Few beings were able to truly anger Darion. One of them was now peering down at him, looking quite smug.
“Undo these bindings, Tolrek!” Darion ordered for the third time.
With the help of Fei, Arjan and Halsam, who had all been eager to assist Tolrek, the rebel had come up with a plan to subdue Darion. Arjan had mixed mattius, a rare Tildari spice into Darion’s dinner. In small quantities it added a unique flavor to meat. Only the most skilled of chefs used the product. Too much of it caused an individual to pass out shortly after consuming it. The heat from his bath had hastened Darion’s reaction, leading him to pass out faster than the scheming trio had expected. Fei had transmitted the footage of Darion bathing to the rebel’s room. Then, the trio had watched, timing when the negotiator would succumb to their plot.
When Darion had lost consciousness, Arjan, Tolrek and Halsam had moved the negotiator to the leather-covered platform in the Punishment Room. The platform was now tilted in the optimal position with Darion naked, his body perfectly on display. Tolrek could see the negotiator’s muscles strain under his rich, brown skin, as Darion tried to release himself.
“I’ll really give you something film-worthy,” Tolrek promised, narrowing his eyes.
A riding crop tapping out a mischievous rhythm on his right palm, Tolrek walked slowly around the room, viewing the whips, ball gags, paddles, chains and other implements of punishment. He saw a few enticing ones and considered how he’d use them later. Then, he perused the many vials of oil, which filled three large shelves. He noted that Darion had acquired several new types of lubricants.
“You’re certainly prepared, aren’t you?” he commented.
“Tolrek, if you know what’s good for you—” Darion’s words were cut off by three vicious smacks across each of his thighs. The crop’s sting made Darion scowl and Tolrek laughed, watching welts appear on the negotiator’s body.
“I never thought I’d like the Punishment Room,” the rebel stated, enjoying his advantage. “Being unbound in it gives me a different perspective.”
Darion’s expression became disconcertingly serene, considering that he was constrained and facing a vengeful Tolrek.
“It’s too bad your advantage won’t last,” the negotiator remarked. “Alpha 17883 Prime.”
Suddenly, Fei announced, “Override sequence activated. Previous behavior terminated.” The bonds opened and Darion stood up, a mocking smile on his face.
Tolrek began to back away. Darion grinned and grabbed him, wrenching both of the rebel’s arms behind him.
“D, I was just trying to—”
“I don’t care.”
“I hardly did anything,” Tolrek complained.
“Well, you wasted the time you did have.”
Tolrek’s hands firmly clenched in his, Darion grabbed at the rebel’s linen pants, ripping them off with one motion and throwing them aside. The underwear soon followed. Tolrek was still struggling, when Darion pulled him towards the area where the paddles were. Selecting a paddle, Darion calmly ignored Tolrek’s attempts to get away. Then the negotiator deftly twisted Tolrek around, pressing him against the platform.
“Wait Darion. I—” The breath was snatched from the rebel as Darion brought down his arm, hard. A muffled yell came from Tolrek.
After four more hits, Darion announced, “I think my right arm is just getting warmed up. And might I remind you, it’s the weaker of my two.”
“Okay, you’ve made your point!”
“Hardly. No…Don’t fight me. By the way, I’m switching arms now.”
“Look, you’re being ridiculous!” Tolrek shouted.
Darion smiled, again raining down strikes onto Tolrek. At one point, the rebel managed to get a hand loose. He put it on his rear for as much protection as he could get. The action only served to amuse Darion, who swung the paddle down much harder, mashing Tolrek’s fingers. Darion laughed when he saw the imprint of Tolrek’s hand on his punished ass.
“That last one was particularly satisfying,” the negotiator assured the rebel, “Now, I’m not quite finished. Keep your hands out of the way before I break something.”
After several more hits, Tolrek’s ass was a deep, rich, angry red. A tempting red. A “slide inside me” red. Darion bit his lower lip, his previous plan for revenge pushed aside, the temptation before him too hard to resist. He dropped the paddle and gave Tolrek’s rear a firm squeeze. The rebel winced.
“You’ll like what I do next,” Darion promised him. He repositioned Tolrek for better access. Then he spread the cheeks of the rebel’s ass, looking at the tight entrance. He admired the vision, savoring the fact that he would soon be deep inside Tolrek.
“Some oil is just a short distance away,” Darion whispered into Tolrek’s ear, “I’ll get it but you have to stay right here.”
“I will,” Tolrek responded, liking Darion’s new idea.
Returning with a vial, Darion trickled some of the contents onto Tolrek and watched it slowly make its way between the crease of Tolrek’s firm ass and then down one muscular thigh. The slick, serpentine path against the rebel’s skin was mesmerizing.
“Can we hurry things along here?” Tolrek requested, his cock straining, pearly pre-cum already beading at his tip.
Grinning, Darion took his time oiling his cock and intentionally entered the rebel at a leisurely pace. Tolrek groaned as he was further pushed down against the platform. Darion reached up to get a firm hold on Tolrek’s shoulders.
“I’ve missed this,” Darion said, as he began a steady rhythm.
Tolrek gripped the sides of the platform, when the strength of Darion’s thrusts increased.
Darion paused, his breathing heavier than he’d expected so soon after the beginning of his acquisition. He wanted to savor it. After weeks of desiring Tolrek without being able to have him, Darion didn’t want to now rush the experience. Tunneling inside the rebel. Hearing his deep groans. No; it simply wouldn’t do to quickly end the experience.
“What is it?” Tolrek demanded, frustrated with the halt.
“I don’t want to come too soon.”
“I thought you had more self-control.” That slight won Tolrek another smack on his already bruised ass.
Tolrek clenched around Darion, causing him to close his eyes from the intense pleasure. He held on firmly to Tolrek, his chest pressed against the rebel’s back.
“Do you have any more plans for revolt?” Darion teased.
Tolrek laughed, then groaned as Darion began to thrust again with even more vigor. Soon, Darion heard a telltale sign that Tolrek’s release was drawing near. Darion smiled, loving the rumbling moan that was steadily growing inside his lover. He’d had other partners before but something about Tolrek made him further eager to please. Tolrek cried out when Darion’s last few thrusts walked the fine line between bliss and pain, sending both of them over the edge.
Darion fell forward on Tolrek, spent. The rebel’s own breathing was labored.
“Are you still angry with me?” he asked.
“No, not after this,” Darion assured him, chuckling.
When the two had relocated to Darion’s bedroom, Tolrek asked the pressing question.
“How did you get loose? The rest of the household was my side.”
“There’s a reason why I’m the ‘Master of the House’, Tol,” Darion said, looking at the rebel through half-closed eyes. “I have the ability to override Fei when she becomes a rogue computer. Reya designed it that way for me because she knew how advanced she was making Fei. At any rate, I change the code often and not even Fei can stop me…By the way, Fei, I’ll be dealing with you later. I’m going to reduce your holographic gallery to one measly stick figure.”
“Noooo,” Fei wailed.
“Oh yes,” Darion assured her. “Now stop listening to us before I think of something worse. And tell Arjan and Halsam I’ll deal with them later.”
Darion laughed when he heard Fei curse, enjoying her annoyance. Nothing was going to change his mind about how he’d meet out retribution. However, for the moment, he turned his full attention to Tolrek, who was looking quite serious.
“What is it, love?” Darion asked.
The use of “love” momentarily made Tolrek pause. Darion had called him that before but the thrill he felt hearing it hadn’t changed.
“Tol…” Darion prompted.
“I’m still thinking about the video. I didn’t expect to be put on display like that.”
“I know. I admit that it was a poor decision. Can we put this behind us?”
“In time,” Tolrek said, smiling softly. “I’m not a fan of using guilt against anyone but I’ll benefit from yours as long as I can.”
“You can act up more often,” Darion began as he started to drift off into sleep, “Just don’t go too far.”
“You sure you want to say that?”
“No. Forget it. I take it back.”
Tolrek laughed and threw a possessive arm across Darion, pulling the negotiator closer.
Darion had met Makdan to have lunch at one of his favorite restaurants. The two friends were catching up on each other’s lives. The immediate tale was Tolrek’s short-lived coup.
“Fortunately, Reya showed me how to do overrides,” Darion said, “Fei obeys immediately, regardless of what villainous act she’s committing at the time.”
“Thank goodness for Reya’s capabilities…but isn’t there a part of you that wanted things to go on longer?” Makdan looked at Darion, a smug curve to his lips. Darion knew the obnoxious expression well. He’d been treated to it after losing a few wagers.
“I prefer to be the dominant one,” Darion replied smoothly, trying not to get drawn into his best friend’s trap.
“You’re honestly saying that you wouldn’t welcome a reversal of roles with anyone, anyone at all?” Makdan raised an eyebrow, awaiting the response.
Darion sighed. Ever since the video had been widely released, numerous people had gotten bold. No longer were they intimidated by his aloof demeanor; they made passes at him, trying to sexually entice him. Makdan knew of the recent troubles and was enjoying himself by teasing the negotiator.
“Mak, stop being an ass or I’ll leave you here.”
“Such language,” Makdan responded, pretending to be shocked. “Do you have to reject me so harshly, D?”
“I only like it when Tolrek calls me ‘D’,” Darion quickly stated, surprising even himself.
“Wow. That rebel has you under his control. Perhaps he really has penetrated you…”
Darion was spared, for the moment, from more of Makdan’s comments. The waiter arrived with their meals—and then he lingered.
“Can I help you with something?” the negotiator asked, staring at him pointedly.
“No, I…Well, it’s just that I saw you in a video and…Never mind.” He briskly walked off but risked a glance at the one who’d catapulted into his fantasies.
“Your fan club is really growing,” Makdan remarked, chuckling. “Embrace your admirers; don’t be callous.”
“I don’t need any fans,” Darion said, casting his friend a sour look. Then he changed the subject. “I plan on attending your next concert. It’s in two weeks, right? I’ll need to get tickets soon.”
“I can take care of your admission.”
“Well, I know there are perks to being your friend but—”
“Yes, there are many perks, some you have yet to explore…” Makdan grinned, reaching out and squeezing his friend’s hand.
Darion rolled his eyes, realizing that Makdan was teasing him again.
“We’re going to end up in the papers, if you don’t stop that.”
“Stop what?” Makdan asked, feigning innocence.
“Anyway,” Darion continued, “I don’t want to take advantage of you.”
“But you can take advantage of me anytime…Okay, I see the murderous look on your face. I’ll stop.”
Darion, who had been resting peacefully, was suddenly awakened by 40 pounds of fierce energy launching itself onto his chest.
“Hey,” he complained, opening his eyes and peering at the offender. Her large amber eyes stared back at him as she purred lovingly, her paws kneading his chest.
Tolrek laughed and petted Najrina, who had done as she was ordered.
“Tolrek, you’re going to be in trouble with me. Get her out of that habit. What happens when she’s 100 pounds, or more?”
“I’ll have her stop. I promise.”
“Do you think he means it?” Darion asked Naj, tickling her under her chin. She nipped gently at his finger and then moved off his chest, nestling between him and Tolrek. Darion turned to face him, noting that there was a pensive expression on his face.
“D, I have something to discuss with you,” Tolrek began. “I was hoping you’d increase my privileges. Maybe you could take me outside your home.”
“Tolrek, here is the safest place for you. I hardly think that would be wise.”
“I’m a ‘Pet’ aren’t I? Don’t most people like showing off their Pets?”
“We both know that your situation isn’t typical and—”
“I’m tired of being inside Darion.”
“I’ve permitted you to go in the backyard.”
“Which is still on your property.” Tolrek glared stubbornly at his lover.
Darion sighed, recognizing the expression that could lead to a drawn out fight.
“I have to get to work,” he announced, getting out of bed. “We’ll talk about this later.”
After Darion left, Tolrek went back to sleep. His dream was of simpler days, ones where he had his freedom. An uncharacteristic angry growl from Najrina flung him out of his slumber. His senses alert, he bounded out of bed, looking around to see what his Pet considered a threat.
Najrina was prowling around the guardian robots. Darion had stationed them in his bedroom and Tolrek’s, ever since he’d heard about dangers to the rebel. Now, the eyes of one of the androids, usually a serene blue, had changed to red.
It announced, “Instructions received. Target, Pet A-21, acquired. Termination order commencing.”
Tolrek jumped to the side as the android rushed at him. He was able to avoid it but its second lunge resulted in him being caught in its arms. The robot began to squeeze, its uncompromising force causing Tolrek’s back to strain and clench. Knowing that his spine could be broken, he put one hand under the android’s chin and pushed hard, snapping back the robot’s head. Then he twisted its head sharply, causing it to short circuit. Its grip loosened and Tolrek broke free. He leapt away as the damaged robot stumbled and fell down. It was then that he saw the second robot had suddenly changed and was now coming towards him.
He ripped off one of the incapacitated robot’s arms and prepared to battle again. The second robot moved towards Tolrek, faster than the other android had—much faster than he was expecting. Tolrek swung the arm he was using as a weapon, missing his target by an inch. It had dodged with otherworldly speed. The robot punched Tolrek, knocking the breath out of him and breaking several ribs. The blow lifted him off his feet and sent him hurling backwards where he crashed into a dresser. He gasped, squinting as intense pain shot through his body. The robot was about to come at him again when Najrina attacked. She was aware that Tolrek was being hurt and wanted to defend him. She was smacked to the side and went down, a heart-wrenching whine coming from her.
Furious at the sight of his injured Pet, Tolrek assaulted the android again. He swung the robotic arm, firmly connecting with the robot’s head. He kept on dodging and swinging until the android showed signs of being seriously harmed. When the opportunity finally presented itself, Tolrek launched himself at the robot, taking it off its feet. He grabbed its head and twisted. The metallic tendons and bones snapped brutally, sparks from the android’s wiring flying into the air.
The door to the bedroom suddenly opened. Halsam and Arjan rushed inside. They’d heard the commotion but had been unable to get in the door at first, its system having been jammed.
“Tolrek, what’s going—”
Halsam’s question was cut off when Tolrek gripped him by his throat and picked him up. Still in battle-mode and unsure who to trust, Tolrek slammed the servant against a wall. Halsam clawed feebly, trying to get released.
“Tolrek, stop! It’s Halsam!” Arjan shouted, trying to get Tolrek to relinquish his hold on the struggling youth.
Fei sent a small charge to bring Tolrek to his senses. It didn’t work. She had to send several stronger ones, which finally ended the infuriated rebel’s grip.
“It’s me,” Halsam gasped out, glad for the air that rushed into his body. “It’s just me.”
“Tolrek, are you alright?” Fei asked.
“Are you out of your mind?” Tolrek demanded, ignoring her question. “Why would you make the robots do that?”
“I didn’t do anything,” Fei responded, sounding indignant. “I was going to help you earlier but someone was trying to hack into my system.”
“Darion needs to know,” Arjan said. “I alerted him when we couldn’t get into the door. He’ll be on his way shortly.”
“You shouldn’t have disturbed him,” Tolrek said.
“He would be furious if we waited,” Halsam responded, rubbing his sore neck. “How can you act like this isn’t important? You almost choked the life out of me!”
“I’m really sorry,” Tolrek told him, gently resting one hand on his shoulder.
“Fortunately you‘re alright,” Arjan said.
“I don’t feel fortunate,” Halsam grumbled. “I’m going to the QikMed for a checkup and you should go too.”
“Najrina was hurt worse and it looks like she’s handling it well.” Tolrek picked up his little heroine and held her close, examining her. She flinched when he pressed her right side. “She did her best to protect me. If anything, she should get the medical attention.”
“Don’t try to avoid going into the QikMed,” Halsam told him. “Darion won’t like these marks all over you.”
“How do I know it won’t attack me?”
“That isn’t even funny,” Arjan said. “At least, let it scan you.”
“Fine but you have to make me a sandwich. I worked up a sweat kicking robotic ass.”
“I don’t know how you can take an attempt on your life so lightly.”
“Why don’t you call the police, if you’re so worried?” Tolrek asked, smirking.
“You know we can’t,” Fei said. “There’s nothing people at their level can do. We’re under a special protocol for you. Just go into the QikMed.”
“I will and I’ll take Naj with me. I have a few broken ribs.”
“What?” Halsam exclaimed. “And you’ve been acting like you were fine.”
Tolrek waved him off and picked up Najrina, making his way to the QikMed.
“So he’s pushing for more privileges,” Beilon confirmed.
Darion was in Beilon’s home, having the usual weekly meeting to discuss the developments regarding Tolrek.
“Yes. He’s getting restless. It’s happened before but this time it’s much worse. I was thinking of taking him with me next month, when I go to Tildar.”
“How do you know he won’t use it as an opportunity to escape?”
“He wouldn’t. His pride is too great for that. Plus, our relationship is direct.”
“Your relationship…” Beilon leaned back in his chair and lacing his fingers together, gazed at Darion. “Have you considered that you’re becoming too attached to him? I wasn’t sure where your idea to have him be your Pet would go; I’m having some reservations now.”
“I understand. What I’ve done has never been tried. It’s a gamble but—”
“But you’d better make the right decisions. Otherwise, you’ll only provide more ammunition for Meric, especially after that video. What were you thinking?”
“I wasn’t thinking,” Darion admitted, feeling chagrined. He’d known Beilon would eventually mention the video. “Besides, it doesn’t matter what I do. Meric constantly criticizes me. And he’s certainly never liked Tolrek.”
Meric’s animosity towards Tolrek stemmed from his believe that the rebel was inferior. His opinion was that only the finest Vaironians, as defined by him, were to be officers in the military. When Tolrek had not only graduated first in his class at the academy but had risen quickly in the ranks, Meric’s dislike for Tolrek had been cemented. Tolrek’s rebellion had only served as more fodder. Meric had repeatedly publically stated that a true citizen of quality would never have turned on the country. He’d used his opposition of Tolrek’s rebellion to build momentum, gaining more influence over the past several years.
“His new tactic is bringing up the threats to Tolrek’s life,” Darion continued. “He makes it sound as if I’m incompetent. He’s gone as far as faking concern about Tolrek’s safety.”
“Well, now that I think about it, it would actually be best to have Tolrek on the trip with you,” Beilon told him. “It will give me an opportunity to do some maneuvering.”
“Don’t worry about that. You just need to make sure that you find appropriate security measures when you leave.”
“So then you’re not forbidding me?”
“Ultimately, I do trust your judgment. Otherwise, I would not have supported him staying with you, though it is definitely not under the usual living circumstances. There were times I believed he would give you much more trouble. You appear to have a certain talent for handling him. However, I still must strongly caution you. Should he ever escape, you will pay a heavy price, as will I. Regardless of what you do, Tolrek is your priority.”
“I understand. I won’t fail you. Thank you for your advice.”
Darion was leaving Beilon’s home when his phone rang; four numbers that he didn’t want to see appeared. He rushed home, aware that the members of his household had been put into danger.
“Is everyone alright?” Darion asked, his eyes filled with concern.
“Halsam and I are fine,” Arjan updated him. “Tolrek and Najrina had to go in the QikMed. Fei needs diagnostics.”
“I think your household is cursed,” Tolrek said.
“This isn’t a joke,” Darion grumbled. He led Tolrek to his suite where he could examine him to his satisfaction. Tolrek protested, flinching repeatedly when Darion touched the numerous bruised, tender locations on his body.
“Hush. Let me check you over,” Darion ordered, his strong hands gently inspecting Tolrek’s body.
“I’m fine. Halsam badgered me until I went to a QikMed.”
“Why didn’t you let it finish healing you?” Darion demanded.
“I took care of the broken ribs. Relax.”
“Tolrek…” Darion stared at him, incredulous. He was conflicted, wanting to throttle the rebel for his nonchalance and wanted to check him over again.
“Just some bump and scrapes remain. I don’t like spending time in the QM for anything that’s not serious. By the way, I notice you’re no longer restricting me from using any of the QMs.”
“I forbade your use because I didn’t want you getting relief from your punishments. However, with the threats, I want you to have access.”
“Oh, I see. Then I’ll also use them after a punishment.”
“It won’t be as easy as you think,” Darion assured him, chuckling.
When Darion finished his inspection, Tolrek sat up to face him, looking intently at the negotiator. Guessing what was on Tolrek’s mind, Darion put off the conversation again. It was more important to inform Beilon about what had happened.
After he’d updated his supervisor, they devised a plan. Reya and Kejaro would work on the security breach. They’d scan Fei’s programming to make sure she wasn’t compromised. The rest of the robots, even the smallest ones, would be analyzed, in case they were also affected.
“Those measures are fine and we need more,” Beilon told him. “Darion, I’m completely releasing your seal.”
“Are you absolutely sure, sir?”
“Yes. You know how valuable Tolrek is to us. You have full authority to do whatever is necessary.”
For almost an hour after talking to Beilon, Darion sat in his study, his mind occupied with many issues. Fei had recorded footage of the fight. Darion watched it repeatedly. Tolrek had dismantled two robots, barehanded. He’d also lifted Halsam off the floor with one-hand and had almost crushed the young man’s windpipe. There were still things about Tolrek’s background that not even Beilon knew. It was becoming more important that they get the complete picture of the rebel’s capabilities.