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Title: Briefing Tour
Pairing: referenced F/f
Rating: PG-13
Warning: referenced sexual slavery, non-traditional marriages
Word Count: approx 4,600
Summary: Jasmine gives Rafiyah an introductory tour, including a briefing on some household customs.
Feedback: Welcome as long as all criticism is constructive

“Jasmine, would you mind showing Rafiyah around the house now?” Antoinette waited until the conversation had died down after they’d eaten lunch before she made her request.

“And should I introduce her to Mary as well?” Jasmine stood, collecting the plates as she spoke, glancing over at Rafiyah to make sure she didn’t mind that Antoinette had other things to do than show her around herself. She looked disappointed, but not angry, as she stood up slowly.

“Please do. Rafiyah, I’ve told Mary that you’ll be running the household from now on. I expect you’ll want to be a bit more hands on than I am.”

“Yes, probably.” Rafiyah smiled as she replied. “I expect you learned about as much as my brother did about running a household; just enough to run a bachelor household or make sure your consort isn’t causing problems for you.”

“Well, I learned a bit more than that, but yes, you probably know more than I do.” Antoinette kissed Rafiyah’s cheek, then Jasmine’s, before she left the room.

“Do you need some help with those?” Jasmine wasn’t entirely surprised by Rafiyah’s offer; she’d always been kind to her, treated her almost as if she was free; but still, it hadn’t been something she could assume as she might have with Sarah.

“Thank you. I can carry them easily enough, but if you could open the door to the kitchen I’d appreciate it.” She nodded at the door as she spoke, smiling her appreciation. Rafiyah didn’t say anything else, simply nodded and began walking towards the door, maybe moving a little quicker than she usually did, and Jasmine followed.

She carried the dishes over to the sink before turning back to Rafiyah, seeing the other woman waiting patiently near the door, taking in the entire kitchen with a faintly speculative look on her face. And Mary was waiting too, watching Rafiyah with an almost wary look, but not trying to introduce herself.

“Rafiyah, this is our housekeeper, Mary Hollins; Mary, this is Antoinette’s new consort, Rafiyah Ashawna.”

“Hello Mary.” Rafiyah shook hands with Mary, and Jasmine could see her relaxing at the friendly contact. “I wondered, how many people could you cook for in this kitchen?”

“Up to about thirty, Mistress Rafiyah, but I’d need help for more than about ten people.” Jasmine hadn’t heard that before. “Mistress Antoinette hasn’t had that many guests yet. We haven’t needed to use any of the formal rooms since I started working for her.” She waved towards the door leading to those rooms as she spoke.

“I see. Would tomorrow immediately after lunch be a good time for you to brief me on your current role in the household, and to discuss what sort of changes we need to make?”

“Of course.” Mary nodded in reply, glancing around and frowning faintly when she looked at Jasmine. “Will meeting here be acceptable?”

“Yes. Just as long as any relevant paperwork is easy to access.”

“It is, Mistress Rafiyah.” Mary was looking uncomfortable, and Jasmine wondered if she should try to interrupt.

“Good. I won’t take up any more of your time today then. Jasmine, are you going to show me these formal rooms now?” Rafiyah started moving forward again, towards Jasmine, and towards the door Mary had indicated.

“Only if you insist. Those rooms are isolated from the rest of the house; this is the only door between them and the areas we use.” That wasn’t the best way to put it, but Rafiyah paused, and Jasmine tried to explain a bit more, hoping that she wasn’t coming off as insulting somehow. Best to make it about her not Rafiyah. “We’d have to go through the formal dining room, to the entry hall, to the formal reception room, and perhaps look into the guest bathroom, then turn around and come back, and I’d rather not do that unless you wish to inspect the rooms now.”

“I understand your choice then. I can inspect them later, as long as you don’t expect them to be used soon.” And she looked pleased as she turned around to leave the kitchen.

“Not likely. We haven’t really needed to use them since we moved in: Antoinette doesn’t have guests she doesn’t trust enough to treat as family.” Jasmine was slightly ahead of Rafiyah as they reached the door, so she held it open for the other woman. “This is...I guess you could call it the family room. We tend to spend the evenings here together.” As well as any other time they all wanted to be together. “I...if you wanted to maybe you could find somewhere to set up an embroidery project for the evenings?”

“Probably. There’s certainly room for it. What do those two doors lead to?”

“The door to the right of the elevator leads to the utility room, and the one on the left goes to a bathroom. Ah...that is to our right and left, looking at them.”

“I’d think that would be a given.” Rafiyah just sounded amused by Jasmine’s clarification though. “So, we don’t need to look in there right now.” And she turned towards the last door, leading through into the central hall. Jasmine reached it before her, not quite used to matching her pace with someone slower, and held the door for her.

“Thank you.” Rafiyah glanced at the jacuzzi in the centre of the hall with a faint frown. “I thought you were planning to have children at one point? Will you still be willing to wander about naked then?”

“If the idea bothers you then we can do what we do when we have guests who use the jacuzzi; wear swimsuits in it, and perhaps robes to and from the showers in the gym.” Jasmine wasn’t entirely clear on why it should bother Rafiyah if Jasmine was dressed or not around the house, but then Sarah had taken a while to get comfortable with nudity. “I can show you that now if you want - there’s really nothing in the rooms we’d be skipping.”

“Nothing?” Rafiyah laughed softly and shook her head before Jasmine had the chance to answer. “Oh, some of those ‘unpurposed rooms’ Antoinette told me about earlier?”

“Yes; there’s four on this floor, all the same size.” They’d reached the door of the first empty room, and Jasmine paused to open it in illustration. “Want to take a look now?”

“I suppose I should.” But she didn’t do more than glance into the room before pulling back - not that Jasmine blamed her for that. “It’s pretty bare, but I could easily convert it into a sewing room.”

“If you wanted to, yes you could. I think the free room on the first floor would be better though.” It was larger, and better lit - and right beside Jasmine’s studio.

“We’ll see. You mentioned a gym?”

“I did.” Jasmine paused to shut the door before continuing towards the gym. “I wondered; does it bother you when I open doors for you?” She’d heard that sometimes people with problems moving took it as some sort of insult if healthy people tried to help without being asked.

“Not as long as it’s reasonable - the sort of thing you’d do for anyone else who outranked you by the same degree I do.”

“You don’t mean that you’d expect the level of courtesy I show you to change when Antoinette frees me, do you?” Opening doors for Rafiyah wasn’t about rank; it was about Jasmine having both hands free and Rafiyah only having one - and about her knowing where they were going right now.

“No, but...you asked me to hold the door for you when your hands were full, so it’s pretty clear you don’t think needing a cane when I walk makes me incapable. Speaking of Antoinette freeing you...would it bother you to explain why she hasn’t? It’s pretty clear she loves you after all.”

“Because I don’t want her to free me yet.” Jasmine shrugged as she spoke - it was just that simple. But Rafiyah didn’t seem to think it was enough of an explanation and Jasmine decided to expand on her answer. “I don’t want to be separated from Antoinette, but her Family would have problems with her freeing me, then keeping me as anything but a consort, and you can imagine how your Family would react to my becoming her third consort any time in the next year or so.”

“And they’d have been even more offended if she’d taken you as a consort while she was courting me. So would I. But Sarah became Antoinette’s consort two years before she started courting me.” And the minimum time expected between taking consorts was only a year. But Jasmine didn’t have the right to talk about the issues Antoinette had with her mother.

“I don’t want to sound mercenary, but while I’m Antoinette’s slave she can add to my trust fund more easily than she can once she frees me.” Because it was expected, and tax-free, no matter how much she chose to add. “When we talked about it after Sarah signed her contract with Antoinette we agreed that I’d become Antoinette’s consort when I felt ready to have children.” But that might have changed now, if Rafiyah didn’t like that idea.

“And you’re certain that you will want to have children one day?”

“Oh yes.” It was kind of selfish, but having children would be the ultimate proof to herself that she really was loved, and an integral part of Antoinette’s family. “I just don’t feel ready for the responsibility of raising them, and until you came along there was the unspoken assumption that I would be the one to take care of them as a day to day thing.” They’d reached the door of the gym now, and Jasmine opened it in an effort to change the subject.

“I see. How many showers are there in here?” She was looking over at the showers by the outside wall as she spoke, moving slowly into the room.

“Four, well, they’re more like wet-rooms really; the fifth door is for a toilet and sink.”

“Ah, sounds good. This is really well set up, but do you think Antoinette will have a problem with putting an overhead bar like those, in my own bedroom?”

“I don’t see why she would. It’s your bedroom after all, and as long as it’s safe - which it should be - it’s entirely up to you how you decorate.” Would it be rude to ask why she wanted one in her room? No, not after Rafiyah had asked about why Antoinette hadn’t freed her yet. “But why do you want an overhead bar in your room? You can come down here any time you want to exercise. And it’s really only Antoinette who uses them.” Jasmine and Sarah didn’t have the muscles for that, and Jasmine was happy sticking to weights to keep up her upper body strength, and crunches for her stomach.

“You don’t wear corsets then.” Rafiyah sounded amused by that, and she was still making her way across the gym, with Jasmine trailing a step or two behind.

“No. We never wore them at the Facility, because we were too young for it to be healthy for us, and Antoinette never asked me to try one out. Does that mean you wear corsets?”

“I have once or twice, yes. I brought four corsets with me, one as underwear, and three as part of more formal outfits. And a bar like that to hang on to makes it easier for someone else to lace me up.” Rafiyah hesitated, coming to a full stop, and Jasmine could hear the unhappiness in her voice as she continued. “Does that mean Antoinette doesn’t like the way women look in corsets?”

“I don’t know. Does it matter?” Jasmine caught up to Rafiyah, and smiled softly, tilting her head to one side in enquiry.

“I’m supposed to dress to please my sire first, then myself, and only then to please anyone else. But how can I do that if I don’t know what will please her?”

“Oh, I see. Antoinette doesn’t like her lovers to wear anything too blatantly sexual - she prefers sensuality, and suggestion, rather than anything explicit. But other than that she just wants her lovers to be comfortable in what they wear.”

“Oh, so that’s why she lets Sarah wear such unflattering clothes to parties.”

“And why she lets me wear dresses with such deep necklines.” Although that was only if the skirt and arms were both long, and Jasmine didn’t have a problem with that compromise. “I like having people want me, and know they can’t have me.” Maybe Rafiyah could use a bit of a distraction. “Did you want to walk through and take a look at the conservatory? We sometimes sit there in the summer evenings, but there’s probably a lot more we could use it for considering how big it is.”

“I suppose I can look there later. Where to now?” She set off with determination clear in how she held herself.

“The rest of the rooms on this floor are empty, just like the one you looked in before, so we could go up to the next floor?”

“Yes, that sounds like the right idea. Do you think you’ll need to show me around the top floor as well?”

“I don’t know.” Jasmine didn’t mean to pass Rafiyah as they walked back to the door, but since she reached the door first it only made sense for her to hold it open for her. “How much did Antoinette show you? Did she just take you from her sitting room to your bedroom, or did she point out where the rest of us sleep?”

“She only showed me to my bedroom - the bedroom you all put my clothes in.” That clarification was odd, but then maybe Rafiyah just didn’t feel as if it was really her room yet. Rafiyah started towards the stairs instead of back towards the elevator, and Jasmine followed her, pleased that she hadn’t had to actually ask what Rafiyah could handle and risk insulting her. “She did mention that if I wanted to move to a warmer room I’d have to share a bathroom, but I was thinking that it might be a good idea to turn the room next to mine into a nursery when you or Sarah have children.”

“Sarah probably won’t have children.” Jasmine answered absently as she trailed Rafiyah up the stairs. “She’s far more interested in her career, she thinks having children would stop people taking her seriously, and she doesn’t think her genetics need to be passed on.”

“Why not?” Rafiyah had reached the next floor, and she spun around, concern written on her face. “Is she ill or something?”

“No. And I can’t tell you anything else. I shouldn’t even have mentioned that it was something she worried about. Now, Antoinette might have children, if she finds a man who’s smart enough, satisfies her tastes in men on a physical level, suits her sexual preferences and is acceptable to Sarah. But all of that’s a pretty tall order - the men who tend to suit her physical type usually either aren’t willing to submit to her, or won’t give her the fight she wants before submitting.” They were part of the same household now, so it shouldn’t be a problem talking about exactly what Antoinette needed from her lovers, even if Rafiyah did look surprised and a bit disturbed by that. She opened the door to one of the guest bedrooms on this side, giving Rafiyah time to process that information. “This is one of the basic guest bedrooms. We’ve got six on this floor.”

“Hmm. Is that a bathroom?” Rafiyah nodded at the door to their right as she spoke.

“Yes, and no, it isn’t shared with the bedroom next to it. But the bath in there’s just a standard bath, not like the custom, extra large baths in the bathrooms on the top floor.”

“I see.” Rafiyah turned slowly to leave the room, then waited for Jasmine outside it, frowning. “You said...Antoinette doesn’t like her lovers to just submit, and she wanted me to respond to her earlier. But...I think I’m submissive, really submissive, when it comes to sex. I don’t think I can really give her the fight she wants.” Why was Rafiyah telling Jasmine this? Her trust was an honour, but...what had Jasmine done to earn it? It didn’t matter, she had to prove worthy of that trust, and that meant trying to reassure Rafiyah, and make her feel better. But not here.

“I think we need to sit down for this conversation.” She hesitated before putting her arm around Rafiyah’s waist, offering her some comfort as they walked past the stairs going up to the top floor, only pulling away to open the door to the free guest suite.

“Another sitting room?”

“Yes, Antoinette had two mini-apartments built on this floor, one here, and one on the corner over the gym. That one belongs to Mary. Do you want to see the rest of the apartment before we talk, or after?”

“After, please.” Rafiyah sat down, slowly, a hint of stiffness in her movements. “Can you say it won’t bother Antoinette that I’m not sexually aggressive?”

“Yes, I can.” Jasmine sat down opposite her, folding her hands in her lap as she spoke. “Sexual compatibility is the least of what Antoinette looks for in a consort. You’re what she needs in other ways than sexual, more important ways, but Antoinette decided a long time ago that if she ever had children it would be by a man who could please her in bed, since he wouldn’t be a real part of the household.”

“But she wouldn’t pick a man who’d disrupt the household just because he satisfied her sexually.” A flat statement, not a question, and Jasmine appreciated the faith Rafiyah was showing.

“Of course not - at least she wouldn’t bring him into the household. But if Sarah approved of a man who Antoinette wasn’t comfortable trusting around the rest of us she might set him up in an apartment somewhere else while she was trying to conceive.” Was Rafiyah trying to change the subject? Had she regretted being so open about her insecurities? Or had she just let Jasmine lead the conversation away from her real concerns? “She’s tall, muscular and aggressive, so she’s been taught a lot about how to avoid intimidating people without meaning to. Part of that is that she’s going to wait for you to let her know when and if you want to have sex with her.”

“She’ll want me to start things? Every time?” Rafiyah sounded, and looked, confused by the very idea.

“With her, yes. She won’t be sure you really want to have sex with her any other way. But as long as you tell her what you need beforehand Antoinette will be more than happy to give it to you. Just...you should try to give her what she needs when you can.” It had taken almost a year for Jasmine to feel comfortable doing either of those things, but Rafiyah came from one of the Families, surely she would have more confidence. “I keep my nails long so that I can scratch her the way she likes. And I like the way she reacts to that.” It certainly seemed to make Antoinette happy that she had to pin Jasmine’s hand to stop her scratching, and that she scratched hard enough to leave some marks the next day. And Jasmine loved seeing those marks, knowing she was allowed to stake some sort of claim.

“I...don’t know if I can do something like that. Do you have any suggestions?” Rafiyah’s hands tightened and loosened on her cane as she spoke. “About how to please Antoinette when I don’t think I can bring myself to fight her unless she pushes me to it.”

“First, ask her if fighting her when she pushes you to it is enough then. If not...when I was first given to her she decided to teach me to defend myself, and since that turned her on we’d usually have sex after that. As long as you aren’t enough of a traditionalist to insist on a bed, or on waiting for the night to have sex then that would probably work as a compromise.”

“There is the issue of my hip.” But Rafiyah did sound almost as if she was considering it.

“Antoinette is capable of taking that into account in any self-defence lessons - or are you saying that your hip would make it awkward to have sex anywhere but in a bed?” Jasmine didn’t want to offend Rafiyah, to give her any reason to refuse to accept Jasmine as Antoinette’s third consort, but she didn’t like the implied insult to Antoinette’s abilities.

“More the latter. Is there anything else you think you need to tell me about sexual relationships in the household?”

“Antoinette will let you decide which bed you sleep in if you want sex with her before going to sleep, but it’s understood that if you want her to sleep in your bed you explicitly tell her so in advance - it’s assumed that you’ll stay in her bed if you want to use that.”

“And in other cases I need to negotiate that beforehand. I understand, and it sounds reasonable enough.” Rafiyah stood slowly as she spoke. “Only, can I ask to sleep in her bed without having sex?”

“I...assume so.” Jasmine stood, following Rafiyah’s example. “I’ve never thought to ask for that.” Never wanted it, or considered it an option even if she had wanted it. “The door near the window leads to the bedroom, and the other door leads to the bathroom. It’s not a full apartment, no, but Mary has the only key to her apartment.”

“Is that safe?” Rafiyah had started walking out of the room as she spoke, and Jasmine followed. “I mean what if there’s a fire, or she’s hurt and trapped inside?”

“She doesn’t usually lock her door when she’s in the apartment, and I think there’s a key for emergencies. There’s also a fire escape - you haven’t been out on the balcony yet, have you?”

“The balcony, no. Is that where you put the planted pots my Family sent over?” Rafiyah paused as they reached the first door to the left, and Jasmine took the hint, opening it for her.

“Yes. This is another guest bedroom, except Antoinette hasn’t bothered to put a bed in it yet.” There wasn’t any real need, not when they still had empty bedrooms on the top floor, and they’d have plenty of notice if they were going to have enough guests to need ten free beds. “And I wasn’t thinking about the plants, more about the fact that you’d have seen the fire escapes if you’d been out on the balcony.” She should have seen them coming up to the house, but maybe she hadn’t been entirely paying attention.

“Ah, I see.” Rafiyah nodded, and didn’t bother actually going into the room. “And the two doors opposite here on the other side of the sun well lead to identical rooms?”

“The sun well? But yes.”

“Well what else would you call it?” She gestured to the toughened glass that made up the floor of the hall, heavily frosted under their feet, making a strip about eight feet wide around the outside.

“I just call it the hall.” Jasmine shrugged her answer and walked on in silence until they came to the door of her studio. “And this is my studio. I love the light I get in here, and I wondered if you’d consider posing for me some time?”

“I’d have to think about it. Might I look at some of your work?”

“Not right now. You need to see the fire escape first, and I would like to show you the room I thought you might like as your sewing room.” Jasmine walked past her equipment and finished work with a faint sense of regret, and opened the window-door, stepping onto the metal walkway that ran the length of the wall and holding the door open for Rafiyah.

“Ah, I see. It never occurred to me that anyone would have their home fitted with fire escapes like this, but I suppose given how large the house is it makes sense. And the stairs lead up to the balcony outside our bedrooms?” Rafiyah ventured out onto the balcony, stepping carefully, and looking up at the stairs to the balcony.

“Yes, they do. Antoinette decided to take additional precautions in case of fire - I know this is more than legally mandated, but I’m not entirely sure how much more.” But given how awkwardly Rafiyah was moving Jasmine had to ask. “Will this be okay for you to use, even in an emergency?”

“What? Oh yes, it should be. In an emergency I could manage without my cane. But I can take the time to get used to the footing here. Still, I’d rather go back inside. Then you can show me the room you think I should use as my sewing room.” She matched actions to words, and Jasmine followed her, shutting the door behind her and letting it lock automatically.

“And you can look at my work all you want after that, unless you want me to show you around the top floor.” She better warn Rafiyah about the doors. “All the doors to the balcony and to the fire escape can only be opened from inside - they lock automatically for security when they close.”

“I’ll remember that.” Rafiyah let Jasmine lead her to the door going directly through to the empty room - just as large as her studio, but maybe not quite as well lit. “I think this might be a bit large for my needs.”

“Well, you don’t do just one type of needlework, do you? So won’t it be helpful to be able to set up separate areas for different things?”

“I’ll think about it.” That was better than an outright refusal anyway. “And what do the two doors on either side of the elevator lead to?”

“The door to the right leads to the library. We’ve put most of your books in there - generally we bring whatever we’re reading at the time down to the bookcase in the family room and return it to the library later. And the door to the left leads to another bathroom.”

“Another one?” Rafiyah’s laughter wasn’t unfriendly though. “Just how many bathrooms are there in the house?”

Jasmine took a few seconds to count them up mentally before answering. “Fifteen. Sixteen, if you count the showering area in the gym. Antoinette can give you a reason for each of them, and it does make sense.” It might have made more sense for the bathrooms connected to the guest bedrooms to be twice the size and shared between the two bedrooms, but Jasmine hadn’t really had any input into the design, and she supposed that guests might not always be able to share comfortably.

“I’m sure she does have her reasons, but I don’t think I’ll ask her. Can I see some of your work now?”

“Of course.” It was flattering to be asked, but it also made Jasmine more than a little nervous when she began showing Rafiyah her work.

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