10 – Teacher’s Pet

Kate knew Damon left the room, heard him set things on the bed behind her, then heard him opening and closing drawers under the bed and setting down more things. It wasn’t easy at all to keep her eyes closed and wait, wondering what was going to happen.

Damon leaned past her to open the dark curtains above the headboard, and she saw light against her eyelids, then he sat on the edge of the bed, more or less in front of her. “Hold out your right hand. You can open your eyes now.”

She offered her hand, and watched curiously as he pulled something over it​—​something like a mitten of heavy leather but there was no thumb, and it was short enough that her hand had to be curled partly closed inside it. Damon buckled it securely around her wrist. The buckle looked like it could lock but he didn’t. She let that hand fall when he told her to hold out the other, which gained a matching mitt. She flexed her hands inside them as best she could, getting used to the feel of them. With these and nothing else, she was effectively helpless all over again.

“Red, yellow, green?” Damon asked.

“Is there a colour past green?”

That made him laugh. “I think we may need to add one that means more to go with good and slow and stop.” He reached behind her and picked up a black collar with multiple rings around it, chiming as it moved; Kate helpfully shook her head to get her hair out of the way and offered her neck for the collar to be buckled into place.

Damon untangled a matching leash, looped it through the mattress-level ring at the centre of the headboard and pulled it through its own handle, and snapped it to the collar. With the mitts on, the simple snap might just as well have been a padlock. He gave her a stern look, one hand under her chin to make her face him.

“I’d rather not gag you again, so keep quiet unless you’re spoken to, understand?”

Kate nodded meekly.

“Good.” He settled himself leaning against the headboard with a bowl of green grapes, a bag of bakery-made chewy oatmeal cookies, a bottle of pop, and not only his own laptop but a second one that was much smaller and a bit thicker. With the laptops he had a handful of paper marked with fluorescent pink. When he patted the bed right beside him, she curled up there without a thought, facing him but close enough to touch.

Kate gave the laptops a puzzled look, which Damon completely ignored. He fed her a grape, and she bit into it with pleasure.

“I really shouldn’t be doing anything more without more detailed information,” Damon said reflectively. “But I’ve seen that look before and it feels too cruel to say no before I have to. You need to tell me immediately if anything bothers you at all, even a little, all right? Although I’m definitely getting the feeling that the more I throw at you, the more you’ll want.”

Kate nodded an answer to the one direct question in that, but her eyes flicked to the paper sandwiched between the laptops.

“Yes, you did most of it,” he laughed, feeding her another grape. “But it wouldn’t be right or fair to trust answers you gave when I was messing with you.”

“I don’t think you’d find them very different,” Kate said softly.

“Maybe not, but if I’m responsible for your safety, I’m not taking chances.” He tapped her on the end of the nose. “Hush, you, I didn’t ask you a question.” He ate the next grape himself. “Let’s see. What’s the name of the program that lets you look at websites like the glossaries?”

“It’s a browser and it’s called, um, Chrome.” She accepted the grape he gave her, taking her time with it.

“What was the definition for shibari, in as much detail as you can recall?”

“Intricate rope bondage that’s intended to create an artistic effect and stimulate as well as restraining. It’s Japanese, but when I asked you about it you also said there’s an tenebran version.” Grapes, she decided, were much nicer than gold stars.

“Forniphilia?”

“Being restrained, usually immobile, while being used as or added to a piece of furniture like a table or a lamp.”

He gave her a grape, but slid a hand between her legs and chuckled​—​she knew he found it hot and very wet there. “You very much like at least one of those ideas.”

“Both,” she admitted.

“Imagine my surprise. Hm. Can you remember three kinds of gags?”

“Ball, tape… and bit?” Grape.

“What are two animals that are really common in BDSM animal roleplay?”

“Pony, um, and… puppy?” Grape.

“These are way too easy for you, you’re too good at research.” He stroked her back absently while he thought; she arched towards his hand, loving that touch. Despite being physically moderately tired, she felt alert now, waiting for the next question, hoping it would be more of a challenge. Approval meant more the harder it was to earn, and right now, Damon’s approval was the real goal, the grapes were only a symbol.

“Pick one of the classic roleplay scenarios or fetishes from the checklist and give me a specific manifestation of it. Exactly what roles and exactly what the situation is, in as much detail as possible. You don’t need to go past that unless you want to, but it does need to be something you personally would consider a turn-on. You have thirty seconds to come up with one, starting now.”

Kate caught her lower lip between her teeth, trying to remember the list of scenarios: kidnapping, prison, religious ceremonies, school, break-ins, medical…

“Fifteen seconds,” Damon said.

“Being in bed alone in the middle of the night,” Kate said quickly. “Sleeping, in just an old T-shirt and underwear. Waking up to hear someone right in the room, all in black and going through things, but it’s dark so I can’t see who it is or what’s going on.”

“And you get tied up and abused by a burglar, without seeing who he is? Sounds like fun.” He gave her a grape. “You get points for coming up with anything at all, but you lose points on creativity.”

“You did say to base it on a common scenario.”

“Fair enough. Free choice, then, but if I think you aren’t doing your best, there’s going to be a penalty. Don’t move.” He left the room briefly, returned with a bowl of jellybeans, and got comfortable again. “I distinctly recall you telling me, when we bought these, that you detest black jellybeans, right?”

Kate squirmed, not wanting to confirm something she loathed, not wanting to disobey. Damon’s eyes never left her face, and after a moment she admitted defeat. “Yes.”

“Then you’d better be imaginative.”

“What pronouns? Third person, or first and second?”

“Definitely you and I. You’ve had plenty of time. Ten seconds or you forfeit.”

Kate racked her brains for one of her own fantasies, but under pressure they all eluded her and she couldn’t seize on a single one.

“Time.” Damon shook his head. “I know you can do better than that.” He fished a black jellybean out of the bowl and held it out. “If you swallow it whole it doesn’t count.”

Kate hesitated again, knowing she was going to hate this… but she’d failed, she deserved it. Having to actually take it voluntarily the same way as the grapes was a sadistic little twist, forcing her to actively participate in her own punishment.

But what was the point if she could only win? That hunger to submit wasn’t about her own immediate pleasure, it was about obedience and belonging and her satisfaction coming​—​well, mostly​—​from that.

She shifted forward enough to take it and obediently chewed it three or four times, all she could stand, before swallowing. The taste was every bit as bad as she remembered, and she was sure it showed.

“Good girl,” Damon said warmly, scratching her back lightly with his nails all along her spine, making her want to wriggle with combined physical and emotional pleasure despite the awful taste. “Try again. The better it is, the more grapes you can have. Thirty seconds starting now.”

Her mind was forever full of fantasies, surely she could think of one. What turned up a lot? Training of countless kinds, that was a frequent theme.

“Fifteen.”

She couldn’t stand the thought of another jellybean or, worse, Damon’s disappointment.

“I’m… I’m from a highborn house,” she said, aware of her heart thumping. “One with lots of pretensions and history but not much actual income. I’ve been the black sheep, not interested in clothes and proper ladylike behaviour, and they let me get away with it because I wasn’t spending a fortune on the latest fashions. My sisters have all been married off for political and financial reasons. My family has been offered a very valuable alliance but there’s only me left, and my family is sure that five minutes with me will make this other house walk out. So they hire you to teach me, and give you pretty much full authority to do anything you feel you need to, short of any permanent marks, in order to turn me into a properly well-behaved lady as quickly as possible.” She finished and held her breath.

“Hm. Teacher and student in a different context than the usual and without so much emphasis on age dynamics. Lots of leeway for me to pick on you for walking, talking, sitting, clothes, or anything else. Lots of leeway for you, too, to be cooperative and making an effort or to be resistant to the whole idea.” He ran a finger along her cheek and laughed. “Now why can I see you absolutely refusing to do what you’re told and having to be forced?”

Kate raised her eyes enough to see his expression. “Isn’t that bad?” she asked tentatively. Anything she’d ever come across had strongly implied that deliberate disobedience was not a popular trait.

“Of course it isn’t bad, nothing is.” He fed her a grape, and petted her while she squashed it, holding it in her mouth to get rid of the jellybean taste. “There are things that are mismatches, that’s normal and inevitable. There are things that are more dangerous than others and things with serious consequences and things that are just not feasible or possible, all of which should really stay fantasies. But nothing is, in and of itself, bad. Personally, I think either constant obedience or constant disobedience is boring. That one was much better, I knew you could do it.” He fed her, alternately, two bites of cookie and two more grapes, stroking and scratching her back all the while. “Good girl. It’s about time these were brought up out of the secret rooms in the depths of that amazing library in your mind and out into the sunlight. That’s the only way to make them real. Can you give me another one? No matter how extreme or crazy you think it is. I’m not planning to suddenly do these. At least not in the next couple of days. You have sixty seconds.” He stopped petting her and picked up her checklist pages, leaving her to think.

Librarian blackmailed by employer into various kinky, sometimes humiliating, acts so he wouldn’t destroy her reputation and future? Repaying a wealthy friend for rescue in a dire financial crisis the only way she could, by obeying every whim for a time? Being kidnapped and trained as a slave to be sold? No, she needed something more unusual.

“You’re a wizard, or mage, or whatever name… not the real kind, the Brightside spells-in-dead-languages kind,” she began, a bit uncertainly.

Damon laid the papers on his lap. “And a robe and pointy hat?” he asked, amused.

“No one in either world could wear that without looking like an idiot. That goth look will work… just fine.” She dropped her voice to a purr for the last two words.

He laughed. “I’m glad to hear it. Keep going.”

“You decide that you need a demon to serve you. A demon slave can be a familiar to help with magic, and doesn’t have to be paid like a mortal servant, and no one will know or care what you do to her. But all research says that demons can only have a material form for a brief time, which isn’t what you want. You find one spell in a very old and obscure book that tells you how to effectively transform a mortal woman into a demon who will be bound to you and have to obey. So you work on getting one of the local girls to trust you so that she’ll come to your home without telling anyone where she’s going. That would be me.”

“Silly girl, trusting me like that.”

“And after suitably dreadful and perverted rites, you get your demon. However, I’m not at all happy about being lied to and betrayed and tortured.”

“How unreasonable of you.”

Well, he sounded like he was enjoying the story, at least. That was a good sign.

“The spells mean I have to obey you, but only as long as you keep me physically bound in some way, as a symbol of the magical binding. If I can get free physically, I don’t have to obey anymore. It’s not very likely I’ll just disappear out of your life at that point, depending on what you’ve been doing to me I might be rather angry.”

“Which opens up another whole range of possibilities. That sounds like it could be a lot of fun. Full points for creativity, plus a bonus point for thinking outside the box enough to include the risk of turning the tables. Well done.” The warmth and approval in his voice, the love and praise in his touch, were far better than the juicy tart grapes and chewy sweet cookies​—​three grapes, alternating with three bites of cookie, then one more of each he said was for effort. She wriggled in ecstasy under his hand, all the earlier confusion gone; she was safe, loved, understood, appreciated.

“That’s enough for now,” he told her. “Take a break. Rest. I’ll be right here.” He rearranged himself so he was lying on his stomach, facing towards the footboard, and opened the two laptops side by side.

Kate adjusted so she was curled up against him, as best she could within the limited range the leash allowed her. The rings on the collar jingled like music every time she moved, made her smile to herself. It seemed utterly irrational that a collar and leash and leather mitts making her hands useless, lying here like Damon’s pet, could make her feel so wonderfully comfortable and happy and safe and somehow… complete.

She didn’t sleep, exactly, but she drifted in and out of a hypnogogic half-doze where her speculations became incredibly vivid fantasies that felt very real, of truly being Damon’s pet. What would it feel like? What kind of mental space would she be in after a day, after a week? The relatively realistic daydreams wandered into less likely and more extreme territory without losing the vividness.

“You look like you’re having happy thoughts, sunshine,” Damon said affectionately. “What’s going on in that imagination of yours, hm?”

Kate raised her head so she could see him. “It’s… kinky. And probably stupid or bad or both.” She yelped, mostly in surprise, when he sat up and slapped her bottom with one open hand. It didn’t really hurt, although it left heat behind.

“What did I say earlier?” he asked sternly, settling back down. “About things being bad?”

“Nothing is bad, only more or less mismatched or dangerous or impossible or with consequences,” Kate said meekly.

“You listened, at least, even if you didn’t absorb what it actually means. Consider it true for all given values and terms implied by bad.” His voice softened, and he stroked a hand over her hair. “The kinkier the better. I’d really like to hear this. I’d never hold it against you or use it as a weapon against you, and if you tell me, then you won’t have to wonder what I’d say. I won’t make you, though, it’s your choice.”

Kate bit her lower lip, torn. He liked her other fantasies so far, but would the more extreme ones be too much? Rejection at this point would be devastating. But… she needed to know. And she trusted him.

“I was… at first I was thinking about… being treated as a pet,” she said hesitantly. “What it would be like to not be able to use my hands and not allowed to talk, for twenty-four hours, and what that would involve. Other than more work for you, because it would mean being pretty much totally dependent.”

“That isn’t work, sunshine, that’s fun. Remind me to try to explain later what being a dominant actually means, okay? Where did it go from there?”

That was encouraging so far. “I started wondering what would be different if it was for a full week instead of just a day. Feeding me by hand might work for one day, but not for a week, so, um,” she felt herself blush, “I’d be eating out of a bowl on the floor and sleeping, well, wherever, foot of the bed or beside the bed or wherever you put me. And you’d probably have to train me to behave the way you want me to. I couldn’t figure out the bathroom, though. Not because I’m particularly shy, but basic hygiene is a possible problem, and most things would give you the equivalent of cleaning the litterbox.”

“Hm. I can think about that. Tamsen may have come up with a solution for Evaric, but even when he’s human, that’s different. I do know a dom with a very enthusiastic pony-girl, and a mistress with a pair of pups, one of each. I can see what they say, and they probably know others who play with that particular fetish. I haven’t much, yet, but not because of lack of interest. There’s no hurry, because I would not do a multi-day scene with you yet… but after a while, it could be an awesome way to spend a week.”

Kate knew she was staring in astonishment, and made herself drop her eyes.

Damon chuckled and sat up, crossing his legs, so he could scritch lightly down her spine with his nails. “You do know you aren’t the only one with fantasies like that, don’t you?”

“In theory, not personally.”

“Doesn’t it follow that there are people who fantasize about having a human​—​or otherwise​—​pet to play with and train and look after?”

“In theory.”

“And what conclusions can you draw from, A, the existence of these,” he stopped scritching just long enough to tap her leather-cocooned hand, “and they were not custom work, and B, the fact that they’re in my toy collection? Stop thinking you can predict what will horrify me, sunshine, you don’t know enough yet about real-life playing, or about real doms, or about me, to have valid data to base it on. Did it end with that, or did you daydream something more?”

Kate swallowed her automatic protest, but it’s weird. “It turned into a kind of story. I couldn’t decide whether it should be some sort of disease that left damage, or an injury, or a medical procedure, maybe experimental, that went wrong. And I couldn’t decide whether you were responsible or not. Whichever way, something causing very specific nerve and brain damage, that makes it virtually impossible I’ll ever use my hands or walk upright again, and messed up language abilities to the point of being unable to understand any language let alone actually speak. But with nothing else damaged. And you decide to keep me, maybe to keep anyone from finding out what happened or just so I don’t end up in some hospital or something for the rest of my life.”

“That would involve some pretty intensive training,” Damon mused. “And a mad scientist might very well want you to study you and run some interesting kinds of tests. Could even be my experiment that caused the whole situation, or maybe I just kidnapped you because you’re fascinating and unique.”

Kate laughed. “I didn’t think of that. Oh, poor me.”

“I’ve always liked running experiments. I think I’m a mad scientist at heart. How many times can I stop just before a subject orgasms before she loses it, and what will she do at that point? Does it make a difference whether it’s the first time or the fifth, or how much time passes between? How quickly can a subject learn something with rewards and punishments, and what kind and how much? How many interesting restrained positions can a sufficiently tired subject fall asleep in, and how tired is sufficient, and how well will she rest? What’s the maximum amount of bondage gear and toys that a subject can wear in public with no one able to tell and for how long and what types and how does it vary with different kinds of clothes? So much research, so few willing subjects to experiment on.”

“Where do I sign up?”

“Patience. We have forever, and I’m not going to let you overdo it. I will do my best to give you everything you want, but you’re going to have to live with me deciding how much how fast to keep you safe physically and mentally and emotionally. And socially, for that matter. What do you suppose Magda’s reaction would be to you effectively disappearing for a week? I wouldn’t let you talk to her now, let alone after a couple of days non-stop.”

“What? Why?”

Damon glanced at his laptop, leaned forward to drag it into reach, and did something quickly before turning back to her. “Why would I not let you talk to Magda, or anyone else who doesn’t understand the real effects of any submission? How do you feel right now, sunshine?”

“Really good. Happy. Content. Loved and safe. Um. Relieved, but that isn’t strong enough. Free. Perfectly happy to stay right here like this indefinitely. I don’t think I’d stop you even if you did decide to make me your pet for always.”

“What about a little while ago?”

“I was proud I could answer what you asked and you liked my answers, I really wanted you to be pleased with me. Before that I was kind of confused, it felt so wonderful when I was tied up and I felt kind of… lost when you untied me.”

“And the rest of the world?”

“What about it?”

“If I told you that we’re going to Absinthe tonight, and you’re going to wear your white dress along with what you’re wearing right now and nothing else, in the car on the way there as well as in the club, would you do it or refuse?”

“I’d do it,” she said without hesitation.

“If I told you we’re going to Clea’s so we can use the gear in her basement and she can help me get you restrained in kinky positions so we can get her photographer Anya to take pictures of you?”

“Okay, I guess. If they want to, too. And as long as you’re there.” The bit of video had been fascinating, how would a set of photos look?

“If I told you I want to take you to get piercings done to mark you as mine, a pair through your labia that I can lock together and something more visible, maybe your tongue, what would you do?”

“Um… that could hurt, but they freeze it, right? And if it’s done right, it isn’t really all that dangerous? It’ll surprise people, but I don’t mind, if you want me to get them. I wonder how piercings feel?”

“You are so high right now on neurochemicals, hormones, emotion, imagination, repressed needs finally coming out, and gods only know what else that your judgement is seriously compromised. I love getting you to that state and hope to do it frequently, but getting you there is only part of the job. Looking after you while you’re feeling like this is important too. And you are in no condition to be around anyone who doesn’t understand where you are.” He leaned down to kiss her gently. “It’ll make more sense to you later, sunshine, I promise.”

“If you say so,” Kate said doubtfully. It made no sense right now, she felt alert and focused. Still, if Damon didn’t want her talking to anyone else at the moment, she wouldn’t.

“Which I do,” he said firmly.

She gave him an impish smile, and shifted a bit so the rings on her collar jingled. “I don’t think there’s much chance I’ll be talking to or around anyone anytime soon. I couldn’t handle a phone or open a door if I could reach them.”

“Which isn’t exactly going to help you come down.” He did something or other on the laptop, and it began to play music at a comfortably low volume, a rock ballad; he closed it and set it on the opposite side of the bed, then reached for the small one, did something that made the screen go dark, and set it closed on the floor with the papers, jellybeans, cookies, and mostly empty bottle of pop, clearing most of the bed. He fished a grape out of the bowl and offered it to her; Kate promptly took it, flicking his fingers playfully with her tongue. Damon chuckled and tapped the end of her nose, but fed her a couple more grapes. “I wish I’d met you years ago, I could have started spoiling you then and saved us both a lot of frustration.”

“Then you wouldn’t know as much,” Kate said reasonably. “Two virgins in one bed is one too many, after all.”

That made him laugh outright. “True.”

“Besides, how much space and how many people in two worlds? It’s a miracle we ever met at all.”

“Also true. Although you’d be a miracle regardless of the odds.” He set the grapes on the table beside the bed. “It’s time for a bit of a break, love. I’m quite sure your hands are already sweating, leather doesn’t breathe that well, and I don’t want them to get sore from being in the same position for too long. Give me your hands?”

Kate curled into a defensive ball, her hands tucked against her stomach. “No!”

“I like your hands, and I want to look after them,” he said gently. “Everything I have is yours, including the mitts, and you can have them back later, but it’s time to take them off for a while. I promise. You’ve been just wonderful all morning, I’m very proud of you​—​although not exactly surprised. We’ll do this again, lots of times. I’m not taking them away from you, just taking them off for now. Okay? Come on, love, let me have your hands.”

Unwillingly, Kate uncoiled and sat up, holding out her hands for him to remove the leather mitts. Without them, her hands felt bare and cold, and it seemed strange to be able to open her fingers all the way. He was right about sweating, but that seemed a small price to pay.

Damon retrieved a small towel from the bedside table drawer, and used it to carefully wipe her hands dry. “There we go. The rest of you mostly hasn’t been sweating​—​well, not since earlier.” He unbuttoned the silk shirt, shrugged it off, and helped her put it on. It was still warm, smelled like him, and it felt soft and sensual against her skin. “Do you need the bathroom?”

“Um… yes, but give me a minute?” She wasn’t at all sure she could walk right now.

“All right. You stay there and relax, I’m going to go get you a drink of water. I’m not leaving you, I’ll only be in the kitchen and then I’ll be right back and I’ll help you get to the bathroom.” He kissed her forehead, then her lips, and stood up.

Kate hugged the shirt around her, the rings on her collar singing and making her smile. She didn’t want him out of reach, wanted him back with her, but at least she had that while she was waiting. Like keeping a little of him here, or a pledge.

He came back with, not just a glass of water, but a pitcher clinking with ice, and a cup. He set them on the dresser and filled the latter for her.

“Slowly,” he reminded her, sitting next to her and handing her the cup. “I know you’re thirsty, but don’t make yourself sick by gulping too much too fast.”

Kate took small sips, but did it as quickly as she thought she could get away with​—​not all that quickly, since he had one arm around her and was watching her. As dry as she felt, it was comfortable right here with Damon next to her, and that helped her control the desire to drain the cup in a few swallows. After half the cup was empty, she looked up at him, and held it out. “Aren’t you thirsty?”

He smiled at her, and accepted the cup. “Thanks, sunshine.” He drank about half of what remained before giving it back to her for her to finish.

Once it was empty, he set it on the table. “Come on, let’s get you to the bathroom. Pet play is one thing, but I’m going to have to draw the line at peeing on the furniture, I’m afraid.”

She giggled, finding that madly funny for some reason, and hardly noticed when he unsnapped the leash from the collar. “Would give having a wet spot on the bed a whole new meaning. And you’d probably make me sleep in it.”

“Silly girl. Up you come.” He steadied her as she climbed off the bed. He never moved out of arm’s reach, and he never stopped talking to her, mostly repeating how much he loved her and how happy with her he was.

In the bathroom, he rinsed a facecloth in the sink while she used the toilet, and once she was done he washed her face; the cool wet terrycloth felt good, marvellously refreshing. She let him slide the silk shirt off her shoulders and obediently held still with her hands on the sink while he washed the rest of her as well, cleaning away dried sweat and, from her inner thighs, her own fluids.

“I can’t reach under the collar while it’s on,” he said. “And it’s going to rub you raw if you keep sweating under leather. I’m going to take it off for right now, to finish cleaning you up.”

She turned halfway to look over her shoulder at him uncertainly. “But…”

“Sunshine, I’m going to get you a brand new collar, one no one else has ever worn, and it’ll be yours forever. I’m going to get it specially made, as red as your scarf, with a design on it in black so everyone will know you’re mine.”

“And rings? They sound nice when I move.”

“I’ll make sure it has a ring at the front and one at each side, just like this one. But I need to take this one off you right now.” He gently unbuckled it and removed it, leaving her neck feeling disturbingly naked, though she could see a reddened ring where it had rested​—​she hadn’t even noticed the way it was chafing. The facecloth was rough against it, though Damon’s touch was careful and light, but the coolness soothed it, and the ointment he smoothed onto it made her sigh softly in contentment.

“There we go.” He took a towel off the hook and dried any dampness left on her skin, before putting the silk shirt back on her. “You look good in silk, it shows off those curves beautifully. But then, you look sexy beyond words when you’re tied up and flushed and sweating and going half crazy. You never asked me for mercy, you know​—​I was waiting to see if you would, but you just accepted it as my right to choose for you. When you decide to surrender power, you don’t do it halfway.” He urged her back towards the bedroom, to the bed to sit down. “And you look absolutely adorable with mitts and a collar and nothing else, trying so hard to answer anything I asked.”

“We can do that again?”

“We can do everything again, a dozen times over, if you want to.”

“I do. Very very much I do.” She snuggled against him, resting her head on his shoulder, and he hugged her.

“Good. I’m glad. I guess I haven’t lost my touch after all.”

“Nope. Don’t think you have at all.” She made an inarticulate sound of protest when he let go of her, and looked up.

He lowered his hands holding the ends of the silver chain and enamelled rose pendant. “Online and in a few other places, the name I use is DarkRose​—​there’s an old story behind it and the tattoo, I’ll tell you another time.” He reversed it and reached around her neck to fasten the chain at the back. She touched it wonderingly; the rose rested a little lower on her, slightly below the hollow of her throat, and the metal still held the heat of Damon’s body. She raised her eyes to his, and found him smiling at her. “Perfect,” he said in satisfaction.

“Thank you,” Kate whispered, feeling a tear get away and trace a line down her cheek. At a loss for words, she flung her arms around his shoulders and kissed him fiercely instead. That seemed to get the point across.

She did notice that his kisses kept wandering towards her throat before he brought them back; the third time, she freed one hand to brush her hair out of the way and tilted her head to leave the side of her throat easily accessible. “You want to, I know you do. So why don’t you?”

“Wanting to and needing to aren’t the same. No matter how incredibly tempting you are.”

“Did you ever think that maybe I need you to?” She wasn’t entirely sure why, but as she said it, she knew it was true. Probably it was something she could figure out rationally later. Some kind of reaffirmation, maybe.

“No, I didn’t.” He was still resisting, but he sounded uncertain now.

“Well, I do.” With a hand around the back of his neck, she urged him toward her, knowing her heart was thumping hard and he’d be able to sense the pulse just under her skin. She still felt a hint of indecision, but he didn’t fight her.

She always loved the feel of him nuzzling at the side of her throat, the teasing sensation of lips and breath and teeth and tongue, and suspected it would always make her think of the breathtaking moment they’d shared by the water, when she’d first known both what she wanted and that he would never hurt her.

It didn’t even hurt when his blood-teeth broke skin this time; she didn’t care why not, the pleasure and the sense of pressure were still there, and the euphoria that she knew would fade within a few heartbeats after he was finished, and most importantly of all, she knew it gave him something he needed​—​on a more than biological level.

He lingered, clearly in no hurry at all, though she very much doubted he was really taking much. That was fine, because she wasn’t in a hurry, either. His body warm against hers, one arm around her, the other at the back of her neck​—​she was starting to understand that as a safety reflex, prevention of a wrong movement doing her harm​—​that was what she needed, the intense intimacy of the moment was exactly right. Novice or not, he was happy with her, and she loved him, and all was well with the world.

She could feel it when he stopped actually feeding, but he didn’t move far immediately, only kissing her throat.

“If you knew…” he murmured, so low she could barely hear him.

“If I knew what?”

“Lie down, we could both use a rest.” He got up to fetch a furry-feeling black-and-gray blanket from the closet, and returned to tuck it over her before shedding his jeans and joining her. They got settled with Damon on his back and Kate’s head on his shoulder, afternoon light spilling across the room from above them but they were in peaceful shadow.

“If I knew what?” Kate repeated.

“I can smell fear and arousal and anger, remember? My sense of taste, at least as far as blood, is considerably more acute than that.” He stroked her hair gently. “Love, with all the assorted odd hormones in your system right now… I can’t even think of a decent comparison.”

“Tastes good?”

He laughed and kissed her forehead. “Yes, tastes good.”

Kate cuddled happily close. “Awesome.”

They snuggled under the blanket, with a couple of pauses for more water, just talking at random. When they decided it was time for some actual lunch, Damon tied his shifter-style pants back into place, Kate did up a few buttons on her shirt, and they went in search of food.

Over flatbread with that unique spread and a lot of fruit punch, they watched episodes of Futurama, cuddled close on the couch and giggling madly. Every now and then, Kate raised a hand to touch the rose necklace, and whenever Damon noticed, he smiled.

Right now, everything in the world felt perfect.

Continued, I promise… Kate needs a job, we need to visit Darkside, and there’s just so much kinky stuff to explore! But there will be a pause while I work on a different project, also erotica. See my new Twitter account @PrysmcatErotica for updates. Maybe sneak previews.

9 – Survey Says…

The heavy dark curtains made waking up a bit disorienting, since it was impossible to judge time. Kate made a mental note to do some research on the effects of being nocturnal and of frequent low light levels on human physiology, and stretched. For the second morning in a row, she found herself waking deeply content, and this time, it was coloured by a warm wonderful sense of connection and closeness.

Damon stirred, rolled over to face her​—​they’d both moved in their sleep, but stayed in contact somehow. Sleepily, he yawned, then smiled at her, reaching up to touch her cheek. Whatever he said, through another yawn, was in Ashdryn.

“Good morning, or whatever,” Kate said, guessing meaning from tone and context.

“Sorry, sunshine, not quite awake.” He gave her an apologetic kiss. “Sleep well?”

“Very well.”

“Good.” He grinned at her mischievously. “’Cause I have evil plans for you for today, and it would be no fun if you were tired. Breakfast first, though.” He stretched like a cat and rolled to the edge of the bed to sit up.

“Evil plans?” Kate echoed, wriggling out from under the blanket and crossing the bed on hands and knees to sit beside him. “Just what kind of evil plans, hm?”

“Kinky ones, of course, so I wouldn’t put too much effort into getting dressed.” He scooped up the soft black pants and tied them back in place; Kate retrieved the computer T-shirt she’d worn the previous morning.

Breakfast was simple, cereal with vanilla soy milk​—​tenebrans tended to tolerate lactose poorly, and Kate had spent enough of her life in places where adults didn’t drink milk that she didn’t miss it. Kate wrapped her shawl as a skirt, and Damon found his sunglasses, and they sat on the balcony to eat. There was still so much to share, a powerful longing to give everything that she was sure Damon felt as well, yet somehow there was no hurry and for the moment they could enjoy the sun’s warmth and the company in companionable quiet.

Almost done her cereal, Kate gave Damon a questioning look. “Should I ask what kind of evil kinky plans you have?”

“A number of BDSM groups, over the years, have developed various checklists to help define exactly what’s allowed and what isn’t. Mostly they amount to a list, usually very detailed, of acts and fetishes and toys and fantasies with a rating system. The idea is for both of us to do it and then use that as a basis for establishing hard limits and general boundaries, and also promising directions to go in at least to start with. Nothing is written in stone, my results today wouldn’t be likely to match five years ago, and who you’re visualizing can change it.”

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8 – Reciprocation

Kate left the laptop there, since he’d said it would turn itself off, and went looking for Damon. He wasn’t at his desk, and his cup was empty; she glanced down the hall, but saw nothing. He hadn’t left the apartment, the chain-lock was still on, and she hadn’t heard or seen him go out onto the balcony. A bit worried, she called his name; getting no reply, she walked quickly to the hallway. Not in the smaller bedroom, but in the doorway of the larger, she stopped short.

Damon knelt in the middle of his big dark-wood bed, facing towards one side. He’d changed from his jeans and T-shirt to the sort of clothes shapeshifters liked, shirt and pants held together only by knots, all in black of course. He’d tied his hair into a tail at the back of his neck, not interfering with the shiny-black something wrapped in two bands, one across his eyes and the other across his mouth, and she could see the thin wire of a pair of earbuds leading to a cuff around one upper arm obviously designed for the small device at the other end of the wire, with the wire neatly gathered out of the way. His wrists and ankles were both circled by black cuffs, all four linked closely together. Bright chain ringed his neck, not choking-tight but he wouldn’t be able to pull it off, with a small lock holding it, and the other end was connected to… something on the bed that she couldn’t readily see.

There was no one else here, so this could only have been his own idea.

On the bed beside him was a sheet of paper, with a key lying on top of it.

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7 – Literature, Visual Arts, and Technology

Kate felt Damon move away from her, and grumbled a protest.

He ran a hand over her hair. “Go back to sleep. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

Kate sighed, but lay still. At least, she intended to; a message from her bladder sent her to the bathroom, eyes mostly closed against the sunlight that crept around curtains and blinds. Still not awake, she returned to Damon’s bed and curled up drowsily under the blankets, her thoughts wandering happily through memories of sensations.

Motion near her made her open her eyes.

Damon opened a folding wooden table next to the bed, then retrieved two glasses of orange juice from the dresser and set them on it. “Breakfast, sunshine. Sit up? I’ll be right back.”

Kate yawned hugely, and sat up partway, twisting so she could bunch pillows up behind her to lean against.

Damon returned with two plates, handed her one, and settled himself across from her, legs crossed, holding the other. The oversized and rather ragged T-shirt he wore might have protected him while cooking, but didn’t hide anything; she couldn’t help taking a moment to appreciate the view.

Two fried eggs, bacon, breakfast sausages, toast… and it all smelled delicious. Kate picked up a slice of bacon and took a bite.

“You really didn’t have to do this.”

Damon laughed. “I intend to make sure you eat properly.”

“How much blood did I lose, anyway?”

“Mm, a quarter of a cup, maybe? Under normal conditions, it wouldn’t have even been that much. I’m not exactly underfed, which takes basic hunger out of the equation.” He grinned at her. “It’s been a while, and I was a tad worked up, and if you start messing around with a predator by trying to get away, you take your chances.”

“I’m sure I’ll survive somehow. And if not, it’ll be worth it.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t let anything happen to you. I’ve found a new hobby, and I’m really looking forward to pursuing it, and I can’t do that unless you’re whole and healthy and happy.”

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6 – Nightlife

Kate considered her reflection in the mirror of Damon’s guest room, turning back and forth in place so the skirt of the white dress Damon had bought her​—​and asked her to wear to go out tonight​—​swirled around her legs. He was right, it really did flatter her wonderfully. The wide low neck simply begged for a necklace; instead, she picked up the blood-red scarf, doubled it, and slipped the ends through the loop to hold it in place around her neck. Against her skin, somewhat pale from countless hours indoors, chestnut hair and light-beige sandals and white dress, it was extremely eye-catching. She hesitated, unsure whether she really wanted to be noticed… but the first one to notice would be Damon, and that was worth it. She brushed her hair out loose, and drew back the very front to keep it out of her eyes.

Realistically, she had little to bring, and was leaving herself entirely in Damon’s hands: he was driving, they were coming back to his apartment, he was paying… she needed only her ID, and since she lacked pockets, Damon had it with his own.

She smoothed her dress down a bit nervously, and left the guest room.

Damon was in his usual spot at his computer, but he spun around when he heard her. Dark eyes swept down her body and back up, appreciatively, and he stood up, holding out a hand to her. Kate crossed the room and slid her hand into his, let him draw her nearer still for a kiss while he ran both hands down her sides.

“You look positively irresistible,” he murmured, with a kiss just in front of her ear, then one on her throat just above the scarf.

Kate felt her breathing quicken, but retorted, “I could say the same, you know.” Brightside black leather jeans, this time, with his Darkside boots, a peasant’s shirt of soft cotton in a dark maroon red, and a black velvet vest open over it. A silver ankh hung from a black velvet choker, and a heavy silver dragon circled one wrist, its jewelled eyes glinting red.

Against one hip, a flat rectangular bag of black velvet rested, just large enough for his phone in its case, his wallet, and his keys; the velvet strap crossed his body to the opposite shoulder. That sort of thing was very common on Darkside, which tended not to have built-in pockets. This one had a rose with a thorny stem embroidered on it in dark shiny red and black and silver.

“Oh, I hope so.” That smile sent a shiver along her spine that ended between her legs, but she had to answer it. “All right, being logical isn’t quite in the spirit of the mood, but probably better now than later.”

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5 – Clea

Kate woke with Damon still curled around her, his breathing so slow and steady that he had to be asleep still. She lay still for a bit, not opening her eyes, just trying to absorb every detail.

Finally, though, the insistent demands of her bladder forced her to gently extricate herself. Damon mumbled something incoherent, reaching for her; Kate leaned down to kiss his cheek and murmured, “I’ll be right back.”

She visited the bathroom, and returned to find that Damon had rolled onto his other side; she arranged herself against his back and slipped an arm over him. He caught her arm and hugged it to him, and she heard his breathing slow down again immediately, back into deeper sleep. Kate let herself relax, half-drowsing, keeping her thoughts turned firmly away from the future and focused on the present.

The trilling of the phone, on the corner of the desk and plugged in, shattered the peace.

Damon muttered something under his breath that she couldn’t identify and wasn’t sure she wanted to. “Forgot to turn the ringer off. Ignore it, that’s what I have voicemail for.” He twisted onto his back, kissed her gently, and smiled at her​—​his pupils, in the sunlight, had contracted so tightly they were almost invisible against the dark blue, blocking as much light as possible. “Good morning, beautiful.”

“I am not.”

“To me you are. I hate being woken up by the phone, but I very much like having the first thing I see be you.”

Kate blushed; the only response she could come up with was, “Thank you.”

“You’re very welcome.” Damon stole another kiss, then stretched lazily and sighed. “I have no idea what time it is, but I suppose I should find out who just called. There’s a chance it’s important.” He got up, stretched again, and vanished down the hall towards the bathroom before returning to the phone. He hit a couple of buttons, setting it in motion to play messages on the speaker while he sat at his computer and did something. Kate sat on the edge of the futon, waiting.

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4 – Feeling the Waters (and Other Things)

Kate blinked, opened her eyes… on sunlight?

She was still curled up on the futon, though she had stretched out along its full length. The soft light blanket that had been on the back was now tucked over her. The heavy curtains across the patio doors had been drawn back far enough to allow a pleasant amount of sunshine in, though not directly enough to have woken her.

She remembered the end of the movie, remembered her pleasure in it and the need to find out how it would end combating her increasing tiredness​—​it had been a long day, after all, starting early and with a lot of adrenalin. She had a more vague recollection of talking to Damon about the movie… then nothing. She must have been so worn out she’d simply fallen asleep. Hardly the behaviour of a gracious guest. Please don’t let Damon be offended or angry, she thought fervently.

She sat up and stretched, not surprised that the apartment was silent except the humming of the computers. Damon must have long since gone to bed.

Her shawl was lying neatly over a couple of pillows right next to her, and on it was a small piece of paper. She leaned down to pick it up.

Good morning! Make yourself at home, and I mean that. I normally wake up around noon or shortly after.

Kate set the note down, and looked around for a clock. After a detour to make use of the bathroom​—​noting that the door of one bedroom was mostly closed with darkness behind it, and the other was open​—​she finally found one in the kitchen. Shortly past ten am, so she had a couple of hours to herself. Well, breakfast of some sort would be an excellent first step. Not everything in the kitchen was meat-based; there was half a bag of baby carrots and a recently-opened bag of apples in the fridge, along with multiple kinds of fruit jams. She dropped a couple of slices of bread in the toaster and took the jar of raspberry jam and the pitcher of orange juice out of the fridge.

Just outside the kitchen, in the arm of the living room’s L-shape that was not occupied by the computers, was a small table with a couple of chairs, and against the walls were shelving units. She left her breakfast on the table long enough to explore the books. She didn’t speak Tenebran or the mixed Riverwood creole enough to do more than identify a number of the books as being most likely in one or the other, but the rest, Darkside and Brightside both, were in English. She chose a history of the Riverwood area, since she knew little about it, and brought it to the table with her, taking great care not to get jam or juice on the pages.

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3 – Dinner and a Movie

Since there was a possibility of some walking, Kate decided on pants instead of a skirt​—​specifically, loose flowing comfortable lightweight ones she’d bought in Tullovar, of deep purple shades, and a sleeveless top of misty grey, with sandals instead of her low-heeled boots. Around her waist she tied a fringed black shawl embroidered on the outside with knotwork patterns in half a dozen colours, both because she liked how it looked and in case it grew cooler later. She pulled her chestnut hair back in a tail, hoping it would stay there, and studied herself in the mirror.

“Looking good,” Magda said appreciatively from the doorway. “Now, remember, he is from Riverwood, and you know what they’re like about being honest and up-front. That whole negotiation and compromise fetish they have. If you aren’t enjoying yourself, although I can’t for the life of me think why not, then just tell him, okay? Ditto for anything you aren’t comfortable with, or anything you do want.”

Kate nodded acknowledgement. Natives of the Riverwood area were known for the value they placed on honest communication, though they also believed in tact and timing and respecting boundaries, which kept everyone else from finding them insufferable. “I know.”

“I’m not going to wait up, because I do have to work tomorrow, and for all I know, you might not be back until well past midnight. If at all. If you go back to his place, make sure you play safe, all right? And give me a call in the morning at work, even if it’s just quick.”

“I’m not going to sleep with him! I hardly know him!”

Magda just shrugged and grinned. “If you change your mind, be safe. You have a bit of cash on you, just in case of something unexpected happening, right? Enough to get a cab home?”

“Yes.”

“Then you’re all set to go have an awesome night.”

Damon arrived at the door just moments past six o’clock, in close-fitting black leather pants that she thought were from Darkside, with a plain black t-shirt and black leather jacket that were definitely Brightside​—​it was an amazingly sensual look, and Kate licked suddenly dry lips.

Damon greeted her with a warm smile. “Ready to go?”

Magda crossed her arms and gave him a stern look. “Are your intentions towards my best friend honourable?”

“You must be joking. I thought you knew me better than that.”

“Okay. Just so we’re clear on that. Off you go, children, and have fun.”

“Children,” Damon snorted, and opened the door. “After you, milady Kate.”

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2 – Silver Linings

Kate considered her reflection in the full-length mirror uncertainly. “Are you sure about this?”

Magda nodded firmly, though her back was to Kate as she searched through her closet. “It’ll be fine, Kate. You came to visit because you needed a change, right? Well, going out for dinner is definitely a change. Honestly, you were practically living like a cloistered nun in Tullovar. It’s just a few of my friends, you’ll like them. If you relax and let yourself, anyway.”

Kate sighed. “I’m sorry. Just nerves. It’s been a while. I’m a bit out of touch with what’s in style Brightside, do I look okay?”

Magda turned around, shrugging into the dark blue and silver bolero jacket that matched her pants. “Black ankle boots, long black skirt, unbleached peasant blouse, chain belt? That’s a pretty timeless classic. And it suits you. It’s not like we’re going anywhere formal, anyway. It’s a bothsider hangout, for heaven’s sake.” She scooped up a small grey purse that Kate knew held money, keys, and cellphone, and gestured to the door of her bedroom. “Come on, before you can get yourself any more worked up than you are. Honestly, Kate, just trust me, please. You’re going to have fun, all right?” She herded Kate through the apartment’s living room, and out to the common landing.

“If I didn’t trust you, I wouldn’t be here,” Kate laughed. Magda was right, and she knew it; it hadn’t been so hard to bury the sense of something missing, while she’d been keeping herself busy. But without her job, she was uncomfortably aware of creeping loneliness. Of course, making friends here wouldn’t help, unless a job turned up locally, which she doubted; Magda was a good friend, but she couldn’t sleep on Magda’s couch forever. But at least they were bothsiders, and she wouldn’t have to carefully avoid mentions of Darkside while trying to find plausible excuses for how little she knew of recent Brightside events.

“Precisely. Are you okay walking? It’s only a few blocks.”

Kate nodded. “Walking is fine. It’s beautiful out.”

“Done any more thinking about what you want to do now?”

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1 – Fantasies

Whatever bound her wrists above her head, it was as soft as it was strong.

Possibly it was the same substance across her eyes, leaving her blind to her surroundings. Almost certainly, it was the same substance around her ankles, anchoring them to something on the cool hard floor so she was forced to stand with her bare feet the width of her shoulders apart.

The air was warm enough to team up with her heightened adrenaline and encourage her to sweat, but the humidity was low and she could feel it drying on her exposed skin—which was all of it. Every so often, a whisper of a breeze wrapped around her, tickling her impartially in places intimate and not. It brought no sounds with it, though. The silence around her wasn’t the vast and echoing sort, but softer, the silence of a private safe retreat from the world. Within it, she could hear the rapid thumping of her own heart.

She wasn’t alone. Without sight or sound, she knew that, even before the touch. A gloved hand, tracing the line of her jaw with a finger, the slow speed and light pressure as smooth as the leather, and she whimpered, turned her head in a futile attempt to catch that finger in her mouth. That finger strayed down along her side of her throat, opened into a palm at the level of her collarbone, and drew a path of hotly stimulated skin from there down over one breast, down over her belly and her hip. Ankles bound, there was no way she could press her legs together to fend off the hand as it ventured up her inner thigh, up to stroke her outer labia. She moaned, fighting the restraints madly, as that gloved finger probed more deeply, found the hot wellspring of the lubrication that was making exploration so easy… Continue reading