"Good morning, Caroline. Did you miss me?"
Caroline's shell looked up at Bennett with alarm but didn't say anything. Of course, Bennett had removed the connection between its brain and its vocal cords, rendering it mute. This allowed Bennett to enjoy the look of suffering on Caroline's face without having to put up with the doll's endless moaning, which, while exhilarating for the first few hours, got annoying by the end of the day.
"I'll take silence as assent," she said cheerfully, stepping over to the table controls. Setting her tea tray on a stool, she skimmed the readout. "I missed you too. But we'll have more fun today, and the next day, and the day after that. On and on."
The doll sighed and turned its head away. This was the only real control over its body it was allowed: where to look. Bennett kept it tightly restrained with a series of straps across her body that allowed some basic movement of its arms and legs but only as a tease. It could wiggle and squirm, but this would never do anything more than provide Bennett entertainment.
Sipping her tea, Bennett approached the doll. "I have some good news, Caroline. Would you like to hear it?"
The doll slowly turned back. Nervous eyes met her own.
"I made a formal request to Rossum regarding the purchase of a doll… that would be you. Dolls are very expensive, but I'm a very valuable asset. In exchange for halving my monthly salary, they've agreed to sell you to me. Congratulations, you are no longer the property of the Rossum Corporation."
Bennett set the tea down and stroked Caroline's soft cheek while the doll looked at her fearfully. "You are all mine."
The doll swallowed.
Bennett smiled, glad it understood. There would be no escaping Bennett's wrath. The D.C. Dollhouse would not stop its torment, and after DeWitt's assassination, the L.A. Dollhouse would not take it back. It was Bennett's doll now and for the rest of its life.
She returned to the controls. "Now, time for some fun."
Activating the process to stimulate the pain centers in her doll's brain, she smirked as her doll began to entertain her. This was better than television. It was even better than enjoying Topher Brink's company. Well, Topher would eventually realize it was pointless to respect a doll, and they would torture it together one day.
She enjoyed the show for the time it took her to finish her tea, which was about half an hour. She then ended the process and walked over to inspect the doll. "Did you have fun?"
The doll started to sob.
She grinned. How wonderful it was to see Caroline's form so powerless and at her mercy!
"Shh, shh," she said, wiping away her doll's tears with her fingers. "Don't cry. I know you liked being a Rossum doll, but you're mine now, and you're just going to have to accept it."
She bent down, holding her face just above her doll's own. "I could program you to, but I'd prefer you learn yourself."
The doll nodded, its sobs abating. It now simply looked frightened.
Bennett straightened. "Well, then, time for your breakfast."
She walked over to where she left the tea tray. She opened the jar of honey and dipped in her index finger. "You're going to need to eat light or else you'll just throw it up."
She returned to the doll and rubbed the honey on its pretty lips. Caroline's pretty pink tongue emerged from its mouth and licked it up.
Bennett giggled. Even grown women could have fun playing with dolls. On a whim, she stuck the tip of her finger in Caroline's mouth, and the doll started sucking on it like an infant suckles its mother's breast. The big, bad terrorist reduced to such a pitiful state!
"It tastes good," she agreed, removing her hand from the doll's reach and appreciating the look of disappointment flashing across Caroline's features. "You'll have a few good times; don't worry. But now it's going to get bad again. Do you understand?"
The doll nodded resignedly.
"More pain," she said. "White hot, scalding pain. All from the touch of a dial. All from my hand, Caroline. I bring you such suffering. Me."
The doll tried to say something, its mouth moving like that of a fish gasping on land as it slowly died.
"I didn't catch that. What?" she asked with mock sweetness.
The doll pointed at the table controls and cleared its throat.
"Yes, I suppose I could let you speak," she said, eying the doll's mouth. "It's a big day, after all. New, permanent ownership. You'll want to thank me, of course, for taking you off the market."
She readied the imprint to fix her toy, sliding the wedge into the slot. "I kid. I kid," she chuckled, looking down into her doll's eyes. "I know you love freedom, Caroline. This will be a tough transition for you, but you're just going to have to accept it. It's a dog eat dog world, and this time I'm doing the eating."
She licked her lips for effect and was pleased to see her doll look even more insecure. She stroked its cheek, patted it. "There really is justice in the world."
Engaging the imprinting, she stepped back to appreciate the doll's thrashing. The process wouldn't be nearly as painful for it as when she was actually trying to hurt it, but it would still suffer. Audible sobs and groans alerted her to the imprint's effectiveness, and after a quick diagnostic check, she powered down the machine.
"Now, listen, Caroline, this is important," she said quickly before it tried to speak. "These will be your first words spoken as my doll. Make sure they're good enough. Don't misspeak. Nod if you understand."
"Good." She leaned down as if to kiss it, but no. That urge wouldn't be expressed until much later. She just positioned her head close to the doll's so its words would be heard even if it spoke in a whisper. "You may speak."
It glanced around, thinking to the best of its limited capacity. It looked back up at its owner and hoarsely asked, "Who are you?"
She smiled at its ignorance. Good first words of her new property. She would note them in her scrapbook.
She considered answering truthfully, but no, no, that would come later. She recalled Cindy's taunt to her senator doll, what Bennett had then scorned as inappropriate conduct with what was only a shell. It would be fitting for her new relationship with dear Caroline, doll or no.
She addressed it seriously. "I'm God. Or at least, I might as well be from your limited perspective."
She stroked its hair gently. "I'm responsible for every sensation you experience. I'll torture you for most of your life, and yet you'll depend on me for everything. I'll feed you, water you, clean you, and clothe you, and you'll be grateful I do. There might even come a time when you love me just as much as you hate me." Just as Bennett loved Caroline.
"I don't hate you," it whispered. "I don't even know you."
"Oh, you will," she said. "Hate me. And know me. But for now, you might as well just think of me as God. I work in mysterious ways."
Looking worried, the doll struggled against its bonds.
"That doesn't work," she chided, tapping the strap restraining its chest as she straightened. "You know that. Be rational, Caroline."
Shuddering, the doll ceased its struggle. "What are you going to do with me?"
"I'm thinking pleasure slave," she mused. "Eventually… For now, you can be the insect I pull the limbs from one by one."
It nodded, once more accepting its fate. "Why?"
"Why?" she repeated. "Simple, really. You hurt me, very badly. You deserve everything that's coming. Remember that."
"Whatever Caroline did, it doesn't mean—"
"You are Caroline, you stupid bitch!" she interrupted the doll's lies. "You stupid fucking bitch! I hate you! You always do this!"
Leaping to the control station, she turned the machine on to its highest setting as she flooded her doll with pain. "You always try to avert responsibility!" she yelled as it screamed. "You lie! You deceive! You manipulate! What did I ever do to you, you fucking bitch?!"
She seethed as her doll squealed and thrashed around in torment. It deserved it. It deserved everything it got. She was sure it was trying to manipulate her, but she was too smart for it. She would fuck it up for that.
"I own your brain," she told it. "Don't you understand that? I own your brain."
It continued to make unintelligent sounds indicating its distress.
"I know you can speak," she said, annoyed. "Pain is distracting, but you can respond intelligibly if you want. You can at least swear. It's only natural."
Its lips trembled, but the doll refused to speak. Tears streamed down its face.
She took a deep breath, calming down. "But of course I never actually ordered you to speak, so you aren't really a disobedient toy, just a total bitch."
It pretended it couldn't hear.
"Speak," she commanded. "I said, speak."
The doll's mouth opened, but it refused to speak.
"Say something. I know it's there in your head," she encouraged. "Say it."
"G-God…" the doll mumbled, a barely remembered swear word it fought to pull from the depths of its brain.
"Say it," she repeated, grinning. "Say my name, bitch!"
"God!" it shouted. "Oh, God!"
"Me," she agreed. "Me!"
"God…!" it screamed as a stretched-out word, trying its absolute best to yank its head from the machine.
Bennett decided that was the best time to remove the doll's voice and render it mute once again. All and all, it was a wonderful experience to begin their new relationship as master and slave.
Rossum was building a brave new world of legalized slavery, and Bennett would reap the benefits long before they would go public. She would be a beta-tester, working out the issues. That Rossum would lead her to gain Caroline as her plaything was proof in her eyes that they were ultimately good, in service of pure justice. They gave her exactly what she needed.
Author's Note: Is it just me, or is there a distinct lack of scary Bennett/Caroline fics? Such a tragedy. Ah, well, this can start to remedy it.