“MDom Not Asshole” continues, now with a name
First: A story featuring a male keeper and a female Kept.
Previous: After a Warm Meal
Jasper stared at her. “Mélanie, I promise you, it is not a joke.” The air shivered with the feeling of his oath and the house seemed to shift minutely. “I swear it to you. I intend to treat you like an associate, not like a slave, and if I have given you any indication otherwise, I sincerely apologize.”
“You… you bought me,” she pointed out, in a whisper that was barely a breath. “And you-”
“I made you come in here, yes. And I’m sorry for that. Had I realized you had heard about the house, I would have given you more time to acclimate. I’m very, very sorry.” He looked at her with such a hang-dog expression, for a moment, Melanie suspected a canine change.
Fox, she remembered. He might very well have an actually hang-dog expression on under his Mask. She caught her breath, fighting down a hysterical giggle. “You own me,” she pointed out, as forcefully as she could make herself, “by the Law and by the law, by everything that binds us. You bought me and took ownership of me and, and… And you want me to be a person?”
He cleared his throat. “Human law I care little for. I think you may have noticed that. And as for the Law, I have brought you in under my Name and made you part of my household. Although we didn’t say the formal words, I certainly meant them. You are under my protection.”
He looked so earnest. He was, of course, a self-admitted thief and liar, cheat and who knew what else, but she found she wanted to believe him.
That, of course, was a trap in itself. But maybe… she smiled crookedly at him. “What’s the formal one? Something like ‘I come to you with nothing, and everything I have comes from your hands…?’”
“Then may everything that comes from my hands bring you pleasure, and may you serve me, not because of your oath, but because I have earned your service.” He stood and bowed deeply to her. “I bring you into my house and under my Name, Mélanie, that we might be one household and one unit, moving together to serve the needs of both.”
She had never heard that particular set of words, but she found herself dropping out of the chair and to her knees, her head to his toes. “I come-” she had to make up words, and they had to be the right ones. She chose to echo his words as well as she could, “under your Name and into your house and household, sa’Fox-Crazy-” and if she was under his name, that meant she was fox-crazy too, didn’t it? “-to move as you move and to serve the needs of, of both of us.”
He set his hand on the back of her head. “Rise, Mélanie, oro’Fox-Crazy, and be welcome within my house. Now.” He studied her and brushed his hand over the iron and hawthorn collar around her neck. She had been wearing it so long it felt something like a part of her, like the low, muttering pain of the poison against her was no more than her breath, in and out, in and out. “Even were I the sort of monster to deny Workings to my household, I couldn’t have this sort of poison in the house.” He inserted a narrow piece of metal in the lock and wiggled it for a moment until the thing fell off. “There. Mélanie, I have a question.”
“Yes, Jasper?” Her voice was shaking. Why was it shaking?
“I would rather have our symbol of your Belonging be something private between us. Do you object, if to the world you look like a free woman?”
Her hand went up to her neck. There was nothing there. Nothing but old blisters healed into calluses. “I… I don’t object. But why? Normally-”
“Normally, people want everyone to know ‘this is my person.’ But what I want people to know is that we are a team, and that you speak for me. I would introduce you by your Name, and I would not indicate to others that you were Mine. As a bonus, this means that anyone attempting to be sneaky and Keep either of us will find that they cannot, and we will know that they are trying to so something sneaky.”
His grin showed very white teeth. She smiled back at him more cautiously. “I don’t object.”