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01 July 2013 @ 05:52 am
FIC: Serin's Secret Garden, Part 16/18  
Author: Osiris Brackhaus
Story Title: Serin’s Secret Garden
Part: 16/18
Rating: R/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: 3.700/57.000
Setting: 'Phoenix Empire' verse, see Phoenix Empire Timeline & Index and the Phoenicipedia
Summary: Having pried a first clue from Baron Yuri during their date, Kendrik goes on the hunt for conspirators…
Feedback: Yes, please! Constructive criticism welcome!

"Oh my god, you really did?" Kendrik leaned back, a beaming expression of scandalized awe on his face. "I could never have dared anything like that."

"Well, of course not," the dark-haired noble sitting next to him replied, just a little condescendingly. "You're just a slave. You shouldn't even think of such things."

Kendrik laughed, nodding, gently patting his companion's hand that rested leisurely on Kendrik's knee. They were sitting in the dakka den, heavy smoke curling around them in lazy lines. On the stage, a set of drummers, a harpist and a sitar player provided some gently throbbing background music that blended comfortably with the chatter of the patrons.

The dakka den had been almost fully booked for Kendrik's performance, tonight. And once again, the audience had been pleasantly surprised by the emotional depth of Kendrik's performance. Sure, Kendrik had been somewhat cheating, but never the less he glowed with the success. Especially as this evening had been an unqualified success in more than one way - while mingling with the guests afterwards, Kendrik spotted two young Dracon among the audience that fit Baron Yuri's description all but perfectly.

Admittedly, Yuri's mental image had been colored by his opinion, so the man wasn't as weasely and the woman not as nervous as Kendrik had perceived them through Yuri's eyes. But it was them, and it had taken Kendrik only very little coaxing to get them to invite him into their alcove.

Now they were sitting here, on a large pile of comfortable pillows, sharing a bottle of ridiculously good Shirazan wine, chatting. Lounging closely together, it had been easy to get them to touch Kendrik - he was lying to the left of him, absentmindedly fondling Kendrik's leg, while she was playing with his hair, lying on her back and leaning her head against his chest.

It turned out the two were twins - brother and sister, Gaetano and Corazon Dracon. Their mother had married a Castella, and for whatever reason had decided to allow him to name their children. Mostly, they went with Guy and Cora on Serin, to keep the confusion at a minimum.

Just now, Guy had been boasting about some daring ploy the two of them had recently pulled off to make an old adversary lose face and to gain some more standing among their peers. Kendrik had to admit, these two were sly bastards and pretty bold. They might just be part of the conspiracy he was looking for, and so he had all intention to dig deeper.

"Of course I shouldn't, as a slave," Kendrik replied with wide eyes, carefully keeping his senses on how much he could ham up his lies until the two of them started to get suspicious. "But aren't you, like, the fourth son of a Baronet? I mean, angering the sister of a Count is a risky thing, even for you."

In a normal conversation, Guy might have managed to brush this off with a laugh. But Kendrik had guessed right, and the tiny flicker of indignation was all that he had been waiting for. Swiftly, he took a hold of that emotion, feeding it until he could hear Guy grinding his teeth.

"With such a low rank, you got to be careful." Kendrik added just for good measure, trying to appear as doe-eyed and harmless as he possibly could on the outside. Guy and Cora weren't straining his acting talents too much, though.

"Fortunately," Guy pressed out after a moment, "we live in a time where low rank is not a fate one has to live with. For those who are smart and courageous, there are always options."

"Really, Guy?" his sister asked from Kendrik's other side, her speech a little slurred and mellow from the dakka she had been smoking. "That old speech again?"

"Oh, please let him," Kendrik interjected, looking down at her with a sultry smile. "I would love hearing it. After all, it allows me to dream with you. Maybe one day, I can talk about the mighty Baron Guy and his lovely sister, who I knew when they were still no-names on Serin."

This time, his back-handed little insult hit both of them.

"We won't be no-names for long," Cora snarled, sitting up a little, her arm coming to rest on Kendrik's hand. "And I don't think we're going to settle for a measly barony."

"Not?" Kendrik smiled at her, biting his lower lip in that hungry way he had learned from Luca. It probably looked ridiculous on him, but right now, he had sufficient body contact with both of them that they took whatever he said and did for the real thing. After all, trust was an emotion. "That sounds like you'll have a choice to make your pick from."

Cora only grinned like a predator in return, picking Kendrik's chin and kissing him with a little more teeth than he usually liked.

"Oh please tell me," Kendrik begged anyway, kindling their hormone-fuelled desire to please him. "Just a little bit."

"But that would be dangerous," Guy remarked, half warning, half enticing, his hand sneaking further up Kendrik's leg.

"But I love dangerous..." Kendrik purred, his fingers wandering up Guy's arm.

Inside, Kendrik was struggling to keep himself from laughing.

Before he had come to the Garden, when he had been able to use his powers to their full extent, he had ever only used them to read or convey surface feelings, or occasionally elicit fear or trust in someone. He had been strong, but ridiculously blunt.
Only now that his powers were hampered to a point that he felt like a cripple, he started to learn how to use the finer skills nature had given him. He was manipulating two people into telling him secrets that could get them killed, and he was hardly doing anything but talking to them.

"So if it's not a barony," Kendrik nudged again, "Will it be a county?"

"More than that," Cora whispered. She leaned back again, opening the top of her blouse, beginning to caress her breasts without really thinking about it.

"A duchy, then?" Kendrik asked, pulling Cora into a closer embrace with his free arm, tracing a line from her collarbone to her earlobe with a fingernail.

"More than that," Guy whispered on the other side. By now, he was half lying on top of Kendrik's legs, his hand resting on Kendrik's hip, as if still struggling to decide whether to fondle front or back.

"More than a duchy? How naughty..." Kendrik replied, breathless. In the minds of the two nobles, he could feel images flit just underneath their conscious thoughts, images of clandestine meetings, of things they should never talk about, never even think about clearly outside the Secret Garden. "So, we're talking about... one of the Noble Houses?"

Cora gave a mean little chuckle, her body arching warm and eager against Kendrik's side. She took his free hand and led it down along her belly to her crotch, pressing it firmly against herself.

"More. Than. That." she whispered into Kendrik's ear.

"Oh please. You're making fun of me." Looking from one to another, Kendrik knew he couldn't press them much further without them noticing they were being manipulated. They were already way beyond the point that they would usually talk about. But he had to try. "You're aiming for the throne? Just the two of you?"

"Not just us," Guy whispered, his hand deciding for a thorough groping of Kendrik's ass. But inside he was growing cautious, realizing how much even such hints could get him into trouble. "But that's really nothing a slave needs to know."

Suddenly, Kendrik could grab images of their allies from their minds, clear impressions of who they trusted, of the men and woman they were working with to get a shot at the Phoenix Throne. Kendrik even caught a few names, but that was almost unnecessary by now.

He had faces, at least two confirmed names, and a vague idea where inside the Secret Garden they were meeting. The rest could be gathered from the surveillance cameras that were so abundant in this place where everything could be bought if the price was right.

Guy continued fondling Kendrik's ass, his motions somewhere between reverential and impatient. His sister, in the meanwhile, had opened her blouse even further and put Kendrik's hand down on her breasts with clear command. He could feel that they both wanted him, and that they were planning on sharing him. Both their minds were bombarding him with images of Kendrik sandwiched between brother and sister, writhing in passion. Not the worst way to spend an evening, normally, but Kendrik could also feel how they were inside, their emotions, their hearts. And they weren't pretty.

He'd very much prefer another night with Luca and his gleeful way of realizing just how innocent his big, strong boyfriend actually was.

In his arms, Cora took Kendrik's hand from her breast and pushed it down her crotch, pressing against him hot and full of need.

"What do you think," Guy suggested huskily. "Shall we move somewhere more private?"

"He can do me right here," Cora moaned, "Who the fuck cares?"

Guy's expression clearly showed that he cared, and quite a bit actually. But it seemed they had had this discussion already a few times, and Guy relented wordlessly.

This was slowly getting too hot for Kendrik to like, and besides, he probably had all the information from them he would ever need. Pretending to be startled by something just at the fringe of his vision, Kendrik looked up.

"I am awfully sorry," he said to the two of them, gently beginning to untangle himself from their limbs. "But I am afraid my time here is up. My master demands my presence elsewhere."

"What?" Guy growled, looking around. "Now?!"

"I am sorry, Master," Kendrik apologized. "I am not a member of the staff, only borrowed for a while. I could sent you someone else, if you like..."

"Aww..." Cora mewled softly, falling back into the pillows, her hands pawing after Kendrik's curls. "Just a few more minutes."

"I am sorry, Lady Cora." Leaning down to her again, he gave her a gentle kiss, allowing her to play with his hair just a moment longer. "This one was on the house."

Kendrik still wasn't too sure if those two were actually involved in the conspiracy that Li Ma had sent him to uproot, but it felt pretty close. Close enough to warrant a call home and see if he had found the right people. Maybe his stay here wouldn't last much longer.

He rose and straightened the sleeveless robe he had been wearing, tossing his hair over one shoulder as he walked away. As on the other nights before, he could feel a wave of fascination and desire running through the place.

It wasn't so much the color of his hair or his curls that caused this reaction, Ryan had explained to him the other day. It was this kind of hair on a man like Kendrik. While his body was that of a athlete, he moved with a warrior's unselfconscious security, and yet his hair looked luxuriously sensual. It was an odd, contradictory mix, and still it looked perfectly natural on him.

'The perfect congruity of nature', as Ryan had called it. 'Even the weirdest shit fits seamlessly if it's Her doing. No way faking that.'

Kendrik smiled at the memory of Ryan's expression, a mix of envy, fascination and amusement.

He suspected that there was a little more to the whole thing than just his hair, but he wasn't too sure. Carefully tuned to the way he was carrying himself in public as his senses were now, Kendrik had realized that he indeed was moving differently. He had stopped 'stomping', and instead moved a little more gracefully, a little more like the dancer his mother would have loved him to become. Kendrik really liked the way he looked, the way he was able to turn heads where ever he walked by, and it was doing something to him. He wasn't yet sure what, but it was new.

Passing the door that led out of the dakka den towards the bowels of the Secret Garden, Kendrik stopped at one of the servants.

"I'll need a room for a moment," he told the young woman who looked at him attentively. "Is there anything free around here?"

"Sure," she replied, smiling. "Down the corridor, seventh door to the left. The chapel should be free for at least another hour. Do you need anything else?"

"No, thank you." Kendrik replied just as politely. "If anything comes up, I'll call."

Once you had a certain standing among the talents of the Secret Garden, no one asked why you needed anything. A unicycle? A set of thirteen obsidian daggers, a vat of butter and a living shark? This place catered to the rich and idle of the Empire, and there was hardly anything left that would raise an eyebrow. As long as it served to bring in money, anything the whores needed for their work would be arranged. A room was positively pedestrian.

Silently, Kendrik wondered how many of his colleagues used this little loophole to gain a little bit of rest from their work and the constant observation, treating themselves once in a while to the luxuries that were meant for their customers. He would have to ask Luca and Ryan about that, they'd most probably know.

Once Kendrik had reached the door the servant girl had mentioned, he braced himself and walked through. As expected, he ended up in one of the meticulously designed fake worlds that were so overabundant in this place. This time, it was a small church, complete with late afternoon sunlight slanting through stained glass windows and the smell of dust and incense hanging heavily in the air.

Kendrik looked around for a moment, taking in the place. He was sure the confessional had seen more than its fair share of sinful actions, and probably the altar as well. And yet, the place conveyed a serenity that was impressive, and a beauty that once again spoke highly of the set designers working for the Secret Garden.

He walked down the aisle in silence, gave a perfunctory nod to the altar and then settled down on one of the first benches, kneeling as if in deep prayer. Not a bad disguise for what he was about to do.

-- Yaden? Can you hear me? -- he thought.

It took him a while, and a few repetitions, but then he managed to get through the toxic background of the place and through to his husband.

-- Kendrik? Are you alright? Shall I come and get you out? --

Kendrik had to smile at his husband's acute urge to burn the place down. It was a good feeling to know that there was someone unthinkingly willing to rain down death and destruction at Kendrik's mere thought. But he wouldn't need to, at least not tonight.

-- I am fine. -- Kendrik reassured him, adding a few images of him singing and laughing at the dakka den for illustration. -- It was a good evening. --

-- Really. -- Yaden obviously wasn't convinced. In his eyes, no evening any of them had to spend apart from the family dinner table could be a good one.

-- Really. -- Beaming with pride, Kendrik added: -- I think I found them. --

-- Who? --

-- The conspirators, dear. The ones I was sent here to find? --

-- Really? You did it? --

-- Was there ever a doubt I would? -- Kendrik asked back, only half mocking.

Yaden hesitated a moment, his careful deliberation translating into a smooth, gray feeling over their telepathic connection, mixed with the sensation of a polite request to give him a moment to sort out his answer.

-- No, no doubt you would find them, -- he finally answered. -- I am just surprised it worked this fast. And it went much smoother than I had dared to hope for. --

-- I got lucky. -- Kendrik replied lightly, though he couldn't quite hide the fact that he thought some of that luck was due to his hard work. Not all, of course, but at least some. -- Should I give the names to you or should I contact Li Ma directly? --

-- Give them to me. I'll inform the Commander, then. --

Not really in the mood for words, Kendrik sent him the impression of a nod, followed by a condensed package of his own memories. Within less time than it took Kendrik to take a single breath, he had given Yaden all the information he had been able to gather on Guy and Cora and their little network of conspirators.

He could sense Yaden sort through the facts, both professionally checking if they amounted to sufficient evidence and beamingly proud at his husband's neat work.

-- I think this is all we need, -- Yaden finally decided. -- Shall we inform 'the Duke' that your stay is over? --

This time, it was Kendrik who hesitated.

-- What is it, love? -- Yaden asked.

-- I don't think I should leave right now. There's... still some things I need to take care of. --

Yaden's surprise was evident through their connection.

-- Are you sure? I mean, anything you need, love, but, really? You want to stay longer in the Secret Garden then necessary? --

Kendrik had to smile at his husband's choice of words. Of course, they weren't really words, but that was beside the point right now.

-- Oh you can bet your pretty little ass that I will be out of here the very second it is no longer necessary. -- he replied. -- Maybe I'm done with what the Empire needed me to do, but I can't leave like this. --

-- Luca? -- Yaden asked, apparently having snatched the thought somewhere from the back of Kendrik's mind.

-- Yes, Luca. -- Again, Kendrik hesitated, feeling Yaden's mild surprise at his own insecurity. -- I don't know exactly what I am going to do. --

-- Are you not going to bring him home?! --

Once again, Yaden's heartfelt reaction stopped Kendrik's thoughts dead in their tracks.

-- You wouldn't mind? --

-- I would mind if you left him there. I mean, I know how you feel about him, you remember? And besides, it would only suit a man of your standing to have a pet, finally. --

At the thought of owning an underage boy as a 'pet', Kendrik felt his stomach churn. His mother would disown him on the spot if she ever learned about it, and his sister... Better not think in that direction at all. What was this Empire doing to him?

And yet, despite everything, buying Luca seemed like the perfectly right thing to do, especially when compared to the consequences of not buying him.

-- I still have to think about it. -- he finally sent in Yaden's direction. -- And besides, it's not only Luca. All the others here... --

-- You can't always save them all. -- Yaden replied, his words heavy with the memory that this had been a hard-learned lesson for himself as well.

-- I know. But I have to find a way to leave this mess so I can still live with myself. --

Through their connection, Yaden sent him the sensation of a warm, understanding embrace, carrying the same, mountain-like calm that he radiated in person.

-- Whatever you do, just remember that I am ever only a single thought away.-- Yaden said with the mental image of a smile. -- And whatever you come up with, I will support you. --

That last thought came with the distinct note that Yaden's support was indeed as unconditional as he had worded it. He trusted Kendrik to do the right thing, and whatever that ended up to be, he would be there to back him up. Up to and including pulling rank as a representative of the Emperor, and sorting out the mess later.

In return, Kendrik just sent him his love.

-- I'll figure something out, -- Kendrik concluded. -- And I'll let you know when my 'master' should demand my return. --

-- I'll be here, love. --

-- Just a few more days, then I'll be home. Kiss the others from me. --

They dissolved their link with a last image of a loving hug. Kendrik remained sitting in the chapel, thinking about his time here, about the people he had met. About Ondine and Ryan, Mia and Leighton and all the others. About Luca, of course. About the nobles that used them. About the options he had.

It took him quite a while.

Finally, he forced himself back up onto his feet, groaning after the long time he had spent basically motionless. But at least, he had a plan now.

With swift steps, he walked back towards the dakka den, where he was sure he would be able to find a member of the staff even at this time of the night. And as if she hadn't left, there was still the young servant girl waiting near the door.

"You're still here," Kendrik started with the obvious.

"And you are back already," she replied, her plain face open and just a little mocking.

"I need to have a message sent to Baron Yuri. Can you arrange that or is there someone else I should talk to?"

"As long as you are allowed outside contact, it will be sufficient to give me your message. I'll take care of the rest."

"Oh, I am quite sure this will be no problem." With a wide smile, Kendrik wriggled his eyebrows suggestively. "Please inform Baron Yuri, in these words exactly, that I have a little surprise planned for the horny old goat, and that I expect him to visit me tomorrow in the late afternoon."

The girl raised her eyebrows. "Are you sure?"

"Oh yes. I'm very sure. It'll be quite the... educating event. To both of us."

Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainenmissingkeys on July 1st, 2013 09:38 am (UTC)
Oh, Kendrik is made of love. I'm so happy that he's able to stay there a little longer to make things right, and I really hope he can get Luca home. I really hope that Guy and Cora don't get suspicious and hurt him!
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on July 1st, 2013 11:47 am (UTC)
Let's just hope Guy and Cora will never notice what hit them. Most probably, they will just disappear. ^^
Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainenmissingkeys on July 1st, 2013 12:53 pm (UTC)
Hehehehehehe. I like how you work. :)
Meridaemeridae on July 1st, 2013 09:39 am (UTC)
You know the worst thing about this?

There's only two parts to go! NUUUUUUUU!

And why do I have a bad feeling about Leighton and Ryan . . .
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on July 1st, 2013 11:50 am (UTC)
Well, yes, but it's gonna be two good parts. :D

I don't know about your bad feeling, but that's a common occurence with all healthy people when thinking about the Secret Garden. I don't know if you gonna like my solution, but Kendrik (and I) think that it's the best possible one.
Meridaemeridae on July 2nd, 2013 05:52 am (UTC)
Pretty sure that because I am the centre of the universe, it's what I think that matters . . . hehehehe!
Beryllrynthjan on July 1st, 2013 12:41 pm (UTC)
Don't be sad, after all the end of this story means the beginning of the next one :D
Meridaemeridae on July 2nd, 2013 05:52 am (UTC)
Will there be five way Yaden/Colin/Teagan/Kendrick/Colin snurgles in the next one???
Beryllrynthjan on July 2nd, 2013 05:54 am (UTC)
Nope but there will be Yaden/Kendrik/Ivan threesome.
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on July 2nd, 2013 06:35 am (UTC)
Ah yes... Very much looking forward already. :D
Meridaemeridae on July 2nd, 2013 07:52 am (UTC)
OMG I wouldn't have seen that one coming!!

While you're at it, can I have Ivan/Luca? (I don't know why, I just do!)
Beryllrynthjan on July 2nd, 2013 08:30 am (UTC)
*looks at growling, hissing Kendrik, who is hiding Luca behind his back*

That is rather unlikely, I'm afraid...
Meridaemeridae on July 2nd, 2013 09:30 am (UTC)
Heh, I take it Kendrik doesn't like to share when it comes to Luca! I wonder how Luca is going to feel about there - he seems like a . . um . . 'generous' kind of lad to me.
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on July 2nd, 2013 10:37 am (UTC)
Let's be honest here, he's a slut.

He absolutely loves and adores Kendrik, but monogamy is a concept that's entirely alien to him, little surprise there. He will, though, remain mostly faithful to Kendrik, especially once he realizes that this subject is a bit tricky with his boyfriend / master. It'll take quite some negotiating for the two of them to get things settled to everyone's, ahem, satisfaction.
Meridaemeridae on July 3rd, 2013 05:47 am (UTC)
See, that's exactly what I was seeing - Luca is, through inclination or circumstance, a generous lad whose used to sharing. Kendrik, while seemingly happy to share Yaden and his other spouses, seems more possessive of Luca (hypocrite! Share the Luca love with your other spouses! He's too cute not to share).

::waits eagerly for next episode::
debbiemethosdeb on July 2nd, 2013 01:33 am (UTC)
Loved it .I knew that Kendrik could not leave things the way they are at that evil place and I am sure he will save as many as he can with the support of his family . That's why I love them.
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on July 2nd, 2013 06:40 am (UTC)
Yup, he will definitely change things in the Secret Garden. No idea if you're gonna like our solution, but I think it's a pretty smooth and effektive way. You'll see in chapter 18. ^^
idolme922idolme922 on July 2nd, 2013 03:44 am (UTC)
Kendrick is such a dear. I'm looking forward to the wrap up and especially Yuri's part. I'm excited for the rest and then the next ... :D
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on July 2nd, 2013 06:41 am (UTC)
Really, really curious to see how (if) you like the next part with Yuri. :D Quite some smut involved.
fanarts_seriesfanarts_series on July 7th, 2013 08:53 am (UTC)
Oh i hope he can save Luca, dearest boy.

Kendrik rocked, manipulating Cora and Guy like that, well done.
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on July 7th, 2013 09:13 am (UTC)
Well, the last chapters are up since this morning, so you can see for yourself what's going to happen.

Also, there's a poll up in my wife's journal, where you can pick the next story to be posted: http://rynthjan.livejournal.com/116353.html

Thanks for commenting!
fanarts_seriesfanarts_series on July 7th, 2013 09:16 am (UTC)
Already read part 18 and commented ♥♥♥

Oh poll, going to.
BerthaBlueberthablue on July 11th, 2013 09:34 am (UTC)
Oh, right, he came to the secret garden for a reason, not just to find pretty Luca and awesomely sexy/creepy Yuri...

I adore Yaden's super-calm way of responding to everything. I want a Yaden.
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on July 12th, 2013 06:47 am (UTC)
Yeah. Don't we all want a little more Yaden in our lives? :D

Awesomely sexy/creepy Yuri. Hehe. Thanks for the description, I can SO see him laughing at this, holding his belly. ^^