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[personal profile] maculategiraffe
Yes, yes, two chapters in one day-- chapter 4 is over here-- but this one's very very short. More of a wee chapterlet than a chapter, really.








By the time Hanna got back to her apartment, she was tired out. She kicked off her shoes and went about the business of reheating dinner, thinking about Gwen, mostly with satisfaction. She was doing very well so far; they'd gotten clothes accomplished, and the little black budget book, and a thorough medical exam from which Gwen had come away with a list of dietary recommendations, exercise recommendations, and a bottle of vitamin pills to keep her strength up. Good progress for her second day of freedom. The job tomorrow should be okay, too. Of course there'd be complications, setbacks, minor or maybe major crises to be dealt with-- there always were-- but so far, so good.

Hanna was going to have to watch herself, though, to make sure she didn't turn into one of the complications herself. She always liked her clients, but Gwen was different. Pretty-- okay, beautiful-- but most ex-slaves were that, and Hanna didn't usually find herself attracted to her clients. She didn't usually find herself attracted to anyone; she'd successfully avoided complications like that since she'd arrived here at sixteen. Gwen's smile, though, and her low, precise way of speaking, and her incredible self-possession, coupled with a shy vulnerability-- well, Hanna was attracted, and that was that. It didn't have to be a problem. Hanna was a professional. Certainly there was no question of pursuing anything. Gwen wouldn't be ready for that for a long time, and even when she was ready, it wouldn't be appropriate for her to pursue any sort of romantic relationship with Hanna, who was already the closest thing to an owner she had in Arcadia.

Hanna shuddered a little at the very thought. She'd hated being owned, loathed the people who owned her, and the idea of being like them had absolutely no dimension that wasn't repulsive. Even Larssen, who'd been pretty decent in the end, had horrified her with his casual insistence, on the way towards freedom, that "not everyone needs to be free." Of course everyone needed to be free, and not only in body, but in mind; the slaves Hanna had seen who loved their owners, who knelt willingly and shivered with pleasure at a gentle touch, struck her as the worst victims of a vicious system that robbed everyone who participated in it of basic human dignity.

Gwen had plenty of dignity, though; maybe that was what intrigued Hanna so much, that she'd survived so well as a slave and come out of it with such self-possession and perspective. Hanna just had to bear in mind that if she were to act on her attraction in any way, she wouldn't get to see Gwen's wry smile or hear her speak with such astonishing indifference of her past owners. She'd become the next owner, and Gwen would become whatever she thought Hanna wanted, faking sighs and smiles and caresses, her real, interesting self submerged in perfect seduction, perfect pleasingness. Hanna had nothing to gain from that. If she stayed Gwen's counselor, she'd get to know Gwen.

Fleetingly it crossed her mind that she should get Gwen transferred to another counselor, one who didn't have this budding conflict of interest, but she rejected that idea out of hand; she'd already built enough trust with Gwen that the girl would be hurt and puzzled by such a step. And anyway, she'd committed to five more lunches, so she might as well start practicing self-control now. For all intents and purposes, she was Gwen's mother: taking her clothes shopping, seeing that she went to the doctor regularly, dropping her off at work. The lunches would be easier if she bore that in mind.

Maybe, though-- all things considered-- she should start going out on dates; maybe her twelve-year period of sexual latency, which she'd more or less assumed was permanent, was ending. Maybe she should let Quen fix her up with someone, as he was always threatening to do. Maybe it would be easier to separate her personal life from her professional life if she actually had a personal life. She had friends, of course, weekend friends, and weeknight friends she could drop in on unannounced for dinner and a slapfight. But maybe she needed more.

Well, all in good time.

She ate dinner, washed up, put the leftovers away again (her habit was to cook enough for three or four days, so all she had to do when she got home after a long day was reheat), poured herself a glass of wine, and sat down on the couch with a magazine. It was a nice magazine, with interesting articles. She couldn't remember what any of them were, though, after she'd gotten into bed and slid her hand inside her pajama bottoms, poking experimentally at her clitoris. It felt good, though not astonishingly good or anything; she rubbed at it for awhile, wondering whether she should be fantasizing about something in particular. Or someone. She couldn't really think of anyone, though-- not anyone, as Gwen would say, appropriate.

Oh, well.

She rolled over and tried to go to sleep.





Gwen lay on the bed, dressed in scarlet satin and lace, her thin leg raised in coy invitation. Her coppery eyes were heavily made up, lined with black kohl and lacquered gold over the lids, her lips painted the same scarlet as the satin. She smiled, a slow seductive smile that didn't reach her golden eyes.

"Don't," said Hanna, turning away, her stomach churning. "Please. I didn't-- I don't--"

"I know you want me," Gwen said huskily. "Please, Hanna."

Hanna shook her head, pressing her hands to her mouth, and felt something smear against them; she took her hands away and looked at him, and saw her palms stained with the same red lipstick Gwen was wearing. She was wearing lingerie, too, gold shot with metallic threads, her breasts hiked obscenely high and tight, her pubes shaved and exposed.

Gwen wasn't smiling any more; she got up from the bed and came towards Hanna, her face full of concern.

"You're a mess," she said. "You'll be punished for looking like that. Let me help you."

She slid her naked arms around Hanna's neck and laid her warm, painted lips against Hanna's; Hanna gasped and held still as Gwen's perfect lips applied the paint to hers again, a slick sweet waxy pressure, as a hot tongue-tip ran around the edges of Hanna's mouth, lapping off the smeared edges.

"Now come on," said Gwen impatiently, taking Hanna's hand, tugging her back towards the bed. "We have to put on a good show. For him."

"Who?" Hanna managed, but Gwen just shook her head, lying back on the bed, pulling Hanna to lie over her. Hanna knew she couldn't do this, that she'd never done this, that she'd always fought; but there was no one here to fight now, and she couldn't fight little Gwen.

"Master," Gwen purred, and Hanna looked up, to see the doorway filled with a dark, backlit form. He stepped further into the room, not smiling; it was Holden Larssen.

"You girls shouldn't be here," he said.

Gwen wriggled out from under Hanna, jumped to her feet, and ran to him, throwing her arms around him and burying her made-up face against his chest; he put his arms around her and looked up at Hanna reproachfully.

"You shouldn't have brought her back," he said.


"I didn't!"

She woke herself up yelling it out loud-- though it came out more of a grunt-- and switched on the light, her heart pounding.

"Well," she said, to her decently pajama-clad legs. "I didn't."
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maculategiraffe

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