Fandom: X-Men/Criminal Minds
Pairing: Other Emma Frost/Other Emily Prentiss
Disclaimer: I do not own X-Men or Criminal Minds. I owe wizened_cynic for the concept of quantum babies. She does it much better than me. Title stolen from the poem The State of Virginia After Southampton: 1831, by Geoffrey Brock.
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 Side Stories:
Emily's Notebooks I: The Christmas Revolution
Whore,Pain, Fear, Death
Emily's Notebooks II: Nights Spent Listening to Noises
Original Fake Empire Stories
I hurried downstairs and scrubbed my face. The dark purple left odd shadows around my eyes and the sparkly bronze left flecks of glitter behind. I felt marked, and quickly changed out of the uniform, folding it to keep it neat for the laundry (although it stunk of coffee, wine and cigars). Only the cuffs of the pants actually had coffee on them, but still I felt guilty.
Had she been listening to everything I was thinking? Had she been laughing at my impotent malicious fantasies? I didn’t understand why I had lost control like this. I used to always be able to feel nothing, always be able to look down and not care. My mother had been murdered in front of me, and I had bent my head and obeyed. Everything felt upside down. Where was my rightful rage when the life I had known was destroyed? And now, here, I was filled with hatred and fury because… because of what? Because of nothing? Because I had believed that my mistress’ penchant for violence meant something, meant that I was important.
I wasn’t important.
JJ hadn’t come in yet and I lay flat on my back, wondering where she was. I was exhausted, but still buzzing with thought, most of it spawned from anger and fear.
A knock came at the door, and I knew what it meant. My night was not over yet. All of the nervous energy dissipated at once, and I was exhausted. Opening the door, I was met with Aaron’s sad face.
“The mistress’ sister rang the kitchens, but…”
“No one will go see what she wants?” I pulled on a slightly more presentable shirt than the vest I slept in and started for the stairs. I was beginning to doubt Aaron’s post-traumatic coddling. The next slave who refused to serve a mutant deserved to be whipped. This was no way to run a household.
“Finally. I was beginning to think the bell was broken.” Adrienne rolled her eyes as she lounged on the bed in a robe. She didn’t bother to look at me. “I’m having some trouble sleeping. Get me some warm milk, with… oh, shot of rum.” I doubted the rum would put her to sleep as she had finished off nearly a whole pitcher of wine on her own at dinner.
She looked over at me sharply. “Don’t you have a voice?”
My pause had been longer than I thought. “Yes, my lady. I’ll just go-“
“Wait.” She frowned at me and looked at my face. “Come here.” I moved a few feet closer to the bed. “You were serving at dinner tonight, weren’t you?” She laughed. “Only my cheapskate of a sister would dare to pass off slaves as mutants.”
She stood and reached toward me. Her fingers brushed against my shirt and something happened. Her eyes widened.
“You’re the slut my daddy bought.” Adrienne lifted my chin and inspected my face, then sneered and looked away. “Only the best for daddy’s favorite.” She laughed, mockingly, and I couldn’t tell whether she was mocking Emma or me more. “Doesn’t really matter what you look like though, as long as you’re good at what you do. Tell me,” she smiled cruelly, “Are you on reserve, or does she loan you out to the guests?”
I shouldn’t have been so surprised by the suggestion. The man with the black ponytail had insinuated enough.
For a moment I thought of the dark refectory, the limp bodies, and I wondered if my mistress would be angry if someone else touched me. But this was her sister. She hadn’t even snapped back when she had been personally insulted. She wouldn’t do anything. And worse, I doubted she would care. It wasn’t as if she were alone tonight.
Adrienne stripped off her robe. In some ways her body was more beautiful than Emma’s. She was lush where my mistress was narrow. Her breasts full and heavy, her hips smooth and curved. I couldn’t do it. I stared at her crotch, trying to imagine eating her out. The thought made me sick. She was cruel and a bully.
But what right did I have to complain? I was furniture.
I was sick of being furniture.
“Fetch my drink, and then I’ll give you a ride. I can’t say I care much for women… at all. But from what I saw, you’re pretty good with your mouth.”
I fled the room, desperate for this reprieve. What had she seen? I pulled the shirt out and looked at it. It was just a shirt. It was… the one I had taken off and folded before serving Emma the first time. Had she seen that? Was that even possible?
The thought make my stomach twist like a shriveling worm.
I stumbled into the kitchen. “The mistress’ sister wants warm milk with rum.”
The cook laughed. “I could tell we hadn’t served enough hard liquor. Rule of thumb for the Frost family: if it isn’t 80 proof, it isn’t alcohol.”
Kurt saw me as he came in from rearranging the chairs and tables that had been moved for the party. “Ach, Emily, you are still working?”
I stared at the drink in my hand, with its light dusting of cinnamon. “Kurt. Do you know where I could find a sedative? Something that works fast?”
He looked at me, confused, with a slight suspicion in his eyes. I looked away. I wasn’t going to be weak in front of him. He slipped away and came back almost immediately with two white capsules. “Versed,” he said. “Mr. Cage takes them if he can’t get to sleep.”
It was a stupid idea. If she could see what had happened around the shirt I was wearing, the moment she touched the mug, she would know. I kept the capsules clenched in my guilty fist. She would rip me apart. She wasn’t someone who would wait for justice, not that it would be slow in coming. A slave drugging a mutant was a sign of impending disaster. News of it would give the humans a feeling they could fight back. Any mutant who discovered a slave with even the intent of harming or incapacitating a mutant, was obligated to kill them on site.
I was an idiot. I would fuck her if I had to. Could it really be worse than Emma? It was all the same, if I was used by one person or another. That was what I was there for. That was what her father had bought me for. I cast the pills into a potted plant.
I would never get the dirt off of me, but it was already ground in too deeply to rub away.
* * *
Adrienne took the drink and seemed to notice nothing. She gave me a sly look, but drank the milk without hesitation. I winced. I should have done it.
“This party was a riot, wasn’t it?” Adrienne laughed. “Little Emma really needs to figure out which team she’s playing for, because honestly, Marquis Shaw and Doña Garcia in the same room? It’s lucky she made certain everyone was drunk very quickly, or there could have been a fight.”
I stared at her blankly. Was she expecting me to comment?
She looked at me, frowning. “What have you been doing in these past ten months? Besides fucking my sister. Don’t you remember what my father told you? You’re supposed to be finding out what she’s doing.”
I had forgotten. “I… I don’t know what I’m supposed to be looking for, my lady.”
Adrienne rolled her eyes. “Your lucky my father isn’t here. If you’re that much of an idiot when he comes for her birthday, he won’t be pleased. Look, there’s a rumor that a cabal of pro-human rights are getting more powerful in the capital. If she even goes near them, daddy’s bringing her home. That’s what you need to watch out for.”
I frowned. “I don’t think she would be interested in that.”
Adrienne snorted. “You don’t know what she did to daddy’s project. These idiots and their egalitarian society pipe dreams are fucking dangerous.”
“It sounds like suicide,” I said. My habit of speaking without thinking was really starting to get out of hand.
Adrienne cocked her head and seemed to encourage me to go on.
“If they were successful… if they abolished slavery, within this generation, after proving that mutants have the capacity to dominate humans, that they truly are a danger to individuals, nations, laws, how could the humans let them live? It’s like saying that we want an egalitarian society with tigers, so we let them out of their pens. And yes, we’re smarter and more technologically sophisticated than tigers, but they’re hungry and have been held captive for years. Eventually, we’ll be walking down a dark alley, and we won’t come out the other side.”
Adrienne gave an odd half smile. “Perhaps you’re not as much of an idiot as I thought you were.”
I looked down. I had said too much.
“Daddy would be a fool to trust you.” Her grin was like a cat’s. “I don’t think I’ll mention that to him. You have a snake’s tongue. I hope baby sis likes the way that feels between her legs, because I wouldn’t be surprised if you finished with a knife in her gut.”
I was shocked by her words. Did I read like a traitor to both sides? But a family that planted spies to watch each other probably didn’t have much practice with believing someone to be loyal. Not that I was loyal.
Somehow I needed to keep that feeling. Perhaps I would lie to Baron Frost, but if I did, it wouldn’t be for his daughter’s sake. I had done enough for her. I spent my days making sure her house ran smoothly. I had taken a beating because she wanted me to look after her at night as well. I had taken her curses and her slap when she blamed me for feeling the fear that she had caused. I was not about to promise anyone my loyalty if it meant that I was giving up my one chance at autonomous action.
As a slave, my very words were prescribed, but as a spy I could say what I pleased. I let that thought buoy me, and the relief when Adrienne sent me away unused only increased my self-importance. (She didn’t want my teeth near anything vulnerable, she said with a laugh. And either way, it was late, and her husband would be waiting for her when she went home.)
The feeling lasted for exactly two steps out the door.
“Oi, you. Show me to my room.”