futuristic ouat

Attention! Important!

I have decided that in order to get myself out of this creative rut and to help me focus on something for a change, I have decided that:

When I reach 200 followers, I will do character questions and snippets for the Futuristic Ouat verse that almostvivian came up with. I have permission to do so.

So! 200 followers and then I’ll do that. :)

Gremma snippet (futuristic verse)

After that last job that Gold had had her do–an investigation into the work business of a one Mary Margaret White, who’d had an unfortunate break-in–Emma Swan fully intended to make good on her plan to collapse onto her bed and sleep the day away. There were massive bags underneath her eyes; a result of her long hours. She needed to be alert enough for her monthly meeting with Henry.

Henry. Emma would always think of him as that fresh-smelling, chubby cheeked baby boy with the wispy brown hair that looked exactly like his biological father’s; a father who

Well I know no one wanted to this, but...

The day began with a shrill ringing in Mary Margaret White’s ear, rousing her out of a restless sleep. She hadn’t had a night of restful sleep in over twenty-five years; ever since that terrible, joyous night. She groaned, shrugging off her husband’s warm arm. He liked to keep her close to him even in sleep, a lesson learned the hard way, but did he have to be like a heating pad?

“David, David, wake up. The phone’s ringing.” She murmured, already reaching over to answer it.

David moaned, scarcely moving at all.

“Hello?”

“Mrs. White, we have a problem.” Leroy said; a longtime employee of her and David’s joint businesses. He was almost like a member of the family now, if you didn’t pay too close attention to his eighty proof breath or his eternal pining for…what, Mary Margaret hadn’t the faintest clue. He didn’t pry into their lives, so she paid him the same respect.


Mary Margaret and David White had two businesses in one large, all-window building in the heart of the city. David dealt with every major and minor family and faction in all of the city, ranging from the massive debt epidemic that was plaguing everything it touched, or giving out loans himself to those who came in need. David detested working with individual loans for individual people–there were more than enough people willing to take on that task–preferring instead to deal with corporations or other businesses of that nature.


What he most loved to do was try to weasel people out of deals made with the Mills family, and to a lesser extent: Rum Gold. Those women were cold and vicious and willing to step on anyone in order to make that last extra cent. It wasn’t needed or wanted, but they operated their whole lives around isolating people and getting them to grovel and do unthinkable acts just so they could not be tossed in any one of the city’s numerous, unforgiving prisons.

Rum Gold was a powerful man who held vast authority, respect and fear depending on the person. While David enjoyed lessening the debt that people owed to Gold, he couldn’t hate the man completely. Gold was a strong advocate against the institution of slavery, something Mary Margaret had in common with him. David couldn’t hate anyone that Mary liked even the slightest bit.

Breaking Him Down (title may change)

This is a Jefferson/Alice oneshot set in almostvivian’s futuristic ouat universe. Enjoy

“Now remember, my dear boy,” Cora Mills said in that sneering tone she often used when around her adult daughter. “We’re not using the white wine or champagne for this party. That was for the Winter Ball, of course the color wine was supposed to be white. No, this time we’re using red. Chardonnay, wines like that. You got it?” She snatched his chin in a vise grip and wrenched his face to look into her cold, dark eyes.

He nodded, distinctly remembering the last time he’d responded to a question without being given permission. That had been a hellish night, with long-lasting consequences.

Cora seemed satisfied by his nod, detecting none of the insubordination or willful stubbornness that many new slaves held when first brought into service.

Not that he was a new slave by any measure of the word. No, he was a skilled veteran of the Mills family. Born into the service of slavery, his was a debt that would never be fulfilled, for whatever reason.

“Be a good boy during the service and perhaps we’ll have a,” She slid her forefinger sensually around the strong contours of his jaw. “Reward in store for you. Do anything to embarrass me or Regina and I will make you sorry. Got it?”

“Yes, mistress.” He murmured, resisting the urge to shudder at the sickening touch.

Jefferson may not be the smartest man out there–who is that’s a slave or in debt?–but he knew enough to know that abusing a slave sexually wasn’t something that was widely done, if at all. Only in prostitution rings were slaves subjected to that sort of treatment.

Oh, it didn’t happen every night, but often enough for Jefferson to think of tailoring a loose suit for himself; one that didn’t rub up against whatever wounds he received during the long night. So far Cora and Regina hadn’t noticed the alterations. Unusual, considering that they usually adored seeing their male slaves in tight, skin-hugging suits.

It didn’t matter, not really. All he had to do was keep his mouth in check, obey the usual rules that came with his position in life and do whatever his mistresses told him to do. It sounded simple enough when he was just three and his ancient crone of a nursemaid instructed him that he was blessed to have been given such a long period of freedom.

Birth into slavery wasn’t heard of, wasn’t done. Female slaves were usually “fixed” so pregnancies never happened. Jefferson’s mother was one of the few who was able to hide it long enough. Whatever happened to her, he didn’t know. And he didn’t ask. One thing you didn’t do when serving the Mills family was ask questions.

Still, Jefferson did consider himself fortunate, he mused as he straightened his jet black tie in the small cracked mirror over the tiny nightstand he was allowed. Being kept on in a household as a small child was rare; slave children were usually shipped off to a children’s home, or if that was too full, dumped into the streets.

Somehow he’d been lucky to have been kept on. Well, if you could consider his lot in life lucky. And when one put into account what he’d been forced to endure the endless beatings, the endless sleepless nights spent in either Mills’ room. He’d almost died a couple times if memory served him correctly.

“Good boy.” Cora said, hitting his cheek lightly like he was an obedient pup. Which he was, in that strange way that this society operated.

She disappeared beyond the door concealing the servants’ quarters from the rest of the mansion in a swish of deep blue and black skirts. Silk, of course. Made from the finest silk worms. Where from? Probably what used to be Asia once upon a time.

Once upon a time. Who believed in fairy-tale endings anymore when everyone pretty much lived in the gutters? Life sucked. No one believed in happy, much less happy endings anymore.

Had he ever been happy? Jefferson couldn’t remember a time. Well, he’d named himself years ago, but that turned into an unhappy ending. Like everything else.

“Hey! Get moving!” Fingers snapped in front of his eyes, jerking him out of the trance-like state that was becoming more and more regular these days. He welcomed it whenever he stayed up late, but now wasn’t the time nor the place for any of his trances.

Jefferson had to become the invisible servant.

But oh, to truly be invisible. Wouldn’t that be something? Like seeing true blue green grass. He sighed wistfully and moved towards the line of prim, crisply dressed “servants” waiting to receive their trays of blood-red wine with cranberries or cherries that had been soaked in vodka earlier resting nearly at the bottom of thick, crystal goblets.

Worth $1,349 each, those goblets did. The finest in all of the city…whatever it’s name was. That triviality never figured into his life–knowing what the city was called–so Jefferson never bothered to learn it.

Those harpies might knock it out of his head one of these days.

Off.

Off with his head?

Whose head?

Jefferson’s head?

The tray felt like twenty cement-filled bricks weighing down on his right hand. He wondered if twenty of the bricks that lined the walkway of the private garden Cora had so carefully cultivated would weigh the same as the ten goblets he carried.

Perhaps he should try and see. Oh, but that would lead to more time spent with the silky, ruffly harpies. It seemed they never tired of finding new ways to strip him of whatever humanity he possessed.

In another instant, he found himself immersed in a world of glittering jewels, painted faces and a cacophony of cackling, drunken laughs and a general buzz of noise.

Jefferson wanted to drop the platter and watch the glass smash all over the swirled marble floor, turning their pathetic faces into thousands. That thought only increased the cold sweat forming on his brow. Suits. He hated suits.

Smash, smash, smash.

The ladies that had squeezed themselves into girdles just so they could squeeze into the elaborate gowns they wore plucked the wine-filled goblets off of the tray he held like they were treats. Their stony, red-cheeked lovers or husbands stood in clusters, waiting for the second wave of trays to be brought out. Smart men knew better than to cross an alcohol-filled heiress or business women.

With his quota fulfilled, Jefferson spun on his heel and made his way towards the hallway he’d entered, briefly catching the eye of a beautiful brunette girl with the largest brown eyes he’d ever seen. She seemed to be the only person in the entire ballroom, apart from the servants, who was abstaining from alcohol.

Hmm, how interesting.

But regardless of this strange woman who obviously didn’t belong amongst the crowd that the Mills’ surrounded themselves with, he had a job to do, and that required him to fill up his tray and glide back effortlessly or else.

“Jefferson! There you are!” Sara, a sweet and kindly maid said as he pushed open the doors and set the tray back down onto the counter.

Sara had been purchased several decades ago when her father discovered that she’d been swayed by a sweetheart to “disfigure her body,” in his words, by getting a tattoo. He’d beaten her and sent out a message to any slave dealer that he had wares to sell. He’d also put a cousin up for sale as well. Unfortunate story, that was, but Jefferson found that he really didn’t care anymore what a person’s story was.

The world was bathed in tragedy. It was better to just accept it as it was, instead of going against the grain. How could someone change so much wrong in this world?

“What is it?” He said, in that quiet manner he had about him. It wasn’t that Jefferson deliberately spoke quieter–though it certainly helped in this life–he was just a naturally demure person.

“Madame Mills requested that we use just the red, yeah?”

“Yes.”

“We’re out! We have so much of the white, the champagne and other sorts, but out of red!” Sara exclaimed, wide-eyed and visibly terrified at the prospect of letting down her mistress. He may be the favorite toy around the house, but he was by no means the only one.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes!” She emphasized the word by balling up her fists and lightly hitting the counter. “We have no more. You have to go get some more barrels!”

“Why me?”

“Because we have to cook and prepare the rest of the banquet. Do you have a full tray? Are you the lover of a lady out there? No? Then get going!”

Jefferson smiled, secretly pleased that Sara was being so commanding towards him. Normally he would politely decline to do anything that would take him out of the reach of Cora or Regina. They didn’t like it when he left the nearby area. But, seeing as there were plenty of men out there, along with enough alcohol to keep the party going for awhile, he decided that it wouldn’t be so bad if he obtained some more.

The wine cellar had two entrances. One was through the kitchen in the servant’s quarters, but there were so many people bustling around with pots of hot soup or red-hot sheets of food that it was not only impolite to use that entrance, but quite dangerous as well.

So that left the entrance that was located just down the hall to his left, out the solid oak door, and after taking another right, the cellar was just through a hidden panel in the wall that few knew about and down two flights of solid stone steps.

Stone was cold and unyielding. Like Regina’s heart. He wondered if Cora even had a heart at all. Did she? If he stuck his hand through her chest and pulled, what would he find in his hand?

Black blood, most likely. Or just dust.

As he descended down the stone steps a few minutes later, the air became more chilled and Jefferson found himself rubbing his arms. It didn’t help very much. It was still too cold in this stone prison.

The door that stood between him and the enormous cache of liquor had a large, old brass lock on it. Rusted and unusable, it gave the impression that security was less lax than it truly was. Well, it wasn’t the greatest in a wine cellar.

Cellar.

Sell her.

Sell who?

“Oh, oh, I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to sneak down here, I swear!” Jefferson had opened the door to see that very same girl who’d caught his eye standing near the thirty-year-old berry wine Regina loved to drink in the morning or mid-afternoon. She hastily shoved something behind her back and looked at him almost in fear.

Why was she afraid of him? Couldn’t she see he was dressed the same as the rest of the slaves upstairs? What could he possibly do that would not have terrible consequences for him?

He didn’t answer. He didn’t know what he should say to this strange girl who was incredibly higher in rank than he was; who could have terrible, horrible things done to him for even the slightest wrong word said?

“Aren’t you going to speak to me? Or stand there all silent and brooding?” Once she’d regained her composure and recovered from his surprising entrance, he was astonished to discover that she was acting coy and flirty towards him.

“What are you doing here?”

Looking at her, he couldn’t really believe that she was anything like the shrill, sniveling fools gossiping and drinking upstairs. No, she was dressed in a simpler gown with a gossamer ribbon tied around her waist, a bit of lace around the modest cut in the top of her dress. A plain gold cross hung from a long and slender neck. And she’d bunched her hair up in a hurried bun, strands escaping from every-which-way.

His heart skipped a beat. This girl was like an angel.

“Oh, nothing,” She said, taking a few steps away from the berry wine. The light ivy-colored gown swished lightly around her ankles. He noticed she had gold strappy sandals cross-crossing her feet and ankle. “I just got bored from standing around listening to them complain about their lives. So I just went wandering.”

“And you ended up here?”

She laughed, giving a shrug of her shoulders. “Hey, I told you I was wandering. I don’t know this house like you do. Oh, I’m sorry.” Her face took on a guilty expression.

Jefferson didn’t care. Why would he care? How could he care? He had a job to do and he wasn’t about to let some trollop get in his way. He walked over to the barrels that held the wine that he needed for tonight. Selecting a few choice barrels, he pulled over the large Dollie they used for occasions such as this and gently rolled the barrels onto it.

“Already run out?” The girl scoffed. “They’re like a bunch of functions alcoholics. I’m surprised this city can function properly with them at the helm.”

“It isn’t functioning. Are you that stupid?” Jefferson said bitterly, realizing too late that he’d said something against the people who owned him. She was one of them! She may be dressed down, but she was still one of them!

“No, I’m not stupid.”

“Then why would you say something like that? Are all of you people that oblivious to the problems in this society?” He whirled around to face the girl, while keeping a grip on the handle. It was too late now. He couldn’t keep his anger and hatred inside anymore. “You’re just like them: a stupid, frilly princess who expects life to be handed to them on a silver platter! By people like me!”

“Like what?”

“People who have no say in their life, who are owned wholly by people like you!” He shouted, bending forward in exhaustion and frustration.

Off with his head, that was obvious now. He was going to lose his head and his life because of a few ridiculous words to one ridiculous girl. But then…what was the point of feeling sorry for himself? He knew the rules. He knew the rules of the game and he’d broken them. Jefferson bit his lip, tasting copper as his mind wrapped itself around his concrete fate. He was going to die tonight, wasn’t he?

It didn’t seem so scary anymore–dying. In fact, he would probably welcome that deep, sinking blackness.

And then everything changed again. Twice in one night, Jefferson’s world was shattered.

The high-society girl who held his fate in her hands had placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. The warmth radiated from the point of contact and he looked up. Her eyes weren’t brown after all, but a very dark hazel. They had flecks of gold in them.

“Not everyone is like that. I’m not. I’m not even a part of that world, Jefferson.” She said softly before pulling her hand away.

“What…do you mean?” Jefferson forced the words out. “How do you know my name?”

“I’m…you promise you’ll keep this a secret?” She tipped his head up to look her straight in the eye.

“Keep what a secret?” She smelled like apples, or some sort of fruit that he hadn’t had the pleasure of ever eating himself. He’d prepared food thousands of times, but never eaten it.

“I’m just pretending, you know. At this whole charade of being one of these fancy women who have nothing better to do than drink and purchase jewels that they’ll wear once. I’m trying to change this world and abolish slavery.”

His jaw dropped open. What was this girl saying? She couldn’t be serious. No, no, this wasn’t happening. He pushed her away and started to drag the encumbered Dollie towards the elevator that was large enough and would take him up.

“Jefferson!” She exclaimed, desperation bleeding through the wall of calm she’d had just a moment earlier. “Please listen to me! My name is Alice, and I’m with a group that aims to abolish the practice of slavery and knock these powerful families and organizations down a few pegs! You have to listen to me. Tell me what they’re like and I can help you get away from them.”

His hand stopped mere inches away from the button.

“You can’t save me.”

Jefferson moved to press the button, but Alice grabbed his hand from behind and clutched it between both of hers. She bowed her head to rest her forehead on their hands. “Why do you think you can’t be saved?”

“Just look at me.” He said simply. She would figure out why he was a lost cause if she just took a moment to remember that he was a slave and always would be.

“I am looking at you, and what I see is a man broken down by years of abuse and brought so low that he doesn’t even think he’s worthy of anything. That’s what I see, Jefferson, and that’s exactly why I want to change things. You could come with me, if you like. Tonight. We can save you from this life.”

His mouth gaped open and closed several times; here was something that he had been hoping would fall into his lap ever since he was a little boy, and now that it was here, what could he say?

“I…I…okay.” Alice beamed and he found himself smiling back at her. How had this happened?

Alice.

Alice.

Alice.

She was something else, very much something he’d never seen before. What kind of girl would do what she did? Dress as she did–dress like one of the women who so loved to hurt and maim their slaves–and have a whole different objective? Abolish slavery. He’d never heard of a more ludicrous idea in his life, but when she said it, with that much conviction, he couldn’t help but believe that what she was saying was right. That it was indeed possible.

“That’s great news. I’m so glad you said that.”

“Why me?” He gasped. Why was he so lucky?

“Why you what?”

“Why did you pick me?”

She hmm’d, apparently deciding how to explain the answer. “Well…I don’t really know. You seem to be the one most in need of rescuing straight away. And plus, I seem myself in you. I was like you once upon a time. And I was found and brought away from that life. We fellow broken souls need to look out for one another, right?”

He nodded, feeling relief wash over him. So she wasn’t some debutante who was just playing a cruel joke on him. That would just be his luck. No, she was a former slave as well, or at least, that’s what he had gathered.

“So, I need to go back upstairs and place a call to my boss and than I’ll meet you…outside the door you came in through, okay? The oak door. Don’t worry, Jefferson. I found you and I won’t let you down.”

“Are we…going to be something when this is all over? Are you just saving some poor slave?” He found that this possibility wasn’t something he was too happy about. Jefferson didn’t know how to explain it, but he found something in this girl that made him want desperately to cling to her. She was roses and sunshine and smelled like cedar and pine needles, unusual perfume in this glitzy home.

“I’m not sure, Jefferson. All I do know is that it’ll be okay, all right?” She cupped his face, rubbing lightly with her thumb. Was she aware of the actions of her hand? “I’ll meet you at the door in an hour, okay? Now, I have to go, okay? I’ll see you soon.” She leaned up and gave Jefferson a gentle kiss on the cheek and than she was gone, running quickly up the steps.

Jefferson felt strange, almost happy…for the first time in his life.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alice regretted wearing the sandals she’d chosen in that little boutique on the corner near Gold’s tower. They’d been on sale and she had needed something to wear for her undercover assignment. Hearing from her supervisor that she had to pretend to be a petty socialite at a ball hosted by the demoness’ Cora and Regina Mills wasn’t what she’d planned on doing tonight.

Her primary mission was to find some kind of weakness in their armor, a weak spot that her organization could take advantage of and use to their advantage. Destroying the slave trade stemming from this mansion would certainly throw the entire slave trade of this damned city into chaos. Things could be so much better.

And what better way to take them down by using one of their own slaves against them? The one she’d selected–Jefferson–seemed to be the one that they trusted the most. He was allowed to go places that most of their slaves weren’t allowed. She knew that based on the consumption of wine at the party, they would need to have their stocks replenished soon. And based on reconnaissance done at an earlier time, Alice knew exactly where the wine cellar was; all she had to do was go down there before Jefferson did and surprise him.

He’d have to listen to her if he was surprised. Oh, this was working out so brilliantly.

And what a plan it was. He’d refused to listen to her at first, but once she’d turned up the charm, things had worked out beautifully. A slight snag in the plan had come when Alice had discovered just how broken this man really was. Life had crushed him down until there was nothing left. And he’d clung to her like she was literally the last tether keeping him tied to the ground.

So, she’d developed a bit of a crush on him. So what? It wasn’t as if she was going to drag him into the nearest bedroom and have her way with him. He was obviously in need of a LOT of help both physically and mentally. Besides that, he might never desire another person ever again because of what he’d been through.

And Alice was okay with that, she really was.

She was rounding the corner that would take her back into the hallway that led to the ballroom, when she found herself being slammed into the wall. The paintings and light fixtures jingled dangerously.

Cora, in all of her black and blue ruffled silk glory stood before Alice, her clawed hand wrapped around her throat. Her eyes were dark with rage and murder. Alice felt her heart drop and her breathing quickened to the verge of hyperventilating.

She’d been found out, hadn’t she?

“Well, well, well, what have you been up to, my dear girl? Trying to steal my empire?”

“No,” Alice gasped out, attempting to wriggle her body so she could breathe easier, but Cora simply gripped harder. “I’m not.”

Cora tsked. “Now, we both know that’s a lie, don’t we? Didn’t your mother ever tell you not to lie to your elders?”

“I’m not…lying.”

“Oh, but you are.” She leaned close to Alice’s face, breath stinking of that wine she was so fond of consuming during every occasion she could find. “But not in the way that you thought I meant. No, you’re trying to take everything I have and rip it out from beneath me. You’d like that, wouldn’t you? Poor Cora Mills, once at the top of her game, fallen to the bottom of the heap.”

Alice looked away defiantly, refusing to let Cora win. She had perhaps failed in rescuing Jefferson from this place, but maybe she could escape with her life. Oh, it broke her heart to leave Jefferson to his inevitable painful fate, but what could she do?

“You were trying to seduce one of my slaves, weren’t you? You wanted him to spill every dirty little secret that he holds in his brain so you could take me down. Well, it’s not going to work. I can’t kill you tonight, in front of so many people. Shame, really.” She said, running a finger down Alice’s cheek. The motion was anything but motherly. “But if you ever attempt to enter my home again, I will kill you. I’ve built this empire, this marvelous slave trade that our society is built on for Regina, and I’m not going to let a little trollop destroy that.”

“It needs to be destroyed.” Alice said through her teeth. “You’re enslaving people and taking away any rights they should have.”

The grip on Alice’s throat was released and she slumped over, clutching at her throat, coughing. Cora had walked over to stand in front of a portrait of a young woman with eyes not unlike her own. There was no escaping this situation even if she tried to run. All Cora had to do was summon her other slaves to restrain her for some crime and have the authorities lock her in prison. Then how could she save all of these people’s lives?

“He’ll live, you know,” Cora said, her voice quieter, but the tone no less threatening. “Jefferson won’t be killed for conniving with you to escape my home, but he will be severely punished. Try again to contact him and I’ll kill him for it. You won’t ever get him out of this house, keep that in mind. So what I suggest you do is leave at once. Never return. Never try to contact him again. Go.”

Alice stood plastered to the wall for a few more minutes, heart beating a mile a minute before retreating into the ballroom. Hot tears ran down her cheeks and she angrily wiped them away.

She’d let not only her boss down, but also a broken man who would be waiting for her and she wasn’t going to be there.

Cora had said for her to never contact Jefferson ever again, but there had to be something she could do to make his life better. Anything was better than living here. Yes, she would get him out of this place, no matter what it took. He may never know what she was going to do, but Alice knew that he would be much better off.

Jefferson was not going to spend another night in this hellhole.

Another snippet

It seemed they never tired of finding new ways to strip him of whatever humanity he possessed.

In another instant, he found himself immersed in a world of glittering jewels, painted faces and a cacophony of cackling, drunken laughs and a general buzz of noise.

Jefferson wanted to drop the platter and watch the glass smash all over the swirled marble floor, turning their pathetic faces into thousands. That thought only increased the cold sweat forming on his brow. Suits. He hated suits.