lilfluff: On of my RP characters, a mouse who happens to be a student librarian. (Default)
[personal profile] lilfluff
Title: If You Have Me, Why Do You Need Them?
Fandom/'verse: Modernish sci-fi, non-fanfic
Summary: A young slave worries for his own status after helping his replacements settle in.
Note: Response to [personal profile] aldersprig's prompt for the Trope Bingo's slavery square: if you have me, why do you need them?
Warnings: Slavery, unconscious objectification, (no sex, Lee's owner would be squicked at the thought due to his age, species, and not seeing him as a person)
Words: 1200+

"I see, so everyone is in their place and working now?"

Lee stood before his Mistress and looked at a spot somewhere just in front of her feet. Everyone who isn't about to be sold, he thought to himself. But only gave a slight nod before speaking.

"Yes Mistress." Maybe if I... There wasn't any point in pretending. He hadn't been good enough from the start. If he had been Mistress wouldn't have seen fit to buy the others. Or would have left a place for him. His musings were cut off by Mistress's silkily furred hand coming to rest on his head.

"'m sorry Mistress."

"Sorry? I honestly didn't expect settling them in to go so quickly."

If I'd worked harder maybe she wouldn't be surprised we finished in a day. Then I could be resting back in the quarters with them instead of... Claw tipped fingers brushed through his hair.

"You seem troubled. Were there problems you didn't mention?"

"No Mistress. I just... I'm sorry Mistress."

"Whatever for silly boy?"

"If I'd been good enough, wouldn't of had to buy... sorry..."

He cut himself off. The school's trainers had made sure Lee and the others knew better than to whine. Even if he hadn't done well enough to earn additional training instead of an early sale. Maybe if he'd tried harder back then... Closing his eyes to try and stop the tears that were starting to come he took a deep breath and spoke again.

"I won't try to run away or nothing like that. Won't make a fuss about being sold."

"Silly boy, why would I sell you?" A single finger and prickling claw brought his chin up to face her eye to bleary eye. "I suppose I should apologize. It was rather unfair of me to put all that responsibility on you." She gave his cheek a pat before brushing his hair with her fingers again.

"Mistress?"

"I suppose I wasn't really thinking straight when I bought you. Then again fresh out of college and right into a dream job? I think I can be forgiven for a few mistakes. You see I thought I was buying myself a servant when I bought you."

Lee wasn't sure what to say to that. He had only vague notions what Mistress did when she wasn't home. He couldn't think of anything else that Mistress might have thought she was doing when she bought him. But saying that felt unspeakably inappropriate even if he would just be agreeing with her.

"No, I simply bought you because I couldn't believe such a cute little thing was selling so cheaply. But your papers should have made it clear you weren't ready for all this. It isn't as if they promised you were anything more than obedient and housebroken. But really, to think it took me a year and more to realize I really wasn't buying myself a slave." She shook her head, whiskers shaking with a soft laugh.

"Mistress?"

"What was I thinking? You can't even wash the dishes without a step stool, why I should have thought the rest of the chores would be any easier for you... No. I wasn't buying myself a slave. I was buying myself a pet. I should have bought the others back when I bought you."

Mistress's fingers kept up their brushing while Lee struggled to understand. Mistress was apologizing for giving him chores? The trainers had made it clear the only reason to put up with a slave was if they worked and worked hard. So why...

"You don't understand do you? It's simple really. A slave is bought for chores and a pet is bought to be cute and pleasing to have around."

"Oh." He still didn't understand but if she wasn't selling him then he simply had to obey. If being a pet meant different chores then maybe he still had a chance to be good enough.

"Silly boy, you still don't understand, do you? I mean no more washing dishes, no more dusting or sweeping, no more laundry or tending to the lawn. Instead you get a nice new uniform and perhaps tomorrow we'll go out and find you a cute collar to go with it. From now on your job is simply to be at my side when I'm home from work so I can pet you like this, or sit nearby so I have something nice to look at."

"So, kind of like this?" The petting did feel nice. He wasn't sure why Mistress would let him enjoy it when the others had surely done more to earn it in just a single day. He hadn't been working hard enough and a lazy slave was a bad slave. But if Mistress was forgiving him, "The others stay out there and do all the chores... and I stay here and keep your office tidy while you're at work? And whatever else Mistress wants?"

Mistress started to shake her head then stopped. "Well, I suppose it might ease the transition. Now, as I said you get a new uniform."

She took a tissue wrapped bundle from her desk and passed it to him. Setting it on one of the chairs by her desk he opened the bundle and tried to make sense of what he found. The clothes inside wouldn't fit anyone else in the house but he'd never seen anything like them. Folded on top was a soft pale blue shirt covered in white ruffles. Underneath a pair of overalls that were sort of like the ones the school had provided but a bright blue instead of gray and as soft as the shirt. He wasn't even sure what color of the buttons was, kind of red, kind of purple, but not either. But there were two to hold the shoulder straps in place and another pair on the big pocket on the front and several more that were maybe just supposed to look nice. The socks looked like they would come up over his knees and were just as soft as the rest of the uniform. What chores could be possibly do without ruining the uniform?

"Mistress? Was this for someone else, I couldn't, I mean they're too nice for me."

"Didn't I say it would be a nice uniform? Now go ahead and change so I can see what it looks like on you."

"But, I'll ruin them. I can't–"

"Lee. You have two choices. You can put on your new uniform without complaining. Or you can put on your new uniform and not be able to sit comfortably for the rest of the evening. Which will it be?"

He answered by quickly stripping down and pulling on the new uniform. Then turning around a few times at Mistress's direction.

"Yes, that's much better." She pointed her phone at him then showed him the screen. It took a moment to realize he was the boy on the screen and several more to believe it. He wasn't sure anyone seeing him would guess he was a slave until the noticed his collar.

Mistress gave him a few more pats on his head before sighing. "But I think we are both tired now. You are certainly too tired to handle more."

A little later Lee curled up for the night not back in the servants quarters but a large kennel cage he'd last seen in the garage. The door had been left open but even if he hadn't been told to stay there until morning it was warm and the cushion inside was more comfortable than his cot. Maybe in the morning things would start making sense.
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