Title: The Prince's Slave
Pairing(s): Kurt/Puck (main), Finn/Quinn, Kurt/Brittany, Finn/Rachel, Puck/Quinn, Santana/Brittany, Blaine/Karofsky, Burt/Carole, Will/Emma
Warning: Slavery, m/m and m/f sex, violence
Word Count: 41,000 (in thirteen chapters) | 2700 (this chapter)
Summary: As Prince Kurt's sixteenth birthday approaches, all he really wants is a friend, someone who accepts his oddities and spends time with him anyway. He thought the answer was a slave, but got much more than he was looking for when he bought Noah Puckerman at auction.
Author's Notes: Written for the au_bigbang over at livejournal. Thanks so much to Animegirl23 for beta reading.
"...don't care about your excuses, Sir Lenny," the King bellowed, eyes twitching over to watch his younger son enter the hall over the shoulder of the no good knight standing in front of him, "just get it done! You know what? I'm sending Prince Finn to supervise, got it? I expect a fair day's work for the huge sums of the peoples' money I'm paying you to get this bridge built, Len!"
"Yes, Your Highness," the man shivered, wringing his hat in his hands. "I'll be delighted to have Prince Finn's help."
"Yeah, get outta here," Burt muttered, waving the man away and waiting until he had left and closed the doors before greeting his son, "Kurt, my boy! Aren't you supposed to be in lessons?"
"Oh, I was," Kurt nodded, playing with the hem of his ornate sleeve. Burt didn't understand the boy's obsession with clothing, but he looked much more the young Prince, waiting to be king, than his older brother Finn did. Finn was prone to wearing his Lima tunic, with the coat of arms in proud display, more often than not. Then Kurt put on his pouting face, which was completely unfair, and drawled out, "Faaaathhhherrrr?"
"What do you want, son?" the king sighed, rubbing at the headache forming behind his eyes with one tired hand.
"Remember when you got Finn that horse for his sixteenth birthday?"
"Like it was yesterday," Burt confirmed, wondering where his son was going with this.
"And how you got him that expensive sword the next year? And that ring he gave to Princess Quinn the year after?" Kurt had been speaking far too sweetly for Burt to trust his intentions, and looked over at Will, his steward and right-hand man. Will shrugged, so he must not have known what Kurt was after either.
Burt would just have to sigh again and ask, "Is this about your birthday next week? Sixteen is a big year, Kurt. You can join the guard," Kurt rolled his eyes, and yeah Burt knew his younger son was never going to be the soldier his older son had grown into. "You can choose to apprentice with Will to learn more of the details of state," Kurt rolled his eyes again, so Burt went for the long shot and said, "You could get married..."
"Dad," Kurt complained, "you know that's not going to happen. I thought we already had this conversation!"
Burt shrugged and rubbed his temples again, "It's just the bishop wants to make sure, if something happens to Finn and his kid doesn't make it, that the line of succession is clear. You have a duty to this country, Kurt."
Pursing his lips in a gesture so reminiscent of his late mother that Burt almost laughed, Kurt took a deep breath and nodded. "How about if you give me the present I want," Kurt said carefully, looking up at Burt through his eyelashes, "I ask Lady Brittany to marry me. We're good friends, and-"
"And she's too daffy to complain about your affections falling elsewhere?" Burt surmised, the tiniest bit amused at the surprise that flashed across his son's face. "So, what's this present you want? More of that godforsaken expensive silk?"
"No, nothing like that," Kurt insisted, taking a piece of parchment out from behind his back and unfolding it before stepping onto the first stair of Burt's dais and handing it over. The parchment was an advertisement for an auction to take place the following morning. "A slave auction?" the king asked, bewildered. Burt detested the idea of one person owning another, since he had been beholden to the state since birth, but he hadn't been able to outlaw the practice either – not without losing some of his earls to the neighboring kingdom of Carmel. "Kurt, you of all people know how I feel about this!"
Eyes downcast, Kurt nodded and said, "I know. It's just…I just want a year. A year with a companion who can't decide to spend his time with the other boys, who act more like boys. Please, father? I'll set him free after a year, by my word."
"A year with someone who will resent you," Burt scoffed, "and try to kill you in your sleep. How would you feel if the tables were turned and Lady Sue was able to buy you at auction? Wouldn't you hate her for it?"
"I'm nothing like Lady Sue!" Kurt cried, that fire of his temper surfacing finally. Burt hated when his son pretended it wasn't there and let others walk all over him. He was a Hummel, damn it. Second in line for the throne. Burt knew that his son had a spine, probably one even stronger than Finn's, but Kurt had yet to let anyone outside the family see it. "I'll be kind to him, I swear. I'll explain to him that he's free after a year, and then his heart will swell with gratitude and he'll love me for it, Father!"
"I think you're overestimating the power of the human heart, son," Burt sighed, resolutely ignoring the way Kurt's hands clenched tightly and his cheeks flushed.
"Father," Kurt said, his voice lower than usual and deadly serious, "if you don't let me do this, I will never marry. I know you're on shaky ground with Bishop Figgins, and one more straw – such as my refusal to marry and possibly my seducing his right hand, Brother David – and you're looking at full-on revolt. You can't afford that, Father."
Clenching his jaw, Burt tried to tell himself that the fact that Kurt could manipulate him like this spoke well for his future role as a leader of their country, but mostly he just felt pissed off. He knew Brother David had a strange obsession for his son, and he knew that Kurt had been rightfully rejecting the young man's affections for the past few months, but he never considered Kurt would acquiesce to breaking the rules of decorum so thoroughly just to make Burt cave to his demands. "Gods, kid," Burt sighed, scratching under his crown. "I didn't realize you were that starved for affection."
Kurt pursed his lips again before nodding sharply and saying, "I am. Compelling the other young nobles into spending time with me has done nothing, and you know it, not to mention the fact that Finn hates me and is too busy with his new wife and your new wife to let me show him I'm not some sort of devil."
Burt's heart broke at that admission. His sons had gotten along most of their lives, relying on each other especially when their mother died trying to give birth to their younger sister who died as well, but ever since Brother David started showing an interest in Kurt, Finn had grown more and more distant, letting that wife of his whisper into his ear about chastity and the Gods' will. Burt's house had been breaking for months and not even his recent marriage to Lady Carole had brought the family together. Finn loved the woman, taking to her right away and confiding in her when he felt he couldn't speak to Burt (not that Carole didn't tell him everything anyway). Kurt on the other hand seethed with jealousy at Carole's place in Burt's life, clinging to the memory of his mother and making a fuss whenever Carole tried to do something innocuously nice, like redecorate the parlor.
The Bishop complained that Burt had chosen to remarry an older woman, a widow, instead of some young thing who could give him more children, but Burt had married for love, just as he had the first time. It killed him that his younger son didn't love Carole as well. His snippy attitude at the dinner table and his subtle moves to undermine Carole's presence in their lives had to end.
Maybe this … this detestable auction … was the way to go.
"Fine," Burt agreed. "But you'll have a price limit. And try to find someone recently enslaved. A from-birther would never understand you were trying to help him. Hell, he might not want to be freed and resent you for implying it."
Kurt creased his brow like he couldn't quite understand that mindset, but nodded all the same. "Yes, Father."
"Before you go, Will can draw up a contract between you and this servant, to make sure you give him up on the eve of your seventeenth birthday. He'll also go with you to help preserve your identity. I won't have it made public that our house indulges in slavery, Kurt. Not after all the speeches I've made against the practice to the earls. If there's one thing I can afford even less than losing the Bishop's favor, it's being branded a hypocrite."
Nodding as he looked off to the side, Kurt added, "Not with Lady Sue on your heels and Princess Quinn in her back pocket. If Finn gets boosted up onto the throne now, before he's ready…" Burt hated the way his son's voice trailed off ominously, but he knew the boy was right.
"You got it, kid." Burt wanted to tell Kurt that he would rather have Kurt on the throne, even at not-quite-sixteen than to give up his crown to Finn.
The boy was sweet-willed, good-hearted, and a strong leader, but he had yet to make up his own mind about anything, always looking to others for their opinions. That was no way to rule, and he made sure Finn knew it. His greatest hope was that when the time came, Finn would be old enough to have pulled his head out of his ass and that Kurt wouldn't have to stage a coup against his own brother and take the crown of Lima into more practical, strong-willed hands. Even if those hands couldn't give a rat's ass about women or about how that made him look to most men, men who would know exactly what to do with a woman in his bed and would gladly do so.
Burt loved his son, exactly the way he was, and Kurt reminded him so much of his late wife that it struck him as eerie more often than not, but he couldn't ignore the way the bishop watched, sneering, as Kurt walked across the throne room with that lilt in his step. Burt couldn't ignore the contempt many of the earls felt for his son and he couldn't ignore the dark eyes Brother David sported whenever Kurt was in the room. Good gods, Burt needed a nap.
Noah couldn't believe it. His own mother was selling him! When he woke up shackled, he thought it was a joke, or maybe that he'd found his way into some housewife's bed and she'd wanted to play a game with him. He never suspected his mother, the traitorous bitch, would sell him for drinking money. Sell him at auction, no less!
Technically, until the day he turned sixteen, it was Ruth's right to sell him off as she saw fit, but he never thought she would do it, especially not a week before he was finally free. Oh, god! What about his little sister, Sarah? Would Ruth end up selling her, too? Or would she drink herself to death, making sure Sarah ended up a slave anyway?
Noah had grown up hearing horror stories about other kids, friends of friends, who got orphaned and then sold at auction to bad men, greedy men, evil men. He heard talk about being forced to work in mines and in rich people's houses, having to eat dog food and sleep in the stable, instead of in a real bed. But, he'd also heard talk of being made to work the fields, being given a decent meal twice a day and getting to sleep in the bunkhouses and the masters not caring how they spent their nights or with who.
Noah prayed that this sort of master would be the one to buy him – the lazy, kind master, the master who might not keep an eye out and who would be easy to escape from. If Noah Puckerman was any kind of man, seven days short of being one, he was his own man, just like his father. He was freeborn and he was going to die that way too, if he had anything to say about it.
As it was, Noah had never been so angry and so embarrassed in his entire life, feeling the hot burn of shame on his cheeks when the auction master stood before him and set a price, staining a mark on his chest and nodding to the big beefcakes that had pulled Noah, shouting and kicking against his shackles, from his home. "Fucking bastards," Noah whispered, knowing if he said it too loud, beefcake number one would just punch him in the junk again.
Then Noah was pushed into a room and told to stay there, the heavy door closing and bolting behind him as his eyes adjusted to the darkness.
"Hey," a girl's voice said softly, turning Puck's head toward her. As he began to be able to focus, he saw a robust girl, about his age, with exotically dark skin. She sat on the edge of her wooden chair, a cup of something warm and steaming held carefully in her hands. "I'm Mercedes, who are you?"
"No one," he replied angrily, shuffling further into the room and glaring at the six or seven other slaves there on his way to the loneliest corner.
"Well aren't you mister high and mighty?" a boy asked in a nasally voice Noah quickly identified as coming from the guy with the fuzzy red hair. The boy laughed, "Thinks he's not a slave like the rest of us!"
"Lay off him, Jacob," a second girl demanded, turning her back on the boy and giving Noah a smile. She was beautiful, in a way Noah appreciated anyway. She looked like one of his people, with her proud nose and her long, dark hair, and it made Noah soften toward her. Until he realized exactly how much she looked like his mother. No, thank you.
"Do you-?" she tried to ask, but Noah cut her off with a growl and a rude gesture, sitting down on the floor near the corner, but keeping his eyes toward the room. Noah had been in enough scrapes in his life to know that you should protect your back, because no one else was going to do it for you. Not even your own freaking mother!
Just the first of thirteen chapters. Let me know what you thought!