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. New superheroes appear on the scene as the Abolitionist Movement gathers strength. Meanwhile, Lex gets his heart’s desire while long-held secrets begin to spill out of the Manor. Nothing will ever be the same again.
The entire series can be found here.
Genres: AU, Challenge, Drama, Slavefic
Challenge Category: Section E (Slavefic)
Rating: (this chapter): PG-13
Summary: Will the Wayne Family be torn apart?
Date Of Completion (First Draft): October 26, 2009
Date Of Posting: March 14, 2011
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 979
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author's Note: Written for my 2010 DCU Fic/Art Bondage Challenge.
The Royal House
Like a miasma
Sir Anthony Blakely
"The Last Royal Scandal"
SHADOWS OVER SUNLIGHT
Bruce wordlessly handed the letter to Clark, who paled as he read the words.
With shaking hands, Clark handed the letter to Alfred, whose eyes widened.
“Sir, we cannot allow this information to come out.”
”No, we can’t,” Bruce agreed grimly. “I’d send Dick away forever before I let him fall into Gov hands.”
“Quite so,” Alfred said calmly, but Bruce noticed his hand trembling as he laid the letter on the living room coffee table. They were all sitting down, which Bruce had decided would be the best way to function, given the news.
“Are you telling Dick?” Clark asked.
“No. I don’t want him worrying. He knows what happens to slaves put to death under a Hunt Decree. I don’t want him worried about his fate, at least not yet.”
“Will you be consulting Commissioner Gordon, sir?” asked Alfred.
Bruce shook his head. “I can’t ask Jim to jeopardize his career and freedom to keep our secret.”
“That’s true,” Clark said miserably.
“No, Jim has to stay out of this.” Bruce glared at the blackmail letter. “The Bat is known as the World’s Greatest Detective. Let him detect.”
The three of them looked at the letter with fear and loathing.
Dick burned off some energy somersaulting around the lawn. There were still patches of snow on the hard ground but enough clear space to allow him good footing. March mud was still a few weeks away. His regular routine kept him in shape but he liked the fresh air.
Everything was going well. Everyone was healthy and happy, and the trial was going pretty good, too. He felt happy, safe and loved.
His somersault ended at the seawall. The water was sparkling on a clear winter’s day, and Dick leaned his elbows on the wall.
When he had first arrived at Wayne Manor, he had been in the throes of grief, still dressed in his circus costume. That costume was carefully packed away in a trunk in the attic.
He still felt sorrow over his parents’ loss, of course. That would never change, but he was part of a new family now, one he loved and who loved him.
Dick smiled. He loved the Manor, too, a delight for a kid who had traveled his whole life. Home was the circus and the trailer that he and his parents had lived in. He had not been sure that he could adjust to being in one place permanently.
Well, he had adjusted just fine.
Life was the best it could be. He had a good and kind Master whom he loved a lot more than a Master. Bruce would never hurt him, would never send him way.
He had Alfred and Clark and Brendan, all wonderful people, slave and free.
He was Robin to the Batman. How cool was that?
He took a moment to remember his parents. Today was the second anniversary of their deaths and his arrival at Wayne Manor. He had already made his pilgrimage to his parents’ grave earlier that morning, and now was celebrating life, as he knew they would want him to do.
He was the luckiest kid alive.
Bruce rubbed between his eyes as he sat behind his desk in the library. He could feel a major headache coming on.
He had to make contingency plans to get Dick off-world and tucked away safely in some remote corner of the Empire.
He had to make arrangements to spirit Clark and Alfred away, too. Once the Government found out that he had knowingly harbored one of the Roma, he would be put in prison and all of his fortune confiscated. He could probably get away and had to have a plan in place, but he could never return home again, at least not under Empire rule.
His stomach knotted as he figured out the plans. Dick, Clark and Alfred would all have to be sent away separately, and with trusted people to receive them, or a way to blend in. Eventually they might be able to reunite, but it was too risky to stay together in the beginning.
He looked sadly at the portrait of his parents. He hated to leave his home, his legacy, but if the price for staying was handing Dick over to the Govs, he knew what he would do.
Bruce took out the letter from his locked desk drawer. There were no fingerprints on it, but he had not expected any.
The paper was cheap, bought at any discount store, but he would still check the brand. Same for the ink.
It was smart to send the blackmail note the old-fashioned way. Sending it by computer could be traced unless the blackmailer was a computer genius and able to cover his tracks.
Bruce frowned at the letter. How could Dick’s heritage have been discovered? He had told no one except Clark, Alfred, and Dick, not even Ollie and Dinah.
Of course, Harold Allston knew.
Bruce tapped the desk with his letter opener. Had Harold betrayed him? But if he had, why pretend to be anonymous? He could just openly blackmail him.
No, he doubted that his parents’ old and dear friend had turned on him.
Someone in the lab that Harold used had found the results.
Bruce picked up the telephone handset. “Dr. Allston, may I see you? Yes, here at the Manor. Tomorrow is fine.”
He hung up, a flash of color outside the windows attracting his attention. His momentary joy dissolved as his throat tightened as he watched Dick cartwheel across the lawn.
His heart ached.