Sunday, February 18, 2001
Rafe was being… strange.
Abednego wondered if he had been someone different, not his brothers’ sibling, if maybe Rafe might have been like this from the beginning.
The first day after the demon attacking Rafe had been awful. Rafe wouldn’t look at Abednego, he wouldn’t touch him, wouldn’t let him talk. It took him until after Abedngeo’s first class to even realize there was a silence order – and there had to be, although Abednego couldn’t remember getting one – and at that point he’d only changed it to “you can talk when the teachers talk to you.”
But today, he was… well, strange. He had sat down next to Abednego and brushed his hair, fed him with his own hand, showered him and tucked him into bed next to him, both of them naked.
The feeling of Rafe’s body nude against his, holding him close, cuddling him – Abednego didn’t know what to think about it. It was strange, not unpleasant, but not right either. He thought he ought to be back in his corner. He thought he ought to be shying away, but instead he found himself pressed up against his owner. It felt good. Was it supposed to feel good?
“Have I given your orders about what you can think or say or feel?” Rafe asked. His hand was stroking Abednego’s hip. His other hand was on Abednego’s collar.
He couldn’t lie. But how could that question be anything but a trap? Abednego swallowed and nodded, as small a movement as he could make. All of those things. All of them. Over and over again.
“I always hated it,” Rafe continued, “When I was told something wasn’t my concern. Or not to talk about something. I hated it when they told me not to think about Eris or Joff, like they weren’t my friends. Zita wasn’t your friend, was she? Do you miss her?”
A yes and a no question in swift succession. Abednego shook his head and nodded, both tiny movements. He didn’t think his input was really required, but he didn’t want to get caught out “not answering when spoken to” or anything else. Not when everything else was going so well.
Rafe seemed to notice him, finally – a weird thing to think when his hands were all over Abednego, but that’s how it felt. Abednego could feel his master still, not just his hands but his whole body. “Did I order you to silence again?”
Not again. Still. Abedngeo nodded minutely. He was getting very good at barely moving. By the time the year was over, he might be able to be a statue without any problem. Maybe there was a career in that. Human statue? He was pretty sure, somewhere, someone would like a human – well, humanoid – coffee table. It wouldn’t be any more humiliating than his current life.
“I take it back. Did I – did I give you emotion orders? Thought orders? I didn’t mean to.”
“Yes – yes, sir?” His voice sounded rusty. He held very still and hoped that he hadn’t just made the wrong decision. Not that there’d been too much decision to make. “Sometimes you just say, uh, ‘don’t worry…’” Shit, had that been an order? He hadn’t meant to keep going.
Maybe he just wanted to hurt Rafe. Sometimes in the private corners of his mind he pretended were still his and his alone, he wanted things like that. Sometimes he saw Joff looking at him sidelong and wondered if his emotions tasted like his brothers’ to the little empath. Sometimes he hoped they did.
“I do, do I?” Rafe’s voice cracked. “I don’t mean to. Those things aren’t supposed to be orders.”
Abednego was already frozen. He couldn’t hold any more still. “Sir…?” What was he supposed to do with that? Was that an order? Was it- what was it?
“Any orders I’ve given you about your mind or thoughts or emotions, I take back. Those are shitty orders. I hated them when I was Kept. You know what they feel like now, yeah?”
“Yeah… Sir.” His voice sounded strangled. He felt strangled. He wanted to run away, but Rafe’s hands were holding him. “Yeah, I, uh. I know what they feel like.”
Like not thinking about things that were unpleasant.
Like not worrying about what it meant when Rafe… when Rafe…
“Tell me what it feels like. “
“No, please,” it was too late, “it feels like not minding when you rape me, because you told me it was okay. Sir.” He swallowed hard around a rush of revulsion. The man was touching him. He was holding him. And he couldn’t do a damn thing about it. “Sir, I think I’m going to puke.”
“What? No, shit, here.” Rafe pulled Abednego into a sitting position and grabbed a garbage can, shoving it into Abednego’s hands. It was full of crumpled-up pieces of paper; where had those come from?
Abednego closed his eyes and, for a minute, all he thought about was losing his lunch. When Rafe took the can away from him and handed him a glass of water, though, Abednego know.
He’d written them. Page after page. They weren’t so much memories as they were thoughts of sitting there, brain not allowed to do anything, body not allowed to go far, while his hand just scribbled and scribbled.
But then he had to think about other things, because his owner was taking the cup away. “What did you mean?”
He tried not to whimper. “Please don’t.”
“Please.” Rafe frowned. “What did you mean?” He was kneeling in front of Abednego. He had his hands on Abed’s knees. He had a look on his face like he was in misery.
Abednego swallowed hard around another mouthful of bile. “I don’t think you’ve ever said please to me before.” He might be able to stall. He might be able to get away with not answering… maybe if he distracted Rafe enough.
“I didn’t want you to think that’s how most Kept got treated. But there’s nothing wrong with it, is there? Manners. I could order you to tell me.”
“You’ve ordered me to tell you the truth already.” He hadn’t taken that one back.
“But you’re not telling me.” Rafe shifted uncomfortably. “What do I have to do to make you tell me what you meant?”
Damnit. Abed looked away. “You let me remember things. I remember. I remember when you told me it was okay. Told me I’d be fine. Okay? You said, god, I’m going to be sick, I’m sorry, please stop making me talk.”
Rafe handed him the garbage can again. He wasn’t saying anything. Abednego looked up at him, trying to figure out what he was reading in his owner’s expression.
Owner. He had nothing left in his stomach but it was coming up anyway. He heaved and hacked until the feeling passed, then handed the garbage can back to Rafe. He couldn’t look the man in the eye. He couldn’t even look at him.
“You don’t have to tell me anything else right now. Here. Have some water.”
Rafe handed him the water, got up, and left, leaving Abednego alone with a garbage can full of confusion and bile.