Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Clark/Bruce, Dick, Alfred, Brendan, Lex
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: Bruce brings his Household into Gotham as the Great Auction begins.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): January 19, 2008
Date Of Posting: October 16, 2008
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1465
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Hundreds of Quality Slaves for Sale!
Music, Face Painting, Fireworks!
Celebrate the Fourth of July!
The Great Auction Brochure
Published by the City of Gotham
THE GREAT AUCTION
The crowds were massive, milling about Gotham’s Wayne Park. Some carried picnic baskets while children gamboled and laughed under the watchful eyes of free and slave nannies and free parents.
“Come on,” said one young mother as she tugged her son along. “The first auction’s starting.”
The day was summer-warm but not uncomfortable. Sun shone down on the greenery of the park, a slight breeze blowing through the trees.
A beautiful day as long as you were free, Bruce thought.
Clark and Dick stayed close to him, chain lengths rattling. Bruce had warned them that slave stealers liked to work in big crowds. It was why he had attached the chains to his belt, something he rarely if ever did, but this situation could not be controlled as carefully as a visit to Wayne Enterprises or some other secure venue.
Clark and Dick understood, walking with some freedom as Bruce kept the chains fairly loose, but not too loose.
Bruce was acutely aware of his responsibilities as Master today.
“Are we meeting Alfred later, Master?” Dick asked.
“Yes. Brendan’s bringing him with a veritable feast.”
Dick beamed and Bruce and Clark laughed. Clark gently smoothed the boy’s hair and kept up with Bruce, who made sure he set a pace that Dick could keep up with.
“Are we…going to the Auction?” Dick asked.
Bruce saw visions of the slaves trotted out before a leering public and said, “No, I just want us to enjoy the fresh air.”
He could feel the relief roll off his companions and knew he had made the right decision.
He was proud of his companions and was honest enough to admit that he was showing them off a little. The elite of Gotham paraded their favorites during the Great Auction, and as one of the leaders of Society, Bruce had decided to take part.
He was amused by the glances thrown his way: admiring, awed, agitated, askance. Lois’ article had come out and it was not only the talk of Gotham but of the country. He knew that many people disagreed with him, but what good was being the Prince of Gotham if he couldn’t ruffle a few feathers?
And do some good.
“I need to stop at one of the shops. We have plenty of time before we meet Alfred.”
Clark and Dick obediently followed him. Bruce gently tugged the chains and his companions were at his side instead of at his heels. He had never felt comfortable with that particular custom.
The shop he was looking for was on a side street, an old-fashioned Victorian building with an ornate clock above the entrance. The watchmaker that owned this shop was a specialist sought after for his exquisite creations. He had a special watch he wanted to order with very specific instructions.
He frowned as he saw the small sign in the window: NSA.
“What’s that sign, Master?” Clark asked.
Bruce looked at Dick. The boy knew.
“’No Slaves Allowed’,” Bruce said quietly.
“Oh.” Another slap in the face. “Then we wait out here?”
Bruce eyed the hitching post on the sidewalk. Worrying about kidnapping, he would have to chain Clark and Dick to the post.
He saw the look of resignation in Dick’s eyes. There was a bench so they could sit.
Tethered like horses or dogs.
Clark was looking at Bruce a little anxiously. He was probably a tad nervous about him and Dick being left out on the street unprotected but was prepared to do whatever Bruce requested.
“You know, I really don’t have time to stop here today. I’ve got some other stops to make.”
At the look of adoration Dick sent his way, Bruce knew that had made the right choice.
He ruffled Dick’s hair as they walked down the street.
Bruce hurried to get Clark and Dick to the picnic area. He needed to get to Braddock Hall for 11:00.
Alfred was shaking out a tablecloth over the picnic table, Brendan talking to Lex.
“Hi, Bruce.” They shook hands. “Thanks for inviting me.”
“Well, I knew you and Lionel would be here.”
“He’s promised to be on his best behavior.”
“Good.” When Lionel wasn’t pawing slaves, he could be a charming companion. “Do you have an auction to attend? I have a business meeting but would like you to be here.”
Lex understood. “No place special to go. I have to meet Dad in fifteen minutes but can be back here in half an hour.”
“Good.” Brendan could keep watch but it never hurt to have a second freeman around. “Let’s go.”
They passed through the crowds and Lex said, “Business on a holiday, huh?”
“You know how it is.”
“You’ve got a handsome Household.”
“You’re very lucky.”
“I know.” Bruce’s smile was content.
They reached a spot at the edge of the crowd watching the stage.
“Dad should be along any minute. I’ll try and get back as fast as I can.”
Bruce headed off for the imposing Hall. He walked in, remembering the trip he had taken here ten months ago.
So much had changed in his life, and for the better.
He called a number, and waited by the private elevator. The bell chimed and the doors opened, a tall, broad man nodding and saying, “Mr. Bracken is pleased at your last-minute request to attend, sir.”
Bruce followed the man into the elevator, passing down a corridor when they disembarked and into the inner sanctum, still richly furnished.
Silas Bracken welcomed him into the auction room.
“How nice to see you again, Mr. Wayne! How are you enjoying your Prize?”
“Very well, thank you.”
Bracken guided Bruce to a chair. “We start in five minutes.”
Bruce looked at the other buyers and saw Edmund and Harrison Caldwell.
Edmund turned and saw him. His eyes glittered.
The auction began.
Brendan chatted with two of his fellow chauffeurs several yards away from the picnic table. He enjoyed the chance to socialize. Bruce Wayne paid him extremely well, but sometimes that meant being on-call more than he would like.
“So,” said Malcolm, the Breckinhall chauffeur, “how’s it feel to be lone freeman among a bunch of manacles?”
“No big deal. I doubt I’m the only free servant ever in that situation.”
“I don’t know about that,” countered Carlin, the McBride chauffeur. “Most staffs are either all-slave or a generous mix. You’re the only one surrounded by slaves!”
“And that’s a bad thing?” Brendan glanced back at the picnic table.
“It is when people consider free servants little better than slaves.” Malcolm scowled. He curled his hand into a fist. “Pretty humiliating.”
“Who says that?”
“People! Honestly, Bren, don’t you listen? Or are you so isolated out there in the Palace?”
“It’s the Manor, actually,” Brendan said with a wry smile.
“Well, we’re from mixed staffs and we keep the contact to a minimum,” said Carlin. He brushed lank brown hair out of his eyes with a slightly nervous gesture.
Brendan was thankful for his own thick, wavy hair, a point of pride with him. He heard Dick’s laugh. The kid loved to help him fix the fleet of cars Lord Wayne kept, and even volunteered to wash and wax them. He felt a twinge of guilt as Malcolm sneered, “Slaves aren’t really the type of people you want to associate with.”
“Oh, they’re okay.”
“Too bad Wayne keeps such a short chain on the bedwarmer, eh? He’d make a helluva fringe benefit.”
Brendan frowned. His boss’ Prize had always been courteous and respectful to him. Some pleasure slaves thought themselves above free servants by virtue of their position, but the Prize had never acted that way.
And Alfred had always been considerate, baking him his favorite chocolate chip cookies and making sure his quarters over the garage was comfortable.
“Listen, slaves are okay. Some are jerks, just like freemen, and some are fine. I really don’t think too much of it.” Brendan waved a hand. He smiled. “Say, I thought you’d be hitched by now.”
Malcolm laughed. “I’m workin’ on it…”
The crash of china swung the chauffeurs’ heads around.
Two burly men had swept the place settings off the picnic table. Alfred was outraged, Dick glaring, and the partially-Veiled Prize unreadable.
One of the men kicked Dick’s leg and the boy fell hard to the ground with a whuff! of air, shooting his arm up to protect his face as a fist aimed for him…