Title: Rainbow’s Freedom (Justice Arc) (37/61)
Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Clark/Bruce, Kara Zor-El, Dick, Harleen Quinzel, The Joker, Kathy Kane, Barbara Gordon
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: The Bats lie in wait for the Joker.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): July 14, 2011
Date Of Posting: October 2, 2012
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1432
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: The magnificent story cover is by the wonderfully-talented ctbn60. Thanks so much, luv! :)
The ‘hulks’ referred to in this chapter are not Marvel’s Hulk, just big, strapping guys. ;)
As the sun sets,
Time in a bottle,
It’s all we get.
Listen for the bells
"Time In A Bottle"
THE JESTER’S BELLS
Clark flew high as the skies grew star-dusted with twilight, hoping to finish his patrol in this part of the city and return to Batman and Robin. He disliked being separated from them for long. He was still unsure of himself in this hero business, and he worried about their Human vulnerability.
He kept his eyes and ears open, breaking up two muggings and a robbery, glad that the night was fairly quiet. He heard a whoosh! of air beside him and smiled as he saw Kara. She too was dressed in black and wearing the House Of El symbol on her chest.
They flew along in silence, then Kara asked, “When will you be donning the colors of the House Of El?”
Clark frowned. “Probably when I’ll be ready to reveal myself as a hero.”
“Ah.” They flew in silence again, then she asked, “And what will be your name?”
“Yes. Surely you won’t be the Blur your whole career.”
Clark smiled wryly. “Yeah, it’s a little lame.”
She laughed. He was saddened that she didn’t laugh more.
“Why are you in camouflage?” he asked.
“Oh, just thought I’d join you tonight.”
She tilted her head back, blond hair streaming behind her. “You must get as much training as possible.”
“To join your Rebellion?”
“I didn’t say that.”
“But that’s what you want.”
She looked at him. “Yes, Kal-El, that’s what I want.”
“I’m no one’s Savior.”
She shrugged. “Sal-Vor or not, you have a Destiny, Cousin.”
He sighed. “I know. Out of all the people who were spared from the Great Destruction, I ask myself why, and hope that it was for a worthwhile reason.”
“You will do great things, Kal-El.”
Clark smiled. “Thank you for your faith in me.” She nodded. “You’re doing great things, too.”
She tilted her head. “I’m just doing what is necessary."
“Not everyone would.”
She looked straight ahead. “We have taken different paths, but we’ll end up in the same place.”
Clark wondered if she was right. His heart was here, but was his Destiny somewhere else?
“A fire has broken out.”
Clark snapped out of his daydreaming. He could see the blaze, too. “Let’s go.”
The fire was a big one, consuming an apartment building filled with tenants who had woken up to a nightmare. Clark and Kara could hear the screams of those trapped inside and flew in too fast for the human eye to follow. They scooped up as many victims as they could, depositing them on a nearby rooftop.
Clark easily cut through the flames to get the next batch as Kara judiciously applied a little super-breath to extinguish some of the flames. The firefighters were taking care of the rest of the flames. The victims on the rooftop were confused at first, until a little girl cried, “It was the Blur!” Smiles went all around the rescued.
Clark and Kara flew away, certain that the situation was well in hand. Clark looked at his cousin and smiled. “Thanks for your help, Kara.”
“I’m always pleased to help family.” A shadow crossed her beautiful face. “We’re all the family we have left.”
Clark felt a pang at the truth. He could not look at Kara for a moment, then said, “I have to get back to the others.”
“You do that. And I must go about my own business. Remember if you need me, you have my number.”
Clark nodded. He watched her go, then turned toward the east.
Batman and Robin had ensconced themselves in the warehouse while their partners observed from the shadows across the street.
Batman was keeping Robin close. He all too vividly remembered how the Joker had nearly killed his partner during their last encounter. He respected Robin’s prowess but knew that the Joker was extremely clever. He zeroed in on a man’s weakness, and Robin was his Achilles heel. Beside him, his boy was silent and unmoving, an accomplishment in itself for the boy who loved to chatter and move.
There was something ominous in the air, the hairs on the back of Batman’s neck standing up.
A small sound alerted the Dynamic Duo, and a figure dressed in red-white-and-black appeared, bells jingling on her foolscap, just as the robber leader had described. The woman was slender and careful as she walked to the center of the floor. She wore a domino mask but blue eyes peered out from the openings.
Batman frowned. Something was familiar about her. He gently tapped Robin’s shoulder and the boy nodded.
Robin did a somersault and landed in front of the startled jester. “Hi! Where’s your boss?”
The woman laughed, a slightly maniacal sound. “He’s around, Boy Wonder. Where’s your boss?”
“Around.” Robin smiled saucily. “What’s your name?”
“Oh, I’m just a jester.”
“No name? How can you promote the brand?”
“The brand? Well, I…”
“The brand of murder and mayhem, I assume?” cackled a familiar voice from the shadows.
Batman cursed. The man must be part ninja! He slid along behind the crates toward the sound of the voice.
“Let’s wrap this up, Harley. The Bat Sisters are lurking on the next rooftop."
Harley growled and nodded, bells ringing. She reached out to grab Robin, who easily eluded her.
“Harlequin, huh?” he quipped.
She lunged for him again as Batman reached the Joker, the shadow of the murderous clown shifting. Just as Batman reached it, it dissolved in howls of laughter.
Batman clamped down on sudden panic. He would not let this murderous psychopath get his way this time. He made a sweep of the area and smiled a predatory smile when he saw the Joker behind some boxes.
Good ninja act, but I’m better.
He slammed into the criminal, who squawked as his arms flailed. He lashed out with his foot but Batman anticipated it and grabbed hold, knocking the Joker to the floor. He could hear Harley’s screams of rage as Robin fought her, and the warehouse door opened, two pairs of boots running across the floor.
The Cavalry, Batman thought with grim satisfaction.
He put the Joker in a stranglehold. “You’re done, Joker.”
“So you say, Batsy.” The Joker struggled but was held firm. “Say, do you like my new sidekick? Isn’t she the cat’s pajamas?”
“She’ll be coming with you, Joker,” said Batwoman, standing beside the stack of boxes. Batgirl was helping Robin cuff Harley.
“I’m Harley Quinn, and get your mitts off me!” she howled.
“Let’s go, Harley Quinn,” Batgirl said briskly.
Batman frowned. “Harley…Batgirl, take off her mask.”
Batgirl complied as Harley glared at her. “Hayley Quinzel?” she gasped.
“No, her twin sister Harleen, aka Harley.”
The Joker cackled. “Of course! The good Dr. Quinzel.”
“That’s right, Puddin’,” Harley crooned.
Batwoman helped Batman truss up the Joker. She mouthed, They’re both nuts, and Batman could not disagree.
“Let’s go,” he grunted, pushing the Joker out to the center of the warehouse.
“Oh, Puddin’!” wailed Harley.
“’Puddin’?” asked Batgirl with a raise of her eyebrow.
Robin smirked. “Let’s go, Ms. Quinn.”
Harley fought but it was all for naught. Robin and Batgirl dragged her out of the warehouse, kicking and screaming.
“Will you go quietly, Joker?” asked Batman.
“Of course, Bats. I’m a model prisoner.”
Batwoman rolled her eyes and the two of them got the Joker outside to await the police.
“Why, what a spine-tingling night,” leered the Joker, eyes glittering at first Robin, then Batgirl. Batman shoved him and he cackled.
It only took ten minutes for an armored paddy wagon to arrive.
“Off to Arkham, Joker! And your sidekick goes to the city lock-up,” said the white-haired cop wearing a helmet, body armor, and carrying a laser rifle.
“Ooh, goodie! Harley, honey, we’ll meet again soon!” The Joker blew her a kiss.
“Aw, Puddin’!” She kissy-faced back at him, and the doors clanged shut behind them as the wagons drove off.
Clark appeared. “The Joker and Harley Quinzel?”
“How’s that for life’s little jokes?” snorted Batman. “I knew there was something off about that security tape! If only I’d figured it out sooner…”
“Don’t,” Robin said quietly, and Batman looked at him with a rueful smile.
Clark put his hand on Batman’s shoulder and squeezed. “You caught them.”
“For now, anyway.”
“Let’s go home.”
The gentlemen took their leave of the ladies, and flew off back to the Manor.