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Fic: Staying Afloat (Slave Breakers)

Title: Staying Afloat
Author: kaylashay
Rating: FR21
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: Male/Male
Timeline: Several Months Post-Lee
Betas: avamclean & azraelz_angel
Word Count: 837

Crossposted: orig_slavefic

Note: This story is set within The Slave Breakers Universe that was created by maculategiraffe. This story is set Post-Lee, so reading that is a must if you do not want to be spoiled. Also, this parallels one of the short fics showing a training scene between Bran and Holden (found here)

You can find all the stories here: maculategiraffe.livejournal.com/10338.html

Summary: When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us. - Alexander Graham Bell


Bran ran his hand down the bare back in front of him and gave a sad smile when he felt the muscles tense underneath his fingertips. He leaned in toward the dark, silver-flecked hair and whispered, “I know you’re awake, Mas- Holden.”

It had been several months, but to Bran, old habits died hard. It had taken him years to recover from his life before being sold to the Slave Breakers and it would take him time to adjust to being a free man. In his mind, he still saw Holden as the Master that loved him enough to keep him. Now, he was beginning to see Holden as the man that loved him enough to set him free.

When Holden didn’t respond, Bran wrapped his hand over Holden’s shoulder and lightly squeezed. “Will you look me?” he asked just as quietly as before.

Bran wasn’t sure what Holden’s response would be, but slowly Holden rolled around and opened his eyes to stare at Bran. For his part, Bran was taken back by the loss that swirled in Holden’s eyes.

“I don’t need to ask how you slept, do I?”

Holden just snorted in a manner that turned into a sniffle by the time he was done.

“You could try lying to me. It’s been thought that I would believe every word that came from your mouth, even if you said everything was okay when it was anything but.”

“I didn’t lie to you before and I won’t start now, sweetheart,” Holden said quietly. “I wouldn’t do anything to-” Holden cut off and turned his back to Bran again.

Bran bit back a sigh before resting his hand on Holden’s back, making small circles with his fingers. “You wouldn’t do anything to what?”

When Holden didn’t respond, Bran moved his mouth close to Holden’s ear. “You won’t do anything that causes me to leave you,” he whispered. “Yves and Jer didn’t leave because of things you did or didn’t do. You know that right?”

Holden stiffened under Bran’s touch before whispering back, “Logically, I know they had to leave. What Jer’s doing is what I would have done years ago if Alix hadn’t decided to marry me. Emotionally, I haven’t caught up yet. I just know they left and by the Ash it hurts.”

“But it would have hurt more if you had held on to us too tightly; not let us choose,” Bran said thoughtfully. “A smart man once told me that a drowning person could take their rescuer down with them because they are trying so desperately to survive. Jer, Yves and I couldn’t have lived with ourselves if we had taken you down with us. We’re taking turns being the drowning person and the rescuer. The way it should be,” Bran breathed out before leaning down to place a chaste kiss on the nape of Holden’s neck.

Holden’s body gave a shudder and Bran pressed in closer to the older man. He reached one hand around to grasp Holden’s strong hand within his own and he rested his cheek against Holden’s unshaven one. It took several minutes, but Holden’s body finally relaxed into the curve of Bran’s.

“Bran,” Holden breathed out and Bran placed another kiss to Holden’s neck as he squeezed the hand wrapped within his own.

“I’m here. I’m not going anywhere; even if you try to push me away because you think I should leave you alone like Yves and Jer did. I will just handcuff myself to you and get Alix to hide the key. Then you’ll be forced to listen to Kai go on about the mistreatment of free men since you don’t have slaves to abuse anymore.”

Bran smiled when he heard the soft chuckle escape Holden’s lips. “It would give him a purpose,” Holden said with a touch of amusement before becoming serious again. “Since freeing all of you, he’s been a been at a loss.”

“I wouldn’t call it loss, I would call it change. And since when has he been afraid of change?” Bran pressed his body closer and wrapped his leg over Holden’s outstretched ones.

“Not for a long time,” Holden responded as he tilted his head to see Bran’s eyes. “If I’m not mistaken, you are being clingy.”

Bran gave a small smile because he suddenly knew that while things were far from perfect, they were on their way to achieving normality again. It would be a different normality, but perfect all the same.

“I was thinking ‘affectionate,’ but clingy works.”

“Since we’ve covered relaxing and clinging, what does that leave us?”

“Lust,” Bran said as he sucked the lobe of Holden’s ear gently into his mouth. He released the skin with a bit of a nibble before whispering, “But are you sure that’s what you need right now, Holden?”

Holden twisted around and gently rolled Bran beneath him. Holden braced his body with one hand and reached out to stroke Bran’s cheek with the other. “I need you Bran. Just need you.”

Comments

( 26 Campfires — Leave a Comment )
me_ya_ri
Feb. 28th, 2009 07:48 pm (UTC)
Awwww! That's so wonderful! It reads like something that Mac would have written and it feels completely like Bran and Holden. I hereby declare it part of my personal canon. *waves hand*

Great job on this!
kaylashay
Feb. 28th, 2009 08:28 pm (UTC)
*glows*

Thanks and glad that it sat so well with you!

It started because of a plot bunny I tried to send Mac's way and she punted it back to me:

http://maculategiraffe.livejournal.com/103796.html?thread=2199156#t2199156
hawk_soaring
Feb. 28th, 2009 10:37 pm (UTC)
Ah... perfect. Loved this peek into their lives.
kaylashay
Mar. 1st, 2009 06:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Glad you liked my attempt in Mac's world. :-)
supergreak
Feb. 28th, 2009 11:04 pm (UTC)
That's just absolutely gorgeous. The emotions carry over really well. A tribute to the 'verse; you couldn't tell it was a different author.
kaylashay
Mar. 1st, 2009 06:42 pm (UTC)
*glows*

So glad you enjoyed my attempt. And thanks for the awesome praise!
elmyraemilie
Mar. 1st, 2009 12:23 am (UTC)
That's really lovely. What goes around comes around, eh?
kaylashay
Mar. 1st, 2009 06:43 pm (UTC)
Very true... they can take turns being the comforter and comfortee. :-)

Glad you liked!
lab_jazz
Mar. 4th, 2009 11:16 pm (UTC)
That is beautiful...a wonderful little contrast to Mac's training fic. Holden has a real psychological need to own people, it must have been extremely hard for him to free those he loves and put himself in the vulnerable position that he's in now.
kaylashay
Mar. 4th, 2009 11:56 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed!

I don't see Holden as having a need to own, but more like he has a need to know that those he loves are where he can see and hold them. If Yves and Jer hadn't needed to go out into the world and had been perfectly fine with staying at home like Bran, then I think Holden would have been okay with things after a day or two. Instead, he has to watch two of the men he loves leave him behind because of what they need to do with their life. I think if he had needed to own them, he would have tried harder to keep them at home.

It goes back to Pavel. He had everything he wanted with Pavel and then it was suddenly ripped away and he had no control over what happened. Now he needs that control to keep himself from going back to the time in his mind when he had no control.

Mac has created such wonderful characters that they're so much fun to discuss and see everyone's viewpoints on each one. Everyone reads the characters differently and I love reading all the comments she gets just to see other viewpoints.
lab_jazz
Mar. 7th, 2009 12:54 pm (UTC)
Do you think that you'll write more Slave Breakers?
I'd hate to somehow miss them.
kaylashay
Mar. 9th, 2009 12:25 am (UTC)
If I get a bunny for something, I more than likely will. :-)

I may eventually do something with the character I had Bran mention in the fic I did where his parents talked to him about slavery. Jens. Might. Gotta think of something first.
aurila
Mar. 23rd, 2009 06:04 pm (UTC)
I love it. You channeled Mac's style really well here. It's part of the Slave Breakers for me from now on.
kaylashay
Mar. 23rd, 2009 06:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much!

This is the 2nd Slave Breakers fic I've done and I'm more nervous writing/posting them than any other fanfic I do. I think it's because I *know* the creator (Mac) is going to read it.

Glad you liked it!

I tried to send this bunny her way when I had it and she sent it right back to me to write.
fae_lie
Apr. 7th, 2009 08:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you muchly for pointing me in the direction of this fic. Your bunny grew up in a way that I think fits seamlessly into Mac's Slavebreakers. I too shall be treating it as canon.

This:

"Logically, I know they had to leave. What Jer’s doing is what I would have done years ago if Alix hadn’t decided to marry me. Emotionally, I haven’t caught up yet."

and this:

"We’re taking turns being the drowning person and the rescuer. The way it should be"

are big thoughts integrated so naturally into the story they almost slipped by me. I now need to go away and think about them
kaylashay
Apr. 7th, 2009 11:09 pm (UTC)
:-)

Glad you read and enjoyed it... It makes me happy when others say it fits into Mac's world nicely.

The drowning person / rescuer thing really struck me when I read one that inspired this. Until Lee, Holden almost always comes off as the rescuer. But during Lee, we start to see Holden slipping under the water and the others had to step up and be his rescuer...
luci0logy
Apr. 13th, 2009 04:28 pm (UTC)
Delightful. The last line is perfect and one Bran never in his wildest dreams thought he'd hear.
kaylashay
Apr. 13th, 2009 04:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Yeah, Bran is always getting to hear things from Holden he never thought he would hear.

:-)
anne_squires
Apr. 19th, 2009 05:47 pm (UTC)
Loved this. I love Bran and Holden interactions. I think you captured both of them very well.
kaylashay
Apr. 19th, 2009 05:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I love their interactions in mac's works, so I'm glad I able to carry that over.

:-)
julieannette
Apr. 19th, 2009 09:17 pm (UTC)
I'm impressed. Your Bran and Holden sounded and acted like Mac's Bran and Holden. It was like reading something Mac wrote. I have never written fanfic because I didn't think I could capture the characters as the original author did. You have done that very well.
kaylashay
Apr. 19th, 2009 09:45 pm (UTC)
*glows*

Thanks! In any fanfic I write (and I write quite a bit), I really try hard to capture the characters in a way that reflects how they are in the show/book/etc. they came from. If I don't think I can do that to my liking (and I'm a perfectionist), then I usually avoid writing for that fandom/character and stick to reading. I don't think I would be able to write Yves for example, but Bran and Holden, yes. I really got started in the Buffy fandom and I never actually wrote about Buffy, but many of the other characters because I never felt I had a good grasp on her character.

Mac puts so much into those characters, that it makes it easy to me to picture other scenarios with them that she hasn't had a chance to explore.

I'm glad you enjoyed this and thought I did well on the characterization, because that's what I focus on the most. :-)
kaylashay
Apr. 19th, 2009 09:47 pm (UTC)
PS: Plus, writing fanfic is one thing, but writing fanfic for something where you KNOW the creator is going to read it is a whole new thing. I'm more nervous writing Slave Breaker stories than anything else, because I know Mac is going to read it. With the two I've written, I've sent both to her before I posted them for others to read.
julieannette
Apr. 20th, 2009 02:08 am (UTC)
Good job! Yes I can see how having the original author reading your fic would be rather unnerving.
helga1967
Jun. 4th, 2009 11:47 pm (UTC)
Cute
So beutiful done!
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