Title: Rainbow’s Freedom (Rainbow Prisms Arc) (36/42)
Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Alfred, Clark/Bruce, Dick, Jonathan/Martha
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: While the new caves’ discovery is discussed at Wayne Manor, Clark ponders his future.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): January 27, 2011
Date Of Posting: January 27, 2012
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1631
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Note: The magnificent story cover is by the wonderfully-talented ctbn60. Thanks so much, luv! :)
Is drawn by those
Whose hearts dwell
In the spirit of the soil.
STRENGTH FROM THE LAND
“Those caves were part of the Underground Railroad.”
Alfred’s calm voice was just what Bruce and Dick needed. Dick was nearly bouncing off the walls, and even Bruce was excited. They were all in the library.
“Why didn’t you tell me about these additional caves, Alfred?”
“I had forgotten about them. I had learned of their existence when I first arrived here in America, but Mater Thomas and Mistress Martha swore me to secrecy.”
“Why?” asked Dick.
“I’d say because it wouldn’t do to advertise the family background as Abolitionists, even back in the day,” said Bruce.
“But I thought your parents supported the Cause,” Dick said in confusion.
“They did, but not in the beginning of their marriage, at least not openly. They became stronger advocates of Abolitionism later on.”
“So why not reveal the family history?”
“Well, it’s one thing to support the Cause, but another to help slaves escape.”
“But that was your ancestors, not you.” Dick hopped from foot-to-foot, amusing Bruce and Alfred.
“Ah, but ‘sins of the fathers…’”
Dick made a face. “That’s stupid, holding you to something your ancestors did in the 19th century.”
“Have to agree with you about that.”
Dick smiled. “So, are you gonna do something about it?”
“Start up the Underground Railroad again.”
Bruce smiled a little sadly. “I wish we could, but the risk to runaways is too great.”
Dick nodded solemnly. “So, where are we patrolling tonight?”
Bruce grinned at his young partner’s enthusiasm.
Clark rocked gently in the porch chair, enjoying the sunset over the fields. The last of the harvest would soon be in. Whenever any of the hired hands were around Clark made himself scarce. If word got around that Bruce Wayne’s Prize was temporarily residing with the Kents, there would be all sorts of ‘visitors’ dropping by.
This part of Kansas had strong Abolitionist roots. The days of Bleeding Kansas in the 1850s and ‘60s had seen two determined sides: pro-and-anti-slavery, often with bloody results. The descendants in Smallville and the surrounding county rarely owned slaves, preferring to hire freemen for the harvest and other farm-related tasks. A pleasure slave would be an exotic novelty, with everyone trying to get a look.
So with all the hired help gone for the day, Clark was relaxing on the front porch. His super-senses were soaking up the sounds of the bees buzzing around the flowers planted around the porch and in flower boxes, the smell of the flowers and of the freshly-mown hay rolled up in the fields; the sight of the orange-pink-and-yellow sunset as it tinted the red barn gold.
He could hear the clinking of dishes as Martha washed the dishes, Jonathan drying. The creaking of the rocking chair was soothing.
Tomorrow he and his father would take on the harvesting alone, and with his powers, it would go fast. He was looking forward to working in the fields again. He’d been able to do so on the days when the hands were not around.
Clark breathed in the smells of the farm and the fresh air. He had really needed this. After so long without his memory, all the old memories this place held for him was giving him his old sense of identity back. He was Clark Kent, son of Jonathan and Martha, a smalltown boy at heart. He’d grown up on this farm, and had enjoyed every minute of it.
Being with his parents made him feel safe and loved, just as when he had been a child. All his fears and uncertainties had fallen away, his strength coming back, and not just his physical powers. He could feel himself drawing strength from the land.
Like Bruce does from his estate.
He missed Bruce and Dick and Alfred. Wayne Manor was home, too. He loved the sight and sound of the ocean, the cry of the seagulls, the magnificence of the gardens.
He thought of his dreams of becoming a reporter that were swirling around his head. He had landed a roving reporter job at The Daily Planet, sending back reports for travelogue pieces mixed with political and social stories. Then he had learned of a group of Kryptonians being held far execution on Beta Colony. Clark knew he had to do something…
Clark flew through the clouds, approaching the holding area where the captured Kryptonians were crammed. He could smell their fear, because a Hunt Decree always meant execution, and not a humane one. With telescopic vision he could see some stricken with terror, some defiant while others were numb. They wore rags, some nearly naked, and all wore Kryptonian headbands.
He could see the Empire soldiers going about their business, and knew that they would be aware of his presence by now through electronic sensors. He didn’t have much time.
Swooping down, he headed for several soldiers near the enclosure.
“Look! It’s the Sal-vor!” cried one of the prisoners.
Clark doubted that he was anyone’s Savior, but he was willing to save these people. They were crying out, praising him while he knocked out the soldiers, and he turned to see their pleading faces, arms outstretched through the bars of their prison. Clark flew toward them, intending to rip open the enclosure and guide them to a ship close by when pain suddenly ripped through him as glowing liquid coated his body. He began to choke as his throat constricted, his arms flailing as he heard shrieks of horror and moans of despair. His vision blurred in a haze of green as he twitched, dropping like a stone…
Clark’s body jerked, his heart pounding. He looked around, confused.
“Are you all right, son?” asked Jonathan as he came out onto the porch.
“Um, yeah. I think I fell asleep.”
“Even with powers, you can still get tired.”
“Sure.” Jonathan leaned against the railing as he crossed his arms. “It’s more a mental thing, but believe it or not, you can wear down.”
“A mental thing?”
Jonathan nodded. “Your mind is constantly racing with all that energy powering through you. You had to learn meditation techniques to show down.
“As for physical tiredness, you can get that when you’ve expanded too much energy. That’s when you need a sunbath.” He winked.
Clark laughed. “I guess that’s reasonable. I mean, even with all my energy, it isn’t limitless.”
“We all have limits, son.”
Clark considered that. As a slave, he had a myriad of limits, and it hadn’t occurred to him that super-powers could have limits, too.
“Wise words, Dad.”
“Of course,” Jonathan said smugly, and Clark laughed. Jonathan cleared his throat. “Have you made any decisions for going forward?”
Clark rocked gently. “I have been thinking things over.” He stared out over the fields. “I'm trying to sort things out. I just need a little more time.”
“So Bruce Wayne is giving you that time?”
“He is.” The rocker lightly shushed over the porch wood. “He’s a good man, Dad.”
“I trust your judgment, son.”
“Just not lately.”
Jonathan had the grace to look embarrassed. “Sorry, Clark, it’s just that…”
“…I’ve been drugged up the last four years?”
Jonathan nodded. “You’ve had shock after shock. You woke up in that slavers’ camp…” he grimaced “…and had no memory, no sense of self, and were told that you’d been born a slave! So you were no doubt confused and not sure of what’s been going on.”
“I’ve been Bruce Wayne’s pleasure slave, Dad.” At his father’s second grimace he continued, “Dad, I know it’s tough to think of me that way, but that’s what I’ve been the last four years. Believe me, it’s not a bad position to have.”
Jonathan rolled his eyes at the twinkle in his son’s eyes. “Trust me, I can see the benefits of that arrangement.” He sighed. “I’m just saying…well, are you sure that you love him, son? It’s not just gratitude that he kept your safe?” Jonathan deliberately left out the kidnapping. Clark was well aware of that incident.
Clark smiled softly. “Yes, Dad, I’m certain.”
“All right, then.” Jonathan straightened up and moved away from the railing. “Just don’t lose Clark Kent as you move forward.” He unfolded his arms and patted Clark’s shoulder as he went into the house, the squeak of the screen door familiar and comforting.
Clark thought, We’ll have to replace the screen with the storm door tomorrow, and continued rocking.
He had been concerned about losing Clark Kent, too. Clark was who he was, not someone from Krypton. Well, not completely.
He closed his eyes. If he returned to Bruce to serve as his slave, Clark Kent could be lost. There would be no journalistic career, no independence, no living like a normal person, which was so important to someone who was not normal.
His body relaxed as he rocked. Bruce had offered him alternatives. He could claim that he had sent away or sold off his pleasure slave and Clark could become his lover as a free man, yet he knew that the Veil he wore was almost cursory. Someone might match up Bruce Wayne’s Prize with his new boyfriend and cause no end of trouble.
And if he did start his career as Clark, he would be based in Metropolis. That would mean time away from Bruce and Dick and Alfred.
Clark rubbed a hand between his eyes. He felt as if his mind was whirling around and he was still as far from an answer as when he had started.
Sighing, he let the peace of the farm settle deeply into his bones.