Master was quiet for a long moment. “And if so?” he finally asked.
Trellen shrugged. It didn’t matter. “Perhaps being stalked is better than being snatched on a whim, simply because I was convenient.” Wasn’t it? Or had he made himself convenient by allowing his curiosity to drive him from the safety of the colony so frequently? Was this what happened to unwary Cetaceans? Was this what had happened to Luce when he left the colony?
The soft touch of Master’s hand to his cheek brought Trellen back from the abyss of unhappy thoughts. He popped the last bit of stuffed kelp into his mouth, swallowed, and leaned into his Master’s touch—but then tentacles curled around Trellen’s body and he tensed.
“Do you still fear me so much?” Master asked. Did he actually sound hurt, or was Trellen only hearing what he wanted to?
Trellen forced himself to relax and shook his head. Master drew him into his lap. Trellen relaxed for real. There was something about the way Master held him that made him feel safe. He reached out, half-expecting Master to wrap a tentacle around his wrist, because even when they played without rope and chain, Master always restrained him. It was as if he didn’t want Trellen touching him.
But Master didn’t stop him this time.
Smiling at his unexpected freedom, Trellen ran his hand lightly over Master’s chest. He was muscular. His skin was smooth. Trellen wondered for perhaps the thousandth time what he looked like—but he knew better than to ask. Instead, he laid his head against his Master’s breastbone and listened to his heart beating. The soft, rhythmic thumping was as comforting as the circle of tentacles around him.
If only you would let me see your face, maybe I wouldn’t feel so much like a prisoner in the dark. “Tell me something about yourself,” Trellen implored, his voice little more than a whisper.
“What do you wish to know?”
Master chuckled. “Perhaps if you asked me a question, I could answer it.”
That was easier said than done; a million questions swam around Trellen’s mind. Who are you? Why me? Have there been others? What do you really want? But half of those he was afraid to ask because he feared the answers. The other half were questions he was sure Master would never answer. So he settled on something simple. “Do you have family?”
“But you’re all alone here…or…?” He bit his lip. Just because he wasn’t aware of any others, didn’t mean the cavern wasn’t teaming with Unspeakable Ones.
“You are here with me, therefore I am not alone.”
“But there are no other Un—I mean, none of your own kind here?”
Another soft chuckle rumbled through Master’s chest. “I am aware of what Cetaceans call my kind, Pretty. And to answer you directly: before you, I was alone. There are no others of my kind here, though a number of very distant cousins reside within.”
Trellen frowned. “You mean octopuses?”
“Precisely.” He feathered a soft kiss to the top of his head. “Just as you have kinship with your distant cousins, we have kinship with ours.”
Even though Trellen couldn’t see him, he looked up anyway. “Why did you leave your colony?”
Another soft chuckle and another soft kiss. “I have done no such thing, my Pretty.”
“But you said you were alone.”
“Indeed. Cephalopoda—that is how we call ourselves—are solitary by nature. What you would call one of our colonies is spread out over hundreds of leagues, so that each of us may live in quiet solitude but still maintain ties with our kin.”
“Oh.” He snuggled in closer and the tentacles holding him tightened, but not uncomfortably. “How…when did you leave your family’s home?” Trellen wondered.
“When I was little younger than you. That too is quite typical,” he added, before Trellen could ask.
He nodded. “How old are you now?”
“Perhaps a dozen or so turnings your senior.”
How long were you watching me? But that was another one of those questions Trellen was afraid to ask. He closed his eyes and traced the lines of his Master’s chest, trying to form a picture of him in his head, but without knowing what color his skin was, it was impossible.
Still, he doesn’t seem to look like a monster… .
He didn’t act like a monster, either.
But he made me his slave. What did it matter? Trellen was where he was. Even if he could escape, there was no going back to his old life, now. And I am as much a slave to my own wantonness as I am to his perverse desires.
Impulsively, he sought out Master’s nipples with his fingers. When he brushed over one of them, Master let out a soft sound that was somewhere between a moan and a growl, and the nub hardened almost at once under Trellen’s fingertips. Trellen darted out his tongue to lave over it the hard nub, the same way Master did to him. When his impetuousness was met with no objection, Trellen took the nipple into his mouth and began to suck on it, because when Master did that to him, it felt so good.
Apparently, the feeling was mutual. “Keep that up, my Pretty, and you will find yourself getting fucked whether you ask for it or not—and it may not be gentle.”
The naked, unabashed lust in his tone made Trellen’s cock twitch. It made his whole body thrum with need. But was he ready to get fucked? To be violated?
Then again, I swore I would not fight it. I agreed to belong to him. If his Master chose to fuck him, he would not—could not—stop it from happening.