Tag Archive | character: elle

In Which Reynard Gets a Bath

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Last posted about a year ago~

Reynard was swaying. He wasn’t sure when it had started, but he realized, as the woman’s — Elle’s — his owner’s hand landed on his shoulder that he had been leaning to one side, muttering.

“When’s the last time you ate?” She sounded angry. Reynard didn’t look up at her; if he had, he was pretty sure he’d have fallen over.

Don’t call her mistress. “I, uh. Sometime before the beatdown, I think. I don’t really remember much of it clearly.”

“Right. So we’ll clean you, and then we’ll feed you, and then we’ll worry about the rest. Can you stand?”

She seemed to ask him that a lot. Reynard considered the question. “Yes?” He levered himself slowly to his feet, surprised to find her arms under his shoulders pulling him up.

And holding him up, and pulling off what remained of his clothes. “Normally,” he offered, before he noticed his words were slurring, “Norm-uh-luh-lee, I’m very ex.. Happy to have a pretty woman taking my clothes off. Norm. Ally.”

“And now?” She slapped his hands away as he tried to help.

“Now, I think you’re taking ad. Taking advan…” He could not come up with a shorter form of the word.

He didn’t need to. She leaned forward and whispered in his ear. “You Belong to me.”

“Ah. Ah, well… yes. You have a very good point.” Reynard swallowed. “Yes, ma’am Elle. You can take ad — take me any way you want to, can’t you?”

“I can,” she agreed. “I don’t have to wait until you’re slurring your words and swaying on your feet, if what I want is you. Interesting, isn’t it?”

“Inter’sing?” That wasn’t the word he’d have normally used. “Terfy’ing?”

She chuckled. He was naked now — when had that happened? And she was moving him, nearly carrying him, towards the tub. “Interesting. I was never all that interested in having Kept, back in school. And I don’t recall you having any, either. But here we are, because you raided the wrong henhouse. Keep your head above water.”

“Keep my…” for a second, Reynard thought she was speaking metaphorically, and then her hands were off of him and he was slipping into the water.

Head above. Head above. He grabbed on to the sides of the tub and forced his shaking arms to hold him there. Head above water. RIght. He could do that.

A moment later, a warm presence slipped in behind him and arms wrapped around his shoulders. “There you go. There. Just relax against me, if you can.”

Reynard was following her order before he realized she was naked. Of course, he thought, it’s a tub. But that was a lot of wet, slick, naked skin — naked Keeper — pressed against him. The Bond liked contact. He remembered that from school. It liked touch. It liked praise. It hated screwing up, running into orders, disappointing your Keeper. He leaned against Elle and let her hold him up.

“I’m Kept,” he muttered groggily. “Shit.”

“Quite astute,” she murmured in his ear. “Stay awake for me, foxboy. Just until we get you clean, at least. Come on.”

The order pricked him into consciousness. “S’hard,” he complained. “There was a lot of, uh…”

“Yes. I think you were staying awake on adrenaline. Now that you’ve decided i’m not going to torture or kill you immediately, you’re crashing. That’s fine.” She lathered a washcloth and ran it over his chest. “Just stay awake long enough to not drown and we’ll be fine. I just want to make sure this is mostly dirt and not blood.”

“Some blood, probably. That big guy was big.” The orders were warring against Reynard’s body’s urges, but he knew about that. He pinched himself surreptitiously on his inner thigh and ran through a few complicated math problems in his head. Her hands were all over him, scrubbing at the dirt covering him, gentle when she found a wound under the filth. He was dirtier than he remembered – and less wounded, too. His memories were fuzzy, but he had clear images of the big guy swinging a broadsword at him.

Reynard was good at ducking – preternaturally good at it, even – but there wasn’t all that much one could do about a big block of muscle and rock swinging a giant blade at you at superman-like speeds. Dodge once of twice, sure, but eventually you were going to get hit. And hit again. And… “Ow.”

her fingers had found bruises he didn’t remember getting. “Oh, hrrm.” She craned her neck over his shoulder to look at his chest. Cleaned of all the dirt, the bruise was clear. “You must have really, really annoyed him.”

Reynard blinked his eyes until they would focus on the bruise. Across his chest, someone had left a mark in the exact shape of a hand.

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In Which Reynard Goes Back To School

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The hallway was a strange off-green that looked naggingly familiar to Reynard. When they passed the second display case, this one showing off a variety of long-dead cell phones, he began to understand where they were. When they passed a fire door, both doors wedged open with pieces of wood, he was certain.

“You took over an elementary school?” That explained the chalkboard…

“Actually, we buried it. It had survived the collapse almost entirely intact.”

“Buried?” Reynard looked around at the soft, indirect light that infused the place. “But the – the classroom we were in, there was a view.”

“It’s a really neat Working. One of my crew did it in a lot of the windows; it keeps it from feeling tight and claustrophobic down here.”

“You buried an entire school. And then you put in windows.” Reynard shook his head – carefully, because he could still feel the prick of hawthorn, even with all the vines gone. “And you went to school the same time I did?”

“We’re overachievers,” she answered lightly. “Burying the school was the easy part. Doing it so groundwater didn’t seep in everywhere was the hard part. We’re almost there, by the way.”

“Principal’s office? I know I’ve been a bad boy…”

“That’s tomorrow.” She smirked at him, the first playful expression he had seen on her face. It made her look far less severe; he found he liked it.

Of course, he reminded himself, she Owns you. Probably. She’s going to look attractive no matter what she does.

He cleared his throat. He had not been this far off his game in – in ever. “Tomorrow, Mistress?”

She chuckled at him, the laughter after the smirk sounding almost joyful. “Didn’t I say to call me Elle?”

Reynard nearly stumbled. “Shit. Shit, I’m sorry…” He considered dropping to his knees, but he wasn’t sure he’d be able to get back up. “I – I forgot.”

She tapped his nose lightly. “You’ll have to work on that. Tonight – tonight, let’s just get you cleaned up and into a bed before you fall over, all right?”

“All right. Okay.” He swallowed. His head was spinning. “That, uh, that sounds like a really good idea.”

“Right through here.” She took his arm, holding him up as much as guiding him, and steered Reynard into one of the classrooms.

Which had, he noticed quickly, been transformed. A giant bed, four-poster, covered in quilts, dominated the room. An old, chipped dresser was flanked by mismatched chairs.

One bed. Reynard wasn’t sure whether to be relieved or worried. He’d gone to Addergoole, where everyone assumed you slept with your Kept. After all, that was more than half of what Kept were for. But he’d also been out in the world, where some people had some funny ideas about Kept…

…or about slaves.

“Running water was easy.” Elle continued to move Reynard, so he continued to stumble forward. “Getting the water heater to work properly was a little harder. But hey, some of us just cheat.”

The bathroom was as much a mismatch as her bedroom. It had clearly been part of the school’s lavatory before. Now, a claw-foot tub sat between two old toilet partitions.

“Hot… hot water?” He wasn’t sure he dared dream. “I haven’t had a proper hot bath in…”

She let go of his arm. Slowly, Reynard sank to the floor. Idiotically, the words of the old pledge went through his head.

“I pledge allegiance… to the shower…. and to the mistress for which it stands…”

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In Which Reynard does not have a Collar

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The woman named Elle – who, it seemed, owned him now – was slowly cutting hawthorn off of Reynard.

His life had not gotten surreal so much as it had gone back to a weird sort of reality.

“You were taught by Professor Valerian?” he tried. “And…” he spoke slowly. “You remember me.”

“You were several years ahead of me. I’m not surprised you don’t remember me.” She patted the top of his head idly. There were no hawthorn branches there, at least. “You may have spent a lot of time in other henhouses, but you didn’t ever, as far as I know, directly poach.”

Poach. Very carefully, he tilted his head so he could look her in the face. “You were Kept.”

“Isn’t everyone?”

He didn’t shrug, because she’d asked him to hold still. “It would seem so.”

“Surely this can’t be your first time under the collar.” Snip, snip went her clippers. The metal brushed against his skin, and he tried not to shiver.

“I don’t seem to be wearing a collar yet, unless you count the hawthorn wrapped around my throat.”

She chuckled, as if amused by his hedging. “I’ll fix that soon enough.”

Sometimes inside Reynard chilled. “Where are we? I mean… mistress, if it pleases you, where are we?”

“I told you already.” Snip, snip went her clippers. Reynard tried to remember. Snip, Snip. Damnit, why hadn’t he been paying attention? Snip, snip. “New Buffalo. It’s-”

He swallowed. “Please tell me it’s where Buffalo was. The irony would be so thick. I might choke.”

“And why’s that?” She pulled ropes of thorny vine away from him, the needles pulling out of his skin with unpleasant pops.

Reynard coughed. Well, he belonged to her, however that worked. “I came from Buffalo. Well, Grand Island. And then I went back after school for a couple days. It was a mess, though. Almost nothing left standing.”

“It’s still a mess. But we’re rebuilding it slowly.” She pulled the last bits of hawthorn off of him. “Don’t attack me, don’t wander off, and don’t do any Workings without permission.” She ran gloved hands over Reynard’s chest and arms, pulling a shiver out of him. “We’ll have to clean all these wounds, but we can’t do that here. Can you stand?”

Reynard hesitated. “May I move?” She’d thrown off the orders casually, way too casually for the force with which they’d hit him.

She nodded, hesitated, and nodded again. Reynard, watching her face, couldn’t guess what was going through her mind, so he worked instead on what she’d asked of him. “I think so? I think I can stand… mistress.” He shifted his weight, testing legs he couldn’t feel at the moment. He made it to his knees without wobbling, but with nothing to brace himself on, he wasn’t sure he could get further.

“Here.” She planted her feet firmly and offered him her hands. “I don’t know how long you’ve been in the box. There’s no shame in accepting help.”

Reynard swallowed a sudden lump of panic and took her arms. With her help, he levered himself to his feet. “Yes, mistress.”

“You know…” She slid her arm around his waist, steadying him. “I think you can call me Elle.”

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Introductions, a continuation of Reynard

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“My name is Elle.” The woman had the wire cutters far too close to parts of Reynard that he was very, very fond of. He could feel the cold metal against his skin, and was a bit too much of a coward to look at what she was doing. Not that he could move his head in that direction, anyway… “You are in New Buffalo. I suppose Joshua passed on the news to Addergoole East, and when you ran afoul of Lady Storm and her – mmm – her man – well, here you are.” The clippers moved, and Reynard’s left leg was suddenly free. “Please try not to move too much until I’m done. You’re all over hawthorn, and you could hurt yourself.”

Reynard held still. It had been, he thought, years – almost a decade – since he’d been Kept, but he thought the words had the feel of an order around the edges, even softened by please and try.

She had said several important things, if only the clippers and the shifting and prickling of the hawthorn wasn’t distracting him. “Elle?” he tried. “Is that -“

“That’s the name my father gave me. I can’t say he was the best at the whole thing.” The clippers moved upwards, over Reynard’s belly.

“Well, my father named me Fox.” He tried to shrug, and found he wasn’t really moving at all. Well, that might answer that. “And your Mentor…?” If she remembered him from Addergoole…

“Professor Valerian named me the Stone Gardener.” She patted his thigh with her leather-clad hands. “And I earned it, much like you earned your Name… Fox.”

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Her Verdict, a continuation of Reynard

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“And that’s how I ended up Belonging to a terrifying mass of muscle, ma’am.” Reynard did his best to make a bow, although the bonds of probably-hawthorn restricted his movement enough to make it only a twitch. “How I ended up Belonging to a -” he coughed. “Forgive me, ma’am, to a beautiful woman like yourself is another story.”

The woman studied him for a minute. She seemed neither be offended by the compliment nor complimented by it – for the life of him, Reynard couldn’t read a single emotion off of her face. He was out of practice working without magic.

“That is a very interesting story.” She spoke slowly. Shit, was she – differently abled? He’d never belonged to anyone slow before. “I even believe most of it.” She pursed her lips. “It definitely sounds like you.”

That again. And he couldn’t remember her at all. He coughed, and went for a completely non-committal “Ma’am?”

“It will do for now, at least.” She picked up a pair of wire cutters from her table of tools.

“Ma’am?” This time, Reynard knew his voice went high-pitched. The things you could do with wire cutters… “Ma’am, I…”

“Shhh. You belong to me, Reynard called Fox in the Henhouse. I’m not going to hurt you. I’m not going to torture you.” He wasn’t entirely clear if the repetition was clarification or reassurance. He wasn’t reassured, either way.

“Ma’am?” This time it was a whisper. He didn’t have much choice.

She started clipping, far too near parts of him he was very fond of. “When I’ve got you out of this, we can talk living arrangements.”

Well, at least that meant he was probably going to live.

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