Archive | March 17, 2017

Beauty-Beast 1: Sold

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Ctirad knelt.

He ducked his head down low and folded his hands behind his back. He wasn’t really looking at anything.

His Keeper had sold him. He wasn’t supposed to have done that. It wasn’t against the Law, Ctirad supposed, but it was an awful feeling, that way his Keeper’s hand had brushed over his jaw, lingered, and then left. “The thing is,” Sir Ermenrich had purred, “you were a lot of fun when you were new and angry. But now I need to make a deal, and you were the best bargaining chip I had.”

So Ctirad knelt. His jaw was set. His hands were perfect. He was showing nothing, not a goddamned thing. And he was most definitely not falling apart inside.


He hadn’t even heard anyone enter. He rose, like he was pulled up on strings, mortified to find his legs weren’t sure about holding him.

“Oh, easy there.” As he stumbled, he felt an arm around his waist, catching him, holding him up. “Easy, easy. Your legs fall asleep?”

The touch sent fire through him and long streaks of warm pleasure. Ctirad tried to focus on the facts and not the emotions. Someone was holding him up. Someone whose voice controlled him.

He turned to look, but found a hand in his hair, holding his head. “Not yet. Eyes forward or close your eyes, your choice. Were your legs asleep?”

Ctirad swallowed and closed his eyes. “Yes, sir. I know better, but… yes, sir.” He was not feeling any more sanguine about his situation.


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Catching Up, Cya

After Cya gets ready for a date and Almost Out the Door for a Date and Trying Again and Blind Date.

“You look good.”

It was no surprise he was handsome, of course; for one, he was from Addergoole, where handsome was the norm, and for another, she’d picked him to be her Kept, which almost always meant that they fit within her two very specific types.

It wasn’t what she meant, in this case.

He smirked back at her and pretended to misunderstand. “Good genes.” He brushed away her response before she could say it. “I’ve been doing well. Doing good, too.” He ducked his head and grinned up at her through a sudden fringe of brown-black hair, a trick he’d excelled at thirty years ago and seemed to have been practicing. “Turns out your lessons stick.”

She sipped her water and studied him. “I’m not looking for someone to teach lessons to, right now.”

“If you were,” he teased, his smiled wide, “You’d be at Addergoole and not on a blind date, right?”

“Exactly. You know, there was a time when they tried to threaten me to stop Keeping people.”

“I can imagine. It was probably a little worrying for them, having someone they distrust scooping people up every year.” HIs smile turned a little crooked. “Not that your Kept don’t benefit.”

“Well, that’s the idea…. half the idea,” she admitted. “I like having Kept around, too.”

“I’d noticed.” It was his turn to sip his drink. “You know I liked being around, too? I mean, most of the time.”

“I guessed. I’m not good with – with emotions.” It grated to admit that, but if she’d learned anything with all the work she’d been doing with Leo, it was that. “But you didn’t seem miserable, at least.”

“I knew I wasn’t ready for the world, I just, well, didn’t think what I was ready for was a collar.” He shrugged a little. “It was a good year. And, like I said, you rubbed off on me.”

“Doing good, you said.” She eyed him thoughtfully over her cup. “What sort of good?”

“Oh, you know, building walls, mending fences, working as a diplomat-slash-small-town sheriff and judge. Pretty much I tell people that the black cow is Farmer Gonzales’ and the white cow is Farmer Jones’, and they both agree to let me make that decision, and the I do the same thing between Neihart Mt. and the next two city-states that aren’t, well, here. I do a lot of talking.”

“I don’t remember you being all that talkative.”

“I’m not, normally.” He smirked crookedly at her. “But it turns out I’m good at it, and they needed someone who wasn’t from around there. Since I’m from the East Coast…”

“Oh, dead gods, I didn’t strand you, did I?”

“Oh, hey, no. I never wanted to go home. And you offered to have your teleporter take me anywhere, remember?” He shook his head. “We’re good. I just wanted to stay here.”

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Black Thumb, a Thimbleful Story

“Shit.” Consia flopped down by her failed garden. “I have a black thumb. I can’t keep anything alive.” She ran her fingers through dead leaves. “Carrots! The book said they were great for kids.

She wasn’t talking to anyone in particular – the cat didn’t care, and there was nobody else around. Her house had been isolated before everything ended; half her neighbors had died and the other half had fled. That left her and the cat. She was running out of food from her neighbors’ cupboards. “I’m going to die because I can’t grow a freaking carrot”

“You know, you could just come with us.”

That was not the cat. Consia rolled to her feet to face three men, the foremost of whom was leering at her. They weren’t skinny. That was the first thing she noticed. How in the names of a billion gods-like-rats were they not skinny when the world had ended?

The answers that came to mind seemed no more reassuring than the man’s smile.

“I’d like to stay here.”

“Well, we were going to take your food, but I guess we can’t do that. So we’ll take you instead, put you to some use. And if we can’t,” he leered, “then… Long pig gets tasty after a while.”

Consia stared at them. “Excuse me?” Her voice was steel; new, strange steel. Something was growing in her.

“I said, darling, we’re going to work you or eat you.”

“I thought so.” Not steel. Ironwood. She was standing, growing taller. “No. Go away.”

“Oh, darling, I don’t think-”

The vine that shot out of his mouth wasn’t a carrot, but it looked like it would bear fruit. Consia stretched; the yard, no, everything came to life.

The formerly-dead raspberry bush up front caught his friends. Consia glanced at the cat.

“Those are yours,” she told it. “I’m going to see to the carrots.”

Her thumbs were solid green. She figured that was a small price to pay.

Written to yesterday’s Thimbleful Thursday prompt & part of my fae apoc ‘verse

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