Oh look, more bitty!Yondu...

Trigger warnings: Child abuse, mental/emotional trauma, implied non-con

- o - o -

A Birthday (Not A Break)

It's Yondu's name day. He is seven today.

The youngling trembles as Master Reban paces around the room, growling into a shiny box, and tries to focus on the lesson book on the magic sheet – it's a Padd, and he'll be beaten if he calls it a magic sheet again, he must call it a Padd – that he's supposed to memorize by the end of the day. Master Reban doesn't sound happy as he talks into his magic box – no, it's a comm-device or a com, and he must not call it a magic box or he won't get any food today and he's so hungry – about the northern savages and how they've started to put up armed resistance. Yondu makes the padd turn to a page that's funny before he lets himself smile. (His people are mighty, but he must not smile at the thought of their resistance.)

Master Reban sits down at the little desk Yondu studies star-walker – no, they're off-worlders; he's not a dirty, stupid savage so he must say off-worlder – and leans over the boy's shoulder to look at the page. He sighs, scratching at his face pelt (a beard, Yondu knows he has to call it a beard, or Master Reban's Krylorian will take a razorblade to the side of his face for the third time this week).

"What do your people find so damn funny about Xandarian gardening tools?"

The seven year old decides not to mention which body part some of the tools look like and just giggles. Master Reban rolls his eyes and taps the back of Yondu's head, just below his growing crest.

It's his name day. Yondu desperately wants to mention it, if no one else has told Master Reban, and then feels a shiver run down his spine at the thought. Kosul – who had part of his crest ripped off a few days ago during a brawl in the slave quarters – said no one would ever willingly share information with the star-walker shaskolr. But if he mentions that it's his name day, Master Reban will stop being kind to him. (If someone told, like Kosul said they wouldn't, then… But no one is alive who knows.) Yondu taps his fingers against the collar around his neck in a nervous habit he's developed recently and bites his lip, wondering who's told or if he should say something himself. Who could have told…? Jisulo knows, but his Ukola playmate died a name cycle ago…and he never did tell Katiru anything.

"Come, Rhomann," Master Reban commands, standing up and holding out his hand. Yondu feels his lower lip start to tremble and tries not to let tears well up in his eyes as Master Reban calls him that stupid Xandarian name instead of his real name that Papa and Aba gave him. "I heard," he says in a cheerfully conspiratorial tone, "that today is your birthday. I thought that deserved a treat. Doesn't that sound nice?"

Yondu nods and says thank you, and doesn't correct Master Reban that it's his name day, not his birthday – who celebrates the day they were born anyways? A lot of pouchlings die before they can get named, so it's not that important. Correcting Master Reban about anything gets him whipped with a thin, springy marsh-stick. Instead, he clasps Master Reban's hand and follows the Xandarian dutifully, head bowed. His crest twinges a little from something, and Yondu presses his free hand against his temple, trying to make the pain stop. He's not a pouchling. He can't cry anymore, he's not… He's not a stupid little pouchling, and he made a promise to Anthos that he wouldn't cry today and he'd be such a good boy if he could see someone who loved him today.

His master leads him into the grand hall the slaves built after Kosul's mate was whipped. The floor is stained red, and Yondu tries not to remember how many of his people he's seen being executed in here during parties Master Reban throws. Instead, he keeps his eyes fixed on the wide boards and tries to pick out the one made from a tree from the Udonta grove. Master Reban gives him a sharp tap on the back of the head to make him look up.

Yondu forgets himself and lets out a childish shriek and yells a child's greeting. Ool is standing in the center of the room, dressed in Xandarian clothing. There's a collar around her neck too and her belly is swollen under the dress, but it's Ool, and he hasn't seen any of his…

Master Reban's pulled out the marsh-stick and Yondu begins trembling, eyes filling up with tears. The first time he gets to see one of his family in moon-cycles, and he gets whipped.

When Master Reban is done, Yondu presses his fingers gingerly to the welt sealing one of his eyes shut and hisses in pain. Ool is next to him, kneeling down and hugging him against her, sobbing quietly. Her belly is swollen and heavy with Master Reban's infant.

Yondu wishes he'd asked Anthos for something different for his name day. Maybe if he'd asked for extra sleep, Master Reban wouldn't have hurt Ool…

- o - o -

So, what did you think? Good? Bad? Want to give Yondu something better for his birthday? Drop a line and let me know.