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Author: Regret
Rating: 15
Story: Radial: Unravel AU
Challenge: Blue Raspberry #8 - A Wager; Quince #10 - Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Topping: Chopped Nuts
Word Count: 1,654
Summary: Alex makes a bet with Milos: wound and he'll be sold; kill and he'll be a free man...


Wearing an only slightly too large pair of Alex’s boots, Milos followed the knight silently across the ward and towards the area set aside for high-ranking members of the military to train. To one side a few young soldiers were launching spirited attacks on training dummies under the watchful gaze of a grizzled older man and in a second, smaller, fenced off section a man in full armour was practicing with a long-bladed sword.

It was hypnotic to watch; he didn’t realise his mouth had fallen open until Alex’s hand slapped up under his lower jaw. “Close that and get a move on.”

He snapped it shut again and glared at the knight, who ignored him and instead pushed open a gate to an empty arena. He’d said he wanted to assess his capabilities, but that was just a way of lulling him into a false sense of security: Alex had every intention of showing him what happened to slaves who tried to attack their owners. He glanced down at his cut finger and frowned. If that was the case, what was the point of binding this wound, if he was only going to add to it not ten minutes later? He pulled the fabric from the now sealed nick and slid it into one of the trouser pockets; it would need washing later.

When he looked up Alex was standing in front of him, a short sword in either hand. “Shall we have a little wager?”

He stared into the knight’s carefully expressionless face and felt his heart sink. “What?”

“You’re so keen to kill me. If you manage anything more than a glancing or accidental wound then I’ll sell you again. If you actually kill me, then you’re free.” He passed one of the surprisingly heavy blades to Milos.

He examined the chipped but sharp edge, then his master’s face. “How do I know you’re not lying?”

Alex scowled, then shouted over to the knight in armour. “Richard, come here. If he,” he gestured to Milos, much to the apparent surprise of the armoured man, “manages to kill me then he’s free. Do you understand me?” When the man nodded, lips pursed, Alex added, “good. I’m trusting you.”

Milos could only stare in shock. “You really mean it?” He breathed, not daring to hope that he could satisfy his urge to kill him and escape punishment.

“Don’t be so sure it’ll happen. You have to succeed first.” Alex gave him a humourless smile, testing the heft of the sword and swiping at the air in front of himself, moving the weapon with a grace and ease that sent Milos’s heart plummeting again.

His own sword felt heavy and awkward in his suddenly sweat-slick palm. He backed away from Alex, taking care to place one foot after the other so he wouldn’t trip over himself, using both hands to steady the raised weapon. This suddenly seemed like a remarkably bad idea...

The knight swung his blade in a figure of eight as if it was nothing more than a child’s wooden toy and gave Milos another smile, this one darker and far less pleasant. He felt himself break out into a cold sweat. “You’ll have to take care of yourself when you travel with me.” He swished the blade through the air to emphasise his point. “If you can’t even fight for something you really want you’ll be dead within a fortnight.”

Swallowing, Milos watched Alex and his easy stance, waiting for that one moment, that second when the knight thought he’d lost his nerve—

He lunged, driving the blade up and under his opponent’s weapon, towards Alex’s tender and unprotected stomach.

The weapon was batted easily away with the flat of Alex’s sword; the man smirked at him and swung his own in a leisurely swipe at Milos’s chest. The elf ducked and leapt back, the tip narrowly skimming over the borrowed shirt, and brought his sword back up to crash into Alex’s, the impact jarring his arm up to the elbow and sending spikes of pain the length of his fingers.

Alex’s smile turned into a full-on grin. “What’s the matter? Not finding it as easy when your opponent is armed?”

Milos growled in the back of his throat and swung his own weapon again, this time aiming straight for Alex’s neck.

Again the weapon was easily parried, this time sending him stumbling to one side—and he froze as the flat of Alex’s blade lay against his neck. “You’re dead.”

No. The last thing he wanted now was to be beaten by him, not when one good strike could at least give him the chance to end up owned by someone who wasn’t a lying bastard knight. Twisting sideways, he ducked and swung low and fast, aiming for the back of his calves.

Alex leapt forwards, spinning easily on one foot with a low whistle of appreciation. “Unexpected. Good. The only problem is,” he laughed, and again the blade was against Milos’s neck, edge digging into his skin, “now you’re dead again.”

He glared up at him. Bastard! So close, so close—and Alex was distracted with his own victory, his smugness—he yanked the blade in an upward motion, point first, aiming again for Alex’s jugular and ignoring the flash of pain as the sword grazed his neck.

Jumping backwards, Alex’s blade smashed into his own at the last minute, knocking it back towards Milos’s face with Alex’s pressed hard after it. Milos shoved back with a snarl—

The air rushed out of his lungs as a foot slammed into his stomach, driving him to his knees, then Alex’s boot caught him under the chin and his back smacked into the dirt. The world span. The crushing pressure of an adult man dropping onto his aching belly was just the final insult. “I don’t know if you’re brave or stupid. For the third time, you’re dead.”

Milos shoved his sword against Alex’s, trying to push it away from his neck; Alex pressed his palm to the flat of his blade and pushed back until the edge, not as blunt as it’d first appeared, was skimming his Adam’s apple. “Get off me...”

“Why? I’ve beaten you three times. Learn to take the hint.” He glanced over his shoulder, keeping Milos’s sword pinned down without any apparent effort as he called over to the knight resting his elbows on the fence, “you can go now. He’s finished.”

Struggling beneath him, trying to force the worst of the weight up and off, Milos snarled, “I’m not!”

“You’re dead three times over. And,” he tilted his head to one side, “you’re bleeding. I’m not. You must have not wanted your freedom enough.” He smiled down at his furious slave.

“So... what? You sent him away because you want to take your prize now?” Milos dropped his voice to little more than a murmur and didn’t bother to keep his resentment from it. “Right here and now?”

Alex tilted his head to the other side and raised one eyebrow, his gaze flicking across Milos’s face like he was trying to read a book. “If you hate sex so much, why do you keep offering yourself to me so openly?”

His heart pounded painfully against his ribs, again so very aware of Alex’s body over his. “To make it easier for me. Just taking what you want is what you knights do, so I might as well know when it’s going to happen.”

He stared at Milos for a long moment, expertly keeping the blade in place despite Milos’s half-hearted attempts to shove it away. “So if I pushed your legs up and took you here and now, then you’d stop trying to kill me?”

“No.” He said softly, staring up at his owner. “But I’ll keep trying to kill you even if you don’t.”

The silence this time lasted even longer, before Alex suddenly grinned widely. “I didn’t buy you because I wanted an easy life.” He raised his sword, then smacked it down hard into Milos’s.

His hand abruptly went numb for the second time in a matter of hours and the weapon fell from his nerveless grip, only to be caught and flicked across the sparsely-grassed training yard, swiftly followed by Alex’s own. The pressure abated suddenly. He stared, wide eyed, as a pale hand was extended towards him.

“Are you going to just lay there all day?”

Still unable to feel his fingers, he reached out and winced as the knight’s grip wrapped around his wrist, dragging him upwards. “Why?”

Alex turned and moved to pick up the swords again before he answered. “If I ever decide to fuck you,” Milos couldn’t help noticing that it wasn’t when, even if he knew it was an inevitability, “I won’t just do it without a word to you.”

“You wouldn’t ask. Even if you did, I wouldn’t be allowed to say no.”

He huffed softly. “Yes. I expect that’s the case. But I’m not going to just hold you down and tear your clothes off either.” He glanced down at the swords he held with all the effortlessness with which he’d wielded a single blade, then back up at Milos. “Bear that in mind too.”

Milos closed his eyes and shook his head, listening to the sound of Alex’s feet over the dirt as he went to replace the practice weapons in their stand. The honeyed words were no match for experience; an entitled noble telling the truth? He’d believe that when he saw it.

“Come on, before you bleed any more on my shirt.” He opened his eyes again to see the man standing beside the gate, impatiently tapping his foot.

That was more like it. Heart heavy, keeping his gaze down and ignoring the way the nick started to throb, he followed his master back across the ward towards his apartment.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
ichthusfish
Jun. 14th, 2013 12:51 am (UTC)
This world certainly has some weird takes on the moral compas, but Alex seems to fit so well into it. His self-assuredness and ego are quite amusing, even though they're a nightmare for Milos too :)
nothingtoregret
Jun. 23rd, 2013 08:47 am (UTC)
*lol* Alex finally has a social standing to justify his opinion of himself. :3 Unfortunately for Milos, a lot of people don't have a moral compass as such when it comes to property, but I don't think Alex is as bad as he seems... well... at least hopefully he won't be in the future.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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