This was written in response to this prompt from the 5th Anniversary/Birthday Celebration going on over at worlds_finest. It was supposed to be short and silly and, well... it got away from me, as fics often do. And even though there is a part of me that still can't believe I wrote this, there is another larger part that is honestly rather pleased with it, so... I REGRET NOTHING.
It's also my first Supes/Bats story, and that alone made it super fun to write, so I hope you enjoy reading it! Thanks, guys! :D
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Word Count: ~3000 (Yes, that's right. I'm still not sure how that happened.)
Characters/Pairings: Clark/Bruce, Dick, Tim, Alfred.
Prompt: From makeitrednblack : Bruce gets cat ears and a tail, what other cat aspects does he have? (he purrs, he likes sleeping in the sun, gets high off of catnip?)
Summary: In which Bruce has a problem, Clark can't stop staring, and it becomes increasingly difficult to tell just who is seducing whom.
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Clark was just leaving the Daily Planet when his League communicator beeped, announcing an incoming message from Dick Grayson. Clark tugged his cell phone out of his pocket to avoid looking like he was talking to himself in the middle of a busy Metropolis street, then connected the call.
“Hey, Dick,” he greeted, already smiling; Dick Grayson had that effect on people. “What’s up?”
“Are you busy right now? We have a little problem in the Cave that I think you’ll want to see.”
“Is something wrong?” Clark asked with a frown. His mind was already flashing through a multitude of scenarios: a new strain of Kryptonite, some deranged doomsday device, something terrible happening to Bruce. That last thought made him feel a little panicky.
“No, no,” Dick said, almost laughing. “Sorry, I probably should have led with that. It’s nothing serious, just… come to the Cave, if you can. It’ll be easier to explain in person.”
“Sure. I’ll see you in a few,” Clark said. The line disconnected and Clark stepped casually into an alleyway, and within a moment he was streaking toward Gotham.
The Cave was as chilly and dark as ever, lit only by the distant glow of the computer screens. Batman was standing in front of the center screen, fully costumed, and Clark barely had time to reflect on how odd that was before Batman spoke.
“Clark.” Batman’s voice was soft, casual, and Clark relaxed a bit as he landed. A calm Bruce meant no emergency. “I assume Dick called you.”
“That’s right,” Clark said. “He said there was something I had to see?”
“Of course he did.” Bruce shook his head. “Honestly, we just got back. Even Alfred doesn’t know yet.”
“Know what?” Clark asked, his brow furrowing. “What’s going on?”
Batman said nothing for a second, and then he turned to face Clark, his eyes narrowing dangerously.
“You will not laugh,” Batman said. His voice was low and menacing, white lenses gleamed eerily in the near-darkness. “You will not mock. You will not tell anyone about what you are about to see without my express consent. You will make only constructive comments and if I see you experiencing too much amusement at my expense, I will fetch the Kryptonite. Understood?”
“Yeah, sure,” Clark said, suddenly concerned. “What happened?”
Batman let out an almost imperceptible sigh. “Nightwing and I ran into Circe.”
“Ah.” Superman had encountered the sorceress often enough to understand the implications behind that statement. “And?”
“And I pissed her off, so…” Batman sighed again, louder this time, then lifted his hands and drew the cowl back, revealing closed eyes, mussed dark hair, and – perched atop his head – two pointed, fuzzy gray ears.
Clark stared at the ears, wide-eyed, and his thoughts stuttered to a halt.
Bruce was – Bruce had –
“She… gave you cat ears?” Clark asked, his voice slightly strained. Bruce opened his eyes to glare at him and the left ear twitched, clearly in annoyance. It was rather adorable, really. That much cuteness should never have worked against Bruce’s aristocratic features, but Clark felt himself oddly enthralled with the effect.
“That’s not all she gave me.” Bruce swept his cloak up and turned slightly so Clark could see the long, lashing tail at his back, striped with black and gray and just as furry as the ears.
“Huh,” Clark said. He knew he was staring, but he could not help it. The tail’s irritable swishing was rather hypnotizing, and it was… intriguing, to say the least, to be able to read the usually inscrutable Bruce by watching the flattening of those two furry little ears.
“Quit gawking,” Bruce said, and Clark closed his gaping mouth. Bruce let the cape drop and slumped elegantly into his computer chair. Clark watched him as though in a trance, studying the silky folds of Batman’s black cape for any sign of the twitching tail beneath it. He wondered vaguely if Bruce had always moved with such feline grace, then realized that he was still standing frozen like a slack-jawed idiot so he moved closer to Bruce's chair, the better to watch the computer screen Bruce was working on.
“So what’s the plan?” Clark asked.
“I need to contact as many of the League’s magic users as possible,” Bruce said, bringing up the personnel files on the League’s magicians. “The sooner I get this fixed, the better. We’ll start with the reliable magicians, the ones we know we can trust. Hopefully at least one of them can help.”
“You’re asking Zatanna first?” Clark asked, eyeing the list.
“I’ve known her the longest, and she’s dealt with this kind of thing before.” Bruce swiped a weary hand through his hair. Clark watched in fascination as the pointed ears folded beneath Bruce’s fingers before perking straight again. Clark was struck by the strangest temptation to stroke them. They looked so soft, so delicate, covered in velvety silver fur that simply ached to be touched…
“What are you doing?” Bruce said, and Clark realized that he had unconsciously reached out, only to be caught by Bruce in the screen’s reflection. Icy blue eyes met his, fierce and challenging, and Clark felt warmth rise in his cheeks.
Bruce drew the cowl slowly back over his head, and Clark looked away, unsure whether or not he should apologize.
“I just contacted Zatanna,” called a cheerful voice from the stairs. Relieved at the intrusion, Clark looked back to see Dick – still clad in Nightwing’s costume, lacking only his mask – trotting down the steps with Alfred at his heels. “She said she’ll meet with you later tonight.”
“Fine,” Batman said.
“Why do you have the cowl on?” Dick asked. “That can’t be comfortable for your new ears.”
Batman fixed Dick with a dark glare that went completely unheeded, then swiped both cape and cowl from his shoulders, tossing them onto a nearby table.
Alfred – prepared as always – seemed to take his master’s sudden transformation in stride, his only reaction a prim lifting of his eyebrows and an offering of more comfortable clothes.
“Master Richard informed me of your predicament, Master Bruce,” Alfred said, holding out a simple white t-shirt and some old sweatpants. “These should do. I’ve taken the liberty of fashioning a hole in the back of the pants, to better suit your newest… appendage.”
Bruce snatched the clothes with a muttered thanks and rose to change, furry ears flattened against his dark hair and said ‘appendage’ furiously swiping the air behind him.
“Glad you could make it, Clark,” Dick said with a wink.
“Yes, welcome as always to our lovely Cave, Mister Kent,” Alfred said. “I do hope the entertainment lives up to your expectations.” His voice was dry, as proper as ever, but there was a gleam of amusement in his eyes that made Clark grin.
“Oh, I think I’m plenty entertained, Alfred. Thank you.”
“Are you quite finished?” Bruce asked, and Clark glanced over at him to see that he had already slipped into the low-slung sweatpants and was just tugging the t-shirt down over his stomach. Clark was about to look away (out of common decency, of course), but then – he blinked.
Were those stripes curling around Bruce’s hips?
“Finished mocking you?” Dick asked. “Never. Tim’s not even here yet.”
“You told Tim?” Bruce said, voice laced with exasperation, and not a moment later Tim descended the stairs into the cave. He froze at the base of the steps to stare wide-eyed at Bruce.
“Whoa,” he breathed.
“There he is,” Dick announced, completely unnecessarily, and Clark did not think he had ever seen the acrobat look giddier.
“Can I… can I touch your tail?” Tim asked, stepping forward. Bruce shot him a dark look and Tim flushed. “For science, of course.”
Bruce sighed and his cat ears swiveled in annoyance. “Fine.”
Tim approached cautiously, as though expecting Bruce to lash out at him at any second, and closed gentle fingers around the twitching gray tail. He blinked, his eyes going wide.
“It’s… soft,” Tim said, voice low with awe. Dick stepped forward to touch the tail, as well, and Clark felt an irrational surge of something like jealousy that Bruce would so brazenly, so calmly, allow his wards to… to fondle him, when Clark was scolded for attempting one simple touch.
“What does it feel like?” Dick asked, smoothing the silvery fur between his fingers. “Being part cat, I mean.”
Bruce did not look at him, his gaze intent on the computer screen where he was scrolling through Zatanna's file.
“It’s hard to explain,” he said. “The whole effect is not altogether unpleasant. Circe must be getting soft in her old age.”
“That, or she likes you,” Dick said with a wry grin, and Bruce snorted.
“How long do you think it will last?” Tim asked.
“No idea. That’s why I need Zatanna.”
“You know, Bruce, I’m surprised you don’t want to run some experiments on yourself before you get fixed,” Dick said. Tim snorted at Dick’s choice of wording, earning himself yet another glare.
“And what kind of experiments would you recommend?” Bruce asked, his voice dangerously low.
“Well, for one… does this distract you?” Dick asked, dangling a loose cable in front of Bruce’s face. “Do you have a sudden urge to play with it? To chase it, perhaps?”
“How about a nice nap in the sun?” Tim asked. “Or maybe some catnip. Would you like some catnip?”
“Out,” Bruce said. “Both of you.”
Snickering, Tim grabbed Dick’s arm and began to lead him out of the cave, but Dick stopped at the base of the stairs, clearly unable to stop grinning.
“Hey Bruce,” he called. Bruce’s shoulders tensed. The fuzzy ears on top of his head twitched in agitation and his fingers arched into claws over the keys.
“What.” It was more a growl than a question, but Dick bore on, undaunted.
“As long as we’re heading upstairs, do you want us to bring you something to eat? Milk? Cream? Maybe some sushi?”
Dick ducked as a coffee mug sailed through the air where his head had just been, smashing against the far wall with a tinkling crash.
“So that’s a no?” he asked, and then he and Tim beat a hasty retreat when Bruce reached for the Batarangs.
“Really, Master Bruce,” Alfred scolded, eyeing the shattered mug with distaste.
“I knew he’d dodge,” Bruce grumbled, turning back to the computer. “And if he didn’t a mug in the face would have served him right.”
Alfred let out a long-suffering sigh and went to dispose of the mug’s remains, leaving Clark alone in the Cave with Bruce.
Which was precisely what Clark had been dreading.
An awkward silence descended, in which Bruce summoned up some old case files and Clark tried his best not to hover. Or stare.
Clark took in a deep breath. He could deal with this. Of course he could. Even though part of him seemed to be irrationally, magnetically attracted to this new cat-Bruce, Clark had spent years inuring himself to the charms of regular-Bruce, so surely he could handle the new temptation of cute pointed ears, a long soft tail, and the completely unfair tease of curling stripes on Bruce’s bare skin.
He did not need to feel just how soft that gray and black fur was. He did not need to caress those tantalizing stripes, or thread his fingers gently through dark hair and over delicate ears.
He did not.
He did not.
“Is something wrong?” Bruce asked when Clark did not speak for almost three minutes.
“You let the boys touch your tail,” Clark said, and it actually came out much more casually than he had hoped.
“Yes.” Bruce did not look at him.
“And you let them tease you.”
“Only a bit.” Now Bruce did turn to him, eyes questioning, cat ears perked. “What’s this about, Clark?”
“Let me touch you,” Clark blurted, and then flushed when Bruce raised his eyebrows and Clark realized what he had just said. “I mean, your tail. Or ears. Let me touch your ears. Please.”
Bruce frowned. “Is this some sort of trust thing?”
“No, it’s just… curiosity, I guess,” Clark said, lifting his shoulders in a shrug.
Bruce eyed him in silence for a few seconds, and then sighed.
“Go ahead,” he said, turning back to the computer and whatever task he was now tackling. “Just… not too much, okay? It feels strange.”
It took a moment for Clark to realize Bruce had relented. He stood frozen for a second, just staring, and then he lifted a hand to gently brush the thin outer edge of Bruce’s furry right ear. The gray fur was impossibly silky beneath his fingertips and he stroked ever so carefully from base to tip, mingling Bruce’s dark hair with the smooth silvery fur.
Clark breathed deeply, trying to remember how he had petted cats in the past. He lifted his other hand and began to massage the base of both ears in little circles, his fingers buried deep in Bruce’s hair.
He continued this for a few seconds before he realized that Bruce had stopped typing. Clark paused and peered at Bruce’s reflection in the computer screen, concerned he had done something wrong, but Bruce looked… relaxed. Pleased, even. His eyes were closed, his lips slightly parted, and Clark could hear a faint rumbling deep in his throat.
“You’re purring,” Clark said with a grin, keeping his voice low. Bruce frowned, but he did not open his eyes and Clark continued to rub his ears.
“I am not,” Bruce said, but there was a definite roughness to his voice that had not been there before, and the rumbling did not stop.
Clark chuckled and slowly let his hands trail down through Bruce’s hair, behind his human ears and around his jaw, keeping his touch gentle, unhurried. He traced light fingers over Bruce’s throat, hearing and feeling the mingled rumble of pulse and purr, then began to massage under Bruce’s chin, smiling as Bruce arched into the touch, his neck curving gracefully over Clark’s fingers.
“Will you let me see your stripes?” Clark whispered into Bruce’s furry ear, his lips brushing against silky fur, and Bruce made a noise halfway in between a purring sigh and a moan.
“Yes,” he said faintly, and Clark drew his hands away. Bruce opened his eyes and stood to face Clark, his every movement languorous and impossibly feline. Fierce blue eyes – still half-lidded with relaxation – met Clark’s, and then Bruce was lifting the t-shirt up and over his head, and Clark could see the stripes.
They were dark, jagged against Bruce’s fair skin. Only the edges were visible from the front, curling in tantalizing lines around Bruce’s hipbones, stomach and shoulders. Clark’s mouth went dry as he watched them disappear beneath the low-slung sweatpants, and he just barely managed to croak out, “Turn around. Please.”
Bruce smirked, and there could easily have been fangs in that smile. But he turned, very slowly, and Clark was rewarded with a tiger-like design of stripes, thick and dark, slashing across Bruce’s muscled back like scars. Clark stepped forward and stroked a single finger down Bruce’s spine, tracing a path that sliced the stripes in half. He relished the feel of Bruce’s real scars as he came across them, the skin a tad cooler and silkier than normal. Clark felt Bruce shiver at his touch, and when he reached the base of Bruce’s spine – the seamless melding of skin into silken gray fur – he heard the sudden leap and stutter of Bruce’s pulse, the tiny whisper of pupils dilating.
“Oh,” Bruce breathed, and his back arched against Clark’s hand.
Clark paused in his attentions, suddenly feeling anxious. This wasn’t like him. This wasn’t like Bruce. They had always maintained a strictly professional relationship before, at times leaning towards friendly, but never too familiar. That business-like interaction had been the only thing keeping Clark sane. He had rarely let himself dwell too much on his undeniable attraction to Bruce, and the current situation was rapidly getting out of hand.
And oh, how he wanted it to get out of hand.
But what if Circe’s curse had affected Bruce in more than just appearance? What if this was just Clark taking advantage of his friend?
Bruce would never forgive him. And Clark would never forgive himself.
“Bruce,” he said, his voice shaking only slightly. “Are you sure this is… okay?”
A quiet sigh, and then Bruce turned and fixed Clark with an exasperated look.
“You worry too much,” Bruce said, stepping very close and settling his hands on Clark’s hips. “Usually I think it’s cute, but right now you’re driving me crazy.”
Clark’s mind was whirling. Bruce’s hands were on his hips, their chests mere centimeters from touching. He could smell Bruce’s skin, a heady mixture of sweat, leather and aftershave. It was… intoxicating.
This was getting dangerous.
“Look, Clark. I’m not doing anything I don’t want to do.” Bruce’s voice was low and rough. “I’ve waited long enough. And if my current condition provided you with the excuse you needed to act on your feelings, then that’s fine by me.”
“Wait. You knew about my feelings?” Clark asked.
Bruce cocked an eyebrow. “Of course I knew. I’m Batman. And you’re not exactly subtle.”
Clark groaned and dropped his head to Bruce’s shoulder.
“So all this time –” he started, but then he heard footsteps on the stairs leading into the cave and managed to slip smoothly out of Bruce’s hold just as a fully costumed Nightwing appeared.
“Zatanna just called,” Dick announced. “She said she can meet up with us in fifteen – are those stripes?”
“Get in the car,” Bruce said, already moving away from Clark toward his discarded costume, and Clark clamped down on his disappointment as layers of Kevlar and black silk covered stripes and pale skin.
Dick was waiting impatiently inside the Batmobile by the time Bruce was ready, but Batman paused for a moment beside Clark before going to join his ward.
“We’ll continue this later,” he said, "tail or no tail."
Clark blinked. “Really?”
Batman just narrowed his eyes, and Clark could not help but grin.
“Okay,” he said. “But I’ve got to say, I’ll miss the purring.”
Batman’s lips quirked as he moved away.
“I’m sure we'll figure something out.”
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So... yes. It started out as silly and then Bruce was like "But I want petting" and Clark agreed wholeheartedly and... sigh. Boys.
And now I'm off to enjoy my stormy night! The sirens are going off and everything. This is exciting. :)