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Take an inch and I’ll give you a mile…

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August 6, 2016 by Lyn

This story takes place the night of the second Friday of the fifth year of the Addergoole School (On the same day as Chapter 19, but later in the day).

There were never any room parties the night before Hell Night. Shiva understood why; as lighthearted as her crew tried to make the day, it was too dangerous to face it drunk or hung over.

She and Niki had snuck out after dinner, to go play on the playground topside in the fading sunlight. It was silly, innocent fun, a stolen kiss here and there in this place where, when the sun came up, children would be playing, a not-quite-so innocent grope in the shadow of the monkey bars. Niki had seemed more at peace, hanging upside down, his smile wide and honest, than she’d seen him anywhere else.

She’d considered slipping over to D.J.’s house while they were up there, to visit her son Eryk and Niki’s daughter Siriana, but Niki had seemed sort of antsy about Siriana when she’d come up – knowing Ty, Niki probably hadn’t had much choice in fathering a child – so she let it be. There would be other days, and it was better not to push him.

His smile as they finally, reluctantly, came back inside was reward enough for her decision; the quick hug he gave her in the halls even better. She tousled his hair affectionately as they walked back to her room, hip-bumpingly close. This… wasn’t a fling anymore, and it no longer was about just keeping Niki from being lonely. She liked him, in that chest-twisting weird way that was like free fall and fireworks all at once. She was pretty sure he liked her, too, though it was sometimes hard to tell.

“It’s been a week,” he said softly, as they came around the bed towards her room.

She was momentarily wordless. A week. Last Friday, they’d…

“Technically,” she teased lightly, “that would be tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow,” he said, the strain barely showing in his voice, “we’ll be busy all day. Please?” He turned his best wide-eyed sad face on her, complete with an out-thrust lower lip, long eyelashes quivering.

“Departed gods,” she murmured, laughing. It was that or slap him for the too-obvious attempt at manipulation. “Do you really want this, Nikita?” she asked him, as gently as she could.

That brought him out of the fake pout quickly. “I do,” he responded, his voice sounding more adult and serious than he usually bothered with. “And not just because I want to be collared,” he touched the leather collar around his neck, “but because I want to belong to you.” She wasn’t sure if the insecurity in his expression was real or feigned, but it was heart-tugging either way. “I want to know you’re going to keep me around for a while.”

She needed to poke his manipulative neediness a little bit. “That didn’t work out that well with Ty, for either of us.”

He deflated just a tad, his shoulders slumping forward. “You’re not Tya, though.”

“Very true. So you want to Belong to me?” They were at her door now; she paused with her hand on the knob to hear his answer.

“I do.” He tugged on the front of the collar. “I want to be yours, if you’ll have me.”

That was the clincher, wasn’t it? She knew he could be high-maintenance, though barely so compared to some of her friends’ Kept – he had his own friends and his own hobbies, for one. He liked attention, and he was prone to sometimes-irrational jealousy.

In short, he was a boy. And she really did like him. If she turned him down, he would likely take that as a rejection.

She smiled at him, showing teeth. “Of course I’ll have you.” She opened the door as she spoke. “Step into my lair.”

She didn’t watch his face as he stepped in. She wanted a moment to think about this, to do it properly. While books on the Ellehemaei were rare, the library had a few special volumes, and she’d read them all. Being part of a society with almost no traditions or rituals made her feel rootless and off-kilter.

She dug up the words in her memory, and turned to look at Nikita, breathing carefully to swallow a moment of nerves.

He was naked, even the collar off, his clothes folded neatly on her computer chair, the combat boots tucked underneath it. He stood with his hands behind his back, eying her nervously. “I’ve been reading some of the books in the rare books section,” he said, somewhere between nervous and defiant. She wanted to hug him. It didn’t seem appropriate at the moment. “This is… there was one ritual of Belonging that I liked a lot.”

She recognized the ritual he was talking about. “The Auberville.” It sent a little shiver through her, nerves and anticipation. “I ask you three times, Nikita – are you sure this is what you want?” Of all the rituals, this one…

“I tell you three times, Shiva,” he answered steadily, trying to contain a smile, “I want to be yours.”

“Then kneel, Nikita cy’Drake.”

He dropped gracefully to his knees and dropped his face to look at the floor, the vines falling to obscure his features. “From this day until the day you choose to release me,” he recited softly, “Shiva cy’Pelletier, I Belong to you. I come to you with nothing but myself, and give into your care everything that I am. Whatever I have, from this day until you free me, will come from your hands and yours alone. I will neither eat nor drink nor sleep save by your gift. Your command is my will, and your desire is mine.”

“From this moment until I choose to free you, Nikita, you Belong to me.” She didn’t give herself time to think about it, picking up as soon as he fell silent. “You come to me with nothing but your self, and I will provide all that you need. Until the day that I release you, nothing need nor will come into your hands but through mine. Your hands and your mind will be as mine, and your care and your happiness will be my concern.”

She’d been shopping the day before, in anticipation of this – even if one of them had changed their minds, she could have found a use for this – so she had the collar ready, pooled in the pocket of her jeans. She pulled it out, regretful for the informality of the gesture, and dangled it in front of him – a thinnish red-gold chain of twisted figure-8 links, the O-ring small, the clasp a tiny lock. “With this collar,” she continued, catching the other end of it so that she could hold it like a garrote for him to lean into, “I lock this arrangement. You are mine, Nikita oro’Shiva.”

He leaned into the collar, his eyes half-closed. “I’m yours, mistress,” he breathed, as the collar clicked shut.


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