Chapter 4: Thirteen And His Mistress
November 5th, 1875
Whitechapel, London’s East End, England
The unhappy whistle abruptly fell silent as Thirteen lifted the kettle from the stove. In one smooth motion he turned and emptied the boiling contents into the teapot sitting nearby. The tea bags nestled within bobbed in the steaming water like little clumps of dark seaweed, leaking flavor in delicate swirls. Thirteen covered them up with the lid and slipped the cozy over the pot to keep it warm. Bringing the kettle to the sink to cool before washing, he glanced at the old clock that sat on the counter. Its cracked and worn face read 3:52. Five minutes to let the tea steep, then three to bring it to Master. Perfect timing. Thirteen would have been proud of himself if he'd had the ability to feel such an emotion. But he was a toy, and toys were never proud. Toys were merely things, to serve and be used as their Master saw fit. There was no pride in that.
He waited patiently as the tea bags did their business, hands at his sides, eyes straight ahead. His mind was not in the habit of wandering – Master had seen to that – but today he was feeling a little more thoughtful than usual. Perhaps it had something to do with the news Master had imparted to him earlier. Apparently the Home would be gaining a new employee tomorrow afternoon – a young lady named June, a little older than he was (not that he remembered his age) and desperate for work. "She'll be taking over a few of your duties – though I can assure you, I'll always have use for your tea-making skills," Master had said, smirking like a cat who'd just had fresh canary for breakfast. "You'll be coming with me to pick her up from the train tomorrow. I might have to have you act more like a person upon her arrival, just to ease her into how we do things around here – but you know that you'll always be my toy, don't you?" To which Thirteen had said yes, before bending over the desk and accepting Master's subsequent attentions. Vaguely he wondered if the new arrival (something tried to stir in his brain then, but was sternly put down by Master's voice hissing Forget. Obey.) would also be taking over those duties, then decided it wasn't important. Master was allowed to fuck whoever he wished. And he would not deny Master anything, even the need to secure a new toy. To deny Master was to be bad, and if there was one thing Thirteen was capable of wanting, it was not to be bad. Bad meant he was a failure. Bad meant he was worthless.
Bad meant the dark.
Fortunately, he did not think the dark was a threat to him today. Master was in a very good mood thanks to his potential new conquest, and Thirteen intended to make sure he stayed that way. He checked the clock, then lifted the lid on the teapot. Deep brown liquid stared back at him, steeped to perfection. He placed the pot on its customary tray, along with Master's cup and the milk and sugar. Then, balancing it carefully in his hands, he took it up to the main house.
The children were milling about as was typical of them, murmuring to each other and playing games in the halls. They scattered as he came through, though, clearing his path with speed and refusing to look him in the eye. One tried to call to him, but Master had told him to ignore anything they said, and so he did. He just kept walking, paying no heed to the anxious looks and whispers. On some level, he was aware that the children were afraid of him, but he never gave it any thought. He couldn't. His head was a mass of gray mist, swallowing any stray musings and letting only a few defining truths shine through. Forget. Obey. You are a toy. They were the mantras of his life, and he did not wish for anything more.
He headed up the stairs to the second floor, and around the bend to his master's office. He knocked once to announce himself, then pushed open the door and –
There was a woman there.
Thirteen stopped in his tracks, confusion breaking through the fog in his head. A woman? But – Master almost never had a woman over. Men, yes, quite regularly, inspecting the children for sale and haggling over prices. But Thirteen had only ever seen two women appear during his time as Master's toy. They'd both been rather ratty girls – hair tangled and limp with grease, clothes torn and smudged with grime, eyes hard and glimmering with greed – buying on behalf of their pimp. One had tried to touch him and had gotten slapped for her trouble, Master hissing that there was no way she'd ever be able to afford using his toy.
This one, though – this one looked like she could manage it. Her long dark hair was neatly combed, and her clothes, while looking a touch threadbare, were at least clean and sporting even hems. Her skin was pale, seemingly untouched by the soot and smog outside, and her eyes – she had the greenest eyes Thirteen had ever seen. They regarded him quite seriously as he stood before her, traveling up and down the length of his body. Appraising him, perhaps. He was used to such looks from Master and his clients. He was a toy after all – he didn’t deserve any other sort of look. Perhaps she had purchased him for an hour or two. Master had offered him to that Splatter fellow, so he obviously wasn’t against loaning him out. . . . He set the tray down on the desk and stood quietly, awaiting command.
The woman stayed where she was for a moment, then came around the desk, lips set in a thin line. She stopped in front of him, looking him up and down again. Thirteen waited for her to speak, absently wondering if she was changing her mind about her purchase now that she'd seen him. He knew that he wasn’t to everyone’s tastes – a fair number of the men who visited Master had made fun of him, with comments like "prissy boy" and "too thin by half." Master always told him to ignore it. Toys didn’t care about those who didn’t want to play with them. All that mattered was giving pleasure to those who did. He existed only to serve Master, and whoever Master chose to share him with. Everything and everyone else was of no consequence whatsoever.
Her voice was firm, but not unkind. Thirteen promptly sank to his knees, the motion smooth and well-practiced. “Pull down your trousers and drawers.”
Another familiar command, although normally he was standing when it was given. He undid his pants and slid them down as far as he could, followed by his underwear. The air was a bit chill on his exposed skin, but he paid it no mind. Toys didn’t care about the weather. If Master told him to go out naked in the snow, he’d do it.
The woman paused then, examining what she'd revealed with a curious frown. Thirteen remained as he was, ready for the next order. Probably “bend over,” his brain supplied in a moment of talkativeness. Why else would she want my –
. . .huh?
Thirteen blinked, taken aback. His hand started to move toward his – nether regions – on automatic, but paused as soon as the command properly registered. Stroke himself? But – but Master always said – “Toys don’t touch. Toys don’t feel pleasure.” While most of his training was something of a blur, he could remember what had happened when Master himself had told him to touch – agonizing pain assaulting the area in question, and vicious words tearing up his mind ("Bad boy, Thirteen! I don't know why I bother, you're clearly unworthy to even be my toy"), until finally all desire to even look down there had died. He was merely a thing to be used – a doll, an object. Toys didn’t bother about their own pleasure. Toys didn’t have pleasure to bother about. But – but toys also obeyed, and she’d given him a command –
He looked up to see the woman standing over him, watching him with what seemed to be an expression of genuine concern. But – that made even less sense than her command! People didn’t worry about toys. People merely used toys, then put them away until the next time. To see someone regarding him with worry – it was quite discombobulating. Nevertheless, part of him was glad for the chance to explain. Maybe Master hadn't properly explained the rules? “I’m not supposed to touch.”
“Toys don’t feel pleasure.” Shouldn’t that be obvious? A toy only felt pain when it disobeyed. Never pleasure. Toys were things, and things didn’t feel –
A hand went under his chin, and his head was tipped up slightly to meet those brilliant green eyes. “Good thing you’re not a toy, then,” the woman said, an undercurrent of anger in her voice. Thirteen shrank away, fear swirling through the fog like snakes and filling him up. Oh no – was she going to call him bad? Send him away to the dark? He’d tried to obey, he really had –
The eyes softened, sensing his distress. “I’m not angry at you,” the woman whispered, her free hand beginning to stroke his hair. “Maybe you don’t believe it – or can’t understand it just yet – but I’m trying to help you.”
Help? But – he wasn’t – he didn't need – did he? Without thinking, he leaned into her touch. The petting felt surprisingly nice – but it wasn’t supposed to, he wasn’t supposed to feel nice, this was all wrong, why – “M-Master–”
“No,” the woman said firmly. “You don’t have a master. That bastard out there stole what was rightfully mine, and now I’m taking you back.”
Rightfully – so – she owned him? But – but that couldn’t be right, Master would never – ugh, he was so confused, his head was starting to hurt –
“Shhhhh.” She pulled him close, pressing his cheek against her chest. “I know it’s all very hard for you to understand right now, but trust me – if you belong to anyone, you belong to me.” Her hand continued its steady stroking, going from the top of his head all the way down the curve of his shoulder. “Which means you obey my commands, not his. And I’m commanding you to stroke yourself and feel good about it. That’s easy enough, right?”
With her arms around him, a warm, comforting shield against the rest of the world, it certainly seemed like it – but Thirteen's gaze couldn’t help but flick back toward the door. Master was sure to be out there, and if he saw this –
“Victor.” Her eyes captured his again. “Don’t worry about him. Stroke.”
Victor? Who was – The moment of confusion broke as he found his hand wrapping around a body part long-neglected and beginning to tug. And once the motion started, he found it impossible to stop. He blamed the way those green eyes bored into his, holding him helplessly entranced. The way she looked at him, all power and authority but also filled with – affection? He thought that was right – it was inconceivable to even think of disobeying her. The hit’s coming it must be she’s obviously a test to see if you’re still a good toy and you’ve just failed so she’s going to slap you and call you bad and you’ll have to spend the – the r-rest of the day in – in the – in the d-d-
A groan involuntarily escaped his lips as his hand continued its slow strokes. Oh – this did feel good. His – his cock was just getting harder and harder underneath his fingers, coming to attention after its long nap. . .and now it was leaking and making itself nice and slick, easier for him to rub and pull it. . .his eyes started to close as his breathing got heavier –
“No, no, eyes open,” the woman whispered, hand back in his hair. “Keep looking at me, all right? I want to see you come. You’re going to stroke until you come, and it’s going to feel absolutely bloody amazing. And I want to see it.”
His eyes obligingly opened again, focusing on hers. Or, well, trying to – it was getting increasingly hard to focus on anything except the sensation of his hand moving from base to tip. He did the best he could, though. “You h-have pretty eyes,” he gasped out in between strokes.
The edges of said eyes crinkled up, a sign she was probably smiling. “You’ve told me that before, but it’s nice to hear it again.”
Had he? Thirteen bit his lip. He couldn’t remember. . .but then he couldn’t remember a lot of things. There was a wall across his mind, built by Master, strong and imposing and – and feeling a little shaky, actually, as he continued to rub, his hand moving faster now as his nerves lit up with pleasure. Was that why Mas – that man had told him he couldn’t feel good? Because Bumby knew that if he was allowed to be happy, the wall would start to crumble?
“Good boy, Victor,” the woman whispered, and even though he couldn’t understand why she kept calling him that, it was pure bliss to hear the words “good boy” applied to him for once. Bumby never praised him, only punished – a true owner would praise, wouldn’t she? A true owner would care for him, would make him happy, would – would love him – the wall shook again, cracks forming across the bricks, and suddenly he realized he did love this woman, loved her with all his heart and soul –
“Oh, you’re right on the edge, aren’t you?” He was, he really was, all he was conscious of was the pleasure and his hand and those beautiful eyes – “Remember my name, Victor. You can send yourself over once you remember my name.”
Her name – oh God what was her name – his fingers stroked and pulled futilely as he tried to recall. Victor was him, he knew that much now, she wouldn’t keep calling him that if he wasn’t – but who was she? He knew, somewhere deep down inside he knew – his body begged him for release, his muscles tight and ready, his cock hard as a rock, but he was frozen on the edge until he remembered – Then out of nowhere it came back to him, blazing forth in perfect blissful glory, and he opened his mouth to cry it out as the pleasure finally overran him –
And then he woke up.
Well, sort of – the sudden return of consciousness was rather short-circuited by the fire-hot burst of joy rocking his body. He managed to slap a hand over his mouth to stifle his gasps and moans. Oh, this felt so good. . .but if Master heard, he’d be punished. Even though it wasn’t even his fault, he didn’t know why his body was doing this – he knew he’d been dreaming (but why? He didn’t usually dream), but the details were fading fast, shoved heartlessly under the layers of fog –
The terror that shot through him was enough to bring him back down to Earth, his – manhood – squirting one last time before subsiding. He jerked his head to see Master frowning deeply at him from the doorway, eyes shadowed. “I – I’m sorry – don’t know why – just h-happened–” he babbled as he got his breath back.
Master glared a moment more, then shook his head. “I suppose I can’t blame you for something that happened in your sleep,” he muttered, though he sounded like he really wanted to. “But it does deserve a round of retraining. Get up and come to my office. Your mind needs a reminder of its purpose in life, I think.”
“Yes, sir.” Thirteen almost jumped to his feet. An angry glance reminded him to cover the stain on his pajamas, then he followed Master's crooked finger out into the hall. As he did, the image of a pair of green eyes swam in front of his face. For some reason, they made his chest ache. Something was important about them – something connected to a – a name. . . .
He shook his head and shoved them out of his thoughts. No, they couldn’t be important. Toys weren’t trusted with anything important. And toys didn’t need to worry about names either. Forget. Obey. He was just there to be fucked when the time came. You didn’t need a name for that.
Still, the eyes lingered at the back of his mind, refusing to let him go. Thirteen ignored them the best he could. Master’s retraining would make him forget all about them soon enough.
He just hoped it didn’t hurt too much.