Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Dick, Ed Jango, Pop Haly, Clark/Bruce
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): G
Summary: Pop Haly helps Dick on his quest to get off-planet.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): January 28, 2010
Date Of Posting: May 6, 2011
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1176
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author's Note: Written for my 2010 DCU Fic/Art Bondage Challenge.
Pa Joadstone Quote
"The Wine Of Wrath"
Dick shivered as he pulled his coat tighter around him. His companion patted his shoulder.
“Relax, kid, everything’s fine.”
Ed Jango was one of the clowns at Haly’s Circus. Pop had asked him to take Dick off-world until they reached Dakar, a planet where Dick could grab a freighter without any questions.
Ed was a cool customer. Tall and thin with tufts of red hair around his ears, he had taken the assignment as a matter-of-course. Pop trusted him to keep his mouth shut, and Dick had been friends with him back in his days with the circus.
Dick was nervous but aside from shifting in his seat, he showed no sings of it. His Robin training stood him in good stead, but the enormity of his situation was a bit daunting. Still, Pop had been a godsend.
“Dickie, why are you runnin’ away? I thought the Prince treated you good.”
“He does, Pop.” Dick’s hands shook as he drank hot chocolate, feeling warm and safe in his former owner’s trailer. “He’s being blackmailed.”
A bushy eyebrow rose. “Someone knows about your heritage.”
Dick nodded miserably. “I have to get away. I have to give Bruce plausible deniability.”
Pop grinned. “You always were a smart cookie, Dickie.”
Despite his worries, Dick beamed.
Pop looked contemplative. “We’ll figure a way to get you off-planet.” He looked shrewdly at his young visitor. “You got papers?” At Dick’s nod, Pop said, “Good. Let’s start plannin’.”
Dick was comforted by the presence of his companion, because once he reached Dakar, he was on his own.
He felt his stomach knot. Once he reached the Outer Rim, he could find an artisan to get his collar and manacles off, and he could live as a free boy.
And never see his family again.
Dick clamped down on the pain. He could not afford to think about any of that or allow the pain to overwhelm him.
“Here, have a hot dog.”
Dick grinned. “Thanks, Ed.” To Ed, any problem could be fixed with a hot dog.
The spaceport was busy as people were boarding and disembarking from shuttles. Dick ate his hot dog while watching the passengers and spaceport personnel. The stars glittered outside the large windows.
Dick tried hard to feel positive. He was going to be free, after all. Well, some kind of freedom.
Though leaving his family forever…that hurt. A tear rolled down his cheek.
“Now, Dickie, it’ll be all right.” Ed patted his shoulder.
“Thanks, Ed.” Dick sniffled.
It would never be all right again.
Pop looked up at the knock, putting down his stylus. “Come in.”
The door remained closed. Frowning, he got up and opened it.
A shabby bum was on the doorstep. “Hey, man, can ya spare a dime?” A battered hat was pulled low over his stubbled face.
Pop almost laughed at the archaic reference. “Yeah, sure, come on in.” The bum closed the door behind him. “I can give ya some food but ya won’t get any alky from me. Ya lookin’ for a job? We could use a roustabout.” He turned toward his desk.
“No, thank you, Mr. Haly. I’m here for information.”
Pop looked around at the suddenly-cultured voice. “Lord Wayne?!”
Bruce nodded. “I need your help.” He was holding his hat, fully revealing his face. Pop had to admit that he had done a good job with his disguise. “It’s about Dick.”
Pop held up his hand. “I know about the blackmail.”
Bruce looked less-than-pleased, but not surprised. “That’s no longer a concern.”
Pop's eyes widened slightly. “As ya say, m’lord.” He sat down behind his desk, indicating the chair opposite him. Bruce sat down.
“Where’s Dick now? I have to bring him home.”
“Yeah, ya do.” Pop crossed his arms. “He can get to the Rim and pretend to be free, but he’s always gonna be in danger.”
“Well, m’lord, I’ll give a this. Ya really care about our Dickie.”
“I have ever since the night his parents died.”
Pop looked at the man sitting across from him. He knew that his almighty Lordship disapproved of his closeness to Dickie, no doubt because of the plans he had had for the boy when he came of age.
The Prince did not understand. He did not understand circus folk, or their ways. He did not understand what was needed to survive, or the loyalty circus folk had for each other.
But that was fine. His Lordship did not need to understand. He was good to his Dickie, and that was counted.
“I got one of my people here to escort him off-planet. Here’s a picture of him.” Pop slid a glossy across the desk. “His name’s Ed Jango. Helluva clown.” Bruce winced. “Not a fan of clowns?”
Pop snorted. “Dickie had money. He saved up what you paid him.”
“He didn’t take all of it.” Bruce studied the picture. “He knew closing out the account would attract Gov attention.”
Pop nodded. “They should be at the spaceport by now.”
Bruce rose, taking a shot of the picture with his cellphone. “Thanks.” He held out his hand.
Pop raised an eyebrow but stood, shaking Bruce’s hand, then the other man quickly left, closing the door behind him.
Pop sat back down, taking out a bottle of Saurian brandy, pouring some in a shot glass. He swallowed the smooth-yet-fiery liquor.
So, the blackmail was ‘no longer a concern’.
Pop took another drink. Royalty always knew how to take car of these things. One of the perks, he supposed. And a good reason not to cross someone like Prince Bruce.
He smirked to himself. He never understood the American penchant for pretending that they had no royalty, but every country had its quirks. Ah, well. Lot worse ones out there.
Pop chuckled to himself. His Dickie would be all right.
Lots worse Masters out there than Bruce Wayne.
Bruce took care not to stride through the spaceport with his usual regal air. He did not want to be noticed. That was why he had covered his hair with a dark-blue knit cap and wore jeans and Navy pea coat.
Clark was with him, dressed in similar fashion, his dark glasses at first glance something a freeman would wear. He had insisted upon coming along, and Alfred had staunchly backed him up. Bruce knew that he could not win against the combined forces of Alfred and Clark, so had given in.
His sense of urgency was continuing to push him onward. He and Clark had to reach the terminal before Dick got on the shuttle to Dakar. If he got to the Rim, he could disappear forever.
Bruce saw Dick in the same moment that Clark did. Dick looked up and shocked surprise showed on his face.
Bruce hurried up to him and put his hands on Dick’s shoulders.
“You’re coming home with us, Dick.”