A/N: Dark Kaneanite have started another fic together because we're having so much fun on 'A Melding of Bodies and A Mending of the Heart'. Once again, this is a Matticho fic both of us authoring, it's set in a historical time and is very different from Bodies. We hope you enjoy it.

Dark Secret

I was up again, another sleepless night. I paced, booted footfalls echoing in the dismal emptiness of my grand stone empire. Even at this time the help wasn't awake, still out in the quarters behind the carriage house where they stay when they're not pandering to my needs. I am after all of a noble family, the last of my blood, and I would expect nothing less than the highest respect from those parasites. The poor disgust me, those beneath me—societies leeches.

I pace some more, my hands clasped behind my back, glancing at the carriage house through the window. Morning has just opened her eyes, barely. The sun is obscured by thick clouds, the sky gray. I can tell the wind is picking up by the way the silvery grass swirls. It looks like rain, which is a safe bet on most days. I would have just stayed in today had this need not been nagging at me more lately than not, gnawing at my mind and more so my body. I had to go to the market today. It was Wednesday, the best day of the week: slave auctions.

Just thinking of such things found my breeches growing tight in certain, more private areas. Sighing I hoisted my braces over my shoulders and found my waist coat hanging over the back of a straight chair. I shrugged it on and buttoned it, smoothing it out. I glanced back to the carriage house and saw Paul striding towards the house, his face still smeared with dirt from yesterdays work, his shirt open, his barrel chest peeking out. My lip curled up in a sneer of disgust as he ducked to enter inside, though at the same time I couldn't help from lustily roaming my eyes over his massive frame. It was then that I made my final decision to go to the market: If I was starting to fancy even Big Paul then I really needed something to appease my appetite. That lustful, sinful, side of me that I kept secret even from the oldest of the Irvine family servants, ones whom had seen me through my childhood. It is not because of my own will to be hidden, but because I must, these things that burn inside of me are strictly forbidden, the consequences none to light should I ever be discovered engaging in such wickedness.

"Sir, will you be traveling to the market today?"

"Yes. I want to go before it rains." I went back to the window, casting my eyes upwards at the heavy clouds. He nodded to me obediently, his large, bald head cocking. I watched as he walked back towards the carriage house in lumbering strides like a great, tamed bear.

Soon I was on my way as my Coachman Adam moved the carriage through the familiar ruts that led into the city. Soon the jarring dirt road had shifted to stone and the horses hooves clicked and clacked against the cobbles, joined with the busy sounds of people bustling through the crowded streets, merchants hollering and haggling, those ungrateful, mindless, sheep barely moving enough to make way. In the square Adam pulled the carriage aside and came round to offer his hand. I emerged and sniffed, shooing him away. The tall, slender, man bowed and moved to the horses which stamped their hooves against the stones and snorted. He was smiling, patting their noses. I found myself watching him in the most inappropriate way as he bent to inspect one of the horses' shoes, and I turned myself away, walking briskly towards the middle of the square where an arena was being prepared for the slave auction. Worriedly, I cast my eyes towards the sky, a drop of rain pattered down onto my creased forehead. I mopped the drop away with a silk handkerchief and headed for the stands.

They filled up quickly, men of nobility and money lined up to view those lesser to be hauled in, sold for what use they may be. Many of these men of high esteem I knew Glen Jacobs, a prominent figure, his head tilted to the side as he spoke with his brother the town undertaker, his one blind, misty eye roaming strangely over nothing. Layfield was also nearby, another prominent man. He was always poised in the front row for these events. If my eyes fell on a piece I couldn't resist, I would be willing to throw down more money than even he. He was speaking to someone else, McMahon. John kept braying laughter like a jackass and tugging down his waist coat, which only kept riding up, his expansive waist too much for the poor thing to handle. And McMahon, he looked absurd in that powdery wig that he insisted on wearing, as though it made him look important. More a fool, is all I saw.

But ah, the auction has started. I keep a close eye on each man who is led up onto the platform, chained at the ankles and wrists. Most do not suit my purposes and I watch disappointed as the hours slip by, hands raising and voices shouting to clamor for a good piece of muscle. The end is nearing and the rain is beginning to drop more steadily, I fear I must depart with only as much as I had when I arrived: nothing.

I slip past people in the crowd, shuddering as some of them brush against me, some just gathered around to watch the proceedings, dirty country people with missing teeth and torn clothing, stinking with the odor of hogs and mud and drawing flies. Nearly gagging, I make my way past them thankfully avoiding any sort of physical contact. Behind me is a clink of metal I recognize as the door of a cage rising and a collective gasp rises up from the crowd gathered round the arena. Slowly I turn, a shiver coursing down my spine even before my eyes are laid onto the magnificent creature that has been brought forth from that steel chamber. My breath hitches in my throat and for a moment I wonder if I might not swoon, as a blushing girl being courted by her first beau.

He stands with shackles clasped around his ankles and wrists, chains hanging between them. His stance is wide and strong as though he is more animal than human, ready to pounce, and I note that is more accurate than not as my gaze glides over his muscled form, slicked with sweat, his chiseled arms rippling as he cries out, a barbaric sound, and tugs against his restraints. He thrashes his head like a beast, his lips pulled back in a wolfish snarl, his dark eyes set aflame, his hair a satiny, raven, main of wild curls. I was so entranced by this creature, that I had nearly missed the bidding and sprinted back towards the arena, pushing through the crowd no longer caring who I was touching I just had to have him, there was no way around it!

I burst through the front of the crowd, my breath coming hard as I shouted my bid. Layfield promptly spoke up, and we were soon in a heated battle, shouts rising higher and higher along with our bids. Finally, wildly, I had to have this man you see—I called out desperately—an insane amount which had Layfield backing away literally. And he was mine.

Adam pulled the coach round and I found myself wishing I had brought Big Paul along to wrangle the feisty fellow because he put up quite a fight which left me breathless, in many ways, my clothes a mess. But even now I couldn't care about such trifling things, my mind was elsewhere and my heart was pounding fast as the carriage lurched over stone and then through the dirt ruts, rain falling harder, faster, turning the ruts to mud. I was not discrete in my glances as we made our way back, I could not look upon him enough—bare-chested and beautiful next to me—I felt I might come undone before we had even arrived. But just as I was considering my breaking point reached, we pulled onto my estate. I could barely wait for the horses to still their feet before I was out, tugging at his chains. His molten eyes fell upon me with instant hatred, a growl rumbled deep in his throat, and it was all I could do to keep myself from tumbling into his lap and tearing away my coat and clothing which was growing stifling hot.

Paul had come round to look over my purchase, and nodded.

"Would you like me to take him out to the servant quarters sir?" Paul asked, his deep voice rumbling as if thunder accompanying the rain.

"No, no." I gasped, leering at the dark man as he sneered threateningly so it seemed. "I—I want to see him inside. Bring him inside." I strode towards the house and could hear the slave attempting to struggle with Big Paul but even for a strong lad such as he, it would be nothing more than useless, as for a mouse to fight a mountain.

Paul dragged the kicking animal into the house and quickly deposited him with a yell and a kick to his back which sent the young man sprawling forward. Paul spat, and cursed at him, showing his arm which sported deep teeth imprints. I was pacing again, quickly pulling off my coat and waist coat, my hands nearly trembling with excitement.

"I'll take care of him. Leave us be."

Paul bowed, and ducked out leaving me alone with my new purchase.

"Get up." I commanded, my voice sounding husky with my need. He stood, backing towards the door, taking quick, ragged breathes. I was completely, painfully, aroused.

"Fuck you!" He snarled, spitting as though an enraged feline, back arching against an approaching foe.

"Now, that wasn't very proper of you." I laughed lowly, advancing on him. "I suggest your full cooperation if you expect to be let loose of those." I pulled out a key which had been given to me, and motioned with it towards his shackles. His eyes blazed fire and brimstone at me, but I supposed for my sins, I was already damned by a much higher authority. His enraged curses meant nothing to me.

"I escaped my last Master, he was cruel, heartless, and I will only escape you as well, fiend!" He lunged at me, and soon we were tussling on the floor, making quiet the scene, but seeing as how he was the chained man and I was freed I had the upper hand. The chains between his wrists were long enough and I grabbed them, yanking his wrists behind his neck and crossing them so the chain wrenched tight around his throat, efficiently putting an end to his air supply. He struggled, gasping, hitching, writheing, beneath me as I tried so horribly hard to swallow my moans, so excited and in pain from this man. I slipped the key into one of the shackles and turned it with a click, the confining metal fell away and he rolled onto his side, clutching his purpling throat, heaving in deep lung fulls of air. I bent between his feet and loosed those as well.

"I am not a harsh Master unless it is mandated, and seeing as how you left me no choice…"

"I will not serve you!" He ground out, his voice cracking, diminishing into a dry cough. "I will not-serve—anyone."

I knelt beside him lifting his chin, running my fingers softly over the thick, crisscrossed scars on his shoulders and arms, and undoubtedly there were more on his back, some of them broken, a telling sign that many had been left when he was no more than a child. He cringed away at my touch, looking up bewildered at the gentleness of it. I felt my face burning as hot embers.

"I'm going to be good to you, as long as you are willing to serve my purposes…without word to the others."

His eyes slanted narrowly, suspicion rising up, and he had no reason to trust me.

"What secrets must I keep?" He asked, his voice near a whisper, weather from said secrecy or from the damage to his throat I was not sure.

Answering him, I pressed my lips to his. He pulled away quickly, so much so that he banged his head back against the stone floor. He scrambled up to his feet, backing into the hearth, swiping his hand over his lips.

"Please, I offer you a fair deal. A roof to keep over your head, food, clothing, the company of my other servants, a hand that is slow to anger, it is an offer fairer by far than most."

"What you offer is damnation—even I know by what means such acts are punishable!" His churning eyes swept over me as I stepped closer to him.

"Then what would you have me do? Shall I take you back and sell you to a cruel Master who would increase these scars upon your flesh…" I was close to him again, close enough to hear his harsh breathing, close enough to touch those old wounds. Something flashed in his eyes, a life time of haunting memories perhaps, and he shook his head, those curls bouncing beautifully around his handsome, stubbled face.

"Can you not make such agreement with one of those which are already in your possession?"

"They cannot know." My words breathed against his lips, and I pushed, and he let me take them again, slowly opening them to allow my tongue entry into that warm, wet cavern. It had been such a long time since I had indulged in such acts. He never spoke an agreement, but by the way our bodies mingled that night, he bound himself to me without words. My inner most yearnings realized in him, my dark secret.