Peter hears about a selkie in Elias's employment straight from the man himself.
"I have hired this young man," Elias tells him as they are in bed together, while Elias is sitting naked on Peter's thighs. Elias's hand is warm on Peter's chest, his fingertips threading through thick wisps of hair. "I believe he would amuse you. He's a selkie."
Peter has been contemplating his bound wrists, how it should be Elias lying on his back, tied and helpless while Peter looms over him. Now, Peter forgets all about the rope scratching his skin, perking up over Elias's words. "How did you find him?"
Elias smiles, sliding his hand over to Peter's nipple.
"Actually, he found me," Elias says. "He wanted to work for the Institute. His fake papers were quite convincing." Elias grasps Peter's nipple tight, giving it a sharp twist. Peter hisses, his cock twitching between legs as it rises against Elias's perfect arse cheek.
"I was interested in seeing what he had to offer." Elias flicks his thumb against the bud of Peter's nipple, pushing his arse ever so slightly against Peter's swelling cock.
"Yes, I'm sure." Peter thrusts upward, rubbing his cock against Elias's arse. "Is he ferocious?"
Elias chuckles. "Hardly. It's difficult to imagine him as a creature of the Hunt, really." Elias rolls his hips down against Peter's, eyes lighting up with pleasure when Peter moans. "He is soft and round. He carries his skin around like it's a coat. If you're close enough to him, he smells like the sea."
"Close enough, you say." It's Peter's turn to laugh; of course Elias knows details like that. "And you'd think he'd amuse me?"
His laughter quiets down when Elias brings his cool hand up to his cheek, cradling it gently as he drags his thumb over Peter's lips.
"I think you'd be thrilled to rip him apart," Elias says, staring Peter right in the eye before leaning down to kiss him.
The kiss is deep, wet and amazing, but Peter is thinking about the selkie. Peter has heard stories about them, the seal folk who shed their skin so they can walk on earth. They're elusive creatures, so it's highly unusual that one has ended up at The Magnus Institute of all places, a place where you See and are Seen. Unusual and absolutely fascinating.
Elias is right: Peter would love a taste.
"Introduce me to him," he says.
The meeting doesn't happen in years: Peter is pulled away by the sea and Elias by things to see, and setting up a meeting with a little selkie man simply isn't a priority for either of them. When it finally happens, it's just as delicious as Peter could have hoped for.
"I've got a knife," the selkie warns him, baring his teeth.
It's an utterly unconvincing threat. The selkie - Martin - is just as soft as Elias said he was, all smoothness and round shapes. Martin seems to realize that he isn't being intimidating in any manner, shrinking back a bit as Peter refuses to budge from his spot. But Martin stands his ground, even daring to meet Peter's eyes.
"Your selkie is very cute," he says to Elias, too, when they meet in Elias's office later. "You aren't interested in playing with him?"
"What makes you think I haven't?" Elias smiles, lacing his fingers together as he gazes at Peter. "However, I think such a creature suits your tastes better."
"Because he's so amusing?"
Elias sighs. "You know what I mean."
Peter does know. Selkies come on dry land in search of partners; Martin Blackwood is obviously and painfully alone. The smell of solitude had been stronger in him than the scent of the sea, it had filled his eyes more than fear had. The allure is undeniable and Peter is interested in more.
"And what do I owe you for this lovely gift?"
Elias gives him a sated smile. "Let me think about that."
There is no time for them to think about how Peter could pay Elias back: Elias is imprisoned first, and Peter finds himself in charge of an establishment dedicated to a God that isn't his own. It's not an ideal situation, but what is ideal is that he has his selkie right where he wants him.
"So, what's going to happen now?" Martin asks him after he returns from his vacation, voice and face sullen.
Of course, Peter realizes it's a strange situation for Martin. His poor selkie has lost quite a lot: one friend is dead, one might as well be, the survivors are too haunted by their own suffering and losses to care about him. Martin is alone, and on some level he must know that Peter is out to get him. Yet he's still here.
Maybe it's the hunter in Martin that wants to see things through and find out just what Peter has in store for him. That is an exciting prospect, and Peter lets himself smile over it, reaching out to pat Martin on his shoulder.
"Well, to kick things off, Martin, we need to get the elephant out of the room." Peter moves his hand over to the neckline of Martin's sweater, reaching beneath it to adjust the collar of the button-up shirt that's peeking from underneath. "I know what you are."
Martin, who looks like he's been trying his hardest not to slap Peter's hand away, seems to freeze to the spot. "Elias told you?" he asks.
"He did, the old gossip." Peter wants to touch Martin's throat, but he decides not to; there is time for that. He pulls his hand away, watching a slight tremor of relief pass through Martin before Martin grows tense again. "I want you to know that it's no problem for me. But I do need to know that I can count on you."
Martin's lips twitch slightly over his words, as if he wants to sneer, but he doesn't react otherwise. "What did you have in mind?"
Peter smiles. "Well, I believe you let Elias see your skin."
From the distance, the selkie skin really looks like some old coat, brown in color and covered in grey circles; it makes Peter think of a sofa. When Martin unfolds it, Peter reaches out to grasp the edge of the hide, marveling at how warm and supple it feels underneath his fingers.
"Can you feel this?" he asks.
Martin's throat moves noticeably in a swallow. "Y-yes, I can."
"Hmm." Peter releases the skin, standing back as Martin folds the skin over his arm and pulls it protectively against his chest, glaring at Peter. The sight makes Peter laugh. "Please, Martin, you don't need to look so worried. Like I said, what I need to know is that I can trust you."
Martin snorts. "Like I can trust you?"
"You can." Peter laces his fingers together behind his back, looking at Martin. "The thing is, I need your help so I can run this place and look after its people. I'm not Elias, Martin, so I'll be straightforward about who and what I am and what I want from you. I need you to do the same for me."
The funny thing is, it's all true. Peter does need an assistant, a reliable one; he knows the selkie here can be that. It's just that this assistant's job won't be Martin's only use or purpose.
Martin doesn't know it, but his ownership has been passed into Peter's hands. And Peter will claim him.
"I guess," Martin says, sighing as he lets himself relax a bit. It's his first step towards his doom.