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The club is alive -- a wild and growling beast, a throng of blood and sweat that pulses to the primal beat of guttural and hypnotic music.

Music that's far too fucking loud, Viktor thinks, trying not to wince at the vibrations in his skull. He straightens and stretches languidly from where he's perched, on the edge of a high curtained alcove in the VIP section, and taps the heels of his boots impatiently against the sleek wood floors. The man who'd brought him up here is nearly passed out on the velvet sofa, piss-drunk and probably shot-up. Viktor removes his grubby hand from his lap delicately, wiping his fingers off with a faint look of disgust.

He's bored. Very bored. 

It's always the same thing at Exhibition every other week. The same simpering subs. The same dour doms. Occasionally, Viktor finds someone interesting to play with, and the night is only slightly less disappointing than usual. But that never lasts long. Clubs, unlike dungeons, are for fleeting fun, and Viktor's a very picky pet. And so he never expects much from these outings. Anyone who captures his attention loses it much sooner than they'd anticipated.

Like this mess here, Viktor thinks, casting the drunk man one last disinterested look before hopping to his feet and sauntering over to the balcony's banister. Viktor had spent a grand total of one session with this dom -- if he can even be called such. The man had tried, bless his soul, but Viktor isn't an easy one to tame. He sort of wishes that he were. He'd love nothing more than to fall to his knees at the feet of someone powerful, someone with an aura that takes his breath away and makes him deliciously weak. Someone who could simply strip him down to absolutely nothing with a single glance.

And that's all it is, really. That idea of being taken, of having something taken from him. To give someone that something at their word, at their whim. Viktor can't even remember the last time anyone had made him submit completely. Nothing and no one excites him. At all. And so he suffers through lackluster scenes and boring foreplay and lukewarm sex in the hopes of finally feeling something.

Not that many doms had even made it very far with him. Viktor isn't the sort to stick around if he can sense something going nowhere fast. And with that thought, he slips away further down the balcony, running his fingers over the smooth metal of the banister as he peers at the club down below. The man he'd just left behind isn't getting any tonight, so Viktor might as well start scoping out any new takers.

It's not desperation, he tells himself firmly. He could have anyone he wanted. But he doesn't -- he doesn't want, but he wants to want. And so he searches. But not in a way that makes him obvious, of course. He'll sit pretty and observe, and anyone who might be worth his time may have the great privilege of allowing their eyes to rest upon him.

It's far from Viktor's first time at a fetish club, this club in particular, and he spots familiar faces immediately. The first one he picks out is twisted in a pain that borders on ecstasy, and Viktor can hear the crack of the whip over the pounding music. It's coming from the station the regulars like to refer to as The Spread Eagle, and the man bound to the whipping post is a testament to its name. His limbs are stretched wide, his head thrown back as the thin leather comes down on his shoulder blades, leaving scores just shy of bleeding. A masterful hand, Viktor thinks, impressed as he watches. It isn't exactly good etiquette to draw blood in public. Though, Viktor adds with a small smirk, watching the bound man cry out in agonized pleasure, Chris certainly wouldn't mind.

Almost as though hearing his thoughts, the man looks up at him, green eyes gleaming. He beams at him and winks, jerking his head as though to invite him over, but Viktor just shrugs and looks away. He isn't in the mood for a beating, even from the skillful Master Massimo. Chris is welcome to hog the post all he likes tonight. Viktor is looking for something a little more subtle -- a low-key sort of control that's more thrilling than being flogged in the middle of the dance floor.

His eyes continue to wander as he fights down his increasing disappointment. There's the club owner, Georgi -- The Sleeping Prince, as he so dramatically loves to be referred to when he's on the clock -- and Mila, both preparing to perform a paired burlesque dance on the main stage. Normally, Viktor would have joined his roommates, as they often let him work for tips whenever he feels like it. But he'd declined this time. Putting on a spotlight-stealing show and having dozens howling after him frantically is nothing new. And 'new' is exactly what he wants.

New, he thinks, his eyes scanning the club again, something new. Someone new.

They're always there, up against the walls. Or at the bar. Or hovering near the bathrooms, or near the exits, as though waiting for a sign to bolt. Averted eyes, crossed arms, boring outfits. And the clothing really is the dead giveaway. Exhibition likes to pride itself on its selectivity -- dress right or get out. Newbies tend to push that line often, opting for basic tight leather and cheap netting. Nothing too revealing, but not exactly something they might care to be seen in out in public, either. This makes them even easier to spot.

Teasing baby kinksters isn't usually Viktor's style, but he's so incredibly bored that he might consider flirting a bit, and as he makes his way down the grand staircase from the VIP section, he makes a beeline for the bar. The wallflowers he passes along the way hardly catch his attention, as he had expected. A woman who can barely make eye contact, because she's glued to her phone, pretending to text someone. A man in awkward conversation with the man beside him, though neither of them can quite look each other in the face. One of them happens to glance at Viktor as he passes, his face in shadows, but Viktor's sure he can see his mouth hanging open as he watches him go by. Viktor can't help but smirk. Give them time, they'll get used to it.

But Viktor doesn't have time. He wants someone now, and he always gets what he wants.

He settles at the bar, but the bartender passes him over. He knows that Viktor's waiting. Waiting for the inevitable swarm of people offering to buy him drinks. It doesn't take long for the first to approach, and although his shy stutter is endearing, he isn't quite Viktor's type. He's not the first Viktor has declined tonight, and he certainly won't be the last. After the third attempt, Viktor's about to give up and move elsewhere, maybe to the second bar, when he suddenly becomes aware of someone beside him.

It's the wallflower who had stared at him so boldly as he passed. That boldness seems to have evaporated now, because he's steadily avoiding Viktor's gaze, even though it's directed right at him. How long has this man been standing here next to him? Viktor hadn't noticed him at all. His eyes sweep over him curiously, finding his stiff and forced indifference sort of intriguing.

He's a bit shorter, with feathery and messy black hair and large half-rimmed glasses. His outfit is predictably plain -- tight leather pants and an unbuttoned black silk shirt. Just barely dress-code. His chest isn't exactly hard to look at, though, leanly muscled like the rest of him, and his face is even easier on the eyes. What Viktor can see of it, anyway, as the man still refuses to look at him. There's something about him that's soft and hard all at once, the gentle slope of his cheek offset by thick and somewhat severe eyebrows. His mouth is set in a nervous line, but Viktor has the sneaking suspicion that there are many other shapes it could take on.

Those lips move now, pressing against the glass he's clutching, and Viktor watches his throat work his drink down slowly, hesitantly, hypnotically. Viktor can't bring himself to look away. The man seems to have no problem doing so, however, and Viktor has no idea how or why. Most men would be on their knees by now, begging for him to take a closer look. But this man seems intent on ignoring him.

Not intent enough to move away, however, and Viktor feels a thrill of satisfaction as he nearly chokes at his approach. Viktor leans over slowly, his smile friendly but his eyes mischievous. He doesn't need to be this close to be heard over the din, but this man doesn't need to know that.

"Haven't seen you around here before. First time?"

It's unusual for Viktor to be the one to start the conversation, and it's even more unusual for the person to brush him off.

"Yes."

The man finishes his drink and hurries away, and Viktor gapes at him in disbelief as he goes. The bartender snorts loudly as he collects the empty glass, and Viktor turns to glare at him.

"The hell's so funny, Yura?"

Yuri, his third roommate, cackles wickedly but says nothing, moving on down the bar and shaking his head. Viktor huffs loudly, turning his attention back toward where the mystery man had retreated. He's out of sight now, lost among the crowd, and as hard as Viktor looks -- without trying to be too obvious, of course -- he can't seem to spot him again.

"Great," Viktor mutters, his frustration growing alarmingly fast. Of course the smallest bit of excitement he'd felt all night had slipped away from him, probably never to return again. Oh, well. Plenty of fish. Sure. Definitely. Without a doubt.

He accepts the next few drinks offered to him almost out of spite, and once he has a nice buzz going on, he nudges his way through the crowd, pausing to watch the last of Georgi and Mila's performance. They've really got everyone worked up, Viktor thinks, glancing around at writhing bodies and waving dollar bills. He almost wishes he could join in their excitement. Despite the vodka making its way nicely through his veins, his melancholy is growing stronger by the minute. What the hell is wrong with him?

The dance floor soon resumes its previous state, and as the music starts up again, Viktor isn't surprised to feel a hand grope his ass. He isn't surprised, because he knows that aside from bumbling newbies, only one person in this club is audacious enough to touch him without asking first.

"Hello, pretty pup," Chris purrs in his ear, squeezing him again. Viktor throws him a haughty look that crumbles into despair immediately. He can't even pretend to play at their usual games. Not with the image of the mystery man's retreating back forever etched into his skull.

"Oh, Christophe," Viktor says mournfully, placing an arm around his friend and leaning against his shoulder heavily, "I'm a wreck."

"Well, yes," Chris agrees cheerfully, twirling him around and leading him in a very suggestive dance. "I knew that. What angry lover have you scorned, now?"

"I'm the man scorned, I'm afraid," Viktor says with a sigh. He pauses to swat at Chris' wandering hands before continuing. "I just met someone. We're in love, but he doesn't know it yet. What do I do?"

Chris cocks his head, his many earrings and bits of facial jewelry glinting in the flashing lights. "Well, have you actually spoken to him? Where is he? I'll be your wingman!"

This sounds like a terrible idea, but Viktor realizes that he's far more desperate than he had thought when he agrees eagerly and without hesitation. Chris grabs his arm and starts to drag him off, and Viktor doesn't protest. He hasn't even described his mystery man yet, but he knows that Chris will somehow find him.

"I've got a nose for that good dick," Chris often tells him. Viktor has never had reason to argue with this.

The man isn't anywhere on the dance floor. He isn't at the second bar at the other end of the club. He isn't at the waxplay station, or at the shibari station, or even watching the sub currently being flogged onstage. He isn't in the VIP section upstairs, though the drunk man from earlier is finally stirring, so Viktor hurries off while Chris remains to scan the club from above. 

Viktor returns to the dance floor, his nerves getting the better of him. He'd rather lose himself in sound and dance than wait anxiously against the wall for any signs of this man who refuses to be found. Besides, maybe he'll get lucky and find someone who makes him forget the man entirely. Right, he tells himself, the night isn't over yet. Get a hold of yourself, Viktor Nikiforov.

His phone goes off suddenly, and he nearly drops it in surprise. Chris told him he'd text him to let him know if he'd spotted the man, and when Viktor sees the message -- turn around -- he whirls on the spot wildly, nearly knocking over some poor unsuspecting bastard. Viktor's about to shoot Chris a nasty response for tricking him, when suddenly he sees him.

The man's shirt is completely undone now, starting to slip off of one shoulder, and his cheeks are so flushed that for a moment Viktor can do nothing but stare, absolutely stunned at the sight. This man looks completely different now. He's been drinking, that's for sure. There's no other explanation for the look of pleasure on his face, or for his wild dancing, or for the fact that he's currently being sandwiched between a dom and his sub, the two of them ravaging the man's body with their hands and mouths. Viktor feels a searing jolt of jealousy, but before he can decide what to do about it, the man looks directly at him.

The world seems to come to a screeching halt for a moment, and Viktor is trapped in place by the blinding glare of glasses under strobe lights. He feels a fire course through him, feels something thrilling and new and entirely unknown, and suddenly he can't breathe. He's not sure if he wants to. He thinks he'd very much like to die right now, murdered on the spot by the heat of this man's gaze.

If Viktor hadn't known better, he'd say that the man had been about to take a step towards him. But he'll never know for sure, because his view is suddenly taken up by an unpleasant sight -- the wasted dom he'd abandoned upstairs. Whatever his name is.

"Leaving Master all alone? You're a bad boy, aren't you, Pet?"

"You're not my master," Viktor says sweetly, neatly sidestepping out of his grasp. His gaze darts around until he catches the eye of a security guard he knows well, and a simple jerk of his head is enough to have him on his way over to kick some ass.

Bless you, Beka, Viktor thinks gratefully, watching the guard grab the very much still inebriated man by the arm and escort him out. Well, that's one problem taken care of. Now, back to --

The mystery man is gone. The couple he'd been dancing with has already picked up a new toy to play around with.

Viktor's about ready to give up. This just isn't meant to be, then. He's meant to spend the rest of his life humoring unsatisfying masters and their cheap and boring games until the day he dies, he supposes. So much for finding someone who excites him. Guess he'll go fuck himself.

The music is too loud, the people too irritating, but the night is too young, too fresh, and it's too early to go home. The only place Viktor thinks he might get some peace and quiet is the Kiss and Cry -- the private booths at the back of the club. The things that go on in each booth range from private lap dances to gentle aftercare to full-blown fucking. Though the latter is generally considered bad etiquette, it happens, and no one really tries to put an end to it. Still, the booths tend to be much less rowdy than the club itself, so Viktor makes his way towards them, praying for a miracle.

He stalks past closed curtains, the sounds behind them at once exciting and sickening. He can't help but feel a little envious, but quashes that thought immediately. He doesn't need that. He needs quiet. He needs to be alone. He certainly doesn't need the things he glimpses between the opened curtains of much less shy booths. Bare chests, long legs, gleaming eyes, soft sighs, and the sound of vibrations, the sound of flat objects whistling through the air to strike sensitive flesh. No, he tells himself stubbornly, don't think about that. Peace. Quiet. Any place where you no longer have to search for a face that refuses to be found.

One of the last booths seems quiet, the curtains half drawn and the candle inside burning low. Someone must have left it behind, because Viktor can't see anyone in the dancing light of the flames. He realizes his mistake the moment he steps inside.

It's him.

Of course it is.

He's sitting half in shadows, so still that Viktor wouldn't have noticed him had it not been for the glint of his glasses. They flicker at him now as his head jerks up, and Viktor stands transfixed in the entrance, staring stupidly.

"Uh," he says suavely, "sorry, I didn't know this one was taken."

There's a short and awkward pause before the man answers, his voice low and slightly slurred.

"It's not. Come in."

Friendly, but with an undertone of something that somehow can't be denied. Viktor wouldn't dream of it, at least, and he lets himself in, drawing the curtains closed without thinking. He pauses, unsure what to do next. It's a strange and uncomfortable feeling, this sudden uncertainty. This tension. This helplessness.

"You can sit, you know."

Viktor does so immediately, seating himself across from him. The candle flickers on the small table between them, slowly but surely dying. Viktor also wants to die. He can feel his mind start to scream into the silent void as the two continue to stare at each other.

"Who are you?" Viktor asks suddenly. This mystery is getting to be too much for him. He's the sort to act now and think later, and his racing thoughts aren't doing him any good at the moment. He wants to know everything about this man. Who he is, why he's here, and why he's been running from him.

"My name is Eros," the man says simply. Viktor grins at this, feeling a bit of his unease melt away. Typical newcomer, having to create an alias for himself. Viktor's been there and done that, and everyone knows who he is now. Of course, the man's name might actually be Eros, but something about his slightly nervous demeanor makes it easy for Viktor to see right through him.

"I'm Viktor. Pleasure to meet you." He makes sure his voice comes out in a low and seductive purr, and he swears he can see a bit of color come to Eros' already flushed cheeks. It's unfairly alluring, that shade further bloodied by the flames before them. He wants to take a much closer look.

"So," Viktor continues, leaning forward, "let's finish our conversation, shall we? You said this is your first time here. How's the fetish life treating you so far, Eros?"

To his surprise, Eros doesn't bolt again. He looks him right in the face, his eyes glowing a warm red in the firelight. Something about those eyes pierces straight through to Viktor's very soul, and he tries his best not to shiver.

"It's... interesting," Eros says, finally. Viktor has nearly forgotten what he'd even asked him, and he scrambles for something to say to keep their conversation going.

"Why'd you come here? Why'd you want to give this life a try? Are you looking for anything?"

Too many questions, he hisses at himself, idiot, stop babbling at him!

But Eros doesn't seem bothered at all. In fact, he smiles a bit, and it's somewhat shy. And very cute. Far too cute. Viktor hopes his own face isn't becoming just as flushed.

"I've always wondered what it'd be like. Joining this sort of thing, I mean. I've always kind of wanted to. So my friend and his dom finally convinced me to come out here tonight with them. I guess I should thank them, because I ended up having a decent time after all."

"That couple you were grinding on?" Viktor asks quickly, immediately regretting it and hoping the jealousy in his tone hadn't been obvious. Eros blushes harder, but doesn't look very embarrassed.

"Yes. They kinda helped me out of my shell a little bit."

Just a little bit? Viktor thinks, remembering the look of rapturous lust on his face. Viktor has a feeling that the alcohol had done most of the work. And it must still be at work, because Eros' smile becomes rather wicked now, completely unabashed.

"And you? Was that your master who grabbed you back there?"

"I don't have a master," Viktor says reflexively, and immediately something in the air seems to shift.

"Oh," Eros says softly, eyes slowing running up and down Viktor's body. Viktor takes a moment to allow this. He knows how good he looks tonight -- his black skin-tight latex leotard, the front open and slitted to reveal creamy pale skin stretched tight over a nicely muscled chest and flat stomach. His nipples are exposed between the slashes of sleekly shining fabric, and their gold rings gleam in the light of the candle. They match the glint of his bellybutton ring, and Eros' gaze catches it eagerly. Viktor is half tempted to let him know what else is pierced. He spreads his legs a little wider, deciding that leaving things completely to the imagination would be boring. Eros eyes his bulge with great interest before his attention gradually wanders back to his face.

"Are you looking for one?" Eros asks, his words slurring thickly. Viktor feels his own words come out just as thick, and remembers that he isn't exactly sober, either.

"Why? You interested?" He winks at him outrageously, and it takes him a few seconds to process what he'd just said. He feels his stomach drop and his face flush as Eros' mouth parts for his tongue, and Viktor's eyes follow the path they trail over his lips. Slowly. So slowly. Viktor's heart starts to pound harder. Harder. Harder.

The candle goes out.

They're plunged into darkness, only just barely illuminated by the lights in the hall right outside the curtains. Viktor can see Eros' glasses, and the vague outline of his form. It isn't enough. He wants to see him. Closer.

"Viktor," Eros says, his voice low, "come here."

Viktor obeys without the slightest hesitation. Eros calls to him like a siren, like a light in the dark, and suddenly he's on his feet, nearly knocking over the table and its now useless candle as he scrambles forward. But before he can settle next to him on the booth seat, he sees the shape of Eros' hand coming up, gesturing at him to stop. Viktor freezes on the spot, waiting.

"No," comes a voice so soft but so effortlessly commanding. Viktor recognizes that tone, but never before has it had the effect it's having on him now. He knows what Eros wants without even having to await his next order.

He sinks down to his knees in front of Eros, looking up at him in wide-eyed awe. How has this man enthralled him so easily? Does he even know what he's doing? The smell of booze on him is still strong, and now that he's much closer, he can see him trembling slightly. Yes, this man is completely new to this. So why is Viktor, a seasoned pet of several years, cowering before him with his tail between his legs?

"Good boy," Eros whispers, and Viktor shudders hard.

Oh. That's why.

Eros reaches out hesitantly, fingers stopping just shy of Viktor's head. There's an electricity crackling at the tips, and Viktor can feel himself start to vibrate.

"May I pet you?"

God, yes, Viktor almost whines, but instead he swallows thickly and nods. Steady fingers work their way back through his silky silver hair, and when Viktor feels short and strong nails scratch at his scalp, he melts into a useless puddle. This seems to give Eros a slight boost of confidence, as his fingers are now underneath Viktor's chin, tilting his head up so that their eyes meet in the near-dark.

"You never answered my question."

"And you never answered mine," Viktor shoots back, suddenly defiant.

Eros only smiles. His fingers trail lower now, slowly encircling Viktor's neck. Gently, very gently, he squeezes his smooth throat.

"You'd look so lovely with a collar. Be my pet, Viktor?"

Viktor's brain must have shut down, because all he can do is stare at him, open-mouthed and wide-eyed. What? Had he heard him right? This man really is drunk. No one had ever asked Viktor to be their pet so boldly. Requests or offers were meant to be given in a much more professional manner. Who the hell is this guy? And why are the words yes, God, fuck, take me, on Viktor's lips?

He's gradually becoming aware that there's a commotion outside the curtains, and someone bursts through excitedly, causing the two of them to recoil from the blinding lights. Eros recovers quickly, perking up at the sight of the intruder.

"Phichit! What are you --"

"Yuuri!" The man in the catsuit named Phichit shouts, his words slurring together almost unintelligibly. "Seung-gil wants to go home already. He says he'll drive your car, he just wants to leave." Phichit lowers his voice from a dull roar to a hushed yell now. "He's maaaaad at me! Can you believe it? Yuuri, let's go!" He doesn't even seem to notice Viktor as he gestures wildly towards the exit.

Eros -- Yuuri, rather -- casts a final look back at Viktor where he's still kneeling on the floor, completely dumbstruck. He nearly stumbles as he gets to his feet, but his friend catches him and draws him away before Viktor can even touch him.

Viktor slumps against the booth seat, staring at the fluttering curtains. His heart is fluttering as well, pulsing with a feeling he's never known before in his entire life.

Oh, he's fucked.