nike_ravus (nike_ravus) wrote,
nike_ravus
nike_ravus

Whore

 Title: Fake Empire Side Story:  Emily's Notebooks pt 2: Whore
Author: Alsike
Rating: R
Fandom: X-Men/Criminal Minds
Pairing: Other Emma Frost/Other Emily Prentiss
Disclaimer: I do not own X-Men or Criminal Minds. I owe [info]wizened_cynic for the concept of quantum babies.  She does it much better than me.  Title stolen from the song by The National.
Apologies:  And now for something a little bit different.

Summary: In a different world, Erik Magnus overthrew the US government when Emily Prentiss was only twelve years old.  On that day the course of her life changed irrevocably.  This is her story.

Fake Empire 1 (Queen Emma)
Fake Empire 2 (JJ's Part)
Fake Empire 3 (Emily's Part)
Fake Empire 4 (The Mansion)
Fake Empire 5 (Kyougen) 
Fake Empire Side Stories:
Emily's Notebooks 1 (The Christmas Revolution)


One of the things I learned while in Moscow was that work is a solace.  My mother had always been proud of her important job.  She loved it so much that I often wondered if she loved it more than me.  But once she lost it, once she was an ambassador for a government that no longer existed, she fell apart.  Even when there was no hope, which had been the case for many months before the end, just doing, acting, had kept her whole and sane.  When it was over, when we were trapped in a small town, in a small house, living on charity, she cleaned.  When the floors were scrubbed and the laundry bleached, she would polish her gun; polish her anger, her resentment, her victimization.

In the end, I could not see the difference between her maddened polishing and her passionate addiction to international affairs.  When the nations fell, when all she believed in turned out to be just words, just lies, it seemed obvious to me that either task was just a way to pass the day, eat the hours, make yourself feel that your life was worthwhile.

Pride is the true measure of human existence.

I’ve lived in miserable places, miserable situations in my life, in cultures where women were worth nothing when divorced from their relationship to a man, who could not take pride in themselves.  But they took pride in the successes of their children.  They took pride in the regularity and order of their households.  They fulfilled their duties to the highest degree they could, and they died satisfied, their lives worth no less than the greatest of kings and conquerors.

I had never been able to find that duty that I could take pride in completing.  Always a foreigner, I was always out of place.  My friends and companions knew their place, could see their future with a solidity and confidence that escaped me entirely.  When I was a child and we lived in the Middle East, all I wanted was to get married.  I wanted to be someone’s second or third wife, low in the hierarchy so that there would always be someone to tell me what to do.  I wanted to be surrounded by family, have children, who I would put before myself, and who would take care of me when they were old enough.

I was eleven when I told my mother this, and she told me it was an irresponsible thing to want.  She told me that I was weak and foolish and old-fashioned to want something like that.  To please her I had to be like her.  I had to be selfish.  I had to be memorable.  I had to be an individual success.  I knew better than to ask her what it all would be worth after I was dead.  Would I be satisfied, always striving for this unreachable goal of glory?

I went to the secret church held in the basement of one of the abandoned factories in town and sat with the old ladies, staring at the bloodstained image of Christ unrolled and hung on the wall, surrounded by muttering in Ukrainian accented Latin.

I gave myself the stigmata once, in our kitchen, with a paring knife.  My mother freaked out when she came in to find me bleeding all over the floor.  She wouldn’t understand that I wanted to know what it felt like, so I would be prepared.

“Prepared for what?”  She cursed me, and bandaged my hands and feet, then made me scrub the floor.

Prepared for sacrifice, I wanted to tell her, prepared to fail.  He died for our sins, they said over and over again.  He died because of our sins, he died to end them, to protect us, and yet every day there are only more.  Duty without pride, duty without satisfaction.  There was something alluring in that, if only in the inevitable relief of death.

I listened to my mother’s curses as she received the news of our world falling to the mutant empire.  She fought it as best she could in the ways she knew.  She called in contacts, powerful friends, mutant friends, who laughed at her and told her that it was too late.  They were sorry, and she should stay in the Soviet Union, because this was their chance.  It was their chance for freedom, and they followed Erik Magnus as if he were Moses, leading the slaves out of Egypt.

He was a one-man army.  He could stand alone in front of tanks, of rockets, of battleships, and rip them apart.  At his side were the Xavier brothers, one physically unstoppable, the other mentally so.  And everywhere they went, the miserable, oppressed mutants rose up behind them, beating off troops with baseball bats and snow shovels if they had no useful powers.  I had seen the reports on my mother’s desk, seen the carnage that resulted, and every day stared out at the road that led past our house waiting for it to happen here.

The reason revolution came so much slower in the USSR than elsewhere was because Stalin had decreed that all mutants were to be transported to Siberia.  They were captives and science experiments.  But unlike in the US where they were an underclass, but free citizens, here they were kept under close guard.  Eventually though, they broke out, and having lived together for so long, they were already an army.

I only wondered if it was my duty to die fighting this revolution for a moment.  I had seen enough of how mutants were treated before, and thought, like a good traitor, that humanity had brought this upon itself.

Irina was one of the few who understood me when I said that dreams and ideologies were just words.  The search for a meaning to life was itself a lie.  But she asked me what meaning I would pick for myself.  Those without meaning die at their own hand, she said, those with too much die at the hands of others like them.  Find somewhere in the middle, a meaning you can live with but not die for.

I wonder sometimes, if my life hadn’t been like this, if hadn’t been tossed into this floating world, of power and anger and violence, of futility and hopelessness, would I have sought a way to help save the world.  If I could have believed in my own power to change things in a positive way, would I have found satisfaction and pride in pursuing that path, even if it were always a stop gap, even if I could never truly save anything?

But in my reality, in the gulag, in Moscow, in the slave quarters in Genosha, those who spoke of change spoke of bombs strapped beneath their clothes.

I had seen enough death: my town, the frozen and diseased in Siberia, helping to fill the mass graves outside of Moscow with the bodies of human and mutant soldiers, whom I often could not tell apart in death.  Some of the slaves could not face their fate, and cleaning the stables I often cut down a suicide, mopped up the blood.

Irina told me to choose a meaning, and I chose the one that had made sense to me as a child.  I felt like a child again, in a world I did not understand, in a language that meant nothing to me, with rules and pathways shrouded in thorn bushes.  My choice was work.  I did my duty, and I took pride in doing it well.  That was all I had.  But it was all I needed.

*            *            *

I hardly saw my mistress for the first six months I lived in Genosha, and she never touched me.  She was clearly busy with her court intrigues and rivalries for power, and sometimes, when I caught a glimpse of her ranting at one of her assistants, or looking blank as a servant tried to explain the chemical consistency of chocolate truffles, and why it was impossible to bring a box of them intact through the African heat without refrigeration, I wondered whether she was old enough to be interested in sex.

But finally she called me into her chambers.  She looked awkward and young when she saw me, and actually flushed and avoided my eyes.  I wondered what had encouraged this.  Had someone at court questioned her maturity?  Perhaps someone her age had been flaunting his or her sexual prowess.  It had to be a competition, for she was far too uncomfortable to actually want it.

She asked me my name, perfunctorily, and I told her, not expecting her to use it or to remember.  I had nearly forgotten it, since Jennifer was the only one who used it.  When I was no longer ‘new girl,’ the other slaves called me ‘Moscow.’  I didn’t bother to explain how offensive that was to someone from the Ukraine.

It was blatantly obvious what she had called me for.  If the fact that she had called me directly to her bedroom was not enough, the hip-length white silk robe, which was all that she wore, was a large hint.  The only thing I was unsure about was why it was me she had chosen.  Technically I was the only slave classed as a concubine, but from what I had heard went on in other households, few masters paid much attention to such details.

My stomach was twisting in nervous tension, because imagining that you could obey, that you could do whatever work was commanded of you, was simple, the imagined humiliation and debasement a pleasant trickle on your skin.  Actually doing it was not at all the same.

I kept my eyes down, uncomfortable with looking at her when she could see me doing so.  My mistress had always been exceptionally direct.  When she bothered to notice something we were doing that she thought was wrong, she never had any trouble saying it.  When she wanted something complicated done she would say it and expect it to be done perfectly.  If it wasn’t she would thrust the concept into the foreman’s head without preamble.  But in this case she seemed to be having a hard time finding the words she needed.

It was almost shocking to be faced with her acting like this, stumbling over simple words, and skirting the issue at such a distance that if it hadn’t been obvious due to context, I would have wondered what on earth she was talking about.  It was so out of character that I almost played dumb so that I could enjoy the experience longer.

But she used my name, and I couldn’t help but glance up.  She was running her hands through her hair, agitatedly making a ponytail in her fist.  Her hair was longer than it had been when I first arrived.  She also wasn’t as painfully skinny.  I wondered if it was relief at not having to live on the same continent as her father anymore.  The slinky robe she wore was half slipping off her shoulder.  She looked utterly mortified, and I couldn’t help take pity on her.

It wasn’t as if this was more forced than it had been with Irina, where it was trade for protection and mutual warmth.  But as much as I found it awkward to look at her, Emma had no trouble looking at me.  And it was that, and her use of my name, that made it different.  For the first time in too long, I felt that I existed.  I wasn’t Moscow, I wasn’t a pair of hands or a piece of furniture, to be unacknowledged and ignored.  And Emma, my mistress, was embarrassed and threatened by my presence.  She was attracted to me, and that made it even easier.

I knelt on the lush thick rug and gestured for her to sit on the edge of the bed.  She stood stiffly unable to move, and I held back my smile with difficulty.  “Sit,” I told her, a command.

She sat, but kept her legs pressed tightly together, her head bowed forward, a curtain of silky hair obscuring her face.  I ran my fingers up her bare calves and over her knees.  She looked up, and I smiled at her, trying to coax her into it.

Conflict was written clearly in her expression.  At that moment it seemed very clear that women had never been made for power.  There was so much vulnerability in this.  I thought ‘baring the tender underbelly’ and had to work very hard not to laugh.  A laugh at this moment would probably get me killed, and I would deserve it.

Instead I unbuttoned my shirt, took it off, and folded it carefully so it wouldn’t get wrinkled.  When I turned back, Emma was staring at me, desperate and unhappy, but with just a hint of hope.  Her knees had gone limp, and I pushed them apart.  She didn’t help, but she didn’t resist.  Her fingers dug into the bedspread and she was biting down on her lower lip so hard I thought it might bleed.

I couldn’t give her the chance to panic and push me away, and I couldn’t let myself think too much about what I was doing, or I would never manage it.

She wanted me.  I could feel it and smell it and taste it, and that had to be enough to make it okay.

It was only when I returned to the downstairs that I realized something had changed.  Everyone knew where I had been and what I had done, and my fellows looked at me in disgust.  They were laborers, they thought, but I was a whore.  There was a line somewhere that I hadn’t seen, and although they had always known that this was what I had been bought for, actually doing it separated me from them. 

They told me I ought to hate her for making me into a pariah, into someone despised, but all I could remember were her fingers threading through my hair, twisting tightly as I made her gasp and whimper until she fell back on the bed with a mewling sigh.  I could not forget the way she lay there, limp, overwhelmed and helpless, nor the involuntary mumbled ‘Thank you’ as I left.

She hadn’t made me into a whore.  They had.

*          *            *

 

Tags: au, criminal minds, emma/emily, fake empire, x-men
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