First: Purchased: Negotiation
Trying a new title. Thoughts?
“So, of course, between Sylviane and I we can actually heal the wound, now that the authorities have been placated.”
They were sitting in the living room of Mr. MacDiarmad’s house; Leander was sandwiched between the two MacDiarmads, Sylviane pressed close to him and Mr. MacDiarmad making sure their legs were touching.
He looked between them. “That, uh.” He struggled with responses. “I can take care of Sylviane better if I’m healed, yeah.”
She poked him in the arm. “And you’ll feel better and be less prone to infection and be happier without a bullet hole in you, yeah?”
“Well… yeah, but.” He cleared his throat. “Slave, remember?” He looked at her with affectionate frustration, too muddled to try to make his words any more politic. “That’s not what matters.”
“You Saved. My Life. Today.” She poked him again. He didn’t move away from it. He tried not to think about the fact that they were having this argument while his owner, his master, was right on the other side of him.
“That’s what your dad bought for, remember? Keep you safe. That’s literally my purpose.”
“Still! You didn’t -” She huffed at him again. “You got shot.”
“Yes.” He did not turn to look at Mr. MacDiarmad. “Yeah. That’s what protecting someone means. You stop the people attacking them at whatever cost. I mean, I don’t want to get killed. I don’t want to die,” he added, surprised that it was honestly and completely true, “but also, I mean, if I get taken out, it’s harder for me to take care of you. It wasn’t great for me to pass out like that, but at least that I could hold off ’till the enemies were contained.”
“You got shot,” she repeated.
“I’m sorry?” he offered weakly. What did she want from him? What was he supposed to say?
“You’re – you’re sorry? No, I mean, Leander. Leander, how can you make it sound like it’s no big deal? How can you be so utterly chill about this? You got shot.”
“Yeah.” He blinked at her. “I’ve been shot before, you know. I’ve had a lot worst than being shot. I’m a slave, remember?” How many times was he going to have to say that? “I’ve been in battles. I’ve been in really bad situations. And I got out. This is – this wasn’t bad. I got to save you, I got to punch a bunch of people, and it was a nice clean wound and you took care of me right away.” He ducked his head; that part sounded stupid. “I mean – well, that’s sort of what I do mean, I guess. It wasn’t that bad. And it’s my job.”
“Dad! Dad, come on, say something. Tell him it’s not his job! Tell him – tell him you’re sorry he got shot!”
“I am sorry that he got shot. Leander, I’m sorry that you were hurt, and I want to make you feel better in any way I can. But – Sylviane, he has a point. It is his job to take care of you. That’s what I -” He cleared his throat. “That’s what I – it’s what I bought him for, remember? To take care of you.”
“Against some stupid pretend end times, not against kidnappers.”
“Hey,” Leander put in, finally, fighting against all of the urges screaming at him – protect her, Obey Him, don’t cause trouble, protect her, don’t cause trouble, stay small until you’re healed. Stay quiet, come on.
“Hey,” he tried again. “Okay,” he said softly, “So it’s my job to protect you, okay?” He was repeating himself like an idiot. “Right? If your dad, if he didn’t have the whole idea in mind of kidnappers, well, they’re sort of small fish, yeah?”
He blinked. He hadn’t really known where he was going with this when he started, but he seemed to be making something of a point, even if he was surprised by it.
“Sir,”he added carefully, very carefully, “You know that I’m supposed to take care of her, and you know – you know this works easier if she’s concerned about me, too, yeah? So if she’s angry that I ended up in danger, I don’t think, sorry Sylviane, I don’t think it’s bad. Um. What, I think, that I’m trying to say is that I think you’re both right?” He shook his head. “Ugh, I sound like an idiot, I’m sorry.” He rubbed his face tiredly. “I don’t mind a little getting shot; I kept you safe. And you’re rich and he’s rich and of course that means that you have some enemies, yeah? So-” He looked between them. “What?”
They were both making faces at him. He wasn’t really sure what the faces meant, but they were definitely making faces at him. “What?” he tried again.
“You have a good point. A few good points. Sylviane, you got him to the hospital, yes? You took care of him; you handled things in a responsible manner, and he’s going to be fine. And you’re fine, and I’m sorry, but that is the most important thing to me, all right?”
Sylviane huffed. “All right,” she muttered. “I mean, well, I mean I don’t like people getting hurt to take care of me, I don’t like people I like getting hurt to take care of me, but I guess, um, I guess that if there’s going to be people like that out there-” She made a small noise. “I – Dad. Someone tried to kidnap me. Or maybe kill me. They wanted to kill us.”
“Yeah, pumpkin.” He wrapped his arm around Leander’s shoulders to pat Sylviane. “I know. There’s some really shitty people out there, and I’m sorry that you had to encounter them. I’m glad that you’re safe, I really am, though.” He sighed quietly.
Leander looked between them. A noise escaped from him; he didn’t honestly know if it was pain or what he was seeing. “You’re – you’re-” He shook his head and put his hands over his face.
How are you an adult, he wanted to ask and you are only now realizing that people might want to hurt you? There wasn’t any way at all he could ask that, though, without sounding like an asshole.
So he just made a noise into his hands and hoped she didn’t ask what he’d meant.