Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Brendan, Dick
Series Notes: In the 23rd century, Earth is a technologically-advanced society that practices the ancient institution of slavery. A Great Trial crashes down upon the House Of Wayne. Can Bruce and Clark’s relationship survive? Will the Family’s strength be enough to see them through this time of Fear and Darkness? The entire series can be found here.
Genres: AU, Drama, Slavefic
Rating: (this chapter): G
Summary: There is a peacefulness at the Manor as Thanksgiving approaches. A calm before the storm?
Date Of Completion (First Draft): September 14, 2008
Date Of Posting: August 16, 2009
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1500
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Shading the trees
Of burning red,
As she prepares
"The Wheel Of The Year"
Autumn sunlight slanted golden across the garage floor, crisp air coming in through the open door.
Brendan looked over his domain with satisfaction. Everything was neat and orderly, tools hanging on nails over the workbench. Even the parts of the vintage motorcycle he was working on was collected on a dropcloth on the floor.
He loved the smell of oil and polish, gleaming cars and motorcycles parked in neat formations. He wiped his hand on a rag. He would have to ask Alfred for some new ones the next time he went up to the house.
Upstairs was his apartment, containing a living room, bedroom, bathroom and kitchenette. It had been already furnished when he had come to work for Bruce Wayne six years ago, but he had added many touches of his own since then.
Brendan was highly satisfied with his position. He was handsomely paid for chauffeuring duties, including maintenance of the impressive fleet of cars and cycles. He was on call 24/7, but Mr. Wayne was good about letting him know if he’d be needed for the night.
He received four weeks’ vacation per year and major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas off to spend with his family in Boston. His employer treated him with respect, and Brendan repaid his good treatment with utmost discretion.
He was one of the very few to have seen Mr. Wayne’s Prize unVeiled. He suspected that his employer had been a little shell-shocked upon buying a pleasure slave, forgetting the Veil when he left the auction house, but Brendan kept silent about what the Prize looked like.
Gorgeous, but then, Bruce Wayne was known for his excellent taste.
Brendan smiled at Dick, who bounced into the garage. Blue eyes lit up at the sight of the vintage motorcycle.
“It’s a 1920s Indian cycle, isn’t it?”
“Can I help fix it? Can I?”
Brendan chuckled. “Sure can.” He put an arm around Dick’s shoulders as they walked toward the bike. “You free ‘til lunch?”
Dick nodded vigorously. “Lessons are over, and so are my chores and exercises.”
They set to work, Brendan always pleased to have Dick around. The boy was quick, intelligent, and loved tinkering with cars and bikes.
When he had first come down to the garage with a message soon after his arrival at the Manor, he’d been timid, but his eyes had lit up at the sight of the Wayne fleet.
At first it was ‘Richard’ and ‘Mr. Murphy’, but now they were old friends.
As Dick chattered about Household events, Brendan was glad he wasn’t one of those freemen who kept a strict demarcation between himself and staff who were manacled.
Brendan possessed good cooking skills, but Alfred always made sure he was well-fed and he got his share of treats like delicious chocolate chip cookies, pies, or cakes. Brendan always turned in a grocery list of his own to Alfred for the weekly shopping.
Brendan got along well with Alfred and Dick. He saw less of the Prize, but the pleasure slave was always endearingly shy and polite around him.
Brendan treated each slave with respect, doing so not just for Mr. Wayne’s approval but because he felt it was the right thing to do.
He grimaced as he thought of last summer’s Fourth of July picnic and the bullying of the Wayne slaves until he’d stopped it.
He would always protect them.
“Brendan, you okay?”
“Huh? Oh, sure, Dick. Just wandered off.” He pushed back a lock of chestnut hair with a slender arm.
Dick grinned. “Master Bruce does that sometimes. So, you goin’ home for Thanksgiving in a few weeks?”
“Does your mom cook a turkey as good as Alfred?”
Brendan laughed. “Oh, yes. And I always get plenty of leftovers to bring back.”
Dick laughed. “We have lots, too.” He worked on screwing a part into the bike. “That’s okay. People complain about leftovers from Thanksgiving but I like ‘em.”
“Me, too.” Brendan wiped grease off a part.
Dick squinted as he leaned forward, trying to fit in a tiny part. “Do you miss your family when you’re here?”
“Sometimes.” Brendan crossed his legs. He was wearing a grease-stained T-shirt and jeans. He wasn’t scheduled to pick up Mr. Wayne until five o’clock. “But I talk to my parents quite a bit during the week, e-mail my brothers and sisters, and generally keep in touch.”
“They miss you, I bet.”
“I hope so!” Brendan grinned. He suddenly realized how quiet Dick had gotten. Oh, damn! “I bet you find this family pretty interesting.”
Dick immediately brightened as he lifted his head. “Yes, I do!” He leaned forward eagerly. “Master Bruce is always going to interesting places and doing fun things. Well, maybe not the business meetings.” Brendan laughed as Dick grinned saucily. “But it’s really fascinating to see how people react when they see the Prince of Gotham show up”
“You mean the fawning?” Brendan’s hazel eyes twinkled.
“Yeah.” Dick fished around for a bolt. “They part for Br…Master Bruce like the Red Sea for Moses.”
Always impressed by the boy’s intelligence, Brendan liked the clever analogy.
He had also noticed Dick’s slip on Bruce’s name.
He had long suspected that the Household was more Family now.
“So, is Mr. Wayne meeting with his cousin for Abolitionist stuff?”
Dick looked suddenly wary. “I think he keeps in regular contact.”
Being the Prince of Gotham’s chauffeur was a prestigious position, and afforded him respect.
Now the Prince was also espousing Abolitionist views.
“Do you…are you uncomfortable with…Master Bruce speaking out?” Dick twisted a rag in his hands as he awaited Brendan’s answer.
“Do you mean am I uncomfortable with Abolitionism?” At Dick’s tentative nod, Brendan said, “The way, I see it, you and Alfred and Mr. Wayne’s Prize deserve freedom just like anyone.”
The smile that blazed from Dick touched Brendan. He got to his feet and approached the boy, ruffling his hair.
He suddenly found himself with an armful of Squire, his throat tightening as Dick hugged him fiercely. He caressed Dick’s hair.
The boy’s ability to love was astonishing.
Brendan felt a strong surge of protectiveness.
Always protect you, Little One.
When Dick leaned back, Brendan smiled down at him. They separated, Dick running to get some fresh rags. He handed one to Brendan and they set to polishing the cycle.
“So, a lot of preparations going on up at the Manor for Turkey Day?” asked Brendan.
Dick laughed. “Alfred’s got the battle plans laid out. We’ve all got our assignments and are ready to go!”
“And those assignments are…?”
Dick polished vigorously. “Alfred orders the food, and we all get to add things to the list. Then we all have to help with dinner preparations: the Master’s Prize peels the potatoes and makes the cranberry sauce, I toss the salad, Alfred makes hamburger-celery-and-onion stuffing, we all help cutting up the yams, and Alfred is in charge of the turkey. The Prize and I make the pies under Alfred’s supervision, and that’s a whole ‘nother deal in itself! Then the Prize and I polish the silver, set the table, and generally do anything and everything. Oh, and the Master helps.”
“Yep, he helps with peeling and chopping, though Alfred doesn’t let him put ingredients together.”
Brendan grinned. He knew about his employer’s lack of culinary skills.
“Well, looks like you’re all set.”
“Not quite. Alfred’s got the Prize and I making pies this week: apple, pumpkin, lemon, and chocolate cream.”
“Mmm, sounds delicious.” Dick was frowning. “What’s wrong?”
“I hate referring to…well, always saying ‘the Prize’.”
“That’s okay. Mr. Wayne hasn’t allowed me to know…”
“I’ll talk to him about that, but in the meantime…can I use your computer?”
Brendan nodded. He had a terminal upstairs but one down here as well.
Dick jumped up and hurried over to the computer, tapping keys quickly. He beamed. “Yes!” He turned back to Brendan. “We can use the Rigellian word for ‘Cherished Friend’, Kla’xel.”
Amused, Brendan said, “Sounds good to me.” He rose to his feet. “Do you and Kla’xel make the pies to Alfred’s specifications?”
Dick nodded. “Alfred likes the way they turn out.”
“Well, that’s the important thing, isn’t it?”
“Alfred is a master chef!”
“Oh, I know. I live on his and my mom’s leftovers for a week or more after the holidays.”
“Oh, it’s lunch time! I gotta go up to the house.”
“Thanks for the help, Dick.”
Dick beamed and waved as he ran out of the garage and up to the Manor.
Brendan watched him go.
All was bustling here at the Manor in preparation for Thanksgiving, but there was a peacefulness mixed in with the happiness.
Brendan hoped it would remain that way.
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