Pairings/Characters: Clark/Bruce, (mentions of Lionel Luthor and Lex Luthor), Dick, Alfred, King Faraday
Continuity: Smallville, Batman Begins
Genres: Angst, AU, Drama, Slavefic
Warnings: Allusions to past torture, whippings, experimentation, and mental, emotional and sexual abuse.
Summary: Bruce takes on an unusual Government ‘Project’.
Date Of Completion: July 3, 2011
Date Of Posting: July 3, 2011
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC and Warner Brothers do, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 2474
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: When I was mowing the lawn today, this story came to me as I was pondering the scans I’d seen of Flashpoint’s Project: Superman. We all know that Clark could have had a very different fate if Jonathan and Martha hadn’t been the ones to find him, and so this story was born. Blame the lawn! ;)
Also, blame the fact that while I was writing this, all kinds of flashbacks and future scenarios kept running through my head, so it’s not going to be a one-shot, after all! The entire series can be found here. *shakes fist at Evil!Muses while smiling*
Come in all
"Gods And Monsters"
“You disobeyed me.”
“But, Master, I had to…”
“You disobeyed me.”
Bruce spoke the words the second time in a softer tone, but with unmistakable steel underneath. The other man’s eyes briefly glowed red, then he lowered his gaze as his cheeks flushed red with shame and his shoulders slumped with weary resignation. He dropped to his knees.
“I’m sorry, Master.”
Bruce studied the young man dressed in black kneeling before him, his manacled wrists crossed behind his back as he assumed the proper position of his slavery. If he wasn’t a ‘secret weapon’, some bright young up-and-comer would have had him dressed in red-white-and-blue, since he was America’s secret weapon, after all, Bruce thought with a curl of his lip.
Kal’s disobedience had been putting himself at risk while saving some people who had been more interested in taking pictures with their cellphones then getting to safety during his battle with Metallo.
Why did you save them, Kal? You should hate every one of us for what was done to you.
No doubt Kal did experience moments of pure hate, but Bruce had to wonder at the ferocity of the conditioning this man had undergone since a very young child when he had been found in the rocket that had crashed in the cornfield outside of Smallville, Kansas, years ago. Dr. Luthor was ruthlessly efficient, though there were whispered rumors that he had added sadism to his conditioning as punishment for the meteors transforming his son into a bald meteor freak, as the locals called those who exhibited unusual powers gained from the glowing green rocks. Bruce had befriended Lex at Excelsior when they were both boys. He wondered where Lex was now. Again, there were rumors, but nothing substantial.
Lionel made sure that you never saw sunlight unless it was artificially pumped into your prison. You were the ultimate lab rat.
He was uncomfortably aware of Dick and Alfred watching from the doorway of the kitchen as he disciplined Kal in the foyer. He leaned heavily on his cane, suddenly weary. Kal had always had a measure of powers even as a child: stronger and faster than most children, able to hear and see things ordinary children could not, and then his other powers began to manifest or increase: a higher level of hearing that he struggled to control before he went mad, greater strength and speed, and more vision powers. The heat vision had been the hardest to control, and after he had accidentally killed two soldiers with it, Lionel had made sure that he suffered for that lapse, for a very long time. Of all of Kal’s powers, that had been the last he had been able to effectively use, his fear of punishment nearly strangling him.
Lionel had died recently, and even though it was twisted (the old sociopath, Bruce thought), he had been a sort of father figure to Kal. The Government types in charge of Project K at Area 51 had decided that their resident alien needed a human contact to control him. The other aliens were in the deep freeze, not from Krypton and looking like the proverbial little green men, so Kal was their major project.
Bruce had been approached by King Faraday, an FBI agent who had been involved with the project for the last few years. Since the death of Bruce’s parents in the car crash four years ago, Bruce was now the head of Wayne Enterprises and Waynetech, and his security clearance was high.
When Faraday had asked him to take on ‘The Project’, Bruce had said, “I want to study the data on him first.”
So he had been given access to everything, video and audio and notes by Lionel himself. Bruce learned how dangerous Kal-El of Krypton could be, and marveled at the use of mental and emotional conditioning to keep him under control, since they had never found a foolproof method of physical control. He could be doused with Green Kryptonite but only for brief periods, otherwise he would end up permanently sick and dying from too much exposure. No steel or other metal could hold him, and with his powers, he could easily conquer the human race before breakfast.
What did they do to you to keep you so afraid and eager to please, Kal?
Probably kept him in the dark about his heritage. The scientists with Project K had studied the holograms from the rocketship, which had been broadcast in both Kryptonian and English. Apparently the Kryptonians had learned the language and had explained about the impending explosion of their planet and their launching of the rocket to save Kal-El, son of Jor-El and Lara. Lionel had deliberately called his subject ‘Kal’, leaving off the family surname and never telling him about his parents or his planet.
All part of the conditioning.
Lionel had also kept Kal un-educated. When they had discovered how fast the young boy could absorb knowledge after learning to read and write, they had cut him off from all books and other information except those tidbits that they told him. He had begged and pleaded for books or a computer, but had been always denied. His skills at mathematics had been frighteningly-adept, too, and it was decided that it was better to keep him semi-literate and dependent on his keepers for scraps of knowledge.
Bruce had been wary of bringing home this ‘secret weapon’. He had a child to consider: Dick was still very young, only a few years removed from his own tragedy. Bruce had been at Haly’s Circus the night the Flying Grayson had plunged to their deaths from the trapeze, and Dick’s pain had resonated with him. Bruce had watched his parents die in the car after the crash, help not coming for hours. He had been trapped, and now used a cane for his left leg, which bore a brace.
Dick’s shining grace had attracted him at the circus, awed at the freedom the boy exhibited, and now he happily watched his boy practice his routines on the special equipment he had set up at the Manor.
There was Alfred to protect, too, the loyal servant who was so much more than a servant, helping him after the accident in so many ways. Alfred had been with him forever. He could not remember a time when the stately butler had not been part of the household.
Bruce looked at the two of them, Alfred calm but his eyes asking for mercy, and Dick trying hard not to fidget with his anxiety, his blue eyes clearly asking the same.
Bruce had been eager to find out all he could about ‘The Project’ when first approached by Faraday, the rumors going around about some fantastic Government project, and he had gone into it figuring that he would learn all he could and then refuse taking the alien home. But he had seen something in Kal’s eyes when he had studied the tapes, and then in person when he had first observed him from the one-way mirror at the bunker in Area 51. And when he had brought Kal home and the young man had seen the library crammed with books, which he would be allowed to read, Bruce had decided then that this might work out.
“Take it slow,” Bruce had suggested to the man who looked as if he was starving. He was, intellectually. And once Kal had read everything in the Manor library, there were public library books brought home and new books added to the Wayne collection, and periods of access allowed on the computer.
And when Kal had read Mary Shelley’s famous novel, he had looked at Bruce with deep hurt in his eyes, finally understanding why the guards and scientists had often referred to him as ‘Frankenstein’.
Dick and Alfred treated him as a person, or as much as they could since Kal was technically a slave, given to Bruce by the Government (actually a loan, as the Government would never allow this prize to slip from their fingers), and Kal was shy and fearful at first, twisting his fingers in nervous anxiety, but gradually learned to accept their friendship and concern for his well-being, a new concept to him.
Kal was eager to please, but Bruce suspected that he would be the same even if he had not been raised in a laboratory. If Kal had not possessed innate gentleness and goodness, not even Lionel’s ruthless conditioning would have kept him from cutting a swath of destruction as he broke out from his prison, and heaven help them all if he had allowed his rage to fully flower. Unfortunately for Kal, he was not ruthless enough to strike back at his captors, which they considered a weakness, though Bruce often contemplated that it was this man’s greatest strength.
He disliked thinking of Kal as ‘the alien’, akin too much to ‘the monster’, as he had heard the people in Area 51 call him, so he thought of him more as ‘the Kryptonian’ or ‘the slave’, but mostly just as ‘Kal’.
Kal’s head was still bent. He probably expected Bruce to push the button on the remote control he carried, and the lead lining of his collar would slide back and reveal the chips of glowing green Kryptonite, causing excruciating pain. When Bruce had first consented to take this ‘Project’, he had been strongly urged to zap Kal with this Green K to establish dominance. Reluctant after viewing the tapes of Kal writhing on the floor of his prison, clawing at his glowing collar as he gasped and whimpered, he had nevertheless done so in an effort to establish himself as Master, but after the first seconds had cut the torture short and never used it again, leaving a knot in his stomach. Still, Kal always expected him to use it.
Bruce said, “Kal.” The Kryptonian raised his head, the fear flickering in green eyes. “You must be punished.” Kal nodded slowly. “You will go to the panic room for the next twenty-four hours.”
Kal’s eyes widened, panic flashing through them. “No, Master, please!” He crawled toward Bruce. “Please, use the collar, or the whip! They gave you the whip, right? Don’t put me in there!” he whimpered.
Bruce bit his lip, thinking of the Kryptonite shards attached to the ends of the special whip he had been given by the Government. Shards that could rake and tear smooth Kryptonian skin with painful efficiency, as one tape had clearly shown with Lionel wielding the whip.
He knew that Kal spent as much time as he was allowed outdoors. After a lifetime of confinement, he not only craved the sun that gave him his powers, but the freedom of fresh air and the smell of flowers and the sound and sight of the sea. He loved everything, even the bees that buzzed, and eagerly helped in the vegetable garden with the planting and weeding, declaring the tomatoes off the vine to be the best things that he had ever tasted.
The panic room had no windows and was heavily soundproofed, though his hearing could probably penetrate the lead shielding. His X-ray vision would not. There was nothing in there but a cot and some emergency provisions, and the intercom was turned off so that Kal would not be able to communicate with the outside world.
Just like the prison he had grown up in.
“Please,” Kal gasped. “Punish me, Master, but not that.” He curled himself around Bruce’s good leg. “Maybe…maybe I can give you…something…” He licked his lush lips, his hand inching up Bruce’s leg toward his pants zipper.
Bruce gently grasped his hand. “When I take that from you, it will because it will be pleasure for you, too, not punishment.” He cursed Lionel and certain members of Project K who had taught Kal that there were other punishments besides whips and Green K.
Despair clouded Kal’s eyes. He trembled as he faced going into the panic room.
“You have to be punished, Kal. I can’t have you disobeying me in times of danger.” Bruce sighed. “You’ll have to be confined.” His heart broke at the whimper from the broken man kneeling at his feet. He dared not look at Dick and Alfred. “But it won’t be in the panic room.” Kal looked up in shock, then hope, a little sound of glee from Dick nearly making Bruce smile. He probably wanted to turn a cartwheel. “You’ll be confined to your room, and Alfred will bring dinner up to you tonight. Tomorrow you can leave your room.” He gently grasped Kal’s hair and pulled his head back. “But if you disobey me again, it will be the panic room next time.”
Tears shimmered in Kal’s eyes. “Thank you, thank you, Master!” When Bruce released his head, he kissed Bruce’s shoes, and Bruce ran his fingers through Kal’s soft, silky hair.
“All right now. Up to your room.”
Shakily Kal got to his feet and grabbed Bruce’s hand, kissing the palm, then wiped away his tears and smiled with a little quiver at Dick and Alfred as he trudged up the stairs to his room.
“Admirable solution, sir,” Alfred said, the approval in his voice warming Bruce’s heart.
“Thank you, Alfred.”
Dick turned his cartwheel, Alfred and Bruce laughing. “That was great of you, Bruce! Kal only tried to help, after all.”
“I know, but he has to learn that that I can’t have disobedience.” Bruce sighed. “If the Government thought that I couldn’t control him, then they’d take him away.”
Distress appeared on Dick’s face. “Oh, no! Well, then, it’s okay that you punished him. Better than going back to those awful people!”
“Quite so, Master Dick. Now, let us go out in the garden and attend to the tomatoes. You can wave up to Kal if he’s looking out of his window. He’ll have his books and sunshine at least.” He winked. “And we’ll cook one of Kal’s favorite meals tonight.”
“Ziti with red pepper tomato sauce and the spicy meatballs and sausages?”
“I believe that I have those ingredients, yes.”
Dick clapped as he laughed and happily followed Alfred out to the garden.
Bruce looked up the grand staircase. He intended to keep his promise to Kal. He would take him soon, when it was pleasure for them both, and he would make sure that Kal would never go back to being a lab rat.
He turned and went to the library to conduct some business.
And he would make sure that Kal had one of his favorite desserts to go with his dinner on the tray Alfred brought him tonight, too.
Apple pie. Yes, that’ll be just fine.