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War Paint


This fic was a b-day gift from Askellie! <333

Sorry if the image is misleading, but there is no actual fighting in this fic.


Content Warning: Noncon, slavery, sexual slavery, psychological manipulation, tobacco use, coercion use of sex for bargaining


Even though Xet has been Chara’s unwilling guest for nearly a month now, he hasn’t seen much of their expansive estate. Most of his experience is limited to the inside of their bedrooms, playrooms, and just a little of their private garden. He hasn’t even explored the entirety of their wing, since he often finds himself in enough trouble without testing the limits of what little freedom he still has.


The room Honey leads him to is one he’s never seen before. Opulent chairs and tables are artfully arranged around a central, circular pit that’s recessed into the floor by several tiers of marble stairs. If he were standing at the bottom, Xet estimates that the main floor would be just about level with his skull. The small, often-forgotten part of him that had reluctantly learned his father’s trade can be grudgingly impressed by the way all the stones fit together, expertly cut and smoothed down to create a certain hypnotic beauty in their concentric rings.


“What the fuck is that?” he says to Honey, keeping himself firmly to the outskirts of the room, well away from the pit. He has no idea what the hell it’s for, but he’s absolutely certain he won’t enjoy it.


Honey turns, brow arched in question even though the rest of his expression is set in the familiar, deliberate blandness that always puts Xet on edge. “It’s our arena.”


“Arena?” Xet repeats. It takes a moment for the word and its implication to connect, the purpose of the pit becoming clear. “For fighting?”


With a tilt of his head and a squint he can almost see it; the room is like a miniature colosseum with much more luxuriant furnishings. The pit has just enough room for two combatants to square off, close enough to feel constricting but with enough space to circle and dodge. The sloping steps give enough margin to protect the surrounding audience without obstructing anyone’s view. Better still, it means the humans are placed to be deliberately looking down on the stage below, as if anyone might need the reminder of who was in charge.


Honey pulls out a new cigarette, his movements slow and calculated. By now, he’s learned that Xet will be watching it hungrily, his marrow jonesing for his favourite vice. He isn’t sure if this version of his body ever developed the habit or if it’s a purely psychological craving, but either way, it makes his fingers twitch and his jaw ache with want. It doesn’t help that Honey turns the act of lighting up into a veritable peep-show for nicotine addicts, the curl of his phalanges unfairly erotic and hints of tongue flicking behind his teeth like he could just as easily be sucking on something else. Xet’s no blushing virgin, but he has to look away, feeling aggravatingly flustered.


“I’m surprised you don’t recognise it,” Honey remarks mildly. “Your papers say you used to do pretty well in the ring.”


Already off-balance, Xet does a poor job of hiding his wince. He keeps stumbling over all the damn discrepencies between his own knowlage and whatever stupid history is written down in his auction papers. As far as he can tell, this universe’s inhabitants are blissfully ignorant of the multiverse and its timelines, and Xet doesn’t want to be the one to enlighten them. At best, they might just assume he’s delusional. At worst, Chara might decide to interrogate him for every scrap of knowledge he has. It’s not an outcome he’s willing to risk.


Crossing his arms, he feigns nonchalance. “Ours didn’t look like this. Besides, I didn’t think that’s what you bought me for.”


“It’s not, but Chara’s in...a mood,” Honey says, his barely perceptible pause conveying more than his mild tone. “Besides, if I can tire you troublemakers out, maybe I can take the evening off for a change.”


Xet opens his mouth to retort, or maybe just complain, but his train of thought is interrupted by the door across the room opening, admitting a new occupant. Xet’s jaw snaps shut with a click, his minor indignation overtaken by a much more pertinent sense of aggravation. Of course, Honey had said troublemakers; plural. Edge glares back at him, looking just as displeased at Xet feels.


“You want me to fight him?” Xet asks, his tail lashing behind him with uneasy flicks. He chooses to think it’s acting with anger rather than dread.


Xet’s had enough dealings with other versions of Edge not to be overly intimidated by him, but that doesn’t mean he’d go out of his way to pick a fight with the asshole. Not a physical fight anyway; he’s content with scathing insults to match Edge’s equally biting retorts. As tempted as he’s been to punch the other skeleton right in his already scarred socket, Xet prefers to risk a battle he’s really damn sure he’s going to win.


A fair fight with Edge certainly doesn’t qualify. Xet doesn’t know what Edge did before he came to Chara’s house, but he still moves with the balance of a soldier and the grace of a predator. He’s taller than Xet by half a skull, though Xet suspects he might be slightly heavier -- not just from the extra weight of his tail, but because his bone density is sturdier than most other skeletons. It’s a benefit of his mixed heritage, along with the strength and volume of his magic, though neither of those are advantages he has access to with the collar still around his neck.


“Why not?” Honey asks, his voice breaking through Xet’s critical assessment. The bastard is smirking now. “It might help you two work out your differences.”


Xet sincerely doubts it. He and Edge had rubbed each other the wrong way from the beginning, and further exposure had just made things worse. It’s a shame, because if Xet had wanted to pick an ally to help him fight his way out of this hell-hole, Edge would have been the bestchoice. He’s the only other member of the harem with any real bite to him, but that ferocity seems to evaporate whenever Honey starts ordering Edge around. Xet doesn’t know what the hell the story is there, but it’s equal parts sickening and horrifying.


(Xet’s not going to end up like that; just another simpering pet, begging for Honey's attention and Chara’s mercy. He won’t.)


A crook of Honey's finger is all that’s needed to motion Edge down into the pit. When Xet ignores his own signal, feigning obliviousness, Honey sidles up to him and starts pushing firmly between Xet’s shoulder-blades like he’s a child who needs to be herded.


“We’re not waiting for Chara?” Xet tries plaintively, dragging his steps as much as he dares. He’s learned his lesson about fighting back too hard, but he’s allowed a certain amount of reluctance. Chara seems to enjoy it.


“They’re already watching,” Honey says, tilting his skull towards one of the overhead cameras. “Besides, shouldn’t you be worrying about yourself instead of them?”


Down in the pit, Edge is already warming up, flexing his bones with smooth, graceful gestures. Clothing is a privilege they have to earn on a daily basis, but today Edge must have been in favour because he’s wearing a pair of leather pants that sit sinfully low on his hips. No shirt or shoes, but even without them he looks dangerous.


Xet had been given two choices that morning, and like hell he was wearing the fucking pleated shirt that looked like it had come right from a schoolgirl anime, so instead he was wearing a thin tank top that from a gauzy black material that clung almost obscenely to his ribs. At least it was long enough to cover his pelvis, but only barely. The seams were tight enough that he’d already been worried about them tearing. Now he was starting to see that was probably the point.


A small shudder runs through him (unease, he tells himself, not fear) and Honey unexpectedly takes pity on him. “Have I mentioned these’s a reward for winning?”


Xet would love to pretend he doesn’t give a shit, but his stupid tail gives a sinuous flick like it’s standing to attention. Very grudgingly, hating himself as he does it, Xet asks, “What reward?”


Honey pulls it out of his vest: a brand new pack of cigarettes, still sealed in plastic. He dangles it temptingly before Xet’s snout. “If you take him down, it’s all yours.”


The smoke already curling from Honey's own cigarette already has Xet’s body primed, and like Pavlov’s dog the promise of his fix has saliva welling up on his tongue. A whole fucking box to himself. The idea is so sweet he could almost cry.


“What does Edge get?” he asks, morbidly curious, because he’s sure as fuck the uptight bastard wouldn’t be tempted. He spends enough time complaining about the way Honey frequently smells and tastes like an ashtray.


(He’s not wrong; Xet’s uncomfortably aware of it, and sometimes when Honey's fingers curl into his mouth Xet finds himself licking with unfeigned enthusiasm because as disgusting as it is, it’s as close as he can get to his former habit.)


Honey's smile twists wryly. “He gets to fuck me next time.”


Xet should have guessed. He hasn’t deciphered all of Edge’s bizarre feelings for Honey, but desperation is the most palpable among them. It’s almost more unusual that Honey doesn’t abuse it more than he does, given that he seems perfectly comfortable manipulating every other weakness exposed to him, but he’s weirdly (and unfairly) careful with Edge.


(Xet’s not bitter. He’s definitely not jealous.)


Whatever stupid, sentimental favor Edge wants shouldn’t bother him, so he isn’t sure why his stupid mouth asks, “What if I want that instead?”


Honey's browbones shoot upward, incredulous. “Do you?”


Xet wants to turn his head and deny it, pretend it was just a careless query, but suddenly the image of it is bright and visceral in his mind’s eye; Honey facedown on the floor, ass in the air, golden tears rolling down his face and his cock hard between his legs as Xet thrusts savagely into him from behind. Making him beg, making him scream, making him feel all the helpless, impotant frustration Xet feels, making Honey come and rubbing his face in it like a naughty puppy who couldn’t control itself. Honey choking on his cock. Honey writhing on his dick. Honey limp and boneless and completely wrecked, his pelvis and femurs painted in thick streaks of orange and green magic.


Xet swallows hard, clearing his throat. “Yes.”


Honey gives it a long moment of thought, sizing Xet up like he’s weighing the odds. Finally he tucks the cigarettes back into his vest. “Okay. Fine. If you win, you can have me. If.”


With that final taunt, he gives Xet a firm shove, sending him down the last two steps and into the bottom of the pit. Thankfully Xet’s tail does its job for once, acting as a counter-weight to keep him balanced and on his feet. He jerks his head up to find Edge staring at him, his scarred face a mask of determined focus. Unquestionably, he wants to win and claim his prize.


But so does Xet.


He shakes himself out, loosening up the vertebrae in his spine and tail, magic flushing to his joints in preparation for action. He sneers at Edge, showing off his prominent fangs.


“Okay, fucker,” he growls, trying to ignore the itch of Honey's gaze on his back. “Let’s do this.”