Archive | April 23, 2017

Collar Food

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“No, but really.” Talia followed Des into the lunchroom while Doria flanked him on the other side. “That’s a good question, Des. Where do the collars get their energy from? Is it from us? Oh…” Talia winced and her eyes went a little crossed for a moment. “My collar’s talking to me again…”

::We can take energy from the person who is wearing us, but it is considered a bit uncouth and, also, it causes problems for both us and the person in the long run,:: Desmond’s collar informed him. ::Talia’s collar may be going on about the uncouthness. Some care more about that than others. In the Old Times, when collars were only a punishment…:

“Oooh.” Des swallowed. “But – oh, there’s so many questions.”

::Save most of them for later, when the one who would abuse their collar isn’t around.::

“But where do you get food from?”

::You’ll see. I assure you, I will not let you starve me. Nor will that one’s collar let them do the same. We’re programmed with some control::

“That…. that’s a bit creepy.” Desmond put both his hands to his collar and gave it a little tug, feeling chilly.

::I know. And I apologize, but it is true. The collar is a collar – as I said, these things, the collars, were a punishment at one point.::

“Things?” he whispered, but Jefshan glanced at him anyway.

::Things. There is a collar, and there is me. I am not the collar, I am merely in the collar. Do you follow?::

“Not… really… like I am not my body but am in it, in Yetheran philosophy?”

::That is… close.::

“Are you talking philosophy with your collar?” Jefshan smirked down at Desmond.

“Yeah, a little. We were talking about it getting energy and stuff. And the end result is – I’ll see, I guess. Like everything else here.” He was a little short, he knew, but he was beginning to get frustrated with that attitude. “So I guess we’ll see. But let’s get food into us first, hunh? Like Talia said, they might have us running laps of insane stairways again.”

“What did your collar say, Talia?” Jefshan looked like there was some sort of fishing expedition going on mentally, but Des couldn’t quite see what it was supposed to be yet.

“Mine gave me a lecture on inappropriate things to say, and uncouth things to suggest, with a helping along the side of ‘be a good Collared Person, because you don’t want to be a Bad Collared Person.” Talia gave Cataleb a disgusted look.

“But what’s a Good Collared Person and what’s a Bad Collared Person?” wondered Doria. “I mean, what are the rules? Don’t eat with your elbows on the table, pick up after yourself…”

“Smile when smiled at but don’t smile too long at anyone who doesn’t seem to want to smile back,” offered Talia.

“Excuse yourself when your body makes noises you didn’t intend,” Jefshan puts in, “help those who need help and don’t ask for help you don’t need…”

“Do everything you can,” Desmond said slowly, thinking of his father, “and find yourself a way to be productive…”

“Oh, come on,” Cataleb scoffed, “they put collars on us. Do you really think we’re going to have trouble finding ways to be productive? You know what they do with collared people. They put them to work. Labor sort of work, not counting coins. And that magic in us? They use that, too, as hard and as long as they can. There’s nothing about being productive in being good, because that’s all just letting yourself be a harnessed horse.”

“Oh, be real.” Talia sent a pointed eye-roll at Cataleb. “Do you really, honestly think that they’re going to educate us for years just to work us to death?”

“What do you think the collars are for then? Decoration?”

Meshron and Helinna reached their group about that time. Meshron grabbed Cataleb’s arm and Helinna grabbed Talia’s. “No more of this,” Meshron hissed. “You’re making a scene, and we might be impulsive but we’re not stupid, do you hear me?”

Everyone in their little group of new students stared at the two older students.

“We’re serious.” Helinna’s voice was just as much of a quiet hiss as Meshron’s. “No scenes. Not on your first day of classes. No talking about being put in labor camps, or any of that sort of nonsense. If you get the Brutes worked up, it’s going to be a mess, do you understand?”

“I… understand,” Talia answered slowly.

“It’s all nonsense anyway,” Cataleb muttered. “I can shut up about it being nonsense for a while, fine.”

“Good. Now.” Meshron’s arm moved to an affectionate position around Cataleb’s shoulders. “Let’s go get breakfast, all of us, like a good Impulsive House, why don’t we?”

“As you say,” Talia muttered. It was a bit awkward, heading off to the lunch line, all of them sharing glances.

Des hadn’t thought they were making that much of a scene – if he were being honest, he thought Meshron and Helinna had made more of a scene than Cataleb and Talia – but for some reason, they’d crossed into don’t-ask territory again.

He wondered what would happen when they crossed into don’t-ask territory around an adult, a teacher or one of the testers, instead of around one of the older students. He had a feeling, with the group they had, he would find out soon. Kayey or Wesley or Talia – or Cataleb – would probably find that limit before the day was over.


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Beauty-Beast 13: Take it Off

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Ctirad cleared his throat. “Sir.” he dropped to his knees on the soft, plush carpet.

“Ctirad.” There was the gentlest of chiding tones in Timaios’ voice. Ctirad fought the urge to duck his head and apologize. “When we are alone in my bedroom, at the very least, I expect you to call me by my name.”

“S- Timaios?”

It sounded strange in his voice. He could not remember the last time he’d been allowed that privilege. He didn’t know what to think about it. He looked up at Timaios and found his master wearing a crooked and strange smile.

“I do believe I like that far too much. Would you indulge me in repeating it?”

Ctirad cleared his throat. “Timaios?”

“Lovely. Now. I am torn between any number of options, very few of which will lead to that dinner I told you that you were getting. Ah, well, we can’t always get what we want.” He took a step backwards. “Will you drop your Mask willingly?”

“No, sir, no, Timaios.” He braced himself for the anger, for the order.

“Tch. Ah, well. Another time, perhaps. How about your shirt? Will you take that off willingly?”

“Yes, sir.” He pulled his shirt off and rolled his shoulders, fighting the urge to pose.

“We’ll have to do something about that collar. It’s awful, but I’m beginning to realize I can’t expect anything different from Ermenrich. Does it hurt you?”

Ctirad’s hand went half to his collar, fell. “Not anymore.” It was heavy, but it had stopped being unbearable a long time ago.

“Then I can wait until tomorrow and decide what I want to put on you properly. Will you take your pants off willingly?”

“Yes, sir.” He hesitated. “May I stand?”

“Yes.” Timaios paused, and then added in a gentle voice, “unless I order you to your knees, which will not be often, you may stand when you need or want to. Unless I have ordered you to stay in one place, you may leave the room for such things as bodily functions or just to get a breath of air – although if we’re in the middle of something, I’d appreciate it if you’d tell me where you’re going first.”

Ctirad processed this slowly. He could remember, vaguely and as if from a very long distance, when those things would have seemed more like duh and less like huge allowances. “Thank you.” He cut off the sir before it got out of his mouth, but could not quite bring himself to say Timaios. He hesitated, feeling like that was too informal. “I appreciate it.”

“I’m glad,” Timaios answered softly. He sounded for the first time like a dangerous man. Ctirad hesitated again before standing and looked up at his master’s face.

The expression was – was almost not, as if he had learned how to Mask what he was feeling. Ctirad decided to settle on doing what he had been told – no, asked – and stood, peeling off his jeans. Belatedly, he remembered that he had to take off his boots, and left those carefully by the side of the wall.

He waited, hands behind his back, feet a shoulder-width apart, his eyes on the wall behind his master’s back. This was tricky, as his new owner was considerably taller than he was.

“So,” Timaios murmured, in the same soft, dangerous voice, “how do you look, really?”

Ctirad considered that. ”I…” He focused for a moment and then managed to shift his Mask. He had learned over the years to Mask not just his Change but to put forth an appearance of health and hale-ness. He let that drop now, keeping his Change hidden.

Timaios hissed. His hand ran over Ctirad’s chest gently, and then over his arms. “It must have been hard, keeping muscle tone when he was clearly not giving you enough food,” he murmured. “And it must be painful, these bruises.”

“I heal pretty quickly.” Ctirad answered, or, rather, didn’t answer. “Can I Mask again, sir?”

“You don’t like being seen like this?”

He considered his answer for a minute, then decided that Timaios had earned a bit of honesty. “I don’t like people knowing someone could do this to me.”

He raised his eyebrows in reply. “Considering…?”

“Even considering, yes.” He Masked again, because he hadn’t been told not to, and he was starting to wonder if there was a limit to Timaios’ generosity.

He hadn’t found it yet, at least. “Let me get you some pajama pants. We’ll worry about clothing later. Except – do you have a preference for that?”

“Things I can move in, sir. Things that don’t chafe too much.”

“You’re rather easy to please, aren’t you?”

“I-I don’t know if I’m easy to please, but I’m easy to make comfortable. I-” There was a knock on the bedroom door, and he fell silent.

“Will you be comfortable having Danny bring the food in while you’re nude?” There was a gentle teasing to Timaios’ voice. Ctirad found he liked it.

“I won’t, ah, won’t be uncomfortable, sir.”

“Very good. Come in, Danny.”

As the door opened, Ctirad realized he’d forgotten all about the food.


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