There was a moment of silence in the car. Ctirad could hear the road under the tires, some traffic noise, the breathing of all three of them.
“You Belong to me,” Sir agreed carefully. “And I neither object to you having claws nor intend to use you as a murderer. Would you like my word on that?”
Ctirad wasn’t certain he could speak. He cleared his throat and settled for “sir?” with an intonation that might have relayed what the fuck?
“I am not going to use you as a tame killer. I will never order you to kill and I won’t put you in a situation where the bond is forcing you to kill if I can help it. Okay?”
“Sir.” He didn’t know how to express what he was feeling. He didn’t believe it, but he wanted badly to. He swallowed around the dryness of his throat and the way everything felt like it was pressing down on him, taking his air. “…sir?”
“My name is Timaios, Ctirad, and when we’re alone – which includes with Sal – you have permission to use it. Does that offend you?”
“Does…” There were too many options. Shit. “Does what offend me, sir… Ti… sir?”
No. Fuck it, he was not going to give in to that trap. Timaios was his owner, and he was not going to forget that, not even for a second.
“Does it offend you that I won’t use you as a weapon?”
“Sir. I am a weapon.” There was nothing to be offended by, or not, in that. He pointed his face blindly at his owner’s and waited.
“Do you want to be used as a weapon?”
“Sir.” His throat worked as he tried to come up with a safe answer. “Sir, I Belong to you. I Belong to be used. There is some use you are going to have for me, or you wouldn’t have taken me as payment. I’m not decorative-”
“The fuck you’re not,” Sal muttered from the front seat. Ctirad ignored him.
“-I don’t talk sweet, not without paying a lot of attention to my words. I don’t do accounting, I’m a lousy housekeeper-”
“-bet you look great in an apron.”
“Sal. That’s enough.”
“-I’m a decent cook, but nobody buys a Kept because they can cook. So that leaves bitch, whore, and weapon, and of those, sir, I prefer weapon. I’m better at it anyway.”
“Sal?” Ctirad’s owner’s voice was tight. “Please remind me to find an unpleasant end for Ermenrich and, more immediately, to find a way to rehome or free all of his other servants, slaves, and Kept?”
“Yes, sir.” The joking was gone from Sal’s voice, too. Ctirad held still and waited for the fallout.
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