Collared || Thomas & Vanda
Hugh Dancy & Nina Arianda in Venus in Fur (source vid)
Okay, question. How do you see Vira’s hair? Because honestly, I can’t decide if she has curly hair (who cares about render space if you’re trying to destroy the system) or flat straight, or if it’s an alternating thing depending on style.
So. Any input?
[[College AU?]] [SMS] I have a computer, a vibrator, and pizza delivery. Give me one good reason I should leave the house, and no, for once, sex doesn't count.
[text][Thu 9:42PM] Sex should always count.
[text][Thu 9:51PM] Are you on your way?
"I know you do," she replied easily, not even thrown. If he wouldn’t take her, she had other options, they both knew that. But she preferred his company to most others; if she had to spend her time with a man, it might as well be a bearable one, and he was the closest she had found.
"Damn straight," she muttered, finally yanking his jeans over his hips. "At least I’m merciful about it. I could be so much worse — of course, some people are into that." She grinned cheekily at him, her arms resting along his thighs. "I somehow doubt you are, though - which is just as well. You’d be less fun that way." She occupied her mouth with what he’d doubtless call ‘better uses’, her grinning eyes fixed on his face a moment longer, curious if he was dedicated enough to getting the last word to risk offending her now.
Of course he fell silent, his own lips taken by an excitable, sideways smile. There was plenty to be admired of the clever woman below him, but the most prominent to him was her ever sociopathic tendencies, those in which he could relate. No matter what she did, there was always a purpose related to self gain, and that often drifted into his own pursuits. It made their relationship very convenient.
He would grant her that dinner, though it would be weeks later and the excuses would be plenty. When he seemed incapable of prolonging it any longer, when she resisted all his advances and wouldn’t answer his late-night texts, he caved.
She was allowed to pick the location and he was of course expected to pay - not that he minded. His divorced mother, an already wealthy woman, had been bestowed a hefty award after a lawsuit involving his imprisoned father. Money was just green paper that he tossed and burned mindlessly, a thing Vera hated no doubt, but it served to satisfy her needs and wants very frequently. She was picked up in his painfully stereotypical Mustang - a newer model constructed of dumped cash - and escorted by her crude— friend. Booty call. The hot guy with the money, whatever it was she called him. And he hadn’t held out on dressing himself - nothing over the top, but nice enough to distract most glances, especially with the oddity of his nearly punk-influenced haircut and tattooed face. It was a wonder how he expected to become law enforcement with that appearance, but he’d only ever argue, “Times are changing.” Supporting that theory, he didn’t open the door for her after parking, though he would extend a courtesy at the entrance of the restaurant, if for no other reason than to appear a gentleman to any onlookers.
"Fancy dress," he noted softly as he stepped inside after her in the line to wait. He’d lied and told her they had reservations, but he’d forgotten to make them. "Does it have a zipper?"
Vera was looking around with interest, picking out various people and objects, sizing the room up like she planned to rob it. She’d dressed up for the night, if only to fit in, finding a black dress that might have been a perfectly appropriate dress for the venue – if it hadn’t been made out of lace and layered over a little black dress. She’d even managed to argue her hair into a neat bun, with only a few wisps escaping to frame her face, a look that she’d gladly claim was intentional.
“It might,” she allowed, still looking over the other people in line. She hadn’t really expected much – not from Ozias, not after knowing him this long – and the fact they’d made it here was a victory in her book. Still, she was going to make him pay later. “Do you really think something like this would fit without one?” she raised an eyebrow, not bothering to hide the way her eyes were drifting back to him, glancing over his outfit, his face, unashamedly admiring him.
That didn’t keep her teasing back, though. “You know, sometimes I forget my clientele frequent places like this.” She linked her arm through his and leaned her head on his shoulder, the picture of adoration. “Do you want to guess which person it is, since we’re going to be in line for a time?” And there it was, the subtle jab. A smirk crept onto her lips. “Perhaps I could barter you hints.”
That word stuck out at him. It meant she was owned, just as she implied of course, and that created a problem. It meant that in what remained of the world, people became very possessive over what few things were left to the surviving populous. Someone would be looking for her, and he doubted they would be pleased to find her in new possession.
Well they would just have to get over it - or die.
"Runaways aren’t trusted by anyone, girl," he answered, and then contradicting his own words, he lowered his weapon, and shoved it through his belt somewhere behind him and underneath his jacket. "Which means you’re in a desperate predicament." This addition clarified his gesture, regardless of if she understood him. Her story, otherwise ramblings to him, were of little relevance. Instead, they did only to insinuate the girl was either crazed or indeed as desperate as he hoped - hoped, because anything else meant a problem for his camp, and he had every intention of taking her with him.
"C’mon then," he said with an exaggerated wave of his hand, and turned sideways toward the open wasteland behind him, though keeping her in the other half of his sight. And then with an odd smirk and the raise of his brows, he taunted, "I’ve got food and water~"
His words were unimportant – what mattered was that he put his weapon away, his hands free now. She didn’t know if she’d convinced him or if he was just trusting – although she doubted the latter –but that, too, was unimportant.
She stood quickly, a little unsteady with exhaustion and hunger. At this point, she would gladly trade her freedom (for now) to some new master for a hot meal – and he was demanding no such thing, at least not in those words. She ran a shaky hand through her hair, brushing the dark and slightly matted locks. They were nearly to her chin now, after a month – or two? – on the run, growing out from her slave cut.
She didn’t thank him as she followed, automatically a step behind and to the side, her tongue glued to her teeth but her head held high. She took the opportunity to look him over again, this time less directly. He walked the way the higher ranking soldiers walked, like he expected to be obeyed, and with certain cockiness. It drew a half-smile from her, the idea that this man – a profligate like herself – would expect such obedience – the Romanus would never have given it to him.
“Food and water are good,” she said finally, and bluntly. “But who travels with you?” Although he might be on her side – and she didn’t know that for sure – she was a valuable piece of trade – worth a few guns at the least – and she had no intention of being traded back to the Romanus, nor anyone else. “What is their – their socius – fuck.” She hissed between her teeth. “Their relations to my – my old dominus?” The sentence was a struggle. “The Romanus. Do they - talk?”
Even as he moved, he was sure to keep one observant eye on her. He hadn’t checked her for weapons, not yet - he wanted to be in the safe proximity of his truck and crew for that, should she provide any tricks. And no matter the seemingly blissful act of confidence he portrayed for her, he didn’t trust nor underestimate her; the end of days had turned even the brightest-eyed civilian into greedy killers. People would do and become anything to survive - like he had.
"Someone might know your old group," he answered, finding amusement in her struggle to translate, in the heavy accent spoken from likely chapped, albeit pursed lips. "But I’ve never heard of this Romanus, so I guess we’ll both have to find out."
His vehicle wasn’t far, parked around the long side of the abandoned factory warehouse he and his crew had already scoured for every useful item it had left - it wasn’t much. Those very individuals surrounded the automobile, an all-too-convenient military Jeep hoarding broken crates and canvas bags which the others filled with their finds. Four of them in total, not including him, and one of them surprisingly female.
They were noticed quickly, given the new companion he arrived with. The first to acknowledge them was a brute of a man - hefty build, somewhere between muscular and chubby, with a booming voice that forced the attentions of the other members to direct to the two of them.
"Ay! We do all the hard work, and you still find the treasure?" he boasted, a tone both annoyed and amused.
"You gotta know where to look," he answered, not at all avoiding a grin no matter how it looked like the larger lug could crush his head between his fat hands. He strode past him to the back end of the vehicle, prodding casually through the haul. The brute grunted and then leered at his "treasure," but he was allowed no moment to speak at her, for the female jumped down from the Jeep’s back bumper. There was an unusually heavy THUMP to her land, suggesting a surprising weight.
"The camp is not open to new additions," she said, and it became clear what exactly she was, given the mechanical grind of her voice - or rather, a transmitter somewhere within. This wasn’t a human, it was an android. "Take her back."
"I’ve claimed this one," he answered, and there grew an uncomfortable tension between him and the other male bodies. At that, he exchanged with each of them a hard look, which faded as he glanced back at the regarded female. "She’ll take from my portions. Now finish packing the rest of your shit and let’s get out of this dump." He pried a canteen from the back of the vehicle and tossed it over to his supposedly "claimed" companion.
Find the treasure. Although the word was unfamiliar, she knew that tone, and she bristled immediately. She was no one’s treasure, no one’s property. Not anymore. Her new – what was he? Certainly not her master, but her new – caretaker, perhaps, seemed at ease with the idea, and she immediately resolved to keep a wary eye on him. She hadn’t even understood that men could think of her as a person and not an object, but still – she wanted to believe that he was better. Innocent stupidity. She shook her head slightly, dislodging the thought along with her glower and trying to look pleasant. She was young, for the wasteland, but she already knew what men wanted to see on her – a nice smile and silence.
The sight of another woman amongst the men gave her hope, hope quickly dashed when she heard the mechanical whirring. She – it – wasn’t human, and for a moment, the former slave was jealous. How nice it must be to be limited only by your programming.
She drew closer to her new companion, not liking how everyone else was responding. Claimed was another word she didn’t like – too possessive – but if he was the one feeding her, she would deal with it. Besides, given how the other men had looked at her, it was best to make it evident she was under his protection; she had no intention of being everyone’s possession when she could be just one’s. She’d seen what happened to the slave girls back home who were offered to any legionnaire, and the thoughts still gave her nightmares.
The canteen was accepted eagerly, too eagerly, her yellow-green eyes lighting up as she clutched at it like it was precious to her. “- Thank you,” she said a moment too late, her accent evident even in those two syllables as she pried the top off it. She had a million questions to ask him, but not here, not in front of the group.
"What’s with the accent?"
The loudmouthed brute stepped forward and snatched the canteen she’d eagerly taken, out of her hands before her lips could be met by sustenance. This of course made her supposed master, companion, friendly— whatever he was— snap around and grab it right back. The wolf-like testosterone was practically bleeding out of their orifices as each shoved themselves into the other’s personal space, chests meeting and lips curled in snarls.
But their pointless show would be ended by the worried voice of one of the other males. He was possibly gentler looking, although it would be hard to tell behind the layers of dirt and dust that covered his raggedy, patchworked clothes. His frame was similar to the first’s, perhaps an inch or so taller, but his skin was paler and he lacked the near-permanent crease of his possible leader’s lowered brow.
"She sounds like one of those scouts we killed earlier. The men in skirts?"
This statement had the two separate, attentions redirected, but it was the android who responded first. She shoved between them and shot an arm out to grab the poor girl by her garment. “She is a slave of Caesar. She must be killed before they find her with us.”
Ozias turned and instinctively threw his arm against the android’s. There was a painful CLANG of metal stricken by muscle and bone, and the man stepped back, head raised, arm bent back as he bit his lip to hold back the embarrassing pain shooting through the tendons of the limb. “Fuckin’ ‘droid,” he grumbled, and when he forced himself to recover, his arm was thrown down at his side and the other hand was raised to point fiercely at the robotic female who’d only flinched to look back at him.
"You think they won’t be just as pissed when they find their scouts decapitated? What part of claimed did you not interpret, ‘bot?”
How often did one find rare pearls in waiting in the middle of the wasteland? He wasn’t about to lose this precious item, and his point was valid, even to the calculating mind of the deceptive tin-woman. The slave was released, but not before the others scowled either hungrily or warily at her.
Her jaw tightened as the canteen was snatched from her. Her old masters had played tricks like this on her – one would offer food, the other snatch it away, until she was all but in tears and begging them to allow her sustenance – but she didn’t want to believe that was what was happening here. Besides, she hadn’t broken down like that since she was five. She’d played at being docile since then, docile with an edge of her real wit, and although she’d been lashed, she’d never been starved.
Her eyes shifted to meet the man’s when he spoke – he knew the Romanus, they’d killed some – and then she was yanked around by the thin cloth dress. She instinctively pulled it down, so at least the whole camp couldn’t see up her skirt, and gave the android what might aptly be called a flirtatious death glare complete with the attractive baring of teeth, a look that seemed to be her default with strangers.
She noticed the looks the others were giving her as the android let go. She was still a moment, and then she took a step closer to her companion, raising an eyebrow at him. She didn’t speak, not again, but the look was more than enough to establish the conversation they’d have later.
She stood next to him, her arms folded over her chest and a spark of defiance in her eye. Her head would have been held high, had it not been for the collar she was loath to display. She needed to get it off soon, but her knife had proven insufficient for the job. Perhaps this new camp would help. She would’ve laughed at the idea. As if!
"Oh, you’re one of the newer ones, right." Lucas brushed his hair out of his eyes and peered at the program. "You’ve got a bedroll, right? I don’t know if I’ve given you one yet. Our Master’s been busy this past centicycle, and I lost track."
"YeSs.. i$ n3w."
Tarker was just getting used to his new infected functions. His speech functions were taking the longest to recover, due to their proximity to the initial point of infection.
"bEdrO0l? sLePt oNcE… w4nT tO raVagE. DeSTroY."
It was all he could do to keep himself from getting worked up. He was like an excited little puppy wanting a new toy to chew up. “wH3n f1gHt?”
Lucas raised an eyebrow, gesturing at the Infected’s throat."She got you ‘round the throat, huh?" He reached out to touch the other man’s wound, a pensive look on his face. "You should be fine in a decicycle or two. She’ll probably leave you alone long enough to heal, if you don’t annoy her."
He shook his head. "Look, I need to get you a bedroll and a place to sleep. Fighting is something you’ll work on later - and don’t just fight anyone, alright?" He gave Tarker a warning look. "That falls on the list of things that annoy our Master." He gestured for Tarker to follow and started walking towards a door, presumably an alley door before the place was infected with viruses. "I’m called Lucas, by the way. And you’re…?"