trista_zevkia: (SuperBat)
[personal profile] trista_zevkia
Title: Don't You Look At Me Like That
Author: Trista_zevkia
Chapter: 1/1
Fandom: Batman/Superman, Batgirl
Characters/Pairing: Clark/Bruce
Rating: PG-17
Warnings: SLASH
Summary: In the language of the fight, this is chaos. What's Cass to do?
Disclaimer: All this happened, more or less
Author's Notes: Previously posted on World's Finest, just trying to get my stuff together.



Cass had stretched thoroughly before donning the armor, and then once again while wearing it. Batman stretched before dressing and Tim after, it was a matter of personal choice. Cass did it twice to reacquaint herself with the weight and movement restrictions of the armor. She’d wondered if she was more aware of herself than Tim and Batman, but didn’t have the words to ask.

It had been hard for her to understand the need of the armor, at the beginning. Now she appreciated it, how protected her from pain she could deal with, but it was easier not to. The secret identity was even harder to understand, even after words had been forced on her, but it had eventually made sense. As Barbara had repeatedly told her, she wasn’t stupid, she just thought differently.

When she finished her second stretch of the night and walked toward her ride, Batman roared into the cave. He had been with the JL, which always seemed to put him in a bad mood. When he slammed the car door and stalked to the computers, Cass realized he had fought with Clark. The rigid cast of his body was only ever that way after Clark had gotten in Batman’s face.

She had never witnessed such a brawl, but had heard much about them. One of the few things everybody agreed on, was the legendary brutal nature of those fights. Cass figured it was true, since so many people agreed on it, in the family and out. Despite their individual intelligence, the family couldn’t even agree on what to call her ride.

Batman had taught her to ride it, pointed to it and said ‘yours.’ Dick called it the Batchick bike, without humor. He still hated Cass for attempting to take Bab’s role, and didn’t trust her for her Cain’s training. Tim called it the girl-cycle, with crude humor that Babs had to correlate to Cass own bodily functions for Cass to understand. Babs flipped between Bat-babe bike and Cassie-cycle.

Batman did not feel the need to put the word Bat in front of everything he made or owned. Sometimes he laughed, sometimes he angered when others did it, he was hard to predict that way. He had put the Bat in front of Cass, if that was how the words went, and that was all that mattered to her.

When the alarms blared, Cass was distracted from straddling the motorcycle. A blue and red blur landed behind Batman. The alarms silenced automatically as the computer informed them that Clark Kent had arrived. Not Superman, because Batman only called him that in front of others. Nobody else had that setting, alarm, identify and off. Cass hadn’t known it was set that way since Clark hardly ever came here.

Even if any of the family came, they had to log into the computer to shut off the alarms. Any visitor, unexpected or not would set off the alarms until one of the family logged them in. As Cass turned to stare at the confrontation a strange thought occurred to her. Did Batman consider Clark family?

“Damn it Bruce! Why do you insist on running everybody into the ground? Kyle’s young, but trying and learning. What more do you expect of him?”

“Young and learning? Maybe he should join the Teen Titians until he grows up.”

Cass looked to Tim at that, expecting him to protest the insult to his team. He was ignoring the fight to slip slowly and quietly into the Redbird. His body language suggested he thought getting noticed right now would be suicidal. He got in and closed the door, but only ducked down into the seat. Apparently, even starting the engine would attract the attention of the fighters in front of the computers. Cass wasn’t afraid of a verbal fight, even though it was the only type of fight she couldn’t win, so she turned back to watch and learn.

“I haven’t actually slapped him down yet, so you should consider the restraint I’ve shown.”

“One day, these people are going to stop being scared of the Bat! What will you do when they team up to stop you?”

Cass reached up and changed the setting on her lenses, in an effort to see the fight better.

“Maybe then I’ll be able to respect them! I have no use for cowards or incompetents.”

Clark looked at Batman with horror and Cass took a few steps toward them. Her name was hissed at her from the Redbird but she ignored it as she got closer.

“Cass!” Now Tim was in her ear, whispering even though he probably was using the comm. frequency Batman didn’t continuously monitor. “Nobody can survive the fallout of their fights, get back here!”

She switched to Tim’s frequency before replying. “Is this a fight?”

Curiosity drew her further but caution was called for when facing the unknown, one thing both her fathers agreed on. She slipped into the many deep shadows of the cave and snuck as close as she dared to the computer platform.

Clark had resumed his yelling and now his anger was vibrating through the cave walls. Batman’s anger made him softer, throatier in his growls. Cass had to change her comm. frequency to hear Batman’s words. Then she started comparing those words to what she was seeing. Batman always made sense, even if she couldn’t understand it at first. But nothing about this made sense to her. Were all verbal fights like this? If so, how was she ever going to learn the rules? In the language of the fight, this was chaos!

“Batgirl!” Batman whirled to stare directly at her where she stood in the shadows. He pointed out of the cave and she understood.

Cass fled to her bike and the safety of the streets of Gotham. Cain had almost killed her several times, Lady Shiva had killed her, but the emotions Batman just turned on her were the scariest things she had ever seen. Tim took her retreat as an opportunity to crank the engine and leave before her. He waited until they were almost in the city before calling to her.

“I told you not to go over there! What did you think you were doing?”

Cass thought about it as she turned off the road Tim was following to get to her patrol area. “Curious, strange. The words don’t matter. Are all word fights like that?”

Tim laughed, but his amused voice was colored with curiosity when he spoke. “No, those two have made yelling an art form. Why? What did you see?”

“I don’t know.” None of her training had shown her that, so she would have to ask somebody to explain. Despite what Babs said, it still made Cass feel stupid when people had to explain ordinary things to her. “Have to ask Oracle, later. Call if you need me.”

“Same to you. Let me know what Oracle says.”

“OK.” Cass thought about the fight after Tim signed off, until a gang fight started her night’s work. Under her mask she smiled, as this fight was one she understood.

sBSbBs


Tim had told Oracle about the fight and Cass’s confusion, so when she saw Babs a few days later, Cass didn’t have to work so hard to explain. Even with the footage Babs had, Cass still hadn’t been able to show what was wrong with the fight. After an hour, they had decided to change tactics. Babs told Cass to find another example of that body language in a different situation and she would be able to help. Cass had doubted this would work, since she had witnessed a lot in her time but nothing came close to this.

Babs had then given Cass footage of Superman to watch, to make sure his body language was human normal. She even provided a link to the security footage of the Daily Planet, so Cass could watch Clark’s body language. The body was the same, but the differences in expression were there. Cass wondered if she would have been able to see through Clark’s disguise if she had met him without knowing about his secret identity. Now she realized she had just confused herself. Which was the secret, the fact you were a hero or the fact that you were normal?

Head too full, Cass went for a walk and tried to find matching body language. After an hour’s walk, Cass turned to take a different route back to her apartment. She had time to make it back, cover the bat insignias on the bike and make it to Wayne Manor in time for one of Alfred’s incredible suppers. Or she could use the credit cards and buy something nearby and get ready for tonight in her own cave.

Cass was thinking about something other than the fight for the first time in days, so she found her answer. A cab let a young woman out on the street in front of her. She was pretty, but disheveled and tired. Her body showed excitement and humor. She had a large suitcase on wheels, a purse and a briefcase in her left arm. Her right arm held a phone to her ear as she talked, loud enough Cass could hear her as she drew closer.

“My business trip? Definitely better than expected, I’ll tell you all about it after I get home next week.” The woman stopped on a doorstep and set down her stuff as she listened to the reply. “That’s great, Ron! Oh, by the way, I ordered something.” Cass slowed down a little as she witnessed this lie. “Have you checked the porch recently?”

Cass was almost even with the doorway when it opened, and a startled man dropped his phone as he stared at the woman. “Hi, Ron. Can I come in?”

Her voice was coy, but it was Ron’s movements that made Cass stumble to a halt. He lurched forward to grab the woman and hug her to him. They laughed together, but before she could explain her business was done early, they were kissing. There was lust enough there for all to see, but that wasn’t all there was.

Lust was everywhere, one of the first things Cass had learned to see after she fled from Cain. This was different, rare, special, and this was what Batman and Clark felt for other. The insignificant word floated into Cass’s mind, and brought with it a desire to feel that emotion. Love was no longer insignificant in Cass’s world.

sBSbBs


Secrets were annoying when you had to work so hard to figure everything out, Cass decided. Babs and Tim had asked if she had figured out what she had seen and Cass had been unable to respond. Were Batman and Clark keeping this a secret from everybody, or from each other, or from themselves? Confused, Cass had decided to speak to Batman about it only to find he had been called away.

Putting it out of her mind, Batgirl had worked the streets for several nights. Using her motorcycle to stop a fleeing robbery suspect had been necessary, but she felt like a failure as she rode beside Alfred in the tow truck. She had the mask off and a coat on in case anybody looked inside the vehicle. Briefly, she wondered if she should ask Alfred about Batman and Clark.

She liked Alfred but he always looked at her with sorrow and shame. Alfred felt guilty for what a fellow human being had done to Cass, and she didn’t know how to respond to that. She turned to look at his kind face, hidden behind his fake beard, wondering if she could explain. He saw her look and offered her a small, kind smile.

“Do not concern yourself so, Mistress Cassandra. This is one of the few things in life that can be fixed, with just a little care.”

Cass blinked at him for a while. Had he read her thoughts? No, he was talking about the bike, he thought she was worried about repairing the machine. His words just meant more than he knew. Cass was grinning when she helped Alfred put the bike in the repair bay and he grinned back as he pulled off his disguise.

“Alfred, show me. How to fix.”

“Anything you want me to show you, all you have to do is ask.” Alfred was sincere as always and Cass could appreciate that in her world of secrets.

She had no interest in the house work he did, or cooking but maybe he knew other things she could learn. Their moment was interrupted as Batman stalked out of the hanger, having returned from his trip in the Bat-wing. Emotions radiated off of him as he went to the computers. The short alarm beat him there and announced it was Clark even as Batman stepped up to face him on the computer platform.

Cass and Alfred exchanged looks before Alfred snuck off to the elevator. Cass worked her way over to watch, without bothering to try and sneak up on them. Clark was speaking in a surprisingly calm voice as he glowered at Batman.

“When the crisis is over, we establish diplomatic relations with the good guys, it’s for the benefit of the galaxy. I think that was even your idea, so WHY DID YOU CRAM A CARROT UP THE NOSE OF THE AMBASADOR?” His voice now echoed throughout the cave and made Batman’s response almost impossible to hear.

“No carrots on Pimatus, I think it was a squash.”

“Damn it, Bruce! We’d be at war now if the Flash hadn’t thought to tell him it was a sign of affection in Gotham!” Clark reached up to rub the bridge of his nose. “Why did you do it?”

“I found his plans for sterilizing homosexuals stupid. What’s the point if they can’t reproduce naturally?”

“You thought his opinion was illogical and shoved a vegetable up his nose? Bruce, do you have any idea how fast I would have expelled any other member of the league who pulls the kind of crap you do?”

“Expel me then. If I wanted to waste time attending meetings, I’d get up in time for the 8 AM board meeting.”

“You intimidate, scare and depress people at JL meetings, so maybe I will!”

“Why don’t you then?” Reason itself, the voice held no curiosity but Clark responded as if he had heard it.

“Because I still think you’re good for the team.”

“No, he likes spending time with you.” Both men turned to stare at Cass as she spoke and she could only shrug at their expressions. It was the truth and that would shield her from their anger, she expected. Or was the word hoped?

Clark looked at her like he wanted to know how she knew that. Batman knew so his questions were different.

“You can read him?” Cass nodded, so Batman continued. “Human normal?”

“Clark, yes. For Superman I have to change some.”

“Adjust, Cass?”

“Yes, adjust.” Damn words, so many that meant almost the same thing.

“What are you two talking about?” Batman turned to stare at a confused Clark for a long minute before coming to some sort of decision. A few practiced movements and the cowl was off so Bruce could speak to Clark.

“You have infinite patience for everybody else, even villains. So why do you get so mad at me when I act human?”

“You have no idea how much restraint I show when I’m around you!” Clark turned his answer to Bruce, hoping Cass would go away.

Cass didn’t leave, translating for Batman. “You stir up his other emotions, but anger is all he lets himself admit to.”

“Why?” Batman knew about hiding what he felt, but was surprised Clark did.

“We’re getting off topic! Cass, you can leave while I talk with Batman.”

“Cass is staying, since you’re lying to me, Boy Scout.”

“Where is this coming from? I’m not lying to you!” Clark was starting to panic, overwhelmed by being ganged up on in Batman’s domain.

“He’s lying to himself.” Cass had always been confused by this, what would be the point in lying to yourself?

“I see that now, but why?” Batman’s eyebrows drew together as he considered Clark. Hope was changing the posture of his body, at least to Cass’s eyes. “How’s Lois?”

Thrown by the change in topic Clark took a moment to respond. His words included an arm gesture that Batman didn’t need Cass to interpret. Stalling, filling in for the words he couldn’t say, Clark didn’t want to answer Batman’s question. “Lois is fine.”

“Why did Lois leave you, Clark?”

“What? Lois is fine.”

“Fine, yes. But gone. I don’t like to repeat myself Clark, so why?”
In his anger, Clark let his feet leave the floor as he glared at Bruce. “It’s none of your business!”

“He blames you, Batman, but knows it’s not your fault. How does that work?”

“Later Cass.” She accepted Batman’s promise to explain later, he had other things on his mind right now. “Clark, why do you blame me?”

“You two are insane! I don’t know why you believe the weird things she’s saying!”

“Why did Lois leave? Or should I call her and ask?” Clark seemed to deflate but it could have just been from his feet touching the floor again.

“We had problems, all couples do.”

Problems, yes. But one problem in particular that Lois couldn’t handle, that was so obvious to Cass. “Sex.”

“No! Ignore Cass, this was emotional stuff. The sex was fine.” Clark’s words argued with his body, letting Cass know she was on the right track.

“Until it wasn’t.”

“Sex held us together when the changes in our needs drew us apart!”

“Until Batman was there.” Batman turned to Cass in surprise and an unusual innocence.

“What? Cass, I never…”

“I told you she was saying weird things!” Clark called Batman’s attention back to him even as he interrupted Bruce’s words. “You were never there so it’s not your fault.”

“Then why do you blame me?” Clark blushed deeply at Batman’s words and was considering flying away. But Cass understood what Clark wasn’t saying and said it for him.

“He wanted you there.” Clark jerked at the words and ran a hand through his hair. A nervous habit that Bruce recognized with wide eyes. Cass couldn’t see proof, but she had a feeling. A hunch, maybe? “He called for you.”

“Don’t you look at me like that, either one of you!” He pointed at Cass but kept his eyes on Batman because he couldn’t look away. Clark was clinging to his anger but now he was more embarrassed than anything and slightly ashamed of what he felt. “So I called out to Bruce when I climaxed, happens to people all the time! Lois didn’t believe it was simply my super-hearing putting your name in my head. Claimed I had repressed feelings for you and stormed out six weeks ago. Now you know, so stop shoving things in alien’s nostrils and life will be fine. Goodbye!”

Clark was lifting off but not at full speed, like he hoped somebody would stop him. Batman did stop him, with a firm grip on his arm and a strong pull. They faced each other for a moment, terrified, before moving together to kiss. They melted together and Cass watched with delight.

She considered it was a private moment and she probably should leave. Curiosity held her though and she waited until they broke apart. They stared at each other for a long moment of disbelief and desire and Cass felt it was appropriate to ask her question.

“How does man have sex with man?” Clark flushed crimson at her words, but Batman got a wicked smile.

“Ask Dick.” Batman thought it would be funny and pay Dick back for the way he treated her.

Cass felt like crying with happiness, knowing this meant Batman did not approve of the way his eldest son treated his daughter. Smiling instead, Cass turned away and let them have privacy. Maybe love wasn’t as rare as she had thought, just different.

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