In his darkest moments Lio reminds himself that he chose this - that his pain is the price he pays, daily, for his family's safety. It doesn't help, exactly. But he has to remember why.
The alternative is letting himself believe that the thing Kray's turned him into is who he really is. It's getting harder and harder not to believe that, and in his darkest moments Lio thinks it really would be best to let go, to lose himself and become Kray's pet and plaything in truth, but there's a part of himself - perhaps the part where the flames he can no longer reach still burn - that refuses to let him. And Galo wouldn’t have wanted-- but it’s best not to think of Galo.
Occasionally Kray will bring him along when he goes to inspect the Burnish work camp, and those are the days Lio lives for, even though he also dreads them more than anything else Kray does to him. At least they're alive and unharmed, and they have more freedom than he does - but they’re being used as forced labor for the colony, and he can do nothing for them. He bought their lives with his surrender and nothing more. He hopes that in time they'll fight, win something better for themselves, but he has a feeling that he's being used as a hostage against them in much the same way that they are for him. He wishes he could tell them to do what they need to regardless of what happens to him, but of course he's not permitted to speak on these visits. He walks obediently behind Kray, collared and leashed, does exactly what he's told, never dares to even make eye contact with anyone else. The consequences will be dire otherwise. He doesn't think Kray would stop bringing him, even to punish him - he knows part of the point is to make sure the Burnish see their former leader's fallen state - but he can't risk being wrong about that.
God, he hates how well-trained he is, hates himself for letting Kray do this to him. Most of the time, he doesn't even make any mistakes. It's all too automatic by this point. He's not allowed clothes, of course - only the collar around his neck, which is never removed, and whatever adornments Kray sees fit to drape him with. In the early days he hadn't been able to help instinctively trying to cover himself, especially when they left Kray's apartments for public parts of the facility, but eventually Kray had lost patience, had snapped his wrist for trying to shield his genitals from view. Even with his connection to the Promare so badly diminished, Lio still healed faster than an ordinary person, but it was slower and more painful than he was used to. It had been an agonizing week during which Kray took particular pleasure in any excuse to grab him by the wrists. Now, his hands never stray where they shouldn't; he keeps them clasped at the small of his back, usually, careful not to obscure Kray's view of his ass.
Where he sleeps depends on Kray's mood, but he's used to the cage at the foot of Kray's bed - graced with a thin blanket when Kray is pleased with him, bare metal when he is not. There is a second, even smaller cage downstairs in a half-empty storeroom, fitted with shackles to hold Lio in place if necessary. After the things Kray did to him in that cage, he tries not to think of it, tries to avoid even looking at the door to that room. There's really nothing he can do to prevent Kray sending him there again - even if he's perfect, the man will find an excuse to punish him eventually - but he does what he can to ensure his sleeping quarters remain in Kray's room. He's safest as long as Kray treats him like a pet, rather than a toy.
He knows Kray's habits intimately by now, and by extension how to respond to them - when he needs to spread his legs, or crawl under Kray's desk to take his cock in his mouth, or contort his body into a position Kray finds pleasing and hold it there. He knows not to speak until asked a direct question, not to touch himself unless he's been told to, not to make any mess he's not prepared to lick clean. A part of him - that tiny, quiet corner of his mind that still blazes - takes this catalogue of Kray's habits and stores it away, waiting patiently for any opening to turn against him. The rest of Lio knows he never will, even if such an opening appears. Kray holds the lives of every Burnish in his hands, and Lio's misery is a small price to pay to keep them safe.
Sometimes when Kray fucks him, it’s perfunctory and impersonal, as if any warm body with a hole would do and Lio is simply convenient. But sometimes Kray’s eyes lock onto his and he smiles, and Lio knows he’s in for something worse. When Kray gets like this, Lio knows he won’t be able to drift away inside his head and detach himself from what’s happening - Kray won’t let him, not when he wants to actively remind Lio how helpless he is, how completely he’s at his master’s mercy. Often he forces Lio to maintain eye contact, a difficult task considering how keeping his gaze downcast has been beaten into him. It’s at times like these that he kisses him, shows Lio a mockery of affection, cradling his jaw in his hands and forcing his tongue into Lio’s mouth - or else makes Lio initiate, act as if he wants it.
On occasion he wants Lio to perform for him, lying back and watching as Lio impales himself on Kray’s cock and fucks himself on it until Kray comes inside him. More often he crushes Lio into the sheets beneath him and fucks into him without mercy, to the point that it’s unclear whether he’s trying to pleasure himself or simply cause Lio as much pain as possible. Perhaps those are one and the same, for someone like him. It ends, sometimes after what seems like an eternity, when he comes; Lio, of course, isn’t allowed to come without permission. He isn’t always given the privilege.
After one such session, Kray doesn’t pull out or return Lio to his cage, but wraps his arms around him and pulls him close, his soft cock still buried deep in Lio’s ass. Even flaccid it fills him completely, stretching his opening, but at this point he’s used to the feeling of being filled. One of Kray’s hands plays idly over Lio’s chest, pinching at his nipples. Lio bites his lip, trying not to make a sound. His throat is sore from screaming. He’s given Kray enough satisfaction in one night.
He feels Kray’s lips on his ear, Kray’s tongue. Then a voice, soft and sated, “Never forget that you’re mine. ” His hand ghosts over Lio’s cock, still half-hard, and Lio whimpers in spite of himself. “Tell me again, pet.”
“I belong to you,” Lio whispers. They’ve had this conversation a thousand times, and he hasn’t stopped hating it. “I exist for you to use.”
“You do,” Kray breathes into his ear, and squeezes his hand slightly so that Lio’s cock twitches against his palm. “It’s the only reason you’re still alive. Just a hole. Less than an animal. Don’t ever forget it.”
“I won’t, master.” Lio squeezes his eyes shut, hears himself say, “Thank you for using me.”
It’s what he hates most about saying the things Kray wants to hear - even from his most beloved and hated toy, a man he has only ever wanted to hurt as badly as he can, he can only stand to hear himself worshiped. And so Lio thanks him, again and again, for raping him and debasing him and subduing him. He’s scared - terrified, really - that one day, he will start believing his own words. That Lio Fotia will be gone, leaving only the governor’s pet who lives to worship the man who tortures him.
Kray lets go of Lio’s cock, leaving it erect and dribbling into the sheets, and Lio wants to scream, or sob, or beg . Instead he remains still - the impulse to buck his hips is useless, and he hates the feeling of Kray’s cock shifting inside him as he moves. He remains still as Kray strokes his cheek and his hair, sleepily kisses his neck above the collar, and finally, finally falls asleep at Lio’s back, still buried inside him, one arm draped heavily over his pet’s slender waist.
Only then does Lio bury his face in his arms and silently sob.