Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Lex/Jamie, Clark/Bruce (Clark does not appear in this chapter), 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: Lex and Jamie are frustrated by the latest Kryptonian Control Committee reports while Martha and Jonathan visit Wayne Manor.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): November 28, 2009
Date Of Posting: April 23, 2011
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1252
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author's Note: Written for my 2010 DCU Fic/Art Bondage Challenge.
Will be here
For you and me.
Old Slave Saying
19th Century C.E.
"THE DAY OF JUBILEE IS COMING!!!"
“Master, what’s wrong?”
Lex looked up at Jamie. He was sitting on the couch in front of the fireplace, the flames dancing in the hearth. Files were scattered on the couch and by his feet.
Lex sighed. “These reports.” Jamie knelt at his feet, tucking papers back into their folders. “Two more deaths in Project K. These drugs are suppressing memories, but the long-term effects aren’t good.”
“I know.” Jamie stacked the folders neatly. “It’s a terrible thing.”
Lex rubbed his face. “The effects are too dangerous. How can we plan on an army of Kryptonians if they end up dead from the memory suppressants?”
“Do their memories have to be suppressed?”
“Yes, otherwise they won’t be as malleable. They’ve already shown how rebellious they can be.”
Jamie rested on his heels. “They’d never work for the Empire because of slavery.”
“And because of the Hunt Decree.”
“Can’t blame them for that.”
“No.” Jamie sounded troubled. “Lex, if these drugs are killing the Kryptonians, what will be done with them?”
“They’ll still be experimented on. It’s either that or execution.”
Jamie shuddered. “There’s really no middle ground?”
“I’m afraid not. The Government would never let them alone if we didn’t try to control them.”
The firelight gilded Jamie’s golden hair. Lex slid off the couch to sit cross-legged opposite his slave. They exchanged smiles and Lex said, “Let’s go over these reports.”
The only sound in the room was the crackling of the fire, then Jamie spoke. “According to this, the symptoms manifest soon after the drug is administered, but are manageable: dizziness, nausea, headaches.” He frowned. “Sometimes a low-grade fever.”
“The symptoms indicate the body’s rejection of the drugs, but it’s not until things accelerate that it gets dangerous. Combined with suppression of powers, there’s internal damage.” Lex shut a folder in frustration.
“Why couldn’t the subjects be given their powers back, at least temporarily?”
“Jamie,” Lex said gently, squeezing his hand.
Jamie sighed. “I know, they don’t care, but…”
“They don’t. But things may change.”
Jamie smiled. “Yes.”
They set back to work as the fire crackled.
“Welcome to my home.”
Bruce smiled at Jonathan and Martha, who were looking around the foyer of Wayne Manor.
“Beautiful,” Martha said.
“I agree.” Jonathan was amazed at the grandeur.
“Thank you. Alfred, would you send Dick into the library with tea and cookies after he’s seen to the luggage?”
Jonathan watched Alfred depart for the kitchen. He felt a little like a fish-out-of-water with the grand mansions that could easily fit half-a-dozen of the farmhouse within their walls, but was downright uneasy to be around slaves. He was a staunch Abolitionist, carrying on a family heritage due to conviction. He had to wonder how a man with such obvious Abolitionist leanings could still own slaves.
Bruce escorted the Kents to the library. “Thank you for coming. I wanted to strategize our next move now that Edmund’s been sentenced. Lana was called back to Washington and Kathy’s gone to Star City on business.”
“Yes, she had a business meeting with Oliver Queen,” Martha said.
She and Jonathan took seats on the couch as Bruce sat in an overstuffed chair. A fire was crackling in the hearth as the late February day was cold.
Dick appeared in the doorway, carrying a tray bearing teacups and a plate of cookies. He balanced them perfectly as he approached the couch.
Jonathan blinked, seeing the same reaction in his wife.
This boy was a sparkling child, amazingly beautiful and energetic, his smile drawing everyone in.
“I hope you like raspberry sugar cookies. They’re Alfred’s specialty, just like his chocolate chip cookies,” said Bruce.
Jonathan and Martha took a plate and both kinds of cookies, and Bruce nodded, Dick pouring everyone a cup of tea.
“Thank you, Dick,” Martha said, and Dick beamed, then made a little bow as he took the tray out of the room.
“That is the child you rescued from the circus?” Jonathan asked.
“Yes.” Bruce bit into a raspberry cookie. Appreciation showed on his face. “I was there the night he lost his parents.”
“A terrible tragedy,” Jonathan said.
“Still, I…I’m sorry, Bruce, I don’t know how you can keep this boy as a slave. He’s so bright, so vibrant! He ought to be out playing baseball and milking cows and stealing apples from the neighbors’ orchards, not…”
Jonathan nodded, feeling a little defiant in the face of all this power and wealth surrounding this man. He might be just a farmer and Bruce Wayne a Prince, but he knew right from wrong, and shackling that boy was wrong.
“Jonathan, until the Day of Jubilee comes, none of my slaves can be freed.”
Jonathan sighed. “I know, it’s just…” he shrugged, at a loss for words.
Bruce’s smile was sympathetic. “I know. It seems as if someone that bright and joyful should not be suppressed, but I can assure you, I encourage my Squire to use his unique gifts to the utmost.”
“You will have to Veil him soon,” Martha said worriedly.
“Yes. He’s on the cusp of adolescence, and I’d prefer certain eyes not be upon him.”
Martha shuddered and Jonathan looked slightly nauseous.
“It must be a tough balancing act,” Martha said sympathetically.
“It is, but my Household is filled with exceptional people. And my boy has an amazing sense of balance.”
Both Kents noted Bruce’s use of ‘my boy’. Martha asked, “Where’s your Prize?”
“I’m afraid he’s not feeling well.”
“Do you want me to look in on him?”
“Thank you, Martha, but we’re used to taking care of him.”
“What’s wrong with him?” Jonathan asked as he took a sip of tea.
Bruce hesitated a moment, then answered, “Wertham’s Disease.”
“Oh, the poor dear,” Martha said.
“Is he bedridden much of the time?” Jonathan asked.
“No, our family physician has him on an experimental drug that works pretty well, actually. Unfortunately, the nature of the disease makes it difficult for the drug to work all the time.”
“I’m sorry,” Jonathan said sincerely.
“My ka-tare will survive. He’s stronger than people think.” Bruce’s pride was strong in his voice.
Martha smiled. “He’s lucky to have you.”
“I’m lucky to have him.”
She smiled and sipped her tea. “I hear you have a new Bat in town.”
“We do.” Amusement sparkled in Bruce’s eyes. “A fiery redhead.”
Jonathan laughed. “The best kind.”
Later that evening as the Kents prepared to retire, Jonathan sat in bed as he watched his wife brush her hair in front of the vanity mirror. The guest room was luxurious but comfortable. Jonathan liked the queen-sized bed, for sure.
“I like Bruce, and I know he’s done a lot for the Movement, but…”
“Darling, Bruce can’t give up his slaves. What would become of them? He’ll free them when he legally can. He’s working toward that day.”
Jonathan sighed. “I suppose you’re right.”
Martha finished brushing her hair and put down her brush. She took off her robe and climbed into bed, kissing her husband.
“It’ll be all right, dear. Our families’ heritages set us on the path of Abolitionism, but we’ll finish the journey.”
Jonathan smiled and Martha turned the bedside lamp off as he rolled her over.