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20 May 2013 @ 07:46 am
FIC: Serin's Secret Garden, Part 2/18  
Author: Osiris Brackhaus
Story Title: Serin’s Secret Garden
Part: 2/18
Rating: PG/NC17
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: 2.200/50.000
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!





“Commander?” Kendrik asked as he entered Commander Li Ma’s office. “I was told to report to you once my treatments were finished.”

“Right,” the commanding officer of the Phoenix Knights said without looking up from the paper she was currently reading. “Come in. Close the door.”

Commander Li Ma’s office was a tiny, crammed place right between the main porter platform and the fabled Phoenix Knight lounge. Except for the massive slab of concrete out in the hallway that served as bench for waiting visitors, her door didn’t look much different from any other on the floor. And probably, that was right how she liked it - practical, unpretentious and utterly undetectable for anyone who wasn’t invited.

Even though Kendrik was merely a Phoenix Knight’s husband, he had met the Commander often enough to know that her brusque demeanor was by no means impolite. She just had more important and pressing matters at hand than to concern herself with trivialities, and she was honest enough not to waste time pretending she did. In a way, exactly that was the reason why she was so uniquely qualified to act as head dispatcher of the Phoenix Knights in all their chaotic, unpredictable and gloriously cinematic assertiveness - she just didn’t give a damn about what people thought of her. She did her job, swiftly and precisely, and neither headstrong knights nor deluges of bad news would ever get her out of step.

So Kendrik stood at ease in the middle of the room, waiting for her to finish the file she was reading.

It took quite a while.

Occasionally, some aide came in, either bringing new papers and placing them on one of the countless stacks all over the office or picking up others and disappeared without a word. Normally, Kendrik would hardly have noticed. But today, each time an aide noticed him, their interest flared, the greens and blues of concentration in their auras suddenly awash with pink and orange of mild arousal. In less than the quarter of an hour, he had gathered almost two dozen smiles, winks and appreciatively wriggled eyebrows.

What an unprecedented amount of attention.

Sure, he liked being admired, even the sexual undertones were kind of nice, actually. But all his life, Kendrik had mostly been the guy everyone had tried not to get noticed by. The change wasn’t necessarily bad, it was just very sudden. Repeatedly, Kendrik caught himself playing with the tips of his hair. It was hard to believe that this was supposed to be his natural color.

“Commander?” another voice asked from the door, and Kendrik didn’t even have to look to recognize his husband Yaden, coming to join him in this mission briefing. “I was told Kendrik was here already, and I - “

Yaden’s sentence broke off when he realized that is was Kendrik standing in the middle of the room, for a rare instance stunned out of words.

“Oh, my...” he said flatly, a wide, beaming smile growing on his face. “Hello...”

The smile came together with an equally beaming emotion of admiration, pride and plain joyful love, his aura a sunrise of gold and rose. Kendrik could deal with being ignored or drooled over, at least moderately well. But the honest adoration and love-filled wonder Yaden bombarded him with were a bit too much. All of a sudden, Kendrik found himself blushing, bobbing on the tips of his toes like a little boy, smirking at his husband with a strange mix of excitement and embarrassment.

“Come in, Yaden,” Li Ma quipped evenly. “Close the door.”

Silently, Yaden did as he was told, and sneaked up to his husband’s side. Almost like teenagers sharing a naughty secret, he sneaked his hand into Kendrik’s, rising to his toes to give him a swift kiss on the lips. Standing right next to Kendrik, he looked up to his husband who stood almost two heads above him with unabashed admiration.

“You look gorgeous,” Yaden said softly, trying not to disturb the commander more than absolutely necessary. “Never thought the hair could make such a difference.”

Kendrik opened his mouth to reply that there was a lot more than his haircut that was new, but then stopped. He could feel Yaden’s emotions clearly enough, and he knew he had never looked much different in his husbands’ eyes. In a way, Yaden had always seen him ‘without all the hardship’, Kendrik realized.

“Nonsense.” Commander Li Ma suddenly said, and it took both Kendrik and Yaden a moment to realize that she had been talking to herself.

Apparently, she had finished reading her paper, and now added a few, clipped notes on the bottom of it. Flinging the file onto a pile on the other side of her desk with a motion that spoke of way too much practice, she looked up at the two men for the first time.

Somehow unsurprisingly, Kendrik’s new looks didn’t generate much more than a mild technical interest in the Commander, the cool blue of her aura never changing. None the less, she nodded briefly, as if accepting the results of her surgeons’ efforts on him.

“Alright,” she said, picking another, rather thick and well-worn file out from a pile on the floor next to her without looking. “Here’s the deal.”

She opened the file and didn’t do more than glance at the top page.

“No changes since last week, so it’s still the same story.” She crunched her face as if suddenly being reminded of an aching tooth. “Some Dracon busybodies on Serin are planning some kind of coup, on a level that could severely destabilize parts of the Empire. The Empress wants to kill all suspects, preemptively. The Emperor would prefer to kill only those who actually conspire against him. Luckily, we all work for the Emperor here.”

Setting aside the file, Commander Li Ma looked at Kendrik, studying his face. Even though she was still perfectly focused on recounting the facts of the mission, Kendrik got the distinct impression that she wasn’t really happy with sending him instead of one of her Knights.

“Your husband is uniquely qualified, Yaden," Li Ma started without turning her head. "But I sure as hell won’t send him into that hellhole without your explicit consent.”

“Don’t I get any say in the matter?” Kendrik asked, only half joking. But the irony was completely lost on Li Ma.

“You already agreed to this mission a week ago, before we gave you your make over.” She turned her cool look back to Yaden. “So, do you agree?”

“Yes, Commander. We talked about that already last week, when you asked me to suggest the whole thing to Kendrik.”

“Just making sure you all know what you’re getting yourself into.”

“It’s dangerous, I know that,” Kendrik replied instead of his husband. “But I really want to help, and I agree that I am the only one who has a chance of finding any trace of the conspirators.”

“Indeed you are.” Closing the file, Commander Li Ma firmly explained: “But I don’t worry about your health, be it physical or mental. I am worried about your qualification.” Seeing Kendrik opening his mouth to protest, she cut him off with a tiny, sharp gesture. “You’re a soldier, not a spy. You’re not even an actor, and definitely not a whore. You have a strong sense of justice, and you’re an honorable man. Apart from your unique psionic skill set, you’re about the worst choice for the job I could imagine. You even have a temper.”

Looking at his husband for support, Kendrik was taken aback at finding Yaden smiling at him indulgently, nodding that slightly apologetic nod that told him even he was on Li Ma’s side on this.

“But we need a psion who is both a blocker and a telempath on this mission, and someone who is pretty enough to pass as a part of the Secret Garden’s staff. And that leaves me with exactly one choice.” Looking firmly at Kendrik, her expression made it clear that she was not happy, but without alternative.

“So listen, for this mission, you only have three objectives, in order of importance.” Li Ma continued. “First, you do not blow your cover. Under no circumstances. Is that understood?”

“Yes, Ma’am,” Kendrik and Yaden replied reflexively.

“Second, you’ll scan the establishment for those conspirators, and report any name you are definitely positive about being involved. Rather err on the side of caution here.”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“Third, please be careful, and call for help as soon as things get out of control. Please come home in one piece.”

“Yes Ma’am.” This time, it was only Kendrik replying, and a quick glance at his husband revealed Yaden pouting with indignation.

“You never tell me to come home safely!” Yaden complained, putting his fists onto his hips in mock outrage. “You even said ‘please’!”

“Lord Kendrik is a helpful citizen of the Empire, and we owe him our gratitude.” There was a tinge of humor in Li Ma’s perfectly even voice. “You, on the other hand, are a Phoenix Knight. The Emperor owns your backside.”

“Unbelievable.”

“So...” Kendrik tried to divert the attention from his husband’s antics. “When do I leave?”

“In about an hour,” the Commander replied, deadpan. “You’ll be ported to Serin and from there you’ll be driven to the establishment.”

“I wasn’t aware you had a plan already on how to insert me,” Kendrik replied, slightly surprised. “Or that I would be leaving instantly.”

Li Ma’s polite look clearly stated that she didn’t care even one bit about what he was aware of and what not. Instead, she picked up an envelope that had been lying on her desk and flung it at Kendrik, with the same effortless precision that she had displayed with the other files earlier on.

“Here’s your papers. Don’t worry about the quality. They’re real, one little advantage of working for the government.” Finally smiling for the first time since Kendrik had entered her office, she added: “You’re a pet of ‘the Duke’, a shadowy figure who prefers to go by his alias only. But he is sufficiently known all over the right places to have all the credibility we need.”

“Oh, you can’t be serious!” Yaden suddenly interrupted. “First you say ‘please’, and then he gets a ‘Duke’ mission before me? What am I doing wrong?”

Li Ma merely blinked at Yaden’s interjection and continued with hardly a pause. “The Duke is unsatisfied with your performance when entertaining his guests, and has paid a handsome sum for you to be trained at the best qualified house of the Empire - the Secret Garden. The Duke graciously has consented that you may perform for customers of the house, but has explicitly stated that he prefers you to remain untouched.”

“That sounds... like a really smart plan.” Kendrik said with slight trepidation. Sure, he had consented to enter the Secret Garden under such cover, but still. Performing for customers? He couldn’t even imagine what that would actually mean in that context.

Not really in the mood to ask Li Ma another superfluous question, Kendrik leaned over to his husband asked in hushed tones “Who exactly is this Duke, honey?”

Yaden answered with a guilty chuckle that made him look like a boy confessing the time he raided the cookie jar.

“Oh, he is cool!” he replied. “The Duke is something of a running joke among the Phoenix Knights. He doesn’t really exist, we just leave traces of him everywhere, and each time we use him as pretext the lie get even more credible. And you get to use him as cover before me!”

“I am... sorry?”

“Nah, never mind.” his husband replied generously. “Just make sure you don’t blow your cover. There’s a hell of a lot of people who have worked hard to make him the untouchable crime-lord he is these days.”

“You two done here?” Li Ma interrupted them, sounding firm but actually rather kind. “I think Kendrik has a date with our outfitter before he is shipped off to Serin. And if you don’t have anything to do, Yaden, I sure have a bucket full of cases that need some attention.”

“I think we’re off, then,” Yaden replied instantly. “We all have work to do, don’t we?”

“Indeed.” Kendrik joined in, sketching a vague salute in Commander Li Ma’s direction. “Ma’am.”

“Get to work.” Li Ma replied, but not without a nod to the two of them. “Good luck, Sir Kendrik.”

“Thank you, Ma’am.”

Careful not to make any sound, Kendrik closed the door behind him.

“I really didn’t know they would send me off instantly,” he apologized to his husband. “I thought I could at least spend a day or two with you and the kids.”

“Never mind, dear,” Yaden smiled. “It’ always like that - always different than what you expect.”

Seeing the slightly heartbroken expression on his husband’s face, Yaden sneaked an arm around Kendrik’s waist, gently pulling him along down the corridor.

“You know what, I’ll come with you to the outfitter. This way, we can spend as much time together as possible.”

Kendrik answered only with a smile, a nod and a silent kiss onto his husband’s head.

He really shouldn’t worry. Their family was used to the unpredictable schedules of the Phoenix Knights, and even the small kids understood what ‘daddy is on a mission’ meant. And maybe, it was even better this way. Less drama, less worries, and overall much less time to get nervous.

And maybe, if they took the right route to the outfitter’s office on the ground floor, he would even find a broom closet for himself and his husband...


 
 
 
Meridaemeridae on May 20th, 2013 10:49 am (UTC)
Still want to know how they met and married . . . . still think Kendrik and his more awesome gorgeousness should just stay home with Yaden . . . and I'm with the Empress - KILL EFFURYBODEH!
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on May 20th, 2013 06:01 pm (UTC)
Oh, you will get to know that - but not right now, I am afraid. There'll be a few more hints on how they met in the later chapters (and of course in Kendrik's article on the Phoenicipedia) but so far, no more than that.

And it's just like Commander Li Ma said - what a luck we're all working for the Emperor here. ^^ The Empress really isn't a nice guy, especially when he thinks the Emperor is threatened. I'm quite sure you'll love him.
Charischarisstoma on May 21st, 2013 05:03 am (UTC)
Ah so the Empress warmed up to/forgave the Emperor for marrying him. *grins* That's good.

Love the sneaky teen-style hand holding. Ahhhh moment after the sweet 'Hello' of recognition.

Perform for the customers but not to be touched? hmmm Hard to learn things without hands on training. Now does 'the Duke' outrank a Dracon in the Dracon's estimation?
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on May 21st, 2013 07:03 am (UTC)
Yaden and Kendrik are soo sweet together... *dreams off with a happy smile*

Err, where were we? Yes, Performance. 'remain to be untouched' is a euphemism for 'not being used', which in turn is the nice way of saying 'not to rape a slave'. Of course he is allowed to touch people, but, you know, please don't 'use' my slave.

'The Duke' outranking a proper Noble is a good question, but difficult to answer. Plain answer would be no, of course. But 'the Duke' is assuming a title of a noble, and the highest one next to the Emperor at that. That is a crime that would warrant immediate execution, but his is pretty much alive and kicking, and since quite some time by now. Everyone realizes that this can only be possible with a damn good background, either financial, political or criminal and probably all of it.
So while he doesn't outrank a Noble per se, most nobles will think twice before angering him. Especially when it's about nothing more than a pretty slave.

Hope that answers your question!
thetammyjothetammyjo on May 20th, 2013 03:40 pm (UTC)
Good new story here, nice to read this morning. Thank you for sharing it.
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on May 20th, 2013 06:02 pm (UTC)
Thank YOU for reading and commenting!

Hope the rest of it can keep up. See you around in three days!
debbiemethosdeb on May 20th, 2013 11:48 pm (UTC)
loved it ,loved that Yaden didn't even know his own hubby -too funny
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on May 21st, 2013 07:03 am (UTC)
They're so cute, aren't they? Thanks for reading and commenting!
issuesgrrrlissuesgrrrl on May 21st, 2013 09:00 am (UTC)
Wait, wha? "The Duke"? You mean to tell me the PK have their very own Dread Pirate Roberts? That is sneaky and brilliant!

I can see the Empress's point... heh.

::sneaks off sneakily to install tri-vid feeds in the broom closets::
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on May 21st, 2013 04:21 pm (UTC)
Yep, at least something very close to the Dread Pirate Roberts. Only that the Phoenix Knights work on increasing his legend all at the same time, instead of one carrying the title and handing it on. But apart from that... ^^

I'd be careful with the camera's in the broom closets, though. Most probably, there's one already installed by the Emperor's mother, and we really don't want to mess with the plans of the Lady in the Tower, do we?
Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainenmissingkeys on May 21st, 2013 03:22 pm (UTC)
Whee, and now the adventure will start! I love that Yaden's reaction to him didn't change: that he's here for prettier or normal and it doesn't matter to him at all. Glorious. :)
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on May 21st, 2013 04:22 pm (UTC)
:D

This was exactly the notion that we had in mind in this moment, so happy it comes across as planned!

Thanks for the sweet feedback, what a wonderful thing to come back home to after a draining day at work!
Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainenmissingkeys on May 21st, 2013 04:42 pm (UTC)
Whee! Not a problem at all, lovely. ♥
idolme922idolme922 on May 21st, 2013 11:23 pm (UTC)
I stopped by to tell you I'm traveling and am not sure when I can catch up with this chapter. It's book marked!!! See you soonish with a real comment.
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on May 22nd, 2013 02:37 pm (UTC)
Thanks for letting me know, dear, highly appreciated. I hope it's a lovely trip!

idolme922idolme922 on May 24th, 2013 04:26 am (UTC)
Well I've settled in for the night and am catching up.

I love this! I adore the interactions between the three and especially Yaden's slow realization that he was looking at his husband! Sweet. Great story... :D
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on May 24th, 2013 06:28 am (UTC)
Thank you! Hope the rest can keep up. ^^
BerthaBlueberthablue on May 22nd, 2013 04:16 pm (UTC)
Aww, Yaden seeing Kendrik all dolled up was perfect - of course he's seen him all the time!

The Commander rocks. I love her no-bullshit style!

Kendrik is the worst choice because he is an honorable man :) But that will make it so much more fun!
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on May 22nd, 2013 06:22 pm (UTC)
:D

So happy to see that the story comes across as hoped. And really, Kendrik is a pretty bad choice as a spy. ^^ He's going to suffer in so many wonderful ways, I'm really looking forward to that. ^^