Disclaimer: pffftt… MUCH of this story is mine, I just borrowed a LITTLE from DC… just enough to still call it fan-fiction… ;) But, yeah, yeah, the characters are not mine and so on... -mutters-
A/N: I'm back! This is a four-part story, and I love it to bits, but I'm worried about what you will think, because it's a COMPLETELY AU and OC story! It might be better if you read this as an original story where the main characters just happens to be named Slade and Robin, and also just happens to share SOME of their attributes, 'kay? That way nothing will confuse you… Like Slade having two eyes! (GASP! Such a terrible thing to do!) Oh, yeah, Wintergreen is in this too… and a few more from Slade's past, but don't go looking for Titans or Batmans, 'cause they ain't there, people! ;)
I still hope, that if you like fluffy pet/owner stories, you'll like this…
Since you will wonder: this is set in a time like our Viking-era, but I have taken full liberty regarding different inventions, and stuff… like they have steel, not just iron…. I put Slade's country about where Sweden is (HA!) and Robin's in… northern Africa somewhere… like Egypt or Tunisia perhaps…
Chapter 1: Getting
Prince Robin was ecstatic. Not only was it his sixteenth birthday, there were words of a foreign dignitary just arriving. Perhaps a king from a beautiful, exotic country? Robin had always dreamed of being a gift to a king…
While his attendants scurried around him, pampering him by brushing his long, thick hair, which was so black it shifted in blue, and showing him suggestions about what to wear for the day, Robin daydreamed… today might be the day his life truly began.
The city-kingdom of Jump was on the edge of a grand desert. Here, underground rivers and natural springs, created a green heaven, especially teaming with the kind of wildlife the residents honored the most; birds. The variety here was large, and birds were also imported from all over the world. One of these had given Robin his name. Bird-names were a status symbol in the country; men were often named after the fierce birds of prey, while the women tended to have the name of song-birds or beautiful tropical species.
General Slade Wilson, who preferred to be called by his first name, wasn't bothered by the heat; he simply ignored it. His closest man and advisor, Major William Wintergreen, though, seemed slightly uncomfortable in the leather and armor, as he approached them from the city gates, where he had ridden to announce their arrival.
"Slade?" the two had been friends for so long they didn't bother with titles.
"We have been invited to the palace; it seems everyone is excited to see us. There will be a welcoming feast tonight, but I warn you… their customs might appear… strange."
"That's why I brought you; you've been here before, and know their culture. I can't afford to make mistakes if we want to create a trading alliance with them."
"Of course, Slade… but you tend not to listen…" Wintergreen smirked.
"I will this time." Slade muttered sullenly.
"Good, because even smiling at the wrong time might offend them." Wintergreen said sternly.
"..and so will frowning…" the older man added with a smirk.
They had spent the last week on horseback, after arriving by ship many miles to the north-west. The land they had traveled through wasn't true desert, but close enough; dry and hot, so arriving at this tropical paradise was a relief. Slade gestured for his men, thirty of them, to dismount and lead their horses through the gate, a gesture of peace. They probably needed it. He and his men were warriors, all heavily armed and seemingly prepared for battle. They had come here as merchants though, of sorts, a delegation with the aim to create a trade-relation they hoped would benefit both parties.
That evening, Slade and Wintergreen were the guests of honor at a spectacular festivity held by the little kingdom's court. Slade had been quite impressed with the buildings in the city. The palace, for example, which they were in now, was dressed with some sort of white stone Slade wasn't familiar with, and the floors seemed to be laid with the same material, polished until it shone. The man couldn't help but imagine such a place back home, but then again, there was something to be said for log-buildings when you lived in a densely forested area… Slade was having a conversation with a member of the royal family, using the widely spread trade-language, which was actually a mix of many languages and dialects, making it a rough, but much needed, way to make oneself understood. You might not be able to discuss the finer points of- well, anything, really, but you could exchange pleasantries and information, both required in a situation like this.
Suddenly the doors opened, and there was a short fanfare, as the ruling couple entered. The man, now graying, led a woman, his third wife, someone whispered in Slade's ear, to their thrones and then clapped his hands once for silence.
"Dear family and guests! It is my great pleasure to welcome Lord General Slade Wilson to this court. And welcome back, William Wintergreen, your stay with us has been remembered and cherished."
The two men bowed formally to the king, but the man wasn't quite finished.
"I have decided to honor you, General Slade, with a precious gift."
There were a collection of happy gasps and awing, sounding through the room.
"Oh, damn…" Slade heard Will mutter.
"What?" he hissed back. "What's so bad about a gift? We have gifts too, I-"
"You'll see. Just for the love of the Gods, don't do anything stupid."
"Please, have some faith in- what the hell?"
Being led out into the room by a golden leash, fastened to a golden collar, came the most ethereal creature Slade had ever seen. The body of the apparent prisoner was slim but well built, muscles just visible, moving beneath the skin. The skin itself was pale and flawless, and there was an obscene amount of it. The only covering the little slave had was a jewel-studded loincloth, made as sheer as possible without being completely pointless. His hair, because Slade had just realized that it was in fact a boy, not a young girl, fell in thick black tresses almost to the middle of his back, pulled up here and there by glittering hairpins.
The boy, who had kept his eyes lowered, looked up at that moment, meeting Slade's. It was the most stunning blue eyes the man had ever seen, and, after seemingly lingering a bit on the thin scar which ran from Slade's temple to his chin, crossing over, but thankfully never touching, his right eye, the blue orbs seemed to soften, and there was a small smile on the boy's lips. Slade was surprised enough to merely stare. He had expected anger in those eyes, and certainly fear, but there was none of that, even though the boy was surely a prisoner… how strange!
Even stranger was the way the young man fluently kneeled before him a moment later.
"Take the leash!"
"Huh?" Slade barely heard Wintergreen's hiss.
"The leash!" the man whispered again, and now, and only now, Slade looked at the boy's escorts, two plainly dressed guards, whereas one was holding out the golden strap for him to take. He did so, after hesitating for a second, and the room burst into applause and congratulations.
Slade felt dizzy, not sure what was going on, and he became even more confused as the boy in front of him rose, smiling widely, and seemed to receive as many congratulations and pats on the shoulder as he did. Slade suddenly had a very strong feeling that something very significant had happened. He looked around for Wintergreen, but even though the man was close, the noise level was too much for his whispers to be heard. At the end the man just shrugged and mouthed 'just go along with it'. Slade wasn't sure he could.
The king and queen appeared before them soon after, the ruler with a slight frown on his face.
"I saw your hesitation, do you not approve?" the man asked, and the room quieted some. Slade could feel the tension rise, and there was only one way to lessen it.
"Approve? Your highness, I was stunned! I really, really don't know what to say…" he added, truthfully "I am afraid our gifts will look… ridiculous… in comparison…"
The king smiled broadly and embraced him, making the room resume its happy state.
"This gift is special, I have to agree… then he is one of my sons… it is his sixteenth birthday today, and it is lucky for a gift to be given on such a day, isn't it, my sweet little Robin?"
"Yes, father, thank you, father." The boy replied warmly.
"Robin?" Slade said, the name sounding alien, yet strangely… right…
"Yes, he was named after the pretty little bird with a temper… You have it wild in your country I believe? That was why I chose him." the teen's father smiled. "He will make a spectacular gift for you."
"I… I'm sure he will…" Slade wasn't a man who was easily rattled, but now he almost felt faint.
Suddenly there was a chiming sound, and the king gestured to the next room.
"Dinner is served, I believe…" he smiled.
Slade relaxed somewhat. Dinner. He could do that… How strange could that be?
Pretty strange, it turned out.
Firstly there was no table, but low, plush chairs set out in several rather large circles, with small tables in between them meant merely to hold carafes of water and wine, as well as the occasional plate. Slade and Wintergreen was shown to one circle, and Slade felt better when his friend was seated in the next chair over, to help him translate. The young boy had been happily following along on the leash Slade was now clutching hard, hoping he didn't anger anyone with that either. As they were offered to sit down, however, the boy didn't take a chair, but sank down on the floor at Slade's side. There were pillows there, the man now noted, so this 'Robin' was probably comfortable, but Slade sure as hell wasn't. He wasn't used to people acting like this, but, looking around the circle, he spotted several more of these slaves, both men and women, teens to adults, happily sitting at their masters or mistresses feet. The king and queen themselves had several. He hadn't spotted them before, because none of them had leashes, and, though they all had collars, they ranged from the thinnest of gold bands, to artfully braided leather straps, looking more like necklaces than anything else.
Slade waited for the discussion around the table to pick up speed, so he could ask his friend some much needed questions. He was handed a plate of fruit from a servant and absentmindedly tucked in.
He heard Wintergreen cough, and looked over.
"You are supposed to feed him as well…" the man whispered in their own language.
"What? How? Give him the plate?"
"No, for goodness sake, that would be like beating him! From your hand!" Wintergreen looked pale.
Slade sighed and did what was asked.
"I'm sorry…" he told the teen at his feet in the trading-language, hoping the boy understood it. "I am not familiar with your traditions. I didn't mean any offense." Slade handed him a piece of a particularly sweet yellow fruit he had found that he himself liked, and the boy took it from his fingers with his lips, his blue eyes locked onto Slade's gray, making something stir within the man. The boy smiled and nodded as he chewed, and Slade smiled carefully back. Was he supposed to smile at these people? Slade felt like he was crossing a gorge on a half-rotten rope-bridge.
Somehow, he made it through the night without any more incidents, and, as they were shown to their sleeping-quarters, Slade was getting nervous.
"Am I supposed to bring him to my rooms, or do I leave him with a groomer or something…?" he whispered to his friend.
"You are very much meant to take him with you." Wintergreen said, and looked like he was having a lot of fun for some reason. Slade really didn't get the joke.
The first time Slade glimpsed some of the boy's supposed 'temper' was as they got to Slade's rooms and Wintergreen followed them in. The blue eyes blazed and suddenly the teen was standing between the two men, glaring daggers at the older one.
"I beg your pardon, Precious, I will leave shortly, but I am afraid General Slade will need some information before I do." Wintergreen said in the boy's own tongue. He spoke the language fairly well, which was an enormous asset.
The boy didn't answer, but nodded and smiled a little. Slade had not understood so much of Wintergreen's explanation, but one word had stood out, as it was almost the same in their language, and he had to inquire about it.
"What did you call him?" Slade asked, staring at his old friend. It wasn't that common for Will to sweet-talk young men, at least Slade had never seen it happen before.
"Precious. That's his title and what he is; a Precious Gift."
"I think I need a drink." Slade muttered in their northern tongue. "Can I let go of this now?" he asked, gesturing to the leash.
"Yes, if you unclasp it from his collar, it is a sign that you trust him in these rooms. Never, ever try to remove the collar itself, though, unless when offering him another one…" Wintergreen nodded.
"Trust him? A waif like that? He couldn't even over-power a dust-bunny…" Slade snorted and released the boy, who gave him a big smile and went to, supposedly, explore the rooms. Slade sank down in the closest chair. "There. Explain. What the hell happened tonight?" Wintergreen followed his example and sat down as well.
"You were given something few foreigners have. The Precious Gifts are raised at the palace with the sole purpose of bringing happiness and pleasure to their future Masters or Mistresses."
"What? I already figured they were slaves, but-"
"No, not slaves. In fact it is a great honor to be a gift, as well as receive one-" Wintergreen started, but got interrupted as Slade remembered something.
"The king said he was his son! How the hell-"
"He probably is. Not a son to one of his queens, though, perhaps, but more likely to one of his own gifts."
"Yes, any child beautiful or pleasant enough can be chosen, guaranteeing them a life of high status and luxury."
"But that makes them… God, Will, they are prostitutes! And children!" Slade looked like he was going to be sick.
"No gift is given before their sixteenth birthday, and normal citizens are considered adults at fifteen, that's the same age as back home. Before then, they are educated in many areas, and, more importantly, kept pure. They are as far from prostitutes as it is possible to get, I would think… They aren't even allowed to touch themselves." Wintergreen actually frowned a bit at his leader. "This is a different culture, Slade, please try to remember that."
Slade, however, was preoccupied with this last bit of information.
"Not touch themselves? How would you stop a teenage boy from…?"
"They are monitored at all times, even in sleep. I heard that at first sign of an erotic dream, they are woken up… that must be easier to see with the boys, though…" the man mused to himself.
Slade shook his head at the craziness.
"What's with that trust-thing? Why weren't any of the other's on leashes?"
"Because they are claimed gifts."
"And this boy isn't? I accepted him, didn't I?"
"Yes, but to claim him you'll have to… take him to bed."
"What!?" Slade shouted again, standing up, and, in a moment, the boy was there, stroking his arm, clearly trying to calm him down, like he was a wild animal, even making soft cooing noises.
"Oh, try to get over it…" Will snorted amusedly and rose himself.
"You are not leaving, are you?" Slade asked, suddenly nervous.
"Yes, well, I will have to, or your little bird there will soon throw me out. He's been waiting sixteen years for this. Don't disappoint him."
"There's no return on these, is it?" Slade asked.
"Yes, sure." Wintergreen shrugged. "If you want to start a war."
His, formerly, best friend left, and Slade glanced despondently down at the boy. 'His little bird' Will had called him… Slade sighed. Why couldn't it have been a parrot? He rather liked parrots. The boy took his hand.
"Come." he said, his voice soft but strong, not at all the forced feminine one Slade had feared.
The man had little choice, and they went into another room, all made of the glistening white stone. Slade saw what the boy had been busy with; there was a large tub filled with hot water from taps set into the wall.
The man could need a bath after the long journey, they had only had the opportunity to wash quickly before the dinner. It seemed, however, that the bath wouldn't be private.
Robin felt a bit… troubled. He had instantly loved the man he was presented to, just as he had been told all his life he would, but this 'General Slade' did not look at all like the members of the court Robin was used to. Muscles were a sign of health and beauty in his kingdom as well, as almost everywhere else, but here the men were usually leaner, having more of a runner's build, and Robin had never seen a man as big as Slade before.
The scar too, crossing the man's right eye, was troublesome, since Robin had been taught that marred skin was ugly, but he had to admit that it suited the northern man with his cold gray-blue eyes, an unusual color in a country where brown and hazel dominated. Robin's own eye-color was very rare, and one of the reasons he had been chosen as a gift in the first place.
Slade's hair, thick and very slightly curled at the tips from the damp heat, was as white as salt, but not, it seemed, from age, like his servant's, because his Master seemed to be at the prime of his life. All in all, his Master was a mystery, but Robin, who was extraordinary curious, didn't mind solving this riddle at all.
Since it was very uncommon for a Gift to be given to a foreigner, Robin tried very hard not to act impatient or be too worried when the man did weird and inappropriate things, but he had almost put his foot down when the man's servant had followed them into their rooms. He was not to be shared, for goodness sake! Fortunately, that hadn't been the intention, and as Slade finally showed him the sign of trust, taking the first step to the claiming, Robin had felt happier about the whole thing.
He understood bits and pieces of their tongue, as he had had a thorough education in many languages, and had quite a talent for them. Gifts weren't expected to trade or perform more than polite conversations with guests, however, so his knowledge of the trade-language itself was limited, as it was considered more polite to converse in the guest's own language, if possible. It wouldn't matter; he knew that as soon as the king had decided to make him a gift to this foreigner, he would have arranged language-classes as well. A Gift who couldn't communicate with his Master was rather useless after all.
No, Robin wasn't worried about that, he was, however, slightly worried about the fact that this man didn't seem deliriously happy… by any means he should be, but he seemed confused and more than a little tense… and he didn't seem too pleased with Robin trying to help him undress for the bath either. Robin frowned and slapped at his Master's hands. There were limits, after all, he was a Gift and should be allowed to perform his duties… if that meant teaching his Master his place, then so be it. Robin looked up at the man sternly, and was surprised to see mirth glittering in his pale eyes and a small grin playing on the man's lips, like Robin had told a joke. The teen felt a strange warmth fill him and ducked his head, blushing a little, as he continued to work on the strange metal clasps.
Slade didn't especially mind being naked among other males, he was used to it, as there was very little privacy on a ship or when travelling together. Even the concept of bedding another male wasn't foreign to his culture; it was quite common among younger, unmarried men and teens, during the long months away from home while involved in wars, raids or trade, to sleep together or even have relationships. Slade himself had had a male lover for a few years, before they both married, and they had remained close friends until the man was killed in battle.
It was generally expected for a man to settle down with a woman eventually, however, as he had. For someone his age to have a boy, would be considered slightly suspect, like he wasn't good enough to have a woman, and had had to make do…
It seemed this wasn't quite true in this culture, however…
Apparently he had squirmed one time too many, because his hands were suddenly slapped. It quite stung. The look in the boy's eyes made Slade smile. There really was a temper there… Slade liked that, he was afraid that his Gift would be meek and mindless, but that didn't seem to be the case at all. As the boy glanced away and blushed, Slade's smile grew. This really was an adorable little exotic beauty… he was little though… Slade thought he could reach around his waist with his hands, and how he would be able to bed something this delicate, Slade was almost afraid to think off.
Robin finally managed to undo all the clasps and, with a bit of help, Slade's armor was off, followed by his tunic.
Robin got something new to ogle then. His own people had very little body-hair, he himself had close to none, due to special lotions he had been using since he was a child, and, seeing Slade chest, Robin almost got scared. Now when he could see the muscles plainly, that was slightly scary too. Not scary in a bad way, however, but Robin got a feeling that Slade was a completely different species of human than his own kind. The man's scent was completely different as well, not a hint of the popular sweet perfumes and scented soaps favored by the nobility, but rather a strong and heady musk that made Robin's head spin slightly. Again, not in a bad way. Robin felt compelled to tell his Master about his appreciation, and tried to remember suitable words.
"Excuse me?" Slade chuckled. Although he didn't seem angry, Robin immediately understood that he had used the wrong word.
"No! No… I… stink bad word? You… you stink good!" Robin blushed, making Slade chuckle louder.
"Sure I do...sweat, salt, horse and rust from the armor… must be wonderful…" he said dryly, but with a grin.
"Yes." Robin nodded firmly. He hadn't understood everything, but he knew the word 'horse' and since that was a part of the man's smell, he figured that was the topic of the conversation.
"You are a strange little bird…" Slade muttered, surprised as Robin's face lit up.
"Yes, bird!" the teen said. "I… you bird?" he added, pointing to himself and then at Slade.
"Yes… apparently you are my bird…" Slade sighed, but couldn't help but smile still, especially since the boy seemed very happy hearing this.
Robin grinned. He was Slade's bird. That was one of the most romantic pet-names among his people, mostly used only between close lovers or married couples. It didn't occur to him that Slade might not know this; it was common knowledge after all! He immediately searched for words to further convey his appreciation.
"You big. Very big." he smiled, and nodded.
"You ain't seen nothing yet, kid…" Slade muttered, but then added "Thank you." clearly, so the boy wouldn't be confused. The boy smiled and reached up to touch his scar.
"Thank you." Slade said again, feeling just slightly perturbed. A scar like that, in his country, was rather like a badge of honor, showing that he had survived a fierce battle, although Wintergreen used to say that the only thing it showed, was that he didn't know when to duck. Here, however, he had noticed that flawless seemed to be in fashion. He started to wonder if the teen had been shocked to be given to someone so far from his country's ideals… if he had, he seemed to take it in stride, though. Slade felt like he had to say something back, but he wasn't exactly used to sweet talk, and he didn't know how much the boy understood. He raised his hand and caressed the teen's cheek.
"You are very pretty." he said, truthfully.
"Yes. Beautiful?" Slade tried again.
"Oh! Yes!" Robin smiled. "Thank you! Now pants down?"
Slade hadn't laughed so hard in a long time.
"Yes… pant's down… I want that bath…" he said, after collecting himself. Slade toed off his sandals and untied the breeches, while Robin tried to help. He only had a simple loincloth on under, and Robin untied that too, as Slade was busy kicking his pants off all the way. His bird then made a little strange sound, and Slade almost pitied him as he saw the wide eyes staring at his manhood. He had been turned down several times in his youth for being on the larger side, although the ones brave enough to be his lovers never complained. For long. They had all been much bigger than his current companion, though, and Slade wondered if the claiming could be postponed… a few years, preferably…
Robin had never seen anything so exciting in his life, and it was all his! Well, the man might be married, he didn't know, but for now… all his! He reached out and stroked it a little, like carefully patting the nose of a horse when not knowing if it's friendly or not. It seemed to like it.
"No." his Master said then, and Robin quickly pulled his hand back, looking up in alarm. Had he done something wrong? Had he hurt it? His Master didn't seem to be very much in pain, though. "Later. Bath now." Slade continued, and Robin smiled and nodded. Of course. Slade wanted to bathe before claiming him, it was the correct procedure, after all. He went and fetched a small basin and a cloth, and started to wipe the man down. Slade seemed a bit uncomfortable with this and pointed to the bathtub.
Robin shook his head.
"No. Clean first."
Slade seemed perplexed, but Robin only repeated the words again, and then the man shrugged and let him continue. Robin smiled. Training this strange Master might be easier than he had thought.
No one had tended to Slade like this since he had been old enough to wipe his own butt, and the man was very glad that his men couldn't see him right now. He had to admit it felt good, though, and a certain part of his anatomy agreed. He was cleaned thoroughly, everywhere below his neck, in a way that seemed almost ceremonial to him. It probably was, Slade figured, and didn't object any more. He didn't, after all, want a war on his hands. Lastly his manhood and balls were cleaned tenderly, and the boy had a strange smile on his face, like he was appraising a new valuable possession of his, a look which was appreciated by said possession.
"Bath." Robin finally said, and gestured to the vast tub.
Slade climbed in, finding the water just perfect, and sank down. Robin walked behind him, and soon Slade spluttered as water was poured over his head.
"Apologies." the boy quickly said, but Slade thought he heard some amusement in the voice, telling him the boy was not entirely sorry. The teen's fingers soon started massaging something sweet-smelling into his scalp, working up a lather. Slade closed his eyes and tilted his head back. Screw his men, this was heaven.
Far too soon, because Slade would happily agreed to hours of this, his hair was rinsed and a towel started to dry it as well as his face. As the soft fabric scraped against his stubble, Robin hesitated and let his fingers explore that area.
"Fur-face?" he said, uncertainly.
"I'll shave later." Slade smiled. He had done so this morning, but he preferred to be clean-shaven when he could.
"Shave?" Robin asked.
"Yes, shave. Take hair away." Slade tried, starting to mimic the movements of a shaving-knife.
"Err… yes?" Robin looked like he thought the man was slightly crazy, so Slade laughed again.
"Later. I'll show you later." he said, and the boy nodded.
Slade thought the main thing was done, and that he would now be left to soak, but his 'gift' had other ideas. Robin pulled his hair back and up, fastening it in a tousled knot, and suddenly the wispy loincloth of his joined Slade's things on the floor.
The man couldn't help but stare. The boy's body was perfectly proportioned, and there was no mistaking that he really was a boy. However, his skin was perfectly smooth except for a small patch of short, soft black curls at the base of his manhood. Slade wondered how that happened, and again thought about how different their cultures where. The more hair a man had on his body, the better, was the general opinion where he came from; a man without hair on his chest could be teased badly, and even looked down upon.
Slade didn't have much more time to contemplate this before Robin joined him in the bath.
"What kind of soap would you like? I have two, and I rather like this one, it smells of lemons. I think the rose one is too sweet for you…" Robin said in his own tongue, aware that Slade would probably not be able to understand him, but feeling like he had to make conversation based on more than one or two words.
Slade listened to the melodious language and found himself liking the boy's voice more and more. When he was presented with two bottles and obviously expected to smell them, he did so. One smelled fresh while the other was heavy and sweet, so Slade pointed to the first one. The smile he got told him he had picked the right one. Again the teen lathered up his hands and started working on Slade's body once more. The man saw the point now, of getting most of the grime off before stepping into the tub, because now the water would stay fresher for longer. How fresh, though, was the question, since the boy then decided he needed to climb into Slade's lap, to reach better.
To Be Continued…
A/N: I admit I'm having so much fun making Robin sound like a mix between Starfire and an Asian prostitute. My apologies to any Asian prostitute reading this, I meant the cliché characterization, of course… But it was still fun.
Three parts left, and they are all written, so only editing is needed. I will post them rather quickly, the next part will probably be out tomorrow…
Okay, so… -shuffles feet- I know this is a bit different from what I usually write, and I often stay away from AU-stories myself, so I don't know what you will make of this… I'd like to hear your opinions, though, good or bad! And, since you KNOW this will all be posted anyway, you can be as cruel as you like and not "risk" me just giving up, can't you? Oh, shit, I shouldn't have told you that…. –looks scared and starts handing out chocolate cookies-