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, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen
Liam had never really noticed before how much of the room was taken up with body-slaves. It made sense, of course; they were almost half the occupants. Everyone present in the hotel ballroom, except for the catering staff, had a body-slave nearby.
Everyone except him, of course.
Someone had asked. There always had to be someone who'd ask, despite how rude it was.
"So, Neeson, where's your boy?"
"Not with me tonight," had been his short, chilly answer. Perfectly obvious, but more of a reply than the idiot deserved.
Liam hadn't wanted to go that night, but of course he had. It was for an excellent cause and he was on the foundation's board and he didn't have anything close to a decent excuse to stay home, so he'd managed to dress himself, since Johnny was in Dallas for next two days, and sat in the back of the car brooding while Javier drove him.
He confined himself to a single glass of wine before dinner and another one during. He knew that if he didn't discipline himself, it'd be too easy to fall into a drunken melancholy during which he'd likely say any number of ludicrous things and embarass himself in some spectacular way.
It was difficult, but he managed. Of course he did -- he was a Neeson and any alternative was unthinkable.
Being without Orlando made him more aware of the other body-slaves in the room, though. There was a wide variety in presentation -- how the slaves were dressed, how they held themselves, how their masters treated them. Some were in evening clothes, tuxedos and evening gowns calculated to set off their owners' outfits. Some were dressed more simply, like a fantasy version of Slave Togs: short velvet dresses, clingy silk shorts and tunics, gold-strapped sandals.
Then there were the more outlandish costumes designed solely to attract attention, like Roday's latest pair, decked out in eye-blindingly bright harem-girl and -boy outfits, with enough precious metals and glittering gems to outfit a flea market stall. The one saving grace was that they hadn't brought any animals with them.
There was the usual abundance of slinky (two-legged) cats, complete with ears and tails, and occasionally with only ears and tails. A few puppies in bright collars and one plumed pony rounded out the play-animals, but there were other slaves on the floor -- some who walked beside their owners and knelt whenever they stopped, and others who crawled everywhere.
Liam had never been one for that sort of display at a formal event, but he could generally appreciate a nice ass well presented.
Generally. They weren't doing much for him at the moment, though.
Dinner was up to standard but unspectacular, and everyone at his table had the manners to ignore the empty spot on the floor beside him. After the dinner dishes were cleared away, Liam made his speech, thanking the donors and praising the At Bay Foundation's work cleaning up the Bay Area's wetlands, then sat down. His applause was automatic through the rest of the speeches and after the presentation given by the ABF's operations director. Once the dessert plates had been cleared, he started counting the minutes until he could gracefully leave.
Ten minutes short of his goal, he was standing to one side talking with a few acquaintances when two men behind him mentioned his name in overly-loud, slightly-drunken voices.
"--surprised Neeson doesn't have a slave with him. Is he one of those?"
"No, not at all! He has a gorgeous, dark-haired boy with cheekbones to kill for. And a brain in his head -- Greg tells me the boy is a first-rate assistant. Maybe not quite a boy anymore, getting a little old for the job, but I'd tap that and go away happy, I'll tell you."
"You haven't? Neeson doesn't share, then?"
"Hardly ever and only when he's present himself. You know you've made his inner circle when he lets you touch Orlando."
The other man laughed and said, "Well, keep working on it, you might still get lucky!" Then they both laughed and Liam heard glasses clinking.
Lord Jobs gave Liam a sardonic smile and said, his voice just a touch loud, "I have a feeling that one's never going to be a member of your 'inner circle,' Liam."
Liam smirked back at him, then turned around and faced one man he recognized and one he didn't. Both were staring at him in aghast social panic. He gave them a cold stare down his nose, barely allowing one corner of his mouth to quirk into a smile to match lord Jobs's, and lifted his glass to them before turning back to his previous conversation.
He wanted to punch both of them, and especially the unfortunate Mr. Carver. Not only for speaking disrespectfully of him, too loudly and in public, but because he'd have to stay at least an extra half hour so as not to give the impression that he was leaving because of them.
He wanted to go home. He wanted to check in with Thewlis. He wanted to just drive around, searching.
Instead he sipped his drink and debated with Jobs, Raymond and MacDonald about Eastwood's run for governor.
It was hard to count the days, so Orlando didn't know how long it'd been since the janitor had promised to contact his master. It seemed like at least a month -- a year! -- but he knew it couldn't have been that long, not really. Actually, once he thought about it, it probably wasn't even two weeks.
He tried to remember how many meals he'd had. He'd started counting them but they came irregularly, and he'd lost track after ten anyway. So it'd been more than ten meals, but not twenty. But sometimes he didn't get fed for a while -- and in fact it'd been a long time since his last feeding and that'd only been a granola bar -- so he had no idea how long it'd been. Maybe the janitor just hadn't had an opportunity to talk to him? Or maybe Master Liam was working on getting him back and the janitor figured he didn't need to tell him because he'd be out soon?
Orlando was huddled on the concrete floor of his cell, his arms wrapped around his legs, trying to keep warm. He'd never really thought about the cold before. He'd lived in California all his life, and while he did need shoes and socks and a jacket to go outside in winter, he'd never before tried to sleep when it was too cold, right there, in the room with him. He was tired and chilled, groggy with fatigue but kept awake by the shivers.
He wondered whether he was even still in California.
Maybe they'd taken him somewhere else. He had no idea how long he'd been out when they'd drugged him that first time.
For that matter, he had no idea whether he'd really been drugged. His memories of that day were fuzzy and it was fading, like something he'd seen or heard about or dreamed.
The door to his cell opened and Mr. Anderson came in. Orlando tensed and scrambled back to huddle against the wall. He knew it was pointless but couldn't help it.
That day, though, Mr. Anderson just clipped a leash to his collar and said, "Come." Orlando stood up on creaky-cold joints and followed him out into the corridor and down to the training room.
The usual routine was to lock him to the wall and beat on him until he was willing to say his name was David. It took a while, but he'd been giving in more and more quickly. Bruises on top of bruises built up, along with cuts and scrapes and what felt like a cracked rib, and Orlando just couldn't take very much anymore.
This time, though, Anderson just pointed to a spot in the middle of the floor and said, "Kneel." Orlando walked over and sank into a kneeling present without even thinking about it, his hands resting on his thighs, palms up.
"Hands at your sides," Anderson said. "Knees closer together."
That was... well, weird, but Orlando obeyed anyway. Maybe Commerce trained slaves differently? Or maybe they didn't want him to be a body-slave? He was kind of old for it, if they thought he'd be just starting out. Thirty-one -- the same age Johnny'd been when Master Liam had retired him to Agent, and Johnny'd said it was just as well--
His wandering memory was interrupted by a smack on the back of the head. It didn't hurt much, but startled him back to the there-and-then.
"Pay attention," said Mr. Anderson. "We're trying something new." He picked up a plastic bowl from a table and dragged a chair over, then sat in front of Orlando with the bowl on his lap. "You haven't eaten for a while and I imagine you're getting hungry. I have food here." He held up a grape, and tipped the bowl to show Orlando that it was full of cut-up fruit. "When you tell me what I want to hear, you get to eat. If you don't, you don't. Simple."
Orlando glared up at him and clamped his mouth shut.
"Oh, come on," said Anderson, his voice light and coaxing. "What difference do the words make? At this point I don't care whether you believe it or not, I just want to hear it. You can pretend you're an actor if you want, saying lines for a play. Or you can think about how smart you are, manipulating me into feeding you when actually my clever scheme to get you to accept your true identity isn't working at all. Whatever works for you. I just need to hear you say your real name, and then you get to eat."
"My real name is Orlando Bloom."
"Wrong." Anderson ate the grape and fished a slice of banana out of the bowl. "Try again."
Orlando was hungry. He didn't know how long it'd been since he'd last eaten, but it'd been longer than his stomach liked. And he could smell the fruit; the sweetness drifting through the air made his mouth water. He swallowed hard and said, "Orlando."
"Wrong again." Anderson ate the banana slice. Next out of the bowl was a chunk of apple. It was neatly cored and sliced, with the dappled red skin still on, its flesh white and fresh-looking with no sign of brown.
He whispered, "Orlando," and the apple slice vanished.
They worked their way through the fruit -- pitted cherries and slices of peach and chunks of pineapple. Anderson ate each piece himself, apparently just as happy to have it. Finally they were down to one last piece, another grape.
"This is it," Mr. Anderson said. He tipped the bowl again to show Orlando that it contained only juice. "Sure you're not hungry?"
Throughout the whole process he hadn't hit Orlando at all, except for the light smack on the head to get his attention. He hadn't shown any anger or even annoyance. He wasn't fighting, just making an offer; it was up to Orlando to take the deal or not.
He wanted to. His stomach was twisting with hunger, so close to the fruit and having to watch it disappear piece by piece. And it really didn't matter what he said. He knew who he was, and Anderson had even said he didn't care what Orlando thought or believed.
Anderson was watching him, studying him. He interrupted Orlando's internal agonizing by waving the grape slightly and saying, "Don't want it, then?" and started to eat it.
Orlando blurted out, "David Timothy Grant!" then froze, wide-eyed, and hated himself for giving in.
"Very good!" Mr. Anderson's smile was warm and his voice full of praise. He held out the grape and fed it to Orlando. He could feel Mr. Anderson's warm fingers against his lips while he took the grape, bit into it and felt the juice, tasted the sweetness.
"That was excellent. Say it one more time and you can clean the bowl." Anderson put the plastic bowl down on the floor. There was at least an inch of syrupy juice in it, with a few shreds of pulp floating in it. The rich, sugary scent was overwhelming.
Orlando said, "David Timothy Grant" one more time, then pushed his face into the bowl without waiting for permission. He didn't even think about using his hands, he just cleaned the bowl with his tongue like a dog, savoring every drop, not caring that his face was sticky by the time he was done, and a few strands of hair were gooped up with juice.
Anderson's hand was patting his head and a voice was telling him he was a good boy. He polished the bowl and hoped his master got him out soon.
Next Chapter: Chapter Sixteen