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Fic: What's a Slave? (The Slave Breakers)

Title: What's a Slave?
Author: kaylashay
Rating: FR13
Disclaimer: I don't own The Slave Breakers world or characters, they belong to the talented maculategiraffe who gave the okay for me to post my attempt at playing in her playground.
Warning: Mild discussion on slaves.
Word Count: 537

Crossposted: orig_slavefic

Note: This story is set within The Slave Breakers Universe that was created by maculategiraffe. In order to appreciate this story, reading at least Bran is recommended, but I say read everything she has written within The Slave Breakers world... it rocks. You can find the stories here: maculategiraffe.livejournal.com/10338.html

Summary: One night he asked the question they had feared for years.


He was seven years old when his parents heard him ask the question they had feared answering for years. Dinner had just been finished and he was helping them clear the table when his small voice spoke the words.

“What’s a slave, momma?”

His mother cast a sad look to her husband who walked over and squeezed her hand. They abandoned the dishes and led their son to the worn couch on the opposite side of the room. Once they had him seated between them, his father asked a question in return.

“Where did you hear about slaves?”

“Jens told me. Told me his daddy was gonna sell him as a slave when he’s fifteen. Jens said being a slave was bad.”

His mother wrapped her arms tightly around him before speaking softly to him. “Being a slave isn’t bad, but what people do to slaves is.”

Wide, innocent gray eyes darted between his parents’ faces as his face took on look of intense concentration. “But what’s a slave and why do people do bad things to them?”

His father took a deep breath before trying to find the words to explain the ways of their world to his young son. “Sometimes, there are people, like Jens’ father, that think that having money is more important than loving and keeping their children. People like that sell their children in order to get money.”

He sucked his bottom lip into his mouth as he thought about what his father told him. “But who are they sold to and what happens to a slave? Will I still get to see Jens when he’s sold?”

“Nobles buy slaves. Slaves become kind of like your pet cat. The nobles that own a slave are responsible for taking care of the slave however they see fit,” his mother said as she ran her hand through his curly hair.

“But not everyone takes care of their pet the right way. That’s what you said when I asked to keep Loki. Said I had to be a good pet owner because Loki depended on me.”

“That’s why being a slave can be seen as a bad thing. Not all slave owners take good care of their slave. Sometimes the slaves get hurt.”

“Will Jens get hurt?”

His mother leaned down to give him a kiss on his forehead. “I don’t know sweetheart. We just have to pray to the Gods that he doesn’t.”

“Will I become a slave? I mean if you and daddy really needed some money… would-- would you sell me to a noble?”

He quickly found himself wrapped in the warm and secure arms of both of his parents and his mother spoke softly into his ear. “You’re too precious for us to ever give to anyone else. Love is more important than money ever will be. You’re our son and we will always love you and you will never be sold as a slave.”

“Never?” his small voice broke slightly as tears formed in his eyes.

“Never,” his parents said in unison.

Later that night, as he drifted off to sleep, he felt his mother’s hand stroke through his hair as she whispered, “I love you Bran, my precious boy.”

Comments

( 30 Campfires — Leave a Comment )
lab_jazz
Aug. 12th, 2008 02:25 am (UTC)
What a great ending...
Later that night, as he drifted off to sleep, he felt his mother’s hand stroke through his hair as she whispered, “I love you Bran, my precious boy.”

It ties it in so well with the Slave Breaker's AU

At least Bran goes through life with the knowledge that his parents loved him
kaylashay
Aug. 12th, 2008 02:32 am (UTC)
Thanks! I tried to parallel some of what his parents told him (especially his mom) with how Holden talks to him. That way I could see it as part of what helped him fall for Holden in the first place... he was reminded of the only other people to ever love him.
me_ya_ri
Aug. 12th, 2008 03:05 am (UTC)
Oh how sweet! That was a lovely bit of story. I loved seeing Bran happy and loved with his parents, even though it was a terrible question for his parents. It's even more sad knowing that he does end up getting sold after they're gone. Wonderful work!
kaylashay
Aug. 12th, 2008 03:11 am (UTC)
Thanks! It was a little bunny that hit me the other day and I couldn't resist writing it. I was re-reading some of the stories and read one of the ones where Bran was talking about his parents and how they had told him they would never sell him and that he figured had they known what would have happened they wouldn't have told him that slaves could have bad experiences. Glad you liked!

:-)
wickhouse2005
Aug. 12th, 2008 03:21 am (UTC)
Lovely addition to the slave breakers verse. Without even knowing anything about Jens I feel so awful for him.
kaylashay
Aug. 12th, 2008 03:24 am (UTC)
Thanks!

And damn... now I have little bunnies hopping around about Jens and what exactly happened to him... and maybe, just maybe, a few years down the line he has a little run in with the slave breakers... hmmmmmmm.....
wickhouse2005
Aug. 12th, 2008 03:34 am (UTC)
If Bran and Jens are the same age approx. it would be possible for him to run into the slave breakers or at least met Bran at the market.

Tries to feed the pretty bunnies.
kaylashay
Aug. 12th, 2008 03:37 am (UTC)
Meeting at the market was my first thought... I'll have to think on it some more.

*tries to get the carrots away from the bunnies before they grow to fast*
twicet
Aug. 12th, 2008 03:51 am (UTC)
Lovely to see a young Bran loved by his parents.
kaylashay
Aug. 12th, 2008 08:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks! The little bunny formed and wouldn't go away.
angiepen
Aug. 12th, 2008 10:42 am (UTC)
Oww! Perfect gut-punch at the end there. Good job.

Angie
kaylashay
Aug. 12th, 2008 08:29 pm (UTC)
I tried to pull the punch, but I guess it still came out anyway...

Thanks!
angiepen
Aug. 12th, 2008 08:55 pm (UTC)
Nono! The gut punch was the whole point! It was, wasn't it...? LOL! I thought it was, anyway, and that's the whole reason this worked for me. If it'd had a soft, gentle ending, I'd have shrugged and moved on, because there wouldn't have been much point to the whole thing. That ending ties it up and makes it work. :)

Angie
kaylashay
Aug. 12th, 2008 09:10 pm (UTC)
Oh the punch was going to be there. I actually didn't think about the fact that I didn't use Bran's name until part way through writing it and then I was like, that has to be the last line, his mother saying his name so we know without a doubt that it was him.

I also tried to parallel the way his mother talked to him with how Holden talks to him. For example: You’re too precious for us to ever give to anyone else. was a a call back to Holden saying Bran was too precious to offer to just anyone when he had Andrei over that first time to look at Bran for buying. I did other little things like that, but that was my most obvious one I think.
caz_in_a_teacup
Aug. 12th, 2008 11:13 am (UTC)
Oh... perfect. Short and sweet. And the thought of a kitten named Loki is wonderful.
kaylashay
Aug. 12th, 2008 08:30 pm (UTC)
I wanted a way his parents to parallel it to something his 7 year old mind could understand and I was like... ooo... a pet. Then I was like... what the heck do I name the thing. Then I remembered the story he told Holden when they were sitting by the fire and Loki was born...

:-)

Thanks!
hawk_soaring
Aug. 12th, 2008 09:44 pm (UTC)
Ah, what a wonderful fic! Love the backstory for Bran. Poor kid...
kaylashay
Aug. 12th, 2008 09:52 pm (UTC)
Yeah, young Bran had so much love in his life and then "BAM" it was all ruined... then he gets the rebound with Holden... even if it took Holden too long to admit he loved him.

I have a few more ideas now using Jens and what happens to him.

Glad you liked!
elmyraemilie
Aug. 12th, 2008 09:56 pm (UTC)
So sad for Bran, but in the end, so happy, too. Your choice of scene for this ficlet is good--kids find out about the world first from their friends and then from their parents.
kaylashay
Aug. 13th, 2008 12:07 am (UTC)
Thanks... I didn't think about it that way, but you are correct on the friend part. Then you have the parents that aren't like Bran's and don't follow up the friend teaching with their own (or if they do, it's worse than the friend teaching).
maculategiraffe
Aug. 14th, 2008 12:11 pm (UTC)
Such a lovely and heartbreaking story. Thank you so much for posting it!

I especially love that his kitten's name is Loki. :)
kaylashay
Aug. 14th, 2008 07:01 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm so glad you liked it. What's funny is realizing that this is my only "legal" posted story. Since I write fanfiction and not original, I've never had something that I actually had permission from the creator to post. It's a novel experience.

As for Loki, I was racking my brain for a good name for Bran's kitten and then remember the story he told Holden at the fire and went, "Loki!!" :-)

I may do some more stemming off of this with Jens. I have a few plot bunnies in mind.

Oh, one more question... how far away did Bran have to go when his parents died and he went to live with his grandfather? Was it the same area or farther away?
maculategiraffe
Aug. 15th, 2008 04:29 am (UTC)
Farther than the nearest town to Bran's parents' farm. Like the next town over. :) Looking forward to whatever you come up with!
cgravenstone
Aug. 18th, 2008 03:49 am (UTC)
This was great. Very sweet. Fits in nicely with Bran's innocence later on. :)
kaylashay
Aug. 18th, 2008 05:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad it worked for you. The little bunny just jumped up and demanded to be written.
julieannette
Apr. 19th, 2009 11:57 am (UTC)
That was sweet. I liked it a lot. Liked the kitten/pet analogy to explain slavery to young Bran.
kaylashay
Apr. 19th, 2009 04:54 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I figured that slaves in this world are a lot like pets in many ways, so what better way to explain to a young Bran about them. And of course Bran would have a kitten named Loki. :-)
anne_squires
Apr. 19th, 2009 06:01 pm (UTC)
Oh, so sweet. Well, considering what Bran's future holds this scene is more bittersweet than sweet really. It tugs at my heartstrings. I think the love that Bran's parents gave him and raised him with for nine years is the reason than Bran was able to survive, and also the reason he turned out to be the person that he grew to be. At least until Holden got a hold of him. After that his relationship with Holden was able to nourish him. But, his parents' love--- that is definitely the foundation of all that Bran is, became.

Excellent vignette.
kaylashay
Apr. 19th, 2009 09:40 pm (UTC)
I know. Thinking of Bran like this knowing what's going to happen to him after his parents die is kinda hard. It's like you want to grab him and protect him so it never happens to him.

Thanks!
iseldur
Nov. 2nd, 2011 06:27 am (UTC)
OH FUCK I REAALY DIDN'T REALISE UNTIL THE LAST LINE

This is amazing. God...
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