Title: Rainbow’s Freedom (Justice Arc) (11/61)
Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Jonathan/Martha (Jonathan does not appear in this chapter), Clark/Bruce (Bruce does not appear in this chapter)
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: Clark gets a fitting for his new costume at the Kent Farm.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): March 10, 2011
Date Of Posting: April 20, 2012
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1550
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Note: The magnificent story cover is by the wonderfully-talented ctbn60. Thanks so much, luv! :)
Sir Alec Breck
"Fitting And Proper"
“Does this suit?”
Clark looked at the black shirt and pants, the long duster-style coat draped over a chair.
“I think it looks great, Mom.”
Martha smiled, answering Clark’s brilliant one. She held up the shirt against his chest. “It should fit but you better try it on. Good thing the black dye adhered to whatever that fabric is.”
“You still have fabric left?”
“Yes, it’s still in your spaceship.” Martha handed Clark the pants as he finished putting on the shirt. “Good thing your heat vision was able to cut the fabric. Before you leave, I’ll have you cut some new patterns.”
“That’s right. You’re going to need one.”
“The natural colors are red, yellow, and blue.”
“They’ll suit you.”
Clark grinned. “Bruce will have a fit.”
“Probably, since basic black seems to be his color,” was Martha’s wry reply.
Clark laughed as he started to pull on the pants. “He does favor that color.” He nearly lost his balance but quickly righted himself.
They were standing in the farmhouse living room, autumn sunshine spilling through the windows. Martha was ecstatic to have her son back home, even if only for a few hours. When Clark had asked her help with this sewing project, she had eagerly acquiesced.
“Your father and I are glad that the Blur is remaining in the shadows for now.”
“Well, I still need more training.” Clark looked at his clothes in the old-fashioned mirror that he had brought down from his parents’ bedroom. “And if I go public, everyone will know that I’m Kryptonian by my powers, and the Government will be after me like a hound chasing a fox.”
Martha’s stomach clenched. “I know, honey. Will you be satisfied with staying in the shadows? Your colleagues are all out in front, even the Batman. A man can’t stay completely in the shadows with such a brightly-garbed boy at his side.”
Clark smiled. “Yeah, Robin is pretty bright.”
“Very!” Martha’s eyes twinkled. “He seems like a merry sprite! In fact, he reminds me a lot of Dick.”
Clark froze for a second, then picked up the long coat. “Robin seems to be a very cheerful sort.”
“Hard to believe that he remains that way in Gotham. A gloomier city I’ve never seen.”
“Aww, Mom, Gotham can be beautiful. You just have to catch it at the right time.”
Martha smiled. “Like Bruce?” She laughed at Clark’s blush. Even after all he had been through, he could still be endearingly shy.
“Mom,” he protested, shrugging on the coat. He looked at himself in the mirror, twisting and turning.
“Well, dear, Bruce must be quite a draw for you to stay in that gloomy place. After all, you were raised in sunshine and open spaces.”
Clark stopped moving, holding on to the lapels of his coat. He looked down through his lashes, blushing again. “I love him so much, Mom.”
Martha’s happiness for her son swelled within her. She reached out and touched his arm. “I’m glad, honey.”
Clark looked up with his guileless smile. Martha had always loved that smile.
“He’s amazing, Mom. He protected and cared for me when he first bought me, and he fell in love with me. He went against all of his upbringing, his Gentleman’s Code of Honor, to do things for me.”
“There are good and kind Masters, yes.”
“And Bruce treated me well, too.” Clark admired his coat but turned to directly face his mother. “He had never directly owned a slave before, except for Alfred, and he’d been inherited from his parents.
“To be honest, Alfred has always been much more than a slave to Bruce. After his parents were killed, Bruce was in shock. He was only eight years old, Mom, and he’d seen the whole thing.” Martha nodded sadly. “Alfred was the one who raised him after that. Alfred’s relationship with Bruce is complicated, but works for them.”
“Just like you and Bruce as Master and slave and as lovers.”
Clark blushed slightly. “That’s right. It’s a delicate balancing act, but we manage.” His smile brightened. “And speaking of balancing, Dick was part of the Household immediately when Bruce brought him home.”
“The poor child saw his parents killed, too.”
Clark nodded. “At first everyone thought it was an accident, but Batman learned differently. Eventually Tony Zucco and his minions were brought to justice for their crimes.”
Martha knew that the justice had been served for Zucco’s extortion crimes, not the murders of John and Mary Grayson. They were considered destroyed property, not murdered human beings under the law. The most Zucco had suffered for the murders was paying a substantial fine for the destruction of valuable property, since the Flying Graysons had been the star attraction of Haly’s Circus. Pop Haly had been paid the money, helping the circus out. Zucco’s sentence had been levied for the extortion.
“Dick was a great addition, Mom. You’ve seen how bright and cheerful he is. He brings sunshine to the Manor on the gloomiest days.”
Martha’s lips curved into a smile, her green eyes soft with affection. She understood what was in her son’s heart.
“You have a family of your own, don’t you?”
Clark’s smile blazed brighter. “Yes, Mom.”
She had figured as much, seeing the family all together here at the farm. It was an unusual family, to be sure, a mix of slave and free, coming together under less-than-normal circumstances, but it was a family nonetheless.
Oh, Clark, your father and I have only wanted the best for you. Admittedly, finding out that you were a slave, and a pleasure slave at that, threw us for a loop, but we know now how Bruce really did protect and love you all these years. You were so vulnerable! And better to be in Bruce Wayne’s bed than to be killed or worse, in Gov hands for experimentation.
“You all right, Mom?”
She smiled at Clark’s concern. “I’m fine. Just considering how much we owe Bruce, really.” At Clark’s questioning look, she explained, “If he hadn’t been your Master, you could have been in a very dire situation, indeed.”
Clark nodded, looking a little pale. “I could have ended up with the Caldwells.”
Martha grasped his arm tightly. “Don’t even think that,” she said urgently.
Both of them thought of Clark’s time in Edmund’s hands. Martha could not even say that Clark had been at Edmund’s mercy, because the old sadist had none.
“Why does society put up with someone like Edmund Caldwell?”
Martha sighed. “It’s complicated.” Her hand started adjusting his coat as she talked. “It’s a mixture of all sorts of things: custom, class, and the way slaves are regarded in our society.” Her other hand began adjusting as well. “Edmund has wealth and power, Clark. People respect that, and of course slaves are disposable.
“And the Gentleman’s Code of Honor is very important. That allows rich men like Caldwell to get away with quite a bit.”
“It’s not right.”
Martha smiled sadly. “I know.” She sighed. “It’s what we’re fighting to change, your father and I. I am the one out front in the public eye, but your father is very much a part of the Movement. He sits in on meetings and keeps things running here when I’m on my lecture tours, and so much more.”
“I know, Mom. You and Dad are amazing.”
Martha laughed. “Thanks, dear. We try.” She surveyed Clark’s outfit. “Men like Edmund Caldwell get away with their crimes because the majority of people don’t care, living their lives with slavery as the backdrop. They’ve always lived with slavery. It’s like any other custom or tradition that they’ve always lived with. It’s just part of this time and place.”
“And it takes visionaries to change things.”
Martha fixed the coat lapels. “That’s right. Most people aren’t evil, Clark, just apathetic. They need someone to wake them up.”
“Well, I think you and everyone involved are doing a bang-up job.”
They both contemplated the results of their collaboration and seemed satisfied.
“Mom,” Clark asked as he took a final turn in front of the mirror, “How much do you know about the Underground Railroad?”
“Hmm,” Martha reached out to tug on one sleeve. “I know that it started in the 1850s when the North had active Abolitionists ready to put their views to the test. Southern slaves who managed to escape headed North for a series of stops on what was called the Underground Railroad.”
“And that led all the way to Canada, didn’t it?”
“Yes.” Martha took one last look at the outfit before gesturing to Clark to take off the coat. “People risked quite a bit to help the slaves. If they were caught, they would have no end of legal troubles.”
“Yeah, I guess some things never change.”
Martha smiled ruefully. “Unfortunately, no.” She hugged the coat to herself. “But there are always people willing to fight injustice.”
Clark changed back into his old clothes. He was staying for lunch before heading back to the Manor. “Is there an Underground Railroad running today?”
Martha looked at her son. “Yes.”