Title: Rainbow’s Freedom (Rainbow Prisms Arc) (8/42)
Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Dick, Barbara Gordon, Clark/Bruce, Alfred
Series Notes: In the 23rd century, Earth is a technologically-advanced society that practices the ancient institution of slavery. Clark finally learns about his identity and heritage. Will that knowledge tear him and Bruce apart? Meanwhile, Rebellion and Abolition twist and turn in the pageantry of events.
The entire series can be found here.
Genres: AU, Challenge, Drama, Slavefic
Rating: (this chapter): G
Summary: Bruce gets a shock after completely reading the reports from Lex and Silas Bracken’s safe.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): October 9, 2010
Date Of Posting: September 21, 2011
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 2056
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Note: The magnificent story cover is by the wonderfully-talented ctbn60. Thanks so much, luv! :)
The strands of color,
Into your hands.
"Tease The Rainbow"
TEASE THE RAINBOW
Dick slid down the banister, a huge grin on his face. Life was looking pretty good! Clark was a Kryptonian, and he was not going to leave them. He had not thought that Clark would, but he had been worried that things would change between them now that Clark was no longer a slave.
Except that he was.
Clark and Bruce had explained the legalities, then Clark had said, “Besides, it’s the perfect secret identity. Who would guess a mere slave is a Kryptontian under cover?” He had smiled warmly, his eyes sparkling, and Dick knew that everything was going to be all right.
The doorbell rang and Dick went to answer it. “Hi, Barbara!”
“Hi, Dick. You didn’t forget our session, did you?”
With everything that had gone on in the last few hours, he had, but he quickly smiled.
“’Course not! It’ll be good to get in a work-out before lessons.”
Barbara followed Dick to the gym.
Upstairs in the master bedroom, Bruce was applying butterfly kisses to an awakening Clark.
“Mmm, that’s a wonderful way to wake up.”
“Thanks.” Bruce nibbled at Clark’s ear. “You didn’t have any dreams last night?”
“Not that I remember. I guess I’ll start remembering things after you skip the next shot.”
“And you’d better have your collar and manacles off when you do. That way you can avoid withdrawal. Hopefully your new set will arrive soon. I asked for a rush job.”
Clark looked at his sparkling manacles. “Guess I’ll need a new dose of sunshine, eh?” His eyes twinkled merrily.
Bruce smiled. “Do it in a secluded area of the garden. Barbara’s here.”
“But I’m okay to give lessons.”
“I know.” Bruce smoothed a lock of hair back from Clark’s eyes. “She’s here to practice gymnastics with Dick. He’s so proud of her Olympic gold medal. She hopes to compete in the next Olympiad.”
“She’s such a bright girl.”
“Exactly. That’s why extra precautions must be taken when she’s around.”
Clark could understand that. He got out of bed and headed for the shower while Bruce said, “Be right with you.” He took a quick check of his Blueberry’s day planner function. He was going to read the rest of the papers Lex had sent him, and those he had taken from Silas Bracken’s safe. Everything had been so chaotic the last few days!
After a leisurely breakfast, Clark and Bruce went out to the gardens, going deep into its recesses so as to be hidden from view. The estate security cameras were focused on the perimeter and also the Manor’s front gates. The rest of the house was under Batcave security cameras, keeping an electronic eye on things while still allowing the family their privacy.
Bruce suspected that he would never get tired of this ‘re-charging’ ceremony. Clark had always been a sun-worshipper, and now with good reason. He settled on a marble bench to watch the show.
Clark was eager to re-charge. The feeling of power and good health was intoxicating. Even if his mind did not remember having superpowers (at least not yet), his body did.
He tilted his face toward the sun, removing one manacle. He smiled as he felt the surge of power through his body, energizing his muscles as the sun caressed his skin. He let the power bring his senses to life, then removed the other manacle.
Nerve endings tingled, senses flared alive, the cacophony of sounds and voices pressing in on him, which faded as he pushed them away. He could feel Bruce’s presence, waiting and loving. The collar came off, and the final surge of power swelled through his being.
He let himself drift, Bruce’s presence always close, and heard voices.
“My big boy. Mama loves you so much!”
“I’m proud of you, son.”
“I’d love to go to the prom with you.”
They were indistinct, wavering, just out of reach, but Clark’s smile brightened.
He was starting to remember.
After the re-charging, Bruce urged Clark to stay out in the gardens.
“You can put your jewelry back on when you come to lunch. Barbara will be with us.”
Clark nodded, pleased at being able to stay out in the sun. Bruce gave him a kiss, Clark’s smile warming him even better than the sun.
He went into the library, taking out the papers. He sat at his desk, reading as he absorbed the incredible information.
I can’t believe this. All this time, the answers were out there. He felt guilty, despite this not being his fault. Clark says I have a well-developed Calvinist streak. He’s probably right.
Bruce quietly read through the report Lex had sent over. As usual, his old friend was thorough, probably with Jamie’s help. The slave Bruce had saved from the clutches of the Caldwells had proven to be a boon to Lex. Lex was smitten, Bruce was certain, and Jamie was an invaluable help to him in his business. Bruce was glad on all counts, because he knew how difficult it had been with Lionel around for his friend.
The man’s a serial poacher. He took Lex’s pleasure slaves to his bed and eventually Lex just gave up until he got Jamie. Now he’s willing to go head-to-head with his father over keeping Jamie exclusively his. So far he’s been successful.
He smiled as he noticed the handwritten notations: some were Lex’s bold but precise script, the legibility a legacy of boarding school, which Bruce knew well, and the more elegant script of Jamie’s hand. Lex was like him: he preferred educated slaves around him than the alternative. Lex believed in pleasures of the flesh, but pleasures of the intellect were also his wont.
Suddenly, Bruce froze. Blinking, he re-read the notes again. The papers fell from nerveless fingers and he jumped out of his chair and ran to the gardens.
Clark was just starting to snap on one of his manacles when Bruce yelled, “Don’t!”
Startled, Clark stood still as Bruce charged at him and grabbed his manacle, throwing it away.
“Bruce, what the hell? What’s going on?”
“The Rainbow K suppresses your powers.” Bruce panted.
“It put too much of a strain on your heart and other organs.”
“What?” Clark unconsciously clutched his chest.
“The Rainbow Kryptonite in small doses doesn’t affect your organs, but used on a regular basis for a considerable length of time…”
“…like four years.”
Bruce nodded. “You can’t wear your slave jewelry anymore.”
“I’ll have to wear my jewelry if I go to lunch with Barbara here.”
Bruce shook his head. “Too risky.”
“Am I under a House Veil?”
Bruce could not tell by Clark’s voice whether he was upset or not. His eyes were unreadable.
“I’ll be all right, Bruce,” Clark said softly. “With my charge of energy, I’ll be all right.”
Bruce frowned. He recognized the pattern: Clark was attempting to persuade him to change his mind by remaining calm instead of getting angry.
“Please, Bruce, I’ll keep my jewelry off until we get the fake duplicates, but I don’t want to be shut away until then.”
Bruce suppressed a sigh. Damnit, how does Clark do that? He’s going to get his way again.
“All right, just for lunch. But remove them as soon as she goes home.”
Clark offered a brilliant smile as he snapped on his manacle. “Thank you, Master.”
Master, huh. I wonder just whom is the Master here!
Bruce was unhappy about the whole situation and could have easily ordered Clark to their room, but he sensed that would be the wrong move. He did not want to alienate Clark. Despite his lover still willing to be his pleasure slave, Clark had options now that he did not have before. What would prevent him from just flying away if he got fed up?
Bruce bit his lip. He really could not think this way. Technically, Clark was still his slave, as he had pointed out. And despite the family that the four of them in this house made, Bruce still had to maintain discipline.
Clark walked with him toward the house. Bruce was troubled, but brightened a little as he realized that maintaining discipline as Lord of the Manor was no different than exerting it as Batman. Everyone had to follow his lead, especially Robin. It was vital that his junior partner obey him out on the streets.
Feeling a little better, Bruce smiled as Clark opened the door for him. It was not required. In fact, Bruce did it as often as his slaves did, but was a courtesy that he appreciated in this moment.
Inside, Alfred was already starting lunch. Clark immediately began to help, and Bruce set the table. Clark chopped up carrots and onions for the chicken noodle soup that Alfred was preparing, the stock and chicken already bubbling on the stove. Rolls were baking in the oven, and it was a perfect meal for a crisp autumn day. The smells of simmering soup and baking breads were mouthwatering.
Dick and Barbara bounded into the kitchen, freshly-showered and eager for lunch. Bruce smiled indulgently. He liked Barbara Gordon quite a bit. She was bright, athletic, and most importantly, kind to his slaves. Dick had assured him that she was nothing but respectful during their time together.
She comes from good stock. Jim is an exemplary police officer and man. He’s an invaluable ally in keeping Gotham free of crime, and a good friend, as well.
Barbara offered to help but Alfred said, “We’re all ready, Miss Barbara. You and Dick have a seat.”
Barbara and Dick sat down as Bruce also took his seat. Alfred ladled the soup into bowls, which Clark carried to the table. He took his seat as Alfred brought the rolls fresh from the oven, joining the family at the table.
“Mmm, Alfred, this soup is amazing,” Clark said.
“I agree.” Barbara ate another spoonful. “Just right for a crisp day.”
“Thank you.” Alfred smiled.
“The rolls are delicious, too,” Dick said as he took a bite of crusty fluffiness. Butter melted in his mouth.
Bruce was happy as his family partook of the meal, Barbara a welcome guest. Dare he use the word cozy to describe the scene? He smiled at Clark, who smiled back.
“Isn’t it cool at all the new heroes popping up, like Green Lantern and Batwoman?” Barbara chirped. “Especially Batwoman!”
Bruce laughed. “A fellow redhead, eh?”
“Oh, yes!” Barbara’s green eyes sparkled. “She and Wonder Woman and Black Canary are the coolest heroes! Though I have to admit, Robin is the cutest.”
Dick began to cough, Bruce thumping on his back.
“You okay, Dick?” Barbara asked in concern.
“Just…cough…went down…cough, cough…the wrong way.”
Bruce rubbed Dick’s back, and gradually the coughing ceased.
“It’s good that you admire female superheroes, Barbara.” Bruce buttered a roll.
“I firmly believe in equality, Mr. Wayne.” Barbara nodded in emphasis. “Women have made great strides in the past few centuries, but there is still a lot to be done.”
“I agree.” Bruce passed the butter dish to Alfred. “There is still inequality for freewomen. Perhaps that’s why most of the top N.A.S. officials are women. To some extent, they can identify with the unfairness of slavery, though of course it’s only a fraction.”
Barbara nodded. “That’s a good analogy, especially since in some cultures, women are practically treated like slaves despite their free birth.”
Bruce frowned. “Yes, I’ve read about that. Even while American culture is sometimes lacking, I’d say you’ve got a better deal here than elsewhere.”
“Oh, definitely, but it could be a lot better.”
“So you like Batwoman better than Batman and Robin?” asked Clark with mischief twinkling in his eyes.
“Oh, I like the Dynamic Duo, too. Like I said, Robin’s cute, and Batman’s mysterious, even if he is grumpy. I just identify with Batwoman more,” Barbara answered, seemingly oblivious to the looks passed around the table and Dick’s stifled laughter.
“Hmm, yes,” Bruce said, hastily eating a roll.
After lunch, Bruce strolled outside in the gardens with Clark.
“A bright girl,” said Clark, stifling laughter.
”Hmph,” Bruce said as they continued their walk hand-in-hand.