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Hitting the high notes

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"I would look so good, a constellation of tears on my lashes," Pete whispers, and Patrick tries to elbow him in his sleep. Then the words paint a picture and Patrick's morning wood twitches and God damn it, this can't go on.

 

For the past three days, Pete has been trying to talk Patrick into caning him until Pete is sobbing and begging. Pete is a silver tongued fiend and this would be much, much easier if Patrick wasn't tempted by the idea of an incoherent, begging, wrecked beyond his wits Pete to begin with. Not to mention the thought of bumpy welts to caress as Pete hisses for days after. Fucking Pete. Well, there's a thought, actually.

 

"Every day you bring this up you don't get to come," Patrick warns. "Now blow me." He was much nicer about this three days ago. He is being worn thin. The thing is that Patrick doesn't want to actually hurt Pete. Like, pain is okay, pain is fine. This scene Pete wants, and describes so very vividly, however, is not about the caning or the pain. It's about seizing full control and allowing Pete to let go entirely. Which could be awesome, if Patrick isn't lost to it himself, getting high on Pete's whines and pleas and, God, actual tears. Patrick almost comes as soon as Pete wraps his lips around his dick, just thinking about it.

 

After coming Patrick feels more level headed, and Pete is squirming. He earned it though. "Get the cock cage", Patrick says, and Pete looks wounded but complies. The bond buzzes excitedly, nothing to worry about, now.

 

"I'm fucking serious," Patrick says as he straps the cage into place, ignoring Pete's whimpers. "If you try to drive me nuts with your dirty talk, you're driving yourself nuts as well, and you're getting no relief." Pete opens his mouth to reply, stops when it's a perfect O-shape, and then opens and closes it a few times, like a fish out of water. Then he groans out a "fuuuuck," shuts his mouth again, and drops to his knees.

 

It is clearly far too early for this. Patrick just heads to the bathroom, at this point mostly set to "he made his bed, he will sleep in it", and actually wishing for more sleep himself.

 

The rules have pretty much been laid down, so obviously Pete would try to push the limits immediately. When Patrick's back, Pete is wearing his most innocent expression. The beat in the bond suggests something insidious, and it quickly becomes clear what, as Pete waves a paper and proclaims, "I was just testing out lyrics! And they totally work!" Patrick might have let it go if it weren't for the triumphant smile that betrays Pete's true intentions.

 

"Don't care, still counts," Patrick counters, relieved when the beat of the bond gets faster, more excited. Playing with rules and boundaries can be tricky with Pete; he often expects to fail, or worse, expects nothing of himself. He can do just fine, though, and even if not, he has really brought this one on himself. Making the rules clear should make this easier. It could be a fun game.

 

Trust Pete to make use of every loophole, though. "So today's already lost to me?" Pete asks, eyes big and smile suggestive. Fuck. It's not even 9am. They have a writing session today, they have a rehearsal, and Jesus, they have like 3 hours together in between. Backing away now would be horribly disappointing to both of them, though. And Pete's stuck with the cock cage, whereas Patrick can come as many times as necessary (and oh, it will be necessary. Have you met Pete?)

 

“Yeah, it’s lost. You’re not coming today,” Patrick says, resigned to a trying day of teasing. Tomorrow might be easier, though.

 

~~~

 

The writing session is a disaster. Well, it seems it’s a damn picnic for Pete, while Joe and Andy seem oblivious, and actually productive. Patrick tries to vanish into thin air when he blushes at phrases like “I’m ruined and I know it/ I’m desperate and devoted /undressed and defenseless” Pete just tosses out there, like it’s nothing special. Which, given the usual amount of emotional exposure in his lyrics, maybe it really isn’t. To Pete, anyway.

 

He really almost loses it when Pete pulls out an entire page full of thinly veiled puns on breathplay. It’s all covered with smoking references, and if it weren’t for the sudden change in the sound coming through the bond Patrick would have probably dismissed it. Not the way Pete starts buzzing right before he reads out “I want to choke/ get sick off of you/ you second hand smoke/ I breathe you in” and “I can't do this again /I need more oxygen”.

 

At least it’s not effective teasing, because breathplay is just, no. But the way Pete’s giddy about it, he’s getting worse, brattier than normal. If they keep this up much longer, he may try to convince Patrick to throw him out the window or impale him on a spear, right through the heart. Pete wouldn’t even be doing it in the self harm, self loathing way he gets, just in a total control way, a sort of grand gesture of commitment and devotion. Even though it’s doesn’t get to Patrick the way Pete meant it to, it does bring his walls down just a bit further.

 

This is going to be a long day. Maybe a long week.

 

It does get easier when Joe suggests a chord progression and they can work on the actual music, though. Patrick eases into it and lets the excited buzz flow by him, relaxing into the possibilities of a new song.

 

~~~

 

The rehearsal is for one of the smaller award ceremonies, so there’s a lot of downtime while technicalities are being handled. Pete is in a cheerful mood, which is nice. He doesn’t let up on the double entendres and innuendos with anyone who walks by. For the most part that’s okay, but occasionally, a pun hits Patrick so hard and so suddenly he feels lucky to have a wall to lean against. Like right now, Pete is fending off a good humored question about hooking up while on tour, wriggling his eyebrows and claiming he’s under a gag order.

 

The thought of gagging Pete just so he can’t keep making those horrible, horrible puns leads to a mental image that only makes things worse. Pete tied, hands over his head, gagged, breathing hard, pleading in broken moans, tears streaming down his face, his eyes wide with pain. Patrick tries to hide his hard on and his flushed face by turning half into the wall. It either doesn’t work, or the bond gives him away, because Pete stops mid sentence, his face frozen, staring at Patrick, mouth open, turning redder by the second. The tech he was joking with may have noticed something but ey’s too busy anyway, so ey makes some parting comment and leaves.

 

Pete practically stumbles to Patrick, holding on to him like a drowning man. He speaks softly, right in Patrick's ear. "You know you wanna. You know I wanna. I want it so badly. Please, please, please, please, Patrick, c'mon." It doesn't help, the edge of actual begging Pete lets his voice slip into. "C'mon. Give me one reason why not."

 

For a fraction of a second that stretches on forever, Patrick is grasping for a reason and can't find it. Eventually he finds one, the only real one. "I don't want to actually hurt you," Patrick says, and the finality of his tone reveals a deep truth, he didn’t realize how deep until now. It may be the only thing he wants more than giving Pete every single thing he needs, and almost everything he asks for. Protecting Pete from himself isn't Patrick's responsibility, but keeping him safe in a scene is. Keeping him safe in this relationship is. Someone has to look out for the red lines.

 

Pete can't always see his own limits. Sometimes he sees them and wants to go on anyway, either because he thinks he deserves it, in a desperate attempt to involve others in his self destruction, or because he is trying to prove something, mostly to himself.

 

"You won't," Pete says with certainty Patrick can't realistically hope to sway him from.

 

Luckily, or unluckily, Joe finishes whatever he was doing with Josh and calls them to stage. They head there. Pete has that determined look on his face, the one that says he sunk his teeth into something and isn't letting go. He'll keep his jaw locked like a bulldog.

 

Usually that would be the point to either give in or get in a fist fight. Now, neither of these seem like an option, but there will probably be shouting tonight. Patrick tries not to think about it.

 

~~~

 

There is shouting that evening. A lot of it. They both dig their heels in. It's pretty bad, even for them. And it’s repetitive. A fist fight might have been easier, probably would have ended sooner. They have to work through this somehow, though. On the fourth time Patrick screams “You can’t know that for sure!” Pete goes silent, and then concentrates. The bond sounds like a horrible cacophony, like pots and pans thrown down a spiral staircase, and before Patrick even realizes it he’s holding Pete close, in a probably-too-tight hug.

 

Pete breathes, “See, I can,” and then chokes into Patrick’s neck, because whatever he decided to think about was just too much and isn’t it just like Pete, to hurt himself just to prove a point.

 

Patrick cuffs him, but not hard. “Don’t do that, okay? I can’t, when you…” he trails off, focusing on petting Pete’s neck and combing his fingers through Pete’s hair until the bond sounds right again.

 

Pete says again, quietly, “See, I can. You won’t go on if it’s too much. I know you won’t. Not even if I want you to,” and there’s a hidden melancholy in his tone, and the bond raises some dark and low brass, suggesting the wish is always there, at least a little, and it breaks Patrick’s heart.

 

He spoons Pete that night and wishes he could protect him from himself. That night, for once, Patrick only falls asleep after Pete’s breath evens and slows in his sleep.

 

~~~

 

Patrick’s not even sure if the low murmur of “Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease” falling from Pete’s lips is sleep talk or intentional, when it wakes him. The cage is hard against the side of his hip and Pete is thrusting, looking for friction he can’t get. Patrick derives some pride and satisfaction from knowing he’s brought Pete to such desperate half-awake need after just one day.

 

Truth be told, Pete has done it to himself, mostly, but it is proving an effective method. Probably. Even if Pete keeps teasing when he’s up, right now he’s desperate and defenseless, and these lyrics Pete brought up yesterday really do work. Maybe if the lyrics are laid on the hook, and if the chord progression is right, he has to try this out. Patrick starts getting out of bed, when Pete clutches his arm and makes a needy whine. Even if Pete doesn’t try teasing at all, today may not be any easier than yesterday. They will hopefully skip the shouting match, though.

 

Of course he wouldn’t hurt Pete intentionally, or knowingly, but what if he gets carried away? What if his high of complete control makes him, not ignore, maybe just respond too slowly to Pete’s distress? How can he ask Pete for his trust if he doesn’t trust himself? And why is Pete so fucking sure he’ll know when to stop, anyway? What if he doesn’t, what if Pete doesn’t even notice and he’s too in it to realize, or care?

 

Way to spoil his own mood. But caressing Pete’s chest and slightly pinching his nipples, seeing his tortured, lustful, nearly awake frenzy are a quick fix for that. Those moans are addictive. Playing Pete by ear - or by bond - is the most amazing high. The moans stop being his guide and it’s like letting a song be written, just try and try on hunches and intuition until he finds the right beat, the right note, the right sound. Pete is fully awake now and he is definitely playing along. If Pete just keeps his mouth shut for a few more minutes they can both come.

 

Patrick can’t back out of the game, at this point. Pete needs Patrick to keep his word more than Patrick needs to give Pete leeway.

 

Of course Pete won’t fucking wait. He whispers, “Make it so good I’ll cry,” and it’s a challenge. A dare. He means “Call me out on it”, and if that’s what he wants, that’s what he’ll get. The bond soars in a crescendo as Patrick pinches and licks and bites at Pete’s nipples and chest and throat, but he stops when Pete resumes the pleading ”Pleasepleaseplease”, this time fully awake. Patrick uses the most vicious tone he can come up with in this state to say, “Not today, either.”

 

The groan ripped from Pete is frustration and relief and trust and devotion and if Patrick doesn’t come soon he may lose his mind.

 

Teasing can go both ways, and this can still be much, much worse for Pete. Patrick gently pushes Pete face down, gets the lube and starts opening him, hyped and floating on the groans and pleads and the occasional sob. When Patrick pushes in, the bond sounds like an entire fucking brass section of an orchestra. Each thrust sounds like the string section joining in. Pete turns his head sideways and the tears pouring out feel right, not hurt or broken, just free. Patrick comes and the sound of wailing reeds is overwhelming.

 

Patrick holds Pete close for a while, wiping the tears off his face and letting him recover from what Pete calls, with a mischievous smile, "a rude awakening."

 

"To be fair, you started it," Patrick points out, trying to hide the glee in his voice. No point, it seems, as Pete groans and melts into the hug, relishing in whatever mean streak he manages to evoke in Patrick. This time Patrick examines it more carefully than he usually would. Pete enjoys the viciousness, but it feels more like the sweet acoustic guitar sound of devotion than any distortion effects of thrill, or the dark, painful sound, all too familiar, of Pete’s self destructive moods.

 

Pete is not using the viciousness as an instrument of self harm. It may be a state of mind thing, or it could be something else. Patrick decides it’s safe enough to tug at it. "Do something for me?" he asks, not trying to hide the catch.

 

Pete must feel it because the bond is thrumming as he says, soft and sure, "Anything."

 

Patrick lets his pride fill him, and tightens his hold. "Whenever you think of touching yourself today, or whenever you think of me touching you, I want you to keep count." The widening of Pete's eyes, the climb of his eyebrows feed Patrick’s smugness and heat his skin.

 

Pete gasps for air. "Wh-what for?" He flails for the words.

 

Good.

 

"That's for me to know." Cheesy, but it gives Patrick some much needed leeway. There are a few options, and sometimes it’s best to wing it.

 

"Three," Pete blurts out, and Patrick can't help but snicker. "Already?" Pete looks almost resentful when he says, "Four. I'm gonna shower now." This is going to be very trying. Who’ll be the one tried, though, there’s a question.

 

By the time they head out, Pete reaches a dozen. By the time Patrick hits the empty studio, his phone beeps with a text from Pete reading “17”, followed by, “on air in 5.” It has to be intentional. Pete is playing it up. They are feeding off each other’s excitement, in a feedback loop that’s going to reach an annoying squeal at some point.

 

Probably.

 

Maybe.

 

It feels too good to stop right now. It’s testing the strength of Patrick’s resolve, and his ability to stop if they need to, and how high and out of control he really gets - that’s part of the point, right? The whole point, almost.

 

Patrick turns the radio on, listening to Pete’s good humored banter with the young and witty host. Patrick never promised to play fair. When the host brings up rumors about Pete’s love life, Patrick closes his eyes and imagines Pete, kneeling, wrists tied to ankles behind his back. Imagines pulling his hair so he is facing up, his eyes wide, pained and trusting. Imagines thrusting deep into Pete’s mouth, aiming for his gag reflex, pulling on his collar, controlling Pete’s breath. Imagines tears flowing like this morning, silent and grateful and free.

 

Patrick hears the studio door as it creaks open before he hears Pete coughing on the radio. The host is making a joke about some rumors being too outrageous to hear. Pete makes some easy remark shortly after, his voice a little raspy, and Patrick has to compose himself and get to work. He probes the bond, trying to ask “Was that too much?” but the answering sound has so much going on he isn’t even sure. He turns to shut the radio off and get to work when his phone beeps. The text only reads “21”. Patrick smiles and silences it.

 

~~~

 

Patrick gets swept up in music, as is often the case. Lunch break comes late, after 3pm, and it’s the first time he checks his phone in hours. There are over 40 new texts, all from Pete. Patrick skips to the last one, thinking it must all be numbers, wondering how high up they got. It’s not a number though. It’s a question mark. Skipping a few back, Patrick gathers Pete is waiting outside and asking permission to come in.

 

Patrick walks out, finding Pete just hanging by the building’s door with two cups of coffee. He holds one up to Patrick, mumbling “I brought you coffee.” Like he needs an excuse. He seems hesitant. Hopeful. There’s a strong need Patrick can feel through the bond, but he’s not sure what it is. It’s still a busy mess of sounds. He pulls Pete into a hug. “Asshole. You could have just come in, you know.” Doesn’t say, you can always come when you need me.

 

Pete seems even less sure of himself now. He needs anchoring, Patrick realizes. The other sort of reassurance. Shit. They have no privacy here, and no time to go elsewhere. Pete whispers, “64”, and looks nearly broken.

 

Shit.

 

Desperate times, desperate measures. Patrick leads Pete into the studio, ignoring the thought of who might be in there. Most went for lunch, thank God, some outside for a smoke. They may have ten minutes of privacy. It’s enough for a calculated risk. Pete doesn’t care about having an audience. Patrick lowers his tone, steels it despite his worry, and says “On your knees.” Pete sinks down like he could barely hold himself up and hugs Patrick’s calves, chanting “Please, please, please” like a mantra, like a prayer. The bond starts to sound better, though, and when Patrick pets his head in slow, long movements, it sounds right.

 

Pete breathes out a pained, “66.”

 

Patrick lifts his chin gently, looks him in the eyes. “If it’s too much, we can stop.” Pete hugs his legs tighter, shaking his head. Patrick tastes and listens to the bond, and to Pete, very carefully. Looking for signs of actual distress. There’s some fear, or anxiety, in shrieking high notes, but they’re occasional, not constant, and fading. “I know you can do it. I know you can be good for me.”

 

This works better. Pete collects himself, somehow. Patrick lets him stay on his knees, ignoring the risk of being found. A few minutes later Pete is much better. Patrick is relieved he doesn’t have to stop this yet. He sends Pete off with a hug and a whispered warning when people start getting back from lunch, strung out himself. If Pete keeps this up tomorrow, they won’t survive the week.

 

~~~

 

When Patrick gets back Pete is still out. His last text reads “83”. It lets Patrick plan ahead. And shower.

 

There are a few things he could do with this number. Simplest one could be a spanking. Sure to calm Pete down, give him an outlet and a rest. Not much by Pete’s standards, but helpful all the same. It would be relaxing, and nice, and reassuring.

 

Wasn’t the point to push the limits, though? To see how well they hold up? To see if Pete calls for a stop when he needs to - and whether Patrick is able to stop?

 

Only one way to push it further, then. If this doesn’t work then God help them, because they will both lose their minds.

 

Patrick jerks off in the shower, to keep a clearer head later. Also because planning gets him going. He doesn’t think about how it will register with Pete until he’s out of the shower, his phone beeps, and Pete texts to say he’ll be back in 20. Also, 86. Followed quickly by another text: 88.

 

~~~

 

“One minute for every time you thought about it.” It’s about an hour and a half. Pete whimpers but strips and lays on the bed as instructed, lets Patrick put the restraints on him, stretches his hands above his head and his legs straight together. Pete’s breathing hard even before Patrick sets up the timer. When the timer is set, but not started, Patrick puts on his meanest smile, and hopes it looks real. “You brought this on yourself, “ he says. He keeps eye contact when he reaches for the cage and undoes the straps.

 

Pete starts begging before it’s even removed. During the first twenty minutes Patrick gives Pete’s dick long but light licks. Pete begs for more, begs to stop, begs for a gag and for pain. He doesn’t safeword, though. Patrick takes mercy. After the first time he takes Pete’s dick all the way into his mouth and pauses there for about ten seconds, he sits up, puts one hand in Pete’s hair and the other pinching and twisting his nipples, hard. Some pain to ground him, just for a couple of minutes.

 

The next half hour isn’t any easier on Pete, but Patrick finds the sound he’s looking for, the one to keep Pete from getting too close. Whenever it gets too intense Patrick stops, as abruptly as he can make himself.

 

The fourth time Patrick stops, Pete starts crying, the same sort of unaware tears that mean he’s not holding anything back. His begging and pleading have turned into sobs and frustrated groans, but the bond sounds lighter, clearer, like a cleaned up track.

 

Patrick runs his nails along Pete’s sides until he calms down a little. “You’re so good for me, so good, I’m so proud of you,” he says, softly, again and again until Pete seems somewhat focused. “It’s been an hour. Do you want to stop?”

 

Pete thinks about this, earnestly. His voice is sound when he replies, just a tiny bit cheeky and a lot trusting, “Your call. I’m up for it.”

 

The rush Patrick gets out of Pete’s trust floods him. He struggles to think this through. Pete is uncomfortable, sure; he’s taking this beautifully, true; he doesn’t seem, or feel, like he’s in actual distress. Nowhere near it. Upon careful listening, Patrick can spot a note of excitement. “Just 25 more minutes,” he says, and Pete’s relief and pride are palpable.

 

These may be the most intense 25 minutes of play either of them ever had. Patrick drives Pete right up to the edge, playing it as close as he can, relying on face and body and bond and risking getting too close. Pete is incoherent and crying 5 minutes in. He keeps crying and moaning and begging ten minutes after the timer runs out, as Patrick runs his hands in smooth, long caresses over Pete’s ribs, chest, arms and face, untying him and holding him close.

 

They are both exhausted. Pete whispers “Thank you,” as Patrick straps the cage back into place, honesty and vulnerability in his voice. They fall asleep very soon after. Pete says, half asleep, “Gag me tomorrow so I don’t blow this.” Patrick celebrates this as a victory. Maybe there’s still hope for tomorrow.

 

~~~

 

Patrick realizes it’s a day off before he opens his eyes. This is going to be either amazing or terrible. He silently prays Pete manages to keep his mouth shut for just an hour. Just the one hour. It’s all they need. 15 minutes would do less nicely but it can be enough. After Pete comes they’ll both be much, much less high strung. Maybe they can talk this through once they untangle themselves from this game.

 

Patrick doesn’t expect what he finds, when he opens his eyes.

 

Pete is kneeling by the bed, head laid on it, not quite awake, wearing the big, soft gag. May have been there for hours. He was serious about not blowing this. Or, you know. Not messing this up.

 

Patrick sighs. This is not a solution. As he starts unbuckling the gag, Pete shakes awake and makes a clear noise of protest.

 

“You can’t… We need to talk this over,” Patrick tries, but Pete lifts 3 fingers, equivalent of Red as safeword: Stop. Patrick’s outraged. “You’re safewording?”

 

Pete nods his head, sure and clear.

 

The fuck is up.

 

“You can’t safeword out of talking to me!” Patrick is at a loss. No way can they just not talk about it. Pete looks surprised, shaking his head decidedly. Then he points at Patrick and gives a thumb up - giving Patrick the green light - and points at the gag, lifting 3 fingers again.

 

He wants Patrick to talk, and to keep the fucking gag. The pieces fall into place. “You want me to do the talking, so you can’t push me into stuff you shouldn’t?”

 

Even through the gag, Pete’s smile is happy and proud and smug. His nod is a clear yes.

 

Patrick has to admit it’s a pretty clever idea. Pete can only communicate simple things - yes, no, green, yellow and red, but it could be enough.

 

“Sure about that?”

 

Pete’s answering shrug and nod are a clear answer. Yes, if for lack of a better way.

 

Okay. This could work.

 

Patrick has to try just one more time. “You know, we can stop this game, or take a break. Talk like two mature adults, and then decide if we want to go back again or not.”

 

Pete nods, lowers his brows, looking disappointed. It translates roughly to, “Yeah, we could, but where’s the fun in that?”

 

Sometimes it’s easier to express emotionally heavy things in play. Things that are hard to ask for are easier if you pretend you have no choice, or just playing a role. It’s not like Patrick hasn’t played into that one the last couple of days. If Pete has to sleep in the bed he made, it’s only fair it would go both ways. Not the most mature thing to do, but who says they have to take the bumpier road? It’s worth a shot. No reason to have a difficult talk when it can be light.

 

“O - kay. Hmmm.” Patrick pauses, trying to phrase the things he wants to say. “I need to be sure you’ll safeword if you need to. In any scene. Can you do that?”

 

Pete half nods. Yes, but no certainty in it.

 

“If I can’t trust you to stop me when you need to, we can’t go very far. I don’t want to really hurt you. If I don’t know you’ll stop, I have to be careful even when I think we’re safe. Get it?”

 

Pete nods, more certain this time. Then a thumb up. Green on this.

 

Good. “I need you to always be able to stop me, even if it’s just to make sure I know what I’m doing, or if you need me to know something, or whatever. If I can’t trust you on this, I can’t trust myself. I don’t want to stop playing, but we will if we have to.” It’s basics, but they bear repeating before negotiating a scene that’s meant to push on limits. Doesn’t matter whether they’re Pete’s limits, or Patrick’s.

 

Pete lifts his thumb again. Then points to the gag, lifts his eyebrows. Warm notes through the bond, some pride. He’s pointing out he feels safe enough to safeword. Even in unorthodox circumstances, even if it feels ridiculous.

 

That’s good. Patrick says so. Pete smiles again, and that smile through the gag will be the death of Patrick. Pete looks so good, and safe, and trusting, it makes Patrick want to hug him and fuck him in equal measures. He settles on hugging with one arm, enough to keep looking at Pete’s face.

 

Down to actual business. “The scene you want - the caning,” Pete has two eager thumbs up, “I think I got the crying. Like what we had yesterday, and the day before? That’s the thing you meant.”

 

Pete is trumpets through the bond and a smile and a thumb up. Enthusiastic consent if Patrick ever saw one. No surprise, Pete has been pushing this for a week.

 

The begging part doesn’t need discussing. It’s a fun game and they do it a lot. Could even be called a favorite. That leaves the last stretch, the thing Patrick is cautious about.

 

“We both know scenes can go wrong. If you’re beyond words, do you really think you could stop me? You won’t get stuck in your head, forget you can stop? Forget it’s just a scene?” Pete scowls and Patrick can hear the bond going on something like a feedback squeal, trapped in a bad place, it’s too much. It takes him a second to realize Pete is recalling just that, and he wants to kill whoever did that to him. Pete rests his hand on Patrick’s clenched fist, looks in his eyes, and nods once, sharply.

 

Pete reaches his other hand, pulls the gag out, lets it rest on his throat. “If I get there -” Pete lifts his hand, cutting whatever reply Patrick starts to form, “If I do, we won’t, but anyway, you wouldn’t go on, when I’m like that.” And then he puts the gag back in. Asshole.

 

He has a point. No matter how hyped Patrick gets, he couldn’t go on if Pete felt like that, appeared in actual distress. It would just be wrong. Somehow, knowing exactly what it sounds like makes it better. It won’t take him 3 seconds to stop at that. It won’t take him even one.

 

It seems to be settled, then. Still, this sort of thing has to come with a price. It would leave Pete way too smug if he just got it. No end to the “I told you so”s Patrick will have to endure. He has to make it a challenge.

 

It is a day off.

 

“So. Here’s your choice.” Patrick sets it up in his deep voice, like it’s just another game, like it hasn’t been an entire week of dancing around this. “I can make you come now. I’ll stretch it out as much as you can take, if you want me to.” Pete’s eyes widen and drool comes out of the side of the gag - well, he can’t swallow, can he.

 

“Or, you can give up on coming today, and we’ll go pick a cane together and then give you a caning so hard you’ll cry and beg and forget how to use words.”

 

It’s nowhere near as vivid as Pete’s creative metaphors, but it does the trick. Pete lights up, two thumbs up, then hugging Patrick’s midsection so hard it may leave marks, and the bond sounds like a church choir.

 

~~~

 

It’s like learning to play an instrument, or learning a new language. After a while you stop consciously thinking about the placing of the fingers or the meaning of each word. Start to concentrate on the sounds, and how they fit the melody, or the thing you’re trying to say.

 

The warm up gets sort of familiar, after a while. Patrick aims, strikes, then pauses, listens. Pete gasps, then lets out a long breath. The bond goes on an impossibly high note, then drifts down, deep and vibrating strings that feel like comfort and safety. The cane is new, but the emotions are familiar. They’ve done this dozens of times, one way or another.

 

Pete is in a calm and floating state, tied spread eagle on the bed. If he tugs on his restraints, it’s a twitch, his body responding to the pain without any conscious thought.

 

Time to play this up. Aim for the highest possible note. Patrick can’t tell if he uses more force or swings his wrist differently. It doesn’t matter. Patrick’s focus is fully on the bond. For one beat, the world freezes with an intense note of pain, bow stretching longer than any violinist could make it. Then a wave of relief, familiar acoustic guitar. Trust. It’s trust.

 

It feels good. Relief, and an excited buzz, wash over Patrick. He does it again.

 

He’s not sure if Pete is floating higher and he’s listening in or if they’re both getting high on this separately, feeding each other. He’s pretty sure he’d be high on this even with the bond muted - but this is ten times better than it would have been, otherwise.

 

Patrick finds the right rhythm. An almost steady one. The off-beat strikes just as important. On the seventh - much sooner than Patrick expects - Pete lets go. The bond opens like surround sound. Patrick doesn’t have to look at Pete’s face to know the tears are here.

 

Pete’s soft, mumbled pleas turn less verbal as they go on. His body lies loose, clenching and twitching with each strike, then relaxing again.

 

The moans Pete lets out are delicious, arousing. Patrick doesn’t notice how he licks his lips at them. Too focused on Pete to notice how hard he is.

 

Pete’s ass and thighs are a magnificent set of red lines, welts that will last a few days. Patrick sends an unthinking hand to run over them, to feel the bumps, and Pete yelps and melts. It must hurt, but the soft touch is a much needed comfort. A reminder Pete is safe here.

 

Pete isn't entirely lost in it, because he's verbal enough to say, "More". Clear, almost demanding.

 

Patrick looks for the flowing place, the connected place. He starts striking in time with the bond, losing himself in the music. It gets them further than they'd ever get otherwise. Once, it leads to 4 strikes in quick succession and a piercing high note. They've found the point of Pete's maximal pain endurance, it seems. Pete grunts, "Yellow", and it's sort of funny and a little scary, that what Patrick would call a hard limit is, to Pete, a soft one: continue with caution, but continue all the same. Like he can’t see a red line before it’s crossed.

 

Patrick slows down, makes room for softer, reassuring sets between the intensive, painful ones. Pete seems to open up more and more, his thoughts quieting. He winds down, becomes more serene. It’s another layer of submission: Pete trusts Patrick enough to keep him safe when he lets go of body and mind.

 

It’s the essence of all they try to do, all they try to get out of playing: this time out, this sacred space out of everyday life, where Pete can let go of everything, and Patrick can catch him and protect him.

 

Maybe it’s impossible to get there without testing the limits. Maybe not, and it’s got fuck all to do with limits and everything to do with trust. Right now, when they’re in this bubble, it doesn’t matter.

 

The intensive, pain-heavy strikes come a few at a time. Changing intervals, not a steady beat. They make Pete squirm, sometimes jump in pain and surprise. He moans, and grunts, and yelps. During the really painful ones he tenses up, freezes, head lifting in silence.

 

It’s always fascinating to Patrick, how with Pete, the most pain gets the quietest reaction.

 

In between these clusters of mean ones, Patrick aims back to the steady beat and comforting, light sting that leads Pete to relaxation. Almost like he could fall asleep at any moment. He could be asleep, if not for the tears and the occasional hushed moan.

 

There’s something to be said for the power trip Patrick gets out of controlling Pete on this basic level. Not submission or compliance - Pete just hands himself over, letting Patrick control every aspect of his experience in this.

 

Pride and love fill Patrick’s chest. He wants to hug Pete, but that can wait for later.

 

Patrick knows it’s time to stop when the bond gets monotonous, repetitive. They’re not getting any further than this. Pete is the calmest wreck. Tears trailing on his cheeks, quiet sighs and moans coming out of his mouth, his body barely reacting to the pain. He’s so beautiful when he lets go, so tranquil.

 

Patrick lets Pete float in this state, undoing the restraints, running his fingers in slow, flowing movements along Pete’s body, letting Pete feel his affection and care. Checks all the extremities for circulation and rubs Pete’s wrists and ankles, making sure they won’t be stiff later.

 

He keeps touching Pete, not because they are turned on, even though they are, but because to float freely, Pete has to feel he’s anchored. It fills Patrick with a sort of satisfaction that he doesn’t know how to put into words. He can try to make music that feels like it, maybe.

 

He’s grateful for Pete’s trust, and he tries to express that with kisses down Pete’s body, neck to knees. On his way back up he can’t help himself, wraps his lips around Pete’s cock.

 

Pete groans and thrusts, in an only half aware way. Patrick wants to give Pete what his body craves. Still, he needs Pete to be aware enough to change the game. Pete may go along because he’s half there, high on endorphins and safety, only to regret it later, when he remembers he wasn’t supposed to come.

 

Still, it’s not worth spoiling this hard earned peace for.

 

With some regret, Patrick resumes his kissing trail up Pete’s body. Hugging and running his nails softly along Pete’s back are their own rewards, really. When Pete finally comes around, a bit disoriented but calm and happy, his movements slow and clumsy, Patrick whispers just under his ear, “Let me blow you. You’ve been so good for me. I want to make you come.”

 

Pete finds the express lane out of haziness, his eyes focusing and words forming. “Yes. Yes, please. God, please.” The familiar buzz of excitement is mellowed, but still awesome.

 

Patrick pushes himself down the mattress. With Pete lying on his back, Patrick positions himself between Pete’s legs. Best chance of seeing Pete’s face like that, and maybe holding his wrists. He doesn’t go for anything fancy. After 3 days of teasing, that would be cruel. Holding Pete’s dick in his mouth, bobbing his head up and down, a bit of suction and a touch of teeth, with a hint of force, because Pete loves an edge of pain.

 

Pete absently pulls his hands above his head, his default position for getting head these days, even if this time he’s not tied up. With no wrists to hold, Patrick lets his hands drift to Pete’s ass, exploring those new, bumpy welts with a firm touch, lightly squeezing.

 

Pete comes suddenly, clenching and unclenching his entire body, a wordless cry coming out of his mouth, fractured by breathlessness. It’s the sweetest music and a badge of honor.

 

Patrick licks him clean, despite faint protests from an overstimulated Pete. They snuggle and drift to sleep, sated, calm, peaceful.