Relationship: Platonic to Romantic
Ship Type: Orc!Bodyguard (man) x Royal!Reader (gender neutral)
Time Period + Setting: Medievalist Fantasy
Chapter 1 (SFW)
You panted as you held the point of your sword to the orc’s neck. His piercing emerald eyes held your gaze, a subtle act of defiance despite his disadvantaged state. Orcs never truly backed down, but neither did royals like yourself who were martially trained--well, in your case, royals who were being martially trained. You had by no means acquired mastery of the art, and you knew that day was far off, but it seemed that you had finally bested your long-time opponent. Just as soon as a smug grin graced your features, it vanished. Your lips pursed in annoyance. The skirmish happened too fast, and you were easily able to overcome him. Of course, overcoming an orc in solo combat was never easy in the usual sense of the word. But you could not allow yourself to believe that your victory was hard-won.
Sighing heavily, you lowered your sword and slid the blade into its scabbard in one fluid motion. “You let me win.”
“Ever the observant one.” Fauldush relaxed his posture and gave you a lopsided smile. As he did so, you took in his supple lips and asymmetrical tusks. The right tusk had been broken long before he was assigned to you as your primary bodyguard, but the left tusk was whole, roughly three inches high from his bottom lip, and adorned with three rings of various sizes. Two of the rings were copper, while one was silver. The copper rings were crude circles that were placed around the bottom and top of the tusk. The silver ring was of finer make than its companions and sat a short distance between them, so that each one was an equal distance apart from the other.
It seemed incredulous to believe that orcs were considered ugly and undesirable by the nobility. You knew that was why your mothers, the Sovereign Queens, assigned one to you as a personal guard. They felt that an illicit, reputation-ruining affair was one less thing to worry about. Not to mention, orcs were trained from childhood to be brilliant fighters and were raised in cultures that valued fierce loyalty. The queens must have felt that these traits made for the perfect protector. “You were never going to relent, Your Highness, and if the match had continued for much longer, you would have been late for your thaumaturgy lesson.”
“Need I remind you that you are my bodyguard and not my keeper, Fauldush?” You chided him gently as you removed your leather armor and handed it to him piece by piece. You wished that he would call you by your informal title and name instead of by your formal title, but he always insisted that anything less would be improper. “If I am late for a lesson that is taught by a stuffy old man who is as uninterested in teaching me as I am in learning from him, then only I am to blame.”
Fauldush walked with you as you made your way to your next session.“Archimago is a mage of high renown, Your Highness, and I am sure that he is honored to teach the future of the kingdom. His knowledge and skill in the mystical arts are unparalleled from here to the very edges of--.”
You cut him off. “I am already on my way to a lecture, Fauldush. I do not require an additional one.”
Fauldush cleared his throat and adjusted his grip on your leather armor. “Yes, of course. Forgive me.” He averted his gaze in concession. That was another thing you loathed. Everyone around you apologized if they thought that they had offended you even in the slightest. One noble went as far as to kneel on the floor and bend his head low in submission, and all he had done was slip on your long, trailing ceremonial cloak when you had suddenly slowed down in front of him. Most of the time, you took no offense to anything that anyone had said or done. And, in this case, you hated making Fauldush feel sorry for speaking his mind--something that you frequently encouraged--but he did not know Archimago like you did. Even so, he said nothing so egregious that he needed absolution for it.
You sighed under your breath. You sorely craved normal interactions with other people, but your royalty had robbed you of that. “You are forgiven.” The rest of the walk to Archimago’s study was silent.
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contents: trafficking, captivity, discussion of noncon, fucky relationship dynamics & manipulation, victim blaming, dissociation, a referenced su!c!de attempt, that thing where whumper gives whumpee an ultimatum between two equally shitty options
Jian's still not gonna fuck you, man.
taglist!!! @yet-another-heathen @much-ado-about-whumping
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Jian woke up late the next morning in an empty bed. He jerked into full consciousness with a cry, clutching the cold sheets, terrified that it had all been a dream or that he was finally starting to hallucinate entire scenes, not just shadow figures in the corners of his vision. But the blanket he held between his fingers was the soft red quilt of the main bedroom, not the thin blue sheets of his little personal prison. Jian slowly released the quilt, panting and blinking away bright golden sparkles in his eyes.
Dickass Lee’s head appeared in the doorway, and Jian gasped. Try again tomorrow.
“You awake? Hungry?” Dickass Lee said as he entered the room. He was wearing shoes.
“Mmn--” Jian started, but choked when he realized he wasn’t using words at all. Whatever he was trying to say, it evaporated from his mind when Dickass Lee approached the bed, and Jian shrank up against the headboard.
“Hey, hey,” Dickass Lee soothed, his hands in the air. “I know we agreed to try again, but how about we take the morning to just think and talk about it? Come on downstairs.”
Jian was about seventy percent sure he’d never agreed to any of this shit. The low number sent him trembling again, and Dickass Lee was already gone.
“I gave you a decision to make, and I’m understanding now that it’s an especially hard one for you, but that’s all the more reason to keep it as it is. It wouldn’t be fair to change up the terms now, after you’ve already put in so much thought.”
They were in the bright kitchen, Jian sitting at the little table and Dickass Lee plating scrambled eggs at the counter. Jian curled his right hand around the mug of hot coffee that Dickass Lee had placed in front of him, staring into the steaming liquid without any plans to drink it. He occasionally let his gaze wander over the white bandage around his arm, but he couldn’t bring himself to look out through the glass door for more than a second at a time. The fucking leaves had begun to change in the time he’d spent spinning out in that room.
“I don’t lie to you, Jian. And I don’t want you to lie to me, either. Tell me what you want to do, and we’ll do it. I promise,” Dickass Lee said.
And no third option. Nothing that involved Jian running off into the woods and never seeing the man again. Or seeing anything, since he’d probably just get mauled by a fucking bear. Jian rubbed his eyes with his free hand and kept his mouth shut as Dickass Lee set a plate of eggs between Jian’s elbows and sat opposite him with his own dish.
The warm mug pulsed along with the rhythm of Jian’s heart and he pressed his thumb over the rim, waiting for an answer to come. He switched out his hands, leaning his cheek against his right palm, hot from the coffee. He took a bite of eggs, but it crumbled to ash in his mouth.
What he wanted to do. It was all bullshit. Dickass Lee could dress his games up as something civilized, even noble, but the man was just a sick fucking sadist. Jian had as much choice as a lion in a gladiatorial arena.
It would’ve been easier if Dickass Lee had gone ahead and forced him down, tied him to the fucking bed.
“Can you just, you know--?” Jian stuttered, absently studying the fork in his hand. God, he couldn’t believe he was actually about to ask the man to buck up and rape him. “I mean, if you’re already gonna make me--”
“Jian, don’t even finish that thought,” Dickass Lee interrupted, raising a quieting hand. “I don’t want to do that to you.”
“I don’t want to do this!” Jian moaned and threw his fork on the table. Itchy frustration shorted his breath, and he swallowed a wet choking feeling in the back of his throat, glad he hadn’t sipped any of the coffee to fuel his anxiety. He took a deep breath to halfway gather himself. “Richard, whatever I do, it won’t be like I actually-- Like I’m agreeing to anything. It’s still ra--” Jian bit his lip before he could finish the offending word. Dickass Lee raised his eyebrows at him, patiently prompting him to take another crack at his statement. Jian huffed and turned his eyes to the ceiling, racking his brain for a suitable replacement. “It’s still… under duress. Why should it matter, if I’m just pretending to give consent anyway?”
“Are you telling me you’re saying no?”
No, no, no, no, no, no fucking way, no. “That’s not fair,” Jian whispered hoarsely, the horrible blooming pain of dread splitting his sternum in two at the thought of returning to that room. The single bite of egg had gone heavy and was rolling around in his stomach like a marble, and he stared down at his plate with a laser focus. Plain and soft, only a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Just a step up from hospital food, and only because the eggs hadn’t been scooped out of one huge stainless steel trough for an entire ward.
“Jian, I’m not in control of your choices. You know the parameters. If you want to go back into the room, that’s your decision to make.”
Would it be like this every time? Every goddamn time? It was one thing to be held by physical force, another to be made to ask for it. Pale yellow, just like the rest of the kitchen. Flecks of ground black pepper, like an ant infestation. Jian massaged his forehead with both hands.
The two threats sized each other up in his mind, and Jian sat frozen in the center, the scales balancing perfectly. Gently crumbling curds, creamy but holding their shape. A horrible screeching pressure cinched the space behind his eyes in an angry fist, his brain tearing itself apart looking for any way out, finding absolutely nothing beyond total self destruction. Light and buttery and so sickeningly good after days of basically nothing.
“If you want to go back to--”
“No!” Jian interjected, shutting his eyes tight, only the smell of eggs lingering. If the man would just shut up for a second. “Just-- Just wait, I can’t--”
“Jian, I’m not going to force you.”
“Yes you are!” Jian shouted, muffled behind his hands. It was stupid to argue, he knew that, but the whole fucking deal was so infuriating that the words burst out of his throat in a volcanic blast. His lava only burned his own body, sizzling gaping holes through his palms and dribbling onto his chest and lap, and he drew his melting hands to his temples, staring up at Dickass Lee through an open shutter of fingers. “You’re forcing me! Giving me a choice between getting fucking raped and sitting in a fucking tomb isn’t a fucking choice!”
Jian flinched as Dickass Lee stood up, his chair scooting backwards across the linoleum floor.
“Have I ever raped you?” Dickass Lee asked, anger and frustration evident in his voice, though he kept unsettlingly quiet. Jian covered his eyes again, rubbing his face aggressively.
“No. And I never will. Rape is not one of your options. I thought that would make it easier for you.”
Jian simmered behind his eyelids. Not one of his options? Not one of his fucking options? Another furious eruption spattered lava up into Jian’s throat, and he flinched trying to keep it all in. His whole body was so tense, he swore that if he had the guts to exhale, he would’ve just screamed from the pressure on his diaphragm alone. The guy needed to take a crash course on basic sex ed. Either that, or Dickass Lee really thought Jian was too stupid to know the difference between consent and coercion.
“Go fuck yourself,” Jian muttered.
“Alright,” Dickass Lee sighed, infuriatingly casual, and almost before Jian could blink his eyes open he felt the man’s hand reach with streamlined hostility in front of his face, quickly snatching Jian’s plate away and flinging it to the ground where it shattered against the tile, spilling wasted scrambled eggs and sharp china shards everywhere. Jian flinched backwards, and the shards bored with a horrible headache-inducing brightness into his mind, an unreal ringing pitch like furiously unbridled tinnitus echoing in his ears, and he had time for one unwitting glance at the bandage on his arm before Dickass Lee took hold of Jian’s hair and yanked him downwards, spilling him off of his chair and kicking him the rest of the way to the floor. Jian yelped helplessly and tried to catch himself, but the shoe on his back knocked his cry short and forced him flat to the ground.
A loose sharp edge of broken china teased at Jian’s sensitive inner forearm where he landed, and he was going to die again. The yellow kitchen was glittering gold and he was going to die, he was once again the hot young starlet in an old noir flick, he’d only needed a better set and better lighting, a more active co-star. A terrified moan that could’ve been taken as lascivious by the wrong set of ears escaped his lips, and he was going to fucking die again.
“Here’s the thing, Jian,” said a smooth voice, his co-star, his handsome leading man, climbing over Jian’s delicately trembling form and pinning him facedown into splatterings of eggs like brains on glistening, speckled marble. Hospital food, a sterling silver trough. “I can’t take you back to the room until I fix the shower door. I am not going to let you try to kill yourself again.” A twisting of calloused fingers around Jian’s wrist, those shards of sugar glass beneath him, ready to shatter at the barest touch of his perfect skin, but he was already bleeding. “So what are we going to do in the meantime?”
It was his line. He knew what to do, somehow. There was at least one tiny corner of his brain which was not a part of their production. His quiet panting stilled for a moment.
“I’m not gonna let you fucking--”
“Didn’t expect you to. I’m just debating where to put you while you rethink that conviction of yours.”
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