Early October, Year 5 of the Addergoole School
Finnegan was getting very good at being invisible. It didn't take much, around the Thornes; they weren't like he'd heard some of the other Keepers were, more like lazy tigers. They wouldn't bite without provocation, and provoking them was generally very clear-cut.
Once he'd shown any interest in being able to cook, they let him do what he would with the kitchen. That, in itself, meant that he could cook up something, have it ready for them after their training, and avoid the uncomfortable scene in the dining hall at least a few times a week. So he cooked dinner, made himself something on the side, and watched TV while the Thornes were gone. It was, for an hour or so a day, almost like being normal.
When they got back, if he was lucky, they were tired and sweaty and hungry, and wanted to eat and shower and crash. He liked those days; he could sit on the couch next to Allyse, basking in her presence, do his homework, and be ignored. Part of the scenery. Nothing bad happened, and Allyse didn't go to bed angry and twitchy.
He could tell the minute they got home that tonight wasn't going to be one of those nights. They stomped in, all of them, Massima angry and the other two feeding off of it, into it, so that all of them were a bundle of sharp nerves, a moving thorn-bush looking for a target.
Finnegan did his best to be invisible, holding still in the back corner of the couch, watching them carefully, hoping for a moment to slip away into Allyse's room. Much easier to deal with one of them, with her, than all three of them.
"This food sucks!" Massima threw her plate across the room, and without bothering to look for him, shouted "Boy! Clean that shit up and order some pizza."
Shit. He couldn't be invisible when he was moving around. He moved to do the clean-up as quickly as possible, squashing the resentment. There was nothing wrong with the food. The other two were eating it and enjoying it. He'd eaten it and enjoyed it. And if he said any of that, it would just made Sima angrier.
And sometimes, being quiet didn't help anyway. He ordered the pizza as quickly as he could, then tried to make his way to Allyse's room.
Sima was having none of that, though. She grabbed the front of his shirt. "Not so fast, little man," she snarled.
He went limp. Gods, Allyse, please… But she didn't say anything, not yet, at least. What did she want?
"Clean up the kitchen," she snarled. "Don't think you can get away with leaving a mess like that."
A mess? He nodded. "Yes, Massima," he answered, and waited for her to let him go.
Back in Allyse's room, later that night, he rubbed her feet and ankles, glad she's showered first, and tried not to be angry. He was hers. What she wanted to do him, she could do. That was between the two of them. When her sisters got involved - well, he didn't Belong to Massima. Didn't Belong to Acacia. And didn't like feeling like their bitch.
Instead of saying any of that, or all of it, he rubbed his Owner's feet and kept his eyes down, letting his hair cover his face as much as it would.
"When you're upset," she said after a while, "only half of you goes chameleon."
He looked up. "What?" he asked, too distracted to even bother pretending at manners.
"When you get really angry, or really skittish, you sort of shift your bottom half invisible, but the top half of you stays normal. Not when you're scared, actually frightened. Then I can't see you at all unless you move. But when you're pissed, it's like your body can't decide whether it wants to fight or flight."
"That makes sense," he answered slowly. "That's pretty close to how I feel."
She nodded thoughtfully, and reached out her hand. "Come here."
He came, willingly despite the order, and situated himself on the bed next to her, head on her shoulder, as she petted his hair and his shoulders. "They aren't nice to you sometimes, my sisters."
It wasn't a question, but he answered anyway. "Only sometimes. They're pretty cool most of the time."
"I know," she answered quietly. "But when they're bad…"
"I can take it." He didn't like her being upset.
"But can I?" she sighed.
Early November, Year 5 of the Addergoole School
"Take your clothes off and lay down."
He wasn't going to ignore an order like that, even if he could. Finnegan stripped off his clothes and laid down on his back on Allyse's bed, looking over at his mistress. She still had her clothes on… this couldn't be good, could it? He hadn't, as far as he knew, done anything wrong, at least not recently. The kitchen was clean. The whole suite was clean, at least the parts he had access to. He was doing well in all his classes.
"She marked you again." Her fingers slipped over the bite marks on his shoulder, his neck, his hip, his stomach, sending little bursts of pain through him as she pressed the bruises. "She marked you a lot."
"She likes to," he answered carefully. Yesterday night had been another rough marathon session of… something that couldn't be called lovemaking and could barely be called sex… "use," maybe, by Allyse and her sisters. Massima had been rougher than normal, or, perhaps, she was escalating, seeing how far she could go. At this rate, he was going to have broken bones before she stopped - or before Allyse stopped her. He really didn't want to have to try to explain that one to Caitrin.
"She does," Allyse agreed grumpily. She pinned him with a look, the one that meant she was looking at him, really Looking at him. The one that really creeped him out. "Do you like it?"
"Allyse..!" he complained. It was easier than trying to answer that one honestly.
She stroked one of the marks. "You don't seem to mind when I do it," she murmured thoughtfully. "But, then again, you don't seem to mind much I do to you."
"I'm yours." That was safe enough. "I Belong to you. You can do whatever you want to me. Besides," he added, a little less fatalistically, "I trust you. You're not going to really hurt me. You never have."
She snuggled against him. "Not physically, at least," she answered cryptically, as her fingers continued to trace the marks her sister had left on him. "Do you like it when I bite you, Finnegan?"
Direct question, ack. "When it's during sex… yeah. When I'm studying or something… not really. Sorry," he added quickly.
"Why don't you say anything about it?" she frowned.
"Because you like it," he answered, wishing he could squirm away, hide, vanish.
"You're matching the bed again. I should really get a plaid blanket."
"I think it would just give me a headache," he answered, glad for the almost-change-in-subject. Why was she suddenly questioning all of this?
"You don't want to make me unhappy. You're a lot more direct about that than Aviv was."
"Thanks?" he asked, only growing more uncomfortable.
"I like knowing what's going on with you. Do you like it when Massima bites you?"
"It's complicated," he answered nervously. "Am I supposed to?"
"I don't think she cares. I think she's marking you to annoy me, or because she can't have anything without hurting it."
"Do you want me to like it?" he asked desperately.
"Oh, poor boy." She stroked his back. "Come back to me, Finnegan, come here, relax."
Come back to… oh. Slowly, he focused on his camouflage until he looked like himself again. "I don't like it when…" he squirmed. "I mean, the sex is nice, but the way she looks at me. Through me… I don't like that."
Allyse nodded softly. "Massima doesn't see many people as people. Doug. Maybe us, that is, her sisters. More Acacia than me, I think." She frowned. "I can't stop her from treating you like a thing without letting you go, and that might not work, either."
Letting you go… He gulped, trying to decide if that made him feel happy, terrified, or both. "Would you…"
"No, no," she squished him close to her. "I like you. I like having you be mine."
"Oh…" he relaxed a little, and tried not to think too much about that. "Okay. I think I like being yours."
She stroked the bite marks again, forcing a shiver out of him. "You think?"
Shit. "I mean…" Damnit, couldn't lie. "I mean…"
"It's okay, Finnegan." Her eyes had that freaky look to them again. "I know this isn't an easy position for you. And I know my sisters are hard on you." She pulled him close. "I don't like that part any more than you do."
Pressed against her chest, he closed his eyes and was silent. Then why don't you stop them?
Two days before Christmas, year 5 of the Addergoole School
He'd really, really wanted to go home for Christmas. He'd wanted to get out of here, to remember what it was like to be human (or something like it), to stretch his legs and not be jumping at every slammed door.
He hadn't been all that surprised when Allyse had said no. Not after Thanksgiving, at least, when she'd made it very clear that the Thornes did not leave the school, and neither did their Kept. He hadn't ever put up much of a fuss - all that would do would irritate her, and what good was that? He liked her. He liked spending time with her. He just wanted to breathe for a bit.
Today, as if in apology (or reward for not throwing a fit), Allyse had taken him out to the Village for lunch, just the two of them in the snow-bedecked, Christmas-glittering little town. They'd spent a strange half an hour with Allyse's daughter, the first time she'd introduced him to the pretty little solemn-eyed girl. And she'd confirmed what he'd already heard, that he, too, would end up fathering his own kids, if he wanted to leave here.
You are going to make me the prettiest, most wild baby girl. He could remember, now, that she'd told him that. It didn't seem as bad as it had, for that moment of panic: large parts of the school were already pregnant, and, looking at Lady Maureen's Orphanariaum, almost every upperclassman had already gotten a good dent in on their graduation requirements.
He also knew, now, how much more scary things could get than "oh, by the way, you're going to knock me up."
"Massima mentioned she might be feeling… playful tonight," Allyse warned him softly, as they neared the suite.
And that, yes, that was up there with the terrifying things he would be fine having never learned about. "Allyse…" he said, and fell quiet. "Complain when we're alone" was one of his orders. The halls never really felt alone.
She looked him over, anyway. "Blending into the carpet is a new one. You'd think the pattern would give you trouble."
"Oh!" He focused on being people-colored again. "I'm sorry!"
"You don't need to be sorry, you know, not for that." She took his face in her hands and kissed him, slowly and more gently than was her wont. "You're acting within your nature."
"I never used to go invisible when spooked."
"That was before your Change, though. Your nature changed when your skin did."
"My…" He blinked thoughtfully. "Really?"
"Really. I think it's kind of cute… and it's nice to have some idea what you're thinking."
"You could make me tell you." The suicidal words were out of his mouth before he could stop himself.
She shook her head. "I could. But you deserve that much privacy." She petted his arms for a moment, seeming like she was soothing herself as much as him. "You don't want to play with Sima, do you?"
He hesitated for a moment. That was a tricky question; he couldn't lie to her, and he was never sure, when it came to her sisters, what the answer was supposed to be.
She seemed to understand; maybe he was fading into the carpet again. "I suspend the order to be completely honest for the purposes of answering that question.
"Thanks..." he answered cautiously. "I, uh. I like playing with you. I don't mind your sisters.. but when they're feeling 'playful,' well, I'd rather not, if I had a choice." If. If was a key word there.
She nodded slowly. "I think today, you do," she answered carefully.
He looked at her uncertainly. "I do, what?" She couldn't mean he had a choice. That had never been part of this situation.
"You can choose. Do you want to play with 'Sima tonight?"
"I don't want 'Sima to play with me," he said, feeling cut loose from his moorings. "I really don't want broken bones for Christmas."
"You think she'd… Hrm." His Keeper nodded. "Come on, let's face the music."
He followed her in mutely, not surprised to see Sima lounging on the couch in her panties.
"Hey, Allyse," she smirked. "Bring enough to share?"
He could feel his Keeper tense beside him; could Massima feel it too? "No," Allyse answered slowly.
"No?" Massima looked as if she was waiting for the punchline. "Did he shrink since the last time I saw him?"
"Tonight," Allyse said, as if it was a major revelation, "I want him all to myself. Come on, Finnege. Let's go to bed."
"Yes, ma'am." He couldn't quite hide his smile, even as Sima's growl followed them into the bedroom.
Copyright © 2009-2012 Lyn Thorne-Alder. All rights reserved.
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