Who said getting to know someone was all fun and games?


Obviously for Siren and Trevor Conroy, it's anything but fun.  Their argument spurred from inside the office lands them in a punishment where they must spend the next two weeks together 24-7.  But who says that the initial meeting between the two after the initial punishment had to be all warm and cozy?


Getting To Know You, What A Pain!

By:  M. J. Cogburn and C. E. Krawiec

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Just then the door into the area of the logistic department that the confrontation was occurring opened, admitting two security guards.  Trevor had no doubt whom they were coming for or where they were going to take him.  He offered no resistance when one of the men ordered Trevor to put his arms behind his back then snapped handcuffs on his wrists.  Neither did he give them any trouble when he was told, “Let’s go,” and given a push toward the door.   But as he started to step past Siren, Trevor paused to stare into her eyes, he told her, his tone frosty, “I'll think of you with every lash."  A hand planting between his shoulder blades and giving him an abrupt push ended any chance of saying more. 

         As he walked between the guards down the hall to the elevator, Trevor didn’t say anything or cause any trouble to guards.  God knew that what was waiting for him four levels down, and there was no sense in giving Lothos any more reason to order an even worse punishment.  In the few moments it took for the elevator to descend to the fourteenth level, only one thought got through everything roiling and tumbling in his mind... ‘Allen is never going to believe this!’


Siren couldn’t believe what had happened.  She closed her eyes and slightly bowed her head as she sighed. When she opened her eyes, she found Dr. Hugen standing before her with a troubled expression on his face.  “What?”  

“How are you feeling?” he asked as he placed a hand on her brown to check for any fever.  “You are quite pale.” 

Siren blinked at Dr. Hugen her expression of total awe.  “Dr. Hugen, considering that I’ve had an attack, followed by the intense moments just now with Mr. Conroy, you are correct in assuming that I’m not feeling exactly peachy.”  She leaned back against the wall for support, making sure that there was nothing but respect for the man before her, and felt his hands come up to steady her.  She pushed his hands away.  “I’ll be all right physically.  I’m more worried about what I’m going to do now.”  She glanced at the camera knowing that she needed to address Lothos about what had just happened but the sound of the door opening made her turn away so that her face would be hidden. 

As soon as Xavier stepped into the outer office of the Logistics Sector, he became immediately aggravated.  ‘Why is she out of that office?’ He walked straight to her and pulled her about to face him, his hands biting into her skin for her disobedience.   

“Before you begin to admonish her for disobeying the orders you gave her, you need to know why I called you here,” Lothos said as he watched Xavier come into the room and become forceful with his daughter.  “First and foremost, because of Siren’s hot-headed personality, she had a stressed induced diabetic attack about thirty minutes ago.”  He paused and watched as Xavier turned to her, his expression shifting from annoyance to concern.  “However, Trevor Conroy has seen Siren without her mask.  He knows what she looks like no matter how much we correct him.”  

Siren lowered her head humiliated.  “I did as you told me to, father.  I was sitting in here after my attack when he barged in and saw me.  What am I do to?  I… I hate to admit it, but I’m … I’m scared.”  She crossed her arms in front of her, hugging herself as she admitted her trepidations.  When Xavier opened his arms to her, she pressed into his body and found herself calmer and safer.  

“Nothing will happen to you, Siren,” Dr. Hugen said softly sitting on the edge of a nearby desk watching the two together.

“Precisely.  Nothing,” Lothos repeated after Hugen.  “However, Siren, since you are still troubled, I will get another mask ready for you.  You will wear it while in or out of the complex.  Your quarters will be the only place where you can take it off completely.”  

Siren stepped back from the hug that Xavier had given to her and looked up at the camera.  “With all due respect, Lothos, may I ask you a question?”  

Lothos looked down at his daughter and saw the strength edging her jaw, the way she held herself and had to applaud at how Xavier had raised her.  “What is it, Siren?”  

Siren paused for a moment as she tried to word her question that was voiced earlier without making Lothos irritated. Swallowing she plunged ahead, “Mr. Conroy asked a question that I have been wondering about for quite some time.  I understand how some may want revenge against Xavier and take it out on me, and I do understand the reason for the mask, even though I do question it with Xavier often.  But,” she paused frowning, “… is there any other reason why I must wear it?  I’m not asking out of disrespectfulness, Lothos,” she said as he bowed her head.  “I’m asking out of curiosity.”

‘As I have watched you, my dear, I have seen this questioning side of you all of your life.  It’s the wonderful way that you learn.  You are so much like myself,’ Lothos thought to himself.  “Siren, there are something’s that even you don’t need to know at the moment.  When the time is right, it will be revealed to you.  I understand how your curiosity has been piqued, but patience is required.”  Turning his attention back to Xavier, Lothos replied, “Xavier, meet with Mr. Conroy out in the hall and see him to the cells.  Make sure that he understands why he is being corrected.” 

Siren nodded to Lothos’ words and understood fully not to ask any other questions pertaining to the mask.  However, when Lothos spoke to Xavier, she turned to look at him.  She knew what type of correction that her father did in his work and she divided a glance between the men in the room and the camera.  She opened her mouth to speak but quickly shut it knowing that she shouldn’t question Lothos.  She lowered her head, and then put her hand on her brow.

Xavier watched her a moment and felt a twang of guilt for the years of lies.  Eventually she would know that she was not his child, but Lothos’ child.  He knew that when she was told that he would lose the one thing that gave him purpose for the last twenty-four years.  ‘That’s a girl,’ he thought to himself as he watched her.  ‘Don’t say a word.’ 

          Lothos watched her as well as the other two men and he couldn’t help the pride that he felt for the young woman in the room.  Xavier had done well in rearing her, teaching her when to hold her tongue and when to question what was said.  “Dr. Hugen,” Lothos watched the man as he straightened up from the desk he was leaning on.  “I want you to examine Siren carefully.  If she can continue her required shift, then release her back to her work.  If not, let me know and I shall arrange it to where she can be moved to the infirmary without being seen.” 

Dr. Hugen nodded to his words as well and turned to look at Siren who finally looked up.  She looked distressed and bewildered, but he raised a hand for her to follow him.  She moved toward him swiftly, but as Dr. Hugen’s hand slid to the small of her back, she turned back to the camera.  “Lothos, I apologize for my behavior today.  I will be the supervisor that you need me to be – one that is respectful to those around her, and professional in all matters.”  

Hearing Siren speaking on the matter at hand, he could see the acceptance of the punishment that both she and Trevor would be subjected to.  But also, he heard the way that she worded her statement of how she would be – not try to be.  “I know you will, Siren, or the consequences will be far more sever than just spending time with someone you don’t particularly like.”  

Siren nodded to his words and gave a respectful nod to her father then moved into her office with Dr. Hugen leading the way.   




As Trevor sauntered down the hall toward the elevator, the guards flanking him and his hands cuffed behind him, he got bewildered looks from several people that he knew.  He knew what caused their shocked looks to change to one of alarm – Xavier walking just a few feet behind him.  ‘It makes me nervous too, I’ve seen past examples of his work.’  

Upon walking toward the facility, Lothos informed Xavier through his implants that he could use whatever method he wanted to institute Mr. Conroy’s correction, which let Xavier know just how livid Lothos was.  Only when he meant to make an example of a person did he call Xavier in.  Even as the troop walked into the cellar, Xavier glanced at the tall, dark-haired young man before him.  ‘Pity you chose Siren to be disrespectful to.’  He knew that if it had been any other supervisor that the most this young man would have been given only a brief warning whipping.  

Lothos had never and would never stand for his daughters to be treated as Siren was.  Regardless if Siren or Tala was the instigator of the situation, or in this case, the half instigator of it, their father’s arrogance and lofty opinion of himself, as well as them, always wreaked jealous vengeance and reprisal on anyone unfortunate enough to cross him.  This young man had just joined in the ranks of those who, unwittingly, offended Lothos personally.  

Arriving at the correctional facility, the doorkeeper wrote down his name and his offense and as Trevor watched, he handed the folder over to Xavier.  There’s no way that he could prevent the hard swallow that slid down his throat.  Cuffed, Trevor was led inside the heavy double doors, down the main hall and then turned to the left.  The two guards stopped at the door marked Cell 11.  While one of the guards opened the door, the other removed the handcuffs.  Rubbing his wrists from the uncomfortably tight cuffs, the cell door was pushed open and Trevor couldn’t help the gasp that escaped his lips when he saw Mara waiting inside.  

‘I know that he will carry the memory of this correction for the rest of his life,’ Xavier thought.  “Strip, Mr. Conroy,” he ordered mildly.  “Then hand give your clothing and boots to me.”  He saw the faintest suggestion of color rise to Trevor’s face and watched as he complied without hesitation.  “Inside.”  Xavier nodded to the cell then dismissed the guards before entering the cell and closing the door behind him.  Without comment, he put the clothes and boots in the small locker by the door.  Xavier knew that by the time that Mr. Conroy left the room in seven hours, the last thing that he’d want was anything touching any area of his skin.  

Mara held the rank of expert with whips, especially the ‘little cat’ for almost twelve years.  A consummate professional, she had never failed to carry out any and all instructions with a precision that made her almost as dreaded as Xavier himself.  Xavier now saw that dread in Mr. Conroy’s eyes.  

“Mr. Conroy is here for correction for gross insubordination and insolence to a superior; the supervisor of the Logistics Sector,” Xavier told Mara as he looked over to him and saw a light sweat springing up on his body.  “He also addressed Lothos in a defiant manner.  Lothos has ordered a correctional period of seven hours.”  He paused, and then added, “Chain him face against the wall.”  As she obeyed, he had to give credit to Mr. Conroy, as he didn’t resist, then added, “Make his stance wide.” 

Xavier moved around to Trevor so that he could see his face as Mara followed her directives.  “How’s your tolerance for pain, Mr. Conroy?” he asked clearly.  He didn’t give Trevor a chance to answer.  “If you are like most males, the worst pain you could ever experience would be between your legs.  Well,” he said quietly as he stepped closer to him, now able to almost count the droplets of sweat forming on his brow.  “You’re going to wish it only hurt that much.”   Stepping back, he told Mara, “Twenty-five lashes between his legs with a short, three-lash, rough-tip.  Draw no blood.”  

Mara nodded at Xavier’s words and swiftly walked over to the table and picked up the short, three-lash, rough-tipped whip.  She turned to look at her assignment before her and couldn’t help but admire him for a brief moment.  However, as she stepped up, she ran her hand down the handle of the whip, gripped it gingerly then let the first stroke fly.

It bit high between his legs and Trevor screamed like he never had in his life.  Fifteen minutes later, he was still screaming when Mara landed the last stroke. 

Trevor was learning quickly that Xavier’s reputation was absolutely true, and what he had promised Siren he held true to.  With every lash, with every scream, he thought of the auburn haired bitch and cursed her.  By the time that Mara had finished the pain was approaching mind-numbing levels and he was sobbing like a baby.  

Xavier got up from the straight chair by the door and went over to inspect Mara’s work.  There was no need to look too closely.  The lower part of Conroy’s buttocks were criss-crossed with narrow welts and the flesh between his legs was swollen from the whipping.  Straightening up, Xavier told Mara simply, “Use whatever whip you will on the back of his body for three hours, and you are to draw blood.  Then put his back to the wall, and repeat both whippings on the front of his body.”  

Mara nodded in acknowledgement to her instructions and proceeded to whip at Mr. Conroy with one of her favored ‘little cats’ making sure that she drew blood with every lash given.  After three hours were completed, she glanced over at Xavier only for him to rise.  Both approached the man in the chains and turned his bleeding back against the cold hard wall then chained him once again.  Only then did Mara pick up the short, three-lash whip and prepared herself yet again.  

When the first lash landed against his genitals, Trevor screamed, “GOD DAMN YOU TO HELL, SIREN!”  After that point, all that filled his mind was agony of each succeeding whiplash and he screamed until his throat was raw.  With each stroke, more droplets of his blood stained the walls and the floor.  Trevor glanced over at Xavier sitting near the door, his calm and almost amused expression made him shiver in the chains.  

Xavier watched the man before him writhe in the chains and finally sighed heavily as if he was bored and looked down at his watch.  It was a little before eight.  Remembering that he had told Siren he would meet her at eight, he frowned, then nodded to Mara and left the facility knowing that Mara would finish at the appropriate time.  




Hours later, Mara laid the last lash to his body. She put the whip away then approached Trevor, unchained him and watched as he sagged against the wall, gasping, his body quivering and trembling.  

As Trevor’s chest heaved from his struggle to catch his breath, he whispered to himself with a vehemence he had never felt toward any other human being in his life.  “I… will never… ever… forgive… you, Siren.  Never!”  

Mara gave him a few minutes to get his act together before she approached him once again, only to put a collar around his neck, a small lead chain on the end of the collar.  When Trevor looked at it, he frowned.  “Come,” she said softly.  Grabbing his clothes from the locker, she led him naked and bleeding out of the correctional facility, the lead chain in her hand making Trevor feel even more humiliated.  She walked him toward the elevator and went to the sixth floor.  Seeing the look on Trevor’s face, she lightly smiled but said nothing as she knocked on the door.  When the door opened, Trevor didn’t know what to think or do.




When he left Cell 11 at seven thirty, Xavier didn’t say a word.  He knew Mara would continue her always-precise work.  He had to get back to his quarters and change before going to escort Siren back to their quarters at 8 PM.  Once in the quarters, he was particularly careful to call the special laundry service he had always used.  The man who came to the door took the blood stained shirt and trousers without comment.  After a quick shower, he dressed and was out the door by ten minutes to the hour. 

Arriving at the Logistics Sector, he went to the private entrance to the supervisor’s office and knocked lightly.  He watched the door open, knowing that Siren was behind the door, completely hidden from the other personnel that were moving through the halls.  

Entering, he closed the door then turned to face her.  “From that tired smile, I’d say you burned some pre-midnight oil this evening,” he said with a smile.  As he watched her face, he thought about how it would be better that she not know exactly how Mr. Conroy had been punished.  She’d find out soon enough especially since he was going to be sharing their quarters for the next two weeks.  “How about if your dear old dad treats you to dinner out, in honor of your first day as Supervisor of Logistics Sector?” he asked her in an upbeat tone, smiling. 

Siren knew that the lighthearted attitude that she was receiving from her father was his attempt at keeping her mind off of the man in the cellar being beaten or whipped, however, he was the one thing that had stayed on her mind since they had left over three hours ago.  She smiled slightly at him and took a deep breath then let it out slowly.  “I’d like to, but… I don’t have a mask.” 

Xavier brought out the mask from behind his back.  It was a smaller version of the one she had prior.  She held it gingerly in her hands admiring the craftsmanship of its ceramics.  Putting it on, she marveled at the fit.  It was almost like putting on sunglasses, the pieces that held it to her face lightly circled her ears.  The bottom of the ceramic touched her cheeks when she smiled; her entire cheek was exposed on either side.  The top of the soft almost human like ceramic was fitted against her forehead and she marveled at it.  “It’s lovely.  Thank you, Lothos.” 

“You’re welcome, Siren.  I’m pleased that you like it,” he responded softly his voice falling about the room. 

Siren wanted to ask about Trevor, but quickly put the thought out of her mind and moved to her father’s side, draping her arm on his.  They went to the Moonlight Hideaway on the second level and ordered dinner.  While Xavier talked about his day, specifically not saying anything about his work in the cellar, he watched as she picked at her food, eating enough so that her body would accept the sugar.  When asked to tell of her day, she also specifically went around talking about the young man who she would be sharing punishment with, telling him about the many reports she had accomplished during the remaining hours at work. 

By the time they had finished a leisurely dinner and a small dessert, and enjoying the entertainment that was provided that evening, it was eleven fifteen.  Xavier glanced over at Siren as she finished her tea and he stood.  Going behind her, he slid out the chair and helped her to stand.  “Come now, we need to get back to our quarters, wind down from the day and prepare.” 

Siren looked at him questioningly but nodded.  She was beginning to get a headache and she just wanted to lie down and sleep.  It was a quiet walk to the elevators and an equally quiet ride to their quarters on the sixth floor.  Opening the door, he let her enter first.  Siren went directly to the bathroom and found the Tylenol that they kept in the closet and took it before she finally took off the mask and gingerly placed it on the counter, noticing nothing else and walked out. 

It was then that she heard the knock at the front door.  Surprised, she grabbed the mask once again, placing it on as she came out of the bathroom to look at Xavier as he motioned toward the door.  Looking back at him questioningly, she went to the door, opened it and swallowed hard.  Siren turned back to Xavier her eyes wide then turned back to the door seeing Trevor Conroy standing there, naked and bloodied.  Mara extended her hand with the end of the chain toward Siren, but Siren quickly shook her head as she saw that it was attached to the collar around Trevor’s neck.  “Take that thing off of him,” she spit at Mara. 

“Take the chain, Siren,” Xavier said with a resolve that she had never heard him use with her before.  Siren jerked her head around to look at him, disbelief in her eyes.  “Take the chain and bring him inside.”  He made the words a bit crisper, the look in his eyes one that he had never directed at her as well.  She was experiencing the first part of her punishment – the joint punishment Lothos had ordered for her and Mr. Conroy. 

Siren turned back to Mara and reluctantly held out her hand.  Mara dropped the lead chain into her palm and Siren glanced back and forth between Trevor and Mara before closing her eyes.  She stepped back away from the door and gave Trevor access to the room.  When he didn’t take a step to enter, she looked into his eyes seeing the cold stare that he was giving her and softly said, “Please, come in.” 

The look that Trevor gave Siren said only one thing, ‘Pull the chain… make me come inside.’  

Siren closed her eyes and shook her head softly.  ‘Please don’t make me do this to you,’ she thought but when she saw the cold stare again, and knowing that Xavier was expecting her to bring him in, she then realized what was going on.  This was her punishment.  She looked down at the chain in her hand and turned her back on Trevor as she began to walk into the room.  When the chain became taunt, she firmly pulled on the chain making him move into her quarters.  Reaching the center of the room, she dropped the chain then went back to the opened door and shut it. 

Xavier’s expression was unreadable as he watched the tall, dark-haired young man, now bloody from his neck down to his heels, front and back, enter his home.  Xavier couldn’t recall the last time he had encountered anyone with such bullheaded determination as the man that stood in his living room, but he knew that it was good for Siren.  His resistance made her uncertain.  Having orders as per their punishment directly from Lothos, Xavier wouldn’t hesitate on completing them.  Not even for the love of the young woman, whom he thought of as his own child, would he hesitate to carry out her true father’s orders. 

“Siren.”  He waited for her to turn to face him where he stood, just beyond their bloody guest.  “Unbuckle the collar from his neck and then,” he reached into his pocket and tossed a key to her.  “Take the handcuffs off of him.”  Seeing the discomfort and anxiety of approaching someone having been disciplined in that manner was plain in her eyes.  “Don’t make me repeat myself, Siren,” his voice warned her. 

Siren nodded upon hearing the soft warning and went up to Trevor.  Looking down at the key in her hands, she remembered how her father had addressed her.  Collar then hands.  Swallowing, she walked around to face him and looked up into his face for a brief moment before she reached up and unfastened it from his neck.  Once it was off, she looked at the collar in her hands for a moment, hesitant, not knowing what to do with it.  Finally, she took it over to the table and left it in a jumbled mess.  Going back over to him, she reached out and took his hands in hers so that she could uncuff him.  Upon taking off the handcuffs, she placed them on the table beside the chain and collar then realized what she was to do next.

Without Xavier telling her to do so, she moved back into the bathroom and began to run the warm bath that Trevor would need to have.  It was then that she saw the two medications sitting on the counter and shook her head.  How had she missed them earlier?  Shaking her head, she picked one of them up and she read the note on it.  The handwriting on it was from Dr. Hugen, explaining how much of the medication needed to be put in the bath.  Beside it on the counter was an ointment to place on every cut as well. 

Putting in the appropriate amount of the medicine in the bath, she stirred the water around with her hand making sure that it was well mixed in the water.  Taking a deep breath, she stepped out of the bathroom and saw Trevor still standing where she had left him.  Going to him, she held out her hand to him.  He looked down at her outstretched hand then snarled.  “Would you rather that I take you to the bath with my hand or with that collar?” she asked keeping her voice at an even keel, and then held out her hand again.  “Your choice.”  She saw him run his tongue across his front teeth then raised his hand then slapped his hand in hers.

 She led him to the small room and let go of his hand to turn off the running water.  As she bent down to turn off the water, she felt a push from behind.  She lost her balance and fell into the medicated water making water splash everywhere.  She quickly glanced up at Trevor where she sat in the bath, and saw the icy stare again and heard the first word from him since he had entered their quarters, a cold flat word, “Oops.”

As she gathered herself up from the fall, she looked up and saw Xavier standing in the doorway, a questioning look on his face. She glanced at Trevor knowing that she probably deserved it.  Before Xavier could ask, she quickly grabbed a towel hanging nearby and began to wipe at her clothes and her face.  “I slipped.”
Xavier glanced between the two of them, pursing his lips, knowing but couldn’t prove that Mr. Conroy had likely ‘helped’ his daughter into the tub.  “You okay?” he asked stepping past the bloody man to offer her a hand as she raised an eyebrow to him.

  Getting out of the tub, she stood outside the tub a dripping mess.  “I’m fine,” she said softly.  Clearing her throat, she looked at Trevor.  “I’d hate for the water to get cold.  Get in or do I need to ‘help’ you in?” she asked as she raised an eyebrow at him. 

Trevor’s jaw flexed as he thought of a derisive remark, but then remembered Lothos’ specific orders about such things for the next two weeks.  Seeing her quirked eyebrow as she continued to wipe at her clothes with the towel, he responded simply, “I haven’t needed help bathing since I was four.”  He stepped past her and put one foot into the tub and was unable to hold back the gasp of pain as the medication in the water instantly searched for every scrape and welt, seeping into the tiniest of scratches on just that leg. He shuddered, thinking of what it was going to feel like when he finally sat down. 

But Siren, and more importantly, Xavier was watching, waiting for him to sit down into the water.  Gritting his teeth, he did just that.  “Oh my God!” he gasped as the water closed around his waist.  His eyes began watering from the pain. He glanced up and saw the look on Xavier’s pale eyes and didn’t like it one bit.  He didn’t know what to expect next. 

Siren closed her eyes not knowing if she was supposed to bathe him as well.  Dividing a look between the two men in the room, she went to the bathroom closet and picked out a washcloth. 

“Use a large, soft sponge,” Xavier told her.  When she looked at him, he nodded.  “Trust me.  That washcloth will hurt him worse.”  She hesitated but obeyed as he told her, “Just squeeze the water over him for awhile till the blood can be washed off.” 

Nodding, she reached in and retrieved a sponge that she used at times for herself.  Going over to the tub, she turned to Xavier.  “May I know beforehand, sir, what I need to accomplish so you won’t have to tell me step by step?  It might help to know before… I don’t want to overstep my boundary, sir.”  Siren knew that since her own father had to execute her own punishment that she couldn’t act as she normally did.  And hence, she would approach any questions or anything else with him in a very precise and very respectful manner. 

Xavier almost answered immediately to Siren’s question, but he was glad that he hadn’t acted so hastily.  He was prepared to be sharp with her, but an extra second’s hesitation had proved him wrong.  He listened to her question, and her tone.  “As I said,” he told her, his tone level and calm, but his eyes boring directly into hers.  “Keep the water warm, and squeeze it over his back and chest… wherever there are welts or cuts… until the dried blood washes off easily.  Then draw a second bath, medicate it and let him soak in it for twenty minutes.”  

He knew that Siren never had much to do with dating.  A girl wearing a mask all the time was usually a put off to most of the men her age in the complex.  But now, here was a man who, under other circumstances, might have been someone she might have become interested in.  But she had never dated, and he dared say, that he knew that seeing Trevor Conroy naked at their front door, was at least her first experience of seeing a naked man so… up close.  He had never pried into her personal life, but he could safely win a bet that she was still a virgin.  However, this wasn’t a sexual situation.  He was going to have to trust her good judgment to behave appropriately. 

Siren listened to the words carefully as he looked into her eyes.  When he paused, she moved toward Trevor and began by putting her hand in the water near his feet.  It wasn’t as warm as it was when she ran it, and she turned on the hot water to make sure that it was a decent temperature then let it run.  She heard him audibly sigh from the warmer water entering the tub. 

“Sit up, please.”  She was determined to do what was asked of her.  She put the sponge into the water, letting the water seep into it, and then looked back up to see Trevor still sitting back against the tub.  “Sit up,” she demanded again. 

The bravado and stubbornness were starting to wear thin.  He was exhausted and hurting and he couldn’t stop the shaking that he was experiencing.  That, plus the fact that he didn’t want another whipping for petty insolence made him sit up.  For the next fifteen minutes, he sat there grimacing and gasping as she squeezed the stinging medicated water over his shoulders, chest and back. 

Neither of them noticed when Xavier quietly left the bathroom, returned to the living room and picked up Mr. Conroy’s folder to begin making his first notes about their dual correction.  Glancing down, he saw Siren’s folder and shook his head slowly.




Siren began to do as Xavier had asked of her.  With every gasp and every grimace from Trevor, Siren's own anxiety was rising.  She had never been this close to any other man - except for Xavier, and he was her father!  She made sure that she didn't look down into the tub at his body.  Even though she was not ashamed of the naked human body, she still didn't want to see anything that she shouldn't.  As Lothos had said, respectfulness went several ways.

        When she saw that Trevor's body was rinsed free of all the blood, she moved to the end of the tub and let out the water.  "Please," she asked, not wanting to demand of him to do anything anymore.  "Would you stand?"  She looked into his eyes as she lent her hand out to him once more. 

           His body had stopped shaking for the most part by the time Siren drained the tub, but to her request to stand, he nodded and carefully stood up.  At some point, Trevor did take her hand to steady himself.  Noticing how her eyes never strayed from him, he reached to take the damp towel that she had used on herself and held it up in front of his body.  Without saying a word, he stepped out of the tub and turned so that he faced her, the towel the only thing between them.

        Siren drew the second bath, medicated it and turned back to Trevor and held out her hand again.  She didn't want him to slip in the tub, especially with the medicine in it knowing from earlier how he had gasped.

        "I can manage," Trevor said evenly.

        Only when she nodded, and almost shyly, turned away did he get into the tub once again.  He gasped at the medication on his wounded body again, but this time, it was more bearable.  As he sat there, looking up at her, he wondered what she was going to do now.

        Siren closed her eyes as she felt the anxiety level rise up within her, and she felt the tension in her body begin to tremble.  The medication that Dr. Hugen had given to her during the afternoon had been a very strong one that tried to prevent any oncoming attacks, but everything... the man before her, the bath, and the pain was too much.  Her face paled, as she looked at the wall beside Trevor then she quickly turned around and leaned her back against the tub.  She knew that eventually it would stop, but when was another question.... then it happened.  It came on suddenly and the way that the seizure came on, her head bounced against the side of the tub.

        Trevor watched her as she turned away but when the seizure suddenly hit, he didn't even think about the consequences of his actions.  He had a friend who was diabetic and he had seen seizures before and knew that they could be deadly.  Getting out of the tub as quickly as he could, he knelt beside her and helped her to stretch out on the floor, holding her head steady.  "Xavier!" he shouted.  "Siren's having a seizure!" 

A moment later, a shadow was cast over Siren and he looked up to see Xavier staring down at what must have been the most unusual sight he had ever seen in his bathroom.  He couldn't help but stand and stare for a brief moment.  Trevor Conroy, totally naked and soaking wet, on his knees on the floor beside Siren, holding her gently but firmly as her body jerked and twitched in the throes of the seizure and though she couldn't speak, she as very aware of what's happening to her.  What happened next, happened in the space of about ten seconds.

"Well, don't just stand there, gaping," Trevor told him sternly.  "Call Dr. Hugen!"

        Xavier's eyes were fixed on Siren as she glanced to one side, and saw Mr. Conroy's hand on her arm and then looked further... and for a split second, human nature took over and she just stared.  Then in the next instant, he saw her face turn scarlet and she turned her face away.  If it weren't for the fact of Siren needing medical attention, her expression when she turned her head then realized what she was seeing - very closely - would almost be funny.

        Brushing that notion aside, Xavier raced back into the living room, grabbed the phone and within seconds he was talking with Hugen.  He nodded, responding briefly to his questions.  Then he hung up the telephone and returned to the bathroom.  Siren seemed calmer, but her face was still turned away from Trevor and her eyes squeezed shut, her face still scarlet.

        Trevor had realized what had happened in those few moments but there was nothing that he could do.  However, the manners his mother had branded onto his soul wouldn't let him embarrass Siren any more than she already was.

        Siren moaned lightly in the after effects of the seizure and tried to turn onto her side, but Trevor held her firm.  But hearing her say, "Go," he let go of her and watched as she turned onto her side away from him.  He looked up at Xavier and just waited.

        Without speaking, Xavier took a bath towel from the cupboard behind the door and handed it to Mr. Conroy.  While he was getting to his feet and wrapping it around himself, Xavier knelt beside Siren to assure himself that she was okay.  "Siren," he murmured softly, stroking her hair.  "How do you feel?"

        "Mach truck... 747 airplane... silver bullet... you name it... it just hit me... sir," she said respectfully.  She knew somewhere deep down that even though this had happened, that she was still in punishment and she wasn't going to try to wiggle out of it.  "My head... is exploding with pain... sir.  May I get my medicine?"     Slowly, she sat up.  Hearing a movement behind her, she turned her head upward and back to glance up at Trevor.  Seeing the concerned look on her face, she turned back around to Xavier as he lent his hand to help her to stand on the wet floor.

        She stood up a bit too quickly and watched as the room spun around her.  Putting her hands out to try to stop the room from spinning, she came in contact with Trevor's chest.  Hearing the pained hiss and gasp come from him, she quickly removed her hand.

        "I... oh gawd," she said softly knowing that the pressure of her hand on his wounds had caused him a great deal of pain.  "I... I'm sorry, Mr. Conroy."  Her words were laced with emotion, knowing that she was truly sorry that any of this had happened at all.  Looking up into his eyes, a single tear escaped her eye - one that Xavier hadn't seen yet, and she said yet again, "I'm sorry."

        "It's okay," he told her quietly. "Are you alright?" he asked letting his concern show in spite of his best intentions not to care.  "You bumped your head pretty good while you were down."  

        Xavier put his arm around her waist and began to lead her out of the bedroom.  Reaching her hand up to her head, she left the place where she had hit it and felt the good-sized bump beginning.  "I'll be fine," she murmured as Xavier took her out of the bathroom.

        Trevor stood there for a moment watching them leave not sure exactly what he was supposed to do.  Looking down at the water in the tub, he hummed a bit then reached down and turned on the hot water to let it warm up the water again.  When the water was hotter, and the water level was up, he got back in and laid back and closed his eyes.  'Gawd, what a day!' he thought, but something niggling his mind told him that it wasn't over yet.





          Siren managed to wipe at the tear that cascaded down her cheek as Xavier helped her to the bedroom.  She didn't want him to see her cry. He had taught her to be strong, and this... this was affecting her more than she cared to admit... especially with a man like Trevor Conroy.

        As Xavier deposited her on the bed, she sat there patiently before she looked up to see him coming back over to her with not only the medicine but with a syringe in his hand.  The insulin that she had forgotten to take with her dinner... that she didn't have at all... was enough to bring on the seizure.  She knew it and she cursed herself for letting this episode happen to her.

        Taking the cup from him, she looked up at him without emotion, not sure what she was supposed to do next.  'Am I to go back to the bathroom and finish what I was supposed to do?  Am I to go to sleep? Am I to hang from the ceiling like a monkey and eat peanut butter bananas?'  The thought made her smile and her mouth twitched before she licked her lips and dismissed it.  Taking the acetaminophen from him, she swallowed them and then took the syringe and injected it into her arm as normal.  Handing him the syringe back, she watched as he deposited it into the trashcan then returned back to her side.  She wasn't sure what to say or do any longer.  Normally, Xavier would have let her go to bed, but she seriously doubted that would be the case.

        Xavier knew that Siren had been through quite a lot since she woke up.  Not much of it had been pleasant.  For a moment, he just sat beside her, giving her a moment with her thoughts.  He knew what she was waiting on him.

        When she finally looked up at him, he told her, "By Lothos' orders, you are to spend all free time in Mr. Conroy's company."  Her eyebrows almost touch the middle of her forehead and he brushed aside the inclination to smile.  "Rest here for a few minutes," he told her quietly.  "But then go back in there and finish attending to him.  Just see that he has something to put on when the bath is finished.  And then make up the couch for him to sleep on."  Standing up, he waited for her to look at him.  "New lessons aren't always easy or pleasant to learn dear one," he told her plainly but not unkindly.  "Learn from them.  Hard and distasteful as they may be now, you will benefit from them down the road."  At the door he turned one more time to her.  “I'll fix something light for the both of you," he told her with a quirked brow then left to go to the kitchen.  Xavier knew that his daughter needed time to make her decisions for the next little bit ahead of her.

        Taking a small amount of time to relax and get a handle on things, Siren moved back to the bathroom.  On her way, she reached into Xavier's closet and pulled out a robe that she knew he didn't wear any longer.  Before entering the bathroom, she lightly knocked on the door, letting Mr. Conroy know that she was about to come in.

        The warmth of the water had lulled Trevor into a doze and the knock on the door startled him, but he sat up as gracefully as he could.

        Hearing the water splash about in the tub, Siren blushed yet again.  Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath and blew it out before she entered.  Walking into the bathroom, she cleared her throat softly.  "Mr. Conroy..." she began her eyes looking directly into his.  "Please stand up and towel off."  She handed him the towel from off the rack and turned her back on him so that he could come out of the tub.

        Trevor slowly stood and stepped out of the tub.  Fortunately, the mirror on the medicine cabinet wasn't at an angle so that she could see him grinning at her back as he gently patted his tortured body dry. Tossing the damp towel over her shoulder, he noticed how she was startled at that action and grinned a bit more.  But when she handed him the robe without turning around, he bit his lower lip, pulled it over his arms and tied it closed.

        "I'm to put more medicine on your wounds, Mr. Conroy.  Please cover yourself and come with me."

        To her request to follow her, he decided to keep control of his tongue and said, "Lead the way."

        Siren was going to lead him to the couch, but a second thought hit her when she knew that she would have to make him move several times to put on the medication. Instead, she led him to her bedroom and motioned toward the bed.

        Trevor was more than stunned when he led her into the bedroom.  "I thought that I was going to sleep on the couch," he said, struggling to keep his thoughts in line.

        Siren opened her mouth ready to snap at him, but stopped herself.  'Boy, was this going to be a rough two weeks,' she thought to herself.  "Mr. Conroy, you will be sleeping on the couch.  I thought that it might not be so hard on you to move when I put on the medication."  She held up the salve in her hand and looked from it back to him.  She saw the look on his face that plainly said what she would have called the 'oh shit' look.  "It's Dr. Hugen's orders.  I... I'll do my best to be gentle."  She motioned back to the bed once more.   "Please, lay down and lay on your stomach."

        Trevor hesitated a moment, and she moved toward him.  Somewhere deep down, she knew that he hated her.  She knew that he didn't want anything to do with her... not now... not ever, but still, Siren wanted to at least try to be civil with him in the future.  "For what it's worth, and it might not mean anything to you.  I'm...” she swallowed hard as she looked into his blue eyes.  "I'm so very sorry that all of this has happened."

        When Siren apologized to him, and it was plain that it took a lot for her to do it, Trevor just stood there looking at her.  'I'm sorry, too,’ he thought not without a lot of bitterness.  But he had to admit to himself that he felt just as sorry as she did about the whole situation.  "I'm sorry, too," he finally told her quietly as he met her gaze.  Then, because he wasn't sure what to say next, he did as she had asked and went to her bed.

        Out of habit, he simply shrugged out of the robe, letting it drop and then laid face down on the bed... very carefully.  Every inch of exposed skin on his body, save for his face and neck and the soles of his feet, were touched with Mara's whip.  Only when he heard a soft gasp from Siren did he realize what he had done and he couldn't help grinning into the pillow, but he didn't say a word.  Then feeling a sheet being draped over his lower body told him what he couldn't see.

        Feeling her get on the bed beside him, Trevor wiped the grin from his face.  More for her benefit than his, he kept his eyes closed, his face turned toward her.

        Reading the directions once more, to be sure, she began to squeeze some of it onto her finger.  She placed her hand on Trevor's neck very lightly and told him, "I know this is going to hurt.  I'll be as gentle as I can."

        Trevor just nodded.  "Just do it," he told her gently.  Though her touch was light and the ointment itself, soothing, the mere fact of anything touching him made him gasp and at times moan.  After a few moments of Siren's ministrations, Trevor was tense and he could feel the sweat that sprung up on his body because of how he was fighting to control himself.  When she paused a moment, he wondered.  But even feeling her remove the sheet she put over him, none of it was funny any more. 

        “Finished,” Siren said softly as she started to move off the bed.  “I’ll call Xavier to help you turn over.”  She saw the way that he looked as his eyes looked up at her.  Siren closed her eyes and quickly rushed out of the room letting her tears fall as she went.  Quietly, she wiped at them.  Walking into the living room she saw Xavier coming into the room with a tray of food in his hands.  She saw him glance at the couch then back to her with his eyebrow arched.  She saw the approaching question in his eyes and she met his gaze and answered, “Mr. Conroy is lying on my bed.”  Seeing the way his head turned to the side, she quickly continued, “I thought it would be easier to apply the salve so he wouldn’t have to move so; then I could reach all of his wounds.  I’ve applied it to his back, arms and legs as indicated by Dr. Hugen’s note, however, he needs help to turn over.  I told him that I would come get you to help him.”

        Xavier nodded to her.  He had forgotten about the salve that needed to be put on Trevor’s tender wounds to help them heal faster.  He stood there a moment considering her words, but when she noticed that he was just looking at her, he saw her glance away.  It was then that he saw the wetness gathering in her eyes.  She hastily moved away from the table and went to the closet to get out the bedding for the couch.  “Siren,” he said plainly.  When she turned around with bedding pressed against her chest, he approached her.  Tilting her chin up to him, he made her look up into his eyes.  “What is it?”

        Meeting his gaze, she softly said, “It’s nothing, sir,” then tried to move past him but he blocked her way.

        Hearing the softness in her voice, he knew that his punishment was becoming harder on her. She hadn’t ever had to hurt anyone to help them, and that was exactly what she was doing for Mr. Conroy.  Hurting him by putting on the salve that was supposed to help heal him.  When she tried to pass him, he moved in the same direction stopping her.  “Siren,” he caught her chin once again and made her look at him.  “Remember what I said.  Learn from this and don’t forget.”

        Turning away, he headed into the bedroom.  He stopped at the door.  Seeing the man lying on her bed, with nothing covering him, and remembering what Siren had just said about putting salve on his back, he looked back at his daughter who was bent over the couch making the bed.  Nodding slightly to himself realizing that she had done what was required of her, he headed over to the bed.  “Well, how are we now?” Xavier asked after he licked his lips as he looked down at Siren’s work.  She had done a very good job in putting the salve on him – so much so that it appeared as if the head nurse, Olivia, had done it herself.

        It took almost every bit of determination not to bite at Xavier.  “Speaking for myself,” Trevor managed to get out a half-way civil tone, “not too damned good.”  He didn’t bother to turn his head, so the supervisor of his beating came around the bed to look at him.

        Xavier could tell from the tension in his voice that Mr. Conroy’s pain was very sharp indeed.  Walking around the bed, he sat on the edge of it and braced himself on one hand and leaned slightly toward him.  “Mr. Conroy,” he told him quietly, “If I were you, I’d try a bit harder to keep an even more civil tongue in your head… unless you want to spend more time in that cell several floors down.”

        Trevor didn’t need to be told twice.  “Yes, sir,” he said very quietly.  He didn’t do much more than gasp a bit when Xavier in spite of the warning did his best to turn him over gently.  He was draping the sheet over Trevor’s loins when Siren came to the door.  “Ready when you are,” he quipped lightly. 

        Hearing his words, Siren knew that he was dreading this just as much as she was.  Going over to the bed, she picked up the salve where she had left it.  Xavier stayed long enough to watch her begin to apply the ointment, starting at his feet.

        Until she reached halfway up his right leg, the pain of her light touch had been bearable, but when her fingers touched the inside of his right knee, he caught his breath hard.  “Jesus!” he gasped under his breath, panting hard in an effort to manage the pain.

        Siren immediately stopped and softly asked, “What?” her eyes were wet with moisture about to spill over on her cheeks.

        Glancing at her face, Trevor saw the unshed tears shimmering in her eyes.  He took a deep breath and sighed, more out of frustration and dread of the real pain yet to come.  “Don’t cry,” he told her as gently as speaking through gritted teeth would allow.  “But you might as well know,” he told her, “that…” he paused a for a second, holding her gaze.  “The area under the sheet is the most sensitive because of the whipping. And,” he watched her cheeks start to color, “Mara whipped between my legs very thoroughly.  Perhaps you should let Xavier take care of me … there.”  Closing his eyes, he turned his head to the side and waited.   It was up to her.  At this point, he didn’t care who did it.  He just wanted it over with.

        Siren listened to him and could understand exactly what he was telling her, and when she heard a voice cleared behind her, she turned her head to see Xavier standing in the doorway.   She didn’t know what to do.  She knew that her punishment had been set down before her and she was the one to take care of Trevor… not Xavier.  Even though her embarrassment at what he said overwhelmed her, she took a deep breath and turned back to the work set out before her.

        Siren wasn’t a child nor was she unaware of the ways of men and women.  Xavier knew she had talked and giggled and laughed with her friends as she grew up, and even into adulthood. But he knew this was the first time she’d been so close to a naked, attractive man close to her age.  He watched from the doorway, never having left the room, just back out of the doorway out of her sight.  Her face was in clear sight and her cheeks were flushed deeply as she gently smoothed the ointment as high as Mr. Conroy’s legs as she… chose to do so at the moment.  Then he saw the hesitation in her eyes when she realized that to continue ‘in a straight line’ up his body with the ointment she was going to have to remove the sheet.  Only when she moved up to Conroy’s stomach and began to dab the ointment on the multiple welts there, did he walk over to the bed and waited for her to look up at him.  When she finally looked up, he asked in a perfectly calm, responsible tone, “Do you want me to finish this?” She knew the limits and requirements of her punishment; but her decision, whatever it would be, would be entered in his report to Lothos about her.  He held her gaze, waiting for her answer.

        Trevor couldn’t do anything but lie there and watch and listen to them talking.  Somewhere inside he felt an element of disgust and renewed hatred for the man standing beside him.  But maybe it should be directed at Lothos as well, that this man would do something like this to another human.  ‘But then,’ he thought bitterly, ‘none of us are our own.  We all belong to Lothos.’  With that thought, he just let out a slow breath and waited for her to answer as well.

        Siren looked down at Trevor, her eyes scanning his body then looked back up at Xavier.  Swallowing hard, she closed her eyes and took a deep breath.  “This is my punishment.  I understand what I must do, sir.  And since this is what Lothos wants me to do, I’ll do it.” She looked directly back into Xavier’s face and searched his eyes.  Before she turned back to Trevor lying on the bed before her, she cleared her throat, blinked and said, “Thank you though, sir.”  Then turning back, she began to put the salve on Trevor’s stomach again.

        “Very well,” he said quietly and nodded.  “I know you will be… thorough in your work.”  Glancing down at Mr. Conroy, he stepped back from the bed.  With a meaningful look at his daughter, her attention focused on applying the salve to their guest’s stomach, he went to the door.  “I’ll close the door,” he said quietly.  Xavier’s words weren’t lost on Mr. Conroy as he saw Trevor turn his head to look at him.  Xavier quirked an eyebrow at him, then drew the door shut behind him.

        ‘You filthy voyeuristic bastard!’  Trevor thought to himself.  From one man to another, he let Xavier see in his eyes what he thought.  ‘How could you even _think_ about watching when…’ The thin smile Xavier gave him made his skin crawl as he watched him step out and close the door.

        After the door closed, Trevor laid as still as he could as Siren continued to smooth the ointment over his stomach and up his chest then over each of his arms.  When he realized, after a moment of stillness that she hadn’t moved, he turned his head to meet her gaze.  In spite of her determination to do what was expected, her hesitation and shyness were clear in her face and her eyes.

        “Siren,” Trevor said quietly.  When her eyes met his, he told her, “If you’ll help me to sit up, I’ll finish…”

        Siren clamped down on her teeth and lifted her chin slightly as she held his gaze for a moment.  Closing her eyes for just a moment, she turned her head back to look down and removed the sheet from his body.  Swallowing, she glanced back up at him remembering his words from this morning, “I don’t shirk my responsibilities, Mr. Conroy.”

        Turning back to the task at hand, Siren took extraordinary means to be tender.  Thankful that her hair was long enough to cover her embarrassment from at least Trevor, she leaned over him and tended to the welts working from the far side of his body away from her and worked toward her body.  She heard Trevor’s gasps and moans, as he tried not to holler out, and she continued trying to tune him out.

        Though he knew she was being gentle as she knew how, he was clutching at the sheet under him, alternately holding his breath and gasping as her fingers touched areas of his body never before subjected to the abuse laid on by Mara’s expertise with a whip.  Finally, Trevor could stand no more.  Coming up in a somewhat sitting position, he roughly grabbed Siren’s wrist, squeezing hard and moved her away from him.  “E-nough!” he gasped.  “No… more!” he told her as he laid back on the pillow, his chest and belly heaving with the force of his breathing.  He was bathed in sweat and in some spots, it was washing away the ointment and the stinging was becoming burning.  “Can… can I have something to drink?” Trevor managed not to bite her head off as tears continued to flow from the pain.

        Siren saw the tears as she looked at him very apologetically and knew that he needed a break.  They both did.  She laid her hand on his for a moment before prying his fingers still tightly clamped around her wrist from her arm.  Not saying a word, she respectfully covered him back up and went to the door.  Opening it, she looked back at him then went into the living room where their light dinner had been waiting for them.

        She saw Xavier look up at her expectantly and she nodded to him as she took one of the glasses of tea from the table and returned to her room.  Moving over to Trevor once more, she slid her hand underneath his head and assisted him into a halfway sitting position.  Holding the glass up to his lips, she carefully tipped it up to let him have a drink.  Trevor tried to gulp at it, but she moved the glass back away telling him, “Slowly.  You can have as much as you like.”

        Trevor was as grateful as any soul lost in a desert for something cool and wet on his throat and he appreciated her caring that he didn’t gulp it down.  Looking up into her eyes, he saw the care and concern in them and understood how this must be affecting her as well. 

        When Trevor motioned back that he didn’t want anymore, Siren set the glass on the bedside table and then helped him to lie back down.  Meeting his gaze once more, she said, “I’m almost done.  I… I know it’s painful, an if you need to yell at me… curse at me… anything to help… go ahead.”

        Trevor looked at her a bit astonished as she moved back down to his hips.  Removing the sheet once again, she took a deep breath and let it out slowly as she picked up the ointment once again.  She heard him suck in a deep breath and gasp as she tended to a welt on the inner part of his leg.  Then it began.

        Through gritted teeth, Trevor cursed her roundly and crudely with each time her fingers and the ointment touched his abused genitals.  Siren continued on.  When she finished thirty minutes later, she knew that she had been called every name in the book; and somewhere deep down; she knew that she deserved every word that came out of his mouth.  “Finished.”

        “Thank God!” Trevor couldn’t help but respond.

        To her credit, Siren didn’t respond snidely or negatively to it.  Licking her lips, she covered him and turned away from him not wanting him to see how much his words had upset her.  Moving toward the door, she straightened up, cleared her throat and said, “I’ll get you the meal that Xavier made for us.  Excuse me, please.”

        Trevor just nodded when she left the room.  When the door closed behind her, all Trevor could do was lay there and let the tears… more of the tears she had seen in his eyes earlier flow.   ‘God, it hurts!’





Opening the door, Siren stepped through it and shut it behind her. Leaning against the door, her eyes barely looked up at Xavier as he stood to come over to her.  The tears began to fall before she had a chance to stop them and her chin quivered.  “Excuse me, please.”  Before Xavier could stop her, Siren quickly walked into the bathroom, then shut and locked the door.  She leaned against the door and slid down it, letting the emotions come out.  She hugged her knees to her chest and laid her head down on her knees and began to sob.  ‘Oh god, why?’ she asked softly to herself.

        A few moments later, she heard the knock on the door and she looked up then stood and began to wipe at her tears as Xavier called her name.  She washed her face in the sink and blew her nose before she turned back to the door.  Opening it, she saw her father standing there with a worried look on his features.

        Looking away from his gaze, she lightly rubbed her right arm where Trevor had grabbed her arm earlier.  She looked down at it and saw the bruise that was forming then looked back up into Xavier’s eyes as she tried to hide it under her hand.  “I… I told Mr. Conroy that I would bring him some of the food that you prepared for us.  Is that okay, sir, or shall I bring him into the dining area to eat?”

        Xavier saw the bruise on her arm … the exact size of Trevor Conroy’s hand as he glanced back up into her eyes a frown embedded on his features.  He hesitated only a moment.  “Take the tray to him,” he said abruptly.  As she nodded and moved past him, he told her, “Leave the door open.”  As she carried the tray into the room, he followed her as far as the doorway.

        Setting the food on the bedside table, she took the tea that was in her glass and poured half of it into Trevor’s glass.  Then turning to him, she helped him to sit up.  Although it was difficult to help him up, she finally propped a pillow behind him.  She handed him his plate and set the glass of tea closer to him. 

        ‘If they’d taken a knife and peeled the skin off of me, I wouldn’t hurt this bad,’ Trevor thought to himself as Siren did her best not to hurt him anymore than possible, then place the plate of food in his lap. 

        Then without taking her food, Siren moved to the chair in the room and sat down to sip at her tea.  She wasn’t hungry.  She thought that if she ate anything at the moment that she’d be sick.  Staring off into the light that was beside Trevor, she kept her face bland.  When she saw a movement reaching for the glass, she turned to see Trevor struggling to get it. 

        Every movement was a new lesson in pain, but Trevor hadn’t eaten since dawn and even a simple ham sandwich looked appealing.  But he was so stiff that reaching for the tea glass on the table beside the bed was a struggle.  Before he could say anything, or even accidentally knock the glass over, Siren knelt beside the bed and managed the glass for him.  It was slow going but at least it was something and surprisingly, he was glad to have Siren close to him.

        Her expression was still bland as she looked up at Trevor seeing an appreciated look on his face.  But when he saw the tear she tried to hide slip down her cheek, she turned her head away from him and looked down at her arm again.  The bruise there was now purpling.  Wiping her cheek hastily, she sighed then took another sip of her tea.

        Seeing the tears in Siren’s eyes touched Trevor more than he cared to think they would.  When he saw the bruise on her arm, the bruise he had unintentionally caused when he had grabbed her to stop application of the ointment, guilt took a big bite into his sense of right and wrong.  He was about to apologize when Xavier came abruptly into the room.

        Xavier walked across the room and picked up the plate that Siren hadn’t touched.  He thrust it toward her.  “Eat.”

        Siren looked at the plate that was offered to her and shook her head.  “I can’t eat,” she told him plainly.  Seeing his face sour, she said, “Please, sir, if I eat, I’ll be sick.”

        “And if you don’t have something to eat, your blood sugar will be off and you could end up in the infirmary again,” he told her sharply as he put the plate before her again.

        “At least you’ll have a soft place to land,” Trevor said lightly as he smiled at her.  But the look Xavier gave him made him go nine kinds of cold inside.

        “Eat,” Xavier ordered her, using the same tone he’d used to Mr. Conroy earlier.  Trevor had understood it; Siren did too, but now she was seeing a very tiny glimpse of what others saw when they displeased him.  “You don’t have to eat all of it, just some of it,” he told her.  She hesitated, and his temper nudged higher.  “Don’t make me say it again, Siren,” he warned her.

        Hesitantly, Siren took the sandwich from her father and sat back on her heels.  Taking a bite of the sandwich, she sat there and looked up at Xavier as he glared at Trevor.  She swallowed the bite in her mouth and took a sip of tea before she stood up beside Xavier.  Since she had drained her glass, she turned to leave to go get some more but Xavier grabbed her right arm exactly where Trevor had earlier and Siren gasped as it was tender and sore.  The glass tumbled from her hand and hit the floor hard, shattering at her bare feet.  She gasped out in pain then looked down at her right foot to see a large shard of glass had not just cut it, but pierced her foot.

        Not knowing what her father would do anymore, she stood there, holding her breath, holding in the pain from the glass in her foot and the pain in her arm where he still was holding her tightly.  She looked to him hesitantly.  Xavier had never yelled at her, had never threatened her as he had until today, and when she heard him sigh, she cringed with fear from the man who raised her.  He had never laid a hand on her – not once.  He never had cause to, but she didn’t know this side of the man who now took his work home.  She didn’t know him at all, and what scared her most of all, was that he would do something horrible to her.

        When he raised his left hand to his face, she cowered from him; ducking her head toward her right shoulder.  She didn't know what to say or do, so she just stood there waiting for whatever would happen next.

        Xavier pulled her a bit closer to him, and looked very intently into her blue eyes.  At this moment, he put aside the knowledge that to him she was a daughter.  He put aside the knowledge that she was Lothos' daughter.  At the moment, she was just another person whom Lothos had directed him to correct.  "You seem frightened my dear," he said silkily though the expression in his eyes was anything but gentle.  "You have good reason to be."  He glanced down at the pieces of broken glass and the spilled food on the floor and saw the blood on her foot.

        "Clean it up," he ordered her coldly.  When she didn't move, frozen by her first taste of real fear, Xavier let go of her arm, put his hands on her shoulders and shoved her to the floor.  For good measure, he leaned down and cuffed the back of her head.  As she gasped, he growled at her, "When in correction, you obey promptly or suffer further consequences."

        Siren was scared to death and she started to shake from the adrenaline that was coursing through her body, but she didn't dare stand up again.  She had heard rumors about her father and until today, had never believed them.  But under his gaze now, she believed everything, and then some, especially when she saw the look in his eyes.  She moved her feet up toward her and bumped her foot on the chair and yelped.

        Xavier just quirked an eyebrow at her.  "For disobedience to an order," he snapped at her, “you'll wait until dawn for the glass to be removed."  Crossing his arms, he stood over Siren, by this expression alone, daring her to defy him.  ‘If she does... old habits... certain old habits never die.’

        Carefully getting up on her knees trying not to move her foot, Siren began to pick up the food and pieces of glass that were lying there.  Very softly, she said, "I... I'm sorry, sir.  Won't happen again."  When she heard him ask what she said, she repeated her words louder as she kneeled before him.  "I'm sorry, sir.  It won't happen again."

        "A wise decision," Xavier told her as he watched her put the residue of the food and glass on her plate.  Only when she, without thinking put her injured foot to the floor and put her weight on it and cried out at the pain did she look up at him.  He knew exactly what she wanted.  "You move on your own power," he told her.  "I do not assist those I correct."  His eyes went to the plate then back to her eyes.  "Get rid of that," he snapped at her then stepped back to see how she managed with it.  Seeing Siren swallow hard, even as she blinked rapidly, a sign that she was close to tears, didn't touch him as it usually did.  "Must I repeat myself?" he asked quietly.

        Siren slowly took a step on her right heel, not putting the ball of her foot on the floor.  Hobbling, she made her way to the small kitchen area in their quarters and threw the food and shards of glass away.  Getting the broom and dustpan from the closet she made her way back to the room, managing the best that she could without looking at Trevor, finished cleaning up the mess that she had made and again went back to the kitchen to throw the mess away.

        Coming back into the bedroom, she stood in the doorway awaiting orders from her TM - not her father.  She blinked at him as she clinched her teeth trying to help with the pain in her foot.  But, even as she stood there, she couldn't help but think to herself, 'If this is how he is to the people he corrects, then I don't want to be his daughter anymore.  I've been deceived all this time... my whole life, and if this is what he does day in and day out, I'm not safe here. Nowhere am I safe.'

        She looked at him, her eyes meeting his as she stood straight except for her foot at an odd angle.  Making sure that her words were respectful and very plain, she said, "I will do as you say, sir.  You won't have to repeat anything else.  I apologize for any disrespect to you, sir."  She bowed her head to him proving as she did to Lothos that he had her utmost obedience.

        Trevor knew of some guys, and a few girls, who after having several drinks too many, have bragged and boasted that they weren't afraid of *anything*.  Not even the 'fabled Xavier'.  And at one time or another, with too much alcohol thinning his own common sense, he had also said about the same thing.  But in this moment, as he watched the 'fabled Xavier' treat this woman, Trevor knew the truth about the stories.  And if any man he knew tried to belittle him for the fear this man could instill in him with just a look, Trevor would flatten that man and hope he never had to learn like he did.

        He didn't dare interfere, as Xavier subjected Siren to a level of intimidation and a little mild humiliation, neither of which she's obviously ever known.  But when she came hobbling back from finishing her task, Trevor saw the indifference in her eyes.  Maybe it was the bravado to cover her fear; maybe it wasn't.  But Trevor had to admire the way that she still respected the man in the room. Seeing Xavier eyeing him, Trevor took the easy way out. He dropped his eyes to his plate, studying what was left of his sandwich.  Suddenly, he wasn't as hungry anymore.

        Xavier listened to Siren and saw the look in her eyes and a part of him -- his heart -- broke a little.  She had reached a point - the very point that every parent knows must come.  She had made a decision wholly on her own.  But even that pain wasn't enough to make him slide any part of what Lothos had ordered.  Xavier curtly nodded at her.  "You will share the bed with Mr. Conroy for the night."  When she gasped, Xavier allowed a half-smile to touch his lips.  "You will sleep in what you are wearing.  Now, wash up," he saw her twitch her foot and shook his head once.  "Then come back and lie down."

        Glancing from Trevor to Xavier, Siren listened carefully to what he said.  Clenching her teeth again at the pain in her foot, she turned and headed to the bathroom to clean up.  'Damn him,' she thought to herself.  'Damn him to hell.  Once this correction period of two weeks is over, I'm out of this place.  If I have to sleep on Mr. Conroy's couch, I will... even his own bed with him, but I'll be damned to hell before I sleep in here again.'  

        After she washed her face, brushed her hair out from the tangles put there from falling into the tub, she brushed her teeth then Siren looked down at her foot.  Worried about the way the shard was moving as well as how it would get infected, she reached into the medicine cabinet and pulled down the alcohol.  She knew that it was going to hurt like hell, but everything else up to this point was hurting like hell, why not?  Pouring it over the cut, she whimpered at the pain that it caused then lightly patted her foot dry.  Coming out of the bathroom, she made her way back to her room and lifted her chin as she made her way to come to bed.  Since she normally slept where Trevor was lying, she knew that she was not going to sleep well tonight on the other side of the bed - if at all.  But she did as her TM had told her to.  She lay down on the bed, careful of moving too much for fear of causing Trevor any pain than he already was in and laid still.  Licking her lips, she swallowed hard and turned her head back to Xavier.  She didn't know why she asked, but she did because she knew it was probably expected.  "Is there anything else that I'm required to do this evening, sir, before I am allowed to sleep?"

        He almost had to bite his lip to keep from smiling at her when she got on the bed and laid down beside Mr. Conroy.  When she looked at him and stated her question, Xavier did smile - a real smile.

        Going to her, he surprised her when he got a pillow from her closet and put it under her foot, making sure that it was protected from being bumped or moved when she slept.  But as he did so, as he had in the past with various sprained ankles and once a broken arm, he smelled the alcohol.  Turning his head, he saw her watching him and she was chewing on her lower lip.  That was enough to dismiss the good mood and he leaned down a bit closer to her foot and sniffed.  Straightening up, he faced her, letting his anger show plainly on his face.

        "Deliberate defiance, Siren?" he demanded in a cold voice.  "You were told that your foot would be attended to in the morning, but you took it upon yourself to defy a very explicit and, I thought, plain put order by putting alcohol on your foot."  He just stared into her eyes.  'Let her feel what's it's like to know that punishment is coming... just not what sort or when.'

        Nothing could have surprised Trevor more than what was happening in front of him.  Berating her for using a little alcohol on a nasty cut?  It was more than he was ready to keep quiet about.  But before he could speak, Siren piped up.

"Please, sir, I... I thought that you said that I should clean up.  I thought that meant my foot as well.  You did tell me earlier that at dawn the shard will be removed.  I ... I didn't know I was being deliberately defiant toward you, sir.  I... please... I didn't know."  She knew that he was about this close to exploding on her - she could see it in his eyes especially when she told him his exact words from earlier.  "But I will accept and do what you want of me to do, sir."  She closed her eyes only a moment before opening them back up and gazed into his eyes, but this time, she let him see what she felt about him at this moment.  At the moment, there was nothing but hatred for the man.  And whether or not he raised her and told her that he loved her, she wanted him to know that whatever he was about to make her do that she would never forgive him for or never forget.

        Xavier heard her explanation, but it was her eyes that spoke the most clearly.  His daughter was gone.  In her place, he saw the child of the one that he served.  He saw the defiance and determination in her.  He saw her mother's own defiance and refusal to give in.  But even her mother had suffered at his hand.  Now, it appeared so would one of her daughters.

        Leaving the room, Xavier went into the kitchen and returned with a knife in his hand and approached Siren.  The stark fear was plain in her face as she saw only the knife in his hand.  Leaning down over her, he very quickly slit the front of her uniform, and then putting the knife aside, used his hands to rip it wide open. He then cut the sleeves away, tearing the fabric and throwing it aside.  The last thing he did was use the knife to cut her bra off her body.  When she started to cover herself with her hands, he told her menacingly, "Don't!  Your punishment for defiance... even unknowing defiance... is to sleep as you are now.  And you will not cover yourself in any manner."

        Trevor watched Xavier with the knife until he began to rip off her uniform.  At that point, he turned his head away from Siren and closed his eyes.  His appetite was as healthy as any man, but he would not be used to shame or humiliate Siren.  'He can beat me until I can't breathe,' he thought.  'But, he's not using me to hurt her.'

        When Xavier walked out of the room a moment later, the two people on the bed laid as stiff and unmoving as stone.  Turning out the light, he closed the door and went to update his reports on both of them.  Whatever happened now... happened.

        Barely a minute after the door closed, Trevor heard the first sniffle and soft little sob, then a minute after Siren crying.  In the remnant of light showing under the door, he slowly turned his head and looked at her.  As her sobs increased, feeling her body tremble with each sob, he knew he had to do something.  He had to try to comfort her in some way.

        Gritting his teeth against the pain he knew it would cause, he worked his way down until he was flat on his back. Every movement was agony but without speaking, he made sure that he was covered. Carefully, stretching his hand down, he snagged the edge of a blanket and pulled it up over himself and then in the dim light reached to pull it up over Siren, dropping the edge near her waist.

        Laying his head on the pillow again, he turned his head toward her, not letting his eyes wonder, and whispered, "Don't cry."  He really didn't know what else to say to her.  He didn't know her that well, but something in him wouldn't let her go through this night uncomforted.  "If you want," he added quietly, "you can put your head on my shoulder."

        He felt her stiffen beside him.  "It's not that," he tried to assure her.  "But sometimes when something hurts... or you're afraid... it's easier to bear when you have someone to lean on."  He waited a moment.  "It doesn't mean your weak," he added softly as he heard another sob break her lips.  "We all need... someone to lean on at some time in our lives."

        Siren listened to him even as she cried softly and suddenly couldn't help it when she half-sobbed and half-laughed.  "You sound like the song," she said softly as she turned her head toward him.  It was then when she realized how close they were to each other on the bed.

        She had felt him moving on the bed, but hadn't realized how he had covered both himself and herself up to her waist.  She hurriedly tossed the blanket away from her.  "Thank you, Mr. Conroy for the blanket, but I'm not to have one. If he comes back in..." she said softly and when she thought about what he had just said she had to admit that he was right.  It did help.

        Taking a deep breath, she said, "I... I'd like to, Mr. Conroy, but I don't want to hurt you anymore."  It was then that the hurtful words that he had said earlier as she tended to his wounds came back to her.  "I seriously doubt that you really want a self-centered, spoiled rotten, red-headed evil bitch as myself lay my head on your shoulder.  Do you?"

        He couldn't help the grin that crossed his lips.  But he told her, "You might be surprised," he told her gently.  "Besides, like I said, sometimes it's easier to get through something when you've got someone willing to help you out."  He paused, and then did something he didn't expect to do.  It took a moment, but he found her hand at her side and curled his fingers around hers and squeezed them gently.  "I'm trying to help, Siren... not take advantage of you.  That's all."

        When she felt Trevor's hand slip under hers, and his fingers curling around her hand gently, she did the same.  Turning her head toward him, she licked at her lips and said, "I understand that, and I appreciate you trying to comfort me, but..." she glanced at the door and saw a shadow pass by it, so she lowered her voice to a whisper.  "I... I don't want either of us to have any more correction than what we already have.  We've had enough pain and humiliation."

        She looked up at the ceiling and suddenly realized exactly what her father was doing - what he was hoping to find in the morning.  Her words became enunciated as she thought about what Xavier hoped to find and the anger was so evident that it even startled her.  "He wants something to happen - something inappropriate.  I don't want to feed the damn fire.  I've had enough today to last until the day I die.  And when this is over... it's over."

          She shook her head, sighed and said in a more calming voice, "I do want to thank you for not saying anything earlier.  If you had gotten into the middle of Xavier's discussion with me, I don't think you would be here now... and neither would I."  Siren yawned tiredly and turned her head back to him.  In the little light that came in from under the door, she still could see that his face was turned toward her.  "I know that this has been quite a day for you, and I don't want to add anymore to it."  She gently squeezed his hand.  As her eyes moistened again thinking about the pain that she had put him through, she said softly, "Thank you, Mr. Conroy, for trying to comfort me when it should be the other way around - especially for all the pain that I caused you today.  However, if you don't mind, may I just hold your hand?"

        "Sure," he told her softly, and gave her hand another gentle squeeze.  Both of them laid very still in the darkness.  After a little bit he could tell by the soft pattern of her breathing that Siren had fallen asleep.  And, uncomfortable as it was, not long afterward exhaustion finally won.  His last waking and semi-coherent thought was wondering at the thin strip of a shadow showing under the bedroom door.  Just as sleep sealed his eyes shut, he vaguely noticed the door opening.

        After the unspoken rift was created between Siren and Xavier, it two hours had passed before Xavier decided it was time to check on Siren and Mr. Conroy. 

        Carefully opening the door and slipping inside, and leaving the door open a crack; he moved silently to the foot of the bed and looked at them.  Even in the vague, low light it was easy to see that they were sleeping.  Except for Mr. Conroy now lying flat on his back, neither one's position had shifted an inch.  Shaking his head in disappointment, he left the room.  Closing the door as carefully as he had opened it, a thought occurred to him and a knowing smile crossed his lips.   'Perhaps in the morning.'





        From the time the situation between Siren and Trevor Conroy began to unfold, Lothos had watched it all.  He witnessed his daughter’s unconscious declaration of independence, her coming of age as it were, in reaction to Xavier’s method of carrying out her punishment.  Though she would no longer be under Xavier’s care, it was a time that he and Lothos had discussed several years before.   

        Xavier’s paternal affections for Siren were always true; Lothos’ second daughter lacked for nothing, including the affection of at least a father figure as she grew and matured.  Xavier raised and nurtured Siren well, but he and Lothos had accepted that the time would come when something would sever the relationship between Siren and himself. Nothing was ever planned to precipitate such a separation.  They had agreed that it should be allowed to happen in the course of time, and now it had happened.     

        Lothos would not interfere with Xavier in his duties.  His allegiance had been rock solid from day one.  Lothos trusted his judgment and abilities implicitly when it came to disciplining and correcting all those who lived in his complex.  That trust now extended to whatever method, or methods, he chose to use to correct and discipline his daughter.  Even she was not exempt from absolute obedience and subjection.

        Using infrared, Lothos watched over Siren and Mr. Conroy as they slept.  It was interesting to note how, in deep sleep, Siren moved closer to Mr. Conroy’s side.  Only when her arm touched his did she become still again.  They were still in the chastest of positions the next morning.

        The room was still dark, but when Trevor turned his head toward the bedside table nearest him, he saw the red numbers of the clock indicating that it was almost 6:00 AM.  He bit his lower lip to keep from gasping as he lifted his free hand to rub the sleep from his eyes.  Then, he turned his head and glanced over at Siren and smiled.  Not only was her arm against his now, but also the way she tilted her head some time during the night so it was resting lightly against his shoulder.  Though it would be very tempting to do so, he didn’t turn his head too far toward her. That would make it more than a little awkward to explain why he was sniffing the small fanning of her hair that was lying over his shoulder.

        Trevor lay silently and watched her sleep.  Finally, his patience was rewarded when she blinked slowly, a soft moan escaping her lips.  He just smiled when she noticed how close they were.

        Siren slightly grinned at him, blushing softly under his intense gaze.  “Morning,” she whispered lightly.

        Trevor responded in kind.  But for the life of him, he couldn’t stop what came out of his mouth after that.  “Anyone ever tell you you’re pretty when you’re asleep?” he asked lightly.  As soon as the words were out, he wished he’d bitten his tongue.  But he hadn’t, so he refused to chicken out, and instead smiled at her again.  ‘Now, unless it’s to get off the bed… at Xavier’s order… I’m not moving.’

        Siren saw Trevor’s smile and thought about the words he had just said.  Although they should have evoked a romantic encounter – her first one at that – the only thing it sparked was her anger.  “Ooooo,” she said as she moved away from him getting back on her own pillow and letting go of his hand.  “You just don’t stop do you?”  She shook her head and stared up at the ceiling.  She wanted to get off the bed and move away from the infuriating man but she knew that Xavier put her here for punishment so she couldn’t move away from him.  So, she just turned her head away from him and lay there fuming over what he’d just said.

        Trevor let out a small silent sigh.  A paraphrased line from some song ran through his mind and if the situation wasn’t what it was, he would have laughed:  ‘… second verse, same as the first, a little bit louder and a little bit worse…’ Glancing over at her where she was laying very straight and very tense, he tried to make amends as diplomatically as he could.

        “I wasn’t implying anything,” he began in a low but earnest tone, “except that you really are pretty when you sleep.  I wasn’t implying that somebody else…” Hearing what he was saying he decided that he’d be money ahead and would not dig himself further into a doghouse he never dreamed he’d ever been in. 

La la la… I can’t hear you,” Siren muttered as she placed her hands over her ears trying to not hear what he was saying to her.

Trevor glanced over at her and saw the snotty expression on her face and from somewhere he got the notion that what Siren needed was a real wake up call this morning.  Ignoring the pain from his body, and before she realized what he was doing, he shifted on his side toward her, scooped his arms around her body and pulled her against his chest.  She got a half gasp out before he lowered his head and kissed her, long and hard.  Even when she struggled against him as he exacted his own revenge, he felt the slightest response from her.



        The coffee had just finished brewing and Xavier poured a cup and walked back into the living room when he heard low voices coming from Siren’s room.  Still in pajamas and robe, and barefoot, he walked quietly down the hall, smiling with anticipation at the tone of Siren’s voice.  She always did that sing-songy thing when she got annoyed and didn’t want to hear what someone was saying to her.  When it suddenly stopped, he very gently eased the door open then stepped inside and went to stand at the foot of the bed.

        Mr. Conroy might be annoyed with her, but there was no doubt in Xavier’s mind that the younger man was beginning to enjoy having Siren in his arms.  After another moment, she wasn’t struggling quite as hard and he saw the mild shiver that ran over her body when one of his hands caressed the skin between her shoulder blades.  Folding his arms, Xavier just watched. 

        When Trevor realized that someone else was in the room with them, he let Siren go.  Looking at the foot of the bed and seeing Xavier standing there, his arms folded and his expression unreadable, only then did Trevor realize that his impetuous ‘teach-her-a-lesson’ move wasn’t such a hot idea.  But damn, it was nice!’

        Siren, who hadn’t seen Xavier yet, pushed away from him aggravated.  “How dare…” she began then saw Xavier, “… you,” the last part of her sentence uttered softly as she looked into her father’s eyes.  Closing them, she already knew that it was going to be another long day ahead of them, and all that she could think of was: ‘Oh shit.’ 

        “It appears that I’ve interrupted a …make-up… situation,” Xavier said smoothly.  Not so by much as a raised eyebrow did he let either of them see that he was enjoying their discomfiture.  “I can come back in say… fifteen minutes…” Siren’s fiery blush and the expression on Mr. Conroy’s face, just as red as Siren’s, told Xavier that his sarcasm wasn’t lost on either of them.  He let them lie there and sweat for a couple of minutes under his gaze.  


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