Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Dick, Clark/Bruce, 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): G
Summary: Decorating the tree is a family tradition.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): April 30, 2008
Date Of Posting: February 13, 2009
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 967
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Emily Adams Cutler
"Yellow Roses And Other Poems"
Dick’s eyes were huge as he gazed at the towering tree in the living room. It smelled of evergreen goodness as he touched a branch.
“You like it, Dick?” Bruce asked in amusement.
“We had Christmas trees in our trailer, but never this big!”
“Decorating it is a four-man job. Right, Clark, Alfred?”
Clark smiled as he and Alfred nodded. They began opening boxes filled with generations of ornaments. Dick eagerly looked into the boxes, fingers hovering over delicate glass.
“Go on,” Bruce encouraged.
Dick picked out a glass ball etched in a snowman design. It was very old but beautiful.
“That’s a 1930s ornament. Lord William brought it back from England as a present for his son.”
“A grandfather with many ‘greats’ before his name.” Bruce winked.
Dick smiled and hung up the ornament on the tree.
There were many interesting stories to go with the baubles fascinating Dick. Clark and Alfred knew the stories but enjoyed hearing them again while they decorated, Bruce lifting out a hand-blown ornament shaped like a Union soldier.
“This was purchased during the Civil War, of course. During Christmas of 1862 most of the male Waynes were in the service. Most were on the Northern side, though a few went South.” Sunlight glittered off the bauble, Bruce very carefully placing the hook on a branch. “Out of four sons, two were killed, one lost his leg, and the remaining son came home, but of course he’d been affected, too.”
“I’m sorry, Bruce.”
Bruce ruffled Dick’s hair. “I’m sorry, too. Maybe I shouldn’t have told you the story. Kind of depressing.”
“No, it’s okay. Not all family history is happy.”
“Mom and Dad told me about our family having a great circus tradition, performing for the crowned heads of Europe. Mom said our ancestors performed for President Lincoln during the War.”
“Ah, quite a pedigree.”
“I agree,” Alfred chimed in. “My family comes from a long line of butlers and ladies-in-waiting. There has always been a Pennyworth in residence at Buckingham Palace.”
“You have a last name?” Dick asked.
Alfred nodded. “It’s a way to keep track of lineage. Legally, of course, I have no last name, but a Pennyworth bloodline tells a prospective buyer what to expect.”
“Like me descended from the Grayson line!”
Bruce listened to the pride in his slaves’ voices. He was glad that they had a family history. Not many slaves did.
Bruce felt his stomach tighten as he looked at Clark. His lover’s face was shadowed, and Dick noticed it, too.
“Master, what’s the story on this ornament?”
Bruce was warmed by Dick’s action. Trying to distract Clark was the work of a good-hearted child.
He was very proud.
“It’s really starting to come together.” Dick looked critically at the tree. Bruce laughed and said, “You’re right.” Alfred came in with a new box. “Dick, we still need to put on a few more ornaments.”
Dick turned and saw the cardboard box with the scrawled word, Baubles. He ran to Alfred and opened the box.
“Our old ornaments!”
Bruce nodded. “When we brought your things from the trailer, this box was included.”
Excitedly Dick lifted out an ornament. It was delicate and sparkled in the sunlight streaming in through the windows.
“See, it’s St. Nicholas. This is an old German ornament. One of my ancestors picked it up in Europe while touring before the crowned heads. One with many greats before his name.” Dick winked.
Bruce laughed at his little boy’s sauciness. “Such dash and style.”
“Oh, there are lots of goodies in there. Clark, Alfred, would you help me put all these up? C’mon, Bruce.”
Bruce was delighted that his little boy felt comfortable enough to take charge. Slave or not, Dick Grayson was irrepressible.
Light and Love were his gifts.
It was bitterly cold as night began to fall, Clark bundled up as he stared out at the sea by the wall. Dick’s boots forged through the snow, as silent as when he was Robin.
The lighthouse winked in the distance, its mournful sound carrying across the waves.
It sounded as mournful as Clark looked.
Dick hugged Clark, bringing a small smile to the older slave’s face. Clark’s hand caressed Dick’s back, then his arm went around the small body.
They both watched a freighter slide by on the horizon.
Bruce knotted his scarf around his neck as he left the kitchen. He was concerned about Clark. All the talk of family and lineage had upset him.
He has no memories of his family, or even if he had one.
Bruce hoped that Clark considered he and Alfred and Dick his family.
Of course he does. It’s just nice to know your heritage.
Looks like Dick beat me to it.
Dick’s bright little presence was just what Clark needed.
Bruce quietly stood on Clark’s other side, two beloved faces welcoming him. He touched Dick’s cap, then slid his arm around Clark’s waist.
New Year’s was less than a month away. Another blessed year that was ending, blessed in that Dick had come into their lives, and he and Clark were happy together.
The stars twinkled overhead, a thousand planets of the Empire, but more beautiful than dangerous as viewed from Earth. They watched the moonlight sparkle on the water, the soothing sound of the waves crashing on the rocks below.
He would have reason to remember this night of happiness as chaos descended before the glitter of the New Year had barely faded.