This piece was actually supposed to be for Whumptober for the “I’ll just collapse here, thanks” prompt. So it has been in the works for a long time. It’s one of my firsts featuring only my Micheal and @ashintheairlikesnow‘s Peter, Karen Renford and the briefly mentioned Dex and Seb.
tw: electrocution, forced exhaustion, Karen Renford, captivity, dehumanization, pet whump, beating (implied)
It’s never not dark when he wakes up, but today he especially feels just how early it is. The exhaustion claws at his very bones, weighing him down and making it near impossible to get up.
He swallows, and the collar sits heavy against his throat, promising nothing but pain should he fail to meet her standards.
Micheal groans, rolling away from Peter who gives his own groan of protest.
“Good morning sleepy head,” Micheal murmurs, turning back to the boy and resting his arm around his shoulders, letting Peter cuddle closer again.
“You’re sleepy too…” Peter mumbles, nuzzling into Micheal’s neck as he cards fingers through Peter’s hair.
Micheal hums in agreement, yawning as if to prove Peter’s point. “Always. C’mon I’ve gotta get up, but you should get a few more hours in your room.”
“No… No I can ge’ up now,'' Peter grumbles, not moving at all. “Not gonna be able to go back to sleep anyways.”
Micheal hums again and rolls over to look at the bedside clock Karen had provided for him. It was almost five, he really has to get up.
Peter near whines at the loss of warmth, at the loss of affection as Micheal, no less reluctant, rolls off the bed and stumbles towards the dresser.
Peter eventually manages to get up himself, only seconds later, though it feels like precious eternities laying on a nice bed with nice sheets and someone who will hold him just because he wants to and not want to choose him just because he knows Peter won’t say no.
Micheal trots downstairs just in time, fumbling with Karen’s agenda to check her schedule for the day, what they’re going to need.
“Good morning,” he murmurs tiredly to Sebastian, who only glances up from the stove where he’s poaching Karen’s eggs.
Peter’s quick footfalls come next, and he holds out Micheal’s tie as he comes into the kitchen. “You forgot this,” he says, tossing it to his brother. Micheal catches it and hurriedly puts it on, tightening it against his collar.
God he really is tired today.
“Welcome.” Peter shakes his head, flicking away sleep as if it were water. “Coffee?”
“Yes please.” They fall into the easy rhythm of the morning, though it takes Micheal double the amount of time it usually does for him to make the list of things he needs to get for Karen that day.
Peter watches him, obviously concerned.
“Micheal,” Karen calls halfway through her breakfast. Micheal hurries to stand in front of her, hands folded behind him, gaze tipped down.
She makes him wait, delicately taking another bite of her toast. When she does look at him her hazel eyes are sharp, critical.
“What have I said about your posture?”
“Sorry,” he mumbles, pushing his shoulders back and down.
“Hm,” she stares again, and it feels like she’s staring right into his soul. “I’m having guests tonight,” she finally continues, “you’ll not be dismissed until after they’ve departed.”
God… he’d forgotten about the dinner party tonight.
“Yes Madam,” he sighs. Her lips turn up in amusement but she doesn’t correct him for his tone.
“Go then; I’m almost finished with my breakfast.”
He nods, removing himself from her presence the moment he’s given leave to and retreating back into the kitchen.
“I forgot about the dinner party,” he huffs, leaning his back against the wall. His voice can’t get much louder than a barely not-whisper, but he’s learnt over the months to convey his emotions anyways. Right now he’s just Done. “Tonight.”
Sebastian’s eyes flicker to him and then away, but he nods. “She reminded me last night.”
Peter pales, having been subjected to her ‘dinner parties’ often enough. “I forgot too,” he says, biting at his lip nervously. “You should be fine though… Do you want some toast? I can make it for you.”
“No thanks, Petey.” Micheal forces himself to grin, tired as he is, ruffling Peter’s curls as he shuts Karen’s agenda and takes his post-it note list from the table. “I’ll just grab a granola bar or something on the way out, she’s got a lot of stuff that I need to grab.”
“But she called you so late last night-”
“I know, I’ll see if I can sneak a coffee at work. You know what happens if I’m not ready when she is.”
Karen had been in the mood for a late night snack last night, meaning Micheal was in bed far later than he should have been to wake up at 4:30 in the morning.
“Mm,” Peter hums, biting at his lip, “you should probably still- you should probably still eat…”
“No time, eat your toast.”
Peter opens his mouth to protest more, but Micheal’s already kissing the top of his curls and off to pick up their Madam’s notes and files and everything else that Peter can’t understand that she needs at work for the day.
Micheal leans against the doorway of her office, eyelids drooping. He’s so tired… he doesn’t know if he’s going to make it through today.
He spills the folder of her things for the day, paper scattering around him. It just… slips.
And Micheal collapses to the floor to pick them up, half holding back sobs because he just- he can’t do this anymore.
He bites his knuckle, choking on tears. If he sobs the collar will go off, and he’ll be even more late than he is now.
She’s taken so much from him; he can’t even have his emotions without thinking of her.
“Micheal.” He hates her voice, he hates it. It pierces the air and just- he fears it. It doesn’t matter where they are in the house, he always hears her and her commands with perfect clarity.
Rushing down the stairs he knows that he hasn’t managed to sort the papers correctly.
“I’m here,” he whispers, eyes pointed down as he meets her at the door. “Madam.”
She barely looks at him, hazel eyes flicking up, taking in his appearance - the red splotches tell-tale signs that he’s been holding back tears, the dark circles under his eyes - with a self-satisfied smirk.
She turns away and holds out her hand expectantly. He gives her the folder with shaking hands, not turning his eyes up as she scans over the folder.
It’s not a surprise when pain rips through his body, the shock collar firing with brutal and efficient lightning.
He screams, and it goes off again.
Until he sobs and it tapers into a volume low enough that the collar doesn’t register it anymore, and his body is left twitching and gasping on the floor at her feet.
“This is a disorganized mess,” Karen says, indifferent. “Fix it in the car.”
The folder lands in front of his face, and he hears and feels her heels walking away from him.
Peter tiptoes around the corner as soon as she’s gone, worried wide eyes meeting Micheal’s as he crouches down and helps him stand, tipping his head against his brother’s shoulder.
“Heard the screaming,” he whispers, like he was in a volume collar too, “I hate… when she hurts you.”
“That makes two of us,” Micheal replies, equally as soft. “It’s alright, Petey. I’m just sore… I’ll see you tonight.” He squeezes Peter’s hand, a small gesture of affection to reassure him. “Love you.”
It’s the first time he’s said it, and because Karen is waiting and because she’ll take every opportunity to hurt him, he’s out the door before Peter can say it back.
Micheal spends the entire torturous day in a haze. Drive to work, work, drive… home, start on his chores, or whatever Peter hasn’t done yet in his flurried need to be helpful.
And usually, he’d get to sleep after supper was served and eaten.
But not tonight.
“Get changed,” she orders as soon as they’re in the door, “you’re serving my guests tonight.”
An hour later Micheal carries her wine dressed in a white button-up and black trousers, swaying with the weight of his exhaustion and his hurt as Peter watches with that worried crease in his brow.
Every time he takes a step the world spins, and the lights blend together, and he’s… he’s starving and exhausted and he just wants to sleep.
But she wants more wine.
“Micheal, my glass is almost empty,” she barely tips her head towards him, certainly doesn’t look at him, just an order she expects to be followed.
Micheal starts forward with it, an expensive bottle of red, but somewhere between jerking forward to her command and filling her glass his brain just… stops.
And he collapses.
Micheal’s eyes roll back and he falls, spilling the wine on Karen and himself, on the floor as if it were a growing stain of blood that represents this house.
“Micheal-!” Peter rushes forward, forgetting himself in the roar that follows. He collapses next to Micheal, shaking him gently, looking around frantically for help that isn’t going to come. “Micheal wake up.”
Warm brown eyes flash up to the other guests, silently begging for help. “Madam…”
Karen shouts as the wine splashes over her lap, shoving backwards in her seat and standing in dismayed fury at the pure indignation of it all.
Cold hazel meets warm brown and Peter knows he won’t be getting any help from her.
“Micheal?” Peter refocuses when he feels the man shift under him, his eyelids beginning to flutter as he comes back to consciousness.
Karen glares down at them both and reaches for the remote that controls his collar and helps him back to wakefulness with a jolt of electricity.
Micheal gasps with the pain, barely able to control his voice so the collar won’t go off a second time.
Confused, he looks up first at Peter then Karen, realization as well as terror slowly setting in as his memory comes trickling back.
“I-I’m sorry,” he whispers, “Madam, I’m so sorry-”
He clamps his jaw shut at the deadly hiss, averting his eyes and focusing on the ground in front of him instead.
“He di-didn’t mean to,” Peter stutters, unused to being any kind of contradictory to his Madam. “H-He wasn’t, wasn’t looking good all day.”
“How would you know?” Karen snaps, glaring down at them. “I, frankly, do not care if he were on Death’s door, this is absolutely unacceptable.”
To appear to have lost control of her staff and her pets, to be humiliated in front of her guests by one of them… Even accidents must be punished, especially accidents, so they learn not to be anything less than perfect.
Peter learnt this lesson a long time ago.
She looks down at the stain, then back at Micheal.
“You will scrub these stains from the floor tomorrow, along with your blood, Micheal.”
Her guests, cut from the same sadistic cloth as she is, murmur in excitement. No one dares say a word though, not when Karen Renford is angry.
Micheal slumps forward, biting back sobs. “Y-yes Mad-”
“Madam please, he can’t- l-let me take it please. Hurt me.”
She studies them for a moment, the desperation and desolation of their bond being formed here, where their lives are nothing but the times in pain and out of it.
And she grins.
“Fine.” Her eyes turn up to her guests, sharp and bloodthirsty. “Excuse me a moment,” she says, control setting back into place, “I need a change of clothes and then,” again to them, still cowering on the floor, Micheal shaking his head but too cowardly to speak again.
“...We can begin.”
@evermetnotforgotten @burtlederp @frnkieroismydaddy @redstainedsocks @whole-and-apart-and-between @ashintheairlikesnow @finder-of-rings @luminouswhump @girlwithacoolcat @justabitofwhump @whumpiary @yet-another-heathen
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