Title: Rainbow’s Freedom (Justice Arc) (5/61)
Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Roy/Johnny, Chet Kelly, Marco Lopez, Hank Stanley, Hal/Steve/Diana (Hal does not appear in this chapter), Clark/Bruce (Clark does not appear in this chapter--sort of ;)), Dick, Ollie/Dinah, Lex/Jamie, Angela Stone, Barbara Gordon, Kathy Kane
Series Notes: In the 23rd century, Earth is a technologically-advanced society that practices the ancient institution of slavery. Clark begins training under the Bat and secrets are uncovered as the Abolitionist Movement makes rapid progress with old and new methods. Can Freedom outrace rumors of War as the Galactic Empire rushes headlong to a new future?
The entire series can be found here.
Genres: AU, Drama, Slavefic
Rating: (this chapter): PG-13
Summary: Heroes of all kinds deal with the fire.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): February 16, 2011
Date Of Posting: March 27, 2012
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1882
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Note: The magnificent story cover is by the wonderfully-talented ctbn60. Thanks so much, luv! :)
Heroes are ordinary,
Heroes are all around us.
The heat of the flames singed Johnny’s turnout coat as he forged ahead, Roy right behind him. The tent was curling up around them as they searched for victims.
The tent had housed the cast for a play and its audience, some people managing to get out when the fire had first broken out, the others not so lucky.
Chet and Marco were in another part of the tent, as were a pair of firefighters from 10s. The fire had already spread to other tents, the remaining men from 10s and 61s fighting the fire in the other tents. Hank had already called for reinforcements.
Johnny breathed in pure oxygen, the smoke growing thicker as he and Roy pushed toward the back. Most of the actors had been backstage when the fire had broken out.
“Hey, anybody back here? Fire Department!” Johnny called.
“Here!” Violent coughing followed the weak cry.
Johnny turned in the direction of the cry, Roy tapping his shoulder and pointing. Johnny saw the shadowy figure and he and Roy quickly headed that way.
They found a young woman kneeling over an unconscious man. Johnny put the man into a classic fireman’s carry while Roy led the woman out, giving her oxygen from his mask.
Outside, the paramedics carried their patients to the squad. Hank ran over. “Gage, get back in! There are still people inside.”
Roy worked on the man while the woman took in hits of oxygen from a tank that Johnny had given here. She was still in costume, her mascara streaked.
Inside the tent, Johnny continued his search. Suddenly, a strong wind blew by him, a streak of blue reflecting off the firefighter’s facemask. Johnny keep moving, almost blown off his feet as another gust of wind blew fast, his shoulder banging against a pole.
Diana knew that she had to leave the firefighting to the experts, but there were the crowds to consider. Chaos reigned as people ran in a panic, some falling and getting trampled. The roar of the fire was deafening.
Steve ran up to her. “Angel…”
“I know. Where is Hal?”
“There was a commotion a couple of blocks over and he went to investigate.”
“All right, then Wonder Woman must go it alone.”
Diana quickly changed behind Madame Zee’s tent, then dashed out.
“Ladies and gentlemen, do not panic! The fire is well enough away from you! Please exit in an orderly manner!”
Some people ignored her but others slowed down, realizing that she was right.
The rest of Wonder Woman’s party was helping guide people to safety: Steve, Bruce, Dick, Dinah and Ollie were busy. She did not see Clark and hoped that he was safe. And where were Lex and Jamie?
Wonder Woman continued with crowd control. She was glad to see Bruce and Dick helping the injured.
An explosion rocked the grounds, flames leaping up into the starlit sky as the fire engine sirens wailed in the distance. The flames licked hungrily at the theater tent, people still struggling to get out. Wonder Woman ran in.
Johnny searched through the flames, the canvas blackening as the fire raged like a living thing, hungrily devouring the costumes and scenery. Johnny relentlessly pushed ahead, sweat trickling down his neck and back as the heat grew.
He saw no one else, but heard a cry. Turning, he was just in time to see a star-spangled heroine run in, scoop up an older woman and easily carry her out. Long-legged power and grace left the burning tent.
Johnny smiled behind his mask. He had just seen Wonder Woman.
Lex grabbed the little girl who was crying for her mother.
“It’s okay, honey. We’ll find your mom.”
Jamie picked up the sobbing girl and said, “She must have gotten separated. We’ll have to hold on to her until things settle down.”
“Let’s head for one of the alleys. Main Street will be too crazy.”
Jamie nodded and followed Lex, cradling the blond head on his shoulder. The girl was around four or five and scared. He couldn’t blame her. It was as if the world had gone mad.
The trio ducked into an alley, away from the pushing throngs. Smoke blanketed the stars.
“I’ll call Bruce and have him get his security men over here,” Lex said.
As Lex took out his cellphone, Jamie heard a click. He looked up and gasped, “Master!”
Lex saw the gunman in the same instant. He slowly lowered his phone.
“Give over your wallet, big man,” snarled the thief. He was clad in black, a ski mask over his head.
“All right. Just keep your finger steady,” Lex said.
The gun was an old-fashioned projectile instead of laser gun. The Second Amendment allowed Americans to bear arms, but only those not manufactured after the 20th century. The Government did not mind idiots killing each other off with handguns, because their own forces were generally safe. Laser gun versus bullet gun was an overmatch in the Government’s favor.
Lex handed over his wallet. He had some cash for the fair and his gold card. Luckily he had left his platinum card back at the Manor.
Despite the danger of the situation, Lex’s mind was working on many levels. He kept his eyes on the robber, wishing that they had bumped into a pickpocket instead. Pickpockets rarely carried guns.
The other part of his mind was glad that the Government had suppressed technological advances for the general public. Plastic was used for purchases, but coins and cash were still encouraged. Computers still used e-mails but cellphones were not allowed texting. Chips were implanted in every device for monitoring purposes. Old-fashioned mail was sometimes best for sensitive materials, as it was rarely searched.
All these thoughts flooded through Lex’s mind as he stared down the barrel of the gun.
Other people’s lives flash before their eyes. I ruminate on Government policy.
His wry thoughts were scattered as the gunman turned toward Jamie.
Jamie held tightly to the little girl as he watched Lex, his heart hammering in his chest. Fear for Lex consumed him. A gunman with a nervous trigger finger could spell disaster.
The noise of the fire and crowds sounded distant in contrast to the quiet in the alley, so quiet that Jamie could hear the blood rushing in his ears, the girl whimpering, and the strained breathing of the thief.
Not good. He’s nervous.
If Jamie didn’t have the little girl to think of, he would have already been figuring out his next move. He was good at self-defense and attack mode, too, but he had his small charge to take care of in this dirty Gotham alley.
Oh, any God or Gods Above, help us!
The girl burrowed her face deeper into Jamie’s shoulder and he rubbed her back, his eyes never leaving the tense tableau in front of him. He would not lose Lex! Not only was the man a kind and considerate Master, he loved him fiercely. It didn’t matter if Lex loved him or not, though he was inclined to believe that Lex did. Still, what mattered was that Lex was loved, and that would do.
“Just take the wallet and go,” Lex said.
The robber grabbed the wallet and pulled it open, glancing at the contents. “Man, I wanted cash! This card ain’t no good to me. Too easy to trace.”
“It’s all the cash I have on me.”
“You look like a rich bastard. You should have more cash on ya!” Brown eyes glared. “What kind of fuckin’ fat cat are ya?” His eyes slid over to Jamie and his charge. “Bet that slave’s worth a lot.”
“If you think it’s easy to trace a gold card, imagine how easy it’ll be trace a slave.”
The robber snorted. “Are you kiddin’? Slaves are easy to sell on the black market. Put the kid down, whore, and come with me.”
The little girl clung tightly to Jamie, who murmured soothingly as he persuaded her to let go. “C’mon, honey, let me put you down.”
”My name is Angela.”
Jamie smiled. “Okay, Angela. Go to the end of the alley.”
Angela blinked cornflower-blue eyes at Jamie, who nodded at her. Pushing out her lower lip in a pout, she shuffled over to Lex, who grasped her hand.
“All right now, whore. Come to Poppa.”
Jamie looked over at Lex, who was furious at his own helplessness. Jamie smiled slightly to let Lex know that it was all right, though of course it wasn’t.
Just as Jamie began to move toward the leering thief, a nylon rope snapped down, coiling around the gun and yanking it out of the thief’s hand.
A flash of purple-and-yellow swooped down in front of the startled robber, knocking him backwards. A yellow boot kicked out and further put the thief off-balance.
“Batgirl!” cried Angela in delight.
Batgirl knocked the robber flat on his back and quickly tied him up. Batwoman flew down and grabbed the gun, holding it in her gloved hand.
“Glad to help, gentlemen,” she said with a smile, her lips cherry-red in the light shining from the streetlight.
“We’re certainly glad to see you,” said Lex, his smile genuine.
“Thank you, Mr. Luthor. My partner and I appreciate it.”
“We should truss him up to a lamppost,” Batgirl said. “The police are too busy with the fire and crowd control.”
“Thanks again,” said Lex. “We’ll try and avoid the alleys on our way out of here.”
“Good. Security personnel are helping deal with the fire.”
Even dazed, the robber put up a fight, both women dragging him out to the street. Angela eagerly followed them.
Lex pulled Jaime close, nuzzling his hair. “That was close.”
Lex tightened his hold. “Don’t ever scare me like that again.”
Jamie smiled. He hugged back.
“C’mon, let’s get out of here,” Lex said.
Hours later, Johnny staggered to the squad, his bones aching and so weary that he could barely keep his eyes open. Roy was right next to him and just as exhausted. The Gotham Police Department had managed to clear the festival-goers off the midway.
Roy tilted his head, bouncing lightly against the squad.
Johnny groaned. “I agree.” He brushed damp strands of hair out of his eyes. “How can I hurt so much and still be alive?”
Roy chuckled as he raised a hand to rub his face, but was too tired and let his head drop.
Hank walked wearily toward his paramedics. “10s are doing clean-up. We get to go back to the barn.”
“Thanks, Cap.” Roy looked at the smoke rising from the ashes of the burned tents. “We’ll get back.”
“Good. See you there.”
Roy groaned as Hank left, pushing himself away from the squad. He ran his fingers through his partner’s silky hair. Johnny was sitting on the ground at Roy’s feet. He looked up with a weary smile.
“Let’s go home, Junior.”
Roy helped Johnny to his feet and the younger man stumbled into him. Roy smiled and kissed Johnny, who kissed back. They were both smiling as they got into the squad.