Silver And Bronze

BY : JohnOConnor
Category: DC Verse Comics > Batman
Dragon prints: 2220
Disclaimer: I do not own the Batman series, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

1) Stolen Away

From Silver St. Cloud's diary:

'I can only vaguely remember that night years ago, that night my life was taken from me. Taken, twisted, and distorted into what I have now...'

* * * * * *

Silver St. Cloud ran into her apartment building and found an open elevator. She blindly stabbed the button for her floor, tears blurring her vision.

She was a fool. She had already left because she couldn't handle Bruce's secret. She should've kept going. But no, she had to have some kind of epiphany and return to Gotham City. What a mistake!

But then again, the person who picked her up outside of town, Rupert "Boss" Thorne, had become suddenly irrational. Screaming about ghosts, he almost killed them both. That was unnerving enough for her to feel the need of Bruce's strong arms around her. Catching a ride back into town, she left the Mob-connected councilman gibbering by the side of the road.

Once in town, she caught a cab to the sight the reporter on WGC radio said the Batman was fighting the Joker near the harbor...

Fortunately encountering no one, she made it to her apartment and stumbled through the front rooms to her bedroom. As she entered, she stopped and stared at the rumpled bed. How many nights had Bruce spent here with her? How many times had he heard the siren call of the night but stayed with her?

She looked critically at herself in the mirror over her dresser. Her eyes were red and swollen from crying. Her silvery hair was falling out of the stylish bun and strands were hanging wetly around her face. She'd have to adjust the little makeup she wore before meeting Bruce...

The rumble of thunder outside startled her back to the present. The storm was building in intensity again.

No! She was not going to give in! After seeing him almost get electrocuted by the storm outside on that fire escape...

She had to leave town. Metropolis, New York, maybe out west liek Coast City or LA. Anywhere but Gotham. Hell, even that rats' warren, Bludhaven, down the coast, would be an improvement. As long as the Batman and his rogues' gallery was far away...

Digging out a suitcase, she began to grab clothes at random from her dresser, flinging them into the open bag. Filling one bag, she began to stuff another with blouses, slacks, and dresses. She hurried, ignoring the fact that she was not showing any care or concern for her own expensive clothing.

Lightning flashed outside, illuminating the Wayne Foundation Tower visible across the Park from her rooms. She froze, staring at the afterimage of the tall building, thinking...

"Maybe, if I..." the silver-haired beauty muttered aloud. Shaking her head, she realized she was not going to go anywhere. She was going to stay in Gotham and learn to deal with Bruce and his consuming passion for justice and revenge. "I can't leave... But, I can't take this..."

Just as those words left her mouth, a tall, striking man stepped into the room. In a sharply accented voice, he said, "No, my dear, you can't leave. At least not yet. Not to all intents and purposes."

The man raised his hand, a gun gripped tightly in his fist, and pointed it at Silver. "It is a shame, my dear. But I need you to help me stymie the detective."

As she heard a slight noise, Silver felt a sharp pain in her neck. She reached up to touch a small, feathered dart stuck in her skin. The room started to fade as she heard the strange man say, "Take her to the boat, Ubu. Be gentle with her. Talia, please return the lady's garments to their proper..."

The voice faded as blackness enveloped Silver St. Cloud...

* * * * * *

Pain...darkness...roaring silence...she was dead. But if she was dead, she couldn't feel pain, could she?

Sitting up, her head throbbing with the effort, she realized she was in absolute darkness. There was no hint of light of any kind. All she could feel was the hard surface beneath her and the steady vibration, accompanied by a distant throbbing.

Where was she? Then the more frightening question: who was she?

Panic ensued at the realization that she did not know who she was. Where she had come from. Why she was here, wherever here was. She began to hyperventilate and started to thrash around, learning her hands were bound across her stomach.

"Oh God! Help me! Please!!!" She was surprised to hear her own voice. It was ragged and harsh. Her mouth was like sandpaper, her tongue thick and dry. She was thirsty, desperately thirsty.

The strain and fear took it's toll and she succumbed to the welcoming oblivion once again.

* * * * * *

Coolness on her forehead. A cool, damp cloth. A gentle touch.

Her mind filled with questions even before she was fully conscious. 'Where am I? Who am I? What's happened to me?'

 As she opened her eyes, she saw a bronze-skinned beauty smile gently at her. Who was this? Why was she smiling and caressing her face with the damp rag?

"Where... Who am I?" she whispered, her throat even dryer than when she had first awakened.

Even as the shock of her voice echoed in the small room, she remembered. Silver. Silver St. Cloud. She was Silver St. Cloud, and she had been...

"Kidnapped! I've been kidnapped!" Silver tried to yell as she moved to sit up. The lovely bronze girl gently pushed her back onto the soft mattress.

"No, please rest. You need more time. Some traces of the toxins from the dart are still in your system," the girl said in a lilting voice. There was an accent but from where? It sounded British but with a trace of...what?

Silver's head was throbbing. She couldn't believe it! She was a prisoner. And no one knew.

"You are aboard my father's yacht, en route to North Africa. You are a guest of R'as Al-Ghul. I am Talia. Please try to relax. You may even find your stay pleasurable," the exotic-looking woman said.

"R'as...? I have heard of him but...I don't remember... Everything is so mixed up. I..."

"Ssh. Just relax. Let me get you some refreshment. I'm sure you are hungry. And I know you must be thirsty."

"Yes, please. Some water, my throat..."

Talia nodded and rose, crossing the room and bringing a pewter goblet. Holding it to Silver's lips, she said, "Sip it slowly. Not too much... That's enough for now. Let this settle in your body."

"Thank you. Why am I here? What are you going to do with me?"

"I cannot speak for my father. When you are recovered, he will speak with you. But, as long as I am here, you will be safe. Please believe me," Talia said. And something in her dark brown eyes compelled Silver's trust.

"Would you like to bathe?" Talia clapped her hands and two young women scurried in. "Draw a bath. Make sure the water is soothingly warm. Thank you."

The girls, one with raven-dark hair and the other with light reddish hair, bowed as one at the polite dismissal and began to leave the chamber. "Wait! Add the special bath salts to, if you please."

There was no mistaking the tone. Even couched as a request, Silver knew this woman was a commanding presence.

Silver shuddered as the reality of her situation became more and more clear. She was a prisoner on a boat in the middle of the Atlantic heading towards Africa. And no one knew where she was. She could very well die out here and no one would ever know.

Suddenly, like a light coming on in a dark room, Silver realized her fate was in her hands. She remembered some martial arts courses she'd taken in college and used some of the mental training to calm her fears. She would do what was necessary to survive and eventually gain her freedom.

But if death were to claim her, she determined to face it on her terms.

A calmness like she hadn't felt in far too long washed over her. Silver knew she could, and would, deal with anything that threatened her. One way or another.

When the time was right...

"Come." Talia gently took Silver's hand and helped her off the bed. Leading her across the room in the direction the handmaidens went, Talia said, "My father would like to see you when you are ready. But that can wait until you have had a chance to refresh yourself. I have always found a warm bath to do wonders..."

"Th-thank you?" Silver whispered hoarsely. A bath would be nice.

Talia smiled, her eyes lighting up. "Believe me, it is my pleasure." Cupping the American's chin lightly, Talia said, "I can well understand my beloved's interest in you. It is a shame that it will lead to nothing."

The beautiful handmaidens, now nude, came up and began to remove Silver's clothes. She lifted her hands and started to protest. Talia saw this and said, "Please, allow them to assist you. After all, you can't easily relax in a bath in your clothing."

Acquiescing, Silver stood with her eyes closed as her grey t-shirt was pulled over her head by the taller of the two girls. The other knelt and pulled down the brown slacks she had been wearing for... How long?

"How long?" she asked.

"We left Gotham Harbor early yesterday," Talia responded. She sat in a chair near the large, sunken tub. "It is early afternoon. You've slept for over forty hours."

"Drugged?" Her eyes followed small, delicate hands as her bra was gently removed.

Shaking her head, Talia said, "No. Not entirely. You were merely anesthetized. You must have simply been exhausted. The two combined to leave you unconscious until a short time ago."

Silver felt her panties slide down her bare legs. The girls then took her hands and led her into the warm water. Silver sat, closing her eyes as the water rose up to her round, firm breasts. It tingled pleasantly and she found herself relaxing unwillingly.

The handmaidens each began to sponge Silver’s body. Their touch was soft, more of a caress. Silver gasped as she felt a hand press a sponge against her submerged sex. The sponge began to gently move up and down. Silver sat there, her eyes squeezed shut.

While she had never had sex with a woman before, she felt so overwhelmed that she didn't feel it worth fighting. And the hands felt so damned good!

"Lyssa is quite adept at washing a body, isn't she?" Talia breathed into Silver's ear. "But I should also give praise to Erin."

At those words, another sponge brushed Silver's nipples. They immediately hardened, pointing out proudly. "I see my ladies can have the same affect on you as they do on me," Talia said as she stood from the tub's side. "I shall leave you. My father awaits me."

As her grey eyes followed the dusky woman from the room, she was dimly aware that the hands caressing her no longer held sponges or clothes. Silver sucked in a surprised breath as the raven-haired woman slipped a finger inside of her. Her breathing became even more ragged as the auburn-haired girl's mouth closed over her breast and began to suck.

A shudder ran through the sliver-haired woman. She was becoming incredibly aroused by what the two women in the water were doing to her. They were creating feelings and needs in her that she would not have believed possible only a few short minutes ago. Soon, she felt herself on the verge of sexual release.

Silver silently thrashed in the warm, tingly bathwater while a quiet orgasm coursed through her. As the ripples of pleasure died down, Silver moaned out a held breath as the women stopped their ministrations. They then proceeded to wash the silver-haired beauty.

Shortly, the red head, Erin, led Silver out of the tub and towards the other woman who held a large towel out for her. The handmaidens gently rubbed the woman's body as they dried them off. They then applied scented oils to Silver before helping her to dress in silken garments similar to those her captor wore. All the while, the handmaidens remained nude.

Silently indicating the door towards the room she awoke in, the girls then turned and left. Silver walked out of the bathing room. Talia was sitting on the large bed, her feet tucked under her.

"Ah, you look much more relaxed. My garments fit quite well also." She stood and walked towards Silver, reaching out and combing the silvery locks back over her ear. "You must feel much better too. I know I always do after their ministrations."

Blushing at the realization that Talia knew exactly what had happened, Silver could only nod. Then, in a small voice, she asked, "What's going to happen to me?"

"Nothing. You have my word. Father is not the monster the media portrays. He has his...agenda, if you will. But it is all for the betterment of our world. You have the misfortune of being a lever against his greatest foe. And my love."

"You mean... You mean Batman."

"Yes," Talia nodded, her dark, brown hair shimmering in the light. Then she looked directly into Silver's eyes.

"We may be rivals for his heart but I hold no animosity towards you," she reassured her 'guest'. "After all, who could not help but be attracted to

him? He is the epitome of the human male. Much more than an alien being or a ring-wielding glory-hound."

"Yes," Silver agreed. Her fear had almost disappeared but her anxiety remained. Who knew where she was? Could Bruce even find her?

"Come, my father wishes to speak with you," Talia said, taking Silver's hand.

Shortly they were in the main salon of the large yacht. R'as Al-Ghul sat in a large chair at the far end. There were various underlings scurrying in and out of the room from side exits. And a virtual mountain of a man stood slightly behind R'as, massive arms cross over a heavily muscled chest.

'It's like an emperor's throne room,' Silver thought to herself. Steeling herself, she released Talia's hand and marched purposely across the room.

"Ah, Ms. St Cloud. I am honored at your presence on my little craft," R'as Al-Ghul said simply in his accented English.

"Why have you kidnapped me? Ransom? I'll pay you ransom." Silver realized she was getting angry and clamped down on the emotion. Losing control would accomplish nothing. Control and use the anger.

"I may not be a Rockefeller, Wayne or Luthor rich but my family has been quite..."

Al-Ghul interrupted her with a wave of his hand as he chuckled, "No, no, no, Ms. St. Cloud. I have no need for such...penny-ante games as kidnapping for ransom. Look around. While I quip and call this a small craft, it is one of the most expensive private vessels afloat. Far too expensive to be financed by anything so dangerous or dangerously unprofitable as kidnapping. No, I need you for leverage, as my daughter mentioned to you."

He knew what they talked about? Of course, the room was bugged. Then... That means he knows what happened in the bath...

As if he read her mind, Al-Ghul said, "I keep track of what goes on aboard my ship. But do not worry. I do value privacy as well. Anything that happens on board stays here, unless it is perilous to myself, my darling Talia, my operations, or my people.

"Now then, as to your usefulness... The detective has been a thorn in my side for too long. I had hoped his love for my beautiful daughter would bring him to my side. Later, I tried other methods to keep him at bay. All proved fruitless in the end."

"So, what? Am I a human shield then?"

"No, but I believe the simple knowledge of your position will help deter the detective from interfering in my plans to save this planet."

Silver suddenly realized that, at some unknown point earlier, she had come to realize that Talia, her father, and who knew who else, were aware that Bruce was the Batman. She smiled to herself, they had no idea of how committed Bruce was. Or how resourceful. Once Al-Ghul made it known he was holding her, Bruce would find her and save her.

"If you think that the detective will be able to save you, I'm afraid you're sadly mistaken. You will not be held in any of my more established locations. Quite the contrary. But the Batman will not know that, nor will he trust that I mean you no harm." Al-Ghul smirked, "He will believe that you are in dreadful danger of losing your life if he interferes with my plans again. He or any of his 'friends' in the Justice League, the Justice Society, or any other ridiculous collection of metahumans.

"And now, if you'll excuse me. I've kept my nervous aides waiting. I sometimes think they truly are afraid of me and would fall dead if I said so much as 'boo.' Good day, Ms. St. Cloud."

"I'm not finished here..."

Talia gently grasped Silver's shoulder, "Yes, you are. For now. Please come. We can dine together. Maybe..."

Leaving the thought unvoiced, Talia trailed her fingertips down the center of Silver's back lightly as they exited the salon.

Silver refused to show it but the feel of Talia's hand was extremely pleasant.

* * * * * *

The meal was elegant and delicious. Most of the foods she had tasted before on trips to the Mediterranean. There were Greek, Lebanese, and Egyptian foods, such a wide variety that she could only taste small portions if she wanted to enjoy it all.

"You seem to like our cuisine," Talia said.

"Mmm...yes, very much. I have enjoyed practically all of these foods before. But, I think I overdid it."

"It has been some time since you last ate, I'm sure."

"Yes," Silver sighed. She had last eaten several hours before her return to Gotham. That was over two days ago now. No wonder she had been famished.

"Perhaps a stroll around the deck? A bit of exercise?" Talia suggested.

"Aren't you afraid I'll jump overboard?"

"You are not the suicidal type. We are days away from the nearest land and far from the standard commercial shipping lanes in this part of the Atlantic. Come," Talia rose and held out her hand.

As they came out on deck, Silver saw it was already dark. The air was warm and smelled of salt. She saw the glow on the horizon ahead of the ship that would soon be the rising moon.

She and Talia walked slowly in silence. Silver had nothing to say and Talia seemed to instinctively understand that. As they crossed the deck near the bow, Silver pointed out to the port side.

"What's that?"

Following Silver's extended finger, Talia saw some flashes across the waves near the horizon. "I do not know. Excuse me."

Stepping to a communicator mounted in the bulkhead, Talia called up to the radar room behind the bridge. Soon, alarms were sounding all over the ship as seamen raced to the portside decks, all armed with automatic weapons.

"Come, we will be safer below," Talia said, taking Silver's elbow and directing her to a nearby hatch.

"Safe? From what? Why are all the men armed?" Silver asked, eyeing the people running onto the decks with M-16s, AK-47s, Uzis, and even some smaller machine pistols.

"Enemies of my father," Talia said simply.

Once back in her large quarters, Talia picked up a phone and asked for status. As the dusky beauty spoke, Silver heard the distant, somewhat muffled sounds of gunfire with an occasional explosion. The latter she could feel in the vibrations of the deck plates beneath the sumptuous carpeting.

"It is Kobra," Talia said as she placed to phone back in it's cradle. "They are a fanatical criminal cult and one of the more dangerous of my father's enemies."

"So, are we safe?"

"Yes. It seems to be a small, badly-planned raid. Retaliation for the destruction of one of Kobra's drug-running cells in the Far East. My father cannot abide narcotics. As you can hear, the danger is nearly past."

Silver did notice that the sounds of combat had tapered off. In moments, it was silent.

The phone rang. A shrill double-ring that sounded like most British phones. Talia picked it up, "Yes? Very well. We'll be there in a moment."

After again hanging up the phone, Talia turned to Silver, "We are to see my father again."

Back on the throne room (Silver could not think of it as anything else), they stood before R'as Al-Ghul. Talia looked at him directly, one of the few in the room that dared. "What may we do for you, Father?"

Silver didn't like the way that had been phrased and felt a shiver of dread, half-formed images coming to mind.

"The raid by Kobra's minions was a total failure. Of course." R'as allowed a small smile to play across his young/ancient features, a smile meant only for his darling Talia.

"However, should they decide to strike again, the force will undoubtedly be considerably larger. While the ship and crew will be safe enough, I would prefer not to have to worry about my daughter. Or my guest." Ra's added the last almost as if it were an afterthought.

"Father?"

"You will take Ms. St Cloud and go to one of our safe houses. Keep her with you at all times and await word from me."

Talia nodded in understanding then asked, "Which one shall we use?"

"I care not. Keep the radio set for our general broadcast and then contact us once you get our signal. You know which one I mean?" Ra's asked.

"Of course, Father. Shall I take the hydrofoil?"

"No, use the jet copter. It is faster and has far greater range. I have scouts dispatched around us and there is nothing in range to disturb your flight."

"Very well Father. I hate to leave you."

"And I hate to have you leave, my daughter. But your safety is paramount. As is our guest's. Please accede to my wishes."

"Good-bye, Father. I will see you soon."

"Farewell, Talia."

* * * * * *

Talia led Silver to a small jet copter on a hidden hangar deck, completely enclosed near the stern of the ship. As they settled into the small aircraft, Talia ran through a quick checklist. As she completed it, she barked a string of what sounded like Arabic into the throat mike. The roof of the deck retracted as did the aft wall.

Once they were airborne, Silver looked at the ship. Yacht was almost laughable. R'as Al-Ghul's ship could give any of the Love Boat cruisers a run for their money. However, she doubted she'd see signs of battle damage on a Princess Cruise ship.

"We shall make for the Azores and refuel. You will remain in the ship when we land. I do not wish to restrain you but I will if necessary," Talia said.

"No, that won't be necessary," Silver said. She wasn't about to try and escape on a small island. Once they reached the European mainland, or even the African coast, she would get away. If she couldn't, well, Talia would learn she was no pushover.

Several hours later, as dawn lightened the sky to the East, they landed briefly at a small airport on the island of Faial. At least that was the name Talia gave the island. As far as Silver knew, they could be on any rock in the Atlantic and she'd have to idea where they were.

In the light dawn haze, she was able to make out the center of the island rose to a tapered cone. Possibly an ancient volcano, she thought.

Soon, they were again airborne. Talia headed east towards Europe and, Silver hoped, her freedom.

Again the flight passed in relative quiet. Silver had little to say, she was considering her options. She had no money, her passport was still in her Gotham apartment, any ID was still in Talia's stateroom on Al-Ghul's ship. She did speak French and Italian with a smattering of Spanish. As long as they landed in one of the Romance language countries around the northern Med, she'd eventually be able to get in touch with an American consulate.

Talia, seemingly unaware of her passenger's thoughts, was silent for a different reason. She was simply enjoying herself. She loved to fly but she seldom got the chance to pilot any craft herself. Her father deemed that beneath someone of their stature. For her to be flying, the situation had to be dire by her father's estimation. What was happening back on the yacht?

Her thoughts roamed freely, as did those of her 'guest'. But, while she didn't know the content of Silver's thoughts, she knew thean wan was working on a plan to regain her freedom. Talia sympathized but her loyalty was to her father. No matter that this lovely woman should be free, Talia would never consider letting her go unless her father had no further use for the socialite.

As the miles passed, they crossed from the water to the land. Talia knew they were over Portugal and, later, Spain and related this information to her 'guest' when Silver asked.

Soon, on the far horizon, sunlight glinted off water. They had almost completely passed over the Iberian Peninsula. Though not needing gas, Talia landed at a small airfield to fill her tanks before they resumed their flight.

This time, Talia remained in the helicopter, relaying instructions to the one-man ground crew via radio. She was not about to give her passenger the chance to get away.

As the copter lifted in a cloud of light brown dust, Silver finally asked, "Where are we going?"

"To an island of my father's. We should be there shortly. Before nightfall."

Although she didn't show it, Silver's heart dropped. An island! And apparently privately owned. She would be trapped! Unless there was a boat...

"I know you had hoped to get away but that cannot be allowed. I do hope you come to see yourself as our, as my guest. Your every need will be met," Talia said.

"Every need?" Silver said sardonically.

"Within reason," Talia replied.

* * * * * *

As promised, Talia landed on a small island shortly before sunset. The deep blue water reflecting the sun's rays brightly and the warm breeze combined to invite visitors to enjoy the island and it's climate.

Silver was not so easily persuaded. She was a prisoner, regardless of how lovely the prison was. She was reminded of the old British TV series with Patrick McGoohan she had watched on A&E.

'At least they didn't give me a number,' she thought.

Talia led her to a large house on a hillside overlooking a cove with a white sand beach. "You may swim there whenever you wish. The water is warm and quite clear. No one will disturb you."

"Aren't you afraid I'll try to swim away?" Silver asked, already knowing the answer.

"No, we are far too distant from any other landform for you to accomplish such a feat. On the far side of the island, a mile or so away, as Americans still measure distance, is an ancient Roman ruin. Father believes it to be a temple. There is not much there but some broken columns and cracked flooring. If such things interest you, please explore it if you wish. The rest of the island is wild. Come, we will have something light for our meal then I will show you to your rooms."

Silver followed Talia. She was surprised to find she could still detect the girl's perfume after all the time they'd been in the air. Or perhaps it was the girl herself?

 



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