Beauty-Beast 2: Keeper’s Interview

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“All right. Now… can you lean against me a little bit, let me hold your weight? Like that, yes. You were left kneeling too long, and you may be trained, but I know for a fact training goes out the window when you’re panicking. So. My name is Timaios, and Ermenrich wanted something from me that I didn’t particularly want to give up. That means you’re mine now.”

“I’m yours. Sir.” Ctirad’s voice was a raw rumble. He wasn’t trying to modify it; he wasn’t even sure he should. Ermenrich had wanted… but what Ermenrich had wanted didn’t matter anymore. He hadn’t wanted Ctirad.

From the chuckle from behind him, it seemed like he’d probably made the right choice. “Yes. All right. So what you need to know about me. I’m a businessman – no, you can stay there, lean. Let your legs rest for a bit. So. I know you’re nervous, but I want to know who it is I just bought.”

“Why can’t I look at you? Sir.” Ctirad cleared his throat. “That is… No, that’s what I meant.”

He was expecting to be scolded or hit or pushed away any moment now, but Timaios did none of those things. Instead, he ran a hand through Ctirad’s hair.

“Because I’m selfish, and I want to know who it is that I’ve purchased. So tell me something about yourself.”

That was an order. “I’m short.” The words came out without volition. He cleared his throat again and tried again. “I… can play chess but I prefer Go.”

Timaios squeezed Ctirad’s upper arm. “These aren’t muscles you got playing chess.”

“I play with very big pieces. Sir.”

It was a risk. He was feeling like taking risks. It made him straighten up a little, made his voice deeper again.

Timaios chuckled. “This I may have to see, you realize. Take you up on it, get you some ‘very big pieces.’ Then again…” He trailed off. “Something else about you?”

That time, he had a chance to think. “I didn’t ask to be Kept, but I don’t object to serving.”

“Very interesting. Thank you for that. One more thing, and then I’ll turn you around.”

Ctirad cleared his throat. “What do you want to know, sir?”

“I want to know what sort of things you tell me without direction, of course.” Timaios patted Ctirad’s shoulder. “Tell me one more thing about yourself.”

Urgh, another order. “I’ve forgotten what my favorite color is.” It came out in a hurry. It covered over things he didn’t want to say. And it surprised him. From the sound behind him, it surprised Timaios, too.


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