Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Clark/Bruce, Alfred, 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): PG-13
Warnings: Allusion to torture.
Summary: A disturbing tape comes to light.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): January 15, 2009
Date Of Posting: November 30, 2009
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 919
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Is sharp and cutting
As screams, fading
Through the night
Settle on the edges
To come back
When Darkness falls
"Lurking In The Night"
Bruce felt both tired and relaxed. Tired after the draining session of last night, relaxed that Clark was on the road to healing.
Edmund hadn’t won.
Clark had still been asleep when Bruce showered, dressed, and come downstairs to his study. It was later than his usual rising time but Alfred had not awakened him, no doubt aware of last night’s emotional trauma. Nothing escaped him.
There were no meetings scheduled in town, so Bruce decided to work from home, letting Clark sleep. His lover desperately needed rest.
Bruce had requested a blueberry muffin and cranberry juice, Alfred bringing both to him, along with a manila envelope.
“Commissioner Gordon dropped this off, sir.” He set the envelope down on the desk. “He said Robin recovered this from the Caldwell cabin after Clark’s rescue. He thought it was video evidence of the kidnapping.”
“It’s not?” Bruce was relieved, especially after his fears had been confirmed last night.
“No, but whatever it is, he seemed rather upset. He said to view it with caution as it’s rather disturbing.”
Bruce frowned. “Thank you, Alfred.”
The butler nodded and left the room. Bruce took a bite of the excellent muffin and checked his e-mail. Nothing urgent.
He opened the envelope, a viddisc sliding out. He put it in his recorder and clicked ‘Play’ as he settled back into his chair.
Five minutes later he clicked off the recorder, white-faced and nauseous. He pushed away the plate with the muffin.
Bruce turned to see Alfred standing in the doorway, just as pale.
“Edmund’s little games,” Bruce rasped.
“Agreed.” Light footsteps were coming down the hall. Dick cheerfully poked his head in. “Is Clark better today…Bruce, what’s wrong?”
“Did you see the tape that you gave Jim after we rescued Clark?”
Dick shook his head. “I thought it’d be evidence.”
Relief swept Bruce that, of course, it wasn’t evidence and that Dick hadn’t seen the tape.
And he never will.
“Bruce, was it bad? Poor Clark!”
Bruce grasped Dick’s arm. “It’s okay, Dick. He wasn’t on the tape.” Thank all the gods there might be.
Relieved, Dick asked, “What was on it?” He looked apprehensive.
Bruce exchanged a quick look with Alfred. “It shows Edmund’s true nature.” He frowned. “Unfortunately, not prosecutable.”
“A shame, sir.” Alfred’s words were laced with venom.
Dick made a nervous motion with his hands. “How is Clark?”
“He was…he was hurt by Mr. Caldwell, wasn’t he?”
Bruce sighed. “Yes.”
Sadness washed over Dick. “I’m…I’m sorry…”
Bruce rubbed his shoulder. “It’s not your fault.” Dick nodded. “Go check on Clark, will you?”
After Dick had hurried out, Alfred said, "Sir, what was on that tape..."
"It's what I said to Dick. What Edmund did...he can't be prosecuted."
"I know." Alfred was very stiff. Bruce knew it was with anger. "I doubt any of his victims survived. I suppose that's a blessing, considering."
Bruce felt a headache coming on. What if Clark had undergone that torture?
“Alfred, I will protect you and Clark and Dick. I swear it.”
A small smile curved Alfred’s lips. “I know, sir.”
Bruce felt proud at Alfred’s bedrock conviction. “Um…could you place this muffin back in the kitchen? I’m not hungry anymore.”
Bruce went upstairs. Dick came out of his room. “Clark’s still sleeping.”
“Good.” He ruffled Dick’s hair. “Barbara will be over soon. Better get ready for lessons.”
Dick dashed back into his bedroom to get his books, Bruce fondly shaking his head. Always a whirlwind!
Bruce quietly entered his bedroom, Clark still curled up under the blankets. After such an emotional storm, he wasn’t surprised. Clark must be completely drained.
He went into the bathroom and brushed his teeth, glad for such a mundane task. He didn’t want to think about that tape. Not right now.
Bruce came out of the bathroom, happy to see Clark awake.
“Good morning, love.” Bruce sat on the bed, stroking Clark’s beautiful hair. “I hope you had a good sleep.”
Clark rubbed his cheek against Bruce’s palm. “Better than in a long time.”
Relieved, Bruce leaned forward to kiss Clark when his lover grabbed his arm.
“Master! We have to be careful! Edmund Caldwell…he kept intimating that he would hurt Dick! Please don’t let him!”
Clark was trembling, Bruce feeling his own fear rise at the very thought of Dick in Caldwell hands, especially after seeing that tape.
“I couldn’t help them,” Clark said, eyes haunted.
“The slaves he…he tortured.”
Bruce went cold. “You saw the tape?” he asked softly.
Clark nodded, tears brimming in his eyes. “I couldn’t…they were screaming…I could close my eyes but not cover my ears because I was restrained…they begged for mercy…were mocked and hurt so very badly…it was horrible…”
“I know.” Bruce gripped Clark’s shoulders. “I saw the tape.”
Clark’s eyes widened, then he asked, “How? I mean, Edmund would never give that up willingly.”
“Dick found it.”
Clark grabbed Bruce’s arm again. “He didn’t see what was on it?”
Clark sagged in relief. “I…” He was shaking again.
Bruce gently gathered him into a hug, rocking back-and-forth as he rubbed Clark’s back. Clark held on tightly.
Bruce whispered into his ear, “Never again, my love. Never again.”