May 20th, 2004
|02:03 pm - Veritas Part 3|
Mila was scared. Some guy she didn’t recognise had taken her out of the cell, she’d been dragged to a shower block and told to clean herself off. The fucker had just stood there watching her as she did so. In her head a million insults flew at him. Sarcastic comment after sarcastic comment, anything that proved she was still there, that Mila still existed. They hadn’t taken her away; they’d just suppressed her while she made sure she lived through this. She wasn’t sure if it was totally true, but it made her feel better. Plus she’d seen what fighting back did for you. Some bastard shoved his dick so far up your ass he ruptured your fucking innards. Once she was finished she’d been given basic but clean clothing and taken back to her cell. They’d said they were going to sell her on. Perhaps someone was coming to look at her. Flopping down on the mattress she sighed deeply. No one knew where she was. There was nothing that would make it look like she’d been taken. Hell as far as a lot of her friends were concerned she went to New Zealand for six months of the year. She was stuck here, or wherever she ended up. It hadn’t even started yet either. So far they were keeping her in good condition… She’d been humiliated and degraded but honestly it could have been a hell of a lot worse. But once she was sold on… She rested her head in her hands trying not to think about it, but it was hopeless… She sat up looking towards the door as she heard voices coming her way.
Jack had changed but that was all. Billy had been preening most of the day. Still Jack knew it was totally hopeless so he didn’t really care. He glanced at his watch as the bell rang, they were exactly on time. Lucretia never bothered to be ‘fashionably late’ people who did that needed to make a statement about their importance. Lucretia didn’t need to do that. She knew her place in the grand scheme of things… Jack paused allowing Darius time to let them in before going down to meet them. “Lucretia…” He greeted her grandly, taking her gloved hand and kissing it. He could see Billy at the top of the stairs waiting for them. “The goods are ready for your inspection. Shall we go…”
Lucretia smiled at James “Excellent, please. I’m eager to see the merchandise. It is in pristine condition as you said correct?” She took Jack’s arm as he offered it to lead her down stairs.
Mercurio arrived at the Tavington’s with Lucretia. He was concerned. She was healed pretty much from helping the girl but he didn’t like the brothers one bit. As they were greeted by James, Merc felt himself bristle. But when he saw William at the top of the stairs he had to fight to keep himself calm. He knew what he wanted to do to Lucretia. He could smell it on him and he couldn’t stand it. The sooner they had Lorne’s friend and were out of here the better.
Billy stood at the top of the stairs, *Damn she was beautiful* he smiled as Jack greeted her, and that mortician of a manservant that followed her everywhere. The way her hands were always covered by gloves, the way her clothes just covered enough…*Ugh* he had to stop before he just…burst. Damn Jack, taking the lead and… Billy rushed down the stairs to join them. “Mercurio,” he nodded as he moved between him and her. “Lucretia…” he smiled his most charming smile, “It’s so good to see you again…” he shot a look at Jack “so how long shall we have the pleasure of your company this evening?”
Lucretia turned to face Billy “Not long William, I’ve business at home.”
Billy nodded “All work and no play Lucretia… You are always working…” he chuckled “No rest for the wicked eh?” Wicked was an understatement. His eyes lingered on her lips, they were positively tantalizing…Billy licked his lips, delicious…
Jack watched Billy’s pathetic attempts with amusement, but really he needed to keep a rein on Billy before his antics cost them the deal. Moving between his brother and Lucretia and her manservant he flashed a professional smile. “Let me take you to see what you came here to see. I know how anxious you must be to take the goods home.” He led them down to the holding area, chatting as he did so. “The goods are in excellent condition as you asked for. I have to say it was very tempting to just keep it for myself. I can see you have exquisite taste.” He opened the door that led into the holding area. Cell after cell filled with terrified beauties or what other species thought of as beautiful. Jack had learned a long time ago that there was no accounting for taste and that what he considered hideously ugly was highly desired by some species. He led them through the room and into another, there were fewer cells in here and most were empty. They kept the special stuff in here. Over by the far wall was the blonde’s cell. Jack had ordered Darius to prepare her knowing that Billy couldn’t be trusted. He grinned as he saw he head whip anxiously round to see who was coming. She had obviously guessed that today was the day she met her new owners.
Mila could feel her heart repeatedly trying to break through her ribcage it was pounding so hard. She eyed the people coming towards her. A part of her wishing, praying that they would stop at another cage, take one of the others… She hated herself for feeling it, but it was true. She knew they were coming for her though, she was the only one who had been ‘prepared’. The bastard brothers were there, the smug fuck who so brutally murdered the girls was flirting with some woman… The woman was beautiful, but there was something about her… Mila got the impression that she was hiding something, she couldn’t tell what it was but what they were seeing wasn’t her true nature. Most people wouldn’t have seen it, it was an amazing performance, but it was just a little too perfect for Mila’s liking. The tall guy wasn’t saying much, he was damned cute but that was hardly the point right now. The point was she wanted to be back home and not going anywhere with anyone. Her hands started to tremble the closer they got to her. Maybe they wouldn’t like her, maybe she wasn’t really what they were looking for. That would buy her a little more time right? But then… But then if they didn’t like her, maybe that meant she wasn’t so valuable and that the brothers wouldn’t feel the need to keep her in such good condition. *Fuck* The whole thing was fucking hopeless and she knew it. Either way she was… The thoughts faded as they reached her.
“So as you can see she’s very healthy, no marks, no damage. I’m sure she’ll be wonderful.” Hell Jack knew she was wonderful… He’d be spending a long time trying to find a creature that could replace those two tongues… “Stand up.” He barked at Mila.
She really thought about not doing it, but the image of the dead girls empty eyes was burned into her brain. She stood slowly her gaze down towards the floor.
“It’s very obedient.” Jack told them, like a trainer showing off his latest pet. “Come here.”
Again she obeyed getting as close to the bars as she could. She swore though if the fucker told her to heel she was going to kick his ass even if he did kill her for it.
Mercurio watched Lorne’s friend as she moved. He could see the fear in her eyes already, so different to the girl in the photograph even after such a short time. Soon they would be able to let her know that she was safe, but for now they must play the hard traders or risk everything. James was laughing at her as she did what he asked. He remembered something Lorne had told him once. That the hardest thing had been accepting that he wanted to live so badly that being a slave was better than being dead. That he wasn’t prepared to fight for his freedom. Her eyes seemed to hold that realisation that she had learned something about herself that she didn’t like. That somehow she wasn’t the person she’d thought she was. He’d seen it before in those who’d been taken from a normal life. Those born to slavery knew nothing else, the others suddenly realised that they wanted to survive more than they wanted to keep their dignity. It was a hard lesson for anyone to learn.
Jack was anxious to close up the deal now, he didn’t want to give Billy any more opportunities to screw up. “So, perhaps you’d like to take a closer look at the goods, then we can talk money.” Jack knew they’d have it with them. They always dealt in cash. It was so much easier that way. He also wanted those potions before he lost yet another of his creations.
Billy followed the group with irritation at Jack’s interference. How was he supposed to work his magic on Lady Ice if Jack was going to get in the way too?
Lucretia looked at the blonde satisfied that she was who she was looking for. “Money? James you disappoint me.” She paused to gesture for Mercurio to hand over the case he was carrying “everything we discussed over the phone, is in there, if you’ve changed your mind about something…”
Billy was eager to negotiate “Yes actually, I’d like to enjoy your company…request an audience with the most beautiful creature in this dimension.” Billy took her hand and brought it to his lips, turning it over at the last minute and kissing the inside of her wrist instead of the back of her gloved hand. Then looked at her from under his dark lashes, “I wish you weren’t wearing gloves…” he smiled charmingly.
Lucretia didn’t even react to his bold gesture. She remained calm outwardly, even if her heart raced. She’d seen men act this way towards women all the time, but no one had ever dared make such bold advances to her. It was exciting, even if he wasn’t the one she wished was being bold. She moved her hand to the side of his face, gently caressing his cheek “That’s very flattering William, but surely there are hundreds of other girls just dying for your affections.” Billy closed his eyes as she touched his face… God he really wished she didn’t wear gloves… What was the deal with that anyway? Some Victorian hangover… But then again the whole old fashioned look was part of the appeal. “Yes there are multitudes of women who want my company, but there is only one woman whose company I desire.” He whispered before opening his eyes and putting his hand over hers. Lucretia smiled slightly and suppressed a soft blush, she could smell the lust on him, but…there was something more…
Mercurio felt every muscle in his body tense as Billy fawned over Lucretia. Who the fuck did he think he was that he could be so bold with her. In his mind’s eye he had already ripped his head from his shoulders and given it to his slaves as a trophy. But what bothered him most of all was having to watch Lucretia pretend she liked his advances.
Jack couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Billy was so into himself he couldn’t see what an ass he sounded like. “Thank you no, we do not wish to re-negotiate I just wished to finalise the hand over. But now we have this…” He continued pointing to the case. “Then she is all yours.” He didn’t bother opening the case, he didn’t need to. Someone as prominent as Lucretia would never risk such damage to her reputation. She would be as good as her word. He put the case down and took Mila by the arm. Along with her he handed over the tracking device to Mercurio.
Mila felt like she was going to cry now… But she was damned if she was giving them the bloody satisfaction. The guy stared at her blankly. He took her arm and held her tightly. At least it didn’t seem like they were going to sample the goods before the sale, not that that was much of a comfort.
Mercurio held his _expression steadfast. Holding her tightly to prevent any attempt to escape. If she did that and they were to catch her in James and William’s presence… They’d have to keep playing the part… “We should leave now.” Mercurio told Lucretia. “They are waiting for her.” He eyed William once more; the stench of his desire was repugnant. Merc hated it… He would never have been so with her… No matter how much he wanted to.
“Yes…” Lucretia responded to Mercurio “We should go.”
Billy protested “Back to work then? Already…” he slipped his hand around her waist and pulled her closer to him. “or are you going to just grace some other gentleman with your company?” Billy pouted, “Deny me… Break my heart Lucretia…” It would be so easy, to kiss those lips. They were begging to be… *No, I must prove to Jack that I can exercise restraint* He sighed sensually sliding his hand up the back of her bodice before releasing her “You’re breaking my heart Lucretia,” he paused putting his hand to his heart “heartbroken I’m telling you.” Lucretia had to smile, as dreadful as she knew the Tavington brothers to be, William was being simply adorable. She knew everything he was doing was coated with desire, yet it was…something…something she didn’t know how to respond to. “Well, perhaps if you desire to be in my company so terribly, you will call on me at Sanctuary.” She motioned for Mercurio to take Mila to the car, she would follow as soon as… She turned to Jack “I will have her checked before I present her James…if she is anything but pristine.” She knew she didn’t need to finish the sentence Jack knew what. “James,” she turned to Billy and smiled slightly, “William.” Before she turned to leave.
Jack almost choked as he heard Lucretia issue Billy an invitation to Sanctuary. The little fucker… Still asking him to visit the club was hardly an invitation to sleep with her. “She is pristine I assure you. Goodbye Lucretia.” He replied as they left.
Mila watched the two flirting, it was kinda pathetic really, and then she was being dragged out to a waiting car. She wanted to ask where she was going, what they were going to do to her… But she knew that they really weren’t questions she wanted the answer to.
Mercurio could have leaped at him right then and ripped his still beating heart from his chest, and to hear Lucretia tell him to visit her at Sanctuary… Merc felt the anger burn in him… How could she personally invite him to visit her at Sanctuary? But what bothered him the most was the way she was looking at him… She almost seemed… Merc threw the thought away, it was ridiculous, she was playing the cold trader, nothing more. He took the girl out to the car, looking behind him every few seconds only happy once Lucretia had left too.
They set off back to Sanctuary. Merc could see Mila looking, trying to find a way out. He sighed deeply. “Don’t be afraid. We aren’t going to hurt you. We’re friends of Lorne’s, he’s waiting for you back at Sanctuary, we’re going to take you to him.”
Mila felt her chest tighten. “Lorne?” She couldn’t find any more words… Part of her totally overwhelmed by the relief, the rest terrified that this was a sick joke that meant Lorne was in trouble too. Still either way she couldn’t stop herself sobbing. Lorne had told her of his own escape from the traders, how some woman had bought him. The traders believed her to be one of their own, but she was not… It could be the same person… For now all she could do was wait, she was either going to be set free or discover that her best friend was in as much trouble as she was.
Mercurio knew she didn’t totally believe him, but telling her meant she was shocked enough to not try and jump out of the moving car. He looked over at Lucretia. She was too beautiful… He hated how the hideous ones all wanted her, it made him sick to his stomach to watch them fawn over her. Yet she had never… NEVER invited one of them to visit her at Sanctuary. Mila was still sobbing beside him. It was painful to watch her but it would soon be over. Once they got home and she could see that they were not lying to her. He sat quietly, trying to work out what Lucretia was thinking…
The car pulled up down an alley and she was ushered out of the car. The old warehouse seemed abandoned and Mila felt the panic rise in her gut once more. They all headed for an elevator, and it was going down. *Fuck, fuck, FUCK* Mila was now more worried about Lorne than herself. They’d mentioned him and that meant they must have him too. For the first time in days she found her voice to speak out. “I thought you were taking me to see Lorne. Where is he?” Her voice trembled almost as much as her hands were, but she had to know.
Merc smiled. “I’m sorry, but we can’t take you in the usual way. People must think that you have been sold on. It’s important that you aren’t seen in public so soon. It isn’t far I promise you.”
Mila sighed. She’d been promised many things in her life and she didn’t believe this one. He might as well have said ‘I’ll call you.’ But there was nothing she could do… Her only chance to escape had been in the car but she hadn’t been able to take it as soon as they’d said Lorne’s name.
The elevator groaned to a jerky halt and Merc led her out through a series of underground tunnels. Yes, Mila knew they were probably sewers but she had enough problems without letting herself be aware that she was walking through a pile of shit, literally as well as figuratively. They were walking for at least five minutes before they reached the end of the tunnel and a door. The woman pulled a key from her glove and unlocked it before ushering Mila and Mercurio in. She was taken down another long corridor where the guy paused at one of the doors. “In here.” He told her. “Don’t be afraid it’s just somewhere you can talk. I’m sure you’ll want to go back to Veritas with Lorne then.”
He opened the door, Mila still wasn’t convinced, not until she saw the big green demon smiling back at her as he stood up from his chair. A mixture of emotions that held a little of almost everything from relief to joy to anger to surprise. He paused, just looking at her, Mila knew why, he was checking, wanted to see if she was ok, if… If maybe she didn’t want to be held right now. She couldn’t speak though, cause she couldn’t stop crying…
Lorne went to her and wrapped her in his arms, Pyleans don’t have tear ducts and so can’t cry, but he felt the wave of relief flooding through him just as forcefully. “It’s ok baby, you’re safe now… Everything’s gonna be just fine… Just fine sugar…”
Mila fell into his embrace finally allowing herself to believe that it might just be ok. That Lorne wasn’t being held captive too, that these were his friends and they’d… They’d just paid a fucking small fortune to get her back… She didn’t know the exact amount but she knew just how pleased the brothers were with the deal they’d struck. Or maybe Lorne had… She didn’t know, but she’d find out later. Mila wasn’t exactly poor and if she was more than prepared to pay the price to be out of that place. She could still hear the girl’s screams, the bastard telling her to beg for her life while she sucked on his brother’s dick… The tears overtook her once more as she remembered. Slowly she tried to get a grip… Tried to focus on the fact that she was free, that she could leave whenever she wanted to… Except… Pulling back from Lorne she put a hand to her neck where the implant was.
Merc had been standing back as she and Lorne were reunited, but when he saw her touch where the implant was he realised what she must be thinking. He went to her and handed her the monitor that tracked the implant. “We can have the implant removed later. For now having this yourself should make you feel better. He grinned. “I’m told that if you throw them on the ground and stomp on them it can make you feel better.”
Mila jumped slightly as she laughed without realising it. Taking the device from him she put it in her pocket. “I think I’ll wait till I get home and beat it to death with a stiletto. Thank you. I… Well there isn’t really anything else I can say. Except what the fucking hell took you so long green boy?” She yelled turning back to Lorne. “Better late than never though, I’m glad you missed me.”
Lorne grinned. “Of course I missed you, we were supposed to be going shopping damn it, you know how much I hate missing a shopping trip.”
Mila giggled again through the tears. “Well we’ll have to make sure and make up for that soon won’t we…” She smiled as he held her again. She was so happy to see him, so happy to be free, but there was an ache in her gut, she didn’t know why but she didn’t feel right, didn’t feel like everything was as it should be. They had taken something from her she could never get back.
Lucretia put her hand on Mercurio’s shoulder “Come lets leave them.” She glanced at Raiff who was sitting watching the happy reunion, he stood up and put his drink on the bar, patting Lorne’s ass softly as he passed him “You gonna be alright getting out of here?”
The three of them left the room, Raiff stretched “Well if it’s OK with you two – I’m going to head above ground. I haven’t been in the club at all tonight…” he waited momentarily for an acknowledgement from Luc, which it only took a second to get. “Thank you for staying with him…” Raiff smiled and waved her off, “oh no problems, Lorne I can hang out with for hours, we’ve always got tons to chat about.” He paused “you do look gorgeous hon…” Raiff leaned over and kissed her cheek “just gorgeous” before he turned and made his way in the direction of the main living quarters.
Lorne ran a hand through Mila’s hair. “Damn you had me worried there. How about we head back to Veritas? I went by your place and picked up some stuff, we can eat insane amounts of Chinese food, drink copious amounts of wine and watch dumb TV.”
Mila turned her face into his hand. “Sounds perfect. I can’t wait to get out of this dowdy crap and into something that was actually designed to fit me.”
Lorne looked at her smiling up at him, but he could feel the uneasiness, the fear… “You are ok aren’t you? I mean Luc said that they wouldn’t hurt you before they sold you…”
Mila sighed and dropped her gaze to the floor. “I’m fine.” She lied. “Tired and shaken and angry and scared, but fine… Or at least I will be, now didn’t you promise me Chinese food?”
Lorne giggled. “Yeah I did. There’s a car waiting for us, we can head home now.” He reached down and took her hand as he led her through the tunnels to the waiting car.