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, Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen, Eighteen, Nineteen, Twenty, Twenty-One, Twenty-Two, Twenty-Three, Twenty-Four, Twenty-Five
Ben -- I'm certainly interested in getting Orlando back. Let me know what you want, and if it's within my power then we'll do business.
You can't give me what I really want, my freedom, but the next best thing is a good life. Can you promise me that? I don't mind doing stuff sometimes but I'm not into sweat-labor or anything, and I don't like being bored. Will you promise to support me for the rest of my life and not hassle me and just let me do my thing? Give me your word and I'll tell you who I really am and where I am. You come make my new owner an offer he can't refuse. Once I belong to you, I'll tell you everything I know.
Ben -- I'm sorry you're in a bad situation but how do I know you have any information that'd be useful? If you just met Orlando in passing for a few hours, in a warehouse or something similarly temporary, that's not really worth what it's likely to cost to persuade a reluctant owner to sell you.
I'm anxious to get Orlando back but I need some reassurance I'm not just being played here. A lot of people know my Orlando is missing by now, and you could be anyone.
Look, I'm the one taking all the risks, here. I'm a slave, right? I could hand you your guy on a golden plate and you could turn around and fuck me over and I'd have absolutely no one to complain to. So pardon me if I don't feel all that sorry for you, having to take a chance with some cash. If you're as filthy rich as Orlando said, you could buy twelve of me and not notice.
I'm not asking for a pile of money for myself. I'm not asking you to smuggle me out of the country. I'm not even asking you to support me in my own 50-room mansion with a fleet of Italian sports cars and a dozen slaves of my own. I just want a decent future with no one messing me over. I didn't ask for this and I'm not going to apologize for taking the only chance I've got to make the best I can of a really shitty life.
And by the way, the longer you fuck around, the harder it's going to be to find Orlando and the less likely it is that he'll be in decent shape if you do catch up with him.
So do we have a deal or not?
Ben -- for someone asking for a damned huge favor, you don't seem to care what impression you make. That's bad negotiating, just as a tip.
Some other things have come up and I'm not even sure anymore that it'd be in Orlando's best interest to be found, Commerce being what it is. I'd still love to get a crack at whoever took him, though. It doesn't sound like you know where Orlando is right now anyway -- can you give me the thief at least?
Oh, what-fucking-ever. You're right, I don't give a shit what you think of me. If you want to drop this then we can drop it. If you want Orlando then I can set you on his trail. If you want the thieves (more than one) then I can give you two of their recent addresses, and that was two places they used at the same time, not two in a row with one abandoned already.
Let me know if you ever make up your damn mind.
Ben hit SEND on his latest e-mail and cussed under his breath.
Owners all sucked, and the nobles were the worst of them. How did rich assholes ever keep from going broke if they couldn't even make up their minds what they wanted?
He might just be better off saying fuck it all and staying with Mr. Duncan. He wasn't totally sucky, as owners went. He still hadn't tried to fuck Ben, or hit him more than a smack here and there. The work wasn't really hard and he could do whatever he wanted once it was done -- watching TV or playing on the computer or whatever. So far as he could tell, Mr. Duncan wasn't even monitoring his computer usage. Not that it'd do him a lot of good to try, 'cause Ben was smart enough to erase any tracks he didn't want found and replace them with normal stuff, mostly porn 'cause that was iffy enough he could pretend to be embarassed if anyone confronted him about it and throw off any suspicion that he could doctor the caches.
But staying with Duncan probably wouldn't be all that bad. The problem was, Ben didn't know that he would be with the guy for the long haul. Sure, if he was really as satisfied as he seemed to be, maybe he'd keep Ben for the next forty years and it'd all be cool. But maybe he wouldn't -- maybe he'd get bored, or decide he'd rather have a woman, or just use a PDA and do the work himself.
Or, fuck, he might get hit by a bus tomorrow and then what? Ben had no idea who'd inherit him if Mr. Duncan died. Maybe no one -- he might end up back with Commerce. Either way, it was owner-roulette all over again.
He made a mental note to ask about heirs and all, if Neeson ever got his fucking act together and decided to deal. Make sure there was something in his will about his heirs keeping the bargain. For all Ben knew, he could be ninety-six and on his deathbed; even if not, there was always the bus option.
Ben had never been curious before, but suddenly he was. He got back on the keyboard and a minute later was looking at a bio of Neeson on one of his company web sites, with a formal portrait.
All right, definitely not ninety-six. Not bad if you liked older guys. And Orlando'd been right -- the guy was rich enough to buy a hundred and twelve of Ben if he wanted to, so all his screwing around obviously didn't have anything to do with money.
It'd been a couple of months, so maybe he was starting to lose interest in Orlando? The guy was hot, yeah, but he was over thirty and after this long, how many owners would still be interested? Neeson probably had a new body-slave by then anyway. Besides, Orlando'd said he was into kids, so why did he even care whether he got his way-too-old slave back anyway?
Thewlis put down the last of the print-outs and said, "This Ben could definitely use a few manners, but he has a point. Why the delay?"
His employer leaned back in his office chair and stared at the ceiling. "I don't know what to do. I'm just not sure anymore. What if we do find Orlando -- then what? Parkinson as good as said right out that whenever he's found they'll take him as a runaway and that's that."
"So, what then? Do you want to abandon the search?"
"Maybe I should."
Thewlis blinked. He'd never seen Lord Neeson looking so tired, had never imagined him looking so... so empty. Deflated. He'd always been the irresistable force, or at least had behaved like one. But now?
It was true that Thewlis had never known anyone to take on Commerce and come out the winner, but Lord Neeson had always forged ahead, sure that he could power through and end up getting what he wanted, on sheer force of personality if nothing else.
Now, though, all that was gone.
"Well, it's your choice, My Lord." Thewlis stood up and fiddled with his coat buttons for a few moments. When the silence stretched, he added, "You have my number if you need anything else," then bowed and left.
David had gotten used to the routines -- sleeping in the open, shuffling darkness; eating whatever he was handed, whenever food was available; obeying without question anyone who wasn't wearing a collar, and even some who were.
The training was more dull than difficult, and emotionally taxing rather than physically. David seemed to be having an easier time of it than most of the others, something he only noticed after he'd been there a while.
Some "while" he couldn't measure, because the first... "while" had passed like a cold, distant dream. He only noticed it later, when everything around him began to change.
Colors were brighter, sounds were clearer, people and things were sharper, and his memory was retaining and sifting and processing it all. His headache was gone, as was his nausea, and that probably helped. But it was like he'd been dragged around in his sleep for some unknowable period, and had only recently woken up.
Which was why, in the middle of lunch one day, while eating his baloney sandwich, he saw one of the staffers leaning against a wall, watching all the slaves gulp their food while eating something of his own. It was a cookie, a big one, golden brown and studded with something dark. And Orlando remembered.
Orlando dropped his food and scrambled to his feet. He wove his way through the crowd of slaves, stepping over legs and tripping over feet and slipping once on someone's spilled milk, moving faster until by the time he got close to the staffer with the cookie he was running and had to skid to a stop. Which was just as well because the man had seen him coming and had his baton up and pointed right at Orlando's chest; he stopped a bare finger-width away from getting shocked.
"There's been a mistake! I don't belong here! I have a master!"
The staffer swallowed his mouthful of cookie, then said, "Aww, fuck."
Someone behind him hooked Orlando's legs out from under him. He hit the concrete floor with a thud, flat on his face and gasping for air.
"Figures," said a harsh female voice from somewhere past his feet. "Not a lick of trouble out of this one for all this time, and he picks our shift to have a looney break."
Orlando felt a heavy hand on the back of his neck, pressing his face into the cold floor. His tunic was shoved up and something hard and plastic ran across his back, then beeped.
"David Grant. Says here he's a liar and a troublemaker. Babbled some story about already being a slave when he was first brought in, thought that'd make Intake let him go so he could run on home to his owner."
A chorus of harsh laughter echoed through the concrete room; more staffers must've come over to see what the fuss was about.
"No, it's true!" Orlando had an empty feeling in his gut and was sure no one would believe him, but he had to try. "If you'd just call him!"
"Give it up, slave," said the man with the cookie. He took another bite, then added, spewing crumbs, "If y'keep spouting bullshit, y'll just get hurt. You been smart s'far, keep it up."
A baton tapped his shoulder, sending a jolt through him. If he hadn't been still sprawled on the floor, he'd have fallen again. The woman's voice said, "Shut up. At least you could've come up with something plausible. Usually the whine is that there was a mistake in the accounting, or they could've paid their debt if they'd had another month, or some crap like that. 'I'm already a slave' has to be the stupidest whine I've ever heard, so just save it. Right?" She jabbed his ass with her baton, sending one last jolt through him. "Right."
Orlando just lay there, gasping for breath and waiting for his limbs to start working again, until the lunch period was over and they were all hustled out to their next training session.
But he remembered who he was, and what had happened, and he would find someone who'd listen.
Next Chapter: Chapter Twenty-Seven