The Strongest Bond
Disclaimer: The characters are mine! They may share a passing resemblance with other people but I just blame their stylists. Sequel to ‘The Binding Tie’ you really need to read that first in order to understand what is going on here.
Slavery exists in this fic as does extreme violence. Sexual violence
of a m/f variety in here. Also a loving consensual f/f relationship. If you’re
too young to vote, you should probably go elsewhere.
Feedback: Much appreciated firstname.lastname@example.org
Bradley could barely believe that all those days of toil and planning had finally come to this. He was a senator! He finally had the power that he had always longed for! Glancing over at Cliff, who stood, as always, in the wings, he shot him a victorious wink; Cliff’s reply was a rather smug grin. Focusing his attention back on the camera which stood before him, he heard the producer counting down to the start of the press conference.
The speech began in rallying fashion and Cliff patted himself on the back once more. Everything that came out of his friends mouth had been penned and orchestrated by him, Bradley thought the policies were his own and in truth, some of the ideas had been born from their conversations but Cliff was pulling all the strings. He focused back in on the big man’s voice just in time to hear his favourite part.
“Slavery and the problems created by freed slaves have been at the heart of my campaign. Violence, riots and general public unrest have led me to believe that now is the time to change the rules. To crack down on freedom. To do what needs to be done to protect our liberty.” His eyes held such conviction, his jaw firm, he was a hero that the people could get on board with and Cliff had to stop himself rubbing his hands together in glee.
“In the ensuing weeks and months we will be taking in all slaves who are in the public domain. Private owners will be expected to hand over their property for tagging and in some cases these slaves will be removed. Anybody who has been suspected of freeing slaves will have all ownership rights revoked. All freed slaves will be expected to report to local authorities for repatriation. There is no such thing as a free slave!” His fist hit the lectern and the people in the small audience cheered. As confident as he appeared, Bradley felt something nagging at the back of his mind as he moved on in his speech. Trying to ignore the doubt he could feel, he pushed on.
Yesterday had been filled with fear and an overwhelming feeling of loss. The large group of slaves had been a mix of subdued acceptance and barely concealed rage. Hunter had tried to keep her spirits buoyed, too little avail. She was too used to disappointment and pain not to believe that this could be true. She had done as the big male suggested and listened to the wardens as they went about their business. They genuinely seemed to believe that with the induction of Dettore that no slaves would be released. What she couldn’t understand was how Dettore was going to get legislation through that quickly.
Today she woke to find herself staring into the cold eyes of the man who had dragged her to book in ten days before. Hope had bloomed in her chest as he gruffly ordered her to dress and shackled her wrists behind her back. Knowing that any questions she had would be ignored she had remained silent, simply following him outside.
Now she stood in front of the cattle wagon, surrounded by a large group of slaves, all at the end of their treatment. She looked over and locked eyes with the man who had spoken to her the day before. Raising a speculative eyebrow in his direction, she was rewarded with an abashed shrug of his shoulders as he cast his eyes to the floor. Clearly all that worry had been for nothing! She should have known better than to believe anything she heard in this place. That was the point of being here, to break down your defences and make you malleable and suggestible.
Feeling a forceful hand at her back she approached the small, dark opening in the truck. Climbing up into the truck and guided to one of the tiny cells, she went easily, perching onto the hard metal bench. The warden backed out and closed the door, sealing her into the clanging darkness. To her left and right she could hear muffled voices and the clang of doors closing. The relief in the air was palpable and made clear by the lack of resistance being shown by the assembled slaves.
As the truck began to roll, throwing her back further on the slick seat, she thought of home. Seeing the children again would be wonderful, she wondered how much they might have changed in ten days. A silly thought but it did seem as though the children were always changing, evolving slowly into the adults that they would become. Then her mind could not help but turn to the bright star at the centre of her universe. Francesca. Soon she would hold the other woman in her arms and she could hardly wait.
Salvatore sat in his study, pen tapping agitatedly on the polished cherry of the desk. His eyes read and re-read the document that sat in front of him with a growing sense of dread. Quite how the new senator had managed to get this pushed through and out into the public domain in just two days was beyond him, but he had.
The startlingly white sheet of paper proclaimed in bold, black letters, one simple thing. Their right to own slaves was revoked until such time as their alleged freeing of slaves was proved or discounted. Looking out of the window he could see his daughter and grandchildren preparing a barbecue. It was supposed to be a celebration dinner to welcome Hunter home. He was going to have to go out and shatter his daughter’s heart, again.
Wrestling himself out of his chair he moved closer to the glass, pressing his palm to the pane beside his daughter. “I’m so sorry, princess.” The words were whispered as he pulled his hand away and dejectedly made his way to the garden.
The van slowed to a stop after hours of travel. The occupants had all began to grow concerned as they had driven on and on, nobody had disembarked. Hunters mind was reeling; she knew that her home with the Prince’s was not this far away. A cold ball of fear settled back into her stomach, growing bigger and bigger with each passing mile.
She wasn’t going home.
Nobody was going home.
“I’m sorry, Chess.” The words were whispered in defeat as her head fell back onto the icy cool metal.
Silent tears coursed down a high cheek boned face as blue eyes stared desolately into the night. Lost. Alone. Terrified.
Thank you for reading. I hope you have enjoyed the continuing story of these two women. Hunter and Francesca will be back in the third and final section of their story, The Tightest Knot, soon. Until then I hope you will continue to read my fiction. MJB
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