Author's Note: This is a Defiant!Link to Submissive!Link progression story.

Trigger Warnings: Severe Torture and Gore. Unless otherwise specified, Severe Torture does not include Gore, Guts, or Dismemberment. Severe Torture always includes blood, bruises, screaming, and begging in varying degrees. Severe Torture may include Dislocation, Bone Fractures, Systematic Choking, Psychological Torment, Starvation, Humiliation, and other similar triggers. This warning applies to the entire story. Please proceed with caution.

It was dark. It was dark and cold, and everything hurt. Tears streamed down his face and dripped from his chin. Sobs racked his broken body, every quaking wail sending another wave of pain washing over him. Everything hurt. Everything burned. He couldn't take it anymore.

Footsteps echoed around him, his lungs convulsing as fear seized his chest. He couldn't see, the right side of his face matted with blood and flesh. He couldn't think. There was nothing but pain and cold and darkness.

"My dearest little skychild…"

That voice. That voice was the voice of malice in its most depraved form. That voice was the voice he had come to loathe and dread during his stay, however long it had been. That voice was the voice he had to live with—probably for the rest of his life—because he couldn't fight it anymore.

"Do you understand now?"

Did he? Did he really understand what was happening? And if he did, was he willing to submit to it? To accept it? Did he really, truly grasp his situation? Did the words he muttered just moments before really mean something to him?

"Do you understand that you cannot escape me? That you can't even come close?"

He cringed. There was something in that voice. False love. False affection. Sugary words covering a wealth of seething hatred. It was a farce, a hoax, a ruse, a fraud, a wile, a con, a scam, a façade, a mask. But no matter how many names he had for it, he couldn't resist the appeal. No matter how many words screamed 'fake,' it felt real.

It felt like someone cared, and he needed someone to care.

He so desperately needed someone to care.

"Do you understand…"

His breath hitched as he waited for the question.

"…that you are mine?"

No. He didn't understand. He couldn't. Just two months ago he had been flying with his best friend over a peaceful expanse of clouds without a care in the world. Now he lay shattered and helpless in the hands of the cruelest being on the Surface. How could he possibly understand that? How could the voice expect him to understand that?

"You look dreadful. I'll give you a few moments to yourself, and then I'll be back. Behave yourself." The voice paused, a grin playing at its lips. "My pet."