Did you know that you could commission side stories of Addergoole? This one is commissioned by Wyste, and takes place right after Chapter 47.
Shadrach was vomiting in Rafe’s bedroom.
No. No… Rafe shook his head sharply. Up until that — that demon-voice thing had started showing up, he’d been doing better. His Kept was, despite looking like Shad, despite sounding like Shad, a younger, quieter, more controlled version of Shad.
More controlled, because he was wearing Rafe’s collar. More controlled, because Rafe was going to make sure this Shadrach understood exactly what Keeping was like.
If he understood, he might never flip out and start cutting his own Kept. He might never lock his own Kept in the closet. He might never give his own Kept conflicting orders.
Rafe couldn’t hurt Shadrach. He couldn’t make Shad or Meschach or Liza or Gruffydd pay for what they’d done. But he could stop them from doing it again in the form of their little brother. He could educate their younger brother.
That had been the plan. But now Shadrach was vomiting into Rafe’s garbage can.
No. No, Abednego. Rafe had — had gotten a quiet talking-to and he’d come back into the room and asked his Kept if he’d ever given him emotion orders.
Emotion orders were — not the worst, only someone who had never been ordered to hurt their friend would think emotion orders were the worst — but they were awful. They twisted your brain up until you didn’t know what you were thinking or feeling and then you were free and you were flopping all about with no idea what was up or what you felt.
Rafe loved Eris, and he loved Joff. He didn’t know a whole lot else, but he knew that. And Shadrach had made him hurt them.
The boy on his floor made a gagging whimper and Rafe stared at him, not knowing what to do. He’d taken away the orders. Wasn’t that supposed to make things better?
“What—” No. No, Abednego had already told him that. He’d — oh. Oh, fuck. I didn’t mean it. He’d meant it. He’d had Shadrach in front of him and he’d wanted to hurt him.
Abednego. Abednego, his Kept. “Come—” No. He swallowed. No more orders, not today. He fucked those up. He stood up and closed the short distance to his Kept. “Here. I-” He couldn’t just say I’m sorry. There wasn’t really a realm of sorry for this.
And then Abednego lo – Shadrach looked at him, loathing and fear in his eyes, and Rafe struggled not to quail backwards.
“I thought you left,” Abednego croaked. He hadn’t touched the water. Why hadn’t he touched the water. “You were gone. I-”
“You haven’t touched your water,” Rafe pointed out. He was not going to deal with the mirror in his Kept’s eyes. He was not going to face the hatred there. No.
“You didn’t tell me I could. Have some water. That’s a trap. I know what you do with traps.”
His voice was flat. He didn’t sound angry. Shadrach sounded angry when he was angry. He’d sounded angry a lot, around Eris.
It helped Rafe ground himself. He looked off into the distance for a minute. Abednego. Abednego, his Kept. Not Shadrach. “You can drink water. Any orders I give you going forward that – anything I say about not being able to drink. Or eat. Drink or eat, those aren’t orders. You can always drink water.”
Joff, so skinny his ribs showed like a famine victim. Joff, subsisting almost entirely on emotions and confessing, quietly, that he’d grown to like the days they were hurt because at least then he had some food. “You can always eat food. You can -” You can do whatever you want. “That won’t ever be a trap again.”
If there was a trap, he was caught in it too.