Disclaimers:  I own these characters.  They are mine.  Please do not borrow them without permission.

Notes:  This is a one-shot for now.  Though I may write more for it if I think up enough of a plot.  I have a few ideas, but
nothing concrete.  For now, it can wait and you can read this.



Lying in Wait




'Am I ugly?'

That was the question that drifted through Anyanka's mind.  Every day as he watched his master choose another boy over him,
he wondered if it was because he was flawed in some way.

He was a member of the King's Harem, one of dozens.  And yet, he had never been chosen.  Not once in his two years here
had he been welcomed to his master's bed.  He hadn't even been given as a gift to any of the visiting dignitaries to warm their
bed during their stays in the palace.  He watched each day as someone else was taken instead of him.  Every one of the other
consorts had been chosen over him at one point or another.

He didn't understand it.  What was wrong with him?

Anyanka looked at himself in the mirror that lined the back wall of the harem.  His hair was thick and long and shone healthily.  
Perhaps it was the color.  But no, there were others with brown hair, though not so dark a chestnut as his own.  His pallor was
light, but not sickly.  His body was slim, but no less attractive than any of the other boys.  And there were many others with
hazel eyes as well.  He was not the tallest consort.  Nor was he the shortest.  He didn't stand apart from the others.

He didn't understand at all why he had never been chosen.

There was no question in his mind that he was willing.  He longed for someone to pick him.  It was lonely being the only one
to never attend anyone.  Even the youngest of them had been picked.  And there was one who did not even look pleasing at all.

He was ostracized by the others.  They all thought there was something wrong with him as well.  If he wasn't picked, there
must be.  They kept away from him, leaving him alone during the days they all spent lounging languidly.  One day he had found
that his bedroll had been moved away from those of the others.  They stopped speaking to him.  The newer boys tried for a
while, until the others warned them away from him.  The Harem attendant, Cualli, tried to console him, but it was clear to
Anyanka that even he saw there was something not quite right about the lonely youth.

Anyanka didn't fault them.  They were right.  There was something wrong with him.  There had to be.  It wasn't right for a
Harem boy to never be chosen.

The ornate doors at the front of the hall creaked open.  Cualli ran around in a flurry, clapping his hands to attract attention.

"Come forward!  The King approaches!  Hurry now!  Hurry!"

Anyanka moved into the middle of the hall along with the others.  He sat on a small pile of cushions, keeping obediently quiet.  
Cualli always chided the boys who were too forward.  It was up to the king to decide who he wanted, not for the Harem boy
to try and force his decision.

He sat away from the others with his legs tucked underneath him, his hands resting on the cushions on either side of himself.  
His only garment was a pair of soft pants made of sheer blue material that was cuffed with a darker blue silk.  At his thighs the
fabric parted, giving tantalizing views of bare flesh.  The King liked the assets of his boys to always be visible.  It didn't matter
why.  It was the King's will and that was all that mattered.

His excitement turned physical at the sight of the monarch entering the room with a flock of attendants and guards in his
wake.  Anyanka grew hard, hoping that this time would be his turn.  He desperately wanted to be chosen.

The King was a handsome man, tall and broad with a head of short dark hair.  There were splashes of silver around his crown,
not creating a look of age, but of experience and wisdom.  He must have been beautiful in his youth.  He walked with pride, his
sharp gray eyes unwavering as they settled on each boy in turn.

Anyanka's arousal dimmed when the King passed him by as if he had never even seen him.  He bowed his head, realizing that
once again he would not be picked.  He was proven right a moment later when Ota was gestured toward.

"Have him bathed and bring him to my bed tonight."

Ota was full of smiles, but he spared an instant to cast a quick look of haughty contempt to Anyanka.  He was never kind.  
Fair-haired and lithe of body, his beauty was only on the surface.  Underneath his flawless skin he was cold and cruel, taunting
the ones that weren't chosen.  Out of them all, Anyanka received the cruelest treatment.  He was forced to listen to the snide
jokes, the pompous tales of what the King or one of his guests and he had done together.  It was torture to hear of things he
had never experienced and it only made Anyanka want it more.  Ota knew that.  He delighted in Anyanka's torment.

The King departed.  The echo of the doors closing was all the sound for barely a second and then the room erupted into chaos.

Cualli began darting back and forth between attendants, ordering them to start the baths and find the oils to prepare the chosen
consort.  Ota was not needed yet, so he remained on his cushions.  Other boys went over to him, congratulating him and
cheering his luck.  Ota sat there with a cold smile.  He was the King's favorite and all of the others knew it.  To get on his good
side was to possibly gain the King's favor as well.

While Cualli was distracted, Ota rose from his seat and sashayed over.  Anyanka tried to ignore him.  He stood slowly, turning
his back on the hateful youth.

Ota didn't approve of that.  He grabbed the brunette's shoulder and forcefully turned him.  Anyanka had no choice but to be
faced with one who would throw all of his faults in his face.

"Ugly Anyanka.  You will never be picked."  Ota spat on him, shoving his shoulder roughly.

Anyanka did nothing.  How could he deny the truth?

"Ota?  Ota!  Come here, boy.  The King wants you tonight.  Get to the baths immediately," Cualli exclaimed, clapping his
hands.  "The rest of you, to bed."

Ota smiled to the kindly attendant, his serene expression a devious lie.  He pranced over to the man, pretending to be the
perfect servant he was supposed to be.

Anyanka wiped at his suddenly teary eyes.  Looked over once again.  He didn't know if he could withstand this pain another
time.  It hurt too much.  To be ignored and forgotten, to be turned away time and again.  How long would he have to suffer so?

He crawled onto his bedroll and stifled his sobs with his pillow.  His heart ached.  It hurt to breathe.  Why was Ota chosen and
not him?  Why the others as well?  What was so despicable about him that sent the King and his guests to chose others?  It
was a quandary that left him feeling hollow inside.

His cheeks wet with tears, Anyanka turned to look around the room.  The others were bedding down for the night.  His bed
was away from theirs, moved as far from the others as possible.  It was lonely for Anyanka, but he was used to the solitude.  
At least he told himself so every night as he lay down and looked upon the peacefully sleeping consorts.

Anyanka wiped his eyes with the back of his hand.  The tears kept falling.

His eyes landed on a door near to his bedroll.  It was a servant's entrance that consorts were forbidden to use.  He sat up,
staring at the door.  Maybe this was his answer.  He could run away.  That would solve his troubles.  How could he remain
when he obviously wasn't wanted?  

But he couldn't run away.  Consorts who escaped were beaten and sold off to the slave house.  He'd be forced into labor or
perhaps given over to a brothel.  He was torn by his own indecision.  If he stayed he would be passed over again and again.  If
he left, he could be caught and wind up in an even worse situation.

He looked over his shoulder at the other youths.  They were sleeping, or preparing to sleep.  None were looking in his
direction.  None of them would miss him.  They might not even notice he was gone for a few days.

That made his decision for him more than anything.  No one would miss him.  He would be forgotten here.  He couldn't stand
the thought of that.

Quietly, he eased into a crouch.  he moved cautiously, hesitantly, toward the door, keeping his body low to the ground in the
hope that he wouldn't be seen.  he couldn't risk being caught.  His hair brushed his ankles as he crawled, tickling him and
sending a shiver up his spine, but he kept moving.

He took one last look over his shoulder before gripping the handle and pushing through the door.  It was closed quickly and
silently behind his back.  His heart was pounding in his chest.  He feared that it might burst forth if someone were to catch him.

The hall before him was narrow and utterly silent.  It was disconcerting, but gave him some measure of hope.

Now that he was faced with it, he was unsure of where to go.  There were numerous doors and halls leading off from this
one.  Any one of them could lead to his escape.  But so many others could lead to his doom as well.  Which way to go?  They
all looked the same to him.  Anyanka had no choice but to choose one at random.

The nervous consort moved along, turning here and there.  He tried a few doors, but found most to be locked.  Anyanka felt as
if he were going around in circles.  This was leading him nowhere.  He might as well return to the Harem.

Voices up ahead frightened him and he flew into a panic.  He couldn't be caught.  If he was caught, he would be punished!  
Terrified, he pushed open a low window and climbed out, only realizing too late that he was not on the first level of the palace.

He fell head over heels, giving a soft cry as he tumbled down into a tree in the garden below.  The branches bit at his skin,
catching at the delicate fabric of his pants.  A brief thought of death flittered through his mind before he landed with a loud
grunt and a wilting cry.

The grunt was not his own.  To his dismay and utter terror, he had landed right on top of someone else.  Anyanka didn't even
look.  He scrambled off of the unfortunate person and almost pressed his body flat to the ground as he prostrated himself.

"Forgive me!  Oh, please forgive me!" he cried, ignoring the stings from his scrapes and the throbbing aches in his wrist and
knee.

A hand gripped his shoulder and Anyanka trembled all over.  He would be killed for certain.  He was a runaway consort.  This
would not be easily forgiven.

"Where did you come from, little one?"

Anyanka tried to press his body closer to the ground.  He was crying again and he couldn't stop it.  "I'm sorry!  Oh, I won't
run away again!  Please, do not beat me!"

The hand slipped around his arm and gripped him tighter.  "Look at me and tell me who you are," the voice, once kind, was
now frighteningly demanding.  His grip hurt the frightened consort's arm.

Anyanka couldn't help but sob in misery.  He didn't want to be a brothel whore.  As much as he despised being alone, he did
not want to be a hole in a mattress to any man who had a coin to spend.

He sat up and raised his head, rubbing his hand across his blurry eyes.  He couldn't stop crying.  Through his tears, he saw the
man who had grabbed him and was struck silent.

Beautiful.  That was the only word he could think of that could accurately describe the sight before him.  The man's features
were sharp, but had an elegance the likes of which Anyanka had never seen.  His hair was ruddy, kept long and held out of the
way by something Anyanka couldn't see.  A pair of silver-gray eyes pierced through the consort's very soul, entrancing him.  
He couldn't look away from those endless depths.

A quick rough shake from the stranger broke him out of the spell.

"I-I am Anyanka," he whispered meekly, forcing himself to break eye contact.

The stranger pulled him up by his arm.  He towered over the consort.  His eyes raked over Anyanka, taking stock of him.  "A
harem boy," he muttered.  He released his bruising grip.  "Why are you out of the harem?"

It never occurred to Anyanka to lie.

"I thought it would be better if I fled.  I-I am sorry.  No one would miss me."

A gentle hand brushed his cheek and plucked a twig from his hair.  "Why do you say such a thing?"  He slid his fingers around
Anyanka's wrist.  "You're bleeding.  Come here."

He followed where the stranger led him.  This was a strange guard.  Shouldn't he be taking him to be beaten now?

He sat on the ledge of a fountain and blinked as the man dipped a handkerchief into the water and began to dab at his numerous
injuries.  "There doesn't seem to be anything more than scratches," he murmured, delicately dabbing at the blood.  "Go on,
speak."

Anyanka cleared his throat.  This was odd.  He should be explaining himself to the King or his advisers, not some guard.  "I
have never been called to service anyone.  I am not wanted."

The stranger snorted.  "You must give such a thing time.  The King has many harem boys.  Surely, he'd get to you eventually.  
How long have you been here?"

"Two years."

The guard froze.  He stared at Anyanka silently.

"I am ugly.  That is why.  There is something wrong with me."

"Nonsense."  He shook his head.  "Without all of those scratches, you are beautiful."

Anyanka didn't know if he could believe that.  After two years of being ignored, it was not easy.  "Then why does no one
choose me?  I am willing.  I sit attentively with the others.  My body responds to their approach.  I wait as I am supposed to.  
But no one sees me."  He sniffled.  "I am ignored and left to wait again.  Left to listen to the jokes from the others and their
cruel taunts.  Ugly Anyanka, that is me."

Warm knuckles grazed his cheek.  "You are not ugly, Anyanka.  And I noticed you.  I notice every inch of your sensuous
body."

"B-But why?  No one sees me."

The guard chuckled.  A smile graced his handsome features.  "How could I not notice you when you fell like an angel from the
skies right before me?  Or rather, right on top of me."

Anyanka blushed.  He felt foolish now.  He had been rash to flee as he had.  Maybe someone would have taken notice of him
eventually.  Now it was too late.  As soon as he was returned to the Harem everyone would know he had tried to escape.  The
guard would have to inform someone.  And the injuries Anyanka had sustained were painfully obvious.  He couldn't hide all of
the scratches, not when he wore so little.

His tears began anew.

"Oh, why the tears?" the stranger asked, brushing a thumb across his cheek to smear away some of the droplets.  "There's no
need to cry."

"I'm going to be beaten and sent away," he sniffled, his voice fading into a weak whimper.  "They'll take me to a brothel.  I
shouldn't have run away."

"You are quite endearing," the stranger replied.  He pressed a chaste kiss to the consort's forehead.

Anyanka was so stunned that he stopped crying.  An idea came to him.  A wonderful, brilliant idea.  "I could please you!"  He
grinned.  "Before you take me to be whipped.  I could service you if you want me to.  Before I came here, I was taught to use
my mouth most expertly."

It was the stranger's turn to be taken aback.  "You want to suck my dick?"

Anyanka nodded eagerly.  "I am very good at it.  Or you could fuck me."

"And you still expect me to take you to be punished afterward?  No matter whether I enjoy it or not?"

The consort blinked.  Was this a trick.  "Of course.  I disobeyed the rules and I should be punished for it.  But you have been
nice to me and I wish to thank you before I am sent to the brothel or the auction house."  He sat up straighter and settled his
hands at his sides.  "What is it you would like me to do?"

His body was eager for this.  His heart was thrumming in his chest, his penis rigid with excitement.  It had been so long since
he was last able to please someone.  He looked down at the guard and smiled at the sight of the obvious tent in his pants.

Anyanka reached forward and settled his hand over the bulge, fondling the man through the barrier of cloth.  "You are so
hard!" he exclaimed with delight.  "And so large.  I will please you greatly."

The stranger had closed his eyes.  His lips were thinly drawn together, teeth worrying at the bottom lip.  He was unresponsive
otherwise, his hands stubbornly held still at his sides.  When he opened his eyes, he grabbed Anyanka's wrist and pulled it away
from his encased erection.

"You do not want me?"

His question was answered emphatically with one simple action.  The stranger kissed him.  It was hard and rough.  The man's
tongue invaded Anyanka's mouth, delving deep and swirling around the consort's own tongue.

The harem boy was elated.  He gripped at the man's shoulders, using them for leverage as he settled himself to straddle strong
muscular thighs.

Anyanka eased back, breaking away with gasping breaths.  "I would like to suck you now," he whispered, licking at the man's
lower lip.

The redhead stood swiftly, almost knocking Anyanka over in his haste.  His fingers fumbled with the ties of his pants, nearly
tearing the fabric once as he pulled his heavy organ from within.

Anyanka was overjoyed.  He parted his lips and waited patiently for the gift that was to come.  When the man rubbed the slick
head of his engorged shaft across his bottom lip, Anyanka flicked his tongue out to taste him.  He was simply delicious.  Heady
and masculine, it was a decidedly unique taste and Anyanka was hooked.  He took the head into his mouth and sucked gently,
thrilled at the grunts issuing forth from the kindly man who had aided him.

"That's it," the man urged, petting Anyanka's hair.  "Use your tongue more."

The youth wrapped his fingers around the shaft, laying his other hand on the stranger's hip.  His did as requested, swirling his
tongue around the organ.

"Suck a little more.  And move your mouth."

Anyanka was happy to comply.  He glanced up, watching the man as he pleasured him.  His eyes were closed, his mouth left
open as soft grunts worked their way out of him.  He was nearing his end and the slave was eager to drink of him.  Anyanka
sucked more fervently, sliding his hand along the organ in counterpoint to the movement of his mouth.

"Ah, yes," the stranger groaned, fingers fisting in Anyanka's dark hair.  He ejaculated, and Anyanka welcomed the taste on his
tongue.  He lapped up the man's emissions, swallowing every last drop as if it were the finest of nectars.

The man sank to his knees and expelled a long breath, his softening member slipping free of the consort's mouth.  "You were
right.  You are talented."  He placed his hand on Anyanka's erection and shamelessly fondled him through the thin barrier of his
flimsy clothing.

Yelping, Anyanka gripped the man's arm, not to stop him but to hold on to something.  "D-Do you want me to come, sir?" he
asked, needing an answer.  He was not permitted to release without allowance.

"Yes," was the simple answer.

The man shoved Anyanka's gauzy pants down, revealing his pulsing member.  He was so hard it almost hurt.  He arched up
into the touch, thrusting erratically into the stranger's hand.

It had been too long.  Anyanka was unused to the feelings.  He couldn't contain himself any longer.  "I can't ... I will come."

"Then come.  Come for me now."

Anyanka couldn't hold back even if he wanted to.  It had been two years since he'd last ejaculated.  He released himself with a
near-pained cry, his hips thrusting sharply into the stranger's hand.  His seed poured over the man's fingers with each spasm of
his body, and he gasped wantonly at the sheer pleasure of the moment.

It was over too quickly.  Anyanka wanted more.  He knew it was not to be though.  He was to be punished and sold off.  He
would never see this gentle man again.  Surreptitiously he watched as the man cleaned off his hand with the same cloth he'd
used to wipe away Anyanka's blood earlier.

"You can take me to the dungeons now," the consort uttered quietly.  He didn't really want to go, but he did deserve it.  He had
been disobedient.

The stranger grinned in an odd sort of way.  "No.  I think I will take you straight to the King."

Anyanka gasped in horror.  "No!  Oh, no!  Do you want me dead?  Did I not please you?"

He grabbed the boy by the arm and hauled him to stand.  "Come along now."

Anyanka had no choice but to follow.  The man was far taller than him and much stronger.  He almost had to run to keep up
with the long strides and his knee ached with each step.

He went over everything that had happened in his mind, trying to decipher where he had gone wrong.  Maybe he shouldn't
have made a sexual advance.  "I thought you enjoyed my mouth.  What did I do wrong?"

"You yourself said you deserve a punishment.  And a punishment you will get."

He tugged Anyanka along behind him, forcing the frightened youth to keep up with his pace.  It was difficult though.  The
stranger was going too fast for the consort to handle and every yank on his wrist only hurt more.

"Please, you are hurting my arm."

The man stopped at that.  He stood over Anyanka, looking down on him with suspicious eyes.  When Anyanka made no
attempt to run away, he turned the consort's arm over in his grasp, looking at the bruised skin around his wrist.  "You must
have hurt yourself in the fall.  Does it hurt anywhere else?"

"No.  No, sir.  I have aches, but nothing bad." he cast his eyes down, worrying.

To his surprise, the stranger caught him up in his arms, lifting his slight body from the ground.  He held Anyanka close as he
began walking again, leaving the garden they had been in to enter the interior of the palace.  This behavior confused Anyanka all
the more.  What was this man up to?  He didn't understand at all.  The man was being careful in his handling, but he was
taking Anyanka to be disciplined by the King.

Anyanka was not terribly familiar with the layout of the palace.  All of the corridors looked the same to him.  It had been two
years since he'd last set foot out of the Harem quarters.  He didn't try to keep track of where they were going now.  There was
no sense in it.  He wasn't going to be living in the palace any longer anyway.  Soon enough he'd be sent away to the dungeons,
and then to a slave house to await selling.

They stopped before a pair of large, ornate wooden doors that were engraved with gold etchings.  The decorations were
beautiful and even in this dire situation, Anyanka appreciated the sight.  Four guards flanked either side of the heavy doors.  
They were intimidating men and one look from one of them had Anyanka cowering closer to the man carrying him.

"Open the doors.  I need to see the King," the man demanded.

Anyanka was awed that there was no fear in his voice.  How one could stand up to those frightening brutes with such
strength, he didn't know.

"The King has given orders not to be disturbed."

"One of his harem wandered off and is hurt.  He needs to council the boy now."

One of the four guards nodded.  He turned and went inside, leaving Anyanka and the stranger to wait with the other three
sentinels.  The heavily muscled man returned within minutes and gestured the way in.  "The King will see you."

Finding himself in the King's private rooms was daunting to Anyanka.  He had always hoped to come here, but never in this
manner.  He'd wanted to service his master, to be chosen by him.  Now he was to be punished and sent away.

King Cynerik was standing by the bed, wearing no more than a dressing gown to cover himself.  A look of annoyance was on
his face, his patience worn thin.  Much to Anyanka's dismay, he saw that Ota was still attending the monarch.  The conceited
slave was reclining on the King's bed, his arousal straining with need.  Anyanka and the guard had interrupted their intimacies.  
Anyanka felt only a slight bit of guilt for causing Ota discomfort, but he was distraught over the King being forced to endure.  
It was his duty to see to the King's pleasure, not to impede it.

"What is the meaning of this?" Cynerik demanded.

The stranger gently set Anyanka on his feet.  He gripped the boy's shoulders, holding him steady.  "It seems your boy here was
feeling unwanted and wandered away."

"Have him whipped and sell him.  I don't have time to deal with such trivialities."

Anyanka gasped in horror.  He had been right.  Ota looked far too pleased with the punishment.  His face shone with delight at
Anyanka's miserable fate.

"You're being too hasty, majesty.  At least hear his reasons before arbitrarily condemning him."

The King waved him on impatiently.

Anyanka's kind stranger kept his hands firmly on the slave's shoulders and began to speak.  "You shouldn't leave your
concubines waiting for your attentions as long as you did this one."

"What are you talking about?"

"Two years, old man.  Two years with no one.  That seems awfully cruel to me."  

How he could talk with such blatant openness astounded the consort.  The frightened brunette gulped, his body shivering
fearfully.  Perhaps this sort of talk would get him into more trouble.  Anyanka did not want that.  But he could not speak out
without permission.  He had received no such permission.

"Ridiculous.  Surely a guest requested his use."

The stranger tipped Anyanka's face up with tender fingers.  "Tell us.  Has any guest asked for you?"

Anyanka shook his head, his heart speeding up a bit.  He was terrified of saying the wrong thing.  "No, sire."

"Not the King, either?"

Again the boy shook his head.  "No one, sire."

The stranger smiled, stroking his cheek softly.  "And why do you think you haven't been picked?"

Anyanka shrugged.  "I do not know for certain.  Ota and the others say it is because I am ugly.  And they must be right.  I am
unwanted."

King Cynerik let out an exasperated breath.  "Well what do you expect me to do about it?  Reason or not, he disobeyed the laws
and must be cast out of the harem.  It would set a bad example to the others if I let him stay."

"Hear me out.  I have a proposition."  The stranger settled his hands on Anyanka's shoulders.  "You cannot keep him and it
would be callous to throw away one who has already been cruelly ignored.  Give him to me."

Anyanka spun, his eyes wide.  This man wanted him?  Despite his disobedience?

"I'll see to it that he's punished for running away and he'll be out of your harem."

The King looked thoughtful.  he inclined his head and gave a bored sort of wave.  "So be it.  Take the boy.  Enjoy his assets.  
Now leave me be."

The stranger was smiling as he backed away, easing Anyanka to follow him.  He bowed once he reached the door.  "Thank
you, Father."

Anyanka could have been tipped over with a feather.  All this time he had been in the company of the prince.  He had thought
the man a mere guard and instead it was Prince Sethe himself.  

Prince Sethe had been sent away to study abroad after the untimely death of his mother, the Queen.  The prince had been away
longer than Anyanka had been in the Harem.  There had been rumors of the man's return to the palace, but since Sethe had not
come to the Harem, Anyanka hadn't ever met him.

They were just outside the King's hall, and away from the prying eyes of the sentinels, when Prince Sethe pressed him into a
dimly lit alcove.  Anyanka looked up at him worriedly.

"You will beat me now?"

Sethe's hand caressed his cheek as he pressed a knee between the consort's thighs.  He hummed, his eyes roving over
Anyanka's delicate features.  "I thought it would be more pleasurable to take you to my bed.  But if you'd rather have a beating,
I can oblige."

Anyanka bit his lip and shook his head.  "It is not that I wish to be beaten, but I must be punished.  You said that you were
going to discipline me."

The Prince chuckled in amusement and leaned forward to tenderly nibble on his slave's ear.  "I did say I would punish you, but
I never said anything about a beating.  There are other, far more enjoyable methods of discipline."

Anyanka shuddered as Sethe's breath tickled the ear he had only a moment ago been toying with.  "Majesty?"  Despite his
worry, he couldn't help the awakening of his arousal.  Sethe's knee was pressing just so against his groin, only barely rubbing
him through the flimsy clothing he wore.  It was enough to hasten his breath and make him squirm in the noble's hold.

"Not here.  Not in the hallway as if you were some common trollop."

Anyanka was lifted off of his feet again and he clung to his new lord and master as the man moved swiftly through the
corridors.  Though unsure of his new position in life, he felt safe in the strong arms that held him aloft.  Despite his looming
disciplining, he had a feeling that no real harm would befall him.

In almost no time at all, the prince was setting him down on the soft surface of a bed.

The chamber was opulent, the decorations lavish but tastefully arranged around the suite.  These were the Prince's private
rooms in the eastern wing of the palace.  Anyanka had never been here before, but he appreciated the beauty in the valuable
artworks and tapestries, the graceful elegance in the few statues that he could see.  A fireplace dominated one wall.  There was
a sitting area arranged around the hearth with comfortable looking chairs and a thick furred rug.  Anyanka felt a desire to roll
around on the cream-colored fur, wondering if it was as soft as it appeared.  He stayed his urge though, remaining on the
immense bed where Sethe had laid him.

Anyanka knew that this single room he was in was only a sample of what could be found in the rest of this wing.  There were
guest suites and a number of baths.  There was also at least two libraries and several gardens.  Servants had a habit of
gossiping when there was little to occupy their idle hands.

"Master?  May I speak?"

Sethe nodded, gesturing him on with a languid move of his hand.

"Where is your harem?"

The Prince had a slim smile on his face as he removed his cloak and cast it aside.  "I have no harem.  You are my first
acquisition.  I plan to rectify my lack of foresight in the morning so you will have companionship by nightfall tomorrow."

He sat, running his hand along Anyanka's leg.  "Now, I should deal with the matter of your escape attempt.  Even though I
understand - and even empathize with - your reasons, that does not excuse your running away."

Anyanka lowered his head and didn't speak.  He didn't think the Prince's earlier permission carried over to this.  He would
accept any punishment Sethe dealt with the grace he had been taught.  He glanced over when Sethe lifted his hand away from
his leg.

The Prince looked at him silently, as if contemplating his fate.  "It can't be too severe since this is your first, and I hope only,
offense.  Add the fact that you've been unjustly ignored for two years and taunted as a result of circumstances beyond your
control."  He regarded Anyanka and smiled.  "You really are beautiful.  How my father could have passed you over for so long
is beyond my understanding."

Anyanka's body filled with warmth at the words of his master.  He had longed to hear such words for so long.  To hear them
now, it almost made him feel lightheaded.

"Come here."

Anyanka didn't even hesitate to do as he was told.

Sethe took hold of his arm and guided the nervous consort to lie across his legs.  His hand gently stroked the thin material of
the consort's leggings.  "First thing to do is to get rid of these."

Anyanka forced himself not to yelp in shock as the flimsy garment was torn away from his body.  He bit his lip to stifle himself
at the feel and sound of cloth ripping.  It was not his place to question what his master did.  Besides, the hand was back and
stroking Anyanka's bared bottom.  For a few breaths, Anyanka held himself tense.  He did not know what Prince Sethe had in
store for him.  But the hand that was slightly roughened with callouses - caused from learning to wield a sword - simply
stroked him in an almost comforting motion, and it wasn't long before Anyanka relaxed under the touch.  It was quite pleasant,
actually, and the slave decided to enjoy it.  That is, until he felt the sting of that hand giving his bared ass a firm smack.

"That was for leaving the harem."  Sethe announced before delivering another, far harsher strike.  "And the rest of these are for
servicing a stranger without the consent of your master."

It had been a good decade since Anyanka had last been disciplined in such a manner.  He'd stolen a treat from a jar and his
mother had caught him at it.  She'd bent him over her knee as Sethe was doing.  It had been humiliating and painful.  It was no
less of either this time around.

Sethe's hand came down on him mercilessly.  The man was undeniably strong.  At the fourth strike, Anyanka cried out.  A few
later and he was weeping.  His fingers clung to the bedding and to the Prince's pant leg.  He did not beg for the pain to end,
knowing that it wasn't his place.  Still, he prayed that it wouldn't last much longer.

When it was over, Anyanka was urged to rise.  He sniffled miserably, spreading his feet apart and kneeling on the bed, trying
not to rest his weight on his aching rear.  He was grateful for having a gentle master.  He had heard tales of discipline far
worse than the spanking he had received.

He wiped at his eyes and nose, ashamed of his own pathetic state.  "Please forgive my transgressions, Master.  It will not
happen again."  He blinked as Sethe pulled him into a firm and comforting embrace, sighing into the warmth of the contact.

"You were already forgiven when you told me you had been ignored for two years, but I could not let you go unpunished."  
Sethe ran his hands along Anyanka's trim form, then smiled down at him as he held the slave at arm's length.  "Now, if I
remember correctly, you offered your body to me in the garden."

Despite the burning pain in his backside, Anyanka's heart was soaring.  "How would you like me, Master?"  He leaned forward
in anticipation, only to yelp as the pressure made his wrist hurt.  Jerking back only left the pain across his ass seem to spike up
his spine.  "I'm sorry, Master."  He bit his lip in shame as he was gently pulled to rest across Sethe's lap.  The act of sitting
only left his ass aching.

Sethe lifted his arm and examined his darkly bruised wrist.  "I think this should be tended to."  He smiled as he tugged a twig
from Anyanka's long hair.  "And a bath so that I can see if you are injured anywhere else that we may not be aware of."

Anyanka gracefully rose to his feet at Sethe's light urgings, only to whimper and almost collapse with considerably less grace.  
His knee had decided that it couldn't hold his weight.  He was more than grateful when Sethe lifted him off of his feet again.

"Forgive me, Master."

"I've already forgiven you, my beauty.  No more is to be said on the subject."  Sethe nuzzled Anyanka's cheek.  "It just upsets
me that you were in so much pain that you felt the risk of leaving was preferable to that loneliness."  He walked with sure and
steady strides to a door and motioned to a servant Anyanka hadn't noticed before.  "Draw a bath for my consort and myself."

Anyanka couldn't help the shiver of pleasure that those words sent through him.  He doubted he would ever stop savoring the
little things that most concubines took for granted.

The servant moved with swift efficiency.  He was a small boy, barely a teenager but it was clear that he had been impeccably
trained.  He was finished with his task before the Prince set foot in the bath.  The large tub was not yet full, but everything
they would need was already laid out within easy reach and steam was swirling up from the heated water.

Sethe lifted Anyanka over the low edge and lowered him down into the expansive pool.  The slave sat along the ledge carved
into the cool stone, wincing at the ache it caused his abused posterior.

Sethe was kind enough to give him a sympathetic look as he gathered a few supplies before joining him in the bath.  "Now let's
clean you off and then see to your injuries."

Anyanka shuddered as strong and capable hands handled him like he was made of the most precious and fragile materials.  He
remained still as twigs and leaves were patiently removed from his hair.

"Your hair is beautiful and as fine as spun silk."  Sethe ran his fingers through the dark brown strands.  "Even with all you've
been through today, it's still beautiful."  He massaged Anyanka's scalp a moment before kissing Anyanka's shoulder.  "Let me
see to your injuries.  I really should have done that before punishing you, but I don't believe in putting things off."

Anyanka tensed up as Sethe's hands probed and prodded, expecting a sharp stab of pain at any second.

"Relax or you'll think something is hurting when it isn't.  I already know that your knee and wrist are hurting, but I need to
know if there are any other injuries besides these superficial cuts, scrapes and bruises."  His warm voice was as soothing as
the heated water.  "If you stay this tense, I won't know if I touch anything to cause you pain."  He paused and kissed
Anyanka's cheek.  "I'm sorry, but I have to make sure that the injuries in your knee and wrist don't need treatment besides rest."

Though he wanted to stay brave, Anyanka couldn't stop the pain-caused cry that resulted from Sethe's probing.  He was
sobbing softly when Sethe was finished and never noticed when he was pulled onto the prince's lap.  

He relaxed in the comfort of his master's embrace, allowing the warmth of the water and the feel of Sethe's skillful fingers to
lull him into a light doze.  He could feel and hear Sethe's heartbeat thrumming under his ear.  It comforted him, knowing that he
was no longer alone.  Finally, he was wanted.

He was asleep before he realized he was weary.



The End
(Unless I think of more.)