Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Clark/Bruce, Alfred, Ollie/Dinah, Roy, Melody
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: The search is on for Dick.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): January 23, 2010
Date Of Posting: April 26, 2011
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1401
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author's Note: Written for my 2010 DCU Fic/Art Bondage Challenge.
Old Galactic Saying
21st Century C.E.
“He’s gone,” Bruce mumbled, shock numbing his body. His boy, his beautiful boy…gone? He held the note with Dick’s goodbye in his hand.
“Alfred, did he take his clothes and other belongings?” Clark asked, looking at Bruce worriedly.
“No, he’s traveling light.”
“We’ll have to see if there are any clues.” Clark looked at the note. “Good thing he left this so we wouldn’t worry that he was kidnapped.”
“It would have been terrifying to think of such a thing,” Alfred agreed.
Clark did not know if he could have taken it if Dick had been kidnapped. It had only been a year since his own kidnapping.
“Why would he leave me?” Bruce asked softly.
Clark and Alfred exchanged worried looks.
“Master Bruce, we will find him.”
Bruce seemed lost, his hand trembling as he stared down at the note written in Dick’s distinctive handwriting.
Dear Bruce, Clark, and Alfred,
I have to leave. I was happy here, but things have changed. Please don’t come looking for me.
“Why would he leave?”
Bruce’s question was haunted. Clark gently took the note from Bruce’s nerveless fingers.
“We can try and figure out his motive later. We have to find him first. If he’s caught with false papers and declared a runaway…”
All three men shuddered at the thought. Dick’s fate would be even worse than if he was executed under a Hunt Decree.
“Let’s check his room and see if there are any clues there.”
Alfred nodded, and he and Clark went up the grand staircase to Dick’s room.
When they came back down, Bruce was no longer in the foyer. Concerned, they split up and did a quick canvass of the house.
Clark found Bruce in the library, staring at the portrait of his parents.
“Bruce?” No answer. “Bruce.” Clark reached out and clutched his shoulder. “We’ll find Dick.”
Bruce turned to look at Clark, eyes shimmering with tears. Clark’s stomach tightened.
“Bruce, Dick was happy here. Something must have happened to cause him to leave.”
Bruce sill looked unconvinced. Clark wished that he could successfully reassure his Beloved. He backed up, bumping into the desk.
“What’s the matter?”
“The drawer opened and hit me in the back of my thigh. I thought you usually kept this locked…”
“The blackmail letters!”
Both men looked in the drawer, Bruce carefully sifting through the contents. “These letters have been moved.” He pointed at the top one. “That should be underneath the other letter.” His eyes met Clark’s. “Dick saw these.”
Clark’s eyes widened. “There’s his motive. Oh, Bruce! Dick left to spare you.”
“All of us.” Bruce took a deep breath. “He left all of us. For us.”
Clark nodded, pride and worry shining in his sapphire eyes.
Bruce shut the drawer. “We have to find out what cover he’s using and where he’s going.” He sat down at the computer. “I can check his search history.”
“So you know his password?”
“No, but I can work around that.”
Bruce glanced at Clark. “I meant it when I said you all have privacy with your passwords. This is an emergency.”
Bruce’s fingers flew over the keyboard. He started looking through Dick’s search history.
“Nothing. But, then, Dick’s a smart boy. He knows that these computers are monitored by the Government. So it’s the computers down in the Cave to check next.”
They quickly went through the clock and down to the Batcave.
The passwords locking these computers were known to everyone in the Manor, keeping those outside the Family from getting in.
Bruce frowned. “That smart boy encrypted his search history.”
Clark chuckled. “He learned well from the Master.”
Bruce snorted as he worked. “He cleared his cache but tried to make it go away completely. Clever, but he’s still just the apprentice.”
Clark laughed as he called up the word processing program on the adjoining computer.
“I’ll see what phony documents he created.”
They were silent except for the clacking of the keys and the squeaking of the bats.
Finally, Bruce said, “Well, it looks as if I taught our Little Bird well. Maybe too well,” he grumbled as he studied the search history.
“Yes, you did. He’s got several false identities set up. Let’s see if we can find out which one he printed on the documents.”
Bruce smiled. “You’re really good at this.”
“I hope so. I’ve spent many a night in front of this computer.”
“I know.” Bruce's hand covered Clark’s. “And it helps Dick and me a great deal when we’re out there.”
They returned to their sleuthing, and finally were able to piece together a few things.
“He studied several possible destinations.” Bruce scrolled down the list. “Some here on Earth, but most off-planet.”
“That would make sense. If he can get to a planet that has fairly easy Slave Laws…”
“The member planets of the Empire have some leeway, but Empire law trumps local. Dick would always be in danger as a runaway. Slaves have to be owned by somebody. He’s smart and quick-witted enough to keep a shell game going for awhile with phony documents, but eventually the ruse would be discovered.”
“His identity is…” Clark looked at the print history “…Trevor Jordan.”
Bruce could not help but laugh. “He does have a flair for the theatrical.”
“Do you think he’ll go to someplace like Jovara?”
“That would be a good choice, but Jovara would still be subject to Empire laws, no matter how lenient they are with their own slaves. No, the only place he can disappear would be the Outer Rim.”
“Isn’t he still at risk there with his slave jewelry?”
“Not if he finds a skilled artisan who can remove his collar and manacles.” At Clark’s widened eyes, Bruce continued, “Here on Earth only one or two perform such a service at an impossible price. In the Rim, an artisan is a lot cheaper and it’s easier to obtain their services.”
“Then he can live as a free boy.”
Bruce nodded. “Still with risk, but everything’s more lax in the Rim.”
“But how will he get there? A slave can’t go around alone, papers or not.”
“He’ll need to get someone to get him off-world before he disappears into the Rim.”
“We should call Roy.”
“You’re right, they’re close.”
“Roy, Bruce wants to speak with you.”
Roy took the phone from Dinah, wondering why.
“Hello, Mr. Wayne. Yes, sir, I have heard from Dick lately. He was supposed to ask permission to attend a play with me here in Star City if you’d allow him to come with one of the security men. Didn’t he mention it?” Roy listened intently, his green eyes widening. “Oh, no! Okay, if I hear from him, I’ll let you know. Please let me know when you find him!” He hung up, clearly distressed.
Ollie looked over from the chess game he was playing with Melody. “What’s up?”
“What?” Dinah learned forward in her chair. “Has he been kidnapped?”
“Mr. Wayne doesn’t think so. They just think he’s lost on the estate and might have called me. They’re worried he might be hurt.”
“But if he has his phone with him, why wouldn’t he just call Bruce?”
“I don’t know. Maybe he and Dick had a fight and Dick ran off.”
“That could be,” Ollie said. “Bruce was probably too embarrassed to give us the details.”
“Well, I hope everything’s all right.” Roy bit his lip.
Dinah rested her hand on his shoulder. “I’m sure he’ll be fine.”
Bruce sighed. “Roy doesn’t know anything. Dick was supposed to ask for permission to travel to Star City to see a play with him, but of course he never said anything to us. I could tell by Roy’s voice that he’s telling the truth. Unless he’s a world-class liar, Dick didn’t confide in him.”
“You didn’t tell them everything,” Clark said.
“No, I didn’t want them to know and be drawn into this mess. I also don’t want to tell them about Dick’s secret. I trust the Arrows, but the less people who know, the better.” Frustration edged his voice. “Who else would Dick trust?”
Clark thought for a moment, then snapped his fingers. “Pop Haly!”