The Gift is in the Giving

BY : ZoeyLeigh
Category: Anita Blake > Slash
Dragon prints: 2110
Disclaimer: I do not own the Anita Blake series, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Pairing: Zane/Gregory Gregory/Feather Possibly others.

Disclaimer: Anita's harem of boys is owned by Laurell K. Hamilton and whomever she deems worthy of them. Which I assume doesn't include me. The Feather Key is mine...technically speaking. Though his trainer did a great job with him. :)

Notes: This is a key fic. If you don’t know what that is, but would like to know, tell me when you review. * innocent smile * I’ll give a link to the Key Fic site in the next chapter. This is kind of a crossover with Anita Blake which I hope won’t be too confusing for those that don't know about the Key Fics and the Palace. (Kind of meaning…while the Palace and it’s keys are a set….er fandom I guess of their own, they’re really all original pieces so I’m not really crossing over into another fandom. I think.)
~ Blah ~ = thoughts * Tadah * = emphasis

Felipe's head jerked up at the sound of a key turning in the door's lock. His hand trembled a bit before he set down the playing cards he had been using to play Solitaire. This could only mean one of two things.

One, he was getting a new Master and the man had already arrived. Or, two, he was going to be punished, finally, for the 'incident' with his last Master.

For some reason all his Master's had this uncanny ability to just show up without calling first. Felipe thought that Simon down at the front desk just 'forgot' to mention his Master was on the way.

Usually this would never be allowed to happen but a few years ago Simon had shown up in his room one-night drunk and wanting a good time. Felipe had turned the man down and showed him out the door none to gently fearing punishment if he fucked someone other then his Master.

After that he had never been given proper time to prepare himself for his new Masters. But it was just a coincidence according to anyone he complained to. Yeah right!

As for his last Master... He really didn't want to think about that. The man had escaped with a few broken bones, some bruises, and a black eye. That had been almost a week and a half ago.

Felipe had never really had many violent tenancies but after he had begged and pleaded not to be tied up... He had tried his best to explain his fear to an insofar kind Master, but the man hadn't cared. He wanted his Key tied up and that was that.

And Felipe wasn't so stupid as to fight him. The Key had been ready to submit to his Master no matter how much it scared him. But when his Master had pushed him back onto the bed and started to tie his hands to the headboard the Feather Key had snapped.

Felipe still didn't know what had come over him. A rage unlike anything he'd ever felt before. No dohe whe wouldn't have stopped beating his Master till the man was dead if said Master hadn't been snapped out of his shocked daze when the Key broke his nose. He had finally realized that 'Yes his Key *was* attacking him' and that the boy seemed to have no intentions of stopping anytime soon.

The Feather Key had been downed with one solid punch to the jaw, which still ached a little bit btw, from his Master's meaty fist. The last Felipe had seen of his Master was of his furious face before he had blacked out.

Waking up in his bed the next day Felipe had then proceeded to freak out. Rightly so. When the Palace attendants couldn't calm him he was given mild sedatives to help him sleep. And something else to help him stay calm when he was awake. It just depended on the time of day. Then two days ago the Palace physicians decided to give him a shot at controlling himself without the help of drugs.

Felipe had made himself manage. Trying to push the incident from his mind. Being left alone had helped. But the Key was now wondering when the Palace staff would come to correct the problem, aka, him. Attacking his Master might have been unplanned and accidental but it was also forbidden.

So it was to his unfailing relief when Erin walked in. Heaving a deep sigh Felipe stood up rather gracefully, plastering a big smile on his face. With a twitch of his head long auburn tresses slid over his shoulder to settle in a neat line down along his spine. Black hair tie standing out against the shimmer of the almost red his hair tended to be when his lights were in their highest setting, as they were now.

"Hello Feather. I'm here to warn you that your Master should be arriving in the next week. They aren't sure when."

Felipe's eyes widen slightly. Azure orbs staring in obvious confusion at the plain slim woman standing just inside his door. Of everyone here that he had contact with Erin was the only one he trusted. He'd told her his real name a few years ago and she had used it ever since. This complete reversal back to the cold, uncaring servant she used to be, was a tad frightening. Granted her tone wasn't quite cold, but definitely without emotion.

"What's wrong?!" He demanded.

Normally sparkling eyes remained, instead, a dull flat brown at his outburst. She shifted slightly in her more or less plain black dress, almost as if she had to work at looking blank. Her right hand causally smoothed over the lace that ran in a small strip along the seams of the dress.

"Nothing Feather. Now I happened to over hear a phone conversation this morning...."

For a moment some of her old spark flickered to life. It was something they would normally chuckle over since it was commonly known by the Keys that Erin took care of that she would shamelessly listen in to phone conversations that she thought concerned them. By doing so she would get more information then she would usually get and then tell them so they might be better prepared for their next owner. In his own case simply getting more warning then a harried, "He's on his way up."

"And it seems your last Master sold you to a Mr. Jean-Claude no last name. He has to be rather well off. I heard the price he bought the key for. I believe he was also dropping names of a few establishments he owns. Slightly confusing because I can't imagine what a 'Laughing Corpse' would be." Erin gave a slight shrug. "So rather then wait to be told the information I'm here to give you some warning." With a slight bow she started to back out of the room.

"Erin wait! The.... the palace isn't going to punish me?"

He nervously started tugging at the ends of the sleeves of his shirt, a loose blue cotton poet shirt. Which was the reason his eyes were so blue today. Not that he noticed or thought about any of this. He just thought to himself. ~You stupid fool! You couldn't just keep your mouth shut. Maybe they thought you were sorry and weren't going to do anything. You stupid stupid fool!~

Erin's mouth twitched up at the corners. Her voice kept the flat quality however. "Your Master said he didn't want anything to happen to you because of your.... outburst. He felt that.... he had taken his own misplaced anger out on you and you were only defending yourself. Or something to that affect. Is that all? I really must something."

Felipe released his breath, and then took a few deep, calming breaths. Holding your breath when you don't realize it isn't what it's cracked up to be. At least not for him.

Shooting Erin a small smile, he brought his left hand up to fiddle with the silver hoop in his ear. The drop earring he had had in there somehow became lost during the fight with his Master. He had been afraid to ask for it back. Really he didn't even know if the staff had picked it up or if it had gotten taken to the laundry room or if it was still here in his room somewhere. He'd looked a few times but hadn't found anything yet.

Erin's gaze landed briefly on his ear, her attention caught by the movement of his hand. "Lana found your earring. In one of the hallways. Best I figured, it must have caught on someone's something then fallen off. I'll get it to you before your Master arrives. Good day Feather." And with that she disappeared out the door, tugging it shut quietly behind her.

Well. That made things a bit easier. He had a name this time. And a whole week to recover. Jean-Claude. Sounded French. From his limited experience of French people they were great in bed but a bit foppish or at the very least flaky. He liked the accent they put to American words though.

Using the same grace that made him stand so nicely without trying he flopped back onto the cushions on the floor and picked up the cards. In his opinion not everyone could fall with grace. But he did it with both grace and style. Clearing the game from the table he started shuffling the carettietting his mind wander back to the prospect of his new Master.

Mayhap this Frenchman's love of love would make him want to take his key with him? Felipe's heart skipped a beat just thinking about it. He hated it here. More then anything else in this life the Palace in general was a large hated thing. He would give anything to get out of here. He looked up from the deck and slid his gaze around his room.

Everything was in a shade of gold or maroon. Some red and bronze and darker shades of yellow. Mostly to accent the main colors. From where he was sitting on the floor he had a direct view into the bedroom. One of the only things he could see through the doorway was his bed. Huge and round it often reminded him of some sacrificial stone covered in satin. What he couldn't see but knew was there was the murals and mosaics of exotic birds from all over the world plastered all over the walls. It was lovely to look at but nothing he wanted to live with. His old room had been plain white with a picture or two on the walls. He missed living in that cramped room with his own small twin sized bed.

Sighing and pulling his thoughts from his old life he focused on what was in the living room. Bookcases lining two of the four walls, filled top to bottom. They were his one pride and joy. Felipe loved nothing more then to curl up in one of the comfy chairs in this room and read late into the night. It relaxed him and gave him a small taste of his happier days at his fathers. There was a sofa, two loveseats and a handful of high-backed reading chairs scattered throughout the rest of the room. Along with the table he was currently using and a few small table lamps placed at the ends of the couch and next to some of the chairs.

The third wall of the room was entirely glass. The single sliding door opened up into his own good-sized garden. It was tiny compared to what he had been able to dig around in before he was sold to the Palace but since nearly none of the other Key's were privileged enough to have any type of garden he didn't complain.

The bathroom off of the bedroom was large and carried the bird motif into it. Completely done withed med mosaics the bathroom looked like a shot of the high treetops of a jungle. The bathtub was sunken into the ground looking more the recreative bathing pool then any tub Felipe had seen before coming to live here.

Overall a nice place to vacation to but nothing Felipe wanted to spend the rest of his life in. He hoped every time he got a new Master that this one would take him away from it all. Silly thinking but there all the same. Not that he would ever allow his Master to see his malcontent with the Palace for fear of punishment.

Stifling a groan Felipe dropped his head onto the table. Who was he kidding? He hated being a slave and nothing about this place was nice. He'd hated every Master he'd ever had if for no other reason than they got to leave when they were through with him and he didn't. God willing his new Master would come for the week, enjoy himself, then leave and not come back. But retain the key of course. Just in case or something like that.

Standing up, Felipe swept the cards off the table with one scrape of his hand, walking over to deposit them in the ivory cardholder he had sitting on a bookshelf. Reaching back he tugged his hair band out as he padded barefoot into the bedroom. Giving his head a good shake to spill shining auburn locks freely down his back he climbed into the center of the bed. Flinging the band toward the nightstand he flopped tiredly onto the pillow not caring if he had missed or not. Pulling the covers up over his head he fell asleep with the comfort of the bright lights in the other room.

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