Summary: In a world where sex slavery is the norm, Santana's sold to a wealthy man who hopes that Santana's company can help mend his daughter's broken spirit. Can a master who doesn't believe in the slave trade and a slave who only wants to be loved let go of their troubled pasts?
Warnings: Sex slavery, mentions of rape and abuse
Spoilers: No spoilers
Author’s Notes: I've seen some concerns about the long pairings list that I included in the first chapter. I want to assure everyone that all of the other pairings will only be brief mentions, and all of those characters will only make a major appearance in one chapter.
There's not much Brittana interaction yet, but it will definitely pick up in the next chapter, I promise.
Santana's not quite sure how long she's on her knees, but when she feels gentle fingers on her shoulder she realizes that it wasn't nearly as long as she'd imagined. A hand appears in front of her face, and Santana slowly looks up.
The woman from the kitchen is smiling down at her kindly. "C'mon," she says. "Let's get you cleaned up." When Santana makes no move to take the offered hand, she kneels down and unsnaps Santana's collar. Santana sucks in air and rubs at her sore skin. The woman takes her hands away from her neck and begins to work on the ties around Santana's wrists. "I'm Shannon."
Santana watches Shannon work. She wonders where Pierce is, where Brittany is. There are no other sounds in the house, and she assumes that she and Shannon are now alone. She glances over her shoulder just in time to see Brittany breeze by; she doesn't look happy. Santana swallows hard and looks back to Shannon, whose fingers appear to be a bit too big to work Pierce's tight knots out of the ties. "Why did he call you a beast?" She asks quietly, her words grating against her dry throat.
Shannon pauses and looks at Santana curiously for a moment. When it dawns on her what Santana is referring to, she chuckles. "No, he wasn't calling me a beast." Santana furrows her eyebrows as Shannon stands to rummage through Brittany's desk drawers. She knows what she heard; Shannon telling her that she doesn't makes her kind of mad. Shannon turns back around, scissors in hand, and she must sense Santana's brewing attitude because she says, "It's my last name. B-e-i-s-t-e. Beiste."
Santana nods, accepting the answer even though she's not really sure of any other way to spell the word. Shannon doesn't need to know that, though. Shannon slips the blades of the scissors carefully under the ties and snips them off. "That's unfortunate," Santana finally says, and Shannon chuckles again, a bit darkly, and it's obvious that the way her name is oddly linked to her status hasn't escaped her. Santana chews her bottom lip and touches her wrists carefully in turn. She hears the ties hit the bottom of the waste basket near the desk, and this time when Shannon offers her hand, Santana takes it and allows herself to be hauled to her feet.
Shannon bats Santana's hands away as she begins to rub her wrists. "You'll make it worse." She turns to the dresser by the window and pulls out a gray pair of sweatpants and a white t-shirt; both have the same letters on them, scrawled in red. Santana wishes she knew what they said. "We'll get you all cleaned up. What's your name, kid?" Santana studies Shannon as she pulls light blue, duck printed undergarments from a different drawer. She looks around, taking in the light colors of the room, the breeze filtering through the open window, the movies and CDs and stuffed animals littering the flat surfaces. "If you don't tell me your name, I'm going to keep calling you 'kid'," Shannon warns lightly.
Santana jumps slightly, having almost forgotten that she wasn't alone, and snaps her attention back to Shannon, who seems worried that she actually might not have a name. "I'm Santana. Santana Lopez."
Shannon smiles and nods. "Well, Santana, I think Brittany drew you a bath, so we should get you cleaned up."
Shannon leads her into the hallway. Santana looks around and trains her ears, but, just as before, there isn't a sound to be heard. She tries to pay attention to what Shannon's saying, but Santana can't keep her mind from wandering. Pierce had told Brittany plainly that Santana belonged to her, but Pierce had signed her papers. Who then, exactly, was Santana's master? Did she take orders from Brittany, Pierce, or from the both of them?
She's pretty sure she already knows what kind of master Pierce is, but Brittany's a mystery. Before today, Santana had thought that Pierce was somewhat of a loner; he never appeared to talk to anyone at the auctions, and Santana knows that if she'd seen Brittany before she would have definitely remembered.
Brittany hadn't said a word to her, had barely even looked at her before walking out. Santana thinks that, if she could categorize masters, and based on the masters she's had in the past, Brittany would definitely fall under neglectful. When she was bought by her first master, he had immediately thrown her into the basement and had left her there for two days, only coming to check on her when he'd heard her trying to smash a window to escape.
Santana pictures Brittany doing that once she's cleaned up.
Santana's brought back to reality when her bare feet leave carpet and touch cold tile, just in time to hear Shannon tell her that Pierce left for work, so she doesn't have to worry about him. Santana breathes a relieved sigh and looks to the full bathtub, lined with assorted soaps and shampoos. She supposes this is strictly Brittany's bathroom.
"Use anything you want," Shannon offers, but before she can slip out the door, Santana turns to her.
"Can I ask you something?" Shannon nods. Santana pulls her hands up in front of her stomach and fiddles with her fingers, afraid of the answer to her question. "Who is my master?" The words make her stomach churn. "I'm…a bit confused."
Shannon takes a quick look down the hall, then closes the door silently. "Well, Brian is my master." Santana frowns curiously, wondering if Shannon is regularly allowed to call Pierce by his first name, or if it just slips sometimes. "He bought you for Brittany because…"
When Shannon trails off, Santana attempts to fill in with, "Because it was her birthday."
Shannon offers a tight lipped smile, but moves on. "So Brittany's your master…or mistress. But I'm not sure how Brian will handle this since he signed your papers and not her." Her answer doesn't ease Santana's confusion, and Shannon seems to understand. "Take orders from Brittany. Keep your ears open around Brian. Just in case."
"Thank you," Santana whispers.
Shannon nods and opens the door, but before she steps out she says, "Brittany…doesn't talk much. So I wouldn't worry too much about it."
Then Shannon's gone, the door is closed, and Santana stands a bit stunned. Brittany doesn't talk? To anyone? To Santana she had looked like a girl who could go on for hours about the tiniest things. Shannon made it sound as though what Santana had mistaken for rudeness and neglect was actually something much, much deeper.
Great. Household drama, she thinks as she pulls her drying shirt over her head and drops it into a pile with her sweatpants. Figures I'd walk right into a soap opera.
Santana sighs when her toes touch the water; it's cool, exactly what she needs. Santana decides to enjoy every second of it, because there's no telling when she'll be allowed to bathe again. She wets her hair and rubs in a generous portion of fruity shampoo – she can't read the label, but there's a strawberry on it and it smells amazing – and massages the back of her head where Pierce had held her.
Just as she finishes washing the shampoo out, the door creaks open slowly and Brittany slips in, towel in hand. Against her better judgment, Santana tenses and pulls her knees to her chest protectively; the last time she had tried to bathe, her master had held her under the water until she blacked out. Brittany drops the towel on the closed toilet lid and pulls a wash cloth from it's folds.
Santana wonders is she's supposed to bathe Brittany when she's done, wonders if the Pierce's didn't use slaves for sex, but as servants.
She'd be completely okay with that; she's had her fill of being violated.
Brittany steps closer and extends her hand, silently offering the wash cloth to Santana. Santana hesitates for a moment, eyes flicking from Brittany's face - her beautiful fucking face, Santana thinks – to the wash cloth, before she finally reaches out a trembling hand to take it. She holds it limply, feeling stupid that she's not exactly sure what she's expected to do. Is this an invitation to wash herself, or some weird test of her obedience?
Brittany studies her for a moment. Her gaze isn't judging and it doesn't seem as though she's attempting to get off on the image of Santana. It's none of the things Santana is used to. She's curious, and Santana can't help but watch as Brittany's eyes flit over her red wrists, her split lip, and her black eye.
Brittany catches her eye, and Santana flinches, expecting her head to be shoved down violently; slaves don't make eye contact unless they're told to. Instead, Brittany turns her body slightly to open and dig through the medicine cabinet. Santana takes a deep, steadying breath and uses the opportunity to quickly wash herself off. Once Brittany is finished in the medicine cabinet, she closes it and bends to pull something from under the sink. Depositing her findings beside the pile of clothes Shannon left, Brittany picks up the towel and unfurls it. She holds it up and looks at Santana expectantly.
Reluctantly, Santana lifts herself out of the tub and stands in front of Brittany, dripping water everywhere and awaiting instructions. Brittany steps forward and motions for Santana to lift her arms, which she does immediately; this, she thinks, is the hardest part…learning how to be exposed to a complete stranger all over again.
Expecting to be prodded, touched, inspected, and groped, Santana is pleasantly surprised to feel nothing but the fluffy green towel and Brittany's soft knuckles touch her skin as she tucks the towel closed. Brittany guides her gently to sit on the toilet lid. She touches Santana's chin gently and turns Santana's head to inspect her eye. She exhales heavily through her nose and holds up her index finger before slipping out the door once more. Santana bounces her foot nervously, unsure of what to do. Brittany's only gone a minute, though, sparing Santana from driving herself crazy wondering what is happening.
Really, who's the slave and who's the master around here anyway?
Brittany holds a plastic baggie full of ice, and she presses it gently to Santana's eye. Santana tries to hold in her displeased hiss, but it bleeds through her gritted teeth against her will. She flinches when Brittany grabs for her hand, fearing punishment, but Brittany just presses it against the bag, silently asking Santana to hold it herself.
With both of her hands now free, Brittany takes her other supplies into her lap. "I'm Brittany," she says quietly, and her voice is so sweet, so innocent, that Santana almost smiles.
"Santana," she whispers. Brittany seems to mull her name over, then nods her approval and returns her attention to her supplies. "Mistress-"
Brittany holds up a hand, cotton ball pinched between her thumb and index finger, stopping Santana's words. "Don't," she says simply, and Santana swallows thickly and nods, ashamed that she's spoken out of turn and obviously upset Brittany. Brittany dabs something onto the cotton ball and brings it close to Santana's face. "This is going to sting," she warns. She waits. It takes Santana a moment to realize that she's waiting for permission to do what she wants, and it makes her heart hurt as she nods.
Brittany presses the cotton ball to Santana's split lip and she's right; it burns like hell, but Santana's almost too caught up in Brittany's eyes and her own racing thoughts to notice.
What exactly is Brittany's deal? She should be breaking Santana in, beating her into submission or using Santana's body to fulfill her own needs. She's not supposed to be tending to Santana, letting her bathe and treating her wounds. This isn't master protocol, and to be honest, Santana's skeptical. It has to be a trick, a different technique for breaking her; she'll let her guard down, then when she least expects it-
Brittany stands, breaking Santana from her thoughts. Santana looks to the floor, refusing to make eye contact, and she feels fingers brush her bare shoulder gently. Santana lifts her head, but doesn't look directly at Brittany. Brittany ghosts her fingers over Santana's jaw, and Santana suppresses a shiver, but takes it as silent permission to make eye contact.
Brittany lifts the corners of her mouth slightly, but when her attempt at a smile fails, she looks down to her own wrist. Curious, Santana flicks her eyes down also. Brittany pulls a thin hair band from her wrist and holds it up for Santana to take. Once Santana's fingers close around the object, Brittany gestures invitingly to the pile of clothes beside Santana, picks up her old discarded ones, and leaves, making sure to lock the door behind her.
Santana pulls the ice pack from her eye and stares at the hair tie in her hand for a moment. It's been years since she'd had her hair pulled back; she's not even sure she could do it on her own. Santana tosses the tie to the side, quickly dries her body, and slips into the clothes. They're a tad big on her, but it's a welcome contrast to the skin tight shirt that she'd worn earlier. Santana throws the towel into what appears to be the clothes hamper and pulls the drain in the tub.
Santana slips the hair tie Brittany had given her over her own wrist and assesses her face in the mirror. The ice has made the swelling in her eye lessen considerably. Her lip looks bad, possibly slightly infected, but whatever medication Brittany had applied to it has made the cut stop throbbing in time with her heartbeat. She rakes her fingers through her hair, attempting to at least partially untangle it.
If Santana's being honest with herself, she knows she's scared, more so than usual. Bouncing from master to master becomes less and less of a big deal the more you do it. When you think about it, masters are usually all the same. Sure, they have different techniques, but they all ultimately add up to the same rules and treatment. All shout orders from the beginning, teaching the rules, punishing when the rules are broken. But Brittany…shell barely speak at all, let alone give Santana orders.
What if she does something wrong unintentionally?
Santana sighs heavily and steps into the hallway. She's not sure if she should go back to Brittany's room or go downstairs. She wasn't really paying attention on the way to the bathroom, and she's not exactly sure which of the closed doors is Brittany's. She pads carefully to the stairs and peers down. She can hear Shannon rattling around, and she figures it's okay to at least go down and see what she's supposed to do.
"There she is," Shannon says when she spies Santana stepping off the bottom stair. Brittany is sitting at the table, tracing patterns on the wood with her finger, seemingly in a different world. At her feet sits the chubbiest cat Santana's ever seen. "Are you hungry, kid?" Without waiting for an answer, Shannon gestures to the chair across from Brittany with her spatula. Santana looks to Brittany for direction, but she hasn't looked up. Hesitantly, Santana sits on the very edge of the chair. Shannon points the spatula at Brittany. "This one just polished off two grilled cheeses and wants another. How do you like yours?"
Santana turns alarmed eyes to Brittany, wondering where the girl put all that food. Then, she looks to Shannon and shrugs helplessly; she hasn't had grilled cheese in years, and she's not positive about how her mother used to make it.
Shannon nods. "I'll just make it the same as Britt's." Santana laces her fingers in her lap and keeps her eyes on them until her plate is in front of her. When she looks up, Brittany has already eaten almost half of her own. She motions for Santana to eat.
Santana takes a couple of bites, trying to keep her eyes on Brittany for any signs of displeasure with her behavior. Eventually, her hunger gets the best of her, and before Santana knows it her first sandwich is gone and another is dropped onto her plate, accompanied by a chuckle and murmurs of being eaten out of house and home from Shannon. Shannon sets a glass of blue liquid in front of her – Santana thinks it might be Kool-Aid – and Santana eyes it. Brittany reaches over and pushes it closer with one finger, and Santana grabs it and gulps the juice. She hadn't realized just how thirsty she was. Shannon refills her glass with another laugh.
Just as Santana is picking up her second sandwich, she hears Brittany click her tongue twice; Santana drops her sandwich and sits up straight and at attention. She's used to being addressed in such a way, like she's a dog.
Which, she guesses, is exactly what she is to these people.
From the stove, Shannon whips her head around, eyes wide. Santana's eyes land on Brittany, but Brittany isn't looking back at her. She's breaking off a small chunk of grilled cheese and offering it to the cat at her feet with a smile. It's the first smile she's seen Brittany succeed in plastering on her face, and Santana wishes she had a camera because it's so beautiful and so infectious that Santana finds herself wanting to smile too.
Santana looks to Shannon next. Shannon looks a bit panicked, and Santana realizes that she didn't want Santana to take Brittany's call for her cat as a call for her own attention. Shannon shoots her a reassuring smile, then looks back to Brittany. "Britt," she scolds lightly, and Brittany's hands fly to her lap. She looks to Shannon, and the woman gives her a look that makes her redden. She returns to her lunch looking like a scorned child.
A minute passes; Santana finishes her sandwich as Shannon makes her own lunch and cleans up a bit. Brittany eyes Shannon from the corner of her eye and discretely rips off another bit of her sandwich. Santana can't hold back her small smile when Brittany sneakily hands it to the cat, returning her hand to the table just as Shannon turns around.
"So, what are you up to the rest of the day?" Shannon asks curiously before biting into her grilled cheese. Santana's not quite sure who she's talking to since she wasn't really looking at either of them. When Shannon doesn't get a response, she glances at Brittany. "Going to Mike's?" Her voice is hopeful, and when Brittany shakes her head, Shannon tries again. "Rachel's?" Another shake of Brittany's head. "Puck's? Finn should have your car back by dinner. I think it'd be good if you got out of the house for a bit." Brittany frowns in Shannon's direction. Santana mirrors the expression; Shannon's motherly behavior baffles her. Is Shannon Pierce's slave and Brittany's mom? Shannon sighs. "At least go out into the backyard for a bit," she offers before dropping the subject entirely.
Brittany drops her last sandwich half onto her plate and pushes her chair back. Followed by her waddling cat, Brittany opens the sliding glass door and slips onto the back deck. Santana watches as she plops down on the top step and pulls the cat into her lap.
Feeling a bit braver since it's just her and Shannon, Santana asks, "Why doesn't she speak much?"
Shannon sips her water for a moment. "We're not really sure," she says finally. "It's been this way ever since she was 15."
Santana traces the rim of her plate. "What happened?"
Shannon takes longer to answer this time, and Santana's eyes never leave Brittany's back. Finally, after Santana's sure that Shannon has mulled over whether she can be trusted or not, she says, "She lost her mother."
Santana feels her breath catch and all she can manage to say is, "Oh." She's always assumed that masters and slaves had absolutely nothing in common, but as it turns out, she and Brittany are similar in one very, very big way.
"Why don't you go keep her company?" Shannon suggests softly. She begins to clear the table. "She won't say much, but she likes having friends around. Plus, you look like some fresh air would do you some good." Santana nods and stands, completely unsure of what she'd do once she got out there. She's not Brittany's friend. She's her slave. How is she supposed to help the girl, other than her intended purpose? "Oh, Santana?" Shannon calls when Santana's hand is on the door handle. "Don't worry; you're safe with Brittany. Just sit with her."
There's an odd shimmer in Shannon's eyes, almost like unshed tears and a little bit of pride, but Santana doesn't acknowledge the words as she opens the door. Brittany's a master; no slave is safe with masters. She walks slowly towards Brittany, giving the girl time to tell her to fuck off if she wants. The heat from the deck burns her feet, but she's too distracted by the wonderful breeze whipping her hair to notice. She drops down beside Brittany silently, leaving as much space between them as the railings will allow.
The cat in Brittany's lap turns to her abruptly and clambers into her lap. Panicking a bit, Santana freezes; she's never held an animal before.
Brittany reaches over and scratches behind its ears. "This is Lord Tubbington," she says quietly. Santana narrows her eyes at the strange, yet oddly appropriate name. She can't help but wonder if the Lord part is because he's the pet of a master, or if it's just coincidence. She runs a hesitant hand over his back. "Tubbs," Brittany continues. "This is Santana." Lord what's-his-name looks up at Santana, wholly unimpressed, and jumps to the ground to chase a butterfly.
They sit in total silence for hours, listening to the birds chirping and the cars passing on the other side of the house. Santana finds that she doesn't mind Brittany's company; the longer they sit, the less tense she is. She forgets, for just a few sweet moments, that she's supposed to be keeping her ears open for any orders. Instead, she allows herself to enjoy being outside without being leashed to a stake. She breathes the fresh air and closes her eyes and just sits with Brittany quietly. It's comfortable, a type of silence that Santana is unaccustomed to; usually when it's silent, she's waiting for yelling and barked orders and flying fists while cower in a corner in fear.
It's hard for her to believe that a week ago that was her life, and now she's sitting calmly with her master, who happens to be a beautiful woman.
It almost makes her cry tears of happiness.
Shannon had said that she was safe with Brittany; now, Santana thinks she might believe it. Brittany doesn't seem like she could violently backhand Santana without a second thought. She doesn't look like a person who could yell at Santana for hours about everything she isn't doing right.
When the sun is barely giving them light, Shannon calls them in for dinner.
While Brittany seems pretty mellow, Pierce is an entirely different story. When he arrives home in the middle of dinner, dropping a kiss to the top of Brittany's head and mumbling about an idiotic Finn Hudson, the air in the room becomes heavy with tension.
Santana sits stiff beside Brittany, pushing her food around her plate. Pierce is busy bitching about work and has yet to address her presence, so she doesn't want to draw attention to herself.
"What is this?" He demands when Shannon sets is plate in front of him. Santana sees Brittany stiffen from the corner of her eye.
Shannon flinches. "Master, its meat-"
"Didn't I specifically tell you to make spaghetti? This is a special day for Brittany, and spaghetti is her favorite!"
Brittany whimpers softly, and Santana thinks that maybe she's the only one who's heard her. She wonders how often this happens; she thinks she knows what comes next.
Shannon opens her mouth to respond, but Pierce beats her to it. "Britt, take your mutt upstairs and find something to do."
"Dad, please don't-"
Brittany looks to Shannon, her eyes wide and glassy, and Shannon smiles for her sake, nodding to let her know that it's okay. She looks at Santana, silently begging her with her eyes to go with Brittany, to look after her. Santana hurries to catch up to Brittany, and before they're even halfway up the stairs a sharp smack is heard and is soon followed by another. Brittany picks up her pace, barely giving Santana time to enter her room before she slams and locks the door.
Brittany presses the heels of her hands to her eyes and a small sob rips from her body. Santana stands awkwardly; there's no way that she can make this better, and she's afraid that, if she tries, Brittany will lash out and hit her too.
Completely ignoring Santana, Brittany rips her shirt over her head and lets her shorts pool around her ankles. Santana's muscles go rigid and she waits to be told to undress too. Of course Brittany would wait until they were completely alone to use her in this way. She won't fight it; she'll let it happen, and when Brittany's finished with her body, she'll curl into a ball.
It's no different than anything she's experienced since she was 15.
She watches Brittany stalk to the dresser and pull out a pair of sweatpants identical to her own and a red shirt with white letters on it. She pulls on both items of clothing, and Santana relaxes, feeling a bit lightheaded with relief.
She won't be violated tonight.
Brittany slides into bed and faces the wall. She lies still for a moment before rolling over to turn off her lamp. She jumps a bit, as if she'd forgotten that Santana was there too.
"I…" She begins, but trails off. She looks embarrassed, and if Santana hadn't just witnessed the same thing as she did, she'd say it was because she'd forgotten Santana. But she knows; Brittany's embarrassed of her father, the way he's treating Shannon at this moment, and Santana knows that Brittany probably blames herself. "I don't know…" Finally, she resigns her attempts to find something to say and settles for lifting her blankets up, silently encouraging Santana to join her. Santana climbs in silently, and turns off the lamp since she's closest.
Down stairs, she can still hear Pierce and Shannon, the yelling and the beating. She turns her head to Brittany; she's trembling, her hands are covering her ears and she's humming softly. Santana reaches a cautious hand out and lays it flat on Brittany's back, between her shoulder blades. It takes a moment, but Brittany's trembling stops.
Santana closes her eyes and hums along with Brittany, trying to drown out the sounds. Together, they drift off.