Story Title: Serin’s Secret Garden
Configuration: m/m, M/m
Characters: Kendrik/Yaden, Kendrik/Luca, Kendrik/Yuri Dracon
Warnings: slavery, prostitution, rape mentioned, violence, sex, sex on stage, various abuse, severe brainwashing, murderous flora, drugs, potentially underage sex.
Word Count: 1.100/50.000
Setting: 'Phoenix Empire' verse, see Phoenix Empire Timeline & Index
Summary: Yaden's husband Kendrik - telepath, empath and soldier - is sent into Serin's most depraved brothel, undercover as a pet and whore, to investigate a dangerous conspiracy…
Feedback: Yes, please! Constructive criticism welcome!
“Now, what do you say, Sir?”
Wordlessly, Kendrik stared at his reflection in the mirror, the nurse and surgeon eagerly waiting for a response next to him all but forgotten.
He had never thought much of his looks. All his life, he had been a soldier - efficient, neat, keeping his upkeep to a bare minimum. The only time he had ever looked into a mirror had been to check if his camouflage paint covered his ears properly.
And now this.
All his life, his hair had never been longer than an inch, buzzed down to his scalp as soon as it grew long enough it could be grabbed.
Now thick red waves cascaded down his shoulders, glistening with golden highlights, curling gently down to his waist to end in playful little upswings.
His skin had always been pale underneath his uniform, and sunburned on his hands and neck.
Now he was evenly tanned, a gentle golden color with a subtle luster that made him think of something between caramel and silk. The unfamiliar color of his skin made his eyes stand out even more, now a forest green rather than the usual greenish gray.
His fingernails were polished, most of his scars were gone, and his teeth were so gleaming white that he would have bet they glowed in the dark.
“Lord Kendrik?” the surgeon asked, his eagerness slowly turning into concern at his patient’s prolonged silence. “Are you alright?”
“I am fine.” Kendrik replied, adding just enough emphasis to make sure the doctor believed him. “Thank you.”
This change was unsettling, to say the least. Slowly, he turned around in front of the floor-length mirror, looking at his body from all sides, trying to get acquainted with the new weight now suddenly attached to his head.
They hadn’t changed his body much, he found. His suddenly flawless complexion made a big difference, naturally, but the proportions were still the same. Wide shoulders and narrow hips, with legs he had always considered too skinny for a man of his size. A ‘dancer’s figure’, his mother had called it, and Kendrik had hated it so much. Proper soldiers weren’t pretty.
Only now, Kendrik became aware of the sexual attraction and mild, somewhat melancholic envy that oozed out of the two medics next to him. Outwardly, they were both perfectly professional, but Kendrik wasn’t one of the Empire’s best empaths for nothing. Apparently, his new looks were perfectly suited for his next mission.
“I think I’d like to dress now.” he stated evenly, smiling at the nurse politely.
Much to Kendrik’s surprise, the woman blushed and nodded, mumbling something hardly intelligible and then rushed out of the room. Blinking, he watched the door she had left through for a moment, trying to cope with what had just happened. Of course, he knew how people reacted when facing someone they found ridiculously attractive, but witnessing a giggling meltdown caused by himself was another matter entirely.
“Lord Kendrik, if I may, we have a request for you to consider,” the surgeon suddenly remarked, waiting for the noble to nod before he continued. “Sir, as you can see, we have only changed very little, and I have to admit, my whole staff uniformly agrees that we have never seen anyone with such a fortunate genetic makeup.”
“Beg your pardon?”
“Honestly, Sir, your skin, your bone structure, your hair especially - you are uniquely beautiful, as close to perfection as we have ever seen on a non-crafted human. We’d like to ask you for permission to use your genetics as templates for other, future work, if you so please.”
Even being an empath, it took Kendrik a few long moments to understand what the man was asking of him.
“You want to copy parts of me for your work?” he asked, incredulously. “But - what you see is your work, your improvements. I’m rather plain, originally. You of all people should know that.”
Silently, the surgeon shook his head, as if wondering how to word his disagreement most politely.
“Sir, with all due respect, we didn’t change anything.” he started explaining as if talking to a small child holding a grenade. “We merely repaired, and accelerated hair growth and skin coloration. This is how you would have looked all your life if you hadn’t, well, if you had not been through such hardship, milord.”
“Hardship?!” Kendrik snapped, his soldier self effortlessly breaking through his carefully maintained veneer of nobility. “What fucking hardship?”
“I... Sir, I apologize for my assumption. That was uncalled for.” the surgeon stammered immediately, his emotions radiating flaring caution and anger at his outbreak of almost honesty. “I am sorry. I just thought - I mean, look. Nobody with hair like yours would buzz it off voluntarily, right?”
Kendrik had never had another haircut than his short buzz since he had been a little boy. What in all the seven hells was leading the surgeon to believe Kendrik hadn't done it voluntarily?
Closing his eyes to concentrate, Kendrik consciously shut off his empathic perceptions. The doctor was merely trying to be polite, and trying to make sense of something he had no clue of. Even though Kendrik felt like breaking the poor man’s nose, he knew the surgeon deserved better.
“Never mind, Doctor, “ he replied instead, surprising himself with the ease the lie went over his lips. “You did a great job, and I will consider your request accordingly.”
The surgeon nodded politely, looking glad that Kendrik didn’t press the matter any further.
But slowly, the words of the doctor sank into Kendrik’s consciousness. This was how he would look naturally, just with a tan and long hair and a life outside the army. Again studying his reflection in the mirror, Kendrik wondered what kind of life it would have been that would have had him look like this. Would he have become a dancer, like his mother had always dreamed? Or something else entirely? A movie star, maybe? Or a matinée idol?
Sure as hell, it wouldn’t have included him becoming a prostitute.
But with life’s perfect sense of irony, this was exactly what he was about to become.
He would go to Serin, and join the whores of the most depraved establishment of the whole damn planet so notorious for its vices. He would become one of the intoxicating flowers that blossomed inside the fabled walls of Serin's Secret Garden.
And much to his own surprise, he found himself smiling fiendishly at his mirror image. And he liked what he saw, very much so.
Maybe, he thought, the most dangerous soldiers were pretty, after all.