Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Dick, Clark/Bruce, Alfred
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 sinks further into Darkness.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): December 4, 2008
Date Of Posting: November 15, 2009
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1034
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Dick quickly stepped into the master bedroom. “Yes, Clark?”
“Can you sit with me a minute?”
“Sure!” Dick climbed up on the bed and crossed his legs. “Do you need anything?”
Dick beamed. “It’s nice and toasty in here. Pretty nasty outside.”
“Not surprising for February.”
“No.” Dick smiled. “Though they say that we’ll get spring-like weather later this week.”
“Good.” Clark smiled slightly. “Maybe we’ll see our resident Robins.”
Dick’s eyes sparkled. “They do herald spring.”
“So they do,” Clark said affectionately.
“I’m so glad you’re safe and sound and back with us, Clark.”
Clark hugged Dick tightly, pain in his eyes.
After Dick had drawn back, he started to get up but Clark grabbed his arm. “Please stay.”
“Alfred is expecting me…but I can stay for a few more minutes.”
“Thank you.” Clark kept his hand on Dick’s warm arm, the crackle of the hearth fire loud in the room. “How’s patrol been?”
“Pretty quiet, actually. The Joker’s in Arkham and the Penguin and Riddler are quiet. Catwoman hasn’t been seen in months.”
“Maybe she left Gotham.”
“Could be. Not all the loonies stay here forever.”
“I’m sorry. You must be tired.”
“Not that bad. I…”
“Dick, why aren’t you downstairs?” Alfred appeared in the doorway.
“I’m sorry, Alfred.”
“It was my fault, Alfred. I wanted some company.”
“Ah, well, you should rest, Clark, and the latest laundry batch is done, Dick. Please unload it and put in the next one.”
Clark let Dick go, but not before Dick saw the fear in his eyes. He took Clark’s hand and squeezed it. “I’ll stop in later today when I’m finished with my chores.”
Dick left the room, worry creeping along his mind.
“Do you want some tea?” Alfred asked Clark.
“Thanks, Alfred, but I think I’ll just sleep.”
“That’s probably for the best.” Alfred pulled up the covers. “Sleep well, Clark.”
After Alfred had left, Clark squeezed his eyes shut, his hands trembling as he clutched the blanket.
When Bruce came home he found Dick in the bedroom, entertaining Clark with tales of Dynamic Duo derring-do. Bruce smiled at the cozy domestic picture. He was so grateful that Clark was back with them safe and sound.
Bruce leaned over and kissed Clark, ruffling Dick’s hair.
“How are you, love?”
“Not as good as I could be, but fine.”
Bruce laughed. “That’s quite a description.” He smoothed Clark’s bangs back. “Did you eat today?”
“Some toast and tea.”
“That’s good.” He turned to Dick. “I need you to do a little research for me before we go out. The folder’s by the computer.”
Dick nodded. “Check.” He grinned at Clark and hopped off the bed, heading for the Batcave.
“He’s a good kid,” Clark said softly.
“The best.” Bruce rubbed Clark’s chest, hoping to impart comfort. “I’m glad you’re getting rest.”
“I should be doing that research.” Guilt laced Clark’s tone.
“You will once you’re better.” Bruce stood and went into the bathroom to shower.
Misery haunted Clark’s eyes.
Dick clicked away on the computer keys, looking up the information that Bruce needed.
He accessed The Gotham Gazette’s archives, finding the article he needed, printing it out. He placed the pages next to the computer.
He looked over the website, noting various headlines, his eyes widening as he saw ‘COURT DATE SET IN CALDWELL GRAND LARCENY CASE’.
His lip curled. Of course Clark’s case would not be labeled a kidnapping. That was for freemen. Slaves were property; therefore they were stolen, not kidnapped.
Anger roiled through Dick, his hand curling into a fist. He hated the idea of Clark considered no better than a piece of furniture, and all that he had suffered in that evil Edmund Caldwell’s clutches…and Melody and all the other Caldwell slaves.
Dick closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Let it all out. Don’t keep the rage bottled up. It did no good to rail against fate or conditions.
Dick sighed as he let his breath out slowly, letting all his frustration out. His parents had taught him this technique, firm believers in meeting life with as much joy as possible while keeping the darkness in mind.
Dick clicked on the link and story. It was a pretty dry recounting of the case and the court date. Nothing much of interest, except for the fact that Bruce was in favor of a full-press prosecution.
Bruce was special, someone worthy of loyalty beyond holding the ownership papers. As Dick clicked further, he thought of the compassion shown him by Bruce, their shared pain giving them a mutual bond that had cemented their relationship from the beginning.
Dick never had felt more alive than when he was Robin, fighting by Batman’s side. The only other comparable experience was the act he had performed with his parents: the sense of freedom, the joy of flying, freedom with a purpose.
Just like being Robin.
Happy again, Dick finished up his perusal of the Gotham City website and then hopped out of his chair, running back upstairs.
Patrol went well, Robin especially energetic tonight. He knocked into a would-be mugger with joyful abandon, Batman not even lifting a glove.
“Good work,” said the Dark Knight, and the Boy Wonder beamed.
As they perched on a rooftop, watching a seamy section of town, Batman asked, “How was Clark?”
“Under-the-weather.” Robin bit his lip. “He’s still a little jittery.”
“Not surprising, considering his ordeal.”
Robin nodded, still uneasy.
Clark paced up and down the carpet, clad in a warm, fluffy robe. He was shivering despite the thick robe and pajamas.
He looked out at the moonlight shimmering on the water, trying to calm down. Sleep was not an option. The screaming…
Clark squeezed his eyes shut, clamping his hands over his ears, trying to shut out the desperation, the pleading, the screaming…
He fell to his knees, tears streaming down his face.