Tag Archive | sequoia

Chapter 67: Abednego

Saturday, May 12, 2001

Every time Abednego thought things had settled in to something like normalcy, they shifted again.  He thought he’d stopped getting comfortable with things, just to find that he was dumped on his tail all over again.

Rafe couldn’t settle on what he wanted.  He would pet Abednego for a few minutes, then shift away guiltily, give him an order and then tell him it wasn’t an order.   

Saturdays and Sundays were the worst, and this time Rafe had gone through the cycle five times in less than an hour.  When Abednego found himself wishing for his corner and rules that, if horrible, at least made sense, he sat up straight, shaking off another cycle of petting. Continue reading

Chapter 63: Abednego

Sunday, April 15, 2001

Abednego shifted back and forth on the couch.  His heart had stopped aching; his… everything had stopped hurting, thanks to the blue pills and a few days of doing absolutely nothing, although he was going to have to learn to walk all over again.

They were all staring at him.  It was the first day he’d been up and around, and every single one of the people in the suite were staring at him.

No, he realized, Zeke was staring at Joff.  Which kind of made sense.  Joff was acting weirder than normal.

Abednego scooted back on the couch, although it didn’t really work.  His knees — his everything — went all in the wrong directions now.  “Say something?”  He meant it as a plea.  It made everyone jump. Continue reading

Chapter 55: Abednego

Thursday, March 22, 2001

The weirdest thing, Abednego thought, was that he would run into an order he didn’t remember having anymore.  He’d look up to say something and remember oh, yeah.  That was only lifted for Joff.  I can’t speak to Eris still.  Or he’d think about going to the bathroom and stop, not because there was an order, but because his entire body clenched at the idea of doing that without permission.

And weirder was the way Rafe handled it.  If he said something in private, Rafe acted surprised.  If he said something in public, Rafe acted horrified and embarrassed and – scared, he acted scared.

Abednego had no idea what was going on, but he could make the asshole who Owned him scared.   He thought that was pretty cool, on some level. Continue reading

Interlude: Joff

Joff woke up from a nightmare to find Zeke’s hand on his shoulder, his lover’s face just a few inches from his.  “Joff?  Joff, man, you were – you were doing that thing again.”

Doing that thing was fairly vague, but the worried expression and the emotions pulsing off of Zeke explained it well enough.  “It was – it was Meshach again.”  He had been feeling something from Rafe’s room.  He’d thought he’d gotten pretty decent at screening out Abednego’s low-level unhappiness, but this had been – different.  Self-disgust, anger, waves and waves and unhappiness and fear and panic.  It was like Abednego was going through his first week of being Kept, a bad first week of being Kept, all at once.

Joff had fallen into  – fallen into the closet, he thought, trapped and bound and naked and afraid and cold.  He had been so cold.  He pulled himself into a sitting position and accepted the comfort of Zeke’s arms and Zeke’s warmth. The warmer he was, the less likely he’d remember what it’d been like, before.

He found himself staring at the wall between his room and Rafe’s.  Someone was awake over there, and there were miserable; someone was asleep, and they weren’t happy.

“You didn’t…” he whispered.  Rafe knew he was an empath.  He wouldn’t have…

“Didn’t what?” Zeke asked quietly.  “What’s going on?”

“I’m wondering if – no.  No, Rafe isn’t trying to be a bad guy, he wouldn’t do that.  He’d have to be trying to hide it.  He’d have to be willingly…”  Joff shook his head.  The moods that were washing out of that room.  “Zeke, can you get me two of the little red pills?”

Zeke frowned.  “The sedatives?  You told me those were only for emergencies.”

Zeke was a good Kept.   More than that, he was a good boyfriend and a good friend.  Joff swallowed a momentary pang of guilt.  He was allowed to have friends that weren’t Rafe and Eris.  He was allowed to have friends that weren’t broken.

He was allowed to have friends who had a healthy sense of what constituted an emergency, because he was pretty sure he didn’t.

“Does the urge to carve a hole in the wall between our room and Rafe’s count?  Because I’m not sure if I want to hug him or knock him into next week.”

Zeke gave that due consideration.  Joff could just order – no, no he couldn’t.  He’d put in safeguards when he’d gotten Dr. Caitrin to give him the sedatives.  Zeke had an order that orders about pills weren’t orders, and if that wasn’t proof enough that the Keeping could be a mess, Joff didn’t know what was.

“Why don’t you sit here with me and tell me about it?” Zeke offered.  He patted his chest and Joff obligingly leaned back against the wide, warm chest of his aptly-named Sequoia.  “Then, if you still want the pill, I’ll get it for you.”

It should have felt bad to put part of his decision-making process in someone else’s hands so completely.  It felt safe.  Joff snuggled a little closer and closed his eyes.

“The way that room feels right now, someone just realized something horrible had been happening.  Has been happening to them to a while?  It’s like Abednego just woke up and realized he was being Kept by – by a monster, I guess.  Just realized things had been happening to him that he didn’t like.”

“I didn’t think Rafe was any good at Mind Workings?” Zeke offered cautiously.

“He’s not.  But you wouldn’t need to be, you just need to be an asshole about the bond.  I just, well, I didn’t think Rafe was that sort of asshole.”

“What do you mean?”  Zeke’s fingers were running through Joff’s hair, untangling sleep-tousled curls and massaging his scalp.

“I – urgh.  I could show you, but.  Well, you can order your Kept to do anything, to stop thinking about something, to stop feeling something, to stop wanting something.  So if I told you to stop breathing, or to stop worrying about something, or to stop thinking about, say, home…”

Zeke’s hands stilled.  “It can do that?”

“It can do that and so much worse.  It can make you stop minding things.  But the thing is, then you’d have to – to feel like Abednego is …”  Joff stilled.  “I am going to kill Rafe.  I really am. I am going to murder him in his sleep and then I am going to bring him back and murder him again.”

“Easy, easy.”  Zeke startled into motion, cuddling Joff tightly against his chest.  “Murder is against the rules, remember?”

“I remember.”  He couldn’t forget.  How many times had he heard that…?  “But what he’s done ought to be.”

Chapter 39: Abednego

Thursday, January 4, 2001

Abednego couldn’t help but notice the fuss on the other side of the dining hall.

He was pretty sure they noticed it in the next state (even if he was a little confused what state that might be, here underground).  Arna  – what had Arnbjörg been up to?  She’d stomped right up to that table with the six-armed girl and her friends, just like she stomped up everywhere.  Abednego had tried not to cringe, but he hadn’t bothered not watching.  She was glowering at the six-armed girl and the collared boy next to him.

“What does she think she’s up to?”  Eris sounded fascinated.  It was the first time Eris had sounded interested in anything since Zita left.  (Left.  Was taken.  Was “rescued”.  Was gone).  Abednego wasn’t sure that boded well for whatever she was interested in.  Continue reading

Chapter 15: Abednego

Friday, October 6, 2000

Dinner, Abednego had found, was one very rare part of the day that didn’t absolutely suck.

They had dinner with the crew, which meant Rafe was around Eris and Joff, and the two of them seemed to relax him.  Neither of them would really look at Abednego or say his name, but they had their own Kept, too, so he could more or less pretend they weren’t ignoring him on purpose. Continue reading