The Short Fic Weekly Challenge Thread!
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07.31.2012 , 06:42 PM |
Family, part 1
Reasoning: I'm stuck at the hor d'oeuvres (no, seriously)
Characters: Rochester, Broan, Benedicta, Stion'n and Amilia
"Are you packed?" Broan stood just inside the doorway, constantly opening and closing his hands. He had no idea what to do with them. He had been waiting for some time, watching Rochester in silence. He started to pace a little.
"Yes. Are you?" Rochester spoke over his shoulder, pushing down on the case. It had always been difficult to close and now he was wondering if had over-packed. Taking one hand off, he tried to close one of the clasps. The lid popped up.
"Do you need help with that?" Broan sounded a little hopeful. Without anything to do, he was starting to become very apprehensive. Rochester was kneeling on the case, which was wobbling rather precariously on the bed. The clasps finally locked into place.
"Thanks, but I think I'm alright," He placed the case on the floor and smiled. Broan went to smile back, but instead bit on his bottom lip. "You seem nervous," Rochester pulled him into an embrace, kissing him deeply before he could reply. Broan pulled away briefly and nodded. They kissed again, hot with passion. "I think we can fix that, don't you?"
Broan hummed as he started to undo the buttons of Rochester's uniform.
"Yes, I think we can."
Broan kissed the back of his neck, pulling down the collar. Rochester chuckled and playfully pulled away.
"I need to get dressed," Rochester turned and saw that Broan was still entirely, and gloriously, naked. "And so do you." He smiled. There was a glint in Broan's eyes. Clothes seemed to be the last thing on his mind.
"I'm a 'dark Lord of the Sith', remember?" Broan grinned and lay back on the bed. His green skin contrasted wonderfully with the white sheets. Rochester could not help but stare. Broan stretched; he loved it when Rochester looked at him. "I can do whatever I want."
"Yes, but..." Rochester trailed off, captivated by the sight. Broan continued to grin, alluring and mischievous. He reached up to pull Rochester down. He caught a quick kiss as the intercom started to beep.
"Ignore it." Broan put an arm around Rochester's shoulders. He pulled at the grey clothes, pressing and kissing to keep Rochester's attention. The beeping of the intercom became more urgent and at length, Rochester answered it. Broan sighed heavily and threw himself onto the bed.
"Lieutenant Windthorpe? Sorry to bother you, sir," Rochester leant against the door, watching Broan as they both listened to the speaker. "Your ship is prepped and ready. Lord Naught's affects have been loaded, but he is not answering his door. Perhaps you might be able to-"
The speaker abruptly cut off. Rochester raised an eyebrow at this; it was rare that a subordinate would suddenly stop speaking. Broan made a show of striding to the bathroom, picking up his clothes as he went.
Captain Gorse spoke when the next call came through.
"I'd tell you to have fun, but I know how these champagne balls go," He sounded chatty, meaning he assumed Lord Naught was not present. It was highly likely, Rochester mused, that Gorse had pulled the petty officer away by the scruff of the neck. The nature of Rochester and Broan's relationship was something of an open secret. "Your ship is in hanger three and is ready for departure. I suggest you hurry, if you can, another storm is brewing over Kaas City." The call ended. Rochester took the time to adjust his uniform and smooth out the wrinkles.
"Did you hear that, Broan?" Rochester received a grunt in reply. It seemed Broan was sulking, which was rather unusual. He had certainly taken to expressing his emotions more readily, at least around Rochester, but he had a tendency to be more positive. At length he came out of the bathroom, fully dressed. He worse a scowl fit for a Darth. "Are you ready?" Rochester tried to keep his voice free from the hesitation he felt.
"She's going to be there, isn't she?"
Rochester stopped, his hand on the lock, and though for a moment. There were a lot of women who Broan could be referring to.
"Lord Stion'n will be there, yes."
Broan shrugged his shoulders and folded his arms across his chest. He appeared disappointed, perhaps even threatened, by the notion.
"I can't talk you out of this, can I?"
"I'm not going to marry her," Rochester grabbed Broan by the waist, pulling him into an awkward hug. "Lord Stion'n is not at all interested in me - I'll never be able to give her Force Sensitive children, for a start," Broan turned his head away, avoiding Rochester's eyes. "You don't have to worry. I am not going to leave you. Besides, have you forgotten? This is my brother's stupid party, not mine." He smiled weakly as Broan sighed and agreed.
"I don't even know how to act at one of these things. We aren't going to be using slaves as piņatas or anything, right?"
"No, nothing like that," Rochester chuckled and gently kissed Broan. They would not be able to be so gentle with each other for quite a while. Broan had many expectations to live up to and many people he needed to prove wrong, no matter how right they might be. "Now put on your best 'Sith face', you have subordinates to intimidate." Broan managed a smile.
"And I'm not to feel embarrassed walking out of your quarters."
"You're a 'dark Lord of the Sith', remember?" Rochester chuckled and kissed Broan again. "You can shag anyone you want, even me."
A storm was brewing over Kaas City. Lieutenant Windthorpe and Lord Naught were in a private carriage. The train was speeding to the outskirts of the city, home to the larger estates of rich non-Sith. Many of the carriages were devoted to private individuals like themselves, but Rochester knew the latter carriages were filled with fresh slaves. Thankfully, Broan had not asked about the plain, windowless boxes tacked onto the end of the train. Instead, he had slipped onto the train with all the haughty arrogance of a Sith Lord. In a way, Rochester was proud of him. Leading such a double life was not easy.
"When will we be reaching the estate, Lieutenant?" Lord Naught did not look up as he asked the question. His eyes stayed focused on the book in his hands, his expression blank and his words clipped with the slightest hint of distaste. He was learning fast, Rochester realised; to most, he would appear a normal Sith, albeit an alien one.
"Within ten minutes, my Lord." Rochester inclined his head respectfully and returned to looking out the window.
"We will be meeting with Lord Vizloch, Lord Amilia and Lord Stion'n. You will be on your best behaviour, Lieutenant. I will not accept any," Lord Naught paused and considered Rochester for a moment. It was strange thing, to come under such callous scrutiny from a man with which he was so intimate. Even though they were alone in the carriage, appearances were to be maintained. One could never tell who was watching. "Quirks."
"I would never dream of such a thing, my Lord."
It was oddly serene sitting on the veranda, drinking fruit cordials and reading a mildly interesting book. Despite his misgivings, Broan was actually starting to enjoy himself. The rain was lashing down - "bucketing" as one of the servants had said - and the sound of it was calming. Benedicta, Rochester's sister, was standing at the railing, looking out over the gardens. This was the first time they had properly met, having briefly crossed paths aboard the Absolution. Broan was not sure what to say to her or if he should say anything at all. Thus, they waited in silence, him reading and her staring into the rain.
A servant replaced his empty glass. Broan had to consciously force himself not to thank her - Sith did not thank, nor appreciate. From the corner of his eye, he noticed Benedicta watching him. He sniffed and ignored the servant, concentrating on his book. After the servant left, Benedicta openly regarded him, now with her back turned to the garden.
"Why did you leave the Jedi Order?" Her voice was firm, commanding. Benedicta was a woman used to getting her way, it seemed. Broan did not look up and hid his surprise at the sudden question. He took a sip of his drink and carefully placed his book to one side.
"I needn't explain myself to you, Apprentice." Broan looked at her, meeting her defiance with his own cool arrogance.
"My brother is to be married; will you prevent that?" Benedicta folded her arms and leant back on the railing. She was openly mocking him now, trying to draw his ire.
"Rochester is mine - he belongs to me. I do not let my possessions be used by others." Broan felt sick at the thought. He was referring to Rochester as if he were an object, a slave, something to be used up and thrown away. It was the correct response, though. He could see Benedicta bristling - exactly the reaction he had been told to expect.
"My brother is not-" Benedicta paused. It was obvious she was controlling her reactions. Broan recognised the initial response, then the speaker's realisation and their attempt at control. He had practiced that routine in the mirror every night as a Padawan, learning to mask everything. Being a Sith was not the same as being free, in many ways it was just like being a Jedi or a slave. "Rochester was promised to Lord Stion'n by Lord Vizloch; the agreement was made with Lady Fidrocia Dimatier when my brother was five and Lord Stion'n was three. That is what you chose to fight when you chose to take my brother."
Broan allowed a small smile to play upon his lips.
"How did you know I was on top?"
Benedicta's mouth fell open and the colour drained from her face. Her cheeks then suddenly flushed and she stormed into the house, a knot of fury building in her chest. Broan watched her leave, slowly drinking the fruit cordial. He clasped his robe with his free hand and hopped the shaking would soon stop.
Stoin'n stretched out on the couch and kicked her shoes off. It felt good to get out of the high heels that hurt her feet. She wiggled her toes and sighed. She was wearing her cocktail finery, the yellow basque with long, shimmering black leggings. She arched her back, clicking it in a few places, before again relaxing. Amilia sat on the footstool next to the couch, wearing plain trousers and a simple robe. She had elected not to wear her dress just yet; she was worried about getting it dirty. Stion'n rolled her to one side, looked past the Twi'lek and smiled. Rochester was perched on the couch opposite; hands clasped his lap, looking straight ahead.
"That was your man out there, wasn't it?" Stion'n said at last. They had been waiting in uncomfortable silence for a while, listening only to the rain. Rochester met her gaze, nodded, but said nothing. "He's quite cute, even with his green skin. Is he any good in bed?" Her smile spread into a large grin, hoping to unnerve the man. Rochester remained silent.
"Are you really going to keep up this charade or will you finally let the man out of this misery?" Amilia sounded curious, albeit quite bored as well. Stion'n pouted, before suddenly sitting up. Her normal flirtatious air was gone, replaced with uncharacteristic seriousness. Rochester found he was now acutely aware of the fact that she was a Pureblood.
"Rochester..." Stion'n leant forward, looking him hard in the eyes. She pressed the tips of her fingers together, resting her elbows on her knees. "I don't want you." Her words were blunt and hit harder than he had expected.
"That is... as I expected." Rochester swallowed. Though he had dreamed of this moment his entire life, it was turning to be quite difficult. Even though he had Broan, the thought of being unwanted was crushing.
"You are not Force sensitive and are unlikely to provide me Force sensitive children." Two more unintended blows struck him in the chest. He knew Stion'n was trying to be diplomatic, but her mannerisms were blunt and she spoke about the things that shamed him the most.
"Your brother only invited us to this in the hope that we would confirm the arrangement. It is his formal engagement party, but we are expected to announce ours as well. We will not."
"I understand." Rochester nodded again and clasped his hands tighter. The pain was blissfully distracting. At this Stion'n picked up her shoes and walked from the room.
"Ta ta! I'll see you two at dinner." Stion'n waved over her shoulder as she left. Amilia watched her go, whereas Rochester concentrated on his feet.
"You're upset over this." Lord Amilia was just as matter-of-fact as Stion'n had been, but she also seemed to be genuinely concerned.
"I would not seek to trouble you with this, my Lord." His breathing was shaky; his reaction to the entire exchange confused him.
"Perhaps not me, but you should trouble someone," She smiled at him. It was warm and friendly; the kind of smile that Broan would give him, the kind of smile that was so rare in the Empire. "Believe me when I say this was going to be a lot more brutal. Stion'n is a woman used to getting her way, she does not care who she has to crush to get there. It took me a long time to convince her that a little tact would be more beneficial for all involved."
"I see, thank you, my Lord."
Amilia squeezed Rochester's knee before taking his hands in hers.
"You probably don't remember me, we probably never met. I used to work here, in one of the lesser houses belonging to the estate," She tilted her head to one side. "Look at me now: I used to be a slave, serving drinks at events like this and now I'm here, people are calling me 'Lord', they bow to me." She let go of his hands and stood, smoothing the folds from her robe.
"I'm not sure I quite understand, my Lord."
"I was defined by those around, even as I became Sith. I am an agent of others, a product not of my own making. It would seem that we are similarly cursed, though I would not presume to know the full extent of your position. I am able to make myself independent and it is a glorious feeling."
Rochester waited a moment, wondering if she would continue. At length, he raised an eyebrow and spoke.
"I'm not sure I fully understand your meaning, my Lord."
"Do not allow yourself to be used anymore, Rochester. Everyone deserves better than that."
Part 2 will be along when I can figure out how to scandalize a champagne glass.