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 -- FAQ here. See Chapter 1 for more notes.
2) I'm not promising anything regular at this point -- I have some committments with my commercial writing that I couldn't put off any more, and I'm still in the middle of working on those -- but I wanted to get something up for Liam's birthday. Enjoy!
Previous Chapters: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen, Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen, Eighteen, Nineteen, Twenty, Twenty-One, Twenty-Two, Twenty-Three, Twenty-Four, Twenty-Five, Twenty-Six, Twenty-Seven, Twenty-Eight, Twenty-Nine, Thirty, Thirty-One
The e-mail came from Parker on Monday, before noon, even. Orlando was in body-slave training, which was... better and worse, both. Liam had to admit that he was selfish enough to want Orlando back completely. He knew that what he should want was what was best for his boy, and that was to be back safe at home as soon as possible, with as little abuse and trauma as possible. And part of him had wished for that, the part that knew Orlando was unusually old for a "new" body-slave, and hoped that he'd be passed over for that reason.
But at the same time he knew his Orlando was still beautiful, and that it wasn't just whatever... whatever fondness or whatever it was that had crept into his heart that was saying so. He couldn't imagine anyone looking at the boy -- the young man -- and not wanting him. That being the case, it couldn't be so wrong to be glad, in a way, that when they got through this fucking mess -- when, not if -- he'd have Orlando back and things could return to the way they'd been before. They wouldn't have to sneak, wouldn't have to hope no one decided to make a phone call to Commerce out of spite, wouldn't have to hope a surprise inspection didn't catch Orlando in his master's bed in the middle of the night.
This was now, and now was so insane it was all but unbearable, but once it was over they'd have the rest of their lives, or the rest of Liam's life at least, and that was a long time to live with the constant fear of losing Orlando all over again.
Liam didn't want to lose him again, didn't want to have to worry about losing him again. And yes, he wanted Orlando in his bed, on his lap, kneeling at his feet, in the open for everyone to see. He wanted life to be normal and that meant not only having Orlando back, but having the right to touch him and fuck him and make him fall apart with pleasure. He wanted all of it back, and he knew his Orlando could get through whatever it took to come home to him and have things be normal again.
Before he could examine that too closely, his office phone rang. With Johnny gone again, Liam was answering his own phone, so he picked it up and and heard a familiar deep voice on the other end.
"Your Lordship? This is Mike Duncan."
Liam changed mental gears and said, "Good morning, Mr. Duncan. What can I do for you?"
"You still want to take Kevin off my hands?"
The man certainly didn't believe in small talk, or working up to a subject. "If you've agreed to let him go, yes. He decided not to stay, then?"
He heard a soft snort from the other end. "I decided I'd rather replace him. He's a good secretary and all, and I thought about keeping him, but he went behind my back and I can't tolerate that shit." Duncan paused for a moment, then added, "He said some things, made me think, you know? Maybe I'll do things a little differently next time. But still, I can't ever trust him again. No matter what it was for. So if you want him, you can have him."
"That's fine," Liam said. It was too bad it hadn't worked out between them, but he'd given his word after all. "How much do you want for him?" He listened while Duncan gave a number, bluntly and with no weaseling and wheedling, then nodded. "That'll be fine. I'll transfer the money today. If you could keep Kevin until Wednesday, I'd appreciate it. My agent is on a business trip right now, but I'll have him swing by your place on his way home and he can escort Kevin."
"Sure, sure, that's fine. No hard feelings or anything. Like I said, the kid hadn't caused any actual trouble. I'm sure he won't start any more conspiracies against me in the next couple of days."
"Likely not," Liam agreed. "Fine, then. It's good doing business with you, Mr. Duncan."
"You too. Later, man."
Liam hung up the phone and sighed. So he had a new... secretary? He didn't trust Kevin enough for that -- on that much he agreed with Duncan.
He had a feeling the boy had intended to be kept in completely laborless luxury like a virgin houri who never got fucked, for the remainder of his life. That wasn't going to happen, but neither was Liam going to set him to work mucking the stables or hauling rocks in the gardens. Maybe start him out answering the house phone, keep him off the net, see how that went. If he behaved himself for a year or two, he might be trustworthy enough to handle personal correspondence. Nothing strenuous -- that was part of the deal -- but something that'd let him make himself useful without needing constant supervision.
Maybe put him in the kitchen, see what Maggie could do with him?
He'd work something out later. Just then, Liam had more important concerns.
Thewlis tore down the dark highway as fast as he could without either crashing or getting pulled over, taking his frustration out on the gas pedal. He'd headed back to Marty's house in Nevada as his only point of possible contact, sure that Marton was about to skip the country if he hadn't done so already. It'd been possible -- probable even -- that he'd been packed and ready to go and wouldn't need to go back to the house he clearly didn't live in, but it'd been Thewlis's only lead and it'd paid off.
After spending the weekend watching, he'd been rewarded -- finally! -- on Monday evening with the sight of a strange car pulling up into Marty's driveway and a nearly familiar figure getting out. Mentally adjusting for the passing of a good twenty years, it had to be Marty.
Some covert work online while he'd waited had shown, after finding the right cracks to pry open and threads to trace, that Marty had been sending money overseas for several years. The particular "bank" he used was fronted by an internet gambling site. Anyone could come along and play, but setting up a particular sort of account ensured that all "losses" (less a percentage for the house, of course) went into a numbered account. The transfer was apparently legitimate, shady and unsavory but not usually criminal, and even in jurisdictions where online gambling was illegal, it was only a minor offense, especially for the player. Very few law enforcement agencies had the resources to chase down the people who were losing their money to those places; they were more interested, assuming they were interested at all, in shutting down the casino operations themselves, which was difficult when their servers were located in a neutral country, or one actively hostile to the Empire.
At any rate, that was a relatively small-time vice concern and the government was mainly interested in keeping a lid on it so far as they weren't able to tax the profits. Money laundering was another issue entirely, and from what Thewlis could tell, no one was heading down that particular track in this case, which meant Marty had a clear shot to retirement overseas with all his slave money.
He'd gone in with a cardboard banker's box and come out again a few minutes later with a briefcase. Records? Securities? Maybe even the last delivery or two from the casino? Thewlis had always suspected those hand-carries were cash. Whatever they were, it hadn't taken long for Marty to find them and get back out and on the road, heading toward Vegas.
Thewlis had followed him discreetly, usually from in front, all the way to the Vegas airport, where he'd seen Marty check in at a kiosk for a flight to Atlanta with a transfer to Munich, then Mumbai, which Thewlis had caught a glimpse of by means of a well-acted stumble and a flailing grab on the kiosk Marty had been using. He'd kept his head down and babbled apologies in response to Marty's cursing and shoving, then scuttled away, pretty sure he hadn't been recognized.
Hell, Marty'd hardly recognized Thewlis around campus to wave to back to when they were at Berkeley.
Back in the parking lot, he'd sent a note to Lord Neeson, then after a minute's thought he sent second one to Nick.
He wasn't sure Lord Neeson would appreciate the assistance, but he was sure it was the right thing to do.
After that, he put his decision -- a done deal anyway -- out of his mind and headed back toward Marty's house. It was on his way home anyway, and there might be a few clues or even some hard evidence it'd be nice to have. He was particularly curious about what'd been in the banker's box.
He made it back in record time and parked in the driveway. He sprayed his hair to keep any from falling off, spent a good ten minutes with a lint brush for the same reason, then pulled on a pair of gloves, added some IR goggles so he wouldn't have to use a flashlight outside and maybe draw unwelcome attention, and started poking around the house for a way in.
The bathroom window'd been left open a crack and there was no screw-lock on the slide -- not even a dowel in the track. Thewlis shook his head at such sloppiness while popping the screen, shoving the window all the way open and boosting himself up.
Marty hadn't taken much. Poking around, using a penlight whenever he wanted to examine something in detail -- carefully and never near windows -- it looked like there was hardly any sign that the owner had skipped the country, or even gone on vacation.
Of course, the guy hadn't actually lived there so it made sense that there wouldn't be much he'd care about enough to take with him.
The bedroom had been set up for hard play, so maybe Marty had actually lived there for a while. Maybe while settling in with his new casino? Or maybe the reinforced beams and various wall-mounts had been installed by the previous owners; it was impossible to tell.
He checked the closet, then the second bedroom and its closet, but found nothing particularly interesting. There was a desk in one corner of the spare bedroom but it was clean and empty except for a couple of pens and a souvenir staple remover from the St. Louis Arch.
Living room -- old-fashioned chenille sofa, loveseat and chair, oak side tables and a small pair of low, round tables where the coffee table usually would be. One of the round tables had an ashtray on it, and there was a lamp on one of the side tables, as well as recessed can lights scattered around the ceiling. An indifferently done painting of a desert sunset hung behind the sofa. Everything was fuzzed by a layer of dust.
Thewlis looked down and sure enough, the carpet was dusty too. It didn't show as much as it did on the furniture, but there were footprints leading from the front door into the... kitchen he saw, and a branching path which led through a set of louvered doors into a study.
Sort of. The built-in bookcases were mostly empty, but the desk showed more use than the small one in the bedroom. He searched it quickly but found nothing more interesting than some old utility bills, more pens, a couple of rubber bands and a handcuff key. The tracks in the dust passed the desk, though, and went up to the only chunk of bookcase which was actually full of books.
"Come on, Marty, you're smarter than this." He grinned while shaking his head in mock sorrow and heading over to the full bookcase section, obviously meant to camouflage something. A minute of poking, pushing and sliding had two full shelves of books swinging out, revealing a wall safe.
Someone who'd hide a safe behind fake bookshelves and not even bother to fill all the other shelves with books obviously wasn't too terribly concerned with security, which had Thewlis wondering whether there'd ever been anything worthwhile in the safe. The chances of anything interesting being there now, after Marty'd headed out, were low to non-existent, but he couldn't just leave it. He did, however, try his standard first option -- the default combo. Marty's safe was a common model from a large manufacturer and Thewlis didn't even have to pull out his PDA to remind himself what the default was. Twenty... forty... sixty... eighty... and click, it opened, and there was even a pile of papers and a couple of lock-boxes inside.
Which... Marty wasn't. He was a slimebag, but he wasn't stupid, never had been. He'd have been caught long before if he weren't a smart slimebag.
The hairs at the back of Thewlis's neck started prickling. Something was wrong and he wanted out, ASAP.
He hauled the papers and boxes out of the safe and dumped them on the desk. He rolled the papers up and secured them with one of the rubber bands, then ran back to the bathroom and tossed them all out the window. They were probably worthless but he'd check later.
The other path in the dust had gone into the kitchen and he followed it, through the kitchen to another door, which led to the garage. Even with the overhead light on, it was dim and dusty, and it echoed with the sound of ticking.
The safe had obviously been meant as a time-wasting diversion. Marty had either known someone was following him or he was incredibly paranoid. Maybe both.
The garage was full of banker's boxes, and in the center was an apparatus which included a wind-up alarm clock, a gas can and a lot of wires.
"Fuck, fuck, fuck...." It'd lasted that long, it'd probably last another minute or so at least. Hell, it might last an hour; if Thewlis had set it, he'd have wanted to be at least in the air, and preferably out of the country, before a bomb at his address of record had the authorities looking for him.
Thewlis wasn't going to waste the time checking out the obvious bomb when he knew nothing at all about explosives; instead he started yanking lids off cardboard boxes. Most were empty and he gave up on opening them all. He shoved the piles down instead and the air-light empties went flying. One went "thud" instead, and Thewlis saw the wire trailing out the back of the box just before the garage erupted and a wave of roaring sound slammed into his back.
Next Chapter: Chapter Thirty-Three