Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Clark/Bruce, Edmund Caldwell, Dick, Alfred, Brendan, Ollie/Dinah
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: Clark comes home.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): November 16, 2008
Date Of Posting: October 27, 2009
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1732
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
19th Century C.E.
Edmund’s smirk was grating, or at least he hoped so. Irritating Bruce Wayne was an amusing pastime.
Bruce leaned against the door with his arms crossed, his face impassive. Edmund felt confident and relaxed, pleased at the way things were going. He’d had his fun and had a tasty memory to bring away from all this.
Bruce pushed away from the door and rested his fists on the cheap table.
“I’m prosecuting you to the fullest extent of the law.”
Edmund frowned. “What do you mean by that?”
“Just what I said.” Bruce’s eyes were cold. “I’m going to ask for the maximum penalty and make sure you go to trial.”
Edmund scoffed. “Even if you insist upon such a thing, I won’t do any jail time.”
“How do you know? Major larceny such as you committed carries a prison sentence as well as a fine.”
Edmund snorted. “Not for a slut.”
“There’s always a first time.”
As Bruce started to leave, Edmund sneered, “You’re violating the Gentleman’s Agreement.”
Bruce turned back, eyes flashing. “You broke it first, Edmund. A gentleman does not kidnap another gentleman’s slave, especially his bedslave.”
“He’s a slut. Worth nothing!”
“My accountant might disagree with you.” Bruce voice was clipped.
“Bah, he’s still just a whore. No freeman of a certain station has ever gone to prison for stealing a slave. True gentlemen keep it low-key and work things out themselves, they don’t press charge against the other gentleman!”
A humorless smile curved Bruce’s lips. “Hardly low-key now, Edmund. Don’t you think every news service on the planet carried the news of the Prince’s missing slave? Hell, I bet the news made it as far as the Outer Rim.”
Rage boiled up in Edmund. “You’re not a Prince,” he growled.
This time the smile was more genuine. “So you say.” The smile faded. “Hear this, Edmund. If you ever come near my slaves again, if you even just look at them cross-wise, you’ll answer to me.” He loomed over Edmund. “And if you ever kidnap any of them again for your sadistic pleasure, I’ll kill you.”
He turned and left a seething Edmund.
Bruce closed and opened his hands, trying to get his heart rate under control. He didn’t want the black thing inside of him to grow: the old, familiar rage he’d suffered since that night in a dirty alley so long ago.
He couldn’t let the rage overtake him and propel him to do something he would regret. He had to keep a cool head, for Clark and for the rest of his family.
He pushed the door of the exam room open.
Clark jumped but he was holding onto Dick’s hand. Dick had turned, positioning himself in front of Clark, but relaxed as he saw Bruce.
“Let’s go home.”
Alfred was anxiously awaiting them on the portico as Brendan drove the car up the winding driveway, stopping in front of the columned entrance.
“I am so glad to see you,” Alfred said, hugging Clark, who hugged back fiercely. “Come inside now.”
Bruce let Alfred take charge. Dick scurried after his fellow slaves into the house.
Brendan said, “It’s a great thing that your Prize is back, sir.”
“Yes,” Bruce said softly. He looked at his chauffeur. “I appreciate your concern for Clark.”
Brendan was startled at the use of Clark’s name, then smiled brilliantly. “Thank you, sir. He’s very special.”
Brendan got back into the limousine and drove it to the garage.
Bruce went inside the mansion, Dinah greeting him in the foyer.
“How are you, Bruce?”
“Fine. You should ask Clark that.”
“Poor thing’s very jittery. Alfred and Dick brought him upstairs.” Dinah squeezed Bruce’s arm. “The Queens will clear out and leave you in peace.”
Bruce smiled. “Nonsense. You and Ollie and Melody and Roy helped get Clark back. The least I owe you is a dinner and a good night’s sleep.”
Dinah smiled. “All right. We’re in the library.”
Bruce nodded and watched her go down the hall, then he tilted his head up and took a deep breath, climbing the stairs.
In his bedroom Alfred was laying out pajamas for Clark. Bruce approved. Clark needed sleep, not lovemaking.
“Will there be patrol tonight, sir?”
Bruce shook his head. “Not Clark’s first night back.”
“Very good, sir.”
Bruce heard the warm approval in his butler’s voice. Alfred never disappointed.
“I sent him to get Clark some chicken soup. I daresay he hasn’t had anything to eat since his kidnapping.”
Bruce grimaced. “I don’t think Edmund was much concerned with Clark’s comfort, to be sure.”
“May I ask if you saw Mr. Caldwell at the police station?” asked Alfred as he turned down the bed.
“And…?” Anger was telegraphed from every rigid muscle in his body.
“I told him I’d kill him if he snatched any of you again.”
Alfred finished smoothing out the blanket. “Very good, sir.”
“Where’s Clark?” Bruce hoped he wasn’t being sick in the bathroom.
“Taking a bath to sooth his nerves.” Alfred glanced at the closed door. “I n fact, I had better check to make sure he hasn’t fallen asleep.”
“I will.” Bruce squeezed the older man’s shoulder and headed into the bathroom.
The room was pleasantly warm, the air scented with lilac bath oil.
Clark’s head was resting comfortably against the tub, the special design allowing a bather to relax. He looked perfectly relaxed until Bruce noticed a faint tremor in his lover’s hand.
Clark’s body jerked and his eyes flew open. “Oh, Bruce.”
“Sorry I startled you.”
“It’s all right.” Clark’s eyes were huge, almost pleading. “Are you going out tonight?”
Bruce shook his head. When he saw Clark’s relief, he knew he had made the right decision. Sitting on the edge of the tub, he said, “The Queens are staying tonight.”
Clark began to rise. “I have to get dressed.”
“No, you’ll have some supper, then go to bed.”
“No buts.” Bruce smoothed Clark’s hair. “You need your rest. Dick and Alfred will take care of my guests.” Bruce stood. “Let me help you up.”
Clark came out of the tub like Poseidon rising from the sea, Bruce’s heart pounding. No matter how many times he looked at Clark, he was still struck by his beauty.
He watched the play of soft light on Clark’s bare skin, glistening from the water.
Bruce dried Clark off with a big, fluffy towel and helped him into the pajamas that he received from Alfred.
Out in the bedroom, Bruce helped Clark into bed while Alfred fussed with the covers and Dick arrived with supper. He set the tray over Clark’s lap.
Dick smiled as he ate a chocolate chip cookie off the plate on Clark’s tray. Bruce rubbed his shoulder and said, “Stay until Clark goes to sleep.”
Dick nodded and sat on the bed and curled his legs up, getting comfortable.
Bruce kissed the top of Clark’s head, then left to join his guests. Alfred said gently, “Call me if you need anything.”
Clark nodded and Alfred left, Dick patting Clark’s leg. “Take your time, Clark. Alfred’s cookies are to be savored.”
Clark chuckled slightly. He ate some golden soup with its generous portions of chicken, orzo, and tiny meatballs, its warmth spreading through him, tasting of home, then took a cookie and ate it, relaxing as he chewed.
Dick watched him but his gaze was friendly and non-judgmental. He noted Clark’s scar by his right eye and was glad that Old Man Caldwell hadn’t carved it out. According to Melody, slaves had been mutilated by Caldwell before.
“You all right?”
“Sure.” Just furious at that old…
“Have another cookie.”
Dick laughed. “Okay.”
Dick swallowed and smiled. “You’re welcome, Clark.”
Being there for Clark was easy.
He would never let anyone hurt him again.
“So Clark’s all right?” Ollie asked.
Bruce nodded. “Some bruises and that scar which I’ll have removed.”
Bruce gestured. “Under his right eye.”
Ollie and Dinah exchanged a look, then Dinah said, “You’re very fortunate, Bruce. According to Melody, there have been slave mutilations by Edmund before.”
Bruce shifted uneasily. “I suppose he threatened Clark.”
“I’m sure he did,” Ollie said grimly. “If we hadn’t found him…let’s just say Edmund kills his slaves after he does some creative carving.”
Bruce felt sick. “That lead by Melody helped, in addition to Lionel.”
“We should have checked out Edmund more closely when that phony story about him being off-world came out. He hates you with a passion.”
“The feeling’s mutual.”
Dinah and Ollie nodded. Their feelings were no doubt of the same nature.
“I want to thank you and Roy for your help.”
“You’re more than welcome, Bruce.” Dinah crossed her legs, Ollie slipping an arm around her shoulders.
“We enjoy serving justice on slugs like Edmund.” Ollie’s tone was light but the seriousness was under his words.
Bruce flexed his left hand. His rage had subsided, but he knew himself well enough to know that it would bubble to the surface again.
For a moment he regretted not patrolling, as it would be the perfect outlet, but he couldn’t leave Clark tonight.
Clark emerged from the bathroom, Dick pulling down the blanket and quilt. Clark climbed into the bed and Dick pulled u the covers.
“You must be tired,” Clark said softly, settling his head on the pillows.
“Oh, I’m sure I’ll be fine after a good night’s sleep.”
Clark reached out and grasped Dick’s arm. “You’re such a good friend, Dick.”
Dick beamed. “Thanks, Clark.” Impulsively he leaned forward and hugged Clark, who held him tightly and kissed his hair.
When Dick leaned back, he said, “If you need anything, just call Alfred or me.”
Dick noticed how faint Clark’s voice sounded. He wasn’t surprised. The ordeal he’d suffered would have exhausted him. He gently patted Clark’s shoulder.
“You’re safe now.”
Clark nodded, closing his eyes. Dick stayed until he fell asleep, then left the room, quietly closing the door behind him.
A few minutes later, Clark curled up on his side, shaking slightly.