a dozen Big Belly Burgers it would take you less than thirty minutes to storm out of the debriefing.”
Clark frowns. “How rude.”
“It’s Jordan.” Bruce closes his eyes again. Clark muses that, to Bruce, that’s all the explanation needed. And knowing the Bat as well as he does, he supposes that’s true enough. Bruce has never been reticent about his thoughts on the other members of their team, not with Clark anyway.
“It is,” Clark murmurs.
“Also, except possibly for the Martian, none of them have figured out nothing gets you horny like getting your rage on.”
“Um.” It’s funny to think that, after what they’d just done, it’s this that has him blushing.
Bruce smirks, eyes still closed. “Use your words, Clark.”
The other man snorts. “Get some sleep, smartass.”
“Trying,” Bruce grumbles. “We can talk about telling them later.”
The Kryptonian stills. “How did you know I wanted to talk about that?” he asks, tense.
Blue eyes open wide enough to squint at him. “I’m Batman,” Bruce says flatly. Then closes his eyes again.
“That you are,” Superman murmurs, pulling the blanket over his lover gently. He reaches up to brush a lock of the other man’s hair from his face before settling in and closing his own eyes.
The argument they’re sure to have can wait a while, he decides. After all, half the fun of fighting with Bruce is making up with him. He does so enjoy all the ways he still manages to speed up the oh-so-disciplined Bat’s heartrate.
He’s drifting off when Bruce mumbles, “Besides, I’ve been using it as a training assessment technique for years.”
“Huh?” Clark isn’t sure if it’s sleepiness that prevents his brain from understanding what Bruce has said.
“Been waiting for them… to figure it out. Pisses me off we’ve been together longer than the League’s been established, and no one’s put two and two to come up with four. Sloppy. Poor observational skills.”
“We’re very discreet,” Clark offers, after taking a moment to process that their secret relationship has doubled as a training exercise.
“The kids figured it out in under a month. And you use your x-ray vision watch my ass under the cape whenever you walk behind me in the corridors.”
“It’s a really great ass.”
“We work with really great idiots.”
Clark snorts out a laugh. “Okay,” he says, grinning as he snuggles closer. “You win. But how about we be a little more obvious and see if they work it out for themselves?”
“Were all living with us when they figured it out. And they’ve all trained under the World’s Greatest Detective. Cut the League some slack. Please? For me? I want them to know.”
“Hmph. Fine. We will be less discreet in the hope the League will use the observational skills they should’ve been working on improving. I will not deny our relationship if they hint at it. I will confirm it if they ask me about it directly.”
Clark smiles, presses a kiss to Bruce’s shoulder. “Love you too, baby.”