Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Clark/Bruce, 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: Bruce wishes to accelerate his involvement in the Abolitionist Movement.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): June 19, 2008
Date Of Posting: May 3, 2009
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1387
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Too many Masters abuse and torture their slaves."
The National Aboltionist Society
Bruce walked through Kane Park. It was a beautiful day and he liked to be out in it, using his meeting at a building on the other side of the park as the perfect excuse.
Autumn was always a special time of year. There were three birthdays to celebrate, and a special anniversary to observe: Clark coming into his life. And the leaves were beautiful and the weather was gorgeous, and he almost felt like whistling…
The smacking sound of leather on skin startled him, and he rounded a bend in the path to see a man beating another one on the ground, noticing the slave bracelets on the victim’s wrists as his own hands curled into fists.
“Sir, do you really think this is necessary?”
The man turned, brown eyes flashing. “Fuck off, buddy!”
Bruce smiled while inwardly gritting his teeth. “Well, now, a well-dressed businessman such as yourself must be up on all the latest trends.”
The man frowned. “What the hell are you talking about?”
“Surely you’ve heard that it’s…gauche…to beat your slave on a whim.”
The man whacked his slave on the shoulder, a small cry ripped from the other man.
“Oh? Then the recent trend of not beating slaves except for a very good reason isn’t happening in the better circles?”
The man huffed. “Maybe, but I don’t believe in that New Age crap.”
“New Age? Well, I suppose it is. A New Age of civilized people?” Bruce waved his hand negligently. “It’s really rather barbaric, this beating thing.”
Teeth gleamed. “You ain’t seen barbaric yet.” He turned back and raised his belt again.
“Dear me. I guess you won’t be on the Garden Party guest list.”
The belt stilled. “What do you mean?” The man turned around and shook shaggy hair out of his eyes. “Dirk Kendricks is always A-list.”
“Well, I’m on the Committee, and I truly don’t think I could recommend a slave-beater.”
“You’re on the Committee for the Garden Party, one of the grandest social events of the season?” Kendricks sneered.
“Yes.” Bruce’s smile was mild as he thought of several ways to disembowel this preening peacock. “My mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother served on it.”
“And whom might they be…?”
“Sarah Jean, Constance, and Martha Wayne.”
“Wayne?” Kendricks blanched.
“You must be new in town,” Bruce said wryly.
Kendricks’ eyes narrowed. “And you say slave-beating just isn’t done?”
Bruce wrinkled his nose. “Maybe in the 19th century it was considered fashionable, but today…?” Bruce shrugged. “Aren’t those of us who have a lineage better than that? Aren’t we more sophisticated than that? Beating slaves is for fishwives and stevedores, not quality people.” Bruce sent up silent apologies to working-class people, but he knew that appealing to Kendricks' snobbery would work.
Kendricks lowered his belt. Bruce smiled as charmingly as he could, glancing down at the slave whose gratitude shook him. He murmured, “Good day,” and walked away.
Once he was out of earshot he pulled out his cellphone. “Kathy, dearest, I think we need an update of strategy. Is Martha here on the East Coast right now?” He smiled. “Tell here if her schedule allows it, I’ll send a Wayne Enterprises jet for her.” Bruce laughed. “Excellent. I’d like to get on to the next phase.”
Bruce said goodbye and snapped the phone shut, his step a little lighter.
Bruce arrived home, immediately struck by the sadness in Clark’s eyes as his lover greeted him.
“What’s wrong, Clark?”
“He was testing the XJ-1941 and something went wrong. He went off the radar.”
“Damn.” Bruce ran a hand through his hair. “I’ll call some contacts and see if I can find out anything.”
They sat out in the backyard, a worried Dick joining them. By the time Bruce hung up his cellphone, he was even more grim.
“They’re searching now but no sign of anything. And…” he took a deep breath “…Hal’s missing in the Outer Rim.”
“Oh, no.” Clark shivered. “Disappearing in space…”
“…is not good.”
Dick looked so sad that Bruce squeezed his shoulder. “Would you get us some lemonade, please?”
Dick nodded, and as soon as he disappeared into the kitchen Bruce said, “Being lost in space has very low survival odds.”
Clark nodded. “It’s not looking good for Steve, either.”
“Unfortunately, no. Communications went out, and as you said, he went off the radar. Before they lost the computer feed, it indicated the engine had failed.”
“I hope they find both of them.”
“Me, too. I just talked to them the other day, telling them to keep their calendars clear for Halloween Week.” Sadly Bruce remembered how pleased both men had been at the now-traditional invitation.
Clark removed his dark glasses and rubbed his eyes.
Bruce felt his worry increase. Clark was having more frequent spells of low energy. Dr. Allston had assured him it was a symptom of his disease, but Bruce was still uneasy. The thought of losing Clark terrified him. He reached out and squeezed Clark’s hand, and his lover smiled tiredly.
Dick returned with a pitcher of lemonade and glasses for everyone and sat down at the table.
“I’m sending the jet for Martha Kent.” Bruce took a sip of lemonade.
“Wow, cool! Is she going to be our guest?” Dick asked.
“No, she’ll be staying at my cousin’s house. She’s very comfortable there. But I’ll be going there and I’ll be upping my visibility on the Abolitionist issue. Now, let’s kick around some ideas.”
Clark and Dick perked up, very pleased to be consulted.
“You did that interview with Lois Lane in The Daily Planet,” Dick said, sipping his drink.
“Maybe another one, but in The Gotham Gazette?”
“That sounds good.” Bruce drank again, needing to parch his thirst. “I want to push for more Slave Protection Laws.”
“Do you really think that’s practical?” Clark asked. “Masters don’t take kindly to being told what they can and can’t do with their slaves.”
“They don’t, but we have to start pushing for it. Too long we’ve allowed Masters free reign.” He refilled his glass. “Someday, maybe we can say there won’t be any more Masters.”
Clark and Dick smiled.
After dinner, Bruce gently suggested that Clark go to bed. When Clark didn’t protest, Bruce knew that he had made the right decision. He helped Dick with his homework and then went upstairs.
Clark was still awake as it was early, watching the sun set as Bruce sat on the edge of the bed.
“Sorry,” Clark murmured.
“Want some company?”
Clark looked worried but began to unbutton his pajama top. Bruce put a hand over his.
“No, I mean just for rest.”
Relieved, Clark nodded.
Bruce changed, brushed his teeth, and climbed into bed. He rarely got to wear pajamas and liked the silky texture against his skin.
As he curled around Clark, his lover asked, “What about patrol?”
“I told Dick we were taking the night off. It’s good to keep the criminals guessing.”
“It’s so early, Bruce.”
“I know.” Bruce kissed Clark’s temple. “I’m tired, too.” The news of the possible loss of two friends had hurt.
Clark closed his eyes, Bruce resting his head on his chest. The steady heartbeat was as reassuring as the eternal sound of the ocean outside the windows. Stars began to twinkle softly in indigo twilight.
Bruce thought of the slave in the park this morning. He hoped that he’d gotten through Kendricks’ thick head and that his slave had been spared further pain.
Bruce wanted to get a law with teeth passed against slave mistreatment and outright torture. He wanted the murder of slaves to be illegal. The more rights they gained, the quicker the path to eventual abolition.
Maybe even within this generation.
Despite the little voice that always whispered that his slaves would leave him if they were free, he had to give them that choice.
It was only right.
Bruce sighed as he tightened his hold on Clark, letting the sound of the sea wash over them as he fell into a soothing sleep.
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