ptahrrific: Jon and Stephen, "Believe in the me who believes in you" (fake news)
Erin Ptah ([personal profile] ptahrrific) wrote2012-08-15 07:32 pm

Fake News | Jon/"Stephen", Olivia/Kristen, Sam, others | PG-13 | In Vino Veneum

Title: In Vino Venenum
Rating: PG-13
Characters/pairings: Jon/"Stephen", Olivia/Kristen, Sam, ensemble
Disclaimer/Warnings: See the table of contents.

A haremverse prompt from [personal profile] kribban: "Sam, as the head concubine is in charge of punishing the others if they break the rules. Olivia does, is punished in a creative way, and Kristin comforts her." Even without Jon's orders controlling the household, their precarious safety takes plenty of rules and efforts to keep up. (The title, assuming I've translated it right, means "in wine, poison.")

For my [community profile] hc_bingo round 3 card, prompt "poisoning."

"Okay, repeat after me," said Olivia. "'I don't always have to do what Jon says.'"

"I don't always have to do what Jon says," echoed Stephen. He looked down at his work, frowned, then looked back up at Olivia, who was industriously painting her nails in the same metallic violet shade Stephen was adding to her toes. "Does that include your pedicure?"

Olivia was startled enough to draw a purple streak halfway up her index finger. "Do you not like helping with my nails?"

"No! I love helping with your nails! But if I'm not supposed to...."

"It's fine! You can still do things if you want to do them. I'm just saying, you're not required. Unless it's a safety issue, obviously."

Stephen visibly struggled with this idea. Olivia could almost see the steam coming out of his ears as his brain churned it over. He wasn't wearing makeup or the full gauzy uniform at this point, just a no-frills navy jodhpuri over matching slacks, and for a moment Olivia regretted trying to give him ideas: he was handsome, sure, but his face was a few lines past the stage where Councilmembers and scholars would get in a bidding war over it. If he somehow got rebellious enough to fall out of Jon's favor, where did he have to go?

"So," he said at last, "if I like always doing what Jon says, then it's okay?"

"Sure," said Olivia quickly. Kristen was waiting at the door, and she looked entirely too amused at the whole exchange. "Be there in a minute!" called Olivia, scrubbing at the nail polish misfire with a damp cloth. "Now, where did I put my bangles...?"


"How much," said Kristen, as she led Olivia through the corridors, "have you already figured out about tonight's dinner?"

"Um." Olivia hadn't realized there would be a quiz. "Well, it was organized by the Order of Friends, which means there's a good chance they will engineer something horrible and then fake a whole lot of doe-eyed astonishment when it actually happens. Sam's going, and not Jessica, which means Jon wants experience on his side, so he probably feels the same way. You and Oliver are going, and you're good at entertainment, but also cute and/or whiny destraction. Jason, Aasif and Stephen won't be there either, which means we don't expect something physical, a poisoning attempt, or anything that can be solved by Stephen having sex with it."

"Almost perfect!" said Kristen brightly. "Even if the meeting was organized by the Friends, it's hosted at Beck's house. Also, you're going."

"Hang on. Isn't Beck the guy that Jon...?"

"...torpedoed his application to the Council? Mmyep."

"And Jon's going? Because last time I checked, Beck was nuts enough to drop-kick him over a cliff and laugh about it."

"We are..." Kristen did a quick re-run-through of the evidence. "...about eighty, maybe eighty-five percent sure that's not his plan."

"Well, if that's all." They stepped out the back doors of the west wing, down the steps under the awning to where Aasif and Jessica were tossing bags in the trunk of a sleek black covered taxi. "So what's the important part about me going? The only thing I really know here is...." She gave a sidelong glance at Jessica, who waved. "...uh, Aasif's specialty, and mostly just what he's taught me. If Jon's worried about...that would make more sense to take Aasif."

"It's called a trial by fire," said Aasif, strolling up to her side and clapping her on the shoulder. "Good luck!"

"Wait! What? Are you saying I...What?"

"Have fun at the dinner!" said Jessica, skipping past them. "Steal me a burfee square or two if they've got 'em!"

"You can't do this to me," pleaded Olivia, as the two disappeared into the mansion. "What if I screw this up? What if Jon dies? We might never see each other again and you would all leave hating me and it would be all my fault!"

Kristen gave her a light kiss on the cheek. "So don't screw this up."


The venue was, cheerily, near the edge of an actual cliff. It was a healthy distance away and there was a railing in between it and the deck, but you could still hear the waves crashing at the bottom.

Food was served on a knee-high ring of tables on the stone patio, with the Friends, Jon, and a handful of other mid-level political figures sitting on cushions around it, and high-hanging lamps bathing the scene in yellow light. Kristen and John attended him in person, taking turns rubbing his shoulders and cuddling in his lap. Sam and Olivia manned the kitchen, advising Beck's cooks on portion sizes, Jon's favorite seasonings, and, hopefully, not sabotaging his immune system and leading him to a grisly demise.

Olivia figured out that the wine isn't safe about two seconds before a line of Beck's table slaves, all dressed in identical black silk with pastel accents, started picking up the trays.

"Excuse me," she said, budging up next to the woman in place to take Jon's tray: a pale young thing, around Jessica's age, with pretty white-blonde hair. "Can I take that? It's the one for my owner, and he's really picky...."

The blonde frowns. "My owner's picky too," she said, uncertain. Maybe she was just that great an actor, but Olivia would have laid odds she had no idea about the plotting; she was just a novice trying to do her job. "He likes things to match."

"I'm sure he does." Olivia lowered her voice, enough to feel conspiratorial without making it so the witnesses around couldn't hear her, and played sheepish. "It's just...Kristen's been out there with him all night, and she is so good at being cute and appealing...what if I don't manage to make an appearance all night, and end up forgotten about? You know?"

The other woman's eyebrows lifted. She got it, or thought she did. "Go get 'im, girl," she said, stepping back and letting Olivia into the queue.

One problem down.

Of course, now that she was in, she had to figure out how to fix it. Olivia tried to catch Sam's eye, but Sam was busy lecturing some poor sous-chef on proper uses of nutmeg. And then the line was moving out the door into the cool night air, Olivia trying her best to match their practiced steady pace, wracking her brain for everything Aasif had taught her.

The wine in Jon's glass was still its normal color, and didn't smell weird. That ruled out a bunch of different things, but not enough. With no good visual on what had been added, and without the time and privacy to do a few tests and narrow down her options, the array of neutralizing agents concealed in her bangles was useless. Unless she dumped them all in? But she didn't have time, because they were turning a corner and suddenly right there, with the brown-haired Friend who wasn't Steve Doocey looking straight at her....

The rest of the line did some kind of choreographed synchronized-swimming split, unzipping to surround both sides of the table, and Olivia saw her chance. She feinted one way, then the other, settled on an awkward two-step down the shortest arc to where Jon was sitting, tripped over nothing, and flailed.

A streak of red wine sloshed across the front of Jon's white-and-gold caftan before the glass tipped the other way, spilling all down Olivia's front.

Before she could gather herself enough to fake an apology, Jon was on his feet and had slapped her across the cheek.

The table had gone utterly silent. Olivia clutched the tray in front of her soggy chest, face and eyes stinging. "I...I'm sorry, I...."

"Don't want to hear it," snapped Jon. "Go back in there, find Sam, tell her exactly what just happened. Leave anything out and I'll hear it from her later. Do I have an extra suit in the car?" He was looking at Kristen for that last line; she nodded. "Good. Run and grab that. You can help me get dressed. And will someone competent get me a drink, already?"


"You don't understand," said Olivia, quavering with indignation. She had been herded into a squared-off corner of the kitchen, the tiled floor recessed with a drain at the center; Sam had removed her shoes to a nearby counter. "It's not a big deal. Jon wouldn't have liked the wine anyway."

The rest of the kitchen was watching while trying desperately not to seem like they were watching. "I don't need to hear it," said Sam flatly, adjusting the nozzle on a hose mainly used for spraying down vegetables.

"But it wasn't good wine! I mean, maybe everyone else would have thought so, but trust me, Jon would have thought it was bad, bad...."

"Olivia, you're not listening." Sam angled in closer, teeth grit. "I. Don't. Need. To hear it." Olivia's mouth dropped open; Sam nodded and handed her a spare platter. "Now hold this over your face so I can hose you off. Or don't. You're getting hosed either way."

Olivia obeyed. With her makeup job but very little else protected, she flinched under the blast of cold water and trying not to think about how many strangers were enjoying the sight way more than they should. At least she got to keep her clothes on, for what little modesty they provided...although she hadn't brought an extra outfit, which meant she might regret this at some cold and squishy later time....

"That'll have to do," said Sam at last, when Olivia was shivering and dripping from the neck down. "Hey, you! Blondie. Freckles here took your spot, right?"

Olivia peeked out from behind her shield. The table slave she'd talked with nodded, then grimaced and mouthed Sorry in Olivia's direction.

"Well, congratulations. You aren't going to be washing any dishes tonight, because Twinkletoes here is doing your share."

"But...!" blurted Olivia in spite of herself. Even when she had been an actual sex slave, the one perk of the job was that somebody else did the washing-up. "My manicure!"

"I'm not certain about this," said Sam drily, "but last time I checked, you can always get another one."


With a handful of guests already gone, Jon said his goodbyes to the hosts with John Oliver on his arm. Sam was driving; Kristen and a still-drippy Olivia were shooed into the back seat.

As soon as they had some relative privacy, Kristen exclaimed, "That was amazing! You were perfect!"

"Wh-what?" spluttered Olivia, startled out of nursing her chapped hands and her wounded pride.

"Uh-oh. You did know that was the poison, right? You didn't just trip and fall by accident?"

"Of course I knew! You knew?"

"Well, if I hadn't figured it out before, I sure would have guessed from the look on Beck's face! Did you catch it?"

"No," said Olivia, feeling entitled to a bit of a sulk. "No, I did not, because I was too busy being slapped."

Kristen frowned. "Well, gee, what did you expect Jon to do? Say 'thanks, Olivia, for foiling the guy across the table's cunning plot to bump me off'? He'll apologize for having to do that later. If he doesn't do it on his own, Sam will make him."

A wave of relief made Olivia feel like her bones were made of sugar and someone had turned an oven on them. "Really?"

"Oh, honey. C'mere." At Kristen's welcome urging, Olivia lay down across the seats with her head in the other woman's lap. Kristen's hand crept under the gauzy shoulder wraps and began scratching her back (with an intact nail polish job, no less). "Oliver and I would both do it too if we had to, but Sam is the scariest, you know? But yeah, we all get that you were flawless in there. And keeping it up even with Sam and Jon yelling at you? Listen, if you weren't obviously exhausted I would so be making out with you right now."

"Mmm," said Olivia happily as the engine hummed to life. "Tell me more."

"I don't know how I'm controlling myself, to be honest with you," said Kristen obligingly. "I'm also fighting not to push you back up against the seat there and rub my hands all over your body. Then maybe start peeling off these damp clothes, bit by bit, so they wouldn't get even more damp in a minute or two, and also so I wouldn't accidentally ingest any leftover contamination when I got around to licking your chest...."


Olivia hefted the last of the reappropriated pillows into her room and switched off the lamp. Stephen pulled shut the heavy curtains while Kristen switched on the projector, and they all sprawled together on the cushions while an ornate black-and-white title plate flickered into being on the far wall.

"Next time you save Jon's life, you should make him get you a car," declared Kristen, cuddling up against Olivia's left side and slinging one arm across her waist. "Not that it would be smart for us to drive around too much, but, you know. Just for the sake of having one."

Stephen, on her right, was more pensive than usual. "Jon would probably get you a car," he said softly. "If I asked."

"You don't have to do that," said Olivia, patting his hand. "She was kidding. You were kidding, right, Kristen?"


"But I want to," said Stephen, abruptly getting the hang of the idea. "You saved Jon for me. And I like Jon. would make me do something because you said so."

"You're a good guy, Stephen," said Olivia. "And I'll keep it in mind. For now, just pass the popcorn."
kribban: (Default)

[personal profile] kribban 2012-08-21 10:08 pm (UTC)(link)
Squee!!!! :D

Awww "Stephen" doing Olivia's nails.

Olivia needs nail polish remover to remove nail polish stains.

LOL at Olivia describing Kristin as a cute and/or whiny distraction.

"What if I screw this up? What if Jon dies? We might never see each other again and you would all leave hating me and it would be all my fault!"

This is a nice piece of world building. If their owner were to die, they'd be inhereted by whomever Jon had named in his will, or sold with the estate.

I like how Olivia manipulates the girl.

Btw, I think Beck's head concubine would be SE Cupp.

The rest of the line did some kind of choreographed synchronized-swimming split, unzipping to surround both sides of the table, and Olivia saw her chance.

I see someone has been watching the Olympics.

"Olivia, you're not listening." Sam angled in closer, teeth grit. "I. Don't. Need. To hear it." Olivia's mouth dropped open; Sam nodded and handed her a spare platter.

Smart Sam.

The kitchen staff is basically getting a Wet T-shirt show.

"But...!" blurted Olivia in spite of herself. Even when she had been an actual sex slave, the one perk of the job was that somebody else did the washing-up. "My manicure!"

Awww, poor Olivia. She's getting a real punishment for doing something that was brave and in accordance with the rules, just to keep up the facade. And getting slapped as well.

She could ask for any compensation for being slapped and she chose a film projector? Wow, that's Olivia alright.