The drive was not all that long, although it went through five minutes of the sort of traffic where it would have been quicker and probably easier to get out and walk. Ctirad shifted a few times in his seat, but for the most part, he was still. He wanted to find a place where he could be what Timaios wanted of him, even if I want you to be you was the least helpful advice ever.
He opened his eyes when Sal pulled into an underground garage that, while not hidden, was not exactly advertised, either. The bar that raised when Sal swiped a card was far more intense than the normal wooden gate, too, and there were two of them and a metal roll-door before they reached the actual garage.
“Secure,” Ctirad murmured.
“People who work here take such things very seriously,” Timaios agreed. “And I admit I like it, or at least, my public persona likes it.”
“Does your public persona have opinions that you don’t?” Ctirad tried to work out how that would function. It wasn’t as if Timaios – Tim – was two different people. Just a Mask and a person under the Mask, just like Ctirad.
Except Ctirad had been several different people, depending on what was required of him, who was doing the requiring, and how much leeway he had in how to do said requirements.
Timaios coughed. “Well. Tim Kaprinsky says some things in public that aren’t always what I’d say in private. It’s a matter of being this businessman, this man with a reputation for certain things. One of those is thinking that my life, my staff’s lives, and my possessions – the car, Ctirad, you count as staff – are important. Very important. Possibly more so than someone else not wanting to spend a little money on security. I’ve managed to stop seven assassination attempts on various people – including myself – by throwing small tantrums about security, so, despite the fact that I’m very hard to hurt, I’ll continue stomping my oversized, expensively-shod foot.” He waggled one foot demonstratively.
“And what about when you’re talking to other fae?” He cleared his throat. “I mean, sir? Does it change?”
“It’s not me at home, if that’s what you’re asking. I don’t think anyone is really the same at home as they are out in public, are they?”
Sal coughed loudly in something that might have sounded like “Ermenrich.” Ctirad, despite himself, started laughing.
After a moment, Timaios joined in. “All right, some blind assholes are. Ah, thank you, Sal.” The car had settled into a wide parking spot. Sal got out of the car and opened first Timaios’ door and then Ctirad’s.
“Thank you, Sal,” Ctirad echoed. He felt – strange. Like he should be on a leash. Like he should have more orders. Instead he moved close to his Owner and set his pace to match Timaios’.
He was used to walking next to people taller than him; most of the world was taller than him, or so it seemed some days, and so he had perfected a stride that let him keep up without looking like he was struggling to keep up. He thought that Ermenrich had sometimes walked fast on purpose, just to see if he could make Ctirad strain at the end of his leash; Timaios, on the other hand, made walking at a casual pace that was easy for Ctirad to match look like it was accidental.
Ctirad did his best, still, to not make his Owner slow too much. They left Sal behind in the parking garage and strode from the concrete to a carpeted hallway, the art all bland and probably picked to match the lighting or the paint, and from there into an elevator.
Ctirad stood with his hands linked loosely behind his back. The shoes made his posture a little different, a little bit leaned forward. While the elevator moved upwards almost seamlessly, he practiced tiny shifts in his body to see what his weight did when he moved.
Timaios looked over at him, one eyebrow raised. He wondered if his Owner could see what he was doing. He wondered if it was okay.
Then Timaios – Tim, they were going into public – leaned down in front of Ctirad and pressed a very firm and hungry kiss to his lips. The kiss went on for three… four… seven floors while Ctirad struggled to keep his balance and wondered if his Owner wanted him to be tenting the front of these very nice slacks when the elevator door opened.
Timaios leaned back, wiped Ctirad’s lips with his thumb, and smiled. “You are mine, and you are gorgeous,” he murmured, “and you are clever as well. Don’t forget it.”
Ctirad cleared his throat. “Yes… yes sir.” He thought he might be blushing and, after a moment, he shifted his Mask to cover the blush, the bulge in his slacks, and the bitten-lip feeling of his mouth. “Yes sir. Thank you.”