Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Clark/Bruce, Harold Allston, Dick, 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: The Wayne Household tries to process the new and dangerous revelation.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): June 8, 2008
Date Of Posting: April 14, 2009
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1059
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Have always held
Harold was impressed. Either Bruce hadn’t known, or he was a helluva actor.
“The DNA sample I took from your Squire shows Roma ancestry.” He took out a datapad from his bag and handed it to a numb Bruce. “It’s all there, under my private lock. I’d say that the ‘medicine’ he takes once a year is a masking agent for his Secret. The Roma were rumored to have come up with a potion that allowed them to live undetected among us.” He smiled. “It’s not just a rumor.”
Bruce sat down heavily, staring at the stark figures on the datapad.
“After your parents were killed, I went to Europe for awhile, if you remember. I studied amongst the Roma, though of course they went under another name. I saved the life of one of their most respected chieftains. He told me their Secret, knowing that the Roma needed allies on the outside to survive.” Harold studied Bruce’s expression. “You had no idea.”
Harold considered this admission. “You have to protect yourself, Bruce. The punishment for harboring those under a Hunt Decree is pretty severe: confiscation of property, prison…”
“Then you’d better sell this boy quickly.”
Stricken, Bruce said, “I can’t.”
“You’d better. You’re jeopardizing your other slaves, as they’ll be among the property confiscated. Alfred’s a survivor, but what of your Prize? With his illness, he wouldn’t last long unless given the excellent care you give him. Even if he was taken care of, how long do you think he’d last as the star attraction of a brothel or some sadist like Edmund Caldwell?” He saw Bruce’s shudder. “What if this kid has been lying to you all this time?”
“Considering death is his alternative, I can’t blame him.” Bruce’s voiced was strained.
“You’d better find out before you decide what to do.”
As if on cue, the boy in question limped by the library window.
“I can’t sell him.”
Harold looked at the painting of Thomas and Martha. “You may have no choice.”
Looking sick, Bruce went to the window. “Richard! Come here, please.”
The little boy entered through the French doors, fresh as morning sunshine. He smiled at Harold. “Hello, Doctor.” He pointed to his ankle. “Doin’ good.”
Harold acknowledged the smile. He seems truly without guile, but who knows for sure?
“Sit on the couch, please.” Bruce paced back and forth, and the boy began to look worried. Bruce stopped in front of him. “Dr. Allston has…discovered something…in his tests.”
The child darted a look at Harold. He looked afraid, but why wouldn’t he? He thought that he was truly sick…
“Dick…” Bruce dropped to a knee in front of him and grasped the boy’s arms “…your DNA tested as Roma.”
Shock crossed the boy’s face.
Either he’s one hullava actor, or...
“That’s right.” Bruce’s voice was very gentle. “Your shot is a masking agent, not for any illness but to conceal your ethnicity.”
Fear slammed into Dick. “A Roma is under…a Hunt Decree!” His face drained to a ghastly white. “If the Government knows, they’ll…!”
Bruce gripped his arms harder. “No one knows.”
Not quite true, Bruce.
Dick glanced his way, but looked with wide eyes at his Master. “Master Bruce, you’ll have to sell me! If you’re caught, you and Cl…your Prize and Alfred will be in terrible danger!” The boy began to sob. “You’ll have to send me away!”
“No!” Bruce shook him. “I am not selling you. Ever!”
He gathered the sobbing child in his arms, caressing his hair and back and soothing him with comfortable words.
The child stiffened. “A slave under a Hunt Decree...the punishment is almost as bad as for a runaway!” His voice rose to near-hysteria.
“Listen to me!” Bruce whispered fiercely into Dick’s ear, “I would kill you myself before I’d let them do that to you, do you understand?”
Dick was shaking, his grip white-knuckled as he clung to Bruce, but he managed to nod. Bruce rocked him back-and-forth, murmuring words of comfort while still rubbing his back, holding on tightly.
Finally he set the boy back against the couch, giving him a handkerchief to wipe his red eyes. Bruce looked at Harold.
“I know you have to report this…”
Harold made a decision. “No, I don’t.” He looked at the devastated child. “I’ll keep your Secret, not only because Thomas and Martha were my dearest friends, but because I consider you a friend, too.” And that boy wasn’t lying.
Harold stood. “You don’t have to rely on that masking agent anymore. It was diluted, anyway. I know what the Roma use.”
“I can’t ask you to do that, Doctor. As it is, you’re in danger of losing your license and worse.”
“You aren’t. I’m volunteering.”
“I’ll see myself out. I’ll deliver the masking agent in a few days.”
As soon as Harold had gone, Dick grabbed Bruce’s arm. “Master…you could lose everything…”
Bruce smiled gently. “I have many more secrets, my Little Bird.” Dick smiled through his tears. “What’s one more?” He kissed Dick’s hair. “Now, rest a moment. I’ll get Clark and Alfred.”
Bruce began to rise and Dick squeezed his arm. “I swear, Bruce, I never knew.”
Entering the library, Clark and Alfred were very concerned as they saw how upset Dick was, huddled on the couch.
“Child, what’s wrong?” Alfred asked, going to sit beside him. Clark sat on his other side, putting his arm around Dick’s shoulders.
Bruce held up a hand. “Dr. Allston came by. Dick is not ill. His shot is a masking agent to conceal the fact that he is…Roma.”
Shock, then fear crossed two faces.
“Master Bruce…” Alfred choked out.
“I know.” Bruce took a deep breath. “I’m not selling Dick.”
“Of course not!” Clark exclaimed, squeezing Dick’s shoulders.
“We all know the risks, but it’s unthinkable, sir.” Alfred looked quite fierce.
Bruce smiled. “It’s settled, then.” As Dick opened his mouth to protest, Bruce said, “Dick, you’re among family. You stay.”
Dick nodded, tears in his eyes.
As Clark and Alfred hugged their boy, Bruce thought grimly, I need a word with Elias Haly.