Title: Rainbow’s Freedom (Justice Arc) (26/61)
Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Clark/Bruce, Dick, Alfred, Charlie Dwyer, Roy/Johnny (Johnny does not appear in this chapter), Jim Gordon, Kara Zor-El
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
Warnings: Slave abuse.
Summary: Bruce learns about Johnny and takes action.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): May 20, 2011
Date Of Posting: August 4, 2012
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1693
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Note: The magnificent story cover is by the wonderfully-talented ctbn60. Thanks so much, luv! :)
Of first bloom
Is left the bitter dregs
Of our existence.
"The Circle Of Life"
Bruce flipped his cellphone shut. “That was Roy DeSoto.”
“New developments?” asked Clark. He was sitting on the library couch, frowning over his articles for the N.A.S. newsletter. He received credit for anything he wrote, since the Abolitionists insisted on treating slaves like people. Granted, his name was not used and he was referred to as Bruce Wayne’s Prize, but it was still credit instead of being a ghostwriter.
“Very new. Johnny Gage is in the hospital.”
Clark looked up and Dick gasped as he walked into the library. “Was he hurt badly?” Dick asked.
“Very badly.” Bruce looked at Dick but decided to continue. If his boy understood why he had to be Veiled, he would understand this news. “He was used roughly by his customers and was bleeding heavily.” Clark and Dick were both aghast. Bruce felt the same way. “He’s in surgery at Gotham General now.”
Clark set aside his laptop. “Do you want to go to the hospital?”
“I’d like to. This must be hell on Roy.”
Clark stood. “Then let’s go.”
“Can I go, too?” asked Dick. His hand fluttered. “I’ll wear the glasses.”
Bruce diplomatically refrained from mentioning that Dick had no choice. He merely said, “Go tell Alfred where we’re going and notify Brendan.”
Dick hurried out. Clark brought the laptop to the desk. “How bad is it?”
“Very bad,” Bruce said grimly.
Clark’s blue eyes looked incredibly sad.
Gotham’s General City Hospital was the major hospital, serving all patients, rich or poor or in-between. Bruce’s family had founded this hospital generations ago, and his father, grandfather and other ancestors had practiced here, proud to be part of their family’s legacy.
The hospital was clean, quiet, and efficient, equipped with the latest technology and the top doctors and nurses.
Bruce knew exactly where the waiting area for Surgery was located. He watched as a subdued Dick stayed beside him, wearing the dark glasses. Bruce stifled a sigh. He could not complain. After all, he was the one who had ordered the Veiling.
Clark was quiet beside him, too, as befit a slave. Bruce wondered at a system that forced him to suppress the natural light of two people so precious to him. He would never have that kind of light in him. He was lucky to be able to reflect it.
Finally, there was Alfred, who had requested to come when he had learned about Johnny. He was always quiet and discreet, part of his DNA, Bruce thought wryly.
At the nurses’ station, he asked who was performing the surgery on Johnny.
“Dr. Brackett, sir.”
“Good.” Johnny had an excellent chance, then. “This way,” he said to Clark and Dick.
In the waiting room, Charlie looked up in surprise. He lightly squeezed his partner’s shoulder.
Roy looked up with surprise, too. “Mr. Wayne?”
“Hello, Roy.” Bruce crossed the room and shook the blond’s hand. Roy rose to his feet. “Heard anything?”
Roy shook his head. “Charlie and I are here as long as we don’t get a call.”
“Want some company?”
“I’d like that.” Roy was pleased to see Alfred enter the room. “Alfred! Good to see you.”
“Thank you, Mr. DeSoto.” He said to Bruce, “Brendan has found a good spot for the limousine. He will be up presently after taking a turn ‘round the grounds.”
“Thank you, Alfred.”
Bruce was comfortable, allowing his slaves to go around on their own because they were under the watchful eyes of Brad Stryker and Sam Elkins.
Dick smiled at Roy, then sat down on the couch and folded his hands. Bruce felt unhappy but said nothing.
It’s the way things have to be.
Bruce sat next to Roy while Clark sat on t he other couch with Charlie, who had stood up to stretch and had lost his seat to Dick.
“Johnny’s in good hands, Roy,” Bruce said. “You said paramedics brought him in. Did they give you any details?”
“Charlie and I were the team who brought him in. It was the call on Oceanview Drive.”
Shock reflected in Bruce, Clark, and Dick’s faces. Dick squeezed Roy’s arm in sympathy.
“I’m sorry, Roy. That must have been difficult,” Bruce said.
“Very,” Roy rubbed his eyes tiredly. “I can’t tell you how it hurts to see Johnny so hurt.”
“I understand.” Bruce looked at Dick, then Clark. His eyes met Alfred’s. He knew how it felt to see someone so vulnerable hurt and at the world’s mercy, which was precious little in quantity as far as Bruce could see.
“You really didn’t have to come,” Roy said softly.
Bruce smiled gently. “You and Johnny helped us when we needed help. I know it’s your job, but a lot of people even working with S.A. hospitals aren’t S. A. themselves. The Fire Department’s official policy is S.A. here in Gotham, but I’m sure they don’t hire men and women strictly on that issue.”
Bruce nodded. “But any expression of human decency toward my slaves is always appreciated. You can tell the measure of a man by the way he treats those most vulnerable in our society.”
Roy smiled slightly. “Thank you, Mr. Wayne.”
Bruce smiled back, “It’s Bruce, and that’s Dick.” He nearly laughed as Dick beamed. The boy could not do subdued every minute.
Roy looked proud at this concession and appeared to relax slightly. Bruce hoped that Johnny would pull through.
“That was Arlen Hawkin’s house, wasn’t it?” Bruce asked Roy.
Roy nodded. “He was the man who came to the station to take Johnny away, along with Albert Scoggins.” Roy’s eyes narrowed. “I’d say more than two men did all that damage.”
“You’re probably right. I’ll see if Jim Gordon has any information.” Bruce stood. “I’ll be right back.”
He walked out of the waiting area and took the stairs down to the first floor and outside. Cellphones were not allowed to be used in the hospital, so he welcomed the fresh air. He flipped open his phone.
“Hello, Jim. Bruce Wayne here.”
“I hope you and Barbara are well.”
“Very. How are you and your Family?”
Bruce smiled at Jim’s use of the term ‘Family’ instead of Household. “Very well, thank you. Unfortunately, some friends of ours are not doing so well. The paramedics who saved Alfred have run into some trouble.”
“Let’s hear it.”
“Johnny Gage of Station 51 is half-Indian so he’s automatically a slave and owned by the Government. He was trained as a firefighter/paramedic. His partner is Roy DeSoto.
“Anyway, Roy came to me and told me that Arlen Hawkins had come to the station and taken Johnny away, and asked me to look into it.”
“Do you want me to talk to Hawkins? Though the Govs always trump us poor city officials.”
“No, first I’d like you to find out who was at the senator’s little orgy that left Johnny bleeding and in surgery, fighting for his life.”
Jim hissed. “Sorry to hear that.”
“So am I. I’d like to know who was there. I want all the leverage I can get when I go to my Government contacts on behalf of Roy.”
“Bruce, no laws were broken. Unfortunately, Masters can do what they like with their slaves. Only social approval or disapproval keeps most from becoming like Edmund Caldwell.”
Bruce could hear the frustration in Jim’s voice. He could certainly identify with that.
“I know, Jim. None of the jackals will be prosecuted, but maybe that social shame can work. It’s worth a try.”
“All right, Bruce. I’ll see what I can do.”
Bruce flipped the phone shut. He was not sure if anything could be done. Johnny was still the property of the Government and being nearly raped to death was not going to change that, but he had to try.
Bruce nearly dropped the phone as he turned, his heart beating wildly. “Kara! What are you doing here?”
“Keeping my eye on Kal-El.” Her blue eyes blazed, fists on hips. “It’s disgusting the way he must trail behind you. I’m surprised that you don’t lead him around by a chain.”
“I would if I had to,” Bruce said coolly. He was growing tired of these constant accusations.
Kara scowled. “And now you’re Veiling that beautiful boy of yours! Have you no shame?”
“It’s necessary,” Bruce snapped. Kara might be Clark’s cousin but he was not going to cater to her no matter how dangerous she was.
“What vile creatures you are! Lusting after children!”
Bruce frowned. “I don’t lust after children. Most Terrans don’t.”
“But some do, otherwise why Veil that child?”
Bruce shifted his feet. “Some do. Besides, my Squire is on the cusp of adolescence.”
“And that excuses it?”
“Of course not.” Bruce began to push past her when she gripped his arm. He suppressed a wince. Her grip was like steel.
“Hold, Your Lordship.”
He heard the contempt dripping from her voice and slowly turned around. She was barely restraining her rage.
“You may have fooled Kal-El, but you don’t fool me. I know your kind.”
He didn’t try to shake her hand off. It was impossible to dislodge it and would make him look ineffectual at best.
“And what kind would that be?”
“The kind of man who would take advantage of a scared, vulnerable man with no memory. You couldn’t wait to get him into your bed, could you?”
Bruce glared at his accuser. “Yes, he was a vulnerable slave, but I was careful with him and have protected him with everything I have. I always will.”
She looked at him with narrow eyes. “You have a glib tongue, Prince. You’ve convinced Kal-El that you love him. He certainly loves you.”
“And I’m honored.”
She snorted and pushed him away. “If you hurt him, Slavemaster, I swear I will kill you.”
She stalked off, stiff-backed and angry, and Bruce rubbed his arm. He was going to have a helluva bruise.
Sighing, he turned around and walked back into the hospital.