inventrix: (kenshin leo)
inventrix ([personal profile] inventrix) wrote2016-12-01 11:22 am
Entry tags:

Chain of Command

"Sir." His teleporter's voice came from the front of the tent. "I've brought Luke back from Cloverleaf."

"Oh, good. I was just looking ov--" Leo looked up to address Luke as he entered; the words died in his throat.

There were chains on Luke's wings. Silver, like Luke's collar, clipped on like decorative jewelry, hinting at restraints without being restraining. Something nobody he knew could get away with putting on Luke, except for Luke's Keeper.

Cya had put chains on Luke's wings. And, from the way Luke was trying so hard not to look uncomfortably off-balance, Leo suspected she'd put a hell of a lot more on him than a pair of fancy wing chains. She'd--

He cut off the thought and clamped down on his emotions, hard. He couldn't lose control, not here in front of his people, not at Luke. So he did what he always did and ignored the problem - although not completely. He'd have to make it go away himself, this time; it wouldn't go away on its own, and he couldn't keep ignoring Luke indefinitely.

"Lior."

The teleporter stopped just outside the tent and poked his head back in. "Yes, sir?"

"Take Luke back to sa'Doomsday." Leo was not looking at Luke. He was not acknowledging his presence any more than he had to in order to send him back. He wasn't sure his self-control would hold if he did. "Tell her that I specifically request she remove all... decoration," and he didn't even twitch a muscle, a fact he would be proud of later if he managed to think about the incident calmly enough, "from her Kept before sending him back here."

"Of course, sir."

Leo kept his attention fixed on the table in front of him until the sound of Luke's wings vanished, then slowly straightened. "Please continue this without me," he said to the officers in the tent, his voice calm enough to fool anyone (except his crew, but they weren't there). "I am not to be disturbed unless it is an emergency."

His officers all bowed in acceptance and Leo turned, walking (stalking) back to his tent, muttering the sound- and electric-proofing Working he'd been using more and more often as the tent flap closed behind him.

Cya had put chains. On Luke's wings. And sent him back to Leo wearing them. Why? Was she trying to make a point? To him? To Luke? What point was she trying to make?

She likes Luke better. Leo sat down hard on the wooden chest (that Cya had given him) and put his head in his hands, trying to ignore the thought, trying to ignore that voice always reminding him of every flaw, every reason why no one should like him, let alone her. It was a stupid thought. He knew better. He knew she'd had Kept before, what she liked to do with them, even if he did try to avoid thinking about it. He knew... he thought he knew how she felt about him, but it had been getting harder and harder to believe.

Besides, he still knew Luke was different, being Luke, signed up to be Kept for a decade... And on top of that, he was pretty damn sure she'd never sent her Kept out on errands decorated in ropes and chains. Or Kept anyone with wings before. Maybe she liked wings better too - and that thought came with a tinge of old, nearly-forgotten bitterness.

Most importantly, though he told himself it was least, he knew she'd absolutely never even suggested anything remotely similar to that... jewelry... with him.

Was that it? Was he just jealous and overreacting? (Just jealous, ha.) He didn't even know if it was something he wanted, or if it was just her wanting more from people who weren't him. Maybe that nagging feeling was right, the one that said she liked Luke better, that she didn't ask Leo to come visit more often - even though he'd been coming back to town less - because she really didn't want him around any more.

He lifted his head slightly and noticed electricity arcing and crackling through the air, jumping from the tent to the ground and all of his possessions - the ones he stored in there, at least. They were all protected from the electricity, but... But it meant he'd lost control of his powers - again. It was starting to worry him.

Sitting up, he closed his eyes and inhaled deeply, then exhaled, breathing slowly and deliberately, focusing on centering himself, on pulling his power back in, back under control. He hated it, hated himself for losing control, hated not being able to find any other outlet after Cya had forbid him from injuring himself, hated how he could feel himself slowly cracking again at everything pushing him in different directions.

Cya would be furious if she knew he was hiding that. Cya would also, he reminded himself, blame herself, she always did, and he didn't want to do that to her. He'd done it enough for several lifetimes. He could handle it. He could handle it, because he had to, didn't he?

Slowly, he quieted his thoughts and got control of himself again. He opened his eyes; the arcs of electricity were gone. Placing his hands carefully on his knees, he just as carefully loosed his grip on his thoughts. His officers would still be at the strategy tent, and if Luke-- His fingers dug into his knees and he stopped, focusing on his breathing and on relaxing his grip again. If Luke came back today, there were several things he wanted his input on. If he was enough under control again, he should go back out.

Leo stood and slowly paced the room, twice. The urge to break something was back down to a manageable level. He could go back outside, back into the public persona he'd built, and tried not to think about the worry that he'd stop being able to tell the difference. Taking a deep breath, he undid the Workings on the tent and stepped back outside.

Lior was waiting for him, a few feet away from the entrance, and bowed as he emerged.

"Sir. The Mayor sent, ah, her Kept back as you requested, and in turn has requested a private meeting with you, at your earliest convenience."

It took every once of willpower Leo had not to demand the teleporter take him back to her immediately. It was, damn it all, not convenient. He'd been in the middle of an important strategy meeting and while going off for some time alone in the middle was perfectly within reason for him and his persona, haring off to a "private meeting" in Cloverleaf - which could be anywhere from a few minutes to hours - on that flimsy of a request would make them start getting annoyed and suspicious again, just after he'd finally calmed them all down about the whole thing with Luke. If only she'd said "immediately", or even "as soon as possible"... But no. It seemed as though she still was avoiding telling him what to do.

He pushed back the threatening wave of increasingly familiar and bitterly jealous envy, but didn't bother holding back a sigh. "Thank you. I'll be going to Cloverleaf when we're done, then; you're free for the moment but be on call."

Lior bowed again. "Of course, sir."

Leo moved off, heading for the strategy tent. At least Cya had asked him to come; he wasn't going to worry about why. Maybe it would make it easier to face Luke.

Maybe.

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