Ctirad tensed. That… was a bad sign.
Sir stroked the top of his back gently, such that the touch might be missed from the rear-view mirror, if Ctirad had his positioning right.
“What’s your name mean?” Sal sounded completely serious. Ctirad gave the question consideration.
His name wasn’t all that common in America, he knew that. And among fae, the name your father chose to give you was heavy with meaning (sometimes). Of course, he had no idea if Sal was fae or not. He cleared his throat. “Joy and honor, or joy from honor.” It wasn’t a name that brought him any joy anymore, but it was all he had left that was his.
“And what about your Name?”
He knew he went still. He knew his fists clenched. He didn’t try to hide any of it. He was not going to punch the driver in the back of the head, not with his eyes closed, not when Sal was driving. “I don’t have one of those.”
“But you did. You were Named before you were Collared, or someone needs to pay pretty badly.”
“I don’t have one now.” He knew he sounded like murder. He just wondered if he could do it before he was stopped.
“Sal. That’s enough. Allow him his secrets, if he wants them.”
Even though he couldn’t see, Ctirad turned towards Sir’s voice. “Sir?”
“Yes, sir.” Sal sounded, Ctirad thought, irritated. “But you said to ask questions.”
“It was a fine question, and it’s fine that he didn’t want to answer it.” And now Sir sounded irritated. Ctirad tensed.
“Sorry, Ctirad.” Sal didn’t exactly mutter the apology, but it sounded a little abashed and a little embarrassed. Ctirad, on the other part, was entirely surprised.
“Wha-” He shook his head. “It’s fine, Sal. I just don’t want to go back there, ‘cause, well, I can’t go back there, you follow?”
“Pardon me for saying so, but you probably won’t be Kept forever, will you?”
Ctirad swallowed. It didn’t hit with the same pain it would when he’d been under Sir’s collar for any length of time, but there was still an edgy panic to the thought. “If,” he said, carefully and slowly,every word its own individual thought, “I’m ever… ever not Kept… I’ll… make a new Name. Have to. The old one’s burned.”
“Woah.” Sal drew the word out. “I retract the question.”
“Thanks.” He leaned back against the seat, suddenly exhausted. “What next, sir?”
“Well, hrrm. What’s the most important thing you think I should know about you that I don’t already? And what about Sal? What’s the most important thing Sal should know about you?”
Ctirad considered the question for a moment. There were too many ways to answer.
“I’m not tame.”
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