Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Harold Allston, Clark/Bruce
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: Dr. Allston recommends counseling for Clark.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): December 18, 2008
Date Of Posting: November 24, 2009
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1153
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
In a world that
“He’s not sick.”
Bruce frowned at Harold Allston. “What are you talking about? My Prize is suffering from an extremely heavy dose of the disease.”
Bruce came out from behind his desk in the study. “I don’t understand.”
Harold put his medical bag down on the desk. “Your Prize is ill, but not from his disease. I’m up on the news, Bruce. I know that he was kidnapped by Edmund Caldwell. I can only imagine what he went through.”
“The police physician examined him and said he was all right.”
“Hmm, yes, I read that report. I’m not sure that was the correct diagnosis.”
“How was he hurt?”
“Psychologically, he’s been damaged. He needs counseling to get him through this ordeal.”
Harold nodded. “He’s jittery, plagued by nightmares, you said, and think: has he left your room since coming home?”
Bruce’s eyes widened a little. “He hasn’t.”
“He’s afraid.” Harold rested a hand on his bag. “A touch of agoraphobia, but more like unable to leave the security of that room.”
“So you think counseling would help?”
“Yes.” Harold fished a card out of his wallet and handed it to Bruce. “She’s an excellent psychiatrist, specializing in slave psychology. She’s very sympathetic to slaves.”
Bruce looked at the card. “All right, I’ll call her.”
“I’m here to help you, K’Shaya.”
The Prize was sitting in a rocking chair by the window, his hands clutching a tissue on his lap. He was dressed in a cobalt-blue robe and light-blue silk pajamas. Bruce Wayne clothed his slaves well. Hayley saw no evidence of mistreatment except for that laid upon him by his kidnapper.
“K’Shaya is a pretty word.”
Hayley nodded. “It’s Vulcan for ‘Treasured One’.”
“How am I treasured?”
“Your Master treasures you. Besides, I need to call you something besides ‘Prize’.”
The Prize blushed slightly. “Yes, he does.”
“Good.” Hayley crossed her legs, settling her datapad in her lap. “Do you resent this counseling?”
“I don’t need it.”
Hayley picked up her stylus, tapping her knee. She wore a wine-red skirt and jacket, black shirt with a scalloped neckline, and black nylons and shoes. Her honey-gold hair was pulled back into a ponytail, red tortoiseshell glasses perched on her nose as she sat in a twin rocking chair.
“Your Master wishes it.” She noticed a tightening of his hands. “Do you resent your Master?” The Prize began to shred the tissue. “You can be assured, K’Shaya, that this will remain confidential between us.”
“I thought you had to tell my Master.”
“Yes, but I reserve the right to keep thing just between us, and I’ll tell you when I intend to do so.” At the bedslave’s hesitation, she smiled gently. “I know you have no reason to trust a freeman, but I don’t betray my patients.”
She observed her patient closely while pretending to be relaxed. She needed this slave to trust her if she was going to help him.
The man relaxed a little. “I…I sometimes resent that he’s free and I’m not.” Guilt laced his voice.
Hayley wished she could see his eyes, but of course it was forbidden.
“It’s all right to feel that way.”
“It isn’t! Br…my Master has been incredibly good to me.”
“But he still owns you.”
“Yes.” The Prize shifted in his chair. “But he treats me very well. Better than I expected or deserve.”
“Why do you say that?” Hayley asked as her stylus glided over her datapad.
“What?” The Prize was clearly confused.
“Good treatment is more than you deserve.”
“I’m a slave. I don’t deserve wonderful treatment.”
Hayley heard the trace of bitterness in his voice. “Perhaps that’s what people think, but do you truly believe it?”
The soft creak-creak-creak of the Prize’s rocking chair filled the silent room.
“Have those feelings grown stronger since your kidnapping?”
The Prize frowned. “What do you mean?”
“Kidnapping a slave is legally stealing, not kidnapping.”
“A heinous act is reduced to petty thievery, therefore reducing you to a thing, an object.”
“Isn’t that what I am in the eyes of the law?”
“Yes.” Hayley felt a twinge of guilt. As a freeman, she was well aware of some of her fellow freemen’s opinions of slaves. It permeated the culture. “But what do you think about yourself?”
The shredding of the tissue stopped as the Prize said quietly, “I think that I’m a human being and have the right to be treated as one.”
Hayley nodded. “I agree.”
He stopped rocking. “You’re like Barbara.”
“She occasionally tutors Dick when I’m unavailable. She really likes working with slaves.”
“You’re right, I am like Barbara.”
The shy smile pleased Hayley. Trust from a slave was precious, indeed.
“You are treated well here, you said?”
“Good. I have heard great things bout Bruce Wayne.”
“He’s very kind and considerate. Do you know the story of how he brought Dick home?”
Hayley nodded. “After the poor child saw his parents killed right in front of him, Bruce Wayne took him in.”
The Prize nodded. “He’s given Dick a home.” Shuddering, he continued, “I don’t like to think what might have been his fate if our Master hadn’t brought him home.”
Hayley noted that the K’Shaya had said ‘brought him home’ instead of ‘bought him’. Subtle difference, yet with all the difference in the world.
“So you’re close to Dick?”
“Yes. Alfred, too.”
“That must make things easier.”
“Do you feel safe here, K’Shaya?”
“I…of course I do.” Nervous fingers began to shred the tissue again. “Master Bruce has set out guards around the grounds.”
“Is that customary?”
“No, but the Master seemed to think it was necessary.”
“Probably a wise precaution, considering what happened.”
The shredding grew faster.
“Are you happy here?”
“Very much so.”
Hayley analyzed her patient’s tone. He sounded sincere.
“This is a very comfortable room.”
“Would you care to show me the rest of the house?”
“I…I really don’t think I should.”
“That’s all right.” Hayley smiled. “Tell me about your time here.”
Her patient waxed enthusiastically about his life at the Manor, Hayley making a few notes but mainly listening. When he concluded, she said, “It appears that Gotham agrees with you.”
“It’s an interesting city.”
“So says my twin sister.”
“You have a twin? That must be wonderful.” He smiled shyly.
Hayley couldn’t help but smile back. He had a lovely smile. “It’s never a dull moment. She’s a psychiatrist, too. Criminal minds are her specialty.”
“She’ll have fertile hunting grounds here.”
Hayley laughed. “Very true. She’s on staff at Arkham.” She uncrossed her legs and stood. “I’ll see you tomorrow, K’Shaya.”
“Thank you, Dr. Quinzell.”
Hayley nodded and left the bedroom, confident that progress could be made.
I didn’t put Hayley’s name in the Characters/Pairings line so you could get a little surprise about her twin sister. Hayley is my OC. I have no idea if Harley has any siblings. ;)