BY

Maderlin Bidmead



Disclaimer: The characters are mine! Been with me in one form or another since my little brain could think of a story. Be gentle as this is my first posting anywhere, although I've been writing for an eternity (well seems that way to me anyway).
Violence/Sex:Got slaves, so got both. Sexual violence of an m/f variety here. Also a loving (sort of) consensual f/f relationship. If your too young to vote, you should probably go elsewhere.

Feedback:Thank you to the people who have sent me feedback, more would be greatly appreciated. All of those who do e-mail me will become a piece of my disertation (you'll be famous for five seconds at Brunel University, London!). Send all opinions, good and bad to; maderlin@yahoo.com

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do you want to be when you grow up?"

"Go way... I'm sleeping."

"Well I'm awake!"

The dark girl propped her head up on her elbow and looked down at the peaceful face of her friend. The sun was high and the rays danced off the surface of the water and made dappled patterns of the other child's face as they struggled through the canopy of leaves. The lights hid the brown and green bruise marking the right side of the small face like camouflage. The darker child gleefully pinched the snub nose of the other girl closed. With a wheeze and a splutter the reclining girl opened green eyes and glared upwards.

"What!"

"Answer my question!"

"Don't want to!"

"Do you want to be seven?"

"You've been listening to my dad again haven't you?"

"Answer my question!" The blue eyed girls voice was becoming louder and louder.

"I'm just fooling with you Chess. I want to be our PA." A big smile followed her words.

"What's a PA do?"

"I dunno but your dad's gets to spend loads of time with him."

"Cool!" The dark haired girl laid back down.

"Hay, what about you?"

"I'm going to be a star!"

**********

The pulsing beat of the music filled the room, bouncing off the walls and feeding on itself. Francesca immersed herself in the music, feeling it travel through her body as she watched her choreographer intently. She began to sway and writhe to the music, soon the bodies of the dancers became a blur of synchronised motion. The two tall bodies, one blond the other brunette, moved with a feline grace under the watchful eye of the tiger at the back of the room, seemingly performing for an audience of one.

After hours of almost ceaseless activity both bodies shone with sweat and glowed with vitality. Clapping from the open French doors of the gymnasium drew both athletes attention and caused them both to smile a quick greeting to Rodrigo Prince before falling back into step. As the music began to slow the lithe blond man called the session to an end, his wide smile and shinning eyes letting his student know that her performance was excellent. Rodrigo walked towards them in time to catch the end of the choreographers words.

"...fantastic today. Your fitness level is way up, the routines in the videos for the new album should be the sharpest yet. How did you manage to get even fitter." He playfully nudged.

"I have to admit that I've been watching how our new bodyguards train and I've been adapting it to my own needs." Francesca looked inordinately pleased with herself over this little revelation.

"Well just keep doing what your doing. Nice to see you again Rod." He shook the bigger mans hand. He looked towards the lone figure in the corner, intent on every move that affected the woman beside him, and nodded in acknowledgement. It was not returned. "I'll see you in a couple of days Fran."

"See you Thursday Daniel." The dancers moved to opposite sides of the room and entered their respective shower rooms. Hunter followed her mistress while Rodrigo made his way towards one of the garden's many benches to wait for his sister.

Moments later he watched Daniel exit the building and waved to the man as he made his way to the path that would take him the front of the house. He relaxed back into the wood and stretched his legs out on the grass. His arms spread across the back of the bench on either side, fingers idly tapping the wood as he waited less than patiently for his sister. He had always been the type of child who would fidget, and although now a grown man he still could never sit totally still.
 

Ten minutes passed before Francesca walked from the building into the vibrant sunlight. She smiled as she saw the sprawling form of her big brother, the faint breeze ruffling his dark hair. The smile that he caste her way was dazzling and not for the first time she understood why so many women fell for him, and why so many foolishly married him. He was already well on his way to ending his second marriage and yet still seemed as carefree as when he was an adolescent. She envied that, but did not begrudge her brother his lifestyle, she loved him too much for that. As she sat next to her brother, with his arm around her shoulders she felt loved and secure.

Hunter moved away from the reclining couple. She stood behind them, close enough to still protect her ward, but not within hearing range of a private discussion. She was becoming more at one with her role as a guardian, and realised that the free required more privacy than the indentured. From her vantage she had a perfect view of any potential routes of attack, the pair would be safe.

"So," concerned eyes turned towards a pale face. "You talking to me now?"

"Sure."

"Well I thought I better check, you weren't exactly too pleased to see me and Nate after that wacko called." Before Francesca could interrupt he placed his fingers over her lips. "I know you were pissed off that we went behind your back, but we really didn't choose Dick-Head Dougie over you. You have to believe that we love you. Hell, your the only stable female relationship that I have ever had!" He tightened is hold around her shoulders and she smiled softly up at him.

"I know Ro, but I was so upset."

"You had anymore threats? Dad hasn't said anything but it's been over three weeks since that last call." His usualy animated face was sober.

"Nothing, and that makes me more afraid than the threats. It's so ominous, it makes me feel constantly on edge. I should have apologised to you and Nate because the slaves are a godsend. At least I know that the children are safe." Her voice bagan to falter and Rodrigo realised it was time to move away from talk of the stalker.

"How are things going between you and your guard?" He had been concerned with Francesca's obvious distaste about the slaves, and especially the great warrior that they had chosen for her.

She lowered her voice further to ensure that Hunter could not possibly hear her. "I gave her a chance, like Papa said I should. I wish I could say it was because I was a bigger person and put aside my prejudice, but I'd be lying. A few days before...that phone call...I saw her playing with the children. She was so gentle and patient with them. I've tried to make our relationship better. I don't know if it's working, she's just so reticent." A soft sigh punctuated this statement.

"What have you tried?" He was really interested in his sisters change of heart.

"I turned off the vocal inhibitor the day after I watched her and the children. I thought that it might make her interact with me."

"And? What did she say?"

"That's just it, she hasn't said a word. She still signs to the other guards. I don't think that the remote works. I feel really bad about it, she'll be a mute forever because of what they did to her." She raised her hand and rubbed her temples to forestall the start of one of her regular headaches. "I guess I stopped thinking of her as an animal."

"That's a good thing Fran, trust me, thing will get better. It only been four months and maybe she's still feeling displaced." He grew concerned as he noticed the paler of his sisters skin as the exercise induced blush receded. "Fran, are you alright, you look a little sick?"

"It's nothing. I think I just worked too hard. Met any nice girls lately?"

**********

Wolf walked through the gate to the slaves stable and found himself confronted by the grim faces of Savage and Polar. They were huddled in the doorway to the living room, apparently trying to look in without loosing a limb. Wolf was amused by the spectacle, and was about to ask what was going on when a loud crashing sound came from the sleeping quarters, drawing even his attention through the door. He turned back to the other two men, he needed answers. A slave going berserk could be punished with death.

"What the hell is going on?" His voice was low and controlled.

"She has gone off the deep end, that's what's going on! I told all of you that this would happen, she's a fuckin' psycho! Nobody listens to me!" Savage said with smug certainty.

"Thanks for the psychological profile. Now any idea why she's gone nuts?" Exasperation was clear in his voice.

"Hello? That's why she's a psycho, she doesn't need a motive!"

"You haven't asked her have you?" Wolf folded his arms across his chest and glared at his two comrades. Polar squirmed under his stare.

"We were going to ask her what was wrong when she came in, looking sort of down. But...um...she started to throw her stuff in a sack, and get really twitchy. Before we could really talk she was throwing stuff around and we ran for it." The big man looked like a frightened little boy.

"Thanks Polar. You two stay out here, I'll go and see what is going on." He composed himself and strode resolutely towards the closed door of the sleeping rooms.

Inside the room was in disarray, the beds stripped and overturned, the table smashed into splinters. Hunter stood with her back to the door visibly shaking with rage. He walked towards her slowly and stopped several feet away, not wanting to be close enough for her to strike.

"What's wrong, Hunter?"

She took a deep, noisy breath and turned to face her friend. Her face was stony and her body rigid, lines of stress creased her brow. Wolf at first thought that no explanation would be forthcoming as her hands continued to clench and unclench by her sides. Her hands shook with emotion as she began to gesture towards her brother in arms.

"I thought I was getting somewhere." The gestures were sharp and fast, almost frenzied.

"Somewhere?" He was honestly confused.

"With the 'Princess'!" She began to pace as she gestured, making it increasingly difficult for Wolf to understand what she was signing.

"What has she done?"

"I am no longer allowed to sleep here. Now she wants me to sleep in one of the walk-in closets in her room! What am I, some sort of animal!"

"You could look at it that way, Hunter." Wolf tried to quell her ire. "Maybe she's trying to show you that she feels safe with you. She wants you around more."

"Look, this means I won't get to see any of you off duty!"

"You don't exactly see us now, you just sleep in our presence," he reasoned.

She had began to calm as she mulled over the tall man's words. "I see your point. Trust me I won't go off at a freeman again, I remember too well what happened last time." She walked towards her bag, which only contained the clothes that she worked in, and hoisted it to her shoulder. She walked from the room and the stable without a backward glance for the three men. Brushing past Snake as he walked into the compound.

"Hunter Okay?"

"No idea, Wolf will fill you in. Where's Douglas?" Savage prepared to go on duty.

"I left him in the nursery with the children, Grizzly and Meg are there to watch him. I thought I better come and get when you were so late."

"Cool, see ya!"

The bald headed man walked into the living area to find Wolf talking to Polar, whose face was troubled. He sat down with the pair, around the large dinning table. "You two going to tell me what happened earlier."

"Hunters upset," volunteered Polar.

"I thought I heard her cry out in her sleep," Snake was thoughtful.

"You heard what?!"

"Oh, you didn't know? What's she pissed off about then?"

The rest of the table sat in stunned silence.

********

The drunken figure lurched down the hallway muttering obscenities. It was closely followed by a weasel faced man wearing a smirk. The duo made their way slowly towards one of the plush bed-chambers of the estate where the drunk could sleep it off. The more alert of the two reached the door first and opened it, ushering the other man in. As he was about to follow, he found himself pushed back into the corridor and ordered to stand guard and let no-one in. Savage turned his back to the closing door, slumping against it when it clicked shut.

Douglas leaned against the wall, his head pounding. He was angry. No, he was beyond angry. He was furious! How dare his own wife go behind his back at a time like this! She was supposed to run everything past him, he was meant to know her whereabouts at all times! She had no right to put herself in the line of fire, she was his. Even with that thing to protect her she was still vulnerable.

His irrational thoughts began to grow and build until he found himself in a frenzy, he needed to vent his anger on something. Or someone. His eyes fell on the door leading to his wife's room. He smiled sadistically as he lurched towards it. He fell back on his favourite way to vent his displeasure at his spouse. He took a deep breath as he reached the door, trying to steady himself. He quietly pushed the door inwards.

He padded softly across the carpet without creating a sound on the deep, plush carpeting. He could see her, laying in a pool of moonlight in the centre of the bed. She had her face turned to the window, with it's partially opened curtains. The rest of her was shielded by a thin red sheet that rose and fell with her breath as she laid on her stomach, blissfully unaware.

A new wave of anger crashed over Douglas as he watched her peaceful form. He lost the last of his self control as he stood touching the side of the bed and leapt on the still body. Terrified blue eyes snapped open as he began to rain heavy blows down over her back. She could feel her kidneys taking the brunt of the attack. As he began to snarl abuse at her she realised the identity of her attacker and fear turned to resignation.

Douglas suddenly found himself ripped from his wife's body and hurtling across the room, only coming to a stop when he hit the wall. He sat, for a moment, dazed by the sudden turn of events. Head spinning from a combination of too much alcohol and the blow to the head, it took him several minutes to realise the nature of his wife's protector. Before him, looking like some sort of avenging angel, stood Hunter. Clad in only a white vest and boxer shorts, touched on only one side by the moonlight the other in relief she struck fear into his heart. Until he remembered who he was.

"You'll pay for that, Slave! What is she doing here at this Francesca, she should be in the stables." His voice was commanding and hard as he dragged himself from the carpets embrace. "Well, answer me!"

No sooner had the words left his lips than he found himself pressed to the wall by the throat. He couldn't struggle, so powerful was the body that he now found crushing him. She was so close that he could feel the growl as it emanated from her chest. The warriors eyes were cold, dead, as she stared at him. He felt a cold sweat form on his top lip as he saw that look, totally void of emotion. She glanced away from him for a second, much to his relief, to look at the huddled figure at the head of the bed. Her gaze almost immediately fell back to him. A new look fills her unnatural eyes, this time it is rage. Douglas' mouth takes over from his brain as he tries to save himself.

"I can have you killed for this! You won't get away with killing your master again! Put me down and I mightonly let them send you to a research institute, it's the best you could hope for!" Her grip lessened for just a moment before she tightened it to almost choking intensity and replied to his threats.

"Youare not my master!" The his was quiet but dripped with loathing. "Francesca Prince owns me. I am ordered to protect her from all harm. You have tried to damage her. Get out and I won't kill you." She pushed his trembling form to the connecting door. "Try it again and I'll rip your arm off and beat you to death with it!" He bolted from the room upon hearing her final words.

The rigid form of the bodyguard moved to the hastily closed door and locked it from the inside to prevent his re-entry. As she turned to walk back into her new sleeping quarters she caught the eye of the woman on the bed. Her face was pale and her eyes were red as she looked at Hunter with gratitude and respect for the first time. The compact fighter could also see surprise on her mistresses face and could easily tell why.

"Formica is the secret of the universe." She said this with a totally straight face as she walked to the huge closet.

"What?" Came the stunned response.

"That's what I have to say. Hope it was worth letting me talk." She disappeared behind the sliding door of the cupboard.

Francesca sat for a while, bemused. She smiled as she realised that, in her own way, Hunter had both been trying to be funny and say thank you. The smile slipped as the events of the past ten minutes overwhelmed her as her mind tried to process that fact that she had been saved from her husbands whim. She had never thought that he would get so physical in her parents house, he had truly sunk to new depths. Suddenly the idea of having a bodyguard sleeping in her room seemed like her best idea in a long time.

**********

Sweat poured off of the body standing in the hazy morning sunlight. The rays seemed to caress the toned skin, highlighting muscles and the fine blond hair covering corded forearms. The black tattoos, clearly visible from under the sleeveless t-shirt, seemed to absorb the light and writhe above the muscles like living things. Francesca found herself transfixed by the athletic movements of the slave. She had just finished her combat exercises and walked towards the bench-press.

Francesca had cut short her own programme when she became too distracted by the other women. She watched her now as she laid down on the leather surface and positioned herself under the bar. One of the other slaves was their to spot for her, Francesca couldn't tell who it was or how much was being lifted, she was focused solely on the warrior. She stared as the motion of her arms made the muscles almost seem to slide as the bar went up and then bunch as the bar came down. Her eyes roamed the body and saw the stomach muscles clench through the translucent, sweat covered shirt.

A single bead of sweat broke away from her hairline and began to travel away from the slick hair. It moved across her temple and found itself captured by a thin scar on her cheek, creating a path for it down to her jaw. As it reached the end of it's journey it fell from the clenched jaw and shattered on the bench.

**********

"Why are you so skinny? You eat more than my Papa's horse!" The chubby girl stormed.

"I dunno. I guess I run around a lot." The other girl just shrugged.

"So do I!" She was feeling indignant now.

"You'll get skinny when you get older. We're only little. Anyway, your pretty and smart, do I have to be skinny and sporty!" This came with a charming smile.

A shy smile spread across her. "Your pretty too."

**********

TBC

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