Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Clark/Bruce, Ollie/Dinah (Dinah does not appear in this chapter)
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: Clark prepares himself to accept his fate while Bruce faces old fears.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): March 4, 2010
Date Of Posting: June 12, 2011
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 836
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author's Note: Written for my 2010 DCU Fic/Art Bondage Challenge.
Time stands still.
"The Eternal Sea"
The sea breeze ruffled Clark’s hair as he stood before the impressive headstone. Chrysanthemums of red, orange, and yellow bloomed profusely, interspersed with purple thistles.
The names of Thomas and Martha Wayne were etched in shiny black granite, the dates of birth different, the dates of death the same. Clark could see his reflection in the polished surface.
A pile of weeds was pushed to one side. He had cleaned the area carefully. He would tackle the grave of Dick’s parents next.
Everyone cared for the graves. While Dick and Bruce had special concern for their own parents’ graves, they all tended them in equal measure.
Clark rubbed his chest. He stared down at the shared dates.
A seagull squawked out over the ocean, dipping and whirling as it hunted for fish.
He contemplated the solemn angels flanking the headstone. They knelt in their stone gowns, their stone wings folded behind them, stone hands clasped in prayer. Made of white marble, they contrasted sharply with the black headstone.
Melancholy draped over him like angels’ wings.
“My ancestors were part of the Underground Railroad.” Bruce looked up at the cave ceiling.
They were in a different area than the Batcave. The caverns were empty of everything but the bats and dripping water.
“I read the old journals. They helped a lot of people before the Civil War.” Clark was careful not to trip over a stalagmite.
“Maybe it’s time to become a stop on the Railroad again.”
“Very much so.”
Clark smiled slightly. Bruce’s exhilaration over saving the three slaves from gruesome execution had buoyed his Abolitionist ideas. Once the euphoria faded, he had probably concluded it was too risky, but the sentiment was admirable.
He took a deep breath of salt air as he closed his eyes. He really loved it here. He gazed over at the section of the graveyard reserved for the family slaves. Alfred and Dick would be laid to rest there, and so would he.
He put a hand to his chest. Perhaps it would be sooner than anyone would think.
He was living on borrowed time.
Clark kept his eyes closed, listening to the sound of the waves and the seagulls. It was peaceful here, a beautiful spot. Good for eternal rest, by the eternal sea, the sound of the waves never-ceasing.
He had spoken privately to Dr. Allston, who respected patient confidentiality even with slaves. He knew that sufferers of Wertham’s Disease were always on a rollercoaster: some days good, some days bad. He had been able to adjust to that rollercoaster after awhile, expecting to feel queasy before and after the day of his shot, but now his body was telling him something different.
His hand curled into a fist over his heart.
Time’s running out, Clark.
He swayed slightly in the breeze, enjoying the whisper of the wind on his skin.
His dreams were growing more frequent. He still had nightmares of his time in the slavers’ camp, in Knickerbocker Hall the night before he was sold to Bruce, in Edmund Caldwell’s hands.
But lately, his dreams were of a farmhouse, a warm kitchen, smells of baking pies, a man and woman who sounded nice. He never could clearly see their faces or the details of the farmhouse, except for a clock on the wall shaped like an apple, or yellow muslin curtains rippling in a warm spring breeze.
Memories or just wishful thinking?
And if time was running out, he was going to make the most of the time he had left.
Clark opened his eyes and picked up his spade, moving on to the Graysons’ grave.
Bruce frowned as he read the on-line version of The Gotham Gazette. SLAVES BROKEN OUT OF GOVERNMENT CUSTODY! screamed the headline. THOUSANDS DISAPPOINTED AS EXECUTIONS STAYED. Bruce’s lip curled. What kind of bloodthirsty jackals enjoyed watching fellow human beings tortured to death?
The kind of people who don’t consider slaves people.
He leaned back in his chair, staring out the study windows to the formal gardens beyond.
He had seen the terror in those slaves he and his colleagues had rescued, and knew what they had faced. They had been nearly incoherent with gratitude at their rescue.
And, yet despite all the efforts he had made on behalf of the Abolitionist movement, he still felt that he could do more.
And maybe subconsciously he was dragging his feet, his old fears holding him back, but he could not allow this abomination to continue. What if his slaves faced such a horror in their future?
I’d kill them all myself first before I’d let them suffer that.
His brooding was interrupted by his desk phone ringing. He picked up the handset.
“Hello? Oh, hi, Ollie, what’s up? Sure, I’ve got that information around here somewhere.”
A cold gust of wind rattled the windowpanes as the ocean grew restless.