Year Five of the Addergoole School, at the time of Book Eight and Nine
After Loose Ends
It was worse than they’d feared.
Considering the state of the boys’ former Kept, perhaps it had been naïve to expect better. Perhaps it was good they hadn’t show up to find them turned into serial killers.
Agmund’s assessment of the girl had been grim; she would need professional mending. Mike’s assessment of the boys had been similarly grim; they were going to need to be spanked. And spanked pretty hard, enough to get the message through.
(In the back of its head, Mike could hear Luke, angry enough to be sputtering, wings flared wide. “Fuck it, Mike, if you don’t rein your kids in before they rape someone else, I will. And you won’t like my methods.”)
Tempting, to call Luke in. Instead, they’d called Reid, and, while they waited, taken turns sitting with the three children.
"Taking his sweet time, da?" Agmund grunted irritably. His mood hadn't been improved by the girl's tentative offer to give them something to do.
“You know, there’s plenty of tourist attractions around,” Shadrach offered lazily. "Get out, take a look around..."
"You'd like that, da? Distract us, let you run away? Maybe take girl; or not. Would you care?"
“Well yeah,” Shadrach said, sounding startled. “She’s ours.”
"And that is only reason you care. As property." He shook his head.
“Like he said,” Meshach answered lazily, “she’s ours.”
Mike sensed Reid’s arrival before the knock on the door and stood to answer it. Maybe now they could get something done.
"So explain this to me again?" the bespectacled professor said, without preamble, without so much as greeting.
“Fuck,” Meshach muttered. “We don’t want him in here.”
"Sure you don't," Agmund rumbled. "That's why he's here."
Mike looked pointedly at Ashley. “Invite him in, please.”
“Oh!” She’d done this enough times in the last two days. “Come in, please, sir.” She glanced uncomfortably at Meshach, but Agmund was keeping them apart.
Reid stepped in and closed the door behind him. “This looks unpleasant.”
“It is,” Mike agreed. “Seems we failed to instill some lessons well enough, if at all.”
“Somehow, I’m not surprised,” Reid answered dryly. “What do you want me to do?”
“Well, firstly, Ashley here is going to need some major repair. It might take Maria’s tender skills as well, but if you can get her to rights, it would be wonderful.” "Repair?" the girl squeaked. Agmund patted her hand - the giant bear probably thought it was reassuring.
"That can be arranged," Reid nodded. "And secondly?"
“Secondly, we’re going to need to lay some commands on these boys here.” Mike braced for impact.
"Commands?" Shadrach asked, his tone low and - were Mike mortal, or in a position to be threatened by such a pup - dangerous.
“Commands,” Mike agreed, matching the boy’s tone.
"What kind of commands?" he asked more cautiously.
Mike directed his answer to Reid. “They need to get a taste of what they’re doing to others.” He let Reid pick the rest from his surface thoughts, and saw when the younger man understood his gist. He nodded, slowly.
“You’ll need someone to keep an eye on them.”
"We dole it out," Agmund said, his bristly beard flying as he nodded. "You can do, though?"
“Of course I can.” Reid pushed his glasses back up his nose. “Now, boys, this might sting a bit…”
"I take girl away first, da? Da," Agmund said, not allowing anyone time to disagree. Meshach looked like he wanted to protest, but possessed at least the modicum of wisdom needed to keep his mouth shut. Mike had always credited the boy with being the smarter of the two.
“Which one first?” Reid asked.
"Shadrach on the bottom, I think," Mike replied. "It's something he needs more of."
"You'd know," Shad snarked, but he was beginning to panic. “Look, if you just want a little sex, all you had to do was ask.”
"Oh no, not me, my boy," Mike laughed.
“You took Ashley away,” he pointed out. Reid had already begun chanting his Workings, though.
"Just wait." Mike looked at the two boys, struggling between vindictive pride and embarrassed sadness. They’d been learning what had happened to Joff, to Eris, under these boys’ tender care. They’d seen first-hand they way they treated their human girlfriend. They deserved to be punished.
But Shad had been his student, and, for a while, one of his favorites. That it had come to this – this was his failure. And Reid would never stop rubbing it in. And he had heard him think that, the bastard. And that. Agh, stop it!
“Busy, Mike,” Reid answered placidly. “There. Feel that, boys?”
Meshach squirmed uncomfortably. "What'd you do?"
"I set up a tiered compulsion that should be kicking in right about... now. Shadrach?"
"I Belong to Meshach," he said incredulously, almost a question - but not quite.
"Yes," Meshach replied, equally surprised.
"You do now," Linden nodded. "And you will, for a month, at which point Meshach will release you and submit to being Owned by you, if you choose to accept."
One week later
The boys had sworn and whined and complained, but Reid wove really, really good work, and they couldn’t get out of it – at this point, only Reid could let them out, or their own understanding. The professors had gone back to Addergoole, with the warning-slash-promise that someone would be out to visit each week.
Mike took the first shift, his stomach twisting with worry he struggled not to show as he knocked on their door. There was, he knew, a chance that one of the boys had killed the other. They had never been the most stable of families.
Shad answered the door, naked except for a collar and boxers, which probably meant they were both still alive. “Mike.” He didn’t even seem to have the energy to be relieved.
“Shad.” Linden stepped in, using his presence to push the boy into the apartment. He closed the door behind himself and looked over his former student.
The boy was skinnier than Mike had seen him since his first year at Addergoole, with bruises, scrapes, and lacerations tracing across his naked flesh. His eyes were sunken, his face unshaven, and he smelled faintly of terror. “Go shower.” He looked around; signs suggested he’d been cleaning up after a late-night party. “I’ll finish cleaning up. Is Meshach home?”
“He’s out,” Shad answered dully. He peeled his boxers off, heading for the bathroom – the damage, Mike was sickened to find, travelled down there, as well. For one brief moment, he made eye contact with his former Mentor. “You could have just killed me.”
“I could have,” Mike agreed. He brought to mind images of Eris, that day in the infirmary, and steeled himself. “Go shower.”
One month in
Shira Pelletier had heard the reports from the other Professors, but this was her first time visiting their wayward children. Mike had posited, privately, that he wasn’t sure that Shadrach would take the opportunity to Own his brother. Shira, who had dealt with the aftermath of the boys’ sadistic rampages, had less faith in Mike and Agmund’s clever plan.
She knocked on the door, murmuring a few workings while she waited. She could sense the tension rising in the room from two people – it should be just about time for Reid’s nested commands to take over again, and she was sure both boys knew it.
She knocked again and, when no one answered, let herself in. The two boys were staring each other down, Shad dressed in nothing but a collar, Meshach in pants and no shirt. Neither looked her way.
“You can’t hack it, you know you can’t,” the older boy was hissing. “Give up now. We’ll go back to the way things were, and it’ll be fine. You know you’ve never been able to hack Keeping, Shad. You know…”
The clock ticked over to the next hour. Meshach finished his sentence, his face twisting. “…I release you, Shadrach. Shadrach, I Belong to you.”
Shad stared at his brother for a moment, clearly reeling. To Shira’s sight, four different boys stood there, four different paths. Two ended in brutal death. Only one ended with a clean, redeemed person she wouldn’t mind having over for tea.
Bracing for the worst, she waited. She was here to witness, not to interfere.
“I Belong to you,” Meshach repeated. “You don’t have to accept, Shad, but you have to say it. You have to say no.”
Shad smiled slowly, and Shira’s vision settled down to two futures. “You Belong to me, Meshach.”
Pull the wrapper off:
B-Sides are here!
Copyright © 2009-2012 Lyn Thorne-Alder with Elasmo. All rights reserved.
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