Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Clark/Bruce, Dick, Alfred, Brendan, Allison O’Toole, Hal/Steve, Elias Stark, Edmund Caldwell
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 takes an important step toward recovery.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): January 20, 2009
Date Of Posting: December 2, 2009
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1355
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
“C’mon, Dick, get ready.”
Dick dashed out of the kitchen, Clark looking inquisitively at Bruce.
Bruce was ecstatic that Clark had left their bedroom and was beginning to walk around the house and estate again. He had come down to breakfast, and carried a good appetite. Clark’s tearful confession about his rape had begun his healing and Dr. Quinzell was continuing the process.
“Dick’s getting ready to go into town with me. I’ve got an important meeting.”
Bruce was accustomed to his slaves taking notes for him, freeing him to pay attention to other things. Clark was usually his note-taker, but Dick had done it before, and he was necessary with Clark unable to perform that task.
“I…want to come with you, Master.”
Surprised, Bruce said, “Dick can handle things. You don’t have to push yourself to go off the estate yet.” Bruce was happy that Clark had left the bedroom, but was worried that going off the estate was too much too soon. He had beefed up security quite a bit and felt confident that Clark would be safe here.
“I can do this, Master.” Clark squared his shoulders.
Bruce watched Clark leave the kitchen to get dressed. He didn’t want to squelch any initiative by Clark, but he was still worried. It would be his first time in public since his kidnapping.
“Take care of him, sir.”
Bruce looked at Alfred. “I will.”
Alfred nodded crisply. “Very good, sir.”
Bruce gathered some papers as Dick appeared in the doorway of the study.
“Clark is coming with us?”
“Yes.” Bruce looked at his Squire. “I know you were supposed to take notes…”
Dick waved his hand. “No big deal. I’m just worried about Clark.”
“I know.” Bruce snapped his briefcase shut. “We’ll have to keep our eye on him.”
“Batman and Robin on the job,” Dick said confidently.
Bruce smiled and squeezed the boy’s shoulders. “That’s right.”
“Master? Put these on me, please.”
Bruce looked at the lengths of chain that Clark held out. For a moment, he looked ready to refuse as he entered the foyer, paused, then nodded. He attached the links to Clark’s manacles.
Clark controlled his breathing as they left the estate, Brendan driving them in the limousine. Dick was chattering, asking Bruce about the meeting, and Clark gratefully concentrated on that subject, trying to ignore his pulse racing and stomach fluttering.
The city loomed up through the tinted windows, fear creeping up the closer they got to Gotham. He moved his hand to check for his stylus, the chains rattling lightly.
He calmed, feeling safe.
Brendan opened the door, Dick hopping out and exchanging a grin with the chauffeur. Bruce emerged next, Clark right behind him.
Bruce was every inch the Prince as he strode into Wayne Enterprises, Dick a sparkling presence beside him, Clark quiet in Bruce’s wake, the gold chain stretching out between them.
Clark kept his attention on his Master, aware of eyes on him. Whispers trailed behind him, or maybe he had imagined them. It didn’t matter. He was going to get through this day!
Bruce and his entourage entered the elevator, Dick putting on his ‘game face’ as they reached Bruce’s floor, carrying his briefcase.
“Good morning, Allison,” Bruce said to his secretary.
“Good morning, Mr. Wayne.” The brunette smiled at Dick, who smiled back. She did the same with Clark, who smiled shyly.
“The conference room is ready?”
“Richard, go put my briefcase in there, and Allison will direct you to get the proper refreshments.”
Dick went off at a dignified pace, though Bruce and Clark knew that he was itching to run. They exchanged a smile, then Bruce got his messages from Allison.
Two other secretaries walked by, chattering about vacation plans, snatches of conversation drifting back.
“I think we’ll do Cancun this year.”
“We’re thinking off-world…”
“…Gotham is so miserable in winter.”
“Damned crooks in this city…”
“…imagine Caldwell out on bail!”
“…Falcone’s scum, and so’s Zucco.”
“…did you get that shuttle deal?”
Clark shivered, glad of the chain connecting him to Bruce.
“Thanks, Allison.” Bruce turned. “Are you okay?” he asked softly.
Clark nodded. Bruce smiled, then straightened and said, “Come.”
Clark obediently followed, on alert but more relaxed than he would have guessed. They entered the conference room, a few attendees already there, talking amongst themselves.
“You’ll have to sit at my feet with the chain,” Bruce said regretfully.
Clark suddenly felt ashamed. Bruce had led him around by the chain because he knew it made Clark feel safe, even though he rarely chained his slaves.
“No.” At Bruce’s surprised look, he said quickly, “I’m not disobeying, Master. I wish to be unchained.”
“Ah.” Bruce unlocked the chain.
Clark gently touched Bruce’s arm. “Not because of the kneeling. I would do so if you wanted me to. I…I need to do this.” He gestured at his unchained manacles.
Bruce smiled. “Let’s get you settled.” He put the chains in his briefcase that Dick had set on the table, escorting Clark to a chair in the corner. As Clark sat down, arranging his datapad and stylus, Bruce asked softly, “You sure you’re okay?”
Clark nodded. Bruce looked like he wanted to say something else, but other people were coming in.
“All right.” His eyes spoke his love, and he returned to the table.
Dick wheeled in a cart, setting up the refreshments, drawing smiles from some of the attendees. Clark smiled, too. Dick’s cheerful demeanor always drew a smile or two.
Clark organized his notes, hoping to be ready in time for the meeting.
Clark nearly jumped. He looked up to see Steve and Hal standing before him.
“You look well!” Clark said happily, noting Hal walking, albeit with a cane, and Steve looked better, too.
Steve rested a hand on his shoulder, a smile on his face. “Thanks.” Hal nodded with a smile. “And don’t worry, Clark. You’re safe here.”
Clark felt a rush of warmth for both men. “Thank you,” he said quietly.
Both men nodded, giving Clark’s shoulder a squeeze. They moved off to the table, people beginning to settle into their seats. Dick quickly took a seat next to Clark, paying attention to the meeting, using his powers of observation as Clark was taking the notes.
Elias Stark glanced their way, disapproval in his expression. Clark discounted that disapproval, as the general thought little of slaves. After Stark looked away, Dick squeezed Clark’s arm. Clark smiled at him.
The meeting went well, Clark rapidly taking notes. He was happy to concentrate on this task after all the recent trauma.
The first half of the meeting concluded, everyone stretching and ready for a break. Bruce smiled and spoke with Steve and Hal, then beckoned Clark and Dick to him.
Bruce brought them to his office and private bathroom, joking about ‘Princely privilege’. As Steve and Hal talked with each other, Bruce took some calls.
“Would you get me some water, Richard?” Allison asked.
“I’ll come with you,” Clark said. They were safe here in Wayne Enterprises.
They walked to the vending machine, Dick getting water bottles for Allison, Clark, Bruce, Steve, Hal, and himself.
“Whoa, that’s a lot of bottles,” Clark laughed. He helped Dick, taking three of the bottles.
“C’mon, Cl…Kla'xel! Ms. O’Toole’s thirsty!”
Clark grinned as Dick sprinted ahead, juggling the bottles. He cradled his own bottles, dropping one. He bent down to pick it up and a cane swept across his legs, knocking him off his feet. He grunted in pain as his knees slammed on the floor, the remaining bottles hitting the floor and rolling away.
“On your knees is a perfect position for a slut like you.”
The unctuous voice sent a chill of icy terror through Clark as his chin was forced up by the cane, his eyes meeting the malevolent gaze of Edmund Caldwell.