Inherent Cost

A train wreck outside Hojer injures Jere and Wren, destroying their anniversary bliss, and thrusting them back into the dangers of their home, where slaves like Wren are treated as animals. While Jere struggles for consciousness, Wren is seized with the other slaves. When Jere comes to the rescue he is furious to find Wren kenneled, neglected, and abused.

For the last two years, Jere has been using his status as a healer to protect Wren and his second slave, Isis. Wren’s controversial fire talent is getting harder and harder to hide, Isis is desperate to escape to her family in a free state, and Jere’s compassion is making enemies of powerful slave owners. Meanwhile, upcoming elections are stirring political unrest. Jere supports a reformation that could improve the lives of Arona’s slaves by treating them in human clinics like Jere’s, instead of sending them to animal healers. But the slavers are only motivated by the threat of an untreatable infectious disease spreading inexorably towards Hojer.

The more Jere becomes involved in politics, the more his clinic and his household come under scrutiny, prompting the Arona slave regulation board to harass Jere, questioning his ability to manage his clinic, and threatening to take away Wren and Isis. The two slaves are preparing to be evaluated, when Jere stumbles upon information that could separate the three of them forever.

How did you get here?

Chapter 11: Convincing

Wren waited for the perfect time to spring his plan on Jere. The official from the International Medical Board made it difficult, but after a few hours of taking notes and getting in the way, he announced that he would be visiting one of Hojer’s restaurants for lunch. Wren used the opportunity to corner Jere as he finished up with a patient.

“Jere,” Wren said, trying to be tactful. “Come here, I want to tell you something.”

Isis looked at both of them and made the face that she usually made when she knew they were going to go spend “alone time” together. He and Jere tried to keep the displays of affection low around her, just to be polite. They tried to keep them low around Kieran, too, but only after she mentioned that she liked to watch. Neither Wren nor Jere was sure if she was serious or teasing, but either way, it effectively halted their explorations in front of her.

Jere followed him into the exam room, smiling wider when he saw Wren pull the door closed behind them. He raised an eyebrow, hopeful.

“Stealing me away for a quickie?” he suggested, seating himself against the countertop and leaning back, a hopeful look on his face. “You know my schedule better than I do. Take me for as long as I’m free. Or at least until the damn Medical Board inspector returns.”

Wren came up between his legs and kissed him, teasing for a moment before pulling back. It was hard to resist, especially when Jere moved forward, prolonging the kiss. He put his hands on Jere’s shoulders and held him there. “There’s something I want to talk to you about first.”

“Sex is better?” Jere still held on to the hopeful look.

“Guess where you’re going to be a month from now.”

Jere looked confused. “Probably right here? Maybe having more sex with you?”

“You’re no fun!” Wren sighed. Jere wasn’t playing his guessing game. “You’re going to be in Redmont, with Isis, seeing her parents.”

Jere froze. “What?”

“Look, I know you don’t really want to leave Hojer, but Kieran has put so much work into it, and I think Isis deserves this.”

“Wren…” Jere started. “I don’t disagree, but it would mean leaving you!”

“You won’t be gone forever.” Wren didn’t like the idea of Jere being gone, even for a little while, but he had decided that the benefits far outweighed the risks.

“It would mean leaving you with another person to stand in as your master,” Jere clarified, as if Wren had somehow missed this point. “I promised you years ago that I would never do that to you, and I meant it. I still mean it! I’m not just going to dump you off on someone and go running off with Isis. I’ve explained it to her. She understands.”

Wren looked at Jere firmly. He had anticipated a challenge and he hoped to crush it quickly, so they would have time to play when they were done. “Last time Kieran was here, she offered to stay with me. I’m safe and comfortable with her. And I want to do this for Isis. She wants it, and she never really wants anything. Let’s do this for her.”

Jere was quiet, and Wren could tell that he was wracking his brain to think of any arguments that he could make to keep Wren from being so convinced that this was the right idea.

“What about the audit?”

“You live in a slave state. Audits happen. It doesn’t mean you put your life on hold.”

Jere frowned as his argument was quickly shot down.

“Babe, if I had the chance to see my family again, I mean, if I thought they didn’t hate me… if I was Isis, I would go.” Wren wished Jere was a little more acculturated here so his words would make more sense. “When you get taken as a slave, you’re told to let family go, to forget them, to pretend they don’t even exist. You’re told that they’ve already forgotten you exist. Isis has said a lot of crazy things, but she has always held strong to the idea that her parents are looking for her, that they’ll want to see her. I’m not going to crush that.”

“Then I will,” Jere said, less of a firm statement and more of a suggestion.

Wren smiled gently. “Valiant, but no. Then you’ll never hear the end of it from me or Isis, or Kieran for that matter, and it won’t make anyone happier. Go and do this, because I know you’d do it for me, and I know Isis would do it for me, too, strange as it seems.”

Jere nodded, still looking uncomfortable with the idea.

“You might be able to push back against all the harassment you’ve been getting lately, too.” Wren played his final card, the one Kieran had just mentioned in their exchange today. “Isis’s parents are talent scouts. I guess it’s what they did while they were searching for her, their cover for all the travel they did. They have one of the most successful interstate job placement agencies in the area. It might make people here reconsider the way they treat you if they know you’re meeting up with them.”

“I don’t know who’s a worse influence,” Jere said. “Between you and Kieran, you’re going to get us all killed.”

“We’ll be fine, Jere. Nobody wants to lose their precious doctor. Kieran has a two-week break from school. That gives you and Isis plenty of time to leave and visit and come back, with a lot of time in between in case anything delays you.”

“Nothing will delay me—”

“Speed trains have delays, Jere, we both experienced that,” Wren reminded him.

Jere just nodded, agreeing, but not looking happy about it.

“I’ll be fine with Kieran.”

“Who said anything about you? What am I going to do without you?”

“You’ll survive,” Wren pointed out. He knew it was a little underhanded, going behind Jere’s back and plotting with Kieran, but he figured it was for a good enough cause to justify the actions.

“Kiss me while I think about it? I’ve missed you all day.”

Wren was happy to comply, leaning into Jere’s embrace and kissing him, letting his hands roam over and under Jere’s clothes. The inspector hadn’t just made them all nervous; he had seriously gotten in the way of the casual touches that Wren and Jere usually shared throughout the workday. Wren used the longing to his advantage, knowing Jere would be easier to convince in the short window they had before the inspector returned.

“I can just take her, then?” Jere asked. “Redmont is in another state. One that won’t even allow me to bring both of my slaves. How long will it take to get them to allow me to take Isis?”

“Brenton is a reciprocal slave state with Arona. Similar laws, same restrictions. You’ll need to get her certified for out-of-state-travel, but that’s it.”

“Sounds hard,” Jere protested, reaching for Wren’s cock. “I like this hard thing better.”

Wren captured Jere’s hand, holding it firmly as he focused on the serious questions first. “The certification takes a few hours. You schedule it, you wait for the appointment. It’s like a test, of both her and you. I’ll help you get ready. Burghe had me certified a few weeks after he bought me. He liked to drag me around on business trips.”

He shuddered at that memory. The things his ex-master had done to him had been terrible, the kind that gave him nightmares for months after the man died. Even now, just thinking about him made Wren’s skin crawl.

“Don’t talk about him right now,” Jere requested, wrapping his legs around Wren’s body to pull him closer. “He’s pretty much the last thing I want to think about right now.”

“Sounds good to me,” Wren agreed, pushing the memories away.

“You should fuck me instead. Maybe our friend from the International Medical Board would appreciate seeing me a little more lively when he returns.”

Wren laughed. “Are we done talking about Isis and you going to Redmont?”

Jere frowned, clearly disapproving of the idea. “If I say yes, does that mean you’ll fuck me?”

Wren placed his hand over Jere’s cock, palming it and squeezing down hard until Jere let out a little whimper. “Only if ‘yes’ means you’ll do it like a good boy.”

Jere breathed deeply at Wren’s words and actions. “Absolutely. Right now, I’ll do anything you say.”

“Prove it,” Wren challenged. “Get your pants off and lean over that exam table.”

“Anything you say,” Jere repeated, his hands already working his zipper.

Wren wasn’t entirely sure whether he believed Jere or not, but he was too turned on by Jere’s submission to argue further. Instead, he unzipped his pants and found some sort of medical lotion that would double for lube. He was ready well before Jere was, enough so that he got to help Jere by pinning his body to the exam table and rubbing against him. Jere threw his head back, nuzzling against Wren’s neck and sighing happily as Wren kissed him.

Smiling, Wren squeezed some of the lotion out onto his hands, wrinkling his nose at the slight medical scent of it. He wasn’t concerned with the scent, he was concerned with the slipperiness of it, and it met that criterion perfectly. He worked some onto his cock, smiling as Jere glanced back at him, eagerly anticipating what was to come. Wren quickly rubbed some of the lotion into and around Jere’s ass, fingering his hole roughly.

“Yes,” Jere hissed, squirming against Wren’s fingers. “More? Please?”

Without waiting or bothering to give warning, Wren plunged into him, satisfying the need that Jere had been begging to have fulfilled since Wren first pulled him aside into the exam room. He worked himself in deep, putting his speed gift to good use. The exam table put Jere at a difficult height for Wren to reach, and he leaned over Jere, pushing his upper body down hard against the cold metal.

Jere’s palms landed flat on the table as he braced himself, hissing in a mix of pain and pleasure when Wren pushed harder, pounding Jere’s stomach into the edge of the table. Wren heard him cry out, and it wasn’t his usual sound of enjoyment. Frowning, Wren pulled out.

“Turn around,” he suggested.

“Just keep fucking me?” Jere begged, lying limp over the table. “You feel so good!”

Wren gripped his hips firmly and forced him to turn, putting Jere’s back to the exam table. “Up,” he ordered, pleased when Jere scooted onto the edge of the table. They didn’t have much time, and he wanted to make the best of it. The inspector might not be as critical of the slave-master relationship as someone from the slave agency would, but a doctor wasting patient time fucking an assistant probably wouldn’t reflect too well on them. The thrill of how taboo their act made Wren even harder.

“I’ll be too high up,” Jere protested.

Wren didn’t respond; he just pulled Jere into his arms and onto his cock. If Jere’s gasp was any indication, he was quite pleasantly surprised, and Wren was enjoying the tightness around his cock just as much.

Jere held tightly to his shoulders, leaving Wren bearing the weight of his body, almost holding Jere up as they continued to fuck. The angle wasn’t quite right, so Wren reached out, wrapped his arms around Jere, and pulled him into position, pinning him between the edge of the table and his cock, fucking him hard and fast, banging the exam table against the wall with each thrust. Jere gasped, trying to meet Wren’s energetic fucking motions and failing miserably. Wren enjoyed it, though.

“I’m gonna fuck you until you can’t keep up,” he growled in Jere’s ear, pleased when he felt the muscles in Jere’s ass tighten around him. “You’re no match for my speed gift.”

“Fuck yes,” Jere replied, his voice barely above a whisper. His hands came up around Wren’s neck, holding on tightly and pressing his face into Wren’s shoulder, drowning out the satisfied sounds he was making.

It was good that Jere was attempting to be quiet, because Wren was pretty sure that at least the banging of the table against the wall could be heard outside of the exam room. The rooms were built to be sterile, not soundproof, and this sort of activity pushed the limits of what was and wasn’t acceptable in the clinic. The thrill of doing something forbidden made Wren even more excited.

As Wren felt Jere about to come, he clamped his hand firmly over Jere’s mouth. Jere was left capable of making only a few muffled cries as he came, and Wren gritted his teeth, letting out a only few satisfied grunts as he finished as well, pumping hard into Jere and then leaning him back against the wall, letting him relax.

The inspector came back just moments after Jere walked out of the exam room. Wren had to hold back a laugh at the inspector’s confused look—Jere was smiling, a dazed and sated look on his face.

“I had a great lunch,” Jere mentioned, trying to be casual. The inspector just nodded.

They finished at the clinic and discussed the plans for Isis and Jere to go to Redmont. Wren filled both Jere and Isis in on some of the real-life details of the certification. He had been through the process only once; Burghe would have needed to re-certify him again soon if he hadn’t died when he did. Orders were given to the master, who then passed them on to the slave, and both were rated on their ability to perform as expected.

For Wren, it had been simple; he had been fresh from the training facility and desperate to please, still idealistic and hoping to make a good impression on his new master. He had received a spectacular rating, nearly perfect, but the fact that it was only nearly perfect had earned him a beating that had him coughing up blood for days until his master had finally decided to heal the broken ribs. Wren didn’t mention that part, because he didn’t want to dwell on it, nor did he want to scare Isis or Jere any more than necessary. They discussed a plan for training—both for Isis, and for Jere. Wren just hoped that it would be enough.

How did you get here?

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