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) Finished! :D
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, Thirty-Two
Marton had almost seven hours between planes in Munich, which was perfect because he had some business to take care of before he went on. India was a perfect place to settle, at least for a while -- tropical and cosmopolitan, easy to get lost in, and none of that annoying language thing one had to deal with in just about any other place where he could be out of reach of the long Imperial arm.
It was sophisticated enough, however, that a man who was used to having the best and not being bothered about it had better show up with a nice bankroll; tipping and bribes blended rather seamlessly and any foreigner without cash became invisible. Or far too visible to the wrong kind of authorities, who after all had to be seen doing their jobs on someone.
That someone wasn't going to be him, so in Munich he visted a discreet financial establishment and withdrew about five million dollars in Euros, which at the current rate of exchange fit conveniently into the medium-expensive duffle he'd purchased from the shop next door. (And he was fairly sure the location of that shop right next to the discreet financial establishment was no coincidence, or at the very least that the purveyors of various hand-size bags did considerable slop-over business with the financial establishment's customers.)
He had a few hours left and did some more shopping, including a larger suitcase, before heading back to the airport. He'd left the Empire with a few changes of clothes, about eighty thousand in cash, disguised by an "accidentally broken" aftershave bottle in his bag well enough to defeat a random sniffer dog, most of whom in modern times were trained to either drugs (for the smaller cases) or hidden slaves (for the larger ones) anyway. Obviously rich people travelling medium-light drew much less attention from the security goons than rich people who looked like they were trying to haul out everything they owned, or any sort of less-rich people, who rarely had the money to travel internationally unless they were doing something the authorities found interesting.
Thus, shopping, with a few exasperated comments to random store clerks about the airline losing his bags. New clothes, some actual toiletries he planned to use, and some of that really good chocolate the Germans made would get him to India and let him take his time settling down.
He spent some time in a public bathroom (five euros!) taking the tags off of everything, pulling out pins and cardboard and tissue. It was all right to have things that looked nice, and even new, but it shouldn't look like he'd just bought them an hour ago, in case anyone looked; a story about lost baggage would work, but he'd just as soon not have to use it.
Back to the airport.
Fourteen long, exhausting hours later, Marton was settled into a small but reasonably comfortable guest house toward the back of a discreet resort property a short way outside Mumbai. It wasn't perfect but it'd make a decent base; from there he could find a more permanent place, something out of the way, with all the modern conveniences and no neighbors near enough to get nosy.
India was perfect; he was surprised there weren't whole colonies of ex-Imperials. Or hell, maybe there were -- it wasn't like there'd be a lot of advertising. But the atmosphere was a perfect blend of the cooperation bought by freely-spent money and the look-away distaste left over from the Imperial attempt a decade earlier to pressure India into converting to a slave economy. The Indians, who'd had enough and then some of life under foreign rule before (by the Brits, and wasn't that a crack-up considering how self-righteous they were now over the American-Imperial "outrages") had told the USNA where it could go and what it was welcome to do when it got there. Very politely, of course -- North America was still an economic market worth having access to, after all -- but they'd made it plain that another foreign slave system wasn't going to happen.
Relations had been open but cool since -- open enough that a USNA citizen with enough cash could come over and settle down with minimal hassles, but cool enough that extradition attempts on folks who hadn't caused any actual trouble in India were politely ignored.
And if anyone from his past came to make trouble, well, the local authorities didn't much care what ex-pat Imperials did to each other either, so long as they didn't bother the locals or leave a mess in the streets, and Marton was willing to clean up his messes when necessary.
Kevin sat cross-legged on the floor, both hands wrapped around a mug of coffee. He wished it had something stronger in it -- brandy, scotch, anything. There was a movie on the set, something with revving engines and flashy explosions, but he wasn't paying attention.
Mr. Duncan had told him two days earlier that he'd sold him to Lord Neeson and that the guy's agent would be coming to pick him up that day, Wednesday. He hadn't said exactly when, though, and Kevin had been packed and ready to go since before his master had left for work that morning. Not that he had much to pack, just some clothes and a toothbrush and stuff, but still, he was ready, so where the fuck was the agent? It was almost time for Mr. Duncan to come home and Kevin really didn't want to have to deal with him again; the last couple of days had been tense enough.
He'd actually thought that he and Mr. Duncan were getting along okay, that it might not be bad to stay. He should've known better; he must've gone temporarily nuts to think that an owner would, oh, maybe treat him like a human being, maybe think about what he'd been through and how he felt, maybe understand why he'd been kinda jumpy.
No matter how decent he'd seemed, Mr. Duncan was an owner and they were all assholes. The only question was how much of an asshole an owner was.
Even then, he had to admit that Mr. Duncan wasn't too much of an asshole. He'd known plenty of masters who'd have beaten him half dead for going behind their back. Hell, he'd been owned by one or two of them, and he'd been beaten raw for less than that.
That was probably it, though. Mr. Duncan being pretty cool about him contacting Lord Neeson, once he'd found out about it, had fooled Kevin into thinking he might be totally cool. That'd been stupid, and Kevin should've known better. Had known better before he'd let himself start to relax, but he'd gotten a reminder and would remember next time.
The doorbell rang and Kevin jerked up, startled, and almost spilled his coffee. He set the mug down, carefully -- if he stained the carpet on his last day, Mr. Duncan would probably think he'd done it deliberately, out of spite, and he'd put some shitty comment in Kevin's provenance file.
He walked over to the door and stopped for a few seconds to take some deep breaths. Then he smirked at nobody in particular and thought, Be a crack-up if I'm all freaking out and it's Jehovah's Witnesses or something.
He opened the door and there was Lord Neeson's agent -- the way-too-old body-slave, Johnny, carrying the same briefcase he'd had last time.
"Hey," he said. "Is Mr. Duncan home?" He looked Kevin over but didn't show much reaction. Kevin felt his hackles rising; those eyes on him seemed to be checking him out and dismissing him, like he didn't meet some standard.
"No, he's still at work."
The other slave nodded. "That's all right. Everything's done and filed, you're legally Lord Neeson's property. I have a copy of the certificate of transfer, but he doesn't have to sign it, so I can just leave it for him. Are you ready to go?"
"Uh, yeah, I guess." That was it? Hi, let's go? Okay, whatever. "Let me get my stuff."
Kevin turned to go to his room and Johnny followed him inside. Kevin heard the snap of a briefcase opening and the rustle of papers as he headed up the stairs.
His clothes and stuff were all stuffed into a couple of plastic grocery sacks, since he didn't have a suitcase or anything. He grabbed them and left his room without a look backward.
When he got back down, there was an official looking paper on the coffee table and Johnny was standing there with the briefcase and a look of perfect patience.
"That's it," Kevin said. "I'm ready if you are."
Johnny paused to give him a quick, searching look, then said, "We could wait for Mr. Duncan to come home, if you want to say goodbye? I already checked into the hotel, so there's no rush on my end."
Kevin shook his head so hard his hair swung down into his eyes. "No, that's fine. Let's just take off."
Johnny nodded. "Didn't think so, but I wanted to ask. Let's go then." He headed for the door. Kevin followed, made sure the door was set to lock and closed it behind him.
He trailed Johnny down to a rental car, nothing fancy, a mid-size Ford with a few miles on it, and hopped in. They drove downtown to the Imperial Plaza, a pretty swanky place.
"You're staying here by yourself?" Kevin couldn't help staring around some as they walked through the lobby. He'd been to similar places before with his old owners, but he'd never been the kind of body-slave who did a lot of travelling on his own, and wouldn't have expected his owner to pay for this kind of plush just for a slave.
"Nope. You're staying with me." He got raised eyebrow from Johnny. Smart-ass "Our master always stays here when he's in the LA area. They know him, and me, and they're used to having body-slaves and agents stay here. If someone tries to harass us, the staff will intervene."
"Eventually?" Kevin asked.
"Eventually," Johnny agreed. "It's better than a lot of places, though, and Lord Neeson won't stand for other people messing with his slaves."
They stepped into the elevator and Johnny pressed twenty-two. The door closed and they were alone. Johnny gave Kevin a hard look and said, "Lord Neeson is a good man to belong to, if you have to belong to someone. I'm not saying he's easy or indulgent -- if you fuck up you'll get thrashed and you'll remember it for a while. But he's fair. He won't beat on you just because he's in a bad mood. You'll get a good bed, good clothes, and great food, and if you get sick or hurt he'll get you to a doctor right away. If someone tries to mess with you, whether it's a stranger or a business associate or another slave or whatever, he'll take care of it."
"Right, I get it, he's a fucking saint. I'm sure all his slaves dance around him in circles throwing flowers." Kevin leaned back against the side of the elevator with his arms crossed over his chest and smirked at Johnny, 'cause seriously, the guy was a suck-up or an idiot.
"No, he's not a fucking saint." And Johnny was right there in Kevin's face, both forearms leaning against the wall on either side of Kevin's head, their noses almost touching while he glared right into Kevin's eyes, and the fact that Kevin had a good three inches on him didn't seem to matter at all. "But he's a good man and a good master, as good as they come. It sounds like you've had some real fuckwads before, and I get that. I did too, before he bought me. Lord Neeson isn't an asshole, though, and he doesn't deserve any shit. What's more, he won't tolerate any shit.
"He's got enough shit going on already, he doesn't need any more from you. If you think you can manipulate him, or that you can set yourself up by fucking over any of the other slaves, you'd better think again. When he finds out he'll stomp on you good. And if I find out about it before he does, I'll stomp on you before I drag your ass over to him.
"He's fair to all of us and gives us good lives, as good as they can be if you're a slave and start out with 'suck' as a default setting, and I won't tolerate anyone fucking with that."
"Back off!" Kevin shoved Johnny away hard and scowled down at him. "I don't know who pissed in your wheaties, but if you think I'll just stand here and take shit from you--"
Johnny took a step forward and grabbed Kevin's wrist, and half a second later he was pressed up against the side of the car again, face-first this time, with his arm twisted up behind his back and his shoulder feeling like it was about to pop out. "You'll do exactly that and keep your mouth shut and behave."
Johnny tightened his grip for a moment and Kevin jerked up onto his toes. "Okay, okay, fuck! What the hell, man?"
"What the hell is you," Johnny snarled into his ear. "You're a fucking judas. You've already screwed over a bunch of other slaves when you were helping that Csokas guy run his racket. You helped him convince a bunch of stolen kids that they were crazy, messed up, that no one would believe them. You made it easier for him to steal and torture and sell them. And you didn't even believe he'd ever actually give you that carrot he dangled -- you said so. But you helped him anyway. You're an asshole and a liar and a traitor. I don't like you, I don't trust you, and you get zero slack from me."
Johnny gave his arm another jerk, then let go and stepped back. The elevator slid to a stop. He said, "This is our floor," and walked out as though nothing had happened.
Kevin scowled at his retreating back and followed.
Next Chapter: Chapter Thirty-Four