Title: Rainbow’s Freedom (Justice Arc) (54/61)
Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Alfred, Clark/Bruce, Dick/Roy, Ollie/Dinah, Brendan, Melody, Hal/Steve/Diana
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): G
Summary: Halloween Week in Gotham is the setting for new beginnings.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): November 8, 2011
Date Of Posting: January 22, 2013
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1895
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Note: The magnificent story cover is by the wonderfully-talented ctbn60. Thanks so much, luv! :)
Writ in the Pages
Sir Elliot Bander
"A New Century"
Halloween Week at Wayne Manor was a well-established tradition by now. Alfred prepared the house with help from Clark and Dick, even Bruce pitching in between business meetings. The Manor was decorated with tiny pumpkin lights, Jack O’Lanterns, strings of colorful leaves and a wreath of bell pumpkins and red-and-orange berries.
Dick surveyed the foyer with satisfaction. The walls were festooned with glittering orange and black drapes and cut-outs of ghosts, Witches and skeletons. A medium-sized Jack O’Lantern leered from the foyer table, a sparkling black cloth draped elegantly over the table.
He loved Halloween. It was a holiday of costumes and glitter and chocolate! What was not to like?
Dick heard a car pull up. Brendan was back with their first guests. He ran to the front door and opened it with a brilliant smile.
“Hey, hello, Dick!” said Ollie.
Dinah smiled as she came up behind her husband. “Hello, Dick.”
“Hello, Mistress.” Dick had the urge to bow but knew it was not required by this pretty lady.
Behind the Lord and Lady of Queens’ Castle were Brendan, Roy and Melody, all carrying luggage. Alfred came into the foyer from the kitchen.
“Welcome, Lord and Lady Queen.”
“How nice to see you again, Alfred,” said Dinah.
“Always a pleasure, m’lady.”
Dick ran out to the limousine and took more luggage out of the trunk, winking at Roy and Melody on the way. He dashed back inside, taking the stairs with vigor, escorting Dinah to the room she was sharing with Ollie. He carefully deposited the luggage onto the double bed.
“Thank you, Dick.”
“My pleasure, m’lady.”
And it really was his pleasure. Dinah reminded him of his mother, and he craved that kind of maternal attention.
He dashed back downstairs and retrieved more luggage. This time he put the bags in Melody’s room and Roy came in to get his suitcases.
“Do you have any chores we can help you with?” asked Roy.
“I need to weed the garden. We’ll have to see if Alfred needs us first.”
Alfred did need them to serve tea and cookies, but after that task was done, the trio was free to go out to the kitchen garden. They fell to weeding and pulling up plants killed by frost. They found some tiny blueberries, laughing at how sour they tasted.
They worked quietly for awhile after that, listening to the songs of the birds and the eternal rhythm of the sea as it crashed upon the rocks below. Eventually Roy broke the silence.
“Do you think the heroes will stay together?”
“You saw them work things out,” said Melody as she tugged on a plant.
Roy used his trowel to loosen the soil around a stubborn plant. “Yeah, but there’s a lot of big egos there.”
“You mean like Ollie?” Dick smirked as Melody laughed.
“Ha, ha. Yes, like Ollie.” Roy dug industriously. “You saw Hawkman. He was arguing the whole time.”
“I don’t think that he likes to be told what to do.” Melody pulled out the stubborn plant, loose dirt falling from the roots.
“Most of the heroes are the same way.”
“Most?” asked Dick.
“Yeah, well, Clark doesn’t seem to mind. He chose to remain a slave, didn’t he?”
“Yeah, but he didn’t want to leave us.”
“Couldn’t he have figured out something?”
“He and Bruce figured this was the best way. Who would expect a slave to be a hero?”
They all grinned.
The library was filled with Ollie, Dinah, Steve, Diana and Hal. Lex and Jamie were scheduled to arrive the next day.
Bruce was the gracious Lord of the Manor, as always. He seemed to revel in playing the part. Even those who knew his other side were impressed.
Bruce knew that he was blue-blooded and saw no reason not to utilize his sense of entitlement. It was no use pretending that you were a peasant when you were a lord.
He was pleased to see his Household running smoothly. His slaves were highly efficient, though they were more like family than servants, of course. Legally they were all his slaves, but he was thinking of them in that way less and less every day.
Dick sparkled like he always did, getting everyone to smile by his mere presence. Roy and Melody were shyer but no less charming.
Alfred was the epitome of elegant service, never making a faux pas and always providing what was needed with grace and style.
Bruce considered himself very lucky to have such fine people around him. And now that included his friends as well.
After tea and cookies had been served, Bruce said, “I think it’s time for a toast.” Everyone lifted their teacups in anticipation. “To all my friends and colleagues in our new association.”
The others looked at each other warily. Diana finally spoke up. “So you know?”
Bruce smiled. “Yes.”
“How’d you figure it out?” asked Hal.
“I put the pieces together. I can assure you it’s not glaringly obvious. It took me awhile to put it all together.
“Yeah, it took us awhile, too.”
Bruce barely kept the surprise off his face. “You knew?”
“We put the pieces together,” Hal said smugly.
“I think it is good to be without masks,” Diana said. “I am glad we know each other’s identities now.”
“So am I,” said Dinah. She lifted her teacup. “To our new endeavor!”
“Here, here!” aid Ollie as he copied her gesture.
Melody came back to the garden with a big grin on her face. “It’s official!”
“What is?” asked Roy as he and Dick looked up from their tasks.
“They’ve all come clean.”
The three children grinned.
They continued working in the garden, three pairs of busy hands making quick work of their task. Melody went back into the house to tell Alfred they were finished.
“Gee, looks like things are really movin’,” said Roy.
“Looks like.” Dick pulled off his gardening gloves.
Roy fumbled with his own gloves. “Things should really move forward.”
Amused at their repetition, Dick said, “Yeah.”
Roy looked up, green eyes intense on Dick. He leaned forward and brushed his lips against Dick’s, then abruptly pulled away.
Dick’s blue eyes were wide, then a wide smile broke out on his face to Roy’s immense relief. He tugged Roy close and kissed him.
When they parted, Roy smiled. “Guess you’re okay with this.”
Dick laughed. “Yeah, I’d say so.” His eyes sparkled. “Wow, this is so cool, Roy!” He suddenly looked shy. “I’ve thought of you a lot.”
Dick nodded. “You’re my best friend, Roy, even though we live so far apart.”
“I’ve been thinking about you a lot, too, Dick.”
“So what do we do now?”
“Let’s see if we can go for a walk on the beach.”
Dick nodded. “I’ll go see if Alfred will let us.”
He dashed off and Roy sat back on his heels, still a little dazed. Dick liked him, too! That was more than he could have dared hope for.
Don’t mess this up, Roy.
He smiled as Dick came back. “Alfred says we have an hour, then he needs us to help serve lunch.”
“Cool. Is Melody coming?”
Dick shook his head. “She’s on the computer.”
“Great.” Roy stood up and brushed the dirt off his jeans. “Let’s go.”
The boys hurried to the path that led down to the beach.
It was a crisp October day but the cold was more invigorating than uncomfortable. They both had jackets on, and Roy slipped his hand into Dick’s. Dick smiled in response, squeezing Roy’s hand.
The ocean sparkled under the autumn sun as a yellow-and-white striped sailboat bobbed on the waves. Seagulls wheeled and screeched, a few landing on the beach in hopes of a hand-out.
The boys walked along the sand, keeping away from the tide. They arrived at the tidal pools and laughed at the scrabbling crabs. They sat on rocks and gazed out at the ocean, holding hands again.
Finally Dick broke the peaceful silence. “Someday we’ll be together.”
Roy looked at Dick. “You think so?”
Dick nodded. “You’ll see.”
“I hope so.” Roy looked out at a new sailboat. “Are you talking one of us being sold to one of our Masters, or just on loan?”
“Either one.” Dick kicked his legs out, swinging back-and-forth. “Or maybe we’ll be free by then.”
Roy cocked his head. “You sure about that?”
“Not one hundred percent, but the new Slave Protection Laws are a start.”
“I suppose.” Roy looked back out at the ocean.
Dick turned to face him. “Do you think that we’ll ever be free?”
“Maybe.” Roy’s profile was stony.
Dick bit his lip. “Do you really think we’ll never be free?”
“I just know people, that’s all.”
Dick remained silent for a moment, then said, “I’m sorry.”
Roy shrugged. “When you live in a brothel, you see things.”
“It’s different from growing up in a circus.”
“Not as much as you might think.”
Startled, Roy looked at Dick, who directed his gaze out toward the sea.
“My parents had to service strangers the first night we got into town. The next nights they were performing so they didn’t have to, but they still had to do it that first night. Acrobats were highly prized, and they made more money in that one night than we did for the whole series of nights in one town.” Dick took a deep breath. “Pop was going to groom me once I came of age to do the same thing.”
Roy squeezed Dick’s hand in sympathy.
“I’m not mad at Pop, you know. He did what he had to do keep us afloat. It was better than us being sold off one-by-one.” Dick shuddered.
Roy looked horrified and drew Dick into a hug. Dick returned the embrace, happy to be safe in the warmth of Roy’s love.
Dick had always craved love. He had been fortunate to have been surrounded by it in the circus, and not just his parents. Circus folk were always family.
It had been a cause for panic that awful night because not only had he lost his parents but he had feared losing his other family as well. He remembered thinking, would Pop have to sell him now? He was too young to be whored out, at least legally.
Roy hugged him a little tighter as if he sensed Dick’s distress. It was one of the reasons that Dick loved him so much.
When they finally parted, they smiled at each other, returning to a companionable silence, then Dick said, “Uh oh, it’s almost time to get back.”
They hopped off the rocks and hurried back to the house.
And if anyone noticed the smiles the boys shared, no one said anything. They accepted their boys’ good cheer as Dick and Roy served lunch.
And when they enjoyed the street fair in Gotham, their joy was chalked up to holiday high spirits. Only Melody suspected the truth.
And when Halloween arrived, they had fun dressed as Robin Hood and Little John, with Melody as Maid Marion. It was as if they knew that a new day was dawning.