Stamps Bonus StoryDiscuss
Ambrus was terrified. It wasn't so much the being passed around like so much chattel – he had been being bought and sold and traded since he was fifteen – and even to women before – it was more the fact that she hadn't said a word since she slid her hand under his ponytail and grabbed the back of his collar.
In the club, he hadn't minded the silence, or the steering, or the staring – his new owner attracted attention, possibly for the delicately flowered skirt she was wearing but more likely for her rather stunning high-class beauty – but she had directed him into the passenger's seat of her small, sleek sports car, belted him, and herself, in, then began driving. She had driven for half an hour without a word.
He wouldn't, couldn't start the conversation. Some things had been very well trained into him by his first owner. But he had a few tricks of his own – “knacks,” he thought of them as – that he had abused to his benefit before.
His hands were still cuffed behind his back, but he cracked a couple knuckles surreptitiously, and, looking shyly at his new owner out of the corner of his eye, began sending feelings of lust and affection towards her.
Nothing in her demeanor changed. She kept her hands on the wheel at ten and two, and kept her attention on the road, the car sliding along at what had to be considerably over the speed limit. He pushed the effect a little harder. Nothing happened.
Feeling daring – and more than a little desperate – he ramped the feelings up to the point where, the few times he'd tried this before, his target had been writhing in need and want.
Finally, a reaction. Without looking at him, his owner slowed the car down and pulled over to the side of the unlit road. She shifted the car into park, turned off the lights and the engine, and turned to look at him her hands folded very primly in her lap.
“I understand,” she said, in a voice that was as cool as a desert at midnight and as devoid of life and emotion, “for what purposes you have been used for up until now. And I understand that your 'tricks' have likely served you well with a… clientele… that consisted mainly of humans and Faded.”
She caught his eye while he was still trying to pick his stomach off the floor. For what purposes you have been used for up until now. He was screwed. Beyond screwed. There was only one thing you bought a sex slave for if you didn't want to fuck them – but that thought died as he looked into her ice-blue eyes.
“Understand that I will attempt to treat you within the rules that you have been trained under, for your comfort. But I must insist that you do not attempt to use your 'tricks' on me. Do you understand?” She took his chin in her hand, her grip cool and firm. “You belong to me now.”
He gulped, even as he hastily demolished his attempts at emotional control. “Yes, Mistress,” he said softly. “I understand.” Then, because it seemed appropriate, her murmured back at her, “I belong to you now.”
She nodded, pleased. “Don't worry,” she said, her voice oddly crisp for words he thought she might intend as reassuring, “you will have plenty of opportunity to ply your trade, and plenty of targets for your tricks.”
Oh, good. He'd just managed to find his stomach again, and there she went kicking him. He gulped softly, and tried to sound grateful. “Thank you, Mistress.”
“You're welcome.” The killer was, she sounded sincere – as if she really thought he ought to be grateful. Well, she had met Ian. Most people would consider twenty years of hard labor better than a weekend with Ian.
She'd started the car again, maneuvering it back onto the road as if she were one with the machine, and he tried to settle back into his seat and be patient and calm. Neither were coming easily. His stomach was twisting in knots, gurgling threateningly over the two screwdrivers that had served as dinner. More than that, though, he was chewing over something his new owner had said.
…mostly humans and Faded. Mostly human? He glanced surreptitiously over at her. She was beautiful, with the sort of cool perfection he'd expect of a marble statue; her intonations were foreign although her accent was New England, and he'd never met someone as entirely in control of their emotions as she was, but she was human. Her ears weren't even pointed, and she certainly didn't have horns, or…
…no. That had only been one time, and he'd been tripping so hard that he'd forgotten his own name. He'd just been seeing things, then. Humans didn't look like that.
“You have questions.” He twitched, startled, and then embarrassed that he'd been startled.
“Ye…” His voice squeaked; he swallowed and tried again. “Yes, Mistress.”
She didn't even look at him. He was sort of glad she didn't. The car was moving awfully fast, after all. “You may ask one now, and one at the hotel.”
Hotel. He hoped that was a good sign. He hoped it wasn't a euphemism. He hoped she would allow him more questions later. He hoped he'd be in a state to care about the answers.
He gulped. Best not to ask her if he was going to see tomorrow. For one, asking a yes or no question would be a waste of what little she'd given him.
“You said 'humans and Faded,' Mistress. What…” he hesitated, trying to phrase this right. What else is there? “What are Faded and who else is there, besides them and humans?”
She made a soft scolding noise. “That's two questions, Ambrus. Try again.”
He winced, waiting for a blow that never came. Of course, at the speeds she was driving, she needed both hands. Flustered, he tried again. “Who will I be encountering that's neither of those?”
He thought he saw the barest hint of a smile cross her lips, followed by the slightest suggestion of pleasure across her psyche. “Almost everyone you'll encounter in the process of my project will be either Faded or non-human, including myself.”
“Oh.” He swallowed hard. “Thank you, Mistress.” He didn't dare try for another question now, so he sat staring out the window. Non-human. Horns and spots and tails and… he shivered in the cool air and stared at passing cars, trying very hard not to think about tentacles.
The road buzzed by, his owner having fallen back into silence, and slowly Ambrus' panic dulled. Aliens, owners who didn't want him for sex and might want to whore him out, an owner who had told him she'd play by dungeon rules and had no discernable emotions he could manipulate to his advantage; his terror had begun to overload, and short of having a breakdown, there was nothing he could do. Having a breakdown increased his chances of being punished, so he embraced the numbness as it came, enfolded in his mistress' emotionless calm.
Hours went by in that silence before the lights of the highway gave way to the Christmas-tree lights of a small city and she pulled the car to a stop with mechanical precision in front of a bright, neon-lit Hilton. Ambrus studied the building as she opened the trunk, the panic beginning to come back, this time in a new flavor.
Oh, Christ, she was going to walk him through the front door of what had to be a five-star hotel, cuffed and collared and wearing leather and fishnet and gods he was still wearing make-up, wasn't he; Ian had done his face before they went out to club. But this wasn't an underground BDSM club in the middle of the city; this was a hotel out somewhere hours away in hick land where they probably still stoned people like him to death.
But she was opening his door, holding a duffel bag in one hand. She unbuckled him with her free hand, and he smelled her hair as it fell in his face – clean, nothing but crisp cleanness, no perfume, hardly any scent at all. “Come with me.”
His whole body was nearly asleep as he levered himself out of the car, but he forced it to move, kept his back straight and his eyes on the back of her ankles as she led him into the bright, shiny, marble-floored lobby of the hotel.
With his face down, he couldn't see the looks he was garnering but, late as it was, there were still a few people in the bar, and he heard a murmur or two as his owner spoke to the desk clerk.
“Dr. Regine Avonmorea and guest. I have a reservation.”
Well, he had a name to put to her now, or at least something she was willing to use checking into a hotel with him in tow. And “doctor?” Of what? She seemed too crisp for a doctorate in literature, too pretty for one in history, too well-spoken for a scientific pursuit.
“Yes, I see it here.” The clerk was brusque, but carefully polite; he clearly wanted the doctor and her tagalong out of his lobby but with minimum fuss. “The executive suite. Here's your key, Doctor Avonmorea. Enjoy your stay.”
“Thank you.” The hallway, the carpets rich and plush enough to lose the bottoms of his boots in, was blissfully empty, likewise the elevator. Standing in that wood-paneled ballroom as it took them up to the top floor, she says, her voice as empty as before, “You have no reason to be ashamed.”
He managed to strangle the bitter laugh before it was born. “Yes, ma'am.” He knew what he was, but he also knew better than to argue with his owner.
She nodded, accepting his agreement at face value. “You came very well recommended.” Recommended? By who? It wouldn't have been Ian… But he wasn't going to waste his second question on that. “Thank you, ma'am,” he said softly.
She patted his shoulder in what was probably supposed to be a reassuring manner as the elevator thumped to a halt, and left the hand there to steer him down the hallway, and into her suite. She shut the door, locked the chain lock, and turned to regard him with a thoughtful expression.
“You will not run away.” It sounded like it could be an order, or a question, or simply a statement of fact; in any case, it had a resounding echo of finality to it. He nodded, perhaps more enthusiastically than he needed to.
“Of course not, Mistress.” Where would he go? Everyone he knew was back in the city, not that they were any sort of refuge; he had no money, no ID, and no possessions.
“Of course,” she echoed, and he thought he heard the vaguest hint of amusement from her. “Turn around.”
He did so, presenting his bound wrists to her, and she unbuckled the restraints, dropping them into the garbage can like a used condom. “Go clean yourself up,” she ordered, pointing at the bathroom. “When you're done, you may ask your second question.”
He waited until he was in the bathroom to roll and pop his shoulders and rub his wrists, and took very little time at it before attacking his face with a washcloth and the tiny bar of hotel soap. Your second question. He had a thousand, some to absurd to even give words to, others too urgent, too terrifying, to really contemplate.
His face, when he was done, was red and a little raw-looking, but clean. He didn't dare risk a shower right now, as much as he might want it, so he ran his fingers through his hair and went back to her.
On the far bed, she had lain out a pair of black silk boxers; over the chair were draped what looked like black pants and a ruby-red shirt. She herself, sitting on the edge of the near bed brushing her hair, had wrapped herself in a flannel nightgown.
“You'll sleep in that bed,” she said, indicating the far bed. “But first, do you have a second question?”
“Regine,” she corrected gently. “You do not need to call me 'mistress.'”
“Yes, M-” he choked on the word, blushing hotly and hoping she hadn't noticed. “Regine. I do have a question.”
She nodded, and he hastily picked and discarded several questions. What are you going to use me for? What did you mean by Faded? “What are you?” The question came out without thought; he froze, mortified, waiting for the punishment he was sure would come for that rudeness.
She glanced up at him, actually smiling a little bit. “Are you sure that's the question you want to ask?”
Yes. “No, m- Regine.”
She nodded again, so he, gulping, tried again. “What…” He swallowed hard, her easy use of the words non-human still hanging in his mind. “I'm sorry, Regine. That really was my question.”
She nodded crisply, setting down her brush and turning to face him entirely. “It's not a bad question, although 'what am I' might have been, ultimately, more enlightening. I suppose you'll have time for more questions later.”
She took a breath, almost as if preparing herself for a recitation, while he tried to puzzle out her comments. What am I? What did she think he was? Dear god, was she insane?
“I am,” she declaimed, “a scientist, specializing in biology. But to properly answer your question, I am one of the Ellehemaei, a Grigori, one of 'those who guide,' in the vernacular, a Tesshebaei in the old tongue, one of the Shenera Endraei.”
He stared at her as she strung together the series of gibberish words. She might has well have said she was Moo Goo Gai Pan, and he didn't know whether to blame his own ignorance or just assume she was crazy. Since she owned him, he'd better hope it was ignorance, or, if she was crazy, that it was in one of the more harmless styles of insane.
“A faery,” she clarified, smirking slightly, “although the term is incorrect, inconsistent, and misleading. 'Mutant,' 'alien,' and 'elf' likewise don't properly serve to describe, but work as place-holders.” She looked at him oddly. “Surely, having been trained by Lee, you're not a complete stranger to such concepts?”
Lee. He struggled for a polite answer, trying very hard to not think about some of the things Lee had said. He'd been so high at the time, but the nightmares still seemed sharp and real. “I had kind of hoped that it wasn't real, you know?”
“Ah,” she nodded, looking as if she understood. “Many people live their whole lives that way. All things considered, I think it will be best for you in the long run that you don't.”
In the long run. Well, at least she thought there would be a long run for him. That was the most promising thing he'd heard all night; even if his new owner did think she was a faery alien doctor, he might survive this.
The relief, the release of hours and hours of tension, exhausted him, and the bed behind him looked softer, more comfortable, and bigger than anything he'd slept in for years, certainly bigger than anything he'd ever had to himself.
“Feel free,” Regine said crisply, “to change and get some sleep. We have a long way to go in the morning.”
He peeled out of the sticky leather and the fishnet hastily, folding them neatly on the table even though he wanted to toss them in the garbage with the cuffs, and slipped on the boxers. He noticed as he did so that she was watching him, so he made sure to show off his skinny body as best he could, though he still got nothing from her in response, not even a chuckle. What did she want from him?
The bed was softer than it looked, beautifully comfortable, warm, and big enough to stretch out, but he lay there, staring at the ceiling, long after Regine had shut the light off and slid into her own bed, long after her breath had evened into sleep.
Aliens. Faeries. Tentacles. As quietly as he could, he brought his knees up to his chest and cried.
“Ambrus.” Regine's soft voice froze him in place. He managed a soft, choked noise in response. “I am not…” he thought he heard a note of rue in her voice, echoed softly in her mind, “not by far, skilled at comforting. But if you wished to, you could come and sleep here next to me.”
If you wished to. He dipped as deep as he dared into her emotions, such as they were, and found no command implied, nothing but a dull, old regret and a genuine, albeit clumsy, offer of comfort.
He wanted her to want to hold him. He wanted her to want him at all. But, he found, staring into the darkness, he needed human contact, even if it was inhuman or insane, more than either of those.
“Thank you, mi- Regine.” He scrambled as gracefully as he could from his bed into hers, and lay awkwardly on his back, not touching her, until her hands found him.
Gently, she rolled him onto his side, moving him as if he were a doll, bending his knees. Her hands were cool and dry, her touch firm and steady, and when she spooned her body against his, her arm on his shoulders, he felt as securely held as if he were bound. She settled her arm a little more comfortably, and he found he could relax, warm and safe, in her hold. Tentacles. Aliens. Faeries. It might be all right.
Copyright © 2009-2010 Lyn Thorne-Alder & Elasmo. All rights reserved.
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