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04 June 2013 @ 05:56 am
FIC: Serin's Secret Garden, Part 7/18  
Author: Osiris Brackhaus
Story Title: Serin’s Secret Garden
Part: 7/18
Rating: G/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: 1.400/50.000
Setting: 'Phoenix Empire' verse, see Phoenix Empire Timeline & Index and the Phoenicipedia
Summary: Trying to get a first night’s sleep proves harder than expected inside the Secret Garden…
Feedback: Yes, please! Constructive criticism welcome!

As he had feared, sleep was hard to come by in the Secret Garden.

Kendrik had finished his lessons with Ryan after several hours, had gone to eat something at the canteen and then all but keeled over into his bed as soon as he was back in his room.

He wasn’t physically exhausted, but mentally. This was all very new to him, both pretending to be a whore and learning how to be a good one, too. Keeping up his mental shields against the infernal background radiation of the Secret Garden did take a toll as well. Sleep would have been all he needed, but sleep was a treacherous ally in situations like these.

In sleep, your mind relaxed, and in places like this, that was a dangerous thing. Dreaming was worse, but how did one sleep without dreaming? It was like trying to hold on tight to a pillow while sleeping – not hard in itself, but almost impossible to manage.

Over the years, Kendrik had learned enough techniques to help him rest in places where he had to keep up his mental guards. He had learned how to implement signals into his dreams to warn him that things were seeping in from the outside, and imagery that allowed him to strengthen his shields even from inside his dreams. But he had never been exposed to such a strong, vicious ambient emotion, and he was worried.

So for the better part of an hour, he had been lying awake now, tossing and turning from one side to another, trying to calm himself sufficiently to get into a state of mental stability where he could risk falling asleep.
But it had just been too much today, too many new impressions, too many strong emotions. Images of his day passed in front of his mind’s eye, impressions of Ryan trying to imitate Kendrik’s walk, of Mistress Ondine walking in front of him. The look in Luca’s midnight blue eyes when he touched him, the mental scent of his emotions, the torrential intensity of his desire.

Thinking of Luca reminded Kendrik of the other time he had met a person that he attuned to that deeply in but an instant. Even though Yaden was a slight person by his looks, he was like bedrock on the inside. More than anything else, Kendrik had fallen in love with the knowledge that he would always be able to rely on Yaden, that he would always be there for him. Yaden was his better half in the most literal sense of the word.

So instead of wasting more precious time worrying about things he couldn’t change anyway, Kendrik took a deep breath and tried to relax his body at least. Maybe he couldn’t calm his mind sufficiently to fall asleep. But perhaps he would manage to contact Yaden, the person he was closest to in all the universe.

Kendrik knew he was taking a risk here, trying to use his psionic abilities. But he was sure the risk was small enough, as he knew exactly who he was trying to reach. And Yaden’s empathic abilities were growing each day, so maybe he would pick up Kendrik’s call and help him get through the poisoned environment he was working in right now.

It didn’t take long for Kendrik to be sure he had contacted his Phoenix Knight husband.

-- Yaden, can you hear me? --

-- Is everything alright, love? --

The reply came instantly, accompanied by the emotional imagery of love and worry, and the absolute readiness to storm the Secret Garden at the drop of a hat, all guns blazing. Kendrik couldn’t help but smile at the unconditional protectiveness of his lover.

-- It’s pretty bad, but so far, I can manage. It’s just very exhausting. --

Together with the verbal explanation, he sent an image of his confusion, his excitement, his horror and exhilaration. What would have taken many words in a spoken conversation and still would have been only an approximation of his feelings, now only took the time of a single thought, and Yaden knew exactly how his husband was feeling.

-- You’re doing great. --

-- You think so? I’m not so sure. I was told I am a totally clueless beginner. And that I am ‘stomping’. --

-- But you HAVE never been a whore. --

-- You know perfectly well what I mean. They told me I would be ‘winterlisted’ if I didn’t learn how to properly ‘excite’ my master. --

-- Oh I would never winterlist you, love! --

Groaning inwardly, Kendrik had to remind himself that even though a telempathic communication did ensure there were no verbal misunderstandings between them, it did little to help them overcome the cultural differences in their lives. Despite of all his loveliness, Yaden was still a son of the Phoenix Empire, and their barbaric culture was what he considered normal.

-- I know you wouldn’t. I just never met anyone who actually had to think about being winterlisted. Sometimes your Empire still feels very alien to me. --

-- I never claimed we were the good guys. --

-- No, you didn’t. Still didn’t prepare me that I would train to be a whore here, to play all meek and sexy and dress up for the pleasure of my ‘masters’. --

-- Dress up? --

Of course Yaden would perk up. Despite all his husbands, he still had a decidedly naughty streak. Dress-up games only scratched the surface.

Almost groaning inwardly, Kendrik sent his husband the mental image of a nod, together with a few images of the ‘personalities’ Ryan had suggested during the afternoon.

-- Do you think... -- Yaden took off, the insecurity if he was maybe asking too much of Kendrik coming across as an ‘audible’ pause, -- You think you could bring one or two of those outfits home when you’re done there? --

A few years ago, Kendrik would have balked at the thought. But he had learned that a lot of the things he thought unmentionable were actually rather entertaining. And that, if Yaden found it important enough to ask despite Kendrik’s ‘shyness’, as he called it, it was a good idea to at least give it a try.

-- I’ll see what I can do. --

-- Thanks, sweetheart. --

For a moment, they just enjoyed their mental connection, as if they were together in the same room, holding hands, relaxing. It was good just to feel each other, to reconfirm Kendrik’s knowledge that he wasn’t alone in this, after all. Yaden was merely a thought away, and if things went wrong could get him out of here within seconds. If things were really bad, he’d bring all their husbands and some of their children, too. Together, they were quite a fearsome army.

-- How was dinner? -- Kendrik finally asked.

Instead of sending words, Yaden conveyed his memories as a string of images and impressions.

Sunlight blinking through the branches of the old olive tree that covered their outdoor dining table. Colin arguing loudly, a fine dusting of flour in his dark hair, his truffle-sweet eyes glinting with amusement. Fine clusters of white fur, probably Teagan’s, drifting across the ground, chased by a gleefully babbling Vian on all fours. Their daughter Myriam, setting down a pile of plates, sternly reprimanding her mother with that ‘stupid parents’ look of hers. The smell of fresh bread on the table, and of fish grilling on the open fireplace nearby.

Lastly, an image of their daughter Siva, staring at her half-finished dinner plate in perfect artist’s rapture. Her mouth slightly open, her fox-like ears pulled back and a little down, she seemed absolutely oblivious to the world around her, all her considerable attention focused on the way two kinds of gravy mixed on her plate. The only thing moving about her was the tip of her tail, which quivered ever so softly with excitement. No one had dared to disturb her, even after dinner was long over.


Despite everything, despite all the horror and pain and fear outside, there were things of perfect goodness in this universe, and Kendrik felt blessed to be allowed to be part of one of them.

-- Thank you, my love. --

-- Of course. --

Gently, Yaden sent Kendrik the subtle command to keep those images in his mind and now finally get some sleep.

And so that was what Kendrik did.

Meridaemeridae on June 4th, 2013 04:08 am (UTC)
This secret garden place is horrible - cos so far what we've seen hasn't seemed so bad . . . I mean nothing horrible has happened to Kendrik yet, right? He's followed a perfectly reasonable Mistress Ondine around, had a perfectly fine lesson from Ryan . . . hasn't seen any horrid torture or abuse . . .

. . . and yet I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop because it's got to be horrible with all the emotional feedback Kendrik is getting!!

Does Luca become Kendrik's husband? Like only Kendrik's husband and not husband to all the others? If they click that well after all . . .
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on June 4th, 2013 06:53 am (UTC)
The other shoe will drop, believe me. Not overly explicitly so, but Kendrik will have ample opportunity to consider going on a rampage and killing a few Dracon. I am not so great at writing torture porn, so I tried to convey the horror without looking directly at it. You'll have to be the judge if it worked. :D

And about Kendrik and Luca - I can honestly say that, at the end of this story, Kendrik doesn't marry Luca. If they married, though, it would be a marriage of only the two of them, that for sure.
Meridaemeridae on June 4th, 2013 08:55 am (UTC)
Ha! I see what you did there! They may not marry AT THE END OF THE STORY, but that doesn't mean they don't marry at all! Or have some other form of non-marriage based but totally hawt and sweaty relationship!

osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on June 4th, 2013 10:11 am (UTC)
Whoa. Cookies to the perceptive reader! ^^
Meridaemeridae on June 4th, 2013 09:21 am (UTC)
Also, I always worry that offering constructive criticism will upset people, but here goes - I can see what you're aiming for with the balance of horror versus not showing it, but from my perspective you're not quite there. What I'm getting is Kendrik saying how horrible this place is, and how horrible it feels to him, but no independent evidence supporting that - quite the opposite in fact, what we're being *shown* is all very nice and normal and contradicts what Kendrik is telling us. I agree in not going into full on torture fic, but you need to at least *show* a little of what makes it horrible. Like you and Beryl managed in the kitten-fic! Maybe things like doors that Kendrik is sharply steered away from . . . . slaves with haunted looks or obvious but unexplained bruises . . . casual minor physical punishments (like slapping a slave as a normal, accepted thing). I dunno! But I know you can do it! ::nods trustingly:: Cos otherwise what I'm getting is "O RITE Kendrik is at this new place . . . Ondine is okay . . . . rooms okay . . . Ryan is nice . . . go to the canteen for a meal nice a normal . . hey, this is more like a college dorm than a house of sexual horrors!"

::looks at you pleadingly:: Don't hate me, I love your fic!! ::sniffles pathetically::
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on June 4th, 2013 10:14 am (UTC)
No, don't worry dear - I absolutely agree with you.

At least, right now, that is. Let's talk about this subject, say, three or four chapters further down. Maybe six.

If I haven't managed to make your skin crawl until then, I have more work to do. ^^

Thanks for daring to speak up, highly appreciated.
BerthaBlueberthablue on June 4th, 2013 08:32 am (UTC)
"I would never winterlist you!"

Hahaha, best spousal reassurance ever!

The little family image at the end was so perfect. I could seriously read the most mundane scenes of their happy family for hours and be happy with it.

Also the sex and dressing up ;)
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on June 4th, 2013 10:15 am (UTC)
Agreed. What else can I say?

idolme922idolme922 on June 4th, 2013 05:52 pm (UTC)
Perfect! Yaden's family is enviable.

The other shoe? Okay, let it drop! More please. :D
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on June 5th, 2013 03:59 am (UTC)
Other shoe falling bit by bit over the coming chapters. Next chapter, as usual, in three days time. ^^

(Anonymous) on June 4th, 2013 09:38 pm (UTC)
is it just me or did this fic jump from chapter 5 to chapter 7 ?????
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on June 5th, 2013 03:56 am (UTC)
You can find chapter six here:

Did you come via one of the slavefic lists and I forgot to post chapter 6 on one of them? If yes, please let me know so I can fix it!