Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Vale, Bruce/Dick, Roy Harper, Victor Stone, Hal Jordan, Ollie/Dinah, various other JLA’ers and Teen Titans
Genres: Angst, Challenge, Drama, Hurt/Comfort
Rating (this chapter): PG-13
General Summary: A JLA and Teen Titans’ mission goes horribly awry on a primitive planet.
Chapter Summary: The prisoners mull over their situation until a startling pronouncement by their captors.
Date Of Completion: July 16, 2009
Date Of Posting: August 7, 2009
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1115
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: Written for silvertales for my Hurt/Comfort Fic Prompt Request. Pairing: Bruce/Dick. Prompt: Self-Sacrifice. :) and for my 2009 DCU Fic/Art Cast Of Thousands!!! Challenge.
Dick anxiously checked on Kory, her respiration steady, but she was still in the strange stasis that all the metahumans were stuck in. He looked at Roy worriedly.
“How’s Donna and Raven?”
“Just like Kory.”
Dick scrubbed his face with a gloved hand. Their masks were gone, their alien captors considering it insulting to conceal their faces unless involved in a ritual. Secret identities meant nothing to them.
Dick moved on to Vic, who was sitting in the corner of the dungeon, flexing his mechanical arm.
“How are you doing?”
Vic grimaced. “You mean besides feeling as stiff as the Tin Man?”
Dick smiled and put a hand on Vic’s shoulder. “Whatever that beam was that knocked out our big guns, it’s stiffened you up pretty good.” He squeezed Vic’s shoulder and moved on to the other half of the cell.
Barred windows high up in stone walls let in gray light that illuminated the prone forms of Clark, Diana, J’onn, Barry, Shayera, and Zatanna. Hal had been rendered powerless when his ring had been taken away by the Korlons, and he was helping Dinah and Ollie tend to the stasis metahumans.
Dick headed over to Bruce, who was sitting against the stone wall. He put his hand out to cup the side of his lover’s face.
“How are you feeling?” he asked softly.
“Still numb.” Bruce’s cowl had been taken away, his cape covering his body.
“Just your luck to be standing too close to Clark when the beam hit.” The nimbus had thrown Bruce several feet, and his body was still paying for it twelve hours later.
“Mmm.” Bruce licked his lips and Dick immediately fetched a ladle of water from the bucket of lukewarm water by the iron bars.
Bruce drank gratefully from the ladle, closing his hand over Dick’s. Dick pulled away after a moment. Only Alfred, Barbara, Clark and Roy knew the true nature of their relationship, and Diana, Dinah, and J’onn probably did, but Bruce was an intensely private person and wouldn’t appreciate their secret coming out for general consumption.
Bruce smiled slightly and Dick said, “We’ve tested the bars but despite their old look, they’re pretty sturdy.” He sighed. “Not only did they take our masks, they took our utility belts and anything useful to get out of here.” Dick flipped his cape back over his shoulder. The stone floor was hard on his knees.
“Have you established a routine for the guards?”
Dick nodded. “Every two hours they change shifts. Unfortunately, there isn’t a feeding time established. We haven’t seen food since we got here.” Dick sat down and crossed his legs. “At least we have water.”
Bruce sighed. “These people aren’t very receptive to reasoning.”
Hal came over and sat down. “The Korlons are highly superstitious and their religion dominates every aspect of their lives.”
“Well, we have proof of the Varians’ involvement in this planet’s culture.” Dick looked ruefully at Clark and the other metas entrapped in stasis. “The Korlons could never come up with technology like this.” Worriedly, he leaned forward to check on Clark again. “They aren’t in pain?”
"I don’t think so." Hal smiled at Dick. “I’ve never heard anyone who was zapped by it complain of pain. They describe it as more like a dreamless sleep.”
Relieved, Dick patted Clark’s arm as if the Kryptonian could feel his reassurance.
“How do we release them?” Bruce asked, affection for Dick in his eyes.
Hal pursed his lips. “There should be a control box around here. Once we find it, we flip the switch and the stasis fields should disappear.” He rubbed his face. “How we find where they’re keeping it, no clue.”
“It’ll be guarded. And there should be a Varian presence around here somewhere.”
Hal nodded. “They’re helping the Kash sect of the Korlons against the more peaceful Kushti. The war between the two nations has begun, and the more advanced weaponry the Varians are supplying will tip the balance of power to the Kash.”
“And the Guardians are concerned about the planet’s welfare,” Dick supplied. “Also the natural mineral korzite that is deep in the planet’s core.”
“And worth a fortune on the galactic market.”
Bruce shifted his legs, stifling a groan as Dick looked at him worriedly. “The Guardians think that the Varians are stirring this war up so they can mine the korzite without interference.”
He nodded. “And the long-range projection is total destruction of the Kushti, and eventually the Kash, who will kill themselves off with the weapons they don’t understand.”
“The equivalent of nuclear weapons?” Dick asked softly.
Dick looked sad and Hal gently squeezed his knee, Dick seeing the look from Bruce. Well, Hal didn’t know about them, so he wasn’t to blame.
“We need a plan.” Bruce crossed his arms, grateful that he could move them without too much pain, hiding the weakness he felt.
The clang of the gates to the cells signaled company on the way. Dick didn’t think it was a shift change. The time wasn’t right.
The Korlon guards were accompanied by two officials in long, brocade robes, the dark-gold color trimmed in black. Tall hats of the same material perched on their heads.
The Kash race of the Korlons were taller than humans on average, around six feet six inches. Skin colors ranged from light and dark-blue to a light-gold, and hair colors were black, white, dark-blue, or dark-gold. Most seemed to possess tawny, almost cat-like eyes, and while the height made them appear slender, they were well-muscled under their bulky robes.
The Korlon with black tassels on his hat spoke. “Your League and juniors can be freed.”
Hal and Dick slowly stood. Bruce remained seated, Dinah and Ollie still on their knees next to their immobile colleagues. Roy slowly rose to stand at the opposite end of the cell next to Victor.
“We can leave?” Hal asked.
“You must leave Korla and never return.”
Dick knew that the Guardians of Oa had been adamant about this mission. Would Hal agree to this condition?
“Once the sacrifice is done, you may go.”
The Korlon nodded. “Our priests have informed me that it is the only way to cleanse ourselves of your alien presence. When the twin moons rise tonight, we must perform the sacrifice.”
Dick felt his blood run cold. He didn’t like the sound of this.
“And what does this sacrifice entail?” Hal’s voice was rock-steady but Dick could hear the anger underneath.
“The usual.” The Korlon’s voice was cool. He looked over the heroes, his tawny eyes settling on one hero in particular. He pointed to Dick.
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