I have to say this because I feel obliged to warn people when an entire segment isn’t readable. For those of you that have been tracking the Nine series, you might have realised that so far there hasn’t been adult content ratings, even though I’ve been hinting so much at so much stuff.
But many of you will realise after reading this segment that the next section is going to have adult content, and will be rated as such. So yeah. An entire segment that’s unreachable to anyone under 14 or 18, depending on how much I write in.
But enjoy this first!
“I still can’t believe he offered that to you.”
Terrance walked down the corridor, trying to make as much noise as he could. The guard following him was still muttering audibly.
“Whatever,” he said in a as off-hand voice as he could.
“You should take it, you know. You really should.”
“Look,” snapped Terrance, knowing that it was unwise to yell at the soldiers who might just kill him, “I don’t give a flying toss about that, okay?”
“You have to give a flying toss when we kill you, then.”
Terrance felt a certain amount of apprehension fill him, but he did his best to hide it.
“Why would you kill me when I’ve suddenly decided to take the uniform?”
Terrance returned to the place where he had just minutes ago flatly rejected Leo’s offer.
“I knew you were going to come back, but I didn’t know it was going to be that fast,” said Leo softly.
“Well,” retorted Terrance, “your so-called guards are also very persuasive.”
“Oh yes, he is very good at that,” said the gentle voice. “I take it your return is to take the uniform?”
Terrance hesitated before answering.
Leo smiled, his eyes hidden in the shadows. He was standing barely a foot away from Terrance, yet the light seemed to end at his face; it was impossible to see his eyes, those dark eyes that were the exact same as his.
“Very well, Terrance. Would you like to try it on? I don’t know your size, but I can hardly say that it’s too different from mine.”
He disappeared completely into shadow as he backed out of view, and Terrance was tempted to follow him. But he knew that Leo would probably not allow it, and so sat down uninvited, hoping that Leo’s interest in him wouldn’t result in much penalty.
“Here you go,” said Leo, reappearing fully out of the darkness. He held out the same velvet purple State uniform in his hand, and this time Terrance took it, noting the tenderness of Leo’s skin.
He paused for a moment, thinking that Leo might leave him for a minute to change, but Leo just sat down and looked at him expectantly.
“Well, don’t just sit there,” he said crisply. “Try it on, so I can see if I need to get you another one! Go on!”
It was the slight encouraging note in Leo’s voice that made Terrance realised he was supposed to change right there in front of the World State’s top military commander.
Terrance looked down at himself. He had to admit that he did look pretty good in the deep purple – then again, if Leo had chosen it, it would make some sense.
“So I was right about you wearing my size. I just guessed the moment I saw you.”
“Yes, that’s all very well,” snapped Terrance, “but what the hell does this uniform do?”
He was feeling incredibly self-aware in the uniform – not only was he donning the very design he loathed with his entire life, he was actually endorsing the World State and its military commander. What the hell was wrong with him?
“Didn’t I say already?” wondered Leo quietly. “This uniform grants you military independence. Nobody will ever challenge you, but you have no control over the military. Of course, I could assign you your own personal guard that you could command, but I don’t want to. Let’s keep on the safe side, shall we?”
No matter how Terrance tried to understand that statement, he realised the commander-in-chief of the State military didn’t trust him. And that was totally expected.
“It also,” said Leo softly, “it also marks you as mine, although I plan to make that more permanent.”
Terrance had heard the same soft, clipped voice before; except that it was a lot gentler, even more than when he originally met Leo, and there was a certain enchanting, tugging pull on it. Something that seemed as soft as Leo’s skin, and Terrance wondered how much the softness hid, how much Leo must have gone through to get to where he was now.
Then he jolted back to his senses.
“What do you mean, ‘more permanent’?”
Leo smiled, and Terrance saw, for the first time, the glint of white behind those red lips. “Oh, don’t worry. You’ll find out soon enough.”