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The Farmer and his cows

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They lived in a small family home in a small suburban neighborhood just barely within the city limits. Their home had two floors, three bedrooms and one bathroom that was barely enough for all five of them. The stairs were old, the steps practically groaned when you ran up and down and the kids enjoyed sliding down the railing, or testing out how many steps you could jump past and still end up safely on your feet at the bottom of the landing. The fridge would have to be replaced soon, and the oven had given up months ago, but they lacked the money to replace it. It didn't matter to the kids. The eldest, Josh, had gotten his first job at the age of fifteen, paying for new clothes he knew his parents couldn't afford to give him and the occasional sweet for his little brother and sister, that he knew was often ignored due to money worries. Josh had once offered his money to his mom, but she'd refused, said he should try and save it, for college, or a car.

Josh was their parents perfect son, and Jensen and Mac's greatest hero, so of course he was also the victim of most of the younger kids' scorn as well. They were a happy family, Mom, a former realtor, Dad, a white collar worker at some factory that closed down the year before and the three of them. Josh, Jensen and MacKenzie. And if asked, they would have said they were happy.

Mom hadn't made a new sale all month, there weren't a lot of people out there looking for new homes. Not now that housing prices bottomed down again and people barely managed to keep their heads above water as it was. She'd come home late the night before, staring at the bills on the table. The ones nobody talked about, but that all three kids knew had been growing with every passing day. And still, despite all the warning signs, when the bomb dropped, it still came as unexpected as if there had been no advance warning at all.

Jensen and his sister sat on the stairs. Mom was crying, dad was holding her, she was telling him it would be fine. He’d find a job, or she would. She was telling him they couldn't do it, that they'd find another way. But they didn't act as if they believed it. Jensen shivered and held his little sister, trying to make her feel better. Josh had gone up to his room earlier, refusing to be a part of anything that was going on, refusing to accept that anything might change. He's slammed his door shut, giving their parents one last glare from up the stairs.

Mom and dad had been fighting all morning. Jensen and MacKenzie had for the most part just tried to be as small and quiet as possible, watching their shows on the family holo that was at least five years out of date. Too old to be worth anything if they put it up for sale, so they kept it instead. Mom had started crying this morning, right after she said the words: "you're right, we have no other choice.". She hadn’t even looked at Jensen since. And all Jensen knew was that his name kept coming up and he couldn’t figure out why. Just that he hated it, because it made his mother’s mood even worse. Josh had told them to come upstairs when he did, but Jensen and Mac had gotten tired of sitting still on their brother's bed and missing what was happening downstairs.

“Jensen.”

Jensen stared over the stairs, down at his parents. His father’s eyes on him felt harder than ever before.

“Come here for a second.”

Jensen got to his feet and got down the stairs, step by step. He was breathing harshly and terrified, his hands feeling clammy on the wooden railing.

His father made him stand in front of him and lifted his face, looking at him for a moment before pulling him into a hug. He kept saying he was sorry, but Jensen just didn’t understand what his father was so sorry about.

Jensen stared back at MacKenzie who was as scared as he was, before staring in between his mom and his dad. Mom didn’t touch him, she went up the stairs, pulling MacKenzie along with her to Josh’ room, leaving Jensen downstairs with his father. Jensen's lip trembled, it was the only part of him that moved, other than that he stood frozen.

“Jensen, you know that we’ve… that we’ve been having money trouble.”
Of course Jensen knew, they’d been selling as much of their stuff as they could find. The good holo had gone first, until Josh had brought the old holo he got from grandma downstairs. Then the leather couch, replaced with a rickety and smelly old one from the second hands store. His and Mac's bikes had been gone for months, Only Josh's had been kept, but only because he needed it to go to work, riding his bike was cheaper than taking the bus to the grocers.They’d even gotten rid of the dog, selling Icarus to a couple further up in town that could afford to take care of him. Mrs Mulrooney didn't mind if they visited and Icarus always seemed happy to see them. But Jensen still missed him.

“I’m sorry daddy, I’ll eat less, I promise, I won’t…”

“Oh God, Jensen,” his father pulled him back into a hug, “I’m so sorry, but that wouldn’t be enough.”

His father never cried, until now. “A few years after you were born, Jensen, I had no choice but to put you up as a deposit, I had to, for my business. I thought it would never, that it would never be called in, that I would always be able to pay the premiums. I didn’t think…”

Jensen stopped breathing for a second. He remembered a kid from his class, Tom, one day, the debt collectors had marched into school to come pick him up. The teachers had told them to wait, to stop scaring the kids, but the men hadn’t cared. They leered at the other boys, making it clear they could come for any of them any time soon. They’d grabbed Tom, dragged his arms behind his back and then pulled him out of the class at the end of a leash.

All the class had ran to the windows, staring as Tom got pushed into the back of a van. They’d never seen him again.

“I don’t want to go!” Jensen whispered “Please don’t make me go.”

“None of us want this Jensen, but if I don’t bring you in now, they’ll impound both you and, "his father broke, "they might take Josh as well to pay for late fees. I can’t lose you both. The agent said that... ;that if we sell you to the company ourselves, then we'll avoid impound costs, and then Josh and Mac’ll be safe.”

Jensen wanted to scream, to ask his dad why he didn’t just sell Josh instead of him. But Jensen knew why, Josh was over fifteen, the price they’d get for him would be far lower than what they’d get for Jensen.

That and they’d already invested too much into Josh, getting him ready for college and a future. As for MacKenzie, girls never went for as high a price as boys did, you could only harvest so many eggs out of them and the procedure was far too invasive.

It all made sense, but it didn’t stop Jensen from wanting to lash out.

“When?” he finally asked, failing to keep his voice from shaking. He wished he could ask his real question instead, if he could say goodbye to his friends first, what was he supposed to tell them anyway? That he was going to be sold, that once the papers were signed, he wouldn’t be a human being no more. That the team would have to go on without him, even if he was one of the best players on their little league team. Not that that meant much, since most of their team sucked. He wanted to at least tell Ty and Alona, let them know that he'd miss them.

“Now.”

Jensen didn’t bother to ask if he should pack, Ambrosia cows didn’t own property, they were property. His parents could probably get a decent sum for his clothes and whatever toys he still had left. Mac could probably get some use out of his schoolbooks.

He should try and run, but where to? If he ran, his parents would just find him again, or tell the cops and it would just make things harder for MacKenzie. He didn’t care about angering Josh. Even knowing it wasn’t his brother’s fault, he was still angry that Josh got to keep going to school and thinking about football and college, while Jensen. It was just so unfair. He paid attention in school, he never got in trouble, he hadn't, had he? Wasn't that what they said, that only bad kids got sold. That if you did your best in school, did what your parents told you and were careful, that you'd be safe?

His father led him to the car, tightening his seat belt, while Jensen quietly stared down at the floor. He didn't want to stare out of the window, not even as they passed the Padalecki farm. Ty always wondered where the cows slept. Alona said they were probably in one of the larger barns. After all, there had to be enough place for beds or something for them to sleep on. By the time they got to a parking lot in the middle of town, Jensen stopped thinking and just let Dad led their way to the shopping street. The company’s store front wouldn’t open for another hour, so Dad took him to a diner first. Dad ordered him pancakes and a chocolate milk shake and whatever he wanted for dessert. It was his favorite, they hadn't gone out to eat in months. But Jensen could barely even stand looking at it, his hands were shaking and he started crying.

The girl that took their order never even gave him a second look.

Jensen dragged his feet as they left, following his father into the store. Jensen was told to sit on a bench in the front, right next to some boy from a class higher than his own that Jensen had barely even talked to before. The boy was wearing shackles on his hands that were locked to the bench and feet and glaring at the backs of a couple sitting further into the store talking to one of the clerks.

His own dad was talking to one of the men , answering questions and signing papers. It seemed to last forever. Jensen could hear the shackles on the boy next to him and almost wished he had some of his own, they might make him feel less like an object, but then after today, that was all he was going to be anyway.

Suddenly the man stood in front of him and lifted his face. Letting go of him almost right after and ordering him to follow. Jensen took one last look back at his dad, who quickly turned away from them. Jensen was shaking as if hit by an earthquake, but followed the man into the next room, a doctor’s office. Or more likely, a veterinarian practice. There were pictures of scary looking Alphas and tiny little Omegas on the walls. Jensen didn't get to read the text on the posters.

He wasn’t given any privacy, just told to get his clothes of. He did so and stood in front of the physician. She touched his body all over, made him lift his arms, his legs and then she grabbed for his penis and he couldn’t help a yelp in shock. “Please no.” he begged, but she wasn’t listening.

She checked some boxes on her clip pad before pulling out a series of allergy tests. Jensen had had them before, and he wanted to tell her they weren’t needed, but as soon as he opened his mouth, she glared at him to shut up.

The man came back in, she gave him a clipboard with her results. “Green card, no nectar immunity or allergy. It’s a perfect specimen, a bit too young yet to be milked, but that’ll just give his owner some time to get him used to the nectar and train it before use. “ Jensen hugged himself where he sat on the examination table, scared to death of the two people who were talking about him as if he didn’t understand a word they were saying. Worse, as if it didn’t matter that he did understand.

“Daddy.” He whispered.

“You don’t have a father anymore.” Jensen shivered, feeling the man’s eyes on him for the first time since they came in here. “No father, no mother, no name. From now on, you are what your owner tells you to be. Is that understood.”

Jensen couldn’t answer, even if he wanted to.

“It’s alright, little one. Soon, you’ll get an owner who will look after you, and you won’t ever have to worry about anything but pleasing your owner, ever again.” The man petted Jensen’s head, touching him gently even as Jensen tried to pull away. “Is it ready to go?”

“I just need to tag him and you can take him.”
Jensen quickly turned back to her and at the big tagging gun she held in her hand. “Stay still.” He didn’t even have the time to think of disobeying, before she placed the gun at the back of his neck and he felt something sting into his skin and sinews. The chip would soon mesh with his spine, showing nothing on the outside but a small black dot and a serial number that would be easy for cops to track if he ever got ‘lost’.

He wanted to grab his clothes, but they didn’t give him the chance to do so. Instead he was pushed through the door into the next room, naked as the day he was born. There were a few other boys already there and he could feel their eyes on him, as he stared back, eyes wide open. The nurse pushed him forward and ordered him into one of the glass cases. At least he had one for himself, he didn't have to share with anyone else like some of the others. Or so he told himself.

The floor was soft, and there was a water bowl in the corner of the booth, while he noticed a drain on the side and air holes on the top. Jensen tried desperately to ignore the metal railing of the open drain, he kept his head low, grabbed his legs and fought the urge to throw up. Soft music ran from the speakers in the corners of the room and Jensen was tired of the repeating playlist long before the third time it started back up. One of the other boys tried to start up a conversation but Jensen just didn’t want to. As long as he ignored everyone else, maybe he could keep thinking of this as a dream. Something he’d wake up from the next day, so he could get up from his bed the next morning, play with his dog, go to school and pretend none of this had ever happened outside of his own twisted mind.

It was just hard to do when two of the boys kept whispering about the farm, about the rumors they'd heard. The rumors they'd all heard. About the farmers buying whips and canes. Boy's tales about sex, that they were all too young to understand. One of the older boys said they'd all be fucked soon enough, 'literally' he added, before falling quiet.
Jensen didn’t even want to think about the farms, or farm, singular, that he would end up at. Where he’d spend the rest of his life until he was too old to be milked.

A door slammed open and Jensen stared up at the men and women entering the room. It wasn't the door to the doctor's office. This one was large and forboding, and probably led to the front of the office. Jensen kept staring at the people who ogled them in a way that made him tense up. Especially at one in particular. Jensen recognized him, Jared Padalecki, the man who owned the Ambrosia farm just down the road from where he lived. Or where he used to live. He’d seen the man a dozen times before, sometimes driving up to his farm with a boy just like Jensen was now, up in the back of his truck.

He’d remembered the man’s eyes on him before, looking him over whenever he passed the on the way to school, or when they went shopping. Before he’d been able to hide behind his parents, hide in the car, behind layers of clothes. But now the man’s eyes moved over his body with nothing to stop him but a thin piece of transparent glass between him and the farmer.

Money, or at least a credit card passed hands and soon even that little bit of protection was gone. Jensen wasn’t even given the chance to choose to fight or obey, instead the farmer grabbed him over his shoulder and carried him outside.

They passed Dad on the way out. Jensen’s father was holding a bag of groceries, caring for his family, as life went on and Jensen didn’t even bother to yell at him for help. Too late for that, it had been too late when he woke up in the morning.

Jensen was dumped on top of the hay in the back of the truck, the straw itching on his naked skin, as he stood up and stared outside at the world he’d never again be a part of.

 

******

 

Jared turned to the vet who told him the bad news. It was never a good thing when he had to get rid of one of his cows. He knew he was soft on his animals, his friends told him that often enough, but it was hard not to get attached to your cows. Especially since he got most of his when they were calves, he'd raised them by hand, took care of their physical needs, saw them mature into cows and stood by them from the first second they went into production. No matter how many of them he lost, it was never easy to let go of one that had gotten to sick to keep serving in production.

Milked dry, the vets called it when a cow got so sick that its sperm became thin and feeble, worthless. He’d had this one for close to twenty years. He remembered the way the animal had bucked when it first arrived, struggling every step of the way. It had taken him weeks before it was broken enough to understand it's place. But once it had, it had been a pleasure to have around, so eager to please and it hurt to know that he would have to put the poor thing out of its misery. Coughing, lungs filled with fluid, he couldn’t even try and sell it to one of the mines. Not that that would be a kindness, not really. All the cow would do now was lie on the floor and cough the slime out of its throat. Tuberculosis was far from a silent killer and though it was curable, it was just too expensive, both in time and money, to try and do so for an animal that at most had five years left to begin with. No, better this way.

Jared held its hand as the doctor pulled out a syringe and pushed it into the veins of the cow’s arm. The tranquilizers worked quickly, making its death painless as Jared brushed his fingers through the fuzz on its head.
Much as he enjoyed the hold of hair on his cows, it was simply more hygienic and easier to keep it buzzed, short so flees were easily gotten rid of and less likely to tangle up during the day.

“I’m sorry, Jared, do you want me to take care of the remains for you?”

Jared nodded, the law proscribed that all farmers had to dispose of their animal's bodies within a day. Owners could use them for whatever they wanted, as long as it was done hygienically and out of the way of the public. It’s not like they were human anymore, so who cared about their remains once their primary use was gone. He’d known one or two farmers who’d gone as far as to have a favorite cow of theirs stuffed and put on display, but Jared himself had never been able to do so. He generally preferred to leave his carcasses to the vet who’d use the intestines as part of his study program to develop a stronger ambrosia, and a better nectar. One that would give Ambrosia cows a longer lifespan, a longer usefullness. As it was, most ambrosia cows barely made it to thirty, forty could almost be considered ancient.

He wished he could wait a few days before buying a new one, but he needed to keep his stables full if he wanted his investors to stay happy with him. He didn’t want a repeat of the last time when Jeff decided to ‘help out’ and brought in a new cow himself. The cow had been argumentative, disruptive and had put off the milk of all the other cows in the stable for weeks. But that was the general risk when you bought a cow older than working age. When you got them younger, it was easier to train them, get them used to your hand and make sure they understood what was expected of them.

Younger cows also dealt better with the Nectar, were more receptive to it. Jared had never seen a cow that started on Nectar after they hit puberty, that had ambrosia as strong as one that started on it before hormones changed their body chemistry. More than that, older cows were too used to living free, they still thought of themselves as people. And you couldn’t just pluck a teenager of the street and expect him to think of himself as a cow in a matter of days. It took years of living the life before they were relaxed enough, so their milk was pure and untainted.

In the end he’d had to sell the cow to a mining company that bought up slaves for the more dangerous parts of the work. Jared hadn’t liked to do it, he loved all of his animals, but it had been best for the herd and as their owner, the good of the herd always came first. No matter how hot the cow’s ass had been.

He was actually surprised when he saw Roger Ackles coming out of the Agency. He knew the man had been hitting hard times, but he hadn’t thought things had gotten quite that bad. He barely managed to stop his excitement when he entered the showing room and he saw Jensen sitting in one of the booths. The boy was even more beautiful than he’d ever imagined him being. His deep green eyes almost looked like emeralds in the overhead spots. He looked like a colt, a calf really, small and pixish, with a promise of size as he grew up.

Quiet though, Jared could feel Jensen’s heart hammering in his chest, terrified. Jared wished he could calm him down, but knew that at this moment, he’d only make things worse. It was hard for him to think of Jensen as a cow, a slave, no matter how often he’d dreamed of putting the boy in one of his stables. But he had to, for Jensen’s sake. Thinking of him as a human now would only make things harder for the calf, make it more of a struggle to submit.

He had to fight his hard-on all the way back home. Looking back to the bed of his truck and staring at the boy, the cow’s lanky body. The puppy fat covering his stomach and ass. Beautiful.

He opened the truck bed as they got to the farm, ready to grab the cow by his arm if he, if it tried to run. But Jensen was still too stunned by far to do so. It happened at times, when a parent sold their child to the agency. Most of the time, the cow was still too much in shock, that this of all things could have possibly happened to them. It made it easier to break them in, kept them from struggling. It never lasted, but it sure made those first few days a lot easier, both on him, his workers and the cow itself.

Chad came running up to them, holding a bit and a lead in his hands. Jared accepted both from him and slowly looked down at the boy in front of him.
“Open your mouth.” Jensen ‘s eyes kept darting in between them, before he complied. Jared tied the harness around the back of the calf’s head and lower down to its neck, placing the bit in between the calf’s teeth, his fingers brushing past its cheek. The bits were especially designed for the soft inner cheek of the ambrosia cows. As the boy's body changed, its mouth would grow the calluses needed to wear the bit longterm, make it something they could almost ignore. Just a soft reminder of what they were, what they were meant to be.

The calf was shivering and Jared quickly led it to the stable. Only two weeks ago, he’d had to chase Jensen’s older brother away from the farm along with a few of his friends. He’d have to call the cops if the older Ackles brother came back to cause trouble.

The bit didn't really take up that much place in the cow's mouth, they could still eat, drink and be used with them in, but it sedated their tongue and kept them from talking. But more than that, it was a warning, a reminder, especially those important first months while the human body changed into that of a full fledged Ambrosia cow. And it kept the screaming down, while the calf was branded, kept the rest of the cows from getting too upset. Jared got his branding irons, three of them, three, six and five. They were a more modern version of an old idea. Just enough to cause a small burn in the upper layers of the skin, but not enough to cause too much damage to the nerves below the skin.

He made sure to sanitize them first, both the cow and the irons. He knew that some of the newer farmers tended towards tattoos, but he’d learned from his father a long time ago, that it was easier to just brand the cows, ink could be removed to easily, and faded after a few years, a brand was more permanent.

“There there, beauty, this is going to hurt a bit, but it’ll be over soon.“ He pulled the irons together in a hand shaped lock, no reason to make the poor calf suffer through three burns, when he could finish it in one.

Jensen started struggling when he noticed the irons, but Jared subdued him easily, placing him in the locks designed for this exact purpose. He checked the heat on the brands, glad that Chad had heated them up beforehand. The poor calf was scared enough without making him wait, knowing what was going to happen to him.

Jensen screamed as Jared quickly pressed the assembled brand on his shoulder. Jared counted off the time needed for the brand to form, waiting not a second longer than needed before removing the iron. Chad quickly offered him a cold cloth and salve to cover the burn.

Jensen was sobbing, still hanging in his chains. Jared brushed his fingers through the boy’s hair, before accepting the scissors, razor and shaving cream that Chad offered him. He loosened the leather of the bit, just enough to get to the skin behind it, ignoring the cow’s pleading as he started with thinning out its hair, before he smeared in the shaving lotion and removed every last bit of hair from its head. The calf was still young and smooth, so when Jared started spreading a hair removal crème over its body, feeling off every part of his new property as he did so, he was almost glad it’d be easier this way. As long as he smeared in the crème at least once a month, the cow would never grow a string of hair in its life. He had forty five cows at the farm at any given time, so keeping them all smooth and shaved would be hard work if he didn’t have this little time saver on hand.

Jared removed the chains and carried the calf down to the stable. He stopped in the door for a moment, enjoying the wave of warmth coming out of the heated stable, before stepping inside. Three of the calves where playing a game in the open area near the door. They fell to their knees as soon as they saw the door opening. The current rotation had fifteen of the cows strapped in for duty, while the others were sitting around, listening to music, sleeping or doing whatever else they could do in their free time. As long as they kept quiet and didn’t pretend to be human, they could do whatever they wanted as far as he was concerned. He wasn’t a cruel man.

Another thing his friends mocked him for, that he actually gave his cows free range while they weren’t used for production. Or at least they did, till they realized that the quality of his milk was consistently higher than that of those farmers who kept their cows strapped in at all times and milked them dry on a daily basis.

He placed Jensen in the empty booth, taking care to put him on his untouched shoulder so he wouldn't be in any unnecessary pain.

“Water.” He stated, mere seconds later two of the calves came running up to him, holding a can of drinking water from the table on the side. The others were still on their knees, waiting for his next command. Whatever it might be. He filled the water bottle in the booth and used the remains to drench the cloth he was holding, cleaning up the calf’s face from the tears still falling down its cheeks.

“It’s all right little one, cry if you want to, the pain will be gone soon.” He let his fingers trail down the little one’s spine, from its tag, down to its ass, letting his fingers brush in between the calf’s buttocks. “There there.” Jensen winced at the touch, but Jared didn’t let that stop him. The young cow would have to learn to get used to his master’s touches and the sooner the better. It would be best for the cow if it just learned to see those bits of attention as something pleasurable, it would make the poor animal’s life a lot easier if it became able to enjoy what happened to it.

That and it would drastically improve the taste of its milk, which was all that should really matter to Jared.

Then he took a chain and tied it to Jensen’s ankle. It was more than long enough to let the calf move around up to the food bench or the drain raster, but no further than that. Jared checked the bit one last time, making sure it didn’t hurt the calf’s lips, before leaving him to get used to his new home.

“Welcome your new brother, boys. Try not to be too hard on him.” And then he got out of the stable and back to his own house. He had a bit more work to do before the next shift fell in duty and definitely before he returned to pick his fun for the night.