Souvenirs From Dead Worlds (boyxboy)

Sam's job is to make a record of cultures before the drones come and destroy them. He's supposed to take artefacts, not people. Kias doesn't know what's going on, but there are metal monsters flying around killing people and he doesn't want to be next, even if to live he has to give up the freedom he's only just reclaimed.

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5. Chapter 5

They were moving, Sam had told Kias, because Sam's old room was too small. Kias wasn't quite sure how this plan meshed with Sam's intention to whore Kias out to the people he had lived with, but he’d decided not to bring that up.

 

First, Sam put all of his belongings into boxes to transport them. Kias wanted to help — felt he should be helping — but after what had happened with the beeping object Kias didn’t think touching Sam’s things was such a good idea. So instead Kias sat awkwardly in the middle of the bed, knees pulled up to his chest and his arms wrapped around them, and worried that Sam would be angry that he hadn't helped. Kias had a lot of worries.

 

Some of Sam's friends had come to help them carry Sam's belongings, and Kias was relieved to see that the man he'd attacked wasn't among them. He kept waiting to be punished, for Sam to let the man take his revenge, but it kept not happening. Kias was confused, but he didn't dare question it.

 

To get to their new room they had to go into a very small room with doors that opened all on their own. Once everyone had entered, Sam pressed something on the wall and the doors closed again. Kias felt an odd lurching sensation in his stomach, and when the doors opened again he discovered they were not in the same place they'd entered from.

 

Kias wondered if this room was like the strange room he had escaped from his world in with Sam. This room seemed to have moved its location in the same way, but it hadn't shaken or caused Kias pain. None of the others seemed to find any of it at all remarkable.

 

Their new room was, as Sam had told Kias, bigger than the one they'd left, and like the one they’d left it had no windows. The floor was hard and grey but smooth, and the room already appeared to be fully furnished. Not that Kias actually knew what furnishings were considered requirements here.

 

Kias didn't recognise most of the large boxy things taking up all of the space in one corner of the room. There were counter tops and draws and what Kias now knew to be a basin and a water pump, though, so Kias tentatively guessed the boxy things were for food storage and preservation. He hoped they were, anyway. He liked the idea of having food so close at hand.

 

There were two beds in this room, and one of the first things Sam did when they entered was to indicate that one of them was for Kias. In truth, Kias hadn't minded sharing a bed with Sam at all. Though being in the same bed as someone with power over him was something that would generally be more frightening than reassuring, Sam had so far provided him with more security than he had harm. Besides, the beds seemed unnecessarily large for just one person. But, Kias supposed, perhaps Sam wanted to be able to allow others to share Kais' bed but not his own.

 

Kias was glad to be assigned the bed furthest from the door. He liked being as far away as possible from anyone who might enter.

 

The furniture in this room was similar to that which had been in Sam's old room, and most of it was recognisable. Shelves, drawers, a desk and one of those strange chairs. There was also another of those large sheets of black glass on the wall behind Sam's bed. Kias still couldn't guess what they might be for.

 

Kias explored the room leading off of their new room and discovered it to be a washroom complete with shower, water pump and basin, toilet and, bizarrely, what appeared to be a bathtub. Kias wasn't sure why anyone would have a bath when they could instead have a shower, but perhaps the novelty wore off.

 

#

 

Sam wasn't happy with the room. It was dull and ugly and incredibly basic, and it wouldn't grant either one of them any privacy unless they felt like hanging out in the bathroom. Plus it had concrete floors. Sam probably should have checked the room out before he'd agreed to take it and moved his stuff over here, but the move really had been necessary. They needed the space, and Sam really hadn't wanted to share a bed with Kias forever. He knew very little of what had happened to Kias, but what he did know was enough to make certain things uncomfortable.

 

Sam flopped back on his new bed and turned to watch Kias examine the sheets on his own bed. Everyone had left and they could finally relax, and Sam wanted nothing more than to take a nice long nap. There were still a couple more things they needed to get done, though.

 

Reluctantly, Sam pushed himself back up and turned to Kias. "We really need to get you some clothes of your own. You've been wearing my pyjamas all day."

 

#

 

Kias blinked down at the clothes he was wearing, the nicest clothes he'd ever worn. "Really?"

 

Sam nodded before going over to one of the still packed boxes and sorting through it. "The pants have a string on them so..." Sam shrugged. "They were the only pants I have that wouldn't have just fallen down to your ankles the moment you put them on. You're ridiculously skinny." Sam retrieved something thin and rectangular with a surface area about the size of a large book from one of the boxes. "I gave you the shirt you’re wearing because it matches."

 

Sam tossed the strange black slab onto Kias' bed and then went through one of the boxes, pulling out what looked like a long, thick yellow ribbon. "First," Sam said, "we need to measure you."

 

Kias was pleased to realise that, within that context, he recognised the purpose of the ribbon. It was a measuring tape. Nobody had ever cared enough about the fit of Kias' clothes to measure him, but he certainly knew what a measuring tape was. Understanding anything at all here was a good feeling.

 

Kias stood up and began to pull off his shirt, but Sam waved his hands to indicate for him to stop. “You can, uh, keep those on, I think. They’re thin enough not to affect the measurements much.”

 

With a shrug, Kias let his shirt fall back down. It didn’t make much sense at all, how uncomfortable Sam seemed. Kias must have violated some kind of cultural code of behaviour, but he had no idea what they might be.

 

Sam measured Kias thoroughly, his touch especially gentle when he measured around Kias’ stomach. Sam had changed Kias' bandage before they'd moved rooms and had been gentle then, too.

 

The skin the doctor had put over his wound had appeared to be even more firmly attached than it had been before. It had looked almost like it was becoming part of him. That was a disturbing thought, though, so Kias had pushed it away and focussed on being pleased the wound looked and smelled healthy and hurt a lot less than it had the day before.

 

Perhaps doctors here weren't so bad, even if the lady doctor had made him get naked and examined him in intimate places. He still wondered what she had found in her examination, and subsequently told Sam, that had made Sam get so angry. Was whatever she'd told him why Sam seemed disinterested in him physically? He assumed Sam had, at some point, had intentions towards him. There really wasn't any other reason for Sam to take him. Here, more than ever, the only way he could possibly be of use to anyone was for sex.

 

Kias parted his legs when Sam indicated, and Sam wrapped the tape measure around Kias' thigh before recording the measurement. Kias wanted Sam to be attracted to him. Sam was gentle with Kias and, Kias was beginning to learn, Sam was very kind and generous when he was in a good mood. And, well... Sam was attractive. Kias would never like the idea of being owned or taken against his will, but it would be a lot better if the person doing it was gentle and attractive.

 

Some of the other boys had come from places where they were kept as personal companions before they had grown too old to be pleasing, and it had sounded to Kias like a better life. Well, for the most part, anyway. With someone like Sam, Kias was sure it would be. He just had to convince Sam to want him again and be good enough that Sam would want to keep him for himself alone.

 

"All right." Sam tossed the measuring tape carelessly back into one of the boxes. "Now comes the fun part."

 

Sam sat on Kias' bed and retrieved the strange slab from where he'd tossed it earlier. Sam did something near the bottom of the slab and suddenly bright colours appeared on it where only blackness had been before. When Sam tapped his finger on the surface, the colours moved. Kias stared in wonderment. Would this place ever run out of new things to confuse him with?

 

Sam glanced back at Kias and smiled at his confusion. "It's a tablet."

 

The only tablets Kias had ever heard of were stone tablets on which things were inscribed. Whatever the object Sam currently had was, it was clearly neither stone nor inscribed.

 

Sam patted the spot next to him on Kias' bed. "Come here."

 

Kias obeyed, curious eyes locked on the tablet as he crawled onto the bed.

 

"Okay, I guess this is pretty weird to you." Sam tapped a few more things on the glass and more things moved. "It's pretty useful, though. We can just enter your measurements here and then choose some clothes and they'll be delivered to us tomorrow."

 

This close, Kias could see that the colours on the glass formed pictures, most of them presently of clothes. These pictures were strange, though. They didn't look like drawings or paintings. They looked like someone had taken actual clothes and somehow put their image onto the tablet. The pictures with people in them were much more disturbing. There was also what looked like text in various places but, of course, Kias was unable to read it. He'd never even learnt to read his own language.

 

"How will they know which clothes we chose?" Kias leant his cheek against Sam's shoulder and was gratified when Sam didn't shove him off. Affection, Kias had heard, was a key part of being a personal slave. They were treated more often as pets than they were toys or tools. Usually, anyway.

 

"Well," Sam tapped something, and the images changed to those of people wearing shirts in various colours and styles, "we choose the ones we want here, and then it sends them a message and tells them what we selected. Like a letter, only... well, like a picture of a letter on the screen."

 

The word 'screen' was another Kias didn't understand in this context, but he guessed that Sam meant the glass surface of the tablet. Kias didn't really understand how any of this could work, but much like the shower he could understand the usefulness of it. You could see pictures of clothes and choose the ones you liked without needing to get out of bed, and ones that fit perfectly would be delivered to you the very next day.

 

Kias wondered if it was possible to buy other things with the tablet, but he didn't ask. He didn't want Sam to misunderstand and think he was asking for gifts. It already made Kias uncomfortable thinking about how much he would owe Sam for the new clothes he was buying Kias and all the food Kias ate. Kias couldn't imagine being worth as much as all of it must have been costing Sam. What was all this going to cost him later, when Sam finally put him to use?

 

"Here, take a look." Sam pulled Kias closer so he could see the screen better. "Tell me which ones you want."

 

#

 

Kias hadn't seemed as pleased with picking out clothes as Sam had hoped, and Sam wondered if perhaps Kias was unhappy with the styles. They were certainly quite different from what was typical of Kias' culture and nothing like the loose, plain clothes Kias had been wearing when they'd met. Sam hoped that when the clothes they picked out arrived Kias would feel better about things. Sam had found the clothes he'd had to wear when undercover on Kias' world to be terribly itchy and uncomfortable.

 

“There’s one more thing we have to do,” Sam told Kias after they were finished clothes shopping. Kias was leaning against Sam's side and, after he had gotten over the initial weirdness of the casual contact with someone who was practically a stranger, Sam had started to find it kind of nice. He’d been busy with work and hadn’t been around anyone it would be appropriate to be physically affectionate with for months. Apparently his body had begun to crave touch without him realising it.

 

Kias pushed closer and made a sound of interest as Sam brought up the forms they would need to fill out on his tablet. Kias rarely spoke more than a few words at a time and often responded non-verbally. Whether that was normal for him or it was due to being somewhere new and scary, Sam didn't know.

 

As what Sam had done broke a ton of rules and was never supposed to have happened, there had been no forms specifically designed for their situation. The ones Sam had been sent appeared to be hastily edited to suit their needs.

 

“All I need is for you to answer a few questions,” Sam said as he skimmed through the forms. “Full name?”

 

“Kias Vuros,” Kias replied quietly, and Sam entered it into the form, inventing his own spelling.

 

“Date of birth?” Sam mumbled to himself dubiously. Because he was sure Kias's civilisation totally ran on a calendar system identical to theirs. “How old are you?”

 

“Eighteen and a quarter year,” Kias replied. “I'm not sure of the day precisely, but I was born in the summer.”

 

Though Kias had lived on a different world from Sam, it was also in a way the same world. Just an alternate universe version of it in an earlier time period. Eighteen and a quarter years there would be eighteen and a quarter years on Sam's world.

 

There wasn't much else for Kias to help Sam with on the form as the rest was mostly Sam explaining the details of how Kias had come to be in Sam's care and how Kias had been injured. Recounting it all and reminding himself of all the mistakes he had made brought back all the feelings of guilt, shame, and anger that Sam had just begun to be able to bury, and by the time he was finished Sam was left feeling restless and confined.

 

He tried to show Kias some more things on the tablet and even tried to get Kias to play a game on it, but Kias seemed disinterested and moody. That was to be expected, Sam reasoned, with everything he had been through, but it left Sam with very little to do.

 

Kias didn't want Sam to share entertainment with him, Kias didn't want to be left alone, and Kias got anxious whenever they were around other people. Sam could no longer even think about feeling regret over saving Kias without feeling sick, but it had definitely made his life more difficult. When Kias was sad and seemed so resistant to being cheered up, it made Sam feel helpless.

 

Sam sighed and tossed his tablet aside. He was hungry. “Come on. Let’s go out.”

 

Sam felt a bit awkward taking Kias out to the courtyard dressed in pyjamas, but Kias gave no indication he minded. Either he'd forgotten what the clothes he was wearing were, or he simply didn't care. Besides, the courtyard was pretty casual anyway, and Sam doubted Kias was the first person to come down to grab something to eat in their pyjamas. It was almost late enough that people might not think Kias had been wearing them all day.

 

The courtyard was in the middle of the compound and served all the people who worked there, whether they were people who travelled through the portals to study new worlds like Sam, researchers, engineers, or anyone else whose job involved the portal the compound was built around.

 

Though he still clung close to Sam, Kias seemed less nervous this time. Sam wondered if that was due to Kias' tendency to be easily motivated by food or whether Kias had just needed some time alone to relax before he could face the rest of the world. He even allowed Sam to leave him sitting alone at their table while Sam went and got their food without appearing too concerned. If this pattern continued, Sam might eventually be able to get some semblance of his life back.

 

#

 

Things had become much easier once Kias had realised and accepted what his role would have to be. After all, Kias had spent the last two and a half years with no say in what happened in his life and no guarantee of safety, and he'd eventually managed to adjust enough to stay sane and alive.

 

There were many strange things here that Kias didn't understand, but the things he ought to fear were likely to be the same. If anything things would be easier for him, as Sam was far nicer than anyone else who had ever regarded Kias as their property. If Sam wanted to do something to endanger Kias he would do it with or without Kias' cooperation, but Kias trusted that if Sam wished for him to be safe, he would be. The best thing Kias could do was be cooperative and accommodating.

 

Kias was glad to see the sky again. Before he'd come here he'd at least had a window to look out of, even if there had been bars across it to keep him from escaping. Kias ate the delicious fried meat and potatoes Sam bought him slowly, enjoying the cool breeze against his skin. He watched as other people went about their evenings, buying and eating their dinner while they talked with friends before heading back inside one of the surrounding buildings. Everyone seemed happy and calm. Things were okay, and he would be okay.

 

#

 

"Would you like to watch a—" Sam paused when he realised that Kias' language had no word for 'movie', and that Kias would have no idea what a movie was anyway. Sam patted the spot next to him on his bed. "Come here."

 

Kias looked cautious but he obeyed anyway, and it occurred to Sam that inviting someone who had likely been raped repeatedly into his bed without explanation may not have been the best way to go about things. Even so, Sam was pretty sure Kias would have concluded by now that Sam had no interest in hurting him.

 

"Look," Sam said after Kias had settled in next to him a bit closer than Sam had intended. Sam pushed a button on the remote he was holding, bringing the television that hung on the wall behind Sam's bed to life.

 

Kias jumped slightly at the sudden sound and motion but relaxed again after Sam gave him a reassuring grin. Sam browsed through the movie selections, finally settling on an older animated children's movie.

 

"You won't be able to understand the words," Sam said, "but you can probably figure out what's going on by watching the pictures."

 

It didn't look like Sam had any reason to be concerned about Kias fearing being raped. Sam was surprised to find that, given the opportunity, Kias was actually something of a cuddler. Kias inched closer and closer to Sam until Sam eventually gave in and wrapped an arm around him, drawing Kias to his side.

 

#

 

Kias hadn't been able to follow what was going on in the thing Sam had asked him to watch with him. Something about talking animals? It was strange and slightly scary. He had, however, been able to make some headway into regaining Sam's interest, though Sam had been too absorbed in his moving pictures to do anything more than accept Kias' proximity.

 

Kias hadn't been able to stay awake through to the end of the moving pictures, and when he awoke to a loud buzzing sound he was still in Sam's bed. Though he was happy he'd been allowed to stay, he was disappointed to find that Sam had moved to the other side of the bed, out of Kias' reach.

 

Sam pushed himself out of bed with a groan and headed for the front door. After Sam opened the door, Kias could hear him talking to someone outside. Kias watched as several neatly wrapped packages were passed to Sam through the doorway.

 

"Mail," Sam said as he shut the door. He tossed one of the smaller packages at Kias and dropped the rest on the floor before crawling back under the covers. "Only problem with mail is it always comes too early. I'm going back to sleep."

 

Kias remembered receiving presents when he was a child, before his mother had died. They had been poor, but she had always managed to find the money to buy Kias a small toy or a piece of candy for his birthday and for the two biggest festivals of the year. Although Kias knew all these packages contained clothes, and even had a good idea what they looked like, he was still excited. He wanted to know what they felt like, what they would look like on him. Kias was fairly sure that since the clothes were for him Sam wouldn't mind if he opened them, so while Sam slept Kias tried on his new clothes.

 

He had black socks and white socks, a pair of boots and a pair of shoes like Sam's, ten different shirts in a variety of colours and styles, and just as many pairs of pants. One package was full of underwear like Sam's, short and tight and made of stretchy material. Even those came in different colours, which seemed more than a little extravagant. Who needed such showy underwear? But perhaps they were meant to be seen. Sam had certainly looked good in his when Kias had snuck a peek. Kias' hip bones stuck out sharply, and he didn't think he looked nearly as good in them. They certainly felt nice, though, hugging and cupping him in all the right places and never bunching or riding up.

 

By the time Sam woke up, Kias had tried on all of his clothes and picked an outfit.

 

Sam rubbed one eye sleepily while he looked Kias up and down with the other. "Looks good. You even managed to get everything on right."

 

Kias decided not to admit that he'd only become truly confident about whether clothes were inside out or the wrong way around or not when he noticed they had tags inside at the back. Some of the clothes didn't even have seams, so it wasn't unreasonable that he should be confused.

 

"Thank you for the clothes," he said instead.

 

Sam just grunted, stretched, and went to take a shower. Apparently he wasn’t much of a morning person.

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