Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Clark/Bruce, Jim Gordon, Dick
Series Notes: In the 23rd century, Earth is a technologically-advanced society that practices the ancient institution of slavery. As Bruce and Clark try and adjust to being lovers as well as Master and slave, on a warm spring night a new member of the Wayne Household is added: a little boy whom Bruce sadly identifies with. Dick Grayson further pushes Bruce along the path of Abolitionism as the child brings further Light into the Manor. The entire series can be found here.
Genres: Drama, AU
Rating: (this chapter): PG-13
Summary: Batman helps break a smuggling ring while Dick conquers his fears about the trapeze.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): September 27, 2007
Date Of Posting: July 2, 2008
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1358
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
“Slave smuggling is a serious business. Millions of dollars of valuable
property are lost to these thieves, who make a tidy profit in illegal trafficking.”
Gotham District Attorney
Batman trailed the beat-up, nondescript truck through the streets of Gotham, keeping to the rooftops. The truck was on a leisurely pace, so it was easy to keep up.
As Batman shadowed the vehicle, one part of his mind drifted to thoughts of how well Dick’s lessons were going. Clark reported that the boy was extremely bright, something that Bruce had observed but it was good to hear that the boy was academically-smart. Bruce liked to be surrounded by intelligent people, whether slave or free.
The truck turned into an alley in the warehouse district, parking behind a door. The driver got out and sauntered to it, knocking quickly. The door opened and the driver slipped inside.
Batman followed, spent a few minutes on the lock, then entered the warehouse.
He used his Bat-stealth, hearing the murmur of voices, creeping closer to their source.
In a wide-open area of the warehouse were a dozen cages, all filled with slaves. A group of men were arguing over when to move the merchandise.
“Some are set for private sale, but others are going on the public block,” said a gray-haired man in jeans and windbreaker.
“We have to move the goods before the cops find out.” The driver’s stance was casual but steel underlined his voice.
“No one’s found us yet.”
The driver snorted. “This is Bat-territory. We don’t want to push our luck. In fact, we should pull out of Star City, too. The Archer and his Pretty Bird are too nosy. We should set up in Metropolis. No capes there.”
The gray-haired man laughed sardonically. “I doubt the Boss is going to run.”
The driver shrugged. “Suit yourself. The odds get better outta this city.”
“Let’s deal with this shipment first.”
The driver looked over the slaves. “Good batch. Your contacts sure know how to snatch quality.”
“They’ll fetch high prices.”
The driver nodded to the burly men waiting for instructions. They started opening the cages and dragging the slaves out.
Batman pressed a button on a wristband he wore, then prepared to pounce.
The slaves were chained together in groups, the men working quickly and efficiently with only a gripe or two.
Police burst into the warehouse, Jim Gordon leading the charge. Batman did his part as he swooped down, battering the henchmen as the slaves scattered. It didn’t take long to corral the gang, the driver disgusted as they were all handcuffed.
“I told these idiots Gotham was bad news,” he grumbled.
“Good bust, Commissioner,” said Batman.
“You gave us the location.” Jim holstered his gun as he took a sheaf of papers from a young officer. “Looks like another slave-smuggling ring is broken.”
“Will you be able to get the slaves back to their rightful owners?”
“We should.” Jim ruffled through the papers. “These slaves were going to be sold to brothels or private owners willing to take stolen goods.” Jim frowned. “Odd.”
“What is it?”
“Six of these slaves were slated for the public block. That would be too risky as the slaves could say they’d been stolen and who their rightful owners were.”
Batman turned to the driver. “Why were some slaves being held for public auction?”
The driver shrugged. “Beats me. I just cart the merchandise. I don’t decide on buyers.”
Batman looked at the gray-haired man. “What do you know about this?”
“I’m not speaking without a lawyer.”
“What’s the big secret? Simply tell us and it’ll go easier on you.”
Snort of laughter. “I’ll talk to my lawyer.”
Jim shrugged. “It’s probably nothing important, but we’ll find out eventually.” A gleam lit his blue eyes. “The citizenry, especially the elite citizenry, doesn’t take kindly to valuable property being stolen.”
Batman nodded. “Keep me informed?”
“I’ll do that.”
Batman slipped into the shadows, eager to get back home to Clark.
& & & & & &
Pure joy rushed through Dick’s veins. He flew through the air under the watchful eyes of his Master and Clark. There was nothing like working the trapeze. It was freedom; it was joy; it was heaven.
He did a somersault, catching the bar and flying off to perform a double loop, catching another bar. He alighted on the platform, grinning as he called over to Bruce and Clark on the opposite platform, “Easy as pie!”
“Easy as Alfred’s apple pie?” asked Clark with a twinkle.
Dick laughed. “Not as tasty!”
Bruce swung out on a bar. “Come to me.”
Dick braced himself, swinging out, then doing a single flip and easily catching Bruce’s hands.
“Excellent.” Bruce swung back onto the platform and Dick followed. “Clark, out.”
Clark swung out and Bruce followed, performing a routine that showed long practice.
Dick watched with an expert eye. Both men were naturally graceful, Bruce more cat-like, Clark more solid, but it was Clark who looked more comfortable in the air. His instincts were even better than Bruce’s, and Bruce was very, very good.
A few days after the funeral, Dick had been reluctant to fly again, the memories strong and overwhelming of horror, and his Master had assured him that he could take his time as to when to fly.
The next day, Dick had climbed the trapeze…
& & & & & &
Dick’s limbs trembled as he climbed the spikes, heart pounding as he reached the platform. He stared down at the netting, trying to keep the images of broken bodies twisted on sawdust out of his mind. He grabbed the bar with ice-cold fingers and took a deep breath, setting his jaw.
He swung out.
Out, over the ground, high up in the air, unfettered by gravity.
& & & & & &
“So, how did we do?”
Dick blinked, then realized that Bruce had spoken to him. “Oh, very well. The technique is really good for both of you.”
Clark beamed. Dick was glad that he could give genuine words of praise.
“Should I be pushing off stronger?”
And that was his Master, never satisfied.
“You could, but you have to see if it disrupts your sense of balance.”
As Dick talked, he noticed Bruce’s intensity while Clark listened just as attentively but with a more relaxed body posture. Dick would never tire of watching these two.
“Okay, get showered, Dick. Alfred needs your help with the laundry,” Bruce said.
Dick nodded and scurried down the pole.
& & & & & &
At lunch, Bruce was smiling. “I got a call from Dinah Lance today. She’s opening her flower shop in Gotham and invited us over to the Grand Opening. Also, Alfred, I invited Dinah and Ollie to stay with us.”
“Very good, sir. Will that include sojourns into the city on a regular basis?”
“Hmm, probably so.”
Dick noticed an exchange of glances between Clark and their Master. Curious, he wondered if there was something odd about these future visitors.
& & & & & &
Bruce sent Dick off to bed, noticing the boy fighting to keep his eyes open. After Dick had left the room, Clark snuggled up to Bruce.
“Are the sojourns going to include Green Arrow and Black Canary?”
Bruce laughed. “I think you’d be right.”
“Good.” Clark nuzzled Bruce’s neck. “I worry about you out there alone.”
“I can take care of myself.”
“You need a partner.”
“Not me, I know. My illness prevents me from being reliable. But you should have someone, Bruce. Green Arrow and Black Canary are partnered and the Hawks from Thanagar are, too.”
“Flash doesn’t have a partner.”
“He’s got super-speed,” Clark placed his hand over Bruce’s heart. “As incredible as you are, my love, you don’t have superpowers.”
Bruce stroked Clark’s soft hair. “That’s true.” He kissed the silken locks. “But I’ve been at this awhile, Clark. Don’t worry so much.”
Clark pouted. “I’ll always worry.”
Warmth spread through Bruce, Clark’s concern touching. He wrapped his arms around his lover and held him tight.