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, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten
[Five Years Ago]
"Up!" little Jamie demanded in an imperious voice. He held his chubby arms in the air. "Up-up!"
Orlando grinned and said, "Yes, Master Jamie. Climb up on the fence so I can reach you."
Master Jamie Neeson, at age three, was just as much of a brave little monkey as Orlando'd ever been. He scrambled up and climbed the fence slats like a ladder, then leaned against the top rail while standing on the second and held his arms up again.
Orlando leaned over and pulled him up onto Sassy Lady's back, perched on her withers in front of Orlando's saddle. With one arm wrapped around Jamie's chest, Orlando clucked Lady into a slow walk around the pasture.
"Say, 'Give me the reins, please,'" Orlando chided.
"Gimme!" Master Jamie was starting to sound suspiciously tantrumish.
"Not until you ask properly. Your daddy is never rude, not even to slaves." Well, not quite true, but usually.
"Gimme reins please!"
"Close enough." Orlando grinned and let Jamie hold the reins. His hands were too small and weak for him to do much with them, but he waved them around anyway and yelled, "Giddyap!"
Orlando circled his thumb and forefinger around the reins, beyond where Jamie was gripping; he wasn't holding them, but making the reins pass through the small circles of his hands damped down the wild flailing. As it was, Lady looked over her shoulder, trying to see what the heck was going on.
"Look, there's your daddy!" Orlando pointed over to the other side of the pasture, facing the stable, where Master Liam was leaning on the fence watching them. Jamie leaned way over to see and would've fallen off if Orlando hadn't had a hold on him.
"Daddy!" Jamie waved wildly. "Daddy, watch me!"
Orlando laughed. "He can't hear you from here, kiddo. Want to go over and see him?"
"Okay. Want to go fast?"
"Okay, hang on!" Orlando grinned, and he was the one hanging on tight. He'd taken the reins back while Jamie was waving at Master Liam, and he turned Lady around, then tapped her into a gallop. They flew across the grass, Jamie shrieking with laughter.
They were across in less than a minute, and Orlando reined Lady back down to a walk. Jamie was yelling, "More faster!" but Orlando just petted his hair and said, "Later, kiddo. There's your daddy, wave!"
Jamie waved madly and Master Liam waved back. "Did you have fun?" he asked Jamie.
"Yes! I want to go again!"
"In a few minutes," Liam said. He looked up at Orlando and added, "It'd be best if you never let the mistress see you doing that with him up there. At least not for a few more years."
"No, Master." Orlando nodded and gave as much of a bow as he could manage while on horseback and holding on to a three-year-old. Mostly it was a slow head nod.
"In fact, it'd probably be best if she never sees him on a full-size horse period until he's around ten or so."
"Yes, Master. I'll pay particular attention to when she's visiting."
"You do that." Master Liam gave him a quick half smile. "She wasn't overly happy about Tabby, but she's resigned to it. And Paula stays with Tabby; for the few times a year she's here, he'll do for now."
"Yes, Master." Tabby was the pony Liam had gotten for his children, shortly after their first birthday. Bramble, the pony he'd gotten for Orlando and Samantha all those years ago, was happily retired, munching grass in the side pasture by the house and looking picturesque. He was too old to start up again on another generation of children, though, so Tabby was the working pony. Layna, one of the gardeners had a pair of young daughters, and Maddy, a housemaid, had a son just a year older than Jamie and Paula, so Tabby was never lonely, even when Jamie could persuade someone to take him up on a horse.
Dividing the twins hadn't been an optimal solution for anyone, but when the Master and Mistress had separated, they'd decided that each taking a twin and visiting whenever they could would be better for the children than shuttling them back and forth. They'd both lived with their mother until they were three, and then Jamie'd come to live with his father, just a few months ago.
Orlando had some doubts about how Paula was going to turn out, considering how badly Mistress Natasha spoiled all her body-slaves -- not only Chad but also the three since him -- but no one had asked him for his opinion so he'd kept it to himself. Jamie was a a bit full of himself, but his father kept a rein on him and allowed all the staff, including the slaves, to insist on politeness from the boy. He was getting the message, slowly.
"Vincent, talk to me."
"Mark, this is Liam. How've you been?"
"Not bad. Business is good. How about you?"
"I have something to ask you, and it might be a bit sensitive."
"What d'you want to know? You've already watched me fuck a dozen times -- what's more sensitive than that?"
Liam would've laughed if the situation had been different. "This is actually about Paul."
There was silence on the other end of the line, then, "He's gone. What's there to say?"
"Mark, I need to know, did you sell him? You never said and I didn't want to ask. We all just assumed at the time, but I'll admit I was surprised."
"Hell no, I didn't sell him." Vincent paused again and Liam heard him muttering to himself, then a muffled "Fuck it." Aloud, Vincent said, "He just vanished one day. He'd gone out to pick up the fucking dry cleaning and never came back. The cops decided he'd run away, hunted around for him for a while then gave up, turned it over to Commerce. Commerce said I'd got the insurance and could use it to get another body-slave, that Paul was their problem now and when they found him they'd take care of him. He's probably in a fucking medical lab or something right now, or dead."
"Or maybe not," said Liam. "Look, Orlando vanished too, last week. He was getting groceries."
"Orlando? Fuck! That boy'd never run away from you! Someone'd have to cosh him on the head and toss him over their shoulder."
"That's essentially what happened. We have a witness who saw someone get out of a van next to where he'd parked at the grocery store. Then the van drove off and he was gone. She couldn't see clearly, but it was obvious someone took him."
"So, what? He was pinched? Fuck, you think someone got Paul too?"
"It could be. Probably not the same group, on opposite coasts, unless they're a lot bigger than I've been imagining. Damn, I hope not -- if they really do operate on both coasts, then Orlando could be anywhere."
"So what are you doing to get him back? Anything I could use? It's been a couple years since I lost Paul, but if there's a chance he's still around.... Hell, I can think of three or four possibilities and I don't much like any of 'em, but if he's still there then I want to find him, get him out and break some heads."
"I hired an investigator who's been looking around, but most owners won't talk to people like him about missing slaves. Did Commerce tell you to keep quiet about it?"
"Yeah, they did. Said it didn't do anyone any good to let it get out that slaves ran away sometimes. Give the others ideas and all, end up with more sent to toxic clean-up and whatever all else."
"Right. And meanwhile these thieves, however many of them there are, are using that, counting on the fact that no one talks about vanished slaves, and the assumption that they've all run away. No one's looking for thieves, or hasn't until now. Who knows how long they've been at it?"
"So what are you doing?"
"Right now, just calling around, trying to find more cases of theft rather than flight. My investigator wants to get everyone together if we can, pool information, see what we can come up with together. The more cases he can look at, the greater the chance of something from mine fitting together with something from yours and something else from someone else's, and pointing him at the people doing it."
"Assuming they're all the same people, yeah."
"They'd have to be using similar tactics at least, I'd think. They're blocking the signal to the chips somehow, for example."
"Right, true. Okay, let me know when you want to get together and I'll fly out. At your place, right? Or are we gonna meet in the middle? St. Louis, maybe?"
"Probably my place," Liam said with an eyeroll.
"Cool, I'll be there."
"--so Vincent's coming in from New York, and Clooney's sending his Agent. I don't know how much they'll be able to help us, since they're on the other end of the country and I hope it's not all the same gang, but they can listen in and then go home and get their own effort started," Liam said to Thewlis.
"True," Thewlis agreed. "It's the five from California and the one from Nevada I have hopes for, though. If we can find some commonality between them, it'll help point us in the right direction."
"That's next week, though. What do you have for me now?" Liam knew it wasn't realistic to expect everyone he'd contacted to drop their business and fly out tomorrow, much less that evening, but he couldn't banish the urgency he felt.
Thewlis flipped a couple of pages in his notebook and changed gears. "Nothing positive, but some positive negatives, if that's not too contradictory. I managed to find someone who agreed to take me as a guest to a floating club, purely underground and very illegal -- gambling, drugs, cage fights, and slaves for a variety of uses. A one-stop entertainment center, which moves around the area, usually in warehouses or cheap industrial parks, other abandoned venues."
Liam could well imagine his boy in a place like that. A beautiful young man like Orlando would be very popular with the sort of people who enjoy breaking things just to hear them smash. "I take it you didn't find him there."
"No, and in this case I consider it good news. I couldn't get to every slave in the place, so I left and called a friend of mine with the local police department. They raided the place within half an hour, and he let me watch while they brought everyone out. I had a look at every face, including the ones who had to be carried, and none of them matched Orlando's picture."
"Good. And bad." Liam sighed and rubbed his eyes. "The fact that he wasn't there doesn't mean he isn't someplace else even worse. I wish you'd found him."
"I wish so too, my Lord. But some of the slaves they brought out were dead, and a few more will likely have to be put out of their misery. I'm very glad he wasn't one of those."
Liam just nodded and tried not to think about all the other possibilities.
Next Chapter: Chapter 12