Archive | November 9, 2011

“Just Be Yourself”

From rix_scaedu‘s commissioned prompt.

A continuation of the Three-Way story.
3-Way originally posted here and on LJ, continued here (LJ) and then here (LJ and then
Here (Duet) and Here on LJ – and then here: Preferences (LJ) and here (and on LJ).

“I was hoping you’d be my girlfriend.”

Ahouva stared at Basalt. “You ripped out Kendon’s guts because you wanted a girlfriend? There’s got to be an easier way.”

“That was Jeremiah,” he demurred. “I beat them down until they yielded to rescue you.”

“I didn’t need rescuing!” More quietly, she added, “I was doing fine. I’d finally gotten to the point where I could make Kendon happy, where he didn’t yell at me much at all.” Now she was going to have to do it all over again with this guy. More subdued, and a bit nervous, she added, “you’re not going to be like Thorburn, are you?”

“Like him how?” he asked carefully. His knees were still touching hers. She should pull away, but she didn’t really want to.

“I’ve seen Ceinwen crying, when she doesn’t think anyone was looking,” she muttered.

“I’ve seen you do the same thing,” he countered, and she winced.

“Sorry! I don’t mean for anyone to see me; I’m just overreacting.”

“And you don’t think Ceinwen was?”

“Should I?” she asked nervously. “She seemed so level-headed, not a mess like me.”

He shook his head. “Damn. All right, this is going to tricky, isn’t it?”

“You could give me back?” she offered timidly.

He shook his head. “No. No, I’m not going to do that. After this, Kendon’s going to be worse than ever before.”

She winced, swallowing a comment. He’d just made things worse, no matter how you looked at it. “Then… tell me what you want from me?”

“Hold on, I’m still on your last question.” He smiled ruefully. “I’m kind of slow, so you have to be patient with me, okay?”

She nodded, not certain if the “hold on” meant to be quiet or not. That got her a real smile from him – he had a very nice smile, when he tried – and then a thoughtful sigh. “Okay. The short answer is, Thorburn and I took away different things from being under cy’Linden last year. I don’t know what he’s doing to make Ceinwen cry – I hadn’t known she was crying, though that explains some of the things Penny’s said – but I don’t want to do anything to make you cry.”

She stared at him. Kendon hadn’t liked her crying, either. “I can try not to cry…” she offered. Obviously she had to get better at hiding it.

He shook his head. “That’s not what I mean, Ahouva. I mean – you asked if I was going to be like Thorburn. And I’m telling you no, I don’t want to be like that. I don’t want to be like Kendon, either.”


He frowned, and she, wondering how she’d managed to upset him already, cringed. That just made him frown more deeply.

“Every evening, I’m going to ask you if I have done anything to upset you. I’m going to want – and order –to know everything, so if you have to write it down in a notebook to remember it at the end of the day, do that.”

“Okay?” This sounded like an excuse for punishment waiting to happen, but maybe she could change her definition of “upset?”

“If something bothers you badly enough that you want it to stop right away, tell me right away. Right then. Even if we’re in public.” He touched a finger to her nose. “I do not want to be upsetting you.”

She winced again, and nodded, because he seemed to want her to agree. “Okay? I mean, yes, sir.”

He sighed quietly. “Okay.” He seemed to be willing to let it go, at least. Maybe she’d be able to work around it. “On to your second question.”

She was getting lost. “Okay?”

“What I want from you.”

Oh, that one. She nodded, eyes down. “Yes, sir.”

“It’s Basalt,” he corrected gently. “I’m really not fancy enough to be sir for anyone.”

“Yes, Basalt.” She peeked up at him. “Not ‘master’ either?”

“Does it – be honest with me – make you happy to call someone master?”

Yes. No. Yes? “Maybe?” she offered carefully. “When I called Kendon master, sometimes it made him happy, and sometimes it made him angry.”

“But what about what you like?”

“I like having my owner happy with me!” Why did he keep asking what she liked? Why wouldn’t he tell her what he wanted out of her. “I like knowing what the right thing to do is!”

He sat back, lips closed tightly, and Ahouva quailed. Now she’d done it. Now he was going to be mad at her, and he was going to … what was he going to do? She peeked at him cautiously. She didn’t know what came next with him.

He had his face in both hands. “This… is going to be interesting.”

“You can still give me back.”

“No. I won’t.” He dropped his hands. “When you came here, you were a mouthy, bright, clever new kid. I liked you like that.”

“Nobody else did,” she muttered.

“Even if that’s true, which I doubt, they don’t matter, do they?”

Now he was on ground she understood. “No, master.” She smiled cautiously at him. “What you want is what matters.”

“Exactly. Good girl,” he added, saying the words very carefully. She shivered at the good feelings his words sent through her, as condescending as they were. He was happy with her?

He patted her shoulder gently. “What I want is you to be yourself. And I think that’s going to be trickier than I originally thought.”

She nodded, biting her lip. “How will I know what you like, then?”

“Mm. If you really bug me, I’ll let you know. But look, Ahouva, I’m really not that bright, and you are.”

“I’m not that clever. Kendon had to correct me all the time.”

“That’s because Kendon is an asshole, not because you’re not smart. When you came here, you thought you were pretty bright, didn’t you?”

She dropped her head. “I was stupid. I didn’t know how the world really was.”

“You were smart – are smart. You just didn’t know how to handle this place.”

“Kendon was teaching me.”

“Kendon was teaching you how to be a good little pet.”

“Isn’t that what being Kept is?”

“Only if that’s what your owner wants. What I want, as I said, is a girlfriend. You. Smart, mouthy, and clever.”

“Oh.” She blinked at him uncertainly. “What if I can’t be that anymore?”

He sighed, and, before she could say anything else, pulled her into his lap and cuddled her against him. “Then we’ll have to figure that out together.”

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