In Which Amrit & Mieve have a quiet evening – a continuation, much-belated, of BeeKeeper.

First: A beginning of a story which obnoxiously cuts off just before the description,
Previous: In Which Mieve Explains Some Things.

Fae Apoc, approx. now.

Content Warnings: This setting, although not this ficlet, contains rape, mind control, and dubious consent situations.

This particular story contains kidnapping and slavery, bondage, violence, and will eventually contain Stockholm Syndrome.


He kept expecting her to shove the gag back in his mouth. He’d just told her that she couldn’t trust him, that he wouldn’t promise even to not attack her. She knew he would try to escape given the slightest chance.

But she put the pie in the oven and dried the dishes he’d washed, put away her pottery like it wasn’t the end of the world, like she didn’t have someone chained up in her kitchen, and then she’d led him into her living room. (Floor plan — )

She had those floor bolts everywhere. Not that Amrit was surprised, not if he wasn’t the first person she’d collared. She led him to a nice soft armchair near the wood stove, locked his chain to the floor, and taken the other chair herself.

“No Workings,” she warned him, “or the gag goes back in.” Amrit waved the warning away with a dismissive hand; he got the point already. He’d have to get the gag out when she wasn’t listening.

He worked his mouth while she picked up her knitting — really? She was going to sit by the fire and knit? Could she be any more homey? — feeling around the edges of his lips. He was starting to heal already. The hawthorn had to be working its way out of his system. Once it was mostly gone — once he could cut himself and have the mark vanish in less than twenty minutes — then he could make his escape.

“This a normal evening for you?” He hadn’t meant to say anything at all, but the silence seemed to ask for it.

She looked up at him, her fingers still working on her knitting. “Most nights. Sometimes I read. Sometimes… well, but that’s not going to happen.”

The room was only dimly lit, two flickering gas lamps and the fire casting everything into ruddy shadows, but it seemed as if she might be blushing. Amrit coughed. “Sometimes…?” he prompted.

“Sometimes I have more cooperative Kept.”

“I’m not your Kept.”

She snorted. That hadn’t been been the response he’d been expecting. “I noticed, trust me. Some day, that slave factor is going to find his pants full of annoyed bees.”

“What, you were expecting a Kept?” He tugged at the chain. You didn’t normally have to tie Kept up.

“…Second one was human,” she explained. “Humans require a bit more, ah, patience. Well, than a Kept.” She smiled crookedly at him. “I’d say you require enough patience for any three humans.”

“Hey!” He glared at her. “It’s not like I asked for this. Any of it. And it’s not like you’re being like the height of patience and tolerance here.” She really was being more patient than he’d thought she’d be… but there was no need to say that.

“It’s not as if the slave markets come with provenance and papers on people. Some of them do volunteer, you know.”

“Who the fuck would volunteer for a collar and a leash and…” Amrit twisted his face up – being owned?

“Well, let’s see.” She ticked off on her fingers. “People who don’t know how to survive in the world as it’s ended up. People who want to escape the world they’re in – or the people they’re with, or something like it – enough that they’re willing to give up freedom. People who are just that naturally submissive. The Departed Gods made Keeping for a reason, and it wasn’t to sell people in slave markets, you know.”

Amrit blinked at her. “Thorough.” He sneered. “None of that’s me, though.”

“Been Kept before, have you?” She asked it far too casually.

Amrit tugged on the chain on his leg. It was starting to chafe. “For like a month. Something my Mentor set up after he released me. Tricked me into it and everything. I didn’t know,” he added defensively. “If I’d known it’d just be a month, I might’ve…”

She was raising her eyebrows at him. He could tell that even in the flickering gaslight. “Fuck you, lady,” he muttered.

“Mieve,” she corrected, far too serenely. “My name is Mieve. Fuck you, too.”

She made it sound like a benediction. “Amrit,” he offered, in lieu of an amen. “My name is Amrit.”


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