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Cuir et Peluche

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Jack came home to find Bitty waiting for him, perched on the counter next to a very discreet cardboard shipping box.

Jack dropped his duffel without looking to see where it landed, making for Bitty and the box. "Is that...?"

Bitty had gotten a lot of things shipped to Jack's apartment in the couple of weeks since they'd talked about trying something new, but everything else he'd hidden away in the guest room closet. Jack had been forbidden to peek. That stuff was a surprise, for later.

There was just one thing they had picked out together. One thing they were waiting for before they did anything.

"Mm-hm," Bitty said, reeling Jack in to stand between his knees.

Jack kissed him, trying to peek at the box at the same time until Bitty laughed and gave him a little one-handed shove in the center of his chest. "Greedy, Mr. Zimmermann."

Jack bit his lip; he couldn't even deny the charge. He had Bitty, and that was enough, more than he could ever ask for, but...

"Go on and open it, then, honey," Bitty said, not even chirping him now. "It's for you, anyhow. I want to see too."

Jack nodded and then looked around for something to slit the tape open. Bitty would scold him for days if he used a cooking knife and he'd dropped his keys on the table by the door, but he didn't want to move away from the slight pressure of Bitty's knees on his hips.

Bitty snorted softly and held up a box cutter Jack hadn't known he owned. He took it without question, ducking in to kiss Bitty again. He hoped the press of his lips could somehow say how much he loved Bitty, and how grateful he was for Bitty arranging all of this so that Jack could have what he wanted. He never could have even brought it up if Bitty hadn't started asking questions and making suggestions.

Jack took a breath, steadying his hands, and then slit open the box and reached inside, fumbling open the heavy plastic bag inside that protected the contents. The smell of leather hit him suddenly--a warm, rich smell, nothing like the smell of a sheet of ice. It felt like that anyway, like anticipation and possibility.

"Oh, they're gorgeous," Bitty said, touching the hardware on the cuffs. It was an antiqued silver color with blackened engraving in sinuous designs. The leather was black, supple and soft but obviously strong.

The cuffs would hold him tight. He wouldn't be able to get away. He would be utterly at Bitty's mercy.

"You want to try them?" Bitty asked softly.

Jack couldn't speak, only nodded once, decisively.

Bitty caught his face in both hands and kissed him, impossibly tender considering what Jack was holding in his hands, what Bitty might be planning to do to him. What Jack hoped Bitty was planning.

For now Bitty just slid down to stand in the tiny space between Jack and the counter. Jack let himself be crowded back by the pressure of Bitty's body, retreating all the way to the couch with the cuffs still held in his hands. Bitty had grabbed the rest of the box's contents and brought everything with them, but Jack couldn't even think about that.


"Lie down flat," Bitty directed. "That way I can reach everything and you can stay put as long as you want to try them out."

It felt too easy, but then they were only trying the cuffs, not doing a real scene. Jack lay down obediently on the couch, stretching out flat on his back and automatically raising his hands into the air, offering up the cuffs and holding his wrists together.

Bitty sat down on the coffee table and set everything else down with a soft jingle of hardware, then took the cuffs from Jack. "Comfy? Good to stay here for a bit? Did you hydrate on your way home?"

Jack nodded, words deserting him at the sight of leather and steel in Bitty's hands.

"Okay, honey. You just say the word and I'll have you out of these, all right? If they're too tight, or if it's just hitting the wrong buttons in your head, or anything at all. We aren't doing anything but just trying this stuff out right now, so anytime you need to stop we'll stop."

Jack nodded again, quicker this time.

Bitty smiled, warm and fond, and Jack felt somehow proud of himself on top of the weirdly urgent anticipation. It was like being really horny, but his dick wasn't hard; it wasn't that at all. He just... he just really wanted Bitty to close those cuffs on his wrists, and then everything else.

"Here we go," Bitty said, taking Jack's left wrist in his hand and wrapping the leather cuff around it. Jack's eyes fluttered shut at the feel of the leather, soft but firm around him, as wide as the span of Bitty's hand but smooth and even. When Bitty fastened it in place and took his hands away, the grip of leather stayed.

Bitty gently pushed Jack's hand down to rest on his belly and took the other, putting the cuff into place the same way as the first. He guided Jack's right hand down to meet his left, and then there was a little snick of metal, loud in the quiet apartment, and Jack's wrists were bound together.

"Can you test them for me, sweetheart?"

Jack tugged a little, half-hearted, and his breath caught at the feeling of the metal and leather holding him fast. He pulled harder then, twisting to feel the grip in every direction, jerking against the cuffs in sharp movements to test their hold.

"That's good, Jack, that's so good." Bitty's hand touched his forehead, brushing his hair back, and Jack opened his eyes and looked up at Bitty smiling down at him, a little flushed and very pleased. "You want to just lie here and wear these a while, or you want to try some more of this stuff?"

Jack had a distinct sensation of the room getting brighter and his skin flushing hotter. "Can I... more?"

Bitty bent down and kissed him. "More it is."

Jack watched as Bitty scooted along the coffee table until he was level with Jack's shins. Jack pulled his feet in helpfully, and Bitty tsked and put a hand on each of Jack's knees, guiding them back down. "I can reach fine, honey. I'll tell you when I want you to move."

Jack was... maybe a little hard. He was only wearing loose shorts, so Bitty would be able to tell, but Jack wasn't even thinking about that. Bitty leaned over him, partly blocking his view, but it wasn't like Jack couldn't tell what he was doing. He wrapped a broad band of leather around Jack's ankle, fastened it in place, and then repeated the process on the other side and fastened them together.

"Test again," Bitty prompted, sitting up and scooting closer on the coffee table while Jack obediently kicked his feet and made abortive bicycle motions. The metal clicked and the leather burned against his skin, but it held fast.

"Good, honey, perfect," Bitty said, and as soon as Bitty's hand landed on his thigh Jack went still, panting softly. Bitty leaned over his ankles again, checking the leather and the fastenings.

"You want to try another piece?" Bitty lifted another strap off the table, this one with riveted D-rings at intervals along its length. "We don't have to, the cuffs are really all we need for the scene I had in mind."

"I can," Jack said. "I'm good. More."

"All right. Bring your knees up to your chest, as close as you can."

Jack lifted his hands out of the way and curled up, tucking his thighs tight into his belly. Bitty guided his wrists down to his ankles and brought the strap across them, fastening his wrists and ankles all together.

"Okay, now relax against it, just let the cuffs hold you."

Jack let his legs unfold slightly, and Bitty stood up to rearrange his arms to the inside of his legs with his knees swinging wide. Bitty tugged on his shoulder, guiding him to turn onto his side, and Jack cooperated as smoothly as he could, until he was curled on his side in a fetal position, his limbs folded up in front of him. Bitty's hand was in his hair now, petting, and the other hand settled on his hip.

"This good, honey? Feel good? Fingers and toes okay?"

Jack nodded, feeling floaty and good and still hard and willing to do whatever Bitty wanted if Bitty kept him tied up and moved him around like that.

Bitty's hand slid down to his belly, and his fingers dipped inside the waistband of Jack's shorts. "How about this? This okay?"

Jack made a strangled noise and nodded.

"Open your eyes a second, honey?"

Jack looked. Bitty was smiling at him, head tilted almost upside down as he leaned over Jack, his hair falling away from his forehead. His eyes were bright and pleased, and Jack felt that rush of pride again at making Bitty happy.

"You want me to get you off like this, honey? Be a good test of the cuffs, probably."

That wasn't why Bitty wanted to get him off, and Jack knew that. He also knew that he'd let Bitty do absolutely anything he wanted to right now. And it wasn't like he didn't want to get off. He nodded again, parting his lips to try to say it properly.

"It's okay, honey, I've got you. I can see you're all right. You just shake your head if you're ever not, okay?"

Jack nodded decisively and watched Bitty's hand slide down into his shorts, and then Bitty was rubbing his cock and Jack couldn't keep his eyes open. Bitty's hand was outside his underwear, but he could feel the heat of the touch, the sweet friction of it as Bitty touched him just right.

"That's good, Jack. You're being so good, it's so amazing to see how much you love this."

Jack shuddered at the honeyed warmth of Bitty's voice, pushing into Bitty's hand the little bit that he could and feeling the straps tighten on his wrists and ankles when he moved. He moaned.

"Perfect, honey, that's perfect." Bitty's hand was moving a little faster, pushing him onward. "There, that's just what I want you to do, just enjoy this. Just relax and feel it, feel me holding you everywhere at once."

Jack groaned, grinding into Bitty's touch, rocking against the restraints. All the time Bitty's voice was guiding him, encouraging him, until it was all too much. He arched against the leather, feeling it still holding him as Bitty stroked his cock and he came in hard pulses.

He lay still for a while after, feeling stunned as if he'd taken a hard fall, breathless and thoughtless. Bitty was still touching him, one hand moving gently in his hair, the other resting on his hip under his shorts.

"Did I..." he said after a moment, then paused to feel the way the words moved through his mouth to be sure they were in English. "Break anything?"

"Nah, it held real nicely," Bitty said, soft and easy. He took his hand off Jack's hip and checked each fastening, then shook his head again, giving Jack a sunny smile. "Definitely picked the right shop, it's all just as well-made as they promised. I'll look it over one more time when I take it off you--"

Jack didn't make a sound, but he curled into himself a little at that. He knew, somewhere in the back of his head, that it was the middle of the day. He needed to at least get his duffel bag from the middle of the floor, and he'd had other plans for the day, though he couldn't remember any of them right now. Still, he didn't want this--whatever this was--to be over just yet.

"How about I just take the linking strap off, and you can still wear the cuffs for a bit," Bitty offered. "If you're not all folded up like this I could probably even fit onto the couch with you, huh?"

"Oh," Jack said. "Yeah. Please?"

"Anything for you, sweet pea," Bitty assured him, ducking down to give him a quick, soft kiss before he turned his attention to the leather holding Jack in place. A few quick clicks and the tension was gone, leaving his arms and legs free to move independently, though his wrists and ankles still bore the tight grip of the leather cuffs.

Bitty set the strap aside on the coffee table and stood, stretching his arms up over his head; Jack followed the motion automatically, extending his hands out over one armrest, his feet just reaching the other. It felt good in a slightly different way from stretching at the end of a workout--and it felt slightly dangerous, too, as if he were close to some edge a lot more threatening than the drop from the couch to the hardwood floor.

He should maybe get a rug, though. He released the stretch and curled up again automatically, tipping onto his side again to peer down at the bare floor. It looked awfully cold and unforgiving, and he thought that Bitty had probably mentioned once or twice that it would be nice to have rugs there, but...

"Shh, don't you start thinking just yet," Bitty said, climbing right on top of him despite the way he was curled up. Jack twisted under him until Bitty's weight rested on his chest and Bitty's legs tucked in along and between his. Jack curled his arms around Bitty and found his fingers winding into Bitty's shirt, holding on tight.

"I've got you, honey," Bitty murmured. "I've got you. You just close your eyes and feel, huh? Feel how I'm still holding on to you."

Jack flexed his wrists and his ankles against the cuffs, took a deliberate breath to feel Bitty's weight pressing against his ribs, and nodded into the softness of Bitty's hair. "Okay, Bits. I feel it."

"Good," Bitty said. "Keep that up."

Jack didn't sleep, exactly, but he drifted for a while, and there was a point where he felt like he was waking up, his thoughts returning to normal speed. The feeling of Bitty on top of him resolved into specific sensations of being slightly squished and needing to pee and... ugh, change his underwear.

It also occurred to him right about then that he'd done absolutely nothing to reciprocate after Bitty got him off. He couldn't have done the same, obviously, without his hands free, but...

His brain shot off in opposite directions, contemplating what he could have done--what Bitty could have done to him, used him for, and those thoughts sent a filthy-hot shiver through him--and, more prosaically, what he had been perfectly capable of doing as soon as Bitty unhooked his hands. The cuffs wouldn't have stopped him from doing at least as much as Bitty had done for him, after all.

Had Bitty even been hard, beyond the natural sympathy of seeing Jack get off? For that matter, was it normal to have gotten that turned on, that fast, just from being bound? Bitty hadn't even done anything to him, not like the stuff they'd negotiated, the things he'd read about when Bitty sent him to carefully-selected websites to look at checklists.

"Jack? Everything okay?"

Jack squirmed a little under him and said, "Yeah, I, uh... I should clean up."

"Oh! Shoot, why didn't I think about that? I'm sorry, honey, you were just so calm and peaceful, I didn't want to distract you from that."

"No, it's fine. You unhooked my hands, I could've--" As he spoke, Jack reached for the fastening of the left cuff.

Bitty tsked at him and sat up, batting Jack's hands away and undoing the cuffs on his wrists, and then his ankles. His skin felt cold and exposed when the leather was peeled away. Jack rubbed his wrists while Bitty freed his ankles, and then Bitty's hands joined his.

"It didn't leave any marks, did it?"

Jack shook his head--there were little pink compression lines on the undersides of his wrists, but nothing worse than a pillow crease.

"All right. Want company, or...?"

Jack shook his head firmly, though he always wanted Bitty close and wouldn't have minded staying on the couch for the rest of the day if his thoughts--and his sticky underwear--hadn't interfered.

"Thanks, Bits." Jack leaned in and kissed him quick, then pulled away, steering himself toward the bathroom with an effort he didn't let himself think about.

It was that night, after they'd gone to bed and made out a little and Jack had gone down on Bitty--which was satisfying by itself and also because he felt like something was evened out by it--that a thought suddenly occurred to Jack. It seemed both impossible and obvious, and he was startled enough by it to say out loud, without thinking, "Wait, was that a scene?"

There was a short silence, and Jack just had time to think, No, that's stupid, and braced himself for Bitty chirping him about thinking a blowjob was kinky all of a sudden.

Bitty turned over to face him, and touched his cheek gently, and didn't misunderstand at all. "This afternoon on the couch? I don't know, honey. It might've been, and if it was we didn't talk about it very clearly, before or after. What do you think?"

"I..." Jack frowned, trying to concentrate on anything other than how much he liked Bitty's hand on his cheek and how much he didn't want it taken away. "It wasn't... like I thought a scene was, from what we read. I know you just meant to try out the cuffs. But the way I felt, I think that was... I got kind of carried away. Sorry."

Bitty shook his head. "Nothing to apologize for, honey. I loved it, and I loved being able to make you feel like that. I wasn't quite sure how much looking after you wanted, but... it seemed okay? How've you been feeling, since?"

"Okay," Jack said, considering. If he thought of Bitty lying on him and holding him as aftercare--which he'd thought would run more to minor first aid and rehydration--then he could see where his own retreat to clean up had cut it off rather gracelessly. "I was a little down and anxious, maybe? After I went to clean up? But I evened out. You--just being around, talking like normal--you helped me even out."

Bitty nodded, moving his hand from Jack's cheek to his hair. "That was kind of what I thought. If you hadn't asked tonight, I would've talked it over with you tomorrow, before we did anything else. But I figured... if you didn't notice it was a scene, or aftercare, or whatever, then maybe I was just building it up too much in my head. Not like I have any experience to go on, here."

Jack shook his head quickly at that. "No, it... I mean, it's not like I've ever done this stuff properly either, Bits. Just liking the stuff I liked with--with Kenny, that's... not much of a basis to go on."

And now that he had an idea of what had been going on in his head this afternoon after their maybe-or-maybe-not scene, he could recognize the way he'd so often felt wound up or moody after one of those hookups with Kenny--the ones that left his cheek stinging, or a few extra bruises among the marks of hard-fought hockey games, or cruel words ringing in his ears.

He had already told Bitty he didn't want to do that part again, even if there had been moments when he wanted those taunts and insults even more than the strike of Kenny's hands, or the pressure of Kenny's grip on his wrists. And Kenny had always been sweet after, although having read all the stuff Bitty made him read about consent and boundaries and aftercare and everything, Jack wasn't sure whether Kenny thought he was apologizing for being rough, or if he understood that Jack liked both, and needed the balance. It was far from the only thing that he and Kenny had never really been clear about, that year.

"Well, I think whatever either of us has or hasn't done before, it was a scene if we think it was a scene, and it was kinky if we think it was kinky, and it was good if we think it was good," Bitty said, his fingers still in Jack's hair. "How's that?"

Jack nodded firmly. "I liked it. It was good. Honestly, I'm kind of glad we did something before I was really thinking about it like that? Now tomorrow's a little less..."

Except even as he said it, he had butterflies in his stomach thinking about tomorrow, about all the other secret things Bitty had arranged beyond those cuffs. About what Bitty would do, when everything was properly negotiated and there were safewords and Jack was really, knowingly, at his mercy.

"Well, we'll see about tomorrow," Bitty murmured, darting in to give him a quick kiss. "Anything you think you'll specially want or not want, based on today?"

Jack opened his mouth to say no, that he just wanted the cuffs and Bitty and whatever Bitty wanted to do to him, except that he realized he did want something. Needed it, maybe, even.

"I want to get you off," Jack said. "I... I want to know you like it too, or at least get something from it. However you want to, even if you just jerk off looking at me like that, or..."

"Jack," Bitty said, only a breath and somehow scolding and fond at the same time. "Oh, honey, how did I not--of course I like it. I loved that, today. You were so good for me, it made me feel ten feet tall to be able to do that for you."

"But you didn't," Jack said hesitantly. "You got me off, and then you just..."

"Mm, well." Bitty smiled. "I know you like my pie even if it doesn't make you come, don't I?"

Jack choked a little bit on air and thought that he was never going to be able to eat anything Bitty made for him without thinking about that.

Bitty giggled and gave him a little shove. "You know what I mean. It did turn me on, honey, it was just more important to me to take care of you. But if that's something you need, you won't hear any complaints from me. I can definitely work that in somewhere tomorrow."

Jack frowned. "Was that... not part of the plan, otherwise?"

Bitty shrugged. "I think what I've got planned for you is gonna get me pretty hot, but I'm gonna be the one in charge. That means it's my job to be focused on you, not just on getting off myself. If that's important to making it good for you, then I'll make sure I do, but if it hadn't been something you needed, I would've played it by ear."

That made sense, and he knew himself well enough to recognize the shape of his own resistance to believing it: anxiety, and nothing more.

"Not a strict recipe, huh?"

Bitty grinned and cuddled close. "Nah, I think you'll be a little more forgiving than that."

Jack went to the same low-key summer skate and workout the next day that he'd been at the day before. Bitty got up and ate breakfast and went for a run with him, keeping a weather eye on him all the time, which made Jack feel like he could stop doing the same thing to himself.

Whatever Bitty was looking for, though, it wasn't there. Jack felt good. He'd slept well. The only thing out of the ordinary was the feeling of butterflies in his stomach when he thought of what awaited him later today, when he came home to Bitty and finally got to find out what Bitty had been planning.

Bitty had promised him right from the start that it would be intense. All day as he went through his familiar routines, Jack wondered how different it might feel to do these things tomorrow. Would there be bruises or welts still lingering somewhere under his shorts and t-shirt? Would he feel different somehow? Would it change something to do this--to submit--knowingly, on purpose, with Bitty?

Was he different today, after yesterday? It hadn't left any physical marks, but his mind kept circling back to the feeling of the cuffs on his wrists and ankles, and Bitty's weight on him. His mind had gone so quiet, so fast, and tonight...

Tonight would be different, he reminded himself. Tonight there would be no mistaking what they were doing. Tonight would be a lot. Bitty had promised him that. Something that would challenge him, take him out of himself. It wouldn't be like that honey-sweet interlude on the couch, except maybe at the end, when Bitty would take care of him.

That was the part he kept picturing, when he thought about it, and he told himself it was because he knew what it would be like, while the rest was still a mystery.

This time, Bitty was nowhere in sight when Jack got in, but when Jack called out for him, the door of the guest room opened and Bitty's head popped out. His cheeks were a little flushed, his blond hair a little tousled, and Jack's mouth went dry.

Bitty grinned. "Want to get started?"

"I, uh..." Jack studiously did not try to peek past him to see what was in the guest room. "I don't think I can do anything else, Bits."

Bitty's grin widened. "There's a plate for you in the fridge. Eat, then shower."

Jack nodded like his head was on a spring, and Bitty went back into the guest room. A second later a burst of Beyoncé drowned out any possibility of overhearing what he was doing in there, and Jack pushed himself into motion.

He'd never paid so little attention to any food Bitty made for him; he vaguely noticed that it was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and that made sense. It was pre-game food, after all, and they were about to play. But he honestly couldn't have said if the jelly was strawberry or Sriracha by the time he finished it. He rinsed the plate and put it in the dishwasher, washed his hands to get rid of the inevitable faint irritating trace of peanut butter in the creases of two fingers, and headed to the shower.

There was a Post-It on the mirror: Be thorough, honey! XOXO

Jack felt himself flush hot and did not look at his own reflection.

He was very thorough.

He dried himself carefully and brushed his teeth, and just when he was wondering whether he should put clothes on or dry his hair more carefully, there was a tap on the door. "Come on out if you're clean and mostly dry, hon."

Jack looked down at himself. He'd wrapped a towel around his hips automatically, and he knew he wouldn't need to be wearing that, but... Bits hadn't said naked, hadn't said dressed. He'd said clean and mostly dry, and Jack was that. He opened the door and walked out to find Bitty waiting for him a few steps away in the hall, wearing the same short shorts and nicely-fitting tee from that morning and smiling fondly.

"Come here, you," Bitty said, and Jack closed the distance gladly, and let himself be drawn down into a kiss, just like any other day, sweet and normal and promising. Jack wasn't really in any state to be soothed, but it was reassuring to be reminded that he was doing this with Bitty--the same Bitty he spent every night with, not some stranger in black leather.

He would still be him, when he gave himself up to Bitty, and Bitty would still be Bitty.

"There you go," Bitty murmured, stroking his hands over Jack's shoulders. He relaxed them, barely needing the reminder, and he managed to stay loose as Bitty's hands skimmed down his back and tugged his towel free. "Now, into the Red Room with you."

Jack froze for a second, wondering if Bitty had actually repainted the guest room, or transformed the whole thing into some kind of crazy sex dungeon--how would he tell Shitty and Lardo they couldn't sleep there anymore after their next hipster-drinks-and-video-games party?--and then Bitty laughed, bright and loud.

Jack huffed and rolled his eyes, and Bitty smacked him on the ass, sharp enough to set his whole body on edge, anticipating what more was going to follow.

"Don't you sass me while I'm trying to set a mood, Mr. Zimmermann. Go on."

Jack went, and didn't let himself rub the spot Bitty had smacked, just felt the strangeness of walking naked down the hall of his own apartment with Bitty behind him, fully clothed. Then he stepped into the guest room and stopped short.

The walls were still the same pale gray they had always been, but the bed had been pushed up against the far wall and there was a navy blanket draped over it, unidentifiable objects making bumps under it. There were new curtains on the window, drawn shut to muffle the afternoon sunlight to a vague glow. In the cleared area of the floor, there was a black metal framework, nearly waist high, with leather straps already attached at the four corners. The floor inside the frame was a jumble of strangely square-edged blue cushiony things. They had a soft, velvety surface, but looked rather structural, though nothing like the cold, hard surfaces of the metal frame around them.

The door closed firmly behind him, and the lights dimmed slightly. Jack looked over his shoulder at Bitty, who was watching him with a gentle smile.

"You wanna be face up, honey, or face down?"

Jack swallowed, his mind serving up a rush of possibilities. He'd always pictured being hit--spanked, whipped, caned--on his ass and maybe the backs of his thighs and his back. But Bitty wouldn't have offered him the choice if it weren't possible to do it the other way, and he thought he'd want to see, when things got intense, that it was still Bitty standing over him, Bitty doing this to him.

"Yeah, I want to be able to see your face," Bitty said, as if Jack had answered him. "Face up, then. Step into the play-space, come on."

Jack followed Bitty, stepping over the metal frame. He noticed as he did that while most of it was lightweight, the corners were a different, heavier metal. Weighted, he would bet, to anchor the whole thing.

Bitty, meanwhile, was rearranging the cushions into a short, narrow bench, with others arrayed around it.

"Lie down here," he directed, and when Jack did, he tucked something behind Jack's neck so his head rested at a comfortable angle. "Just relax and breathe."

Bitty kept moving around him while Jack focused on calming breaths. Bitty was always touching him, rearranging him until his ass was hanging off the end of the bench but his back was comfortably supported. Soft as they were to the touch, the cushions stayed firm and steady under him. Each of his arms was moved to rest on a similar cushion, and then his legs, spread wide with his knees bent and his feet off the floor.

"You won't have much leverage," Bitty explained matter-of-factly, running his hands over Jack's legs, giving him a narrow-eyed look that was very clearly about making sure he was positioned correctly and nothing else. "Could be if you totally panic you'll still manage to rock the frame a bit, but you should be able to pull on it and not budge it."

"Okay," Jack said, the word falling easily, thoughtlessly, from his lips.

He was okay. All of this was okay--more than okay, of course, but also... calm, so far. Easy. It would get difficult later, Bitty had promised him it would, but for now he just had to be here and let Bitty do what he wanted.

"Good," Bitty said, smiling. "Now--we talked about safewords. I think you might want to say no and stop sometimes as we go along, and I don't want you to hold back or have to think about whether you really really mean it before you say that kind of thing. So when you really mean you need me to stop or slow down, what are you gonna say?"

"Red for stop, yellow for a check-in," Jack recited.

Bitty nodded. "And if talking's too hard, I want you to grab on to the frame, okay? If you grab the frame and hold on, I will stop what I'm doing and check in with you and make sure you're okay to keep going. Can you remember that?"

"Sure." That made sense; it would be practically instinctive to grab for something to hold on to if things were so bad he needed to stop or slow down. And he couldn't really screw anything up that way, because Bitty would only check in if he did it, not stop everything.

"Good," Bitty said. "Let's start with those cuffs, then, shall we? I know you'll be all right wearing those."

Jack nodded. His fingers curled in a little, feeling the impulse to move from where Bitty had arranged him, to offer his wrists, but it was pretty obvious that he was supposed to stay right where he was. Before he could really think about it, one of Bitty's hands was on his left arm, raising it up so he could slide the cuff under it. In a moment he had it fastened firmly around Jack's wrist, and, Jack realized when he looked, it was already tethered to the metal frame.

"Grab hold for me, honey, let me see that you can reach."

Jack lifted his hand off the cushion and reached up, and the bar met the palm of his hand without effort. It was thicker than a hockey stick--he could barely close his hand around it--and the metal was pleasantly cool to the touch. He squeezed hard, flexing a little, and Bitty smiled.

"All right, all right, that's enough showing off, Mr. Zimmermann. Hand back down, please, unless you already have a concern to raise."

Jack let go immediately, returning his arm to the pillow, and Bitty ducked down to kiss the palm of his hand before he said, "Perfect, Jack. Just perfect. Let's get your other wrist, now."

Jack shivered at the kiss or the words or both, and flexed his wrist up into Bitty's grip. His eyes closed automatically at the feeling of the leather wrapping around, and he forced himself to keep breathing evenly as the fastenings tightened into place.

"Grab hold again for me, honey, let me see you can."

Jack repeated the motion on the other side, forcing himself to open his eyes and watch Bitty's face while Bitty watched his hand. Bitty switched to meeting his eyes after just a second, his smile as warm and firm as the leather around Jack's wrist.

"Good. Let go now, unless you still need to hold on."

Jack shook his head slightly and let his hand drop back to the cushion.

Bitty leaned down over him then, his hands sliding down from Jack's shoulders to his chest as Bitty's lips came down lightly on his. Jack wanted to push up into Bitty's hands, wanted to really start things, but he lay still, enjoying this warm, sweet lead in. He was half hard and a little dazed by the time Bitty straightened up all the way, standing over him.

He looked tall this way, strong and untouchable, and Jack felt small and helpless and safe here at his feet.

"Gonna get your ankles now, honey, and then we can get started. Okay? You feel good like this, all spread out for me?"

Jack flushed, squirming a little. He felt incredibly good, ridiculously good, and they hadn't even done anything yet. "I'm good, Bits."

"Good," Bitty said, beaming, and he moved down to Jack's ankle without turning his back. Jack kept his eyes open, watching Bitty fasten the cuffs on his ankles and to the frame, nudging the cushions a little to adjust the angle of Jack's wide-open thighs. He couldn't possibly be more exposed, but the cushions made it easy to hold the position, and Bitty's gaze was better than a blanket, better than clothes or even pads and skates and a uniform. Nothing could hurt him when Bitty looked at him like that.

Except Bitty himself, of course. Jack glanced toward the bed and the shapes under the blanket and shivered.

"Eyes on me, sugar," Bitty said firmly, and Jack's gaze snapped to his instantly. "We'll get to the exciting accessories if we need to--there's at least one thing under there I'm definitely going to bring out when you're ready for it--but I think to start with I'll see what I can do with my hands. I want to know exactly what I'm doing to you our first time out."

Jack nodded, picturing it. Bitty had awfully strong hands from all that kneading. He could do plenty with nothing but his hands, and it wasn't like Jack could do anything to protect himself even if he wanted to, even if he tried to on reflex. Bitty could--

Jack's whole body jerked at the touch on his balls; it took him a second to realize that Bitty's hand was just cupped around him there, holding him and not hurting at all. Not yet.

"I kind of want to tell you what I'm going to do," Bitty said thoughtfully, crouching down between Jack's thighs. "Just so you'll know, so you can get into the mindset of it. But I think I like it better that you trust me so much that you don't need to know. Do you need to know, baby?"

Jack shook his head, feeling dazed, his dick hardening, every inch of his naked skin feeling tingly and ready to be touched. More than touched. Taken to pieces.

"Can you tell me what you do need?" Bitty asked.

Jack raked his teeth over his lower lip, assembling the words in his head. "Just... just you. Just to be yours."

Bitty's hand closed a little more firmly on his balls, and he was smiling sweet and warm. "Oh, we both know you're that, don't we? You've got me, and you're mine, and now you want something from me, don't you?"

Jack was breathing harder, unable to tear his gaze away from Bitty even though it felt a little bit like staring into the sun. "I... please. Bits."

"What do you want?"

It was silly, but as Jack lay there in cuffs, already restrained in this frame and spread wide open for Bitty to do what he pleased, his thoughts flashed to lying on the couch with Bitty's weight on top of him, that perfect lassitude and the feeling of Bitty holding him down.

But that was later. They would get to that. First he had to earn it, to go through whatever Bitty wanted to put him through on his way to that, to make that part necessary. Not now. They weren't there yet.

"A challenge," Jack said. "I want... intense."

"C-minus for grammar, but A-plus for clarity," Bitty declared. The hand that wasn't cupped around Jack's balls rested on his thigh, petting up to the crease of his groin and back down. Without changing tone at all, Bitty added, "Have you ever noticed you have hardly any hair on your thighs? Makes it so easy to just pet you like this without worrying I'm going against the grain. Does that feel as nice to you as it does to me, Jack, when I pet you like this?"

Jack blinked at him, wondering where Bitty was going with this, and when the rest would start.

"Don't think, Jack," Bitty said, his voice taking on an edge of sternness, his fingers flexing slightly around Jack's balls. "Don't try to guess what you're supposed to say, or what it means that I asked, or what happens next. You're mine, and I'm going to do every little thing I want to you until you can't take it anymore. Now tell me..."

Bitty took his hand off Jack's balls and put it on his opposite thigh, and started moving both hands in slow, firm sweeps up his quads, just to the cut of his groin, and then back down.

"Does that feel good, honey? Being all tied up so I can pet you wherever I want?"

Jack let his eyes fall half-closed and nodded, forcing himself to focus only on Bitty's hands, and Bitty's question, and nothing else.

Bitty's hands pressed more firmly into the muscle; his thumbs swept the crease of his groin at the top of the stroke.

It felt good, of course it did. It was Bitty's hands and Jack always wanted more of that touch, and now he was tied up so he didn't have to think about whether he should touch back, whether his turn was over, whether he was being greedy. He just had to let Bitty do what he wanted.

"Good," Bitty murmured, his voice gone low and throaty. "Open your eyes for me, Jack. Look right into my eyes."

Jack looked, his breath catching a little at the unwavering gaze, the seriousness of Bitty's expression contrasting strangely with that warm, soothing touch.

"I love you, Jack. And doing this with you just makes me love you more. The way you trust me, the way you lay yourself down for me, the way you love being locked up, I love every little bit of that. Because that's all part of you, and I love all of you."

Jack's breath was coming short, and it took a strange, intense effort to keep his eyes on Bitty's.

He's saying nice things, Jack told himself. It wasn't like he was saying stuff like Kenny used to say, taunting and cruel. And Jack believed him, mostly. But it was... it was a lot.

"Close your eyes, honey. Shh, keep breathing."

Jack squeezed his eyes shut tight. Bitty's hands moved from his thighs up over his hips to his abs and chest. He didn't touch Jack's dick, didn't pay any special attention to his nipples, just touched and touched him.

"That's it, that's how I like you, all melting for me," Bitty murmured. Jack squirmed a little, turning his face away, and then he felt Bitty folding down over him, not quite resting on him but close enough for Jack to feel him there. He kissed Jack's throat, his cheek, and then his mouth. Jack realized when he did that his whole face was tensed, as if he were bracing for pain, even though it was obvious that Bitty wasn't going to hurt him just yet.

He tried to soften his mouth as Bitty's lips brushed over his, and when he managed it Bitty made an approving noise. Bitty's hands started to sweep over his arms, shoulder to elbow and back, as Bitty kissed him again and again, never too deep or fast. Lazy kisses, slow and sweet, and Jack gave himself up all over again under them.

"That's it," Bitty murmured, pulling away from the kiss but settling his hands on Jack's shoulders and kneading them a little. "That's good. I love having you all spread out for me like this, Jack. You've got a gorgeous body, and you work so hard for it. Lord knows that doesn't put me off, but I think I'd love it as much if you had a beer gut--" Bitty's palms rubbed over his abs, and Jack was startled into a laugh like he'd been tickled, though that wasn't exactly it.

His eyes opened without him thinking about it, and he looked up at Bitty bending over him, hands on Jack's belly as he laughed. He was grinning, looking perfectly, thoroughly pleased, and not at all annoyed with Jack for breaking the mood.

"There you are," Bitty said, beaming. "That's perfect, honey. Look at you, all tied up and having fun, huh?"

Jack bit his lip immediately. Fun wasn't exactly the word, but he wasn't not having fun, he just...

"Oh, there I go making it complicated again. Don't worry about that, then. Just relax for me and keep soaking this up."

Jack closed his eyes again, taking a deliberate breath, and Bitty's hands stroked up over his chest again, then down, lower and lower, until Bitty's hands were framing Jack's dick. He was close to fully hard already, and Bitty hadn't touched him there at all yet, hadn't done anything that seemed aimed at really turning him on (except that Bitty already had evidence that just the cuffs were enough).

"However am I gonna get you to stop thinking?" Bitty murmured. "Time to open your eyes again, Jack. Look at me."

Jack opened his eyes and looked. Bitty was kneeling between Jack's thighs, his face only a little above Jack's current eye level.

"I love you, Jack," Bitty said solemnly. "I want so much for you to be happy, and feel good, and to have every single thing you want, and you deserve all of that."

Jack's brain was a blank, his eyes locked on Bitty, his heart racing.

"I want you to say something for me now," Bitty went on, and Jack's mouth went dry.

"Nothing scary, honey. You can just repeat after me. Can you do that?"

Jack swallowed. Nodded.

"Say, I want you to make me feel good."

"I wa--" Jack swallowed again, struggling to form the words when a thousand counterarguments were popping up in his brain. He didn't deserve--it wasn't time--he couldn't--

"I want you," Bitty prompted, rubbing one hand over Jack's stomach.

"I want you," Jack forced out in a rush.

"To make me," Bitty continued, smiling a little.

That was easier. He did want Bitty to push him. "To make me."

"Feel good," Bitty finished.

It was just words. Just sounds. It was what Bitty wanted him to say, and he did want that, of course he did, he just...

"Feel... good," Jack managed, barely a whisper.

"That's good, honey, thank you for saying that for me. You can grab the bar if you don't want me to make you feel good, otherwise I'm gonna keep doing it."

Jack closed his hands into fists but didn't move either one toward the bar. He'd given himself up to Bitty. He wanted Bitty to be in charge. He didn't need to stop. Bitty hadn't hurt him or done anything mean at all yet, just because Jack could hardly talk...

"And you can say beige or drum your fingers on the bar if you get bored," Bitty added, shooting him a mischievous look. "Otherwise..."

He barely brushed his lips over the head of Jack's cock, and Jack jerked toward the barely-there touch, wanting more, wanting Bitty's touch and his mouth and everything.

But Bitty didn't give him more than that brush of lips--on his cock, and then his hip, and the top of his thigh, and the soft inside of it, just under his balls. Bitty's hands followed down Jack's thighs, petting him again, but he kept moving down this time, kissing the inside of Jack's right knee, his calf, his ankle just above the cuff. Bitty's hands closed on Jack's foot, rubbing and pressing, and Jack let out a groan.

He'd never thought to ask Bitty for a foot rub before, but it felt incredible. Bitty just kept going and going, rubbing his foot and up his ankle and then back down. Jack's mind went utterly blank, his whole body relaxing into the cushions, and he whined a little when Bitty let go.

"Just switching sides, honey, don't you fret."

As promised, Bitty's hands closed on his left foot next, and Jack sighed as Bitty's thumbs found the sorest places, digging in just right, squeezing, stroking, on and on.

It occurred to him, dim and drifting, to wonder if Bitty had meant between your toes when he told Jack to be thorough in the shower, and he giggled a little.

That earned him a brush of Bitty's lips on his calf, and Bitty's hands working their way slowly up his left leg.

"I love touching you, you know that?" Bitty said. "And I know you love being touched and petted and loved on, even if you like to pretend you don't hardly need it. But now I've got you all tied up, so you just have to let me, don't you? You can't do a single thing but lie there and make cute noises and I can just..."

Jack let out a startled noise as Bitty licked up the underside of his cock. It felt like something new, something different from any other time Bitty had touched him. It was like his skin was thinner, or he could feel everything more clearly. More, anyway.

"Look at me, honey," Bitty said, moving up over him again.

Jack opened his eyes and looked straight up into Bitty's.

"I love you," Bitty said firmly. "And you are so brave. So brave, and I am so proud of you, for asking for this. For letting me see you like this. For letting me give you this. For trusting me. No one's ever trusted me like you do, Jack."

Jack blinked rapidly, his chest aching, his eyes stinging. He wasn't--Bitty was saying nice things, why--he couldn't be--

"Don't stop," Jack whispered, as the tears spilled from his eyes.

"Oh, honey." Bitty leaned in and nuzzled at his cheeks, brushing his lips through the wetness of tears. "Never gonna, don't you even think it. I know what you need, and now I've got you all tied up so I can give it to you."

Jack's breath caught, his hand jerking to a hard stop when the cuff caught him as he tried to reach for Bitty.

"Hey, honey." Bitty's hand squeezed his wrist and then slid into Jack's hand, interlacing their fingers as he pressed Jack's hand down to rest again on the velvety cushion. "What's that? Tell me what you need, what were you reaching for?"

Jack shook his head, struggling for words. More tears slipped from his eyes and he squeezed them shut. He couldn't be crying already, he couldn't--he wasn't backing out, not when they hadn't even started, not when Bitty was sure that what he was going to do would be what Jack wanted. Jack had wanted that. He did. He wanted to be pushed.

"Open your eyes for me, Jack," Bitty said, his other hand cradling Jack's cheek, his thumb brushing away fresh tears. "Look at me, now. Come on. I know you can."

Jack forced his eyes open, but his breath caught in a stuttering, awkward sob, and more tears rushed out.

"That's all right, honey, that's good," Bitty murmured, kissing his lips, the tip of his nose, his forehead. "You let it all out, you can be as loud as you want. Cry ugly if you need to, don't you even worry."

Jack tried to laugh, but it came out as another sob. He didn't even know why, except that he felt so--so naked, his skin so thin. If Bitty hit him now, even just with his hand, it would hurt so much. It would break him. He didn't know how he could bear it, but he couldn't bear to tell Bitty to stop, either.

"You're so good," Bitty murmured. "You're being so perfect for me, Jack. So beautiful and strong and brave."

Bitty said it all with a firm seriousness that Jack couldn't mistake for sarcasm. Bitty actually thought that, somehow, actually believed it, and Jack just sobbed again, because he wasn't brave at all, he was too scared to even say he was scared. His skin was paper thin. He would break open if Bitty hit him, and somehow he knew that Bitty would tell him that was beautiful too, would hold him together and kiss it better; maybe that would be worth it.

But it was going to hurt so much, and he was already crying, and he still didn't even know why.

"It's all right, I've got you, I'm here," Bitty said, kissing Jack's face, his hands moving soothingly on Jack's skin. "Take all the time you need, honey, we're in no rush. I'm just gonna sit here with you and think about how wonderful and good you are until you're ready to tell me what's got you so overwhelmed."

"You," Jack croaked out, though it cost him another volley of sobs. Bitty just kept shushing him, petting and kissing him, so gently, so patiently that Jack wondered if maybe they just never had to get to the hurting part at all. Bitty had said the plan was flexible, hadn't he?

But would they really have done it if Jack made him veer off short of the properly kinky part before they got there? Wouldn't that be cheating?

"Tell me what you're thinking, honey," Bitty murmured, and Jack realized that he'd mostly stopped crying, though his breathing was still fast.

Bitty produced a tissue from somewhere and wiped Jack's nose as if that were as ordinary as brushing an eyelash from his cheek or fussing at his hair. By the time Jack thought to be embarrassed it was over.

"Or tell me what you want to happen next. Or don't want; it's okay if you've changed your mind about something."

Jack's lips parted as he looked into Bitty's eyes and realized that Bitty already knew what Jack had flinched from.

It was somehow breathtaking and perfectly unsurprising. Of course Bitty knew what he wanted and didn't want; of course Bitty knew just how easily he could shatter Jack to a million whimpering pieces. Of course Bitty could see right into him, knowing him like no one else ever could. That was why Jack had trusted him with this, wasn't it?

"Oh, sweetheart," Bitty said. "Can you just say it for me, so I know where you're at?"

Jack closed his eyes and opened his mouth, struggling to make words.

"Here, I'll help." Bitty wiped Jack's face again and then ran his thumb along Jack's lower lip. "Repeat after me, honey. Say I want you."

"I want. You." The whisper was tiny, wavering, but Bitty was close enough to hear him just fine, and rewarded Jack with kisses on his forehead.

"Say, to make me," Bitty prompted.

"To make," Jack managed. "Me. Feel."

"Mm-hm." Bitty's thumb moved along his lip again, gently coaxing. "Feel what, honey?"

Jack squeezed his eyes tight shut. He knew what he wanted, and he knew Bitty knew. He knew if he just asked Bitty would give it to him, just what he wanted and nothing else, but it still felt like skating out onto rotten March ice over deep black water when he whispered, "Good."

"Okay, Jack," Bitty murmured, brushing the lightest possible kiss over Jack's still-open mouth. "That's just what I'll do. Let me start with--"

Bitty gave his hand a squeeze and let it go, and then his weight settled over Jack. Bitty was lying on top of him, but also squirming--reaching for something?--and then he sighed relief and lifted up off of Jack a little.

"Here, take a sip."

The soft straw of one of his own water bottles bumped Jack's lips, and he took it into his mouth, biting down and drinking thirstily. Jack had just realized Bitty only told him to sip when the bottle was tugged away from his mouth and Bitty said, "That's enough. I'll give you some more in a little while. For right now--can you look at me, honey? It's okay if you can't."

Jack had to take a couple of breaths, but he managed to crack his eyelids open enough to see Bitty, a dim blur of gold that was all he could see, or wanted to.

"There you are," Bitty murmured, brushing his thumbs along the corners of Jack's eyes as his hands came to cradle Jack's face. "You're being just perfect for me, honey, you are blowing my expectations so far out of the water, I want you to know that. Asking me for just what you want--that's so good. I wasn't sure you'd be able to do that; I know all the talking we did before wasn't easy for you, and I tried to hear what you didn't say as much as what you did. So it would've been okay if you couldn't tell me now, but I'm so glad you did."

Jack had to blink away more tears, gasping for breath, and he wound up with his eyes a little wider open, so he could see Bitty's face properly. He was flushed, his lips bitten red, his brown eyes bright and warm. Jack's racing heart still seemed to skip at the sight of him.

"So good, honey," Bitty repeated. "And I'm gonna keep making you feel things, good things, if you're okay to keep going. Can you take that for me? Can you stand to feel some more?"

Jack took another deep breath and nodded. He could do anything if Bitty looked at him like that and asked him to.

"And how are you gonna let me know if something's making you feel bad, so I can fix it?"

Bitty glanced toward Jack's hands, cueing him, and Jack raised both hands and grabbed the rail there.

"Good, that's just right. Do you need me to fix anything for you right now, or are you ready to keep going?"

Jack let go immediately, letting his hands fall down onto their cushions again.

"Perfect," Bitty murmured, and bent to kiss him, soft and sweet, his tongue just dipping into Jack's mouth. It was the same gentle, coaxing kiss from before they'd started, except that Jack felt raw everywhere Bitty touched him, every sensation amplified. He moaned a little, struggling to breathe through his nose and opening his mouth too wide in his eagerness to let Bitty in.

But Bitty just said, "Perfect," again when he pulled away, and Jack struggled to get his breathing under some semblance of control.

"I guess I don't have to worry about you getting bored for a little while yet, do I?"

Jack bit his lip and shook his head. He thought maybe he should have been bored--Bitty had just petted and talked to him, stuff they did all the time anyway--but it was never like this. This was... he didn't even know what this was, but he couldn't get his breathing right and he could feel more tears threatening.

It had to have been ten minutes since Bitty touched his dick but he was still mostly hard, but this didn't even really feel like sex. Not any kind Jack had ever had before, anyway.

"Okay, good," Bitty said. "You aren't cold, are you, honey? Wiggle your toes for me?"

Jack wiggled his toes and flexed his feet, but he shook his head as he did it. He was the furthest thing from cold, and his feet were positioned lower than his heart. "M'good."

Bitty grinned. "You are that, Mr. Zimmermann. You are so good I just can't even believe it. I think I oughta give you something extra nice for being so good, what do you think?"

Jack's mouth worked a little, but no sounds came out. He wanted to say yes, he wanted something extra nice, but he didn't think he'd really done anything to earn it. He didn't even know what extra nice meant right now. Would it mean something sexy? Would it mean finishing? He didn't want this to end.

"Hang on, honey," Bitty said, straightening up. "You keep your eyes on me, okay? I'm just going two steps--" And he did it as he spoke, stepping outside the bondage frame. Jack tried to hold down the little noise of protest he made at that, but Bitty wasn't going in the direction of the door. He was going to the bed, the mysterious blanket-covered shapes waiting there.

Jack's hands closed into fists, his toes digging into the velvety cushion, as he tried to brace himself for whatever he couldn't quite see Bitty picking up.

Bitty turned back almost right away, though, with a fuzzy-looking blanket trailing from one hand. In the other he held...

Jack made a startled sound that was almost a laugh. Bitty was holding a stuffed toy, one Jack had seen when they wandered into a toy store together. He'd noticed it partly because the packaging was mostly in French, and also because the bright green monster, with its long silky fur, was so ridiculous looking.

It had been so nice to touch, though. Jack had lost track of time as he stood there, rubbing the shaggy fur and wondering if there was any way to justify buying it so he wouldn't feel terribly unhygienic about rubbing his face into it.

"Oh good, I see you do remember your friend," Bitty said. "Monsieur Peluche here gave me a whole bunch of ideas about ways to make you feel good, so I thought he ought to get to join the party."

"Bits," Jack croaked out, but he couldn't say the rest. They had visited that toy store more than a month ago, long before they'd talked about doing the rest of this. All that time, Bitty had been thinking... what? And he'd found out from somewhere how to correctly pronounce it when he called the thing Mister Plushie in French, which nearly made the tears spill over from Jack's eyes again.

Bitty stepped back into the bondage frame and tucked the toy into the angle of Jack's neck and shoulder, dropping the blanket and something that made a little padded fwump sound nearby.

"If you really can't look, you can hide your face against him there," Bitty said, brushing another soft kiss across Jack's lips. "So if it gets too much for you, you've got a buddy now. Okay?"

Jack nodded, and then tilted his head and rubbed his cheek against the green fur. It felt even better than he remembered, and he never wanted to stop touching it.

"There, that's perfect," Bitty said. "Now I can get back to the rest of my plans for you."

Jack pressed his cheek more tightly into Monsieur Peluche as Bitty's hands both closed around his hand on the side away from the stuffed toy. Bitty rubbed his palm and wrist, chasing away tension and soreness, and Jack moaned into the softness of the toy against his cheek.

Then Bitty kissed his palm and down two of his fingers before he sucked the tips into the heat of his mouth, and Jack gasped. The feeling went straight to his cock. He felt like a teenager, suddenly desperately aroused at just that little touch.

"Bits," he gasped.

"Mm, talkin', that's so good, baby." Bitty released his fingers and kissed his way up Jack's arm, every brush of lips sending another jolt of pleasure and need through him. "You're being so, so good for me, you know that? Letting me see you, hear you, everything you're feeling. Letting me make you feel things just so I can see. That's so brave, honey."

Bitty had reached his shoulder, and Jack turned his head, straining toward a kiss that he needed more than air. Bitty gave it to him, sliding one hand behind Jack's head to cradle it as Bitty kissed him.

"You know what it does to me, seeing you like this?" Bitty murmured. "You know what you're doing to me, honey?"

Jack shook his head. From the low warmth in Bitty's voice it was something good, but Jack could barely even keep track of what Bitty was doing to him, let alone what else it meant.

"I'll give you a hint," Bitty said, nipping at Jack's lip before he stood up. Jack's gaze followed automatically, and with Bitty standing directly over him, his eyes couldn't help catching on the bulge in Bitty's shorts.

Jack made a helpless little sound as a new wave of heat rushed through him, his cock throbbing. He knew this, at least. He knew how to feel this, how to be good at this. He could do this.

Except apparently he was being good at it already, just lying here.

Bitty peeled out of his t-shirt and bent over Jack again to kiss him softly. "What do you think? You ready to let me make you feel so good you can't stand it?"

Jack licked his lips and struggled to form words. "I'm already... not standing, bud."

Bitty beamed at him. "Yeah, but I bet we can get you feeling lots more. Don't you think?"

He wanted to say it was just sex; they'd had plenty of sex before, so surely he knew how much he would feel. But they hadn't had sex like this, when Bitty had already somehow made him cry just by touching him and talking to him, when he was spread out before Bitty and unable to do a thing but lie here.

Jack swallowed. Nodded. Let his eyes shiver shut and pressed his cheek into Monsieur Peluche.

"That's it, honey, you just let me handle everything."

Jack tugged at his wrist cuffs a little, silently pointing out that Bitty had made sure Jack couldn't contribute anything here, but he didn't know if Bitty saw, because he already had his head down over Jack's chest.

His lips brushed over Jack's nipple, and Jack caught his breath at the sizzle of pleasure, so much more than he usually felt at a touch there. And then Bitty's hand settled on the other side of his chest, and something that was a little too nubbly to be Bitty's finger brushed over his other nipple, and then buzzed.

Jack cried out and bucked up helplessly at the too-much rush of it, pleasure or pain or just a lightning strike of something. But the cuffs and Bitty's weight kept him in place and he hid his face against soft green fur so he wouldn't have to see the way Bitty was looking at him.

"Oh, honey, that was good, wasn't it? That was a lot. I better be careful where I use that, huh? Just... a little touch..."

Jack gasped at the light touch at the base of his cock before he even realized it wasn't vibrating. It was only Bitty's fingers that time, but he felt like he was about to shake right out of his skin anyway, teetering on the edge of something.

"You go ahead and come whenever you're ready," Bitty said, and Jack squirmed as Bitty's thumbs traced a feather-light trail up the cut of his hips. "Don't you even worry, honey, I just want you to feel good. And you know what to do if you need a breather, right? If you need me to stop and check?"

Jack nodded, face pressed into the stuffed animal, its fur tickling his nose on every breath while his hands closed into desperate fists. If Bitty kept this up, Jack was going to come in the next two minutes, and he somehow doubted that would be the end of Bitty making him feel things; he didn't know if he was eager or terrified to find out what Bitty would do next, but it didn't matter. He had given himself up, and Bitty was in charge now.

The next touch was just behind his balls, and Jack's legs jerked hard enough for the grip of the cuffs to burn against his ankles. But he couldn't close his legs or shift away from Bitty's fingertip, trailing delicately down to his (very thoroughly cleaned) asshole. Bitty's finger traced tiny circles over it and Jack's whole attention seemed focused on that spot, as if the rest of him had ceased to exist and all he could feel, all he could think about, was the place where Bitty was touching him.

And then there was a different-feeling touch, hot breath, and Jack had to peek through barely-parted eyelashes to see Bitty's bright blond head bowed between Jack's wide-open thighs.

The next touch was wetter, softer, unmistakably Bitty's tongue pressing against him, and a sound burst out of Jack, as harsh as the touch was soft. His knees tried to rise up, but he still couldn't move. He didn't want to get away.

The next little lick forced another sound from Jack's throat, this one higher, needier. His eyes were stinging again, knowing where Bitty was going with this. Another lick, and Jack's eyes filled with tears, his breath just a high whine as he pressed his cheek against Monsieur Peluche. If the cuffs weren't holding him he would go to pieces, he would shake apart somehow.

Bitty's hand pressed against his abs, anchoring him, and Jack felt himself pushing that hand with every heaving breath he took. All the time Bitty was licking at him, sweet and slick, coaxing where he was clenched tight.

It took a while before Jack could even tell that it felt good, because it felt so much. And then there was a different touch, that maddening vibration rubbing against him there. Jack yelled, his whole body jerking, and then the vibration was gone again, replaced by Bitty's tongue, which still felt almost too good to bear.

But in comparison to that overwhelming buzz, Jack found he could relax into the sweet, soft pleasure. He was still panting, his eyes shut tight against the threat of tears, but the rest of him was coming unwound under the patient caress of Bitty's tongue. It wasn't long before a slick finger pressed into him, curling and stroking and making his breath catch with every touch.

He lost track of time, lost track of everything but what Bitty wanted him to feel. Every so often he would try to move, arms or legs or both jerking with some impulse he couldn't have named, but the cuffs held him tight, and there was soft fur against his cheek, letting him halfway hide his face when he needed to.

He was soaring somewhere, and it felt like falling, a little, when all touch disappeared, the weight of Bitty's hand from his belly and the wicked curl of Bitty's fingers and tongue from inside him. Jack's eyes flashed open, his hands open wide and reaching to catch--but Bitty was still right there, kneeling up between Jack's legs and looking at him with those warm, steady brown eyes. His lips were red and wet, his face shiny-slick from his chin to the tip of his nose, and he was smiling.

Jack smiled back helplessly, though his heart squeezed and his eyes filled with more inexplicable tears.

"You are being so, so good for me, honey," Bitty said, and his hands came back just to rest lightly on Jack's thighs. Jack let his own hands fall. Bitty was here. He was safe. He didn't have to do anything, still.

"Everything is going just how I wanted, you're giving me everything I wanted and more," Bitty went on. "But I still want one more thing, do you think you can let me have that?"

Jack was already nodding before Bitty leaned into him, his hips nudging the inside of Jack's thighs, and a different heat brushing against his slick, open hole.

Jack nodded harder, even though there was part of him that knew this was going to be more than he thought it was, just like everything so far. But that didn't matter. He was held safe here, and Bitty wouldn't let him fall. And he wouldn't hold anything back. He had given himself to Bitty, and Bitty would have him. He needed Bitty to have him. He needed to make Bitty feel good, to earn all this sweet praise Bitty had been showering on him.

He needed to be good, perfect, just like Bitty kept saying he was; he thought he could be, for Bitty. Bitty wouldn't let him be anything else.

"Thank you, honey, that's--oh--"

Jack's breath caught too, at the feeling of Bitty pushing into him, just that first little bit. It was always a little bit surprising, a little bit dizzyingly alien, that feeling of Bitty's cock inside him, but now, open and exposed as he was, it felt like more; it didn't hurt any more than the usual little twinge of stretching muscle, but Jack couldn't get his breathing to settle. He didn't know if he could do this.

But he didn't have to do anything. He just had to let Bitty.

Still, he pressed his face against Monsieur Peluche as soon as he felt Bitty move, only for Bitty to stop instantly. Jack knew he should turn his head, open his eyes, trust Bitty or at least look at him, but it was all he could do to keep breathing.

"Oh, sweetheart," Bitty said softly, and there were warm hands on Jack's belly, making him aware of how hard-tensed the muscles there were. "Is it--does it hurt, honey?"

Jack shook his head. Pain he could bear. Pain would be easier than this sheer intensity and the certainty that more was coming, feelings he had no defense against at all.

Bitty pushed a little deeper into him, an uncontrolled little jerk of a movement, and then Bitty said, through gritted teeth from the sound of it, "You remember how to tell me you need a breather?"

Jack opened and closed his left hand, nodding into Monsieur Peluche, and Bitty made a throaty noise and thrust deeper inside him in a steady slide. Jack felt more tears leaking from his closed eyes, not from pain, but from the sweet pleasure of friction and the feeling of fullness and the sheer fact of Bitty inside him.

Bitty's hand on his stomach moved, rubbing gently up and down. "Breathe, honey."

Jack gasped, and it sounded like a sob.

Bitty leaned into him--deeper inside him, his hips pressing into Jack's spread-open thighs. His belly came down against Jack's cock, and both his hands were on Jack's chest, one sliding quickly up to Jack's cheek. "Oh, honey. You don't have to hide. Let me see. Let me see what I'm doing to you. You're being so good--"

Jack keened, tears spilling, but he forced himself to turn his head a little, to peer through the rush of tears in Bitty's general direction.

"Oh, sweetheart. I've got you." Bitty punctuated that with a sharp rock of his hips, his cock stroking Jack from the inside, claiming him and sending more shivers of unendurable pleasure through him. His thumb swiped at Jack's tears, and Jack thought he was smiling from the sound of his voice. "You're all mine, aren't you, Jack? Mine to take right to pieces when that's what you need. And you fall apart so sweet for me."

He did. He had. Bitty hadn't even had to hurt him to crack him open, to break him apart, and Bitty had known it from the start. Jack couldn't keep his eyes open as that realization rushed over him, and he hid his face completely as the sobs continued to shake him, tears falling freely from his eyes because he couldn't keep this inside. It was too much to bear, too much to even comprehend right now.

Jack didn't try.

He let go of everything, knowing that he couldn't fall, couldn't be lost, with Bitty's cuffs holding him steady, Bitty's hands and Bitty's cock taking control of his body. He writhed as much as he could, wailed out loud, and it all just happened without him having to think, without fear. There was nothing for him to do but feel--not just pleasure, but Bitty's closeness, Bitty's love, crooned in his ears, pressed into his skin and right inside him.

At some point Jack's awareness sharpened with the realization that he was about to come.

"Bits," he gasped, barely a word, "Bits, I--"

"I know, baby," Bitty murmured, snapping his hips in just right, and Jack howled as Bitty did it again and again, pushing him right over the edge and still holding him tight.

When the rush ebbed a little, he realized that Bitty was still inside him, still hard, and not moving a muscle. It took another moment for Jack to open his eyes and blink them clear, and he found Bitty watching him with his own eyes shiny-wet, his cheeks flushed.

"There you are, honey," Bitty murmured. "You ready to be done?"

Jack's lips parted, but there weren't any words. He shook his head, pushing his hips the little bit that he could and clenching down around Bitty's cock. He hissed at the sensation--it was too much right now, piled on top of everything else, and more tears leaked from his eyes--but he couldn't leave this unfinished. He wouldn't.

"Not much longer, I promise," Bitty said, his voice wobbling on a ragged edge of control. "I can't last when you're being so good for me."

He pressed a kiss to the center of Jack's chest and then started to move. Jack couldn't help the noises he made; every pull and every thrust was like firecrackers under his skin, too much and exactly right. He had wanted this, to be pushed further than he could go on his own, and even if Bitty wasn't saying it out loud right now, the weight of his cock told Jack how good he was being, how right he had gotten this for Bitty.

His mind went adrift again, too much sensation whiting out into noise, like the sea or a roaring crowd. He was crying messily, he was helpless, and he had never felt better in his life.

He was yanked back into focus by Bitty's voice calling his name, a rising frantic cadence. "Jack, Jack, oh, oh--"

Jack smiled, still gasping helplessly through that last flurry of thrusts as Bitty finished, coming inside him with a look of furious ecstasy on his face that Jack tried, again, to fix in his mind, knowing as he did that the mere image of it would never be enough.

Bitty sighed, slumping over him, and Jack found his tongue and lips willing to cooperate just long enough to say, "C'mere, Bits."

Bitty whined against his chest, exactly like Jack was trying to wake him up early to go for a run in cold weather, but then he moved. Jack made almost exactly the same protesting noise as Bitty slipped free of him, but then Bitty grabbed the fuzzy blanket he'd brought over and settled himself over Jack, chest to chest, and pulled the blanket over them both.

"Okay?" Bitty murmured, nuzzling his cheek. "Not squishing you? M'gonna do all the aftercare stuff in a minute, just gotta catch my breath."

"Okay," Jack murmured, and he felt Bitty go boneless on top of him, as if he were falling asleep. His own breathing slowed and steadied, though tears kept leaking from his eyes, and his mind went dim and quiet, drifting toward something like sleep himself.

He was jerked back from the edge of it when Bitty sat upright all at once, throwing the blanket back and lunging toward Jack's wrist.

"Good lord, I almost--how could I--I'm so sorry, honey, let me just--"

Jack whined wordlessly, but Bitty only unhooked his wrists from the frame, then twisted around to do the same for his ankles.

"Sorry, sorry, here, bring your hands under the blanket," Bitty said, tugging Jack's arms around himself and resettling himself and the blanket. "Here, okay? Fingers are okay?"

"Mm-hm," Jack assured him, settling back down from that brief startle as Bitty lay down over him again. "All okay."

"Good," Bitty said, settling with his hands holding both of Jack's hands tucked against his sides. "Close your eyes, then, rest a little bit, and then we'll do--all the rest of it. Okay?"

"Okay," Jack agreed, letting Bitty's weight and the exhaustion of everything that had just happened hold him down until he was back in that quiet, wordless place again, drifting and held fast, warm and safe.

It felt like the middle of the night when Jack opened his eyes again, but when he looked toward the curtained window he could still see a little light around the edges. Evening, then, or late afternoon. Bitty and the blanket were still draped over him, and Jack could probably close his eyes and go back to drifting, but it would be a little bit of an effort now; it was becoming apparent to him just how sticky he was, and his head was aching a little with the aftermath of all those tears. Dehydration, probably. Mostly.

He shifted a little, trying to stretch his legs without dislodging Bitty, but that was enough to make Bitty pick his head up, his gaze sharp and alert when his eyes met Jack's.

For a moment they just looked at each other. This wasn't like yesterday; there was no pretending that what they had just done hadn't been important, or real, or anything else, and here they were now in the part where that had happened. Where they had done that.

"Okay?" Bitty said softly, not quite smiling yet.

Jack nodded. He was. He didn't know quite how he'd gotten here, but he was here now, and he was okay.

"Let's clean up and get some fluids into you, then," Bitty said, prosaic and calm, and that was easy, then. He sat up when Bitty scooted off him, and sat watching quietly while Bitty freed him from each of the leather cuffs in turn. They walked hand in hand out of the guest room and back to Jack's bathroom, both of them naked, this time around. Jack drank a cup of water from the tap at one sink while Bitty waited for the water to warm up at the next one, wetting a washcloth.

Jack glanced at himself in the mirror, but he didn't look different. A little wrung out, his eyes a little pink if he looked for it, but that was all. Nothing had changed, except maybe this calm quiet between him and Bitty.

"Here, honey," Bitty said, just as Jack thought of it, and when Jack looked toward him, he said, "Close your eyes a minute."

Jack did, and sighed involuntarily at the gentle pressure of the warm, damp washcloth over his eyes.

"Just hold it there a minute and let me," Bitty said, and it felt so good that Jack didn't protest, just stood there letting the warmth leach the ache from his head. Bitty swiped another cloth down his belly and the insides of his thighs, unerringly finding the worst of the stickiness clinging to his skin and washing it away. It was something he could and should have done for himself, probably, but Bitty wanted to, and Jack had let Bitty do more to him, and would have allowed more if Bitty asked for it. Still would, in the future, if Bitty ever did.

He might even ask for it himself, if Bitty didn't ask first.

That idea took up all of his syrup-slow thoughts, right through Bitty drawing his hand down and taking the washcloth from his eyes, guiding him into the bedroom to pull on pajama pants and a t-shirt, and out to the couch to curl up with a bottle of Gatorade and Bitty in his lap.

He took a few sips before it occurred to him to nudge Bitty and say, "What, no pie?"

Bitty smiled at him, fond and just the tiniest bit unsteady. "Pie later, hon. Hydrate now, and..."

Jack frowned, curling one arm around Bitty. "Hey. What is it? Was that..."

Bitty sighed happily, snuggling into him without resistance. "It was good for me, Jack. I mean, I can't say it was as good for me as it was for you, because at least from the outside that looked like... quite an experience... but it was good."

Jack tightened both arms around him then. "It was amazing, Bits. You were amazing. You--I don't know how you--it was everything."

Bitty squeezed his wrist and nuzzled reassuringly at his throat. "Yeah, I didn't think you had any complaints. And we can do a whole, you know, breakdown and notes for next time a little later, I'm just not ready for that yet, okay? Just want some more of this before we get to the critique."

Next time. Like it was just something they would do now, like Jack didn't even have to ask for it. Jack squeezed Bitty a little tighter, then forced himself to let up so Bitty could breathe. He took another few swallows of Gatorade.

"No rush," Jack agreed, rubbing his cheek idly against Bitty's hair. It was almost as soft as Monsieur Peluche's hair, and Jack wondered why he didn't just pet it--pet Bitty--all the time. Why did they ever sit any way other than this? It felt so good.

But that was why, probably. If he let himself just do what he wanted all the time, he wouldn't ever want to do anything else. Special things had to be rare, to be special.

Jack tightened his grip again. He didn't want this to be over yet. "Can we just... just sit like this for a while?"

"Yeah," Bitty agreed immediately. "Yeah, hon, that's perfect. Just poke me if I fall asleep, okay? That was a lot. Kind of more than I expected, honestly."

Jack felt an instant curl of guilt. "Sorry, I--"

"No," Bitty said sharply, sitting up a little to look him in the eye, his expression showing a certain brittle kind of frustration that usually turned up at the end of a semester. "No, Jack. Don't feel bad. I wanted this. I wanted to do this with you. For you."

Jack didn't argue, just gathered Bitty in again, holding him close until Bitty relaxed against him.

"Sorry," Bitty murmured. "Didn't mean to snap, just... I don't want you thinking like that."

Jack frowned, trying to figure out what exactly Bitty was extrapolating from Jack feeling bad that Bitty had gone to so much effort while Jack was just lying there letting him do it. "What do you mean, bud?"

Bitty squirmed a little, only to settle back into the same spot against his chest, and Jack waited out the necessary fidgets until Bitty sighed and went still.

"You know the thing I really, really hate about making pie?"

Jack blinked, trying to think of anything he'd ever noticed Bitty not loving about making pie. "...No?"

Bitty snorted softly and pressed a kiss to Jack's throat. "I hate that I make something I love, something other people love, something that's good and made with love, and... the more people love what I make for them, the worse they feel about it. The more they talk about how sinful it is, how it's cheating, how they should only have a tiny slice or they feel terrible about eating so much of it..."

Jack winced. He'd never said those exact things, he didn't think, but he knew Bitty knew his nutrition plan and the team's guidelines and tried to keep to it. Heading him off.

"I know it's sugar and fat and everything, but people need those nutrients too," Bitty said. "Not all the time, not for every meal, but people need pie. They need good things, sweet things. People need treats and special things--not just the calories, not just for their bodies. Pie feeds people's--"

Bitty cut off abruptly, and curled down a little against Jack, as though he was ashamed.

"Euh," Jack said softly, jostling him a little. "I know. People need games, too, eh? People need teams to root for, to feel a part of, even if they never play. They need us to play for them. I pour my whole life into this, and people will say it's silly, it's just a game, but--I think it does matter. It feeds people's hearts, just like pie does."

Bitty nodded. "That's... I just don't want you thinking you don't need that, or feeling bad about wanting it, okay? You need pie, and you need a game to play, and sometimes you need me to tie you up and make you cry. I want you to get all the things you need. I want to give you the ones that I can."

"Oh," Jack said, and rubbed his cheek against Bitty's hair again, thinking about that, about what Bitty had given him. "Is that why..." Jack trailed off, trying to think of whether there was even a question there, or just something he'd been wrong about all along.

"Why I didn't do it the way you expected me to?" Bitty asked after a few beats. "The making-you-cry part?"

Jack twitched a little--it was no surprise Bitty could read him, could follow his thoughts, as well in this as he ever had on the ice, but it was still startling. "I... it's not like you ever said what you were going to do. I never asked you for anything specific."

"No," Bitty agreed, laying a hand on Jack's chest, over his heart. "But I knew you expected it to hurt, by the way you talked about it. I wasn't just listening to the words you said, and you let me see how you felt. So I had an idea that... maybe you don't need more things in your life that hurt. There's already plenty of that, and you know how to bear being hurt; if I tried to hurt you past what you could handle..." Bitty shook his head against Jack's shoulder. "I thought... maybe we could do it the other way around. You don't have much defense against nice things, as far as I've seen."

Jack couldn't argue with that. Bitty was the only nice thing he could think of right now, but it was true that he had no defenses there.

"Plus, honestly, I wanted an excuse to go and get Monsieur Peluche--it about broke my heart watching you pretend you didn't want to buy him."

Jack smiled and raised one hand to run through Bitty's hair, just for the pleasure of feeling it. Bitty made a little happy noise and leaned into the touch, so Jack let himself keep it up while he took another sip of Gatorade. "You think Señor Bun would mind having a buddy next to him on the bed?"

Bitty twisted to look at Jack again. His eyes were wide, curious and interested, pleased in a way that meant that that had been the right question to ask.

Jack parted his lips, meaning to offer some explanation--about how he really had liked just touching the stuffed toy and wanted to be able to do that casually, and about how they might use it as a signal when one of them wanted to play again--but Bitty's fingers pressed against his mouth, silencing him.

Right. Bitty had said that they'd talk strategy later. Now was just this, sitting together, maybe napping. Jack nodded against Bitty's fingers.

Bitty settled back against him and said, "I think that would be perfect, hon. But for now, just drink your Gatorade."

Jack smiled and did as he was told.