Chapter 184: Shahin
Friday Afternoon, Second Friday in April, 2000
Shahin needed some time alone with Emrys. She needed to talk about Xaviera, about what they were doing to do. Her visions, the girl's behavior… they weren't helping her. They weren't teaching her independence. All she was doing was aping the things they told her to do without, Sheen was fairly certain, understanding them in any way. It wasn't doing her much good, and it wasn't doing them much good. Now that she was pregnant… well, it was easier and easier for her to regress. If they didn't do something soon, Sheen was worried they'd have a little doll on their hands and nothing more.
But getting time alone was tricky. Emrys and Xav, they had plenty of time while she was at magic class. But she and Emrys had almost no time at all alone - another reason they had to talk. She had not planned on having a threesome when they began this relationship, and didn't want to go forward that way.
"Emrys…" she began, when a knock at the door interrupted. Without asking, Xaviera rolled to her feet and answered the door.
"Tya." She stepped out of the door to allow the two of them to see their guest. Jamian's Keeper looked, Shahin thought, worried. If a third of what Jamian and Kai had told them was at all accurate, she ought to be looking proud of herself.
"Come on in, Tya." She levered herself into a sitting position. "I heard about your run-in with the staff."
"I thought you might." Tya took a seat in the desk chair, looking even less comfortable. "It had to be done. Jame' cares a lot about Kendra, and we couldn't let Ofir just keep bulling around like that."
"Agreed." Shahin tried not to think about how little they'd done on that score. "It was good of you to give Jamian what he wanted."
"I do try." Tya looked down at her feet modestly. "All right, once in a while I try. Probably not nearly as much as I could.
She seemed guilty, and Emrys seemed a bit on edge. Shahin wondered if this had anything to do with the mystery strength Jamian was murmuring about. Ty had revealed a hand there in the Director's office; the question was, what was it?
"So you're off the leash, then?" her husband asked lazily. Tya just laughed.
"No, I just told them it was always an imaginary leash." Her grin was impish, looking much like she always did. Shahin wondered if she was imagining the strain she saw there. "I guess I never cared enough to slip it, before."
"And you care now." Yes, her darling was tense. Waiting for a fight. His fingers were sparking. And Tya, on the other hand, looked abashed.
"Jamian cares." She shrugged, almost hunching in on herself. "It's not that Shiva and Niki didn't care about things, but not like this, or maybe they didn't show me, or maybe… um…. Maybe I wasn't looking." She shrugged again, as if trying to change the subject. "So I cared."
"Because you care about Jamian." Shahin gentled her voice, to counter Emrys' tension. "That makes sense. And I'm sure Kendra will appreciate it."
"I hope so. I hope she appreciates Jame' for it, too." There was something else. There had to be something else, the way she was shifting on her seat. "I still owe Ofir a favor, and he called it in."
"And we owe you a favor, from the wedding." Emrys nodded.
"Ah." Shahin snapped her mouth shut. So that's why he was unhappy. But what about Ty.
"What did he ask for, that you're asking us for?" Emrys prodded. Behind Shahin, Xaviera was holding very still, and being very quiet.
"We took Kennie away from him. So he's demanding someone in his bed and at the dance with him Saturday night."
"I am not sending my wife to spend time with that creep."
"Nor am I going to send Jamian. But the truth is, I owe him… and you owe me."
"I could do it," Xaviera whispered. "Ofir's not that bad. He's really not," she added, as they all turned to look at her. "Not compared to… well, he's not."
An idea was beginning to occur to Shahin. "You're certain?"
"You Owned me to pay a debt," she pointed out calmly. "So pay a debt."
"That's not…" Emrys seemed more than a little uncomfortable now. Put between a rock and a hard place, and he didn't know what to do.
"I have a plan," Shahin told them both. "Tya, we will provide Ofir with what he asked for, thus eliminating our debt to you - and your debt to him."
"Shahin…" Emrys protested.
"Trust me?" she asked him. He paused for a moment, and then nodded.
"I trust you. Tya, like the lady said."
"Thank you." The strawberry-blonde smiled broadly. "I'm going to get back to Jamian, before he worries."
"We'll take care of it," Shahin assured her, and let Xaviera show him out.
Once the door was closed, Emrys turned to her. "I didn't think we would be the sort to pimp our Kept out."
"We aren't. We are, however, the sort to keep our deals. That's part of being Ellehemaei, isn't it?" She knew her voice was cool. She didn't like his tone, and was doing her best not to rise to it."
"It is. But Ty could have come up with something else. Or it could have sent Jamian to repay this debt. It didn't have to call it in from us."
"I really don't mind," Xaviera protested. "Ofir isn't bad. He was kind of a nice guy, at the beginning of last year."
That just made Emrys glower all the more. "I don't like what you're implying."
The girl shrank back against the wall. "I'm not implying anything. I'm just saying, he used to be a nice guy. I wouldn't mind spending the night with him, and it would get you out of your obligation." She looked between the two of them. "You're supposed to use me, I'm your Kept."
Phrased like that, it made Shahin feel even worse. She sighed, and took several measured breaths. "We didn't release you right away because we wanted to help you, Xav."
"But you have!" Xaviera leaned forward, shaking her head. "Why would you say you haven't?"
That was more than she'd contradicted them since they'd first Owned her. Shahin hid a smile; maybe they had done some good. "I worry that you've simply fallen into habits of obedience, bad habits."
"But I'm Kept." She looked between them in confusion. "I Belong to you, and you treat me well. There's nothing to fight, and no reason not to be a good pet. I thought that's what you wanted?"
"We want you to be happy," Emrys countered. "But obedient and not betraying us is also a practical desire."
"I wouldn't betray you! I'm a good Kept!" She was getting upset, but she was, for once, trying to hide it. Shahin let her pretend she had, for the moment, and tried to think about how to answer her.
"You are. And we like that, Xav. Do you think being a good Kept and a strong, good person are compatible?"
"Well, yes." She chewed on that one for a minute. "I'm kind of over Ardell. I don't think I would have done that without you guys… wait." Suddenly, her expression was panicked. "Wait, wait, no, no, no, please, I'll be good, no. I'm a good Kept!" She groveled, her head down on the floor, scooting towards Shahin and Emrys. "Please, come on, you got me pregnant, you can't get rid of me."
"Nobody's getting rid of…" Emrys fell silent as he saw Shahin's expression. "Sheen?"
"We've always known we couldn't Keep her forever, Emrys."
"Please, please," Xaviera blubbered. "I'll be good."
Shahin pulled the girl into her lap and stroked her back gently. "You're a very good Kept, Xav. You always have been. But… I think this can be an opportunity for all of us."
"You just want the Master to yourself."
"Well… yes, I do want him to myself." There was no point in denying that. "But it's not a matter of 'just,' Xaviera. I also want the best for you."
The girl sniffled in her lap. "You think being free will be better for me?"
"I think," Shahin admitted, "that there are any number of ways that spending the evening and night with Ofir could turn out. And I think that many of them could be useful for you - and possibly educational for Ofir - if we helped set you up properly."
Their Kept squirmed and twisted until she could look Shahin in the face, then turned to look at Emrys. He, Shahin noted, was smirking thoughtfully. "That could work," he agreed. "If you're ready to let go of Xav?"
"I think we'll never be ready, if we don't make ourselves, any more than she will." She kissed the girl's forehead. "The least we can do is send her off with a dowry."
Ofir would get his date. Whether he liked it was another matter altogether.
Copyright © 2009-2012 Lyn Thorne-Alder. All rights reserved.
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