Stiles was, as he had been informed many times, the worst companion student in school, possibly the worst companion student in the history of the school. Companions were supposed to be graceful; Stiles was clumsy. Companions were supposed to be quiet and demure; Stiles could chatter for hours without pausing for breath. Companions were supposed to be utterly attentive to their owner's wishes; Stiles was easily distracted by, well, everything. Companions were supposed to be politely encouraging of their owner's opinions; Stiles had opinions of his own. Companions were supposed to be instantly obedient; Stiles always thought he had a better way of doing things. Companions were supposed to be calm and still when they were not fulfilling their duties; Stiles was incapable of sitting still for more than two minutes together.
Harris, Stiles' dorm master listed off this list of offences and more to the head teacher Gerard Argent, while Stiles tried to be still and demure, but ended up chewing his lips nervously and fidgeting with the cuff of his shirt so much it tore.
Stiles felt two pairs of eyes look to the offending seam at the sound of ripping stitches. Stiles felt like he'd just been accused of a great crime.
"I told you three years ago, headmaster," Harris said, "we would have been better off cutting our losses and throwing him out of the school, saving ourselves the expense of feeding and clothing him. He is utterly incapable of learning."
Stiles wanted to argue on that point. He was capable of learning a great deal, and that was part of the problem. He had learned a great deal about history and art and literature and politics, and that meant he had a great deal to say. Instead of politely agreeing with whatever the people he was supposed to practice with had to say, he wanted to have a real discussion. Unfortunately, being able to have an informed and intelligent conversation wasn't one of the skills people looked for in a companion.
"Be that as it may," the headmaster said, "we must find some way to recover our losses. Perhaps one of the whore houses will have less discerning tastes. They might be convinced to pay for someone with companion training, even if he has failed the school."
Stiles rather thought that the school had failed him, not the other way around, but even he knew this wasn't the time to argue.
"The money a whore house would be willing to pay wouldn't cover his food for a year," pointed out Harris.
"Perhaps a... specialist house," said Argent.
"Specialist?" asked Stiles, which earned him another glare. He might be present for this conversation, but he shouldn't forget that they were definitely not talking to him.
"There are some houses where clientele prefer their whores bound and gagged for the process. Even this one should be able to stay quiet and still under those circumstances. Those sort of houses do run through their property more quickly than most and need to buy new ones more often."
"He hasn't had any training in that sort of engagement," Argent said, but thoughtfully, as though he were mulling this over.
"How much training is required to scream when hit and be tied up and fucked?" Harris asked.
"No," Stiles said. "No, this is a terrible plan. I don't want to be hit. I'm terrible with pain. I'd pass out at the first sight of a whip and then where would the fun be? I'd be as bad at being a pain whore as I am at being a companion."
"But once you're sold," Harris finally addressed Stiles, "you will no longer be our problem."
"See to it," Argent said. "And see to it that Stiles gets a taste of what he can expect, to ease him into it."
And so it was that Stiles spent the next three days introduced to gags and restraints. There were some classes in bondage at the school, but they were usually taught to the more advanced students and Stiles had never qualified. Harris' idea of giving Stiles a taste was to tie him up in various positions and keep one of a variety of gags in his mouth at all times except when he was eating. Every waking moment of it was torture to Stiles. He was used to being constantly in motion, to always having something to focus his attention on. Tied up in whatever room Harris found spare, Stiles had nothing but the inside of his mind to focus on. He wanted to scream from boredom, but the gags swallowed the sounds.
He didn't want to see Harris win, didn't want Harris to see him broken, but he couldn't help the tears that started flowing on the second day. Stiles had always clung to a fragment of hope that he might end up with an owner who was interested in more than a standard companion, who might find his failures endearing, who might actually like him. Despite all the criticisms of his teachers, he held on to that wild hope that he might possibly find a place and a person that fit who he was. Now he knew that hope was shattered.
He wouldn't even be a bad companion to a string of disappointed owners. He would be sold off to some place where he would be raped and tortured by a string of strangers until his body gave out. Any possibility of a pleasant life or earning his way to freedom through gifts and tokens from a grateful owner was shattered. His life from this point on would be suffering and nothing more.
He awaited his sale with dread, but he didn't have to wait long. On the third day, Harris came to collect him from the storage closet he'd been stowed in, a grin on his face. That told Stiles everything he needed to know. The only way Harris would look so gleeful was if Stiles had been sold to someone who would make his every waking moment a torment from this point onwards.
Harris wiped off Stiles' face to make him look presentable, but then took him to the headmaster's office, his arms bound behind him with leather cuffs, a short hobble chain connecting similar cuffs around his ankles, and a dildo gag stuffed into his mouth.
"It's our role to see that all our students find their more suitable place of service," Argent was saying as Stiles shuffled closer, "and Stiles, well, he is much more suited to this position than to the more standard position of companion."
"You can stop trying to sell him to me," a gruff voice answered. "I've already paid my money. If you keep this up, I'll think you want to be rid of him."
Argent gave a small laugh. "I see no point in holding him back."
Stiles shuffled into the room, guided by Harris' hand on his shoulder, and he got his first look at the man who'd bought him. The guy was handsome. He was about the same height as Stiles but broader and a few years older. His shirt clung to muscles and had sleeves short enough to reveal the tone of his arms. Stiles was surrounded by beautiful people at the school, but this man was still enough to attract his attention. He wondered if the man was a former companion himself. He was young to have bought his freedom, but he was handsome enough that he might have been paid well in gifts and tokens, and former companions did often end up running whore houses and similar establishments.
Stiles was so busy staring that he almost forgot he should hate this guy, that this was the guy who'd just paid money to have Stiles raped and tortured.
"So you're Stiles," the man said. Stiles nodded. If he didn't have the gag, he might have made a smart remark about just wearing the shirt with the wrong boy's name in it. It was probably a good thing he had the gag.
The man continued, "My name is Derek Hale and I have just purchased you. Come with me."
There was no room for argument in that tone and Stiles was still bound. He expected Harris or Argent to remove the restraints, but it seemed they didn't want to take any chances of him spoiling the deal until he was out of the building. So Stiles shuffled along beside Derek, hobbled by the chain. He couldn't argue. He couldn't beg or plead. He couldn't try to be offensive to convince this man to change his mind. His only choice was to go and see what his new life held in store.