Author's Notes: It won't do any good to ask me not to be so mean to the poor boy. It didn't work with Shadowrose, it doesn't work with his descendant. Bribes of chocolate, books, and shiny things to distract me, on the other hand, those might be able to convince me. Roxeen is mine, as are Raol, Kreesssn and Pai!ka. I don't really have anything to say, I guess. Feedback/reviews/critique are appreciated, of course. Oh, and the story is still set in Erigineeaverse, around Avelyon High continuty. If all things go well, I will soon have a proper website for Erigineeaverse to point people to again.

III. Hey There, Jealousy

Somehow, he had managed to get his jacket back on, and to curl up in a corner marginally less drafty than the other spots he'd tried. The blonde was more than a little bit concerned about his abused hand. He might have originally caused the damage himself, as several of his coworkers who had been working that night kept reminding him, but that didn't make it hurt any less. Nor did it change the fact that, from what little medical know-how he had after his far-too-frequent trips to the emergency room, Raol had managed to damage some previously more or less unharmed tendons in biting down on the hand. The bones might still knit right, if he was lucky, but other than that, there was the looming risk he'd need surgery on it. Again. The fingers of his left hand ran absently over the still red scar that trip to the hospital had earned him, a very pointed reminder that punching walls was not a very good idea.

The prescription painkillers in the barely-touched bottle in the medicine cabinet back in the apartment would have been welcome now, if only because they might have been able to get his mind off the pain and the unhealthy heat of his already-swelling hand. That, and some suitably strong disinfectant and clean bandages to keep the damage done from crippling him through infections. He really doubted there was anything Raol would be likely to do that would upset him more than the prospect of losing any mobility at all in his dominant hand. After all, in Raol's own twisted mind, the raev's goal was helping, not hurting, and making his playthings more perfect than they'd previously been.

At some point he must have fallen asleep, because he was woken up by the dull click of the bolt sliding back and the fainter sound of the door handle being pushed down. It drew his attention to the door, though he remained in his corner, stiff and achy from sleeping sitting up, and only blinking at the growing crack between door and frame, appearing disinterested. He wasn't, not quite, but neither was he going to put any effort into being the good little slave his captor wished for. He hadn't had any interest in such games, beyond curiosity, back when they first met, and his curiosity sated he didn't even have that much anymore. As the draconian Raol had referred to as Cress became visible in the opening, he turned his face towards the wall, resting his head on his knees and managing to mostly hide both his arms between his legs and his body for warmth. He was still tired, and remaining still in the cold room for so long had chilled him straight through, not that there was much insulation on him.

The glare Cress gave him was nothing short of venomous, and entered the room, a tray of some sort in his stubby-fingered hands, closing the door with an irritable smack of his tail. It made Roxeen want to get up and wring the draconid's neck, and if he'd been in better shape he probably would have at least attempted some intimidation. In his mind, Cress had no reason to be annoyed, everything about the draconinan's situation had in all likelihood been voluntary, rather than forced upon him, like Roxeen's had. He was still considering snarking to the sour-acting draconian about it, when the tray was set down next to him, a good bit harder than neccesary, and he jumped from the sudden noise.

"Your hand, Spot."

He looked up, studied Cress through his chin-long bangs, and snorted. "That would be 'Roxeen', and 'please'." He was quite pleased with his own performance, he hadn't been quite sure he would be able to squeeze quite so much disdain into his voice.

"Don't be so childish, far as I'm concerned you can sit about and rot, you attention-grabbing little manwhore. Seeing as I'm under orders to see to your hand and give you breakfast, however, that's not an option."

"Give me one reason I should make your day easier after you helped ruin mine?"

"Well," the draconian drawled, kneeling next to him and leaning uncomfortably close, "for one, Master only said to take care of your hand. He never said I couldn't knock your lights out to do so. And you humans are ridiculously fragile." He hadn't known draconian anatomy made it possible for them to put on such a wide malicious smirk. A blunt claw traced his hairline, tapped his temple thoughtfully. "Hit you right about here, and..."

"Sick, sadistic, mishappen dragon. I'm quite sure Raol didn't mean for you to kill me, either."

"So am I, Spot." The claw pressed in a bit, making him flinch. "But Master never said not to. You'll have to pay in some way for shoving me out of place."

"You could just get me the fuck out of here, and the crazy bastard would be all yours. Yours and your self-healing friend's." He bared his teeth, not impressed in the least by the draconian's logic. "It's not my damned fault if Raol decided he wanted to attempt impressing me by pretending to be nice. Just in case it escaped your notice, I wasn't exactly thrilled with any part of what he said or did."

"But it wouldn't change the fact that Master wants you, now would it?" A scaled arm reached in front of him, seized his wrist and pulled his injured hand towards the draconid. If Roxeen had previously doubted Cress's dislike for him, those doubts were now dispelled, the two fingers and thumb holding his arm like a vice, hard enough to put painfull stress on the bones. He bit back a yelp and reflexively tried to wring the captured limb loose, earning an elbow to the base of his throat for his trouble. "Now hold still. The less I have to deal with you, the better mood I will be in, the less painful it's going to be on your part."

Nobody who had lived with and been disliked by Roxeen's stepfather would fail to see the point in refraining from outright resistance under such an obvious threat. And though he was fuming, Roxeen did keep his outward calm. He had dealt with jealous lovers in high school, in one case a girl who habitually beat him up for fun regardless of whether he'd gotten in her way, and this was no different except he was forced to share a roof with said jealous lover and couldn't just stay out of the draconian's way. Never the less, he would rather get out of this ordeal relatively unharmed, and angering someone whose body parts had the potential to turn razor-sharp with a flexed muscle didn't seem beneficial to his health, rather the opposite. Thus he tolerated the rough ministrations with gritted teeth, as salve was rubbed into the wounds that were dark red-brown-black against his pale skin, dislodging the dried blood that covered the toothmarks and causing new tiny trickles of blood to mix with the greasy substance. The gauze that was wrapped around the hand didn't make things better, cutting off circulation and biting into his swollen flesh, but he bit his tongue and stayed silent, glaring holes in the wall as the draconian worked. Finally, Cress let go of his hand, and he resisted the urge to start clawing at the bandage and maybe restoring feeling in his fingertips.

"Eat your food, Master will be with you after he finishes his morning meal."

With that, the draconid was gone, and Roxeen set out undoing the dressing on his wounded hand, and then rewrapping the gauze. It wasn't so bad when it wasn't wrapped hard enough to turn his fingers blue, though he still would've gleefully welcomed his painkillers. He cast a glance towards the tray on the floor: a bowl of yoghurt without a spoon, a sandwich crammed full with processed meat and a few crackers. Not his choice of food, but he was admittedly hungry, and he had a feeling he wouldn't get his usual oatmeal and an apple if he asked for it, anyway. It didn't mean he had to eat what would most likely make him sick. Nose wrinkled in distaste he lifted the top piece of bread on the sandwich and placed it on the tray, peeling the dozen or more layers of thinly-sliced barely-recognizable meat off the lower piece of bread before putting them back together and lifting it to his mouth, cautiously taking a bite out of the bread. Experience had taught him that stress made events like the previous night's more likely to occur, and he had no interest in his stomach rebelling on him when he had enough food in it for it to make much of a difference.

Mechanically chewing on the bread, he considered the obviously deliberate insult of not giving him a spoon to eat the yoghurt with, and found it amusing sooner than offensive. Having lived in a dorm room that periodically between cleaning sprees did resemble a bachelor sty, he was no stranger to eating straight from the bowl as if it were an inconveniently oversized cup, although doing so one-handed could prove both messy and tricky, if he was unlucky. Not that it had happened many times, but a few, especially after he and his then-boyfriend had been fighting. And not that he had eaten often at all back then. But the same principle occassionally was at work in the slightly dysfunctional large family he'd shared living space with for the first year and a half or so after his graduation.

He did manage to find a way to drink from the bowl that didn't involve gripping anything with his right hand, which was a relief, though it had the bowl balancing trecherously on his lower arm, instead. Somehow he did get through that ordeal with just a bit of yoghurt left in the bowl, without feeling excessively queasy for having eaten food he wasn't used to, and without spilling on himself. It wasn't perfect, but nothing about his situation had any perfection to it beyond being perfectly horrible. The end of his breakfast routine left a bit of thick white goop at the bottom of the bowl, what he hadn't been able to conveniently pour into his mouth without making a big mess, a pile of lonely, as well as a pile of fake-looking, textureless sandwich meat and the bisquits on the tray itself. The bisquits was a thing of principle, he hadn't eaten any when offered them by the bartender in his workplace, something that happened at least once every month, and he wasn't about to start because a power-crazy black fox decided to treat him like a dog.

Yet a while passed, and he was almost starting to doze off in his rather uncomfortable position, when steps outside the door stirred him wide awake again. If there was one thing he wanted, it was to avoid being caught off his guard by Raol ever again. As the door slid open, he unconsciously shifted, still rather vurneable since it would take valuable seconds to get up if the situation turned bad, but a hair more prepared was still more prepared. As the fox, deigning to walk on two legs when Roxeen from old knew him to prefer four, most likely for the added height so that he would be able to look down on his cornered captive, entered the room, the blonde boy snarled viciously. Anger was painted so obviously on his face, there was no doubting that had he had mobile ears and a tail, the former would have been flat back against his skull and the latter would have been bushy like a toilet brush and lashing like a clothesline in a storm.

"Good morning, Spot. I see you are in no better spirits after your rest. What is it that troubles my poor puppy?"

Roxeen saw the two draconids enter behind the fox, and wasn't surprised at the black look of jealousy and hatred on the draconian's face. "Not bloody yours," he growled, glaring and crossing his arms, pretending that his injured hand didn't send crippling flashes of pain through his arm when it brushed against his other arm. He wouldn't give his captor that satisfaction.

"Now, now, is that any way to talk to your superiors, Spot?"

He looked up, blinked, and a devilish smile settled on his face. It was too good to be true, the raev had walked straight into that one. "Remember the owner of the Rabbit Hole, Raol?" he practically purred, catlike from the dirtied ends of his almost-white hair to his toes. "The nice troll lady who threw you out on your ass, and told you exactly where to bring your business, after you came into her club and started harassing her staff?" The twitch and sudden stiffness of Raol's ear was all the indication he needed that the fox did remember that incident, and Erkka, rather well. As he should, only a few weeks after the fact. "I talk to her that way when she deserves it, and she actually is my superior. Don't see any reason I need to treat a mangy cur just playing pretend with any more respect." He had probably gone too far.

"I am sorry that you feel that way." Raol's voice was soft, so full of honey that it would have stuck to the air if sound had been a physically tangible thing. He had definitely crossed the line. "Come over here, I want to look at you." He remained where he was, glowering. "I said, come over here, please, so I can look at you properly. I didn't really have a chance to last night." When he still didn't respond, soft paws took the deceptively gentle mage across the floor with a grace that was painful to look at. Painful, because he couldn't help reacting to it. What a bunch of hormones he was. "There's no need to distrust me, you should know that. I love my playthings and take good care of all of them. Isn't that true, darlings?"

As he directed the question to the two draconids, they stood dumbstruck for a fraction of a heartbeat, then nodded and replied as one. "Yes, Master, always."

A too-gentle hand reached down and brushed his long bangs out of his face, touched his chin to tilt his head up. "I always thought you were beautiful," the fox murmured, and slid that hand down to undo the zipper of his jacket, somehow getting through his defenses. It had never been a good idea to physically resist anything Raol wanted done, as his own experience and Artemis's stories had proved with all desired clarity. "I'm only worried about you. Look at you, you've lost weight, and you were thin already when I found you... What have you been doing to yourself, you poor, poor thing?"

"Go steal from a dragon, that I might never see you again," Roxeen muttered, but it was with some degree of resignation, hope to make the inevitable slightly less painful. After all, he wasn't completely positive that Raol, though the fox would never want to get his own paws bloody, wouldn't allow his pet draconian to take out bottled-up frustrations on their mouthy captive.

Raol crouched in front of him, and his jacked slid off his shoulders, aided by the black fox's blunt-clawed nails. "Have you been sick?" the raev continued, ignoring the insult, voice still stickily dripping with sweetness. "Have you not been eating enough? Has someone been treating you badly? Poor darling, my sweet little puppy, you can tell me, and I'll take care of all your problems. There, come on now, tell me."

"Only have one problem," he grumbled in reply, his mouth suddenly dry, as if his body conspired against his mind's wish to spit his captor in the face. "That'd be you."

A cool nose nuzzled in under the tie he was still wearing, into the dip where his collarbones came together, joined by a hot tongue. "You'll see soon enough, my pretty. You'll see. My, my, aren't we gorgeous? And still have the jewelry, that gladdens me. You do know I love my playthings nicely decorated, what a good puppy you are..."

He wringed back control of himself, almost mesmerized by the soft words that kissed every inch of skin the mage's hands exposed, only vaguely aware that many words were repeated from the previous night, too distracted by the silky voice caressing his ears. Just as the fox began sucking gently on his collarbone he lifted his left hand and seized a handful of fur and loose skin at the back of that shaggy-black neck, and jerked, throwing Raol off balance for a precious moment. The fact that he'd been so close to giving up control angered him, and he didn't see a problem with taking that anger out on his captor. Growling, eyes not just briefly shifting color, but turning the same color as a yellow wax crayon for the duration of his outburst, he raised his voice and said exactly what was on his mind.

"I know what you're doing, Raol. I'm not going to play your twisted games, understand? I'm not going to suddenly realize my mistakes and come crawling to you, there are no mistakes to atone for, save for one. Ever trusting you in the first place was a big fucking mistake on my part. Give it up and fucking quit while you're ahead. Not even you, you miserable, moth-eaten rag of fur, is dense enough to not realize what you're doing here is really fucking illegal. You kidnapped me, you injured me, and I'm not afraid of you anymore." That was pushing the truth a little bit. "If you so much as touch me, and don't release me right now, there will be a lawsuit smacked on your bitch ass. And you're not going to be able to sweet-talk the law as easily as you wrapped those two around your finger. I know you're pretending to care, but you'll crack, you'll lose it, and I am not going to wait until that happens. It's best for you that you let me go, before I do something to you you'll regret, you nasty creep. You put me through hell once, and you're planning to do it again. I won't have any of it. Not a bit." He calmed down, looked at the fox in distaste. "And I'll have you know, nothing I've done, ever, has been for your sake. You haven't proven you deserve that privilegie."

Then he sat quiet, and after some half a minute, Raol shrugged his hand off. It fell limply to his side. "Done now, precious?" the raev purred, playing his role well, seeming completely unphased by his captive's sudden display of temper. "That's good. I wouldn't want to have to ask Cress to hurt you."

Roxeen didn't have to look at the draconian to know there was bound to be a malicious smile on his stiff lips. He was quite convinced that the draconid would not only happily have obliged such a request, but would have gone overboard with it, as well. He sat silent, avoiding Raol's gaze.

"You know, though," two fingers tilted his head up, "you're quite handsome when you're angry, Spot. Like an angel out for vengeance." Soft, fuzzy lips pressed against his for a moment, and his fingers flexed against the floor, but that was his only movement. "What an angel, though... I believe when you claim you've done nothing for my sake. Have you ever done anything for anyone's sake but your own, after all? Your own, and that abomination of a black cat you joined with. Such foolishness, it wasn't meant to be."

"Strek," he whispered, barely audible, chin falling down against his chest. It frightened him more than he would ever show, that Raol might know something he didn't about the nature of his and the cougar's bond.

"No, to the angels, Spot... You are to the angels a swan, its feathers soiled with thick, black oil. The beauty is there, but some cleansing is in order. I am doing you a favor in offering to do that for you, yet you aren't grateful..." The raev leaned over, close to him, and nipped gently at his right earlobe, the twin hoops it was pierced with jingling gently against one another. "My poor, twisted, oily-winged angel. I believe a new name is in order for you, don't you think? No longer an inexperienced puppy, but instead an angel who walked too long in a soiled, imperfect world."

"Really, now?" He was fairly sure he wasn't capable of sounding further from impressed. "Save yourself the mental anguish. The name my father gave me isn't quite worn out yet."

"Such a quick tongue, my sweet." Raol's hands cupped his cheeks, forced his head up, and he accepted the challenge, staring into the fox's ice blue eyes. "Now, I didn't study religion enough to be an authority on the subject, but I believe there was another one with an acid tongue... One with wings of ash, who fell from God's graces not because of his hunger for the pleasures of the flesh, but for presenting humankind with a two-edged gift of comprehending dishonesty. You're human, tell me if I'm right?"


"See, that should appeal to you," the raev purred, looking mildly at him. "A gift from me to you, to prove my good intentions."

He was released, and responded by turning his face towards the wall, pointedly ignoring the black fox, who to his surprise withdrew without pushing the issue. It was unlike what he knew of Raol, and unlike anything Artemis had ever told him. While he was aware the raev was manipulative enough for a God of tricksters, he had also always had the distinct impression that like a badger, once Raol set his figurative teeth into an issue, he wouldn't let go until it was resolved. Maybe he had just not fought the same battle as his captor, here. Still on edge, still cautious, he glanced over to the admittedly handsome fox, white stripes almost painfully bright against glossy black fur.

"By the way," the raev said, in a well-calculated impression of an afterthought, "you haven't finished your breakfast. Do so."

He ignored the words. There still wasn't a strong enough reason to prompt him to follow orders from the fox. He doubted he'd escape a roughing up for being "bad" regardless of whether he tried to be compliant or not, and so, he preferred not to. He wasn't really inclined towards following anyone's orders, in the first place, much less the orders of sadistic, power-hungry mages.


He remained in his place, staring straight ahead into nothingness.

"Rosiel, precious?" Raol's voice was dangerously sweet. "Please finish your breakfast. It would hurt my feelings horribly if you didn't accept my hospitality."

"What's my name?" Roxeen growled, unmoving. He had said once he wasn't going to respond to anything other than his name, and he planned to stand by that promise. He had no reason to.

"Ah, to the blazing pits with this, I don't have the time!" Raol threw his hands up in exasperation, his tails stiff and quivering slightly, his fur on end. Ears flattened and teeth bared, he turned to Roxeen, at last driven to the edge by the blonde's insubordination. "You. Are going to shape up. Furthermore, you will finish eating your breakfast, or I will personally see to it that you do. You know that won't be pleasant. So which will it be?"

He hesitated for a moment, feeling hunted and knowing it showed. "I can't," he finally replied, trying to sound apologetic.

"Nonsense," Raol snarled, taking one step closer.

"I mean it. I can't eat processed sandwichmeat, it makes me sick." Just like just about any other meat product he couldn't cut the fat off of. Very rarely was he able to eat a hamburger, anymore, and keep it down. He held no illusions about what his captor's response to such an argument would be, however.

"I've seen you eat it before, and you were fine then. You left more than just the meat, too. Don't try to weasel out of this one. You will eat, whether you do it yourself or have me feed you is your call." The mental images that brought were enough to make Roxeen gag. "Well?"

"I'll eat it." He reached out and pulled the tray a little bit closer. "Don't say I didn't warn you when I throw up on you." With the fingertips of his left hand he nudged the pile of sandwichmeat over and grasped a bisquit, starting to eat it in small bites. It was only partially in the hopes that Raol would give up if it took long enough. He knew the raev wouldn't. He also knew that he would be allowed to take his time on this, since he had folded and followed orders, and the longer it took, really, the more time for Raol to rub it in by just standing there and watching. He couldn't bring himself to eat any faster, either. Eventually, though, he did manage to choke down the last bit of plastic-looking would-be ham, leaving only the last bit of yoghurt in the bowl. He was feeling awfully queasy already, and looked at Raol, hoping the fox would soften.

"Well, Rosiel?"

He remained where he was, eyes locked on the mage, forcing down nausea. "I feel sick," he complained, in a barely-audible whimper.

"Finish your breakfast."


"Ro-si-el." Every syllable was a snarl, and accompanied by a step towards him.

He folded, again, despite his nausea, reaching for the bowl and yowling in pain when he out of habit attempted to support it with both hands. Gasping for air, and swallowing hard between every gulp, he looked up at the fox, pleading. "Can't." He knew he sounded pathetic, and he hated himself for being on the verge of begging his antagonist to either offer some relatively painless assistance or just let him off the hook entirely about this one thing. "I'm sorry."

The expression on the raev's face softened, and although he knew it was an act, Roxeen was comforted, ever-so-slightly, by the change. It meant Raol was going to pretend to be nice for a while, and he could use some of that pretense about now. A foot with two black and two white toes nudged the tray to the side, and then the mage's legs neatly folded under him, seemingly effortlessly lowering him to sitting next to the blonde on the floor. "There, there." One arm was slung over his shoulder, the bowl taken from him to be cradled in a pair of fur-covered hands, lifted gently to his lips and slowly tilted. "There you go, my angel, your poor hand, of course you can't lift something like that bowl."

If looks could kill, Cress would have had the boy dead at that display. The draconian's displeasure was apparent enough to warrant a pointed question from their puppeteer. "Is there something bothering you, Cress?" No one could have survived for any length of time around Raol without knowing the proper answer to that question, and so the draconid lied. Admitting to jealousy would be an act on par with a vampire holding a stake to his own heart and leaving himself to the mercy of a crazed mob.

Roxeen did manage to swallow most of the thick white liquid in the bowl before nausea overwhelmed him. Sour-smelling gruel of yoghurt and chewed bread, garnished with little pieces of ham, spilled out into Raol's lap. Through some form of miracle it didn't visibly anger the short-tempered mage, and the violently shaking blonde boy was relieved to see the bowl put down and then pushed out of his sight. With a sigh, Raol rose, ignoring him and barking out orders. "Pawn, go make sure there are towels and shampoo for me in the shower, Cress, clean up in here, then go fetch Rosiel and take him to the playroom. Please?"

The two draconids affirmed their orders and left the room at once, and the cause of the commotion was dazed as he found himself gently coaxed to his feet. One of Raol's hands on his tie, he was supported and lead towards and through the door, out to a corridor, and down it a little bit to a second door. It opened to reveal a bathroom so small it took some good will for it to even be called closet-sized.

"You clean yourself up a bit, sweetheart, and I'll be with you in a while. The door will be locked from the outside, so don't even think about trying to run away."

"Wasn't," he lied, and recieved a cuff to his ear for his trouble.

"Don't lie to me, Rosiel." With that, the fox gave him a slight shove, closed the door in his face, and did something to it to make sure it stayed closed, Roxeen wasn't quite sure what.

He told himself it was only because he was feeling grimy that he went to the task of cleaning himself up quite so quickly. "You keep getting yourself in trouble," he remarked to his reflection in the broken mirror as he filled his hands with water, making the right one send white-hot lances of pain to his brain. Splashing it on his face and taking care to make sure his goatee or the light stubble that covered the rest of his face didn't have any traces of half-digested food in them made him feel a little more confident in his self-image, at least. The running water reminded him of how much water he'd gone through working in the hot club the previous night, and how he hadn't had a chance to visit a bathroom since the end of his shift. Taking care of his bodily needs worked to make him feel a little bit better, which turned his mood a little bit worse. Wearing only the vest he worked in on his upper body gave the mirror a view of his skinny body, nipples and navel adorned with golden hoops, with a bit over a half-dozen readily visible additional piercings in his face. It was quite sickening, if not in the literal sense, that he could without much trouble count his own ribs, accurately, in the broken mirror, despite it giving him a score and change separate little images of himself.

"A-yes. Keep getting yourself into these binds, and we'll see how long being underweight remains your main health problem, you sorry bastard," he grumbled at the hordes of little blonde skinny waiters in the silver-backed glass. "See how you like it when it's not the crazy fox, but the nutty bloody wolf, that turns up and decides kicking your ass five times to Avanday is a good way to win your heart back." His fingers rose to the mirror, semi-long nails running along one of the cracks in it. "I bet these shards are really bloody sharp. That poor girl had no clue how right she was. Eating disorders, self-mutilation, drugs, depression. We've met them all in person, haven't we, Silver? Bet that would get us out of Raol's claws faster than an eight-legged elven steed with its tail on fire. Would be a piece of cake just to pry one of these out, and then... You know how it goes, along the arm, you sick fuck, don't you? Would be an easy way out... But there's always the risk... The risk of it actually working." He stared at his reflection, water running over his hands and treated him to a mind-numbing constant gurgle as it then disappeared down the drain. "And where would we be then, eh? No. I don't think that's the answer, either. Especially not seeing how he decided to let his jealous fuckwit lover look at my hand before taking it to someone who'd actually be able to do anything useful."

He fell silent, uncomfortable with where his train of thought was taking him, and after rinsing his mouth out and then drinking a few mouthfuls of delightfully cold water, he leaned back against the door to wait for Cress to come get him, as Raol had decreed.

It didn't surprise him when his tie was once again used as a combined leash-and-collar, nor when the draconian tugged hard enough to make it very uncomfortably tight around his neck.

Nor did it surprise him when the playroom Raol had spoken of was full of equipment much of which he would sooner have termed torture instruments than toys.