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 Chapter: One
[Twenty-Four Years Ago]
Liam headed out the back door with half a dozen warm cookies in one hand and a briefcase in the other. There were few fine days in January, even in Almaden, and after the previous week's freeze he meant to enjoy the sunshine outside on the deck. He might even get some work done.
He was barely halfway across the lawn when he felt a tug on one trouser leg. He looked around, then down.
"Orlando." He grinned down at the little boy, and got a matching grin in return. "Done with your chores?"
Orlando gave him an enthusiastic nod. "I got all the rocks out of the herb patch so Samantha can plant -- she's gonna show me how but not till tomorrow -- and I weeded around the rosemary bush. I can go really fast now."
"I'll bet you can. I don't suppose your nose led you to these cookies?"
"You have cookies?" Orlando's smile brightened and he craned his head back and forth while trotting along, trying to keep up and see around to Liam's other hand at the same time.
"What, you didn't know? I suppose you just wanted my company, then?"
Orlando nodded. "You're hardly ever here. You just got home yesterday and Mama said you're leaving again on Monday."
Liam climbed the three broad steps up to the deck, Orlando still clinging to his trouser leg. "Well, I suppose since I'm not around to spoil you very often, I might give you a cookie if you're good."
"Thank you, Master!"
The deck spread out in a curve, surrounded on three sides by grass -- dry and brown at this time of year -- and approached by a tamped gravel path Liam usually ignored. The fourth side extended over the lake, and half of the deck was covered with a lanai of narrow boards overhead, giving partial shade. Liam settled down on a comfortably padded bench on the sunny side of the deck, with a good view of the lake and the surrounding scrubby woods. Orlando sank to his knees at Liam's feet, his back straight and his palms up on his thighs.
Maggie never did that, and wouldn't have taught Orlando a body-slave's present position, so the boy must've been watching Johnny, and maybe the body-slaves of various guests who'd passed through. There were a few places around that barn of a mansion where a small boy could watch the grown-ups without being seen; Liam had used them when he was that age.
He said, "Very good," and handed Orlando one of the cookies. He got a "Thank you!" back and a quick hug around one knee, and the boy even managed to eat his cookie without getting crumbs all over himself.
Liam opened his briefcase and took out a stapled packet. He settled back with the draft contract in one hand and a cookie in the other, the other four stacked on his right knee. Orlando, having demonstrated his (new?) skill and gotten his reward, stayed kneeling but leaned forward, with his arms crossed on Liam's left thigh and his chin propped on his arms, apparently content to just look out over the lake and watch the ducks. Liam was content to leave him be.
A bolt cutter took care of the collar. Two down.
It was a nice one, a series of curved, square plates jointed together, in a warm gold that accented the slave's olive skin. The plates were small enough to be comfortable -- it wasn't a posture collar or anything like it -- but wide enough for each plate to have an engraved scrollwork design around the edge, surrounding a sunburst with a circle around it. Or maybe an oval. Whatever. All the important info was inside, in the electronics buried in one of the plates.
Not that Marton cared. Neither the slave's name nor the master's name mattered at all.
The van pulled into the loading bay behind their building, one of a string of rented properties they'd used over the last four and a half years since Marton had come up with the routine. They could pack and move out thoroughly on half an hour's notice, or quickly enough not to leave any evidence which would directly identify any of them within eight minutes.
Sheen hopped out of the van carrying all the plastic grocery bags with everything that'd been on the slave, including the crunched remains of the chip, got into a non-descript Ford and pulled out before the bay doors rolled down. They'd taken the cash from the wallet; Sheen would discard everything else the slave'd had on him in ten different grocery sacks, in ten different trash bins and dumpsters in six different cities to the northeast and northwest, up either side of the bay. Even if this location was compromised, no search of the surrounding neighborhood -- a run-down industrial park in north San Jose -- would turn up any evidence of the slave, or of the two others they'd grabbed since setting up here.
Marton hauled the slave out of the back of the van while Brendan ran to get the gurney. They strapped him onto it, ignoring his weak twitching and whining.
He'd already swabbed the incision where the chip had come out with alcohol, but he'd do a better job now of cleaning it out and making sure it closed without a scar.
Next he'd take care of the brand. Remove the branded skin, all the way down through the dermis, and glue in a patch of synthetic grow-matrix. The fine mesh protected the open area while encouraging skin cells to grow all across the surface at once, rather than from the outside in. The protein the matrix was composed of would be absorbed as the new skin grew. Within a few weeks, if he did it properly and everything went well, the patch would heal up perfectly.
There were other methods for dealing with the tattoo he'd noticed on the slave's abdomen. A cut and some scraping and maybe a bit of solvent, then glue the incision and it should be invisible within ten days, two weeks at the outside. He'd be able to tell within a few days whether the result would be acceptable; if not, there'd still be time to patch it.
Simple procedures, and much more lucrative than slaving for an HMO ever had been. And without all the insurance and licensing shit, either.
[Twenty Years Ago]
"But why do you have to go so soon? You just got here." Liam could tell Orlando was trying not to whine, but he was eleven and whining came fairly naturally. The boy was making a good effort, though, so Liam only smacked him on the back of the head. He even answered his question.
"I have to go to New York and see about some people who are trying to steal one of my companies."
Orlando startled at the smack, but didn't make a noise or even rub his head. He hung onto his fishing pole and just hunched his shoulders a bit. "How can someone steal a whole company?" he asked. His voice was lower and a bit closer to a proper slave's neutral tone this time. Even though a proper slave wouldn't have asked in the first place.
Liam shifted in his chair, a padded, folding number made specially for campers and fishermen. They were out on a pier, near a shaded pool along one arm of the lake, where there were some decent trout who occasionally deigned to nibble on one's bait. Orlando was sitting on the edge of the pier, his bare feet dangling off the end, leaning back against Liam's knee.
"It's done with bribery and proxies and shell corporations," Liam said, not expecting Orlando to understand a word, but thinking he might get the gist of it. He was right.
Orlando turned and gave him a fierce glare. "They're cheating!"
"Essentially, yes." There were definitely some illegalities involved, as well as breaches of ethics on the part of several parties. Proving it in court, or to the Bar Association, would be difficult. Liam preferred a more direct approach, and had made plans to pursue one.
Apparently Orlando agreed.
"You should smash them," he said firmly.
Liam had to chuckle at that. "You've been watching too many cartoons, I think. You're starting to sound like a villain."
"I am not!" Orlando insisted, apparently too caught up in his protest to notice that he'd directly contradicted his master. "They're the ones cheating! They're trying to steal something that's yours! You should beat them up!"
He knew he should chastise the boy. Punish him, even. But he also knew from experience that Orlando was smart enough to confine his more outrageous outbursts to times when they were alone; even at eleven he knew that much. And since there was therefore no possibility of the boy embarassing him before anyone else, Liam didn't see any particular reason to smack down such a staunch supporter.
Besides, he agreed wholeheartedly.
"Perhaps I will," was all he said. Orlando gave a satisfied nod and turned his attention back to his fishing.
Margaret leaned out the kitchen door and called, "Samantha?"
"Yes, Mama?" Samantha was stripping leaves off the last of the basil, except for the two best plants from that year, which she'd let go to seed. She stood up and wiped her sleeve across her forehead -- even mid-morning in October, the work was warming enough to get her sweating -- then headed over to see what her mother wanted, taking the half-full basket with her.
"Have you seen Orlando? He should've been back over an hour ago."
Samantha frowned. "No, I haven't."
"Do you think he might be down at the stable?" Her mother sounded dubious, but was clearly working herself into a fret.
"I can't imagine he would," Samantha said. "Not with groceries in the car, perishables. That'd be stupid. Orlando's thoughtless at times but he's not stupid."
"No, not usually." Margaret bit her lip and stared off in the direction of the road. They couldn't see it from the kitchen door, but Samantha could imagine her mother hoping to hear the car, rehearsing a good scold for whatever had delayed Orlando.
They both stood there for a few seconds, staring off at nothing, then Margaret whispered, "What if something happened?"
Samantha draped an arm around her mother's shoulders and squeezed. "If he had an accident, someone would've called. Or they will soon."
Margaret nodded, but didn't relax at all. She turned and looked up at the kitchen ceiling, in the direction of the Master's office where he'd be at work by now, on the phone and the computer, possibly both at once. "I should tell the Master."
"No, not yet." Samantha's hand clutched at her mother's shoulder. "Wait another hour. There might've been something, an accident, something that blocked traffic. There's no reason to just assume Orlando's been hurt. The fact that no one's called is good news -- there's no reason to disturb the Master yet."
"He'll be more angry if we wait."
"Only if there's reason. Please? Another half hour at least?" Samantha didn't often beg her mother for anything, but she was getting frightened. Master Liam in a rage was terrifying and she was still hoping that it would turn out to be nothing, that Orlando would drive up any minute now with a story about road repair or something that'd backed up traffic for miles between the estate and the shopping center where they got groceries.
He had to be all right.
Next Chapter: Chapter Three