Beauty-Beast 31: Need and Desire

First: M/m Keeper/Kept
Previous: Ctirad


He leaned against his owner, his head on the taller man’s shoulder.  “Would you drop your Mask, sir?” He was feeling incredibly brave today.

“I suppose I could do that.”  Timaios shifted and, when Ctirad peeked, was stone and horns and still smiling.  “I would ask you to do the same, but I’m afraid you would take it as some sort of tit for tat situation.”

Ctirad swallowed.  “I like you – I like you liking me, sir,” he offered.  “I don’t want to ruin that yet.”

“Do you honestly think, with a Change like this, that anything behind your Mask would bother me, my sweet man?” Continue reading

Beauty-Beast 30: Ctirad

First: M/m Keeper/Kept
Previous: Bad Change


“Mmm.”  Timaios’ hand  settled on Ctirad’s back as he purred.  He looked as if he was going to say something else, but didn’t, merely moved with Ctirad, not quite steering him, into the bedroom as Sal went in the other direction.

When they were alone and the door was closed, Timaios looked Ctirad up and down.  “Stretch for me again?”

“Of course, sir.”  He thought he might be blushing. He stretched up towards the ceiling, then bent back, slowly, because he hadn’t done this in a while, until he could put his hands on the floor behind him.  Then, because he was feeling like showing off, he kicked up into a handstand before rolling down onto the floor into a kneeling position. Continue reading

Beauty-Beast 29: Bad Change

First: M/m Keeper/Kept
Previous: Power


“He has something down in the basement of the building.”  Sal’s voice sounded tight when Ctirad came to himself.  “Here, kid— Ctirad — drink some more water.  It’s not a creature, it’s some sort of really Bad Change, from what I can tell.”

“Bad Change?”  The water cut the acid taste in his mouth but not the feeling in his stomach.

“It’s, uh.  Sometimes the things that happen to us go too far from human, that’s the best way I can explain it.  Like, we’re on fire constantly, or we give off poison gas, or our legs fuse together into a column of, like, stone-skin.  That looks like one of the really bad cases. What Ermenrich said,” he added to Timaios, “was that it was a side effect of ‘their’ power, and what it looked like was that something in the power made them fuse with – well, whatever was near, is my guess.”

“Ermenrich told me not to get too close,” Ctirad remembered. “He didn’t have to, though.  It was – it was hard being in the same room as that thing.”  He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.  Like it was wrong, somehow.  I’m not sure.”  He was still feeling twitchy over the whole thing.  “I’m not sure if I’m missing something…”

“No, it was wrong.”  Sal sounded as sick as Ctirad felt.  “It was an abomination.  And it probably still is, because I can’t see Ermenrich get rid of something like that.  It’s probably useful.  I understand why he told you to forget it, though – and I’m not surprised your mind didn’t want to bring it back.”

“Bad Change.”  He was listening to Sal, he was, but the words had lodged in his mind.  “That’s, like.  How do we know which one of them was the one with the Change?  Imagine if you were just standing next to someone when they Changed and – urgh.”  He shuddered.

“You’ve never heard the term- no, of course you wouldn’t have.”  Timaios made a sound like a sigh.  “Whatever – no, that’s a conversation for private.  Let’s try again.  Ermenrich has something in the basement of the McCurdy Building – someone.  And he wants to own the building so that he owns that someone, because they are now part of the building.  Am I following so far?”

“That sounds right.”  Ctirad pieced through the words slowly.  “I don’t know what the thing’s power is, but I know that it – they? – it collects things that get too near it.  I don’t know how it eats, either,” he added, swallowing bile.  “It’s – someone should kill it, put it out of its misery.”

“I’m not generally in the business of mercy killings,” Timaios mused quietly, “but I’m willing to take your word on this one.  THe question is, where did this demolition come in?  Was he unable to buy the property?”

“If he — if he demolishes it, he’s going to.-”  Ctirad gulped.  “I don’t think that’s good.”

“Sal, get someone on that.  Looking into the deal, seeing who owns the building, the demolition company, who we can bribe and who we can buy and who already owes us favors.   If the protesters are —”

“Got it, sir, you want the full work-up.” Sal smirked.  “All right.  You’re gonna give Ctirad a stiff drink or two and some fresh air, yeah?”

“You see how it is?” Timaios’ despair was clearly mock and played for humor and still a little weird for Ctirad.  “I’m bullied by my own staff!”

Ctirad took a gamble.  “If Sir does not wish to be bullied by Sir’s staff, perhaps Sir ought to invest in a nice sturdy paddle and engage in a bit of creative discipline.  Sir.”

“Hey, whose side are you on, anyway?”  Sal made a mock-indignant face.  “Besides, you don’t know.  We might all like it.”

“Even if Sir’s staff enjoyed it,” Ctirad continued, as if he hadn’t heard Sal, “they might find it difficult to bully Sir while being paddled.”

“And should I start by paddling you, mm?”  Timaios’ voice was warm.  

Ctirad froze.  For a split-second, he thought he’d gone further than he could up with.

“Sir is of course welcome to paddle this one, if Sir wishes.”  He’d never spoken like this, not even to Ermenrich.  It made it easier to keep doing.  “But this one would never bully an Owner.”

“Give it time, kid, give it time.” Sal chuckled.  “You’ll bully him right along with the rest of us.”

“I…”  He coughed uncertainly.  “That is, this one thinks that is unlikely, given this one’s habits and predilections.”  And then he smiled widely.   “Damn, I didn’t even know I knew that word.  ‘Predilections.’  Seriously?  That’s a bit highbrow for a grunt like me.”

“And yet it rolled beautifully off of your tongue.”  Timaios stroked Ctirad’s hair.  “So you think I should paddle my employees, mmm?”

“Only if you don’t want them to bully you, sir.  But I think you’re in the habit of, ah.  Of letting your employees and staff push back, so that you know you’re not bullying them.  So I guess you’re going to have to accept a certain amount of being pushed back at, in that case?”

He glanced at Timaios, wondering if he’d gone too far.  Sal was laughing, though.  And more importantly, Timaios was smiling.

“You’re a very observant man, Ctirad.  I like that.  And I think I’ve pushed you enough for one night.  Sal, thank you.  You have your duties – and they can wait until the morning, you should get some sleep, too.  Come on, if you’d like, Ctirad.  I think we should go to bed.”

“Yes, sir.”  Even with if you’d like, he wasn’t going to say no to that.  Ctirad waiting for Timaios to stand and then stood himself, stretching surreptitiously.  




Want more?

Beauty-Beast 28: Power

First: M/m Keeper/Kept
Previous: Memory

This chapter comes with an additional content warning:
While I’m dancing around it quite a bit in this chapter, there is body horror in what Ctirad and his former Owner find in the basement. 


Ctirad leaned against Timaios again and focused on his breathing.  “Can I…”  What was he doing.  “..Sorry, nothing, sir.”

“You may ask for anything you want without punishment, Ctirad, especially while you are here, alone in my room, and someone is doing something as intimate as searching your memories.”

“It’s all right, sir. It’s nothing.” Continue reading

Beauty-Beast 27: Memory

First: M/m Keeper/Kept
Previous: Self


Ctirad, at Timaios’ gentle suggestion, put some pants on before Sal came upstairs, Danny immediately behind with a large tray of what must pass for finger foods in a household of fae.

“I want you to unlock Ctirad’s lost memories,” Timaios told Sal, with no preamble except a “thanks for coming up here.”

Ctirad was watching Sal closely.  From the expression, this sort of thing was not unheard of in this household, nor was it beyond Sal’s capabilities.

“What’s the boy think of that, Sir?”

“It was his idea.  Well, it was my idea, but he agreed without prompting.  The impression I get is that a lot of it was done with orders.  Thus, there’s no Workings to work around—”

“WIth all due respect, that’s just going to make it trickier.  His own mind has decided — well, had it decided for him, but it comes down to the same thing — that he needs to not have those memories.  I’m going to have to invade him pretty deepl—” Sal trailed off and turned to look directly at Ctirad.  “I’m going to be really far into your mind.  You understand?  I’m going to see things nobody else has seen.” Continue reading

Beauty-Beast 26: Self

First: M/m Keeper/Kept
Previous: Kitten


“Ctirad.  Come on, kitten, come back to me.”  The voice was gentle.  Ctirad blinked.  He had – he had dozed a bit, hadn’t he?  He’d floated on the praise.  He cleared his throat and miawed carefully, a question, an indication that he was aware, what does my master want of me?

“That’s a good kitten.  Are you ready to be a boy, a person for me again?”

Was he ready?  No.  He started to shake his head and then looked up at his master’s face.  Was there a right answer?

“Answer honestly, Ctirad.”

He shook his head no, swallowing a little lump of worry.  He’d almost done the wrong thing.  He’d almost been bad.  He made a small noise he couldn’t quite control, deep in the back of his throat.

“It’s all right, kitten.  You’re being a very good boy, and I’m happy with you.  Come over to my couch, and you can be a good boy while I watch the news and handle some paperwork, all right?”

That was good.  He nodded a little bit, just enough to indicate his understanding, and slunk over to the couch as Timaios led him, tugged along by the leash.  If he could have purred, he would have.  His master was pleased with him, and his master liked him being a cat.  

He curled up on the couch where Timaios indicated, his head on his master’s lap, and settled in comfortably.  Timaois pulled over a lap desk and worked with his right hand on a laptop while the news played in the background.   His left hand trailed over Ctirad’s back and hair, his neck, back down his spine, and up again.

“Will you show me what you look like without your Mask?” he asked lazily after a while.

Ctirad looked up at him.  Was this a test?  No.  No, his expression was curious and that was it. Was it an order?  No.  It was – he was just checking?  Ctirad shook his head, barely moving it.

“Ah, not yet then?  That’s all right.  You’re a good kitty anyway.”  

Ctirad set his head back down and snuggled in.  It was all right. He didn’t know why it was all right, or how, but it was all right.  He’d be okay.

He floated in and out of a content drowse, basking in sensations that he hadn’t yet gotten used to: the way his Owner’s hands felt touching him, when he had pleased his Owner and would not be punished.  The way praise felt when it didn’t come with insults or blows or little knives and orders hidden in the praise.  The way if felt to relax in the presence of another person.

“…demolition paused today at the McCurdy building downtown when a group of protesters chained themselves to the historical monument.”  

Ctirad leaned up and blinked at the news.  “Mirrrrp?” The McCurdy Building?

“What is it, kitten?”

Ctirad made a soft noise and ducked his head. Shit.  He was being a kitten now.  He wasn’t supposed to be paying attention to the news.  He was a good kitten, and good kittens didn’t speak.  He licked his lips and purred quietly, a rumble in the back of his throat. I’m a good kitten.  You like your kitten still, right?

“You’re not in trouble.  You’re a good boy, Ctirad.”  Timaios’ hand settled gently at the back of Ctirad’s neck.  “I need my good kitten to tell me what got his attention all of a sudden, all right?”

Ctirad nodded slowly, barely moving, wanting to press back into the hand for reassurance.

The fingers closed around the sides of his neck.  “Good boy.  Speak.”

Ctirad licked his lips.  “The McCurdy Building.  Ermenrich, he talked about that building a lot.  There’s supposed to be something – something inside it, I think, or under it.  We went in there once and he paced around a lot, but then he ordered me to forget most of it.”

“…That’s pretty shitty, but that’s good.  Tell me, Ctirad, how would you feel about having someone find those memories you were ordered to forget?”

“Um. From the feel of things, sir, they’d be there for a long time.”

“But would you mind?”

“I’d like my mind back.  Sir.  I mean.”  He ducked his head and looked at the couch, frozen.  Shit. He’d let himself get far too comfortable here, and there he was, saying things no good Kept ought to say.

Timaios’ hand was in his hair.  He didn’t move, didn’t lean towards the touch, couldn’t speak. Couldn’t apologize.

“I think you should have your mind back, Ctirad.  I think it never should have been taken from you.  You may speak at will now.”

Ctirad didn’t move.  “Sir?  My mind belongs to you.”

“That, well, that is a matter of some argument.  Yes, it does, we’ll go with that for the moment. But it pleases me to give it to you, because I have found that it does not work well to alter someone’s mind.  At best, you can rarely do what you were intending.  And at worst, you can seriously damage your target.  So: It is perfectly fine to want your mind back.  This is a good want, and one that I endorse.”

“Not gonna get used to that,” Ctirad muttered.  

“Get used to what?  To being encouraged to have wants?  It can take some time, I imagine.”

“But that and still not being bad, not being spoiled.  Gonna be tricky.”  He could have moved enough to look up.  He decided it was best not to.  “Sir.”

“Mmm.  Maybe I want you spoiled, hrrm, did you think of that?”

He was pretty sure Timaios was teasing.  He wasn’t, however, certain.  “Sir?”  This time he peeked up.

His owner was smiling at him.  “I want you to want things, and I want you to express those wants to me.  If you would like your mind back, that is a good thing. And I will have it done.”

Have it done. It finally sank in that Timaios wasn’t talking about doing it himself.  “Sir?”

“Timaois,” he corrected gently.

“Timaois?  Who?”

“Oh, yes.  That is important, isn’t it, when they’re going to be in your mind.  Sal?  My driver?  Nobody I employ has only one skill, you see.”

“Sal.”  He tasted the idea and nodded slowly.  “I would not mind Sal finding my memories.  I feel like a lot of them are gone.”  He shifted position, suddenly uncomfortable. “I shouldn’t – I shouldn’t have let him do that.  I shouldn’t have-”

“Easy, easy.  You couldn’t have stopped him.  And as for the rest, you were tricked fully and thoroughly, set up for it far too well.  It would almost impress me, that Ermenrich had planned that much, if he hadn’t done something so reprehensible with it.”

“Ermenrich is good at planning.  The problem is only that his plans are sometimes too much.  And he’s not always good at working around surprise elements.”  Ctirad ducked his head.  Something still felt wrong about criticizing his former owner, and something felt strange about praising him.

“That’s a good assessment.  Thank you.  So – do you think you’re up to having Sal look at you tonight, or would you rather wait?”

“It’s going to take a while to get used to that.”  He was hedging.  He knew it; he was fairly sure Timaios would know it, but he couldn’t bring himself to come up with an answer.

“I know.  But I’m going to keep doing it.  Shall I give you a little more time to come back from the kitten, first?”

“Please?  Maybe if I-”  Damnit.  He ducked his head and waited.

“Sit up, that’s a good idea.  Yes, come on.  It might be good to give yourself a little physical space, but you don’t have to.”

Ctirad sat up, moving a half a hand-width from Timaios, and pulled his legs up into a tailor’s seat, one knee barely bumping against his owner.  He closed his eyes for a moment and found some peace inside of him.

Quietness.  He had forgotten how much he missed quietness.  The TV was going, yes, but there was nothing he had to do and no feelings of disappointment pressing on him. “I think-” he offered after a moment, “I think I can handle Sal now, if it would please you, sir.”

“Some day, you are going to manage to say my name casually.  All right, I’ll call for Sal.”  There was the sound of a phone being picked up.  “Danny, send Sal up, if you would, and some finger foods.  We may be burning calories tonight.”



Want More?

Beauty-Beast Twenty-Five: Kitten

First: M/m Keeper/Kept
Previous: Home


He was startled and then terrified to find Timaios’ hand at the back of his neck.  He was going to be hauled off to a cage.  He was going to be locked away like the miserable bad thing that he was.  He was –

“Ctirad.  Look at me.”

He didn’t try to the fight the order.  He looked up, unable to control his expression and barely even thinking of trying. “Sir?”  A surge of misery struck him.  That was wrong, that wasn’t what he was supposed to call his master.  “Timaios?”

The hand was still on the back of his neck.  Timaios was crouched next to him, looking down at him.  “Ctirad.  My kitten.  Were you telling me you wanted to submit to me?  Do kneel at my feet for dinner?”

“Yes?”  He fought against the misery and, once again, lost.  He lowered his head, only to find Timaios’ other hand on his chin, keeping him in position.  

“Ctirad.  Why?” Continue reading

Beauty-Beast 24: Home

First: M/m Keeper/Kept
Previous: Shopping


By the time Shel deposited Ctirad back at the house with a pile of clothing, Ctirad wasn’t particularly sure if he felt more or less like himself than he had in ages.

He felt different, that much was for sure.  His head was swimming.  Shel had gotten him joking, laughing, and relaxed in a way he couldn’t remember ever being.

And now he was back in Timaios’ master suite, waiting for his master to arrive home.

It was like getting off the roller-coaster.  He felt like his legs were swaying under him.  

He knelt down on the floor and tried to find his calm place.  The pants moved strangely with him, and he thought about taking them off. Continue reading

Shopping – More Beauty-Beast

First: M/m Keeper/Kept
Previous: Belowstairs Stuff

Ctirad had been sure he’d be okay with shopping.

He was doing it for Timaios, after all, and he actually liked his current  owner – so far.  He had to keep repeating so far to himself.  If he forgot it could all go bad, it would hurt so much more when it did.

He was doing it for “the boss,” the way Shel kept saying.  But still, he walked into the first place and he wanted to turn around and flee

“I.”  he coughed.  “This…” He picked up a handkerchief.  “It costs more than my first year of college.”

“You went to college?”

“ROTC.  Yeah.”  One of those things he didn’t think about much.  “But seriously.  This is-”

“Think about it this way.  It pleases the boss to have you dress like this.  And you’re gonna look like a million dollars when we’re done.”

“I’m going to be wearing a million dollars!  Maybe twice that.”  He was whispering.  Still, they drew the attention of the sales maven.

“Can I help you gentle- ah, Mr. Brown.  Does Mr. Kaprinsky need some more shirts?”

“Not at the moment, no, Tammy.  No, this is Ctirad.  He’s a new… employee of Mr. Kaprinsky, and we need to outfit him properly.”

He managed to make significant pause “employee” sound less like whore and more like we don’t talk about the real relationship, but it’s important.  Ctirad took his cue from that and shifted into a rest position, raising his eyebrows at “Tammy” as she looked him up and down.

“Well, there’s plenty to work with.  He has a perfect body.  Come on then, Ctirad,” like Shel, she managed to pronounce the name correctly on the first try, “let’s get you measured and fitted out.  I have some ideas already. Plenty of room to move, I assume?  Oh, don’t look at me like that.  I can see it from your stance and the way you cased the room.  It’s important your clothes fit you as much as it’s important that you look the way Mister Kaprinsky likes.  And lucky for you, I can handle body.  Now, we’re tailoring around the… choker… right?  Lucky for you, the suitcoat with a t-shirt is in currently, and I have some lovely silk t-shirts.  This way, this way.”

He was fussed into a room more than he was led.  He moved along with it, feeling strangely like he was being sized up for clothing by his second-grade teacher.

And he hadn’t thought about her in ages, either, hadn’t thought about childhood.  He shook himself a little bit.

“Easy, easy.  I’m not going to do anything too weird.  See, no weapons.”  She held up her arms.

Ctirad looked her up and down as she was inviting him to.  “No weapons,” he agreed.  “You work with a lot of… ex-military?”

“I do.  Not just in this little city, oh, no.  Here and there and everywhere, but I keep my office here for Mr. Kaprinsky.  He goes through those shirts…” She winked cheerfully at him.

“You should have a weapon, then.” What?  He didn’t tell people should, that wasn’t his job.  That was very distinctly not his job.  The opposite of job.  It had been explained… oh.  “Shel?” he asked weakly.

“Go ahead and have bodyguard opinions.  Tammy isn’t going to mind and neither is the boss.”

So Shel, although out of line of sight, was definitely staying in earshot.  Good to know.  Ctirad wondered if that was for his comfort or for Tammy’s.

“I’m not exactly helpless, it’s just that everything I have is defensive.”  She winked at him.  “And yes, son, you can have all the bodyguard opinions you want.  It makes me feel safer, let me tell you.  Now let’s see, I’m going to have to measure all of you.  Any places you want to hold the tape instead of me holding it?”

That was, Ctirad was pretty certain, a little unusual.  On the other hand, he’d never been fitted for a suit that cost this much money before  “No, but I wouldn’t mind, uh, a warning?”

“I can definitely give you a warning.  All right, here we go, here we go.”  True to her word, she warned him before each measurement, doing it as a steady prattle of “and now I’m going to -” interspersed with gossip about a niece of hers that, for all Ctirad knew, might be entirely fictional.

It didn’t matter.  She was talking to him – like a person, or at the very least like a customer, which might be a subset of person but still meant she thought he needed to be catered to..  Ctirad smiled at the appropriate points, put in a nice chuckle a time or two, and answered her are-you-paying-attention questions with just enough of his mind to not be rude.  The rest of him was casing the place and the woman.

She might be fae; he couldn’t tell.  Knowing those things might be something else his education had been lacking.  She moved with a great deal of extraneous gestures that covered over very nicely how smooth and efficient her core body movement was.  She smiled a lot but rarely showed her teeth, and she touched him in such a way that she would know immediately if his shoulders tensed.

He thought about trying it, but she was being so nice, he didn’t want to ruin the moment.  Instead he waited patiently until she patted him on the shoulder.

“And there you go.  I’ll get you some off-the-rack things for today; I imagine you have some more shopping to do, mmm?  Can’t wander around like that all the time.  And then I’ll have the rest to you in a week.  Two weeks for the tux, three for white tie.”  That last bit was to Shel, who, it seemed, was assumed to be Ctirad’s handler.  “He’ll need to come in for one more fitting.”

Shel saluted.  “As you say, ma’am.  Come on, Ctirad, get off your feet for a few.  There’s coffee and tea, and even Tammy will take at least two or three minutes to get you some clothes.”


Next: Home


Want More?

New Information – More Beauty-Beast

First: M/m Keeper/Kept
Previous: Change of Pace

Fuck. Did everyone know Ctirad was the boss’s idiot leashed pet?

“Easy, easy. Come on, man.” Shel ran a hand in front of his face; when he dropped his hand, his skin was nut-brown and his ears were pointed. He looked a bit spindly around the joints and he was about half a foot shorter. “Easy. We’re all fae here. That means we all know what a collar means, okay?”

Ctirad touched the collar with both hands and tried to ignore the feeling in the pit of his stomach. “It means I’m his bitch.” That’s what Ermenrich had told him. “But that was… That was Ermenrich.”

“No, Ermenrich is just an asshole.” Shel sat down a few feet away from Ctirad. “Look. Belonging isn’t something Ermenrich made up for you, okay? It’s not something that he did because he’s clever or because he knows how to use people. You didn’t know?”

Ctirad shook his head, not trusting himself to words.

“Damnit, and I bet you act so… Well, self-confident isn’t the word, but you act like you know everything that’s going on. So the boss wouldn’t know, just think you were, uh. Abused. Which you were – sorry, but it’s true.” Shel leaned back. “Damn. Okay. You had a Mentor, you were trained?”

Ctirad swallowed. “I was working for one of Ermenrich‘s associates. I almost died. I Changed. Ermenrich found me a teacher and taught me the basics.”

“Okay, so he found someone that would leave out the things he didn’t want you to know. What an asshole. And then- uh, what came next, if you don’t mind me asking?”

He minded. But he wanted information. “I stayed working for his associate for another couple years. I had a name, I was making a name for myself. And then Ermenrich decided I should come work as his man. Be his. And that was fine… I guess. That was what it was. But then…”

“But then you were his, and you were under his thumb, because he’d tricked you into a Belonging. What an asshole,” Shel repeated. “What a ridiculous fucking asshole.”

Ctirad ducked his head and tried to get control of himself. “So… Uh.” He didn’t even know where to start.

“So he tricked you into something because he knew you didn’t know. It’s not your fault. And it’s not… uh.” Shel looked over at him. “So. The collar means – what the collar means is that you agreed to Belong to someone – the Boss in this case – and what THAT means is that you agreed to be under their Name, to do as their will dictates, and to be protected by them. Pretty much, he hired all of you instead of just some daytime work. Now, you and I know – or I’m getting, at least – that you didn’t actually agree to shit, and I’m pretty sure the Boss knows that, too. But just seeing the collar, nah. That just tells people you’re all in, that the Boss and you are like this,” he crossed his fingers tightly. “So, none of this ‘you’re his bitch; stuff, okay? It only means that when your Keeper is an asshole.”

Ctirad swallows. “So. I am wearing a collar.” He touched it. He was still definitely wearing a collar. “And I have no idea what it means. That is – that is not more reassuring than wearing a collar and knowing what it means, even knowing it meant I was someone’s bitch.”

Shel snorted. “No. Well, let’s see. You know that it means that you do what he says, that you want to please him, and that displeasing him makes you unhappy – don’t look at me like that, I’ve spent some time in a collar, too. Actually, the Boss bought me in a situation… not too different from yours, although I was more of an adult when I went into it, at least. I knew what I was getting into, or thought I did. Not saying my situation is yours, but I know what it’s like to be Kept, to Belong – those are the words they use, although there’s fancier words, there’s longer words, and there’s formal words. Anyway. What it means, under fae law, is that he’s responsible for you. What it means, practically, is that we know not to mess with you, because you belong to the Boss. Practically, though, we all do what he says.” Shel shrugged. “If your education was that slim, I’ll talk to the boss about taking some time out to teach you the things your Mentor missed.”

“I’m not a kid,” Ctirad offered weakly. “I was a full-grown adult and everything-”

“There’s adult and there’s adult, I’m afraid.” Shel’s smile was apologetic. “And you were an adult, sure, but you were mis-educated. At least in fae things. I’m not saying anything about your human-life stuff. So…?”

Ctirad looked up at him. “So everything Ermenrich told me was a lie?”

“Well, I don’t know about everything. But it’s a good bet. I mean… It’s a good starting point? And if you want to ask me about things, I won’t tell anyone anything you ask. Cross my heart.” Shel made the gesture across his rather attractive chest. “Now. Are you okay to go shopping, or should I tell the boss something came up and we ended up sitting around eating ice cream all day and bitching about our employers?”

Ctriad stared at him. “You’re joking, right? I mean, he said I should go shopping.”

“Ah, but did he make it an order?”

“…No? No, but he. He told me to go shopping.”

“Then I guess we’ll go shopping, and then I’ll buy you some ice cream, and yes, you can punch me if I get too irritating, but try to avoid the face, please, I make money with this face.” Shel held out a hand to Ctirad. “Let’s do that, before I change my mind and we really do sit around all day eating ice cream, all right?”

“Tempting,” Ctirad admitted. He took the hand. “But I don’t think I could manage to do that.”

“Hey, that’s the thing about Belonging to someone. Even a good owner like the Boss, it messes with your head. And from your accounts, your previous owner was anything but a good one. So that’s fine. It’s like, uh, PTSD. You’ve been in a traumatic situation. It’ll take you a while to get your brain back on straight. Let’s see.” He looked Ctirad up and down. “Jeans, shirt. Shoes downstairs”


“That’ll do. All right. Watch out shopping world, here we come.”

Want More?

This entry was originally posted at You can comment here or there. comment count unavailable