Thanks for all the great reviews everyone! I'm glad you are liking the story; it's definitely one of my favs. ;) Enjoy…

Also, check out the new collaboration profile, MaddamAndRobin, for more of my writing.

Thane arrived back at his castle shortly before sundown with several elegantly wrapped boxes in the satchel hanging from his horse's back. He had found a multitude of gifts for Kegan, but had been unable to carry all of them by himself, so he brought what he could with him and ordered the rest for delivery the next day. He felt ridiculous buying such frivolous things for the boy, but oddly enough he was looking forward to seeing Kegan's reaction to the gifts; what a strange feeling of excitement this was...

The Lord dismounted at the stables and instructed Sven, his oldest stable boy, to make sure Lucifer was given extra feed and a long rub down since he had rode the horse longer than he usually did that day.

"Yes, my Lord," the youth said with a respectful bow. "Would you like me to help you with your parcels first?" He asked when seeing Thane retrieve the leather bag off the steed's back.

Thane hefted the pack over his shoulder, amazed that the tiny gifts could be so heavy when all combined, but shook his head.

"I can manage, Sven, thank you," he replied, waving the boy off and heading for the castle doors. As silly as it seemed, he wanted to be the one to bring the boxes into his chambers, so he could see the expression on Kegan's pretty face. Gods, what was the boy turning him into...?

For some reason, as he began to make his way to his suite, he began to feel anxious. Would Kegan even like the gifts he had gotten him...? What if the boy still rejected him even after all of this...?

Thane couldn't sort out the strange feelings of excitement and nervousness he felt thrumming through him, the emotions were new and foreign to him. He had never felt this way before, he almost felt as if he were a young child again, experiencing something for the first time in his life; it was unsettling to say the least.

In a way he felt an odd sense of resentment towards Kegan for making him feel this way, yet he knew it wasn't the boy's fault at all; the child hadn't chosen to be his slave, he had been forced. That sudden thought sent a wave of guilt crashing over him so quickly that it almost made him sick. Good Gods, what was happening to him!? He felt as if he were losing his mind... He had to get ahold of himself.

By the time Thane made it to the hallway that held his rooms, he was yet again reluctant to enter his own chambers. He had been unable to think about anything else other than Kegan the entire day and now he was about to be in the little slave's presence once again. He would have to see the damage the boy had suffered at the hands of his stable workers again, and he would have to deal with the guilt that the sight brought him... Then he would feel that strange urge to coddle and cosset the child, something he had never felt the need to do to another person... But at the same time he would also have to fight that overwhelming urge to fuck and hurt the boy again... Thane had never felt so weak to his own emotions before in his life... It scared him. And he hated that.

The man finally reached the doors to his rooms and paused as his guards opened them. He took a deep breath as if to prepare himself for battle, then stepped into the threshold. His eyes immediately fell to the pallet at the end of his massive bed and he was surprised, but pleased, to see that Kegan was awake this time.

The boy sat curled on the plush rug, lounging within the mound of pillows, plucking at the decorative fringe on one of them in a bored manner. He looked up when he heard the doors open and quickly sat up, his eyes widening slightly at the sight of his master. Thane took a step further into the room, but froze and had to stop himself from gasping audibly at the sight of Kegan dressed in a silky white tunic that clung to his petite body perfectly. The elegant material accentuated the slight curve of the boy's hips and waist in a way that made the man's mouth water. Gods, the little slave looked delicious...

Kegan gazed back at Thane for a moment, his big eyes filled with nervousness, then suddenly bowed his head respectfully, his tousled hair falling to hide his face.

"G-good evening, Master," he spoke quietly in almost a whisper, his voice still hoarse from the trauma he had suffered the night before.

Thane stared at Kegan's bowed head in slight shock, the soft greeting taking him by surprise. The boy sounded like a well-trained, obedient slave, greeting his master like he did everyday... What had happened to the little hellion he had struggled with on that very rug just the night before…?

"Good evening..." Thane replied softly, venturing further into the room.

He stopped at the edge of the white rug and gazed down at Kegan as the boy slowly raised his head. He grimaced at the sight of the dark bruises that sprawled across the delicate jaw and cheek bones, and also rimmed the bright intelligent eyes he adored so much. The bow lips that he loved were swollen and split in several spots, the pretty pink color darkened from the abuse. Thane couldn't believe he had allowed this to happen to the boy... He never wanted to see a bruise on Kegan's lovely face again.

The boy held his gaze for several moments before his eyes curiously darted to the bag over Thane's shoulder, but then they fell to the floor in a submissive fashion. Something about the way Kegan lowered his eyes made that strange pang of guilt pull at Thane's heart yet again. He despised this feeling, it made him feel weak; so he quickly pushed it away. There was no reason for him to feel guilty, his slave was acting how a pleasure slave needed to act! It was exactly what he wanted from the boy... Wasn't it...?

The silence between the two stretched on for an uncomfortable amount of time before Thane finally forced himself to speak.

"I brought you some gifts, my pet," he said softly, lowering the bag off his shoulder to set it in front of the small boy.

Kegan's eyes widened at the sight of the brightly colored boxes wrapped in shining gold and silver foil, adorned with frilly bows and lace.

Gifts...? The boy glanced up at Thane, then looked back at the boxes. Why had the man gotten him gifts? What had he done to deserve them...? Or was it that the man expected him to do something to earn them...? Was this a trick?

Kegan's head began to ache worse than it already did from trying to figure out what was going on, and he raised a trembling hand to his temple.

Thane felt a rush of concern at the pained look on the boy's face and carefully kneeled down in front of the child.

"How are you feeling, pet?" He asked softly.

Kegan glanced up hesitantly and dropped his hand back to his lap, then quickly trained his gaze back on the floor by the man's feet.

"I-I'm feeling better... Th-thank you, Master," he replied quietly, his husky voice sounding almost strained.

Thane frowned at the answer Kegan gave him. It sounded fake and forced, as if the boy were offering an answer that he thought would please the man instead of telling the truth. He slowly reached out to tilt Kegan's chin up so he could look into the bright green emerald pools. The child flinched at the gentle touch, but remained still, allowing the man to raise his head. Thane's frown deepened when he felt Kegan trembling under his simple touch, as if waiting for the pain he expected to come. The boy was completely terrified of him... This wasn't what he wanted at all...

"You're lying..." Thane said softly, stroking a gentle thumb over the split lips that he so desperately wanted to ravage, yet also kiss tenderly.

Kegan stared at the Lord with wide eyes, but didn't say anything, almost seeming too afraid to even move. Thane sighed softly.

"I'm not going to hurt you, Kegan... I want you tell me how you are really feeling," he ordered, keeping his voice calm and soothing, as if he were speaking to a small, wounded animal.

Kegan stared at Thane and hesitated in answering. He was lying, but how was the Lord able to tell...? He had thought it would be best just to tell the man that he felt better, that the potion Claude had given him had helped him completely, even though it had only given him relief for a few hours. Thane didn't seem like the type of master who would care if his pleasure slave was in pain. But now he was asking him how he truly felt...

In all honesty, Kegan was in a severe amount of pain. Everything seemed to hurt. His head ached horribly, his face throbbed, his throat was sore, every place the whip had caught his flesh stung and burned. There was an allover ache on every inch of his body, every movement was a struggle. He felt as if he had been trampled by a horse. But the worst thing of all was the sharp pain in his ass that he couldn't ignore and a deep ache in his lower back and abdomen; it made it hard to breath and made him feel sick. It was like his body had been ripped in half and his organs had been pulled out... But Kegan didn't think Thane would care about any of that...

The boy remembered the man's words from the night before clearly: "Just relax, Kegan. It's going to hurt at first, but you'll get used to it eventually. You'll learn to love it..."

How would he ever get used to being violated in such a way? The pain had been mind-numbing, he couldn't even believe he had survived being raped multiple times with the way it had felt. It was something he couldn't even imagine suffering through another time... But he knew he would be forced to endure the pain again. And again and again...

While Thane had been gone, after Kegan had woken from his restful nap, he had been thinking. As much as it sickened him to succumb to his role as a pleasure slave, he had decided that it was the only way to survive in the life he had been thrust into. If he didn't want to be beaten or tortured again, he knew that was what he had to do...

He would become the submissive little pet the man wanted. He would be obedient and behave. He would do what was expected of him... But he would never enjoy it. There was nothing Thane could ever do that would make him enjoy his new life. Nothing.

Kegan gazed up at his master's face and he wondered why the man wanted to know how he was feeling. Did he actually care? Or was this a trick? What was he supposed to say...?

The intelligent boy looked down at the presents close to his knees again. Was Thane trying to make up for what he had done with gifts? Was that why he had gotten these things for him? Did the man actually believe that would make him happy? Frivolous trinkets and what-nots...?

Kegan glanced up at the Lord's face again and he finally spoke, his voice wavering slightly, but stating the truth.

"I'm hurting..." He said quietly, averting his eyes from Thane's face, unable to hold the man's steady gaze after what the bastard had done to him.

Thane watched Kegan look away and suddenly felt foolish for even asking the question. Of course the boy was hurting, look at what had been done to him... He couldn't even imagine the agony the boy had suffered, the agony that he had caused. Before he had taken over for his father several years ago, he had fought in the king's army and had been wounded during a battle, receiving a nasty gash in his thigh that left a rather deep scar. It had hurt like hell, the worst pain he had ever felt. But Kegan had been raped, beaten, and whipped... Thane's little wound didn't seem like something he could complain about now. What had he done...?

He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, then finally said what he had wanted to say since that morning.

"I'm sorry for sending you to the stables, Kegan... I acted without thinking. I should not have done that," he apologized softly, releasing the boy's face as a chilling wave of weakness broke over him. He was apologizing, to a slave... But he knew it was the right thing to do if he wanted to win Kegan's trust and earn his love.

Kegan's eyes widened at the man's words. The Lord was apologizing...? So he was trying to make up for what he had done! The boy struggled to grasp what this meant. Did Thane expect him to accept the apology!? Did the man expect him to take these stupid gifts and say everything was fine!? Did his master actually think showering him in useless finery would make his pain go away!? Did he expect Kegan to forgive him...!? That thought made him utterly sick.

Without thinking, Kegan quickly moved away from Thane, swiftly crawling over to lean his side against the footboard of the massive bed he was chained to. He pulled his knees up to his chest and wrapped his arms around his shins, feeling every little ache and pain in his damaged body.

He belonged to a monster now. The man who owned him was a heartless being without any shred of compassion in his powerful body. This was what his life had come to, suffering horrible agony and then being expected to forgive the man who caused it by accepting gifts! Fucking gifts! He didn't even care what was in those foolishly wrapped boxes! Nothing would make-up for how he had been treated. How was he going to survive!?

Kegan couldn't halt the sudden, body wracking sobs that burst from his mouth. He buried his face in his knees and tried to stop his tears, but he couldn't this time. He had tried so hard to be brave. He had been determined that he could somehow survive this new life if he stayed strong, but it was just too much. He couldn't do this! He just couldn't!

Thane stared in bewilderment at his sobbing little catamite, wondering what the hell had just happened. He had apologized to the boy, he had brought him gifts, he had shown that he was concerned about how he was feeling... But now the boy was crying? What in the Gods names was going on!?

"Please!" Kegan's hoarse, broken voice suddenly burst through his loud tears.

The teen lifted his head and looked up at Thane, his pretty eyes bloodshot and swollen; unlike before, the man didn't enjoy seeing the boy's cheeks streaked with tears now...

"Please!" Kegan repeated, his lips trembling. "Please just kill me! I-I can't... I can't be what you want! I can't! I don't- I don't want to hurt anymore! Please! J-just... Just k-kill me..."

The Lord stared at the boy in mute shock, the pitiful words ringing heavy in his ears: Kegan would rather be dead than spend another moment with him... That realization made his heart ache in a way he had never imagined it could.

He slowly rose to his feet, his eyes wide in disbelief, then he lashed out in anger at himself, attacking the closest thing to him. He kicked the bag full of gifts across the room with a loud yell of frustration, sending the wrapped boxes skittering across the floor.

Kegan shrieked in fear from his master's rage and crumpled into a trembling ball, covering his head with his arms, terrified that the man's anger would be directed at him next. His sobs somehow became even louder than they were before, filling the room with the sound of pitiful crying.

"My Lord!?"

Claude's worried voice suddenly came over the boy's tears and made Thane turn to look towards the doors where his servant was coming through at that moment, followed by two other frightened looking servants carrying trays of food.

"Claude! Please help me!"

Kegan's sudden, hoarse cry made Thane freeze. He whirled around and watched as the boy scrambled towards the edge of the rug and reached out for Claude with his tiny, trembling hands. What the...?

Without thinking Thane stomped over to the boy, reached down, and grabbed his thin arm in a firm grip. He jerked Kegan up and slapped him hard across his bruised face, snapping his head to the side viciously. A glazed look passed over the boy's eyes and he immediately went limp, hanging about a foot off the ground in Thane's bruising hold.

"How dare you call out for anyone other than me!" The man yelled, giving Kegan a rough shake as if he were a rag doll.

The Lord glared at his little slave for several tense seconds, but then suddenly realized what he had done. He quickly released the child's arm as if he had been burned, foolishly letting Kegan drop to the floor heavily. The boy landed hard on his side and stayed unmoving, his body trembling slightly and his eyes staring blankly ahead in a daze.

Thane stared down at the small, limp body with wide eyes and slowly looked towards Claude who was standing closer now. The servant had a hand over his mouth and his eyes were also wide in shock.

"M-my Lord...?" He spoke quietly, letting his hand fall away slowly.

"Fuck..." Thane hissed, running a hand through his hair.

He gazed down at the trembling form in front of him in disbelief. When he had heard Kegan call out for Claude, a sickening bolt of jealousy had stabbed at his heart, making him lose control. Just the thought of the boy wanting anyone else but him made his blood boil. Kegan was his! His! And he never wanted to hear another person's name leave those succulent lips...

But he didn't want to hurt the boy either, yet he had once again... He had struck the child so hard his hand was still stinging from the blow. Thane stared down at Kegan's glossy eyes and couldn't understand how the slave affected him this way. It was maddening...

Once again he had the urge to run from his own chambers, just to escape the turmoil of emotions he felt bubbling inside of him. He paced away from the rug to the other side of the room, running his hands over his face and through his hair in frustration. He couldn't allow this to happen! He couldn't let the boy have this effect on him! He had to regain control somehow! But how!?

Out of the corner of his eye he saw Claude carefully kneel down next to Kegan, speaking softly in a soothing tone. Thane stopped and watched in shock as Kegan weakly shook his head and began to crawl into Claude's lap, reaching out to wrap his thin arms around the man's neck.

"Stop!" Thane ordered loudly, holding out his hand.

Claude paused and looked up at his master in question, but Kegan continued to scramble into the servant's lap, just the sound of Thane's loud voice triggering another bout of crying.

Thane stared at the two. Seeing his little slave desperately clinging to another man made him feel an anger thrum through him that he had never wished to possess, but it also brought another emotion: envy. He wanted Kegan to crave his comforting embrace, just as the boy was begging Claude for his attention now. He wanted Kegan to act that desperate for his affections. He wanted the boy to willingly crawl into his lap like he had done to Claude...

How the hell was this possible...? The damn brat had made him even weaker... He had made him envious, of a servant...

Thane closed his eyes and blew out a slow breath, trying to control the overwhelming urge to lash out at both his servant and his slave; he had to maintain control... He opened his eyes and gazed across the room at the two males, focusing on the younger one. Kegan was clinging to Claude as if the man were a lifeline, his fearful eyes brimming with tears and staring unfocused at the floor. Thane took in his small, white-knuckled hands clutched in Claude's tunic, his trembling lips, the fresh bruise developing on his pale cheek... Then Thane glanced at Claude, who was still staring up at him, waiting for his next command, but also glancing down at Kegan and gently patting his shuddering back, shushing the child softly in the kind manner the servant had always possessed...

The lord suddenly knew what he had to do...

"Put him down, Claude..." He ordered quietly, taking a few steps closer to the rug where the man and boy sat.

Claude seemed torn for a moment, glancing down at the crying child with pitying eyes, but then he carefully pried Kegan off of him, obediently following his master's order.

"Cl-Claude, no... No, please..." Kegan whimpered, desperately trying to grab hold of the man again.

"I'm sorry, Kegan..." Claude murmured softly, pushing the boy's shaking hands away and then taking a step back out of his reach.

Kegan stared up at the man helplessly, a look of betrayal clouding his bright eyes. The only person who had been kind to him and had comforted him was abandoning him now... But of course he was: He was Thane's servant, after all...

The boy glanced up hesitantly at his master, terrified of his towering form and feeling so very small. He tried to prepare himself for another punishment, the look in Thane's dark eyes certainly promised pain, but the thought of suffering through more agony made him feel faint. Perhaps if he begged for forgiveness like Thane had wanted him to the last time he had made him mad the pain wouldn't be as severe...?

Acting on pure instinct, Kegan quickly crawled closer to his master and bowed low at the man's feet, pressing his forehead to the rug and clutching the soft material between his fingers near Thane's boots.

"I-I'm sorry, M-Master! Please forgive m-me! I'm s-so sorry!" He squeaked out, his voice broken and hoarse from the tears that were still pouring from his eyes.

Thane stared down at his slave, surprised by the boy's groveling. He hadn't expected Kegan to act so submissive this soon. In a way it immensely pleased him, but at the same time he found himself missing the slave's fight; hadn't Kegan's spunky attitude been one of the things that made him fall for the boy so hard...?

This most certainly was not what he wanted at all... He had been completely wrong in all of his actions with the child and those mistakes clearly showed through Kegan's trembling form collapsed on the floor at his feet: his little catamite was now a broken doll... Thane only hoped he could fix his mistake...

"Claude," he spoke softly, addressing his servant. "Fetch Dr. Asa and tell him to come to my chambers immediately with more potion to help with pain. Then prepare a bath for Kegan and I. Make sure it is a comfortable temperature so that his wounds will not be irritated, and also add some soothing bath oils to the water. Bring the items to bandage his back and have them ready on the bed when we are done; I will be seeing to those ministrations tonight. Also find something comfortable for him to sleep in and have it ready as well," Thane finished softly, glancing over at the man.

Claude was somewhat startled by Thane's calm command, he had expected his master to be furious and order a punishment for both him and Kegan after their disrespectful actions, but he quickly nodded and gave a low bow.

"Of course, My Lord, right away," he answered respectfully. He hurriedly turned to the two servants still nervously waiting by the doors and gave them several commands before he brushed past them to find the doctor.

Thane watched Claude and the other servants leave the room, then looked down at Kegan still kneeling at his feet. He sighed softly at the sight of the small, shanking body, and crouched down to speak quietly to the frightened boy.

"Kegan, I'm sorry for striking you. Please forgive me... Come, let's eat while our bath is being prepared," he urged gently.

Kegan visibly tensed at Thane's voice. He could hardly believe the kind spoken words he was hearing. This had to be a trick! Was Thane testing him...? Yes! That had to be it! But what was he supposed to do!? What did the man want!?

The boy was overwhelmed by his frantic thoughts and his sobs got even louder yet again, though somewhat muffled into the rug. He didn't know what to do! When would the punishment come!? What kind of pain would he experience this time!? Would he be beaten!? Whipped!? Raped!?

Thane sighed again, frowning at the crying boy. He didn't like hearing Kegan sob like this, it made his heart ache. He wanted him to stop. Now. The man's first instinct was to lash out at the child and order him to be quiet, but he quickly shook his head to clear it; he had to maintain control...

Ever so carefully, he reached out and gently touched Kegan's head. The boy stilled under his touch and his crying quieted some, but Thane could still feel his body trembling. He petted the soft hair soothingly, patiently waiting to see how Kegan would react. After several moments the child slowly lifted his head to hesitantly peer up at Thane through his tousled bangs.

Thane smiled at the pretty green eyes, but disliked the terrified glint in them. He wanted Kegan to look at him with adoration and love, not fear... But he quickly reminded himself that winning Kegan over was going to take time and he tried to stay calm. It was going to be much harder than he had ever imagined possible; patience and control over his emotions would be the key to victory- which were two things that he obviously was not very good at... He had to maintain control though, for Kegan's sake as much as for himself...

Thane slid his hand from the soft hair to gently cup the boy's bruised cheek and tilt his head up more. He stroked Kegan's silky skin and spoke again.

"Come, pet, I know you're hungry. Let's eat and then we can relax in a bath before we sleep," he said gently.

Kegan gazed up at the man fearfully, untrusting of the seemingly sincere kindness in Thane's voice. This was certainly just the calm before the storm, the man would hurt him soon; he knew he would...

When Kegan made no move to stand, Thane sighed yet again and stood up himself, then offered his hand out to help the boy to his feet. Kegan violently flinched away when the man reached out, throwing his arms up in front of his face to protect himself and letting out a pitiful whimper. Thane's frown deepened at the sight and he had the sudden urge to slap the slave just for acting so ridiculously nervous, but he forced himself to relax. Instead he simply waited patiently, holding out his hand to the trembling youth.

Eventually Kegan peeked out from behind his arms to look at Thane, wondering why the man hadn't struck him yet. He stared at the man's large hand close to his face, then his eyes followed the muscular arm up to Thane's steady gaze. Several tense moments passed before Kegan finally placed his much smaller hand in his master's, resigning to be obedient like Thane wanted him to be.

The lord smiled, pleased at the boy's actions, and carefully wrapped his fingers around Kegan's delicate hand. The child was still visibly trembling, but luckily he had stopped his bawling; the only sound in the room now was his soft sniffles and the crackling of the fire in the hearth. Thane gently pulled Kegan to his feet, and then carefully reached out to unlock his collar.

Kegan watched the man warily, but obediently lifted his head to allow Thane access to the keyhole on the golden lock. He stayed still, not sure what to think as his master tossed the offending collar and chain to the rug with a muffled thud.

Thane held his hand out once again, offering to take Kegan's hand in his like before. The boy stared at his outstretched arm for several moments, before he gingerly grasped the man's hand. Thane smiled again, very pleased with how things were going, then he gently tugged Kegan forward to walk over to a small table in the corner of the room near the fireplace, where his servants had set their food.

The boy followed obediently, but as soon as Kegan took his first step, he cried out sharply and his knees buckled from the intense pain between his legs.

Thane quickly wrapped his arm around the boy's waist to stop him from collapsing to the floor and stared down at the child with worry. Kegan's eyes were closed tight and his face was twisted in pain, his breathing coming in short gasps.

"Fuck..." Thane hissed, feeling horrible for what he had done to his slave.

He grimaced, but quickly decided that Kegan would just have to bear with the pain for right now until Dr. Asa arrived with the potion; he was also sure that a soothing bath and a restful night's sleep would make Kegan feel much better.

Without warning, he easily scooped the boy into his arms, cradling the small body close to his chest. Kegan let out a small noise of surprise and his eyes widened, but otherwise he stayed still, gazing up at his master nervously. Pleased that the slave wasn't going to fight him, Thane began to walk across the room to his private dining table, but paused momentarily to stoop down and grab a cushion off the rug; Kegan certainly wouldn't be comfortable sitting on a hard chair with his sore bottom and he wanted to make sure the boy was as comfortable as possible.

When Thane reached his dining area, he placed the cushion in one of the two chairs, then carefully set the boy down. Kegan winced and whimpered quietly, but otherwise remained seated, glancing up at his master with a questioning look. Once Thane was sure Kegan wasn't going to topple off the tall chair, he took his own seat on the other side of the round table. He gave Kegan another reassuring smile before unloading the food off the trays his servants had brought. He set a bowl of steaming soup and a spoon in front of Kegan, then placed his own food in front of himself.

He sat back comfortably and looked across the table at his adorable little catamite, thinking to himself how much he liked seeing the boy sitting down with him for dinner; he would most definitely have to make this a routine. He watched Kegan for several moments and waited for the boy to start eating, hoping the child would be able to swallow with all of the swelling in his throat from the trauma he had suffered.

Kegan gazed across the table as well and met his master's dark eyes, wondering why the man was suddenly acting so caring. Was Thane not mad at him? But, then why had he hit him after he had called out for Claude...?

Kegan grimaced and scolded himself inwardly. Why had he even called out for Claude in the first place? It had been such a foolish thing to do, he had known that the moment the desperate plea had left his lips. But he had been so scared... Thane was a very intimidating man, not only with his size, but also with the power he emanated. He seemed to demand all of the attention when he walked into a room, not only from the people within the walls, but also from the room itself. And when the man's attention was trained on Kegan, the boy felt as if his heart would stop at any moment...

Had he felt so afraid when Thane first captured him...? That sudden thought worried Kegan immensely. He was sure that he had felt much braver the night before, but now he was terrified of Thane; he didn't want to do anything to anger his master and risk being sent back to the stables... But what was wrong with him now...? Was he... Broken...?

He quickly decided not to question the situation. As long as he pleased Thane from now on he probably wouldn't get hurt; he just had to act like the doll the man wanted him to be.

Kegan was in so much pain that he felt nauseous, but he didn't want to upset Thane in anyway, so he obediently picked up the utensil in front of him and carefully dipped it into the steaming bowl of broth. He brought the liquid to his mouth with some difficulty since his hand was shaking so badly, but he somehow managed not to spill it all over the fine tunic he was dressed in; he certainly didn't want to be punished for ruining the expensive cloth.

The warm soup was delicious, however, Kegan struggled to swallow even a small mouthful down. His throat was so sore he could barely swallow at all. But he quickly scooped up another spoonful and forced himself to eat under his master's watchful eye.

Thane watched Kegan for a few seconds, pleased that the boy was eating, then began to cut into his own hearty serving of roast on the plate in front of him. He took a bite and savored the flavor, chewing slowly and thoughtfully. It was one of his favorite meals that his chef had perfected to his liking and he always enjoyed it immensely... But tonight something wasn't right. He chewed on the bite in his mouth a moment longer, mulling over why it seemed to offend his palette, but then he quite abruptly realized what it was.

Across the table he watched as his little slave took another hesitant sip of broth and visibly forced himself to swallow the mouthful of liquid down. Kegan showed no signs of resistance or complaint, but he was clearly in pain by the look on his face; yet again he took another spoonful into his mouth and made himself drink the broth.

Thane's stomach twisted at the thought that the boy was suffering right in front of him without even saying a word. Kegan wasn't even crying anymore like he had been moments ago. He was simply... Obeying. It looked almost like a mechanical action. It was like watching a doll...

Thane took in Kegan's glassy eyes and wondered when they had lost that fiery spark they had possessed when the boy had been chained up in his dungeon. There had been so much fight and passion within Kegan's soul, Thane had clearly seen it through his pretty eyes. The man had admired it, but he had also wanted to break it... And break it he had, but much faster than he had ever imagined possible. Now he only wanted to see it again, bright and alive as it was before. He had to set things right...

"Kegan, stop." Thane spoke softly as he set his knife and fork down.

The boy paused with the spoon close to his lips and stared up at the man, worried that he had done something wrong.

Thane stared back at his slave and watched Kegan's trembling hand, wondering how he was supposed to fix the problems he had caused.

"Kegan... If it is causing you pain to swallow right now, you don't have to eat just to please me..." He said quietly.

Kegan hesitated, studying his master's face. He tried to figure out if this was some kind of trick or if Thane was being serious. When he realized that the man was actually giving him permission to stop eating, he quickly placed the spoon back into the bowl, so abruptly that he practically threw it, making the silver clink loudly on the fine china. He tucked his hands between his thighs, relieved that he no longer had to force food down his throat; he was feeling even more nauseous now and was terribly afraid that he might be sick, but he struggled not to vomit- that would definitely make Thane mad...

Thane stared across the table at his demure little pet and tried to think of something to say to ease the tense atmosphere surrounding them, but at that moment the doors of his chambers opened. Claude stepped through first, followed closely by Dr. Asa. Both men bowed in greeting to their lord, then Claude briskly walked towards Thane's bathing chambers. Dr. Asa hesitated near the doors for a moment, until Thane beckoned him over.

"Good evening, My Lord," the aging man said with another bow when he reached the table. His eyes darted over to Kegan who still sat quietly in his chair and the doctor was relieved to see that boy was in no worse shape than the last time he had seen him; in fact the child looked a little more alert now than he had that morning. Dr. Asa had been worried that Thane had hurt the boy again since he was calling for him a second time, but it didn't seem so.

"Kegan is in pain again." Thane addressed the doctor. "I assume Claude told you to bring a potion to help him?" He asked, leaning back in his chair some and gesturing to the boy across from him.

Dr. Asa quickly nodded and reached into his medical bag to retrieve a small vial of pink liquid.

"Yes, My Lord, here it is. It can be mixed into wine just like the potion he took earlier," he offered the drug to Thane.

Thane took the glass tube and grabbed his own goblet to pour the potion into, but then remembered that Kegan was having trouble swallowing; he doubted the boy would be able to get the entire drink down. He looked towards the doctor again.

"Can he take it without wine?" He asked impatiently.

Dr. Asa grimaced slightly, but nodded.

"Yes, My Lord, but it is quite bitter drinking it alone. It also won't make him as drowsy without the alcohol," the man said.

Thane sighed softly, hating that he had to make Kegan force something else down his throat, but he was also glad that the boy would be alert and not sleepy during their bath. He stood and walked around the table to kneel beside Kegan's chair. The boy gazed down at him with very wide eyes, the nervousness he was feeling clearly showing in the bright green orbs.

"I want you to try to drink this without wine, Kegan. Hold your nose and swallow it down quickly," Thane instructed softly, uncapping the vial and holding it out to the child.

Kegan hesitated, but then reached out for the potion and carefully grasped it between his slender fingers. He felt a fleeting trace of fear that Thane was secretly trying to poison him instead of help him, but then he glanced at Dr. Asa standing behind the Lord. Dr. Asa had been kind to him just like Claude had been, and he had given Kegan a potion before that had only made him sleepy; surely the man wouldn't have brought something to harm him... Kegan pushed his worry aside and did as he was told.

He pinched his nose between his fingers and quickly poured the liquid into his mouth. The bitter taste was strong even with him holding his nose and he struggled to swallow it down, but somehow he managed to. He coughed and gasped once the disgusting potion finally left his tongue, and he felt as if he might throw it right back up, but he tried to calm himself. He glanced at his master as he hesitantly handed the vial back to the man and the pleased smile on Thane's lips made Kegan relax some; he had made the lord happy by drinking the horrible tasting stuff, so it wasn't that bad...

Thane quickly offered Kegan a small cup of water, which the boy hurriedly took a sip of to rid his mouth of the foul aftertaste. The Lord smiled and gently patted the boy's knee as he stood up.

"You will feel better soon, pet. Just relax," he said softly before turning to Dr. Asa and stepping over to the man to speak to him softly.

Kegan stared at his knee where Lord Thane had touched him so tenderly, amazed that the powerful man's hands could be so gentle after causing him so much pain the night before. He glanced up at his master and watched the man as he talked to the doctor. Why was Thane suddenly being so kind to him...? He was acting worried about his well-being and trying to make him feel better... It made no sense to Kegan. Thane had been so cruel last night, making it obvious what a terrible person he truly was, but now he was acting the complete opposite. What had changed?

Kegan glanced over to the bag of gifts across the room, lying haphazardly where it had landed after Thane had kicked it. Was Thane honestly trying to apologize and make-up for what he had done…? Perhaps the gifts had just been part of Thane's apology…? Maybe the man truly did feel bad for what he had allowed to happen to Kegan…

The boy looked back towards his master in a new light. If Thane really was trying to amend what he had done, then Kegan would try to accept his kindness and forgive the man. After all, this was his new life; it would be much easier to live with Thane without holding a burning grudge against him forever…

Thane spoke softly to Dr. Asa.

"You told me earlier that I could ease Kegan's pain even more with a salve…?"

The doctor seemed somewhat surprised by Thane's question, but he quickly nodded.

"Oh, yes, My Lord. It will greatly ease his pain. I have it with me, here." The man reached into his bag again and withdrew a small glass jar filled with a white cream, happy to provide Kegan with relief.

Thane took the offered item and turned it over in his hand.

"And I simply rub it in…?" He asked, feeling rather dimwitted with his question.

"Very gently." Dr. Asa instructed quietly, glancing towards Kegan. "He was hurt badly. You must be careful, or you could cause him even more pain while trying to help." The doctor warned.

Thane nodded in understanding.

"Thank you, Asa. I would like you to prepare more potion for him to take in the morning with his breakfast as well, please. You can give it to Claude when you have it ready," Thane said.

"Of course, My Lord. I will start on that right away." Dr. Asa nodded with a bow. He turned to leave with one last quick glance at Kegan and couldn't hide the small smile on his face; he was very glad Lord Thane was treating the boy well now, he certainly deserved the kindness.

Thane waited until the doctor had left the room to turn back to look at Kegan. The boy still sat quietly with his hands tucked between his thighs, gazing up at him with docile eyes. Thane smiled and walked back over to kneel in front of his adorable slave.

"How are you feeling now, pet?" He asked softly, gently stroking Kegan's slender thigh up to where the tunic covered his skin.

Kegan shivered from the caressing touch and watched Thane's large hand for a moment before looking up at his master's face. He tried to look into the man's dark eyes and hold his gaze, and he found that it wasn't as hard as it had been before. Thane's eyes had once held a look of excitement and challenge, as if Kegan was a creature he wanted to hunt down and conquer. But now they held a look of tenderness, as if Thane were looking upon someone he truly cared about and loved.

Love…? Kegan quickly brushed the word out of his head and lowered his eyes back to Thane's hand.

"I'm feeling much better. Thank you, Master," he spoke truthfully. The deep ache in his body was beginning to ease and his headache was already mostly gone; thankfully the potion had begun to work quickly, just like before.

Thane's smile broadened and he reached out to cup Kegan's cheek gently, making the boy look back up.

"Good. I'm glad. I want you to feel comfortable and pain-free. If you start to hurt again I want you to tell me, understand?" He spoke gently, stroking Kegan's bow lips with his thumb.

Kegan nodded slowly, his eyes wide from slight disbelief. This seemed too good to be true. Thane truly was being kind to him now…

"Yes, Master," he responded quietly, hoping with all of his heart that he wouldn't feel pain from Thane's hand again. But deep down he knew that was impossible; he was still only a pleasure slave now…

Thane continued to slide his thumb along Kegan's bottom lip for a few moments, enjoying gazing at the pretty face that he had the pleasure to look at all the time now if he wanted. He realized that he hadn't actually taken the time to appreciate how beautiful the boy truly was with his delicate features and high cheekbones. Kegan seemed to have an ethereal beauty about him, something you didn't often see; and certainly never in a lowly peasant. Thane wondered what the boy's lineage was, but decided that he would learn of it later: right then he desperately wanted to kiss those pouty lips.

He leaned forward slowly and gently pressed his mouth to Kegan's, being very careful not to hurt the boy's already injured lips. Kegan stiffened slightly, but obediently allowed Thane to kiss him, and even opened his jaw some to let the man slip his tongue inside.

For the first time, the lord was able to fully enjoy his little slave's mouth. He savored the delicious heat and sweet taste while exploring over the boy's small tongue. Kegan stayed very still at first, just as he had before during Thane's few attempts at kissing him, but then he seemed to try to kiss back. Thane was pleasantly surprised when the teen made a soft noise that sounded very much like a moan, and he reluctantly pulled back some to look at Kegan's face.

The boy's eyes were heavy lidded and his breathing was slightly quickened. An adorable blush spread across his cheeks as he turned his gaze to his lap. Thane grinned at the fact that his kiss had obviously brought Kegan some form of pleasure and he chuckled softly.

"Did you like that, pet?" He asked somewhat teasingly, beginning to stroke Kegan's bruised cheek once again.

Kegan bit his lip and gave a small nod, more to please the lord than anything else, but he had to admit the kiss had felt good. Thane's mouth had stayed gentle and the way he had moved his tongue against his had felt quite nice. Kegan didn't want the man to know it, but he wouldn't mind another kiss like that…

Thane's grin grew and he began to lean in for another passionate kiss, but the sound of someone clearing their throat behind him made him stop. He quickly turned with an irritated growl to see who had interrupted him and saw that it was Claude.

"Yes?" He demanded shortly, trying to remain calm for the sake of Kegan, but he couldn't stop the annoyance from leaking into his voice. Kegan was finally showing some signs of accepting his affections and now he was being interrupted. He wanted the boy's mouth again, dammit!

Claude gave a curt bow and gestured towards the back room.

"My apologies for interrupting, My Lord, but I have your bath ready," the servant informed him.

Oh. Thane had completely forgotten about his order to have a bath prepared for them during his worry over Kegan's pain, but now that he was reminded his mood brightened tremendously: He could continue kissing his little catamite once he had him naked in his lap in a relaxing tub…

"Thank you, Claude." Thane said with a dismissive nod to the servant, knowing the man would take care of everything else he had wanted him to do without having to remind him.

Claude bowed and took his leave. Thane waited until his chamber doors had closed once again to turn back to Kegan. The boy looked a little drowsy as he gazed up at him, and Thane couldn't help but think of how utterly adorable his new pet was; he couldn't wait to get Kegan naked again and underneath him-

The lord quickly brushed that thought aside and took a steadying breath. He had to control himself. He had already decided he wouldn't be bedding the boy again until his wounds had completely healed. He couldn't let a small kiss make him lose his senses. After all, those small kisses would have to sustain him until he was able to fuck Kegan again…

"Are you ready for a bath, my pet?" He asked softly, sliding his hand through Kegan's soft hair.

Kegan tensed slightly at Thane's words, the thought of being naked near the man again making him feel scared, but he knew he must be willing and submit completely if he didn't want to hurt anymore. He nodded slowly, hoping that Thane would be gentle with him this time. So far he had been; the boy just hoped that the tender actions would continue.

Thane smiled at the boy and quickly reached down to scoop the small body into his arms. He cradled Kegan against his chest once again and found that he loved holding him like this, he couldn't wait to do it more often; in the tub and in bed… He headed for the bathing chambers, very eager to get their bath started…

Follow me on Tumblr for lots of yaoi and updates on my stories!