Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Clark/Bruce, Pop Haly, Dick
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: A Robin in a gilded cage is still free.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): April 12, 2008
Date Of Posting: January 24, 2009
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1134
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
With hardly a care,
This sweet little boy
Sparkling with joy.
"Night At The Circus
And Other Poems"
“Is it possible to get the medicine early?”
“Sorry, m’lord. If we get the medicine too soon, it’ll lose its effectiveness.”
Bruce frowned as he faced Elias Haly out in the garden. The circus owner enjoyed the setting and spent most of his time here, often with Dick when the boy wasn’t at lessons or doing chores.
“Have no fear, m’lord. I won’t forget or fail to send you what Dickie needs.”
“I appreciate that.”
Pop smiled. “I’m glad you do.”
Bruce wanted to grind his teeth. He touched a Jovaran Starfire flower, its yellow brilliance always reminding him of Clark’s smile.
Now that he thought of it, Dick, too.
My two Starfires.
The sound of the ocean rolled like waves over him, soothing as he tried to keep a sense of peace. He didn’t want to clash with Haly. The man was a tie to Dick’s past, and Dick was fond of him.
Just because he was grooming Dick to be a whore...
He stopped. He didn’t want to go there.
“Do you think the D.A. can convict Zucco?” Pop asked.
“I sure as hell hope so. Tony Zucco is scum and has to pay for his crimes.”
“True.” Pop touched a rose. “He killed John and Mary.”
“Yes.” Bruce carefully pushed the image of the Graysons falling to the ground out of his mind.
“If I can help out put that piece of crap away, I will.”
Bruce looked at Pop with new respect. “That’s good.”
The older man stared out at the ocean. “Sometimes it’s tough to own slaves. It’s a lot of responsibility, looking out for them, keeping them safe.” Pop watched a seagull swoop down to the water. “There’s a lot out there to hurt them.” The seagull rose triumphantly with a struggling fish in its beak. “Some would say we shouldn’t have slaves.”
“What about you, Lord Wayne?”
“If the Day Of Abolition ever comes, I would gladly free my slaves.”
“Your family would pretty much dissolve.”
Bruce clamped down on the fear that speared through his heart. “I’m sure my family would stay.”
“I would hope most of my performers would.” Pop threw a pebble out into the sea. “I think they would. They love the circus. They’re good at what they do.” Pop smiled at Bruce. “Dickie was one of my brightest stars. And he would have been one of the finest stars when he’d grown up.”
Bruce touched the Starfire again and said, “I’ve seen it when he uses the trapeze.”
“That was a great thing you did, m’lord. Dickie would have pined away for the freedom of flying.”
Bruce’s eyes widened slightly. Of course! Little wonder the boy loved flying so much.
It gave him freedom, something he didn’t have on the ground.
Something he could never give Dick.
But if Dick was freed…
My Little Bird would fly away and leave me.
And what about Clark and Alfred?
If they were free, they’d leave you, too.
Bruce shoved away the taunting voice in his head.
It’s doubtful we’ll ever see Abolition in our lifetimes, no matter how hard we work, so I refuse to worry.
Keep telling yourself that.
Bruce nearly snapped off the Starfire he held, restraining himself just in time.
Dick ran over, sunlight shining from his eyes.
“Hey yourself!” Pop ruffled Dick’s hair. “Time for the trapeze?”
Bruce and Pop laughed at Dick’s backflip. Pop followed Dick into the mansion.
Bruce stared out at the ocean, then slowly went inside.
Clark performed a routine with Dick, Bruce climbing the pole. Clark was a fast learner and loved flying, only held back by the less practice time he managed. He needed to be free of dizziness to come up here.
Bruce and Dick also practiced more because of their other identities. It was vital to keep their timing on an instinctive level.
Talented as he and Clark were, Bruce knew that Dick would always be the star. He had a natural talent that would outshine his older partners.
When Clark reached out, Dick flipped right into his hands. Dick laughed with joy, Clark joining him, and Bruce smiled.
Down below, even Pop was smiling. His expert eye watched the grace and style of both flyers. He applauded.
Clark and Dick both swung up onto the platform. Bruce swung out next, nodding to Dick, who took hold of the bar.
They swung back-and-forth, getting their rhythm down, and Dick signaled his readiness. Bruce nodded and Dick let go of the bar, flipping in mid-air.
Bruce’s heartbeat increased, excitement surging up within him as Dick flew toward him.
Their hands met and grasped, the smaller body strong but lighter-than-air. His silvery laugh sparkled through the air, Bruce smiling.
Dick climbed up around Bruce, hugging him as he whispered, “Let go,” and fell into the net, bouncing before he flipped onto the floor.
“How about you doin’ a solo act, Dickie?”
“Ready!” Dick looked up. “Master?”
“Just what I was going to suggest.”
Bruce was rewarded by Dick’s incandescent smile. Bruce dropped to the net and stood with Clark, who had come down from the platform.
All three men craned their necks to watch the boy flying overhead.
Dick put on s show, swinging and flipping and laughing in sheer joy.
Bruce felt a lump rise in his throat. Dick was truly a Little Bird, soaring through the air with the sunlight sparkling from his soul.
Grace and joy and love.
He brushed his hand against Clark’s, his lover smiling as he, too, watched with love sparkling in his eyes.
“Yes, sir!” Dick answered excitedly.
The boy touched down lightly on the platform, grabbing a bar and preparing himself, then swung out, letting go, somersaulting once, twice, three times…then a firm grab of the bar.
Dick’s audience broke into applause and his smile lit up the room. He alighted on the opposite platform and bowed, Clark and Pop laughing while Bruce fondly shook his head.
Dick scrambled down the pole and Pop greeted him with a hug. “Ya still got it, kid.”
Dick laughed. “Of course!”
Dick giggled and looked at Bruce and Clark. Clark hurried forward and hugged Dick.
“You’re a star!”
“Very good, my Squire.”
The twinkle in Bruce’s eyes belied the formality of the language.
Dick winked, then slipped his hand into Bruce’s. “Come with me.”
Bruce squeezed his hand lightly and followed.
Up the pole, to the platform, and a nod by Dick.
Poetry in motion.
Batman and Robin flew again.