Log in

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Title: Freedom Bound
Fandom: White Collar
Characters/Pairing: Neal/Adler, Neal/Peter, Neal/OMC
Rating: Explicit
Contains: Slavery, abuse, very dubious-consent
Word count: 10,500
Summary: Neal has been Vincent Adler's prized slave for years, but he has a secret: he's planning to escape, and make a new life for himself using Adler's money. When an FBI agent starts to investigate Adler, things get complicated.

Notes: Written for wcpairings for nywcgirl. This was supposed to be a short, simple slavefic in the 2-6k word range, but somehow it grew, or my plot proved to be more ambitious than I realized. Also, I had a very bad cold last week, and had less time to finish and revise than anticipated, so many thanks to Elrhiarhodan for letting me delay my posting date a little.

Neal was pretty sure he was the only slave in Manhattan who was being fitted for a bespoke suit.

The tailor could barely conceal his distaste at fitting a slave. He handled Neal with the lightest touch possible. But no one turned up their nose at Vincent Adler's money.

Neal turned his head toward Adler, who was leaning against his desk with his arms crossed and a proud look on his face.

At times like this, Neal hardly even felt like a slave. It was a dangerous feeling, because eventually he would be reminded of the truth.

"All right," the tailor said, "I'm finished. I'll call you when the suit is ready."

"And it will be done by the twelfth?" Adler asked. "A couple days before, if possible."

"Certainly. I always like to plan for enough time to make any necessary adjustments. Your slave will look just as good as a free man."

After the tailor left, Adler sat behind his desk and motioned for Neal to come over. Neal sank to his knees beside Adler's chair.

He always found afternoons like these dull. He would have preferred to be let out to entertain himself. But he knew the importance of staying close to Adler. Even without Mozzie making that perfectly clear, Neal wasn't stupid. He knew that success as a slave depended on his ability to suck up to his master. Sometimes literally.

"Thank you for the suit. I'm looking forward to wearing it." He ran a finger down Adler's thigh.

"You know I like my boy to look good. I've always believed that a measure of a man is in how he treats his slaves. And besides, you're no ordinary slave—you're very clever and talented."

"Thank you, Master. I do my best."

During his first few years with Adler, Neal had thought Adler might free him. It wasn't unheard of, and Adler often praised him. He'd even suggested that he might do it.

By now, Neal had accepted that it wasn't going to happen. Men like Adler didn't give up valuable property.

"Will you be eating at home tonight?" Neal asked. "I was planning to make you dinner."

"Yes, I think a night in will be nice. And I do love your cooking, Neal."

Neal stayed at Adler's feet for a couple hours more before Adler dismissed him back to the apartment.

He always loved having the apartment to himself. He could pretend that he was a free man, and that it was his place. He turned on the stereo in the living room, playing some Bach, and headed to the kitchen to prepare the dinner he'd planned. He was making rack of lamb, roasted new potatoes, and green beans amondine.

Adler would like it.

While the lamb was in the oven, Neal had a little time to sit on the sofa and read the newspaper. It was unpredictable whether Adler would allow him to make use of the living room once he came home, so Neal had learned to take advantage of little opportunities like this. One of Adler's flaws as a master was his tendency to treat Neal like a toy that could be taken out or put away as desired. Sometimes he would let Neal sit at his feet or, if he was in a particularly good mood, curl up beside him on the sofa. Other times, he would send Neal to his room once dinner was done.

When he heard Adler's key in the lock shortly after six, Neal put the paper down and hurried to look busy.

"Dinner smells delicious as usual," Adler said as he hung up his coat.

"It'll be ready soon."

"Good. I'm starving."

"Is it okay if I open up that bottle of Syrah you bought at that vineyard tour last month?"

"Of course. Pour yourself a glass, as well."

Neal smiled to himself. Adler was in a generous mood today.

He uncorked the bottle and poured a couple glasses, setting them on the table.

Over dinner, Adler talked about his troubles acquiring a Vermeer. Neal listened, and offered his own insight in small doses.

Once upon a time, he'd cared about showing Adler how smart he was. These days, he was playing it cool. More often than not, Adler just wanted a sympathetic ear.

"Hopefully Kenneth will be of help," Adler said. "He has some contacts that could be useful. Oh, I forgot to tell you Kenneth is in town. I've told him you'll go to his hotel tomorrow night."

Neal froze, holding his fork in midair.

He didn't mind. Not really. Adler was careful about who he loaned Neal out to, and Kenneth was all right. Neal liked him.

But being loaned out so casually grated on him sometimes.

Before he could stop himself, Neal said, "You could have let me know sooner."

Adler frowned. His eyes and voice were cold as he said, "Did you have other plans?"

Neal's stomach dropped. He could have kicked himself. "No, Master. I'm sorry. I just...want to make sure that I'll be ready."

Adler stared at him, his face impassive. Neal wondered how badly he'd fucked things up with that slip. It was always hard to know. It was a petty concern, maybe. It wasn't like Adler would starve or beat him over a slip of the tongue. But when Adler was cross with him, he was good at making Neal's life less enjoyable. And if Neal pissed him off now, Mozzie wouldn't be happy.

Finally, Adler said, "Just don't forget your place, Neal, or what you are. A good slave doesn't need notice to perform his duties. He's adaptable."

"Yes, sir."

Adler's lips spread into a small smile. He reached across the table and stroked Neal's hand. "Which you are, I know. In fact, I've been looking forward to enjoying your...adaptability tonight."

Neal returned the smile.

Neal didn't have to pretend when having sex with Adler. Adler was a handsome man, and he treated Neal well in bed. Even when he was just in the mood for a quick fuck, and didn't want to waste much time on kissing or foreplay, he always let Neal come.

After dinner, Neal cleaned up while Adler checked his e-mail on his laptop at the table.

Finally, Adler closed his laptop and said, "I'm going to take you to bed, now. Any cleaning you have left can wait until morning."

Neal hung up the dishtowel he was holding and, after performing a quick check that he'd turned off the oven, he followed Adler to the master bedroom.

Neal undressed and flopped onto Adler's bed without waiting for permission. He loved the feel of the high-thread count sheets against his bare skin. Neal bent his knees and planted his feet on the bed so that he could spread his toes against the cool, luxurious cotton.

Adler took his time undressing, and if he had expected Neal to help him with his cufflinks, he didn't complain that he didn't.

"Neal, why don’t you get the condoms and lube out of the nightstand? We can use the ribbed ones tonight, if you'd enjoy that."

Neal rolled over onto his side and opened the top nightstand drawer, where Adler kept his supplies.

While Neal opened the cap on the lube, Adler climbed onto the bed, kneeling in front of him.

Neal knew the routine. He ripped open the condom packet and rolled the condom onto Adler's cock, which was already getting hard from the prospect of fucking Neal. Next, Neal opened the lube, squirted some on his palm, and stroked Adler's cock, making sure that it was fully-coated.

He could feel Adler's cock growing in his hand, getting firmer. Adler's chest glistened with sweat, and his breathing started to quicken.

"That's enough of that," Adler said after a minute, putting a hand on Neal's wrist. "Do yourself, now."

Neal lay back and spread his legs. He bent his knees, and angled himself so that Adler could watch as he lubed himself. He squirted some more lube on his fingers and pressed them into his hole with little fanfare. Adler watched Neal prepare himself, his eyes locked onto Neal's fingers.

Adler was evidently in a mood to watch tonight, so Neal indulged him, taking his time. It was relaxing, and if he angled his fingers just right, he would rub against his prostate and cause a nice little surge pleasure down his cock.

Adler reached out and grabbed Neal's wrist again, halting his movement. Neal froze and let Adler guide his hand away from his ass, leaving his hole open and available. Adler moved between Neal's legs, and Neal wrapped them around Adler's waist and hooked his ankles together.

Neal loved the feeling of being stretched as Adler pushed inside him. Adler always felt impossibly large at first, until Neal got used to being filled.

Adler began to piston his hips. Neal could tell this was going to be a quick, hard fuck, and he didn't mind, even if he knew he'd be sore after.

Neal stroked his dick, glad that Adler was okay with him doing that without permission. When he came, the sight of the strands of come that decorated Neal's stomach only seemed to encourage Adler to fuck him harder, and faster, until he was spent. Adler pulled out, carefully removed the condom, and lay beside Neal.

For a few long minutes, they lay together in silence while they caught their breath. Neal let one of his leg’s brush against Adler’s. Adler had his arm under Neal’s neck. Neal enjoyed moments like this, and he didn’t feel like ending it. He would have been glad to spend the night here next to Adler, pretending that they were lovers and that things would stay this way forever.

But he had something he needed to say. He felt like he owed it to Adler, maybe.

“I’ve been thinking. I know you’re interested in hiring a new acquisitions manager. I’ve been studying art a long time. I know as much as anyone who has a degree in it. I could do the job. And you wouldn’t have to pay me.”

Adler smiled at him, and Neal saw a hint of condescension that Adler may or may not have been aware of. “And let you slack on your other duties? I don’t think so, Neal. You’re too valuable as you are. And why would you want the job? Life as a slave is so relaxing.”

“Well, I was thinking it would be good to have the experience in case you ever decided to free me. I’m not saying you will. It’s just…when you bought me, you seemed open to it. Someday.”

Adler sighed and pulled his arm out from under Neal’s head. “I humored you, because I figured you’d give up on such a silly idea after a while. I’m disappointed that you haven’t.”

Neal held his tongue for a moment. He wouldn’t lash out. He had to play his hand just right.

“I’m not saying I want to be freed. I like belonging to you. But if you ever decide to get rid of me, I hope you’ll consider it.”

“Whether I consider it or not isn’t something you need to be concerned with. Now why don’t you go to bed, get some rest? You’re going to have a busy night tomorrow.”

Neal got up without a word, silently lamenting that he wouldn’t be able to spend the night in Adler’s bed. But if Adler was kicking him out due to annoyance, it was worth it to know where he stood, at least.

Tomorrow, he would try to contact Mozzie.

Neal collected his clothes and walked naked to the bathroom, where he cleaned himself up. Then, he went to his little room, which was actually a laundry room that was off from the kitchen. He squeezed past the washer and dryer to the small area in the back where his mat lay on the floor. His books and other belongings sat on whitewashed shelving over his bed, and a rod had been put up for him to hang his clothes from. It was cramped, no bigger than a jail cell, but it had been home for almost a decade.

Neal pulled on a fresh pair of boxers and tugged on the chain to turn off the light. He left the door open a crack so that the light from the kitchen could filter in. He crawled into bed and thought.

Neal had been thinking a lot about freedom lately, but it would be strange once he actually got it. He’d never been free. He hadn’t expressed these doubts to Mozzie, but it was hard not to have them.

But he was doing the right thing. He knew it.

* * *

The following day, he went to Kenneth Jamison’s hotel room just after five o’clock.

Neal had always liked Kenneth, and Kenneth liked him, hence why he always requested Neal’s services when he was in town. Of all Adler’s friends, Kenneth was the one Adler trusted the most not to hurt his most prized toy, so he was more or less given free rein to borrow Neal as desired.

It suited Neal perfectly. Sometimes when Neal went on a “date,” he was ordered to come home at a specific time, or call Adler to check in. But while on a date with Kenneth, Neal had a certain amount of freedom to slip away in between getting fucked and going home.

Kenneth was a little too old for Neal’s taste, and his dyed hair didn’t do much to hide it. But he was nice, and like Adler, he always let Neal come when they fucked. When he let Neal into the room, he pulled him into a hug and kissed him gently on the lips. Neal pressed his groin against Kenneth’s hip.

“No need to rush things,” Kenneth said. “Your master said I can have you for the night, so I thought we’d start with room service. Look over the menu and let me know what you’d like.”

Another slave would have been modest, chosen the least expensive thing on the menu. Neal wasn’t modest, and he wasn’t particularly cautious. He chose the filet mignon.

Kenneth was the type of man who liked to enjoy a little artificial companionship before sex, and Neal entertained him over dinner with small talk and faked interest in Kenneth's business dealings.

Kenneth liked to be sucked off, and he liked his blowjobs to be long and tender. By the end of it, Neal's jaw was aching, but he kept a smile on his face. After that, it was a couple hours before Kenneth could get it up again to fuck Neal, and by the time he was finished, it was late. Neal knew he would be staying the night, and that he would give another blowjob in the morning. Adler's friends all had their routines.

Neal had told Kenneth early on that Adler was sending a car for him at eight the following morning. It was a small lie that was unlikely to be revealed, and it ensured that Neal would be able to get the right cab.

In the morning, the cab pulled up at eight o'clock sharp. Mozzie was wearing a ridiculous toupee, but Neal recognized him immediately.

"Please tell me that's not your attempt at a disguise," Neal said as he climbed in the back seat. "You know Adler's not out there watching us, right?"

"You can't be too careful! How much time do you have?"

"Adler expects me at his office at nine."

Mozzie pulled away from the curb, joining the early-morning traffic. "So, how's our mission going?"

"I'm still working on it."

"Have you made any progress at all? You said this would only take six months. We're already past that."

"Okay, so maybe I misjudged. But look, I'm not exactly in a position to get Adler's bank account password."

"Well, if you want to be a free man, we'll need to work on that."

"'We,' Moz? I'm the one doing the heavy lifting, here. Not to mention taking on all the risk. I need to do this carefully."

"Yeah, yeah, I know. I just...sometimes I worry about him getting in your head, you know? That you're going to buy into all his bribery and give up."

"That won't happen," Neal said firmly. "I want to be free."

Mozzie had been raised a slave just like Neal had been. But Mozzie had succeeded where Neal had failed: he'd gotten out when he was still young.

Perhaps because of that, Neal always felt a little guilty and defensive during these meetings. Mozzie was great. Without his friendship, Neal didn't know what he'd do. He'd met him close to a year ago, when Mozzie had tried to sneak into Adler's apartment dressed as a plumber. Neal had seen a potential for a better life, and he supposed Mozzie saw a chance to help a fellow slave escape.

But it was a lot of pressure.

Neal could have escaped already. Adler gave him a long enough leash that he could slip away and get a head start. Like most slaves, he had a tracking chip. But Mozzie knew people who could extract those.

But his life as a free man would be better with the money from Adler's bank account. And wasn't he entitled to some of that? After all his years of service?

They were approaching Adler's office. Mozzie pulled over at the curb about a block away.

"Remember, Neal—get the password."

"Yeah. Working on it."

Neal reached into his pocket and pulled out the cash Adler had given him for a cab. He handed it to Mozzie.

"Here," he said. "Put this in our freedom fund."

* * *

Neal’s new suit was ready just in time for the annual Manhattan Antiquities Preservation Society’s annual benefit dinner. It was Neal’s first year of going, and he was excited.

Before leaving the apartment, Neal admired himself in the full-length mirror in Adler’s bedroom. He had other suits—Adler liked his property to look good. But he’d never known just how much difference a custom suit made.

He just wished he was wearing a tie instead of the sleek leather collar that rested against his collarbone. He had to admit that he looked good in it, though.

Adler appeared behind him in the mirror. He put his hands on Neal’s shoulders.

“I’m glad you like your suit, but if we don’t get going, we’ll be late.”

“Sorry, Master. I’m ready.”

“Hmm. It does look good on you, though. I’m glad I chose the navy. It brings out the blue in your eyes.”

When they arrived at the benefit, Adler kept Neal by his side at first, showing him off. He kept the leash hooked to Neal’s collar, making sure that no one mistook Neal for anything except a cherished slave.

But once Adler began talking to a friend, he let Neal off the leash and gave him leave to explore.

This was what Neal had been looking forward to: a chance to look at the priceless art on display.

It was a shame Kate wasn’t there to enjoy it with him. She’d loved art as much as Neal did. She’d been Adler’s assistant until Adler decided that things were becoming too flirtatious between her and Neal. Neal was sure he’d come out of that situation worse than Kate had (it’d taken days for the welts on his ass to heal), but he still felt guilty sometimes for getting her fired.

But he didn’t dwell on that tonight. He was too taken with the Picasso he was studying.

"Beautiful, isn't it?"

Neal looked to his right. A man had come up beside him. He was dressed nicely, but something about his demeanor was a little different than most of the other men here. Neal couldn't quite put his finger on it.

"It is. It's always incredible to view such an exquisite piece up close."

Neal could feel the man's gaze on his collar.

"You're with Vincent Adler?"

"I am, yes. My name's Neal."

"Peter Nelson. I was hoping to meet Mr. Adler tonight."

Another would-be investor, probably. Most of the people who introduced themselves to Adler were.

"I'm sure you'll get your chance. The night is young." If Peter was hoping Neal would make introductions, Neal knew better than to make any promises.

"If you'll forgive me saying so, I don't believe I've met another slave who seemed so appreciative of art."

"What can I say? It's an interest of mine. I've been very fortunate that Mr. Adler has been so supportive of it."

"Are you an artist, yourself?"

The question surprised Neal. As a slave, he was seldom referred to as anything but a slave. Being referred to as an artist felt strange.

"I draw. I used to paint, but I haven't had the chance in a while."

"How come?"

Adler had decided that an easel, even a tabletop one, took up too much room in the apartment, and that the risk of paint getting on the carpet or furniture was too high. Neal wasn't allowed possessions that couldn't fit in his room. Adler let him paint in a spare room at the office sometimes, so he was quite a bit more generous than many masters would have been. Still, he wouldn't appreciate Neal telling all this to a stranger.

And as if on cue, Adler appeared by Neal's side, apparently drawn by the fact that Neal was receiving attention.

Putting a hand on Neal's shoulder, Adler said, "Would you like to introduce me to your new acquaintance?"

"Master, this is Peter Nelson."

Adler extended his hand to Peter. "Vincent Adler. I don't believe we've met, and I go to a lot of these things."

"I've spent the last few years in Germany. I just returned. Actually, I'm glad to make your acquaintance. I've been told that you're the man to talk to if you're interested in serious investments."

"That's flattering. But if you don't mind, I prefer to avoid business on nights like these. The focus should really be on the artwork tonight."

"Of course. But perhaps we could meet for lunch?"

Neal took advantage of the shift in attention to get away. He wanted to browse more while he was free from Adler's scrutiny.

* * *

Over the next week, Adler met up with Peter Nelson a couple times. First for lunch, and then for drinks. Neal wasn’t invited either time, but he got the sense that Adler saw Peter as a promising prospect.

One evening, Neal was sucking Adler off in the living room, nestled between his master’s thighs, when Adler dropped a bombshell.

“I want you to visit Peter Nelson at his hotel tomorrow.”

Neal let Adler’s cock slip out of his mouth. Lifting his head, he said, “What?”

Adler shifted his eyes downward. "Is there a problem?”

“No, I just mean that we don’t really know him, do we? For all we know, I'll catch gonorrhea from him.”

Adler might have expected obedience, but he was also pragmatic. Neal knew he wouldn’t want to jeopardize his prized possession.

“You know I don’t expect you to put yourself in harm’s way. But it is very important that we show Mr. Nelson some hospitality. Not only is he interested in investing a sizeable amount of money, but he might be willing to purchase the Van Gogh.”

“The Van Gogh? Isn’t that risky?”

Adler frowned and tugged at a lock of Neal’s hair, making Neal wince.

“That’s none of your concern. But as I was saying, you’re right—we don’t know Mr. Nelson that well. I would like your impression of him. You don’t have to let him fuck you. You don’t even have to suck him off if you really don’t want to. Use a condom. I don’t care. Just give him something to entice him. Understand?”

“Yes, Master.”

“Good boy. Now, back to work. This is what I get for telling you things while you’re supposed to be keeping your mouth occupied.”

Neal resumed the blow job, and lazily worked Adler’s cock against his tongue. But he was distracted.

It was one thing to be shared with Adler’s friends. It was another thing entirely to be sent to some investor’s hotel room like a whore.

And the issue with the Van Gogh was puzzling. A few years ago, Adler had acquired the Van Gogh at auction. It only took Neal a week to suspect that the painting was a forgery, and after Adler spanked him for being impertinent enough to question his judgment, he’d done some investigating and discovered that Neal’s suspicions were, in fact, correct.

Adler had invested too much in his reputation as an art collector to admit that he’d been fooled by a forgery, and he hadn’t dared sell the painting lest the forgery be discovered. He must have thought that Peter Nelson would be fooled by it, but it was such a risk to take. Even if Adler could talk him out of having it authenticated before purchasing it, Peter was bound to discover the deception eventually. It wasn’t the sort of thing to pull on someone who might become a friend and colleague.

Neal would have to mention this development to Mozzie.

The next day, he went to Peter Nelson’s hotel room as ordered. Peter was staying in a nice hotel. He must have had good money, especially since it seemed like it would be a long stay. He’d told Adler that he was moving back to New York and hadn't found a place yet.

Neal knocked on the door. He heard Peter’s voice on the other side, calling out faintly that he was coming.

When he opened the door, Peter looked surprised to see Neal there. Adler must not have told him about the planned “hospitality.”


“I hope I'm not disturbing you. My master wanted me to show you how pleased he is to be working with you.”

Neal eased his way into the room. Peter looked confused for a moment, and then his eyes widened and he backed up. Neal stepped over to him.

“He thought you would enjoy spending some time with me.”

He reached out and ran a hand down Peter's arm. He leaned in, intending to kiss him, but Peter jerked back.

Neal wasn’t expecting that. Usually these rich guys were thrilled to use a handsome slave. Even the straight ones were eager. The rejection burned him, but Neal tried to remain composed.

“It’s a generous offer,” Peter said, “but I can’t.”

“It’s fine. My master is happy to share me as long as I return in one piece. And no slave will be as good to you as I am.”

Peter backed up a few more steps. “I’m sure that’s true but, uh, I really can’t. See, I’m married.”

That usually didn’t matter to people. Using a slave wasn’t like cheating. At least, the men who used Neal justified it that way.

Neal smiled. “Is your wife the jealous type?”

“What? No. But all the same, it’s probably best if you go home. Tell your master that I appreciate the gesture and that I’m sorry to have to refuse.”

Neal wandered into the suite, looking around. The art on the walls was all generic and dull, but the mini-fridge by the window looked promising, and Neal wondered what treats were inside. It was a nice place, and he didn’t want to leave. Besides, if he returned early, Adler might think he didn't try hard enough.

“May I offer you a bit of advice about working with my master?”

Peter looked at him curiously. “Okay.”

“Let him think you did use me. He’ll find it odd that you didn’t. I’ll tell him that I sucked you off.”

“Is that for my good, or for yours?”

Peter’s tone was thoughtful, with a hint of concern that Neal wasn’t used to hearing. When Neal didn’t respond, Peter continued.

“You don’t have to answer that. Thank you for the advice, Neal. If you think it’s best to let Mr. Adler think I took him up on his offer, I’ll do that.”

Neal felt some tension go out of his shoulders. Still, he was embarrassed now. It was probably true that he’d be punished if he didn’t please Peter, even if it wasn’t his fault. But it shamed him that Peter might suspect it.

“Stick around,” Peter said. “Since you’re here, I’d like to talk to you.”

Neal was skeptical of people who wanted to chat with slaves—it was rarely a reciprocal sort of companionship, and Neal had a harder time giving his attention than his body. But at the same time, he couldn’t deny that he got lonely sometimes. He couldn’t see Mozzie nearly as often as he’d like, and sometimes days went by when Adler didn’t have time to spend with him.

In any case, he might as well make the most of this.

“Do you think we could order room service? I’m starving.”

Peter studied him, hesitating. “All right. I suppose we can do that.”

Neal grinned, but his excitement was short-lived. Peter ordered for both of them, and chose cheeseburgers. Neal looked longingly at some of the more gourmet items on the menu.

Once they got their food, at they were sitting at the small round dining table, Neal asked, “Well? You wanted to talk to me?”

“I did. I realize that you have a lot of loyalty to your master. I’m not expecting you to betray that by any means. But I’ll be frank: I recently sold a company that I founded, and I made a large profit. I’m considering investing at least half of it with Mr. Adler, and of course, I want to be sure that I feel confident in that choice.”

“You want me to give you my impression of my master’s business?”

“You sound surprised.”

“Well, people don’t usually think to ask me.”

He admired Peter’s tenacity. For that, he decided to take a chance.

“He doesn’t share much of his work with me, but as far as I know, his investments are sound. But... I understand you’re considering purchasing a Van Gogh?”

“Yes, the topic came up.”

“Don’t let him know I told you, but Adler and I disagree on the chances of the painting being authentic. I recommend consulting an expert.”

Peter raised his eyebrows. “You can authenticate paintings?”

Neal smiled. “I never said that. I said you should consult an expert.”

“I’ll take that into consideration.”

Neal took a bite of his cheeseburger. It wasn’t too bad, really.

“How long have you been a slave?” Peter asked.


“You're bright. I hope Adler recognizes your talents.”

Beneath the compliment, Neal got a sense that Peter was fishing. As though he was hoping he would admit that Adler didn’t appreciate him. He couldn’t imagine why, and it made him uneasy.

“So,” Neal asked, “where’s your wife now?”

“She’s still overseas, finishing up some business. She’ll be joining me in a few weeks.”

There was nothing innately wrong or implausible about Peter’s story, but something was stabbing at Neal’s gut. He wanted to get out of there.

Luckily, Peter made it easy for him. After dinner, he announced that he had some work to do.

“Do you mind if I use the phone really quick?” Neal asked. “I need to call for a ride.”

“Go ahead.”

Neal called Mozzie, and thirty minutes later, he met Neal outside the hotel with his cab.

Neal told him about the meeting, and the questions.

“Maybe it’s nothing, but something doesn’t sit right."

“I’ll look into the guy. Hey, since you’re out early, do you have some time?”

“Yeah, I have a few hours to spare.”

“Great! Let’s go to Friday. It’s closest.”

Neal seldom had opportunities to go to Mozzie’s safe houses, but when he did, they were the perfect places to work on things that he couldn’t do under Adler’s nose.

Neal had been forging for years. It had come in handy as a teenager, when he’d learned to forge signatures. As a slave, there were a lot of things that he couldn’t do without authorization, and a note signed by his owner could go a long way.

He’d taught himself art by copying masterpieces. He was good enough now that if he’d had more chances to paint, he might have been able to fund his escape through forged artwork alone.

With Mozzie’s help, he’d expanded on his skills considerably. Whenever he got a chance, he worked on the forged bonds that were helping fund his escape efforts. The money from the bonds had already allowed Mozzie to buy a new ID and passport for Neal.

During the drive over, Neal pondered this.

“I’ve been thinking,” he said. “Maybe I should just run. I have the passport now, and if we cash in some more of the bonds, we’d have enough to get a head start. We could be out of the country before Adler even knew I ran.”

“And what, give up on the biggest score we'll ever find?”

“I know. I just don’t want to wait too long.”

“Let’s just…give it another month, okay? I know you can get his password.”

Neal wasn’t so confident. But what was one more month?

* * *

After working on the bonds with Mozzie for a couple hours, Mozzie took him to Adler’s apartment building. It was only ten, and Adler would likely still be up. As Neal rode in the elevator, he thought through the story he would tell about what happened with Peter.

He stepped through the front door and took off his coat. As he was hanging it on the coat rack, a hand grabbed his arm. He turned, and before he could react, Adler slapped him hard across the face, sending him reeling back against the door.

Neal blinked and put a hand to his stinging cheek.

“Where have you been, Neal?”

“I was at Peter Nelson’s hotel, like you asked--”

“No, you weren’t, because I called him two hours ago and he said you’d left already. So I repeat, Neal: where have you been?”

“I—he was finished with me early, so I thought I’d take a walk.” As the shock from the slap began to wear off, he started thinking. “I thought you’d be mad that I didn’t spend enough time with him.”

Adler’s face was unreadable, and he was silent for several seconds longer than Neal would have liked.

Finally, he said, “Take off your clothes.”

Neal knew exactly what was coming, and he didn’t bother trying to argue. Adler crossed his arms and watched as he stripped. He didn’t tell Neal what to do afterward, but looked at him expectantly.

Finding somewhere to bend over was difficult, because sometimes Adler didn’t want him to press his body against the expensive furniture. He bent himself over one of the tall stools by the kitchen island, bracing his weight on his forearms, and this seemed to satisfy Adler. Neal heard him unbuckle his belt.

Maybe he deserved to be punished. Hell, if Adler knew the truth about what he’d been doing for the past two hours, this might not feel so disproportional. But Adler had no sense of proportion, and there was no particular logic to his punishments. Neal figured there was a fifty-fifty chance whether he’d spent the next couple days being doted on or being locked in his room on a bread and water diet.

When Adler brought the belt down on Neal’s ass the first time, Neal steeled himself so that he wouldn’t cry out. After the first few strikes, it got easier, even though he lost count of the blows and his ass felt raw. The real punishment would be hiding his discomfort every time he sat down for the next week.

To ground himself, he counted the blows. He lost count near the end, but somewhere around fifty, Adler stopped.

There was a moment of silence where Neal didn’t dare move or say anything. Then Adler set his belt aside and said, “Take your things and go to your room.”

Silently, Neal gathered up his clothes and went. He closed the door behind him and lay on his stomach on the bed. In that refuge, he felt his ass to make sure there were no cuts. There weren’t, but he could feel the welts start to bloom.

He didn’t fall asleep for hours, and when he did, it was a restless sleep plagued by strange dreams that he couldn’t remember when he woke up.

* * *

It was the bruise that seemed to give him a reprieve. Adler’s slap had left a bright red bruise on his cheekbone, and when Adler saw it the next morning, he actually looked guilty. He gave Neal an icepack to hold against his face while he ate breakfast, and though it was too late for it to do much good, Neal accepted the olive branch.

“Perhaps I let my anger get the best of me,” Adler said. “I thought about what you said, and I understand your concern about displeasing me by coming home early. But in the future, I expect you to be honest. Is that clear?”

“Yes, Master.”

Neal wasn’t going to argue. A major part of his and Mozzie’s plan was keeping Adler in his good graces.

He accompanied Adler to work, where he spent most of his time on his knees to avoid sitting on his bruised and welted ass.

At midmorning, Adler sent him out to get coffee. He gave him enough for one cup, reconsidered, and then gave Neal a little extra to get some coffee for himself. That settled any doubt—Adler felt that he’d overreacted last night.

Neal stepped outside, blinking in the bright sun. When his eyes adjusted, he was surprised to see Mozzie sitting on a bench across the street, wearing what had to be the most conspicuous disguise he’d ever seen.

Neal made his way over.

“What is that wig you’re wearing? You look like you have a tumbleweed on your head. And why are you here?”

“I had to see you right away! You won’t believe what I found out. Wait, what happened to your face?”

“Adler found out I took my time getting home last night. Don’t worry—he doesn’t know anything. Now, will you tell me what’s going on?”

Mozzie looked briefly conflicted with concern, but his panic won out. “Your Peter Nelson? His real name is Peter Burke. He’s a suit! A fed!”

“Wait, you’re saying he’s FBI?”

“Yes! Don’t you see, Neal? We have to get you out now. He’s onto you. He probably knows about the bonds.”

Neal took a moment to digest the news. He looked over his shoulder, aware that they were within view of Adler’s building. “Come on, let’s walk.”

Once they were a safe distance away, he said “It can’t be me. The FBI wouldn’t bother going undercover to investigate a slave for bond forgery. It has to be Adler.”

And it had to be big. How much was the FBI paying to put “Peter Nelson” in a fancy hotel to maintain his cover?

“It doesn’t matter,” Mozzie said. “We’re done. I can handle an angry hedge fund manager, but I did not sign up to go head to head with the feds. Besides, if they’re digging around in Adler’s finances, they could seize the account any day.”

“Let me get an idea of what's going on, first. Maybe I can get Peter to loop me in.”

“Are you crazy?”

“I’ll be careful, okay? First sign of trouble, we run.”

Mozzie looked skeptical.

“I thought you wanted to get the money."

It was hard for Mozzie to argue with that.

* * *

Adler seemed hesitant to send Neal back to Peter, perhaps out of embarrassment over Neal’s bruised face. But in the end, Neal convinced him that it would be helpful. He hinted that Peter had seemed hesitant about the investment.

Adler was in a hurry to finish up deals these days, something that Neal was now observing with a greater degree of suspicion.

The quick deals. The interest in selling the Van Gogh. It was like Adler was like Adler was planning something.

When Peter answered his door, he took one look at Neal’s face and his eyes widened. “Neal, I’m sorry.”

That wasn't the reaction Neal was expecting.

“What for?”

“I assume he did that—" he pointed at Neal's cheek "—because you weren't here when he called the other day. I didn’t know that you weren’t going straight home, or that he’d be angry. If I’d known he’d do that to you, I would have covered for you.”

“Why? I’m a slave. He’s entitled to be angry that I wasn’t where I was supposed to be.”

“He’s not entitled to beat you for it.”

“Is your concern for me genuine, Agent Burke, or is this part of the role you’re playing?”

He watched Peter’s face. Alarm flashed through his eyes, but he kept it in check.

“What did you call me?”

“I know you’re FBI, and I know you’re investigating Adler. I want to talk.”

Peter stepped aside. “Come in.”

Peter invited him to have a seat. Neal sat on the sofa gingerly, not wanting to show Peter how much discomfort he was in. He might be trying to milk Peter’s sympathy, but he still had pride.

“Do you know why we’re investigating your master?” Peter asked.

“I’m assuming it’s not just because Adler wants to sell his fake Van Gogh.”

“One of his investors has raised serious concerns about the integrity of his hedge fund. We suspect he’s operating a Ponzi scheme.”

It sounded preposterous, and yet Neal couldn’t deny that in some way, it made sense. It fit the personality of the man he’d lived with for the past several years.

Unfortunately, he had no evidence to offer Peter. He had very little to use as leverage. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to try.

“If I helped you, what would I get in return?”

“We’re not in the habit of rewarding everyone who gives us tips.”

“But if I help you arrest my master, how does that help me? I’ll just be auctioned off to the next borderline abusive hedge fund manager.”

“Then what are you asking for?”

“I want to be freed.”

Mozzie would have told him it was a stupid gambit, but it was worth a try. If it didn’t work, he still had his new passport. He could run.

Peter hesitated. “That’s not an easy request.”

“Yes it is. I haven’t even been sentenced to slavery. Freeing me would be a civil matter. The state could choose to do it.”

“I’ve looked at your records. You were classified as a delinquent slave when you were eighteen. You were given a sentence, for escape.”

“But that’s over. They gave me a minimum of five years’ servitude before I could be eligible for emancipation, but it’s been longer than that now.”

“Look, I’m not saying your record matters to me. Franky, I have mixed feelings about slavery. I’m not sure I blame you for trying to run. And sure, if you help us, I’ll ask about having you emancipated. I just can’t promise anything.”

His escape attempt felt like a distant memory. He’d run on his eighteenth birthday, and had done a decent job of it, too. He’d stayed on the run for almost three weeks before they found him. The family he’d belonged to decided to sell him after that, and that was when Adler had purchased him.

He spent the next few hours telling Peter as much as he could about Adler’s work without revealing his own machinations. It was all rather useless, but who knew? Perhaps some detail would jump out to Peter. Or maybe if Neal made a good enough show at being helpful, things would work out in his favor.

As Neal prepared to leave, Peter said, “Listen, I appreciate your willingness to assist with the investigation, but I don’t want you to put yourself at risk. I want to tell you we’ll definitely get Adler, but if we don’t….”

“I’m stuck with him. I get it.”

He wasn’t, though. He had his forged passport. He had Mozzie.

Neal paused by the door. Turning around, he smiled at Peter. “I’m curious—do you really not want to sleep with me, or are you just trying to be professional?”

Peter gave him a wry smile in return. “A little of both. I mean, I’m not saying you’re unattractive. But I do have a wife. And I don’t know, the idea of having sex with a slave makes me uncomfortable.”

Neal shrugged. “I don’t mind it. Adler’s friends are good to me, and I usually enjoy the sex. I would have slept with you if you’d wanted me. You’re not bad looking.”

“Thanks,” Peter said with a snort.

Neal grinned as he stepped through the door.

* * *

Over the next couple weeks, Neal took any opportunity he could to get away. It was a risk, but he was almost free. He couldn’t afford to wait around anymore. He had to prepare.

Peter told Adler that Neal gave the best blowjobs he’d ever had, which helped facilitate a few more visits to Peter’s hotel.

Neal almost wished that Peter would let him give him a blowjob. Peter really wasn’t bad looking, and despite all of Mozzie’s warnings about the duplicity of feds, Peter seemed genuine. Even if Neal wasn’t being entirely honest with him, even if Peter had the power to ruin his life, he wasn’t afraid of Peter.

One evening, Peter let him look through a stack of financial records that the FBI had collected, in hopes that something would stand out to Neal. He'd given Neal a beer, which Neal sipped leisurely. He wasn't a big beer drinker, but it was still a nice treat. He would have to use a breath mint on the way home, to make sure Adler didn't smell the alcohol on him.

Nodding at the stack of documents, Neal said, “I’ve been meaning to ask: you think Adler is running a Ponzi scheme, right?”

“That’s what it looks like. I just can’t prove it. Yet.”

“So there’s no actual profit. If he walked off with the money, the investors would lose everything.”

“Yep. And some of his employees have put everything into that hedge fund. We’re talking about people’s retirements, savings, all gone.”

Neal frowned. He really hadn’t signed up for that when he’d agreed to Mozzie’s plan. They’d thought they’d be taking from Adler. Neal didn’t have too hard of a time justifying taking from the man whose preferred form of discipline was whipping him with a belt, who’d made him sleep in a crowded laundry room, and who’d won him over with insinuations of emancipation only to take the promise away once it could finally be fulfilled. It was harder to justify taking from other people who had been conned by Adler.

Neal wanted to lighten the mood. Inching closer to Peter, he asked, "Did you tell your wife about me."

"I've mentioned you, yes."

"Did you tell her you had the chance to fuck me?"

Peter squirmed, and Neal wanted to laugh. He wasn't used to having the upper hand.

"Yes, and she agrees with me that having sex with a witness on a case would be unprofessional."

Neal raised his eyebrows. "What if you weren't on a case? She'd be okay with it?"

Peter shot him a glare. "Can we focus, here? I thought slaves were more submissive."

"I can be when I need to be."

Neal was sorry to have to go home, and he was a little sorry that soon, he wouldn't see Peter anymore.

That evening, in the cab with Mozzie, Neal said, “I’ve changed my mind. I’m not going after Adler’s money.”

“So what, this whole exercise with the Suit has been for nothing?”

“Look, if you heard what Peter had to say, you’d agree with me. Adler doesn’t have any money, Moz. He has his investors’ money. That’s who we’d be stealing from.”

Mozzie was silent, and Neal knew he saw the sense in what he was saying.

“Okay, so now what?”

“I want to make our move. But first, I want to give Peter all the information we have about Adler’s finances.”

Mozzie almost swerved into oncoming traffic. Neal clutched at the edge of his seat. “Mozzie!”

“Are you trying to give me a heart attack? You want me to give my research to the FBI? So what, so they can extract traces of my DNA from the paper and put me in the system?”

“I’ll give Peter clean copies if that’s what you’re worried about. Come on—do you really think the FBI is as good at this stuff as you are? I mean, I know we didn’t see that his business is a front, but maybe we found something that will help.”

“You’re insane, you know that?”

“What does it matter? I can drop the stuff off at the front desk of Peter’s hotel, and then we’ll leave. By the time he’ll figure out I was even planning to rob Adler, we’ll be somewhere else. And I promise I won’t connect you in any way. Please. I want to do this. It'll give me some closure.”

Mozzie sighed. “Fine. Just leave me out of it.”

For the remainder of the ride back to Adler’s apartment, Neal and Mozzie made their plans. Mozzie would purchase overseas plane tickets for his and Neal’s aliases right away. Tomorrow, Neal would collect his go bag, which was hidden in the basement of Adler's apartment building. Then Neal would meet Mozzie at a building where he was supposed to be able to get his tracking chip removed.

Neal would be free.

* * *

In the morning, Neal pretended to be sick so Adler would leave him home. As soon as he was sure Adler was gone, he took off his collar, setting it on the kitchen counter. He took a final look around the apartment and left, making his way down to the basement to collect his go bag.

He had everything he might need—some extra clothes, his new IDs, money, even a few of his forged bonds.

So far, everything seemed to be going smoothly. He was walking down the street, looking for a cab, when a familiar car pulled up beside him. Before he could even hope to hide, the back door opened, and Adler peered out.

"Get in, Neal."

Neal froze. He could try to run, but that would be inelegant. Too conspicuous.

"Neal," Adler continued, "I don't have time for this. Get in, or I won't be so gentle."

Slowly, Neal approached the car. Adler moved over so that Adler could get inside.

"What are you doing here?" Neal asked.

"I think I'm more entitled to ask that question than you are. But then, I know exactly what you're doing. You're not the only one who's running, Neal. I'm afraid I haven't been honest with you."

"Your business is a front for a Ponzi scheme, and you're about to flee the country with your investors' money."

Adler's head whipped around, and Neal relished the surprised look on his face.

"My, you're more perceptive than I realized."

"I wish I could take credit. But actually, the FBI is investigating you. Peter Nelson—sorry, Peter Burke—has been kind enough to enlighten me."

Adler didn't look as fazed as Neal was hoping for.

"I've suspected for a while that I wouldn't be able to maintain things much longer. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised."

"How long have you known I was planning to escape?"

"For a few weeks. Or rather, I wasn't sure, but I expected you were. If it's any consolation, I never had any intention of taking you with me when I left. But if you'd been loyal, I might have sold you to someone nice. Kenneth asked to buy you a few times. Did you know that?"

"So, what are you going to do? Kill me?"

Adler's expression soured. "Nothing so vulgar. But betrayal must be punished."

Neal considered leaping from the car. Slowly, he started to move his hand toward the door.

"Now, now, I wouldn't consider that if I were you."

He heard a gun cock, and slowly turned his head to see that Adler had a pistol trained on him.

They drove on for a while longer. Neal looked out the window, trying to get a sense of where they were going, but they didn't seem to be on the way to the airport or the docks. Suddenly, the car pulled over.

The driver got out. He was talking on his cell phone, but Neal couldn't hear what he was saying. After a minute, he hung up and got back in the car.

A few minutes passed. Then, Adler said, "All right, Neal. You can get out now. I suppose this is goodbye."

Neal's heart pounded in his throat as he got out of the car. As soon as he was out on the curb, Adler pulled the door closed and the car pulled away, leaving him.

It didn't make sense. He was alive. He still had his bag.

Before he could ponder it further, or leave the area, a police car pulled up, and two officers got out.

One of them was carrying a slave scanner.

The realization dawned on Neal: Adler had called the police on him. He'd reported him as an escaped slave.

Neal turned to run, but it was too late to get away.

* * *

The Manhattan Slave Center was one of the more demoralizing places Neal had lived. He was stuck in a dormitory with nineteen other men, and because he was an escape risk, the authorities had decided to deny him clothing privileges and keep his legs shackled. The shackles weren’t overly uncomfortable, but it was humiliating to have to wear them.

Worse of all, no one would tell him what was going to happen to him.

One afternoon about a week after he was picked up, he was sitting by a window, trying to read a magazine with his blanket wrapped awkwardly around him, when he saw someone familiar out of the corner of his eye. It was Peter Burke.

He should have been relieved, but he was embarrassed, being seen like this.

There was no furniture in the dorm, and Peter awkwardly sat on the floor beside Neal. His dress shoes scuffed the linoleum floor.

“I’m surprised to see you here,” Neal said.

“I didn’t want you to think I’d forgotten about you.” Peter sighed. "You really got yourself in a mess, you know that?"

"So I've been told. Adler?"

"Gone. But we're looking for him. By the way—I got something interesting in the mail a few days ago. A folder with a lot of very interesting research on Adler's finances. Did you have something to do with that?"

Neal shrugged. "I can neither confirm nor deny. Shame it came too late to help, though."

"Oh, it might still. We haven't closed the case on Adler just yet."

"I suppose going free is out of the equation, now."

"Well, I won't lie--you've made it tough on yourself. You were picked up while trying to escape. You had fake IDs and forged bonds in your possession. And it strongly appears that you were plotting to steal your master's money."

"My criminal master's money. Are you sure there's nothing you can do?"

Peter looked down at his knees. "I wish I could. Those bonds you had...they're the best work I've ever come across. Whoever made those could be a real asset."

Neal repressed a smile. "Hypothetically, if I made them, I'd be willing to help. If it meant being free."

Peter put a hand on Neal's knee. "Hang in there, Neal. I've gotta go, but I didn’t want you to think I'd abandoned you."

But as Peter left, that was exactly how Neal felt.

* * *

The following week, they woke him up early to go to court. Going to court was a bad sign. It meant that he was going to be tried for the escape, and maybe the bonds, and that he would be punished.

They gave him some ugly neon orange scrubs to wear to court, and even being able to wear some clothes again didn’t improve his mood. He spent the whole time looking for an escape route, but that would be difficult when his legs were still shackled and he looked like a human traffic cone.

At the courthouse, he waited in the basement with a guard until he was called up, and it seemed to take ages. To his surprise, he was led not into a courtroom but into a conference room with a polished oak table.

Looking around at the people gathered there, he was surprised to see Peter. Peter was talking to an older man with gray hair who was sitting beside him, but he looked up at Neal as he entered.

After the judge entered, Neal was allowed to sit, a relief after walking with the shackles on.

The judge looked down at the file in front of her, and then at Neal. “Neal, do you understand why you’re here today?”

“I can’t say I was informed, your honor.”

She looked vaguely annoyed, but he sensed it wasn’t directed at him.

“I suppose I should have expected that, but I had hoped you’d had the opportunity to think about this matter. I was led to believe that this hearing was simply so that I could sign off on the paperwork. And while I’m sure everyone here feels that this change in status benefits the slave, I need to be sure that he understands the terms and that he has the opportunity to share any concerns he has.”

Change in status? Neal couldn't imagine what that meant.

The man beside Peter spoke up. “Your honor, I understand your concerns, but I fail to see how Neal could possibly object to this agreement.”

“I understand, Agent Hughes. All the same, let’s go over the terms carefully.” She looked at Neal. “This agreement states that effective immediately, your status will change to that of an indentured servant. You will serve four years in the custody of the FBI and Agent Peter Burke. Upon the completion of this term, you will be emancipated provided that you meet the following terms: One, that you do not attempt to escape again, and two, that you do not commit any felonies during your custody. Do you have any questions?"

Peter had actually done it. He'd gotten him a deal. It wasn't the deal he'd been hoping for. But four years with an almost guaranteed release at the end was better than being a slave forever. And it sounded like they planned to treat him like more than a toy. If he could use his knowledge and skills, he didn't care if they used him for sex, too.

"No, your honor," he said. "I agree to those terms."

The judge nodded. "Very good, then. Let's get these forms signed."

* * *

Peter's house wasn't as lavish as Adler's apartment had been, but Neal had his own bedroom, with a real bed. There was even an easel, and though the paints Peter had gotten for him were cheap, he couldn't find it in his heart to complain.

Peter's wife, Elizabeth, was more welcoming than Neal could have hoped for.

He was surprised, though, that neither Peter nor Elizabeth had touched him yet. Sure, Peter hadn't wanted to use him while he was on the case, but now that he was Neal's de facto master, things were different. They were entitled to his service, and it wasn't like he minded. He wanted to show them how glad he was to be there.

After a few days, Neal decided to take things into his own hands. Peter brought some old shirts of his to Neal's bedroom, and while he was hanging them in the closet, Neal embraced him from behind and kissed his neck. He inhaled the mild scent of Peter's shampoo.

Peter pulled away. "Neal," he said softly, "don't."

Neal tried to hide how hurt he was. "But I thought....I'm yours now."

"I'm not going to take advantage of you. You're not doing this sort of 'work' anymore. Not here. Not at the office. Even if I was okay with using a slave, that's not what I want for you. The whole point of this indenture is to allow you to become a free man."

"But what if I want this? If I'm supposed to be learning to be free, doesn't what I want matter? If you're not interested, or if Elizabeth would be upset, just tell me."

Peter stepped forward and squeezed his shoulders. "You're right. What you want does matter. And if you want to know the truth, I wouldn’t mind sleeping with you. Elizabeth knows that. She's okay with it. But I want you to take some time to decide if it's really what you want. I don't want to have sex with you because it feels like the natural order of things."

Neal hated to admit that Peter was right, but he was. Part of having freedom was taking time to think about what was best. Perhaps he needed the time to adjust. To think.

After a week at the Burkes', Neal was able to make contact with Mozzie. Or rather, Mozzie managed to track him down, and waited for him one day outside the FBI building. Neal saw him when he and Peter were returning from lunch, and made an excuse to stay behind for a few minutes.

Unpredictably, Mozzie was not impressed by Neal's new status.

"The suits have pacified you, Neal. They're dangling freedom in front of your nose like a carrot."

"The indenture was the only way the state would agree to free me, Moz. It's the best deal I could get. Besides, things are different now. I can live like this for four years."

Mozzie still didn't look entirely convinced, but he conceded.

"Just know that if you want to run, I'm here. I'm even getting new IDs made for you."

Neal smiled. "Thanks, Moz."

* * *

When he and Peter did have sex, it was different than Neal imagined. He hadn't realized how much sex had been an act before, how he'd always felt like he had to perform and please.

With Peter, it didn't matter. Neal could relax and not pretend.

No one had ever sucked his cock before, or kissed him so much. Learning what Peter liked was a fun exploration rather than a tactic to curry favor.

They'd waited close to a year, and Neal was glad. The Peter he'd come to know was more than a free man who had the power to help him, or his new master. He was his friend, and he trusted him. And with him, Neal felt free.

This entry was originally posted at http://citrinesunset.dreamwidth.org/137787.html. Please comment there using OpenID.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 27th, 2016 04:57 am (UTC)
I enjoyed this story very much. Thanks so much for sharing.
Jun. 9th, 2016 03:26 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )