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Author: Regret
Rating: 18
Story: Radial: Unravel AU
Challenge: Blue Raspberry #12 - Lurking; Quince #15 - Why So Serious?
Topping: Chopped Nuts
Word Count: 1,890
Summary: Milos is helping Alex pack when an unexpected visit from Hal turns nasty.

Seven days had been all Milos needed to learn the locations of everything in Alex’s tiny apartment and, apparently was all they’d both needed to learn to move around it without getting in each other’s way. Having assisted Alex with stripping his heavy shell, Milos left the knight to prepare the armour he’d need to take, preferring to work instead on the more mundane, but important, details of travel clothing and bedding.

From the way Alex kept sneaking glances at what he was doing, Milos suspected it was something he’d not had to concern himself with for a long time. There was an art to it, bundling up as many items to take up as little space as possible, ideally without taking anything that weighed too much. He enjoyed it.

Alex paused in front of the weapons he’d lined along the table, frowning. “If I give you some knives, you aren’t going to accidentally stab yourself with them, are you?”

“Not for as long as you’re alive.” Milos rolled two sets of loose night clothes into one long cylinder and encircled them with a woollen blanket, holding the whole roll closed with a belt.

With a snort, Alex stripped off his shirt to pull on a thicker, more travel-suitable one that Milos had laid out for him, dropping the old one on the floor without a second thought. “And if I give you weapons, will you just try to kill me instead?”

He hesitated as he wrapped a second set of clothes, along with other sundries and a set of lock picks he’d found by accident in Alex’s wardrobe and hadn’t dared ask about, inside another blanket. “No. When we’re travelling you’re more useful to me alive.”

“Good answer.” The knight smirked, strapping a plated knife sheath around his right thigh. “I’ll keep my eye on you just in case you change your mind, of course.”

“Of course,” Milos grumbled, cinching up the second blanket with more force than was strictly necessary. “How many inns are along the road?”

Alex turned to look at his carefully arranged pile of armour, frowning. “Not enough. I need to go and sort something out, so don’t leave this room.” He paused level with Milos and squeezed his shoulder hard enough to make him wince. “I’ll find out if you so much as set foot outside the room.”

“You’re bound to. I’m the only bloody dark elf in this castle, from the looks of it.” Milos wrenched himself free to stamp across to the wardrobe, yanking clothing from side to side to disguise his sudden queasiness at the contact. “I’m not going anywhere, I’ve still got too much to do and not enough time to do it in.”

He didn’t look round as Alex softly exhaled, only listened to the sound of his boots as he crossed the floor and left the room. He’d hoped that with the knight out the way the oppressive atmosphere would have lifted. It didn’t. It wouldn’t; it was all in his head and, worse, he knew it. Blaming Alex for this, on top of everything else, was futile. It just also happened to make him feel better so he didn’t bother suppressing the feeling.

Taking a deep breath to calm the twisting burn in his chest he went through the closet again with more care, deciding what might need to be taken, what could be left and what could be repurchased if they needed it along the way—without trying to include himself in the last section. His shoulders itched, a nagging sensation across the back of his neck that refused to leave him in peace even after he gave it a vigorous scratch.

Having narrowed it down to three sets they could conceivably share between them—he tried not to laugh at that absurd thought, aware of just how strange it’d sound in the empty room—he threw the items onto the bed and stripped off his own shirt to change to something warmer. It might be spring, but that didn’t mean it was warm

“You’ve actually put on a bit of meat in a week. You look good.”

He spun on his heel, wide eyed, the heavier top half-on and half-off, stuck partway up his chest. “What—”

Hal leaned against the door frame, arms folded. “Are you sure you’re not a dancer?” He purred. “I could make you dance.”

“How long have you been there?”

A smile spread across his face. “Long enough.”

Milos took a deep breath and pulled the dark woollen shirt down fully. “Alex doesn’t want you here.”

“Shouldn’t that be ‘my master’ to you? Or has my dear brother really got no idea how you treat a slave?” Moving with catlike grace, Hal padded over to him to stop uncomfortably close, near enough that he could smell the man’s slightly bitter breath. Milos’s heart tried to climb into his throat. “Alex really should learn to treat you better.”

“He treats me just fine.” Considering his bruises it was a lie, but they were at least bruises he could have avoided if he’d learned to move faster. Alex hadn’t treated him in the way Hal was referring, and that was more than fine in Milos’s opinion.

“Really?” Hal snickered, and with one step closed the gap between them, his hands shoving under and up Milos’s shirt, moving to travel from his shoulder blades down to his waist. “If I was treating you just fine, you wouldn’t be walking straight.”

He couldn’t flinch away, there was nowhere to run to, no way to escape. What was it Alex had said? He’d been very specific. Milos grit his teeth and slammed his elbow up into Hal’s jaw. The hands fell away from his body; he followed it up with a fist to the face.

“Wh— You little—!” Hal sputtered, stumbling back with one hand pressed to stem the flow of blood from his nose. “You skinny bastard!” He lunged for Milos, whose desperate attempt to back away met only with the table, and sank both hands into the front of the shirt. “My brother clearly hasn’t taught you any manners, you filthy elf, so it looks like I’ll have to.”

He tried to rip himself free; a foot caught him around the back of one knee, overbalancing him. The floor slammed into his back and knocked the air from him. Hal slammed into his chest, just to add insult to injury. Milos flailed, trying to rake open his face with his nails, shoving at his chest and shoulders. His wrists were captured expertly and held so tightly in one hand that he felt his fingers lose sensation as Hal tugged his belt from its hooks and bound it around them. “Let go of me, I’m not yours!”

“You’re my brother’s,” he said, leaning over him to knot the loose end of the belt around the table leg. “It’s almost the same thing. And if he won’t discipline you...” The cold air bit at his body as his shirt was shoved up again despite his squirming and struggling, and Hal’s hands moved down to undo the buttons of the borrowed trousers.

“No!” Milos gasped, struggling to kick at him.

The man just smirked and yanked the pants down until the fabric covered the top of Milos’s boots, effectively binding his legs together. Ducking his head under the material, he shoved himself between Milos’s legs until they were pressed against his shoulders and he was leaning over his body, blood spotting onto his skin, grinning widely down at him. “You don’t get to use that word. You’re property, remember?”

“Not your property!” He jerked his hands up and winced as the belt tightened. Not again, not again, not by another noble who did it just because they could— He grit his teeth and screwed his eyes shut as Hal’s hands wandered across his chest, swallowing the scream because he’d only like it, it’d make it more fun, even if there was nothing he could do—

“Just what do you think you’re doing to my elf?” The icy voice sliced through his panic.

The hands halted, raised again. It might be a hallucination; Milos opened one eye carefully just to check. Then both snapped open in shock, his mouth falling open at the glint of a sword, its tip pressed into the tender flesh of Hal’s neck.

Hal turned so, so carefully, grinning up like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth. “Is something wrong, dear baby brother?”

“I don’t know,” Alex said softly, “you tell me.”

Hal shrugged, another careful gesture mindful of just how sharp Alex kept his weaponry. “Your pet here hit me. You’ve not been training him properly, so I thought I’d teach him a lesson.”

If he thought Alex would raise the sword at that explanation he was mistaken. Even Milos winced as the blade pressed more forcefully into Hal’s skin. “Aside from that it’s not your place to discipline him, he had permission to hit you if he felt the need to. I gave him permission.” When Alex smiled, it was cold and terrifying. “He’s done nothing wrong. You, on the other hand, appear ready to assault him.”

“Nothing of the sort.” Ignoring the blade, Hal slid his head free from the confines of Milos’s trousers again, standing to brush himself down. “I just thought I’d give him a scare. You should relax, brother, and don’t take it so seriously. It’s all in good fun.”

The tip of the blade made its way from Hal’s neck, along his body until it reached the crotch of his trousers. “Really.” Alex sounded as convinced as Milos felt. “You have an odd way of showing it.”

Hal shrugged, flicking imaginary dust from one shoulder. “Now you’re back I’ll leave his training to you again. Take care, dear Alex.”

Milos didn’t watch him leave the room. He couldn’t bear to. Bad enough to be in this position again in the first place, worse to be seen by Alex who, despite dropping the weapon onto the table, didn’t appear able to tear his eyes from his slave’s body. When he found words to speak, they weren’t as steady as he’d have liked. “Can you free my hands, please?”

Kneeling beside his head, Alex loosened the strap around his narrow joints. “You hit him, then.”

Milos nodded, pulling up his trousers again rather than meet his owner’s searching eyes.

“Good.” Alex rose and offered a hand to Milos, who took it and pulled himself to his feet. “It’s about time someone did. Are we nearly packed?”

He nodded again, not daring to speak in case his voice had deserted him totally.

Alex nodded sharply, picking up and re-sheathing the sword after inspecting the tip. “We’ll leave in ten minutes or so, then. I’ve arranged for simple provisions for us and the horses to be waiting for us when we leave.” Casting his eye over Milos’s packing and the three outfits still on the bed and nodded again, more to himself than as an affirmation to his elf. “You’ve done well.”

Then why didn’t he feel like it? He turned away again to finish folding the clothes and slide them into a bag. He wasn’t looking forward to this journey, but it suddenly seemed infinitely preferable to staying here.


Runaway Tales



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