Rating: PG-13 for sexual innuendo
Stephan was learning how to serve.
Against the frowning disapproval of Toma the harem mistress, Wensleydale, the softest of the born slaves, had agreed to give him a few pointers.
“Look,” Stephan had said, in that low, conspiratorial whisper they all got used to using in the harem, “she might want me because I fight back, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t know what I’m supposed to do. You said you all thought I knew what I was fighting against. I don’t. And that means she starts out reading from a script I’ve never even seen.”
He’d come back to the harems to pack the few belongings that he could call his, at least by courtesy if not in reality (Slaves were themselves possessions and couldn’t thus own anything. That lesson, at least, had been hammered home very thoroughly). But, more than the tie-tack he’d gotten as a Yule gift or his spare pair of soft-soled slippers, he needed knowledge. He’d gone to Wensleydale because he’d been there, while many of the others had been called out to service, and because he’d been willing to explain things in the past. Of all the prim, proper, well-trained born-slaves in the harem, he’d seemed the most sympathetic to the prisoner-of-war kidnapped American slaves like Stephan.
“So you want to know what script you’re ignoring.”
“Not just that. If, when, I go off-script, I want it to be on purpose. And if I’m going to do this thing,” now that he’d been given a choice, at least, “well, I ought to do it right.” Even if that thing was being a lapdog. If he did it with finesse, if he did it as a choice, it became his thing, and not something done to him.
That argument, at least, had convinced the skinny, beardless harem slave, and he’d been the one who’d convinced Toma to give them a private room. “Service,” he said to Stephen’s doubtful expression, “is a private thing, even when done in public. And Americans are so shy.”
“Shy?” He choked out a laugh, and then swallowed a noise that wasn’t a laugh as Wes shut the door behind them and stripped off his pants. “Hey now, that’s not what I asked for!”
“Shy,” the slender boy agreed, with a small smirk. “Relax. I’m not going to try to seduce you.” As if intentionally giving lie to that sentence, he dropped gracefully to his knees at Stephen’s feet. “We were talking about shyness. I’ve seen Americans come and go in the harems, and nudity is one of those things that seems to matter to you – and it doesn’t to us, not in the same way. I was making a point.”
“Um. All right. Point taken.” He looked down at the boy. “Service?” he asked uncomfortably.
“Service,” he nodded. “After all, you’ll spend a lot of your service nude. And on your knees.”
“C’mon, get up,” he urged, but Wensleydale shook his head, smirking, and grasped one wrist with the other hand behind his back, his hands nearly resting on his ankles. He tilted his head up with an expression of hope and entreaty.
“How may I serve you, my lord?”
Stephen got it, and nodded slowly, although he knew his reluctance was showing on his face. “You’re awfully vulnerable like that.” His hands twitched, looking down at the too-pretty face.
“That’s the point.” He grabbed his toes, arching his back, his head tilted back. “From here, I’m completely open to you. You could grab my collar with one hand, or my hair… go ahead, do it.”
“You wanted to learn.”
“Damnit.” The face was pretty enough, but there was no pretending that wasn’t a guy kneeling in front of him. He waited, but the boy clearly wasn’t going to continue unless he did as he asked. “Damnit!” he repeated, and got a rough handful of sandy blond curls in his left hand, the jangling O-ring of the collar in his right.
“Yes.” It was almost a moan. “And I’m helpless. Completely in your hands.”
“And that’s a good thing, is it?” It was tempting to tug backwards on the hair, or forwards on the collar; he did both just a little bit, to see the rough arch of the boy’s body expand like drawing a bow.
“It is.” His voice came out thready and a bit ragged, but his eyes were firm on Stephen’s. “It’s a metaphor.”
“This-” he drew the bow a little more “-this is a metaphor?”
“It is. Because right now, you can do anything you want to me. You could have tied my hands and my ankles, but you didn’t; I chose to put myself here, on my knees in front of you. I choose to move where you put me.”
He nodded, releasing tension on the boy without letting go of his dual grip. “I see. So what happens is in my hands, because you put it there.”
“Yes.” In that position, there was no hiding or ignoring how turned on they both were right now. Wensleydale kept his voice level anyway. “We kneel in service, not to put ourselves lower than our mistresses, but to put ourselves in their hands. So…” Now, he licked his lips, and Stephen didn’t think the flush of his cheeks was just from the positioning. “How may I serve you, my Lord?”
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