Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Ollie/Dinah, Clark/Bruce, Dick, Lex Luthor, Alfred
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: It’s the Grand Opening for Sherwood Florist, and Clark and Dick find there are protectors out there willing to help when they need it most.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): October 21, 2007
Date Of Posting: July 18, 2008
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 2087
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
In many forms:
In their hearts.
“Love In All The
Dinah felt comfortable in front of the cameras. As the business reporters asked their questions and the society photographers snapped pictures, Dinah happily noted Bruce, Clark, and Dick in the audience. Ollie was off to the side, letting her have her time in the sun.
“I am ecstatic to open a new Sherwood Florist here in Gotham.”
“Are you still planning on opening stories in Metropolis, Boston, and New York?”
“Yes, we’re working on plans for that.”
“Why did you choose Gotham for your first expansion out of Star City?”
“You know the old saying, ‘If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.’”
Laughter rippled through the crowd.
& & & & & &
“She’s very good,” Bruce observed.
Clark nodded. “She’s very comfortable in front of a camera.”
Dick was filming the press conference, using the tiny camera that Ollie had given him.
Bruce and Clark exchanged amused glances over the budding photographer.
“I have to leave,” Bruce murmured.
Clark nodded. “We’ll see you later at home.”
“Of course.” Bruce’s eyes sparkled. He placed his hand on Clark’s arm, then on Dick’s shoulder.
Brendan appeared and Bruce nodded, leaving his slaves at the edge of the crowd but in Ollie and Dinah’s care.
Clark’s hand replaced Bruce’s on Dick’s shoulder as the boy continued to film.
Dick was happy with his task, Clark smiling at the memory of the boy’s chatter about Dinah. Clark felt a great affection for Ollie Queen’s lady. He had become adept at discerning a freeman’s sincerity, and Dinah was not mocking them. Her concern and good treatment for them was genuine.
Clark found the press conference interesting. Not only was Dinah a consummate professional, but the reporters were asking insightful questions. The gossip columnists loved seeing Ollie there with Dinah. He always found the media fascinating, though he preferred ‘serious’ media to the gossipy kind.
With surprise, he noted Lex Luthor in the crowd. He hadn’t been aware that the billionaire was in town.
When the press conference was done, Dinah invited the reporters into the shop.
“Hey, watch it!”
Clark turned just as Dick was pushed to the ground.
& & & & & &
Lex was enjoying the press conference. He had come to Gotham on last-minute business late last night, and had wrapped it up over breakfast. He had seen the notice in the on-line edition of The Gotham Gazette about the opening of Sherwood Florist, and had come by to watch Dinah do her thing.
Now as everyone began filing into the shop, Lex hung back, hoping to keep a low profile for a little while longer.
“Hey, watch it!”
He turned at the sound of an angry voice.
“Stupid slave!” snarled a teenager. He was towering over a young boy who was sprawled out on the ground. Clark was only a few feet away and hurried over to the boy, dropping to his knees.
“Are you okay?” Clark asked softly.
The boy nodded.
That must be Dick, Bruce’s new Squire.
Lex saw the teenager reach down to grab Dick and saw Clark’s muscles tense, ready to attack. Swiftly Lex went to the tableau.
“Hey, hands off these slaves!”
The teenager stopped with a frown. “What’s it to you, Baldy?”
Lex’s lip curled into a smile. “Do you know whose slaves you’re harassing?”
The boy looked at the brand engraved on Dick’s manacles and blanched.
“Now, take off before I tell my old friend Lord Wayne of your behavior.”
The teenager scowled but stomped away.
“Thank you, Mr. Luthor,” Clark said. He ruffled Dick’s hair and began to assume a submissive posture of gratitude. Already on his knees, he blushed slightly as he began to lower himself to kiss Lex’s shoes in the traditional gesture.
Lex enjoyed the sight of Clark on his knees before him, but he stopped the pleasure slave from completing the gesture by a hand on his shoulder.
“Up. And you, too, young Squire.”
Both slaves quickly obeyed. Lex lifted Clark’s chin. “You were going to defend the child by attacking that oaf, weren’t you?”
“I couldn’t let Dick be hurt. If it was just me…”
Lex almost sighed. “You do know how it would hurt Bruce to see you so savagely punished again?” He saw Dick glance anxiously at Clark. “Not to mention what it would do to you,” he added softly.
Despite the shielding glasses, Lex could have sworn he saw defiance.
“I’m sorry, m’lord, I can’t let any harm come to the boy.”
“As you couldn’t let it happen to Melody?”
Clark blushed a little.
Dick tugged at his sleeve. “Clark, you can’t disobey! I was wrong. I bumped that kid.”
Clark gently rubbed Dick’s back. “I won’t let harm come to you,” he said softly.
“So you’d disobey Bruce?” Lex asked.
Clark looked at him. “I’d take my punishment.”
Lex did sigh this time. Bruce had expressed his worry that one area in which his treasured slave would disobey was this one. Clark would suffer his own humiliation, but he could not bear to see happen to others, especially the bright little boy standing next to them.
So Bruce’s Prize has spirit.
Lex shook his head. “I suppose it’s partly Bruce’s fault.”
“Leaving you two unattended.”
“Mistress Dinah and Mr. Queen are here.”
“Yes!” Dick piped up.
Lex was amused by the fierce devotion of Bruce’s slaves to him. A little pang went through him. He would like to command such loyalty, slave or free.
Clark had his arm around Dick’s shoulders.
“Would you be so kind as not to trouble Master Bruce with this incident?”
Lex’s first instinct was to refuse this request, but then he thought about it. Why worry Bruce? Slaves had to deal with incidents like this every day.
“All right.” Relief crossed two faces. “I do have to say, you will have to be more careful, Clark. You would hurt Bruce badly if you put yourself in a punishing situation.”
Clark lowered his head. Dick was looking anxious again.
“Now, join me in going to Dinah’s shop.”
“Yes, sir!” Dick chirped, taking Clark’s hand. Clark squeezed it, a small smile curving his lips.
& & & & & &
Lex accepted the teacup from Clark with a smile, the slave blushing slightly. Warm spring sunlight streamed in through the library windows. Dinah had invited him to dinner, and Lex was happy to say yes to the invitation.
Bruce was happy to see him, too, and now the three of them and Ollie were enjoying afternoon tea.
“Looks like you have a success on your hands,” Lex said.
“Thank you, dear.” Dinah sipped her Earl Grey tea. “We’ll see how it goes long-term.”
“I’m sure it’ll be fine,” Ollie said, stroking Dinah’s hair as he relaxed on the couch.
“Well, things go in cycles, but people always need flowers.”
“Need them?” Bruce asked amusedly.
“Yes,” Dinah said as Clark presented the tea tray, Bruce taking the teacup. He smiled his thanks, Clark smiling back. “Of course people want flowers, but they need them, too. Flowers help us celebrate weddings and send off our loved ones at funerals. Flowers are living things that remind us of Nature when we get too full of ourselves.”
“Poetic look at things,” Lex observed. He selected a cookie from the plate Clark held out, another smile passing between them, Clark’s body blocking the interaction from the others.
“That’s my sweetheart,” Ollie said.
Dinah glanced at him coquettishly while Bruce and Lex laughed.
“So how’s that redevelopment project going in Star City?” Lex asked.
“Excellently, actually.” Ollie drank his tea. “Prosperity is all around us, but there are still poor people out there.”
“So you think this project will help the economy?”
Dinah noticed Dick out in the hall. She left the library and said, “Darling, do you have your notes handy?”
“Meet me in the study.”
Dick nodded and scampered off. Dinah shook her head fondly.
“He is quite the dynamo, isn’t he?” Alfred dusted an endtable.
“Kinetic energy,” Dinah laughed. “Alfred, will you send Clark in with a plate of your divine cookies?”
“Certainly, Mistress Dinah.”
Dinah smiled as the butler went to the kitchen. She had heard the pleased tone in Alfred’s voice.
She went into the study. It never hurt to be aware of slaves’ feelings. Despite what some freemen thought, slaves were people, too.
Dick arrived with his notes and began animatedly reading them at Dinah’s request. Minutes later, Clark arrived with the cookies and a glass of buttermilk for Dick and lemonade for Dinah.
“Get yourself something to drink, Clark, and then come back.”
Clark returned with a glass of apple cider and quietly listened to Dick’s report.
“Excellent, Dick. Now, you didn’t have a chance for your lessons today. Clark, will you conduct the lessons?”
“I’ll go get the books.” Dick hopped up. “Oh…may I, Mistress?”
“You may,” Dinah said with a smile.
Dick nearly ran out of the room.
Clark and Dinah exchanged grins.
“We’re still getting used to his bursts of energy.” Clark’s smile was dazzling.
Dinah blinked. The beauty of this slave was almost overwhelming. She wondered what color his eyes were.
Dick returned quickly and the lessons began.
Dinah was impressed by both slaves. Clark had no formal training as a teacher (at least in his memory), and he seemed a natural.
Dick was an eager learner, extremely bright and able to pick up things quickly. She realized that he had already known how to read and write when he had come to the Wayne Household.
Melody, the little girl whom Clark had defended and Bruce had saved, was her little ray of sunshine now. Melody was a delightful Squire, anxious to please and eager to learn. She was excited to learn to read and write and was doing well. Dinah approved of her tutor, just as she approved of Dick’s teacher.
When the lessons finished, Dick left to put away his and Clark’s books and Dinah said, “He’s reading above his level.”
Clark nodded. “He’s a joy to teach.”
Dinah smiled. “He has a good teacher, too.”
Clark smiled shyly, Dinah absolutely delighted.
“So, lessons over?” Bruce asked as he entered the room.
“You have a fine teacher and student here, Bruce.”
“Dick is a bright boy, and Clark is an excellent choice of instructor.”
“I’d like to get a curriculum from you, Clark. I’m going to consult with Melody’s tutor and see if we can incorporate a few things.”
“I’d be delighted, m’lady.”
Bruce’s hand slid down to rest on Clark’s shoulder. “My Prize is at your service, Dinah.”
“Thank you, Bruce.”
Bruce’s hand cupped Clark’s chin, turning his head. “I want you to perform that grid search on the Cray tonight.”
Bruce gave him a final caress and left.
& & & & & &
After patrol, Dinah sat in bed with her knees drawn up, sheet partially covering her. Ollie was storing his costume in his suitcase.
“It was a good patrol tonight,” he said.
“I think the Bat might have come close to cracking a smile!”
Ollie turned to look at his lover. “What’s up, Pretty Bird?”
“Bruce is in love with Clark.”
Ollie laughed. “What?” He ran fingers through his hair. “Now I’ll admit, Clark is in love with Bruce…”
“He is, and the reverse is true.”
Ollie put a knee on the bed, resting a hand on his thigh. “What makes you say that?”
“And women’s intuition, I suppose.”
She grinned. “Whatever you call it, I know it.”
“Damnit,” Ollie said softly.
Ollie rubbed his face in frustration. “I suspected as much, but I was hoping that I was wrong.”
Sympathy shone in Dinah’s face. “I know,” she repeated. “But it is what it is. Bruce loves Clark and is risking a lot, but I’d bet he would say it’s worth it.”
“Clark’s worth it, all right.”
“We can help Bruce keep his secret.”
“Which one?” Ollie smirked.
Dinah laughed and held out her arms, the sheet slipping down to her waist. Ollie went into that embrace happily, kissing her as he lowered her to the bed.
Bruce had a beautiful pleasure slave, but Ollie suited her just fine.