When it started, Blaine wasn’t even supposed to be at work at all.
He’d finished his last session for the day, and he had dance class back at NYADA at four, so he still had to shower and change and have a mid-afternoon snack before he walked back over to campus. But he’d started talking with Greg and Silas in the subs’ lounge and he’d lost track of time. All the guys were so funny and kind, with none of the competitiveness or drama of the people he met at school. He’d taken this job because the hours were flexible and he liked getting to help people, but sometimes he thought the best part was getting to shoot the breeze in the lounge after sessions. Which was where Bruno found him.
“Got a walk-in,” he said gruffly from the doorway. Bruno was a big burly dom, one of the aides specifically there to make sure none of the clients overstepped their bounds. Maybe because he was the toughest-looking dom in the clinic, he was also the most careful about maintaining propriety. He never ventured into the lounge without a specific invitation, not even when the door was open. “The boss wants Devon for it, if you’re free.”
“Me?” Blaine frowned.
Bruno shrugged. “Should be an easy one. Guess you’re due.”
Blaine had had a bad session the week before; a dom who’d been standoffish and ticcy in the intake interview had turned dangerously violent during the session. Bruno had needed to intervene — a first for Blaine — and the dom had been taken to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation. Blaine had shaken the incident off, but it was good to know that Maura, who did all the scheduling, wanted to make it up to him.
Blaine checked his watch: one-thirty. Plenty of time to do a session and still make it back to school for class. “Sure. I can do it.”
On his way out the door, he grabbed one of the adhesive eye masks the subs had to wear during sessions. It didn’t do all that much to disguise his appearance, but Blaine figured it was mostly about the spirit of the thing. The mask and the shapeless beige uniform he wore were reminders to both him and the client that this was a clinical intervention, not a personal relationship.
“So, what’s the scoop?” he asked as Bruno walked him downstairs to the floor filled with treatment rooms. He wondered if it was another widower. They never wanted anything more than the minimum they needed to stave off the sickness, and Blaine liked working with them because he knew he was really helping.
“It’s a kid. That’s why Maura wanted you for it.”
“A kid?” Blaine had a weird moment of imagining a little boy, sweaty with the sickness.
Bruno nodded. “College kid, like you. Late bloomer. It happens. Not so much as it used to, with all the chemicals and shit they put in the food now, but it does. Kid got his mark at sixteen, already a little late, right, but from what I could tell from the paperwork, the hormones didn’t fully kick in. Now they have.”
Bruno thrust the papers into Blaine’s hand, and he reviewed them quickly. Healthy, nineteen year old gay male, extreme late-stage sickness. Referred by his school’s health services office. No personally identifying information, as usual, only an ID code: K0412.
“Kid’s pretty freaked out by the whole thing,” Bruno continued. “Maura thought someone his own age would make him more comfortable, and you’re the youngest guy we’ve got.”
For a moment, Blaine let himself regret the fantasy he’d constructed when Bruno summoned him out of the lounge — the knowledgeable older dom who’d need to maybe paddle Blaine a little and let himself be comforted as he mourned his lost beloved. But this kid sounded like he really needed help, and Blaine was the one to give it to him. He affixed the mask to his face and went into the treatment room.
They’d put client K0412 in the plainest and smallest of the treatment rooms: white walls, industrial carpeting, no windows. There was a large armchair, a paddling bench, a set of manacles on the wall, some throw pillows on the floor. Most of the toys and supplies were stored in deep white drawers built into the wall. It was as neutral and unremarkable a space as the clinic had to offer. But the client — Blaine’s dom for the next hour — was sitting on the floor, as far away from all of it as he could get. He was backed up against the far wall, his arms wrapped around his knees. His head was down and he was trembling. Blaine had been working at the clinic for over four months, and he’d seen a lot, but he’d never seen anyone in such bad shape.
“Hi,” Blaine said softly as Bruno shut the door behind him. “My name is Devon. My safewords are yellow and red. How may I serve you?” It was a rote phrase, something he said at the start of every session, and it was reassuring at least for him to start with something familiar.
The client didn’t even look up. “You can go away.”
Blaine blinked in surprise. “I... I can’t do that, sir. You’re not well, and you need me. I couldn’t bear it if I left you here like this when I can help.”
“No.” The client’s voice was low and shaky. “No. I’ll hurt you.”
In his current state, the client didn’t look capable of lifting the clinic’s lightest flogger, let alone using it.
“Sir, no. I promise. You won’t do anything to me that I’m not comfortable with.” He walked closer to where the client sat, and squatted so they’d be eye to eye if Blaine ever got him to look up. “If you want, I can have the guard come in...?” Blaine didn’t think this dom was so far gone that he’d ignore a safeword, but he’d try whatever it took to make him comfortable.
The client shrunk even further into himself. “No. No. It’s too humiliating having anyone see me like this. No one else.”
“I can help you get better,” Blaine said, a little insistent. “You don’t have to be sick anymore.”
The client looked up. A lock of his light brown hair fell across his forehead as he raised his head. “I have these dreams now and there’s — he keeps saying no but I don’t stop, and — it’s awful.”
In his high school years, Blaine had heard doms talk about the vivid dreams they had when their dominance hormones kicked in. He’d always thought it was so much over-exaggerated bullshit; it wasn’t like he hadn’t had some sex dreams he wasn’t ready for at first too. But the open fear in this young man’s eyes made him think that maybe he’d been unfair.
“It’s okay,” Blaine said. “Nothing bad is going to happen here. I promise. We could start slow. Maybe you could hold me down or something?”
The client took a deep breath. “Would you want that?” For the first time, he seemed intrigued.
Blaine smiled. “Yeah. Please, sir.” He stood up and headed over to the pile of throw pillows on the floor. They would be much more comfortable than getting pressed down into the carpet. But when he turned around, the client hadn’t moved; he was still sitting there, watching, with his blue-green eyes wide and worried. Blaine did some quick recalculation.
“Okay,” he said. “Okay. How about, you could sit in the chair, and I’ll kneel, and you could just hold me there?” It was barely domination at all; Blaine wasn’t sure it would be enough for a client this sick. But the client nodded, and started to push himself up to his feet.
It wasn’t the kind of thing Blaine usually said about doms, but this guy was beautiful: pale and lean and graceful even as he was obviously having trouble holding himself up. He had delicate features, but there was a strength and determination to him that was compelling. Blaine knew that his job as a clinic assistant was to provide non-sexual submission to doms who needed the release, and he never minded if they were old, or different looking, or whatever. But he had almost forgotten what it was like to submit to a man he actually found physically attractive.
Blaine waited until the client settled himself into the armchair before he walked over to stand in front of him. He looked down, not challenging but curious.
“Aren’t you going to kneel?” said the client.
Blaine tilted his head and studied the client carefully. He still looked scared, but now he looked interested too. Maybe Blaine could push him, just a little bit. “Do you want me to, sir?”
“Yes.” He sounded certain and uncertain, all at once.
“Will you order me to kneel, sir?”
The client swallowed hard at that. “I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten your name already.”
“It’s B-Devon, sir.” Blaine caught himself in the nick of time. Using his middle name was an important part of keeping this impersonal for him; usually, it wasn’t hard to remember.
“All right.” The client paused, like he was steeling himself for it, and then said “ Kneel for me, Devon.”
Blaine lowered himself to his knees in a single smooth gesture; it was a hard thing to do, and he knew it looked impressive. The client swallowed again, and his legs fell open a little, unconsciously. Blaine moved closer to kneel between them. He placed his forearms on the chair’s arms, palms up, and waited.
“Are you comfortable?” the client asked. He sounded concerned, but a little more certain. Blaine nodded, not wanting to break the moment. “Okay. Good. I’m — I’m going to restrain you now.”
Deliberately, he placed his hands on Blaine’s elbows, and lowered his arms onto Blaine’s. It wasn’t much of a restraint, but the weight of it was nice. When the client pressed down a little, Blaine let his eyes flutter closed and his head bow. The stillness of it, and the effects of being held down, were working on him, and he figured that meant they were helping the client too.
The client shifted in his chair, and then one of his hands was on the back of Blaine’s neck, squeezing a little. Blaine flinched out of reflex and surprise, but it also felt surprisingly good. He couldn’t remember anyone doing that before. It was such a small gesture, but it made him feel so much: taken, and kept, and held. He whimpered with it, wanting more.
“Are you okay?” the client asked.
“Green,” Blaine said quickly, and he hadn’t told the client about that, had he? “Green is —”
“Green means go, yes,” the client said. “I figured that out.” His voice was steadier, and he even sounded a little amused.
He tightened his grip, and Blaine whined helplessly at it, pain and pleasure and the rush of submission.
“God,” the client breathed. “You like this. You like this.”
“Sir,” he managed. “Please.” And then everything went fuzzy, and he was lost to it.
He came back to himself again with his head resting on the client’s knee, and the client’s hand in his hair. His wrists were tied together, and the client was holding them gently against his other leg. Blaine blinked.
“Are you okay?” asked the client. “You kind of spaced out on me at the end there, but you seemed fine, so...”
“Um.” Blaine couldn't remember the last time he went under so deep, from so little. “Sure.” He blinked again hard and straightened up, sitting back on his heels. He needed to shake it off. He had a job to do. “That was subspace. It’s a good thing.”
“That was subspace? Oh.” The client’s eyes widened. “Oh! You need some water, or some juice, right? I don’t have anything.”
Blaine didn’t want to smile, because he didn’t want the client to think he was being condescending, but it was hard not to: he was touched by the concern. “If you go to the drawers, there’s some there.” The client carefully stood and walked over to the wall of drawers, and Blaine directed him to the aftercare supplies. The client brought back a juice box and a wrapped piece of dark chocolate, and Blaine took them gratefully, if awkwardly, in his still-bound hands. “Maybe you could untie me?”
“Right.” The client blushed a furious red, and leaned over to examine his own handiwork. He’d used his necktie and the knots had tightened through use. “Hold on. This may take a minute.”
Blaine unwrapped the small square of chocolate and let it melt in his mouth while the client worked. He could feel it already softening the shift back to reality. The client hmmmed to himself and picked harder at the fabric.
“I guess you haven’t really had to use your knot skills since Dom Ed,” Blaine said. He’d meant it to be kind, a way of showing that he didn’t mind the wait, but it made the client’s face go still and unreadable, so he knew it was a mistake.
“Dom Ed at my high school was a joke,” the client told him. “The head cheerleading coach taught it, and she mostly spent the time lecturing us on her theories about local politics and interpersonal relationships. No practical information, unless you count how to do a burpee.”
Blaine frowned. That sounded awful, and a universe away from the upbeat, informational Sub Ed classes he’d taken at Dalton. No wonder the client had been so freaked out. “That’s terrible. You should know some basic things -- it’ll give you confidence when you’re ready to take a sub for real.” He wished there was something he could do, until he remembered that there was. “I have an old Dom Ed textbook, a pretty good one.” If you could ignore Cooper’s drawings in the margins, that was. Blaine had referred to it a lot when he first started at the clinic. “If you want, I could leave it at the front desk for you, if you promise to bring it back.”
The client had managed to loosen one of the knots, and was working on the second. “So I couldn’t — if I came back, I couldn’t ask for you again?”
“Oh.” Of course it made sense that the client wasn’t ready to go find a sub on his own yet: most of their clients required multiple visits. Blaine hadn’t thought about what that might mean, though. “No, of course, if you wanted, you could do that too. But you don’t have to.”
“I’d like to,” said the client. His eyes were on his work, and his face was unreadable. “If that’s okay with you.” When Blaine nodded, he said, “Thank you. Do I ask for Devon?”
“That should be enough,” Blaine said. He’d never had someone ask for him specifically before, at least not that he knew of.
The second knot loosened and his hands came free. Blaine flapped them around a little to make sure the circulation was okay before he opened the juice box and started drinking.
“Devon,” the client repeated. “Okay. Well, thank you, Devon.”
Sometimes coming down after a session was tough, but despite how strongly he’d reacted to having his neck held, Blaine felt really good. Warm, and loose-limbed, and satisfied. It was nice. “Thank you, sir.”
“Kurt,” said the client. “My name’s Kurt.”