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Training Wheels

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I probably shouldn’t have been quite so terrified of walking through the doors of a small pizza shop, but my palms were outright sweating and I’m sure the panic is evident on my face. My eyes scan the shop, spotting the glass doors of a private space to the right, a sign reading ‘LLM’ hanging on the glass. There are a handful of people inside already, I can see them greeting each other casually as I take the few shaky steps towards the door. I’m almost tempted to turn around, order a slice of pizza to go and make a run for it - but someone inside the room is opening the door and speaking to me before I can move.

“Are you here for the LLM group?” I swallow, resisting the urge to choke on my dry throat, and nod.

When I look up, I can see the man who opened the door has a friendly smile on his face, grey scruff lightly covering his chin and nothing about him gives any hint to the group’s true meeting purpose.

“You must be new. My name is John, would you happen to be Kyler?” He asks in a gruff but soft voice.

Again I nod, feeling a bit dumb when I shake my head and finally find my voice. 

“Yeah, sorry. I’m a bit nervous,” I try to laugh, but my voice shakes and the nerves must be more than apparent all over my demeanor right now. 

John just laughs, not mocking at all but warm. He puts out a very jovial vibe, and I think he’s probably something of a father figure to a lot of younger people in the scene.

“That’s completely okay. Everyone is nervous about their first few visits, but I think you’ll like it when you meet the rest of the group. We’ve got some food inside, and I can introduce you while you settle in and adjust for a bit.” He tilts his head in the direction of the group further in the room as he speaks.

The relief settling into my bones was heavy and soothes the shaking just enough for my shaking steps to even out and my hands to stiffen at my sides. I follow John to the large table surrounded by chairs in the middle of the room and flinch only a little when the door squeaks shut. 

The first thing I notice is that most of the people are quite a bit older than me. The second thing I notice is the incredibly cute guy standing across the room.

John grabs what must be his drink from the table and points to the chair next to his own, offering it to me. I offer what I hope is a smile but may have been more of a grimace, and quickly sit. 

Most of the group, only about ten to fifteen people, move to sit down around the table as well, passing around plates and cups and bottles of soda. I hesitantly take a plate and a single slice of pizza, only pouring a drink when I think about how dry my mouth is.

I try not to look at too many people, just glance at each person around me and offer small smiles to whoever I catch the eye of accidentally. When the boy I noticed sits next to me suddenly, it takes everything in me not to jump about a foot in the air. I hadn’t noticed him pulling out the chair but he slides in smoothly and the smile on his face is almost blinding when I look at him.

“‘M Harry. You’re new, what’s your name?” Harry’s surprisingly deep voice almost seems to calm my nerves before the heat settles into my cheeks.

It’s clear that I’m new. My anxious mind is telling me that I don’t belong here and that coming was a mistake, but I’d finally worked up the courage to walk in this time and it was too late to back out. I’d actually come with the intention of joining two weeks prior, and I’d sat in the shop’s main seating area just to watch the group after losing my nerve at the glass doors of the private room. 

“I’m Kyler. Nice to meet you,” I cringe, hopefully only inwardly, at how uncomfortably awkward I sound when I speak. The dimples that grow in Harry’s cheeks as he smirks at me make me want to feel comfortable around the other boy, but I can’t shake my nerves so easily.

“Oh?” Harry tilts his head a bit to the side, smile softening as he takes a bite of the pizza piled on his plate, “An American. You’re the first in the group. What’re you doing all the way over here then?”

I sip at my soda, trying not to stare too much at the light in his eyes, or the sweet brown curls falling over his face just so.

“Well, I came over for school, but as it turns out… I didn’t do so well in your schooling system. I’m living with my uni roommate and looking for a job now.” I breathe slowly when I notice my voice has leveled out a bit, less nervous sounding than before. Harry just hums as he chews for a bit. 

The bustle around us is calming as everyone is settling in their spots now, and John stands just as Harry is about to speak again.

“Hello everyone!” The others cheer quietly and reply, but I watch silently. “So, to begin I’d like to introduce you to a newcomer here at the London Leather Munch. This is Kyler, he’s new to the scene and to London.” John pats my shoulder and I give a small wave to the group as they all chirp out ‘hello’s to me. 

“Can you introduce yourself? Tell us your role, where you’re from, your age. That stuff.” A woman with bright pink hair asks gently from the side of the table, a disarming smile in place and her legs primly folded where she sits. 

“I’m Kyler, as John said,” I begin, trying to breathe evenly and avoid stuttering. “I’m a submissive, I’m nineteen and I’m originally from the states but moved to London last year.” I finish quietly, hoping the flaring heat over my face isn’t as noticeable to everyone else as it is to me. I get smiles all around and a few welcome replies, and the tension throughout my body eases as attention is pulled back to John.

As John talks about the group and some upcoming events, I notice a few people eyeing me and I grow uneasy. I jump a bit when I feel Harry’s arm lean on the back of my chair, not quite touching me. When I look over though, he’s simply leaning forward and watching John, flashing me a quick smile before looking back to the man.

“I really want to talk about community building today. Especially since someone new is here, I think that we really ought to talk about what it means to have a strong community in the kink scene.” John sits with this, and Harry faces forward again, his elbow brushing my shoulder when he leans off of my chair. 

If I could have, I probably would have watched him the whole time. Harry’s curls looked so soft, and the way he laughed seemed to take up this space - not intrusive but captivating. Like he just takes up all of your attention; he shines his dimpled smile at you and you can’t look away.

I try to participate in the conversation John leads, but there’s not too much for me to say given that I’ve never had a community to be a part of before. Not even back home in Washington. 

Harry nudges me towards the end, when the discussion has branched off into several talks and personal topics. 

“Have you been to Fetish yet?” He asks, downing the last of his drink and wiping at his face with a napkin.

I frown a bit, shaking my head.

“That’s the club near here, right?” I ask, trying to remember if I recall correctly the venue John spoke of previously.

“Yeah. It’s a great place. They have an intake day every Monday and they do tours, beginner classes, stuff like that.” I nod, feeling the anxiety start to seep back into my veins thinking of taking that next big step so soon. “I work there if you’d like to take a tour with fewer people.” He finishes quietly.

I can’t help but smile, nervous as ever but definitely eased by the offer.

“That would be really awesome, actually. I have social anxiety so, I’m not great with people.” I shrug, trying to keep the heat off my cheeks.

“I can show you around and if you like it, do the intake for you on Monday if you’re available before noon.” Harry speaks quietly and softly, but there’s a smile sitting on his pink lips.

“This Monday?” I ask. It’s Saturday, and my nerves spike with so little time to prepare myself mentally but it’s better to jump in the pool at once than tiptoe in, right?

Harry just nods, patiently leaning his head onto his hand and resting his elbow on the table. 

I look to the pizza I’ve only eaten half of sitting in front of me, and I pull my hands up from my lap to rest the mon the table.

“I think I can do it. Where exactly is it?” When he tells me the address, I frown a bit, trying to mentally calculate the cost of an uber there from my flat.

“If you need a ride, I could take you. If you’d like, you can bring a friend along for the tour, but the intake is private if we get around to that.”

I smile as best I can, and nod. 

“That sounds great. I live about a fifteen-minute drive from here, so I would really appreciate the ride.” I say.  Something about the words feels very decisive, final in their weight. 

“Of course. I wouldn’t mind showing you around London if you’re looking for something to do. Most Americans never see much of the city, only the touristy shit.” The giggle Harry lets out rings in my ears a bit too brightly, and I’m definitely gone for him. His smile is soft whenever he looks at me and I could listen to him talk about anything for the rest of my life.

Obviously, I’m being a bit dramatic, but if this cute boy is going to distract me from the impending implosion of anxiety I'll inevitably be consumed by on Monday - I don’t really care.

Chapter Text

When Monday rolled around, I was frantic. I spent most of Sunday primping - for no reason, I was aware, and googling various methods of soothing anxiety. I was petrified of absolutely nothing, to be honest. I knew what I was facing; I had searched the website for Fetish and viewed their gallery, so I knew what the place looked like. I even used google maps to view the streets surrounding the venue. 

There was really nothing that was going to calm me down, I decided until I was inside Fetish and had had a moment to adjust. 

After the munch on Saturday, Harry and I had exchanged numbers and my phone dinged with a text from the other boy.

“Oh my god,” I groaned, seeing that he was outside of my building already. 

With a last glance in the mirror, I ruffled my hair to be a bit more presentable and smoothed over my black jeans, a band tee, and denim jacket. I’d barely slipped on my shoes when my roommate, Louis, walked through the door.

“Be safe, don’t die, if the place looks cool hook me up.” He says as he walks past me and into his room. I sigh before leaving, trying not to trip as I carefully rush out the door and onto the street.

Harry is waiting, leaning against a large black car. A range rover. 

“Holy shit.” 

I hadn’t realized I’d spoken aloud until I hear Harry’s sparkling laugh, and he tugs open the car’s door for me. 

 

The drive is short and mostly quiet, just Harry explaining how the venue works, what he does and what I should expect. I know that he works the booking desk, plans appointments for the professional dominants and submissives that work through Fetish, and he checks in the individuals who work in a much… different sense.

“They have a cleaning slave?”

“I’m telling you, he pays us to clean the place. I wish I was joking, but he just really loves cleaning.” I can’t help but laugh when Harry just shrugs, leading me from the lot he’s parked his car in and up to the large metal doors on the side of the building in front of us. 

The outside is very normal, the decorative front looking elegant and dark, but the side of the building showing just how large it really is, with several stories of grey and black concrete. 

Harry unlocks the door, tugging the heavy metal open and guiding me in. The hallway is dim but not dark, the walls a creamy white and plenty of victorian-era decor littering the walls and furniture. 

It looks like this is a waiting area, almost, with the long couches and end tables lining most of the hall that leads up to a large glass desk near the main entrance.

“This is my desk, front and center. I’m secretly an attention whore so I make sure everyone has to look at my pretty face before going any further,” Harry snorts as he grabs a clipboard off of the desk and turns back to me. 

Where I’m stood in the main lobby area, the place looks an almost strange mix of old and modern. Glass fixtures and tables take the place of usual wood but the black, white and wine red colors blend the contrasting themes together well. 

There’s a bit more furniture here, but the two branching hallways catch my interest. The one directly opposite the entrance we used appears to lead to a stairwell, and the other is much wider, black glass doors blocking the view. 

I see Harry writing something on his board before he looks back up at me.

“What do you think?” He asks.

“This looks incredible. A bit scary, maybe.” I tell him honestly. 

His smile doesn’t feel judgemental at all, and I try to remember to breathe. While I look around the lobby area, I take deep breaths and close my eyes every few minutes, trying to calm down.

I jump, my heart leaping in my chest when Harry suddenly claps his hands together, the sound ringing loudly in the silence.

“Sorry,” He laughs, “Didn’t mean for that to be so loud.” His eyes seem to be studying me for a moment, looking over my clothes and back to my eyes before he grabs a small ring of keys and stands. “Let’s get on with the tour, yeah?” 

I sigh and nod, placing my hand on my chest as if to ease the pounding there. I simply follow after Harry as he unlocks each door we pass, entering first through the black glass. 

“These are interview rooms and private spaces, strictly for non-play purposes. This larger room is for events and classes. Upstairs on the second floor is a level of play-oriented classrooms, gear rigs, stuff like that. The third floor is all playrooms.” Harry says, looking to me to be sure I was listening as we made our way through the bottom floor to open everything up. 

“Mistress Pez will be here in about half an hour, so I’ll show you the upper floors before she arrives.” I glance at him questioningly, frowning.

“She’s one of the professional dominants that work here during the day. Also one of the educators here.” I nod, glancing around the large space before taking a moment to collect myself again.

“If you’re too overwhelmed, we can just hang out down here. Didn’t mean to just throw you in here.” 

I shake my head in protest, but Harry just laughs.

“It’s okay, really, I’m just trying to take it all in. This place looks so cool. A bit heavy on the velvet in the front, maybe.” I joke, hoping it doesn’t sound too forced. Harry only nods and looks around for a moment. 

“What are you really looking for?” He asks, voice lower in the quiet room.

“What do you mean?” I frown, confused by his question. 

Harry sighs a bit, not unhappily, and he walks me back to the lobby area and towards the stairs.

“You went to the munch because you’re looking to meet people and connect with the scene here, right?” We walk up the two sets of concrete stairs, our footsteps clamoring loudly in the silence.

“Yeah, I guess,” I respond,  trying to shrug it off but I know he’s completely right.

“So what are you looking for here ? Do you just want casual play, the classes, a dominant?” He presses.

We stop, facing a large black and clear glass door that opens to several more rooms and one larger room at the end of the hallway. These must be the classrooms he talked about.

When we walk through the door, he turns to me with a brow raised expectantly.

My throat tightens a bit, but I force out the answer I almost don’t want to give him.

“I’m trying to like, overcome my anxiety partially. I want to be open enough to participate at events but it’s kind of terrifying for me sometimes. I’m also…” I hesitate, not knowing how this will really sound to Harry, “I am also looking for a dominant. A relationship, I guess. I just really want to be involved in the world here instead of just online.” 

My voice is tiny by the end, and Harry’s eyes seem so dark in the unlit hall. The windows let in natural light but it’s a gray day and the pale light only seems to darken the emerald of his eyes as he looks at me. I begin to feel nervous when he turns and leads me to the large room at the very end of the hall, without saying anything.

When we walk through the heavy doors, though, he moves over to a large wooden bench on the wall to our right and sits, gesturing to the spot next to him.

“It’s good that you know what you want. Coming here with no real goal usually messes things up a bit, makes you lose track of what you came here for in the first place.” He’s roaming the room with his eyes, not stopping on any particular thing as I sit next to him. The bench is hard, and there’s leather lining the seat and back, along with many straps hanging from the bottom of the seat. This was clearly meant as a restraining bench, then.

I don’t really know how to respond to Harry’s words, so I choose to look around the room in silence. Most of the room is red and black, with lots of gear and furniture hanging in a manner that might look a bit menacing to a vanilla person.

“What kind of submissive are you? And what are you looking for in a dom?” Harry blurts out, almost as if he hadn’t meant to say it out loud. His eyes were trained forward but he turns to me when I look to him, eyes dark in the bright room and his hands are nervously clenched in his lap.

“I…” I pause to think. I’m not sure entirely what he means by what kind of sub, but I tell myself to be confident in whatever I say. Not like it does me any good, but at least I can pretend to be confident.

“I’m not as, um, hardcore as some other submissives. I think I’m pretty tame, to be honest. But there’s so much I want to try, who knows.” Harry’s eyes seem to jump at this, and I can see his adam’s apple bob against his throat. I try not to read too much into it and continue. 

“I guess I’m looking for a more experienced dom that can sort of take over for me. I don’t mean like, full control over me or anything but - like, for example, I hate ordering food because of my anxiety, so a dom that knows what I like being able to decide and order for me would be nice. Someone who can lead me in the best direction for me. That’s more the kind of control I would want, I suppose.” I know I’m rambling, but he still looks interested so I figure it’s not too bad yet. Before I continue again, though. I decide to stop myself, unsure of how much detail Harry really cares to know.

“What else? Besides someone who wants you enough to take care of you like that, what else are you looking for?” Harry’s voice is surprisingly rough when he speaks again, and I can’t help the way my muscles tense pleasantly at the low hum.

“Well, hopefully, someone who is also into all the same things as me. And doesn’t mind having a little patience while I learn. And obviously someone who’s limits and likes match mine. I just sort of feel like something has been missing in my life, and the idea of making someone happy and submitting to them has always been what I wanted, even if I didn’t realize it. ” I say quietly.

“What are your hard limits then?” He asks, moving his arm to lay against the bench behind me, barely touching my shoulder where his hand hangs.

“Absolutely no scat, needles, enema stuff, kicking or hard beating, and preferably nothing goes up my ass,” Harry bursts out a cackle, covering his mouth immediately and I can see the tops of his cheeks blossoming red under his fingers. I can’t help but laugh at how cute the sound was, covering my own mouth to hide for a moment. 

“Pretend you didn’t hear that.” His voice is still raspy but with a squeaky edge to it when he moves his hand back behind my shoulder, just barely brushing my neck. “What about soft limits?”

“Hm… I don’t really like whips, heavy chains, humiliation or anything like that, or being caged up. I also haven’t really… I’ve never actually had sex.” I can feel the heat creeping up my own cheeks now and I cringe when my voice almost cracks on my last words. “But I want that to be a part of my… activity. So.”

“Okay. There’s nothing wrong with that.” Harry’s hand settles over my shoulder, thumb rubbing circles through my shirt and I’m strangely eased by it. I usually don’t like being touched or looking people in the eyes, but Harry makes it all feel different.

“Can I ask you something? I understand if it’s very personal or if you’d rather not answer.” I nod, waiting for the question. “Are you trans?” 

I almost snort a bit, realizing that I’ve not mentioned it. John had used my correct pronouns from the get-go and no one else had questioned it either.

“Yeah, I am. I don’t mind talking about it either, don’t worry.” I say, hoping to ease the little bit of anxiety I can see in Harry’s eyes. 

He nods, staying quiet for a moment. I look around a bit more, just studying the objects around us when I hear him take a long breath in.

“Would you like to do the intake today? To become a member here?” He questions simply.

“Yeah. I really like this place. Since I’m a bit familiar with it now, I won’t be so anxious coming here in the future. Thank you so much for bringing me.” I say honestly. Harry’s eyes are somehow so bright in the light of the room but so dark in the forest green of his iris. It feels like I’m missing something he’s putting out and I’m just not seeing it. 

He hesitates, like he’s going to speak, but stops.

“That’s good.” He hums.

I just nod, wondering why he’s being so strange, but I shake it off and just hope I haven’t said something weird. I look down at my hands where they sit in my lap, fiddling with the silver ring sitting on my middle finger, twisting it around to avoid looking at him again.

“I quite like you.” Harry suddenly says, not forceful like an accident but quiet like he almost didn’t want me to hear.

I don’t look at him right away, trying to process his words before I attempt a response that I’ll probably fuck up. I feel his hand heavy and warm on my shoulder still and when I turn to him, he has a small smile on his lips and his eyes seem to shine.

“I quite like you too,” I mimic. I do like him, he’s been incredibly nice to me and he’s also potentially the most attractive person I’ve ever met. I realize, though, that I don’t know nearly as much about him as he does me. “I’m glad I met you.”

Before I can ask him any of the questions filling my head, we hear a quiet sound from the lower level, like a door slamming closed. Harry checks his phone and nods.

“Mistress Pez is here.” 

Chapter Text

When we arrive back on the first floor, I’m faced with a tall, blonde, and absolutely stunning woman standing at the front desk. Her bright blue eyes are the first thing I notice when she turns to me, a confused smile on her face. 

The confusion is only present on her fair features for a moment before recognition flits through her eyes. 

“You must be the newcomer Haz mentioned!” Her voice is just as sweet as her face, and I’m honestly shocked I’m still conscious and upright at this point. I’m positive that I’m standing between the most attractive pair of people I’ve ever seen, and suddenly there are arms wrapped around my shoulders.

‘Pez’ had leaned in and hugged me to her chest tightly before I even had time to wrap my head around this. I wasn’t entirely sure what Harry had mentioned but clearly not my anxiety. Surprisingly, much like Harry, she settled the usual violent waves of anxiety - I would be near tears if any stranger off the street did this but somehow she’s very comforting and motherly in the way she holds me for a few moments.

“Alright, Pez, you’re choking him on your bags!” Harry barks out a laugh at this, not quite his cackle from earlier but loud and bright nonetheless. 

The woman only laughs, though, and pulls away. I notice she’s wearing a knee-length, skin-tight black skirt and a strapless crop top to match. I’d guess she’s got a lot of money, given that she looks like she could be walking a red carpet the way she looks. She has fierce features, sharp cheekbones, and dark-colored lips, but her eyes are warm as she looks at me.

“It’s lovely to meet you,” she holds out her hand to shake mine, very firmly. “I’m Perrie Edwards, but I’m only addressed as Pez or Mistress Pez here. I’m an educator and mistress at Fetish.”  I nod, sure a blush in still dusting my cheeks as I try not to stare too hard.

“I’m Kyler. Nice to meet you, too.” It takes everything in me not to visibly cringe at what feels like an awkward exchange. It isn’t at all awkward but being so unused to social exchanges in general, everything is uncomfortable for me. 

“Have you decided if you’d like to join us?” She asks, turning back to the desk to pick up a large folder and the clipboard Harry had written in earlier. Harry gives her the ring of keys he’d been using to open up the doors we passed, too.

I look to Harry, who gives me a reassuring smile, before nodding to Perrie. 

“Great! I conduct all intake interviews, and usually alone, but Harry’s got to learn the process so he can come with us. I’ll have a chat with you, ask you some stuff, take some notes, and then we’ll do a membership application for you. Lots of boring and potentially invasive paperwork, yay!” She cheers sarcastically, turning to walk into one of the private rooms towards the front door. I follow her and Harry, trying to breathe evenly and remind myself that I’ve been here for a while now and I know the surroundings. If I ever want to branch out and overcome the anxiety I need to face it and push forward.

In the room, there’s a sleek glass and metal table and some soft, colorful chairs. Art hangs on the walls and it feels more like a waiting room than a dungeon’s intake room.

Perrie takes a seat, crossing her legs and looking strangely regal in the colorful room. Harry sits on the side of the table and pulls out the chair across from Perrie for me to sit. 

After arranging several rather thick packets of paper, she clears her throat a bit and smiles at me.

“Don’t worry, love, it looks a lot more formal than it is. I just need to know what you want out of this place - are you looking for education, a community, play?” She asks.

“Well, education and community mostly. I’m definitely too shy to play right now.” I try to speak louder than a mumble but I feel like I’m losing my voice a bit. I shake my head and clear my throat, thinking about how comfortable I’ve felt with Harry all day. 

When I look over at him to my left, he’s smiling big and bright, dimples on full display. It’s a bit infectious and I smile back, slightly more at ease.

“Good. We get a lot of people wanting a play space but this is a commitment. We want people who value a community and want to learn and grow. Now, I’m going to go through this application - we keep it on file for each member here as long as you’re with us - and some stuff might be a bit uncomfortable for you if you’re shy. Nothing you could say is a wrong answer, okay love?” She reaches across and pats my hands where I’m twisting my fingers in front of me. I breathe and nod, feeling like I’m in an interrogation somehow.

Perrie leans back in her chair, picking up a packet and looking over it. With a pen, she begins marking things, and she sighs out happily when she looks at me again.

“So, lots of quick stuff. Age, full legal name, preferred pronouns?” She questions, not looking back at me as she writes my responses.

“Eighteen, Kyler Joshua Simmons, and male pronouns.” I reply.

“Great. What is your primary role? I can tell you’re an S type, do you consider yourself a submissive, a little, a slave, a toy?” She asks.

“Submissive,” I reply, and I can feel my nerves easing before I decide I need to be honest with myself in this venture. “And maybe a little. I’d like to explore that.” My voice breaks, but I force it out.

Harry sits up at that and coughs a little at being caught when I turn to look at him, a warmth in his cheeks that I only barely catch.

“Cute! We have a small nursery and playroom if you were ever interested in that.” It’s my turn to burn, and I eye my hands to avoid Harry’s stare as Perrie keeps talking.

“I’ve got some forms for you to fill out yourself. There’s a health check form, an emergency contact form for safety, and a personal profile. The first two are necessary, but we’d really appreciate the third because it helps us decide where you’d fit best in education programs and group activities here!”

Somehow Perrie has remained quite upbeat throughout this, despite it being roughly eleven in the morning. I do my best to hold in a sigh as she hands me the thicker packet and a blue pen. 

Harry and Perrie chat while I work through it, occasionally talking to me and answering any questions I have. I end up putting Louis down as my emergency contact seeing as I don’t actually know anyone else well enough in England. The health form is a bit more personal, including a section specifically for transgender people about their transition process, which I greatly appreciated. 

The profile section made up almost the entire packet with nearly twenty pages. Most of it was categorizing and determining what kind of sub I am, and a very, very extensive checklist used to determine limits and likes. I learned a lot about my interests just filling it out and when I checked my phone after I finished I realized it had been over an hour since we’d met with Perrie.

I cap my pen and set the papers down to slide them across to Perrie. I should probably have expected the small cheer from her, but it still made me laugh. 

While Perrie reads through the packet, reviewing my answers, she’s nodding and writing something down in the form on her clipboard. I don’t really understand why they need all of this but if it helps me, in the long run, I will gladly fill out all her forms. 

Harry leans closer to me, rolling his chair to my side of the table. 

“Was it that bad?” He asks, a concerned frown creasing his brow.

“What? No, I liked it.” I reply.

“You look like you could piss yourself, if I’m honest.” Harry deadpans, looking at me like I’ve gone a bit crazy.

I can’t help but laugh, trying to cover my mouth and I lean my forehead onto the surface of the table to hide.

“This is great, Kyler. Very thorough. I’m going to have a card made for you, just like a check-in card that you can show to whoever is at the desk when you come in.” I nod as Perrie cleans up all the papers and stacks them back in the folder. Harry stands just before she does, and I follow suit unsure of where to go next.

It occurs to me that I hadn’t asked Harry if he was taking me home as well, but I decide not to ask, and if he doesn’t offer I’ll just pay for the uber home. 

I see that my worrying is just a bit premature when Harry takes me to the small elevator in the lobby and tells me he’s going to show me the third floor.

Perrie smiles and waves us off when we get in, and I don’t really know what to expect. I’ve obviously seen dungeon areas before, I’ve seen playrooms and all that but seeing them in person is very different. 

“These all stay unlocked at all times, no doors have locks. For safety. They can be closed for privacy, however.” Harry wraps his hand around my wrist and gently tugs me down one of two halls in front of the elevator, all the doors open and revealing numerous well-made beds in each room. They honestly just looked like bedrooms for four to ten people each, with a random collection of kinky furniture and toy displays. Each room has a different number of beds, but none have only a single bed.

“Are there any rooms with only one bed?” I ask quietly, noticing that Harry hasn’t let go of my wrist despite me walking alongside him now.

“One, and it’s nearly soundproof. It’s usually saved for sensory deprivation scenes or private punishments.” I just nod, continuing to peek through each room as we pass them. We come to a turn in the hall and I see that it just connects to the second hallway we saw in front of the elevator. 

“This is nice. I like the rooms.” The rooms in this hallway appear to be themed; one is mostly blue and even has a waterbed, one is red and has plenty of sharp metal lying around. 

When we approach the elevator again, Harry’s hand is burning into my skin and I’d rather he be holding my hand instead of this, but I don’t mention it. He presses the button and when we step inside, like he suddenly realizes he’s still holding on, he drops my wrist and mumbles a barely audible apology. I choose to keep silent, not having really minded it.

When we return to the main lobby, there’s a dark-haired man talking to Perrie, and I vaguely recognize him from the munch. He’s - surprise, surprise - incredibly attractive.

“Oh, I didn’t know you were coming today, Mr. Winston.” Harry nods politely toward the man, and I can see that he’s very important by the formal way Harry and Perrie both speak to him.

“Just stopping in. Perrie mentioned that we’ve someone new, would that be you?” The man, Mr. Winston, turns to me with a kind smile and his hand held out.

I hesitantly shake it, hoping my voice doesn’t fail me this time. 

“Yes, my name is Kyler. This is my first time here.” I can’t stop myself from looking to Harry where he stands next to the man for approval. Harry shoots me a quick thumbs up and smiles. 

“Pleasure to meet you. I’m Ben Winston, but I’d like you to address me as Mr. Winston or simply Sir for now. I’m the owner of Fetish.” I swallow dryly, understanding the sudden formality. “I suppose Perrie has done your intake and Harry has shown you around?” 

“Yes… sir.” I’m not terribly sure he means for me to address him like this, but I’d rather be safe than sorry, especially on my first visit. 

The smile Ben gives me seems like a good sign, though, and he nods just barely to confirm that.

“If you’d like, we have a group coming in for the tour in about an hour, and an introductory class that you’re welcome to participate in as a new member.” 

“Oh, thank you, sir.” I don’t really have any idea what I’d be doing for the next hour and a half before the class, or what the class is on, but something tells me he wants me to go. 

“I’m teaching the class on getting comfortable with your role in and out of the bedroom. I’d love for you to come, darling.” Perrie speaks up from her place by the desk, getting an approving nod from Ben. Before I respond, I look at Harry next to me and he’s got a small smile still sitting on his cheeks. 

“We could go for a quick lunch nearby before the class if you want.” He offers, and lunch sounds much better than awkwardly lingering in the building with no one but Perrie and the intimidating owner.

“That would be great, actually.” I say, feeling too loud and too unnecessary in the near silence of the lobby and amongst three uncannily attractive, dominant people.

Ben nods us off and walks into the main room, calling a soft “Have fun,” over his shoulder.

“Haz, can you get me my coffee on your way back, please? I’ll let you help me in class,” The way she sings the last bit makes me wonder what Harry’s so eager to teach in the class, but if he’s there with me I’d be happy to see another familiar face to distract me from all of the unfamiliar ones bound to be there.

Chapter Text

“You have any food allergies or anything?” Harry’s asking me as we walk out of the door. The natural light is a bit bright to my eyes but it’s not too bad. 

“I’m a vegetarian, but no allergies.” I say, standing next to the taller man a bit awkwardly as he looks around. I can see a coffee shop just across the street, and what looks like a small diner, but not much else from the curb where we stand.

“Do you like breakfast?”

“Of course, Denny’s is my favorite place to eat. You just don’t have it here because Brits hate happiness apparently.” I laugh when he looks at me in fake shock, a hand over his chest as he scoffs.

“I don’t even know what that is - but you better watch that mouth before some nasty old wanker hears you.” Harry says with an exaggerated old accent, making me laugh even harder.

Even as I laugh, I can’t deny the way his words make me tense, make me want to hear him for real. His demeanor screamed dominance inside the club, but I haven’t actually asked him anything about himself yet really.

“Can I ask you something?” I ask.

“Shoot, love.” He smiles at me, not yet moving from where we stand.

“Are you a dom or a sub?”  I figure the question came out easily enough, but it’s never that simple with my brain, unfortunately, because everything else I’m wondering comes out too. “And how old are you? How long have you been in the scene?” I blurt. 

The words rushed out of my mouth but I didn’t really care to stop them, I only laugh a bit at how ridiculous I sounded word vomiting like that.

“Alright, well I’m a dom but have been known to switch. My name is Harry Edward Styles, I’m twenty-five, and I’m originally from Holmes Chapel… which you probably have never heard of.” I giggle a bit behind my hand at that, rolling my eyes at him before he finishes. “I’ve been in the scene for seven or eight years now. Started coming here before I was eighteen, had to buy a fake ID to get past the intake.” 

My eyebrows raise and I stand rooted to my spot in shock.

“You came here before you were of age? Why?” I ask.

“I never played or anything, I came for the classes. I thought I was ‘mature enough’ to dom whoever I wanted… I can’t even begin to tell you how hard Pez beat my ass. She’s been here for a decade now and was not happy when I started coming.”

“I can’t imagine you being a scrawny teen trying to whip someone,” I try to contain the laughs at this, but when Harry bursts into laughter I can’t stop it. I’m near tears when we finally calm down again, and when he points down the road toward the diner, I nod.

“You don’t even want to know. Pez actually made me sub for the first time ever and it was like, a borderline religious experience for me. It completely changed the way I understood everything about power exchange and kink.” Harry says as we walk down the street.

He’s surprisingly reflective and serious despite his airy tone, a small smile still sitting on his lips as he looks at me.

“Wow. That’s kind of incredible.”  I sigh, debating whether or not to tell Harry what else I’m thinking. “I feel like I’m sort of waiting for something. Like I love what I know now, but I feel like there’s supposed to be something more and I’m just missing it.” I say.

He stays quiet for a bit too long as we walk and stop on the corner, waiting to cross. 

“… Maybe you just haven’t been with the right person.” He finally replies, not looking at me. 

“Maybe.” I watch him look around before he bites into his lower lip and looks down at me. He offers his hand as the signal changes, and I take it as we cross the street.

There’s a calm air between us but it feels like something is lingering,  just kind of waiting to be said. I’ve never been good at understanding other people and this is just another show of that. 

Harry doesn’t let go of my hand when we’ve crossed the street, just continues to gently lead me towards the diner. It’s a nice quiet as we walk the short distance, but my mind is racing trying to think of things to say. 

I don’t have too much time to go from nervous to full-blown panic, thankfully, as Harry tugs me towards the glass doors of the small, homey diner. 

When we enter, we’re enveloped by warm air and soft lighting, a few tables bustling with chatter but otherwise, the place is mostly empty.

Harry squeezes my hand a bit when I sigh in relief, silently hoping to be sat away from the filled tables. I look around Harry, peeking at the bar counter, before looking over to the small table where a waitress stopped before coming up to us. 

She flashes a polite smile and leads Harry and me to a small booth tucked into the corner of the place, far enough away from the closest people for my anxiety to begin to ease a bit as we slide into the dark red leather seats. I don’t look at the woman as I thank her, just opening the menu placed in front of me and looking at the drinks. 

I haven’t got much money to spend freely like this, but the food is cheap and smells delicious. When prompted, I order a coffee, but Harry interrupts me.

“Their milkshakes are fucking amazing, though.” He says, and I barely glance up at him to see him smiling easily, the menu still in front of him.

“The milkshakes are also like six bucks in my dollar.” I reply, trying not to sound too sarcastic in front of the woman still standing to the right patiently. I hear a small laugh, and my cheeks warm in hopes that it was at my joke and not me.

“What - No, I’m paying for this. Pick a shake.” Harry pull the menu from my hands, flipping open to the back page to show the selection of milkshakes before setting it down in front of me. 

I scan the list quickly while Harry orders a banana shake with extra cherries, which makes me grimace a bit. I decide to get a cookies and cream one, but it takes me a moment before I can order it out loud after peeking up at the waitress. 

“Can I get the cookies and cream one, please?” I ask, hoping she can hear me. I keep my eyes trained on my menu as I thank her. Making eye contact was really difficult for me, but despite how frustrating it is the anxiety that builds whenever I try is just too much for me. I take a moment to look through the meals again, not acknowledging Harry as I try to calm my nerves and breathe evenly. 

“Are you alright?” Harry says softly. 

I set the menu down again before taking a deep breath in and huffing it out.

“Yeah, just-” I close my mouth, stopping the words from tumbling out this time. “I’m fine. Just some anxiety.” I say instead.

He doesn’t look convinced, but he reaches across to take one of my hands in his, fingers fitting between mine as he looks his own menu and pretends to be reading it. I can see his eyes scanning the same page over, and he clearly knew his choice picks by heart. 

I can’t complain though. Not when his palm is heavy and warm against mine like this. His whole hand dwarfs mine in size but the difference is strangely comforting. 

“What are you getting?” He asks, still reading the same page. 

I decide after a last look to get some eggs, skipping the pancakes in favor of my nervous gut and the looming reminder that I have to sit in a room potentially full of strangers after this. 

“Just some scrambled eggs and hashbrowns.” I respond.

We don’t speak much while we wait for the waitress, but luckily it doesn’t take too long. The view outside the windows beside us is nice, and I watch the people passing by on the street while the woman brings over our drinks. 

I was shocked out of the daze I was beginning to fall into when Harry’s thumb ran over the side of my hand and I realized he was talking to the waitress. 

“Just eggs, sunny side up, and the toast with avocado spread for me. Scrambled eggs with hashbrowns for him, please.” 

I blink up at him for a moment but wait until the woman has her back to me once again to heave a sigh of relief. 

“...Thank you,” I mumble, hoping he can hear me. When he squeezes my hand gently, I know he has.

For a moment, we’re quiet again as we sip at our shakes. It’s not forced, it’s not uncomfortable. As I let my nerves start to wean off I watch Harry’s eyes scan over the diner, to the window, and finally, he settles on me again.

“So what is the class about?” I ask, not wanting to yet again disturb the peace but curious just what I was in for.

He takes a long sip before answering, reaching into the top of his glass to pluck a cherry and set it on his napkin.

“Well, it’s mostly a led discussion of power exchange roles and how to embrace what and who you are. In order to be truly comfortable, you have to understand how much of yourself is invested in your role.” He bites into the cherry and contemplates his next words for a moment. 

“For example, some people use submission or dominance simply as a mode to engage in physical pleasure, where some people feel their submission or dominance is an integral part of their person. The class is really aimed at giving newer people or people who are questioning themselves some guidance, and the resources to both understand their identity and to understand the beauty of it. A little bit of a support group too.” 

I bite into my lip unknowingly as I listen to Harry. His voice is firm and his eyes almost look excited as he talks, and I’m suddenly very curious about his part in the class. 

“So what do you do with Perrie?”

“Hm?” His head tilts a bit but nods anyway. “I mostly chat with people one on one, talk to them about the significance of being true to yourself, all that.” 

I hum, and go back to my drink while I mull over what he’s said. I’m definitely interested in the class and I’ve decided today I’m just fairly lucky to catch it. I know if Harry wasn’t here I wouldn’t have even gone to Fetish let alone picked up a class. 

“You alright?” Harry asks, jarring me slightly but not uncomfortably. I smile a bit to myself when I feel his hands toying with my fingers. 

As I nod he drags one of my hands away from my glass before I feel something on my fingers. He’s got his straw wrapper wrapped around my middle finger, and he ties it at the top before squeezing my hand proudly. 

I see our waitress in the corner of my eye and preemptively pull back from Harry, though I don’t like the cold that settles into my hands again. He looks a bit startled by my move but doesn’t question it when our food is being set in front of us. 

I focus on the food for a bit, starting to feel a bit uncomfortable as I take small bites, sure to pause for a beat between lifting my fork to my mouth. I look out the window to distract myself from counting my bites, counting the times I lift my fork and the times my jaw closes and opens. It doesn’t help much, but it at least keeps my mind occupied on something other than the minute tension I’ve built up. 

I hear Harry’s fork clatter against his plate, followed by a heavy sigh.

“What happened?” He asks when our eyes meet.

I frown, staring at him questioningly. “What do you-”

“You know what I mean. Have I… said something wrong?” His lip is tucked between his teeth and I can see where marks will be left behind from the aggressive gnawing. 

“No, sorry. I’m sorry. I just get really stuck in my head when I like… eat, I guess. I hate eating in front of people honestly. I didn’t mean to upset you.” I explain.

He huffs a bit. Pulling his lip away from the teeth it was trapped between, mouth a bit wet and red as he stares at me for a moment.

“I’m not upset. Thought I’d upset you. I’m sure this won’t make you feel any better but, no one can really see us over here. Specifically you.” He offers a small smile, and I decide to shake my shoulders out a bit and nod.

“Yeah. Sorry. The food is really good though, thank you for bringing me.” I tell him honestly, sipping at my drink and avoiding his eyes. 

He stares at me, not moving until I start eating again. I wait until he’s picked up his fork and he’s stopped staring to really enjoy the food. I meant it when I said it was really good, I really liked it surprisingly. It wasn’t often that I found such good diner food in London. 

We eat without much more conversation, only really stopping to point out a small dog walking past the window in a cute raincoat. Harry stops every now and again to watch me but otherwise only smiles at me when we catch eyes. I’ve finished my drink and most of my food by the time Harry’s cleaned his plate and glass out entirely. 

The server swings by only to bring the check, but before we make to get up, Harry holds his hand out, a charry dangling from his fingers.

“You want it?” I laugh a bit, his dimples out in full force with a goofy smile.

“No thank you,” I giggle a bit as he wiggles it around in front of my face.

“You sure ? It’s the last one!” I shake my head but decide to hold my hand underneath it and take it anyways.

Harry drops it happily, looking entirely pleased with himself as I pop it in my mouth and pull off the stem. It's sweet, sugary and absolutely delicious. 

I don’t realize I’ve groaned aloud with the taste I’ve missed so much until I hear Harry trying to push down a cackle. 

“I forgot how good these were.” I say, feeling my face heat up as he giggles at me. 

When the waitress returns Harry’s card, we stand, my legs feeling tired from sitting so long. Harry leads me out of the diner and easily grips my hand again while he steers me towards a coffee shop on the way back to the club. 

Harry’s steps are rushed as cold wind whips around us, my nose quickly going cold in the few minutes it takes to walk there.

I smile when we walk in and warm air envelopes us again along with the smell of espresso and sugar. 

“What do you want?” I look at him, surprised, but I turn to the menu.

“I’ll just get myself a small green tea soy latte.” I mumble out, mostly to myself.

“...Or I’ll get you a medium green tea soy latte.” He hums and walks up to the counter before I could argue. I sigh loudly so he can hear, but I still smile gratefully when he turns to wink at me after ordering four drinks. I vaguely wonder who the last is for, but I assume it’s for Ben or someone else.

“Don’t even say anything - it’s my pleasure.” He says before I can even get a word out. I smile shyly and look around to avoid him seeing the burning red on my cheeks.

“What happens during class? Is it all talking…?” Hoping that he doesn’t see the nerves in my face, I look around the shop again before looking towards the counter. I don’t want him to know how anxious I’m starting to get as we near the club again, because I’m actually really looking forward to the class.

“Well, it’s mostly talking, some discussion if people have questions. Speaking of - I’ll have to get you a journal.”

“A journal?” I ask, confused about what a journal has to do with kink classes.

“It’s not necessary, but we find it really helpful. We do a series of classes, and we like to have ‘students’ keep track in their journals. Our basic classes involve discussing and writing about hard and soft limits, writing about why we enjoy what we do, simple things. The journals are so we each have a physical reflection of our thinking and our growth to look back at.” 

Just as he’s finishing his words, the barista calls out Harry’s order and hands him a carrier tray with all our drinks. 

I step ahead of him to hold the door open, and the cold wind brings back a rush of the anxiety I was trying to forget. 

“I think you’ll have a good time. You don’t need to do anything in this class if you don’t want to. Or ever, obviously, but you know what I mean. No mandatory participation or anything.” He says, trying to sound casual as if he’d have said it to anyone else.

Chapter Text

Needless to say, walking back through the doors of Fetish when the desk area is filled with people was quite terrifying for me. I try to put on a steely face when I open the doors for Harry, but the look Perrie gives me when she spots us doesn’t exactly reassure me I’m doing it well. 

She walks past a few people, excusing herself from her conversation to walk over to Harry and I where we stopped closer to the door and further from the small group. Harry points out which drink is hers, and I take mine from the carrier as well so he can toss the cardboard in the bin by the desk.

“Lovely, thank you Haz. Kyler, I’m glad we haven’t scared you off just yet. I’m really happy you decided to come to this class, you know.” 

Perrie leaned in close to speak to me, a warm smile on her face. I want to feel comforted by her, by how nice and genuine she seems, but my mind is on override. I take a deep, long breath and close my eyes for just a second longer than I need to, before forcing myself to look around. 

“I’m really terrified.” I force out, lifting my shoulders a bit. “But if I didn’t challenge myself I would never leave my home. Under all the anxiety I’m actually excited about the class. Even if you can’t see it.” I add.

“I want you to know right now that you are not obligated to stay. If you truly are uncomfortable, I would be happy to schedule time with you to chat about the class topics one on one instead.” Her hand is warm when she squeezes my shoulder quickly and gently before turning to look around the room.

I smile tightly and nod, feeling unusually grateful for her caring disposition. 

Harry nudges me with his elbow, hands full with the two other drinks, and smiles. 

“I’ll be there the whole time too. We’ll grab the good couch before the other guests are let in,” He sends a wink before someone calls his name. 

“Harry, can we talk for a moment?” I can hear Ben call over the sound of others chatting, and I freeze up a bit before moving towards the wall to lean against it in wait.

Harry only frowns, looking at me for a long moment, his eyes looking indecisive, before he turns to where he heard Ben.

“I’ll be right back.” He mumbles to me, dipping through a pair of people engulfed in their dramatic conversation next to us. 

As I stare at the wall in front of me, I try to calm myself down once again. I take in the sounds around me first, letting the different voices sink into my head. I breathe for five counts in, hold it for a beat, and let it out for seven counts. Trying to follow my therapist’s breathing exercises always had me feeling silly, but it helped. When my hands loosen up and my cheeks start to cool down I let myself look around. To avoid searching for Harry or Perrie right away, I try to familiarize myself with the foreign faces around me. I linger on each person, scanning over and over. 

It takes about ten minutes for me to spot Harry again, coming back into the waiting area with Perrie and Ben in tow. Ben is holding the last drink Harry got, and his eyes are immediately on me. I’m uneasy with the way he watches me endlessly as they approach where I’m standing, but I shake it off as nerves.

Harry smiles brightly at me, eyebrows lifted with a goofy wiggle. He’s got something in his hand but I don’t see what it is before he hides it behind his back.

“Something told me you were a hardcover, hipster aesthetic kind of guy,” Harry pulls his hand back to hand me a thick journal with a hardcover and beautifully ornate design, before continuing. “So I conned Ben into giving this one up in exchange for a week of coffee runs.” 

I almost don’t want to take it, but the journal is so amazing I can’t help but reach out anyway. I look up at Ben’s smiling face as I flip through the gold-lined edges.

“Thank you so much, oh my god. This is the nicest journal I’ve ever seen?” I laugh a bit with the older man’s soft chuckle. I blink and drop my smile when I realize I’ve forgotten something important. “I mean - thank you, sir!”

“I have a bad habit of hoarding fancy writing tools I’ll never use. I’m glad you like it.” He pauses for a moment, sharing some kind of look with Perrie. The authority surrounding the man makes me nervous, but my fear of him disliking me has lessened quite a bit. “I have something important to talk to you about, but I don’t want to add any anxiety for you. Try to enjoy the class, but if you have a moment afterward, I’d like to chat.” 

I nod immediately, fearing slightly the idea of rejecting the request.

“No pressure, it’s nothing bad, I assure you.” He smiles, this time bright and much more real. 

“The class should be ready soon so let’s head in and call dibs on our couch.” Harry says, leaning in to whisper the last part from where he stands beside me. I try to smile, and politely say goodbye to Ben and Perrie.

Someone stops Harry to say hi on our way to the room the class is being held in, giving him a quick hug and asking him about how finding… something is going. I don’t want to eavesdrop (or at least not look like I am) so I look around at the art on the walls while Harry mumbles out something about having a good feeling. He quickly rejoins me and leads me into the room, pushing open the doors for us both.



As it turns out, sitting on an incredibly comfortable couch does not make talking about sex in a room full of people any less awkward. Harry stayed with me most of the class, but towards the end when people started up a discussion, Harry went to the front to sit with Perrie while he talked.

“Do you have any advice for men who have trouble coming to terms with being submissive?” A man in the corner of the room asks, pen poised over a page. “I have a really… hard time letting go of like, how I think a man should act when I’m trying to submit.” 

Harry hums, nodding for a moment. 

“For me, it was very difficult to let go of masculinity being attached to dominance. When I first started out, I was a teenager that thought I could dom whoever I wanted because I had a big dick,” the group laughs around me as my cheeks redden, but I can’t take my eyes off of Harry stood in the front of the room. “The single most important thing I did for myself was detaching from the idea of masculinity and focusing on serving. My priority in any scene is serving my partner, as a submissive or as a dominant. For you, it might be pleasure, or something else entirely.”

The way he was leaning against a St. Andrews cross nailed into the floor looked so casual in such a misplaced way. His eyes were intensely focused on the floor as he thought, and I could hear pens scratching on paper. I had filled many pages with notes now, mostly on what to ask myself and how to evaluate my desire to submit, but while Harry spoke, all I could do was watch and listen.

“Regardless of your intent and desires, as a submissive, you have an inherent desire to serve - to please someone else in whatever ways deemed appropriate. Submission is a gift you choose to give to someone, a gift you protect and cherish and craft very carefully. It is not somehow lesser of you to give of yourself. It will never make you a lesser person, and while many old fashioned protocols may insinuate that a submissive is lower than the dominant, that simply isn’t true. Be proud of what you do to make your dominant happy. Be proud of your work, your submission, and your loyalty.” 

By the time he tapered off, the room was silent, and my throat was so tight. I’d never in my life heard someone speak so highly of submission, and the emotion in his words made my heart ache. To have an experience like that was what I wanted, so badly. 

“That was beautiful, Harry.” Perrie smiles lovingly at Harry, like a proud mother almost. I can’t imagine what it would be like to see someone grow from a bratty teen into someone like Harry. When I look back to him, he’s already staring me down.

There’s something there - again. I feel like I’m missing everything he’s trying to send me, because I’m left clueless when he turns away. 

“Thank you so much, sir.” The man from earlier responded, still writing furiously. I wonder, briefly, what everyone else is writing about. I’m shaken when suddenly someone moves to sit next to me. 

Ben reclines very casually, despite looking nearly out of place with how formal he looks on this leather couch. He smiles at me and pats my knee before turning his attention to Harry and Perrie. While my anxiety had dwindled to nearly nothing during the class in my focus, I could feel my hands start to shake next to Ben. He was so intimidating to me, and I had a feeling that would never change.

A girl, closer to my age than most people in the room, raises her hand politely and waits for Harry to point at her.

“This is a sort of random topic, so I apologize if this is something you’d rather not discuss in this class, but I was hoping you could talk a bit about collaring? Specifically, when is the right time to consider collaring a sub, what should be taken into account when doing so, things like that.”

Perrie excuses herself and passes the question to Harry. I find this a bit strange, but don’t have the mind to question it when she takes a seat on the end of the couch next to Ben. If I wasn’t panicking before, I am now.

“Collaring, to most, is a very special thing.  Now, there’s a difference between play collars, commitment collars, day collars, and so on. Play collars are used just in play, and don’t need to represent any kind of commitment whatsoever, whereas a locking collar worn regularly is likely a sign of significant commitment between a dom and sub. Some people just like collars.” Harry smirks a bit, but he remains mostly serious while he talks. I’m so intrigued by the way he composes himself so well in front of these people. He sort of commands the space, especially now that Perrie has sat down. 

I shuffle my hands around, capping the pen in my hand and focusing on my breathing. Ben and Perrie are whispering next to me, but I don’t look at them. Harry is looking at me again when I look up and I try to pay attention to his words instead of his body. His hands are tensed when he crosses his arms.

“Personally, I see collaring long-term or with a lock as a massively significant commitment, but for you, it may just be a nice, casual thing while you’re with someone. Something you should do is decide what you want to feel when you see this collar. When it’s on the submissive, do you want to feel like you own that sub while you play? Do you want to feel that deeper connection when you see your collar on their neck? Or do you want to see something pretty wrapped around it when you go out together? How you want to feel when you see the collar on the sub is a good indicator of what you want out of collaring. When you sort of understand what you want, then you need to talk with the sub about what they want. Do they want to feel owned during a scene, but go home feeling free? Ask them if they want to feel like you’re always with them, as though they’re serving you proudly and are being rewarded with the collar. That discussion should lead right to the answers of when and how to collar a sub, too. It’s all about the relationship.”

I hear some clicking next to me, only looking out of the corner of my eye to see Perrie taking notes on her clipboard, filling in some sort of chart under a few papers. Ben hums and whispers something to her, the pair nodding and watching Harry.

A few more questions are asked, but the session seems to be winding down, and soon Harry breaks and tells everyone to move back into the lobby and chat as the class is over.

He comes straight to me, a tired smile on his face. People stop him briefly and offer praise for his answers, but he sighs when he sinks back into the couch.

“You look so tired,” I say, smiling when he laughs a bit.

“Talking to groups takes a lot out of me when there’s no action. Give me a flogger or a paddle and I can talk for hours, though.” He smirks and throws an arm over the couch behind me very carefully, trying to seem casual but I can tell his actions are very calculated. He’s watching me very closely, not even looking to Ben or Perrie. 

“How do you feel?” He asks, voice a low hum from his chest.

I take a breath to collect myself, shutting my journal and thinking.

“I really enjoyed this a lot. I knew I needed to reflect on who I want to be, as a person and as a submissive, but I’m kind of terrible at it when I don’t know what questions I should be asking..” I speak honestly because I don’t feel I have anything to hide right now. I feel strangely vulnerable when he looks me in the eye, but his warmth makes it feel safe.

“Good. I’m really happy that you liked this. We’d love to have you for our other classes.” I nod right away in response, and he smiles brighter. He eyes me closely still and hesitates before speaking again. “Who do you want to be, then? What are you thinking about?” 

Breathing in deep, I expected this kind of question from him but I’m not sure I’m prepared to answer it. I’m very aware of when Ben and Perrie slowly quiet and turn to listen to me. I’m far too aware of how strange my voice sounds in the now almost silent room, but I push myself to speak.

“I vaguely knew what I was interested in, but I didn’t feel like I had enough experience to know what I wanted out of a relationship with a dom. Kind of thought I’d be happy with some ordering around and some paddling, to be honest. But I know I need a lot more than that. I think I’d be more comfortable with a strict dom and lots of routine than with something casual and play-oriented, I guess.”

It’s quiet for a moment, and my throat tightens in fear before Ben speaks.

“That was a lovely reflection, Kyler. I’m really pleased that you enjoyed this.” I try to smile but I’m sure it looks pained. “I wanted to speak to you earlier about something. We offer a sort of personal training for new members, on an individual basis. It’s very rarely offered as it is one-on-one, and there is usually quite a bit of vetting and interviewing before we allow it. But from Harry and Perrie’s suggestions, you’d fit well. It is entirely up to you, and there is no pressure to accept, now or ever!” He rushes the last bit, placing a firm but reassuring hand on my shoulder while I take in the offer.

“What...what do you mean by training?” I ask, feeling a bit stupid but curious. I’m terrified by everything at the moment, but it could be just what I’ve been looking for in a mentorship.

“Well, either Harry or Perrie would be able to work with you individually to develop the skills and personal confidence you might want as a submissive. All three of us would work with you at different times, but you’ll have one primary mentor. The training can include whatever you decide is best, including training with actual practices such as impact play, sensory deprivation, punishment and rewards, etcetera. There will be a lot of testing limits, discussing your thoughts and feelings, and ideally, bonding with the mentor or mentors.” I nod, and when Ben smiles this time I look him in the eye and nod.

My hands are shaking so hard and I’m starting to sweat, my chest is tight with worry as my anxiety rockets, but I know this is what I want. I’ve been searching for some kind of fucking manual to being a good submissive - one that obviously doesn’t exist. 

“That sounds really amazing, actually.”

A hand settles over mine where they’re clenched in my lap, and I know it’s Harry without looking. The arm over my shoulder moves down to wrap over me, and he’s leaning into my ear before I can look at him.

“Are you sure? You look terrified,” I cut him off immediately, words pouring from my mouth almost aggressively as I squeeze my eyes shut as tightly as I can.

“It’s just my anxiety, I promise. If I don’t push myself, I’ll walk out of the door today and never come back. You’ll text me or call me once a week to see if I’m up for a class, and every time I’ll give you an excuse before I eventually ignore you. And I’ll spend the next five years or more regretting never following through with this because I’ll be exactly where I am now, sitting at home most nights and wishing that I could be living to my full potential.”

The room is dead quiet when I stop to breathe.

No one moves on the couch for a moment, before I hear someone let out a quiet breath.

“Okay.” I slowly open my eyes, taking deep breaths and unclenching my hands to wipe my palms on my jeans. Harry is staring at me, eyes so dark they almost look black despite the light in the room. 

“I want you to know,” Ben starts next to me, but I don’t look at him right away. His hand takes one of mine gently, and he waits until I’ve turned to him before he continues. “We do our best to take care of everyone here. If you do this training there will be a contract, there will be expectations, and it will push you. But we do this so we can help people like you grow and be confident in your abilities. We will absolutely take care of you, no matter how long you choose to stay here. Is this something you really want to do?”

There is nothing but warmth in the man’s eyes as he looks at me. As intimidating as he is, he just seems to radiate an almost parental warmth, like that of a caretaker. I can see Perrie smiling from where she leans around him, her eyes bright.

“Yeah. It is."

Chapter Text

Saying yes to training was exactly as overwhelming as I expected it to be. After the class, and my agreement to enter training, I was swept off into the intake room once again and handed several very thick packets of paper. Many pages were simply questions I needed to write in or select answers to, but there was an extensive “personal assessment” which was essentially designed to match a trainee with a mentor. 

After all of the reading and paperwork is done, I've sat on a couch with Harry again and I notice it’s well into the afternoon. Ben and Perrie are discussing my papers, and I’m sweating. 

“You’re thinking too loud, love.” Harry quips, smiling at me.

“Weirdly enough, I can feel it.” I said, huffing out a half-laugh as I look around the room, trying to be subtle about watching the pair opposite Harry and me.

“You’ll be fine. Right now, they’re basically sorting your paperwork. We have a very detailed, strict system because we do training so very rarely. We’re quite picky about who we choose to see regularly.” He smirks a bit like he’s joking, but I can only imagine the kind of people they would get if they had open personal training. 

I nod, checking my phone. It’s quiet for the most part, some small talk passing between Harry and I.  I can feel how tense he is next to me, and I can feel his eyes burning into me. I want to look at him, smile or say something to take the edge off, but I can’t seem to make myself do anything. While my mind is racing, I feel the familiar weight of his arm over my shoulders.

Ben clears his throat after a bit, shuffling a bunch of papers around and sorting them into a small, plain binder. Harry stands when he walks towards us, and I follow, awkwardly fidgeting with no place for my hands. Harry breaks my hands apart to fold his fingers into mine, and I  appreciate every bit of comfort I can get from him.

“This is going to be your folder - everything we give, every assignment and reading, will go in here. There will be a lot of homework. Your journal is for you to keep private if you wish, but we do like to discuss your notes and reflections occasionally.” His eyes are focused on me alone, and he has a sort of seriousness to him now that hadn’t been so noticeable before. 

I nod, slipping my hand from Harry’s and take the binder from Ben, hanging on his every word as he continues talking.

“We’ve decided Harry is the best fit for you, however, as I said earlier Mistress Perrie and I will also be involved in your learning. Now, we typically like to progress on a weekly basis and meet at least twice a week. If your schedule permits, the more often you meet with Harry, the better. You’ve indicated a level of commitment that reflects such frequent contact.” 

Ben speaks very clinically, much like a teacher would explain a lesson to a student. I’m easily trembling as he watches me, but Harry’s warmth is a constant comfort beside me. I listen attentively as Ben sternly gives me the basics of how my training and lessons will go, but the more he talks, the more I realize just how much of my life I’m investing in this. Am I willing to give up several days a week to spend time on this? To adjust to a new lifestyle imbedded in kink? For a moment, I just feel crazy. 

But when Harry’s arm comes around my shoulder again, I’m brought back to the moment.

Looking at the three around me, I can only think about everything I’d be missing out on. If I do this and realize I hate it, I can always stop. But if I never try, I’ll never know. 

“Do you think you can handle being Harry’s submissive for the duration of your lessons?” Ben asks.

“Yeah. I mean - I want to.” I stutter. “Sir.”

Perrie is smiling at me next to Ben, and I take a long, deep breath. 

“Good. Let’s talk about a contract for a moment, and I’ll let you go. Once I’ve sorted the final forms, we’ll meet again to discuss your formal introduction, and settle your lessons. In the meantime, Harry and I will be planning everything for you.” 

With that, Ben hands me a drafted copy of what looks like a standard contract page, handwritten notes in the margins and a few empty spaces. 

I glance over it, seeing lines about liability, safety, and program risks. I’m not really sure what I’m supposed to be looking at, but I nod at Ben and tell him I have no problem with it.

“Lovely. I’m so excited for you. And I’m truly happy you came.” 

Perrie hugs me tightly for a moment, rocking us side to side. I smile at her, genuine relief starting to roll through me as the tension breaks up. The air starts to lighten now that Ben’s stern aura has faded back into his warm smile from earlier. 

“I’m glad I came. I never would have if it wasn’t for Harry.  But I’m really excited, I think. Still terrified, but excited.” I manage to get the words out without stuttering, and I’m quite proud of myself for it. 

I’ve avoided looking at Harry too much while Ben spoke, not wanting to think too hard about the idea of the other man disciplining me, or confessing my deepest thoughts to him. Even though I know it’s coming, I tell myself I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Ben and Perrie shuffle back to the desk together, immersed in their papers, while Harry and I look at each other. 

His eyes are locked on me, and his jaw is set tightly. I can see the way his demeanor changes, his shoulders tensing for a moment, his throat bobbing as he swallows. 

“Are you sure this is what you want?” He asks, voice low in the quiet of the lobby.

“Yeah.” My voice is softer than I’d intended, but Harry doesn’t question it.

“Good. I’ve got some things of my own to prepare you, but we’ll deal with that later. For now, would you like me to take you home, or would you like to go somewhere else with me?” His voice is still quiet as we slowly move towards the doors we entered through this morning, and I’m watching his boots as we walk.

“I’d really like to go somewhere, but… to be honest, I’m mentally exhausted. I don’t think I’d be much fun.” I try to joke, but my nerves must show through too much for Harry to buy it.

“That’s perfectly okay. I know today has been a lot for you. Lots of sudden, overwhelming stuff.” I hum in agreement.

When we reach the doors, he holds them open for me to pass through, and rushes to the car to open the door for me, again. When he’s in the driver's seat, he turns to me. I shuffle my new journal and binder in my lap, nervously picking at the edges of the plastic binder. 

I wait for him to speak first, but when I glance up at him, he’s still looking at me, his eyes dark and his hands clenched tightly for a moment.

“Thank you. For choosing to commit to me, and yourself.” 

I nod, not really knowing how to respond. 

“For all intents and purposes, I’ll be acting as your dominant, if you’re comfortable with that.” He pauses to gauge my reaction, and when I nod calmly he continues. “I’d like you to text me every day, even if we don’t see each other. Just to check-in, and be sure you’re doing okay. I require a lot of communication.” 

“Okay, that sounds good.” I make a mental note to set some kind of reminder on my phone, knowing I’d ‘forget’ to text him without it.

“How often can you meet me?” He asks.

“I’m still looking for a job, so I’m not very busy at the moment. I’m not sure when that will change, but for now… I trust your advice.” I try to hold eye contact, but the small space between us in the car feels heavy and my throat feels tight.

He simply nods, starting the car. He only turns to me again once we’re pulling out of the tiny lot.

“I’d like to see you at least three times a week. I think you’ll do best with a lot of accountability and constant contact.” He speaks quietly, over the hum of the noise around us. 

“Okay.” I let out a breath and lean my head back, trying to calm my pulse a bit. I tell myself it’s over, the worst part is over and now I’m on my way home. Thankfully, Harry seems to lighten up a bit as he turns on the radio.

Most of the ride back to my apartment building is spent talking about music, and my cheeks are sore from smiling at all his loud singing. When we arrive, he’s getting out with me and walking me up to the door of the building.

“Thank you so, so much for this, Harry.” I tell him, and for some reason I feel so relieved when he leans in to hug me, gentle and warm. With his lips near my ear, he speaks softly and earnestly.

“I’ve been in a similar position, and it was terrifying to me, even as much as I tried to act cocky and infallible. I know it can be scary to let your walls down and be vulnerable, but I promise I will take care of you no matter what. I want you to feel safe to grow and learn and be yourself.” 

I only nod into his shoulder, resting my head on him for just a moment.

“That means a lot to me. I still don’t really know how I’m going to do all this, but I’m going to do my best. Just know that.” I say as we start to part.

“Your best is all I need.” He pauses and waits for me to look him in the eye. “I’ll text you tonight. Can you meet me again on Wednesday or Thursday?” 

“Yes,” I nod, “Either day.”

“Good. Have a good night, love. And read over those papers.” He gives me a last, quick hug before waving me off and getting back into his car. I smile and wait a moment before going inside, trying to compose myself after the strange, exhausting day.

Chapter Text

It takes two days for Harry to ask to meet. He tells me he'll pick me up from my building around noon, and we'll be going back to Fetish. 

Naturally, I'm panicking while getting ready, but this time I know what to expect. I remind myself to breathe and take some time to look over my binder again while I wait for him to arrive. I've read every page and found some of it to be exciting, but some of it reads like a classroom syllabus. I feel a lot like I'm starting a big class, and the thought almost makes me laugh. It is sort of a class, I guess.

When Harry texts that he's outside I'm out the door and barely shaking. I'm hopeful that today will be less of a mess than Monday. 

He's waiting against his car again, reaching up to hug me once I stop in front of him. I take in the smell of his cologne as we separate, immediately missing the warmth. 

“Hey. Are you ready to go?" He asks, pulling away to open my door.

“Yeah. Thank you for giving me a ride again, it really saves me money on uber." I laugh a little, hoping he doesn't see how serious I am.

“I'll never mind driving you. Don't be afraid to ask for a ride if you ever need one, I mean it." I only nod at him and look out the window while trying to sort my thoughts out.

“So… What are we doing today?" I ask quietly.

He hums and turns on the radio while we drive.

“First we'll sort out some lessons for you, go over rules, and all that. Then before we leave we'll do our introduction bit. It's a little bit of a ceremony, sort of like a kinky, fake initiation." He replies simply, and reaches over the center console to gently grab my hand.

“What's the introduction?" I'm gnawing my lip and I'm mostly successful in not letting my brain run wild with worry this time. His hand is heavy in mine and I run my thumb over his knuckles a few times to ease my own nerves. I’ve started to really like our contact, his weight and warmth are so comfortable, and they make me feel safe.

“If we decide to collar you for training, we'll do that. If not, we'll exchange some words, I'll formally ask you if you'd like to be my submissive and mentee, and then we sign the contracts Ben made up. It's very dramatic and mostly for show, but it really sets a more serious tone." He looks at me, hand tightening on mine. “It is a serious commitment, after all."

I nod, looking out the windows as we get closer to Fetish. When I turn back to him, he's shooting glances at me, and I try to offer a smile.

I feel like I just don't know what to say. I’ve never felt particularly uncomfortable with Harry in the time we’ve spent together, and I don’t think I am now… but I’m tense in anticipation of what’s coming next. I don’t really know what he’s like as a dom, though I’ve seen glimpses. 

He begins humming along to the music as we drive, and any tension in the car loosens easily as his hand stays with mine over my armrest until we’re pulling into the lot beside the building.

“Ben and Pez should both be here by now,” He starts as we’re walking through the large doors. I get a sense of deja vu looking around, but the new familiarity reminds me that I’ve been here before, and it’s okay.

I breathe in as deep as I can and let it out slowly. I pause in the hall to collect myself before following Harry around the corner to the lobby area where I can hear Ben and Perrie, and when I finally move forward I’m met with the pair greeting me with bright smiles.

“Good to see you again, love,” Perrie says as she hugs me tightly for a short moment. She’s in a black, skin-tight mini dress this time, intimidating heels completing her look.

I’m caught off guard as Ben leans in to wrap his arm over my shoulder and give it a squeeze. He’s in a full suit again, and I wonder if this is how he always dresses.

“I’m very glad to have you back, as well.” 

I can feel a genuine smile coming on as I thank them, and I try to relax my shoulders where they’ve tensed. Harry’s hand replaces Ben’s on my shoulder, and I can feel his chest shake as he laughs at my surprise.

“I’m happy to be here.” I say quietly. 

Ben claps his hands together softly, before walking to the front desk and grabbing a leather portfolio, looking every bit as professional as Ben himself. He pulls out several copies of a contract, printed on thick paper and looking very ornate for such a document.

“I’ve made several copies of the training contract, and we’re all going to read it together first. If you agree to everything within it, we’ll move to the other room and discuss your introduction.” He tells me, handing me a copy. Perrie seems to have a copy in hand as well, standing back by the wall now.

“Sounds good to me, sir.” I replied, reading over the pages.

Harry pulls me with him as we move toward the desk, where Ben asks him to read aloud the pages and rules. After he reads over the papers aloud first, he then quickly straightens up, breaking physical contact with me completely and turning to face me.

“Being that I will be your dominant and primary mentor, I will be responsible for the majority of your training and activity here at Fetish. Any participation in classes, events or play parties will need to be done with my permission and observation. You must be accompanied by me, or Mistress Perrie Edwards, or Sir Ben Winston whenever you are attending an event in this building, unless otherwise specifically stated. Do you understand this? Simple yes or no answers, please.” 

Harry is surprisingly serious, demeanor stiff and eyes set in the bright room.  This Harry is strong, commanding the space around us effortlessly. There is a sense of confidence under his firm attitude, and I can’t help the way my heart thrums at this sudden shift. 

I nod, before remembering to answer aloud. 

“Yes.”

“For the duration of your training, I will ask that you refer to me, in appropriate company, as Sir, Master or Daddy. Do you agree, or would you like to negotiate this?”

I can feel my eyes widen, having never thought of calling Harry daddy . I push back the shock and swallow hard before responding.

“Yes.” He stares at me, eyes dark and brows furrowed for a moment before clearing his throat.

“-Sir.” I add quickly, squeezing my eyes shut in embarrassment. 

“Good. We will plan future lessons together, which will involve physical, mental, emotional, domestic, and subservient training. Do you agree to this?” He waits until I can hold his gaze without looking away to continue, and it isn’t until I count to ten in my head that I can focus.

“Yes, sir.” I breathe out slowly. I know I want to do this, I’m committed to it, but the eyes watching me and Harry’s low voice are keeping me on the edge.

He nods, lowering the paper and glancing behind me before returning to me.

“Before I ask this, I’d like to note that we have alternatives if you don’t wish to be collared. Otherwise, do you agree to be collared as my submissive for the duration of your training?” 

“Yes, sir.” Harry nods and sets the paper down, his eyes locked on me as I wait for more questions. He doesn’t speak for a moment, mouth opening and closing again, before Perrie walks up to me and snaps him out of whatever daze he was in.

“Perfect. Let’s go to the other room, we have a surprise for you.” 

 

They shuffle me along into the large room we’d sat in for the class on Monday. Much of the furniture has been moved around a bit, only one of the heavy wooden tables in the center. On it lies what looks like a pair of small boxes, some papers, and what almost looks like a pregnancy test.

First, Ben hands me the test box.

“This is an oral swab drug test. I have total faith in you and your character, but testing is part of our procedure. We’d also like to ask you to have a full sexual health panel completed, and we have partnered with a local clinic to do free, completely private testing. We require all members to be tested, but since you’re starting training we’d like you to do so as soon as possible.” He speaks quietly in the almost empty room but my cheeks still burn as he opens the test box.

 I have no reason to be nervous about the tests, since I know I’m negative one hundred percent. When Ben’s opened the box, written the date on the test tab, and uncapped the swab, I stick it in my mouth for several minutes. While I’m standing there rubbing a plastic brush over my cheeks and tongue, and feeling a bit silly, Perrie writes something down on a piece of blank paper.

Once the test shows it’s finished, I take the swab out and hand it to Ben while he caps it and lays it over the paper Perrie had written on. I can now see that it has my full name, birth date and today's date on it. I turn to Harry just as I see Ben take his phone out and take a photo of the test.

“It’s to keep a record of your negative test.” He says when he catches me staring in confusion.

The air is heavy with something I can’t identify. Ben and Perrie have moved away, bit by bit, but I don’t notice much. The only sounds in the room now are our breathing and small shuffles of movement.

Harry then slides the wooden boxes over to where we stand and places one in front of me. He carefully arranges two copies of the contract in front of me and places a pen down. He walks to the nearest couch and picks up a square pillow, and he gently places it on the floor in front of where I’m standing. 

When I look at him, about to ask what it was for, he places his hands on my shoulders, firm and heavy. I look into his eyes, his pupils blown and jaw set as he watches me. It’s almost unnerving the way he seems to look right through me and into the most vulnerable parts of my mind. I feel like I can’t breathe, his hands weighing me down below the surface, and Ben and Perrie are long gone to me now. 

Right now, there is only Harry in front of me, pulling me down. 

“Kyler, do you agree to commit to your submission, your learning, and to me?”

His voice is so quiet, barely above a whisper. I don’t feel myself move, but I can hear myself respond to him automatically.

“Yes, sir.” 

“Will you sign this agreement to serve me as your mentor and dominant?” He asks.

“Yes, sir.”

His hands slowly fall from my shoulder, fingers brushing down my arms until he takes hold of my hands in his.

He turns me to the table and hands me the pen, pointing to one copy of the contract. I read it carefully, aware of my breathing and every move in the silence.

Once I’ve read it three times over, I take a deep breath and sign my name on the line.

I set the pen down again Harry takes it himself and signs the copy in front of him without hesitation.

My head feels sort of foggy like all I can focus on is Harry. It’s so hard to think about anything but what’s coming next .

I don’t know how long we’ve been standing here, but it feels like too long. My skin starts to itch, like I need to move, need to do something, but I can’t. He reaches over the table for a moment before facing me again and lifting my chin with a finger.

The box he hands me is a matte black wood, and its lid is heavy when I lift it. Inside sits a collar, soft woven leather bound with shining steel, ends engraved with the letters H and S on each side. Sitting in the box is also a small square lock with two keys, matching the metal on the collar. 

“Oh my god… this is beautiful.” I whisper before I can stop myself. I can’t help running a finger over the leather, the lights glittering off the steel. 

Harry huffs a small laugh, but it doesn’t reach his eyes, still dark.

“Will you accept my collar?”

I nod, not able to form words as he picks up the collar and lock in his hands.

“Kneel for me.” 

It isn’t a question. I wasn’t prepared for this at all, but my natural instinct is to listen. I’ve never in my life felt a draw like this, and I imagine this is how the edge of subspace might feel. I carefully get onto my knees on the pillow he’d provided, staring up at him in wait. He doesn’t move right away, just breathes deeply for a moment and watches me.

After a few moments, he reaches down to place the collar around my neck, hands gentle and warm against my skin. He pulls the lock through the ends and the click of it closing is inexplicably satisfying to me.

He pulls my chin up again and leans down to press his lips to my forehead.

“Stay.” 

I nod again, and as Harry walks around me, my senses slowly start to fade back in. I’m no longer trapped in him, and I force myself to look around the room, picking out random objects to focus on while trying to ignore the pain blossoming in my knees. I can hear Ben and Perrie shuffling a few feet away, papers sliding around, and finally, Harry walking back to me. 

I don’t turn my head right away, more out of embarrassment than anything else. I focus on where his knee shows through a hole ripped in his black jeans until he pulls me out of my daze.

He wraps a hand around my upper arm and tells me to stand, steadying me while I shake my legs out just a bit.

He opens the second, smaller box on the table, revealing a bracelet very similar to my collar. The woven leather is glossy and smooth just like mine, but instead of a lock closure, there’s a small spring-loaded ring, where he hangs the key to my collar. He looks to me as he wraps it around his wrist, and without him asking I help fasten it for him. The click of the ring closing seems to almost snap him out of his focus, if only for a second.

He gives me a smile, bright and blinding, a harsh contrast from his clenched jaw and raspy tone earlier. The changes in him almost give me whiplash, sometimes. 

When he finally speaks, it’s still soft but much louder than before. 

“Thank you for trusting me. Ben and Perrie have work to do, so we’ll be heading upstairs for the fun part.”

I nearly choke on my dry throat when I try to swallow, instead choosing to nod once again.

Chapter Text

I’m breathing deep and slow as Harry guides me through to the elevator, and up to the second floor. He walks me into a smaller playroom, one that I think I can recall him saying was only for demonstrations. It’s dark despite the windows, until he turns on all the lights and I see that once again the furniture has been moved around. There’s some equipment laid out on a table and a leather bench pulled up beside it.

“So, we’re going to talk about some expectations and the logistics. Then we’ll decide what exactly to do with you.” I hadn’t realized he’d moved behind me, and when he spoke I nearly jumped out of my skin.

“Okay.” 

I’m still in some kind of daze, the weight of my collar strangely soothing. I almost feel like I’m moving too slow, like I can’t seem to keep up. I feel Harry put his hands on my shoulders from behind me, and he places a kiss on the top of my head before guiding me forward to sit on the bench.

When we sit, I shake my head and rub at my eyes, trying to focus and get back to normal. I don’t mind the hazy feeling, but I know I need to be paying close attention to everything we do here. These are my first real steps, the first things I’ve ever really done to get closer to having the relationship I really want. And the fact that it’s with Harry, the only man I’ve ever met and actually connected with, is an absolute miracle in my books.

I notice Harry hasn’t spoken since we’ve sat, and when I bring myself back to the moment, he’s reading through some papers in a folder I hadn’t noticed before and shooting glances at me. 

“Sorry, I just needed to… focus for a minute. Clear my head.” I say quietly.

“That’s okay. I want you to feel comfortable with everything we do.” He replies, reaching up to brush some of my hair out of my face, before pulling away with a light pink settling over his cheeks. 

He clears his throat and sits up a little straighter, and turns his body to face me more easily on the bench. 

“Let’s start with expectations. If this seems like a lot to hear all at once, I apologize, but we’ll work up to it. I expect complete honesty from you at all times. If you just don’t feel mentally or physically up to a scene, don’t pretend you are - I hate that. It puts us both at risk.” I nod, swallowing hard and meeting his eyes while he continues. “I also expect you to listen to me. I understand that trust is built over time, and I don’t expect it to come right away. But I want you to know, and trust, that I will only ever do things I believe are in your best interest. Even if it seems like I’m pushing you, I would absolutely never do anything to put you in real danger, physically or emotionally. Are you okay so far?”

“I do trust you. I know we haven’t actually known each other very long, but I just feel comfortable with you,” I can feel my face heating up as I speak, not wanting to admit too much if Harry doesn’t even feel the same way, “... I don’t know how to explain it. I guess I just really like being around you.”

He’s quiet for a moment, a hint of a smile turning his lips, before he sets his folder down and slips his hand into mine again.

“I really like you. I mean that.” 

A peaceful kind of silence hangs in the room, and I don’t have the will to break it myself, so I wait until Harry continues. 

“I know from all of your paperwork that you’re most interested in learning about impact play first. Along with training your behavior, I’ll be showing you the ropes,” His elbow digs into my side a few times as he quirks his eyebrow, laughing at his own joke, “and playing with your interests."

“Oh my god, you're terrible. So what does that mean?”  I can't help laughing at his stupid joke.

“Well, for example, you mentioned wanting to be flogged, since you really like it. I'd be putting together a scene where we tried out different floggers and techniques, figuring out exactly what you like about it. And we'll do that with quite a lot of things."

I nod, and turn my eyes to the equipment on the table in front of us. He gestures to a large, heavy looking flogger that seems to be made of authentic leather. 

“Okay, that sounds good to me."

He smirks a bit, letting go of my hand to instead put his arm around me. 

“Good. Now, I know you believe yourself to be a rather timid sub, and I'll take your word for that, but you may surprise yourself. I can be a fairly… strict dom. I don't like to punish, but I have no problem correcting your behavior. I just get far more out of pleasing a sub than punishing. I'm not a total sadist in that sense." He breathes for a bit, thinking. “I'm not sure how to best go about this part, so I'll just get it out. You want sexual activity and service to be a part of your training, right?"

A wave of heat and shame courses slowly through me at his words, my muscles tensing as I look to my lap. I'd honestly forgotten that we'd inevitably have to tackle this conversation.

“Yeah. I do."

His hand immediately wraps around my jaw to lift my chin. His brows are set harshly, and his voice is deep and rough when he speaks.

“I don't want you to do that. You have nothing to be embarrassed about." He lets go of my face to put his arm back over my shoulders, but only slightly relaxes. “I'll introduce things slowly and test the waters. The very first things we're going to focus on are adjusting to our relationship. Our dynamic won't be 24/7 since we don't live together, but I'd like to assume it will be on whenever we're together. I'd like you to always address me appropriately. If we're in public, refer to me as H. In private, sir or daddy is preferred."

“I can do that. I am a little… well, not worried, but maybe just a bit confused. About how exactly to switch over to that sort of dynamic. Is it just something we do when we’re together, or should it be a constant thing? I guess I’m just wondering how to actually do this stuff.” I admit, not wanting to meet his eyes. I know I need to be honest with him, and I’m really not sure if I’m supposed to just jump in to calling him daddy all day, or if we’re meant to ease into things. I’ve never been in this situation before, but I’m really glad it’s Harry leading me through it.

“I've found two methods to be the easiest for both parties: immediate immersion, or slow acclimation. In your case, I think immediate changes might work best, to get you really used to things so we can focus on training. And if something's not working, we can adjust accordingly. However, I'll leave it up to you to decide how we go about it."

“I trust your judgement if you think starting off strong might be easier.” I look at him, watching the way his eyes move about the room, his hand running through his hair to push it back. He’s got that commanding air about him again, but not nearly as intense as earlier. 

“Alright then. It’s not going to be easy, and it might feel a little weird at first. I want you to start referring to me appropriately like I asked. I’ll let it slip a few times while you’re adjusting, but don’t let it happen too many times, please.” Harry pinches my arm a bit when he says it, but there’s still a smirk on his face as he leans against me even more.

“Of course, sir.” I smile.

“When I ask you do something for me, or go somewhere with me, I’ll expect you to do so. I also will expect you to remember that I am your dominant now. As I told you, I can be very possessive, and it would do you good to remember that.” 

I simply nod, making note in my head of all the important points he’s giving me. The shock of being introduced to this new setting is subsiding as he speaks. There’s a natural energy between us that assures me that I’ve made the right choice in coming here with him and opening myself up to this opportunity. He’s such a natural leader, and he’s so damn charming it’s all but impossible not to hang on his every word, sub or not. 

“How do you feel about everything so far? I know we got pretty heavy and a little dramatic earlier, but be honest with me.” 

“I feel pretty good. Really. This feels right to me,” I stare at the grain of the table as I speak, forcing my throat to open and let me speak through the lump building, “You feel right to me.”

He smiles again, this time slow and soft. The smirk and that dominant aura seem to fade as he watches me for a moment, before ever so carefully leaning in. His lips are warm when they meet mine, and I barely stop myself from sighing against him. The kiss only lasts for a moment before Harry’s pulling away and pressing his forehead to mine as we lean into each other, and it felt like something had clicked into place.

Chapter Text

Harry had driven me home after the collaring and training set up with several sheets of ‘homework’ to do before we were planning to meet again a few days later. I’d intended to see him the day after, but he got a bit busy at the club. We’d been texting almost non-stop though, and we found we had more in common than either of us thought. The day after we last met, I was able to stop by the small center nearby the Fetish building to be tested, and received the expected clear screening. Harry had let me know that they received my screening and had a copy made, so I was finally done with all the paperwork.

Even though it’s only been a few days since I last saw him, I can’t help but smile when I see him leaning against his car outside of my building. Before I’m even to him, he’s meeting me near the steps and wrapping me up in a tight hug. 

“Hi,” I mumbled into his shoulder before we parted.

“Hi,” He mocked, eyeing the binder in my hand, “Did you do what I asked?”

“Of course, sir.” 

He smiled approvingly and nodded toward the car, grabbing my hand and helping me into his car.

The ride to the club was easy and there was no trace of the heavy atmosphere that clung to us the last time we were together. I was glad that it felt more comfortable, even while I could feel the weight of the sleek leather around my neck and his hand on my leg most of the way. I took some time while we chatted over the radio to flip through my little binder and look over some of the stuff I’d finished already. 

Some of the assignment he’d sent home with me included some journaling about my emotions and how I felt during the collaring, and it felt really good to write down everything I felt, and I was surprisingly looking forward to discussing it with Harry. The idea of talking about it all with Ben or Perrie made me a little nervous, but feeling that Harry was genuinely both a friend and someone I could trust, I felt safer getting that emotional him. 

When we walked in, we assumed it was empty since only a few main lights were on and the building was silent, but a loud noise and some shuffling was quickly followed by Perrie popping her head around the corner of the main lobby to check who had come in.

“Hey there, loves!” She calls, a smile crossing her lips without meeting her tired eyes.

“I thought you weren’t in until this afternoon, Pez,” Harry said, giving Perrie a quick side hug as we walked past the front desk area. She leans in to hug me as well, and I can’t help but subtly breathe in her perfume, a sweet spiced scent much different than her usual floral tones.

“I had a last minute request come in the other night and, in a semi-drunken haze, agreed to do a full class for a group of ten tonight. A class I only just remembered this morning.” 

She rolled her eyes, but restrained herself from further comment, breathing deeply and returning the smile once again. 

“If you need anything, you know I’m here for you.” Harry smiles sympathetically as he looks over the desk.

“What kind of class?” I ask, more out of curiosity than for the sake of conversation.

Harry clears his throat and grips my hand, and I feel a hot wave of shame course through me for a moment, memory of the last visit here flooding my mind.

“I’m so sorry, Mistress, I didn’t mean to-”

“Oh it’s alright, don’t worry. This is the first time we’ve really talked since the contracts, and everyone slips up every now and again.” She tells me, a warm smile in place as she squeezes my shoulder and ruffles my hair a bit. “I appreciate the apology, as well. It shows that you recognized a mistake. Sincere apologies go a long way with Ben and I both.” 

I smile, hoping it doesn’t come off as a grimace as I try to breathe in deeply and calm my racing heart. I feel a mix of embarrassment and shame despite Perrie’s soothing words and manner. 

“It’s alright, it’s all new still. Relax for me,” Harry pulls me into him to kiss my temple, speaking quietly in the otherwise silent lobby.

“It’s mostly a suspension class, but I’m demonstrating some impact technique as well. I’ve got some more work to do, but if you could help me set up for a suspension demo and a caning demo before you leave, that’d be ace.” 

“Of course, let me get us set up in the other room and I’ll be down in a bit to help.” 

Perrie walks around to sit behind the desk and waves us off as Harry pulls me towards the elevator.

We end up back in the same demo room we used last, and the moment I spot the same bench I can’t help but replay the kiss in my head. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about his lips on mine since then. It feels like such a lame cliche, but it just felt right when we kissed and I’ve never felt anything like what I feel for Harry. I try to keep my thoughts off my face when we sit but he reads me too well.

“Something on your mind?” He asks simply, taking my binder from me and setting it down on the table next to us.

“Sort of, but… nothing bad.” 

I don’t really know if I’m supposed to have slipped into the more formal mode we kept last time, so I watch his face for a second to see any response. 

He doesn’t give much away, but he frowns in concern.

“Can you elaborate, please?” His brow quirks as he presses on before turning to focus on the binder.

“I was thinking about the last time we were here, sir.”

My face is hot when Harry glances at me, and I’m sure I must be beet red now. 

“What about it, specifically?”

He’s smirking when he turns, but it melts into a softer and more genuine smile when he sees how embarrassed I am.

“You know what. Don’t make me say it.” I cringe at the thought of confessing the dreamy replays of our kiss that have been running through my head like a middle school girl.

“Oh darling, I’m going to make you say a lot of things that’ll have you blushing. Get used to it.” 

I barely catch his wink when I cover my face and groan. Despite the utter mortification, I can feel myself smiling beneath my hands. His laugh almost echoes in the quiet air, and it feels comfortable between us. With a deep, calming breath in I slowly uncover my face and twist my hands in my lap while I wait for Harry to begin with whatever we’re doing today. He hadn’t actually told me yet what he had planned, just that it would be ‘fun’. 

I’m learning that his idea of fun is usually very embarrassing.

He’s quietly flipping through the little binder, reading over the papers he’d given me, before he sets it down.

“I’m glad you did everything. Not that I expected any less from you.” He smiles warmly at me and flips to a checklist in the front of the binder. “The purpose of the impact list here was to get a better idea of where to start. I think today, I’d like to try out some things with you and see what you like.”

“What kinds of things, sir?” I asked. There was nothing laid out on the table this time aside from the material we’d brought in, unlike last time. 

“I want to try a few floggers out, and probably a paddle or two. If we get to it and you feel ready to try, we can test some canes as well. The idea is to familiarize you with the different sensations and identify what you like the best, as well as gauge your pain tolerance.”

I nod as he speaks, his voice still warm and quiet but stern. He sits up a bit and glosses over the checklist again, before standing.

“Come with me.” He turns before I’m even standing, so I catch up with him as he walks me to a large, ornate closet on the other side of the room.

The closet is neatly packed with all kinds of kinky instruments. Several thick, heavy looking floggers hang in the center, with a variety of slim canes, longer paddles, whips, and chains hang along the sides and doors. Some of them look downright terrifying, while some look almost pretty. 

Harry reaches for one of the thinner floggers immediately, pausing to decide before pulling out a few other things. He leaves the doors open when he turns to me, eyeing me up and down with a small smirk.

“I think these will do for now.” 

A shiver runs down my spine when I meet his eyes and see his pupils flared, and he steps closer to me before I can turn away.

His eyes never leave mine as he reaches to tangle his fingers in the hair above my neck and he’s pulling me in before my brain even has a chance to catch up. His lips are so, so warm against mine, and moving against him comes naturally this time as I let myself sink into him. 

When he pulls back he licks over his lips and I can’t bring myself to meet his gaze while I can feel my cheeks burning. His lips meet my forehead, soft and slow, before he leans away from me and lifts my chin.

“Do you trust me?” 

His eyes shine almost an emerald gold in the light of the room, pupils still heavy as he watches me.

“Yes, sir.”

Chapter Text

“Move back to the table, in front of the bench.” 

I do as he says, the thrum of excitement and anticipation building under my skin. A smooth, natural dominance seems to radiate from Harry, his posture firm and eyes set on me as I move across the room. He carries all of the items he’d picked from the closet and lays them carefully on the table before me, before reaching once more for the binder.

He looks deep in thought for a few moments, and I try not to fidget or move too much in an effort not to disturb him. 

Before I can really think about questioning him, he’s turning to face me, looking around the room before settling on something.

“I’m going to restrain you for this practice. Partly to keep you from wiggling around, and partly to get you into the proper mindset. Do you feel comfortable being restrained?” 

“Yes sir.” I nod easily and confidently. Despite the nervous energy thrumming in my chest, I’m actually really excited. I know I enjoy some particular sensations, but I’ve never gotten to experience them fully from another person before, and Harry being the first one to dom me is weirdly comforting. 

I catch his smile out of the corner of my eye when he gently grabs my shoulders and turns me towards a padded St. Andrew’s cross in the corner of the room. There’s already four smooth silicone cuffs hanging from each peg, and Harry turns me to face the padded wood with my back to him.

“I want you to face the cross so I can focus the impact on your shoulders and arms. I’m not going to ask you to undress, unless you’d like to, but I will ask you to take off your jacket. We want as little in the way as possible, while keeping you at ease.”

His voice feels like it fills the room as he stands behind me, hands reaching to help pull off my denim jacket. I hear it fall to the floor a bit away but don’t turn to look where. I keep my face forward even as a chill raises bumps across my skin. 

Harry’s hands smooth down over my arms, and I let my eyes fall closed to focus on his skin against mine. The heat of his hands is a stark contrast to the slight chill in the air as he wraps his fingers around each of my wrists. I let him pull my arms up and hold them still while he closes and straps the cuffs around each. 

“Is this okay?”

“Yes, sir.” I hum happily, eyes feeling heavy.

I don’t feel him for a few moments, but I hear him shuffling behind me. Just as I’m about to open my eyes I feel his hands at my ankles. He grips one ankle a bit roughly, pulling until I lifted it from the floor before he slipped off my shoe. He repeats with my other foot before carefully strapping each ankle into a cuff.

Standing here with my forehead pressing into the soft padding of the cross, my mind is quiet aside from a soft buzzing. I can feel myself slipping back into that space I fell into when Harry collared me just a few days ago. This time I’m much more in control, but the anxiety has subsided enough for me to relax into the restraints and listen for Harry’s movement. 

The cross sits far enough away from the wall for Harry to walk around and stand just in front of me, and my chin rests a good few inches above where the wood joins in the center. When I hear him moving around, I open my eyes to see him in front of me, smiling. The dominant presence is heavy, and his jaw is set as he looks me over and double checks the cuffs on my wrists.

“How does this feel?” His eyes focus in on me and I have to swallow just to get my voice to work.

“Good, sir.” 

With that, he nods and moves back behind me. This time I can hear him pick something up.

He’s back in front of me with the lightest looking flogger he’d picked out, showing me the details and describing the impact so I know what to expect.

“It stings a little, but it really gives a heavier sensation than the others. It’s one of my favorite floggers to use.”

He gives moves to walk away, but stops himself after a second. I catch a small smile on his face before leans in with a quick peck to my forehead, pushing my hair back out of my face.

“I’ll start off with a few hits and we’ll talk about how it feels. Don’t be afraid to say it hurts or you don’t like it. We’re doing this to figure out what you like, love.” He smiles one last time before moving behind me again. 

The leather whistles in the air as he moves it and I can feel the air against my back before I feel the soft thud against my skin. Through the shirt, there isn’t much sting, but a thrill rises in me when I feel pressure blossoming where he’d hit. 

The pain is light enough that I don’t even wince, and it melts into a soothing buzz just under the skin. 

“That feels good,” I work out. My throat is tight with anticipation, and I bite my lip as I wait for the sound of movement again.

Harry doesn’t respond with any words, lightly rolling the flogger over my back before winding up and striking it again. The hits are all rather soft, none strong enough to leave anything but a red mark on any bare skin the leather meets. The sting on my arms where my shirt sleeves end is at the same time itchy and warm, adding to the buzzing sensation pouring over me. The sound of the leather cracking was just as satisfying as it felt against my skin.

I’m not lost in the spacey haze I fell into during the collaring, but this feels even better. With no sound other than Harry’s movements and my own breathing, I have little to focus on other than the physical sensations sweeping over me. 

Harry only swings the flogger a few more times before he stops, moving in front of me again. His cheeks are a bit flushed and his jaw it tight, and if I didn’t know better I’d think he was almost angry. The lights of the room bounce off his eyes and even with his pupils blown I can see the excitement on his face.

“How was that one?” Harry asks, voice a bit rough before he clears his throat softly.

“I really like that one,” I sighed, breaking into a smile when he nodded. 

“Good. Let’s try the others.” 

 

Harry used four different floggers on me, all increasingly strong and heavy against my back and arms. I could feel how careful his aim was - never striking my lower back, avoiding my neck and sides, and focusing the sting to my arms so I could really feel each one. 

I hadn’t known what to expect from this but all of the anxiety I’d built up, all of the fear and embarrassment I felt whenever I thought about letting Harry dom me - it was as if Harry was stripping it away. Each slick thud against my skin felt like he was tearing away a piece of my shell, and it felt so good to feel truly comfortable with myself. 

I was so focused on the warmth and numbing pain spreading across my skin that I didn’t really notice when Harry stopped. Not until I felt his hands on me again, settling on my shoulders and pressing deep into my muscles. 

“Color?” 

“Green, sir.” It took me a moment to register his words and form the right response, but he seemed happy with my words.

“Good boy.” He smiled wide, dimples pressing into his darkened cheeks.

I couldn’t help but preen under his praise, my heart feeling light and content in this small moment between us.

He doesn’t move to pick anything up again, just rests his hands along my shoulders, lightly massaging the muscles there. As I relax into his heat, I realize how tense I am, my whole body wound tight as if preparing for more impact. 

I close my eyes as I take a few deep breaths and loosen up my arms and legs, stretching a little where my shoulders have been pulled upwards. Harry’s hands work down my back and along my arms, soothing all the spots he’d spent the most time on. He presses close to me, enough for me to feel his body’s heat all along my back, while he reaches up to uncuff my wrists one at a time. When he brings them down, he rubs the skin and makes sure there are no marks, before repeating with the next. 

I know I must look like an idiot or a loon, but I can’t cover up the smile on my face. I just felt good . My skin was warm and I could feel a tingle run over my whole body as we stood there together for a few more moments. 

Harry’s lips against my neck startle me a bit, having lost myself a little in a daze, but I lean into it and let him press small kisses up to my ear. His mouth isn’t heavy or pressing; the kisses are light and comforting more than arousing, despite the circumstances. I feel my cheeks warm again, and I just let the feeling wash over me while I can still hide my face from him. 

He reaches down to uncuff my ankles as well, moving my shoes next to me but not letting me put them back on just yet. I roll my feet around, only now realizing how long I’d been standing, cuffed to the cross. My shoulders were a little sore already, but it was nothing that wouldn’t ease up soon enough. 

Harry doesn’t guide me to move away from the cross, so I stand in place while I stretch out a bit. 

“Come sit with me.” I turn to see him carrying all of the floggers he’d used back to the closet and putting them back inside quickly before returning to the bench we were originally sat at. Harry sits with me and easily grabs my hands between both of his, playing with my fingers and studying me carefully as we speak.

“So, how do you feel?”

“I feel really good. I loved it,” I pause to think a bit, before continuing. “I really enjoyed the first and last floggers. I liked that I was facing away from you, too. I felt like I didn’t have to worry about my reactions because you couldn’t really see them.” 

He hums, nodding a bit. I can tell he’s thinking about something, and he opens his mouth only to close it before speaking. 

I wait while he sorts out whatever he’s trying to say, running my thumb over his knuckles while he twists our fingers together.

“This is going to sound crazy, or maybe just clingy, I don’t know. But I’ve never… I don’t think I’ve ever felt that way while playing with someone before.” His eyebrows scrunch and he shakes his head, letting out a sigh. 

It’s silent, not even our breathing disturbing the air around us, as we both stare down at our hands.

“I’ve never done anything like this before, but I’ve never felt safer or more comfortable with anyone in my life. And considering I was cuffed to a torture device and beat with some leather straps, that’s probably not a great sign for my mental state.” I joke, hoping my poor humor gets through and doesn’t upset him.

He chokes a bit before letting out a loud, sudden laugh that has his cheeks going pink before he calms himself down.

“That’s probably true,” He says, shoulders relaxing a bit and eyes finally meeting mine, “I didn’t intend for this to go the way that it did, but I think it went pretty well regardless.” 

“I loved it.” I tug on his hands a little, “Thank you, sir.” 

I try not to smile when I see his dimples, but I can’t help it. I still feel the hum of heat along my skin and my mind is surprisingly clear and calm for once. 

I could get used to this feeling.

Chapter Text

A little while later, after Harry and I have thoroughly and boringly discussed the impact play, we’ve gone back downstairs to see if Perrie still needed help. Having been upstairs for so long, we didn’t hear anyone else come in, so we were surprised to see Ben setting up a suspension demo area in the main playroom. 

“Oh, hello you two. I take it you’ve had a nice morning?” Ben asks with a small smirk.

As Harry chats with the older man, I realize it’s the first time I’ve seen him in anything other than a suit. He’s still well-dressed in tailored slacks and a button down shirt, but he looks more casual than I’ve ever seen him.

The two other men don’t acknowledge me for a moment, chatting about the schedule, but I stand by patiently. 

I’m stunned to see I’m not nearly as anxious around Ben as I typically am. I’m more familiar with him now, sure, but even the thought of speaking to him would ordinarily have my palms sweating in seconds flat.

“Hello, Kyler. How are you?” Ben asks me as he steps around some piles of rope on the floor to place a hand on my shoulder.

“I’m good, Sir. How are you?” 

“Good, I’ve had a nice morning off. I’m glad to see you. Do you two mind helping me with this set up?” He glances at Harry and then to me, as if I really had a choice to say no. 

“Of course, Sir. Just tell me what to do.” 

He smiles and keeps up the small talk for a bit longer while he arranges bundles of rope in seemingly random spots around the room. I can’t make sense of it at first, but Harry seems to know what to do as he immediately starts looping rope through points already in place in the ceiling. 

“Come hold the end of this rope for me.” Harry says, not even looking up to see if I had caught his instruction before moving a ladder towards a large structure in the ceiling above him.

I do as he asks, continuing to flit around between Harry and Ben to assist where I can, and there are several very complex looking setups by the time we finish almost two hours later. The three of us are a little tired and maybe a little sweaty, but when we walk back to the lobby a rush of cooler air greets us past the playroom doors. 

Perrie comes around the corner soon after we settle into the lounge chairs near the front desk, her own hair now tied up as she starts sorting through papers on the desk.

“The suspension demos are all set up, Pez,” Harry says, carefully and not so casually moving an arm around my shoulders. Ben notices, shooting me a wink when I catch him eyeing us, but he smiles warmly before standing to help Perrie.

As the two talked and shuffled around the desk, Ben announced that they’d be heading to his office for a bit, and to let him know before we leave. 

Harry agreed, before leaning back into the chair.

“Would you be interested in the class? Perrie offered to let us sit in or participate if you had any interest.” 

I think for a moment, having never really considered it an interest before.

“Suspension bondage, right? What’s that like?”

“Well, suspension is often tricky and you really need someone who’s well-educated and understands the safety risks that come with it. If you have that support, it can really be a lot of fun. For some it’s therapeutic, for some it’s about being totally restricted, and for others it’s just arousing to be so out of control.” He speaks casually and without that dominance he showed earlier.

The idea of being tied up, completely off the ground is more than a little scary to me, but I can’t deny my curiosity. There’s no harm in watching, I figure.

“I’d like to see it. It sounds terrifying, but cool.” Harry laughs, arm tightening over my shoulder and pulling me into him a bit more. 

“How about we go for a coffee or snack run, and come back for the class?”

“That sounds good - wait, what time is it?” I ask, remembering that Perrie said her class was in the evening.

“It’s just past four now, why?” He checks his watch, brows furrowed as he looks back at me.

“We’ve been here for five hours?” I sat up, pulling out my phone to check the time.

Harry laughs a bit, moving his hand to the small of my back and pressing his lips to my cheek in a quick, wet kiss.

“We spent quite a while upstairs,” He reminded me, “And all that rope work and flogging made me hungry. Food?” He asks, lips quirked up in a little smile.

I nod. “I could use some caffeine, too.” 

 

Perrie seemed to have bitten off a bit more than she could chew in her drunken agreement. Twelve people showed up, which in itself isn’t exactly a large class, but she had only three hours to cover impact play technique and a suspension demonstration. Harry and I had gone on a trip to a nearby cafe, grabbing some coffee and pastries to pass the time before the class was due to start. When we returned, almost a half hour before the class was due to start, the lobby was filled with people shuffling around, and Harry and I could see Perrie struggling to handle several conversations at once while organizing paperwork and trying to keep track of disclosure forms. 

Harry took over directing people into a neat line, making sure everyone had the appropriate forms, so Perrie could prepare to start the class.

“Do you need any help, Mistress?” I asked. I didn’t know much of anything that could help her, but I figured I would try to help anyways.

“Actually, do you think you could go through and collect each persons disclosure forms, and swap them for this packet?” She waved toward a small stack of packets, the cover indicating it was notes and work for the class. 

“Of course,” I agreed, taking the packets off the desk, “Is that all, Mistress?” 

“For now, thank you sweetheart.” She gave me a quick squeeze around the shoulders, before beginning to address the line of people. 

I quickly spoke to each person, collecting their forms and handing them a packet. Even now, when I would usually be clamming up and stuttering, I feel more at ease after this morning with Harry. I can feel myself getting a little unsteady, but I’m confident enough that I push through my nerves and am back at the front desk with the collected forms neatly stacked and paperclipped for Perrie to grab later.

I continue waiting near the desk just to be out of everyone’s way, and I find I can keep an eye on Harry and Perrie both as they move about between people. 

It took a few minutes, but the people eventually quiet down, listening attentively to Perrie as she describes the intended schedule for the class and general safety guidelines. As she speaks, her body noticeably straightens, heels clicking on the floor as she walks. She’d redone her makeup and changed before the class; before we’d left she had been in a long sleeve fitted shirt and skirt, and she’s now donning an impressive latex dress and a dark eye that intensifies her sharp blue eyes. 

Her demeanor changes much like Harry’s - you can’t pinpoint the exact moment they get into their dominant mindset, but everything from their voice to their body language screams dominance. The resemblance between the two when they’re in that space is startling given how different they are normally. 

Harry knocks me out of my thoughts when he wraps his hand around the back of my neck to pull my toward him.

“I’m going to have to help Pez. Do you want to sit by me for the suspension, or sit with Perrie for the impact lessons?”

“With you, please.” I say, hoping my voice was loud enough for him to hear over Perrie a few feet away.

He doesn’t reply but nods, and I almost don’t notice the quick kiss he places on my head as he turns away to stand next to Perrie.

“This is my fellow educator, Harry. You are to address him as Sir, just as you would address me as Mistress. He will be teaching much of the suspension portion of the class.” I listen as Perrie continues her introduction and get ready to follow them into the main room before I stop in my tracks when my name is spoken.

“This is Harry’s submissive. Do not speak to him, approach him, or touch him without Harry’s permission. He may be available upon Harry’s approval for questions or assistance.”

My cheeks warm and I nearly trip on my own feet as I try to keep walking. I hear a few people quietly whispering to each other after this, even when Perrie finishes up and directs the class to follow her. I catch one woman calling me lucky on her way past, and I can’t help but smile. 

I quietly follow the group, closing the main room’s doors behind us and moving around toward where Harry is setting up a few extra chairs. The class seems to have divided pretty evenly, some going to Perrie’s side of the room while she sets up different tools and toys to use on each volunteering member. The rest set themselves up in a semi-circle around one of the rope structures we’d set up with Ben earlier. Several lengths of rope are attached to several points built into the ceiling, and there are multiple bundles of rope on the floor as well.

I move to grab an extra chair to sit towards the back, but before I can get one, Harry is grabbing my upper arm and gently directing me to a chair beside him, in front of the group. I swallow, feeling several eyes watching me, but Harry smiles at me when I look to him again and I sit. Once he starts talking, no one is paying any attention to me, and I start to relax a bit. 

He covers a lot of the necessary safety requirements before demonstrating numerous knots and discussing the differences in typical bondage and suspension. The group is looking through the packets I handed them, and I see Harry flipping through when he moves on to each new topic. Before I even think about looking for one Harry hands me his after he’s flipped through it once more, handing me a pen along with it. I smile and he only nods in response while he continues on. 

It takes about an hour of discussion and questions from the group before Harry begins the actual demonstration. My hand is cramping up from all the writing I’ve done, and I just about filled all but one note page in the packet. 

When he asks for a volunteer, several hands shoot up, but his eyes come back to me. I watch him nervously as he walks to me and leans in to speak quietly into my ear.

“Are you interested in trying this? You can say no, or we can try later -” I cut him off when he pulls back and I can see the concern in his eyes.

“Yes. I might regret it once my feet leave the ground, but I want to try, sir.” Harry’s smile assures me that I made the right choice.

Chapter Text

I try to smile or show some enthusiasm, but truthfully, I am scared. I’ve always been scared of heights, and despite Harry’s reassurances that I’d be no more than three feet off the ground at any given time, it’s still terrifying. 

But the way he had described it, how it felt like flying once you let go and relied on the ropes, I knew if I didn’t try it now I would put it off and probably never want to try again. I almost want to take back my agreement and run out of the building screaming when I see him collecting ropes and directing me to stand next to him, but I talk myself out of it.

“My submissive will be demonstrating for today. He is also a beginner, and has never done this before. If you would like to ask questions or discuss the demonstration afterwards, I’ll leave that up to him to decide.”

While Harry moves around, he describes what he’s doing to the group while most of them watch intently. I don’t miss the way one man watches me while Harry talks, but I try to avoid looking back at him.

“I’m going to first put him in a modified straight jacket harness, which will keep your arms behind your chest. After that, I’ll do a mermaid leg tie to keep his legs together for the suspension body harness I’m going to do.” 

Harry speaks like a natural, and his movements are swift and easy, so I’m sure he’s had a lot of experience with this. He gathers what looks to me like an excessive amount of rope, before he stops and turns to look at me. 

He opens his mouth, but snaps it shut before crossing the room and digging around in the piles of organized rope. He returns with several lengths of red and black rope, replacing the tan cotton bundles we’d set up earlier. 

I watch his every move and try to focus my mind on breathing. The steadily rising wave of anxiety is building in my chest, but I remind myself to trust Harry. When I take a deep breath and close my eyes for a moment while he talks a bit more to the group in front of us, I try to bring myself back to that soothing haze from earlier. While Harry is distracted a bit I take the opportunity to stretch my arms and legs out, knowing that I’ll be heavily restricted for quite a bit of time. Again, I spot the same man watching me as I stand nervously in place. There’s nothing about him that particularly concerns me, but the way he keeps staring at me kind of freaks me out. I don’t let myself think too hard about it though, as Harry moves towards me again.

He talks about the type of rope he prefers while he positions me to stand directly beneath the hanging point in the ceiling. As he unravels a length of black rope, he pulls my arms out in front of me, and as he wraps the rope carefully around my wrists, he runs his hands over my skin before crossing my arms and continuing with the tie. He’s fallen quiet in concentration, and the group seems to see how focused he is and no one asks another question.

I can feel my heart beating, can almost hear it behind my ears as Harry continues to wind the rope over my shoulders, my chest, my ribs. I try not to look down, instead just letting my mind follow the feeling of the rope. The sensation is soothing as long as I’m only focused on the present moment and not the impending suspension. 

The quiet on our side of the room is actually nice, now that the group has quieted down it seems like everyone is enthralled by Harry’s easy and confident movements. He doesn’t think twice about where to lay the rope, or how tight to pull a knot. His eyes are dark even under the bright lights of the room, and he doesn’t meet my eyes until he’s finished the chest harness completely. My arms are tense where I’ve been holding myself to keep from fidgeting too much while Harry worked, but when I realize that I’m truly restricted I let my muscles relax and the weight of my arms falls into the rope easily.

Finally Harry looks at me again, his pupils blown and the green of his eyes deeper than I’ve seen before. I barely feel it when he skims his fingers along my upper arm before cupping my neck. 

“Does that feel okay? I need you to be honest with me. If something hurts, or feels too tight, you need to tell me now.” Harry says, voice quiet between us and brows set.

I’d rarely seen him look so serious, but I know he’s very thorough about safety so it doesn’t surprise me. I wiggle my fingers and wrists, shrugging my shoulders and pulling my arms a bit, testing the rope before nodding.

“It feels good. Nothing hurts, sir.” 

We lock eyes for what feels like forever, before he tightens his grip on my neck and leans in. This time when our lips meet, its slow and deep. I don’t hesitate to return his pressure, and I feel my cheeks burn as his teeth graze my lip. When he pulls away he kisses my forehead, looking me over before slowly moving away again. 

He drags over a small stool I hadn’t really noticed before, setting it directly behind me and telling me to sit. I stretch my legs out in front of me, rolling my ankles around a bit before he rests on one knee beside me. 

“The mermaid leg tie can be done a lot of different ways, but because I will be suspending him, I want it to begin at his waist where I’ll connect the chest and leg harnesses.” 

He doesn’t look away from my face even as he continues to speak to the group and detail his every move. His hand settles on my knee while he talks, but soon enough he’s reaching for another bunch of black rope. 

The legs are much simpler, and it takes no time at all despite the complex beauty of the knots. The column pattern looks almost ornate, even laying over my black denim jeans, and it feels good to be restricted like this. It feels almost like small belts wrapped around my legs, not too tight but firm enough that I can’t separate my legs or feet. The rope ends where it binds over the bottoms of my shoes, so even my ankles are unable to move apart. I worry for a moment when Harry stands and I realize trying to stand will likely lead to me falling over because of the rope under my shoes.

He doesn’t gesture for me to get up and makes no effort to direct me, so I stay seated as he walks through the hanging point and how he decides what methods to use to suspend someone. 

He picks up a red rope, and instead of bringing it to me like I expect him to, he begins looping it through the ring hanging from the suspension point, making quick work of several complicated knots. I feel a wave of anxiety coming again, as I wiggle a little in my restraints, just picturing hovering above the floor held only by extensive lengths of rope.

I don’t see Harry standing in front of me until I hear him speak again, breaking me from my daze. Several people stand from their chairs and move around the hanging point, maintaining a respectful working distance while being able to view Harry’s work. 

Harry helps me to stand and holds me up, only to loop one part of the hanging red rope through several knots in the back of the chest harness he has me in. I can’t see his hands, but I feel a few large, heavy knots along my shoulders and back, before I feel him wrapping around my hips and stomach. He takes another part of the hanging red cord to work even more of the thick, squared knots along the front of the harness, and from the front, I can see how he’s connecting the chest harness to the waist of the leg tie. I’ve never seen such complicated rope work before aside from shibari bondage demonstration, and I start to wish I could see myself, restrained from shoulder to toe. 

Just when I expect him to add more rope, he moves back to the hanging point, hooking another suspension ring onto the point and tying a new length of rope onto it. It takes a bit longer than the first, but I can tell he’s tied it very differently. 

“What’s the difference between these two rings?” 

I’m startled by someone asking the question just behind me, but Harry doesn’t break from his movements.

“One is going to bear more weight than the other, so it needs more reinforcement and more connections. The other will be a secondary point, holding his legs. I don’t usually do horizontal suspension because it can be a little tricky, but it’s much easier for people to adjust to on their first time than, say, upside down or angled suspension.”

I can feel my throat dry up at even the thought of hanging upside down in a bundle of rope. While Harry walks around to talk to each person, I close my eyes again and bring my mind back to my breathing, careful not to lose my balance as I continue standing. I know if I fell over now, the two ropes attached to me would keep me mostly upright for now, but I’d rather not risk hitting my head or messing up the ropes not yet fixed. I can feel the knots along my spine pull my shoulders back when I stretch forward, and twisting my legs puts pressure along each banding down to my ankles. In a weird way, the feeling of the rope tightening around me is comforting. It feels safe, despite the reality of being completely confined. One of the first times I’d ever understood that I was a little kinkier than most was when I tried tying myself up for fun once, and ended up falling asleep with my legs tied together. This scenario was drastically different in every way, but the confinement felt soothing in the same way.

I see several people shift over to my right, and without being able to turn around, I hear some clinking noises, like metal hitting metal. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Harry holding several carabiner clips, and he sets them on the small stool I’d been sat on before. He slowly steps toward me until he’s directly in front of me again.

He grabs a large clip, and gently loops it through the largest knot against my sternum and the one directly below. With a second clip, he connects the large knots against my stomach, and with a third he connects the knots at my hips and waist. I can feel my hands shaking behind me, my skin chilling in the colder room. As if he can see it himself, Harry runs his hands over my upper arms, slow and warm. His expression is stern and I find him hard to read, a mix of concentration and something I can’t place. He tugs a bit on a few different places, once almost yanking me forward as he tugged on a knot by my shoulder. 

The last two clips are attached at my knees and ankles. It occurs to me that I have no idea how exactly I will end up in the air, but I’m not liking the idea so far. I do find that I’m genuinely enjoying being tied like this, and make a mental note to talk about it with Harry later, but seeing him clearing all the excess rope and the stool from the ground makes me more nervous by the second. 

“I am going to attach the hanging ropes - which I’ve already knotted - to the clips I’ve placed evenly over important joint areas in the harnesses. I’ve got a few ropes that I’ve tied sliding knots in to, which means I’ll be able to essentially raise him up, little by little, once each rope is tied to a supporting clip.”

His movements slow as he works with the last hanging lengths of rope, but they’re no less efficient and skilled. I can feel my blood rushing under my skin, but I can feel a little excitement thrumming alongside the anxiety and fear. I know, in actuality, that I’m about as safe as one can be while being bound and hung from the ceiling. There’s a group of people around me, a pretty hefty pair of scissors made to cut rope just like this in an emergency, and the use of carabiner clips ensures I can be let down in a minute or less instead of the half hour it would take to untie a bunch of knots. The fear is a lot like the fear that bubbles in your chest while you jump into the seat of a roller coaster, or leap off the edge of a diving board. At first, it’s terrifying, and all you can think about is every possible thing going wrong. But the more you try it, the more rides you go on, the higher you leap from, the lighter that fear becomes.

When Harry’s hands grip and pull each of the clips, tighten the knots along my body, and he attaches the first clip to the hanging point, I take in a deep breath. 

His hands still, releasing the next length of rope before bringing both hands up to frame my face.

“Do you trust me?” He whispers, stepping closer to rest his forehead against mine. The warmth from his hands and body almost burns where his skin meets mine and I lean in to him as much as I can.

“Yes, sir.” I can barely get my voice out, and my throat is dry no matter how many times I try to swallow. I feel like I want to say something to him, but it just won’t come out. He doesn’t move his hands, thumbs stroking over my cheeks so softly. The moment feels painfully intimate, even after our kiss. I want to feel his lips on mine, but the shuffling of feet beside us reminds me that there are people watching our every move. It apparently reminds Harry as well, as he slowly pulls away from me. He pauses, searching my eyes for any hesitation.

“I’m ready.” I tell him.

He only nods this time, stepping away and breaking our contact completely.

The last ropes are attached and looped through the carabiner clips, and within minutes I’m fully connected to the hanging points. I let myself start to drown out the sounds of people talking, the sound of Perrie all the way on the other side of the room, and all I focus on is the sound of my own breath and the feeling of rope shifting against my skin. 

Harry grips my shoulders and pulls me forward a step. 

“I’m going to lean you back a bit. The ropes above your head will not move, and your upper half will be supported. I’ll slowly raise your torso first, then your hips and legs.” Harry’s voice is deep and rough as he speaks again, hand reaching to grip my chin firmly and he forces me to look at him. “What is your safeword?”

“Pancake, or red. Yellow if I need a break, or need help.” I repeat what we’d agreed upon when sorting out the contracts in the beginning of all this, surprisingly confident I would be able to communicate if I started to panic.

“Good boy.” His words sent a tingle down my spine, and I could feel the heat growing in my cheeks as he turned his back to me. 

He grips an end of hanging rope and wraps it twice around one hand before stepping just behind me. He’s close enough that I feel his warmth along my back, and I let myself relax into him when he places his hands along my shoulders.

He leans back, little by little, and I struggle to let myself go with him. Once I feel resistance from the ropes attached to the knots along my chest, I know I can’t lean back any further. I let out a breath in relief, having only leaned back a little bit. I feel the ropes at my waist start to pull, and I see Harry working the knots above to slowly tighten the ropes and pull the clip above my stomach upwards. The strain starts to hurt my back, and I have to point my toes to keep them on the ground once my midsection is raised up. He releases the grip on the hanging rope to tie a very thick knot, and grabs the next section of rope. He again works the knots, raising the clip at my hips. I shake as I try to keep my toes on the ground but I can’t reach after only a few tugs. I try to breathe as the strange feeling sets in, gravity pulling at the bottom of my spine, but Harry’s hand steadies the back of my head and he quickly pulls my hips up to level with my torso. 

“You’re doing amazing. Not so scary, right?” Harry whispers to me, keeping his grip on the rope he hadn’t tied off yet.

“It’s weird. I feel really… unsteady,” I admit, choosing to close my eyes in an effort to avoid looking at the ground to remind myself I’m hanging in the air.

Harry’s hand settles under my back after he ties off the clip, and he moves on to the last clips at my knees and ankles. I can feel my body swing a bit as my legs are lifted, quicker than the other clips. He’s gripped both lines and raised my legs together and once he’s leveled them with the other clips, I’m floating.

If I didn’t feel such intense pressure from the ropes, it would feel as if I was laying down. I Harry were to rock me, it would feel like laying in a hammock, almost. The sensation of being suspended was much like what you would expect floating to feel like, combined with a strangely comforting confinement. The ropes shifted against my skin and clothing, but Harry had spaced out the knots well enough to keep the pressure balanced across my body. I keep my eyes closed, letting my nerves slowly settle. The longer I was up, the easier it became as my breathing slowed and my mind began to calm.

I could hear Harry speaking with the group beside me, but I let it drift past me. I simply focused on the lay of the rope where I could feel it pressing in to my skin. I wondered, briefly, if I could have marks when Harry released me. In a strange way, I hoped I would. I wanted to see the marks of this on me to remind me of this feeling. 

I could feel that hazy, dreamy feeling coming over me, and I didn’t fight it. Unlike before, when it was Harry who brought it on, this time it came naturally. Whether it was subspace or just a complete calm I couldn’t tell, but I was grateful for the sensations washing over me now that I could truly relax into the ropes supporting me. I almost felt like drifting off, that feeling of being just on the edge of sleep despite the thrilling buzz of energy running along my skin.

I was alarmed when I first felt a hand press against my chest, but I recognized Harry’s voice above me and let myself settle again. I blinked a few times before opening my eyes, adjusting to the lights in the ceiling after having my eyes closed for so long.  

I couldn’t tell how much time had passed, but it seemed much longer than I’d first thought. Now that I’ve come back to myself a little more, I take the time to focus on different things around the room. It helps to bring my mind back to the present, and I pull myself out of the fog I fell into. As I adjust back into my surroundings and lean my head up to look around the room and gather myself, I see Perrie standing next to Harry, talking quietly with a few people from the group. Several others were standing around, looking at ropes, but it looked like a few people had left the room. 

Harry softly brushed my hair from my eyes, watching me carefully.

“You doing alright, love?” He asks quietly. His voice was soft, almost like he was afraid to startle me. His eyes are no longer the deep viridian they were, and he seems less tense. I hadn’t noticed before, or even thought to look in my anxious rambling, but I couldn’t avoid seeing the tightness in his jeans. I wondered what did it for him, the rope, the people, or… me.

In my distraction I forgot he’d asked me a question, and I know I must be blushing red when I look at him again.

“I’m good. I feel good, sir.” I say, trying to keep from wiggling around by force of habit.I try not to look back at Harry, but I can feel his eyes on me no matter where I look. Even as he talks to Perrie and another woman, he’s watching me as I try to relax again.

Some people start to filter out, and I choose to ignore what Perrie says to them as they leave, instead trying to focus on chasing that soothing cloud I was drifting in. I could feel my muscles releasing the tension I was holding, but my mind wasn’t as easily coerced into comfort. When I realized I likely couldn’t back in to that headspace, I looked to Harry.

“I’ll take you down in just a moment.” He tells me, turning his back to me while he whispers something to Perrie I can’t catch from here.

She nods and walks away, not even glancing at me on her way out. She closes the doors behind her, and the room is silent once we no longer hear her heels clicking away. 

I watch as Harry begins to carefully unravel the knots holding my legs up. It’s much slower than when he lifted me, and he eases my legs down as gently as possible. I didn’t expect my legs to be so loose, and I’m glad my top half is still supported as I bend my knees as much as I can in the mermaid tie. 

He doesn’t move on to lower my hips right away. 

Instead I catch him eyeing me again, teeth digging in to his lower lip. I would be lying if seeing him like that, eyes dark and cheeks dusted pink, didn’t spark something inside me just the same.

 

 

 

Training Wheels / Bondage Examples

Chapter Text

I had no idea how much time had passed since Perrie and the last of the group had left the playroom.

Even when my joints started to creak and my muscles were stiffening up, I didn’t ask to be untied. Harry had lowered down my waist shortly after my legs, and I was now only attached to the hard points above us by the ropes he was undoing along my back and chest. 

Harry hadn’t spoken a word since the room had cleared and I felt his eyes burning into me every second. I’m sure he’d caught me staring at him, too, but he said nothing. No cocky smirk or silly face like he usually made to ease the tension. He was quiet. His hands worked just as surely as before, but I could see the hesitation in his movements. Soon enough I was free from the hard points completely, but my body was still tightly bound as I struggled to stay on my feet with the rope looped under my shoes. 

Unintentionally, I freeze once Harry stops moving next to me. He’s stood slightly behind me, and he’s just close enough that I can feel his heat in the cold air of the room. You could hear a pin drop, not even our breathing could be heard.

My mind begins to reel - and after such complete tranquility when I was suspended, my head almost aches with the force of it. My cheeks warm before the thoughts start to flood my head. With him standing behind me, I can’t see Harry’s face or make out what he’s feeling. My skin heats up, and the more I think about all the things that could possibly be wrong, the more the lump in my throat builds. 

I’d thought seeing Harry’s… problem had maybe been a good sign, thought that maybe it was me he was reacting to. But the longer we go without speaking, the more I feel that I’ve done something wrong. Had I messed something up? Was he realizing how unattractive I am? Was he regretting taking me on as his sub? 

I don’t think I ever fully came back up, because I don’t feel my breaths catching until Harry’s hand is resting heavy on my chest. 

There’s arms winding around my shoulders, twisting me and pulling before my face is resting in the crook of Harry’s neck.

“You’re alright, darling. Everything is fine. I’m going to untie you now, okay?”

I sniffed a bit, trying to find a way to get the words stuck in my throat out, but nothing happens.

“I need words, baby,” He pleads, voice just above a whisper.

“I’m - I don’t know why,” I was fighting just to breathe while I tried to choke the words out, but Harry never let me go. He’d wrapped me in his arms so tight I couldn’t have gotten away with my arms and legs free.

“It’s okay. That was a lot to handle, but you did so perfect. I’m gunna take care of you,” He rubbed along my spine, fingers sliding over the lines of rope, and rocked us just slightly as he spoke. “Everything is alright, love.”

As he held me I could feel my muscles slowly relaxing, still just on the verge of cramping. I let his hand rubbing circles into my shoulders guide my breathing, and as I started to calm down and come back to myself I shut my eyes and rested my forehead on his shoulder. 

“I’m sorry, I don’t… know what happened,” I tried to explain myself but the words just wouldn’t come out. I couldn’t figure out how to describe what was going on inside me. The fear was colliding with the adrenaline and it was as if I’d been ripped out of a soothing warmth and thrown into ice cold water with no way out. 

Harry was the only thing holding me up now. He never let me go, even as we stood there for what must’ve been ages while I calmed down. Eventually hyperventilating stopped entirely and I could breathe on my own again. My energy was gone, and I felt exhausted. Every inch of my body was sore and tight, but the kind of soreness that comes after a good workout, the kind that makes you smile when you stretch and feel the familiar burn. The more I let myself relax and focus on my body, the more I felt the panic fading. 

“Listen to me.” His voice is firm, and he leans away from me to grip my chin and tilt my face up to look at him. “You did nothing wrong. You might have dropped a bit, and that’s my fault, but right now everything is fine. I’m going to sit you down and untie you before we do anything else.” He speaks low, and there’s an edge to his voice that I haven’t heard before. Even in his most dominant moments, he’s never sounded so firm.

I nod, but I doubt he sees me as he grabs a pillow from a nearby couch and sets it on the stool I’d previously sat on. He grips several rounds of rope around my chest to help me sit without me falling over, which I greatly appreciated. 

As I sit and watch him carefully untie the largest connecting knots I begin to feel the embarrassment fade in. I can’t believe I just stood here, bound shoulder to toe, and almost cried in front of Harry of all people. I’m glad no one else was around but imagining what Harry must think of me now, acting like a baby over being tied up, it’s almost enough to make me wish I’d never set foot through the glass doors of that pizza shop for the first time. The crushing emotions fighting in my head just make me want to rip off these ropes and run away to avoid having to face Harry’s thoughts. I’m happy he hasn’t spoken again - I don’t want to hear the awful things he must be thinking about me. 

I do my best to follow along as he unties my legs first. It takes much longer to undo, and I had to admit I loved the way the rope looked on me. Somehow, as he pulled the rope away I felt more and more like I was being caged in. I felt more restricted as he let me loose than I did hanging in the tangle of rope.

His face was set, eyes dark and focused on expertly working the lines. As he went, he massaged into my skin past each knot. The warmth of his hands was comforting, even through the denim of my jeans, but it still felt wrong somehow. I wanted Harry to wrap me up even tighter, bind my whole body and do what he wanted with me. My conscious mind was still fighting off the haze that was hinting around the edges of my vision.

I shook my head out to keep from spacing out any more, and Harry looked up at me worriedly. I tried to smile, but I still felt the heat of embarrassment on my cheeks and I knew I must have looked horrible.

 “I’m sorry. I think I was just overwhelmed. That’s never happened to me before.” I say quietly, chin down to avoid his eyes. He doesn’t miss a beat in removing the rope.

“If that was what I think it was, you likely dropped.” He hummed quietly. His head tilted to the side, but he still didn’t look up. “The combination of being suspended with all the adrenaline and endorphins going through you was too much, and you don’t know how to deal with that. It might seem scary, but I promise everything is fine.” He finished completely releasing my legs and carefully bundling the rope before looking at me. 

His hands slid up my legs to rest on my knees as he stared at me. I tried to casually stretch a bit to bring my focus to my body and avoid drifting off again.

“I feel okay now, just spacey. I didn’t feel panicked, even while I was...well, panicking. I felt worried and embarrassed, but I kind of wanted to stay up even longer.” I could feel my brows pinching as I frowned, unable to find the right words to describe the explosion in my mind.

Harry nodded, not speaking. His eyes still watched my every move as we sat. It was almost unnerving, but even as focused as he was his eyes softened when he looked at me. I felt like I was truly relaxing and my body had calmed down. I started to feel that familiar sense of safety that usually came with being around Harry now. 

I took some deep breaths and pulled my legs up to my chest to bend my knees and stretch the muscles. With that, Harry stood from where he’d been kneeling and walked around to face my back and begin untying the chest harness. My arms had long since gotten cold, and my hands were not as mobile as they should be, but nothing had gone numb or tingly so I figured it was alright. The chest harness was much less complex and knot-heavy than the leg harness, and it seemed like Harry was a little more practiced as it took him about half the time. We didn’t really speak while he slowly took down my arms, but it was less strained. I felt less tense, and it seemed like Harry was beginning to relax as well. The intensity was no longer burning in him when he looked at me again, moving to kneel in front of me and untie my wrists. 

“Move your fingers and wrists around for me.” He was gently rubbing into my skin and fairly soon I felt all the blood flowing through my arms and hands again. It hadn’t been too bad but my joints were sore and I know my shoulders will be aching tomorrow morning.

I start to feel myself smile. After all the panic and fear, after being near tears even, I felt empty. It was like all the stress and anxiety built up in my chest had just forced itself out of me. My body was exhausted as if I’d run a marathon or took three rides on a roller coaster and my brain had been rattled just a bit too much. For the time being, I felt genuinely at ease. I was still embarrassed, and afraid of what Harry really thought of me now, but I shook the thoughts away and told myself that worry was for another time. 

Harry peeked up at me before finishing getting the last of the rope off of me. He frowned for a moment, but when I only smiled in return he just stared at me curiously.

“Do you feel alright?” His voice was still quiet, but he’d more or less eased up and come back to normal.

“I feel good now.” I didn’t even try to explain the sensation, I knew I couldn’t find the words, but the look in Harry’s makes me feel like he might understand.

Chapter Text

It turns out when you have a little bit of a breakdown while tied up in a bdsm demonstration, the discussion afterwards can get a little heated. And incredibly personal. And also a little weird. 

Perrie had come back in a bit after Harry had untied me completely and started putting all the rope we’d used away. She came and pulled me up to sit with her on a small couch near a window, and Harry followed after. I ended up sat between the two, much closer to harry than Perrie. With my legs crossed under me, his knee bumped mine every so often, and I felt like a child trying to hide a smile every time.

Of course I couldn’t fend off the embarrassment and slight shame from my reaction, but the more we all talked the easier it was to accept. 

“Harry explained what happened. It’s not common, but it is a normal psychological reaction, especially after that lengthy suspension.” She peeked over at Harry with a knowing look in her eyes, before returning to me. “I would recommend you two discuss the more... personal effects of that demo on your own as well.”

As Perrie spoke I felt Harry shifting beside me and his arm came around my shoulder. I felt myself lean into him for a moment before I caught myself. It was comforting; it felt familiar and warm, and that was what I needed. I knew what she was referring to, but I chose to keep my eyes down and pretend I had no clue.

“Can you do me a favor, Pez?” Harry asked beside me, and when she nodded he continued. “Can you grab his binder from the front desk?” 

Without a word she stood and left the room, heels clicking loudly in the hall. 

I looked around, fidgeting a bit as I tried not to look at Harry. I didn’t really know why I was avoiding it so much, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the look in his eyes while I was hanging. It was one thing to notice him being turned on, but the way he looked at me made my cheeks burn even now. 

Harry’s arm tightened over my shoulder before he situated himself to face me more, and I finally turned to look at him. I saw none of the tension or dominance in his features, and I was relieved to see the little smile growing.

“Be honest. How do you feel?”

“When I was suspended, I loved it. I felt like I could have fallen asleep, except I was so full of energy. Afterwards I felt like I’d been dunked in freezing water.” I paused to think about everything I’d felt, trying to make sense of it all. “If you hadn’t been so calm I probably would have freaked out.” 

“I told you I’d take care of you. I’ve dealt with sub and dom drop before and it’s really hard. I think you were just overwhelmed, mentally. I didn’t want to scare you by freaking out.” He lowered his head a bit but didn’t move away from me at all.

“Thank you.”

His head shot back up, brows furrowed in confusion.

“For what? Not paying enough attention?” He huffed. It was my turn to be confused. He had remained generally calm throughout the whole day, so hearing him sound so harsh was strange, even for me. 

The sound of my hand smacking down on Harry’s thigh was startling in the silent room. We could hear Perrie’s heels clicking closer once again, and we both seemed to stop breathing until she handed him the binder, and left once again. This time, she shut the door behind her, letting us know she would be leaving soon.

“I would never in a million years have let anyone else hang me from the fucking ceiling .” His eyes go wide, never having heard me swear so directly before, but I didn’t hesitate. “I still can’t believe I did it. But I am so glad that I took that risk and let myself experience something new, and I actually loved it. And I’m glad that it was you. So thank you.”

When I finished, I could see the confusion and a hint of frustration on Harry’s face, but I wasn’t about to let him believe he’d done something wrong. The more distance put between me and the mini panic attack I’d had, the more I can see it for what it was. I’ve never felt something that could compare to the feeling of hanging like that, and after the flogging session, my body had basically had two big spikes of adrenaline. 

Now that it was over with and the last traces had left me, I feel tired, exhausted even, but also refreshed. I feel like I’ve crossed some line I can never step back over, and I don’t want to. It’s a sense of freedom. For once, I’ve been letting my instincts and my heart guide my decisions instead of my brain. My heart told me to go with Harry in the first place, to accept the training, and it told me to trust Harry. I’m not going to doubt it now.

He sighs, heavy in his chest. I’m almost afraid to ask what he’s thinking about, but I feel like there’s too much he’s not voicing. I eye him for another moment to see if he’ll speak on his own, but he closes his mouth each time he opens it. 

“What are you thinking about?” I ask, gently placing my hand over his where it rests on his leg. His other arm tightens over my shoulder and I feel his thumb rubbing circles into my skin for a moment.

“I feel like I didn’t pay enough attention to you during that scene. I feel like I should have prepared you more. I probably shouldn’t have even asked you to do it, not after our session earlier. I just feel a little disappointed in myself.” Harry’s voice is a low hum in the room and even though his words bother me, the sound is so soothing. 

“I don’t agree with those things, but I understand why you might feel that way.” Putting my thoughts into words that won’t potentially hurt or offend him is more difficult than I expected it to be, but I push on. “I took a huge leap by agreeing to the training thing, and it’s been great. When I agreed to that, I also agreed to take risks and try new things. I wanted to do that. And I felt like it went great. And you took care of me the way I needed.”

I felt frustrated that I couldn’t find the right words, the right way to say what I meant, so I stopped filtering and just let it out. I could see Harry was about to respond, but he seemed hesitant. 

“I… I’m happy you did enjoy it. I’ve rarely ever had difficult scenes like that, and I really take the shit out on myself. I’ve always been that way.” His eyes jump away from me and I could swear a hint of pink dusted his cheeks as he cleared his throat. “I did love seeing you like that, though.” He added, quiet enough he probably hadn’t intended to say it aloud.

“It looked like you were enjoying something.” I nudged his side with my elbow and raised my eyebrows, hoping to get a laugh out of him to break up some of the heavy tension between us. 

His eyes widened comically before he barked out a laugh, cheeks beet red. 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” He huffed out between embarrassed laughs.

Without thinking, I leaned in and pecked his cheek. It felt a lot like children on a playground, the way we both blushed a bit, but it lifted the tension still hanging in the air.

His face split in a slow smile, and I couldn’t keep one off my own face as he leaned into me. His hand was so, so warm as he cupped my cheek, thumb rubbing circles into my skin. His eyes were such a pale golden-green in the light, and it was like I couldn’t get enough air to my lungs. I pushed forward the last inch, meeting him halfway. Every time we kissed it was a shock to my system, not like romantic fireworks going off but like someone was kick starting my body. I didn’t have the kind of experience Harry had, and I was almost happy that I didn’t have much to compare this to. It was like I could feel his lips even after we pulled apart, and I loved it. I felt like some giddy school girl but it just felt right with him. 

“I’m so glad I met you.” He whispers, and I can’t agree more. As cliche as it all feels, like we’ve been dropped into some kind of rom-com, the bubbly feeling rising in my chest doesn’t let me come back down from it all. I’m happy, and that’s not something I’m able to say very often.

The sappy moment between us is dampened by the sound of our stomachs growling nearly in unison. Of course we both start laughing, and when he suggests going for dinner I eagerly agree. 

Chapter Text

Any unspoken thoughts or awkward tension between Harry and I cleared up entirely over dinner. Dinner being breakfast food at eight at night, accompanied by a milkshake for each of us. It was certainly a first for me.

“Have you been out of London before?” He asked, sipping at the last of his drink. 

I shook my head. 

“I haven’t really had the time and I don’t drive, so. My roommate has been planning on bringing me to Manchester for a weekend, I think.” I replied, finishing the last bites of my crispy pancakes.

The little diner we were in was much less English and much more American dive bar mixed with a knock off Denny’s. It was a little bit dirty, a little crowded around the bar area in the back, but the staff were great and the food was delicious. Harry recommended the spot and I was really glad we picked this place instead of an italian spot nearby. The whole car ride was spent chatting a little more seriously about the day, and what went right for each of us, but once we sat down we dropped all the serious talk and just relaxed.

Harry’s easy smile was back and I was glad it felt more normal, now. 

“I’ll have to take you on a little road trip sometime. You’re really missing out, holing up in London.” He tries another drink, only to make a very loud, slightly embarrassing slurping noise through the straw. 

“I think you’ve polished that off, H,” I say, smiling into my own glass. He continues the slurping noise for a few seconds until he was apparently satisfied he’d gotten every last drop he could. He winked at me when he looked up, but my cheeks had been warm since we’d walked in to the diner and I knew I’d been blushing red the whole time. 

Something about him just made me want to be happy. It felt like some kind of barrier between us had been broken down, all but demolished, after I went under during our scene. It was under-negotiated, and even though he’d read my (annoyingly) extensive paperwork and limits, we hadn’t discussed suspension or bondage or what to do if I went into subspace. Ordinarily the idea would have me shaking and near tears, but it was like the experience brought us to the same level. I felt like we were communicating on the same wavelength for once. We clicked pretty well when we first met to begin with, but it’s easier to talk to him than ever before and I’m so happy. 

In the back of my mind, I know some part of this is because of the emotional outpouring I had after the suspension. I know I’m likely to have a drop when I’m finally home, and I’ll have to deal with that potential breakdown alone. But for now, I’m content to finish enjoying this time with Harry, distracted by the weight of my collar sitting on my neck.

We don’t linger much after finishing our food and drinks, and soon enough Harry is driving me home. I don’t want to leave and while I refuse to voice it aloud, I want to invite him in and have him stay the night, just to be near him when the inevitable comedown starts.

It takes longer than usual to get to my apartment building after getting stuck in traffic, but the car is mostly comfortable the whole way. Harry holds my hand, playing with my fingers a bit at the lights when we stop. I’ve got this feeling bubbling up inside me, and the only thing I could compare it to is hypomania - that feeling of being right on the edge, where your brain is speeding along and bouncing around inside its cage while you’re just trying to keep up and enjoy the ride. I spend most of the ride home biting my lips until they hurt just to avoid looking like a maniac, smiling the whole way there. The more intense the feeling gets, the more apparent it becomes that something is not right with me. 

I was diagnosed with bipolar when I was younger, but my current medications had my moods pretty well balanced and I haven’t had issues in quite a while. Of course, there’s nothing that can guarantee stability for someone with bipolar, but this just feels… different. I don’t feel out of control, but I know this high is still going to lead to a terrible, terrible fall. The thought of the depression alone has dampened the buzz inside me, but the energy is still coursing through me, so I take in a deep breath and sigh it out.

“You alright?” Harry’s voice startles me a little, and when I look around I realize we’re parked outside my building. I shake my head out a bit, relaxing my shoulders and turning to him.

“I think so? I’m feeling kind of… a lot, I guess,” I shrug. I know myself well enough to be able to prepare for the potential depression and I don’t feel like dumping all my emotional baggage on Harry is fair to him. “I just need to decompress. Might have a nice bath.”

“Look at me.” Harry turns in his seat to face me, watching me with his brows arched, voice stern and dominant like back at the club.

I look him in the eye after a bit of hesitation, sighing. My heart is racing a bit despite how tired I’m realizing I am. My mind is spinning with a million thoughts and things I want to say to him, but I clamp my jaw shut and wait for him to speak first. 

“I’m going to walk you up. We’re going to have a talk about how you’re feeling, and only if I feel that you’re safe will I leave you alone.” He speaks with deliberate emphasis, and I can’t help but wonder what he was like before he really became a dom. What was he like when he was my age, still figuring everything out? Harry’s always so far ahead of me, always knows exactly what to do. 

I nod, and get out of the car alongside him. We’re both quiet as we walk into my building and I use my key to get us into the elevator. The whole building feels echoing and heavy, like there’s something just waiting to smother me the moment Harry leaves. Once we reach my floor I look at him again, watching the way he observes. His eyes seem to dart around, but rather than carelessly glancing he seems to be taking in all the details of the place, admiring the large windows in the hall of my floor. As if he senses my anxiety, he wordlessly reaches out and takes my hand, something I’m immensely grateful for. His hand is like an anchor, keeping me tethered to the moment and giving me something to focus on. 

I stare at the dark wood of my door once we reach my flat, the silver number staring right back at me while I grip my keys in my hand. All that happy energy that had built up over the evening was drained out of me by the looming anxiety and fear slowly taking over.

I reach for the knob before stopping myself. 

“You told me to be honest.” I say, stilling in front of the door, keys in the knob.

He nods, and I don’t turn to look at him again but I can see his movements out of the corner of my eye as I stare at the floor.

“I did. And I expect the truth from you. Always.” 

A few beats of silence pass between us as I build up the courage to speak again, the sound of cars passing from the nearby window a calming distraction.

“I think I want more.” 

Chapter Text

“What do you mean?” Harry asks. He doesn’t make to move, but I can see his hands clenching into tight fists at his sides. His back straightens, too, like his whole body was tensing in preparation for… something. 

I start to speak, but a sound from another apartment reminds me that we’re stood out in the hall where anyone could pass by and hear. I cautiously open my door, more to delay the coming conversation than anything else. Thankfully Louis and I had cleaned recently, and the flat was in good condition. 

I use the moment as a break from the tension between Harry and I, and to gather my thoughts. I don’t know why I said what I did to him, I hadn’t really even known I felt this way. The more I thought about us, the more of us I want. I feel separated somehow, like after the suspension and flogging at the club, I’d been pulled away from him and I just want to be back in that safe, calming place beside him. 

I don’t voice these thoughts aloud. Fuck honesty, I know how crazy I would sound and the last thing I want is to have him running because I’ve suddenly become too attached.

I hear the door shut and Harry’s feet shuffling around. He leaves his shoes next to mine near the door, taking my lead. I clench my eyes shut to tight it almost hurts. I don’t want to look at him and let my thoughts spill out. He just seemed to have that effect on me, and I just can’t risk our relationship and friendship over my messed up mind.

“Tell me what’s wrong.” I shake my head, but a hand running through my hair and suddenly gripping - tight, but not harsh - forces me to look up at him in shock. “Tell me what you meant. Now.”

I swallow my anxiety and the lump building in my throat and look him in the eye. In the dim lights of my apartment, they look almost golden, pupils wide and brows set almost angrily.

“I want more of today. I liked it. But I don’t like… this.” I gesture to myself, then between us, feeling unable to word my thoughts correctly. “I feel like I was ripped out of something and now I just want it back. It’s… I’m sorry. Just forget it, I’m fine -” 

His hand in my hair pulls harder, tilting my head back and making me wince in pain as he tugs harshly. 

I don’t even have time to worry about what I’d done wrong, because in a second his mouth is on mine, just as rough as the hand pulling me back. His teeth graze my lip, and the warmth from his body is a welcome comfort as he steps forward to press against me. As inexperienced as I am, this feels more natural than any other time I’ve been kissed. His mouth guides mine with just the right pressure, and I let him take from me. Despite the roughness and the sharp nick of his teeth, this doesn’t feel sexual, as much as it feels like ownership. It feels like he’s taking from me what I chose to give him, and in a bizarre and disconcerting way it feels almost pacifying. I barely notice when he pulls back, chasing his mouth. His hand just begins to relax in my hair when he winds his other arm around my waist and begins stepping forward, forcing me back. I’m completely disoriented in my own home, letting him lead me blindly. I jump when the back of my knees hit something, only to realize it was the couch in the center of the living area. The hold in my hair tightens more than before, outright painful now, as he pulls away. His teeth tug my lip as he does, and the look in his eyes sends a chill down my spine. 

“Sit.” His voice is deep and rough, and I feel his chest vibrate with it where my hand rests along his shoulder. 

I feel the lump building in the base of my throat again, and my vision blurs a bit before I can collect myself and sit on the edge of the couch, head down. 

I watch his feet walk away and I have to reach up and rub my eyes a bit raw to stop the tears from pouring out as he nears the door. I don’t hear the door open, I don’t hear him putting his shoes back on, I only hear shuffling I can’t make out. It’s incredibly difficult to hide the sound as I sniffle a little, still trying to keep the tears at bay. I’m not going to cry. There’s no reason to, I tell myself, there’s nothing to fucking cry about. Regardless of how much I berate myself internally, the tears still build up and the pressure within me only builds.

A louder thud comes from behind me, but when I try to turn my head to look, I’m met with a hand twisting into my hair and pulling my head back again. I see that Harry has moved a pillow from the couch onto the floor beside him where he stands, and he’d taken off his jacket. There’s a bottle of water on the glass table in front of me too, and I wonder how deep I’d been reeling that I hadn’t noticed him doing all of this.

“Kneel for me.” He says. 

I don’t look up at him as I almost crawl onto the pillow and settle on my knees, chin trembling as I try to hold back the rest of the tears. His feet rest in front of me and I focus on his unmatched socks. 

Harry crouches down in front of me, hand releasing my hair to frame my face and force me to look at him. 

I can feel the tears spill over again, but this time I’m able to resist the sobs trying to work their way up my throat while I try to breathe. 

Harry doesn’t speak for a long time, he simply strokes my cheeks and leans in to press his forehead to mine. When he does finally speak, I can feel myself start to deflate against him.

“I know this is very scary. You’re really overwhelmed, and it’s scary that you can’t control it,” I nod, choking on a whimper as he continues. “This is my fault, but we’re going to fix it, okay darling?” 

His voice softens slowly, growing more quiet and slowly losing the aggressive edge that had me frightened earlier. I just nod, letting him take over. We don’t move like I expect us to, not for a while. My feet are going numb by the time he pulls away, and I’ve stopped crying completely. 

I take in as much air as I can and let it all out, trying to stretch my shoulders out as he sits up and leans away from me. He hands me the water bottle silently, opening it and pressing it to my mouth for me to take. I drink it slowly, sipping at first before I realize how thirsty I was. In coming back to myself, I just feel exhausted. My body is physically drained, and it’s so much worse than it was earlier. I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck, for fuck’s sake. My head is starting to hurt, that stubborn throb that hangs around after a long cry.

“Let’s get you into some more comfortable clothes, love.” Harry nearly whispers to me, being so, so quiet. He helps me stand, which turns out to be necessary when I realize my feet aren’t quite cooperating with me. I sit on the couch for a minute until the feeling has all come back, and then I lead him to my room. I still have the wit to be a bit embarrassed by the small pile of clothes sitting by my closet, and the open ‘toy’ drawer next to my bed, but I pay it no mind and neither does Harry.

I sit on my bed, sighing and letting my eyes fall shut, groaning when Harry pokes at me a bit, telling me to get back up.

“I feel like I’ve been hit by a train. Fuck,” I groan. 

“You dropped. You’re going to feel really shit for a bit.” Harry says, sounding a bit guilty. 

I ignore it for now, too tired to deal with any more emotions. I go to my closet to grab a t-shirt and some shorts, before heading to change in the bathroom. Getting out of my jeans felt so good, especially after the unexpectedly long day we just had. 

I’m shocked back to my senses when I walk into my room and find Harry looking through the different toys in my drawer, a pair of cheap, faux fur lined cuffs in one hand as he sifts through the drawer with the other.

I try to say something, but end up choking on an embarrassed laugh. I can feel the heat creeping up my neck, and I’m sure I’ve gone red to my ears in shame, but he looks at me over his shoulder as if it’s the most normal thing in the world. He waves a toy in his hand a bit as he motions for me to sit next to him on my bed, going back to the drawer and pulling something else out.

“You’ve got quite the collection.” He says, voice still quiet but much less strained now. The tension still hangs in the air, my body still weighing heavily as I move, but all of the tears I shed tonight seems to have calmed the storm building inside me. At least for now, that is.

“I don’t…” I cringe when my voice cracks, only adding to my embarrassment as he glances at me. “I don’t really use most of those.” I try, not getting any response until he turns towards me, seemingly satisfied with what he’d found.

He lays down a short length of soft cotton rope, a padded blindfold, and a small bottle of citrus-lavender massage oil between us on my bed. I stare at them for a bit, but he offers no explanation. His eyes are glossy, and there’s something there I can’t read. 

“Do you ever use these?” He asks. 

I nod. I don’t trust my voice much, but mostly I don’t know what to say. What am I supposed to say to that? Oh yeah, when I'm in the mood?

He looks at me for a moment but doesn’t speak at first. I raise an eyebrow, trying to look around my room to avoid looking at him any more. When I look away, though, he grips my wrists tightly, pulling them together in my lap. 

“I want to try something that can be useful when dealing with sub drop.” His voice wavered, but his grip was tight and his movements were confident.

“Okay. I trust you.” 

Chapter Text

The rope was comfortably soft around my wrists, even as Harry bound them together in front of me. The knots weren’t tight like the harsher rope I’d been tied up in at the club, but he’d tied them just tight enough to make it difficult to get out of without struggling a bit. I could work my hands out if I tried, but I didn’t have the energy or desire to do all that. I watched him move almost in slow motion, deliberate but dragging as if he was waiting for me to back out and tell him to leave. 

I didn’t want him to leave, and I don’t really want to think about what that says about my feelings for Harry. I just know I’m enjoying him being here and I’m willing to let him do whatever he thinks will help this heavy weight sitting on my chest. 

“This might seem scary at first, but you know your safewords. I do this to relax myself often, in a way it’s sort of like a grounding meditation.” He tells me as he lifts the padded blindfold towards my head. “I’ll keep a hand on you at all times so you know I’m here with you. Just let me take care of you.” He says, almost at a whisper. 

I nod, shutting my eyes against the tears building. I’m not sad, per say, but just filled with emotions I can’t get out. I feel him slide the blindfold over my eyes, gently settling it properly before tying it behind my head. He’s careful of my hair, and his hand immediately tangles with mine. 

I let the sound of our breathing wash over me, my wrists sitting bound in my lap. It’s awkward, at first. I can’t see him, but I can feel his warmth beside me and his hand playing with my fingers. I hear him clear his throat a bit, sounding as though he was about to speak, but no words came for what feels like a few minutes.

“My worst experience with dropping was hell. I felt like I was drowning, like I couldn’t breathe under this enormous… weight pressing down on me. And I felt like everything was wrong and it was all my fault.” The pain in Harry’s voice was subtle, but it was enough. 

I could only imagine a younger boy, wild curls and wide eyes, in my own place. That sinking feeling enveloping him. I could barely wrap my head around that image, that picture of this other, much more vulnerable part of him, especially with it being so at odds with the Harry I know now. But as he continues on I realize he’s showing me a side of himself he didn’t want me to see before. 

“I had colored out of a scene and the man didn’t stop at first. Said he didn’t hear me.” I felt the air pull into my lungs without even realizing it, and I could almost feel the way Harry’s hand started to tremble, just a little. “He left me alone in my flat. I didn’t know what to do, so I called Perrie. She came and babysat me for two days, until I could go about my normal day again without crying every time someone looked at me.” He huffed, and I couldn’t tell if it was an empty laugh, or heavy sigh, but I could hear the strain in his voice. 

“I’m so sorry,” I say, not knowing how else to convey how much his story hurts me to hear. To even think of someone taking advantage of someone like that, especially someone so young, breaks my heart.

“I learned a lot from that. If anyone took my word when I walked into Fetish for the first time and said I was a dom, I absolutely would have done something stupid enough to let someone else drop, and not even know. And honestly, I don’t think I would have cared.” He hesitates, and the sound comes out strange, almost as if he’s gritting his teeth and forcing the words out.

Hearing his voice seems to relax me. Maybe it’s that I have nothing else to focus on besides his thumb stroking over my knuckles, but the soreness in my muscles is starting to fade as we sit.

“I don’t believe that.” I tell him, and even though my voice barely comes out as more than a whisper I know he’s heard me.

“I was a different person then.” He whispers. His hand rests heavy on top of mine, and I hear him blow out a long breath. “I hated who I was.”

“Why?” I whisper back.

For a moment I fear I’ve crossed a line when he doesn’t respond. He moves his hand away and I no longer feel him touching me. I feel him next to me still, but he’s completely silent. Suddenly I feel the bed shift, dipping next to me where Harry was sat, followed by his hands on my shoulders.

“Lay back for me, love.”

I let him guide me back, only a little afraid of hitting my head on something, but I’m only met with a pillow beneath me. I let myself relax into the bed, head feeling a bit fuzzy in the darkness. I can tell my heart has calmed down, no longer racing or heavy with dread. My chest still sags under the weight of the emotional chaos hanging over me, but I can feel the pieces of myself coming back together very slowly. 

Something about this feels safe. Harry could be preparing to kill me, he could be pulling out a gun or a knife, and I wouldn’t know. Somehow that doesn’t bother me. I feel safe with him beside me, even more so than I would feel if I were alone.

It’s only a few moments later that I feel the bed dip again, and soon the warmth of Harry’s body settles in next to me, his side pressing into mine. An arm comes up and my head is gently lifted to rest on his bicep, and I settle into him. 

“I was kicked out of school when a classmate found out I was bi and told everyone I was gay, and I had to switch schools. I got made fun of a lot and I felt like the only way I was going to survive until graduation was to toughen up, fast.” He takes a long breath in, and heaves out a sigh with it. “It took a long time to unlearn that. I was angry about everything. It was easier to attack than defend, I guess.”

I don’t respond, instead listening to the silence between his breaths. My whole body has started to relax, my attention focused solely on his voice and the movement of his arm and chest under my head.

“I’m telling you this because it led me to this lifestyle in a really terrible, backwards way, but this saved my life. I found a way to express myself within a community that accepted every part of me.” He clears his throat, and I wish I could see his face now. His voice is rougher when he speaks again. “I want you to have that space, to feel welcome and safe.” 

“Thank you, Harry.” He hums in response, and we sit in the silence.

I don’t know how long we lay there, my head on his arm and his fingers tracing over my shoulder, but it was nice. My whole body seemed to just melt away, and it felt a lot like meditation like Harry had said. I felt myself almost falling asleep, my mind quiet while I focused on Harry’s breathing. If I could slow myself down and focus on one thing, my mind can’t race off and stir me into a panic again. I felt lighter than before, even though the doubts were still swarming around me, but it wasn’t so overwhelming. It didn’t feel like it was my fault anymore. I felt like it just was , and I could deal with that.