flighty_dreams: (embarrassed)
[personal profile] flighty_dreams
TITLE: Spliced 5-3
AUTHOR: [livejournal.com profile] flighty_dreams
WARNINGS: NC-17. slavefic. scifi setting. M/m. some graphic violence.
WORD COUNT:  4,835 (this chapter), over 200k so far
SUMMARY:  In a world where clones are made and sold as commodities, Matt Muldane can't resist purchasing an intriguing slave.
NOTES:  The index to this story available here. Special thanks to [livejournal.com profile] aurila and to [livejournal.com profile] tuawahine . Don't know why the formatting is being uncooperative.

This chapter picks up immediately after Chapter 2, when they go to a party, Matt flirts with someone else, and Alex gets upset and retaliates (for those who needed a refresher). Sorry for the long delay, life got crazy there for a while, but the boys are back.


Chapter Three

“Turn on the AGS.”

Matt ignored the demand. If he wanted to drive his ashen car, he was going to drive his ashen car.

A loud sigh came from beside him before Min reached over and switched on the AGS himself.

Matt turned it back off with more force than necessary. “Are you really going to fuck with me right now?”

Unsurprisingly, Min wasn’t cowed. He never was these days, despite the way he sometimes pretended it in public. “You’re spiraling too much to drive right. I'd like to get out of this car in the normal fashion, not fly out of it in pieces.”

Scowling, Matt switched the AGS back on. A heavy silence descended on the car for the next few minutes, Matt staring blankly out at the road, trying to get his temper under control. Min seemed to derive great pleasure from driving him insane.

This moment was no exception. Seeing Min’s hand reach for the stereo from the corner of his eye, Matt batted it away. “Seriously, you need to fucking stop. What is wrong with you?”

Min's bitter laugh, the only response he received, did nothing to curb Matt’s temper.

“You fucked things up on purpose,” Matt said. “Do you have any idea what you did?”

Min looked at him with that blank expression that showed nothing at all. Matt had grown to hate it.

“Garthen’s family is buying Jarvian Industries, and they’re restructuring the company. I found out I was their second pick for their shipping interests, and they weren’t that attached to their first choice. All I needed to do was sweet talk him a bit, and I’d have had an exclusive contract with Jarvian Industries!”

Min had the gall to give him a disgusted look. “If you had fucking thought to tell me this, then I would’ve known what was going on!”

Matt didn't really have an answer for that, except the obvious, that he had no obligation to tell Min everything about his business. But saying that aloud would only make the current situation even uglier. He'd shared some information about his work with Min the past few months—with him present for plenty of meetings, it wasn't exactly possible to keep a lot from Min—but Matt still wasn't used to it. He didn't have a partner for a reason; he wasn't a sharer.

Min wasn’t done though. “I could’ve even helped with the flirting, if that’s what you needed.”

“Hell no.” The words were out before the rest of Matt’s brain even caught up, and he was glad he wasn’t driving anymore; the car might’ve swerved. “Then the deal would’ve fallen through the moment he asked to borrow you.”

Rolling his eyes, Min said, “I doubt it’d go that far. He didn’t look at me twice. I don’t think I was his type.”

Matt snorted, aware of the man’s reputation. “His ‘type’ is anyone who shows some interest.”

Giving him a look, Min said, “He must have some standards.”

“And you think you wouldn’t meet those?” Matt asked, incredulity wiping some of his anger away.

“That’s-” Min paused, turning away. “Never mind.”

“No, what were you going to say?” He'd gotten used to Min not censoring himself in private. He preferred honesty anyway.

“Just that some people think sleeping with clones is beneath them.” The flatness of his voice didn’t conceal his resentment.

Matt bristled. Even though that sentiment meant fewer people interested in his Min, he didn’t like the implication that Min wasn’t ‘good enough’ for them. “Those idiots aren’t worth stressing over.”

“I know,” Min said, looking over at him in surprise. “Doesn’t mean I'm thrilled by the idea though.”

Matt nodded, the space within the car becoming quiet again, except for the hum of the vehicle’s engine. As they neared home, the question burning within him, Matt asked at last, “Why the hell did you even get so mad at me for flirting with Garthen? To the point of letting that bastard Lofton molest you? What, I don’t give you enough attention?” Matt couldn’t see how that was remotely possible.

At least the Andorian had the grace to flush, though he made a frustrated sound. “It’s not that.”

“Then what is it?” Matt demanded, needing to know.

There was a long, tense silence before Min finally said, “You see me, but you don’t see me.”

Matt glowered at him as they pulled into the driveway. “What the hell does that mean?”

“All you see is this,” Min said, touching the collar around his neck.

Matt frowned, hiding his sudden unease. “It’s part of you.”

“You-” Min bit off, his eyes flaring, looking as pissed as Matt had ever seen him.

“What?”

Matt could feel him fuming, but he didn’t answer until the car had stopped inside the garage. “I don’t know if I can do this anymore.”

“What?” Matt exclaimed, but Min was already exiting the car. Matt stalked after him into the house.


*


“What did you mean by that?”

Fury and fear made Matt’s pulse race, but he suppressed the instinctive declaration that Min wasn’t allowed to leave him. The past few months had taught him that saying such things—regardless of whether they were true or not—only made Min more stubborn and more pissed.

Seated on the couch, where he’d gone immediately upon entering their bedroom, Min didn’t look at him. There was something harsh and distant about him now that he hadn't seen since that terrible day on Festun. It left Matt standing where he was, reluctant to approach him.

The knowledge that if Min really wanted to leave, Matt’s chances of stopping him were low, left his stomach twisting into knots as the fear overpowered the fury. Short of keeping Min chained up at all times—an idea that filled him with distaste, and that he knew would only make Min all the more determined to leave—he wouldn’t be able to prevent it from happening.

When Min spoke at last, the anger he’d shown in the car was gone. “I’m not about to sneak out the back door or something. I’m just… I’m so tired.”

Matt’s throat grew tight, as if to prevent himself from asking the question. “Tired of what?”

Min stared unseeingly at the inactive vid screen, his gaze focused inward. “The double standards. If I blatantly flirted with someone right in front of you, you would've dragged me away and demanded to know what the fuck I was doing.”

Matt didn't deny it. It was pretty much what he'd done upon finding Min with Lofton.

“But I'm supposed to say nothing,” Min continued, his voice rising. “Just let you do whatever you want? That's what you think?”

If Min was just a slave, that was exactly what he should do, but Matt couldn't bring himself to say so. He'd rather Min showed such things upset him, because it proved he had feelings for him.

As long as he didn't make a public spectacle out of both of them, that was. That Matt had not appreciated.

“No, I'm not saying that,” Matt told him. “But you could've waited until afterwards to ask me what was going on, instead of causing a scene.”

The Andorian laughed, though there was no mirth in it. “Because that's exactly what you would've done. Calmly waited until we were alone.”

Matt's face heated. Even now, the memory of Lofton pinning Min against the wall and groping him still made him see red. “That's different.”

“Why?” Min leapt to his feet, fists clenching. “Why is it different?”

“Because I don't trust you!”

The exclamation slipped from him before he could think better of it.

“What?” Min asked, his tone dangerously soft now.

“It's not exactly a secret,” Matt hedged, refusing to elaborate.

Apparently Min could fill in the gaps on his own. “Let me see if I'm flying straight on this. My flirting with anyone else is not okay because you don't trust me to stop there. You're serious? You think I have so little what, loyalty? Self-control?”

Matt shrugged. Even after four months, he was still wary of Min's motives much of the time. “You have lied about a lot of things.”

“This isn't about lying!” Those blue eyes flared with fury. “I'm not expecting you to have complete faith in me already, but Flame all, by now you should at least give me a little credit!”

“I do,” Matt said, stepping closer to him. He had noticed Min being more honest, and he didn't believe he would just run off with the next person he saw or something. But what was to stop him from one day deciding that dealing with Matt was too complicated, that he'd be better off with another abolitionist like that ashen woman?

“I never thought you were actually interested in Lofton-”

“That should be fucking obvious,” Min interjected.

Matt sent him a quelling look. “But you're the one who gave this arrangement a time limit. Feels like after six months, if you think it won't work out, you'll move on, look for something better. That doesn't advertise loyalty.”

Min shook his head. “I told you when I first got back that it didn't necessarily have to be six months. I wouldn't have set any sort of time line, that was a holdover from my past arrangement, but it didn't seem like such a bad idea either, to say that I'd stay at least six months, and then we'd see after that, given our... special situation.”

“Which part of our 'special situation' are you referring to exactly?”

“The part where you believe you own me,” Min growled, “and believe I have no right to leave, no matter what happens.”

Matt warmed to this response, his earlier rage still too fresh. “You are mine. No one else has a right to put a hand on you, certainly not that fucker Lofton.”

Min's eyes glittered. “No, he had no right to touch me. But this has nothing to do with 'belonging' to you or not. The fact that you still support a system that allows him to think such behavior is acceptable is unfathomable to me.”

“No, even within the system it's not acceptable,” Matt argued, flushing. “He should have more respect for other people's property! He-” Min's furious glare made the rest of his words catch in his throat.

“I'm a person, not a fucking thing! That's the whole problem! When it's convenient for you, you forget that,” Min hissed.

“No, I don't,” Matt denied.

“No? Your complete lack of consideration tonight screams otherwise. You could have avoided this whole fiasco by simply telling me your angle with Garthen beforehand. But you believed I didn't deserve any explanation, that I should just shut the fuck up and smile while that bastard politician put his hands on you!”

Matt's face reddened as he realized Min was right. He hadn't explained because a slave wasn't owed any explanation. Yet if he'd given it some thought beforehand he would neither have expected nor wanted Min to be indifferent to him showing interest in someone else. He'd even noticed the attention Garthen paid him was annoying Min, but Matt hadn't believed he would do anything about it in public. He'd been wrong about that, and about not sparing a minute to tell Min about the possible deal with Garthen.

Yet he still felt Min should have known better. “You couldn't possibly have believed I was truly interested in him,” Matt said. Surely by now his obsession with Min was visible enough to be seen from across the galaxy.

Min's exasperated growl amused Matt. “That's not-” He took a breath. “The point is that I didn't like it.”

A growing suspicion made Matt smile as he moved up to him. “You didn't like it, or you hated it, hmm?”

“And you should've known I wouldn't like it,” Min continued, resisting his attempt to lighten the conversation.

“Like you knew I would hate Lofton touching you?” Matt pointed out.

“That was retaliation,” Min argued, “and dragging your attention back where it belonged.”

He was jealous of Garthen. Pleased, Matt embraced him. That reveal melted the last of his anger over Lofton. It even took away the sting of the lost deal. Min had never shown jealousy before.

Stiff, Min didn't respond to the hug at first. Then, as Matt rubbed encouragingly along his lower back, he gradually relaxed into it.

When Min's arms circled his waist, Matt brought a hand up, brushing his cheek with the back of his fingers. Min leaned into the caress, which never failed to loosen a knot of tension deep within Matt.

But Min drew back after a bit, a warning look in his eyes. “You're not forgiven yet, you know.”

Overriding his mild resistance, Matt cupped his cheek. “I know.”

He stepped away from Min—reluctantly, as always—and went to the bedroom door, locking it. Walking back towards him, Matt untucked his shirt from his pants with slow deliberation, his fingers reaching for the buttons a moment later. Motionless, Min watched him with that blank mask in place, the tension in the room rising.

“Since you cut our night out short, we might as well make it worthwhile,” Matt told him, the deepening of his voice broadcasting the sort of activities he had in mind.

A blush tinged Min's cheeks, a crack in the mask. He might still be irritated with him, but Matt knew he could brush it aside with the right distraction. After all, Min had taken advantage of Matt's similar weakness in the past.

“If you hadn't shut me out, we could still be at the party,” Min retorted, but the way his gaze seemed magnetized to Matt's now bare chest hinted that he wasn't exactly disappointed to be home.

Matt folded his shirt and hung it over a chair with precise movements, as if he had all the time in the world. He knew from experience that such casual confidence drew interesting responses from his Andorian. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught Min swallowing, the only outward sign he gave of discomfort.

With even strides Matt reached the bed, sitting down on it, legs crossed at the ankles. “Come here.”

Min's chin rose. “No.”

Repressing a sigh, he rephrased the order. “I would very much like it if you joined me.”

Min stiffened and crossed his arms, sure signs that he was tempted. “And I would very much like it if you apologized. Guess we're both in for disappointment.”

Ashes. Too resistant at the moment. Knowing now that Min had been jealous, he was inclined to feel more generous though. “Come over here and maybe I'll apologize,” he offered.

“Liar.”

That's your vice, not mine. Matt didn't say the words though; they'd lead to a fight instead of a fuck.

“I don't hear you rushing to apologize about Lofton,” Matt told him instead.

“I think the apologies should follow chronological order,” Min said. “You offended me first.”

Matt stifled a smile. Min Logic. What his Andorian hadn't admitted though, that was becoming all the clearer to Matt, was that he'd felt hurt as well as pissed. That Matt couldn't ignore.

He rose, moving over to him. Hand sliding through Min's dark hair, brushing the lengthening bangs back, he asked, “You want me to kiss it better?”

Min's lips quirked. “After, yes.”

Matt chose to misunderstand. Shrugging, he said, “All right.”

Grabbing Min's shirt, he tugged it upwards, but Min pushed his hands away. His resistance made Matt pause, asking innocently, “What?”

Min's dark look declared that he was not at all fooled.

“I said I'd apologize if you came to me,” Matt told him, unwilling to simply give in. “You didn't.”

Frustrated, Min uttered something between a growl and a curse.

“Oh that’s hot,” Matt said, sliding a hand down Min's pants. “Make that sound again.”

Scowling, Min squirmed, but he couldn't hide his arousal from Matt's questing fingers. Sensing his resolve wavering, Matt grinned.

Leaning in, he nipped Min's ear before slowly tracing his jaw. Light stubble rasped against his lips and tongue, even as Min's quickening breaths made him smile. Conceding, Min turned his head, meeting Matt’s lips early. Chuckling at his impatience, Matt allowed his tongue easy access. Still kissing, they backed towards the bed, outraced only by their spiraling desire. Once they reached it, Min pushed Matt down onto the bed, fingers fastening on his shoulders.

Matt smiled into Min's neck. His Andorian wasn't mad enough at him to forgo sex. Min's mouth slid down, finding first one nipple and then the other, the pleasure that devious tongue incited making Matt moan and writhe. He tried to rise, but Min increased the pressure on his shoulders, and Matt’s head lifted, frowning as their gazes met.

Looking steadily at him, Min squeezed his shoulders once before letting go. He did little things like this sometimes.

Then Min removed his shirt, tossing it across the room in a move that Matt knew was calculated to annoy. He sent Min an exasperated look.

When Matt sat up, Min ended up in his lap, legs straddling his waist. One hand curling into his hair, Matt kissed Min until he was breathless and helplessly aroused—those deeper groans gave him away every time.

As did the hasty way his hands reached for Matt’s belt. When Min's fingers fumbled with the stubborn buckle, he growled with frustration.

Matt laughed, and Min looked up, puzzled.

“I love that growl,” Matt told him, grinning as he kissed him again.


*


It was later, after they'd both collapsed into the sleep of the well-fucked, that Matt mentioned it. Easing back to wakefulness, he lay there for a while, his head on Min's chest. The steady beating of his heart was soothing, leaving Matt content to stay there. In the dark, he fumbled for Min's hand, finding and squeezing it.

“Mm?” Min grunted, sounding more asleep than awake.

“Shh, go back to sleep.”

Contrary as always, Min didn't listen. “Something wrong?”

The concern in his voice made Matt smile. “No,” he said, stroking Min's palm, “just thinking.”

“Dangerous,” Min mumbled.

If he could tease, he must be awake enough. Yet Matt still let some time pass before admitting, “Should have told you about the possible deal. It would've taken five minutes.”

“Wha?” Min sounded even less awake than before. He'd waited too long.

“Never mind,” Matt whispered. “Sleep.”

This time, Min listened.


*


Gentle hands guided Matt's head from a warm human pillow onto a softer but less enticing one. With a murmured protest, Matt reached out blindly, catching Min's arm in his grip.

“Matt.” Light exasperation laced his name.

“Where you going?”

“I'm getting up,” Min continued in the same tone. “It's late, but you looked ready to sleep for hours yet. Figured I'd exercise.”

“Could've just woken me,” Matt said, his voice still rough from sleep.

“Nah, you don't sleep enough. Rest.” Min's fingers brushed Matt's forehead, sliding into his hair. It felt nice, and Matt leaned into it, demanding more.

Min chuckled, humoring him. “You remind me of my sister's cat. Pasha can never get enough attention.”

Grinning, Matt tugged on his arm, pulling Min back onto the bed. “I can relate.”
The full, throaty laugh that warmed Matt's insides filled the sunlit room. Even now, he didn't hear it very often.

“Oh, I know you can.”

Min was sitting upright, and Matt shifted closer, curling his arms around his waist. Face to his back, he couldn't see Min's expression as he asked, “What was it you wanted to tell me last night?”

Matt's ease vanished. “You remember that?”

“Vaguely. You said something.”

What had felt safe in the dark was too much in the fresh light of day. “It's not important.”

“Really,” Min drawled in that knowing tone Matt hated. “It wouldn't happen to be your version of an apology, would it?”

Matt froze.

“It would fit the pattern... only done after mind-blowing sex, when you're relaxed and more agreeable, and said in the dark. That's how you usually do it.”

The past few months he had told Min sensitive things that way. Embarrassed both at being caught out and being predictable, Matt bluffed, “What?”

Min turned to face him, eyes steady on his. “You know what I'm talking about.” With a faint smile, he added, “I won't bite, I promise. Or only in ways you'd like.”

The attempt at humor didn't dim Matt's reluctance. He didn't respond.

After the silence stretched out for at least a minute, Min said, “I could go first, if that would help.”

After a pause, Matt nodded.

Sighing, Min said, “Catching Lofton's attention wasn't the mature way to handle things. I know that. There were better ways, and it was a stupid thing to do. Even just staying in the bathroom for a while would've worked, if I'd thought about it. You would've come looking for me and we could've talked, maybe.”

“Yeah, I would have.” Matt sat up so he could look him in the eyes properly. He hoped to get Min to admit his jealousy aloud. “You said you didn't like it. Why were you so upset about Garthen?”

Min looked away. “I'm so restricted,” he said, touching his collar briefly. “At least in public. I can't flirt with you like that. All the time there are things I want to say or do and I can't. You have no idea how much it frustrates me. And then to see that,” an ugly grimace twisted his face, “that asshole, doing that, and you smiling like you were enjoying it and didn't give a shit about my feelings...”

Stunned by the admission, Matt stared at him. It had been obvious that Min felt frustrated by the restrictions placed on slaves, but it was different hearing it expressed in relation to him. He should have been more aware of it though, since it related back to Min's declaration months earlier that he wanted a relationship.

That topic he wasn't prepared to address, but there were other ruffled feathers he could soothe. “Hey,” he said, tucking Min in close to him. “I wasn't enjoying it. You remember the other night, when you asked me why I wanted you at the party?”

“Yeah,” Min said, his eyes narrowing.

What had seemed embarrassing two nights earlier no longer felt worth hiding. “I didn't trust myself to be able to pull off the flirting without you there, close by for me to see.”

What?

Matt winced at his incredulity. “Some banter back and forth sure, that's easy, but to show real interest, and to seem like I was enjoying him touching me... I thought having you there would help, because I could imagine it was you I was doing it to instead, and I wanted to increase my chances of success as much as possible.”

For a long moment Min looked offended, and then he seemed to decide it was funny. He laughed, leaning against Matt's chest. “You aren't that hopeless.”

“Of course not,” Matt replied, indignant.

“But any easy way to 'increase your chances of success' you can't help but make use of. Typical.”

Smiling, Matt brushed Min's hair aside and kissed the back of his neck. Calm settled over them.

“You really pretended it was me with you instead of him?”

The vulnerable note in his voice had Matt tightening his arms around Min. “Yes,” he said, mouth flush against his ear, “Absolutely.”

Min released a heavy sigh. “Sometimes I really don't understand you. It could be so easy.”

Growing distracted by an armful of warm Andorian and his enticing scent, Matt didn't really follow the words. “Hmm?”

“Never mind,” Min said, shaking his head. After a pause, during which Matt began sliding his hand down on a direct course for Min's cock, he said, “Hey, weren't you supposed to say something else?”

Ignoring him, Matt's fingers clasped their goal, stroking the shaft.

Min hissed and then surprisingly shifted forward, away from him. Glaring at Matt over his shoulder he said, “You either care or you don't.”

“I'm just using your own tricks against you,” Matt replied in his defense.

Min wasn't amused. “Matt...”

“All right,” he said more seriously, leaning back against the headboard as he gathered his thoughts. “I should have told you about the deal with Garthen. Could've easily avoided everything.”

“Why didn't you?”

Matt shrugged, uncomfortable explaining himself. “There wasn't any particular reason. I have employees of course, but my company isn't that big and I handle most of the upper level stuff myself. I never had a partner before that I'd have to share such sensitive business information with.”

Something he said pleased Min, whose blue eyes glowed suddenly.

“What?”

“Nothing.” Min's smile faded away, replaced by a frown. “Even when you saw I wasn't happy with what you were doing with Garthen, you still made no attempt to explain. We could have snuck away for a few minutes.” His voice lowered, his gaze sliding away from Matt. “Did you somehow think I didn't care, or my feelings just weren't a concern?”

That hurt was back in his voice, and the sharp knife of guilt only plunged deeper at knowing the answer: it was a combination of both. On top of that, he'd thought it obvious nothing was actually going to happen with Garthen.

“I just thought you were annoyed,” Matt said, the words spilling out. “We annoy each other plenty, it didn't seem exceptional.” He took a breath, steadying himself. “I didn't mean to hurt you.”

“But you did,” Min said, a telltale sheen in his eyes that left Matt feeling even more horrible. “And you do it all the time, in little ways.”

For a moment Matt felt stricken, before recovering. “You think you don't do the same to me?”

Now it was Min who flushed. They sat on the bed together, the quiet weighing down on them. With a wry look, Min said at last, “We're a pair, aren't we?”

He didn't resist when Matt slid an arm around him. “Yeah, we are.”

Chapter 4
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