Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Clark/Bruce, Dick, Pop Haly, Alfred
Series Notes: In the 23rd century, Earth is a technologically-advanced society that practices the ancient institution of slavery. As Bruce and Clark continue to juggle being lovers as well as Master and slave, Bruce continues his Abolitionist work, and a shocking Family Secret is revealed. Meanwhile, the Queen Family welcomes a new member, and Steve and Hal meet their Destinies, although neither one realizes it yet. The entire series can be found here.
Genres: Drama, AU
Rating: (this chapter): PG-13
Summary: Pop has regrets, but he knows that Dick is in the right place now.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): April 8, 2008
Date Of Posting: January 16, 2009
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 969
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
“Mists In The Mountains”
Bruce watched from the library as Dick gave Pop a tour of the gardens that were ablaze in autumn glory. He stood with his arms crossed and a slight scowl, but held his tongue. Clark rubbed his back.
Bruce watched the burly man with the dark eyes interacting with Dick, and wondered if Clark had been trained as a pleasure slave early on. He’d been a virgin far beyond the age of eighteen. Virgins destined as pleasure slaves were usually sold as soon as they became legal.
“You still don’t trust him,” Clark said.
“Not completely.” Bruce sighed. “I know it’s hypocritical…”
Bruce looked at Clark, the guilt clear in his eyes, but Clark’s eyes reflected calm and steady understanding. “I just don’t like the idea of Dick being groomed to eventually becoming the star attraction for ‘anyone to come around and lay their money down’.”
“I know.” Clark looked at the sparkling boy in the sunlight. “Someday you’ll have to Veil him.”
“Yes.” Fear skittered in Bruce’s heart. He was also angry over the confrontation with the Caldwells, and fearful that he and Clark may have given too much away in public. He was going to have to ratchet up the imperious attitude. He was getting too comfortable and careless. “I just want to protect him so much, you know?”
Clark’s tone was affectionate, and he slipped his arm around Bruce’s waist, his Master smiling.
“So you’re happy here, Dickie?”
Dick grinned. “Very.” Dick slipped his small hand into Pop’s large one. “Look at how beautiful it is here, Pop! The estate is beautiful, the ocean’s right here, and I have a trapeze I can use!”
“Sounds just like a castle. “ Pop glanced back at the Manor. “But no surprise, as you’re living with a Prince now.”
“Yes!” Dick’s eyes sparkled.
“I’m glad to see you happy, Dickie.” Pop squeezed his hand. “You deserve it.”
“So do you.”
“Maybe the Prince wouldn’t think so.”
Dick squeezed his hand this time. “Bruce doesn’t always understand. He grew up here, not in a circus.”
And not manacled, Pop thought.
“He doesn’t know what it takes to keep a circus like ours going.”
“No, he doesn’t.”
Dick’s smile faded slightly. “I know if you didn’t find ways to make extra money, we all…could have been sold off…”
“That’s right, Dickie.” Pop sighed. “I wish I could have done things differently.”
They were quiet for a minute, listening to the waves crashing on the rocks, and then Pop said, “Well, since you left, no more special performances. Your Master saw to that.”
“He sends enough money every month to keep us going.”
Dick’s eyes widened, then he broke into a big smile. “Bruce is the best!”
“Good.” Pop ruffled his hair. “You gonna show me this private beach of yours?”
“Sure!” Dick nearly turned a somersault. “I have to go tell Alfred where I’m going.” He took off, leaving Pop by the seawall.
Pop could feel Bruce’s eyes boring into his back. He smiled. The Prince was certainly protective. Good.
Pop threw a pebble into the water. He had been telling Dick the truth. He did wish there had been another way to get the extra money before the Wayne largesse started coming. The circus did well, but they’d needed more. The alternative would have been to sell off some of the slaves, breaking up families, possibly Dickie’s own…
Did he regret grooming Dick to become his prize whore when he came of age?
Yes, but he would do it again if it meant saving the circus and the slaves in it.
This world wasn’t always easy, and neither were its choices.
What would a Prince know about hard choices, and the Government always sniffing around, looking for those who…?
“Let’s go, Pop!”
Pop turned and saw the smiling boy bounce toward him, and followed Dick down to the beach.
Bruce hung up the phone and glanced out the window. He immediately rose and hurried to it, then turned and strode to the kitchen, calling, “Alfred!”
“Yes, sir?” Alfred looked up from his grocery list.
“Gone to the beach with Mr. Haly, sir.”
Bruce frowned. He stalked to the door and then back to the table.
“Something amiss, sir?”
“I don’t like Dick off with Haly.”
“Don’t worry, Bruce, I don’t think Haly is going to run off with him.” Clark entered the kitchen.
“And why are you so trusting of Elias Haly?”
“I’ve seen the way he treats Dick. He really cares about him, Bruce. And it’s good that Dick is re-connecting with his past.”
Clark exchanged a smile with Alfred and put his arms around Bruce.
“Don’t worry, love,” he whispered. “Dick is safe here at the Manor. You’ve made it so.”
Bruce sighed and relaxed into Clark’s embrace, Alfred returning his attention to his grocery list, approval on his face.
The waves lapped up onto the beach, Dick dancing back-and-forth, daring them to get him wet, then cartwheeled down the sand, amusing Pop.
“You’re still in good shape, kid.”
“I get to practice on the trapeze every day.”
“Good.” Pop tapped a smiling Dick on the head. “You stay in shape, and we’ll feature you as a guest act when we come to Gotham next spring.”
Dick jumped for joy. “Really, Pop?”
Pop laughed as Dick somersaulted down the beach.
Yeah, it was good that the kid was here. If trouble came…well, the Prince had clout. He could protect Dickie.
Pop hurried to catch up to Dick.