Title: A Lost Boy
Pairing: Liam Neeson/Orlando Bloom, minor Liam/Johnny Depp, plus a few other pair-ups among the supporting characters
Rating: NC-17 overall
Summary: Slave Orlando's been taken and the kidnappers aren't interested in ransom. And of course Master Liam's thundering rage is only at the personal insult, that someone would disrespect him by daring to touch his property.
Disclaimer: I don't own anyone you recognize. I know nothing about their social lives or sexual activities, more's the pity. This is fiction, period. It is done as a labor of love and I make no money from it.
Notes: 1) Set in poisontaster's Kept Boy universe. See Chapter 1 for more notes.
Previous Chapters: One, Two
[Seventeen Years Ago]
Orlando leaned up against the arena fence, his chin resting on his folded arms, and watched his master working Sassy Lady, one of the new horses Johnny had brought back from auction the week before. They all four had potential -- good points and decent movement -- but they all needed schooling, and two of them were going to need some rehabilitation before they were really useful. That was why Johnny'd been able to come back with four instead of the two and maybe three he and Master had discussed. The behavior problems were enough to slash the prices on Majorette and Palisade.
Palisade had been turned out into the small yard next to the arena. Master Liam had already worked her some that morning, but the idea was to let her get used to her new home, the other horses, and having people around who weren't going to crop her raw. Master Liam was awesome with horses, like he was with everything else, and he'd gentled her down a lot already.
She was a gorgeous bay, with a springy trot and a natural flexibility to her spine. She was also the spookiest of the four horses. She liked Orlando, though; he'd groomed her a few times, and had brought her apples and carrots from the kitchen.
Master Liam had paused and was leaning over to talk to Mr. Irons, the stable master, over the fence a good fifty feet away from where Orlando was loitering. The few others, both slave and free, who'd been watching wandered away, to either delayed tasks or other amusements. Orlando wandered away too, but only so far as the small yard.
He clicked softly to Palisade and dug in his pocket for a hunk of stale gingerbread. Climbing up on the fence and perching with both legs on the inside let him get up to the right height.
When the mare came sidling over, curious greed finally winning out over caution, he fed her the cake and glanced over his shoulder. No one was watching, but everyone who mattered -- meaning his master -- was well within sight.
Orlando grinned. He'd been riding since he was tiny, on a pony Master Liam had bought just for him and Samantha. He'd finally been allowed on full sized horses two years ago -- after waiting far too long if anyone had asked him, which they hadn't, and even Mr. Irons said he was a good rider, sensitive to the horses, and fearless, even if he was a scrawny little thing.
He would've snorted if he hadn't been afraid of spooking Palisade. He wasn't scrawny! He'd grown two inches in the last year; it wasn't his fault if his muscles hadn't caught up.
Everyone agreed he was an excellent rider. And he wasn't stupid -- he'd never have taken Palisade, or any of the new horses, out before they'd been gentled down by his master and Mr. Irons. He knew his limits, even if nobody else thought so. But he'd been making friends with Palisade and she was comfortable around him. He'd had years to watch how Master Liam did it and how it worked; you just had to know how to relate to the animals, and he and Palisade got along great.
Palisade finished her gingerbread and nuzzled Orlando's hand for more. He didn't have any more, but he gave her a scritch, then leaned over and ran his hand over her back, giving it a bit more weight as he went. She snorted, but didn't shy away.
Of course not. She liked him.
Supporting his weight on the fence, he swung a leg over her and then settled very slowly and carefully down onto her back. She was warm and solid, and her coat was slick from a recent grooming. He shifted his weight and clucked to her, then grasped her mane with one hand. She tossed her head and started forward at a walk through the long grass, calm as anything.
He wanted to whoop but knew better, so he settled for craning his head around toward his master, hoping he was watching.
Orlando's huge grin faded when he saw that his master was, indeed, watching, but wasn't smiling at all. He didn't look pleased, or proud. In fact, he looked angry. He'd come out the arena gate with Sassy and was cantering over toward the gate to the small yard.
All of Orlando's pride and happiness left him like air from a punctured balloon. He knew he was going to get one of Master Liam's whip-crack tongue lashings, and maybe a thrashing on top of it. He'd been so sure that if he could just prove he could do it, then everything would be fine, but it didn't look like it.
Not wanting to add anything to the coming scold, he kneed Palisade over and clucked to her, trying to encourage her to turn toward the gate so he could at least meet his master partway. Maybe if went straight up to meet his punishment, it wouldn't... well, something.
That was the idea at least, but Palisade wasn't trained to knee aids alone, or didn't feel like obeying just then, or something. Instead she stamped a couple of times and flushed a dirt-colored dove out of the grass. Orlando saw it fluttering up, practically under Palisade's fore hooves, just in time to tighten his thighs and grab her mane with his free hand.
She squealed out a whinny and reared up hard. Orlando's bareback experience was restricted to well-behaved horses and he slammed forward when she landed. His face cracked against her spine, or maybe it was the back of her skull -- something big and solid and covered with hair and that was as much as he knew because his head was spinning and blood was leaking into his eyes and all he could think about was hanging on as Palisade galloped off in a spooked panic.
They were airborn for one long breath, then landed and Orlando's face slammed into her again. He still couldn't see and his face was one big knot of pain and he hung on as tight as he could, just hoping he could stay on the mare's back until she ran down and stopped.
He heard another set of hooves come pounding up behind them, and his first thought was, No! Don't chase her, she'll just keep going!
Whoever it was kept coming despite Orlando's frantic thoughts, however, and he couldn't quite gather enough wits or breath to form words and shout. The hooves got closer and closer, then a strong arm snagged him around the waist and hauled him off Palisade by force.
The shock of being grabbed in mid-gallop startled him into letting go, which was just as well because otherwise he'd have ended up with a double handful of Palisade's mane torn out by the roots. He yelled in panic when there was just air under him for a terrified heartbeat, then he slammed face-down across a horse's withers and had all the breath knocked out of him so he couldn't even babble out the thanks that were ricocheting around in his skull.
That turned out to be just as well; the next thing he heard was his master. "Do not say a word. If you make a single sound, I'll thrash you right here and set Lady's training back a month."
Orlando swallowed hard and kept his mouth shut.
Usually the best thing in the world was to be cuddled up next to Master Liam, leaning against his knees or his shoulder, or just sitting near him while one of those big hands petted his hair while most of his master's attention was on a book or some business papers or his e-mail.
At that moment, though, and for far too many moments after, lying right up against his master was misery.
Orlando could feel his master's thighs under his cheek on one side and his own thighs on the other. His master's hand pressed down -- hard -- on the small of his back, making sure he was secure, if not comfortable. His master was right there, close to him, holding him, and so obviously furious that Orlando wanted to cry.
They rode across the lawn, the dry grass making light swish-crunch sounds as Lady moved through it for a few minutes. Then Orlando heard the softer muffled thuds of the horse moving across the lawn for a minute, then the crunch of the gravel drive. Then they stopped.
Master Liam dismounted and hauled Orlando off after him. He clamped one hand around Orlando's left biceps tight enough to cut off circulation and dragged him up the steps and into the house, still blind and stumbling, then up the front staircase and down the hall into Master Liam's bedroom, where his master threw him onto the bed, where Orlando immediately curled up and buried his face in his arms, so ashamed he didn't want his master even looking at him.
It'd only taken a few minutes to get in from... well, from however far into the open pasture Palisade had managed to get, but it'd been long enough that next time his master spoke, his voice was cold and hard instead of hot with rage. Orlando hoped that was good.
His master said, "If you ever do anything so damnably idiotic again, I will thrash you within an inch of your life, if you survive whatever fool stunt you pull. If you ever repeat this, or do anything like it, this beating will remind you of the paddlings you got from Maggie when you were a toddler. Do you understand?"
Orlando whispered, "Yes, Master." He couldn't have moved even if he'd wanted to. Having his master this angry made him miserable; he wanted to go dig a hole and bury himself and hide forever. He couldn't imagine any thrashing hurting any worse.
Master Liam undid Orlando's jeans with a few quick jerks, then yanked them and his underwear down to his knees and shoved Orlando onto his stomach. A moment later, the first stroke hit. What hit him was a cane, and Orlando screamed.
He'd never been caned before, or hit with anything more solid than a hand. He didn't know how many strokes he got, since his master didn't require him to count them and Orlando's brain was in too much of a panicked flail as it tried to figure out how to detach itself from his agonized ass to count on its own. Looking back, it couldn't have been more than a few strokes, but at the time it was more than enough to have him wailing and sobbing and getting tears and snot all over his master's bedspread.
Master Liam left him alone for a few moments, then Orlando yelled again when a cold, damp washcloth was draped over his burning ass. His master's hand rubbed gently up and down his back, caressing him through his T-shirt, and he felt his master's lips press a slow kiss into his sweaty hair, then his forehead rested against Orlando's head just above his ear.
"You could have died." His master's voice was low. He sounded exhausted. "When you hit your head, then went over the fence, I thought for sure you were going to break your neck, or your head, or get trampled."
Orlando managed to turn his face in his master's direction, even though he still couldn't see, and whispered, "I'm sorry."
Master Liam made a startled noise and said, "Damn." The still-damp but now much warmer washcloth was peeled off of Orlando's throbbing ass and his master carefully cleaned the tacky-drying blood off his face -- his eyes first, then his nose and cheeks, his lips and chin.
"There," he said when he'd finished. "Nothing broken, by whatever miracle." Then, a few moments later, "Look at me."
Orlando pried his eyes apart, reluctance as much as any lingering crud making the task difficult.
His master was kneeling next to the bed, which was enough of a surprise on its own. The next surprise was that he didn't look angry anymore -- not at all. He looked sad and worried, and he had the "thinking" crease between his eyebrows.
"I'm sorry," Orlando said again. It was all he could think of, because the idea of even trying to explain himself, to put into words what he'd been thinking when he'd gotten onto Palisade's back without even a saddle or bridle, made him cringe.
"I know," Master Liam said. "You're still a fearless little monkey, and we've been lucky so far. Even fearless monkeys need to exercise good judgement, though. And until that develops, discipline will do.
"I've left you too much to your own devices," he admitted. It was the first time Orlando could ever remember hearing his master admit a mistake. "You should have been studying for something all along, learning to make yourself useful in a more focused way. I'll admit I liked just having you about the place, but that's not good enough anymore; you're too old for children's chores."
His master said no more on the subject that day. Orlando stayed in Master Liam's room until bedtime, with a cool lotion spread gently across his hot, swollen backside, then a warm blanket to cover him and his master next to him, reclining on the bed with a book in one hand and his other rubbing Orlando's back, just like they'd done so many times before.
Orlando was worried that they'd never be able to spend time together like that again, that his stupidity had made his master decide to send him away for some kind of training. Or maybe even sell him. He could only fret for so long, though, and eventually he fell asleep.
"I don't give a good god-damn about the insurance!" Liam bellowed, stabbing the unlucky police detective in the chest with one blunt finger. "And if that's all you have to say to me, you can get your incompetent ass out of my house and off my property and I'll find someone who knows his fucking job and can track down the sorry bastards who took my boy!"
The detective flinched but didn't take a step backward, which was a point in his favor. A very minor point. Instead he held up his hands in a clear attempt to be conciliating, put a sympathetic look on his face and said, "Lord Neeson, I realize this is a stressful time. I know it's difficult to lose a slave. You must have cared for him very much. But--"
"What I care about is finding those bastards and making them pay!" Liam's finger stabbed out again, hard enough that he was sure the detective would see bruises when he got undressed that evening. "They stole something that belongs to me and no one gets away with disrespecting me like that! They're going to be sorry they were ever born!" The fucker was treating him like one of those pathetic idiots who fell in "love" with their body-slaves, and Liam wasn't having any. Absolutely no one got away with disrespecting him, and if this sorry little shit thought he was going to get to be patronizing and then have a good laugh with his friends at Liam's expense, he had a thing or two still to learn.
"Yes, My Lord! I mean, no, My Lord!" The detective swallowed, his eyes huge and round, and his jaw clenching so hard Liam thought it was about to crack. Good.
"Now get the hell out of here and don't come back until you have something useful to say. And that had better be tomorrow."
"Yes, My Lord!" The detective managed an awkward bow and left the room. He didn't quite scurry but it was a near thing. Liam hoped the fool had figured out exactly what he meant when he said "sorry they'd ever been born," and that he intended to pass the feeling on to enough subordinates to get some fucking work done and find Orlando.
Next Chapter: Chapter Four