Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Clark/Bruce, Ollie/Dinah, Edmund Caldwell, Evangeline Halstead, Davis Saltonstall
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: Clark overhears some disturbing conversation at the Halloween Ball.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): April 24, 2008
Date Of Posting: February 4, 2009
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 996
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Of the dice,
ROLL OF THE DICE
Clark circulated among the guests, his Jovaran costume perfect for concealment. While it marked him as a slave, completely covered from head-to-toe, unless people had made note of his arrival with Bruce, he was a complete mystery.
His silver-blue robes, a jattra, sparkled as he moved, blue-and-yellow beads encircling his waist and hanging around his neck. Beads jangled from a circlet around his head, his face completely Veiled. Even his eyes were hidden, and he liked the relative freedom of that concealment.
He also picked up snatches of conversation: the upcoming business merger of two of the biggest rivals of Wayne Enterprises; a scandalous affair between a vassal and a free chambermaid, and a failed investment in a slave breeding farm.
Clark walked to the buffet, glad he could eat by simply pushing aside the folds of his javea, his hood-like head covering. A blue-and-silver domino would keep his eyes hidden if his hood accidentally fell away.
Despite his slave costume, he felt freer than usual as he glided around the museum ballroom. His pick-up of information was easy: it was amazing how loose-tongued the wealthy could be in social situations. Servants, whether slave or free, were invisible to them, and speaking of intimate things was second nature to the upper classes.
In the next hour, Clark picked up a few juicy business tidbits that he filed away. Bruce would be pleased at the information.
Clark drank champagne, watching as the others of the house party enjoyed themselves. Out on the dance floor, King Arthur and Queen Guinevere swirled in long, flowing cloak and gown. Ollie and Dinah were excellent dancers.
Clark looked for his own lover, allowing himself to indulge in soulful gazes under the cover of his hood. He spotted Bruce, dressed as a Jovaran noble, similarly clad but with his face exposed except for the part covered by his domino mask. He was in animated conversation with the King of Siam.
Chuckling, Clark continued his circuit of the room, pausing beside a large potted palm. Laughter came from the other side, and a familiar voice spoke.
“The little strumpet ran into me! He was mouthy and insolent and I taught him a lesson with my cane.”
Clark’s blood chilled at the sound of Edmund Caldwell’s voice.
“Yes, Bruce is rather lax with his slaves,” an unfamiliar female voice drawled.
“Lax!” snorted Edmund. “That doesn’t even begin to cover it.”
Another man spoke. “I wasn’t aware that Bruce lacked a firm hand.”
Edmund said, “He allows that circus brat to run at will. He should be kept on a leash.”
The woman said, “I suppose, but it’s so tiresome to keep slaves leashed all the time.”
“Tiresome!” Edmund exclaimed. “My dear woman, there is nothing more satisfying than the tug of a chain, watching a brat’s head snap back or have him yanked off his feet!” A cruel chuckle sent a shiver down Clark’s spine. “What could be done with a high-spirited spawn like that! It’d be a real pleasure breaking that spirit.”
The woman tittered but the man sounded annoyed as he said, “Really, Edmund, can’t you leave the kids alone? Breaking a child’s spirit is no sport.”
Malicious glee laced Edmund’s voice. “Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it.”
“I doubt that the Prince of Gotham would treat his slaves like that.”
“Prince of Gotham!” Edmund sneered. “He’s no Prince.”
The woman drawled, “Well, his family is the Founding Family of Gotham.”
“Angeline, my family is just as much a Founding Family as Bruce Wayne’s.”
“Yes, but Bruce is the Prince, darling.”
It was Evangeline’s turn to speak with malicious glee.
Edmund didn’t respond, possibly from apoplexy. Clark decided to make a strategic retreat.
He stopped when he heard Alfred’s name.
“Yes, they say he really runs Wayne Manor,” said Evangeline.
“Now that is utter nonsense. Even that silly Brucie wouldn’t allow that.”
“But, Edmund, dear, Alfred is one of the best butlers around.”
“A slave butler, my dear.”
“I hear he’s an awfully good cook.” The other man sounded sincere.
“Davis, what does good kitchen skills mean unless they are skills bent over the kitchen table?”
Evangeline tittered but Davis was silent for a moment, sounding annoyed again as he huffed, “Really, Edmund, that’s rather disrespectful of a loyal retainer like Alfred…”
“Respectful!” Edmund hissed. “The word ‘respectful’ and ‘slave’ do not go together, not in the context of a freeman toward a slave. The other way around, now, is required.”
“So Alfred’s skills aren’t worthy of respect?” Davis asked.
“I’d rather think about Bruce’s prize slut’s skills.”
“I agree,” came Evangeline’s amused voice.
“I’d love to see what’s under that Veil.”
“I’ll agree with you there,” Davis grumbled.
“I’d like to see him on his knees and using that talented mouth for something besides eating Alfred’s cooking.” Edmund chuckled.
Clark moved away, shaking as he slipped outside onto a deserted balcony.
He stared up at the moon, his left hand curled into a fist, his right hand worrying the beads on his belt.
He understood his vulnerability very well. He could not defend himself, and being referred to in disparaging terms was nothing new.
Edmund Caldwell scared him. More than ever he was grateful for Bruce. Fate had played a cruel trick on him by having him born a slave, but kind to him by the Master given him.
He would never forget that.
A hand on his shoulder startled him badly. Heart pounding, he whirled.
“Whoa, Clark, what’s wrong, love?”
Shaking like a leaf, Clark put his arms around his lover.
“Please, just hold me, Bruce,” he pleaded softly.
Bruce complied, running his hand up and down Clark’s back.
Clark closed his eyes, glad he felt safe as he always would in Bruce’s arms.