He wasn’t quite sure what to do with that permission, but, after considering it, he decided to split his hour three ways and do the three things that Timaios had suggested.
Twenty minutes in the gym wasn’t much, but it was enough for him to feel a pleasant burn in his shoulders and chest. It was nice to not have to rush, to not be looking over his shoulder. He could be here. He had permission; his Owner had told him to do it. He could do anything here he wanted.
He spent the next twenty minutes lying on his back, down to his underwear (he had considered stripping naked and then, thinking of the number of people who worked for Timaios and decided not being naked was probably better). The sun was warm on his skin, and he wondered what his actual color looked like.
He’d need complete privacy for that. Maybe he would try that right after Timaios left next time. He didn’t really know if his actual skin soaked up sun and changed color the way human skin did, but he had not had a chance to sunbathe in a while. In… he couldn’t remember how long.
He spent longer than 20 minutes outside and guiltily made his way inside towards a tv with only ten minutes left in his hour. He picked up the remote…. and couldn’t decide what he wanted to watch.
In the end, he ended up on a “classic cartoons” channel, watching ancient army cartoons that he remembered from his childhood. He’d thought everyone in the military had superpowers back then, he remembered. And that they all had code names and themed uniforms.
He looked down at himself, wearing nothing but a collar and his underwear. He supposed that was a kind of themed uniform.
Not the sort he’d ever thought – no, he realized with a start, there had been a time when he’d thought he’d want to be like this. It had just been very private fantasies.
No wonder Ermenrich had been able to convince him into an Owning so easily. Some part of him still remembered what it was like to fantasize about being the Commander’s personal attack dog, unleashed to fight the enemy, and then back on a leash and curled up on a little bed at the end of the evening. Petted and pampered.
He found himself blushing, his body responding to the idea. “Down, boy,” he muttered. That wasn’t where he was. It might end up being closer to where he was, eventually, but right now he was – well, he was…
…hopefully Timaios would tell him eventually where he was now.
“Well, isn’t this a pretty picture?”
Ctirad tensed. That wasn’t his Owner. Was he going to get – was there going to be- his brain kept shorting out at the end of the sentences.
He sat up and put on a mellow, noncommittal smile, not turning around to see who had come up on him. “Generally, I like to think so.” Not Sal. Not Danny. Not Shel. How many people did Timaios employ? “Tristin?”
“Tris is fine.” The butler walked around to the side of the couch. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.”
“Oh, I wasn’t startled. I was just surprised to see anyone else up in the boss’s bedroom.”
“Ah.” Tris cleared his throat. “I wouldn’t be here, but the boss asked me to come find you and ask you if you would join him in his office when you were ready.”
“I can show you down there – when you’re ready,” Tris repeated. Ctirad studied the man. He seemed uncomfortable.
Ctirad smiled. “But I make a pretty picture this way, don’t I? Unless the boss has company…”
He was rewarded by a slight flush on Tris’ cheeks. “I didn’t mean anything by that, sorry. Uh. You do look pretty, that is. And the boss won’t mind if this is how you want to go see him, but I’ve got no problem waiting for you to put on pants if you’d rather.”
Ctirad tilted his head. “I think,” he said slowly, “that you were trying to compliment me.”
He was, he realized, talking to a person without a collar as if he and they had equal status. Ermenrich would have had him whipped for that. Timaios might still. On the other hand, he was pretty sure he was safe in this circumstance – and if he was wrong, he would take the whipping as a firm delineation of a boundary.
Tris’s flush darkened and he looked away. “Um. Flirt with, I suppose. I know you and the boss… well, I know that’s not anything that’s going to go anywhere right now, but well, I didn’t think a little flirting would hurt anything.”
Flirting. Ctirad looked the man up and down, made a decision, and leaned over the arm of the couch to plant a firm kiss on Tris’ lips.
He noted three things immediately:
Tris used lip gloss, flavored, and both his lips and his mouth tasted nice. Sweet. Completely smooth-shaven, not a tickly whisker anywhere.
Tris was surprised; he had made a small noise in the back of his throat when their lips met.
And yet Tris was kissing back, making it a long and pleasant sort of thing, not a hurried peck.
When Ctirad pulled back, he found he was flushing. It had been…. It had been…
He had no idea, but it had been way too long.
Tris did not wipe his lips, credit him. He smiled instead and cleared his throat. “So. I take it the flirting wasn’t taken amiss?”
“It…” Ctirad cleared his throat and touched his collar. “Yeah, uh. Not amiss. But considering my situation -”
Was he really leaning on being a slave as an excuse? What was he thinking?
He was thinking it was easier than explaining that he was more used to being laughed at than flirted with.
Dealing with people who actually talked to him like a person was going to be tricky, wasn’t it?
“-maybe use some nice big signposts? Takes me a while to figure out.”
Tris laughed, but it was a kind sort of thing. “Okay, no subtlety for you, got it. I’ll put on my most blunt flirtation, just for you, handsome. Speaking of putting on….”
Ctirad looked down at himself. “If he doesn’t have company, I’ll go like this.” It really was a nice sort of uniform.