Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Clark/Bruce, Andrew Carver, Jeremy
Series Notes: In the 23rd century, Earth is a technologically-advanced society that practices the ancient institution of slavery. The wealthy freeman Bruce Wayne acquires a highly-prized pleasure slave whom has fallen in love with him…but can the Prince of Gotham ever return that love? And will it all be moot as a weak abolitionist movement slowly gathers strength while the Galactic Empire remains in a perpetual state of Cold War? The entire series can be found here.
Categories: Drama, AU
Rating: (this chapter): PG-13
Summary: Bruce visits an old friend on a cold, blustery November day.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): July 5, 2007
Date Of Posting: November 10, 2007
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1365
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
“A Master who falls in love with his slave
exhibits tendencies toward
weakness and narcissism.
Why a freeman would lower himself
to the level of social inferiors
is worrisome and contemptible.
Any man who has such a flaw
in his character cannot be trusted.”
Professor Reed Martin
“The Master/Slave Dynamic”
Bruce paused before he brought the doorknocker down. He looked eminently presentable in his dark-blue turtleneck sweater, jacket, scarf, and tan slacks. His hair was neatly combed, his face freshly-shaven, and his retro loafers were unscuffed.
He still looked like hell.
He rubbed his eyes, not even make-up able to completely hide the bags underneath them, or the generally haggard look that was so charming.
Bruce grimaced. Well, there was no help for it, just like there was none for this visit. He brought the eagle-shaped knocker down several times.
He had considered forgoing the visit and just sending the check, but he refused in the end, just as he had refused to shun Andrew Carver all these years.
Footsteps approached, a pause, then the door was opened.
“Bruce! So nice to see you!”
“Nice to see you, too, Andrew.”
Bruce entered the foyer, Andrew closing the door against the sharp November wind.
“Come on. I’ve got a fire going in the library.”
Bruce followed his host down the hall, freshly-dusted picture frames stark against faded wallpaper. He could smell apple muffins baking.
The fire was welcome indeed. Bruce settled on the couch while Andrew took the overstuffed chair. Both pieces of furniture had seen better days, but they fit with the whole aura of faded gentility. He had noticed the broken stone wall ringing the property and the cracked walkway leading up to the mansion.
Andrew rang a tiny silver bell, and five minutes later a strikingly beautiful man came in bearing a silver tray with two china cups with saucers and a silver teapot. He wore a cream-colored, long-sleeved cotton shirt and brown pants, autumn sunlight glinting off his collar and manacles.
Bruce always enjoyed seeing Andrew’s slave up close. Perfectly-proportioned, he was pushing middle age now but still resembled an Adonis. Golden hair cascaded in waves down to his shirt collar, flawless skin glowing golden as hazel eyes sparkled at Andrew.
Hmm, not so flawless. He looks slightly bruised on his cheek. Hope Andrew isn’t getting too frisky in bed!
Amusement twinkled in his eyes. ”Hello, Jeremy.”
“Hello, Mr. Wayne.” Jeremy met his eyes since Bruce had spoken directly to him. “Would you care for some muffins, m’lord? They’ll be ready in ten minutes.”
“I would, thank you.”
Jeremy inclined his head, quietly leaving the room.
Bruce lifted his teacup decorated with the Carver crest. “A jewel, Andrew.”
Pride shone in Andrew’s face. “He has been since the day Dad presented him to me on my 18th birthday.”
Little wonder you fell in love with him.
Bruce sipped the excellent tea. “So, how goes the Foundation?”
Andrew’s pale blue eyes lit up. “Wonderfully! I’ll be e-mailing the report to you next week, but I can say that we helped more children than ever this year.”
“Excellent.” The teacup clinked in the saucer. He took out his checkbook, wrote, and ripped the check out. He handed it to Andrew. Despite electronic checking being the norm, banks still processed paper checks, especially with this many zeros.
“Thank you as always, Bruce.”
Gotham society shunned Andrew socially, but the Carver-founded Starlight Foundation was too prestigious to ignore. They sent their checks but never in person.
Andrew received a small salary as a member of the Board, but his trust fund had dwindled as he had been forced to sell off a good deal of stock after his romance became public. His family’s company had only survived when he had sold off his shares in it, otherwise it would have gone bankrupt as businessmen would have refused to deal with it. The sale had netted him some good money, but he had to husband it carefully; therefore, the air of shabby gentility around the estate.
He lost nearly everything, Bruce thought morosely.
Jeremy returned with a basket of warm muffins and two plates that he carried on the silver tray. He handed Bruce a cranberry-colored linen napkin.
“Thank you,” Bruce said, placing the napkin on his knee. He took a muffin from the basket and broke it open. “Delicious, Jeremy.”
“Thank you, m’lord.”
Once Jeremy had left again Bruce looked at Andrew. The man was casually dressed in a light-blue shirt and dark-blue pants. At first glance, he looked fit and trim and in the best of health even with gray at the temples, but Bruce saw the lines of fatigue around Andrew’s eyes.
“How are you?” Bruce asked as he sipped his tea.
“Oh, about the same. I’ve got some plans to revitalize the garden.” He winked. “I’ve been put on the staff of The Trumpet.”
“The Abolitionist Society’s newsletter?”
He nodded. “It’ll help financially, that’s for sure.”
Bruce was glad to hear it. He hated to see such a beautiful estate deteriorate.
“I could get some help for Jeremy. He and I take care of this place, but it can get overwhelming.” His eyes grew shadowed. “Maybe get a bodyguard.”
Bruce leaned forward. “What’s going on? Have you been threatened?”
Andrew shook his head. “It’s Jeremy.” He took a deep breath. “I can’t protect him as I should.”
“He’s received threats?”
“Beatings.” The teacup shook slightly as Andrew sipped his drink. “The police will do nothing, and the protection that Jeremy should enjoy from me is nullified because I’m considered weak for falling in love with him.” A sardonic smile crossed his face. “After all, I committed the ultimate sin.”
Bruce felt queasy. He put his muffin down. “That doesn’t sound like Jim Gordon.”
“Sometimes the Commissioner doesn’t know what the rank-and-file does.” He smiled wryly. “Whoever screens his calls does a good job.”
Bruce frowned. “I can speak to Jim.”
“I’m not sure…I wouldn’t want some dressed-down cop to take it out on Jeremy.”
“Give me all the details: cops’names, their precinct, date and time of the assault…”
He thought of Officers Benson and Stabler who patrolled this neighborhood. If he could get Jim to assign them to watch Oakwood, perhaps Jeremy could be safe. It was chilling to think that in addition to losing his social status and most of his money, that Andrew had also lost his power to protect his slave.
“Andrew, you’ve been out for fifteen years. Why haven’t you been a victim of this harassment sooner?”
Andrew shrugged. “I don’t know. Usually we were left alone except for verbal attacks, mostly by my former social circle.”
“When was the first attack?”
“How many attacks?”
“Three, one two weeks later, and the third four days before Halloween.”
“Could…was it tied in with the convention?”
“It could be, but I’ve been a voice for abolition for years.”
“Write up a report and send it to me. I’ll see that Jim gets it.”
“Thank you, Bruce.” Andrew relaxed. “I’m bringing Jeremy with me to Metropolis. There’s an NAS meeting I have to attend. I feel comfortable with the Society.” He smiled. “I love Jeremy and I don’t care who knows it, actually. It’s caused me no end of trouble but I wouldn’t change things if I could.” His smile grew affectionate as Jeremy came in to ask if they needed anything else. The slave’s eyes were full of love as he smiled at his Master, who was so much more than that.
& & & & & &
Bruce hunched his shoulders against the wind. He stepped down to the walkway, glancing back at the mansion.
He admired Andrew’s honesty and genuine love for Jeremy.
He didn’t want to be like him.
He didn’t want to let the whole world know when he was in love, which made him vulnerable.
He didn’t want to besmirch his family name or to be ousted from his company.
He didn’t want to be so powerless that he couldn’t protect Clark.
Bruce walked down the driveway, scarf whipping in the cold November wind.