Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Clark/Bruce (Clark does not appear in this chapter), Dick, Brendan, Alfred, Jim Gordon, Barbara Gordon, Tony Zucco
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): PG-13
Summary: The Wayne Family tries to deal with the fall-out.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): October 5, 2008
Date Of Posting: September 13, 2009
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1603
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
As the world
"The Day The World
Came Crashing Down"
...AS THE WORLD FALLS AWAY
Bruce felt numb.
As the limousine glided through the streets of Gotham, Dick curled up against him. He kept his arm firmly around the boy.
His mind raced with the dire possibilities: Clark taken randomly, or specifically targeted? He could be in the hands of a private owner, or in another slavers’ camp. He could already be off-world.
He began to tremble, Dick pressing closer against him. Dick’s silence was what he needed. The small body warm against him kept him from losing it completely.
A somber Brendan drove them up to the Manor, Bruce climbing out of the car, still holding onto Dick.
The front door opened. “Ah, Master Bruce! Did you enjoy your trip to town?” Alfred saw their stricken faces. “Where is Clark, sir?”
“Taken,” Bruce whispered, Dick slipping his hand into his.
Shock crossed the butler’s face, then he went straight to Bruce and folded him and Dick into an embrace, Brendan gently putting his hand on Dick’s back.
After the little tableau broke up, a hollow-eyed Bruce led his Family into the house.
The Manor seemed empty, their footsteps echoing as they walked across the parquet floor.
The frantic urgency that Bruce had felt in town was dampened but still eating away at his edges. He needed to do something. Jim was an excellent Police Commissioner, but the Bat was needed.
Bruce’s cellphone rang and he flipped it open. “Yes?” He closed his eyes. “Hello, Ollie. I…there isn’t much to say.” Bruce listened for another minute, then said, “I appreciate any help you and Dinah can give. Thank you.” Bruce shut the phone, saying, “Alfred, please preside in the kitchen. I need some time alone.”
Dick was unhappy but followed Alfred as the butler gently tugged him away from Bruce, Brendan following them to the kitchen.
Bruce walked slowly to the library.
Crossing his arms, he stared up at the painting of his parents. His younger self smiled out at him.
It had been so long since he’d been that little boy.
He had to keep it together. He had to.
He had to find Clark!
The shadowed figure crouched in the alley, cape fluttering out behind him. He searched the alley compulsively, followed by a sparkling shadow.
When Bruce had readied for this patrol, Dick had silently showed up in costume. Bruce could have ordered him to stay home, but Dick was frantic, too.
They searched up-and-down, but found nothing. It was as if Clark had disappeared off the face of the earth.
Batman’s stomach clenched. He had to find a clue; there had to be something here.
The Dark Knight turned at the sound of the soft voice. Robin’s entire body expressed pain.
“We should visit the Commissioner.”
“We have to search.”
Robin nodded. “We’ll do that. Then we’ll go to Jim Gordon. He might have a clue from witness reports.”
Batman nodded slowly.
Jim barked out orders, slamming down the phone. He leaned back in his chair, closing his eyes. Good thing he’d invested in a comfortable chair. He certainly spent enough time in it.
He opened his eyes to see his daughter smiling at him, albeit with concern in her eyes.
“Hi, Pumpkin.” Her smile grew brighter at the nickname. “What are you doing here so late?”
“I was finished with my homework and was restless.”
“You’re worried about Bruce Wayne’s Prize.”
“I am.” Barbara sat in the chair in front of his desk. “He’s a really sweet man, Dad. He adores Lord Wayne and is a real friend to Dick, and Alfred has given his approval.”
“Ah, from what you’ve told me, that approval is essential.” Jim smiled.
Barbara grinned, sobering as she said, “His loss would devastate that Family.”
“Family? Don’t you mean Household?”
“No, I mean Family.” Barbara leaned forward. “They really are, Dad. Manacles and collars don’t change that.”
“No, I suppose they don’t.”
Suddenly, a rustle at the window attracted their attention.
“Batman and Robin!” Barbara was astonished.
“Come in, gentlemen.”
Both were extraordinarily graceful, a prerequisite of their jobs. Jim glanced with amusement at his daughter. It was her first time seeing the Dynamic Duo up close.
“Commissioner, I hear there’s been a kidnapping.”
“You hear correctly.” He indicated his girl. “My daughter Barbara.” Two heads gravely nodded in acknowledgement.
“Do you have any leads?”
Jim shook his head. “The witnesses saw nothing. The kid shooting up the city diverted everyone’s attention.”
Jim nodded. “College kid. He was high on sparkle dust and was shooting at random.”
The Batman’s gloved fist tightened slightly. “Any leads from the alley?”
“So there’s nothing?”
Jim felt inadequate, that voice demanding something…anything.
Barbara listened to the conversation, watching the Dynamic Duo closely. She loved the contrast of dark and bright. The Batman was clothed in darkness. Robin was bright glitter and sunshine.
While her father talked with Batman, Barbara observed his young partner.
Robin was standing still, a solemn look on his face. He promised movement, but he remained motionless at the Bat’s side. She had seen him in motion through vids taken of him in action.
He was very attentive, listening to the conversation between the adults. She judged him to be around ten years old, maybe a little younger or older, but she was certain he was younger than her.
She wished that she could see him in action. His grace reminded her of a ballet dancer or gymnast.
His costume was a complete contrast to his mentor’s: green, red, and yellow, fitting a sunny personality. She wished that she could see a patented Robin smile, but of course the situation was serious.
“You said that the gunman diverted everyone’s attention?” Robin asked. Her father nodded. “Could…could this gunman have been a deliberate distraction?”
Jim raised an eyebrow. “Perhaps.” He went to his computer and pulled up a file. “Matt Stevens is a Gotham U. student, hooked on sparkle dust. He could have been pressured by a dealer to do this.”
“As a diversion to steal Lord Wayne’s Prize?” Barbara asked.
“Could be.” Jim studied the file. “He was arrested two years ago buying sparkle from Sammy Drexel.”
“A two-bit dealer,” Batman growled.
“Yes. He’s connected to…Anthony Zucco’s mob.”
“Zucco.” Batman’s voice was like ice and Barbara noticed Robin tense. “He’s in prison.”
“For a good, long time.”
“Still, maybe he knows something.”
Barbara shivered a little.
“You’re welcome to try, Batman. He might know who Stevens’ dealer is now. Meanwhile, we’ll keep at the kid, though he’s de-toxing now.”
“Keep in touch, Commissioner. Goodbye, Miss Gordon.”
“Glad to have met you,” Robin added.
Barbara wished it had been under different circumstances, but she still was glad to have seen the Dynamic Duo up close-and-personal.
“Quite a sight, eh?”
Barbara looked at her smiling father. “Yes!” he laughed and ruffled her hair.
Tony Zucco disliked prison, of course, but it could be worse. He could have fried instead of getting life.
Here he was still King of the Hill, still feared and respected. If people didn’t feel both you were cooked like an egg.
He sat quietly in the library. Everything was monitored here, too, of course, but not to the point of suffocation. He had no feuds going on and so was less likely to be a target. Instead, he could just sit here reading his book, minding his own business.
The sibilant whisper started him. He looked up, adrenaline racing as he said, “Batman!”
“That’s right.” The Bat was only halfway out of the shadows, his cape shrouding his costume.
The kid was with him, somehow blending into the dark with that crazy-colored costume. He didn’t look smiling and happy. In fact, the kid looked like he’d have liked to tear his arm off and beat him over the head with it.
“So to what do I owe the pleasure?”
“Matt Stevens’ dealer. Who is he?”
“Matt Stevens. Who’s he buying sparkle from?”
“How the hell would I know?”
“He used to buy from Sammy Drexel.”
Zucco snorted. “So? In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m not in the business anymore.”
“You’re still connected, Zucco.”
Zucco smiled. “True.” He sat back in his chair, rubbing his chin. He’d dropped several pounds due to the lousy prison food but was still on the portly side. “What do you care about some junkie for? He kill someone?”
“He shot up downtown Gotham.”
“So that was him? Huh.”
“So who’s he buying from?”
“I really dunno, Batman. There’s dozens of dealers out there for this particular junk.”
The Batman said nothing, but the menace was clearly there, even from the kid.
Zucco shrugged his shoulders, trying to hide his nervousness. “Can’t help ya, Batman.”
The single word sent a shiver down Zucco’s spine. “I can ask around.”
Batman nodded. He didn’t say to do it quickly. Zucco understood that without words.
Batman melted back into the shadows, the kid staring for a moment, then disappeared into the darkness, too.
Zucco breathed a sigh of relief.
Out in the night, Batman placed a hand on Robin’s shoulder.
“You all right?”
Robin took a deep breath. “No, but I will be.” He looked up at his mentor. “Clark will be all right.”
Batman squeezed his shoulder, and they flew off into the night.
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