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.

Violence/Sex: 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 mjb1_1@hotmail.com

Chapter 6

Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Francesca leaned over the edge of the bed and watched her lover perform push-ups. It was not something that she ever thought she would be captivated by but the sight of the broad back flexing was making her feel more than a little over heated. The young heiress was sprawled across the bed on her stomach, head over the edge so that she could just gaze down at the other woman in comfort.

Hunter could feel the other woman's eyes on her as she continued with her nightly ritual. When she had first been well enough to start doing her exercises regularly, she had stayed downstairs and done them alone. Once she discovered how much Chess enjoyed watching her do the simple repetitions she had moved this part of her routine to the bedroom. Today found her parallel to her side of the bed with the other woman's face right above the centre of her spine. On each upward movement she could feel the faint brush of long dark hair on her skin and it gave her tremendous comfort, though it was a little distracting. Knowing that it would soon become very distracting and lead to her routine going unfinished she started to talk to her lover.

"Hey, Chess, you never said how your talk with your publicist went? Actually you've been kinda' quiet since. Tell me all about it, pretty lady." So smooth was her voice that anybody listening from the outside would have been hard pressed to guess what she was doing.

Trailing an extremely distracting finger along the bottom edge of the blonde's sports bra she contemplated the tattoo that bordered it. From this angle the tattoo peeked out from every side. Blue eyes narrowed as she focused on the images that made up the dark mass. From a distance it just looked like a swirling black mass; up close it was an intricately woven series of patterns. Still not receiving an answer the warrior let out a light cough.

"Sorry," sighing ruefully she tucked her hands under her chin and settled more comfortably. "Well, it probably could have gone better…

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The children had long since tired of soccer and were now involved in their individual pursuit. Terry stood beside Shep, doing his best to imitate the Tai chi posses taken by the larger male and not doing a bad job, his mother hoped that it might be something the nine year old kept up into adulthood. It would certainly help to hone his mind and body; he was also getting quite good at it. Rochelle, meanwhile, was playing with her dolls in the grass close to her brother, perfectly content to be on her own. Becca was cradled in Hunter's lap where the muscular woman sat on the ground, taking a well deserved nap. Smiling at the vision of family that surrounded her, Francesca realised that she was at a lose end. Letting her eyes settle on the attractive Asian man who sat beside her, she made a decision.

"Raz, would you like to have our meeting now, I think we're rather surplus to requirements." Seeing the young man nod eagerly and rise from his seat, she accepted his out stretched hand and moved with him towards the house. Catching her partner's eye she shook her head, indicating that the other woman should stay put.

Francesca led the way to her father's office and gestured for her companion to sit on the large, comfortable leather sofa. She seated herself bedside him with her back against the arm rest and legs pulled under her, she arrange her sarong artfully around her legs so as not to give the publicist a show. Watching as Rashid moved to mimic her pose she couldn't help but laugh at the incongruity of having a business meeting in your bathing suits.

"Raz, I think I need to explain a little something about what you've seen here today."

"That's not necessary Francesca, you're my client and you set the pace." That was what came out of his mouth, what he was thinking was 'tell me, tell me, tell me!'

"You know I think of you as more than just a friend, Raz." Looking at him as she spoke she realised what an attractive man he was and that she felt absolutely nothing. When she thought back to her youth and previous relations, well Doug, she had never really be physically attracted to anybody make or female, except for Rhani.

"That's really nice of you to say Francesca, I will admit to being just a little curious."

"The first thing I need is a reassurance that what you learn in this room will go no further. I like you Raz but if this gets into the press I will sue you and your firm."

"Francesca, I assure you that I keep all of my client's confidences." He was visibly affronted.

"I didn't mean to offend you Raz, it's just that this could ruin my career if it gets out unchecked. You've obviously noticed the way that my family and I interact with our… salves," Raz noticed the difficulty she had with the word. "They're not slaves; I set them free after we got Hunter back. The three that live here chose to stay; the others are roaming around with new lives."

"You're right about that being controversial, especially with 644 on the table. You can rest assured that I will keep this under wraps." Francesca's face indicated that there was more to come.

"That isn't the part that I thought would shock you, I know you're a liberal kinda' guy. Hunter is very special to my children…"

"I noticed that, it's good of you to let her play with them so casually. Rebecca really seems to have a bond with her."

"That she does, they're practically inseparable, but that isn't what I was trying to tell you. Hunter and I, we're… lovers." Silence stretched between them like a chasm.

Rashid knew that he was staring at the singer, he could feel his eyes blinking owlishly yet he couldn't feel his body. It was as though he had become detached from his body, fragmented, and was now looking down at the tableau from above. Here was a woman, who could literally buy and sell him and his entire family twice over, telling him that she chose to debase herself with an animal. Maybe he had the wrong end of the stick.

"You mean you set the other s free but keep the bodyguard as a love slave?" Please let that be it!

"No, Raz, I mean that I love her and she loves me."

"Oh."

They stayed like that for an eternity of moments, Francesca trying not to feel too disconcerted by his vacant stare. Inside, Rashid's mind was churning like a storm tossed sea. It was impossible for him to process what he had just heard. It wasn't that he was apposed to slaves being set free, it was just that… they weren't really people. As liberal and open minded as he may be, it was tantamount to marrying your dog.

Fingers began to twitch beside a bare leg, then drum on the dark skin. Mind whirling he needed an external outlet for his internal torment. Blue eyes tracked his sudden movement, intently waiting for the right moment to say more when suddenly he leapt from his chair…

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Suddenly the push-ups halted mid motion, causing the other woman to stop dead in her story telling. The blonde head turned so that she could meet her partner's eyes. Instinctively the brunette ran a soothing hand over the tense back, already knowing what would be coming next.

"He didn't threaten you or…"

"No my darling he didn't threaten or hurt me. He was just shocked and a little upset."

"Well, that's understandable, you probably broke his heart! Carry on, I've got a few more of these and some stretches to do." Grinning she turned her eyes back to the floor.

Leaning down Francesca pressed a kiss to a strong shoulder before settling herself once more into her story.

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"Raz, I know this is a shock…"

"A shock?" His tone was incredulous. "I'd call this more than shocking, it's disgusting! How could you have a relationship with one of them?" Clearly horrified he moved to seat himself on the desk chair, as far away from his client as possible.

"It's not as you might imagine; let me explain?" Getting no reply she ploughed on regardless.

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"I told him our story, well parts of it. I hope you don't mind?"

"Chess, before our lives are over I bet you'll have to tell it a million times, don't worry."

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With her explanation finished she waited for his reply. This time it wasn't so long in coming. Running a hand through his hair, Rashid chewed his lip as he pondered how to say what was on his mind.

"I don't think I can talk about this right now, Francesca. I'm a little too shocked to process it."

"That's understandable."

"I don't know if I'll ever be ready to discuss this as friends, maybe not even as your publicist. I have morals and, not wanting to offend you, I have to say that this goes against them." Not to mention that fact that you're breaking my heart! That was something that he couldn't say, especially now.

"If that becomes an issue Raz, them we'll cross that bridge." Truly saddened by her friend's reaction she knew that they had pressing business to deal with. "My album launch…"

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"It was really strained after that but he managed to b professional and we had a really productive meeting." A sad little whimper escaped as she said this and Hunter knew that she would have to comfort the other woman later. For now she continued to do her stretches in front of the bed.

During the end of her account Francesca had moved to prop herself at the head of the bed so that she could continue to watch her lover move. The bodyguard had finished her push ups and moved into her stretches which she performed at the foot of the bed. As the shorter woman moved her statuesque companion watched the muscles dance under her skin. She was mesmerized and still the warrior had her back to her.

"What did you two plan for your promoting?"

"I already have several promos lined up and the dates will be here tomorrow so that you can organise security. I will be having a coupe of photo shoots for the album cover and artwork in the next two weeks and he and Jake thought that I should start shooting the videos for the first two singles as soon as possible." Tone much brighter, Hunter new that she had steered the conversation into much calmer waters.

"How soon is soon?"

"Three days."

"That shouldn't be a problem. Will that choreographer guy be coming over?" Exercises all but complete she began to wind up.

"I thought we could go to his studio, he has better facilities." She was really trying to keep her mind on the conversation but the sight in front of her had brought her thoughts to a grinding halt.

In front of the bed the muscular woman had stopped her routine and was now reaching for the hem of her sports bra. As she drew it over her head and threw it casually into the laundry basket, she still didn't turn around. Francesca was certain that she was being toyed with and she was more than happy to go along with the game of seduction. Seeing that the other woman was now only clad in her sweats which hung low, revealing her hips and the tops of her buttocks the brunette found herself compelled to move forward.

Hunter could hear the other woman crawling across the surface of the bed, as he stood still, flexing the occasional muscle. It was easy to tell that the other woman was crawling as she could hear the alluring slide of fabric and skin. Feet softly hit the carpeted floor behind her and she could suddenly feel hot breath on her neck.

Using more self control than she knew she possessed the heiress did not pounce on her partner as she had planned, instead she chose to continue her perusal of the other woman. Blue eyes were once again drawn to the tattoo that covered a large portion of her torso. Tracing the intricate patterns of hunting animals, scribed into her skin to ape her name, first with her eyes and then with her fingers, she could feel the raw power trembling beneath the surface. A thrill ran through her at wielding this sort of power over her lover. It was a power that one can only wield with utter love and utter trust.

More than well aware that neither woman could continue this much longer, the taller woman lowered her head and began to trace the black patterns with her tongue. The taste of the other woman's warm skin was intoxicating. She had never liked it when Doug would sweat from exercise and would always make him shower before coming near her, but something about Hunters natural taste and smell acted like an aphrodisiac. Swiping another path across taut muscle she was startled as the other woman spun around and grabbed her by the waist, pressing their bodies tightly together.

Drawn into an intense kiss, lips and tongues fighting for dominance, the singer barely noticed herself being guided to the bathroom. Only the sound of the shower starting to run gave her any idea where they were. As the kiss ended both women were panting for breath, Francesca grinning inanely.

"Join me?" It wasn't a question that the ex-slave had to ask twice.

Even as she pushed down her sweats and pants in one smooth move and stepped under the spray, hair instantly plastering to her head, the brunette was stripping out of her pyjamas. Holding out a calloused hand the blonde pulled her lover to her under the water where another passionate kiss was born.

Long fingered hands curled around rock hard biceps as Francesca pulled away from the kiss. She studied that body part and the way the water ran over the images, blurring them and making them indistinct. The animals almost seemed to be moving under the torrent, wanting to see more clearly she began to lick the rivulets of water off of them. Hunter began to feel weak from all the attention and she knew that she needed more.

"Chess!" It came out as a plea and a command rolled into one.

Not needing any further prompting Francesca began slide down the compact body, fingers and tongue tracing her path. As she came to the apex of strong thighs she looked up and locked eyes with her lover.

"Please Chess, I need you now!" That was all it took for the brunette to reach out her tongue and taste her partner, hearing the excited hiss that accompanied her motions. Tattoos are sooo sexy! It was her last coherent thought that night.

To Be Continued...

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