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[personal profile] maculategiraffe
So, having just posted a story in which Holden is a 20-year-old basket case (Alix is 18 in that story-- I KNOW RIGHT), now I've got this, which is just kind of a classic slaveficcish one-shot, with no real purpose beyond the fact that it's the sort of thing I enjoy writing.

(I think my favorite thing about writing Holden's character is the way in which each person he falls for [romantically or otherwise] turns him into less of an asshole. It's like "Beauty and the Beast," except instead of just one beautiful maiden to break the curse, there are like eleven beautiful people tag-teaming this guy. Fun game: spot the influence of, respectively, Jer, Alix, Yves, Valor, and Bran on the Holden of this story. Jesse and Lee haven't even gotten started yet.)










Lord Tarasov's guest bedroom was beautifully furnished in rich colors and soft fabrics, the bed huge and opulent, a thick-piled oriental rug covering part of the floor, the one discordant note the naked boy who lay in a heap on the bare part of the floor as if someone had dropped him there. His hands were cuffed behind his back, his eyes closed, his face pale and drawn.

"Are you sure you don't mind having him here?" Tarasov asked Holden, as they stood in the doorway. "He can easily sleep elsewhere, if you'd prefer some leisure tonight, and I could have him brought to you in the morning, before you leave. I have other slaves you'd be welcome to use, if you like."

"That's all right," said Holden. "I might as well get started."

"Very well," said Tarasov, looking a little uncomfortable. "It should be perfectly safe to free his hands, by the way-- he's never been at all violent. Personally, I've always found him entirely obedient and respectful. But of course you'll use your own discretion. Here's the key to his manacles."

"Thank you," said Holden, accepting the key on its short chain.

"Certainly," said Tarasov. "Is there anything else I can get you?"

"If it's not too much trouble," said Holden, "I wouldn't mind a bite to eat. Whatever you've got lying around."

Tarasov inclined his head. "I'll send up a tray. Anything else?"

"I don't believe so," said Holden. "Thank you very much for your hospitality, my lord."

"It's the least we could do, when you came all this way," said Tarasov, bowing again. "I hope you rest well, Mr. Larssen."

When he was gone, Holden looked at the crumpled body on the floor for a moment, then glanced around, assessing the room and its furnishings, before he went to the bed and pulled back the bedclothes-- a silk spread, blanket, and luxurious cotton sheets. He took a pillow from the plethora piled at the head and set it down on the floor before a chair that adjoined a low table; then he rummaged in his own bag and pulled out a green tunic and a red dressing gown he never wore at home. When he turned back to the naked boy on the floor, the boy's eyes were open, watching him; he could see the trembling in the naked limbs increase when he knelt down next to him and put down the bundle of clothing.

He unlocked the handcuffs and took them off, checking the boy's wrists for abrasions, but there weren't any; he clearly hadn't been struggling. He lay there, staring up at Holden with wide, hopeless blue eyes: blue like Yves', hopeless like Bran's.

"Hello, Gayle," said Holden. "Do you know who I am?"

Gayle nodded.

"Answer me in words when I ask you a question," said Holden. "Who am I?"

"My master," whispered Gayle, shaking.

"That's right," said Holden. "Sit up."

Slowly and stiffly, Gayle obeyed. Holden held up the green tunic.

"Put this on," he said. "It's my household color."

Gayle did, clumsily; Holden helped him tug it down and smooth it, and then wrapped the dressing gown around him, too.

"You look cold," he explained, as he stood up and went to sit down in the chair with the pillow before it. "Come here. Kneel down here, on the pillow."

Gayle crawled, wobbling and awkward, kneeling on bits of fabric and unsteadying himself, till he reached the pillow and knelt, his hands clasped tightly together in what looked like supplication, his head hanging down.

"Do you know why you've been sold to me?" Holden asked.

"Yes, master," said Gayle, in a low, rasping voice.

"Good," said Holden, "because I couldn't get a straight story out of Tarasov or his daughter. All he'd say was that you belonged to her and it was her decision, and all she'd say was that you were a liar. Liar about what? Something more important than the beauty of her eyes, I take it."

Gayle's teeth were chattering with the force of his trembling when he answered, "I-- m-made-- a f-false-- accusation, m-master."

"A false accusation? About whom?"

"Lord B-bokov."

"Bokov," said Holden. "Your mistress' fiance?"

"Yes, m-master."

"And of what did you accuse him?"

"I-- I said--" Gayle took a breath. "I said he-- forced himself-- on me."

Holden regarded him thoughtfully. "And that was a lie?"

"Y-yes, master."

"Was it really, though?"

After a moment, Gayle lifted his head and looked up at Holden, his eyes enormous in a milk-white face.

"It's not a trap," said Holden. "Remember, I own you now, not Tarasova. I don't want her story. I want the truth. Did he really rape you?"

"Yes," Gayle whispered.

Then, when Holden leaned toward him, he cried out in wordless terror and dropped all the way down, pressing his forehead against the floor between Holden's boots.

"Gayle," said Holden softly. "I believe you."

There was a long pause, during which Gayle neither moved nor spoke. Finally Holden reached out and took Gayle by the upper arms, feeling the boy's body trembling under his hands, and gently pulled him back up to his knees, his head still hanging low. Then he picked up one of Gayle's hands, holding it between both of his, stroking the cold fingers with his warmer ones.

"I believe you," he repeated. "Don't be afraid. I wanted to know why you were sold to me-- and you're telling me. Your mistress' fiance raped you-- yesterday? Or is that just when you told her about it?"

Gayle's eyes were on Holden's hands, on either side of his own.

"I told her-- right away, master," he said, his voice still low and shaky.

"Good boy," said Holden. "You were right to tell her. No one had any right to touch you without her permission, and she had the right to know about it if they did. Though I wouldn't have blamed you for not telling her, if you were afraid of him, or didn't think you could trust her to believe you-- as, it turns out, you couldn't. She didn't believe you-- she said you were making it up? To cause trouble?"

"Yes, master," Gayle whispered, his eyes still on Holden's caressing hands. "She said-- she said-- she called me a-- v-viper-- and she said, to get out of her sight-- and then, my, my master, I mean-- L-lord Tarasov-- he came and told me-- you were coming."

"Oh, Gayle," said Holden, and pressed Gayle's hand gently between his. "Listen, sweetheart-- you don't need to be afraid of me. I don't punish the innocent. And you're innocent."

Gayle's chin quivered as he looked up at Holden's face.

"How do you know, master?" he asked in a small voice.

"Because," said Holden, still stroking Gayle's hand, "it doesn't make any sense. If you were the type to spin creative stories to manipulate your owner, you'd be doing it right now with me, not falling down on the floor when you manage to get out a single syllable that you think I might think is a lie. You were too intimidated to contradict your mistress' version of the story just now, even when I told you I didn't know her version-- and I'm supposed to think you deliberately decided to make up an outrageous lie about your mistress' lover and gamble that she'd believe you instead of him? Doesn't add up, kiddo."

Gayle blinked up at him.

"Plus," Holden added, squeezing Gayle's hand again, "I can read your mind. For example, right now you're thinking, if this complete stranger could figure all that out ninety seconds in, how come my mistress who's known me for three years couldn't figure out that a lie like that wasn't in character for me, or at least give me the benefit of the doubt before she cast me off?"

"Master," Gayle whispered, "will you-- tell her? That I'm not lying?"

"If you want me to," said Holden, rather sadly. "Sure. But it's not going to make any difference. She's got no more reason to listen to me than to you. Less, really. I'm nothing to her-- just a professional thug she called in to do her dirty work. And anything I could tell her about you, she ought to know already. If she chose not to believe you, I'm not going to change her mind. But yes, if it will make you feel better, I'll tell her that I believe you're telling the truth."

"Why-- why didn't she believe me, master?" Gayle pleaded, and Holden sighed.

"I can't really read minds," he said. "But if I had to guess-- Well. It's just a lot easier for her, isn't it? Easier to believe you're lying, than to deal with the fact that her fiance did what he did. I mean, she can't exactly sell Bokov. She could break it off with him, but that would mean canceling the wedding, and explaining that to her friends, and some people would side against her, and want to know why she believed you over him, and she'd have to start looking for a new boyfriend-- there'd be consequences, for her. But you're a slave, so if she can believe that you're the one who's lying and troublemaking, she can just fling you to hell and-- move on with her life. With her slaveboy-raping fiance. There's a happily-ever-after waiting to happen, huh?"

Gayle bowed his head again. After a while, he said softly, "What will you do with me, master?"

"Well, for one thing, I thought I'd feed you," said Holden. "When's the last time you ate?"

"This m-morning, master."

"Okay," said Holden. "If you can hang in there a little longer, I asked Tarasov to send up some food to the room. I don't know what it will be-- I said it was for me, so it ought to be decent. It's for you."

Gayle swallowed. "You did that-- already, master?"

"You mean, before my expert observation and analysis of the completely fucking obvious?" Holden asked. "Well, yes. Even liars need to eat. Though it's nice that you're not one. After you eat, I want you to get some sleep, since I'm guessing you didn't sleep much last night. And then, tomorrow morning, I'll take you home, and you'll stay with me-- me and my family-- and we'll look after you, for awhile, until I can find you a new owner. Someone who'll take good care of you. I've got a list, at home, of people I trust, who don't do this shit."

Gayle's fingers tightened abruptly on Holden's hand, and he leaned forward and pressed his lips repeatedly to Holden's fingers and the back of his hand. Holden lifted the other hand and ran it caressingly over Gayle's hair.

"You don't have to be all that grateful," he said. "This is my job. And this is about as easy as it gets. Most of the slaves I work with actually have some kind of behavior problem I need to fix. This is practically a vacation for me."

Gayle drew in a deep breath, and let it out slowly, resting his cheek against the back of Holden's hand, and then jumped nearly out of his skin at a knock on the door.

"That's probably the food," said Holden. "Don't worry, kid. I'm not going to let anyone hurt you."

Gayle knelt motionless on his pillow as Holden got up and opened the door to a sallow-faced, ginger-haired girl in a black uniform-- a servant, not a slave-- who offered him a tray while trying to be discreet about craning her neck to see Gayle. Holden had been about to take the tray from her, but instead he said, "Come in. Just put it down on the table, here."

The girl did, watching Gayle out of the corner of her eye. Gayle kept his eyes down while she set down a tray holding a plate with bits of fancy-looking cheese and crackers, a little cut-glass bowl of cut-up fruit, a cup of water, and a glass of chilled white wine.

"What's your name?" Holden asked the girl as she straightened up.

She looked at him levelly. "Amanda, sir."

"Gayle, do you know somebody named Amanda?"

Gayle looked up, startled. So did Amanda, who peered suspiciously at Holden.

"Do you know this person?" Holden asked Gayle, pointing at Amanda.

"Yes, master," said Gayle, bewildered.

"Is she your friend?"

Gayle hesitated, then said, "Yes, master."

"Well, wave hello, then, to be friendly," said Holden, and the ghost of a smile appeared on Gayle's face as he lifted his hand and gave Amanda a tiny wave. Amanda looked as if she didn't know whether to smile or not.

Holden took the plate, the bowl, and the cup off the tray and put them on the floor.

"Eat, Gayle," he said.

Gayle, after a quick glance at Holden, began eating with the alacrity and single-minded focus of the very hungry. Amanda looked at Gayle, and then at Holden.

"Do you want to sit down?" Holden asked her, gesturing towards the chair where he'd been sitting. "You can drink the wine, if you want it. I'm on the job."

"So am I," said Amanda, narrowing her eyes again. "Thanks anyway."

"You could always claim I detained you by force for unspeakable purposes," said Holden. "But then again, that would probably get you fired, since your employer thinks getting raped is grounds for being sold to the bogeyman."

Amanda regarded him neutrally for a few moments before she said, "Are you the bogeyman?"

"Right," said Holden. "But I'm a fairly reasonable one. I don't punish people for telling the truth about being coerced into sex. And even if they try to kill me-- which a couple have-- I still feed them."

Amanda nodded shortly, and then went and knelt down next to Gayle. Gayle looked up at her, and she reached to touch his cheek.

"He seems okay," she said, as if Holden weren't standing there. "Goodbye, honey. Good luck."

Gayle looked at Holden. When Holden nodded, Gayle said softly, "Bye, Amanda."

Amanda tucked a strand of his hair back from his face, then got up and left without a backward glance at either Gayle or Holden.

"She was nice," said Holden, after the door closed. "I like women who squint appraisingly at me."

Gayle smiled faintly, then went back to eating. Holden sat down in the chair to watch him.

When Gayle had, slowly and carefully, devoured everything in front of him, Holden piled the emptied dishes back on the tray along with the untouched glass of wine, and then sat down again, this time on the floor next to Gayle, with his back against one of the chair legs.

"Feeling any better?" he asked Gayle.

"Yes, master," said Gayle dutifully. "Thank you, master."

Then, abruptly, his eyes brimmed with tears. He lowered his head quickly, and they fell from his eyes to the floor with a soft pattering sound.

"Gayle," said Holden, and reached out for him. "Come here."

Gayle lurched uncertainly towards him, and Holden pulled him in the rest of the way, wrapping arms around him and drawing the boy's head down onto his shoulder.

"It's okay to be upset," he said quietly, his hand caressing Gayle's shuddering back. "Of course you're upset. You're losing your home, your friends, everything you know. It's horrible. The best I can do for you isn't going to fix that. But I am going to do my best for you, Gayle. I promise."

Gayle didn't answer; he shook silently against Holden for awhile, as Holden held him and stroked him. Eventually the shaking subsided, and he sat quiet and limp, for so long Holden thought he might have fallen asleep, and let his hand go still. Just when he was considering carrying the boy to bed, though, Gayle shifted, sliding his own arms around Holden's body. He moved his head to kiss Holden's neck, slowly and thoroughly, and rubbed a caressing hand first across his stomach, through the cloth of his tunic, and then his chest; when his hand hit Holden's belt buckle, he paused for a moment, and then bypassed it, still lapping at Holden's neck and collarbone. When his hand brushed against Holden's growing erection, his body began to tremble again against Holden's, even as he took Holden's earlobe in his mouth and suckled it sensually.

"How may I serve you, m-master?" he whispered, a little unsteadily, in Holden's ear, stroking his thigh. "Will it please you to--" He tried, briefly, to stroke Holden's erect cock through his clothes, but his hand stalled and lay there motionless as he pursued, "Will you honor me by-- by-- letting me-- I could put my mouth on your, your thing--"

"Okay, stop right there," said Holden, and Gayle froze, his hand still on Holden's erection. Holden picked the hand up and lifted it briefly to his lips.

"Nice moves, kiddo," he said. "Though we'll need to work on your terminology. Are you trying to convince me to talk to Tarasova? Because I already said I'd do that."

"No, master," said Gayle, sitting very still again, without trying to pull his hand away. "I-- I'm yours, master-- I beg you'll forgive me for-- resisting-- your ownership."

"Ah," said Holden, and kissed Gayle's hand again. "I see. You're ready to offer yourself to me."

"Yes, master," said Gayle resolutely.

Holden nodded. "Have you ever been with a man before? Not counting Lord Bokov."

Gayle flushed and looked down. "No, master."

"I sort of thought not," said Holden. "Aside from the missing vocabulary, I notice you're a bit nervous about my, um, thing."

"I'm sorry, master," said Gayle humbly. "I'll try-- very hard-- to be pleasing to you."

"I'm sure you would," said Holden. "But you've had a rough couple of days, including your first joyful experience with another man-- was he rough with you? Did he hurt you?"

Gayle, his eyes still down, said, "A-- a little, master."

"Yeah," said Holden, "we're not having sex tonight. Of any kind. You need some rest."

"But-- master--" Gayle protested, looking at the outline of Holden's cock against the cloth of his tunic. "I'm-- I'm here-- for your pleasure."

"Is that why you're here?" said Holden. "I thought it was because Tarasova is kind of a bitch."

Gayle was startled into a small smile, as Holden added, "Don't you worry about me, sweetheart. You're very attractive, and like I said, you've got some nice moves. But I'll live. If you lie down now, do you think you can sleep?"

"Yes, master," said Gayle obediently, though he still looked confused. "Where will it please you to have me sleep?"

"I thought the bed might manage to hold both of us," said Holden, rising to his feet and holding out his hands to help Gayle do the same. "Are you used to sleeping in the same bed as your owner?"

Gayle, now on his feet, hesitated, with another surreptitious glance below Holden's belt. "Not without having-- satisfied her, master."

"I am entirely satisfied with you," said Holden. "But if having a strange man in bed with you is going to make it harder to get some sleep, I'm sure there are extra blankets in that chest, and I can probably fit on that little whatchamacallit over there. Divan. Is that what you'd call it?"

Gayle stared. "Of course not, master!"

Holden squinted. "Chaise longue?"

"I mean, of course--" Gayle shook his head. "I-- it would be my privilege to share your bed, master."

"All right, then," said Holden, and took the robe carefully from Gayle's shoulders, tossing it onto the chair. "You can leave the tunic on or take it off, I don't care. I sleep naked, so if you want some kind of barrier, that's fine."

Gayle examined Holden uncertainly. "It wouldn't-- if my master chose-- to take me--"

"Wouldn't do you a damn bit of good," Holden agreed, "so it's just a matter of whether it makes you feel more comfortable. I'm not going to do anything to you, either way."

Gayle pulled the tunic over his head and offered it to Holden, who laid it atop the gown, then toed off his own boots and undressed himself quickly, piling his clothes on top of Gayle's before he took Gayle's hand and led him towards the bed.

"Lie down," he said.

Gayle hesitated. "In-- in what position, master?"

"It doesn't matter," said Holden. "Just make yourself comfortable."

Gayle climbed into the bed and lay down on his side, drawing his hands up in front of him, and nestling his head into one of the pillows. Holden pulled up the covers over him, then slid into the bed himself, not touching Gayle, and switched off the light.

"If you need to cry some more tonight," he said in the sudden darkness, "it won't hurt my feelings. And I'll still talk to Tarasova in the morning, if you want."

"No," said Gayle, after a pause. "No thank you. Master."

"Okay," said Holden. "Then would you rather not see her in the morning? Before we leave?"

Gayle said softly, "Yes, master-- I mean-- I'd rather-- not."

"All right," said Holden. "You don't have to."

There was another pause, and then Gayle moved, sliding himself closer and nestling up against Holden. Readily, Holden wrapped his arms around him again, feeling the supple warmth of naked skin on naked skin, the soft wiry fur of the boy's legs and the heat of his slightly unsteady breath.

"Oh, that's nice," he murmured. "I like that. Ignore my cock, please, it gets overexcited about this sort of thing. You want me to hold you awhile?"

Gayle nodded against him. "If it please you, master."

"It pleases me." Holden squeezed Gayle briefly, affectionately. "Feels like... home."

"You have-- other boys-- at home, master?" Gayle asked shyly, and Holden smiled in the dark.

"I do," he said. "One not much older than you. Great kid. Loves to lie close at night. Like this."

"But-- do you-- does he--" Gayle hesitated. "Do you-- take him?"

"Well, yes, I've been known to," said Holden. "He seems to like it. Sometimes he even puts his mouth on my thing."

Gayle laughed, so quietly that at first Holden thought it was a shudder, before he took in the puff of breath against his neck and the tiny accompanying sound; he still wasn't completely sure until Gayle whispered, "You're teasing me, master."

Holden smiled again. "A little. Do you mind?"

"No, master," said Gayle, and yawned. "But you-- your boy-- when you take him to bed--"

"We usually have sex, yes," said Holden. "And if I'm not in bed with him, then I'm probably in bed with one of my other slaves, or my wife, with whom I also have sex, which means it won't kill me to go one night without sticking my cock in someone, so please stop fretting and just let me cuddle you."

"Yes, master," said Gayle meekly.

Holden patted his back. "So. Did tonight go better than you expected?"

The little shuddering exhale came again. "Yes-- yes, master, it did."

"Good," said Holden. "Sleep well, Gayle. I'll try to make tomorrow better than today."

Date: 2010-02-06 05:55 am (UTC)
theodosia21: sunflower against a blue sky (Default)
From: [personal profile] theodosia21
Awww. This is so cute!

"Sleep well, Gayle. I'll try to make tomorrow better than today."

*hearts*

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