But! Some of you were kind enough to think of me anyway.
chrisleeoctaves, desoto_hia873, fodian, knotted_rose, netweight, tesla321 and trepkos for the lovely holiday cards. Mail!
brandil, lim, miche_connor and stars91 for the lovely e-cards. More mail!
discord26 for the lovely virtual snow globe on my info page. Pretty!
If I missed anyone, please let me know.
This was the Santa Day of Grand Disillusionment at the Rom household. No puppy came springing out all waggity-tail out of a box. The wee one cried herself to sleep at the cruelty of it all. *sigh* It does not matter that we already *have* a seven-month old puppy. Our current puppy, you see, was *supposed* to be the Family Dog. Turns out she's one of those One-Person types. When we got her, I'm the only one who didn't feel emotionally ready for a dog. So guess who her One-Person is? Guess! Yes, I have a dog. *facepalm* So the wee Romanita wanted a puppy for *her*. But Santa is a rat bastard too, I guess.
Yes, I still perpetuate The Lie. The Romanitas still believe it. I'm sneaky and crafty and have yet to rip open my shirt to reveal the fuzzy red outfit beneath with a ho ho ho. I also sprout wings in the middle of the night and STEAL TEETH from underneath pillows.
But someday soon, that curtain will be pulled back, and I'll be standing there in my bathrobe, and there will be no more sprightly elves, unicorns, dragons, what-have-yous. But maybe there won't be any more monsters hiding underneath beds or lurking in closets either. Maybe it all evens out.
Okay, it's official: I can no longer read fic where Lex and Bruce battle over Clark's affections, Lex wins, and consider it a happy ending. It's sad and tragic! DCU Lex is a Bad Man! I can still read SV Clex and be fine with it, but mesh the fandoms? Bruce is the Goddamn Batman. He's going to *lose*? Plus he's capable of that important little thing called *forgiveness*, at least when it comes to Clark. Clark's beaten the living *crap* out of him a gazillion times and Bruce gets the hell over it (eventually).
I don't care how hand-flaily Bruce gets with the Strategic Allies and Only That bullshit (even *Alfred's* gently called him on that one). He's sidled over too many times towards Clark at the JLA coffee pot and made lame comments on Clark's stupid hair (because Bruce, in so many ways, is TWELVE!). Seriously, he rags on Clark for silly things on top of the Grand Philosophical Differences. He goes out of his way to make conversation all while pretending that Clark's a pain in the ass. It's funny! It's dysfunctional Bat-Love. Get out of my cave! Go home to your wife! (His traditional send-off: a panel or THREE of the two of them looking at each other, no word balloons, and then: Go home to your wife, Clark.) Hee!
And all the Clark, Clark, Clark. Dude, when the guy's in uniform, you really should ix-nay on all the Ark-Clay. Sometimes, I think he just likes the way Clark says, "Bruce." Especially when that's followed up with "I need you." Clark's dragged him out of that cave so many times. Bruce may grumble with an "I'm busy, damnit!", but he always goes.
Plus the Superman/Batman title isn't the only place where Bruce composes Bad Bat Poetry about Clark in his *head*.
If Bruce swings that way *at all*, he jerks off to Clark. Not all the time - he's got his city, family, his own problems, other relationships - but more than once or twice. It's kind of sad and tragic, really, because no way, no how, would he evereverever say anything. Because it's *so* like Bruce to want things that he *cannot* have and then to make sure that he never gets them.
And I wouldn't be surprised if his Clark fantasies are painfully vanilla. Yes, I'm sure you'd say, "But Rom! Growly Bat-Sex!" Well, yes, but Bruce already has that in his life. It's the things that Bruce supposedly laughs at: picnic baskets, walks on the beach, apple orchards and wildflowers, stolen kisses on the veranda in the afternoon, muzzy morning sex. Yes, Bruce's secret Clark fantasies may very well be every piece of fluff fic ever written. Because that is not his life but how he perceives Clark's life to be. And it's canon that he's jealous. "You live in a world where everyone loves you," Bruce says, matter of fact and judgemental, but the echo of 'even me' is there. Really, why would Bruce care if it wasn't personal? He didn't become the Bat to inspire *love*. Clark's the one who gets the fairytale ending, not him. He has the Mission and love is just another four-letter word.
But at the same time, no one believes in Clark like Bruce does, has such utter *faith*. And if he puts exacting standards on him, it's due to that belief. Bruce might say *mean* things to prod Clark into action, but he *responds* when Clark breaks too. He only does that for family.
'Strategic Ally' is really such a bad descriptor for their relationship. But Clark's not of Gotham, never will be, so Bruce can't take out his little bat rubberstamp of family either. So it's the brief handshake and "Go home to your wife, Clark." He just *values* Clark's happiness for some reason.
Clark may just appear to be a blip, a non-factor, in the Batbooks. But that's not the case in the Superbooks or Groupbooks. It just means that their relationship is off-panel in Batverse. They just know too much about each other. All those conversations took place on the Watchtower or on some random rooftop? "Get off my lawn!" is just Batspeak for 'Come in and stay a while.' And that doesn't mean just the cave. Alfred is going to call someone "Master Clark" that's never been in the *house*? Dick only heard random Tales of Krypton once or twice? Clark knows how to set the *clock* and the significance behind that particular combination. He has been in that house. Clark is important.
And yes, *Clark*, because that's what he is to Bruce. To Bruce, Clark is an integrated being. Bruce might have to go battle that demon in the desert, reassert that it's Bruce who wears the mask and not the other way around, but Clark is *always* Clark. Many of the other heroes might call him Kal, but to Bruce, he's *Clark*. And when he goes into his I'm the Alien Kal-El thing once in a while, Bruce is always there with the "You are Clark and I am Bruce." And he'll *hurt* him to prove it.
So no, Lex won't get a shiny Superman for Christmas. Not on Bruce's watch. Clark's too important. Their relationship begins with wariness (the complete opposite of the sudden BFFness of Lex and Clark in Smallville), takes *years* to get to the Whateverness (Bruce is never going to give it a *name*, that would mean that he'd have to verbalize the importantness of it - Clark may be the crier, but Bruce is the one who's emotionally vulnerable) it is now, but it's pretty damn near unshakeable. They're a set, a package deal, no matter how much Bruce might want to brood that away with his rationalizations. And when it comes to protecting Clark? Everyone gets out of Bruce's way.