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, Thirty-Three, Thirty-Four
Thewlis had been out of contact for ten days, since sending the message about Csokas leaving the country. Ten days had been long enough for Liam to go from annoyed to worried; he hadn't gone so long without a report since hiring the man, and it'd never taken more than a few hours to get a response to an e-mail or phone message.
He'd considered putting in a missing persons report, but only briefly. Given what they'd been up to, drawing the attention of the authorities could only make things worse.
Ten days had also been long enough for Lord Smith's contact in Mumbai to have found Csokas. It took four more days for Liam to make travel arrangements and get things set to keep going without him for a little while, but he wasn't willing to just wait around any longer than that. Thewlis was a good man to have at your side in a tough spot, calm and steady. Liam was honest enough to admit to himself that Thewlis's calm was a good balancing influence for when he himself saw red and his throttle stuck on full blast, which he'd been doing too often during the hunt for Orlando. If Thewlis wasn't available, though, then he wasn't, and once Liam was ready to go, that was it, he left.
He had a story ready about travelling to India to make some informal inquiries about doing business with one of the companies his father had sold when things had looked to be unstable between India and the Empire; he actually had an appointment with one of the directors, although he wasn't particularly expecting anything to come of it. No one asked, though, beyond the usual "Business or pleasure?" so it seemed no one was paying any attention to him.
Or maybe he was supposed to think that.
Liam went on the way he always did, assuming there was someone nearby watching and recording.
He got some work done on the flight over and managed to sleep in his seat for the last few hours after changing planes in Tel Aviv. Once they landed in Mumbai, it took a little over an hour to retrieve his baggage and get a car to his hotel, where he picked up his room key and a package, then was shown to his room. About twenty minutes later, when he'd barely had time to unpack, someone knocked on his door.
Expecting a maid or bellhop offering some sort of service, he was taken aback for a second to find a white man in a western suit slouching in the hallway, looking him over with a skeptical smirk.
"Yes?" The man rubbed him the wrong way right off and Liam gave him a hard stare. "What can I do for you?"
"We have a common interest and a mutual acquaintance -- Dave Thewlis?"
Liam opened the door wider and stood aside. "Come in." It was more a command than an invitation, but Liam wasn't ready to relax and make nice yet; the man hadn't even offered his name and Liam's hackles were still up. He closed the door after his visitor. "So, who are you and what common interest do you imagine we might have?"
"The name's Nick Cage. We've been in the same room a few times, but our usual interests don't coincide. In this case, though, we're both eager to see Marty Csokas get what's coming to him." He paused, then cocked an eyebrow and added, "At least, I assume that's why you're here?"
Liam crossed his arms and leaned against the wall, unwilling to give Cage any mental advantage by sitting down and having to look up at him. "What's your interest in Csokas? Has he stolen something from you as well?"
Cage sent him a sardonic smile. "Yeah, you might say that. I've recently found out that he appropriated some ideas some friends and I came up with when we were all in college together, and has been using them in the service of goals I find abhorrent." He stopped talking and just looked at Liam, as though waiting for something.
The something came within a very few seconds. "You're an abolitionist." Liam said the last word with a distasteful twist to his mouth, and his already tense back stiffened even more.
Cage smirked at him, but otherwise didn't respond at all to the contempt Liam was sure he was radiating. "It's something I was into in college, along with some friends. We made fantastical plans and tossed ideas around, and of course nothing came of it. The system's too entrenched right now, and the government's too strong and controls too much of... everything. But philosophically, yeah, I'm an abolitionist. And the fact that Marty's using our plans and ideas to steal slaves just so he can resell them himself for a profit makes me want to have a long talk with him. Or maybe a short talk. It'll be pretty intense, though."
Liam huffed out a short laugh against his will. "I imagine it will. I get him first, though."
"Maybe we'll flip a coin," Cage retorted.
"He took my boy," Liam said with a hard stare. "If I'm in a good mood, maybe I won't kill him and you'll have something left to have your discussion with."
Cage started to scowl, then laughed. "Hard-ass bastard."
"You're damn right," Liam shot back. "And with reason. You remember that and I'll let you come along." He felt startled for a moment at the offer even as he made it, but he pushed it aside. His gut reactions were usually right, and he'd feel better with some back-up. He'd rather have had Thewlis with him, but Thewlis was still missing and Cage was there, and looked like he could handle himself.
He might be one of those brainless abolitionists, but his immediate goal seemed to be the same as Liam's, which meant they could work together for a while. Good enough.
That reminded him, though, and he asked, "Have you heard from Thewlis lately?"
Cage shook his head. "Not in the last few days. He sent me a note about Marty being here and that you'd probably be showing up yourself, and that was it."
"Is that unusual?" Liam asked. "To go that long without hearing from him?"
He got another shrug. "Dave and I aren't really close. He contacted me about this situation with Marty a little while back. The methods used to pull the slaves out of the system made him think that someone we knew back when might be behind it. Before that I hadn't heard from him since college."
Well, that didn't help. Although it was somewhat reassuring to know that at least Thewlis didn't make a habit of associating with abolitionists. "It's unusual for me," he said. "He's been good about communicating since I hired him, but I haven't heard from him since the day Csokas left the Empire."
"You've been worried about him?"
"Of course I have," Liam snapped. "Is that so amazing?"
"No, not really."
Despite the reassurance, Liam still got the impression that Cage was smirking to himself, although his actual expression was neutral. He felt a strong desire to do something violent, but fought the impulse down. Csokas -- it's about Csokas, he reminded himself. He'd been stifling his anger for so long, and it was going to have a valid outlet soon, but the closer he got to his goal the more difficult it got not to jump the gun. Cage might not be the sort of person he'd usually want to do business with, but he was there to help and they had a common cause. Keep that in mind, maintain, don't thrash the abolitionist.
He felt a smirk of his own form and turned his back on Cage, heading over to the desk and mentally dismissing their brangle. "I know where he's staying -- address, map, photos. I have an unrelated appointment tomorrow morning -- I have to do some business, justify being here in case anyone is paying attention. I'd planned to go see Csokas tomorrow night, then fly back out the next afternoon."
"Couldn't get a morning flight? Or a red-eye?" There was that not-quite-mocking tone again, like an invisible stick poking at Liam's ribs.
"I just as soon not seem to be in a rush to leave," he replied in an even voice. "You can do as you like, of course."
Cage followed Liam across the room and held out a hand toward the pile of papers on the desk. "May I see?"
Liam scooped everything up and slipped it back into its folder. "Tomorrow. Come back here at six; we'll have something to eat and make plans then."
"Tomorrow?" Cage asked with a pointed scowl. "It'd be nice if I knew what was up before we went."
"You will -- tomorrow, before we go." Liam crossed his arms and looked down his nose at Cage. "He's mine first," he repeated. "I'd prefer nothing unfortunate happen to him before I've had a chance for a conversation."
"Right," Cage drawled. "You know, I'm really glad I don't work for you."
"So am I, Mr. Cage. I'll see you tomorrow evening."
The massage lessons weren't too bad. Orlando's hands and arms ached by the end of each lesson, making him wish for hot water and rest, but at least he'd been taught most of the techniques before, when he was working with Mr. Travers. And any break from the actual sex training was a good thing.
He got a review of serving, both intimately and in company -- fetching drinks and food, small items and larger items, giving kneeling massages and manicures. They got lessons in giving unobtrusive blowjobs, silent and still enough (at least on the slaves' part) not to disrupt a meeting or a quiet meal.
Doing hair and makeup was completely new to Orlando; Master Liam had never wanted that level of fussing, and the Mistress hadn't wanted Orlando serving her personally at all during the short time they'd been in the same household. It was interesting, and might've been fun if they'd had more than four days to absorb everything.
Weirdly enough, learning to do the kinds of things a woman owner would or might want, both sexually and otherwise, made Orlando feel a little less panicky over the thought of being eventually sold. When Master Liam had married he'd been nervous enough at the thought that the new mistress might've wanted him to serve her in ways he'd never done or learned. That was one less thing to worry about now, even if it was a small thing, relative to other... things.
About a week in they started furniture practice, learning to stretch out or fold up into the shape of a footstool or a side table or a lampstand. That took intermittent practice for longer and longer periods, learning to relax through cramping muscles without tipping out of position, or moving a light away from where their master wanted it, or shifting a saucer away from where master was going to put his cup.
They were working their way through a long list of kinks, making sure the body-slaves could perform up to standard no matter what their owners wanted. Pain training had begun relatively light, and it'd taken a couple of weeks before they'd started pushing the boundaries of what Master Liam had done. Of course, having some grim-faced trainer wielding the flogger or crop or cane while scrutinizing him for any hint of resistence, or an unpleasing posture or expression was very different from having his master beat him while telling Orlando how beautiful he was and how much Orlando's eager submission pleased him.
He hadn't expected it to be that different -- more like eating with someone you didn't know, or even someone you disliked, compared with eating with someone you loved. The food was the same, right?
Well, not so much. The "company" made a huge difference, it turned out. Master Liam had taught him about pain himself, rather than leaving it to Mr. Travers, and Orlando's adoration for his master had made it easy to find that place inside where the pain was just another way of stimulating his body, another path that led to pleasure. With the trainers, though, that path was missing and being beaten was something to be endured, not pleasurable at all.
Although, would he really want to respond to a trainer the way he had to Master Liam? His gut-level answer was no, that he'd be ashamed to give himself up that completely to anyone else, especially to someone who saw him as just a thing to be whipped -- literally -- into proper shape. Letting down his barriers that much, making himself so completely vulnerable, seemed insane.
As time went on, though, it mattered less and less. He was taught to simulate the ecstatic noises and writhing under a whip whether he felt them or not, to beg for more wax, a thicker sound, another weight. He also learned to accept a smack or worse some fraction of the time after pleading for more of whatever a trainer was doing, because, they said, some masters didn't like slaves who begged, no matter how prettily, and so they trained him to take a smack without flinching and beg pardon and spend the rest of the lesson accepting in silence whatever was done to his body. Then the next day he had to beg again, for more lashes or a bigger plug or more piss, and wonder whether this simulated master would appreciate it or not.
After two weeks and four days of that, the beatings got to a point beyond where Master Liam had ever gone, and Orlando, who'd been doing well relative to the rest of the class, started earning extra lashes along with everyone else, for hesitating when he'd been commanded to walk up and position himself for binding, for flinching when he'd been commanded to stay still, for screaming when he'd been commanded to stay quiet.
He endured, because there wasn't anything else he could do.
Next Chapter: Chapter Thirty-Six