Tag Archive | character: amrit

Beekeeper – in which pennies are discussed

First: A beginning of a story which obnoxiously cuts off just before the description,
Previous: In Which There are Second Thoughts – and Third.



In Which They Stop Kissing Long Enough to Talk is the last canon chapter before the rewrite begins.

See the rewrite beginning here – http://www.lynthornealder.com/2020/06/26/beekeeper-in-which-they-go-to-bed/

Her eyes were closed. He liked that; it let him watch her face. Her hands were on him like she was trying to pin him down – who was he kidding? She could pin him down without any hands at all – and her expression was somewhere else, somewhere reaching for bliss.

He brushed his lips against hers, then kissed her properly. He was on his back, and she was on top of him and…

He closed his eyes and stopped thinking for a while. She was moving above him and that was, for the moment, all that mattered.

When he opened his eyes, it was to kiss her again. Like this, he could feel the press of her collar against his neck. Her collar. Would it be so bad…?

Not the time to think about such things. He ran his hands up and down her back. He wondered, in a way he hadn’t for a while, what her Change was. He hadn’t Un-Masked for her; wouldn’t have if she had demanded it, might have if she’d asked it. She’d done neither, and her Mask was up, too. He kissed her collarbones, wondering.

“Penny for your thoughts,” she murmured. He grinned at her.

“Pennies, really? Those are pretty valuable now, all that copper.”

For a second, he thought he’d flustered her. Then she stroked his hair – gently, he couldn’t remember anyone being that gentle with him – and smiled.

“So’re your thoughts. Valuable, that is.”

He kissed her, his hand low enough down on her back that it wasn’t holding her and high enough up that she knew what he wanted. And for a while, he didn’t have any thoughts to give, for a penny or for a whole hive of honey.

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In Which They Stop Kissing Long Enough to Talk

First: A beginning of a story which obnoxiously cuts off just before the description,
Previous: In Which The Kissing Continues.

He didn’t carry her to the bed, but not for lack of offering, trying, and offering again.

“I’m not a blushing bride,” she complained, “and, besides, I like my feet firmly on the ground.”

Amrit might’ve been – not exactly offended, but put out at how brusque she could be, considering where they’d been and what they’d been doing, but she kissed both his cheeks and then his lips, the affection clear in the gesture and her expression, and he gave in.

She liked him. Amrit didn’t know what to do with that. Sure, girls had liked him before, but not like – “You’ve really got no illusions about me, do you?”

“You like to work and like to keep busy but hate authority?” Something in her smile was challenging. It wasn’t made any less so by the casual touch of her hand on his chest. “You’re overprotective of people you care about but aren’t that familiar with the concept. You have a foul mouth and no tolerance for rules.”

“…I’m not a sweetheart.” He didn’t know what motivated him to say that. Some half-forgotten long-ago girl, perhaps?

Whatever his reasons, it made her smile. “I know. Are we going to bed or do I have to carry you?”

Next: http://www.lynthornealder.com/2020/06/26/beekeeper-in-which-they-go-to-bed/

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In Which they have Nerves

First: A beginning of a story which obnoxiously cuts off just before the description,
Previous: In Which They are Dirty.


Some part of Amrit’s brain was still trying desperately to remind him she bought you at a slave market. She kept you chained and gagged and collared. She wants you to be her slave. Her Kept.

The rest of him was being pretty clear that those things were irrelevant. Certain parts of him — not his brain, no matter what the jokes said — were very intent on everything being irrelevant.
And some part of him was tied up in knots that made him feel young and stupid and very out of his element again. But he had her in his arms, he was not going to drop her, and he wasn’t going to conk her head into anything.

Her hallways were narrow. She was not a short woman – compared to him, sure, but not compared to other women he’d encountered and the one he’d carried once. He held her close to him and tried to ignore the way she was grabbing on to him. Holding his neck. Holding his shoulders, yes, that was far safer to think about. Amrit swallowed a noise like a growl, not wanting to frighten her again, and maneuvered her into the bathroom.

There was a water pump. He glared at the pump as if that would make it start working.

“Tempero Yaku,” Mieve started, and then followed it with a string of Greek he barely followed. Control Water, though, that he knew, and it quickly became obvious, as water gushed out of the faucet. The tub appear to plug itself, so Amrit took advantage of the moment to start heating the water up as it poured in.

“Eventually you’re going to have to put me down,” Mieve pointed out, when he had completed the Working. “Since you can’t take your clothes off while you’re holding me, and vice versa.”

“I might be able to,” he admitted, “but not and still have clothes when I was done. All right. I suppose I should put you down.” He was surprisingly reluctant to do so. It wasn’t like she was going anywhere, he knew, and yet… Slowly, he set her on the feet.

And now he had to strip in front of her. He turned his back a bit, not sure where this modesty was coming from. He had nothing he was ashamed of, nothing he wanted to hide. He pulled off his clothes slowly. He wanted to turn and look at Mieve, but somehow that seemed like it would be wrong.

He growled. He wasn’t fifteen, damnit.

“You can turn around.” Mieve’s hand landed on his shoulder. “It’s not like we’re not going to be in the tub together in a minute or anything. I’m not going to be offended.”

“I know,” he grumbled. “I just… this is. It’s new. Different.” He twitched his shoulders. “Don’t want to end up fighting again.”

She made a small noise, a worrisome noise, and that was enough to finally make Amrit turn around. She had her hand over her mouth, and it was a moment before he realized she was laughing.

“It’s not funny,” he grumbled, but he couldn’t bring any real heat to it.

“It’s not,” she admitted, still laughing, “and… yet… it’s a little funny?”

“It’s a little funny,” he grumbled agreement. Under the clothes, she had a much more shapely figure than he’d thought. A little skinny — they were all a little skinny, and anyone who wasn’t, you had to wonder a bit at their secrets — but gorgeous nonetheless.

He bit back whatever noise wanted to come out of his throat, not entirely sure what it would be, and only then noticed that she was looking him up and down too.

“Liking your purchase?” Some bit of ridiculousness made him lift his arms and suck in his stomach — not that he had a gut anymore; he was skinny like the rest of the world — and pose for her.

She ran her hand over his chest, sending shivers through his body. “Quite a bit,” she murmured. “Forgiving me for buying you?”

“Better you than Fineus the Whoremonger.” He leaned down and kissed her forehead tenderly. “But there’s this tub waiting for us…”

“It looks kind of tempting, doesn’t it? I’m glad you can heat water up. I haven’t had a properly hot tub in quite a while…”

“The tub isn’t what looks tempting.” He swung her up into his arms again and kissed her. He was fiercer than he meant to be, but he wanted to get it in before she stopped him. Before she came to her senses and remembered that she’d bought him.

“Mmm. Well, both you and the tub are pretty hot,” she teased, when they came up for air. “So let’s combine the two and see if it multiplies hotness.”

“Now you’re just being silly,” he murmured. “I’m not all that good-looking, you know.”

“I suppose I shouldn’t point out how rarely I see another sentient being, should I?”

“No… no. Let me have some of my pride, please.”

She chuckled. “You have nothing to worry about when it comes to your looks. But if you don’t get in the tub soon, I might second-guess the second half of this plan.”

“There’s a second half? There’s a plan?” He stepped into the tub and very carefully sat down, setting her in his lap.

“Maybe more of a concept or a hope,” she admitted. She shifted around for a few moments and leaned back with her head on his chest. “Although this is quite a nice result, I have to admit.”

He touched her arms cautiously. “You wanted this? Really?” What was wrong with him?

“You’re… yes. Let’s just go with yes, all right? You may be mulish, but you’re kind. Also,” she teased, “you really need the bath.”

“Well, I wasn’t going to say anything, but so do you.” He picked up a sliver of soap she’d left on the side of the tub and started washing her neck and shoulders. “You know how good you’ve got it here, right?”

“Half of that is magic. I mean, if everyone could make water flow with their minds, they wouldn’t need running water quite so badly. And… ooh. That feels nice.” She leaned forward as he soaped up the back of her neck up into her hairline. “If everyone could heat things up like you can…”

“They wouldn’t need firewood. But you’re safe here, you’ve got food and water and shelter and, oh, man, I can’t tell you the last time I took a bath.” Much less one with a lovely woman. He moved his hands up into her hair. “It’s a pretty sweet set-up. I don’t blame you for not wanting to lose it.”

“I got lucky.” Her voice was quiet, and she seemed stiller, almost stiff. “A lot of people didn’t.”

“I know.” He kissed the top of her head. “I know. Me, too. I won the Change lotto, and then even when I was stupid enough to get caught by slavers – I got bought by you, and not by some asshole.”

“You could’ve gotten free from some asshole.” She looked as if she wanted to relax, but her shoulders were still stiff. He ran the washcloth over her shoulders gently.

“Not if he kept me in hawthorn. And anyway, this place is better than – well.” It was his turn to go still, his hand on her shoulder. “…This place is the best place I’ve been since the world ended, and maybe before it.”

She twisted in his lap to kiss him. “Just you wait,” she murmured. “It gets better.”


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In Which Amrit Explains Something

First: A beginning of a story which obnoxiously cuts off just before the description,
Previous: In Which Mieve Actually Says Something.

Amrit wasn’t entirely sure what he was doing. A couple hours ago, they’d been arguing. He’d been angry, fed up with her. She’d been angry, hurt that he didn’t give in enough.

She should have known, some part of him still wanted to point out. She should have had a pretty good idea that he wasn’t the sort to give him. He’d been gagged and chained when she bought him; it wasn’t like he’d come willingly.

Here they were. They’d eaten turkey leg and casserole for dinner, and the meat had tasted better than any turkey he could ever remember eating. They’d had cake for dessert — cake! Before he’d come here, Amrit couldn’t remember the last time he’d been anywhere that had the luxury of regular desserts.

And now they were sitting in front of the fire, her reading, him staring out the window at the night and ignoring a book, and he was thinking about what happened when they went to bed.

He’d told her he would stay until the winter was over. That should be enough. He didn’t need to go getting tangled up.

He looked at her over the book he was pretending to read and found himself growling.

Brilliant, asshole, that’s exactly the right thing to do.

“I’m sorry, did you say something?” She looked up from her book, looking for all the world like she hadn’t heard him.

He shook his head. “Just thinking…” He trailed off.

“Oh. Sorry.” She looked back at her book, and the moment where he could say something was lost.

Amrit stood up, far too abruptly. He was going to spook her. He didn’t want to spook her, and not just because she might gag and shackle him again. He moved more slowly, walking over to the window.

He could feel her eyes on him. Was she going to tell him to sit down?

Was he going to sit down if she told him to?

“I miss the world, most of the time,” she said, so quietly he wasn’t sure she was talking to him. “But the stars – it’s nice to be able to see them. As long as I don’t think too hard about why I can.”

Amrit thought about that for a minute. He stared out at the stars. “It’s so much darker now. When — so, the last place I was living, they, well, me and them didn’t get along that great. So I left. I was looking for another place when I got snatched. But I remember thinking, when I was a teenager, there was almost nowhere you could walk where it was truly dark. And I was trying to stay out of sight, and walking the roads at night was almost impossible.” He smiled crookedly. “Broke my ankle twice and my knee once.”

“Your healing power really is impressive.” She didn’t have any tone to her voice. What did she mean by that?

“I’d be dead without it.” He said it easily, but his heart pounded a bit anyway, remembering when he’d found out how fast he healed. “Spear through the heart tends to do that.”

“Spear through — oh, departed gods, that’s…” She stared at him, actually lifting out of her chair for a moment like she was going to rush over and hug him. Then she sat down slowly. “You really can heal anything.”

“So far? Nobody’s attacked me with hawthorn or rowan except the slavers, and that’s healing a lot slower.” He touched his neck, where the hawthorn had touched. “But I’m pretty durable, yeah.” He found himself smiling crookedly at her. “So, careful. If it’s cozy here in winter I might just tie myself to a tree and stay here until you knock me out.”

She raised her eyebrows and smirked back at him. “I don’t see how that follows, but I’ll take it under advisement.”

“Well, it’s just…” Amrit stalled. “I guess it doesn’t really follow. But I might do it anyway?”

What had he been thinking? …shit. He was flirting with her. Had she noticed? Why was he… Amrit looked back at the window and hoped he wasn’t blushing or anything else quite that stupid and childish.

“Well, if you’re going to tie yourself up, you might as well do it someone cozy, is all – since you would be doing it to get to stay nice and comfortable, right?”

“Nice and cozy…” Oh, departed gods, she was flirting back, wasn’t she? “Like that chair I was sitting in?”

Way to go, Amrit. Take a perfectly good opening and ruin it.

“Well, I know you haven’t tried it yet, but my bed is a lot more comfortable than that chair.”
Amrit turned slowly to stare at her. “You’re flirting with me.”

She looked nervous. “I’m making an offer,” she countered. “If you were making one.”

Amrit found his shoulders relaxing. “You’re not scared because you’re worried I’m going to hurt you, are you?”

“I wouldn’t be inviting you into my bed if I was scared you were going to hurt me,” she snapped. Oh, good, he was back to her yelling at him.

He took a step towards her, hands in front of him in as non-threatening a position as he could manage. “You’re not worried about me hurting you. So you’re worried…”

“Who said I was worried at all?”

“I’m not an idiot, you know. I can read body language well enough. Facial expression. Tone of voice. I’m saying you said you were worried.”

Shit, his voice was getting louder. That wasn’t helping at all. And he had actually moved closer to her again. He moved his hands back into a calming position and smiled crookedly. “I guess you being worried worries me,” he offered.

“And you’re not even Kept.” She stood up. Amrit did his best not to wince, but he couldn’t help thinking oh, shit, now what? “I think I’m beginning to grow on you. Either that or you’re scared of little old me.”

Amrit went for broke. “A little of both. You cheat,” he added without heat, even smirking a bit. “You can beat me in every fight, ‘cause you don’t have to have a fight at all. You don’t need the collar, you don’t need the gag, even.”

“When I’m awake and around you,” she pointed out. He thought she’d probably given that way too much thought.

“Hey, you stopped me from running away when you were on the other side of the clearing talking to your bees. Anyway, I just mean — I’m not Kept, but you’re, um. You’re still in charge.”

His hands went up to the collar. If this place had laws, they would probably say that the collar meant she was in charge legally. But she and he both knew that he could get this thing off without much effort. If he wanted to.

“I’m in charge.” She smiled at him. It was a more open expression than he’d seen on her, perhaps ever. “That’s the nicest thing you’ve said to me that didn’t start with ‘I promise.’”

Amrit shifted a little. Was that… good? Did he want her to think it was nice? “You’re welcome.”

He hadn’t noticed she’d stepped closer until she did it again. That put her right in front of him. “Thank you.”

She stood on her toes and kissed him.

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In Which Neither Amrit nor Mieve Communicate

First: A beginning of a story which obnoxiously cuts off just before the description,
Previous: In Which Mieve is Uncertain and Unhappy.

Amrit stalked to the garage behind her — behind his captor, because she refused to be something else. She was scared. He could tell. He ought to be happy about that, but it was just making him more angry.
He handed her the turkey piece by piece and snarled the Workings at the fridge that would keep the inside cold for a while, adding three large blocks of ice to the freezer. The thought made him smirk, even through his fury. “Icebox,” he muttered. “Height of Betty Boop technology.”


She snickered. “At least you don’t have to carry it up the stairs.”

“Yeah, well.” He shifted his weight uncertainly. “What now?”

“Now, I’m going to cook up the leg I put aside, and we’re going to have that with dinner. And cake.” She sounded defensive about the cake. Who was defensive about cake? Who was defensive to their slaves? “Thanks… for the turkey. It’ll be good food.”

“Yeah, well.” Was she mad at him or happy with him? Amrit rolled his shoulders. “What do I need to do for dinner?”

“Just clean up. Unless, uh. Unless you want to play heat source for the pan?”

“You’ve got the stove, right?”

“I have a limited amount of stove fuel. I could heat up the wood stove, but…”

It wasn’t that cold out, not really. “I can do it Just give me a couple minutes to clean up?”

“Yeah, of course. I’ll get everything prepared.”

What was up with her, anyway? She was pleased with him, she was apologetic, she was angry, she was… Amrit eyed her sidelong. She had hormones, he was sure, but he was pretty sure this wasn’t some sort of fae PMS.

He washed his hands like he was prepping for surgery, and then washed them — and his arms, all the way to the shoulder — again, just to give himself something to do. His shirt wasn’t all that dirty, but he left it off to let his arms dry off.

She had everything waiting for him, so he sat down at the table, ignoring her far-too-thoughtful gaze on him. “Low, medium, high?”

“High at first, and then the best all-over medium you can do. Do you need a new shirt?”

“What, you keep a clothing store in your garage?” He’d been in her garage. He hadn’t seen anything of the sort.

“I have a few shirts and such in my closet. There’s some in your closet, too,” she answered, a little uncertainly. “Most of it ought to fit you okay.”’
Amrit didn’t want to think too closely about that. He did the Workings to make the pan hot just where he wanted it hot, and held it in the air, the turkey leg sizzling.

“You have people just run out naked?” The more reasonable answer was she killed them and buried them in her garden, but that didn’t really seem like her.

“Not naked. But.. Sometimes they don’t stop for a change of clothes.” She looked away. “And, uh, sometimes I trade for stuff and it doesn’t fit me well or at all, but I know there’s going to be someone new that it might fit eventually.” She swallowed. He watched her throat work, and wondered what she was worried about.
“And… when people attack here, I mean, it doesn’t happen often, but I make sure they don’t tell anyone else about this place.”

Amrit looked at her over the crackling turkey leg. “I’m not going to be bothered by wearing dead man’s clothes,” he told her levelly, “as long as there’s not still blood and bullet-holes in them. It wouldn’t be the first time. Hell, these pants, I got them out of someone’s house. Not sure if they’re alive or dead. It’s the end of the world, you know?”

“I know. Most of the stuff I trade for, it’s about the same, you know, might be something from a store, more likely something from a house. I don’t ask where the scroungers get their stuff. And they don’t ask me questions, either.”

She was babbling. She was nervous. Amrit stared at the pan for a moment and muttered a series of fine-tuning Workings. He didn’t need to do them, but it let him concentrate on something other than her worried voice.

He rolled his shoulders, stared at the pan some more, and did a couple more Workings. “I’m not great at, you know, repairing Worked things. If I was, I figure I’d either be set for life or chained up in a sweatshop somewhere, which, I suppose, is also set for life.” He smiled crookedly at her. “I could use a shirt. I could use a shower,” he admitted. “Or a bath. I kind of smell.”

For some reason, that got her to smile. She turned away for a moment, as if she didn’t want him to see her smile – did she ever make any sense at all? “You get used to it. But bath, that’s easy, especially seeing as you can do the whole heating thing.” She settled down into a chair and seemed to force herself to look at him. “Thank you. For the turkey.”

He rolled his shoulders. “You said that already.”

“Yeah, well. It’s important?” She took a couple breaths. What was wrong with her? “Thank you for the promises, too. I know you didn’t have to do it. And I know you didn’t do it just to get the gag off.”

“Not gonna keep the gag off anyway, is it?” She was making him antsy. He made himself look at her.

“Well.” She smiled crookedly. “I could ask you to be Mine again.”

“You know what I’d say.” He knew what he’d say, too. Didn’t he? He cleared his throat. “I’m not the rules sort. Not the Keeping sort.”

“I know. But you’ll make promises?”

“Easy to make promises not to attack you.” The turkey was almost done. Good. That would give them something else to talk about.

“Even though…” She looked down at her hands.

“Look.” Amrit sighed. “You didn’t enslave me. You bought someone you expected to be already Kept, nice and wrapped up in a ribbon for you. I wasn’t, and I’m not going to be sorry for that but I get why you kept the gag on and the chains and stuff. And the leg – relax about the leg. I’ve had worse than that. Seriously. I forgive you, if there was any forgiving to happen, you have it. You don’t need it; you told me exactly what was going to happen and then you did it.” Now he was babbling. What was wrong with him?

She looked at him for a minute. “Time to take the turkey down to a very low heat, okay?”

“What… yeah.” He did the Workings and surrounded the turkey in a ball of heat before setting it, carefully, on the stove. “That should hold it.”

“Thank you.” She shifted in her seat, staring at him.

Amrit sighed. It might just be easier for her to put the gag back in.

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In Which Amrit Sulks Usefully

First: A beginning of a story which obnoxiously cuts off just before the description,
Previous: In Which Amrit Reaches and Mieve Backs Up.

Amrit glared after Mieve in frustration. So, fine. She didn’t want to trust him. She didn’t want him to help her.

If you want to go hunt, she’d said. But that was as far as she was willing to let him go. He snarled and slammed the ax down into another piece of wood. What was her problem? He’d been polite – okay, recently. He’d been helpful – the whole time, nobody could say he hadn’t. He’d even been chill about the whole leg-breaking thing. Nothing got through to her. Nothing mattered. She wanted a nice little slavey, and that was that.

He finished the pile of firewood aggressively, knocking it into tiny pieces and throwing it into the wood pile. Fuck her. If she wanted to be a bitch, he could be an asshole right back at her. He worked his mouth, feeling where the gag had been, where the thing the slavers had put in had cut him up. He was healed, now. His leg was pretty much healed, too. He pulled off the splint and tried it. Yep, it held his weight. It was a little tender, still, but he could work with tender.

If you want to go hunt. Of course he wanted to go hunt. Hadn’t he been offering that for days? Was she even listening? He stomped off to the garage and rooted around, looking for the bows.

He found the keys, first. He paused with his hand on them, looking at her car, looking back at the keys. He couldn’t leave without being forsworn, but the temptation was very heavy right now. She didn’t want him here. She didn’t even like him, she just needed a body to boss around.

He picked up the keys, stared at the car, and, with a huffing sigh, put the keys back down. He’d said he’d stay through winter. And this place was nicer than any other options he had for the cold that was coming, anyway.

He found the bow – a very nice one, looking like she’d picked it up from a sports-ware store before everything fell to shit – and the arrows, half of which matched the bow and half of which were Worked or whittled from wood. He slung the quiver over his shoulder, strung the bow, and checked everything out. He hadn’t done all that much bow-hunting, but he’d gone a few times with his uncle when he was a kid, and a few times with whatever came to hand after the world went to shit. He knew he could manage to catch something if he put his mind to it.

Three hours later, as the rain started to come down, he wasn’t so sure. He’d seen a few things; he’d even loosed two arrows. The best he’d been able to catch was a fat squirrel.

He’d thrown a Preserve Working on the squirrel, just to keep the meat fresh, but he’d managed to spook three deer and a turkey without catching anything else.

He was clearly going about this wrong. All wrong, and now it was raining. He needed – well, wanted – shelter, but he didn’t want to go back until he’d caught something big enough to count as a couple meals.

He needed an umbrella, no, that would just get in everyone’s way.

He needed… something. “Fuck,” he muttered, slapping his forehead with his palm. “Idiot.”

His uncle had hunted from a deer stand, a little box in the middle of the woods with a supply of beer and, more importantly, walls and a roof. Amrit didn’t have anything like that, but if he nestled down under that pine tree that he’d just passed, he could be almost invisible from the outside and, if he was lucky, maybe a deer or a turkey would wander by.

“Deer stand. Duh.” He made his way back to the tree and snuck underneath. After a minute, he found a position where he was out of the rain and could see clearly, see clearly and aim decently out of his shelter. He was going to need to build something out here.

If she let him. If she even let him go hunting again. She’d only done it because she was mad at him – for whatever reason; he hadn’t figured that out yet and didn’t know if he cared enough to try.

Well, cross that bridge when he came to it. He hunkered into a comfortable position and waited.

And waited.

And waited. It was getting dark. If he didn’t head back soon, she’d think he had run off, despite his oath.

She would panic, wouldn’t she? Someone who she didn’t really like, who, he supposed, didn’t have all that much reason to like her, someone she’d bought as a slave and then gagged and chained up… and he was gone, and he knew where she lived.

How had she handled that with her other Kept? Driven them off all blindfolded like she’d brought him here? Knocked them unconscious and left them in a ditch somewhere?

For a moment, he considered the possibility that she just killed them all when she was “done” with them, but that didn’t strike him as anything like what he knew about her. There probably wasn’t a line of unmarked graves under the carrots or something.

And if there was, well, he wasn’t going to let her kill him. There wasn’t anything about that in his promises, and he’d make sure there wasn’t.

He was so engrossed in his thoughts, he nearly missed the turkeys strolling by. He pulled, took aim, loosed with a very quiet Working.

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In Which Amrit Makes Sense – a continuation of BeeKeeper.

First: A beginning of a story which obnoxiously cuts off just before the description,
Previous: In Which Mieve thinks too much.

She was looking at him strangely.

She’d been looking at him strangely since he volunteered to break his own leg, and it had just been getting worse all day, until bedtime, when she’d told him she wasn’t going to tie him down for the night.

She’d looked like she wanted to say something else. Amrit hadn’t given her a chance — though he had managed to thank you. Sleeping with a healing leg was going to be hard enough without restraints.

It had been. In the end, he’d muttered a Working to knock himself out. He’d slept like a log, but woke groggy and still trying to shake off the sleep.

Now he was chopping wood, his splinted leg braced so he didn’t have to put too much weight on it, and she was doing like she’d been doing yesterday, looking up at him strangely, looking back at her work, circling the yard and then coming back to looking at him.

Finally, Amrit put down the ax. “I already promised not to run away and not to attack you,” he pointed out patiently. “What’s the problem?”

She jumped when he started speaking, and looked guilty as she looked away. “Just trying to figure you out.”

“Well, while you’re doing that, you’ve got seeds you need to plant, right? All that plowing and forking and turning over and…” He shrugs. “Spring won’t last forever.”

She smirked at him. “Yes, sir,” she teased. “Looks like you’ve got the firewood sorted.”

“Until I have to go get more out of the hedge, at least.”

She raised her eyebrows at him and said nothing. Amrit shifted his weight and leaned backwards a little, trying to look non-threatening. He didn’t have that much experience with it.

“Look,” he said, picking his words carefully, “I’m here for a while. You’ve clearly thought about this process. I’m not getting away quickly, and I might not get away at all.”

“This is true,” she allowed cautiously, like he’d said something momentous instead of something pretty banal.

“And, look, I’m from not that far from here.” Now why had he said that? “I know how hard winter can be, and, uh. You’re feeding me. I want to carry my own weight.”

“That is why I–” she stopped herself. “–brought you here,” she tried, as if they didn’t both know she’d been about to say bought you.. “Yeah. So you want to, what, help get ready for winter?”

“Of course. I mean, I’m not a shirker. I’m just,” he shrugged. “I’m bad at being told what to do. So, uh. Yeah. It’s your house, your land. But I can help get the wood ready and make sure the house is all warm and snug and, well, everything. I’ve done this before,” he added, because she was looking at him strangely. “I survived the last few winters, didn’t I? One of ’em I even survived on my own, but that sucked.”

She was not looking at him any less strangely. Amrit sat down on the pile of wood and looked back at her. “You’ve been doing this for years, right?”

“Yeah. Since the collapse, really.” She perched on the chopping block.

“And, I mean, most of them were Kept, so, uh, they wanted to make you happy, right?”

She blinked slowly. “Yes. The Bond does that,” she said, carefully. Again, like he’d said something strange and outlandish.

“And what about the human slave?”

“Mostly he just wanted to be free. He settled in after a while and did what I told him, especially once the snow started falling.”

If she was going with one-year cycles, that could have been as much as six months in. “Must have been exhausting.”

She raised her eyebrows at him. “Yeah. It was.” There was definitely a challenge there.

Amrit plowed on, ignoring the strange feeling in his gut at her challenge. “So uh. Nobody ever just wanted to help you out because, you know, you were giving them a safe place to stay?”

She stared at him. Amrit shifted uncomfortably. “What?”

“No,” she said slowly. “Nobody has ever offered to help in return for the safe place to stay and the meals. If they had…” she spoke like she was working her way through a minefield. Amrit wasn’t sure he blamed her, even if he wasn’t sure he liked being treated like a dangerous weapon.

Well, she wasn’t the first. He sat there looking as harmless as he could manage.

“If they had,” she tried again, “I wouldn’t have needed to buy people from the slave market.”

“Hunh.” Amrit hadn’t considered that. “Well, uh. I mean, you could put the gag and chain back on me and tell me to not help except what you order, but, um, that seems counterproductive. Besides, I’m gonna get bored just doing basic chop-and-dig sort of work.”

“Can’t have you getting bored.” She smiled at him, a cautious sort of expression, like she wasn’t sure he wasn’t going to laugh at her.

“Oh, dead gods, you don’t want to see me when I’m bored. That’s how I got in trouble, my last place. Got too bored.” He grinned at her, cocky and comfortable again. “It’s no fun.”

He could tell she’d relaxed a little by the way her shoulders shifted and her eyes crinkled a little. She shook her head. “You know, never thought I’d be worried about keeping my Kept – my sl –“

“Your prisoner,” he offered, because she was getting uncomfortable again.

“That works? Yeah. Keeping my prisoner entertained. But now I’m wondering if I shouldn’t lay in some board games and cards for when the winter comes.”

“Probably carrots and venison first,” Amrit suggested. He could think of plenty to do that would keep them both entertained and warm, but if she wasn’t going to suggest it, neither was he. “You know, once this heals up, I’m a pretty decent hunter.”

“You said. Well, you mimed.” She repeated his gesture back at him, drawing a bow. “But that would mean letting you out of my sight.”

Amrit slumped a little. “Yeah. It would.” Damnit, he really wanted some fresh meat. “I could promise, I guess.”

“You’ve been making a lot of promises, lately.”

“You’ve been doing a lot of work, lately. Costs you energy to fight me.” Amrit rolled his shoulders. “Look. I don’t want to be yours. I don’t really want to be a slave, or a captive, or a Kept. But I can help you out and stuff, and not leave until the winter’s over. I’m good at at that much.”

She wasn’t going to go for it. He knew she wouldn’t; why was he even making the offer? Why were his shoulders all hunched again? He shrugged them up, trying to loosen the tension.

“I’ll consider it.” She tilted her head. “I’ve got a couple days to think about it, anyway. You shouldn’t go hunting with your leg all splinted, at the very least.”

He thought she looked guilty. Amrit didn’t know why. He relaxed his shoulders and gave her a half of a smile. “Oh, woe is me. Three or four more days where all I can do is split wood and eat your food.”

“Careful,” she teased, “or I’m going to have you washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen instead of splitting wood.”

She was smiling, and she was teasing him. Amrit’s half-smile grew into a full grin. “Oh no, not that. Not the place with all the food.

“Whatever will you do?”

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In Which Amrit is Confused (FaeApoc, Amrit/Mieve)

First: A beginning of a story which obnoxiously cuts off just before the description,
Previous: In Which Amrit is Gagged Again.

please note: I am posting two chapters at once.

Fae Apoc, approx. now.

Content Warnings: This setting, although not this ficlet, contains rape, mind control, and dubious consent situations.

This particular story contains kidnapping and slavery, bondage, violence, and will eventually contain Stockholm Syndrome.


There had to be a catch. Nobody was nice just to be nice. Amrit worked his mouth around the new gag, slammed the axe into another log, worked his mouth around the gag again. It didn’t hurt anywhere. It didn’t chafe anywhere. It was even gentle on the places already hurting, and — assuming the hawthorn got out of his system soon — would probably not interfere with his own healing.

There had to be a catch. She had bought him from a slave market, dragged him here, chained him to the bed. She’d threatened to break his leg if he tried to run away. Not that it would stop him for long… but Amrit had broken bones before, and he didn’t like it.

She’d kidnapped, enslaved, and threatened him. But she’d put a nice gag in his mouth that didn’t hurt him, and, even after telling him he’d get no lunch, she’d fed him. He worked his mouth around the new gag and split another log.

The pile he had to split didn’t seem to get any smaller, but the pile he’d already split kept getting bigger. It was getting bigger more slowly, though, as the day went on, as his muscles ached and his body tired. He had another foot of height to go before he’d get his “reward.” Another foot, and the sun was beginning to set. Where was she? He split a log, looked around. No sign of her. He split another log, looked around. The plow lay idle, up against the garage.

Three more logs. He might finish at this rate. He looked at the chain hooked to his ankle. No, not yet. He split another log. He wasn’t sure if he could even do a Working, and his regeneration wasn’t all the way returned. No. Now he had to focus on convincing her to take the gag out. He split another log.

“Time for dinner.”

He hadn’t seen her coming, and Amrit had the axe in the air and ready to swing at the intruder before he realized it was her. Carefully, he set it back down.

She, surprisingly, hadn’t choked him yet. “Time for dinner,” she repeated.

Amrit shook his head fiercely. He had only one row to go, and he’d have earned his reward.

“It’s nearly dark. Come on.”

He shook his head again and gestured at the pile. So close. It wasn’t fair.

“Aaah. All right.” She muttered a Working and the light in the area rose like it was on a dimmer switch, gestured with her hand and floated another log into place on the block.

Amrit split it like he was splitting this whole wretched situation in half, and it fell apart in one hit. Another log replaced it, and he did the same to that one. And another, and another. The axe seemed a bit lighter. The hitting seemed a bit more fun. And then there was no next log, and Amrit looked up to see the rack entirely full.

“It’s time for dinner now,” she repeated. He thought she looked a little tired herself. “Put the axe away, there,” she pointed at a wall-mounted rack, “and come on in.”

He did as he was told. There was dinner in it for him, after all.

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In Which Amrit begins to learn his limits (Fae Apoc, Amrit/Mieve)

First: A beginning of a story which obnoxiously cuts off just before the description,
Previous: IAmrit is Introduced to His New Life.
Fae Apoc, approx. now.

Content Warnings: This setting, although not this ficlet, contains rape, mind control, and dubious consent situations.

This particular story contains kidnapping and slavery, bondage, and will eventually contain violence & Stockholm Syndrome.

Amrit glared at his captor. So she had a trick, great. She couldn’t seriously expect him to just give in, could she? “Fuck – argh.”

She had, of course, jammed the gag in the minute he opened his mouth. “Don’t worry,” she assured him. “I know what you were going to say.” Her invisible force held his arms down while she buckled the gag in place and padlocked it, fuck her. Amrit worked his mouth around the damn thing. It was mostly metal, from the taste and feel, pushing against the sides of his mouth and holding his tongue down. It was irritating, a constant presence, but what was worrying was the way it abraded the sides of his mouth. If it broke the skin, the skin would heal, once the hawthorn left his system. And pulling a gag out when the skin had healed over it would seriously suck.

Her fingers brushed the edges of his mouth. “Tomorrow, I’ll pull together a better gag for long-term wear, since it appears you don’t want to cooperate. Come on. I’m going to put you to bed, and we can worry about the rest tomorrow.”

Bed? The pressure on his chest and arms let up, and Amrit stood. He shook his ankle, which was still chained to the table, only to see the chain unlock itself and snake into his captor’s hand. “Please try not to do anything stupid for the next three minutes.”

Amrit ran. Or, at least, he took off, only to trip and barely miss landing on his face. Invisible hands caught him and put him back on his feet. “That,” the woman pointed out dryly, “does not count as not doing anything stupid.”

Amrit muttered something into the gag, not bothering with trying to make the words coherent. She was stronger than she looked – or she’d figured out how to use her obvious telekinesis to buff her strength. He might not be able to overpower her; he was going to have to figure out how to outsmart her, or just take her by surprise.

Not right now; she was waiting for it. He grunted inquisitively: where was he going?

“Walk straight forward.”

She pressed lightly on the small of his back. “The door at the end of the hallway. The door on the right is the bathroom, and the door on the left… probably won’t concern you.”

Amrit walked straight forward. The door she’d indicated opened into a small bedroom with a large window – covered in a decorative iron grate – and a small bed. Still, it was a bed, with blankets and everything.

“Lay down, get comfortable.” She pushed on the small of his back again. Amrit didn’t need to be told twice. If he wasn’t going to escape right now, he might as well get some much-needed sleep. He flopped down on the bed, twisted until the lock on the gag wasn’t digging into the back of his head, and pulled the blanket up to his hips.

“Very good.” She straddled him, her invisible hands pressing just enough to tell him not to move. “I bet you’re not surprised that I’m going to tie you down a bit.” Her hands were gentle as she locked fur-lined leather restraints around his wrists and ankles. Amrit could still move, but the only way he was standing up was if he took the bed with him. He shifted under her, testing the limits of the bonds.

“You know,” she pointed out, “if you’d just agree to belong to me, we could avoid all this.”

Amrit worked his mouth around the gag. “Uh oo, ayee.”

“Good night to you, too, my pet.” She pulled the curtains closed, leaving Amrit in the dark. “I’ll see you in the morning.”

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