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Jan 22, 2019 12:36 PM
jean goes shopping
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He's been to quite a lot of auctions. This one's unexceptional; the servitors are scantily dressed, the lighting just low enough to flatter the merchandise, the steady background chatter of old acquaintances exchanging niceties interrupted by the crack of whips or the thud of paddles.

A young woman, dressed in very little except the most profoundly uncomfortable-looking shoes he's ever seen, drifts up to Jean's elbow to silently offer him a champagne flute, which he accepts and politely sips while he browses. As she fades into the background, an excessively jovial dealer attempts to convince Jean that two tall over-tanned fake-breasted women on a stand together are twins; Jean walks past him without breaking stride, but stops to linger when an old friend hails him down.

She knows his tastes. The dark slender man she's hawking is one of the more covered slaves in the room, in his bedlah, but the kohl around his eyes is tasteful, and the dance he's demonstrating is a beautifully controlled classic Egyptian raqs baladi. The documents on the nearby podium say he's recently finished out his first six-month contract; Jean wouldn't have to go through the tedium of teaching him the Marketplace basics, but a month of intense finishing work could easily double or triple his value. It would be a delight of an investment.

But not, alas, what Jean is looking for today. Jean demurs, regretful, and wanders on. He pauses, occasionally: exchanges a few words with a gray-haired woman, chained and blindfolded, when she reaches the end of her violin piece; slaps a tattooed boy to watch his skin color under the ink. Pretty, but still not right.

He keeps looking.

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A young man  — barely out of teenagehood, lithe, lightly muscled — is chained spotlit and on his knees on a circular riser, back arched and chest thrust out with arms pulled back behind him, gasping and struggling to hold the position. He’s obviously hard despite the strain.

He has the room’s attention, and there’s plenty of traffic to the podium holding his information, plenty of hopeful faces.

Most, if not all, walk away without bidding.

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Oh, christ, last thing he wants is some kid who'll break and it'll be his fault. He moves on.

A short, heavyset woman is incongruous in golden silks; someone doesn't understand staging. A heavily pierced man is putting elaborate braids into the hair of a willowy person who lounges seductively, managing to be of ambiguous sex despite being stark naked. A freckled woman, masses of dark hair pulled back, bends double to suck her own cock.

Nothing he wants.

He circles back around.

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Someone — presumably the boy’s trainer — has approached the riser and is walking around it, speaking in a calm, clipped tone to the crowd, occasionally flicking the switch in his hand at the merchandise. He gasps with apparently genuine pleasure every time it connects.

A young man in an overly expensive suit approaches and bids. An older couple does as well — halfway through his file they exchange glances and move on.

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...all right, he's curious. What's in this file?

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His name is Sky, age 20, on his third contract. Trained in cooking and housework and protocol and vocal performance (he’s a tenor) and a truly stunning array of sexual acts and niche fetish skills, as one would expect.

Halfway through his file, there’s one sentence that reveals somewhat more than was likely intended:

Not suitable to supervise other slaves.

“Please—please, sir, again—”

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Jean finishes paging through for points of interest, then catches the trainer's eye.

"I want to hear him sing."

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“Of course.”

He gives Sky one last swat with the switch, then reaches aside to unlock the cuffs keeping his wrists pulled back.

“Any particular idiom you prefer?”

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"Impress me."

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He sits up, twitches for a moment but doesn’t rub his wrists.

On a signal from his trainer, he opens his mouth and sings from his perch.

I, I who have nothing

I, I who have no one

Adore you, and want you so

I’m just a no-one, with nothing to give you, but oh,

I love you!

He has a lovely voice. With some polishing it could be really exceptional.

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"Pretty songbird you've got," he comments, noncommittally. "What did he do to the other slaves?"

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“—I’m sure I don’t know what you mean,” says his trainer, who clearly does.

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...this sounds like it could be bad for him.

He gives Jean a truly piteous look, but he doesn’t speak without orders.

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...he sighs, steps over and takes Sky's chin in his hand.

"What did you do to them, pretty songbird, hmm?"

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Oh, he’s gorgeous.

It takes him a moment to get his thoughts in order. He leans into the touch just barely in the meantime.

“I left marks when I punished them, sir. And I found reasons to hurt them.”

Fire does tend to leave marks.

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He strokes his hair.

"And whatever would you do that for, I wonder."

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“They wouldn’t behave right until they were afraid of me, sir.”

There’s the barest hint of a smile at the corners of his mouth.

His trainer looks positively ill.

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Breaking this one is probably ethically tolerable.

He turns away without further comment. Goes to write down his bid.

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Sky’s trainer has some quiet but very sharp words for him as Jean departs.

 

He watches him for the rest of the night, when he can. Once or twice someone else comes to bid.

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Jean doesn't come over promptly, when they do, but he always does come eventually, writes down a modest raise.

The rest of the time, he socializes, nurses his single glass of champagne, smiles at his phone as he texts, requests more pieces from the violinist.

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He smiles at him from his perch every time he returns, when he isn’t occupied being soundly whipped.

At the end of the night he remains, chained, on his pedestal, as his trainer approaches Jean to inform him that he’s won the bidding.

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He comes over. Places a collar, wordlessly, around Sky's neck.

After a moment of adjusting, it clicks shut; to all appearances, it's a single smooth piece of metal, snug around his neck, with no rings or latches.

"Does he have clothes? I can't take him out to the car like this."

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“Thank you, Sir,” he murmurs, looking up at him through his eyelashes.

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“He has clothes,” the trainer confirms, leaning down to free Sky from his chains. “As soon as you’re ready he can dress himself.”

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"Get dressed, songbird."

He's fastening his own coat.

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“Yes, sir.”

He steps down from his perch and disappears behind a curtain. When he returns, he’s dressed simply, in a loose grey shirt and tight black pants.

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