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.
Previous Chapters: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six
[Twenty-Two Years Ago]
The run-down house was filled with aging pizza boxes, scattered textbooks and the occasional stained and smudged bong. What it didn't have was air conditioning, and Marton was wondering for the millionth time why he'd agreed to move in with Nick.
Not that the dorms had been all that great either. At least at the house he had his own room, with a door that locked. And Nick was pretty cool, with a lot of friends, and being invited was sort of flattering.
Of course it was those very friends who were driving him nuts just then, because half a dozen of them had come over with beer and a set of smudged pamphlets and would not stop blathering no matter how late it got. It wouldn't have been so bad if they'd been talking about anything interesting, or useful, or even realistic. But no, it turned out that this particular little group of friends gathered around Nick Cage were fucking abolitionists and that night they were arguing on and on over the best way to "bust out" slaves and give them regular, free lives.
Marton was sprawled across a ratty armchair in the corner by the filthy fireplace with a microbiology text and a couple of hilighters and was trying to get some studying done. He had an exam on Monday and if these assholes kept him from getting a good grade he was going to hunt every one of them down and kick all their asses.
"--new identities so they could live here, so you wouldn't have to smuggle them across the border!" Dave was always insisting that it was cruel to force slaves to leave their homeland. Which was stupid because they'd have to leave their home area anyway so what was the difference?
"Don't be an idiot!" Nick had no patience for idiots, and not much diplomacy when he thought someone was being stupid. Which was pretty often 'cause he was kind of arrogant. "It's not like getting a fake driver's license to buy beer -- they'd need a birth certificate and a social security number and the whole nine yards."
"That's just paperwork," Dave insisted.
"It's official paperwork, with a paper trail and records all over the place. What, are you going to break into a dozen government office buildings with white-out and a pen and change all that stuff?"
"All they need is a couple cards!"
"Until they try to settle somewhere and get a job and their employer does all the paperwork for taxes and stuff and nothing matches and it all falls apart." Nick pitched a pizza crust at Dave, who batted it out of the air so it smacked Mike in the ear.
"Hey, watch it!" He grabbed the crust and pitched it back at Dave. It flew past his head with a good foot to spare and ended up sliding under the couch. "You're both wrong anyway -- everything's switching over to computer. Chasing paper around is stupid, and making a million copies just wastes trees. By the time we're out of school, everything'll be electronic and we can just hack in and make whatever changes we need."
Marton eyerolled from behind his book. They were all crazy. Why would anyone commit a bunch of crimes and take the chance of going to jail -- or being enslaved themselves -- just to free a bunch of slaves who couldn't pay for the service anyway?
Besides, the slaves would need a bunch of re-education to be able to function like free people. Unless they'd just been enslaved recently, that might work. But the ones who'd been at it for years and years, or been born to it? No way. Someone'd spill their coffee and cuss and the slave'd be down on his knees either cleaning it up or apologizing, just out of reflex and that'd be the end of that.
And once the slaves were caught, you could bet they'd rat out the people who'd helped them, ungrateful shits.
Best thing'd be to get 'em to Baffin to live with the polar bears. South was a bust unless they figured some way to get all the way to Colombia; the isthmus was so narrow, it didn't take much to patrol it, even in all those little countries that technically -- and only technically -- weren't part of the Empire. Getting across the Canal was insane; you'd be better off to just take a boat from Acapulco or Cancun. But oh, wait, then there was the Coast Guard with its orders to fire on anything that didn't have the right "I've Been Inspected Sixteen Times" bing in its transponder.
Going for the borders was fucking dangerous and the whole thing was ridiculous. And even if you were dumb enough to try and lucky enough to make it, you'd still end up spending all the money and taking all the risks with nothing to show for it from the slaves you rescued except a handshake and maybe a goodbye fuck. Sure, great idea.
Marton scrunched down in his chair and tilted his book up so it'd hide more of his face. He did not want to get caught up with these idiots. He liked Nick all right, but sometimes the guy's priorities were really weird, to say nothing of his major blind spot for what was realistic. Marton was going to med school and then spending his life raking in cash, and if anyone asked him, he'd never heard any of this crap.
Orlando drifted up into semi-consciousness, tried to turn and curl up and nearly fell out of bed. The losing-balance, almost-falling, flail-grab feelings, along with the sudden slashes of pain from his neck and back and belly and head, combined to slam him into full consciousness. He jerked upright and cracked his head on the low ceiling.
No, make that the upper bunk.
He curled up again, rubbing various aching parts of himself, and tried to figure out where he was.
The room was pitch black so there wasn't anything to see, but from the way the bonk of his head on the bunk had sounded, he didn't think it was very big. The mattress was thin and there was a stink in the air, of fear-sweat and old vomit.
Orlando hurt in a lot of odd places and wondered whether he'd had an accident. He couldn't remember getting hurt or anything recently, and it'd been ages since he'd actually done anything he wasn't supposed to. Last he remembered was going for groceries; maybe he'd been in a car wreck?
He heard a rustling noise and the bed creaked and shifted. A blinding light flashed into his eyes and he jerked his head back and covered his face with one arm.
The voice was male, and not one he recognized. Maybe he was in the hospital and had a roommate? But hospitals didn't have bunk beds. And they were never completely black-dark.
Orlando squinted and blinked until he could see. There was a dark-haired guy squatting on the floor next to his bunk, looking like he might be thinking about maybe being concerned someday.
"My head hurts," he said. His voice was weak and croaky and it felt like his throat was stuck together on the inside. "And my neck, and--"
"Right, right." The dark guy waved his hand before Orlando could get very far into his list. "You'll be okay in a few days; you slept through the worst of it."
"Worst of what? What happened? I can't remember what happened or where I am or anything. Where's my master?"
"Well, I've got some good news for you there. You don't have a master anymore. Cool, huh? Enjoy it while it lasts, though, 'cause it'll only be for a few weeks."
"Wait, what?" Orlando jerked up right again and barely managed to keep from bonking his head a second time. "What happened to my master?! Was there an accident? Omigod, is he dead?!"
Horrified thoughts flashed through Orlando's mind -- that his master was dead, maybe they'd been in a car crash and that was why Orlando was banged up but Master Liam hadn't survived. Or maybe his master'd been having money trouble Orlando hadn't known about -- had he been sold to pay debts? What now? Where were his mother and sister? Master Liam's dead!
"Hey, hey, don't black out on me!" The dark guy shook Orlando by the shoulder and jolted him back to the present. The guy stared and then scowled. "I can't believe you're crying over it. What, you like being a slave or something?"
Orlando grabbed back and got a good grip on the guy's forearm. "What happened? Is my master dead? Where's my mother and my sister? And Johnny and--"
This time the guy just clapped a hand over Orlando's mouth. It was more startling than anything and Orlando shut up even as he jerked his face away.
"Jeez, I think that knock on your head bruised your brain! Calm down! As far as I know, your old master's fine, I guess. Don't know about your family -- sorry about that. You might as well forget about them. Slaves don't really have family anyway, you know? You'll be here for a few weeks and then you'll be sold again. New house, new master or mistress, no big deal, right?"
"No! If Master Liam's still alive -- did he sell me? He'd never sell me, not ever!" Orlando pushed the guy out of the way and shoved up to his feet. The door was on the left and he charged across the room and tried to open it. Locked. He pounded on it, and managed to yell, "Hey! Let me out!" before the other guy dragged him back to the bunk again, hand back over his mouth.
"Shit, shut up! You'll get us both in trouble! Mostly me 'cause I'm supposed to keep you in line until you figure stuff out."
"So help me! Explain shit! What the fuck is going on 'cause this is totally insane!" Orlando sank back down onto the bunk with his elbows on his knees and his hands rubbing his face. It was way too real to be a nightmare but nothing made any sense.
"Fine, if you'll shut up and stop blubbering and listen. Basically, you've been stolen, all right? Not kidnapped, 'cause only people get kidnapped and we're not people. We're property and property gets stolen, right?" The guy flopped down onto the bunk and leaned back on his hands, as casual as if they were just any two slaves hanging out.
"So here we are. Your collar's gone and your chip and your brand. If you're hurting, besides where you bashed your skull, it's from the surgery to get the brand off and the chip out. You're free again, sorta, but only for a while so don't let it go to your head.
"As soon as you're healed up and all, the Master here -- and you better call him that even though he doesn't legally own you 'cause if you don't he'll thrash you good -- he'll give you a new name and all and sell you back to Commerce. You'll get re-processed, new chip and brand and all, and soon enough you'll have a new legal master and you can get on with your life. Just hang out here for a while, don't cause any trouble, orient the new kids when you're an old-timer if they tell you to, and everything'll be back to normal before you know it."
Orlando just stared and shook his head. It was hard to process everything the guy'd said because it was so crazy. How could anyone do that? It couldn't possibly work, could it?
"No. No way." He jumped up but didn't try to get out again. That obviously wasn't going to work anyway. Instead he just paced back and forth, his hands fisted and his jaw clenched. "I'm not going to anyone else. I'm going back to my master. His name is Lord Neeson and he's rich and powerful and he'll be looking for me. I just have to get to a phone or a computer or someone to tell and that'll be the end of it."
The other guy just snorted. "What, you're one of those slaves whose all 'attached' to his master? You think you love him? You think that just 'cause he fucks you that means he loves you?"
Orlando spun in place and snarled, "He does! He's loved me since I was little and I love him too and he'd do anything to get me back!"
"Great. You're going to get yourself killed trying to get back to some pedophile perv who's 'loved' you since you were a little kid." The guy smirked and gave Orlando a look that was half pity and half contempt.
"It's not like that--!"
"No, no, of course not. It's different with the two of you. It's really 'special' I'm sure." Another snort. "Look, the truth is that you're a fucking slave, okay? You're like a car or a horse and just as replaceable. Fuck, you're, what, my age, right? Late twenties?"
"I'm thirty-one," Orlando muttered.
"Thirty-one?!" The guy hooted with laughter. "And you've been with your master all that time? The same guy? The one who 'loves' little kids, and you think he's going to waste any time hunting for you?"
"He will! He's--"
"He's a master," the guy spat. "And they're all the same, even if they pretend not to be. You're gonna be here for six weeks, maybe two months. There's no way out, no way to get a message out. By the time you're anywhere near a phone, your master'll have forgotten all about you and will have some nice, fresh teenager trained to yell, 'Oh, Master, fuck me hard!' on cue. Or, sorry, your master loves little kids, so it'll probably be a ten-year-old. Whatever."
All of Orlando's fear and confusion boiled up into fury and it had a perfect target. He threw himself at the lying fuck on the bunk and was pounding the crap out of him when the door slammed open and two thugs charged in and whacked him with their batons a few times before jabbing him with a needle.
Next Chapter: Chapter Eight