sulli/krystal; pg-13; approx 1.4k
warnings: foul language, hints of prior abuse
disclaimer: messing around in danie's petau.
Lord Choi and his son are different, too busy and too distant to bother Krystal much. When she's with them at home, Jinri is usually about to make her feel safe. And overall, she's discovered they're nothing but courteous and considerate, polite as Siwon helps her out of the carriage, even kind when Lord Choi agrees to gut out one of the bedrooms and transform it into a dance studio for her upon Jinri's request.
The other pets are different, too, because for the most part they are just as helpless as she is in their position. She doesn't socialize much with other pets, regardless, because most of the properly trained ones that they meet at the fancy balls Jinri takes her to are can sense there's something different about her. They avoid her, save Sehun and Suho, who are probably under orders from Lord Tao to be kind.
But other men - Krystal still has a deeply seated mistrust of the lot of them. Especially those that come calling on the weekends now that Jinri has become of age.
The first few hadn't bothered Krystal much. She had listened as Jinri talked of how boring they were, trying to impress her with their wealth and boasting things she knew they didn't have.
"As if a fancy carriage was enough to buy my affections," Jinri had said with a smile as Krystal plaited her hair for her. Her mistress had a good sense of humor, at least, and found their antics funny rather than too irritating.
And in any case, Krystal knew it was none of her concern if Jinri wanted the company of others. A pet was a pet and had no claim on a master.
Over time, however, Krystal's placid expression whenever Jinri introduced her to a new suitor became a barely concealed scowl.
His name was Lord Munhee. He wasn't a particular threat, but Krystal found him boring. Jinri did, as well, if her yawns-turned-questions were anything to go by. He liked to talk about his hunting dogs a great deal, though Jinri had already expressed that she had no interest in the sport. Krystal had managed to greet him with a stiff curtsy on his way out.
Lord Deokyeong was not a very handsome man, but at least he was funny. Jinri had laughed at a few of his jokes over tea. His downfall, however, was the way he'd grabbed Krystal's behind when he expected Jinri wasn't looking. Krystal had frozen still, on the verge of either punching him or running away, when Jinri had said, rather casually, "If you're more interested in my pet than me, then I'm really not sure why you came calling. She's not for sale." And with Jinri's arm linked in hers, Krystal had relaxed enough to appreciate the way his face had turned bright red as he was dismissed.
Lord Jaehwa arrived in a carriage trimmed with gold. He wore a headpiece that resembled a crown - and it looked rather awkward above his small head. But Jinri had managed to hide her smile behind her fan just in time, even as Krystal had gawked openly at this foolish display. He didn't last long, when he'd insisted that Jinri ride alone with him into town.
"Lovely as your pet is, it would be unseemly to be seen with both a lady and a pet on my arm."
Jinri had smiled and curtsied politely before dismissing him. "If that's the case, my lord, then it is best you have neither of us on your arm at all."
The vilest of them was Lord Chinhae, who had weaseled an invitation from Siwon after Jinri had decided to stop taking callers she didn't already know personally. Word had already spread among those who knew her that Jinri preferred the company of her pet to the local gentlemen, but he was insistent, and Siwon had too soft a heart to refuse.
Krystal didn't like him from the start. The way he looked at Jinri bothered her, with a sort of cocky self-assurance that he had already won her. His hand lightly brushing against the small of her back as she led him out to the gazebo for tea didn't go unseen, either, and Krystal had to stifle the anger that flared up instantly within her. Pets have no claim over their masters.
"You have quite a reputation, Lady Jinri."
Jinri smiled, but it wasn't one that made her eyes light up when she was truly interested in something. Krystal could tell she was already counting the hours till dinner. "Do I?"
"It's no surprise, really, that you're so enamored by such a beautiful pet. How long have you had her now?"
"A year and two months." She smiled fondly at her pet and Krystal hid a smug smile of her own behind a bite of cake.
"Fond of sweets, isn't she? You must keep her quite busy at night, to maintain such a shape."
Jinri's fingers had frozen momentarily in Krystal's hair and were she not a pet, she might have jumped up to slap the smirk off his face. But the way Jinri tucked her hair behind her ear was a signal to stay composed.
"Krystal dances. One of her many talents."
"Does she now?" He leaned forward, inspecting her features closely. Krystal looked away - she refused to look down in front of him. "I've heard she's a used pet - I wonder why her previous master would sell away such a talented creature. Perhaps that prideful expression on her face... It isn't very well-mannered, is it? But you've probably never thought about it, always so understanding, Lady Jinri."
"Whatever the reason-"
"Yes, of course, I'm sure you're very lucky to have her for it." His words catch even Jinri by surprise and she can only clear her throat. He takes advantage of her silence to continue, while Krystal's fists clench at her thighs. "I do wonder, though, how it must be for her to go from a master to a mistress. Tell me, dear," His eyes are still on Krystal and she forces herself to meet his gaze, as he addresses her directly. "Don't you miss it? Having something to bring real pleasure between your legs? Isn't it a little selfish to keep your mistress distracted like this, when you know she'll end up with a husband one day, anyway?"
Jinri slams her hands so hard on the table that she startles the cutlery. Krystal is frozen, pale, shaking at the very thoughts his words provoke. But Jinri is flushed with barely suppressed anger. Lord Chinhae looks surprised.
"Krystal does more with her little pinky than your fat cock ever could for me. You may show yourself out while I repeat to my brother every insult you've just directed at me and my pet."
Krystal follows her mistress in a daze as she storms out of the gazebo.
It's been a week of balls and Krystal doesn't know why on the weekend Jinri must be made to entertain company. She really doesn't understand why this is yet another male lord come calling, either.
She remembers Lord Chanyeol's name from when she had been introduced to Jinri's friends early on. But she doesn't recall much about him other than that he had seemed rather comfortable with Jinri during their dance. He'd made her laugh, and that was good enough for Krystal at the time.
But now he bounds out of his carriage like an overexcited Saint Bernard and has the nerve to wrap her in his arms and swing her around in front of all the servants and her own parents and Krystal has to bite back the bile forming in her throat when Jinri only laughs and gives him a peck on both cheeks.
A family friend, she had said. And that gave him an edge over all her other suitors already.
"Wait until I introduce you to him," he says, as he sets Jinri down, and startles Krystal from her fantasies of shoving him into the pond located on the estate when Jinri isn't looking.
He takes quick strides back to his carriage and opens the door once more, emerging shortly with a small figure dressed in dark robes tucked into his arms.
"I'm afraid the trip tired him out."
"I bet you tired him out," Jinri says with a knowing grin. "Come, let's bring him somewhere to rest while we catch up." She rests her hand on Krystal's hip, guiding her inside as Chanyeol follows from behind. "Not jealous of silly Park Chanyeol, are you?" her mistress whispers, her warm breath on Krystal's ear making her shiver slightly.
"You seem very familiar with him, Mistress."
Jinri laughs, thumb stroking over Krystal's hip bone. "Too familiar. Don't worry so much, pet. As you can see, his attention is otherwise occupied. And I only have eyes for you."