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Now leaving Beta Land. Thank you, come again. - The Serval Spot
Tales of a Feline and her Flock
Now leaving Beta Land. Thank you, come again.
Since I've gotten no major critiques in beta mode on this one, I guess it's ready to go, so... here we go with this one!

Title: Silver
Series: Metal (Yes, I do intend to keep this going... there's so much fun to be had with it.)[1/?]
Fandom: Voltron
Summary: A challenge posted by randi2204 to voltron_yaoi. What she wrote is in i-tal-ics, and what my muse grabbed and ran away with is the rest.
Pairing: Keith/Sven
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Voltron belongs to WEP. However, the monkeycrack is mine, all mine!
Feedback: Please?
Archiving: Drop me a line, I'll probably say hai.
Warnings: Certain individuals may have passed the realm of submissive into girlish in some opinions... And by the time I'm done with the next two parts or so, if you don't think every character needs to be in therapy and/or on medication.... then my muse and I have not done our jobs.
Notes: No, I don't speak a word of Swedish and my Japanse is limited to random words and song lyrics, so blame any errors on translating web pages and misprints therin.

     Keith gasped in surprise as his back thudded painfully hard against the wall.
     He hadn't even noticed Sven lying in wait for him. But the hall was quite dark-the light fixtures were broken, he saw, the glass littering the carpet with dangerously sharp shards.
     And now Sven loomed before him, grabbing his wrists in one strong hand--stronger than it had been, Keith thought with the absolute calm that disguises utter panic--and pressing him against the wall, using his slightly greater size and weight to good advantage.
     Breathing deeply, Keith inhaled Sven's scent, the faded touch of his cologne, the slightly stronger one of bodies unwashed after a day's labor, and, permeating the corridor, fear. His own, he knew with a sinking heart.
     He expected to smell alcohol strong on Sven's breath, but was surprised again when he could smell none. He'd been drinking with the rest of us, Keith thought, trying to keep his increasing fright at bay.
     Because if Sven wasn't drunk, then the only explanation for this was . . .
     "You're mine." Two words only, a harsh whisper in his ear.
     It had been too long, and he no longer knew how to deal with this . . .

     Never before had he wished so much for an interruption from one of the others… even Allura, asking another one of her strings of questions about life on Earth. It was difficult to keep his eyes on Sven when he wanted to scan for distraction, for help. His inattention was noticed, the fingers gripping his wrists suddenly digging deep into the flesh. Sven’s words came again, words spoken with the hard emphasis of someone speaking to a naughty but slow child.
     “You. Are. Mine.” Fingers pressing into his throat, careful to grip where the white collar would hide any bruising, holding tight enough to force him to slow his breathing and, as intended, focus. The fingers loosened slightly, slid around, up, down, and he saw Sven’s face darken further at what he found, or didn’t find… He’d though in coming to Arus that… but no, clearly no… Fingers hooked into his collar, invaded, sliding between flesh and fabric.
     “Ver is it?” Fingers gripping his chin now, tilting his head up further, forcing him to look into the Swede’s dark eyes. They were filled with something that made Keith’s insides clench, “Ver is it, hmmm?”
     “In… in m-my room.” The words were barbed wire, catching in his throat at first, tangling is tongue, “In… in the dresser…” Sven almost smirked, and then simply smiled.
     “Vell, vat say we go get it then?”
     Keith just nodded.

     There was a moment as they walked that Keith realized he could run. He could beat Sven in a sprint with ease, take the coward’s way out, and lock himself behind the comfort of bolstered steel. In the next second, his mind rationalized that it wasn’t that simple, wouldn’t EVER be that simple. It would be a simple one-time fix. Eventually Sven would catch him alone again. But maybe, maybe if he was VERY careful it might work. He would have to be careful to never be alone, unwatched. Allura would be good for that. She was always glad to hang off him, sometimes in silence, just to be in his company. He could run, hide away, and then use the princess as a shield in her own castle from her own warriors.
     The thought was still circling in his mind as the door hissed open and they entered with cold silence between them.

     Sven ran the length of the band between thumb and forefinger, watching his pretty pet shift uncomfortably where he sat on the bed. He’d been a lax master, what with all the fighting and reassigning here and there…. Somewhere down the line, things had even gotten so out of hand that his little toy had ended up a higher rank than him. As HIS commander! He hadn’t missed the occasional smirk of pleasure as the tables were turned and Keith gave him orders. Oh no, he hadn’t missed that at all. He had to call his own pet “Sir” and when was the last time he heard the words “Yes, master” roll from those sweet lips? Too long. 
     And to top it all, here he found Keith’s collar, a ribbon-thin band of unadorned silver, hidden away among socks and shirts, not where it belonged. He wondered how long ago it had been removed, Keith choosing to break this bit of trust and bond with him. A day? A week? A month? No matter, the punishment would be the same for an hour as for a year. Time to take his pet back in hand.
     He waited to hear the reason Keith knew he was waiting for. The excuse to try to get his hide out of trouble. A lie would be seen through like sheer silk, and Keith wasn’t the sort to try to deceive him in any event. A mix of being the honest sort and one of the poorest liars Sven had ever met. It was one of the reasons he’d laid claim to the Japanese beauty. Keith’s body language as he searched for the right words to admit a misdeed was delectable, incomparably delicious when he was trying to cover one, the small, alluring gestures of appeasement sweetened with apprehension and spiced with fear of being caught in a lie. He always was. Sven had once suggested that if Keith was going to attempt to lie to him, that perhaps he should plan it out and rehearse his story first. At least remember the details so he doesn’t contradict himself on questioning.
     Minutes rolled by and Keith didn’t speak. Sven imagined what the excuse he was brewing was. Clearly not just forgetting to put it on, as when Sven had first snapped the band around his neck he’d been instructed to NEVER remove it. The band was designed to be nearly invisible under clothes, comfortable and light… permanent. And where was the small black lacquered pendant that bore Sven’s crest? 
     Still no excuse. Perhaps because he knew there was none.

     Where the hell was his voice? He knew what he wanted to say, and how. He’d rehearsed it a thousand times, half-assuming he’d never have to say it, that it would never come to…. That things would just… The part of him that assumed Sven wouldn’t… that things were different now warred with the one that knew it was a matter of time. Sven never let ANYTHING go. Never. 
     “I-I don’t… don’t want… this anymore.” The words finally rattled free, sounding as pathetic as he felt. Oh, goddess is sounded weaker than any lie he had ever told. There was no way that…
     The soft whisper and rustle of something light landing in the trashcan brought his head up, just in time to see Sven’s back as he walked quietly out of the room without another word. 
     That… wasn’t how it was supposed to happen.
     It was supposed to be… they were supposed to fight, argue at least. Exchange heated words. Allow Keith to say what he’d been holding in for… for years, and… define where they … what they… but he… but it didn’t happen and the burning lead ball of emotion that had been growing like a cancer in Keith’s stomach had suddenly cooled into a heavy dead weight that made his bowels churn. 
     Keith wanted to get up, to move around, to do something in an attempt to assimilate his shock, but his body was numb. Various voices shouted their conflict out in this head, but he couldn’t move, couldn’t really think… Was it… really over? Done? So simply and so easily? 
     It’s not, you know it’s not. 
     Of course it is. You know what that means. What he did means…
     You’re free, free of his…
     Discarded so easily.
     He still loves you.
     He never loved you.
     He hates you.
     He’s going to kill you.
     You’re his superior officer. He can’t touch you.
     He won’t touch you, ever again…
     “SHUT UP!” The broken lilt in his own voice started him, echoing off the bare walls of his room. Echoes, the way a room does when empty, when no one lives there.
     No one. Nobody.
     Curling into a small ball on his bed, some part of his mind began to laugh as his view of the collar, shining warmly in the cold dark of the room in its nest of wire and crumpled paper, began to blur into a curving silver river among white banks through a wall of tears he was helpless to stop.

     Breakfast was tasteless and greasy going down the next morning, and Keith excused himself early, blaming a hangover. It wasn’t a total lie, making Nanny’s brief scolding before he left the room not entirely unwarranted. He had drunk a bit much the night before, welcoming Sven back…and then after the… break, drinking heavily from the bottle of sake Lance had given him, one of several items in a string of “Lighten up, Keith!” gifts. But Keith HAD lightened up the night before, and that’s when it got… 
     It all started with Hunk, really. 
     It wasn’t the drunken order to bring him another drink that brought Keith’s mischievous streak to the surface, but the fact that it was in slurred, poorly spoken Japanese,  although the end insult was considerably more practiced. It made Keith wonder, and coming from anyone else would have started a fight immediately. Only Hunk was allowed to call him a spoiled, stuck-up Japanese bastard and get away with it. On a whim, his own common sense dulled by several glasses of warmed Arusian mead, Keith brought the drink and settled in Hunk’s ample lap to nurse it to him, laughing that the time for the fighting was over and from now on China and Japan should be BEST friends. Then he purred something about Hunk and Sumo wrestling. Hunk drawled something about geishas in between gulps and ground his hips hard into his captain’s backside. Keith had smirked and upended the entire glass into Hunk’s mouth with an exaggeratedly cutesy look of apology and a falsetto “Gomen nasai!” making the big man sputter and stand in surprise, dumping him off his lap with a yelp, and the others howl with laughter at the spectacle. All except Sven, who just chuckled and poured himself another drink. How had Keith missed the storm clouds in his dark eyes?

     The next week was pure hell. He and Sven talked easily enough; they always had. It was a front they had perfected over the years when in public. Still, there was something… not there.. in the Swede’s expression. A lack of something familiar that made Keith feel extremely uncomfortable, unsure. But it was the one time he caught Sven alone that shook the young captain to the core. A simple meeting in the hallway, nothing more, nothing intentional, but…
     “Hello, Keith.”
     Two words, spoken with no animosity.  Just a smile and no pause waiting for a response before he continued on his way. But it wasn’t the tone; it was what Sven had called him. Sven had never called him by that name when they were alone. Never. That was reserved for public, the name everyone else called him. 

     Sven didn’t move as his door opened and the scent of aloewood drifted in. He didn’t need to see Keith to know how he was dressed. White silk kimono embroidered with sakura branches, waist cinched with broad obi depicting Mt Fuji in spring. The scent was one of Sven’s favorites, clinging to fabric, skin, and hair from a recent incense ceremony. This wasn’t Keith, then. Keith had been the militant brat who’d been pulling his pet farther and farther from him, who’d convinced him that his collar was a hindrance. Keith wouldn’t dress in the kimono Sven had bought, enamored with the look of the geisha, and ordered with all gentleness that it be worn instead of the simpler, more masculine one he used to.
     Keith wouldn’t now come to his side, kneeling gracefully and resting his head on Sven’s knee without a word. A long moment passed with neither of them moving, then the silence was filled slowly, growing into the soft lullaby always offered as an attempt to appease him.
     “Nen nen kororiyo okororiyo. Boyawa yoikoda nenneshina. Boyano komoriwa dokoe it ta. Anoyama koete satoe it ta. Sato no miyage ni nani morata. Denden taikoni sho no fue. Sho no fue…”
     From the corner of his eye, Sven watched as pale, shaking hands slowly moved, shifting from the traditional down and fingers inward position in a Japanese kneel, slowly rotating and turning palms up, parallel to his thighs. A soft glimmer of silver tucked into the obi almost made him smile.

     Inside his mind, a war raged. You’re free, free of him. Don’t do this. Don’t go back. You can’t! He’ll…!
     If the voice stopped or he just no longer heard it, he didn’t know. More, he didn’t care once callused fingers began to run through the heavy ebon silk of his hair. A soft pain pinched his chest as the fingers ended their combing between his shoulders, remembering a time when his hair hung to his waist, grown out long because that’s the way HE liked it. He braced himself to be pushed away, flung aside, holding his breath. 
     The gentle petting continued, but no more words came. No orders. Silence except for an angry hiss in his head.
     No. NO!
     Keith had come too far to bow that easily. It caused his body to tense, wanting to stand and run, or to push Sven’s hand away, make sure he severed any other threads… Other hands held him back.
     Why do you fight?
     Because I won’t be collared again. I won’t let us.
     Because we’re free. We’re a warrior. We…
     You’re frightened.
     I’m not!
     You’re afraid to lose control.
     I’m-- I’m a captain! I don’t…
     Take orders from others?
     Silence again. Painful silence as the truth was digested. That truly was what he did best, wasn’t it? Following orders, following regulations. Following the rules. Behaving. Do a trick, good boy, here’s a cookie. He’d never done anything but his whole existence. Not since he was born, a bold, brash public face to mask and hide the shy, submissive Japanese boy who followed orders not because he had to, or to prove he was brave, self-reliant, but because he had nothing to prove. Akira, who stepped back quietly and graciously all through the Academy, allowing Keith to flourish. Akira, whose bravery was in relinquishing all control to another, living for him. Loving. 
     As the band clicked closed around Akira’s neck, the young captain fell silent, made submissive by his own pain and fears, receding until the time came for Keith to roar instead of Akira’s steady, contented purr.

     There was no mistaking the look of internal turmoil that played across that striking if haggard face. Sven had been silent throughout, moving free hand to retrieve and refasten the collar with an immediate calming effect. Then, only then did he smile. A week of utter abandonment, of being cast off like refuse, to bring his precious Akira back to him. Of course, with the situation, he’d be forced to let Keith out on occasion, as he always had been… 
     He had known Akira before he was Keith, had owned him, held him in his palm long enough to know three consistencies. He was determined to please. He abhorred others displeasure in him, striving for perfection rather than disappoint. That aspect of Keith, at least, he liked. Good little soldier boy. Do as you’re told. Follow orders; don’t ask questions unless you want to risk being punished. That much Keith had both him and Akira to thank for. Secondly he abhorred being alone. Away from others he liked, and Sven often found him hiding out in the most unlikely of places hoping for a moment of peace… or avoiding his chores. That was his little loophole to rule one… He couldn’t disappoint anyone by not doing something if they couldn’t find him to order it. Like his lies, Sven always found his attempts at solitude cute and extremely poorly planned. But to be truly alone… How often had Sven come home late from a party only to find his pet asleep, kneeling by the door waiting for him, slippers in hand like a good little dog?
     “Varv och bo.” Akira immediately stood and settled in his lap, as trusting and relaxed as a child on his father’s knee. “Vem er han din Övervinna?”
     “Anata… Bok… Boku ga nushi… Anata ga yakurouchuunomono… Boku wa kisan... onegai... kunshin.”
     Sven didn’t understand all of it; his Japanese was limited, but he understood enough. He knew the words of obedience and acceptance. Third overall… was that Akira truly loved him. 
     “Vem er han din Övervinna?”
     “Vem er han din Övervinna?”
     “Er du min?”
     Wrapping his arms around the bound banded waist, he breathed in the scent of silk, incense and the being that was his Akira. His. 
     “Mine.” He growled, and heard his pet purr. There would be punishment later, and he would revel in meting it out, but for now, he knew this was far, far more binding than any chain and had more impact than any whip could. Holding his slave and lover in the silence of the early afternoon, he remembered the words of advice spoken to him so long ago and smiled. The use of a lash is temporary; the pain fades, and so does the lesson. A good master can punish without ever raising hand or voice, and the slave will NEVER forget.
     For now, just for now, Akira had been punished enough.

Mental Status: busy busy