First: Purchased: Negotiation
Content warning in this case – discussion of consent, the lack thereof, and of rape.
Eventually, they’d gone through two movies and this moment of relaxation had to end. Mr. MacDiarmad gently moved Leander’s legs off of him so he could stand and patted Leander on the knee. “You two should head to bed. Take it easy tonight, Leander – Doctor’s orders. And in the morning we can talk about what we’re going to do about this new threat.”
Leander found himself standing up, the order moving him before he’d really managed to process it. He offered a hand to Sylviane. “Bed?” He tried to sound polite or suave or, well, anything, but he was pretty sure he sounded more like a caveman.
She took his hand and stood. “That sounds good, yeah. You need anything before we go to bed?”
A shower, he started to say, but the order had other opinions, so he tilted his head towards Mr. MacDiarmad. “I think he wants us to go to bed…” He snorted, even as his feet were moving towards the stairs. “Never thought I’d say that. ‘Guy wants me to go to bed with his daughter.’”
Sylviane frowned. “You — oh. Dad. Dad. Lay off on the orders, would you?” Sylviane complained.
“No…” Leander was a little surprised at himself, but he managed to say it anyway. “No, I like it? I like it,” he repeated more certainly. “Easy orders. Easy to do something right.” He rolled his shoulders. “Easy to feel good.”
“Hrrmph. Keeping is – Keeping is toxic.” She paced him as he moved — slowly, just to feel if he could, but still moving towards the stairs.
He shook his head slowly. “Pervasive. The word, uh. The word is pervasive. It’s in your veins. My veins. It’s in my head, my muscles, my soul. And with a good Keeper – he is – it’s good.”
He blinked. It was. But there was an order pressing at him, too, and it was starting to feel really not good very quickly. “It’s good, the orders,” he repeated, and started upstairs, hoping Sylviane didn’t push the matter.
“Leander, hold on,” Mr. MacDiarmad called, and, as Leander stopped, “I misphrased the order.”
A moment of panic filled Leander. He held on, he waited, he held very still and wondered why he’d just said he liked orders.
“I want you and Sylviane in bed – it’s not your responsibility to get her in bed, by the way, she can handle that on her own – I want you to be in bed in the next 45 minutes. Not this moment, okay? If you want to clean up, have a little, ah, pre-bed cocktail,” he added, as if that’s the direction he’d been planning on going right from the beginning, Sylviane does a good Old-Fashioned, or other drinks I’m not supposed to know she mixes. So it’s not urgent, but I do want you to try to sleep tonight, and you’re not on duty again until tomorrow hen you and Sylviane come down for breakfast – whenever that is, and there is no time limit on it.”
“Dad, you’re running your mouth,” Sylviane complained, but she didn’t sound all that upset about it. “You’re going to confuse him.”
“Hey,” Leander complained lightly. “I’m not that easy to confuse. In bed in 45 minutes, off-duty ’till breakfast, sleep till noon if we feel like it. Yes, sir?”
“Yes. Well done, soldier. Have a good night – and that is not in any way an order, just a well-wish.” Mr. MacDiarmad patted Leander’s shoulder. “Sylviane has a point. I shouldn’t give orders if I don’t think them through.”
“S’all right,” Leander muttered. “As long as they don’t start conflicting. That’s when it really sucks. The part, the part about following orders because then there’s no worrying about decisions, I meant that part. Sir. I did. It’s nice to just… do the things that make your master happy. You know?” He shrugged, his shoulders twitching upwards as he felt both MacDiarmads’ eyes on him. “I’ve had time to think about these things. I know how I like it. I know more, uh. Mostly I got to think about how I didn’t like it.”
Mr. MacDiarmad snorted. “All right. Well, I gave you a timer, I shouldn’t eat more time.” He patted Leander’s shoulder again, his hand lingering.
I don’t do guys.
Leander swallowed. He’d forgotten, or he’d let himself forget, or maybe it had just never happened before like this, but the touch of a Keeper who wasn’t an asshole, who he wasn’t full of hate for, full of fight and resistance and snarling, growling resentment for, it felt way too good.
That’s why he’d said it, why he’d said “I don’t do guys” and why he should’ve kept saying that. Because he –
He swallowed again.
Mr. MacDiarmed squeezed his shoulder and removed his hand. “Ah.” He paused, looking at Leander. “I’m sorry,” he added quietly. “I know. That was our original agreement, and I won’t break it.”
Leander glanced at Sylviane. She looked between the two of them, him and his owner. Him and her father.
“I’ll meet you upstairs, Leander. You’re still off duty, if should be fine, yeah?”
“Yes, he’s fine to be away from you right now. I won’t keep him long, Sylviane.”
“You’d better not. He needs to rest,” she emphasized. Then she trounced up the stairs in a huff that was really quite impressive.
Leander looked back at Mr. MacDiarmad when she was out of sight. He pulled up the Words and did his favorite anti-eavesdropping Working, feeling particularly like a heel and also feeling like some things, Sylviane really didn’t need to hear.
“If you,” he struggled for the words and found his voice was throaty, not a growl but something hungry, shit. This was stupid. “If you keep touching me like that, if you – if you touch me like that,” he repeated, “it’s not gonna matter what we agreed. It’s not gonna matter what, uh. What-“
“It is,” Mr. MacDiarmad told him, in a low voice, “because I don’t do rape. And I am not going to go against that agreement.”
“It’s not gonna look like rape if I’m down on my knees begging you to fuck me just so I get more of that touch, is it?” he snarled. Shit, he was being an idiot. Fuck.
Mr. MacDiarmad grabbed his hair in one hand and his shoulder in the other hand and stared him in the face. Leander froze. The man was smaller than him, thinner than him. He could break him with one hand.
Except he couldn’t, because he was owned.
He was an idiot.
He was a freaking moron.
“Sir.” He swallowed hard. “Sir?”
“I give you my word, Leander. I am not going to rape you. I am not going to take you. And if we have to work out how to get you the physical contact that you need without making you feel like you’re going to cross your own lines, well, then that’s what we’ll do. It isn’t like this every time, is it? Every time I touch you?”
Leander dropped his gaze to Mr. MacDiarmad’s chest. “No. No, sir. It’s just this time. It’s just-“
“Adrenaline, and danger, and then damage and relaxation. It’s not surprising. Combat can do that.” Mr. MacDiarmad released him. “Go up to Sylviane. And I’ll try to be more careful in the future. I’m sorry, Leander.”
“You’re not supposed to apologize to your slaves,” Leander muttered. The weird thing was, he was pretty sure that Mr. MacDiarmad meant the apology. All of it. The man was weird. It was like he didn’t know what it was, to hold Leander’s leash.
“Well, it so happens that I’m in charge, so if I want to apologize, then I will. Go on, Leander. There are better things to think about right now than me.” Mr. MacDiarmad gave him a light not-quite-a-shove. “I’m sure Sylviane is waiting for you.”
What was he going to do? He went.