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Kray always decorates Lio extravagantly when he’s entertaining. It’s usually the first clue he gets that one of Kray’s dinner parties is impending, as the man doesn’t normally discuss his plans with him - Lio has to piece together the context clues himself, not that it’s usually very hard to figure out. Kray is a creature of habit.

Some of the preparation is almost luxurious, in a way. It’s the only time Kray allows Lio into the tub; Lio is used to being hosed off in the cold concrete washroom on the lower level of Kray’s suite, which contains little else but the pressurized hose coiled on one wall and a drainage grate in the center of the floor. Warm water is a welcome change, let alone immersing himself in it, though he’s not permitted to use the bath products himself and must instead sit quietly as Kray or Biar scrubs down his body and washes his hair. Feeling really, truly clean is worth it, though, even if the scents Kray prefers on him are nothing like the rose or jasmine Lio would once have chosen for himself.

Tonight Kray has the time to handle Lio’s preparations himself, rather than passing it off to his assistant. He makes Lio stand, dripping, in the tub as he briskly scrubs every inch of his body with foaming cinnamon-scented soap, then rinses him off and gets to work scrubbing shampoo into Lio’s hair. When the bath is finished Lio stands obediently in front of the air dryer, trying to resist the urge to lean into the warm air rushing against his skin. It’s best, usually, if he moves as little as possible unless directed. And the next part is usually just waiting, as Kray decides how best to adorn him.

Usually he wears nothing but a plain leather collar, and plain metal studs in his various piercings to keep them from closing up. Most of these were ones Kray had mandated, aside from the ones in his earlobes, which he’d done himself years ago as a teenager. Kray decided quite early on to have Lio’s nipples pierced, and not long afterward his tongue and belly button were added to the list. When Kray wants to show him off, he has an array of expensive-looking pieces to use in place of the plain metal; tonight it winds up being a tiny diamond in his tongue and a fire opal in his belly button, and a pair of gold rings connected by a matching gold chain to adorn his nipples. His collar is replaced by a metal one as well, gold-plated, which he dislikes. It’s heavier, with less give to it, and it presses uncomfortably into his throat when he swallows. If Kray yanks on his leash or drags him by the neck - both frequent occurrences - it’s going to hurt.

“Beautiful,” Kray murmurs when he’s done. He’s added a pair of gold-plated wrist cuffs to the ensemble, with a purely decorative chain long enough that it doesn’t much hinder Lio’s use of his hands. It’s delicate and gold, thin enough that Lio could snap it easily, but of course that’s the point: the fact that he won’t. “Let me see you.” Obediently Lio turns on the spot, letting Kray get a good look at him, and then returns to his previous position. Kray is smiling, nodding his approval. “Ah, yes - that’s right, I almost forgot.”

Lio’s heart sinks when he sees Kray go for the locked chest where he keeps his toys, and sinks further when he sees the size of the metal butt plug Kray is bringing back. The size indicates Kray wants him stretched open and ready for use when they return later; it will also be uncomfortable to wear all evening, and all too noticeable to anyone who looks at him. He hopes this at least means he will not be shared with Kray’s guests tonight. It’s not something that happens often - Kray prefers when people pay him for the privilege of using Lio - but on more than one occasion Kray has gotten drunk and relaxed enough to pass him around, which always makes for a long, exhausting night.

He gets into position before Kray can order him down, on his knees with his face on the floor and his ass in the air, which makes Kray chuckle. “Impatient, are we?” he says, and Lio grits his teeth. But he’s rewarded for his proactive behavior, because Kray actually bothers to get him ready, inserting fingers first to open him up and then lubricating the plug before pushing it in. He’s careful enough that it doesn’t hurt, for once, but Lio squirms involuntarily at the feeling of being filled and stretched tight. It’s not as wide or as long as Kray’s cock, but it’s big enough that walking with it in is going to be uncomfortable. He can already tell he’s going to be all too aware of it all night, and desperately hopes the continual stimulation doesn’t wind up getting him hard. It’s impossible to hide an accidental erection when he’s naked and not allowed to cover his crotch with his hands, and he hates walking around like that, as if merely being Kray’s pet is enough to turn him on.

Kray wipes the excess lube from Lio’s thighs and then stands. “Up,” he commands, and Lio scrambles to his feet, trying not to wince at the plug shifting inside him. Kray snaps a leash onto the ring at the front of Lio’s collar - this one an elegant braided leather cord - and leads him out into the apartment without another word. As ever, Lio has no choice but to follow.

There’s a large conference room that doubles as a banquet hall not far from Kray’s apartments, and he often hosts gatherings there, but tonight he has apparently opted for a more intimate setting in his own home. The dining room is rarely used, but it’s one of the more spacious rooms in Kray’s suite, with a sitting area on one end of the room and a table that seats eight on the other. The table is probably one of the most valuable things Kray owns, considering it’s solid wood from back on Earth. But of course it’s not going to be what he’s showing off tonight.

The guests mingle in the sitting area over hors d’oeuvres and wine, waiting for the first course to be served. Kray’s jovial public persona is on in full force as he greets them, shaking hands and clapping some of the men on the back. Lio follows close at his heels; Kray still holds his leash loosely in one hand, but Lio never lets himself get far enough that Kray actually has to use it to direct him. After taking a glass of wine and a small plate from the serving table, he silently directs Lio to kneel with a twitch of the leash, and Lio does so, gracefully sinking to the floor at Kray’s feet. He lets himself zone out as Kray chats with his guests, amiably shallow. In the past, he’d used these opportunities to listen in on Kray’s conversations, trying to gather information about what was happening in the rest of the colony. He’s long since stopped bothering - there’s no point. Most of the time, the talk at these events is painfully inane. And no matter what the situation is outside these walls, there’s nothing he can do to affect it.

Kray’s hand is in his hair, stroking him idly, and Lio comes back to himself with a start as he realizes he’s leaning unconsciously into the touch, his shoulder resting against Kray’s leg. It’s pleasant - it often is, when Kray chooses to be gentle. He hates it. He starts to pull away, but Kray’s fingers tighten very briefly in his hair, twisting enough to cause a brief jolt of pain, before he returns to the gentle stroking. Lio gets the message - it was stupid of him to try and move, anyway - and settles back against Kray’s leg.

A moment later, Kray picks a piece of food off his plate and holds it out to him, inches in front of Lio’s face. Lio just barely manages to keep himself from flinching at the sudden proximity and instead leans forward to take the offered treat with his mouth. It’s some kind of meat-filled pastry, spiced and almost too flavorful compared to the tasteless kibble he’s used to getting. He’s not allowed to use his hands to feed himself; it was one of the first lessons Kray made him learn. Normally he eats and drinks out of bowls on the floor, like an animal, but Kray is fond of feeding him by hand on occasions like this one, when there are others around to see how docile and tame he is. As soon as he’s swallowed he lowers his head again to lick Kray’s fingers clean, just as he’s been trained. He doesn’t stop until Kray pulls his hand away.

“Good, Lio,” Kray murmurs, stroking the back of Lio’s head, his fingers scratching at the back of his scalp in a way that, despite everything, feels wonderful. Lio leans into it and quietly hates himself.

One of the guests titters, piercing and shrill. “He’s so well-behaved, it’s charming,” she says. Lio finds her voice as grating as her laugh. She’s not someone he recognizes, to his knowledge not someone who’s rented him or attended one of Kray’s parties. “Can I have a look?”

“Of course,” Kray says, clearly only too happy to agree. He tugs lightly on Lio’s leash and Lio stands up, tries automatically to fold his hands behind his back but finds that the chain between his wrist cuffs isn’t quite long enough to allow his normal posture. Instead he stands awkwardly with his hands at his sides as the shrill-voiced woman looks him up and down, stepping around him to see him from all angles. She’s not the only one who’s looking, but Lio keeps his eyes down, doesn’t acknowledge any of them.

“He’s so pretty,” Shrill Voice breathes, reaching out to grasp his chin and lifting it so she can study his face. “What beautiful eyes. And I just love these.” She tugs at the chain between his nipples with her other hand, and Lio’s breath hitches with discomfort. “Aren’t you lucky, to have such a nice master who pampers you so?” She coos at him, like one would talk to an infant or a small animal. Even spoken to directly, Lio doesn’t think he’s supposed to answer, but then Kray twitches subtly at the leash again and he has to bite back an aggrieved sigh. Praising Kray to his guests is such a ridiculous game, but he has to play along.

“Master is better to me than I deserve,” Lio says softly, keeping his eyes down so he doesn’t have to meet the woman’s eyes or see Kray’s expression. “I live to please him.”

Kray is clearly pleased with this sickening response, and bends down to kiss the top of Lio’s head. “He is my most treasured possession,” Kray says. And for once, Lio doesn’t actually think he’s lying.

Kray pinches off another tidbit of the little pastries on his plate, but before he can feed it to Lio the woman is holding out her hands. “May I? He won’t bite, will he?” A joke, but there’s a bit of worry underlying the words, and Lio dearly wishes he could affirm her fears. But Kray smiles, handing it over.

“Of course not. He’s quite tame.”

Lio has to bend down to accept the morsel from her hand, and she lets out another grating giggle when he licks her fingers. “It’s hard to believe he’s actually a Burnish,” she exclaims, and Lio’s stomach twists. “I used to be so afraid of them.”

“Well, there is no longer anything to fear,” Kray says, all smiles, hand curling around the back of Lio’s neck. Shrill Voice beams up at him with obvious admiration, and Lio wants to be sick.

He forgets sometimes that there are people like this. People who admire Kray’s subjugation of the Burnish, who view him as a hero because of it, rather than accepting it as the necessary evil Kray pretends it was.

“You’ve certainly done an admirable job with this one,” someone remarks behind Lio, and touches the small of his back. He flinches instinctively, bumping into Kray’s side as he jerks away, but rather than reprimand him Kray merely puts his arm around his shoulders and pulls him close. Lio recognizes the man who comes into view, some sort of minor government official who has rented him multiple times. His tastes run toward the sadistic, but it’s difficult to take him seriously when Lio is used to Kray. Particularly considering Lio’s fairly sure the man has the smallest dick on Omega Centauri.

He reaches out to touch Lio’s hair, but falters and thinks better of it when he spots the forbidding look on Kray’s face. “I don’t suppose he’ll be available again sometime soon?” he says casually. “It’s always such a treat to rent him.”

“We’ll see,” Kray says noncommittally, his thumb rubbing small circles against the skin of Lio’s shoulder. “I have had a few offers, of late.”

Tiny Dick frowns at this, perhaps at the thought of competition driving up Lio’s already extravagant price, but before he can say anymore the conversation is interrupted by the arrival of the first course. Kray gestures to the table. “Please, everyone, have a seat.”

Lio takes his place under the table as they all sit down, kneeling at Kray’s feet next to his chair. For whatever reason, Kray has his leash pulled taut, so he can do nothing but rest his head on Kray’s lap, unable to move away. Kray stops stroking him as he turns his attention to the meal, and the conversation thankfully turns away from Lio. He closes his eyes and tries to shut everything out, but Kray periodically passes bits of food down to him, and he’s forced to retain enough awareness to continue licking the small morsels from his master’s fingers. He’s hungry, he always is, but right now he’d almost rather sleep. Kray didn’t let him get much, the previous night.

“Really though, Governor Foresight, you should be proud of how you’ve handled the Burnish,” someone remarks at the table, and the word Burnish is enough to make Lio’s tired mind snap back into focus. The voice is familiar, but he can’t place it. “You’ve proven once and for all that the threat they pose could be neutralized. You’ve even made sure they are contributing to our new society.”

“You flatter me, Administrator,” Kray says warmly. “For whatever reason, our researchers believe the Burnish mutation is simply weakened this far from Earth.” For whatever reason. Lio snorts silently. Kray’s lying through his teeth, as usual, even when he’s halfway telling the truth. Of course he knows - is the only one, aside from Lio, who knows - that the Burnish cannot reach their flames because they’re too far from the Promare. “As for their contributions, well… in a situation like ours, everyone must do their part, human or otherwise. I could not allow such useful resources to go to waste.”

“Have you given any thought to expanding their role in our colony, after terraforming and construction is complete?” the administrator, whoever he is, continues. “I admit, I cannot be the only one who is rather captivated by your pet. There’d be a market for them, I think, if you decided to have others trained.”

It takes Lio a moment to process the meaning of his words, and when he does he goes rigid, cold panic washing over him. No. No. They can’t. They wouldn’t. He’s thought all this time that keeping the Burnish alive would be enough, but the thought of any of the others forced into the life he’s now living— Kray must feel him tensing and grabs him by the hair, pulling at it just slightly, a clear warning not to make a scene. Lio struggles not to make a sound, tries to keep his breathing steady and his body as still as possible, because his obedience is still the only thing he can bargain with and he cannot afford to give Kray a reason to start seriously considering this new suggestion.

Kray chuckles lightly, as if he’s not twisting Lio’s hair in an iron grip below the table. “Well, of course you’ve seen them, so you must know they compare poorly to my Lio,” he says. Some corner of Lio’s mind that’s still functioning through the panic sees the pieces click into place - this is the administrator of the Burnish work camp, the overseer Kray meets with every time he brings Lio along on an inspection. “I suppose it may be an option someday. But the colony comes first, of course. And at least so far, I’ve been given no compelling reason to consider altering the situation with the Burnish survivors.”

He’s stopped pulling, now, is petting at Lio’s scalp again, though his grip is just as inescapable. Lio goes limp against his legs, trembling. The words are a clear warning - and Lio knows Kray has just found yet another thing to hold over his head.

The administrator laughs, and Lio hates him nearly as much as he hates Kray, would give almost anything to get his hands around this smug bureaucrat’s throat just once. “Ah, well. I presumed as much. I just hope you’ll keep me in mind should things change.”

“Of course,” Kray says agreeably. “Your service to the colony has been impeccable.” A waiter arrives, bringing the next course. Kray finally lets go of Lio’s hair, his grip slackening on the leash, but rather than allow Lio to move away he pushes his chair back and twitches at the leash. Another command. Forcing any remaining sign of emotion off his face, Lio obediently crawls up onto Kray’s lap, straddling him and bracing himself with his hands on Kray’s shoulders. Kray immediately shifts him, though, grasping his waist.

“Turn around, pet,” he murmurs. “Let our friends admire you, hm?”

Lio turns reluctantly, moving so his legs hang to one side of Kray’s lap and leaning his side against Kray’s broad chest. He winds up with one arm wound around Kray’s shoulder, clinging to him to maintain his perch. It’s awkward to keep his head up, so after a moment he relents and lets his head drop to Kray’s shoulder. Kray lets him, one arm still firmly around Lio’s waist as he starts eating. The warm hand on his side wanders, slowly and absently stroking up and down, tracing the too-defined grooves between his ribs. Eventually Kray’s fingers make their way to his chest and remain there, playing with one of his nipples, pinching it and twisting the ring back and forth. Lio swallows, trying not to tense up, trying to let himself submit. He’s used to this, should be able to take the casual touches without flinching, but the earlier conversation still has him rattled.

Eventually the party finishes eating. Kray dabs almost daintily at his lips with his napkin, then extends his hand to Lio rather than wiping his fingers. Lio obediently licks at them, his face and eyes blank. It’s almost over, and he’s glad of it, even though he can feel Kray getting hard, pressing into Lio’s ass through his pants and applying an uncomfortable pressure to the plug he’s wearing. He knows what’s coming next, but he can’t bring himself to care; at least in the privacy of Kray’s bedroom he will no longer be on display.

“Dessert?” Kray says brightly, as the last of his guests puts their utensils down. “And perhaps a bit of entertainment, what do you think?”

Lio stiffens again without meaning to. He was so sure the evening wasn’t going in that direction, and can’t believe he misread things so badly. Kray gently pushes him off his lap, and he sinks to the floor, his muscles tight with anticipation. He hears Kray’s guests voicing their approval, the work camp administrator’s voice rising eagerly to ask, “Oh, what did you have in mind?”

Kray looks down at Lio, lifting his chin with one finger. “Go stand where everyone can see you, please,” he says, gentle and calm. Unsure, trying to hide his own confusion, Lio stands up and does as he’s asked, walking around the table to go stand in the empty space in the middle of the room. They’re suddenly in new territory; this is nothing Kray has asked of him before, and it frightens him that he can’t guess at what’s coming next.

He feels everyone’s gazes on him but only watches Kray, waiting for whatever command is coming next. When it arrives, it’s not what he expected. “I want you to touch yourself for me, Lio,” he says, and Lio freezes, confusion clear in his eyes. “Go ahead, it’s all right,” Kray adds, his voice almost kindly despite the commanding undertone. He’s clearly unsurprised by the reluctance; Lio has been strictly taught to keep his hands off his own cock, that it’s something only for his master to touch when he’s been very good. “You’ve been very patient tonight. You’ve earned this.”

Slowly, half expecting a violent outburst despite Kray’s reassurances, Lio curls his fingers around his flaccid cock. He’s not even slightly hard; the plug inside him hasn’t done much on that front, more uncomfortable than stimulating, not quite the right size or shape to hit his sweet spot. Up until now, he was grateful for that. But he’s never felt less aroused, exposed and trapped in front of Kray’s idiot sycophants, his limp cock somehow suddenly the center of attention. But Kray is staring him down, has given him an order, so he gives himself a couple experimental strokes, then spits in his hand and tries again, hands moving slowly as he desperately tries to coax some physical response out of himself. His body has betrayed him plenty of times before - of course now is the time he can’t manage to derive any pleasure, however unwanted, from his situation.

His pace quickens, and he feels his cock start to respond to the friction, but of course Kray’s voice cuts in, still deceptively gentle. “Nice and slow, Lio,” he says, and Lio tries to comply, losing his own momentum.

Lio squeezes his eyes shut, trying to shut out the faces of Kray and his guests, tries to imagine he’s somewhere else, somewhere pleasant. Thinks back to the last time he spent the night with Meis and Gueira in the settlement - but all he can see when he tries is their frozen bodies, the settlement under attack - their screams in the engine - Lio shudders, casting around for something else. A dream comes to mind instead, unbidden, one of the few pleasant ones he’s had on Omega Centauri; he’s tried not to think about it since but right now he’s desperate enough to let it in, filling himself up with the memory-that-isn’t of strong, callused hands on his body and soft lips trailing kisses down his neck, and he starts to stroke himself more eagerly, imagining those same hands engulfing his cock and coaxing it to attention. The pressure of the plug inside him starts to feel less invasive and he can almost imagine it’s- someone, buried inside him, stretching him and filling him without pain, without overwhelming him. His hips rock back against nothing, as if he can push it deeper, and he moans involuntarily as precum leaks onto his hands.

“Don’t forget to make your nipples nice and hard for us,” Kray’s voice cuts in, an invasive presence, and Lio’s breath stutters before he forces the image out again, eyes still closed. He lifts one hand to his chest, stroking one nipple with his fingers and then squeezing it, imagining a different audience, trying to picture what the hunger in those blue eyes would look like as he teases and plays with himself. As he toys with the other nipple he tries, not entirely successfully, to pretend it’s his mouth and tongue on his chest rather than his own fingers; imagines gripping at blue hair with his hands as he lies back and lets his lover lick and suck—

He’s getting close, he realizes suddenly, and it jolts him out of the fantasy, panic rising in his chest when he remembers he hasn’t asked. Lio gasps, fighting the urge to finish himself off, still lightly squeezing his left nipple between two fingers. His back is arched and he’s panting, his body on display, and for one confusing moment that doesn’t seem like such a bad thing until he remembers whose eyes are actually on him. “M-may I…” Lio stutters as he gets the words out, eyes still shut, trying unsuccessfully to hold onto the fleeting images his mind has conjured.

“Ask properly, Lio,” purrs Kray, cool and self-satisfied, and Lio shudders in spite of himself. “Look at me.”

Lio does, unwillingly, sees him holding court at his table surrounded by all his fawning hangers-on, all of them watching Lio with rapt attention as he gasps and moans. He forces himself to ignore them, stares at his master and is unable to hide the desperation in his gaze. “Master, may I come?” he says, trembling a little now from the effort of holding it back. “Please?”

Kray stares him down a moment longer, lips curved in that terrible hungry smile, and then he nods. “You may,” he says.

And Lio doesn’t quite know what hits him, for a moment - his legs buckle and he thinks he might have screamed, his body seized with a sudden, convulsive spasm of pleasure. He falls forward onto all fours, boneless, only barely managing to catch himself on his forearms and preventing his face from crashing into the floor. It takes him a couple of seconds to register that the low buzz that seems to be shaking him apart is not only in his own head; the plug is vibrating, increasing the pressure and stimulation to something unbearable, almost painful now. He hadn’t realized it was a vibrator. Kray must have had the controls all along, waiting for the best moment to catch him off guard. Bastard. He tries to push himself up off the floor but still doesn’t have the strength in his limbs, still trembling with the aftershock.

Kray is still watching him, still hasn’t turned the vibrator off. Lio fights to keep from collapsing entirely. “Master, please,” he gasps out, again, knowing he’s at the man’s mercy.

“Clean up after yourself first,” Kray says calmly, and Lio wants to scream, or hit him, but even if that were an option he doesn’t have the strength. Instead he drags himself to the puddle he left on the floor and begins licking it up, numbly aware that he’ll be disgusted with himself later but too overwhelmed to dwell on it just now. His face is wet, and he’s distantly aware that tears are falling, and a part of him knows why but he refuses to think about it.

At some point he’s licked up enough of his own mess that the vibration ceases, and he nearly sobs from relief. “Come here,” Kray says kindly, and Lio crawls back to him, unsure at this point if he’ll be able to stand just yet. Kray strokes his hair, murmuring praise with more genuine warmth than Lio is used to hearing from him, but he can barely listen to the words. The crushing guilt in his mind drowns out all else.

The thought comes before he can stop it - how can you ever face him after what you just did? But the reality is worse, and Lio forces himself to acknowledge it: that he’s just gotten himself off on his own fantasies of a dead man, and not even for his own pleasure but for Kray Foresight’s whims. His last memory of Galo Thymos is of watching him fall to his death, engulfed in Kray’s flames, murdered because he’d tried and failed to protect Lio - and Lio has still defiled his memory like this, using him as a means to an end.

It’s unforgivable.

Kray tilts Lio’s face up toward him, and wipes his tears with his thumb. “What were you thinking about?” he asks, his voice low and soft, and this, this isn’t part of the performance anymore, his question for Lio’s ears alone. Genuine curiosity, maybe. Or just another way to make him say Kray owns him. Lio doesn't care.

“You, Master,” Lio whispers, and if he says it fervently enough then maybe he can make it true. “Only you.”