Title: Rainbow’s Freedom (Rainbow Prisms Arc) (16/42)
Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Clark/Bruce, Jonathan/Martha, Dick, 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): PG-13
Summary: Clark re-connects with his parents and the farm.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): November 19, 2010
Date Of Posting: October 27, 2011
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 2011
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Note: The magnificent story cover is by the wonderfully-talented ctbn60. Thanks so much, luv! :)
"HOME IS WHERE…"
The question hung in the air, punctuated by the ticking of the grandfather clock. Clark nervously twisted a handful of his shirt and tried to smile.
“Well, Dad, I am home.”
“It’s where you belong.”
“Of course, this home is always going to be my haven.”
Martha noticed her son’s nervous twitch. She also saw the uneasiness exhibited by Bruce, Dick, and Alfred.
“I think it’s time to get everyone settled.” She rose from the arm of Jonathan’s chair and set her teacup down on a coaster on the coffee table. A general flurry of activity followed her pronouncement, and Martha led the way as her guests carried their luggage upstairs.
“We have two guest rooms, you can both have one,” she said to Dick and Alfred, who gratefully accepted. “Now, as we only have the two, I suppose you and Clark will have to double up, Bruce.”
Gratitude shone from Bruce’s eyes. “Thank you, Martha.”
She smiled as Clark went into his old room, a smile on his face. ‘You kept it just the way it was,” he said softly.
“Of course. It was still your room, so why change it?”
She watched Clark as he went around the room, touching the blue ribbons he had won at various Smallville fairs over the years, his souvenir Daily Planet miniature, his pennants that said Smallville Crows, Metropolis Monarchs and Metropolis Sharks. The bed was covered in her handmade quilt, yellow and blue and red, and the bookcase was bursting with books: some old school texts, hardcover and paperback novels, and some children’s books. His grandmother’s hooked rug was on the hardwood floor between the bed and the dresser. A rocking chair was placed in the corner.
“The bathroom is down the hall. Lunch in half an hour.” She hugged Clark. “So good to have you home, honey.”
Clark caressed her hair. “Thanks, Mom.”
She smiled as she separated from her son, leaving the room.
For a moment, the silence was awkward, then Clark gently embraced Bruce.
Bruce was grateful for the embrace, Clark knew. It had been a rough session. He also figured that his lover’s insecurities were kicking in. Time to head those off at the pass!
“Of course Mom and Dad want me to come home, but I was going to make my way even before I was captured. So I’ll just have to convince them that it’s best for me to stay with you.”
“They won’t like it, especially when we explain that you’re still going to be a slave…my pleasure slave, no less.”
Clark chuckled ruefully. “You’re right, they won’t like it, but it’s my choice.”
“Well, that’s true. And that’s what we’re fighting for, for you and Dick and Alfred to have the right to make choices.”
“Very eloquent, my dear.”
Bruce smiled and Clark hugged him again. Releasing him, Clark smiled and said, “After I unpack I’ll go help Mom with lunch.”
“Go now. I’ll unpack.”
Clark’s smile grew brighter. “Thanks, Bruce.” He hurried down to the kitchen, Martha already busy with preparations for lunch.
“Here to help, Mom.”
He sniffed. “Oh, man, you’re baking apple pie!” His mouth watered.
Clark happily began chopping up tomatoes for the salad, the beefsteak tomatoes bright red and ripe. “Mmm, he said as he smelled one juicy specimen. “There’s nothing like the smell of a tomato fresh off the vine. Taste, too.” He popped a slice into his mouth.
Martha laughed. “You always appreciated my kitchen garden.”
“You bet. The only thing that comes close is Alfred’s kitchen garden at the Manor.”
Martha looked down at the sandwich she was making. "You seem very close with your fellow…slaves.”
“I am.” He put a hand on her arm and she looked up. “We’re a Family, Mom, not just a Household.”
“And you love Bruce.”
Her eyes glistened. “He fell in love with you when he thought you were a slave?”
Clark almost said that he still was, but that was an issue best left until later. “Yes.”
“I’m glad.” Martha cut a thin slice of roast beef. “Bruce seems like a very decent man.”
“He is. He found out that Lex’s pleasure slave Jamie was probably going to be bought by Edmund Caldwell, so he bought him instead and gave him to Lex.”
Martha looked at Clark. “I knew that Bruce had given Jamie to Lex, but I didn’t know he’d been on the Caldwell radar.”
Clark nodded. “Jamie adores Lex. Lex has been very good to him.”
“Lionel did mention that he thought that Jamie was good for Lex.”
“Really?” Clark stopped slicing the tomatoes. “I thought he was more interested in getting into, um, uh…”
Martha smiled and patted her blushing son’s hand. “I understand, Clark. I’m well aware of Lionel’s reputation.”
Clark looked down at the cutting board, still trying to live down his blush. “I still can’t believe you knew Lionel when you were in college.”
“So you remember?”
Clark nodded. “Some things are starting to come back.”
“Good. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for you to have no memory.”
“It wasn’t easy, but living at Wayne Manor made it far better than it could have been.”
Clark smiled. They worked in silence for a few minutes, then he asked, “Where’s Dad?”
“Out in the barn.” Martha started making another sandwich. “Roast beef all right for everybody?”
“You know, Clark, your father only has your best interests at heart.”
Clark smiled fondly. “I know, Mom.”
Dick and Alfred came downstairs, eager to help. Martha said, “Dick, please set the table. The silverware is in this drawer, and the plates are in this cabinet.” She was comfortable as a kitchen general. “Alfred, more of that tea would be divine.”
“As you wish, Mrs. Kent.”
The kitchen was a happy flurry of activity and Clark was ecstatic. Some of the happiest times of his life had been spent in this kitchen and on this farm. His memories were coming faster, new ones greeting him every morning when he woke up for the day…
“Clark! Where’s my boy?”
Tousled eight-year-old Clark ran up the walkway. “Here, Mom!”
“That’s my boy.” Martha hugged him, her red hair glinting in the sun. “I need help with my garden.”
She laughed and Clark eagerly followed her to the small garden in the back of the house. He dug his fingers into the earth, pulling up plants already killed by an early frost.
“Feels like snow comin’,” said Clark.
“You’re right, it does.”
“Is Dad workin’ in the north field?”
“That’s right. He’s getting the last of the harvest in.”
“I love it here.”
Martha smiled. “I know, honey. Home is always the best place to be.”
Clark felt warmed at the memory. He finished preparing the ingredients for the salad and looked up to see Bruce standing at the bottom of the stairs, looking a little awkward. Clark caught his gaze and smiled, silently inviting him to come forward.
Bruce reached Clark’s side just as the back door opened and Jonathan came in from the barn. He had washed his hands at the outside spigot and gave his wife a kiss on the cheek.
“Your stomach clock never fails,” Martha said in amusement.
Jonathan laughed. “With you as the cook, no wonder.” He clapped Clark on the shoulder and took his seat at the kitchen table, inviting everyone else to sit.
The meal was filled with talk about the farm, Clark eager to catch up. There was also N.A.S. business that was discussed, and Clark noticed how careful everyone was with each other.
Like walking on eggshells.
After the sandwiches and salad were consumed, everyone raved over Martha’s apple pie. For Clark, it was the taste of home.
“Everything is better with pie,” he declared, and everyone laughed.
After lunch, Bruce volunteered to help Martha clean up while Dick and Alfred went upstairs to finish unpacking. Jonathan went back out to the barn and Clark followed a few minutes later.
The scent of hay was strong, Clark breathing it in. Sunlight slanted through the high window, illuminating the stalls and workbench and the old tractor that his father was tinkering with. He looked up, a smile spreading across his face and nimbly climbed the ladder.
The loft still contained the old couch, writing desk, bookshelf crammed with books, and end table with odds ‘n’ ends. The telescope was set up in front of the window.
His father stood by the telescope, gazing out over the fields. “I’d come up here and use this telescope to gaze at the stars, wondering if I was looking at the place where you were.”
Clark swallowed. He stood on the other side of the telescope and looked out over the fields that were so familiar to him.
It wasn’t just the sun that was giving him strength. It was this place that gave him strength beyond measure, the place that nurtured and loved him in sunshine and rain, where he could come and feel safe, his haven from the world when it drew too close. His parents were the heart of everything.
“I know it was hard on you,” Clark said softly.
“Not as hard as it was on you.”
Clark stroked the telescope, remembering the many nights he had enjoyed observing the stars. When he had realized his developing powers were Kryptonian, he had sadly looked at the patch of sky where Krypton had once been.
He was still saddened by the loss of his parents, and wondered if he had other relations out there. He didn’t think he had siblings. Even with the sketchy recordings, it had appeared that he was an only child.
He didn’t even know the names of his birth parents. The recordings had made their introductions unintelligible, and their holographic projections had been damaged. He was sad to have so much lost to him, but at least he knew his roots here. He grieved over the loss of his birth parents, but the parents who had raised him were right here. Fate had taken his Kryptonian parents away from him, and had given Earth ones to him instead.
“I won’t try and tell you how to live your life, Clark,” Jonathan said. “You were planning to go to Metropolis and join the staff of The Daily Planet before you decided to seek out your Kryptonian heritage off-world.”
“I was going to work at The Daily Planet?” Clark’s eyes shone.
Jonathan nodded. “You were going to be a cub reporter. Perry White had hired you. Then you got an idea…”
“I turned down a job there?”
Jonathan smiled at Clark’s curiosity. “You went to Perry with an idea for a ‘fresh look at the Empire’. You said you were fresh off the farm, and had never been out of the U.S. before, never mind off-world. You wanted to do a series of articles on different cultures throughout the Empire.”
“Wow, pretty ambitious for a cub reporter.”
“Perry thought so, too.” Jonathan laughed. “He said you had chutzpah, and decided to underwrite your trip.” Jonathan’s smile faltered. “You never got a chance to send anything back. You disappeared.”
Clark nodded slowly, sad for lost opportunities.
“You can re-claim your job. Tell Perry that you had amnesia and leave out the part about being Bruce Wayne’s pleasure slave.”
Sunlight glinted off his slave collar and bracelets and Clark shifted uncomfortably.
“It’s your choice, Clark. You’ve got a career waiting for you, and there’s your Kryptonian heritage to consider.” Jonathan looked at his son.
Clark realized that his father was saying that it was his choice. Despite his objections, his father would support him in anything he wanted to do. Gratitude shone from his eyes, Jonathan easily reading him. The older man smiled.
They remained in comfortable silence as they gazed out on their beloved fields.