LSE // 9-16-02
(Enslaving the Heart - Chapter One: Shackles)
rated: R - adult language, content
shounen-ai/extreme AU


Shackles





Something was pressed against his cheek. For a moment, it was all he
could to stay awake and fight the closing comfort of the black
nothingness he had left. Whatever was against his face helped focus
his attention. It was cold, and slick. Rough. He could feel it rubbing
his skin raw.

Slowly, he gathered enough of himself together to realize it was the
rusted iron floor to his cage, which swung precariously a handbreadth
above the dirt floor. Dirt, because he could sense behind closed eyes
the sun's glow on his skin. It was muted, however, and he soon
discovered it was raining, as well.

With great caution he allowed one eye to crack open and take in his
surroundings visually. His view of the market was different that the
other day, and the cage was not the same. This new cage was smaller
than his old one. There were no broken scraps of metal of which to
rake his skin against, so it was an improvement nonetheless.

To one side, he could make out the hunched form of the stall
operator. Spread out before him was the vast market, filled despite
the drizzle which fell from the heavens. He could see others like him
in the cages that lined the stalls across the way. Lifting his head
far enough to turn it, he saw he was placed at the end of the row,
therefore a great many potential customers could see him.

There were getting desperate to sell him, it seemed.

He pulled himself up enough to look alert and healthy. No one wasted
money on broken goods. Scanning the crowd, he looked for anyone
interesting, but there were only the drab commoners. To amuse
himself, he watched a slim prostitute attempt to lure customers. She
didn't look a day over twelve, and likely wasn't.

Before long, she stalked off to a secluded alley with a muddy
stonecutter following and he no longer had anything to watch.
Fortunately, or perhaps rather unfortunately, a potential buyer chose
that moment to linger for the tiniest bit before his cage.

In an instant, the man hunched to one side sprung to life. "Good
afternoon, milady."

Catching the title, he turned his head slightly to look at the
supposedly lady. To his great surprise, there was no common tradesmen
wife, but a well and pure highbred lady standing there in her silks
and lace. A dutiful servant held a wax-paper shade over his
mistress's head to keep out the rain, but she didn't seem to
acknowledge the weather beyond that.

The lady ignored the man and instead let her indifferent gaze rest
upon the cage before her.

Contained beneath a wax-paper shade was a woman who looked as
dignified as the lady, but lacked the finer clothes and jewels that
signified rank. "My Lady Peacecraft, do you wish to inquire about
this... boy?" the woman asked, her disdain evident.

The young noblewoman inclined her head ever so slightly in
acknowledgment.

Eager to have caught the eye of obviously wealthy patronage, the man
bobbed his head to the lady in fervent salute. "Good afternoon, good
afternoon," he repeated, gesturing that the lady seek further shelter
under the flimsy tarp that served as the stall. The lady and her
party stoically ignored the gestures.

"Good afternoon, sir. What are the boy's uses? Any skills or talents?"

"Madame, the boy has the strength of those twice his age and size. He
also possesses a sharp mind and a clear understanding of authority.
And, I can assure the lady that he would make an excellent stallion,
if given a few years. Truly, a slave worthy of the lady's attentions,
if this humble merchant may venture to say."

"No special talents? He looks too skinny, and one cheek is red. Has
he a fever? I would have you make the boy stand, but it appears this
cage is not large enough for him to do so," the woman put forth with
scorn. In contrast the petite, fair-haired lady, the woman was sturdy
and dark headed. The ebony strands were cropped short about the ears
and only a shapely form kept her from being easily mistaken for a man.

"Don't be fooled by his slender body, I assure you the boy is strong
and fit for hard labor. He can easily be a domestic as well, although
I would personally recommend him for labor. He has a keen
understanding of mechanics, if the lady has any machinery on her
lands that need tending. The boy's health is excellent. I don't think
he knows how to be sick, to tell the truth."

The dark haired woman frowned and turned to the lady with a raised
eyebrow, "Lady Peacecraft?"

The lady reached a delicate finger out the cage as if to touch it,
causing the dark haired woman to cringe and snap a handkerchief from
the nearest servant. The probing digit stopped short of the rusted
metal however, and the lady finally spoke.

"What is his name?"

The man looked confused, "His name?"

The lady's crystalline eyes turned towards the slaver, "Yes."

"Er..."

"What do you call him? how do you separate him from the others?" the
lady looked confused herself, a small crease appearing in her
otherwise flawless skin.

They called him by whatever oath or profanity seemed to fit the
moment, but the man could not utter such words to a noble.

From his cage, the boy stirred and cast wary eyes to the slaver.
"Heero," he rasped, voice harsh from disuse.

The lady nodded and whispered something to her attendant, causing the
woman to say, rather loudly, "but he's worthless!"

"Noin," Lady Peacecraft said sharply.

The dark haired woman, Noin, sighed and turned to the slaver. "What
are you asking for the boy?"

And so the boy known as Heero found himself freed from the cage bound
into shackles by the lady's other servants. Noin passed the key on to
a man Heero had not noticed before among the lady's retainers. Before
he could gain a clear look at the man, he was neatly tossed into the
back of a wagon and attached by his shackles to the side boards.

He tossed back wet locks from his face and leaned against the side.
The wagon was open to the elements, and the iron across his ankles
and wrists prevented any sort of comfort. Before they left the
market, several more items were thrown into the wagon to share his
journey, including a cask of brandy.

Rich bastards.

Heero curled down best be could and tried to maximize what little
warmth he generated. His shirt clung to his chest, channels of water
draining out on to the wagon bed and falling through the cracks to
the mud road beneath. He was cold, wet, unsure of his destination,
but he was now someone's property. At least he had purpose.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

It was dark by the time they reached the lady's estate, which lay
between the hills and the forest. The market's purchases were
unloaded from the wagon, but Heero was left there until the tall man
with his key came by. "Up, boy."

He heard the command and willed his body to obey. His head rested
heavily against his chest as the shackles were unattached from the
boards. "Out, boy."

Following the voice's orders, Heero crawled down from the wagon and
tumbled into the mud with a dull thud. What time was it? Past middle
of night, for sure.

"Trieze, put him with the rest of the field hands for now," he heard
Noin order. There was a slight pause and then, "Why is he laying
there in the mud? The Lady Peacecraft doesn't want the boy damaged."

"Not of my doing, Madame. Up, boy," Trieze barked, adding a nudge from
his boots to accent the command.

Heero struggled to his feet and the mud sloshed off with the downpour
of rain that dripped off his clothes and hair. "Why milady wasted
good money on you, I'll never know," Noin muttered.

"Off with you, boy."

Heero obediently shuffled off in the direction Trieze indicated.
"You'll answer promptly when told, otherwise you will remain silent.
Orders are to obeyed without delay and I'm not one to spare the whip
for laziness or mouth. When Lady Peacecraft is in your presence you'll
keep your eyes cast down and under no circumstances will you look at
her without explicit permission."

"Yes, sir."

"You'll sleep in here for now," Trieze said as he swung open the
heavy oak door. The building was low and dark, but at least it was
dry. Heero walked forward and looked expectantly out into the bleak
darkness. He could make out several sleeping forms laying across the
floor, curled tightly into ratty wool blankets.

Trieze pointed to a patch of floor expectantly and without another
word took his leave. Heero stood there for a moment in the darkness,
feeling the weight of the shackles on his body. As if the chains
weren't enough to hold him, he heard Trieze slide locks into place
along the door.

At least it was dry.



~*~*~*~*~*~*End*~*~*~*~*~*~*


Author's Notes: Before I start rambling: this 'fic is about slavery,
but not about racism. Think about this like the Romans, who kept
anyone and everyone as a slave. The 'fic is set in fantasy world of my
creation. Once more, this is fantasy, fiction, a complete fabrication.
That said...
It's been nearly a month, but I finally produced
something worthwhile. Unfortunately, it isn't a new chapter for my
works in progress... gomen! ^^() This story kinda tackled me and beat
my muses into submission, and now the damn things won't let me go.
This first chapter is terribly short, but I already have a good chunk
of the second chapter written, and that's where we get to meet Duo,
Wufei and the others. Why is this 'fic rated R? Well, I want some
freedom to be violence, nasty and lemony without worrying about
ratings. If it turns out to be okay, I might lower it back to PG13
once I'm finished. Don't expect happy fluffiness.
Uhm, now that I've rambled on forever and an age... ^^() I'm
desperately trying to write, but my time is limited with school and
social stress. (Argh) Feedback would be an awesome encouragement to
keep me going... Since it's getting late and I want to get this on
FF.net tonight, this 'fic is going without a beta... don't eat me.

Feedback/reviews are very much appreciated! More chapters soon.
copyright 2002 - Gundam Wing and characters copyright other people.
LSE - "Violet" (ManzokuBiscuit@aol.com)
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