Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Clark/Bruce, Alfred
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: While a storm rages outside Wayne Manor, another brews within.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): July 26, 2007
Date Of Posting: December 6, 2007
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1392
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
The storm lashes
Like a whip,
Let it howl,
Let it growl,
And Other Poems”
Clark woke to what Alfred cheerfully informed him was a “typical November day on the Gotham coastline”. All night the rain had poured, hitting the roof with a steady drumming, and it lashed against the Manor as the wind howled. He and Alfred took breakfast in the kitchen as Bruce slept upstairs.
Intrigued by the wild weather, Clark put on a slicker and boots and walked around the gardens. Leaves blew in frenzied arcs and flowers and trees bent down to the wet ground as if in supplication. The sea was gray-green, reflecting a stormy sky, waves rising to eye-popping heights as they crashed on the rocks below. The wind sounded mournful as it buffeted the high ground around the Manor.
Clark was careful not to stray too far from the house. He had awakened under-the-weather with a mild case of nausea, some dizziness, and a low-grade headache that lurked at the edges of consciousness, just waiting to develop into a full-blown migraine.
The storm reminded him of Bruce: wild and passionate and capable of great destruction. Bruce literally held his life in his hands and could shatter it in an instant if he wanted to do so.
Clark hoped that the consideration and compassion he had seen in his Master would subdue that power, and Clark’s love for him colored that hope. Hurt at Bruce’s new coldness toward him, he was wracking his brain to get back into his Master’s good graces. If he was to no longer be a pleasure slave, he would have to become useful elsewhere.
Of course, that wildness and power of Bruce’s was fascinating as well with its own beauty, as compelling to watch as he was drawn to the raging ocean right here and now. He passed the old whipping post, then stood hunched against the wind, observing the whitecaps bobbing on the sea.
Clark enjoyed the spectacle of the storm for a little while longer, then walked up back to the house.
“Ah, did you enjoy your walk?” asked Alfred in amusement as Clark entered the kitchen.
Clark laughed a little. “Sorry to be so wet.”
“Hang the slicker on the rack. I’ve put newspapers on the floor for it and your boots.”
Clark obeyed, then put on his glasses. The smell of brewing tea drifted from the copper kettle on the stove.
“Master Bruce is up and in the library. See if he wants some tea or some breakfast. Wait, let me pour a cup to take to him.”
Alfred prepared the tea and handed the cup to Clark, who headed for the library.
& & & & & &
Bruce sipped the glass of wine as he stared with a scowl at the portrait of his parents. It was dark in the library because he had not turned on a single light. Instead he sat in the stormy dark, the only sound that of the shrieking wind, dead ashes in the unlit fireplace.
His parents smiled serenely at him, hands on his small shoulders as his younger self smiled happily. His father stood beside the ornately-carved chair in which his mother sat, the very chair in which he sat right now, and his younger self stood in front of his father, close to his mother.
Our family stretches back generations, Bruce. You’re the heir to a proud name, son. The people of Gotham look up to us. This is our fiefdom, and while we receive respected tribute, it means we must take care of those who look to us for help.
Never disgrace the family name, Bruce.
Bruce took another sip of wine. He looked at his father’s clear blue eyes.
Is that why you sold Jamie, Dad? Not only because Mom demanded it, but because you knew the knowledge of what you felt for your slave, if it became public, would do exactly what you warned me against?
His brooding grew darker as rain lashed the windows.
Rage at once again failing his city, his family’s birthright.
Rage at falling in love with his beautiful pleasure slave, jeopardizing his family’s name.
Rage at that love putting Clark in graver danger than ever.
He drained his glass. Now he was jeopardizing his patrol tonight with drinking, which he hardly ever imbibed in aside from sips of champagne at charity events.
His ribs were sore and his thigh throbbed. It was entirely covered in a sickly yellow-green. He couldn’t risk flying tonight. Keeping to ground would have to do.
A dull headache throbbed behind his eyes. He had to stop being a coward, make some decisions…
“Master.” The soft voice of his slave at the entrance to the library pierced him. “Alfred sent me with some tea and would like to know if you would like breakfast…”
The voice was imperious…and ice-cold.
Clark blinked. The teacup shook slightly.
“Yes, Master,” he said softly, and backed out of the room.
Bruce stared at the portrait, the wind howling outside.
& & & & & &
Clark leaned back against the wall in the hall, clenching and unclenching his right hand, squeezing his eyes shut, his collar and manacles icy-cold on his skin.
He had never hated his slavery more.
If he wasn’t manacled, he could march right back into the room and coax, cajole and demand to know what was bothering Bruce, though he suspected it was depression, since he was staring at his parents’ portrait. That cold voice had barely restrained a towering rage, which was frightening for him and Bruce.
He would have risked it if he didn’t feel he was on such thin ice. He was willing to risk punishment, even willing to risk Bruce’s anger and being dragged down to the old whipping post if that was what it took.
He wanted to help the man he loved, but…insolence was the quickest way to get sent packing.
Ever since he had awakened in the slavers’ camp, after the shock of realizing his fate, after being bought by Bruce, he had come to terms with his status in a resigned sort of way. He was born a slave and would die a slave, and that meant heartache and his life always under someone else’s control.
Whenever he had a rebellious thought, pain always sliced through his head.
Maybe my subconscious is trying to tell me something, he thought with wry amusement.
Yet being here with his Master gave him a joy that he cherished and didn’t want to lose.
Sighing, he pushed away from the wall and returned the now-cold tea to the kitchen.
“He didn’t want the tea or breakfast, Alfred. He’s just sitting in the dark, brooding.”
“Staring at the portrait?” At Clark’s nod, Alfred counseled, “When he is in this mood, best to steer clear of him, Clark.”
Clark nodded again. He left the kitchen and stood uncertainly in the hall. What should he do?
Read. That always relaxed him. He was reading a new novel, The Mystery Of The Harlot’s Heart, by one of his favorite authors, Lois Lane. He had checked the library yesterday but it was not there.
My Master’s bedroom.
He almost snapped his fingers. He had left the book in there before his banishment!
Unfortunately, his Master had also forbidden him to enter the room in a fit of pique a few days ago.
He dithered, but then decided he would just go in and out quickly and grab the book. He hurried up the stairs, slowing down to grab the banister as dizziness threatened.
Entering the bedroom, he felt a pang at his banishment. He glanced at the bed, blushing slightly, then spotted the book. He quickly picked it up and left the room.
& & & & & &
Furious at his stupidity for drinking, Bruce slammed the glass down and stood, wincing at the pain in his head and leg. He gritted his teeth as he forced himself not to hobble, windows rattling with the force of the gale outside. He would take a nap before patrol and try and sleep off the alcohol.
He painfully began to climb the grand staircase.