Title: Shattered Soul (I) (1/1)
Pairings/Characters: Clark/Bruce, Alfred, Dick, Scoggins
Continuity: Smallville/Batman Begins
Genres: Angst, AU, Drama, Hurt/Comfort, Slavefic
Warnings: Implied whippings and beatings; implied rape (Clark's previous Master)
Summary: Bruce is compelled to help a shattered soul.
Date Of Completion: April 19, 2011
Date Of Posting: April 19, 2011
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1354
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: Written for my 2011 Slavefic AU Fic Prompt Request for patrese1. Pairing: Master Bruce/Slave Clark. Prompts: Marking, Ceremony, Jewels. :)
As I was writing this, Tom Welling’s Clark and Christian Bale’s Bruce were in my mind’s eye, so I’m labelling this in their continuities. :)
The magnificent cover is by ctbn60. Thanks so much, luv! :)
Like my flesh,
As laughter mocks me
Is my only world.
Will I ever
From this valley
"A Slave’s Lament"
1st Century B.C.E.
The candlelight flickered on the walls of the library, dancing across the rows of books along one wall. Fire crackled in the hearth, giving off much-needed warmth, its sweet smell of burning wood chips mixing with the smells of roast beef and potatoes from dinner that still permeated the castle.
The sun was beginning to set, its rays streaming through the diamond-paned windows. Bruce watched the diamond patterns stretch out across the stone floor. Alfred set down a tray containing a carafe of wine and four goblets on the oak desk while Dick bounced on the balls of his feet as he held a pink satin pillow with a special object on top, his golden slave collar glinting in the sunlight. Sapphires, topazes, rubies and emeralds sparkled on his collar, engraved with the family crest, his smile nearly as bright as the jewels.
Bruce checked his timepiece. Clark would be here any minute. He smiled at Dick, gently petting the boy’s hair.
Bruce had been looking forward to this day. When he had first seen Clark, the slave was curled up in a corner, naked and trembling…
He had never seen a more terrified human being. When he approached the slave, he shrank back in terror, whimpering and trying to curl up tighter into a ball. Bruce scowled as he saw the evidence of mistreatment from bruises and scars on his chest and thighs. He was loath to see what his back looked like.
“What is his provenance?” Bruce asked the slave dealer, a greasy little man with a day-old beard named Scoggins.
“His last owner was Lord Lionel.”
That had given Bruce part of the answer, but he had learned nothing more. Instead he had bought the damaged slave as an act of merciful charity, and had begun the process of helping the wretched creature regain at least a part of his life.
“It is all right, Clark.”
The slave was shaking as Bruce put the cloak on him. He had not spoken a word, simply keeping his eyes downcast. The slave dealer did not even care enough to kick him now that he had the silver pieces that Bruce had given him.
Something about this broken beauty cried out to Bruce. And Clark was beautiful, a perfectly-formed body and face a sure attraction. His lips were lush and his hair dark and lustrous, falling over into emerald-green eyes. It was a travesty that his smooth skin should have been so covered in scars and the ugly bruises.
“We are going to go to my home now. You will be safe there.”
Clark never looked up and Scoggins took the end of his whip handle and banged it against the slave’s hip, startling him. He whimpered and gasped in pain. Scoggins smiled.
Furious, Bruce pushed past Clark and grabbed the dealer’s shirt. “He is my slave now,” he snarled. “Keep your whip to yourself.”
“All right, all right.”
Bruce pushed Scoggins away, turning back to Clark, who had retreated several steps and looked as if he expected blows to rain down on him any second. He flinched as Bruce reached out and took his arm.
“Time to leave this place.”
Bruce checked his timepiece again. He could send Alfred to get Clark, but he knew that his slave would come. He knew his way around by now, unlike that night when Bruce had first brought him home…
“This is Clark,” Bruce said as he walked into the castle’s foyer, gently urging his new slave forward.
Alfred raised an eyebrow and Dick smiled, his curiosity never dampening his joy. He bounced on his feet, anxious to come forward, but stayed in place until his Master ordered him to move.
“Welcome, Clark,” said Alfred. He saw the slave collar but Bruce had always extended at least some courtesies to his slaves.
Clark was still staring down at the floor, but he lifted his head at Alfred’s calm voice. Bruce saw the shock in his other slaves’ eyes at the haunted expression in Clark’s.
“Put him up in the room next to mine.”
Alfred nodded, and Dick came forward at Bruce’s nod. Smiling, Dick carefully approached Clark, holding out his hand and taking Clark’s, who flinched.
“Come this way, Clark,” Dick said and his smile brightened.
Clark looked at the boy, his eyes suddenly a little less haunted, and he allowed Dick to lead him up the grand staircase.
“My word.” Alfred watched them disappear from sight. “What happened?”
Dick shifted his feet, but he stayed in place. Bruce smiled in gratitude knowing how hard it was for the boy to stay still for long. Dick smiled and Bruce ruffled his hair, rewarded by a giggle.
Alfred remained by the desk. He looked at the doorway, which remained empty. Bruce adjusted his robes.
Maybe I should send for Clark, but he will come.
He could not use Clark sexually, at least not yet. Alfred had said upon a cursory examination, “He cannot be taken, sir. Not for quite some time.”
Bruce was not surprised. Alfred had added quietly, “Too many, all at once.”
Bruce felt his gut clench. He would be very careful. He wanted this battered soul to learn to trust him.
He looked down at the diamond patterns on the floor. Without special handling, Clark would shatter again like a broken window, blood-tipped shards scattering in a rain of despair. Clark was like that glass: strong yet delicate, shattered, and the jagged pieces capable of making himself and others bleed if not handled carefully.
Clark had not spoken a word since Bruce had first seen him. He wondered if he would ever speak again.
Gradually, Clark had stopped being so nervous around him, possibly intimidated by the great Dark Knight of the Queen’s Own, and Dick and Alfred seemed to soothe him. The rest of the staff were not allowed to approach him, because after the first few weeks Bruce would not allow Clark to hide in his room, bringing him with him to the library and other areas of the castle.
Clark was becoming less fearful, sticking close to Bruce, sometimes handed off to Dick and Alfred, but he seemed more aware of his surroundings now. He had even taken a few short trips by himself around the castle.
Bruce would love to hear Clark’s voice, but if he never spoke again, that was fine. As long as he felt safe, perhaps eventually even be happy, Bruce would be satisfied.
Bruce sighed. Putting broken souls back together was a task requiring patience and skill, work as delicate as a jeweler’s.
Dick looked up and his smile grew brighter. Bruce turned and saw Clark in the doorway. The shy smile on his slave’s face pierced Bruce’s heart.
Clark walked in and took his place by the window. Bruce smiled and said, “Let us begin.”
Alfred came closer and Bruce said to Clark, “You have been brought into my Household, and have brought joy to all.” Clark blushed but after glancing down a minute, kept a steady gaze on Bruce. “It is time for you to be marked as mine.”
Dick held out the pillow and Bruce took the golden collar sparkling with sapphires, topazes, rubies, and emeralds, engraved with his family crest. Alfred removed the old collar, Bruce putting the new one around Clark’s neck, snapping it shut.
“You are mine now,” Bruce said, and his words held deep meaning. Clark held his gaze for a moment while Dick and Alfred smiled, then Alfred poured the wine in celebration.
That night, Clark came to him, and Bruce marked him in a very different way.