After M/m Keeper/Kept and Keeper’s Interview and Needs a Title and Bad Titling is Catching and More M/m, when I’d given up on titles and The Driver Weighs Inand Sal’s Questions and Claws and Monsters and Weapons and Impressions.
“Now you know half of it.” Timaios leaned back, searching Ctirad’s face. “And, yes, that’s a fairly common reaction. Although you don’t seem like you’re awed by my money.”
“Why should I be, sir?” Ctirad cleared his throat. “I mean. You have money for yourself, not for your toys – except to buy them.”
“If you’re not careful,” Timaios warned, “I’m going to take certain words away from you.”
“Sir?” Ctirad searched Timaios’ face, but could find nothing helpful there.
“I am not particularly fond of my Kept referring to themselves as toys. You’re Mine, yes. That does not make you something to be put in a box when I’m bored.”
Ctirad swallowed. “Experiences differ, sir,” he said as politely as he knew how.
“I’m beginning to get that impression. However, you are not my toy. You Belong to me. That is different.”
Ctirad wanted to ask how, but he’d already pushed his owner too far. “Yes, sir.”
“Are you ready for the next part of this little show-and-tell?”
“As you will, sir.” He had no idea how to be ready or now or how that would change anything.
“Workings are up, sir. We can see them but they can’t see us.”
“Very good, thank you.” He shook his head once, and his Mask dropped.
Ctirad took a careful moment to take in the changes, his expression set at “neutral waiting”. His Owner was… he was still the same man. That was the first thing he noticed. “Same chin, same cheekbones,” he muttered, mostly to himself, but so his Owner knew he was processing. “The tusks’ve got to be interesting.” The tusks curved downward; there were horns curving upward. The whole visage had a slightly grey, stony tint to it.
Timaios snorted, when it became clear that was all Ctirad was going to say. “That’s it?”
Ctirad looked up, meeting his Owner’s eyes. “Does the stone look go all the way down?”
He surprised a laugh out of Timaios and a squeak-like noise out of Sal. “You’re either a good faker or impressive.”
“Little of both, sir. I’m not freaked out by the whole thing, if that’s what you mean. But I see how people would be.”
He didn’t know if it was the right answer, but he kept running into situations here where Timaios didn’t want the “right” answer anyway, so he figured honesty was his best bet.
Timaios raised his eyebrows. “Tempted to ask what’s under your Mask.”
“I Belong to you, sir. You can tell me to do anything you want.”
“I’m beginning to understand that that is your very polite way of saying ‘no way in hell without an order’, isn’t it?”
“Yes, sir. But it’s also the truth.”
“It is, yes.” His hand felt the same on Ctirad’s face as it had before. His Mask went up as he reached out to Ctirad, and some discomfort seemed to leave him with the reappearance of his public face. “I will ask you for your face behind your Mask. But I will wait until we are alone.”
He couldn’t argue with that. He couldn’t really argue with anything. “Thank you, sir.” Maybe if he was sufficiently distracting, his new Owner would forget about that.
“Speaking of ‘alone’, Sal, how long until we’re there?”
“Three minutes, sir. But i can do a pretty good Ignore the Back Seat Working on myself, too.”
“No, that’s not needed. I can wait three minutes. Thank you, Sal.” Timaios’ hand moved down to Ctirad’s knee and rested there. “We’ll get you settled in and then eat dinner in my room, I think,” he mused in Ctirad’s general direction. “And I’ll have Honore take your measurements and get you some new clothes. If I’m going to have you at my side in public, you’re going to have to look like you belong there.”
Clothes didn’t matter, as long as he could move in them. “Yes, sir.” He remembered, vaguely, having an opinion on such things once. He wondered if he’d left that back with his favorite color.
“And then, maybe…” Timaios’ hand slid up to Ctirad’s thigh, “you can tell me what you really think of my Change, when we’re alone.” His fingers were suddenly tight on Ctirad’s leg – not tight enough to hurt, more of a promise of entertainment than of pain.
That, he could answer without having to think about. “I look forward to seeing how far down the stone goes, sir.”
And that was a genuine smile, or at least he thought it was real smile. Ctirad swallowed around pleasure and the strange feeling that he’d done something right.
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