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He looks good on the couch—broad shoulders stretching out his designer suit and his dark hair gelled back, his handsome face a cool visage of indifference, because Igor’s never really impressed him. Igor models anyway. He fastens the collar around the back of his neck, the pendant at the front snug against his throat, boasting property of Victor Toropov. It would be adjusted per each owner, of course, or simply read Cronos. But Victor’s got the ego of a king, so the first one’s his.

In a way, Igor’s always been his. It’s not like Igor never had thoughts of leaving. Never tried to escape. But his life’s been all tangled up in Victor’s since the day they met, and Svetlana’s right—he doesn’t have the balls to leave Victor’s side.

He makes his arms fall slack at his sides. He tries to stand with exacting posture, the way a bot would, even though a bot would probably be ten times more attractive. Victor’s eyes roam over Igor like he’s thinking just that. He swishes the vodka around his glass, takes another sip, and decides, “It looks good. All the bots should wear them.”

Igor swallows. He’s manufacturing helpers, not pets. He dares to mutter, “It seems... flamboyant.” Like all the ridiculous clothes Victor dresses his dolls up in. At least he hasn’t taken to doing that with Igor yet. Although, maybe Igor could get behind Victor picking out his outfits and playing with him that way, which is the most pitiful part.

Victor shrugs his shoulders and drawls out like it’s so easy and obvious: “That’s why I make the decisions.”

Of course. It always has to be Victor’s way. Victor tilts his head and adds, “Now strip.”

Igor’s heart skips a beat. It came out like an order—Victor’s all about commands. Igor still counters, “What?”

“Are you playing a bot or not? Strip for your master.”

Victor’s said a million times, usually with disgust in his voice, that he’s not into men. He’s a liar, among so many other things. And he’ll discard Igor as soon as he sees fit.

But Igor finds himself stripping anyway. He peels his jacket off and lets it hit the floor of Victor’s pristine apartment. Then Igor strolls forward as he undoes the buttons of his shirt one by one, until he’s in Victor’s arms, where he’ll probably stay until the day he dies.