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.
Her captive — Amrit, his name was Amrit, and how her fingers were itching to get to her dictionaries and her baby name books, to see what that name could hold in store for her — Amrit was quiet now, looking rather thoughtful.
Mieve was not stupid. She didn’t think this was more the the calm before the storm, but she had had too many storms in the last few months. She’d take any calm she could get.
“The first one was a bit of an accident,” she offered after a while. “After school, I didn’t think I’d ever Keep someone again. I didn’t really mean to. But I recognized him — he’d been at school with me, four years after me — and I, I don’t know, I felt like I had to get him out of there. I couldn’t leave someone I knew in the slave market.”
“You went to a school with other fae?” He worked his mouth again, like he was feeling at the edges where the gag had rubbed. She wondered if he knew she’d noticed how fast he healed, now that the poison of the hawthorn was getting out of his system.
“I did. A boarding school for Ellehemaei. It — well, like your Mentor, ours set us up with practice Keepings. But ours weren’t just for a month. The school year, usually.”
“Sounds like a hell of a school.”
“Well… It taught me enough that I’m still here. I found this place when I was running, and for the first two years I just kept waiting for the owners to find it. I guess they never made it out.” She was still both sad and relieved about that. “But I had to stay alive long enough to get here. And then, once I was here…”
He nodded. “Lots of people died, yeah? Couldn’t hack it, couldn’t figure it out.” He shrugged jerkily. “I probably wouldn’t’ve, but I’m tough.”
“I’ve noticed. And then, what? The slavers…?”
His face tightened. “Yeah. Caught me in my sleep, fuckers. And then you bought me.” He tugged on the chain. “And here I am. Chopping firewood.”
“The pie’s ready. Can you smell it?”
He sniffed the air, caught off-guard. “Yeah. Yeah, it smells good.” He leaned forward in his chair. “You’re really gonna give me some?”
“I’m not going to offer you something and then take it away.” She was a little offended, and then a little amused at herself for being offended.
“Don’t see why not.” The more he talked, the younger he seemed. She wondered if he’d even been Changed when the world had ended. “Lots of people do.”
“That’s not who I want to be.” She unlocked his chain. “Come on.”
“It’s gonna get pretty tiresome, leading me around on a leash all the time.”
“Oh, it will. I imagine it will get pretty boring being led around on that leash, too. Give me your word not to run away?”
“Yeah, right. Leashes can break.” He sneered it at her, even as he was moving placidly enough to the table. “Promises can’t. I’m not stupid.”
“No, I don’t think you are. And you don’t trust me to release you from your oath, and you don’t want to put a time limit on it.”
“I don’t want to be here. Pie or not.” He flopped down angrily in his chair. “I got kidnapped, wrapped up in chains, and sold. That does not make me cooperative.”
Mieve held up her hands, even as her TK locked his tether to the bolt in the floor. “I know, I know. I’d be cranky, too. I was cranky, when it was my time. But it doesn’t mean I don’t want to explore the options that don’t lead to you being on a leash the whole time you’re here.”
“Why?” He glared at the pie as she floated it to the table.
“Because it’s a pain in the ass.” It wasn’t good for him, either, but she wasn’t in the mood to have that scoffed at. “For both of us. That, the gag… not being able to trust you with Workings…”
“See? You don’t trust me either!”
“And I have you living in my house, in my hidden sanctuary.” She dished out two generous slices of pie and passed him a fork.
“Hey, you brought me here.”
“I did.” She was going to leave that slave-master with pants so full of bees he’d never be able to walk again. Maybe he was allergic. Maybe it would kill him. “And now we’re both stuck with it.”
“Just let me go, then.”
“No.” She glared at him. “Honey is worth a lot these days, and I spent a lot of honey on you. Besides, you’re not even all the way healed up.”
“Suddenly you care about my welfare,” he sneered.
Mieve sighed. She was going to have face the possibility “Eat your pie. I want to go to bed.”
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