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This story was inspired by Megan and [livejournal.com profile] jeriendhal, who requested a servant going too far in their duties and "guarding her sleep," respectively.  Megan sponsored it.  Happy Servathon, everyone!

Protection

Rosespar had been Lila’s bodyguard before she’d become Lila’s wife, and at first, Lila thought it was just a case of old habits dying hard.  Even though she was no longer technically an employee, Rosespar still acted like a bodyguard.  On the job, she was always at Lila’s side, silent and still as stone until the moment she whipped into motion.  Every time they came home, Rosespar would enter first, do a quick sweep, and then doff the professionalism with her jacket, offering Lila hot tea and backrubs.

Rosespar gave excellent backrubs.

“Mm, you’re amazing,” Lila purred under her hands. “Marry me.”

Rosespar grinned, teeth sharp and white against her dark face. “Too late.”

Lila reached up to hook a hand over her neck. “Marry me again.”

Rosespar chuckled and bent to kiss her.

Yes, having an attentive wife definitely had its pluses.  But over time, Lila started to be bothered by just how attentive Rosespar was.  Somehow, she was always awake to tuck Lila in at night, and always ready with coffee in the morning. (Lila used to joke about Rosespar being an insomniac who never slept, until Rosespar explained why.  Lila never teased her after that.) Foolish as it seemed, it was almost as though Rosespar was too good.  What kind of wife always made coffee in the morning, just the way Lila liked it?  What kind of wife made the perfect breakfast and somehow timed it to be ready just as Lila came in?

And sometimes, Lila would wake up to find Rosespar checking the house in the dark.  Or just standing in the corner of the bedroom that gave her a view of the door and both windows, smoking an e-cigarette with the glow off.

Guarding.

Lila knew that Rosespar was a veteran of a lot of horrors.  It was that vigilance that had first brought her to Lila’s service.  But now, it was a little unsettling.  What was going through her mind?

“It’s okay, Rose,” Lila said, patting the mattress. “Come to bed.”

But Rosespar just shook her head.

“Nothing’s going to happen.  Security system’s worth a fortune.  Come and sleep.”

“In a bit,” Rosespar said in her quiet, still voice. “Sleep tight, boss.”

She always called Lila ‘boss’ at times like this.  It didn’t help Lila’s worry, but she knew better than to try arguing like this, groggy and half-asleep.  So she went back to sleep, mumbling, “this isn’t over.”

“Sure, boss.”

That morning, as Rosespar was washing the dishes, e-cig dangling from her lips, Lila came up (from the side, so as not to surprise her) and wrapped her arms around her from behind. “We need to talk.”

The muscles in Rosespar’s back tensed, but her face didn’t change. “What about, boss?”

“About that.  Calling me boss, pacing at night… what’s wrong, Rose?  You’re my wife, not my employee.  You don’t have to do that anymore.”

The fur on the backs of Rosespar’s arms was starting to stand up. “I know.  I want to.”

“Why?” Lila pressed her face between Rosespar’s shoulder blades.

She could feel Rosespar’s sigh.  Rinsing the plate, she put it on the rack, dried her arms, and then turned to pull Lila into a hug. “Because it makes me feel safe.”

“Safe?”

“And happy,” Rosespar added. “I know I’m doing my job.  Doing it well, and I… I want to make you happy.  Serve you.”

Lila reached up to scritch her ear. “Oh sweetheart, I love you whatever you’re doing.  You don’t have to.”

Rosespar wouldn’t meet her eyes.  Again: “I want to.”

Lila paused, thought about it.  She knew Rosespar liked order and routine.  One of the reasons she’d hired Rosespar in the first place was that she could serve and obey without her ego getting in the way.

“Do you miss being just my employee?” she asked.

“No,” Rosespar said immediately, giving her a squeeze. “You’re my wife.  But I like you as my boss too.” She ducked her head shyly.

Lila thought some more, then nodded and stepped back. “Very well, then.  Finish the dishes, Rosespar, and then let’s go to work.  I’m sure your performance will be stunning, as usual.”

Rosespar’s smile was so big, her eyes were almost hidden by her cheeks. “Sure, boss.”

Lila left.  She could hear Rosespar humming.

It took some getting used to, certainly, acting as boss and wife.  But not as much as Lila expected.  Rosespar was just so happy when Lila gave her orders, or complimented her on a job well done.  And coming from her, ‘boss’ sounded like a lovely endearment.

The night pacing still happened, though.  And Lila was sure Rosespar wasn’t doing it purely out of a wish to serve.  At first, she tried to let it slide, but it bothered her to wake up to find Rosespar smoking in the corner, like she was afraid Lila would be taken in the night like so many of the others.

One night, Lila said up and said, “Come to bed, sweetie.”

Rosespar shook her head. “It’s okay, boss, I—”

Lila let a touch of iron into her voice. “Did I sound like I was asking?”

Pause.  Then Rosespar relaxed. “No, boss.”

“That’s right.  Now come into my bed.”

Rosespar obeyed, and Lila promptly sprawled all over her to keep her from going anywhere.

“Good,” Lila said, kissing Rosespar’s cheek.

Rosespar slept the rest of the night through, relaxed, cuddled, and slightly squished.  Safe.  Protected.
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