A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 2
Chapter One HAGAR walked into Mama‟s Place, looking for nothing more than something to eat and a drink. While there were whores of either sex who worked there, good food and booze were the main draw for many of the pilots who stopped here while on Dunmore Station. Mama‟s was a small hole-in-the-wall bar located on the far side of the seedier section of Dunmore Station. Mama was a tall black man who dressed in colorful women‟s gowns and boas, wore gaudy makeup, usually sported one of a variety of interesting wigs in outrageous colors, and looked feminine, but was all man underneath his feminine outfits. He was shrewd and nothing got past him, which was why his business had survived in this backwater station. Mama sashayed up to Hagar as he made his way to a stool at the end of the bar. “Handsome, it‟s been a long time since you‟ve been here.” Hagar looked at Mama. Hagar knew he wasn‟t handsome. Large was the kindest thing that could be said about him. His shaven head usually loomed above the crowd and he was bulky from a lifetime of heavy lifting, his nose crooked from when it was broken on his broad, flat face. But his brown eyes were kind, and he had a ready smile for most people, with an easygoing way about him that let him get away with a lot when he was dealing with the authorities.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 3 “Hi Mama,” Hagar rumbled, giving him a hug. “I was wondering when you were going to remember that I was alive,” Mama scolded. “Been busy,” Hagar said somewhat sheepishly. He had been, smuggling a couple of loads of parts for a few people he didn‟t want to think about. Jobs like that kept him going when good jobs got a little scarce, as they‟d been lately. He hadn‟t been in this part of space for a couple of months, wanting to keep that part of his life separate from here. Mama didn‟t like it when he went to those types of people for work, and he didn‟t want to worry the man he thought of as family when he did those kinds of jobs. “But I have a load of whiskey that I think that you might want.” It wasn‟t exactly smuggling, but the whiskey hadn‟t gone through customs on the way here. Mama would use it to stretch out the legitimate but more expensive whiskey he sold. Hagar figured out that the only one getting hurt here was the government. The small manufacturers who could afford to ship their wares out into space didn‟t make much money if they dealt with the combines who ran the shipping lanes, so the small traders smuggled for them. He had just enough legitimate alcohol so that a quick look at either his cargo or the manifest should pass. If that didn‟t work, it wasn‟t like the military wouldn‟t look the other way as they took part of his cargo as punishment. The problems usually happened when either side got greedy. When that happened, people got hurt, usually the smugglers, who ended up with no cargo and a damaged ship if they were lucky. Dead if they weren‟t. “Got someone that you might want to meet,” Mama told him. “He wandered in a couple of weeks ago.”
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 4 “I just want to eat,” Hagar protested. Mama worried that he was alone too much. Getting a partner would be a good idea, but it had to be someone he could trust. He was barely limping along at times, so having a second person on board would let him take some of the bigger jobs out there. That would almost cover having to split his profits with another person by allowing him to make a larger profit on bigger jobs. The question was trusting someone enough to do so. “I know that, honey.” Mama rolled his eyes. “I heard it too much from the rest of the girls here. But he‟s been looking for a ride off the station for a week or so now.” Mama called all the whores who worked in her place girls, no matter what sex they were. “He‟s this little thing that wandered in,” Mama continued, “and I just couldn‟t turn him away. It‟d be like kicking a kitten.” “And so what‟s this kitten doing?” Hagar asked drily. He looked around the place; it was still a bit early, so it wasn‟t that crowded. But the best thing about Mama‟s was that it was open twenty-four hours, a small bit of timelessness in the rest of the universe. Once you walked in here, time seemed to lose all meaning, which a lot of the pilots appreciated since many of the free traders worked alone or in pairs, usually on some sort of crazy schedule. Company and a place to relax was something they all enjoyed. He had recognized all the whores who were in the place and hadn‟t seen anyone new. But then Mama hadn‟t said the new one was working for her that way. “He turned out to be a halfway decent cook,” Mama told him, “and he cleans up after himself too. Something I think you‟d appreciate.”
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 5 Hagar grunted at that as he sat down. Mama gestured to someone on the other side of the room to come over and talk to him. Hagar got an impression of dark clothing and slenderness. When the man got closer, Hagar noticed that he was medium tall, wearing shabby clothing that just didn‟t fit him right. Hagar was willing to bet that the man‟s wardrobe was all something he had gotten out of a secondhand store, or worse. His black hair was pulled back in a tight tail, and his hands were full of dirty dishes. “And I‟ll also take that whiskey off your hands for the usual price,” Mama continued without missing a beat. “And how can I help you, Mama?” the kitten asked. Hagar studied the other man closely, wondering what Mama was up to. The man‟s voice was low and husky and he was very attractive, with pure Asian features and no accent. He had never really gotten the country, as Mama called it, out of his own speech. You could tell Hagar was from the Scandinavian Cooperative as soon as he opened his mouth. This man didn‟t sound like he was from anyplace. Hagar was surprised, since most Asians stayed in their section on the other end of known space, a very long hyperspace jump from here. Mama‟s was in the American/European settled space. The Russian Collective was between them and the Asians, along with small pockets of odd settlements, survivors from Earth, which had been lost long ago. “You can serve Hagar something to eat, some of that nice stew you made,” Mama said, “and then you can help him unload his ship.” “As you wish,” he said, bowing slightly before turning to the kitchen.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 6 “You got a name, kitten?” Hagar called out. He didn‟t miss the slight hesitation or the way the man‟s spine stiffened at the word “kitten.” Touchy for all that he acted like a servant with Mama. He found that interesting. But for all his snippishness, the man was fragile. Hagar was wondering why no one else saw it. However, Mama might have, which would explain why he let him stay here. Mama also was perpetually shorthanded in the kitchen, most people not wanting to deal with either the clientele or hours of the place, so that could also be a reason the man was here. “Shibito,” the man called back. For some unknown reason, his answer made Hagar shiver.
SHIBITO made his way back into the kitchen, moving around the cramped quarters easily. After a few weeks of working here, he was almost comfortable in the space. He placed the dirty dishes in the cleaning area and rinsed off his hands before dishing up a bowl of stew from the pot simmering on the small heater, grabbing some cornbread for Hagar. He‟d load the dishwasher after he had fed Mama‟s friend. He got back to the bar to hear Mama and Hagar arguing about the price of the whiskey Hagar had in the hold of his ship. Shibito thought that he should be outraged at the thought of smuggling and evading the authorities, but he found that he was amused instead. His thinking had changed since he‟d left home. “What kind of name is Shibito?” Hagar asked him as he dropped off the food.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 7 “Mine,” he told Hagar shortly. Shibito hesitated, knowing he sounded like an ass. It would take far too long to explain to someone who wasn‟t of his culture the meaning of his name. But he couldn‟t afford to anger someone who could take him off the station. He also knew it would take only one call to the authorities to put him in some real trouble. He didn‟t doubt that there was some sort of search being done for him, quietly for now, but as time went on, he knew being subtle would be thrown to the wayside. He had to get away from here and home before that happened. Mama chuckled and shook his head, breaking the tension. “That‟s about the only answer we get out of him.” Hagar shrugged and Shibito was glad he wasn‟t angry at his short answer, but he sensed it took a lot to make this one angry. “What does his IDent card say?” Mama laughed, “Well he‟d need one of them for me to see his name, now won‟t he?” Hagar stared at the both of them in shock. Shibito smiled and bowed before he moved away. He didn‟t have one of the cards and there was nothing he could do about it right now. “No wonder you called him a lost kitten,” Hagar said, digging into his food. Shibito returned to the kitchen to finish the load of dishes and clean up his work area a little. He went back out to the bar after he was done to see if Hagar wanted seconds, and that was when he felt his stomach twist, which usually meant something bad was going to happen. If he had paid attention to that warning before, he wouldn‟t be in this mess.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 8 Shibito anxiously looked around, before gradually sensing the presence of a large group of men moving toward the bar among the usual traffic in this area. He didn‟t have a lot of time before they were here, and even if they weren‟t looking for him, he still couldn‟t afford to be caught by them. What little margin for safety he had had was gone. He had to get off the station now. It wasn‟t often that the military in charge of Dunmore left their section of the station. They usually only did so to show the citizens who lived there that they were “cleaning up” the maze of corruption that filled the lower levels of the station. Stupid, as were most of the activities that went on here, he had learned, but they kept a station like this working. He had been as ignorant of that fact as those who ran the station were. But the military finding him here wasn‟t something he wanted, because while this station wasn‟t in the Nipponese Imperium, he was willing to bet that those who were looking for him in the military had ties here, or at least contacts to try to recover him if he had been dumped in this area of space. He had to leave now, and it didn‟t matter what he did to get off this place. He‟d make his peace with himself after he was safe. He walked up to Hagar, trying to remain calm, and said to him, “I‟ll do anything you want if you get me out of here right this instant.” Hagar looked startled at the offer. Shibito tried to look innocent and sexy at the same time, projecting an aura of harmlessness. But he was seconds from shouting this offer out to any of the pilots in the bar, not caring about anything but getting off this station.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 9 “You really don‟t have any papers?” Hagar asked him with a grin. Shibito tried to fight his growing panic as he sensed security getting closer to the bar, spreading out to question everyone in this area. He could try to run on his own, but he didn‟t think he would get too far. He knew there really wasn‟t any place on the station for him to hide, having tried to do that for a couple of days before Mama took him in. He had barely gotten onto Dunmore before he realized he wouldn‟t be able to get off as easily without any sort of identification, since you needed one of those small plastic cards to do anything here, unlike where he had grown up. Mama having a soft heart was about the only thing that saved him. But it looked like his luck had run out. And after seeing the other pilots who hung around Mama‟s, Hagar seemed to be the safest. He actually was Shibito‟s only option right now, but he was trying not to think about that. “What do you think?” Shibito asked him softly. “If your answer is going to be no, I have to make a break for it now.” He was aware that other people were now spreading the word that the military was coming into the area to “clean up” the bad element on the station. A lot more of the customers started to try to casually leave the bar, wanting to avoid the military whether they had a good reason to do so or not. Hagar‟s grin got wider; he was clearly aware that he had Shibito squirming for his favor. “And what‟s in it for me?” “I can cook,” Shibito started, hoping the man would settle for help on his ship and not insist on sex but doubting it; the man wasn‟t an idiot or a eunuch. “And I can do some grunt work and help with your ship. Gossip is that you ship out alone. Wouldn‟t it be good to have help for a little while?”
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 10 He didn‟t repeat his initial offer, but he could see that Hagar was thinking about it. Shibito tried to look sexy but knew it wouldn‟t help him. Hagar was more interested in dealing with the difficulty of getting out of here without any trouble than he was in getting a piece of tail out of the deal. Shibito could almost see the man calculating the odds in a manner very unlike the cheery friendliness he had previously displayed. Hagar might look big and harmless, but he was far from stupid. “And what about the load of whiskey in my hold?” Hagar asked him with a grin. Shibito was betting he thought it was a leer. Instead of feeling disgusted by it, he was amused. Hagar acted like what he was, a genuinely nice man—a rare thing on this station. “Are you going to be able to unload it right now?” Shibito shot back. “Because I really don‟t think that either one of us wants to get caught in this sweep.” Hagar looked thoughtful at that one. Shibito could guess that Hagar was thinking, trying to figure out if the authorities were on a crusade, if they would take all his cargo, fine him, and maybe impound his ship. Even Shibito knew Mama would understand if Hagar bolted, and there would be no hard feelings there. Shibito noticed that Mama looked like he was close to panicking for some reason. Mama may be many things, but stupid wasn‟t one of them—Shibito had learned that fact early. If Mama was worried about this, then Shibito knew it was time to get out of here. He just hoped Mama got out of whatever the military was looking for without getting hurt.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 11 Hagar leaned over and grabbed Shibito, pulling him close and kissing him roughly before pushing him toward the back, saying, “You got a point.” Shibito didn‟t bother wasting his time arguing with the other man. He had said “anything,” and Shibito knew what that meant. Getting out of here without the authorities stopping him was the most important thing. If it was at the cost of spending time on his knees or his back, he‟d still think he had made a good bargain. It was better than being shipped back to the planet he just escaped from. Hagar looked and felt like a decent man, more so than any of the other pilots who had been in Mama‟s over the past couple of weeks. Shibito stopped long enough to grab his pack and let Hagar tug him along behind him. They started to dodge and weave among the back alleys of the station to avoid security, finally getting to the docks.
MUCH as it looks good in the vids to just blast out of
here,” Hagar started, “this isn‟t a vid, and we are going to have to go through some sort of check before we get out of here.” “What kind of check?” Shibito asked him. They were standing at the edge of the port, just on the verge of the industrial area of the station. “Filing a flight plan,” Hagar told him. “While we can just walk up to my ship, leaving here is another thing. And it isn‟t like the authorities don‟t know that sometimes not everything on the manifest is legit. Getting out of here now is a signal that I have something to hide.”
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 12 “Why don‟t we just get to the ship?” Shibito said. “We can figure out something later.” “We?” Hagar asked, feeling amused for some reason by Shibito‟s use of the word “we.” “Well, we both are going to be in trouble if we get caught,” Shibito told him, echoing his reasoning. “Because I think this is serious.” “From the way that Mama looked,” Hagar stated, “I think you‟re right.” He didn‟t want to say any more than that. He had a clean record for the most part here, but some checking on the part of the authorities might show that the Midgard Serpent hadn‟t been flying on the straight and narrow all the time. And it wasn‟t like there were a lot of ships around here that matched his hull type. The Serpent was about twenty years old and had been made in the Russian Collective. He had updated the computer systems and the interior, but there was very little he could do about the hull. A ship‟s design wasn‟t something you could disguise easily. Hagar noticed Shibito looking at a public terminal on the edge of the docks, studying it carefully with a frown on his face. “I‟ll catch up with you,” Hagar heard him mutter. Hagar stared after him. “You were the one who wanted to get out of here,” he said. “Something I just have to do real fast that I just remembered,” Shibito told him. “The ship leaves in ten minutes, whether you‟re on it or not.” Shibito turned and looked at him. “I know.”
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 13 Hagar hesitated for a second, wondering why suddenly Shibito wanted to stop. But he wasn‟t going ask him about it. He wanted to get off Dunmore Station as soon as possible, before the military cleanup spread and he was caught in it. The military didn‟t always play nice with the independents. “I‟m on dock seven, the Midgard Serpent. I‟ll leave the hatch open as long as possible.” Shibito nodded. “Thank you and I‟ll be there.” Hagar turned and strode away, hurrying to his ship, hoping he succeeded in getting off the station without too much trouble.
SHIBITO didn‟t bother watching Hagar leave, intent on what he had to do. He went over to the public terminal, after looking quickly to make sure that he didn‟t see anyone. He really didn‟t have a plan, just some vague intention of trying fool the computer into believing that Hagar‟s ship should be allowed to leave. He frantically tried to remember what little he knew about the protocol about a ship leaving a station or filing a flight plan, which wasn‟t much since someone else had always dealt with those details before. He laid his hands on the interface screen and tried to use his talent to hack into the station‟s administrative system. It took a couple of attempts, but he was able to get into the main computer system for the station. It hurt and he knew he was pushing his limits working as quickly as he was. He hadn‟t done this in a while, not since he had woken up on that hellhole planet he had escaped from. He sensed more than felt the pain of the headache that was forming because of what he was doing. But he needed to do this to
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 14 get off this place. If he damaged himself a bit in the process, well, it wasn‟t going to be any worse than what had happened to him before. He was amazed that he was able to use his talent. Not fully and not too well, but it was enough for now—it had gotten him into the computer. Shibito looked around quickly in the system, searching for the server for central command so he could insert Hagar‟s permission to get off the station, coded so it looked like it had been filed a couple of hours ago, and change Hagar‟s arrival date to a day earlier. It wasn‟t perfect, but it would do. He felt old and slow, fumbling at things that had come easier for him only a year ago. He slowly disengaged his mind from the system, hoping that he hadn‟t taken too long and that Hagar was still waiting for him. He was tired and had a slight headache, but he had been able to manipulate a database like he had before, even if he was much slower than he used to be. He had thought he had lost that ability when he woke up almost psi-null with shredded shields on that planet, some backwater hell he hadn‟t even bothered to find out the name of. But it looked like time had allowed him to recover from the drugs given to him. Shibito straightened up and started running for the ship, hoping—knowing—he‟d make it to the ship on time. He was never so happy to see an open hatch as he was then and dived through it, landing gracefully in a ball as it started to close. He rolled and came back up on his feet, hoping Hagar hadn‟t seen him do that. He wouldn‟t be able to explain to the man why someone who was working as a cook at a place like Mama‟s moved like that. It showed that at one time he‟d had some sort of military training. If that were so, why was
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 15 he avoiding the military now? Or where exactly did he get that training? Hagar might ask a lot of questions he didn‟t want to answer.
HAGAR was surprised at the message he got from Dunmore Station‟s central command when he queried them on when he could leave, since he had only docked about an hour ago and had filed a plan to stay for a couple of days at the least. “You‟re cleared to lift off,” Dunmore Station‟s flight controller told him when he asked for clearance. “Your flight plan‟s in order. Have a good trip.” “Thank you,” Hagar told them and started his preflight check, hoping Shibito had managed to get aboard. If the other man hadn‟t, then it would be no loss, but he was curious to see what Shibito‟s offer of “anything” covered. Hagar waited for the last possible moment to close the hatch. He then slowly pulled out of the docking ring, easing into the traffic flitting around the station, and headed over to the nearest jump gate. Hagar tried not to be surprised as he saw Shibito come stumbling onto the bridge, trying to adjust to the movement of the ship and failing. He made his way to the copilot‟s seat and collapsed into it gratefully. “You made it,” Hagar commented before turning all his attention to getting to the jump gate. “I was lucky,” Shibito said softly. He leaned back in the chair and watched Hagar pilot his ship, easing them through Dunmore Station‟s gate and into hyperspace.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 16 That comment made Hagar look at him oddly for a second. Hagar didn‟t know if it was considered “lucky” not to miss the ship you were going to have to whore on. He didn‟t think Shibito was looking forward to this, but it was better than dealing with the military; almost anything could happen to a man as attractive as Shibito if he were in the hands of the military. Hagar watched him out of the corner of his eye. Shibito looked tired more than anything, but Hagar realized that the man might be having second thoughts, or more, about what he had offered. Hagar almost grinned. A bargain was to be considered a bargain, no matter how it came about. He‟d be gentle with the man, since he had no interest in holding him down and forcing him; he‟d see how far the man was willing to go. But he actually didn‟t have to tell Shibito that right now either.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 17
Chapter Two “I
GOT something to check on,” Hagar said. “Go to my
cabin—it‟s the first one on the left. After I get back, we‟ll see about you earning your passage off Dunmore.” Shibito waited until he sensed that Hagar had gone down to the hold before turning his attention to the navigation system, praying he had enough time to do what he wanted to do and grateful that the man hadn‟t escorted him to his cabin. It showed that the man trusted him for some reason, and he hated betraying that trust. He didn‟t dare sit down in the pilot‟s seat while he did this, since he didn‟t want to be comfortable. He touched the control panel for the navigation system and let his consciousness sink into the computer. What he had to do wasn‟t that difficult, just a small change here and there to convince the computer that the ship wanted to go to Shin Nara in the Nippon Imperium instead of Champlain Station, which was just a short hyperspace jump away. The computer would do most of the work after he had given it the new coordinates. The issue was that you really weren‟t supposed to be changing your destination after you had programmed it in, and there were safeties in place to prevent it, which was why he needed to do it this way, never mind that it was faster and not as easily traced. Changing your destination in hyperspace after you had entered the jump gate had a tendency to make the computer a bit confused, and odds were that you wouldn‟t make it out
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 18 of the jump in one piece. But if you asked nicely enough, altering the calculations just so, you got what you wanted out of the computer, in theory. If you didn‟t, well, you became one of the stories used to scare newbie pilots in bars. He had been told that when he had asked about it in training. But Shibito didn‟t care right now because he just wanted to get to where he wanted… needed to be. The trip would be longer by several days, even through hyperspace, and he didn‟t even want to think about what Hagar would do to him when he found out what he had done. He just hoped he‟d be able to make it up to him. Shibito carefully made the adjustments he wanted in the navigation system, working slowly because it had been a while since he had done this. He was sweating slightly by the time he was done and dashed to the cabin, hoping he wouldn‟t be caught. He had timed it just right because he slipped into the cabin just as Hagar walked in from checking out the rest of the ship. Hagar smiled at him and Shibito hoped that anything the man saw on his face was put down to second thoughts about whoring himself out to get off Dunmore Station rather than what he really had been doing. “Strip,” Hagar ordered. Shibito didn‟t need to be psychic to realize that Hagar wanted to show him who was in charge. Not that he was being mean about it; he just wanted to know as soon as possible if he had made a good bargain. “I don‟t get to clean up?” Shibito asked him, hoping he didn‟t sound too scared. “You‟ll be getting dirtier soon enough,” Hagar told him with a grin.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 19 Shibito stripped as he had been ordered to, trying to calm the butterflies in his stomach. It wasn‟t like he hadn‟t had sex before or even bottomed, but it had been a while and he was having second thoughts about what he was doing. But he had needed to get off Dunmore before the authorities caught up with him. Hagar had been the first pilot in weeks who had felt safe to him. It would be a violation of everything he had been taught if he decided to change Hagar‟s mind about doing this, even if he thought he could succeed without reducing the man to a drooling idiot. He had made the offer and he would stand by his word, no matter what it cost him. Hells, this might be what saved him from Hagar‟s anger when he found out what he had done. “The hair too,” Hagar told him when Shibito was naked before him. Shibito shivered, even though it was warm in the cabin, as he undid his hair. It would have been wiser to cut it, but he had balked at that. Instead, he had pulled it back into a braid and hid the length by folding it up as short as possible and tying it off. When he was done loosening it, the mass of it fell down his back to his waist. Hagar stepped over to him, and Shibito could feel lust rolling off of him as he leaned down and kissed him. Shibito was surprised at the kiss and hesitated a second before kissing him back. He hadn‟t expected Hagar to kiss him. He was treating this like it was a bit more than it was. Whores didn‟t get kissed; he knew that rule at least. He‟d let Hagar do whatever he wanted, so long as the man didn‟t hurt him. His bargain with the man didn‟t include getting injured, and Hagar would find out that he wasn‟t as
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 20 submissive as he thought if the man started something strange. Hagar threaded his hands through Shibito‟s hair as his kiss got rougher, more demanding. He ate at Shibito‟s mouth for several minutes before pulling away. He grinned as he shifted his grip on Shibito‟s hair, using it as a control device. He pushed Shibito to his knees, not bothering to let go of his hair. Shibito realized what Hagar wanted him to do and sank to his knees gracefully before starting to nuzzle his cock and balls through his clothing. “Show me you‟re worth giving you a ride,” Hagar demanded. Shibito heard the excitement in the other man‟s voice and felt the thrill he was feeling at dominating him. That thrill felt very, very good to him. Hagar wanted a submissive little toy right now, someone to order about, someone who would yield to his every desire. He‟d give that to the man, no matter what he had thought earlier, since Shibito wanted that to happen to him now. It wouldn‟t be difficult for him to give up all control to the other man; he wanted Hagar to dominate him, use him roughly and thoroughly. Shibito had never felt this way before and didn‟t know why he did now, but he didn‟t have time to think about that at the moment. He put that thought aside and then carefully used his teeth to strip the other man of his clothing, enjoying the thrill it gave Hagar. He rubbed his face against Hagar‟s cock for a moment, smelling his arousal, feeling it deepen his own. He then stuck out his tongue and began to delicately lick and suck at Hagar‟s balls, playing with them for a few minutes, enjoying the groans his actions caused. When Hagar loosened the grip
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 21 on his hair, he started to lick the underside of the man‟s cock, toying with him, tasting his skin and sweat, wanting more. Shibito shifted his stance and reached up to grasp Hagar‟s cock to guide it into his mouth. Hagar tightened his grip on Shibito‟s hair and pulled his head back, looking him in the eye, snarling at him, “No hands.” Shibito nodded at his order and then leaned over to lick the tip of his cock, circling the head slowly with his tongue, licking it clean of precome before taking it into his mouth. Hagar groaned and shoved hard into his mouth, making Shibito take it all. He choked when Hagar shoved the entire length of his cock down his throat. He had hoped he would be able to draw out the blowjob, since he had been enjoying himself. He didn‟t see how he could fail to, because he was losing himself in Hagar‟s lust as if it were his own. His shields were worse than useless right now, and he cursed himself for not thinking about this before. But it was too late for that, and really, he didn‟t think he‟d be too upset if he just lost himself in Hagar‟s emotions. It was better than trying to fight what was happening to him, even if he wanted to do that. Shibito had been surprised to see that Hagar was cut; not many people did that anymore. He enjoyed the taste and feel of him in his mouth, and gods help him, he was enjoying Hagar trying to pound his cock through the back of his head. He was moaning almost as much as Hagar, even with the man‟s cock in his throat. He whimpered involuntarily when Hagar pulled out of his mouth and sprayed his seed all over Shibito‟s face and throat.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 22
HAGAR was about to climax when he got a good idea. He had told Shibito he was going to be dirty soon enough; it was time to live up to his promise. He pulled out and gave the other man a pearl necklace, amazed at the sheer neediness on Shibito‟s face as he was doing it, his tongue darting out to lick what Hagar had sprayed on his face. Shibito seemed to be enjoying this as much as he was. Hagar was vaguely surprised at that. He had expected some sort of protest once they were both off Dunmore Station, but Shibito lived up to his word. He was hard and looked ready to burst, he wanted Hagar so much. He hadn‟t made a mistake in taking Mama‟s lost kitten on his ship; the man fucked like a pro on his day off, and Hagar couldn‟t wait to see all the tricks the man knew. “Get on the bed, ass in the air,” Hagar ordered him. “I want to fuck you.” He had just spent his load, but for some reason, he was still hard and ready to go again. It had been a while since he had had anyone but his hand, but this was amazing. He felt like he was a teenager again. He was amused to see that Shibito almost leaped onto the bed to follow his orders. Shibito knelt on the bed, spread wide, his ass high in the air, practically wiggling it in anticipation of getting fucked. He whimpered when Hagar slowly stroked his back before trailing a finger down his crack. “You want badly, don‟t you?” Hagar crooned. “Please.” Shibito whimpered. Hagar gently stroked Shibito‟s hair to the side with his other hand, smiling to himself as Shibito shivered. Still gentle, he slicked up his fingers and slowly started stretching
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 23 out Shibito‟s opening. Shibito whined and shuddered under his attentions. “Tighter than a virgin,” Hagar told him. “You aren‟t one, though, are you? Not with the way you suck cock. You‟re good enough to be a pro. You would have made a fortune at Mama‟s with that mouth.” “No….” Shibito moaned. Hagar pulled out his fingers after playing with him for a few minutes and wiped them clean on his thigh. He nudged Shibito‟s entrance with his cock and sensed Shibito holding his breath as Hagar pushed into his body. He was a lot bigger than his fingers, but Hagar thought he had loosened Shibito up enough so that the stretching was more pleasure than pain. Shibito whined when Hagar bottomed out, their balls resting against each other. There was a moment of stillness, as if the universe had stopped for both of them, before Hagar pulled all the way out and thrust back into him, grabbing his hips hard to keep him in place. Hagar groaned once he was fully sheathed in Shibito. The man was tight and hot, his ass welcoming his cock, even as he fucked him into the bed. Shibito was taking it, fucking him back, even loving his rough treatment. He looked like a good wind would knock him over, but it seemed that Shibito was a lot tougher than he looked. Hagar was slightly appalled at his brutality but couldn‟t help himself. He wanted Shibito bruised and well fucked when he was done with him, even if he hadn‟t wanted that with any of his partners before. And he doubted the other man would argue with that. Hagar hammered into Shibito‟s body, not stopping until he was shuddering underneath him. He grinned. Shibito was
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 24 whimpering like a bitch in heat, a sound he wanted to hear again and again from the man. He was startled at the scream Shibito let off at his orgasm, but the sound and the feel of his ass tightening up set off Hagar‟s own climax and he almost shoved Shibito through the bed when he was done, collapsing onto his back. He was surprised when the other man stood the additional weight, because he knew he was heavy. Shibito wasn‟t as physically frail as he looked; there was muscle to him that Hagar hadn‟t expected. “You‟re good,” Hagar groaned, pulling out of him after a minute or so to catch his breath. Shibito didn‟t say anything and crawled over to the other side of the bed and curled up. Hagar grinned and lay down next to him.
SHIBITO nodded, feeling satisfied. He was sticky and sore, but it was a good feeling. A feeling he wanted more of, days of, doing this. It seemed to be a fine way to spend the time. He didn‟t know why he felt this way. Before he had enjoyed sex, but he hadn‟t the need he seemed to feel. Now he wanted to do anything Hagar wanted him to. He wanted to be utterly lost in the lust they both felt, and the rougher it was for him, the better. He didn‟t think Hagar wanted to be rough with him. He hadn‟t sensed anything like that from the man when he was talking to him in the station. It had hurt but had felt so good. Shibito had been greedy for the sex… needy for more, really. Hagar had pounded him into the bed, and Shibito had been broadcasting the lust he had felt for the man, that he had wanted to be taken and marked. Shibito had needed to lose himself in the desire in a
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 25 way he had never felt before. He knew he should have been insulted by what Hagar had done, but all he felt was disappointment that he hadn‟t been able to show him how good he was at sucking cock. “We have a couple of hours before we make Champlain,” Hagar said, interrupting his thoughts, “and I‟m riding your ass for all of it. That might make up for me not being able to make a deal with Mama.” Shibito turned over and stretched out. He leaned up and tentatively kissed Hagar. Hagar laughed and stroked his hair. “I can see why you tied it back. Nothing in space says fuck toy more than long hair. Shows that you don‟t really have to work for a living.” Shibito was quiet and rested his head on Hagar‟s shoulder. Long hair meant a few other things too, like being an Imperium noble, and he hoped Hagar didn‟t think of that. He slowly started to trace patterns on the man‟s chest, exploring his body with his mouth and hands, sensing his enjoyment of the touch. Shibito played with Hagar while Hagar played with Shibito‟s hair. They spent a long time doing this, before Hagar rolled him over and handed him the tube of lube. “I want to watch you get ready for me,” Hagar told him. Shibito nodded, feeling a blush rising on his face even though he wanted to give the man a show he wouldn‟t forget. He knew what to do, and he smeared some of the lube on his fingers before opening his legs wide. He felt vulnerable in this position but excited too. He moved his balls a little so Hagar could see what he was doing. He eased a finger into his opening, making a show of it. He was still lubed from earlier and it had mixed with the semen that Hagar had filled
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 26 him with. He stroked his insides and gasped when he found his special spot. He unconsciously arched higher when he did that, a soft groan falling from his lips. “Like playing with yourself?” Hagar asked him, his voice husky. “For you,” Shibito answered, knowing that was what the man wanted to hear. He inserted a second finger into his body and scissored them open, watching Hagar watch him. He knew that his own excitement at doing this was affecting the other man from the glazed look in his eyes. “Want something more?” Hagar asked him. Shibito didn‟t answer him right away, stroking his own nipples with his other hand as he twisted his fingers inside himself. It was wonderful and he did want more, but he also wanted to tease Hagar a bit longer. “Whatever you want,” he said huskily. Hagar groaned when he saw what Shibito was doing. “Get me ready.” Shibito fumbled for the lube, managing to open it onehanded. He reluctantly withdrew his fingers from himself and smeared more lube on them before closing the container. He then slowly pumped his hand up and down Hagar‟s cock, slicking it up as Hagar leaned over and kissed him. Shibito felt that this kiss was as demanding as the last ones had been, even if it hadn‟t had been as rough. He wasn‟t surprised to feel his legs being wrapped around Hagar‟s waist as the man plunged into his body again. He moaned at the sudden move and then wrapped his arms around the man‟s neck as they settled into the rhythm. Hagar leaned forward, resting all his weight on his hands as he rocked with Shibito. It wasn‟t as violent as the
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 27 first time, but it was as hard. Hagar thrust his tongue into Shibito‟s mouth, fucking his mouth with his tongue as he fucked his ass. Shibito loved it; he pulled Hagar closer and stroked his back. Shibito lost himself in the tempo of sex. There was nothing else that mattered but the hard cock thrusting in and out of his ass. Hagar‟s kissing him, the sounds they were making—their moans and groans—were music. He was just a plaything for the other man, a doll that moved and did what he was told. The thought was so exciting that he almost came. But that pleasure was just beyond his reach. He whined and tried to reach it, wiggling madly underneath Hagar. But he was denied it even as he felt Hagar shudder and fill him again with his semen.
HAGAR came. Shibito‟s wriggling underneath him set off his orgasm. He knew the other man was frustrated beyond belief. He pulled almost out and stopped kissing him when his orgasm was done, pinning the man‟s hands above his head so he couldn‟t finish himself off. He saw the need in his eyes and almost reached down to give him some relief, but he wanted to hear him beg. He laughed instead. “You really want it, don‟t you?” “Yes.” Shibito whimpered pitifully. Needy little slut was something he would have never thought about Shibito. He had thought he might be able to coax the man into having sex with him, but Hagar hadn‟t thought he would turn out to be such an enthusiastic partner, one who was so fun to tease and willing to be ridden hard. “What‟s it worth to you?” “Gods… anything,” Shibito begged.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 28 Hagar leaned down and kissed him, slowly filling him again and then starting to rock in and out. Shibito moaned and squirmed, but Hagar was deliberately moving too slow to give him the relief he was seeking. “Such a needy little slut,” Hagar teased. Hagar leaned back, pulling Shibito up with him, shifting so he was sitting on the bed and Shibito was impaled on his lap. “Fuck me again and you might get to come this time,” Hagar told him. “Come before me and I‟ll tan your ass.” Shibito stared at him for a second and Hagar thought he had pushed the other man a little too far, but then he began to slowly ride him. He leaned in for more kisses and Hagar let him set the pace. Hagar learned that Shibito liked passionate, hard kisses as he rode him, moaning deeply in pleasure as Hagar gripped him tight, urging him to go faster and faster. Hager didn‟t know why this felt so good, but it did and he couldn‟t believe it when he came a fourth time, Shibito still hard, his cock drooling precome. While this orgasm wasn‟t as intense as the previous ones, it was good and he added it to the loads he already had filled Shibito with. “Please… please… please….” Shibito whimpered almost soundlessly, and Hagar relented finally and reached down and fisted his cock. One pump was all it took. Shibito sobbed and rested his head on Hagar‟s shoulder as he came, spraying the two of them, shuddering helplessly. Sated at last, for now anyway, Hagar watched Shibito look up at him, blinking at him sleepily, clearly exhausted. “You‟re done for,” Hagar told him. “Sleep.”
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 29 Shibito slowly got off him, shuddering when Hagar‟s cock left his body. He curled up again and Hagar carefully drew the covers over him before he fell asleep. Hagar smiled and shook his head. He supposed he should be the one who passed out, seeing that he‟d come four times to Shibito‟s two. But then he didn‟t know how tired the other man had been when he started to play with him, pounding his ass like they were both teenagers. He knew Mama wanted everyone to work as hard as he did, so he wagered that Shibito had been working his ass off for the other man, and then he just worked that same ass off in a different way. Hagar wandered into the galley, not bothering to get dressed. He‟d let the other man sleep for a little while and then he‟d wake him up. It wasn‟t like he didn‟t have anything to do. There were a couple of odd chores he could take care of and it wouldn‟t hurt to check on what the autopilot was doing, even if he couldn‟t navigate from jump point to jump point himself. No one could navigate in hyperspace. Man may have conquered the stars and all that crap, but the computer was needed to drive man between those stars. Hagar made a cup of coffee in the galley and got a snack too while running over in his head who he could talk to on Champlain about his load of whiskey and the other odds and ends he had in his cargo hold. But he was distracted by the thought that he‟d like to have Shibito prancing around in just that hair—even while he was cooking, if they managed to get that far. His cock twitched at the thought of taking the other man again, hard and fast, pinned against the wall. He didn‟t have what you‟d call an extensive galley on his ship, just a place to do some simple cooking, reheat food,
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 30 and make coffee. It was half the reason he stopped at the stations he did, because he knew where the good food was. Hagar automatically checked the hold and the other cabins on his ship. It might not be a big ship, but it was all his! He owned the Midgard Serpent outright and made a decent living as a small trader. His father had wanted him in the military, but he chose to apprentice himself to a pilot and then struck out on his own when he got a chance. His father hadn‟t spoken to him since. Hagar shook off those depressing thoughts as he went onto the bridge. He admired the pretty abstract-colored pictures that showed the view into hyperspace on his navigation screen, watching the colors shift and bleed, even while aware that watching them for too long was a bad thing. There was something about those patterns that drove people insane, which was why a computer did all the navigation through hyperspace. Hagar pulled his eyes away from the display after a minute and checked his e-mail on a second screen, spending several minutes going through the mess that had been downloaded into his account when he had hit Dunmore Station. He knew half of it was junk mail before he looked at it, along with one or two personal messages, notices for bills, and a few job offers. He dumped the spam mail, read through his messages, and quickly scanned the offers, debating on which one he wanted to open negotiations on when he got to Champlain Station. Through with business, he checked on the Serpent‟s progress through hyperspace with the navigation computer instead of just looking at the pretty colors on the screen before he went back to wake up Shibito for another round or
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 31 two. He was curious about how long he had with the man before he left Shibito at Champlain Station. But what he saw made his blood boil, and then he stomped off to deal with the only other person who could have been responsible for what he saw on the Nav screen.
SHIBITO woke up when Hagar lifted him out of bed and almost threw him across the room. He landed in a heap at the base of the wall and wondered if running was an option for one wild second. He knew he couldn‟t. He also knew that if he fought back, he might end up killing Hagar by accident. “What the fuck did you do?” Hagar shouted at him. “I reprogrammed the computer,” Shibito whispered. “In the middle of a fucking jump?” Hagar shouted. “You could have killed us both.” “I knew what I was doing,” Shibito told him with a lot more confidence than he felt. “No one is that fucking good,” Hagar growled at him, leaning over to pick him up again. He lifted him up and slammed Shibito against the wall, knocking the wind out of him. “Why the fuck couldn‟t you tell me that you wanted to go someplace else besides Champlain?” “It‟s none of your business.” Shibito gasped, trying to breathe and fighting the instinct to hurt Hagar back. The man had a right to be angry, but Shibito was seconds away from throwing him across the room, using his mind to do that instead of his muscles. If he did that, with his lack of control, he might kill the man, smashing his body so hard against the wall that he‟d shatter all his bones. He‟d take a
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 32 beating to avoid hurting the man, since Hagar had every right to be angry at what he had done. “You fucking hijack my ship, it‟s my business,” Hagar said. “I know people there,” Shibito told him. “It‟ll be worth your while.” “If you „know‟ people, why were you on Dunmore Station working in Mama‟s place?” Hagar asked him. “That‟s definitely none of your business,” Shibito snarled back at him. “People that know people aren‟t peddling their ass for a ride,” Hagar snapped at him “No IDent card? No money? Stuck where I was? What in the name of all the hells was I supposed to do?” Shibito snapped back. “Hooking up with a pilot was the only way off that place.” “You could have whored your way out of there with the station‟s commander,” Hagar shot back. “Why did you pick me?” “I couldn‟t trust him,” Shibito said quietly. “I could trust you.” “You were fucking wrong about that,” Hagar told him, mashing his lips against Shibito‟s. Shibito felt the bruising start almost immediately; Hagar‟s kiss was punishing and hungry. He was angry, but for some unknown reason that anger was turning into lust. He felt the other man‟s cock grinding into his thigh, hard and hot. His shields were shredded enough for Hagar‟s unexpected lust to inflame him. He knew this was wrong, that this lust was something he should be fighting against. It
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 33 was almost rape, but even as he was thinking that, Shibito was lifting up his left leg to draw Hagar closer. He moaned slightly as the man lifted him up easily and pushed into him. Shibito wrapped his arms and legs around him and just hung on for the ride as Hagar tried to pound him into the wall, his hands bruising his bottom where he grasped him. He supposed he should be angry, but this felt too good for that as he mindlessly fell into Hagar‟s rhythm.
HAGAR didn‟t know what was happening, because one minute he had wanted to hurt Shibito and the next he couldn‟t stop fucking him. He was horrified but Shibito wasn‟t, or so it seemed to him. Maybe the other man was too frightened to protest, but he didn‟t think so, not with the way Shibito was kissing him back, making the most amazing noises in the back of his throat before he stiffened and came, moaning the entire time Hagar fucked him. Hagar bit back a curse, growling as he came, trying to get deeper into Shibito, shoving him against the wall hard. He shuddered for a minute before he managed to swing Shibito around, the other man‟s legs slowly unwrapping from his waist and landing gracefully on the floor before leaning into him, the two of them still kissing. “What did we just do?” Hagar asked Shibito, sounding as dazed as he felt when he broke off the kiss. He expected the other man to look scared, but all he could see was a dreamy sexual satisfaction on his face. They were both sweating and panting and Hagar knew that the only thing that was keeping Shibito upright was the fact that he had him pinned to the wall. And he wanted to turn the man
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 34 around and fuck him again just to keep that look on his face. “What the fuck just happened?” “I don‟t know,” Shibito answered. “I just….” “You didn‟t,” Shibito told him softly. “I could have stopped you.” Hagar snorted and shook his head. He doubted that, but he was still angry with the other man, even feeling this good about the sex. Slightly guilty too; no matter what Shibito said, he doubted the other man would have been able to stop him. But he had to get Shibito away from him before Hagar started fucking him again. He supposed this had been better than a beating, but he had his doubts. He also didn‟t trust Shibito out of his sight; who knew what kinds of tricks he‟d pull? He was stuck with going to Shin Nara, but he wasn‟t going to let Shibito roam around his ship. He twisted Shibito‟s right arm behind his back and turned him around. Resisting the urge to fuck him again, he marched him down the corridor. Shibito only started to fight back when they got close to the door for the hold, probably frightened that he was going to be thrown into it. Hagar twisted his arm up tighter, almost to the breaking point. Shibito gasped in pain and went limp. Hagar stopped at the last cabin before the hold. As tempting as it was to space Shibito, he wasn‟t going to do that or throw him in with the cargo. He just needed time away from him, and locking him in a cabin was going to provide it. If he didn‟t, Hagar was afraid there were going to be more incidents like that last, and he‟d end up killing the other man by fucking him to
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 35 death, if what just happened was any clue. Hagar palmed open the door and tossed Shibito into the cabin. Shibito landed in a heap, breaking his fall easily, but he still ended up sprawled on the floor. Hagar looked at him and wondered what the fuck was wrong with him. Shibito looked like he had been beaten up; the bruises he had were the type you got from rough sex or rape. Shibito was just staring back at him, still dazed, it seemed, or worse. And all he wanted to do was fuck him again. “I don‟t fucking trust you and I don‟t want to fucking space you, so I‟m locking you in here,” Hagar growled at him, refusing to feel guilty and not succeeding. He was glad he was managing to fight the urge to step into the cabin and grab Shibito‟s hair and fuck him long and hard again. “Don‟t try anything or I am tossing you out the airlock.”
UNDERSTAND,” Shibito whispered. He was crashing,
needing to rebuild his shields. Hagar‟s anger and lust were raw emotions rubbing against his mind, causing it to scream in agony. Time alone was what he needed. He was too tired, too vulnerable to fight what was happening. He had spent most of his time on Dunmore Station trying not to lose himself in all those minds, even while he had been attempting to build up his shields again. His shields now were too thin at the best of times and shredded, it seemed to him, for most of it. What was happening between him and Hagar was proof that he needed time alone to finish repairing the damage that had been done to him. He had inadvertently done something to deflect the man‟s anger and that somehow had triggered his… their lust. Shibito didn‟t
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 36 know if he should be appalled or thankful he had done that. He ached and didn‟t like seeing the anger in Hagar‟s eyes or the guilt. He opened his mouth to apologize for what he had done and then closed it again. He didn‟t know what to say or do to apologize. Hagar had every right to be angry with him, because he could have gotten the two of them killed with his stunt with the Nav computer. Hagar growled again and palmed the door shut, locking Shibito in the cabin. Shibito curled up and shivered, feeling Hagar moving away before he pulled himself together and moved into a position of meditation, starting to rebuild the control he had been infamous for. He had been teased by his cousins often enough about it growing up. He was as confused as Hagar about what had just happened, but for different reasons. While he was psionic, he wasn‟t a telepath. He had some empathy, but his talent lay more in the realm of physical and energy manipulation, rather than manipulation of the human mind. Shibito couldn‟t believe how involved he had been in Hagar‟s lust, the need that he had to have the man use him as he did. He hadn‟t felt anything like that before. He didn‟t know if he wanted to do so again. He had always been orderly, almost neat in his passion, never losing himself like he just had. It was foreign to him and frightening too, and if it happened again, he didn‟t know if he‟d welcome the experience, even as he unconsciously stroked his bruised hips in pleasure. He just had to learn to control himself so it didn‟t happen again, so he could do what his duty demanded of him. Duty was more important than pleasure. More important than the pleasure he felt when Hagar used him like the lowest type of
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 37 whore, the pleasure he experienced from Hagar dominating him. Shibito willed himself to forget the passion he had just shared with Hagar and concentrated on rebuilding his mental shields to get ready for what waited for him at the end of this trip, a challenge that would make Hagar‟s anger seem trivial. He felt guilty that he had tricked the man the way he did. Hagar was an honest man and one who seemed slow to anger; it would take something like the foolish stunt Shibito had done to bring out that anger. And he hadn‟t had the words to apologize for what he had done either. He never did, it seemed to him. And because of that, he had let his body speak for him, for all the good it had done. Hagar was still angry and now he felt guilty because he thought he had taken advantage of him. Shibito shuddered. That was far from the truth—if he wasn‟t so tired and if he knew he needed to stay away from Hagar, he‟d be out there with the man, begging him to fuck him into the wall… the deck… anything. He had become a prisoner of his lust in ways he couldn‟t imagine.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 38
Chapter Three HAGAR made himself return to the cabin he had imprisoned Shibito in several hours later, instead of barging in there and fucking him immediately, like he had wanted to do. He was surprised to see that Shibito was just sitting on the floor, eyes closed and apparently lost in his own little world. Of all the things Hagar expected to see when he entered the cabin, this wasn‟t one of them. He had expected Shibito to plead with him for his release or maybe try to bargain with him, using his body again. He hadn‟t expected to be ignored. Hagar resisted the urge to shake Shibito to make him pay attention to him so he could fuck him again. Hagar thought that it might be good that he was doing whatever he was doing if that was the first thought he had about the man. Hagar was willing to admit that he was still pissed at the man for altering the Serpent‟s course. Hell, he couldn‟t even figure out how or when he had done it; the course corrections and calculations, even with the help of the computer, should have taken a while. He‟d only left Shibito alone for a handful of minutes. There was no way he could have done anything in that little time. So how had he done it? Hagar stared at Shibito for a couple of minutes longer, amazed at the serenity he saw on the man‟s face. It was like he wasn‟t even here. He‟d check back in a couple more hours to see if there was any change. He told his cock that he was doing the thinking for now and hoped he wasn‟t lying to
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 39 himself. He wanted the other man badly, wanted to kiss him senseless, make him beg to come as he knelt before him. Hagar went back a couple of hours later, not surprised to see that Shibito was still in the same position for some reason. He hadn‟t moved, and by this time Hagar was wondering if he could. If it wasn‟t for the slow movement of his chest, he‟d doubt that the man was even breathing. And he wondered how a man who had been stranded on Dunmore Station knew things like this. He had heard rumors of the citizens of Shin Nippon being able to do weird things like this, but this was the first time he had seen it for himself.
HAGAR was getting peeved by the third day, because Shibito was still not responding to him, lost in whatever weird trance he had put himself into. Hagar freely admitted that his temper had gotten the best of him, but it was a little hard to apologize to someone who had checked out, mentally at least. Still, although he didn‟t want to admit it, there was something peaceful about sitting with Shibito, even if the man didn‟t seem to know he was there. Hagar had taken to reading in the cabin with him, just so he knew the other man was all right, even if he found himself staring at the pages more than reading them. Hagar sat staring at his reader, wondering what the hells he was going to do if Shibito didn‟t come out of whatever he was in before they made it to Shin Nara. He had no idea why Shibito wanted to go to the Nipponese Imperium, except for the obvious reason that he was of Asian descent. On Shin Nara, Hagar had no idea how to sell
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 40 his cargo or who he could sell it to. Once there, he would be cut off from anyone he could deal with, didn‟t know the customs, and would be flat broke due to the fact that he couldn‟t access any of his accounts, even for something as necessary and simple as refueling his ship. He was running on fumes as it was. He hated to admit it, but he was dependent on Shibito‟s word that he knew people there. If he didn‟t, Hagar doubted that his passenger would be the only one peddling his ass for a ride.
SHIBITO blinked and let his consciousness float to the surface of his mind. It took a second for his eyes to focus, and when they did, he was surprised to see that Hagar was sitting there with him. That made him feel better in an odd way. “How long?” he croaked, unfolding himself gracefully. He wasn‟t surprised that he sounded terrible while being able to move easily; his mouth was always dry when he meditated. “A few days,” Hagar told him, looking at him strangely. “We get to Shin Nara in a couple of hours.” Shibito looked at him and was silent when Hagar handed him a bottle of water. He drank greedily, feeling better than he had since waking up on that planet. His shields felt stronger than ever, his mind was sharp, and he just felt good. A bit guilty because he had dragged Hagar out here on false pretenses since he knew Hagar had expected more than a few hours of pleasure with him, and had basically kidnapped the other man and hijacked his ship. These were things he should be horrified he had done, but he was really only relieved that the damage hadn‟t been any
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 41 greater for the two of them from his stupid stunt with the navigation system. “You should be on the bridge, then,” Shibito murmured. “And you‟re going to be with me too,” Hagar told him with almost a growl. He didn‟t seem reassured when Shibito submissively murmured, “Of course.” Shibito stared at the controls as Hagar started the landing procedure. He was certain the only reason he was here was because Hagar didn‟t trust him alone. He also knew that if he moved to touch anything, the other man just might hit him. While Hagar had been angry, Shibito knew he could have really hurt him instead of only locking him in a cabin. But that didn‟t mean he was comfortable sitting here half-naked while Hagar was dressed, and having to wonder exactly how much trouble he was in. “Where on this rock do you know someone?” Hagar asked sarcastically. “Todoji,” Shibito told him. “The capital of Shin Nara. Just get us down to the capital and I can handle it from there.” He hoped he sounded a lot more confident than he felt. It had been a couple of years, and while he was certain that Genji was still there, he didn‟t know how easy it would be to get to him. Hagar glared at him and then shrugged. “If you‟re lying to me, I‟m taking it out of your hide and then dropping you there.” “I know,” Shibito told him quietly.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 42 He didn‟t need to be psychic to tell how angry and how nervous Hagar was. Other than that, the man was as comfortable to be with as anyone Shibito had ever known. It was a pity that the man probably hated Shibito for tricking him, because he seemed to be someone Shibito would have liked to get to know better. He squirmed in his seat, uncomfortable for a second. Hagar knew him very well right now or at least knew his body. If he had any shame, he should be blushing about some of the things he had done with Hagar. Things, he admitted to himself, he wanted to do with him again.
HAGAR looked over at Shibito. The man looked confident, but he doubted Shibito would tell him anything, not after the way he had treated him. Not that he had complained, but Hagar was certain the man wouldn‟t say shit to him because he had scared him so much. But someone who had managed to reprogram his jump drive midflight should have been able to take care of something so minor as not having an IDent card. There was something else going on here, and he didn‟t know if he really wanted to figure out what that was. Some things were better left alone, and Shibito‟s secret was probably one of them. “Todoji control, this is the Midgard Serpent, looking to land,” Hagar stated. “Field fifty-six is free,” a bored-sounding man told him. “Land there and make any arrangements that you need with the local authorities. Follow the guidance beacons down to that point. Any deviance from your assigned route will be dealt with severely.”
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 43 Hagar supposed the night shift was dull, but usually he was asked a few questions before he was told that he was cleared to land. The man probably wanted to get back to his book or whatever kept him occupied. The shipping combines usually came in during the better times and were given the best landing fields. He didn‟t doubt that they were on the far side of nowhere, and this was going to cost him a fortune in landing fees and anything else they could think to charge him for. He doubted that, even if they hooked up with Shibito‟s friend, he was going to cover his expenses on this mess. He glanced over at Shibito. “They‟re really casual about things here.” Shibito shrugged. “They haven‟t had trouble in decades. The monks make sure of that.” “What monks?” Hagar asked him. Shibito looked over at him, surprise on his face. “Shin Nara is a religious planet,” Shibito told him. “Run by both the Shinto and Buddhist monks of the Shin Nippon Imperium.” “Fancy name for a handful of planets,” Hagar said snidely. “Twelve planets, a half dozen jump points, and thriving trade with most of the rest of the known universe, but what‟s in a name?” Shibito responded mildly. “So your contact‟s a monk?” Hagar asked him, starting the landing procedures. “He is,” Shibito told him, “in a manner of speaking.” “You are or you aren‟t, in my area of space,” Hagar told him. But then “monk” probably meant something different here. It wasn‟t like he knew a lot about these people. In his experience, they were a bit standoffish at best and paranoid
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 44 at worst, even the ones who were free traders—not that he saw them too often. The Asians, even the independents, stayed in the Imperium for the most part; there were very few who wanted to deal with the other side of known space. That Shibito hadn‟t been willing to try to go to any one of them told him something too. Told him that whatever he was getting into because he‟d thought with his dick for once was a bigger mess than he‟d wanted to ever deal with in his life. It wasn‟t worth getting laid, even if the sex was fantastic. But he had liked Shibito, had wanted to maybe get to know the guy as something other than a fuck buddy. If it had worked out, he might have been interested in seeing if the man wanted to stay around for a couple more runs. “Genji‟s here in a more administrative capacity,” Shibito told him. “And because he‟s a younger son. It was meant more to keep him out of trouble than because he showed any true religious inclinations, but he seems to have developed a liking for this life. It probably gives him some protection.” Hagar grunted, wondering what this Genji needed protection from, and then didn‟t care. He was silent as he went through landing. He wasn‟t used to talking to people: he spent too much time alone on his ship. Much as he hated to admit it, it was nice to have someone here, and not just for the sex. If he could actually trust Shibito not to screw with his Nav system—or any other system on the ship, for that matter—he would enjoy Shibito‟s company a lot more. They landed without fanfare, and Hagar stood up and stretched, looking down at Shibito. “If you think you‟re ditching me now that we‟re here, you‟re sadly mistaken. We‟re gonna be joined at the hip practically.” Hagar appreciated Shibito‟s blush at his comment. They had spent some of the trip joined in one manner or another,
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 45 at least in the beginning. He leaned over and practically pulled the other man out of his seat to kiss him. Hagar kissed him hungrily, wondering if they had time for another session before they had to go and meet Shibito‟s friend. He pressed his body against Shibito‟s and wasn‟t surprised to feel him hardening against him. “I…,” Shibito started. “It‟s the middle of the night,” Hagar told him. “And that means that I know where Genji is,” Shibito told him. “So?” Hagar asked him. “You want to sell your cargo?” Shibito asked him practically, even as he was melting against him “You said anything,” Hagar reminded him. “And I say that goes until we meet your contact.” Shibito slowly nodded, biting his lip. “A quickie, then,” Hagar told him. Hagar turned Shibito around and made him bend over the Nav console between the two chairs there, too impatient to take this back to his cabin. He undid Shibito‟s pants and pushed them down around his thighs, not bothering to get undressed himself. Shibito moaned and thrust his ass in the air. Hagar grinned and ran a finger down Shibito‟s back before exploring the cleft of his ass. He had lube on him, since he had been planning on having sex with Shibito. The man was amazing, hot and sexy, and Hagar wasn‟t going let him go before he had to. He slicked up a finger and gently inserted it in his opening, enjoying Shibito‟s reactions as he penetrated him. He wiggled the finger a bit as he explored the man‟s ass, trying to find his hot spot. Hagar knew he had succeeded when Shibito let out a small scream and jumped a bit.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 46 “Like that?” Hagar drawled as he inserted another finger. He had said he wanted a quickie, but there was something about playing with Shibito‟s ass that he couldn‟t ignore. He fingered the other man for a couple minutes, watching his face in the reflection of the darkened Nav screen. Shibito was gasping and moaning in pleasure, and Hagar knew he wasn‟t faking it. “Such a needy little thing right now.” “Please,” Shibito whimpered. Hagar felt that he should be more of a gentleman, but there was something about Shibito that made him want to use the man brutally, even if that wasn‟t something he‟d had an inclination to do with his partners before. He reached around and skimmed his other hand up Shibito‟s stomach to his nipples. They were hard little pebbles that he played with, enjoying Shibito‟s reactions to his touch, the slight pinches he clearly loved. His hand strayed to Shibito‟s mouth, and he wasn‟t surprised when the man started sucking on his fingers, closing his eyes as he started to whine steadily. Hagar leaned over and kissed the back of Shibito‟s neck before pulling his fingers out of his ass and guiding his cock into him. He nudged at his entrance for a couple of seconds before pushing into him steadily, bottoming out and then pulling out almost entirely before thrusting back into his ass as hard as he could. He shifted so he could brace one hand on the console, while he used the other to pin Shibito to it. Shibito let out a scream when Hagar started fucking him hard. It sounded more like pleasure than pain, so Hagar figured he didn‟t have to stop. Shibito lifted his ass up as high as he could, moving toward Hagar. Hagar pinned him by his neck to the Nav console, pounding him savagely.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 47 Shibito began to babble in a tongue Hagar didn‟t recognize; he thought it might be the man‟s native Nipponese. Hagar was worried for a second, not really understanding what Shibito was saying, thinking he was hurting him. But the tone of his voice told him Shibito wanted this as much as he did. He continued his brutal pace and wasn‟t surprised to feel Shibito moving with him, reveling in what he was doing. It was over too soon; he was pouring his load into Shibito faster and harder than he thought he could, even as the other man was shuddering underneath him in his own pleasure. They both collapsed across the Nav console when they were done, Hagar murmuring endearments in his own native tongue into the other man‟s ear. “You all right?” Hagar asked in English as he pulled out of Shibito. Shibito blinked and nodded, stood up stiffly, and stretched a bit, looking sated and well fucked. Hagar gazed at him and said, “We better see your friend, then.” He made up for the callousness of his words by leaning over and kissing Shibito, threatening to turn this “quickie” into a marathon fuck session, not wanting to stop. Shit, there was something about the man that made him want to fuck him raw and then start all over again. That Shibito seemed to want the same thing wasn‟t helping. He knew the other man wasn‟t faking it; Shibito wanted it as hard as he could give it to him. Hagar broke off his kiss with a slap on Shibito‟s ass. He jumped but didn‟t seem pissed at Hagar for it. “Get dressed, or I‟m nailing your ass to the console again.”
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 48
Chapter Four SHIBITO glanced up at the bigger man. Hagar and he had showered afterward, separately because he knew that if they had taken one together, they would still be on the ship. As much as he wanted that, he knew that he was going to have to get in touch with Genji as quickly as he could. And he really hadn‟t wanted to talk to Genji smelling like sex. It was going to be bad enough that he showed up looking like a refugee. The man would get the wrong impression about his relationship with Hagar if they showed up smelling like sex. Not that there was a right one really, but he had made his bargain and didn‟t want the other man to get in trouble over it. Genji would be very upset if he thought that Hagar was abusing him, which he wasn‟t; it was just that the sex was hard, on the edge of brutal, and he didn‟t want it any other way. Hells, Genji would be upset if he realized that Shibito had developed a taste for rough sex, which he seemed to have. At least with Hagar. He doubted that he‟d let anyone else use him like this. But he wasn‟t going to start experimenting to see how true that was either, as delightful as it had sounded for a second. He needed to get this under control as fast as possible, because it was something that would be used against him as soon as the wrong people found out about it. “Where to?” Hagar asked him. “A taxi to his monastery would be the sensible thing.” Shibito told him.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 49 “Neither one of us has the local currency,” Hagar reminded him. “And I know that my IDent card won‟t work here.” “I know that,” Shibito told him with a smile. “That‟s why I‟m stealing a transport.” “Really?” Hagar scoffed. Shibito smiled at him and tugged him over to the storage section of the spaceport. It was easy to find. No matter where you were in the Imperium, you could figure out where everything was in a port because they had all been built alike, following the rules of feng shui faithfully, even if the Imperium had left Earth behind centuries ago.
HAGAR tried not to be impressed when Shibito got them easily into what was obviously a secure location, somehow managing to avoid both electronic and physical security. If he was this good at the less-than-legal matters, why had he needed to make the bargain that he had with him? But Hagar sensed that something had changed in the man during the trip, probably when he did that strange meditation thing. It hadn‟t been because Shibito was avoiding him. If he had known that Shibito could do some of the things he did, Hagar would have had second thoughts about shipping out with him. Still, aside from the shit he had pulled to get them here, he seemed like someone Hagar could get along with. And the sex was mind-blowing, which helped a lot. “You‟re not like a monk or something?” Hagar demanded. Shit, he was in so much trouble if he had fucked a monk. But he doubted Shibito was, with the mouth he had
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 50 on him. He was a man who enjoyed sex too much to be a monk. Shibito looked up from where he appeared to be trying to break into a transport. Hagar was glad to see he had chosen something that was small and nondescript and located toward the back, where it hopefully wouldn‟t be missed too soon. He couldn‟t tell exactly what Shibito was trying to accomplish, but since he had no skills to help him, he‟d let him do what he needed to do without nagging him. “Or something,” Shibito repeated with an odd smile. He did something to the doors of the transport that Hagar couldn‟t see—probably jimmying them open—although Hagar couldn‟t tell what sort of tool he used. Shibito flung open the doors and gestured to Hagar. “Get in.” Hagar climbed into the passenger‟s side; he didn‟t know where they were going, so he wasn‟t going to be an ass and insist that he drive. Even if, for all he knew, Shibito was driving him into some sort of ambush so he could turn him in to the authorities for what he had done with him. While it had been consensual, he doubted that the authorities would see it that way, considering the offer Shibito had made to him. It had been unexpectedly violent, Hagar thought guiltily, since he had never acted like that with a partner before this. He glanced over at Shibito. The bruises were hidden, but he knew he had been rough on the other man during the first couple of days. Hell, he had been expecting to see blood after he locked him into that cabin. But man, he enjoyed seeing Shibito in nothing more than his hair and with all those wonderful bruises he had given him.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 51 SHIBITO climbed into the driver‟s seat and made as if he was trying to do some sort of hotwiring to the transport to start it, instead of powering the engine with his talent. He didn‟t know if Hagar was buying what he was doing, but he couldn‟t exactly tell the man what he was. Not because Hagar was stupid, but because he wouldn‟t believe it. He‟d just think Shibito was crazy. He wasn‟t going to tell him he‟d broken into this transport without anything more than the power of his mind. A glance over at the other man showed that Hagar was deep in his own thoughts, so Shibito touched the control panel for the transport and sent a jolt of energy into it, starting the machine. He grinned and put it into gear, carefully driving out of the parking area, avoiding the security checkpoints. He breathed a sigh of relief when they left the spaceport and headed toward the mountains. “Where we going?” Hagar asked him after a couple of minutes. “Todoji,” Shibito told him. At Hagar‟s confused look, he explained further. “The town is named after the temple. So they‟re both Todoji. But we‟re going to the temple.” “Sounds confusing,” Hagar told him. “Custom,” Shibito told him lightly. “Everyone understands it. Like the odd cities on New England, where they always give directions by coffee shops and churches.” He had spent a couple of months there, studying and chasing down peculiar facts. He had spent most of his time in the libraries. It was not a popular planet, out of the space lanes and proud of its isolation. “Never been there,” Hagar told him. “Never heard of it, really.”
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 52 “I have to—” Shibito started. He had been going to say that he‟d have to take the other man there, but that just sounded odd. He was certain that as soon as Hagar had dropped off his cargo, they would part and never see each other again. He knew that should be a relief to him, but it caused a funny feeling in his stomach when he thought of it. He supposed there were any number of explanations for that, if one cared to make them.
HAGAR looked over Shibito sharply, feeling like a hick for some reason. It wasn‟t like he was stupid; it was just that the other man seemed to know a lot more than he did. Too much for someone who had practically begged to get on his ship as little more than a fuck toy. If he was so smart, so talented, so educated, why had he been stuck on Dunmore Station? What was he hiding? Even if Shibito didn‟t say what it was and Hagar didn‟t ask him about it, they both knew it was there. The rest of the drive was made in silence, neither man wanting to disturb the peace. Hagar wasn‟t surprised that it took about an hour or so to get to their destination, a sprawling complex of buildings and gardens. Shibito parked the transport and looked over at Hagar, “You want to go in with me?” “I told you that I was sticking with you until my cargo was gone,” Hagar almost growled at him. Actually he was starting to worry about the other man. It was stupid, since Shibito had dragged him into this, but the man was beginning to look like he had made a terrible mistake. Hagar could have told him that as soon as he discovered that
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 53 Shibito had hijacked his ship. “So take me to your friend and let me make some money out of this mess.” Shibito glared at him. “I didn‟t tell you that he was a friend.” “Well, he‟s someone who‟s going to get my cargo off my hands, so he‟s a friend to me,” Hagar snapped at him, starting to lose his patience. Shibito shook his head and slipped out of the transport, letting it power down. Hagar climbed out of his side and went over to stand next to him. “Where to?” “Genji‟s quarters should be in the middle of the complex,” Shibito told him. “The most protected place.” “And he‟s there because…?” Hagar asked him, starting to feel nervous. “Because he‟s the abbot here,” Shibito told him absentmindedly, still scanning the complex. “And why didn‟t you tell me this before?” Hagar asked him. “You didn‟t ask me,” Shibito told him drily, with a smile. “I‟m asking you now,” Hagar snarled at him. “Mori Genji is the two hundred and ninety-first abbot of Todoji on Shin Nara, the line unbroken since the founding of this planet. Todoji is the capital of the planet and also the site of the biggest Buddhist temple complex of the Imperium, even larger than the temple on Shin Kyoto,” Shibito told him. “Most of the Imperium planets have been named after the cities of old Japan on Lost Earth.” “And how do you know him?” Hagar asked. “I‟m sticking out my neck for you. I want to know who exactly I‟m doing that with.”
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 54 Shibito turned to look at him. “I wouldn‟t worry about that.” “What do you mean?” Hagar demanded. “Of course I‟m worried. I‟ve no fucking clue what you‟re doing. And worse than that, I‟m pretty sure that you don‟t have a fucking clue either. So I‟m not too reassured when you tell me not to worry.” Shibito opened his mouth to say something and then closed it. “Can you believe it‟s going to work out if I tell you that?” he asked quietly after a moment of strained silence. “That Genji‟s an old friend and that he isn‟t going to do anything stupid.” Hagar believed him, but for what reason he didn‟t know. He had been a shit to the man practically since they met, so Shibito had no reason to trust him. If Hagar acted like he believed him and let him lead the way, then Shibito might stop looking like he was about to lose it. “I‟ll trust you,” Hagar finally told him after a minute of silence. He didn‟t know how to identify what he felt when Shibito smiled at him after he said that, but he knew he liked the feeling and wanted Shibito to smile at him like that a lot more.
SHIBITO was silent as he led Hagar through the dark gardens of the temple. He almost felt like a teenager again, getting into some sort of trouble with Genji. While Hagar wasn‟t as graceful as Genji, he was as willing to follow Shibito into trouble as the other man had been. It helped that the temple clung to tradition in all things, including the guard schedule, which Shibito was willing to swear hadn‟t
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 55 changed since the founding of the planet. It took a long, nerve-racking time to work their way to their destination, and he was still waiting for something to go wrong when he reached the entrance to Genji‟s apartment. “We‟re here?” Hagar whispered. “Almost,” Shibito told him. He reached out with his mind and unlocked the door and shut down the security system long enough to get them inside. If anyone were looking at the system, it would just show up as a blip in the system, an odd power surge or something like that, and hopefully would be dismissed as unimportant. He waited a moment and then eased the door open, motioning for Hagar to follow him. He waited for the bigger man to get inside before he shut the door. He leaned up and murmured in Hagar‟s ear, “Wait here.” Shibito ghosted into the other room. Hagar didn‟t bother waiting but followed. Shibito glared at him but couldn‟t say anything. This wasn‟t the place to be arguing about it. He had to wake Genji up before the man activated the alarm thinking that this was some sort of half-assed assassination attempt. He wondered why he ever thought that Hagar would be sensible and follow his instructions. While the big man had been competent enough following him, it was obvious that he had never been trained to do anything like this. On the other hand, Hagar was probably now guessing that he, Shibito, was too good at doing this and was going to start asking some hard questions. And he knew he didn‟t have any answers for the man, nothing he could tell him and expect him to believe. Shibito glided over to Genji‟s bed and put his hand over the other man‟s mouth, hoping to muffle his shouts when he
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 56 woke him up by softly murmuring in his ear in Japanese, “Wake up.” Genji woke up with a start and turned to look at him in the dim light. He glanced up at Hagar quickly and then turned all his attention to Shibito. “Maru?” Genji whispered, Shibito‟s hand over his mouth distorting the word. Shibito was glad for the hand muffling the other man‟s mouth, because he didn‟t want Hagar to hear that name. “No shouting,” Shibito ordered Genji. Genji nodded and started trying to sit up, only to realize he was still being held down by Shibito. “But….” Shibito took his hand from Genji‟s mouth and told him softly, “My name is Shibito now.” Genji started and stared at him as if he wasn‟t sure that he was really awake and this might be a dream. “What…?” Shibito glanced over at Hagar and said quietly, “I‟m not Ranmaru anymore.” “Does he speak a civilized tongue?” Genji asked, sitting up slowly as if trying to avoid spooking either of his visitors. Shibito shrugged and said softly in English, “Do you want some whiskey? I promised him that you‟d buy his entire cargo. Pay for any other expenses too.” “I don‟t care if you promised him the Imperial Regalia,” Genji snapped at him in Japanese. “Where have you been for the last year?” “What‟s the problem?” Hagar asked angrily. “I‟ll buy your cargo, your ship, your entire family,” Genji half shouted at him in English. “Just shut up now.” “The cargo‟s enough,” Hagar told him. “I just need to make a profit on this run.”
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 57 Genji glared at him for a second before turning that glare on Shibito. Shibito stared coolly back at him, trying to feel more confident than he actually did. He had run to Genji because he trusted him. What if he shouldn‟t? What if he got Hagar into a deeper mess than he had already? “He‟s an innocent bystander in all this,” Shibito told Genji quickly in English. “He… I tricked him into giving me a ride.” That should cover Hagar with Genji, and if he wasn‟t to be trusted, maybe he‟d still let Hagar go without any fuss. Shibito was all too aware of what could happen to someone without any protection, and he had just dragged Hagar into this mess without really thinking it through. But if Genji did turn out to be untrustworthy, he‟d confess that he had forced Hagar to help him, that he had overpowered the man‟s mind with his own to save him. Not that he had ever been able to do that; he had had barely enough empathy to feel other people before this. Or it could have been that his mind shield had been so strong before that any empathy he did have was buried deep. But there was something about Hagar that made him lose himself in the man during sex, which had never happened to him before. That was probably the reason the sex was so incredible and why he wanted to submit to the man utterly. “Tricked is fucking right after what you did to my Nav computer,” Hagar muttered. “What did you do?” Genji asked Shibito in Japanese. “I reprogrammed his Nav computer midjump,” Shibito told him quietly in the same language. At Genji‟s horrified look, Shibito felt that he had to defend himself. “I was desperate. And it wasn‟t like I didn‟t know what I was doing.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 58 I doubt that he would have brought me here, even if I asked him nicely.” “You…. There are rules for a reason,” Genji half shouted at him. “Do you know how easily you could have been lost? What might have happened to you? To that ship? Please tell me that no one else was involved in that idiocy!” “We were alone,” Shibito admitted with a slight flush. Good thing they were, considering the way they had acted. He hadn‟t been that wild as a teenager. He would have done anything Hagar had told him to do, just so the man would continue to have sex with him. It was a good thing Hagar hadn‟t realized that yet. “And how did that happened? You‟ve been gone for over a year! You‟ve been declared dead!” Genji told him, his voice rising with each statement. His voice broke on the word dead.
HAGAR looked over at the two of them from his perch on the pillows—and what kind of room didn‟t have chairs in it anyway? And he wished they would stick to English, because he didn‟t know what they were saying and had a sneaking feeling they were plotting to throw him in jail or worse. However, he didn‟t have to speak the language to know that Shibito‟s friend was upset. He didn‟t think this Genji person was a monk, not with all the gold and other expensive things in his room. He looked to be about Shibito‟s age—maybe, because it was hard to tell with his head shaved, he might be younger than Shibito. All Hagar cared about was that he didn‟t hit some sort of alarm to get them in trouble. But he didn‟t think the
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 59 man was thinking about turning them in to the authorities, not with the way he was staring at Shibito like he was a ghost or worse. Shibito wasn‟t looking too happy either, and for one wild second, Hagar thought the other man had told his friend exactly how he had been treated on Hagar‟s ship. But there was something else going on, the thing that had made Shibito look so fragile when they met. Something to do with the craziness that happened midjump, and that probably would explain how he had been able to reprogram the ship‟s computer as fast as he had been able to, as fast as another computer, as fast as one of those mythical Nipponese psi ninjas were supposed to be able to. Shit, some of the things he had seen Shibito do made sense if he was one of those. Getting them off of Dunmore Station, then reprogramming his computer and getting that transport going could all be explained if Shibito was a psychic. That was insane, though, wasn‟t it? Because they were rare enough to be treated a lot better than Shibito had been. No way would one of them need to trade his body to get anything. Still, that was about the only thing that made sense, given what had happened in the last couple of days. Hagar stared at Shibito for a minute in horror before blurting out, “You‟re a fucking psi.”
BOTH Genji and Shibito looked at him after that outburst. “You didn‟t tell him?” Genji asked drily in Japanese. “There isn‟t that much to tell right now,” Shibito replied in the same tone. “I‟m lucky to be breathing.” Actually that wasn‟t the truth, but if Genji wasn‟t to be trusted, Shibito wanted his cousin to underestimate him.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 60 “What happened?” Genji demanded. “Our dear cousin Kōgon and a syringe of Chozyume,” Shibito told him. “I‟m thinking that it might have been a couple of syringes of the stuff from the way that I felt when I finally woke up. That was about six months ago, as far as I can figure out. “It was some sort of backwoods planet on the far side of the universe, as far away from Katsura as one could get,” Shibito continued. “I spent months there, delirious, before I was aware enough to know that I wasn‟t in the capital. I was surprised that I wasn‟t killed outright, but from some of the things I heard, they were being paid to keep me alive, barely. They seemed to have left me alone, for which I am thankful. “But my shields were in shreds, and I was fortunate to be breathing. There were too many people, too many minds. It took me a month after I woke up before I could do anything more than cower when anyone got near me. By that time, I had a reputation as the village idiot, so they pretty much let me wander anyplace I wanted to. I was able to use that to my advantage, and I was eventually able to figure out where I was and how to get off of there. I ended up on Dunmore Station and then at this bar. I barely got out of there before the authorities found me.” “Kōgon?” Genji asked, horrified. “But he was the one who made such a fuss about your disappearance! And you want me to believe that he had something to do with it?” “I didn‟t inject myself with Chozyume,” Shibito told him heatedly. “If I want to commit suicide, I can think of easier and faster ways.” This was part of the reason he had hesitated about coming back here; he didn‟t think anyone would believe him.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 61 Why would someone like Kōgon think Shibito, his mousy scholar of a cousin, was a threat? He had been barely functioning the first months he was on that planet because of the overdose of Chozyume. He had been fragmented, lost in all the minds around him, until he had been able to build his shields back up. When he had finally been able to function, he had started planning his escape from that place. “But why?” Genji shot back. “You weren‟t a threat to him!” “I was by just breathing,” Shibito growled at him. “If you weren‟t here, you might have had an „accident‟. Or you could have just disappeared like I did.” Genji was far enough away here at the temple that a visit from Kōgon would be a complicated, formal event, one where it would be difficult for him to shoot up his cousin and make him disappear. It also helped that Genji was protected by centuries of religious authority and tradition. “He isn‟t a monster,” Genji protested. “We grew up together; we‟re family!” “And I‟m, as Hagar put it, „a fucking psi‟,” Shibito told him. “You have a better claim to the throne if you want to press it. Both of us are a threat to him because he‟s almost a null.” “Neither one of us wants to be emperor,” Genji responded. “Kōgon actually wants it.” “And that is why he‟s the worst choice, and I told him that,” Shibito said. It had been that discussion that probably sealed his fate with his cousin. It wasn‟t long after that he had woken up with a splitting head to find that months had passed and he wished he were dead. It was a wish he still didn‟t know if he
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 62 wanted to come true or not, given some of the feelings he had now. They were so good, yet so frightening to him. “And that must have gone over so well,” Genji groaned. “But….” “Even knowing that I have no inclination to either the throne or power, I still had power in his mind,” Shibito told him. “He—Kōgon can be very jealous of those whose talents he doesn‟t or can‟t have. And we both know that he barely has enough psychic power to power the throne. While I—” “You are the most powerful psi of this generation, even if you aren‟t a telepath,” Genji finished. He gestured, and a small ball of blue light appeared in his hand. He started to pass the ball around the tips of his fingers, a nervous habit he had. “And that was something that our teachers never stopped pointing out to us. I‟m more of a ‟path than he is, less gifted with the other talents. Kōgon barely has any talent. A lot of the Court was surprised that he took the throne.” Shibito sighed and shrugged. “It wasn‟t like I asked for that either. I would have been happy with my studies.”
HAGAR jumped when the ball appeared in Genji‟s hand and looked at the two of them. “What the fuck?” Genji laughed. “And you never bothered to tell him, did you?” “I didn‟t know if there was anything to tell,” Shibito said. He switched to English, “Hagar, Genji has some talent also.” Hagar thought what he saw was something; he didn‟t know if he wanted to call it talent or something else. No wonder Shibito hadn‟t mentioned this to him; it seemed that
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 63 this freakiness was pretty commonplace. He knew either man would be in deep shit if they pulled this stuff back home. Getting run off the planet would be their best-case scenario. Being burned as witches would be more likely, since his people seemed to be as superstitious as their ancestors. It might be why the Scandinavian Cooperative really didn‟t have a record of any sort of psychic talent, because it wasn‟t worth the danger of revealing talent to anyone else. Hagar had learned what little he knew about it kicking around the space lanes. He knew the Chozyume they were talking about was some sort of drug that suppressed psychic talent. Too much of it was supposed to kill your talent or even kill you. Of course, too much of anything would kill you, but supposedly just a couple of milligrams of the stuff was too much. A couple of syringes of Chozyume was a lot more than a couple of milligrams of the drug, and Hagar was amazed that Shibito was still breathing. No wonder the man looked so fragile when they first met. “It runs strong in our family,” Genji explained in English. “Family?” Hagar repeated. Genji shrugged, “Cousins of some sort; the family tree gets tangled after a while. But he is family.” “And that means a lot, doesn‟t it?” Hagar asked. Genji shrugged and extinguished the light in his hand. “It does. Which is why I will help the two of you.” “The two of us?” Hagar repeated. “Genji!” Shibito exclaimed. “Well, how else are you going to get to Shin Kyoto?” Genji asked him logically. “At least without tripping every alarm between here and there before you get to Katsura. You
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 64 need to go in on a ship that isn‟t going to be suspected. A free trader from the Scandinavian Collective is a perfect cover.”
“AND what is going to happen to Hagar?” Shibito asked him in Japanese. “While I can waltz in there, he does have a tendency to stick out. If we get caught, do you think Kōgon would let him go? And what makes you think that I‟m going there anyway?” “Because you have to,” Genji replied, switching back to Japanese also. “You wouldn‟t be the man you are if you weren‟t going to confront our cousin.” “You make me sound insane,” Shibito told him. “Justice should be served,” Genji replied calmly. “And informing Kōgon that his attack on you failed would be justice for you. And a warning not to try it again with anyone else.” “So that he doesn‟t do this to the rest of the family?” Shibito asked him wryly. “Do you know how many of our cousins are in danger?” Genji asked him. “I can think of a dozen or so right off the top of my head, ones that either have a decent claim to the throne or a strong psychic talent. I know that Kōgon probably has a list of everyone in the family that is a stronger psychic than he is. And probably is plotting how to get rid of them in his spare time, if he‟s as paranoid as you say he is.” “I don‟t want the throne,” Shibito half shouted at him. “I…. You know my preferences. I won‟t produce an heir and we‟ll go through the whole mess all over again! Kōgon‟s the
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 65 way that he is because he practically seized the throne, rather than inheriting it legitimately. But out of the three of us, he‟s the only one that might produce an heir.” “But he should know that getting rid of his family isn‟t the answer to his insecurities either,” Genji snapped. “I‟m not taking the throne!” Shibito repeated. “I‟m dead, or as good as. You should purify yourself after I leave.” “Is that why you took that absurd name?” Genji asked him. “You really think that Kōgon killed you?”
“HEY!” Hagar exclaimed, sick of being left out of the conversation because Shibito and Genji wouldn‟t stop yelling at each other in Japanese. “What about us going to Shin Kyoto? What makes you think that I want to do that?” “I‟ll pay you triple the going rate and pay your landing fees, as well as buying your present cargo, if you will go there,” Genji told Hagar flatly, glaring at him for interrupting his discussion with his cousin. “I‟ll give you a cargo too, one that you can sell for pure profit anyplace in the universe.” Hagar hesitated for a second, looking at Shibito, who had gone still. He almost snorted; the other man clearly wasn‟t going to be any help in making this decision. Not that Hagar really needed his help. The question was simple, really. Did he want to get more involved in this madness? Still, triple his rate would give him a nice cushion for a while and would let him do more legitimate runs and avoid the scum that he hated to deal with. Hagar glanced over at Genji and grinned. “Sounds like a deal to me.”
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Chapter Five HAGAR was still grinning as he watched his cargo of whiskey being unloaded. Genji was replacing it with a load of high grade sake, which he could sell cheap to Mama when he made it back there. That is, if he survived. Shibito hadn‟t said anything after he made his deal with Genji and had made sure that they weren‟t alone so that Hagar couldn‟t ask him any questions: who he was exactly, whether he was really a ninja, and just how crazy his cousin the emperor was. As far as Hagar was concerned, who Shibito really was would be a good question to start with. Hagar was wondering what he had gotten himself into, but he also realized he couldn‟t walk away from this mess even if he wanted to. Shibito had gone back to looking fragile again, and he wasn‟t sure he even wanted to know why… or why he was starting to care about the man. Hagar tried to appear unconcerned as Genji strode up to him, followed by a couple of monks. They stopped, trailing the man about five feet away from Hagar, and he was glad for some illusion of privacy. He could tell that Genji was in charge, even though he was dressed like the monks, from the air about him. Aristocratic and commanding, he was very different from the man they had awakened the night before. The proverb that the clothes made the man didn‟t seem to be true in this case. “How did you meet my cousin?” Genji asked him bluntly.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 67 Hagar looked over at him. He knew that not telling him wasn‟t going to fly and wondered how much Shibito had told him. Probably he had given him a blunt “none of your business,” which was why Genji was asking him. But he still hesitated, even though he knew that this man had the authority to stop him from leaving, with or without his cousin. In fact, he could make Hagar just disappear and they both knew it. “I met Shibito at Mama‟s,” Hagar told him. “It‟s a bar.” Hagar wondered if the wince that evoked was at the mention of the bar or Shibito‟s name. Hagar had figured out that it wasn‟t really his name from the slip that Genji had made last night. But he couldn‟t figure out why Genji was so upset that his cousin decided to change his name. “I can‟t imagine him in a bar,” Genji said. “He was the cook there, nothing more,” Hagar told him, hoping that the man wouldn‟t put two and two together and figure out that he had fucked Genji‟s cousin across space as the price of giving him a ride. “Shibito makes a mean stew.” “Please don‟t call him that,” Genji told him, his eyes both hard and sad. “It isn‟t his name, no matter what he thinks.” “It‟s better than „kitten‟, which is what Mama was calling him,” Hagar replied with a grin, hoping to cheer him up. “No it isn‟t!” Genji practically shouted. “Do you know what you‟re talking about? I don‟t think so.” “Yeah, I‟m just the hick that got your cousin back to you,” Hagar told him tightly, trying not to lose his temper. This was one thing that really pissed him off, someone acting superior to him because he was educated, like this Genji guy
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 68 was. “And the one you‟re using to help him get back at the guy who nearly killed him.” “You‟re being paid well for that,” Genji told him haughtily. “Which I need because of the fucking stunt that he pulled with my Nav computer,” Hagar shot back at him. “Trust me, I really didn‟t want to come here.” “Genji, leave him alone,” Shibito told him quietly, coming up behind the other man. Genji whirled around to look at Shibito, and Hagar noticed that his escort sort of shrank back. He made a mental note to ask him about that later. “You aren‟t giving me any answers,” Genji snapped. “Do you really want to hear them?” Shibito asked him. “You‟ve been awfully quiet about a lot of things,” Genji told him. “There really isn‟t much to talk about,” Shibito responded. “I woke up after being delirious for most of the previous six months. When I was able to recover my wits, I ran from that place, wanting to get home. Worried—” “Worried?” Genji interjected. “Worried that something had happened to you,” Shibito told him. Genji frowned at that and Hagar was curious. Had there been something between the two of them? Was that why Shibito didn‟t want to tell the other man exactly what had happened? “Cousin…,” Genji started. “I know,” Shibito told him with a wan smile. “Your vows.”
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 69 “To say nothing of the fact that you told me once I was helplessly heterosexual,” Genji added. “But you understood,” Shibito said. “About a lot of things. About power and obligation. And you were always kind to me, listening to me rave about my studies.” “Studies?” Hagar asked, curious. Genji looked at him, and Hagar would have sworn that he had forgotten that he was there. “Literature. He‟d lose himself in some text, and I‟d have to drag him to lessons or some function. He liked them more than any human, I was willing to swear. I think that the only reason he isn‟t abbot here is because he was hiding in the library the day the choice was made.” “It was because Father told me that he didn‟t want to tempt my perversions,” Shibito told him seriously, “but then he didn‟t think that I was worthy of anything anyway.” Hagar stared at him, surprised that Shibito‟s father was as narrow-minded as his own had been. Part of the reason he had been struck from the family Bible was because he was homosexual, and part of it was that he hadn‟t wanted to follow the path the old man had laid out for him. But mainly, it was because he was, in his father‟s words, “an unnatural man.” “He was an ass,” Genji said. “Not to speak ill of the man, since he was divine, but he is part of the reason that Kōgon is the way he is.” “Divine?” Hagar repeated. Genji shot him a look, and Hagar tried not to look as confused as he felt. He honestly didn‟t know whether he was relieved or pissed that Genji didn‟t bother to explain it. Hell,
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 70 he‟d just have to add it to the list of things he was going to ask Shibito. “But naming an heir would have meant that he knew that I wasn‟t…,” Shibito started but then stopped when both Hagar and Genji looked at him. He turned and walked away from them, going into the Serpent. “My father was an ass too,” Hagar felt compelled to say when the silence stretched out uncomfortably. Genji looked at him and shook his head. “Well, something had to be said.” Hagar defended himself. “So he‟s going after his crazy cousin, and I‟m supposed to deliver him there. What then?” “That would be entirely up to him,” Genji told him. “However—” “But what?” Hagar interrupted. “Shibito‟s—” “That is not his name, no matter what he told you!” Genji snarled at him. “Why‟s that pissing you off?” Hagar asked him. “I‟m Hagar of the Midgard Serpent now, not Hagar Grimmson, because my father thought I should have been in the military, not out chasing star dust. But basically it‟s just a name.” “It‟s what his name means that is so distressing,” Genji told him sadly. “What does it mean?” Hagar asked. “If he chose not to tell you, then I won‟t either,” Genji said. “It‟s not like we talked a shit load on the trip over here,” Hagar said. “So the topic never came up.” “And what exactly did you do during your time in hyperspace?” Genji asked him.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 71 Hagar unexpectedly flushed at that question. He really didn‟t want to tell this man that he spent part of the time nailing his cousin to the bed. But the blush was telling enough, and Genji glared at him. “He offered,” Hagar protested. He left out the part about how Shibito had been desperate enough to do anything to get off Dunmore Station. “You took advantage,” Genji snapped. “No IDent card, no credit, nothing but the clothes on his back, barely. How do you think that he was going to get back here?” Hagar asked him heatedly. “I don‟t know how it is around here, but out in space, nothing in life is free. And no one takes some stranger‟s promise that they‟ll get paid if they take him across the galaxy. So Shibito offered the only thing that he had to get on my ship. Fucking with my Nav computer got him back here. And you may think that it‟s disgusting, but he did keep his word and lived up to his side of the bargain. I was just pissed that he nearly got us both killed instead of asking me to take him here. Not that I think I would have, but it would have been nice to have been asked.” “And what‟s stopping me from throwing you into a cell and then forgetting about you?” Genji demanded. “Because your cousin would kick your ass,” Hagar told him with a lot more confidence than he was feeling. If Shibito had been pissed about it, then he would have told Genji all about what happened to him right in the beginning, and Hagar would be staring at a cell wall now rather than trying to defend what he had done to the monk. He flushed with a mixture of embarrassment and passion, thinking about some of the things the two of them had done, and was
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 72 relieved that he wasn‟t getting hard at the thought of it. “That‟s if he can do it.” “What do you mean by that?” Genji demanded. Hagar hesitated for a second and then said, “He‟s fragile. Hell, that‟s part of the reason that I got him off of Dunmore. I didn‟t think he‟d survive being locked up.” “Shibito, my scholarly cousin, is very well trained in the use of his talents; he wouldn‟t have been locked up for long,” Genji told him haughtily. “In fact, I‟d have felt sorry for anyone that tried to detain him. Just because he is a scholar doesn‟t meant that he can‟t be a fighter too.” “If he was that good, then he wouldn‟t have needed me to get off that hunk of steel, so don‟t mind me if I don‟t believe you,” Hagar replied. He wondered if the other man was overestimating Shibito‟s skills or if being poisoned might have damaged Shibito. “He spent part of the trip folded up and meditating in one of my spare cabins, so that might have helped him. Shit, I don‟t know how any of this psychic shit works, so I‟m not too sure about anything.” “That he trusted you enough to do that, to place his life in your hands, does mean something,” Genji told him, visibly trying to calm down. “It is only because of the trust that my cousin has shown in you that you are not a guest in one of the cells in Todoji.” Hagar nodded, knowing it was the truth. There was nothing stopping Genji, either now or later, from doing just that. He still might end up cooling his heels in a cell after this was over. He had no friends or connections here. He was a guy who could disappear and no one would care. Mama might, but he was way on the other side of the universe. He wondered how Shibito had been able to live with this feeling.
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SHIBITO settled into the cabin that Hagar had locked him in earlier. He didn‟t want to get involved in whatever argument Genji and Hagar were having, since he knew it was about him. It wasn‟t conceit or vanity on his part; it was just that he didn‟t think either man had much to say to the other that didn‟t involve him. And he wasn‟t too proud to hide, not wanting to deal with anyone for a while. It wasn‟t that his shields were thin; they were better than they were before he was poisoned. It was simply that he wanted some time alone. He was dozing when he heard a knock on the cabin door. He got up to open it and wasn‟t surprised to see that it was Hagar. “You got five minutes to say goodbye to your cousin, and then I want you with me on takeoff, sitting on the bridge with me,” he told him, pausing for a second before adding almost shyly, “I liked the company.” Shibito was surprised he had added that. The man had said almost nothing to him the entire time, concentrating on landing the ship. He had thought that Hagar was still angry with him for the way he had been acting. “I‟ll go say goodbye to Genji.” Hagar nodded. “Um… I told him about our bargain. Don‟t be surprised if he tries to talk you out of going with me.” “That is about the worst thing you could have told him,” Shibito groaned. “He‟s very protective. Not to mention he‟s a monk.” “Well, he was stupid to think that you got here on wishes and good will,” Hagar snarled. “Five minutes. Any longer than that, he‟s coming with us.”
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 74 Shibito nodded and brushed passed him in the corridor. “Thank you.” “Three times my going rate; you should be thanking your cousin,” Hagar called after him. Shibito grimaced at that but didn‟t say anything. Hagar sounded like an ass, but there was something there that made his words a lie. Shibito sensed that Hagar was concerned about him for some reason and wasn‟t doing this for the money, even though that was part of it. He‟d worry about it later, though, when this was all over. Genji was standing at the port airlock, his attendants standing a few feet away from him. Genji reached out and hugged him close. “Good hunting,” he whispered. “You know that I need to do this,” Shibito told him. “He can‟t…. He has to know that even with all his power, there are things that he can‟t do. What do you think will happen if he decides that you‟re a threat? Or someone else? Someone who wouldn‟t be lucky enough to survive, to be able to escape where he put them.” “How bad was it?” Genji asked him suddenly. Shibito shrugged but wouldn‟t meet his eyes, moving out of his embrace, trying to ignore the hurt he sensed in Genji when he did that. “I… well, for most of the time, they could have been doing anything to my body and I wouldn‟t have known. When I came out of it, my body was all I had.” “Ranm—” “Don‟t!” Shibito snapped at him. “He‟s gone. I chose this name when I realized what Kōgon had done to me. When I couldn‟t remember who I was most of the time….” “So you did whatever you had to do to come home,” Genji said quietly.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 75 “What does it matter?” Shibito asked him tiredly. “You‟ve never been outside the Imperium. The galaxy is a hard place, cousin; pray that you never know how hard.” “So says the man who wanted nothing more than to chase down old texts and references as if they were a lover,” Genji taunted him. “As I said, he‟s gone.” “I didn‟t—” Genji started. “You did,” Shibito said flatly. “You‟re angry and hurt. You don‟t understand how desperate I was. I didn‟t even know if I could trust you.” “You haven‟t been that badly hurt…,” Genji started. “I don‟t have to be talented to know that,” Shibito snapped. “It‟s a simple human reaction to what happened to me.” “If you didn‟t have those reactions, then I‟d be worried,” Genji told him soothingly. “Unless your cousin and his tagalongs want to come with us, he better get his ass off my ship.” Hagar‟s voice came booming down the corridor, ending their discussion. Genji‟s expression hardened at the sound of his voice. “We can find another way.” Shibito laughed and shook his head. “What makes you think I want another way?” “Cousin!” Genji exclaimed, shocked. He gestured to one of his retainers, who was carrying a package. “Formal robes. I want you to look less like a ragamuffin when you see our cousin.” Shibito hugged him again, and Genji opened his mouth to say something and then closed it, a sad look in his eyes.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 76 “You will see me again,” Shibito promised as Genji walked out of the ship, followed by his escort, all of whom took great pains to avoid Shibito. He knew the reason but was surprised that their actions still hurt as much as they did. Shibito shook his head and went into the cockpit. Hagar was sitting in the pilot‟s seat, going through his preflight check. “You don‟t have to do this,” Shibito told him quietly as he belted himself in. “Nothing better to do,” Hagar replied. “Now I want to get out of here before your cousin the abbot changes his mind and throws my ass in a cell like I know he wants to do.” “Genji won‟t, even if he wants to, because as much as we both hate it, something has to be done about our cousin,” Shibito assured him. Hagar didn‟t say anything else but finished his preflight check. “Todoji control, the Midgard Serpent is taking off, following our registered flight plan.” “You are cleared to take off. Please follow the guidance beacons until you clear Shin Nara‟s boundaries,” came a voice over the speaker. Hagar wasn‟t surprised that it sounded as bored and uncaring as the controller who had landed them. “Roger that,” Hagar replied, easing back on the controls and taking off. He was quiet after that, and Shibito found it a comfortable silence. It wasn‟t until they had cleared the atmosphere that Hagar started talking again. “So how come your cousin‟s an emperor?” Hagar asked, unbuckling his belt and standing up to stretch. “And what‟s with that divine thing?”
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 77 “Kōgon wanted the throne,” Shibito told him, also standing up. “Well, I got that, kind of, from the conversation that I had with your cousin,” Hagar said. “But divine? Does that make you an angel or something?” Shibito laughed, even as he was wondering how he was going to explain something as complicated as the Imperium‟s succession to an outsider. The throne was usually handed down from father to son, but the heir could also be chosen from outside the Emperor‟s immediate family, though it hadn‟t been done often. Most of the nobles tried to marry into the imperial family, to be the ones who were the power behind the throne. When his father had refused to name anyone as his heir, he had been the first in centuries to do so. “I‟m not an angel,” he felt safe to say. While Hagar didn‟t appear to be too hurt by his laughter, he was obviously curious about who Shibito was exactly. “But the emperor and his family, within a certain degree of kinship, are considered divine. It was that way on Earth for thousands of years.” “But you,” Hagar persisted. “I don‟t think of myself as divine,” Shibito told him. “I thought of myself as a scholar, even with all the other sorts of training I had. I looked upon it as an intellectual exercise more than anything else. But I must tell you that I was good at it.” “So you‟re going to be able to sneak into where your loser cousin is and kick his ass?” Hagar asked. “I could,” Shibito told him with no feeling of false pride. “But most people don‟t think of him as a loser.”
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 78 “Pulled the shit he did on you, so he‟s a loser in my book,” Hagar told him. “Would you program the Nav computer to get to where he is?” Shibito nodded and started entering the data into the computer. Hagar watched what he was doing, making Shibito nervous for a couple of minutes until he realized that the man was just being cautious. Hagar really didn‟t know how good a programmer he was. “I know that our bargain was only for the flight to Shin Nara,” Shibito said softly when he was done, not looking at Hagar and trying not to blush. “But I would like to continue it until we arrive at Katsura. We have several hours before that happens.”
HAGAR froze and looked at him, wondering if he had heard right. Shibito sounded almost embarrassed about what he was saying, and for a moment Hagar believed that he was the shy scholar Genji had said he was. He was silent, and Shibito looked over at him uncertainly. “I….” “You don‟t have to,” Hagar said hoarsely. Shouldn‟t Shibito be doing some sort of preparation for his fight with this cousin? Hagar didn‟t think that Shibito‟s getting fucked through the hull of his ship instead would be a good idea. He wanted it, though; he wanted to hear him moan as he pounded into him, seeing how much he could take and enjoying the way he gave it all to Hagar. “But I want to,” Shibito snapped, losing his shyness. “Or is it only good for you if it is almost forced?”
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 79 Hagar shivered at his tone. He knew he was bigger than Shibito and probably could beat him in a physical fight, but there was suddenly something dangerous about the man that made him less certain about that. Plus, who knew what weird shit he could do with his mind? But the man had taken everything he had handed out, loving it and fucking him back. “I… I…. You enjoyed it!” Hagar blurted out defensively. Shibito had from the outset, since Hagar had first forced him to his knees to suck his cock. And he was now guessing that Shibito hadn‟t been like that before. Shit! What had he or that asshole cousin done to him? “I want to be your fuck toy,” Shibito told him crudely after an uncomfortable silence. “I may be dead or worse by the end of this, so why shouldn‟t I ask for what I want?” Hagar looked at him. It was so wrong, but he wanted it too. Wanted to fuck Shibito hard and long, listen to him whimper in pleasure, and mark him as his. Very well, then, he‟d give the man his wish. “Naked, in my cabin, now!” he growled. Shibito practically ran to it, stripping his clothing off with shaking fingers when he got there. He was naked and hard when Hagar arrived in the same condition. Hagar reached out when he got close enough to Shibito and grabbed his hair, dragging him closer, kissing him long and slow. Hagar liked the little nips Shibito placed on his lips, kissing him deeply as they rocked against each other. “Anything,” Shibito murmured. “Anything you want.” “Suck on me,” Hagar told him, using Shibito‟s hair as a control device. He knew Shibito was as turned on by this as he was, could tell by the way he was sucking on his cock.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 80 Shit, if the man didn‟t want to, he knew by now that he could stop Hagar. Shibito slowly teased Hagar‟s cock with his tongue, playing while Hagar groaned. Hagar lifted him up and shoved him toward the bed. “Ass in the air,” he commanded, letting go of his hair. Shibito knelt on the bed as he was ordered. He moaned when Hagar shoved two slick fingers into him, stroking and playing with him as he rocked mindlessly, clawing at the sheets. “You‟re such a greedy little sub,” Hagar teased him. “Just fuck me,” Shibito told him. “Please….” Hagar replaced his teasing fingers with his cock, using Shibito hard, pounding him relentlessly. Shibito moaned and thrust back as if he wanted more, wanted it never to end. “Please… harder…,” Shibito begged. Hagar grasped his hips harder and quickened his thrusts, Shibito‟s begging turning him on more than he could ever have imagined. “Hard enough?” he panted, getting close to his own climax. Shibito‟s answer was to shudder and scream, throwing his head back mindlessly. Hagar grabbed his hair and pulled him back, kissing him viciously, coming with him, thrusting so hard he swore he tasted his own come in Shibito‟s mouth. They both collapsed on the bed, Hagar curling around Shibito, slowly slipping out of his wonderful body. Shibito shivered and turned to kiss Hagar, thrusting his tongue deep into his mouth. “Want more?” Hagar laughed, breaking off their kiss. Shit, he was hard again at the thought of another session with Shibito.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 81 Shibito opened his legs, rolling over on his back, taking Hagar with him so he was on top. Shibito took his cock and guided it into him, the two of them rocking together. Hagar moaned and tried to keep it slow. But there was something about Shibito that made him want the sex to be as brutal as he could make it. He gradually picked up the pace, Shibito lifting off the bed to meet his thrusts, until he was hammering into him relentlessly, still kissing him even as he fucked him hard and fast. Shibito was whimpering and writhing underneath him as he thrust hard one last time, filling him again. He kept going, though, until Shibito screamed again, spraying both of them with his seed. Hagar spent an endless time kissing him until he was able to slide out of him and roll over. Shibito was spent, he hoped, because he wasn‟t getting it up again soon. He rolled over to hold the man, wanting to be gentle and too tired to go again. Give him a minute or two to recover, though, and he‟d have Shibito begging for more. “I was never like this before,” Shibito said quietly. “Sex… sex was nice, but something I wasn‟t that interested in. It might have been that even as a mousy scholar, I had plenty of people throwing themselves at me because of who I was. I wasn‟t… I had never….” Hagar lay next to Shibito, drowsy and oddly content. Shibito sounded so embarrassed telling him this. He stroked his back gently. “It‟s all right.” “It isn‟t,” Shibito said, burying his face in his shoulder. “I shouldn‟t be like this! I‟d never even thought that sex could be like this!”
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 82 “You‟re beautiful,” Hagar told him softly. “So submissive. So passionate.” He was silent for a second. “That‟s sexy because I know you can kick my ass.” “I don‟t want to,” Shibito whispered brokenly. “I want you to roll me over, spread my legs, fuck me hard, call me nasty names, and use me.” “All the time?” Hagar asked him. “Never to be gentle and sweet with you?” Shibito moved up to kiss him instead of answering him. Hagar started devouring his mouth, all thoughts of gentleness leaving his head as soon as their lips touched. Hagar gave in to his rough passion, knowing the ship would tell them when they got near Katsura. Shibito obviously wasn‟t ready to give up his secrets yet. Hell, he wasn‟t even sure if he really wanted to know them. He‟d fuck the man silly, feeling a guilty pleasure at marking and bruising him, owning him in a way. If this was what Shibito wanted, Hagar was going to give it to him.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 83
Chapter Six SHIBITO slipped out of the Serpent and onto Katsura station. He wasn‟t surprised to see that Hagar was right behind him. Shibito had taken the time to shower and dress in the formal robes that Genji had given him. He felt a lot more confident wearing them. They were dark blue, so deep it was almost black, with his family‟s crests woven into them. He was unarmed and was wearing his hair up in a high tail. Hagar had shaken his head when he had seen him dressed, but something in his eyes made Shibito glad Hagar had seen him in them. “I assure you that I can take care of this alone,” Shibito told him. “Just want to watch your ass,” Hagar said. “I don‟t trust your cousin. Not some guy that would drug the fuck out of you and then drop you off on a planet that he considered to be in the ass end of the galaxy.” “Hagar,” Shibito started and then shrugged. He saw the worry in the other man‟s eyes, which was strange. They barely knew each other, and most of the time that they‟d been together had been spent either fighting or having sex, mostly having sex. “Just watch out.” “How well do you know this place?” Hagar asked him. This was the place where Kōgon had poisoned him, not something Shibito wanted to think about. He had been summoned here, privately, for an audience with his cousin.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 84 He had come here unknowingly, mostly just annoyed that Kōgon had interrupted the work he had been doing. He briefly wondered what had happened to his research. “I visited here often,” Shibito told Hagar quietly. “Katsura‟s an Imperial satellite. Kōgon stays here because it‟s a symbol of his power more than a place that he enjoys.” “Really?” Hagar looked around. “Looks like a nice place.” Shibito shrugged again and went out of the docking bay airlock and into the station‟s main area. It had only taken a small amount of skill and power to convince the computer to ignore the hatch opening onto the station and the two men who went in while the sake was being unloaded by ‟droids. There would be no other way for them to be tracked once they were through that door. Katsura had been set up to be run by psionics, so the emperor and a handful of others he trusted should be aware of what was going on at all times. Shibito doubted that Kōgon had the power or the skill to do that, nor had he set up electronic precautions, since he was too arrogant to believe that he needed them. Shibito also knew that his cousin surrounded himself with non-psi, also known as “nulls”—head-blind advisors and lovers—because his own power was almost that weak, and he didn‟t want anyone stronger than he was around him. His paranoia was going to be his undoing. There was no one on this station who could warn Kōgon that Shibito was here.
HAGAR stopped when he walked through the airlock. He had been on space stations most of his adult life, from the rundown Dunmore station to the spit-and-polish military
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 85 ones of the United Russian Conglomerate and every type in between. This was the first time he had been on a station that didn‟t look like a station. He knew that the place was small, barely big enough to support itself. Shibito had mentioned that it was a pleasure satellite, and he supposed that was the reason, but he hadn‟t expected the place to look like a garden. The walls and the ceiling were covered with some sort of flowering vines, so the corridor they were in looked like it should be on some sort of planetside jungle. It smelled nice, though, and he knew hydroponics were good for air circulation. He just didn‟t think it should be this showy. “Kōgon should be in the Iris Garden about this time of day,” Shibito said quietly. “I thought this was the garden,” Hagar grumbled. Shibito smiled and shook his head. “It‟s simply the path of Nõzen kazura. The Iris Garden is at the far end of the satellite, inside the shinden.” “The what?” Hagar asked, suddenly feeling like a hick. “The estate house,” Shibito told him absentmindedly. “It‟s at the far end of the station, in back of a maze of paths named for different flowers and a couple different types of gardens. If you come here often or can be trusted, you know the quick way to get to the estate.” “And we‟re going to be able to get there unseen?” Hagar demanded sarcastically. Shibito shrugged. “It is a place created for those who were too psychically sensitive, so that they could rest; there shouldn‟t be too many people here. I know how to avoid the occasional human being or pet that might be here, as well as how to shield us from any talents that are here.”
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 86 “I don‟t understand,” Hagar said. “Katsura was built as a place of rest for psis,” Shibito explained. “It was not until later that it became a residence for the emperor, when claiming the throne of the Imperium and psychic power had become so intertwined that one could not be emperor unless one had power.” “So a powerful psi could become emperor,” Hagar said pointedly. “Even if he wasn‟t interested in it. Even if he used to be a shy scholar. But mainly because he was born into the right family. Tell me, how powerful are you?” Hagar had picked up on that after a while. Shibito had been someone, someone powerful in this part of space, even if he wouldn‟t admit it. But he spoke real smart and real pretty, both of which required education, and Genji had called him a scholar. Then there was the fact that he visited here a lot, knew powerful people, and from what Hagar had been told, was kick-ass with his power. It must have been hard for him to work for Mama or peddle his ass for a ride off of Dunmore Station. Shit, what the man had discovered about his new tastes in sex must be killing him. Shibito turned to face him. “Does it matter?” Hagar wanted to tell him no, but he didn‟t think that was right. Shibito had dragged him into this. It might have been by his dick, but he was in it deep now. All he had wanted to do was just earn enough to make a decent living without having to deal with the scumbags. Shibito, or whoever he was, had changed that for him. He had noticed that Genji called him something else and had hated Shibito‟s self-chosen name. Because of that, Hagar doubted it was his real one. But he really didn‟t care about any of that, because Shibito was getting that fragile look again, and he hated that
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 87 too. He didn‟t know when Shibito had crossed over the line from casual fuck to someone he worried about, but it had happened. All this time alone must have done something to him. Shit, he didn‟t even know what Shibito thought about him. “Yeah, because if you get in over your head, I‟m gonna rescue your ass,” Hagar told him roughly. Shibito tilted his head back and looked him straight in the eye. “Don‟t,” he said softly. “Just get out of here.” “I‟m not—” Hagar started loudly and then realized where he was and lowered his voice. “I‟m not leaving you. What kind of scum do you think that I am?” “I don‟t think that you‟re scum,” Shibito told him, his voice low and intense. He stepped closer to the other man. “I just want to make sure that you get out of here alive. I dragged you in to this.” “While I might be dumb,” Hagar responded roughly, “I can take care of myself.” “Against a man who won‟t hesitate not just to kill you,” Shibito asked him, “but to cripple you? To draw out the kill for his own pleasure?” “What kind of fucking psycho do you have running this place?” Hagar demanded. “Kōgon is just uneasy,” Shibito said quietly. “And if he thinks that he can hurt me through you, he will.” “Can he hurt you through me?” Hagar repeated feeling odd for some reason. “If he thinks that I‟m fond of you, he can,” Shibito replied. “Are you?”
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 88 Shibito didn‟t answer him but simply leaned up to kiss him. Hagar had always thought that the other man was just the right height for something like this. The kiss was gentle, sweet almost, very unlike the teasing Shibito had done earlier or his rough and demanding kisses. Hagar realized that if this Kōgon nut caught the two of them like this, he‟d be tortured, and Shibito would look more than fragile. Hell, he was willing to bet Shibito hadn‟t even known he felt like this about Hagar before this kiss. “You don‟t have to do this,” Hagar told him quietly. “Come with me. Forget all this.” Shibito shook his head. “I can‟t. What he did to me, he might—he probably has—already done to someone else. I have to stop him.” “Even if that means you have to take the throne?” Hagar asked him. Shibito leaned against him. “Even if it means that.” “Whatever you want to do, I‟ll back you on it,” Hagar promised him. He almost laughed at his own words. He was a small trader, a smuggler if you didn‟t want to be too nice about it, and here he was talking about supporting Shibito‟s bid for the throne. However, Shibito smiled at him, and suddenly he didn‟t feel like so much of an idiot for saying it.
SHIBITO heard the laughter of several men. He eased the door open and stepped out onto the porch overlooking the Iris Garden. He signaled to Hagar to stay out, but he didn‟t think he would. He just hoped Hagar didn‟t get hurt because of him when the other man followed him into the room, either to protect him or fight beside him. Hagar had
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 89 surprised Shibito; he hadn‟t expected Hagar would put things together so quickly. The big man had a sharp brain hidden in that lazy “country” accent. Shibito had hoped Hagar would remain ignorant. That had been part of the reason he had told Hagar he wanted to continue their bargain. The other part was because he had been using the man to make some good memories. He didn‟t know if he was going to survive this encounter with Kōgon. He would be an idiot to think he would. Even if he defeated Kōgon in a psionic duel, there would be nothing stopping the man from killing him with a mundane weapon such as a gun or even a sword. They had both had the same training. He had been better than Kōgon, but he knew his cousin wanted the throne and would do anything to keep it. Kōgon‟s little trick with the Chozyume had shown him that. Kōgon should have just killed him instead. He supposed he should be grateful for the fact that his cousin had hesitated to spill the blood of family. He should have died from the poison or could easily have been killed on that planet, but neither of those things had happened, because Kōgon was superstitious enough to prefer to not be responsible for the death of his kin. The irony of the situation was that Shibito didn‟t even want the throne. He knew he was unworthy of it, and his inclinations would always cause problems, never mind whatever was between him and Hagar. He had felt something between them during that last kiss. He had no idea what to call it, but Hagar stirred something inside of him. Of course, Genji could claim the throne, but Shibito doubted that would happen. His cousin had discovered a serenity in his life living at Todoji. He shouldn‟t have to give that up. Which left Shibito.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 90 Even as these thoughts ran through Shibito‟s mind, he was moving quickly through the paths of the station to the shinden, Hagar trailing silently behind him. Reaching the door that lead to the Iris Garden, he paused to listen. Kōgon was in the garden with three other men, and it looked like they had just finished dinner. Shibito glided forward, out of the shadows and into the light. He smiled when he saw Kōgon drop the cup he had been holding. “Good evening, your Majesty,” he purred. “You… you‟re dead!” Kōgon squeaked, looking like he wanted to throw up and jumping to his feet. “You just wish that I was,” Shibito shot back. “But not at your hand. You paid well to make sure I was kept alive.” The three other men scattered at the sound of his voice. He recognized one of them, Date Mari, but didn‟t know the other two. One of them foolishly threw his body across Kōgon‟s in a vain attempt to protect him. Shibito smiled coldly and gestured, causing the man to sail across the garden and land gently on the other side of it, avoiding all the plants. Showy, but it did get the idiot out of the line of fire. “Why don‟t we keep this between the two of us?” he continued. “It started out that way.” Kōgon rose to his feet, sneering at the formal robes Shibito was wearing. “Putting rags on a monkey doesn‟t make him an emperor.” “My robes are a present from our cousin Genji,” Shibito told him, “who knows everything. I left a record with him so that others will also know.” “A sop to your precious history?” Kōgon snapped.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 91 “A warning,” Shibito told him quietly, “to future generations, so that they know of your arrogance and your treachery.” “History is written by the victors,” Kōgon reminded him. Shibito cocked his head to the side and smiled coldly at him. “Then I have to win, don‟t I?”
HAGAR glared at the fancy man who had pulled out a blaster, and then punched him in the face. “Don‟t fucking interfere,” he growled. The man flew back against the door and looked shocked, rubbing his jaw. Hagar was willing to bet no one had hit him like that before and wondered what kinds of wimps lived here. He walked over and leaned down, grabbing the man‟s blaster, keeping an eye on the other two men, who seemed equally shocked to see him here. He gestured at them to get over by the man he had punched. “Get over there and don‟t fucking interfere,” he repeated. “Let the two of them deal with this.” The men moved over nervously and Hagar guessed that they were some sort of higher-ups in the government. They didn‟t look happy at seeing Shibito, and he wondered if they knew what had happened. People don‟t just disappear, and if you say they‟re dead, it helps to have a body to back up that claim. “And you are?” one asked snootily while he helped the other man up. “The guy that‟s gonna keep this an honest fight,” Hagar told him roughly.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 92 “You call this ambush an honest fight?” the third one asked. Hagar had him pegged as the only one with brains in this group. The other two were ass-kissers, he was willing to bet. “Better than sticking someone with a syringe of Chozyume during dinner,” Hagar told him. “Is that what Ranmaru is claiming?” the smart guy asked thoughtfully. “Kōgon claimed that he was dead,” the second man said. “Why would he lie?” “Why would he send his cousin to some backwoods planet in the ass end of the universe?” Hagar shot back. “Is that how you‟re involved in this?” Smart Guy asked. “And I am Date Mari. My companions are Nagai Ujisada and Tsuchiya Sanesue. You have it wrong, though. Kōgon is Ranmaru‟s half brother, not his cousin. His younger brother.” “Well, Date,” Hagar told him. He was surprised to hear that, but it made some sort of weird sense now that he had. He knew well enough that the oldest son was supposed to inherit unless something weird was involved, but he had no clue about Imperium customs, so he could be wrong. But Kōgon had felt threatened enough by Shibito to do what he did, so he might not be too far off the mark with his guesses. Or it could just be that Kōgon was the asshole he‟d called him. “Ask them when this shit is over.” “That we will do. Accusations that the emperor has acted dishonestly are something that should be investigated,” Nagai said. Hagar privately thought that the man was brownnosing, and from the looks on the other two, they thought so too.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 93 Hagar moved so he could keep an eye on them and on Shibito. He was surprised the man was just standing there looking at Kōgon. But if they were doing some sort of weird psi stuff, then it might not be a physical fight. He hoped not; this was too pretty a place to mess up with a brawl. Kōgon was gesturing wildly, throwing some sort of glowing streaky things at Shibito, who had put up what looked like a shield of light from the radiant show he was now seeing. Shibito‟s shield was a light blue shade, while the things Kōgon was throwing were an odd shade of green and seemed to be absorbed into Shibito‟s shield when they hit it. He wondered what that meant and then didn‟t care. All he wanted was for Shibito to be all right at the end of this battle.
SHIBITO had put up his psionic defenses instinctively when Kōgon started throwing psibolts at him. He had expected that, because Kōgon wasn‟t subtle and had a tendency to attack first and think about things later. Shibito waited for a minute, studying the pattern of Kōgon‟s attacks. He dropped his shield for a moment and shot off his own bolt, moving across the garden to get closer to Kōgon. He trusted Hagar to keep the others honest, but he also knew that three against one usually wasn‟t good odds. Shibito dove over a clump of iris and into one of the paths, hoping that Kōgon wouldn‟t be able to track him. His own psibolt had been an attempt to keep Kōgon occupied while he repositioned himself so the others weren‟t in the line of fire also. He could absorb a lot of Kōgon‟s bolts, but if one got through to the others, it could get messy.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 94 “And how was that place?” Kōgon called out. “You should see it, cousin,” Shibito called back before scrambling to reposition himself and cursing that he had given himself away. He had forgotten how talkative Kōgon was during a fight. Maybe Kōgon did it to rattle his opponent. Or it could be that he was just in love with the sound of his own voice. Shibito thought it was probably the latter. “I heard enough,” Kōgon responded. “I got weekly reports. Do you want to know what was in them, what happened while you lay there like a corpse?” Shibito bit his lip, then popped up and shot at where he thought Kōgon might be. While his cousin was many things, stupid wasn‟t one of them. He would have moved as soon as he had spoken. Shibito missed, which might have been a good thing, because the amount of power he was throwing around could kill someone. Kōgon wasn‟t as powerful, so his bolts weren‟t as powerful, nor could he throw as many. Kōgon usually tried to take out his opponent with his first barrage of bolts, having neither the power nor the patience to do anything else. Shibito caught a glimpse of Kōgon on the far side of the garden and aimed a psibolt at him. He wasn‟t surprised to see Kōgon‟s shield flare up when he hit him. Kōgon laughed and shouted out, “You were very popular. I don‟t see how; I tried you myself and it was like fucking a corpse. I prefer my partners with a little more life in them.” Shibito involuntarily stood up and stared at Kōgon, shocked beyond belief. How many men had had him without his knowledge? What was he during those missing months? Was that the reason for his new taste for submissive
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 95 brutality? Then he remembered how tight he had been with Hagar, and he doubted that Kōgon‟s taunts were true—about the others at least. He had no illusions that Kōgon had probably raped him. He barely heard Hagar‟s incoherent shout when Kōgon‟s bolt hit him. He had thrown up his shield at the last minute, so he was only a little singed at the edges. He stepped back and then turned and dived in another direction. This fight was turning into a game of hide-and-seek almost, but it was a lot more deadly than the children‟s game.
HAGAR started cursing in Icelandic when he heard Kōgon‟s last comment. He wasn‟t a saint, as shown by his treatment of Shibito, but he had never done anything like what that asshole had just admitted. He let out a full out roar and started to charge across the garden when Date grabbed him. “You keep out of it too,” he told him calmly. “He just confessed to—” Hagar started. “And what is it to you?” Date asked him. “What exactly does this have to do with you? Are you a mercenary?” “Just a small trader that was giving Shibito a ride,” Hagar told him, trying to calm down. Damn, these people didn‟t have to know about his personal life! “Shibito?” Date asked him, the calculating look in his eyes telling Hagar that he knew Shibito was much more than a rider to him. Or at least a different type of rider. “Who is that?” Hagar noticed that they all seemed really spooked by the name, as Genji and his monks had been. “The guy who‟s
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 96 kicking Kōgon‟s ass,” he told them, as if trying to explain why water was wet to a child. At least that‟s what he thought was happening. “That is Mōri Ranmaru,” Date informed him coolly. “The Emperor Mōri Motonari‟s oldest son.” “Then what‟s the deal with his name?” Hagar asked him. “Everyone I‟ve talked to in this neck of the woods is spooked by it.” “Everyone?” Date asked snootily. “And that is not his name, no matter what he told you!” “Well, his cousin Genji for one. Or is he another half brother that he doesn‟t know about?” Hagar asked. “You talked to Abbot Mari Genji?” Date asked him, sounding surprised. “The guy gave us the okay to do this. Told Shibito that justice had to be done.” “His cousin said that?” Nagai squeaked. “Why would I lie to you about something like that?” Hagar asked him. “Because Ranmaru is your patron,” Tsuchiya told him nastily. “Shibito‟s a guy I‟m giving a ride to,” Hagar told him. He stepped closer to the man, looming over him. “You got a problem with that?” Tsuchiya squeaked and stepped back, almost hiding behind Nagai. Date eyed them both like they were something the dog had dragged in before turning his attention back to Hagar. “Please don‟t refer to him by that name.” “What‟s in a name?” Hagar asked him lazily, trying to keep an eye on what was happening in the garden but
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 97 wanting to charge out there and do something besides watch. Date‟s hand on his arm was the only thing stopping him. That and Shibito would kick his ass for interfering. Shibito was doing something strange, some sort of stalking thing, and he was looking dangerous as well as frail to Hagar, as weird as that sounded. Kōgon was ducking for cover and shit, occasionally shooting off one of those sicklooking green bolts at Shibito. Shibito was either absorbing them with his shield or bouncing them back at Kōgon, who dodged them. Between his and Kōgon‟s misses, the garden was looking a bit worse for wear. Hagar winced at a large explosion that just missed Kōgon. It seemed that Shibito was losing either control or patience. He didn‟t know which. Shit, he actually didn‟t care so long as Shibito got out of this in one piece. “You really don‟t know?” Date asked him quietly. “I‟m from the other side of space,” Hagar told him, studying the garden to see what was happening. “This is the first time I‟ve been here.” “I hope this doesn‟t give you the wrong impression about things,” Date told him smoothly. “That this guy‟s an asshole?” Hagar asked him. “Fuck, talking to Genji told me as much. The rest of you don‟t seem to be worth it either.” “Ranmaru—” Date started. “Shibito,” Hagar interrupted him. “I refuse,” Date told him with a horrified look on his face. At Hagar‟s blank look, he blurted out. “You really don‟t know what is so terrible about what he‟s calling himself?” Hagar shook his head.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 98 “It‟s the name of the flower that one plants in front of shrines for the dead,” Date told him, the distaste and horror evident in his voice. “Its literal meaning is Dead Man. Our prince is claiming that he is a corpse. A thing that is unclean to many of us. I know that the abbot is probably purifying his abbey even as we speak.” Hagar gaped at him and then stumbled forward, his back suddenly feeling like it was on fire. He heard a shout from Shibito and a couple more explosions. He felt weak and was grateful that Date had caught him. He‟d half expected the man would let him hit the floor rather than do anything like that.
SHIBITO cursed and charged Kōgon when he saw what had happened. Shooting at Hagar had been either a stupid or brilliant move, because it had angered him beyond belief. Hagar was an innocent bystander who shouldn‟t be involved in this. That he was willing to keep the others out of the way was a good thing. Shibito hadn‟t planned for the possibility of Kōgon having anyone with him when he came here. If he was honest with himself, he hadn‟t had any sort of plan at all since he woke up. Kōgon laughed, and that made Shibito even angrier, if possible. Insulting him was one thing, but Hagar had gotten into this mess because of him. The smell of crisped flesh was overpowering even the smell of ozone from the psibolts. “Get some help for him,” Shibito shouted behind him. He dodged Kōgon‟s attacks, his anger getting colder as he drew closer to him. Kōgon may or may not have been telling him the truth about raping him. He wondered if the
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 99 man had just said that to get him angry or to get Hagar involved in the fight. When he checked again, Nagai and Tsuchiya had disappeared, and Date was trying to carry Hagar out of the garden, which made him feel better. “Worried about the outsider?” Kōgon called out as he retreated to another corner of the garden. “How sweet.” “He had nothing to do with this,” Shibito growled at him. This fight was rapidly becoming a game of chase, the outcome depending upon which one of them tired first. Kōgon was betting that it would be him. Shibito wasn‟t going to tell him he was wrong; he just didn‟t want to have to drag this out any longer than he needed to. “He brought you here,” Kōgon pointed out. “Tell me, what was the price for that?” Shibito didn‟t say anything, knowing his cousin was trying to get a rise out of him. He could guess what had happened easily enough, even with his minor psi talent. “Was he any good? Did you make it „worth‟ it to him? Gods know that you were practically a eunuch before,” Kōgon continued to taunt him. “What would your father think?” Shibito laughed bitterly. “He‟d tell you that I was just following my perverted nature.” Kōgon paused at that, apparently shocked, before saying snidely, “He knew you well.” “Why did you think he didn‟t name me as his heir?” Shibito demanded. “If he had known earlier, you‟d be at Todoji, and Genji would be sitting on the throne.”
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 100 “That idiot?” Kōgon demanded. “The only thing that saved him a trip to that same backwater planet was the fact that I couldn‟t get close to him.” “Might it have also been fact that he‟s enough of a ‟path not to fall for the same trick?” Shibito asked him. Kōgon laughed hollowly at that, and Shibito wondered when this had stopped being a fight and turned into a discussion. He wondered if it was because Kōgon was trying to distract him or if he was too drained of power to continue. He himself felt fine, though, a little out of breath was all. He had been so worried that the Chozyume had destroyed his power, but he seemed to have come out of it stronger. Apparently, Kōgon hadn‟t expected that. Kōgon had no doubt been hoping that he had reduced Shibito to a drooling idiot and fuck toy for anyone who would have him. “The look on your face was priceless when the syringe went in,” Kōgon continued. “I had you naked and on your back minutes after that. You should be honored! You‟re the only man I‟ve fucked.” Shibito swallowed his anger. He knew Kōgon was trying to rattle him, and he couldn‟t show that it was working. He didn‟t need the mental image of Kōgon touching him like a lover, even though he doubted that anything like that had happened. “Nothing to say?” he asked him. “What did you do to get here? Was it worth it?” Shibito took a deep breath and then exhaled slowly, a calming device that he had used many times in his life. He didn‟t even think when he shot out another psibolt at Kōgon before creating a psisword. This was something he should have done in the beginning.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 101 Shibito smiled coolly when he saw Kōgon‟s anger, that he wasn‟t falling for his taunts and that he was continuing to fight. Kōgon had never been as gifted as he was and had to use other means to fight him. Shibito let his mind go and slid into his fighting forms. “It was very worth it,” he told Kōgon with a small smile. “You!” Kōgon was practically vibrating with anger as he created his own sword, angered that he couldn‟t rattle his opponent. Shibito mock saluted him and then charged. He half expected Kōgon to produce a gun and shoot him, since there were no witnesses now as he ran toward him. He didn‟t know if he was relieved or angry that he hadn‟t done that before Shibito had gotten close to him. Their blades crossed with a mind-numbing shriek as Shibito pressed forward, slowly backing Kōgon against the garden wall. He didn‟t care that there wasn‟t enough space to swing a blade as he forced his cousin into a corner. Shibito wanted nothing more in this moment of his life than to kill Kōgon. Kōgon must have seen something in his eyes, because he let out a shrill scream as he tried to defend himself. “Wait! We can work something out.” “What?” Shibito asked him mockingly, wondering where his sarcasm was coming from. “A deal? And how long before another syringe of Chozyume, or something worse, makes its way into my life?” “You….” “Were a threat? Mousy little me?” Shibito mocked him. “I doubt it. You‟re the emperor, and I‟m merely a scholar.” “Everyone liked you,” Kōgon spat out. “They looked to you…. Don‟t you think I heard the whispers? That I wasn‟t
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 102 as good as you? As powerful? That it was a pity that you didn‟t like women, because your children would be so gifted with the right mother. I was nothing to them. An afterthought because our father didn‟t want you on the throne!” “Our father?” Shibito echoed. He had never known, but he should have. Enough people had mentioned that they looked enough alike to be brothers. “You‟re my brother,” Kōgon snapped at him. “My mother was a moment‟s pleasure for the man, while he married the cold bitch that was your mother. He never acknowledged me. But she knew and that was enough for her. But you were the one that everyone thought of and flattered, and it wasn‟t me. I wasn‟t good enough, and in the end, I took what I wanted. You… you‟re dead. You even think so yourself with the name that you chose.” “Was it worth it?” Shibito whispered. Kōgon looked at him, his eyes glittering with madness over the blade he had created with his talent. “It was….All that power! The throne. Everything that I wanted was mine. Nobody questioned me. It was easy. No one even noticed the ones after you.” “The ones after me,” Shibito repeated, dread curdling his stomach. Kōgon had done what he and Genji had feared, exiled—or worse—innocents who were his family, because they were more powerful psychics than he was. “They were a threat,” Kōgon told him. “They had power; they would be noticed. So I got rid of them.” He laughed when he said that and pushed Shibito back from him, making him stumble. Faster than Shibito could believe, Kōgon cut his own stomach open with his psisword.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 103 “You going to watch me die?” he demanded, his face starting to grimace in pain as he opened the wound further. Shibito looked at him in shock, shaking his head. “Why?” he whispered. “Because I could,” Kōgon told him haughtily through the pain. “Do it! Or are you going to watch me screaming? Is that going to give you pleasure?” Shibito shook his head, shocked that Kōgon was willing to do this to himself, just because he thought he was losing. It was madness. But Kōgon was slicing more and more of his stomach through, damaging it beyond what the healers could deal with, even if he could get them here in time. He stepped forward almost blindly, furiously blinking the tears out of his eyes. He raised his own blade and swung it smoothly. He really didn‟t know what he had done until Kōgon‟s body tumbled to the ground, his head landing neatly beside it.
HAGAR woke up and wondered why he wasn‟t in pain. He stirred, feeling a blessed numbness on his back, even as he was lying on it. “Shibito?” he croaked. “Lie still,” Shibito told him quietly. “Are you okay?” Hagar asked him. “I wasn‟t the one that took a psibolt in the back,” Shibito told him drily. “The healers were amazed at the damage. They healed you, but you need to rest.” “That cousin of yours is an asshole,” Hagar grumbled. “Shooting me in the back was a low blow.” “Was,” Shibito said quietly.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 104 “Oh shit!” Hagar started trying to sit up, wanting to do something to comfort Shibito. “You didn‟t.” “He committed suicide,” Shibito told him softly. “He opened his stomach with his own sword. I took his head so that he wouldn‟t suffer.” Hagar wrapped his arms around Shibito and felt him shudder in his arms, letting him mourn his cousin quietly as he held him for several minutes before the other man moved out of his embrace. He wasn‟t surprised to see that Shibito had had a shower while he was out of it and had changed his clothes. Shibito was wearing another set of robes and looked tired. Shibito glanced down at his hands quickly before looking up to stare off into space. Hagar hated the fact that Shibito was looking fragile again. “It‟s not your fault,” he insisted. “Isn‟t it?” Shibito asked brokenly. “I should have done something to stop him.” “Yeah, like you chose to be gay or to have that asshole shoot you up with that shit,” Hagar told him roughly. Shibito nodded slowly, not looking convinced and changing the subject. “Genji will be arriving in a couple of hours.” “How long was I out?” Hagar demanded. “I feel great.” “Several hours. Date took care of you, got you to the healers. I simply stayed here.” “Tell him thanks for me,” Hagar said, swinging his legs around to get out of bed. “Where in the name of all the hells are you going?” Shibito demanded.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 105 “You…. Shit, you‟re not going to need me around,” Hagar told him, feeling lost for some reason. “You….” Shibito sighed before continuing in a sad voice. “You have a life that you need to get back to.” “Not really,” Hagar told him bluntly. “You‟re the one that‟s doin‟ okay here.” Shibito rolled his eyes. “I don‟t think so. Do you know how many of the nobles of the Imperium think that I stole the throne from Kōgon? And what about the fact that Chozyume altered me the way it has? I trust you not to take advantage of that or tell anyone. I don‟t know who else I can trust.” “Tell ‟em to go screw themselves,” Hagar told him, wondering why it felt so good that Shibito trusted him. “As much as he should, I doubt that will make him a popular emperor.” Genji‟s cool voice came from the doorway. Both of them jumped, and Shibito practically ran to the other man for a hug. Hagar felt a brief spurt of jealousy but realized that Shibito needed his cousin and the guy wasn‟t interested in him like that. He settled back into bed, wondering exactly what was going to happen. He hadn‟t wanted to go, but knew that Shibito—or Ranmaru—wasn‟t someone a guy like him got to keep, no matter what he wanted or how he felt about the man. “He—” Shibito started, then switched to Japanese, but Hagar heard the catch in his voice and could guess what he was telling Genji even if he couldn‟t understand the words. Kōgon killed himself rather than lose. And he knew Shibito or Ranmaru or whatever his name was well enough to know that he felt guilty because he‟d had to kill Kōgon, even after all that the asshole had done to him.
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 106 “Kōgon was like that,” Genji told him gently in English, so that Hagar could understand, an unexpected kindness given that Genji had made it clear he didn‟t like Hagar. “You‟re not at fault here.”
SHIBITO nodded and bit his lip and continued in Japanese. “Genji… I can‟t…. Something happened with me. I fear that my father was right not to name me as his heir.” “That isn‟t something that we have to worry about now,” Genji told him briskly. He glanced at Hagar, and Shibito sensed that while his cousin didn‟t know for certain what was going on, he knew it had something to do with Hagar. He wasn‟t happy about that, but Genji also knew that it wasn‟t something that could be dealt with now. “Whatever is decided will be the right thing,” Genji went on. “It‟s going to take time to get it done, however. You don‟t have to worry about it now.” “Kōg- Kōgon—” Shibito stuttered and then switched back to English. “There are about a half dozen cousins that are missing.” Genji froze when he said that. “He didn‟t!” Shibito nodded, looking miserable, knowing that no matter how much Genji wanted to deny it, Kōgon had sent a half dozen other innocent people to hell with a drug overdose and exile. Even if they recovered their wits, they might not be able to escape from wherever they had been dropped as Shibito had been able to do. “He did. Maybe not all of them, but enough. He confessed to as much before he died. I found the records for them when I went through his personal
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 107 possessions. He thought that he had them hidden well, but he forgot that one of my talents is with computers.” “I can help look for them,” Hagar offered. Both of the other men looked at him. “Hell, you think that everyone out there is as nice as I am?” Hagar barked. “That there‟s a Mama that‟s willing to look out for strays? That the ones who are out there are gonna be as lucky as Shibito? Shit, you‟re gonna need someone who can find people that are lost and operate outside the laws of most places. I can be that person.” “That‟s not his name!” Genji practically snarled, ignoring the rest of Hagar‟s words. “It is,” Shibito told him quietly. “I don‟t know which were lies and which were the truth of the things Kōgon told me, but I know that I‟m not Ranmaru anymore.” “The two of you,” Genji grumbled. “I‟m going with him,” Shibito said. “You can‟t!” Genji protested. “Why not?” Shibito demanded. “Because you‟re the only one here that can take the throne!” Genji practically screamed. “How about you?” Hagar asked. He didn‟t know what the fuss was, but he was guessing that there was a whole lot more than these two in who could be in charge from the cousins that Kōgon had tried to get rid of. And he was thinking that this throne thing was more than being emperor, from the way that Genji and Shibito were acting. “My vows,” Genji whispered. “I don‟t want to give them up.”
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 108 “I have the blood of my kin on my hands,” Shibito told him quietly. “I should not be emperor.” “Do you?” Genji asked him cynically. “He was trying to kill you at the time.” “It‟s not…,” Shibito started. “He was kin, closer than I claimed, my brother… and I have his blood on my hands.” Genji shook his head. “That is not your fault. He chose his end.” “Did he?” Shibito asked. “If I hadn‟t come back?” “He sent more of our kin out there,” Genji reminded him. “Alone and defenseless. All because the man thought they were a threat. Kōgon was insane. You didn‟t kill him. He killed himself when he started this madness trying to get rid of you.” “I have to go look for them too. I‟m the only one that can understand what they‟ve gone through,” Shibito said. Genji looked at the two of them, sighed, and nodded. “Very well. In the name of the Imperium, as the abbot of Todoji, I bid you to search for our cousins. After that is done, we can decide who sits on the throne.”
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 109
Epilogue SHIBITO was on the bridge of the Serpent, carefully entering the coordinates for their first destination into the Nav computer. He was grateful that Kōgon had bothered to keep records about where he had sent his victims, probably so he could gloat over their misfortune. Hagar looked over at him and smiled. “You don‟t have to.” “Between the protests of the court and all the maneuvering that Genji‟s going to be doing around what‟s happened, it‟s better that I am not present for it,” Shibito told him. “You don‟t want the throne?” Hagar asked him. Shibito shrugged. “I didn‟t before, but now… I don‟t know. I‟m a very different person now. I want to get to know who I am before I even think about taking the throne.” “And me?” Hagar asked him, looking strangely wistful. “Do you want to get to know who I am?” Shibito smiled up at him. “As soon as we‟re in hyperspace again, I‟ll show you how well I want to know you.” He felt safe with Hagar, something he needed now; most of the rest of the Imperium thought he was the lowest thing in the universe because he had killed Kōgon. The court nobles believed that his experiences outside the Imperium had driven him insane. While no one had said that aloud, Shibito felt very uncomfortable in court right now, not the
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 110 least because he knew that it was true. Something had happened to him, something that most people would think was insane. Half the time, people were not so discreetly avoiding him, while the other half, they were hovering around him like the flattering sycophants they were, asking him for favors. Hagar was ignored by most of the court because the man was a barbarian outsider, but he had told Shibito of the attempts made by some of the nobles to bribe him for Shibito‟s favor. Hagar was amused about the whole thing now, but Shibito knew that someone was going to anger him, and then punches would be thrown, making even more of a mess of things. It would be fun to see, though, a part of him admitted. Hagar smiled down at him and leaned over to kiss the top of his head. “Don‟t worry. We‟ll get the rest of them back.” “I….” “You‟re worried about them; family‟s important,” Hagar told him. “He was an asshole to do that, not to speak ill of the dead. We‟ll find them, and then everything will be okay.” Shibito nodded slowly. “It‟s just—” “He shouldn‟t have done it,” Hagar finished for him. Shibito didn‟t say anything but stared silently out into space as Hagar pulled away from Katsura to hunt down Shibito‟s missing relatives, slipping into hyperspace. He leaned into Hagar‟s embrace when the man stood behind him. After a few minutes, Shibito turned away from the screen and tilted his head back for a kiss. Hagar kissed him and smiled, trying for a leer, but ending up with a silly smile. “I think that I know what we can do to keep occupied.”
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 111 Shibito laughed darkly. “If it involves fucking me through the deck….” He had thought about his strange relationship with Hagar during the long hours he had sat beside Hagar‟s bed, waiting for him to wake up. It was more pleasant than thinking about how he had killed Kōgon. He had no inclination for any of his old lovers to treat him like this, even now. Hagar was the only one who had ever made him want to be taken in such a manner. He supposed it was something that could be worked out later. Right now, gods help him, he wanted to be fucked, thoroughly and roughly, until he passed out from the pleasure.
HAGAR didn‟t say anything but twined his hand through Shibito‟s hair, jerking him forward and brutally kissing him, listening to his moan when he did so, before breaking off their kiss by biting his lip. “You‟ll be thoroughly fucked,” he promised, dragging Shibito off the bridge and into their cabin. They‟d find Shibito‟s family, no matter what it took. He‟d use that time to try to fix whatever was screwed up in Shibito‟s head, no matter how enjoyable it was that the other man was such a submissive fuck toy for him. From the look in Shibito‟s eyes, he didn‟t care about fixing it, even though he knew it wasn‟t right. Shibito wanted the bruises and the roughness, marks that someone had taken him often and hard. And God help him, he wanted to be the one who gave those marks to him. “It‟s not your fault,” Shibito said, as if he could read his mind, before he pulled him down for another kiss. “And I find submission to you very pleasant.”
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 112 “That‟s nice to know,” Hagar muttered, his hands roaming up and down Shibito‟s body, tweaking his nipples hard through his clothing. Shibito stroked his back, pulling him closer, kissing him like it was the only thing that mattered in the universe. He‟d worry about it later, when he was hot and sweaty and exhausted from fucking Shibito. Hell, he shouldn‟t even think about that name with him. “Ranmaru,” he moaned. “Don‟t,” Shibito pleaded, pulling away from him. “Don‟t. I‟m not him anymore. I don‟t want to be. Just—” Hagar didn‟t let him finish that sentence but started kissing him again while stripping him of his clothing easily, discovering that underneath his robes, Shibito was wearing nothing. Hagar fingered his ass, finding that it was slick, and he was not surprised. Shibito wanted him, wanted to be fucked, and had just made it faster for him to do it. Hagar pushed him to his knees, the moan of pleasure that Shibito gave out when he hit the floor priceless. Hagar fumbled with his clothing, getting naked, and didn‟t even bother with foreplay, knowing that Shibito didn‟t want it. He knelt behind the other man and pushed into Shibito fast and rough, recognizing that he should be going slow but not caring, feeling Shibito arch into his strokes, enjoying this as much as he was. He‟d be slow later, take care of the other man in all ways if he could. But for now, he tightened his hands on Shibito‟s hips, adding to the bruises he had left there earlier, and rode Shibito hard and fast.
SHIBITO moved with Hagar, wanting him as deep as he could take him. There was probably something wrong with this, a
A Modest Proposal | Felicitas Ivey 113 change that had happened to him because of the overdose of Chozyume. He wasn‟t going to analyze it, just enjoy it. He moaned in pleasure, loving the power of Hagar‟s thrusts and the feeling of their balls slapping together. He didn‟t fight his orgasm when it happened, riding it as hard as Hagar was riding him. A few more thrusts and Hagar was done too, leaning over to murmur something in his ear, stroking his body gently before pulling out of him. “Rest,” Hagar told him. “I….” “You…,” Shibito started with a sigh, stretching and feeling the various aches in his body. “I….” “Later,” Hagar told him. “Later… when you don‟t make me too crazy to resist doing those things with you. Later we can start, not fixing, but maybe changing some of your reactions.” “But….” Shibito wondered why he couldn‟t finish a sentence. He felt good, though, satisfied and well fucked. He crawled into bed with Hagar following him, holding him close. “Because I want to be able to be gentle,” Hagar told him. “Please?” “I‟ll think about it,” he promised. Gentle sounded good with Hagar, even though his body didn‟t want it, wanted it brutal, vicious—things he had never known before. He should let Hagar be the gentle and nice man that he wanted to be with him, but…. He was too tired to think about it now. There would be plenty of time for that later. Hagar smiled, and they both drifted off to sleep.
About the Author
FELICITAS IVEY is the pen name of a very frazzled helpdesk drone at a Boston-area university. She‟s an eternal student even with a BA in anthropology and history, since free classes are part of the benefits. She‟s taken courses on gothic architecture, premodern Japanese literature, and witchcraft, just because they sounded like fun. She has traveled to Japan and Europe and hopes to return to both in the future. She knits and cross-stitches avidly, much to the disgust of her cat, Smaugu, who wants her undivided attention. He‟s also peeved that she spends so much time writing instead of petting him. She writes urban fantasy and horror of a Lovecraftian nature, monsters beyond space and time that think that humans are the tastiest things in the multiverse. Felicitas lives in Boston with her beloved husband, known to all as The Husband, and the aforementioned cat, whom the husband swears is a demon, even though it‟s his fault that they have the cat. The husband also is worried about Felicitas‟s anime habit, her love for J-Pop music, and her extensive collection of Yaoi manga and Gundam Wing doujinshi, which has turned her library into a Very Scary Place for him. Visit her blogs at http://Iveys_Tales.livejournal.com and http://felicitasivey.dreamwidth.org, and her web site at http://felicitasivey.com. You can e-mail her at Felicitas.Ivey @gmail.com.
Also from Felicitas Ivey
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A Modest Proposal ©Copyright Felicitas Ivey, 2011 Published by Dreamspinner Press 382 NE 191st Street #88329 Miami, FL 33179-3899, USA http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/ This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the authors’ imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. Cover Art by Anne Cain [email protected]
Cover Design by Mara McKennen This book is licensed to the original purchaser only. Duplication or distribution via any means is illegal and a violation of International Copyright Law, subject to criminal prosecution and upon conviction, fines, and/or imprisonment. This eBook cannot be legally loaned or given to others. No part of this eBook can be shared or reproduced without the express permission of the Publisher. To request permission and all other inquiries, contact Dreamspinner Press at: 382 NE 191st Street #88329, Miami, FL 33179-3899, USA http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/ Released in the United States of America September 2011 eBook Edition eBook ISBN: 978-1-61372-067-7